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WIRELESS AND AERONAUTICS
CHARLES F. THOMPSON
"Radio” and “Radiogram"
The Navy Department has issued an order requiring that in conformity with general international usage the word "Radio" shall be used to designate "wireless,' and the word "Radiogram" to designate "Wireless Telegram" or "Wireless Message."
Change of Wireless Station Names
The following changes in names of wireless telegraph stations take effect on April 1, 1912:
Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to Portland, Maine.
The Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate has reported favorably on the radio-tele graph treaty.
Experiments will be conducted in Paris, on April 23, during the partial eclipse of the sun, to determine, if possible, whether the absence of the sun's rays has any effect on wireless transmission. The Eiffel tower wireless station will be continuously operated during the period of the eclipse, and it is hoped that the commonly accepted theory of wave interference will be confirmed or disproved.
It is common knowledge that messages can be sent much farther at night than during the daytime and also that long waves can be transmitted a greater distance than short ones with a given expenditure of power. The physical laws governing all forms of vibratory or wave motion are well understood and the fact that light and electricity are each the result of etheric undulations seems to offer a possible explanation for these manifestations.
Wireless School at League Island
Congress has been asked to appropriate $175,000 for the establishment of a wireless telegraph school at the League Island Navy Yard.
Arlington, Va., Station
Lieut. E. B. Woodward has been detached from the battleship Ohio to take charge of the wireless station. now under construction at Arlington, Virginia.
Carnegie Technical School Station
A powerful wireless station is to be installed in the Carnegie Technical School at Pittsburgh, Pa. A course in wireless telegraphy will be added to the curriculum in the department of applied science.
Dutch West Indies
The three wireless stations at Curacao, Dutch West Indies, derive their power from windmills to which the generating apparatus is connected. Auxiliary gasoline engines are provided for emergency purposes, but their use is seldom required.
The Joint Wireless Board has recommended the installation of a complete wireless system in the Phillipine Islands, to be used by the civil government and the army and navy. It is proposed to erect thirteen principal stations having high power transmitting outfits, and fourteen intermediate stations equipped with low power apparatus. The total estimated cost for the complete chain is $300,000.
Satisfactory tests have recently been made by the government with wireless telephone stations installed. at Mare Island. Goat Island, Farallone Islands, Table Bluff and Point Arguello, Calif., and on two cruisers. In connection with these experiments, it is stated that conversation was carried on with the transport Sherman, 1300 miles out on the Pacific ocean.
Berlin-Canada Wireless Telephone
Wireless telephonic communication is reported to have been conducted between Berlin, Germany, and Canada by means of a system, invented by an employe of the German Post-office Department, which does not require an antenna. The waves are produced by a special generator giving 100,000 periods per second, and two earth connections are made at distances apart equal to half of the wave length employed.
Proposed League Island Aviation School
The Navy Department is reported to have under consideration the question of establishing an aviation training school at League Island. The necessity for such a camp in the east is quite apparent and it is believed that two or three hydro-aeroplanes will before long be purchased for this station.
San Diego Aviation Camp
Assistant Naval Constructor Richardson has been ordered to San Diego aviation camp, where he will continue work on the new style hydro-aeroplane boat which he is developing. Active training operations will soon begin at this place, as it is announced that several officers have been ordered there for instruction. Lieuts. Ellyson and Towers, who operate the Curtiss hydro-aeroplanes and Lieut. Rodgers and Ensign Herbster, in charge of the Wright-Burgess hydroplane, are stationed there.
In view of the expected applications for volutary retirement between now and June 30, under the present Personnel Law requiring the retirement of at least forty officers above the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) each year, the Secretary of the Navy has issued an order that applications for retirement will not be considered unless the officers in question will, on June 30, 1912, have served thirty years.
Plans for Repair Ship
The Bureau of Construction and Repair has prepared tentative plans for a new repair vessel, to cost not to exceed $600,000, and the Secretary of the Navy has urged upon the House Naval Committee an appropriation for the ship.
It is intended that this ship, if built, shall accompany the fleet to make such repairs to machinery as can not be made on board the vessels themselves. The plans for the repair ship provide for an armament of four 5-inch. guns, mounted, and one for reserve; to repel torpedo attack.
Re-Examination of Officers
The Senate bill providing for the re-examination at the end of six months-instead of one year, as formerly -of naval officers who fail to pass their examination for promotion passed both branches of Congress and received the Presidential signature. Little opposition was presented to the measure in the Senate, and it passed the House without eliciting unfavorable comment, the House Naval Committee being unanimously in favor of it.
New Color for Destroyers and Submarines
Under an order issued by the Navy Department on March 1, on and after May, 1, 1912, the standard color for destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, and colliers will be slate color, the color now used for battleships.
Award of Bailey Medal for Apprentice Seamen
Under an order issued by the Navy Department on March 5, the Bailey medals for apprentice seamen attaining the highest final averages for the year 1911 have been awarded to Lawrence Murray, apprentice seaman, Naval Training Station, Newport, R. I., and Roy W. Helper, apprentice seaman, Naval Training Station, San Francisco, Cal.
FOREIGN NAVAL CORRESPONDENCE
(Special Correspondence of THE Navy)
LETTER FROM LONDON
The 1912-13 Estimates
The principal item in the new Naval Estimates are four large armored ships, eight "lightly armored" cruisers, and twenty destroyers. That four armored ships would be provided had long been anticipated, but the "lightly armored" cruisers were somewhat of a surprise. They appear to have caused a good deal of excitement in Germany, where it is suspected that they are something of the battle-cruiser order. In England it was at first generally believed that they would be vessels of about ten thousand tons, carrying a couple of 9.2-inch guns, and half a dozen 6-inch guns, with 4-inch belts instead of protective decks. According to the latest reports, however, they will be nothing like so ambitious, but will be Scouts. of the Boadicea type, with thin belts for protection against the gunfire of the destroyers-that is to say, ships along the line of the Austrian Admiral Spaun.
Such ships would be extremely useful, but are a decided disappointment to those who expected something far more important. The way in which the rumor got about that the ships would be of the larger type is somewhat curious. A year or two ago someone in authority, in the course of a speech on naval matters in the House of Commons, remarked that the Edgar class would "shortly have to be replaced." The Edgars carry 9.2-inch and ten 6-inch guns. Recently it became known that a number of 9.2inch guns had been ordered, and it was immediately assumed that they were for the new cruisers. As a matter of fact, they appear to have been spare guns for the Minotaur and Warrior classes.
There has been a certain amount of discussion in Parliament lately over the fact that (except in the building of the Dreadnought) we have on every occasion failed to complete ships within the specified two years. Figures have been published, showing the comparative building times of British and German Dreadnoughts, but it is questionable whether they count for very much, since somuch depends on the collection of material before the date arranged for the laying down of the ship. Cases have occurred in which ships have had a great deal put together on the slip before being "laid down" officially. However, the following figures are given:
When the A-3 was examined in dock, a hole about eight feet long and a foot wide was found in her. The cause of the disaster is by no means clear, but it is assumed the A-3 was attempting to dive under the Hazard, with a view to attacking her on the port side, instead of from the starboard side. One theory is that in doing this she miscalculated the distance and found herself much nearer the parent ship than she had expected. There were indications found that, at the time of the impact, the A-3 was about to rise to the surface; and, as her torpedo had not been fired, it is assumed therefrom that she had just time to realise the situation and no more. So far as can be gathered from examination, the hole in the submarine was made by the Hazard's rudder and it was probably the shock of this which created the impression on the Hazard that the whole length of the ship had passed over and scraped the submarine.
With the bringing of the A-3 into harbor, there was a revival of the agitation for salvage vessels, on the part. of those who imagine that a that a series of salvage vessels around the coast would save life in case of an accident to a submarine. But British submarines always manoeuver a considerable distance from the shore, it would take a salvage vessel some hours to get to them if needed. There is also reason to believe that the German Vulcan is to all intents and purposes a failure as regards salvage, if indeed it was ever intended to be a salvage vessel.
Officers and men of British submarines take for granted that there are certain risks that must be taken. The public seems to think otherwise; but the British submarine service asks nothing but to be allowed to take such risk as efficiency may demand, and probably does not care for sympathizers. Rightly or wrongly, it holds that in the next naval war submarines will be the deciding factor, and wants to take its own risks and create its own efficiency against that day. This is, of course, a matter of opinion; but the field seems to be one that humanitarians had better leave alone.
Names for New Ships
Great dissatisfaction exists with the names chosen for the battleships of the 1911-12 program, which have lately been laid down. The only naval name is Benbow. Although it is not quite certain that he was really of particular lowly origin, Benbow is a lower deck favorite, supposed to represent the tarpaulin seamen, who entered the Lower Deck and fought their way up to Admiral “by merit." His actual history appears to have been that he joined the navy as a master's-mate in 1678, when he was twenty-five years old. He soon left the navy, however, for the merchant service, in which he distinguished himself as a captain. In 1689 he re-entered the navy as a lieutenant and was promoted captain a few months later. He was Master of the Fleet in the Battle of Beachy Head, and also in the Battle of Barfleur. In 1770 he was made Vice-Admiral, and in an action with the French in the West Indies was deserted by most of his captains. He was there mortally wounded. Some of his captains. were afterward executed for deserting him, but the real reason has never been solved.
A few hundred years later, a ship was named after Benbow; and, in 1885, a well-known old battleship of the "Admiral" class, which carried a couple of 110-ton guns, was named after him.
The other three battleships are to be named Marlborough, Iron Duke, and Delhi. These three names commemorate military men or military events, while the memory of a good many famous admirals is ignored. The previous Iron Duke was built in 1870, and almost her first performance at sea was to ram and sink her sister, the Vanguard. The others have less history still. "The Iron Duke" was the popular name for the Duke of Wellington a hundred years ago. One of the ships is being called Marlborough, as a compliment to Mr. Winston Churchill, the First Lord. Delhi has nothing to recommend it save a recent change in the capital of Indiacertainly not a naval matter.
The battle cruiser will be called Tiger. At one time the name "Unicorn" was projected for her, and the choice of that name would have been popular, as there have already been ten Unicorns in the Navy. Time was when all the battle cruisers were to have names beginning with "I" and the first four of them have. It was reported that the admiralty had selected Irreconcilable and Intractable for the cruisers later named Lion and Princess Royal; but about that time a farce named "H. M. S. Irresponsible" had a considerable vogue, and inspired wags to suggest so many absurd names that the "I" notion was abandoned. In America, where there is a recognised system of naming ships after States, the way in which the British public exites itself over ship names may not be understood. The original creator of the excitement was the British Navy League, which was at one time very keen on ensuring the preservation of historical names, which it held possessed "fighting value." The new destroyers will be called: Acasta, Achates, Ambuscade, Ardent, Christopher, Cockatrice, Contest, Fortune, Garland, Lynx, Midge, Owl, Hardy, Paragon, Porpoise, Shark, Sparrowhawk, Spitfire, Unity, and Victor. Of these, "Christopher" is an historical name. Fred T. Jane.
LETTER FROM PARIS
THE FRENCH NAVAL PROGRAMS
Much might be said in regard to our naval programs and their fluctuations. For years we built protected cruisers, and torpedo boats of small size, without any military value.
Between 1902 and 1906, building of battleships entirely stopped. Now, in the matter of naval construction, lost time can never be made up. In spite of an expenditure of 7,800,000,000 francs ($1,560,000,000) in thirty years, we occupy only the fourth rank among maritime nations, with Japan pressing hard in our rear, and all because the composition of the fleet depended not upon a determined program, but upon the whim and spirit of the moment. With the best of intentions, the Minister delayed or stopped altogether the building of one class of vessels in favor of another type. What would be thought of a War Minister who of his own authority would abolish an army corps, or would modify in a unit the proportion of its various arms, infantry, artillery, or cavalry? The army possesses guarantees that are lacking in the navy, but that the new naval program is bound to give.
Programs from 1900-1911
Let us examine the programs since 1900, not to go farther back. From that date, they were faithfully carried out. To be sure, they were not very complicated.
In 1901, there were laid on the stocks two Patries, of 14,865 tons displacement, and two armored cruisers of 12,550 tons (type of the Jules Ferry). In 1902, four Patries and two Jules Ferrys were begun. In 1903, one armored cruiser of 13,600 tons was laid down. In 1904, one armored cruiser of 14,000 tons. In 1905, another armored cruiser of 14,000 tons.
Thus, within five years, were begun the construction of 180,000 tons of large units, or a yearly average of 36,000 tons.
In 1906, six battleships of 18,500 tons were laid down; in all, 110,000 within a few months. In 1910 was begun the building of two battleships of 23,500 tons each. In 1911, two more batleships of the same displacement.
Thus, in six years (1906-1911), France placed on the stocks 210,000 tons, or a yearly average of 35,000 tons, with even less regularity than during the preceding period. This irregularity in the ordering of construction has two serious drawbacks: it imposes a heavy burden on shipyards and increases the net cost of the ships.
Now we come to the general program that has just been voted. There is a history to this program.
March 29, 1907, the Chamber adopted the following motion:
Convinced of the urgency of proceeding with a general reformation in the naval establishment, the Chamber invites the government to introduce without loss of time a bill for the reorganization of the navy.
It was intended to do away with the incoherency existing in naval construction, and to make a general and consistent effort to endow France with a homogeneous fleet.
The government drew up a bill embracing the whole. establishment,-the fleet and the recruiting of the men, two inseparable elements, the one giving to France the necessary ships, the other crews to man them.
The Minister presented the bill on two occasions; but the Chamber having other pressing matters on hand, failed to act on it. Finally, February 3, 1912, the Minister succeeded in having it included in the order of the day. This was the third appearance of the bill before the chamber. In the interval, however, it had undergone many changes:
(1) A provision was made that in case of the loss of a ship, its substitute should be laid down in the course of the following year, at the latest.
(2) The old program only contemplated its completion in 1922, but the present one shortens the date, making it December 31, 1919, or two years less for the completion of the whole.
On February 6, the Chamber took up the discussion, and on the 14th voted the programme by a vote of 452 against 73. Upon the whole, much less time was consumed than might have been expected.
In 1910, Admiral de Lapeyrère had the bill passed for the building of two Dreadnoughts of 23,500 tons each (Jean Bart and Courbet, laid down at Brest and Lorient, respectively). The following year, on the strength of the program, the minister had two more Dreadnoughts authorized (France and Paris).
All the orators in the Chamber insisted upon the inadequacy of the bill, which gave France only the smallest fleet desirable to enable her to maintain her supremacy in the Mediterranean, that is, free intercourse between the metropolis and African France.
This law, far from being set down as the maximum, was only meant as a firm basis upon which to build further, and it is not unlikely that the sacrifices asked for will be extended, so as to embrace the 45 battleships recommended by the Conseil Supérieur in 1909. The Minister reduced that ambitious program, in order to secure the passage of a bill more compatible with the state of our finances.
The fleet will include only 28 battleships, 10 scouts, 52 seagoing torpedo boats, and 94 submarines. The program provides also for the necessary vessels in distant colonies, for harbor boats, and for important improvements in the harbors, notably the creation of new basins and the completion of those under way.
The 28 battleships are to form four squadrons of six vessels each, with four reserve units. These four squadrons will contsitute two fleets: one fully manned, the other with somewhat reduced complements, but sufficient to provide for proper care, drill, and instruction, and at rapid transformation to a war footing. The ships are to retain at least three-fifths of the gunners and machinists and one-half of the personnel of the other special branches. Total expenditure 1,400,000,000, covering eight years, to be computed yearly from 1912 to 1919, so as to prevent any modification. These disbursements will be met by the ordinary budget.
The program provides for the automatic renewal of the fleet. This marks a notable improvement. The life of a vessel is limited. An old ship is only a sham, a blind; it is carried on the list, entails money in its upkeep, but is useless from a fighting point of view. Yet, up to the