Lambert's Attack Director

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"No. 5", possibly one of the first six produced in 1913.[1]

Lambert's Attack Director was a torpedo control device invented by Lieutenant Walter O. H. Lambert. It was not a torpedo director, but a device to help judge the best course a cruiser might steer to most rapidly intercept an approaching formation of enemy destroyers.

Six of these were ordered in 1913.[2]

Seven of them were undergoing trial at sea around 1914.[3]

A boxed example, identified as "No. 5" in a modern collector's hands has a typewritten sheet that reads in a tone so akin to that of a sales brochure that the device seems likely to be one of those first six produced. This blurb is notable in its stringently disparaging slant against a device created by Captain Frederic Dreyer:

The ATTACK DIRECTORS should be mounted one on each side of the Fore Bridge if two discs are supplied. If only one disc is supplied, it must be shipped on the Engaged side, a position having been prepared for it to ship on either side.

Schematic in notes contains with "No. 5".[4]

DESCRIPTION OF INSTRUMENT:- The instrument consists of a Rim, A, fixed with the 0-180 degrees parallel to Own Fore and Aft Line. This rim is graduated in degrees, and may also be marked in points if desired. Central with this fixed rim is a Moving Rim, B, which is graduated in degrees 0 to 90 Red and Green. Attached to this Moving Rim is a Bar, CD, carrying sighting Vanes, a Cursor, E, and a Sliding Bar FG. The centre of the instrument is occupied with the Disc H, on which are engraved Red and Green curves, while its rim is marked every five degrees.

TO USE THE INSTRUMENT:- (a) To close and intercept Enemy's Attacking Destroyers as quickly as possible:- Set the Disc H to guessed course of the Enemy's Destroyers, having adjusted for Own and Enemy's Maximum speeds. Point Bar CD at the Enemy. Read off at G the number of degrees Red or Gree. These are the number of degrees you must steer to Port or Starboard of the Enemy's BEARING. The reading on the Rim A opposite this number of degrees (Red or Green) on the Rim B is the alteration of course required. (b) To attack Enemy Ships:- Exactly the same as above except that the Bar CD is pointed to the spot relative to the Enemy where you wish to arrive.

CLAIMS FOR THIS INSTRUMENT:- (1) It is so quickly and easily adjusted that a separate Operator is not required. All information is clearly marked. (2) No ambiguity occurs (as in DREYER'S CRUISER ATTACK DISC). (3) There is no complexity of Bars. Nothing can "Foul" anything else. (4) It can be worked in the coldest of weather with the thickest of gloves on. No awkward screws to get at to adjust for speed. Speeds can be altered in a moment. (5) Strong construction. No weak pivots or "Pin", (as in the CRUISER ATTACK DISC). It cannot get stuck up, will stand any amount of "Weather" and is easily cleaned. (6) No bars to be put parallel by "Eye". (7) Simple to manufacture. The necessary "Negative" for etching the curves is in the possesion [sic] of ELLIOTT BROS.

In order to make clear the claim for SIMPLICITY, the many other uses to which an instrument of this design may be put (i.e. to solve any triangle) are not mentioned.

See Also


  1. Image courtesy of Lawrence Benenson or possibly Jenny Beard.
  2. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1913. p. 31.
  3. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1914. p. 30.
  4. Image courtesy of Lawrence Benenson or possibly Jenny Beard.


  • H.M.S. Vernon. (Feb 1914) Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1913, with Appendix (Wireless Telegraphy). Copy 42 at The National Archives. ADM 189/33.
  • H.M.S. Vernon. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1914. Copy 5 at The National Archives. ADM 189/34.