The Mark 14 torpedo was the United States Navy's standard submarine-launched anti-ship torpedo of World War II.

This weapon was plagued with many problems which crippled its performance early in the war, and was supplemented by the Mark 18 electric torpedo in the last 2 years of the war. Nonetheless, the Mark 14 played a major role in the devastating blow US Navy submarines dealt to the Japanese naval and merchant marine forces during the Pacific War.

By the end of World War II, the Mark 14 torpedo was a reliable weapon which remained in service for almost 40 years in the US Navy, and even longer with other navies.

Mark 14 Torpedo in Days of Infamy[]

When the Mark 14 entered combat against the Japanese in 1941, many on the Japanese side couldn't believe their luck as the torpedoes failed to do any damage, especially when one of the torpedoes failed to detonate when it struck Akagi during the 1941 Japanese invasion of Hawaii.

By the start of 1943, the Americans had fixed many problems with the weapon. This increased its performance, causing devastation to both the Japanese Navy and its merchant marine fleet.

Mark 14 Torpedo in "News From the Front"[]

On February 9, 1942, The New Yorker ran an article about the Mark 14, claiming it was the US Navy's answer to Jane Russell, an expensive bust.[1] The article complained about the torpedo's lack of guidance and inability to sink what it hits. It also attacked the Roosevelt administration over lack of testing and its choice of the design which had been rejected by the Kriegsmarine. After a lengthy analysis of the torpedo's faults, and comparing them with other torpedoes, the article conclude that America was stuck with the useless weapons because the government wanted to save money.[2]


  1. Atlantis and Other Places, pg. 92.
  2. Ibid., pg. 93.