Type 95 file photo [31491]

Type 95 Torpedo

Country of OriginJapan
Diameter530.000 mm
Length7.150 m
Weight1665.000 kg
Range12.000 km
MachineryKerosene-Oxygen Wet-Heater steam engine
Explosive Charge405kg TNT
Speed87.00 km/h


ww2dbaseThe Japanese Type 95 torpedo was the primary weapon for Japanese submarines in World War II. The Type 95 was developed as a smaller version of the Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo that was launched from surface ships. Like the Type 93, the Type 95 used a pure oxygen torpedo motor that gave it a long range at a high speed (9,000 meters at 51 knots; 12,000 meters at 47 knots), with no appreciable wake.

The Type 95 was the same diameter as the United States Navy's Mark XIV torpedo, the primary weapon for American submarines, but was longer, heavier, and faster. The Type 95 warhead was also nearly twice as large as that of the Mark XIV and the Type 95's exploder was considerably more reliable than the American model.

If the Type 95 had any drawbacks at all, it would be persistent leakage from the oxygen flasks. This problem was never completely resolved and maintenance was made more difficult by the confined spaces of a submarine. The Type 95 was also hampered by the I-boat submarine that launched it. I-boat submarines were relatively large, shallow-diving, and had poor maneuverability while submerged, which made them more easily detectable.

All of these factors taken together, even with the drawbacks, made the Type 95 an all-around superior weapon to any of its counterparts. Type 95 successes, however, were a function of whether the submarines that carried them could gain favorable firing positions. Japanese submarine strategy, indeed Japanese naval strategy generally, focused on attacking warships more than merchant ships or auxiliaries. Because warships were generally faster and better protected, submarines gaining favorable firing positions was inherently difficult. Even so, Type 95 torpedoes are credited with sinking and/or damaging several warships during World War II, including the final coup de grace that sank fleet carrier USS Yorktown (Yorktown-class) and destroyer USS Hammann in the Battle of Midway, with sinking fleet carrier USS Wasp, cruiser USS Juneau, escort carrier USS Liscome Bay, famously the cruiser USS Indianapolis, and submarine USS Corvina (the only American submarine to be sunk by a Japanese submarine in the entire war). Type 95s also badly damaged battleship USS North Carolina, heavy cruiser USS Chester, and destroyer USS O'Brien.

United States Navy
Naval Weapons of the World (navweaps.com)
Imperial Japanese Navy History (combinedfleet.com)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

Last Major Revision: Oct 2021

Type 95 Torpedo Interactive Map


I-58Japanese Type 95 submarine torpedo on display at the Kure Maritime Museum, Hiroshima, Japan, 29 May 2005.

Type 95 Timeline

6 Jun 1942 While assisting damage control efforts aboard USS Yorktown, USS Hammann was struck by one Type 95 torpedo from I-168, breaking her in half, while Yorktown was struck by two of I-168's torpedoes. Hammann sank very quickly, then suffered a underwater explosion, most likely from her own depth charges, which killed many survivors in the water. 80 men were killed in the sinking.
15 Sep 1942 Japanese submarine I-19 sank USS Wasp (3 Type 95 torpedo hits; 194 were killed, 1,969 survived) in the Coral Sea at 1444 hours; USS North Carolina and USS O'Brien were also damaged in the attack.
20 Oct 1942 While cruising in support of the operations in the Solomon Islands, USS Chester was struck by one of six Type 95 torpedoes fired from Japanese submarine I-176, killing eleven and wounding twelve.
13 Nov 1942 USS Jueanu, while sailing for Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides for repairs sustained during the previous night, was intercepted by I-26, which fired two Type 95 torpedoes. One struck on the port side, sinking the light cruiser very quickly. 687 lives would eventually be lost; only 10 survived.
16 Nov 1943 The US submarine Corvina was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-176 south of Truk, Caroline Islands. I-176 launched three Type95 torpedoes with two hitting Corvina. All 82 aboard Corvina were lost.
17 Nov 1943 Japanese submarine I-176 fired three Type 95 torpedoes at an un-identified enemy submarine south of Truk in the Caroline Islands, claiming two hits. The target was believed to be USS Corvina.
24 Nov 1943 Japanese submarine I-75 fired three Type 95 torpedoes at escort carrier USS Liscome Bay off Makin Atoll. One struck near the stern setting off the ship's bomb magazine and blowing off the stern section. The ship sank within 23 minutes killing 644 officers and men, including Pearl Harbor hero Doris Miller.
29 Jul 1945 Japanese submarine I-58 sank cruiser USS Indianapolis with two hits from Type 95 torpedoes; USS Indianapolis' prior order to maintain radio silence resulted in a 2-day delay in realizing she was lost.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Curt La Fontaine says:
22 Oct 2021 05:46:50 AM

And the Indianapolis?
2. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
25 Oct 2021 12:50:33 PM

Curt La Fontaine (above):
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis had always been in the Type 95 Timeline but I believe you are correct that it was conspicuous by its absence from the narrative. For that reason, the narrative has been updated to include the Indianapolis (as it should). Thank you for mentioning it.

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