Two 14 inch torpedo tubes are mounted, one on each side. These can be trained about 30 degrees forward or aft of the beam, as instructed by the torpedo officer at the sights on the flying deck. Torpedoes are fired by compressed air from cylinders on top of the tube. In 1886, a typical Whitehead RL Mk VI 14 inch torpedo has a range of 600 yards at a speed of 25 knots per hour[*], with a warhead comprising 60 lbs of wet guncotton.
The torpedo tube can be pivoted about a hinge at the front to allow it to be stowed against the armoured side when not in use, or for reloading.
In Colossus, the torpedoes are fired from above the waterline. Later classes of ship used submerged torpedo tubes.
Torpedo bodies are stowed in a compartment inset into the starboard forward coal bunker, and protected by the main armour belt. There appears to be space for 9 of the 14 inch Whitehead torpedoes.
Warheads are kept in a magazine adjacent to the starboard forward shell room and would be supplied to the gun deck using the ammunition hoist.
(c) Rob.b1904 2008
[*] In the 1880s and 1890s the term 'Knot' was a unit of distance equal to 1 nautical mile. Charts might show distances, for example between coaling stations, as a number of knots, and the endurance of a ship could likewise be expressed as a number of knots. Speed, therefore, is expressed in Knots per Hour. However, during this period, it was also common to shorten Knots per Hour to simply Knots, and it was left to the context of use to determine whether it referred to a distance or speed. In the 20th Century, Knots invariably means a speed in nautical miles per hour