Monday, August 19, 2013
Remember back in March when Navy dolphins discovered an extremely rare 19th century Howell Torpedo off the coast of San Diego? Well, the Navy has been working since then to identify which ship launched the torpedo, and they've solved the mystery.
According to Naval History and Heritage Command's Underwater Archeology Branch, the torpedo was from the USS Iowa, a battleship commissioned in 1897.
Mikala Pyrch of George Washington University helped track down the torpedo's origin by researching which eight ships were outfitted with Howell Torpedoes:
"From there we figured which ships had gone through the Pacific Fleet or spent any time in California along the coast. That narrowed it down the USS Marblehead and the USS Iowa. We went to the National Archives and looked in the deck logs. I saw that in December of 1899 Iowa had been doing target practice with the torpedoes and had lost... Howell No. 24."
Navy logs perused by Pyrch showed the USS Iowa conducted training exercises off the San Diego cost from December 18, 1899 through January 15, 1900.
The smoking gun (or torpedo)? The log entry for December 20, 1899, which stated: "Lost H. Mark 1, No. 24 torpedo."
The dolphin discovery of the mid and tail sections of Howell Torpedo, No. 24, make it one of only three Howell Torpedoes known to exist today.
Here's a video flashback from Newsy on the discovery of the torpedo, by two dolphins named "Ten" and "Spetz":