The Dutch submarine HNLMS Bruinvis and the German U 31 fired exercise torpedoes at each other on May 29. The submarines had been exercising together for the last two days, supported by the Dutch torpedo training ship HNLMS Mercuur.
The exercise had been organised at short notice after it appeared that both ships were set to conduct an exercise in the same area at the same time. The firing of torpedoes was the climax of the combined training drill. The submarines first had to determine each other’s location, manoeuvre themselves into favourable positions, and then fire their torpedoes at each other. Exercise torpedoes are not equipped with explosive charges and are intentionally fired below the targets.
Thanks to the Mercuur’s presence, the submarines were also able to exercise firing their Mark 48 torpedoes at surface targets, for the torpedo training ship has been designed to recover heavy torpedoes from the water and to treat them for re-use.
Lieutenant Commander Björn Kerstens, Captain of HNLMS Mercuur, commented: “The Mercuur will undergo an extensive maintenance and update programme in 2015. That means that our current torpedo recovery capability will be lost during that period. This exercise was also used to assess whether the German support ship FGS Main could temporarily take over this role. At the same time, we have been able to learn from the German way of giving support during torpedo launches.”
Press Release, June 04, 2014; Image: Shipspotting