TORPEDO ROOM CHIEF: Flood down tube one.

Man: Flood down tube one, aye

What does it mean, "Flood down something"?

I find this line in Midway 2019

2 Answers 2


This is a rather specific bit of military jargon, that doesn't fit well with 'normal usage'.

Before firing a torpedo, it is necessary to fill the tube it sits in with water, so the man in charge must "flood the tube". Why they use the word down is not clear - the closest normal usage would be to "fill up the ", and I can't think of any other example that is close.

  • pf means? i didn't get it.
    – David Lowe
    Apr 7, 2020 at 9:25
  • Probably a typo for of! Apr 7, 2020 at 10:24
  • 1
    When a flat surface, like a parking lot or a ship's deck, is to be covered with water to clean it, the term or command "wash down" is used. Perhaps, "flood down" is analogous. Or maybe in early submarines the valve was at the upper part of the tube. Jan 20, 2021 at 21:27

“Down” is used with the word “flood” to indicate that the (metaphorical) flood is ongoing and incomplete.

“Frightened pedestrians flooded the highway” would mean that the highway was completely obstructed by people.

“Frightened pedestrians flooded down the highway” would mean that the people were moving quickly onto the highway, the density of people threatening to obstruct passage.

The particular usage noted, “flood down a torpedo tube” may be a mistake.

A torpedo tube must be “flooded” (filled with seawater) before the torpedo can be fired, but I have never heard the phrase “flood down” used in this connection. Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, who was the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence before becoming director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, said that movie was “the most realistic movie about naval combat ever made”, so maybe they knew something.

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