Category:Depth Charge (UK)

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The British used a variety of Depth Charges in the war.

The primary characteristic of these were that they were to explode at a given depth – a concept whose value was appreciated before the end of 1914.[1]

The firing means (for all but the Egerton depth charge) was either mechanically when a float pulled a cable of a given length taut, or hydrostatically when pressure forced a diagram to compress a spring.

Some of the devices were adapted from other weapons. All were developed in Vernon except the Egerton depth charge and the anti-submarine grenade.


By the end of 1915, experience prompted the British to standardise two types of charges, the 300 pound Type D for fast and heavy ships, and the 120 pound Type D*.

In August, 1917 a depth charge "thrower" able to loft a Type D charge 40 yards athwart the beam was rapidly devised and adopted. Photographs of these devices seem almost indistinguishable from a World War II-era K-gun. Load-outs of charges increased from two Type D charges per vessel to four, to six with the addition of a thrower on each broadside. Successes only indicated the need for massive further increases in the weapon, and destroyers, "P" boats, sloops operating outside of the North Sea and Dover areas often surrendered guns and torpedo tubes in favour of depth charge allotments that bloomed to 30 to 50 charges.[2]

By mid 1917, the depth charge had become the most effective anti-submarine weapon. Approximately 280 were expended in June 1917. A year later, this went up to 1,350 depth charges, or 45 dropped per day.


  1. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 7. p. 18.
  2. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 1, Part 7. p. 19.