British Ships Involved

Human Torpedoes

Mk I Chariot

Mk I Chariot
Technical Data
Manufacturer Stothard & Pitt (Crane Makers)
Length 6,8 meter (22,3 feet)
Breadth 0,88 meter (2,9 feet)
Height (at shield) 1,21 meter (4,0 feet)
Speed 2,5 knots
Weight (with warhead) 1.588 kg (3.500 lbs)
Depth 27,43 meter (90 feet)
Range 5 hours (distance dependant on sea currents)
Armament Battery operated detonation system (warhead)
Crew 2
Underwater Suits
Body made from light rubberised twill
Head piece formed by standard army gas mask joined to dress at neck. On top salvus release valve set to 1,29 kg/square centimeter (0,45 pound/square inch). Face piece held in position by three webbing straps.
Two eye pieces removed by unscrewing.
D.S.E.A nose clip.
Breathing Apparatus
Oxygen rebreather system
Mouth piece converted D.S.E.A with a two way exhaust cock fitted to heart shaped plate secured to mask.
Black rubber breathing bag weighted. Fitted with CO2 absorbent canister holding 1,95 kg (4 lbs and 5 ozs) of Protosorb of 8-12 or 8-14 mesh.
Endurance: 6 hours, 9,14 meter (30 feet).
Aluminium alloy oxygen bottles hold 304 litres normal working pressure 150 Ats. Each bottle fitted with standard "Novox" type shut off valve.
Canvass boots with fitted 2,27 kg (5 lbs) lead sole. 0,57 kg (1,25 lbs) weights can be added.
Submarine Container
Fitted to the deck of a submarine and used to carry the "Chariots" to avoid them being crushed by water pressure at depth.
Length 7,38 meter (24,2 feet)
Width 1,25 meter (4,11 feet) (Interior)
Height 1,65 meter (5,4 feet) (Exterior)
High Pressure air charging.
Battery ventilation valve.
Battery charging point.
Wooden rails for trolley bogey.
Securing bar and holding down strops.
Mk I means Mark I. Later a further developed version of the Chariot was made and it was called Mark II (Mk II).

Practice and excersises with the Chariots took place in Loch Cairnbawn, the same location where the practice and excersises with the X-Craft midget submarines took place.

Additional Notes

Chariots were electrically powered two-man submersibles, very much like large torpedoes. Two divers sat astride the machines and delivered a powerfull bow charge to the target.

The Chariots were initially copied from an Italian SLC* salvaged at Gibraltar.

Early in 1942 the decision was made to build up a human torpedo force and seven months later the first four chariots were operational.

A month later, October 1942, they launched an abortive attack on the Tirpitz in Föttenfjord, Trondheim.

*Silura a Lenta Corsa: Slow Running Torpedo. Also called Maiale: Pig

Mk I Chariot