On this Date January 27, 1951 –

Release date for “Operation Pacific” starring John Wayne, and with the ever-constant support of Ward Bond. A significant part of the film revolves around the early war frustration with faulty Mark 14 torpedoes when as many as 80% failed to explode. One problem was the Mark 14’s ran deeper than expected and ran under hulls. The other issue was failing to explode when making contact. The ordinance board consulted Albert Einstein about the problem and he predicted the firing pin was being distorted upon impact. Separately, Swede Momsen took up the problem and performed the experiment illustrated in the movie’s scene of dropping a warhead from a crane; it was, in part, correct that a head on hit bent the firing pin, but firing to hit at angle improved results. Using a different alloy for the firing pin further enhanced performance. After solving these issues, the Mark 14’s went on to serve as a workhorse of the Submarine force for decades. Some notable moments in the film are when the ‘Thunderfish’ trades movies with another boat; when asked if proposed movie is any good the reply is ‘it’ll earn credit on a hacker card.’ In another scene Wayne asks another officer why he’s not watching the movie, the answer ‘It’s amazing what Hollywood can do with a submarine’ (from Destination Tokyo). And then there’s Wayne’s character delivering a nice nod to Navy Chiefs.