Squid (weapon)
Squid was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

-mounted anti-submarine
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

. It consisted of a three-barrelled mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 which launched depth charge
Depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...

s. It replaced the Hedgehog
Hedgehog (weapon)
The Hedgehog was an anti-submarine weapon developed by the Royal Navy during World War II, that was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers to supplement the depth charge. The weapon worked by firing a number of small spigot mortar bombs from spiked fittings...

 system, and was in turn replaced by the Limbo
Limbo (weapon)
Limbo, or Anti Submarine Mortar Mark 10 , was the final British development of a forward-throwing anti-submarine weapon originally designed during the Second World War. Limbo, a three-barreled mortar similar to the earlier Squid that it superseded, was developed by the Admiralty Underwater Weapons...


Literally ordered directly from the drawing board in 1942, under the auspices of the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development
Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development
The Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development , known colloquially as the Wheezers and Dodgers, was a department of the Admiralty responsible for the development of various unconventional weapons during World War II...

, this weapon was rushed into service in May 1943 onboard HMS Ambuscade
HMS Ambuscade (D38)
HMS Ambuscade was a British Royal Navy destroyer which served in the Second World War. She and her Thornycroft competitor, Amazon, were prototypes designed to exploit advances in construction and machinery since World War I and formed the basis of Royal Navy destroyer evolution up to the Tribal...

. The first production unit was installed on HMS Hadleigh Castle
HMS Hadleigh Castle (K355)
HMS Hadleigh Castle was a Castle-class corvette of Britain's Royal Navy.She was laid down at Smiths Dock in Middlesbrough on 4 April 1943 and launched on 21 June 1943 before being commissioned on 18 September 1943...

, it went on to be installed on 70 frigates and corvettes during the Second World War. The first successful use was by HMS Loch Killin on 31 July 1944, when she sank U333
Unterseeboot 333
German submarine U-333 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 11 March 1940 at the Nordseewerke yard at Emden, launched on 14 June 1941, and commissioned on 25 August 1941 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Peter-Erich Cremer...

. The system was credited with 17 submarines in 50 attacks. 195 Squid installations had been produced by 1959.

This weapon was a three-barrel 12 inch (305 mm) mortar with the mortars mounted in series but off-bore from each other in order to scatter the projectiles. The barrels were mounted in a frame that could be rotated through 90 degrees for loading. The projectiles weighed 390 lb (177 kg) with a 207 lb (94 kg) minol
Minol (explosive)
Minol is a military explosive developed by the Admiralty early in the Second World War to augment supplies of Trinitrotoluene and RDX, which were then in short supply. The aluminium component in Minol significantly prolongs the explosive pulse, making it ideal for use in underwater naval weapons...

 charge. Sink rate was 43.5 ft/s (13.3 m/s) and a clockwork time fuse
Fuse (explosives)
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately...

 was used to set the depth. Maximum depth was 900 feet (274 m) and all three projectiles had to be set the same.

The weapons were automatically fired from the sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 range recorder at the proper moment. The pattern formed a triangle about 40 yards (37 m) on a side at a distance of 275 yards (250 m) ahead of the ship. Most Squid installations utilised two sets of mortars. All six bombs were fired in salvo so they formed opposing triangular spreads. The salvos were set to explode 25 feet (7.6 m) above and below the target, the resulting pressure wave crushing the hull of the submarine. Postwar trials found Squid was nine times more effective than conventional depth charges.

Despite its proven effectiveness, some officers, notably Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 Kenneth Adams, RCN
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, opposed fitting Squid to escorts because it meant sacrificing guns, which would make ships unsuitable for fleet actions.

In April 1977, the Type 61 frigate Salisbury
HMS Salisbury (F32)
HMS Salisbury was a Salisbury-class or Type 61 aircraft direction frigate of the British Royal Navy. She was built at Devonport Dockyard, laid down 1 January 1952, launched 25 June 1953, and completed 27 February 1957....

became the last ship to fire Squid in Royal Navy service.

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