Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

articles appearing in German publications. The "Grenzboten," a leading German review, in the current number makes a sharp attack on the Monroe Doctrine; and the "National Zeitung," in commenting on said article, urges the "Fatherland to examine closely whether things resting on such shallow legal and historical foundations as the Monroe Doctrine need be tolerated, or whether, at the bottom, they are not merely American arrogance, which require sharp and decisive opposition."

Moreover, to certain United States officials who have served their country in Germany, it is a well-known fact that the German Emperor has banteringly referred to our Monroe Doctrine as something that he would not allow to interfere with his plans when he should find it in his

way.

All this may not be proof in the strict legal sense of the word; but it seems more convincing than Mr. Hamilton's mere negation.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE GUN vs. ARMOR-PLATE

April 24, 1912.

To the Editor of THE NAVY:

I have carefully read the arguments of Lieutenants Long and Pryor in their criticism of my article which appears in the current number of THE NAVY. I am glad of their criticism because it will help along inquiry into this important matter, but, had you given me an opportunity to see their criticism before its publication, it might have enabled me to call attention to a few of the limitations of their criticism, and thereby have moderated the cocksureness of their pronouncements and moderated the tenor of your adverse editorial.

Furthermore, it would have been better, I think, to have allowed me the opportunity of making at least a brief reply to their criticism in the same number. I trust, however, you will publish this communication in the next issue of THE NAVY. If my conclusions are based on false premises and are therefore erroneous, it ought to be very easy to prove them erroneous, and Lieutenants Long and Pryor should have succeeded better in their efforts to prove me in the wrong.

If, however, my conclusions, in essential respects, are likely to be true, then the importance of the subject surely justifies a thorough discussion at this time.

The Dreadnought, being now the most potential arm of national defense, is, by consequence, the arm upon which we place the most reliance; and when we take into account the enormous expense of building and maintaining a fleet of Dreadnoughts in the van .of improvements and in the pink of condition and in sufficient numbers to safeguard our interests, it is evidently a measure of wisdom to give careful consideration to any question as to the possible passing of this type of fighting ship in the near future, in favor of some newer and more efficient type.

I am not sure that I am right in the thought that a very swift, unarmored or slightly armored cruiser, carrying very large guns, would be a more practical and potential fighting ship than the present Dreadnought. I am not sure that I am right in the

thought that with twenty-five per cent greater speed and with guns with twenty-five per cent greater range, such a cruiser could out-fight the heavily armored Dreadnought, and I have never at any time said that I felt cocksure of the superiority of such a fighting ship over the modern Dreadnought.

I have simply maintained that it is a question of such serious import as to warrant careful examination and discussion. Lieutenants Long and Pryor, in criticising my article, make the following statement:

The range of all guns depends on the initial velocity and the weight and form of the projectile. The velocity can be increased in two ways: (1) by increasing the powder charge, or (2) by reducing the weight of the projectile. It is assumed that Mr. Maxim prefers the former; for otherwise, the remarkable striking energy of the large caliber loses by comparison with that of the smaller.

I think that the gentlemen are wrong in their conclusions that the remarkable striking energy of the large caliber loses by comparison with that of the smaller. Other things being equal, the mass of the projectile increases as the cube of the caliber, while atmospheric resistance increases only as the square, and, by consequence, the atmospheric resistance in proportion to the mass is correspondingly less.

For example, a twelve-inch projectile has a cross-sectional area four times as great as that of a projectile of six-inch caliber, but the twelve-inch projectile weighs twice as much for its cross-sectional area as does the six-inch projectile. Actually, a six-inch projectile weighs about a hundred pounds, and a twelve-inch projectile a thousand pounds. The twelve-inch projectile has to punch a hole in the air four times as great as the six-inch projectile, but it weighs ten times as much and, by consequence, initial velocities being equal, the twelve-inch projectile will travel much farther than will the six-inch projectile.

Lieutenants Long and Pryor make the following statements:

Battle ranges depend upon two main factors: 1st, visibility, and 2nd, probability of hitting. The first depends directly upon atmospheric conditions; the number of perfectly clear days in a year-days when there is no haze or other atmospheric obstructions to vision at sea-are very few, and, in fact, it is very seldom that one can see beyond 15,000 yards.

Mr. Maxim's argument is fallacious, due to the simple fact that the 12-inch gun has a greater range than can be used practically, and the same would be true of a 16-inch gun.

Accordingly, then, we may assume that the entire field of vision from a fighting ship at sea is a roped arena with the skyline for the rope, and that all fighting must of necessity be done within this circumscribed enclosure.

Consequently, if the twelve-inch gun can now sweep this entire enclosure, having a range sufficient to reach any ship that comes within the scope of vision, future improvements in gunnery will not be to attain greater ranges, but to throw projectiles capable of striking with greater force and of working more destruction.

This means that the only thing left is to increase the size of our guns exactly as I have proposed, and as with projectiles thrown from larger guns, the atmospheric resistance would be less in proportion to the mass of the projectile, the trajectory would be flatter and the residual velocity greater, and accuracy also correspondingly greater.

Now, therefore, as no Dreadnought would be a within sight of the ships of an enemy without a1 range of the enemy's guns, it being necessar

arena circumscribed by the skyline, it is only necessary to make guns big enough in order to throw projectiles which will be able to netrate and smash their way to the vitals of any armorclad now in existence, or that can be built.

The bigger the armorclad that is built to oppose such gunfire, the larger the target it will make and the more it will cost, and the greater will be the loss resulting from its destruction.

Lieutenants Long and Pryor make the following statement:

With any given projectile, every increase in veolcity is accompanied by an increase in erosion and a consequent decrease in the life of the gun. A 16-inch gun, with twenty-five per cent greater range than the latest type of 12-inch gun would have, in all probability, not more than one-half the life of the latter. So the 16-inch gun, for all practical purposes, must necessarily be confined to velocities which will give no greater range than the 12-inch gun.

I think the gentlemen are in error in claiming that the life of a sixteen-inch gun would not be more than half of that of a twelve-inch gun, owing to the more rapid erosion in the larger gun; but, even if this be true, the doing away with the heavy armorplate would result in a saving of expense more than sufficient to balance the extra cost in guns, while the fighting ship, not having the burden of armorplate, could, for its size, carry twice the weight in guns.

But, if it be true that the twelve-inch gun can sweep the whole field of vision, the powder charge in the sixteen-inch guns could easily be reduced and the pressure brought down so that the life of the gun would be as great as that of the twelve-inch gun, and its range and accuracy maintained equal to that of the twelve-inch, while the striking and destructive energy of the projectile would be vastly greater than that of the twelveinch shell.

As I have said, it is only necessary to build guns big enough in order to render the heaviest armored Dreadnought as destructible as the light armored or unprotected cruiser that I have suggested.

A pugilist who meets another pugilist in a twenty-four foot ring must be able to withstand the blows of his antagonist while the fight lasts. He cannot get away, because his travel is circumscribed by the rope. He cannot get out of range, and if his antagonist can hit hard enough, he must inevitably succumb.

Similarly, as the battleship must fight within the arena roped in by the horizon, the same law governs their battling as governs a battle between two pugilists in a twenty-four foot ring, where it is only necessary to place a John L. Sullivan, in his prime, capable of striking a blow that would shame a mule, in order to make flesh and blood incapable of resisting the attack.

Armorplate cannot be carried thick enough to keep out projectiles that may be brought against it in the great horizon-roped arena of the sea.

With the increase in range and effectiveness of gunfire, we have seen fleets of fighting ships line up farther and farther apart, just the same as, to lessen the deadly effect of the quick firing gun, armies on land draw up their lines of battle farther and farther apart and spread themselves over wider and wider

area.

As pointed out in my article, any two Dreadnoughts, however heavily armorplated, would destroy each other with a few shots, fighting at close range. So it has been found necessary, by consequence, to reinforce armored protection by the protection of distance, until now, battleships bombard each other from skyline to skyline.

If, as Lieutenants Long and Pryor have said, ships cannot practically fight at distances greater than they now do, then the Dreadnought cannot retreat any farther from an antagonist to seek protection from its guns, so that it now remains necessary only to make guns big enough in order, metaphorically speaking, to bring the battleship close enough for its destruction, just as a big telescope brings the moon down where we can look at it. HUDSON MAXIM.

FULTON OR FITCH?

To the Editor of THE NAVY:

It is really rather difficult to take seriously the address by Judge John A. Stoughton, which appears in your Supplement for March. As a matter of fact, James Rumsey employed John Fitch, a watch-maker, to build working models for him. It is really incredible that a man of Judge Stoughton's prominence should make the statement that Rumsey did not produce a steamboat, but merely a craft worked by manual labor. Every history of the steamboat that I have ever read, shows photographs (or drawings) of Rumsey's models, and describes the principle of Rumsey's invention most minutely. It is a matter of history that Rumsey dropped dead of heart disease while explaining his invention to a committee of Parliament; and it is also a matter of history that Rumsey moved a boat by steam before John Fitch did, though Fitch followed a few months later. Of course, after Rumsey's death, Fitch had everything his own way; but he did not succeed. He never made any improvement on Rumsey's somewhat imperfect idea, for he was no inventor; merely a good mechanic. Fitch, for attempting to foist Rumsey's ideas upon the public as his own, deserved the failure he achieved.

As to Fulton, nobody claims that he invented the steamboat. He merely perfected it and made a commercial success of it. He is entitled to the same honor that Cyrus W. Field, for example, is entitled to: Field did not "invent" the Atlantic Cable, but he did make it practical success. And Thomas Jefferson did not "invent" the Declaration of Independence; he used the ideas and language of Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, and a dozen other similar documents, as everyone knows.

As a matter of fact, Fulton saw, in England, the Charlotte Dundas, a boat that was a perfect mechanical success but a commercial failure, and he built the Clermont on practically identical lines. So far as I have been able to discover, the Charlotte Dundas was to some extent inspired by Rumsey's work. James Rumsey, in writing home, at one time, mentioned "A young American named Robert Fulton, a student of engineering in England, who often visited me and manifested intelligent interest in my labors and projects."

It must be remembered, however, that Rumsey (and Fitch) used a series of paddles, worked exactly as the paddles of an Indian Canoe, whereas the Charlotte Dundas abandoned this impractical scheme and used the principle of the paddle wheel. It must also be remembered that neither Rumsey nor Fitch moved the first steamboat; other men had made more or less successful efforts in the same direction before their time; therefore this fulsome adulation of John Fitch is rather absurd. I do not hold any brief for Fulton; but it does seem odd that the man who actually designed and built the first steam warvessel of the United States should be held up to the covert scorn of the Navy League.

WILLIAM DRAPER BRINCKLE, Member Admiral du Pont Section of the Navy League.

LINE OFFICERS AND PAYMASTERS

To the Editor of the NAVY:

Referring to the editorial in the April number of THE NAVY, on the subject of the amalgamation of the pay corps with the Line, and without going fully into the subject, it may be considered pertinent for a member of the pay corps to express a few ideas and suggestions, showing the need of the proposed change and attempting to show how to effect it without risk to its success. In the first place, it should be remarked that the idea of an approximate amalgamation is an old one; for the writer can recall no less than three Paymasters-General who, in five of their annual reports, recommended that all appointees to the pay corps be drawn from among the graduates of the Naval Academy. In October, 1886, acting Paymaster-General Whitehouse wrote, in his report to Secretary Whitney, as follows:

The Bureau would suggest that doubtless there are many men now graduated annually in the Naval Academy in excess of the vacancies for them in other corps, who, having inclination and adaptability for accountant's work, should be well fitted for appointment in the pay corps.

On October 11, 1887, Paymaster-General Fulton recommended to Secretary Whitney that "All appointments to the pay corps be hereafter made from graduates of the Naval Academy;" and, on October 15, 1889, he again made the same recommendation in his report to Secretary Tracy. Almost the same words were used by Paymaster-General Stewart to Secretary Tracy a year later, and again, on October 1, 1893, he urged upon Secretary Herbert the change already four times recommended. Nothing was done in answer to these appeals, which may account for their cessation. Yet the writer can easily recall the interest in the matter taken by members of his corps, and the carefully-written scheme for effecting the exchange which an able paymaster was the author of in 1897.

But the plan recommended in those times was only half of the present plan, which discards the idea of a rigidly fixed pay corps separated from the main body of the navy and containing within itself its own grades and promotions. The new idea is to make the young naval graduates who take up the duties of a paymaster remain military men, with their pay-duties to be considered as a specialty in their careers. They are to go into the sphere of pay-duties, and perhaps out of it, just as they already take up, for an experimental period, the business of being an engineer, an electrician, a torpedo expert, an ordnance specialist. At present they choose one of these specialties and follow it a few years, or many years, according as they find themselves fitted for it. If unfitted for a certain specialty, they abandon it. A detail of such a character is not to rob them of their military status, and is to be in addition to it. Those of them who are to be detailed as paymasters are to remain fighting officers, for employment as combatants in the hour of battle. Nobody can find fault with such an aim, or consider it unreasonable, or out of accord with the chief uses of a navy. If amalgamation will achieve this, the question then resolves itself into a consideration of method as to how best to transfer the activities and personnel of the present corps to a larger and a different corps. In other words, how shall the whole body of work now performed by the pay corps of the navy (comprising money accounts, store accounts, storekeeping, com

missary and other duties) be as efficiently performed under a new system as it is at present?

If we look at the original material utilized in the formation of the present fixed pay corps, we find it to be of about the same character as that proposed for the changing corps of officers designed to supplant it-with one very important exception. Both have a good education, as demonstrated by their ability to pass certain stringent examinations, but the naval graduate has in addition the immense advantage of having had experience at sea. Even from the point of view of the present type of paymaster, this additional equipment of the sea-habit has a value which it is hard for a civilian appointee to acquire in the years subsequent to early youth.

This one advantage, however, is not sufficient to justify the assumption that a young line officer, being a sailor, must also be an efficient paymaster. Far from it. The naval graduate must have in addition to his sea-habit, a special talent and liking for the manifold duties of a pay-officer. A still further and more important requisite is that he must apply himself with continuity to his task, or the vast business of the money-spending, account-keeping, store-keeping, and feeding of our navy, with its subsidiary specialties, wil not be efficiently handled. Line officers who deny the difficulties and technicalities and the special work required of a paymaster, do not realize the actualities of the case. The present corps of paymasters has not arrived at its mastery of the great business of the naval establishment, without the value of experience, nor without much toil and many mistakes rectified, although it is composed of men who are devoted to paymaster's work only. Therefore, the success of the proposed change will depend largely on the method of carrying it out, or on the amount of specialization allowed. Too long an absence from experience with the technicalities and changes in laws relating to naval expenditures, as well as from the rulings of the Treasury, and from the regulations of the navy bearing upon pay duties, will tend to make an officer in charge of a pay-department dependent on others for his own efficiency. To have a body of commissioned officers relying upon others for their knowledge would be, of course, to rob the whole proposed change of its reason.

It is the writer's belief that frequency of detail, and an early detail, after graduation from the Naval Academy are necessary to make a good paymaster. If it be asked why, with so much specialization as is here suggested, any change from the present pay corps is necessary, the answer is simple, and it is this: The proposed plan supplies three important advantages now wanting to the pay corps,-namely, the sea-going education, the chance to test one's fitness for pay-duties, and last, but not least, the military quality. The present pay-masters are already in many instances employed as a part of the fighting force of a ship, but they are of necessity an untrained and unskilled part. Assuming that the change be made, and that the amalgamation be effected, it is easy to foretell that the navy will be a more efficient body than before, for it will be more homogeneous. The past has shown that the primary requisites of efficiency in the navy are sea-going for all, plus a military education and its accompanying rank, for all. With this unity of corps, there would also come a harmony in the appeal of the navy for legislation, and an absence of the friction that must inhere in any system of organization which includes parts that are not wholly in sympathy with each other.

LIVINGSTON HUNT, 'Pay Director, U.S.N.

NOTE AND COMMENT

THE following letter, from the New York Sun of May · 9; indicates that the system of providing and handling Safety life-boats and making them available for the use of passengers and crew in case of disaster has already reached in Japan a much higher state of development than is generally appreciated.

at

Sea

TO THE EDITOR OF THE SUN-Sir: Now that measures are proposed to make safety appliances more effective on the merchant marine I desire to call attention to the regulations of the Japanese passenger ships.

Each person who buys a passage on a Japanese liner gets, along with his ticket, a slip of paper which explains the signals and commands to be given by the captain in case of disaster, together with the number of the lifeboat to which the passenger is assigned and the number of the seat in that lifeboat which the passenger is to take when the order to man the lifeboats is given. The boats, more than sufficient to accommodate all the passengers and crew that the ship is capable of carrying, are numbered in regular order. The weather coverings and retaining tackle are ingenuously devised for quick detachment. The lowering apparatus, almost automatic, assures the boats being lowered away on an even keel and is strong enough to hold the weight of more than a full quota of persons in each boat, The passengers are warned to insist that the drainage holes are plugged before the boats are lowered.

In view of the fact that "mediæval" Japan was "opened" to civilization by Commodore Calbraith Perry, U.S.N., in 1853, it would seem that Great Britain and the United States may well "take notice" of certain details in the matter of civilized enlightenment which the Japanese have shown, more than once, to be their peculiar intellectual province.

[blocks in formation]

modern France is harassed to-day in Morocco. The final ending of such contests has nearly always been in the triumph of the hardier people over those of an enervated race.

If it were not for the enormous advantage of superior armament possessed by the British in their war with the Mahdi in the Sudan and by the French and Italians in the Barbary States, the story of the attempted conquest of the hardy tribes of Central and North Africa might have a different ending from that which at present appears probable. What the result will be when those peoples have been so far brought under the influence of their conquerers that they shall have learned the use and become possessed of modern arms and armament is problematic. A forecast of the final consequences may perhaps be made from the outcome of the RussoJapanese War.

Italian-
Turkish
War

AFTER the practical occupation of Tripoli and Cyrenaica by the Italians, the war appeared to have degenerated, in a great measure, into guerilla tactics. Both belligerents seemed to be trying to so irritate some of the other powers that those powers would exert sufficient pressure to bring about peace, rather than to have as their object the infliction of lasting material injury on each other's forces.

A number of incidents, while strictly within belligerent rights, have tended in various ways to try the patience. of the neutral powers,-such, for example, as the closing of the Dardanelles to neutral commerce (following the bombardment of the forts by the Italian fleet, on April 18), which was so strongly resented by the powers that Turkey has been obliged again to throw the straits open to commerce. The Italians disclaimed any intention of attacking or of forcing a landing; the object was said to be to bring out the Turkish naval force from its hiding place. The forts fired on the Italian vessels and the vessels bombarded the forts, though practically no damage was done to either side.

Recently, however, Italy appears to have decided upon a more vigorous campaign, in order to bring nearer home to Turkey a realizing sense of the war.

There seems, therefore, to be a disposition, if not an understanding among the powers that Italy is to be allowed a freer hand to pursue her hostile operations, and it is very possible that Turkey may soon come to realize that she has too long presumed upon the jealousies of the nations, rather than upon the potency of an adequate navy, to preserve the integrity of her dominions.

NOTWITHSTANDING the disinclination of Congress to pass legislation which will in any way give permanency or New Duty recognition by law to the Aids of the Secfor Secre- retary of the Navy as a body, these aids tary's Aids have now been entrusted with a new duty by the Secretary.

These four departmental aids-Personnel, Operations, Material, and Inspections-now meet daily in conference with the Secretary, to discuss with him various matters of departmental policy, much as the cabinet officers meet with the President. One of the principal duties devolving upon the Board of Aids, from this month on, will be to make recommendations for assignment to duty of captains and flag officers. These recommendations have heretofore been made by the Aid for Personnel and the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, with the assistance of the General Board.

During the past month, there has been a disposition in Congress to ascertain if it would not be possible to do away with the position of Aid for Personnel; but the Department has opposed this, on the ground that the office of the Aid for Personnel exercises, among other duties, a most important duty in mapping out for several years ahead plans for the assignment of admirals and captains.

THE General Board recommended that $1,000,000 be appropriated for the purpose of enlarging and establishing fuel plants, but, although Secretary Fuel Meyer reduced this estimate and asked for Depots only $500,000, there is no certainty that New Congress will appropriate even the latter sum. plants are needed at Hampton Roads and Corregidor, and the plants at Boston, Bradford, Puget Sound, Tiburon (Cal.), Guantanamo, and Pearl Harbor should be enlarged. There is a disposition, among members of the House Naval Committee, to believe that, because the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts has on hand an unexpended balance of $605,000 for such depots, further appropriations are not needed this year.

The facts are, as pointed out by Secretary Meyer in his hearings, that plans have already been made for a coal plant at Pearl Harbor, to cost $300,000; for an oil fuel plant at Pearl Harbor, to cost $45,500; for an oil fuel tank and pumps at Guantanamo, to cost $39,000; and for a gasoline tank at Boston, to cost $10,000. Of the $605,000, this would leave an unexpended balance of only $215,500. This balance of $215,000 Secretary Meyer proposes to utilize toward an enlargement of the plant at Bradford, the plans for which require $300,000.

The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts plans to enlarge

the Puget Sound plant to a maximum capacity of 200,000 tons; its capacity is now 74,000 tons. At the Tiburon, California, plant the maximum is but 20,000 tons, whereas this southern Pacific coast plant ought to be much larger. The Guantanamo plant is entirely too smallbut 15,000 tons. It is desired to enlarge the capacity of the Pearl Harbor plant to 100,000 tons of coal, as well as to add to it an oil fuel storage plant.

The present capacity in coal at Boston is 15,000 tons and at New York 9,000 tons. Plans were completed some time ago, by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, for new plants at these two points, each of which would cost $2,000,000. In view of the fact that larger plants will certainly be needed in the near future at these points, plans are now being prepared for new plants, to cost only $750,000 each.

Naval

ENGLAND'S announcement that her present naval standard is a sixty per cent superiority over the German Navy, does not appear to be, in reality, British any lowering of her two-power standard, alStandard though generally commented on as such. In 1915, England will have thirty-two capital ships, including the battle cruisers under construction by her colonies. At that date, Germany and the United States together will have but thirty-three. Although this is one more ship than Great Britain will have, yet in the thirty-three are included the U.S.S. South Carolina and Michigan, vessels admittedly inferior, not only to other Dreadnoughts, but to the battle cruisers of Germany and Great Britain.

In addition to her two-power navy, England has the advantage of having under construction in her shipyards a number of battleships for foreign nations, which ships could, in case of the appearance of a threatening war-cloud, be purchased by Great Britain and added to her navy before events had so far shaped themselves as to prevent such a purchase on the ground of the required neutrality of non-combatants.

Present indications point to the probability that by 1915 Great Britain, in considering a two-power naval standard, will have to count, not the battleships of Germany and the United States, but those of Germany and Japan. The latter country has now built and under construction nine battleships and battle cruisers, and shows no signs of economizing on her naval appropriations; whereas the United States has only twelve up-todate battleships built and under construction, and there seems doubt if any will be authorized by the present Congress.

« AnteriorContinuar »