Alberto Virtuani wrote:Torpedo warheads (hard to detonate when not activated) can make fires worse on the upper decks and kill a lot of people but not sink the Hood (IMHO) as their devastating effect is due to the fact they are built to explode under water. Above the waterline, they would have dissipated most of their energy in the air.
As an incidental note to this I would mention (as we now at long last have the physical evidence documented by inspection of the sunken wreck) that one cruiser carrying torpedoes managed to survive a gunnery battering at point blank range without any of its torpedoes exploding from either direct gunnery hits or from deck/internal fires, such that later on, when drifting out at a much further range, prior to sinking, the starboard torpedo battery was able to fire all four torpedoes which missed their target.
The ship I refer to was HMAS Sydney.
On the other hand, at the commencement of the River Plate battle the Ajax jettisoned its stern mounted depth charges as a precaution against their detonation blowing Ajax's stern off...