Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

RUSSIAN ARMORED CRUISER VARIAG. Sunk, with companion cruiser K'orieta, in the harbor of Chemulpo, Korea, February 9, 1904, after running fight with superior Japanese force of five cruisers and torpedo-boats. The Variag was an American-built vessel of 8,500 tons' displacement, built at the yards of Wm. Cramp

& Sons, Philadelphia, Pa. On trial trip off Massachusetts coast in 1899, she developed a speed of 22 knots,

[blocks in formation]

T

THERE is a mysticism about the submarine ald be the deadliest enemy

submarine torpedo-boat that of these beautiful floating fortresses. appeals strongly to the popular That notion, if it proved correct, would

mind; and the notion of a her strip these officers of the dignified setting metically sealed craft running safely and to which they had aspired for years. certainly within the ocean's depths car They would never be expected to comries most of us back to Jules Verne's mand such tiny craft, and certainly fanciful story of “Twenty Thousand were not possible that naval progress had Leagues Under the Sea." While the gone so far astray! To this opposition best of modern submarines but modestly of the older men—whose counsels usuapproaches in accomplishment that ally prevail—were naturally added the Frenchman's imaginative creation, still, vigorous objections of all the great shipwithin the past few months, results have building and armor-manufacturing inbeen attained in the United States that terests of the country, to whom, especihave gone a long way toward scattering ally, a policy of that sort would mean the the last vestige of official scepticism in annual loss of many millions of dollars. the Navy.

To the youth of the navy, however, To the older men of the service, the the submarine made instant and lasting modern battleship has seemed the logical appeal. In such service there would be climax of naval architecture, and to touches of bravado and a dash of rocommand such craft has been the ambi mance, together with the possibility of tion of these men as they have slowly

great deeds.

To these embryo admirals climbed the ladder of rank. To them, the submarine seemed all that its most these wonderful fabrications, costing ardent advocate claimed. In a measure, millions, have seemed the only rational this unthinking enthusiasm has done guardians of our coasts and our sea much to hurt the cause of this particular borne interests, and, moreover, they have type of fighting craft. The true value deemed the battleship the only proper in of the submarine lies between the exstrument of control befitting their rank treme views heretofore commonly held and their years of zealous devotion. Nat by the older men and those that characurally these veterans in service scouted terize the younger men in the the idea that the small, modest-costing is its present position, while its full fu

navy. Such

ture worth, of course, is still a matter only she sank. The lesson was an obvious one. of speculation.

The value of the torpedo had heretofore It is common knowledge that no mod been underestimated. ern armored ship has yet been sunk in The mission of the submarine is to battle by gun-fire alone; and although attack the vulnerable sides of heavy fightthe gun, as a result of proving-ground ing ships lying below the armor-belt and tests, has been declared the master of below the water-line, and there, by the armor-plate when tried under conditions delivery of one stunning blow, to accom

[graphic]

THE “HOLLAND” BOAT MOCCASIN, AFTER A PRACTICE SPIN OFF NEWPORT, R. I.

peculiarly favoring the attack, a great plish more than the awful pounding chance remains that the palm of victory aboveboard of the heaviest of modern in battle will go to that ship—the vessels great guns. Such is the raison d'être oi being equal—which successfully lands a the submarine, and the protecting folds torpedo against her foe's thin sides below of the surrounding water mean for her the armor-belt. All readers of the tech that armor which otherwise she is denical press will recall the experimental nied. Exposed for even a few seconds attacks made against the old British ar to the gun-fire of a watchful foe, her demored ship Belleisle, and they will recall struction would be well-nigh certain. how repeated and deliberate exposure to Lieutenant John Halligan, Jr., U. S. the fire of modern high-explosive shells N., recently wrote: failed to sink the craft. It was only a

“The present state of development of the few weeks ago, however, that a torpedo, submarine with its automobile torpedo, is such at one discharge against a specially pre

that when the boat is submerged and within

torpedo range, it must be admitted that the pared defense, ruptured the side of the

disablement or destruction of the battleship is vessel so that it was only with difficulty probable—the degree of probability and the and by the exercise of the utmost dis

amount of damage depending principally on

the number of torpedoes that can be discharged patch that the ship was beached before

by the submarine, and on her facilities for

[graphic][merged small]

locating and estimating the range of the tar act as a submarine, all air vents are get.”

closed and the boat is put under elecFinally he says:

trical propulsion. The “submersible” "When the earnest call for the submarine

typifies the higher order of modern subcomes, the final measure of comparative worth of existing types will rest upon their ability

marines, for she is self-contained, her to attain a position of advantage against the gasoline or steam engines being used to enemy."

recharge her storage batteries. In the This position of advantage means get case of the true “submarine," on the ting within a torpedo range of something other hand, this must be done at a shore like four hundred yards.

station. The French, whose experience of mod

The two submarine torpedo-boat types ern submarine craft covers a longer now before United States naval officials period than that of any other nation, are the "Holland" and the “Lake," have classed their boats of this order named, respectively, after their inventors, into "submarines" and "submersibles." Mr. John P. Holland and Captain Simon The main distinction is one of endurance. Lake. The Holland type is the one now The "submarine” has a limited radius of exclusively represented in our navy, while action, and, at all times when operative, the Lake boat is the formidable competiis sealed ready for instant submergence. tor for recognition under the act passed The "submersible," on the other hand, at the last regular session of Congress, has a surface cruising endurance and providing half a million dollars for trial condition analogous to that of the ordi- by competition and for subsequent purnary torpedo-boat of moderate speed. In chase of the best submarine or sub-surthis state, she is run under steam or by face torpedo-boat in the American marmeans of gasoline engines, her hatches ket. To a certain extent, the result of are open, and she is generally navigated this contest for points means the death of from on deck. To prepare her for sub one enterprise and the advancement of mergence, it is necessary to reduce her the other. The new boat asks only a fair buoyancy by taking in a number of tons field and no favor—representing, as she of water, and, when the craft is ready to does already, private enterprise involving

« PreviousContinue »