Methods

Dropping depth charges off the stern via a rack or track was standard practice for destroyers and patrol ships in both World Wars.

Effectiveness

In World War I Russian ASW weapons and technology were primitive and ineffective with no enemy submarines being sunk by the Russian Navy with depth charges. There were no sonars or any acoustic detection devices in the navy and no effective ASW doctrine.

In World War II only 7 German submarines were sunk by depth charges although a grand total of 88,000 depth charges were expended (although many were used to destroy magnetic mines and not submarines).

No Soviet ship had sonar until 1941 and most of them did not receive any until the middle of the war. However, only 5% of the ships lost by the Soviet Navy were from submarine attacks and hence ASW efforts were not as important to the Soviet Navy as to other nations.

Soviet Depth Charges

4B-M

Date Of Design N/A
Date In Service 1930
Total Weight N/A
Explosive Charge N/A
Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity N/A
Settings 40 feet (12 m) or 79 feet (24 m)

Small depth charge based on a World War I depth charge design.

4B-B

Date Of Design N/A
Date In Service 1930
Total Weight N/A
Explosive Charge N/A
Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity N/A
Settings 40 feet (12 m), 79 feet (24 m), 118 feet (36 m) or 158 feet (48 m)

Large depth charge based on a World War I depth charge design

BB-1

Date of Design N/A
Date In Service 1933
Total Weight 363.7 lbs. (165 kg)
Explosive Charge 300 lbs. (135 kg) TNT
Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity 7.55-8.2 fps (2.3-2.5 mps)
Settings N/A

This was the main heavy depth charge of the Soviet Navy in World War II

BM-1

Date Of Design N/A
Date In Service 1933
Total Weight 90 lbs. (45 kg)
Explosive Charge 55.1 lbs. (25 kg) TNT
Sink Rate / Terminal Velocity 6.9 - 7.55 fps (2.1-2.3 mps)
Settings N/A

The main light depth charge of the Soviet Navy in World War II

Depth Charge Racks

The Soviet navy used two types of bomb racks. B-1 was a lever rack for 20 large BB-1 large depth charges and M-1 was a scoop type rack for 32 BM-1 small depth charges.

Depth Charge Projectors

BMB-1

Developed in 1940, this was the only Soviet depth charge projectors used by the navy, and they were nstalled on most Soviet destroyers in the first part of the war. Range of 43 yards, 87.5 yards or 120 yards (40 m, 80m or 110m). Angle of firing - 45 degrees. Fired 1 bomb at a time. Launcher weighted 427.7 lbs. (194 kg).

Anti-Submarine Projectiles

The Japanese developed anti-submarine projectiles for most naval guns between 3" (7.6 cm) and 6" (15.2 cm). These were Common Type 0 (1940) with a cylindrical head over the nose for the 6" (15.2 cm) and 5.5" (14 cm) guns and a flat-headed shell for the 5" (12.7 cm), 4.7" (12 cm) and 3" (7.6 cm) guns. These were introduced in 1943.

The larger guns had a muzzle velocity of about 820 fps (250 mps) and a range of 4,370-4,700 yards (4,000-4,300 m) at elevations of 40 degrees. The minimum range was 820-875 yards (750-800 m). The 3" (7.6 cm) projectile values were 3,500 yards (3,200 m) maximum and 765 yards (700 m) minimum.

ASW Mortars

A 15 cm (5.9") ASW mortar was developed for transports and merchant ships. This was in a cradle mounting allowing 360 degree traverse and had recoil and runout cylinders. The projectile weighed about 60 lbs. (27 kg) and could range out to a maximum of 4,500 yards (4,100 m).

The Navy 81 mm mortar was also carried by many escorts, firing standard projectiles.

Finally, a 15 cm (5.9") rocket propelled DC with a range of 3,280 yards (3,000 meters) was developed in April 1945 but this saw no active service.

Sources

Data from:

  • "Sovetskie Boevye Korabli 1941-45: IV Vooruzhnie" (Soviet Warships 1941-45: Volume IV Armament) by A.V. Platonov

Special help from Vladimir Yakubov.