The Forward Torpedo Room

By Patrick McSherry

OLYMPIA's crewmen work on a torpedo

We are now taking the visitor to areas of the OLYMPIA that are off limits, pending repairs and restoration. The first place we shall visit is one level below the berth deck, on what was called the "torpedo deck." This is the forward torpedo room. It is located all of the way forward, past the chain lockers, the bread room and the brig.

All that remains of the OLYMPIA's six original torpedo tubes can seen in the forward torpedo room. Originally she had a torpedo tube forward, one aft, and two to port and two to starboard. However, the torpedo system used during the Spanish American War was highly ineffective, with a range of less than 1000 yards, and limited aiming ability. As a result, the torpedo tubes and their mechanisms were removed in the refit of the vessel completed in 1902.

The forward torpedo room, with the hatch that connected to the torpedo launching apparatus directly ahead. Another hatch exists directly forward of the hatch in the photo, in the ship's outer hull at the bow.

In the forward torpedo room, the remains of the forward tube can be seen. This tube can also be seen from the exterior, as a round protrusion on OLYMPIA's bow.

It was in one of these torpedo rooms where the OLYMPIA's ship newspaper, the Bounding Billow, was produced for the reading pleasure of the ship's crew. The image below is a drawing of the printer's case laid out over the torpedo apparatus.

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