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paravane


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A device invented during the First World War (1914–18) as a defence against moored mines for ships under way. The paravane is essentially a glorified wirecutter which is towed, one on each bow of a ship, at the end of a length of toughened wire. The paravane itself works on the otter principle to keep it at a fixed depth, to stretch its towing wire taut, and to hold it at an obtuse angle to the ship's course. If a moored mine lies in the path of a ship, the bow wave pushes it aside and its mooring wire is deflected down the paravane's towing wire into the wirecutter where it is severed. The mine then floats to the surface where it can be sunk by rifle fire. Paravanes, introduced into the Royal Navy in 1916, were used by the larger warships when any danger from moored mines existed. It was invented by Commander Dennistoun Burney.

The paravane principle was also used in the Oropesa method of sweeping mines.

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.


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