The first successful airborne torpedo attack was carried out today in the Dardanelles. A Short 184 seaplane armed with a torpedo and piloted by Flight Commander Charles Edmonds of 3 Wing RNAS was sent on a mission over the Sea of Mamora. Edmonds sighted a Turkish steamer amidst a group of sailing ships and a tug. His report describes the action:
“I glided down and fired my torpedo at the steamer from a height of about 14 feet and range of some 300 yards, with the sun astern of me. I noticed some flashes from the tug … so presumed she was firing at me and therefore kept on a westerly course, climbing rapidly. Looking back, I observed the track of the torpedo, which struck the ship abreast the mainmast, the starboard side. The explosion sent a column of water and large fragments of the ship almost as high as her masthead. The ship was about 5,000 tons displacement, painted black, with one funnel and four masts. She was lying close to the land, so cannot sink very far, but the force of the explosion was such that it is impossible for her to be of further use to the enemy.”
The feat is all the more remarkable because the weight of the torpedo means that the Short Seaplane can only get into the air with a perfect combination of calm seas, light breezes and an engine running to its absolute limits, giving the aircraft an endurance of only about 45 minutes.