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WASHINGTON, D. C., October 31, 1912. The SECRETARY OF WAR.
SIR: Under the provisions of the act approved February 24, 1891, the Board of Ordnance and Fortification has the honor to submit, for transmission to Congress, its twenty-second annual report, covering the fiscal year from July 1, 1911, to June 30, 1912.
No changes have occurred in the personnel of the Board since the last report, and the Board now consists of the following-named members: Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff, president; Brig. Gen. William Crozier, Chief of Ordnance; Brig. Gen. William H. Bixby, Chief of Engineers; Brig. Gen. E. M. Weaver, Chief of Coast Artillery; Col. Edwin St. J. Greble, General Staff; Capt. Stanley D. Embick, Coast Artillery Corps; and Hon. William Warner, civilian member, with Capt. Robert R. Ralston, Corps of Engineers, recorder.
The only special legislation affecting the Board is contained in the fortifications appropriations act approved
June 6, 1912, making appropriation for continuing the work of the Board, as follows:
To enable the board to make all needful and proper purchases, experiments, and tests to ascertain, with a view to their utilization by the Government, the most effective guns, small arms, cartridges, projectiles, 'fuses, explosives, torpedoes, armor plates, and other implements and engines of war, and to purchase or cause to be manufactured, under authority of the Secretary of War, such guns, carriages, armor plates, and other war material as may, in the judgment of the board, be necessary in the proper discharge of the duty devolved upon it by the act approved September twenty-second, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight; to pay the salary of the civilian member of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification provided by the act of February twenty-fourth, eighteen hundred and ninety-one, and for the necessary traveling expenses of said member when traveling on duty as contemplated in said act; for the payment of the necessary expenses of the board, including a per diem allowance to each officer detailed to serve thereon, when employed on duty away from his permanent station, of two dollars and fifty cents a day; and for the test of experimental guns, carriages, and other devices procured in accordance with the recommendation of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification, twenty-five thousand dollars, the expenditure of which shall be made by the several bureaus 61523° -12
liminary consideration, resulted in a still further reduction in the work of the board. The number of inventions received has been materially reduced by the signing of the armistice. Further, the need for investigation along certain lines has been much less. The board continued work on those inventions toward the development of which some action had been taken prior to the formation of the Inventions Section, with the purpose of completing its work on such proposals as rapidly as possible. The work of the board required the clerical assistance of but one individual, who was occupied with this work only a small portion of the time.
The work for which the board was originally created is now practically entirely performed by other agencies. Furthermore, there are now no longer any funds available for new work. In March, 1920, the Secretary of War decided to seek definite legislation abolishing the board, but was advised by the Chairman of the Committee on Revision of Laws, that the committee had definitely reached the conclusion that there was no law authorizing the board; also, that the committee would not refer to it in their bill containing all the general and permanent laws in force March 4, 1919. In view of the above, an order was published (Sec. II, G. O. No. 49, W. D., 1920) relieving all the members of the board from further duty thereon and making suitable disposition for the records, papers, and business of the board.
DETAILS OF OPERATIONS.
Centrifugal gun.-On December 7, 1917, an allotment of $15,000 was made to the National Research Council to be expended in the development and test of centrifugal machine guns for use on airplanes. Centrifugal machine guns appear to be particularly adapted to airplane use due to the very great rapidity of fire which they may attain. The National Research Council, with the cooperation of the Ordnance Department and other technical agents of the Government, developed a gun which is believed to be superior to the original model submitted for test. In June, 1919, all models and drawings in connection with this test were turned over to the Inventions Section, General Staff, for further development. On November 4, 1919, an additional $5,000 was allotted for this development, the work to be performed at the Bureau of Standards under the supervision of the Inventions Section. A complete power plant, set up on a mobile frame, consisting of a Ford motor, a complete motive plant, with accessories and attachments, together with a 77 to 1 gear ratio working model of a centrifugal gun, has been constructed and is held in the shop awaiting test on the centrifugal gun, which it is expected will be conducted in the near future.
Leon device for submarine mines.-On July 11, 1913, an allotment of $3,600 was made for the construction and test of submarine mines containing the Leon device for automatically controlling the depth of submergence. Tests, conducted at the torpedo depot at Fort Totten, for the purpose of perfecting the operation of the device have been made at points where the depth of water and speed of currents will serve to determine the value of the device under service conditions. Other tests were held with a view to determining the effect of the shock of explosion of adjacent mines, and these tests have resulted in considerable improvement in the design. Further experi
tions of the bore the erosion was less in the Brown gun and in other parts the advantage rested with the service design. In order to aid in settlement of disputed points, the Board on January 4, 1912, made a further allotment of $2,000 for continuing for 50 rounds test of the Brown system of banding projectiles, but using a new service rifle and duplicating all conditions of the prior trials in regard to powder charges, velocity, etc., so as to obtain an absolute comparison of the effect of using the Brown fiber band.
THE EMERY DISAPPEARING CARRIAGE.
There have been no developments, so far as the Board is informed, in connection with the Emery gun carriage, and the Board can only repeat what has been said heretofore in regard to the history of this carriage. All the work on the Emery design has been done under direct legislative enactment, and the only part to be taken by the Board in the matter is that when completed, if ever, the carriage is to be tested under its supervision.
The construction of an Emery 12-inch elevating carriage, as it was called, was authorized by special act of Congress appropriating $130,000 for the purpose in February, 1893, and a contract was entered into in March of that year with Mr. A. H. Emery, though the actual work of construction was not commenced until 1896, when, by act of June 6, an additional appropriation of $10,000 was made for a loading apparatus for the carriage, and the inventor was relieved of the obligation of giving bond for the return of any money paid him should the carriage not prove to be successful. By act of May 25, 1900, the sum of $20,000 was added to the contract price of the carriage, and by act of March 3, 1903, the further sum of $40,000 was appropriated to enable Mr. Emery“ to complete and erect the 12inch carriage.” The total amount appropriated for this carriage and appurtenances up to this time was therefore $220,000, of which $135,656.98 was paid Mr. Emery.
The fortification appropriations act of April 21, 1904, contained a provision authorizing the Secretary of War, in his discretion, to close the contract under which Mr. Emery was working and to make a new contract with him for either an 8 or 10-inch carriage, to be furnished in place of the 12-inch, together with its foundations, erection, and preliminary tests, ready for proof tests by the Board, and to pay for this new carriage the act authorized the expenditure of the $84,343.02 remaining from prior appropriations, payment to be made “in such sums and at such times” as the Secretary of War “shall, in his discretion, think best."
In accordance with the terms of the act referred to, all work on the 12-inch carriage was suspended, and on June 13, 1904, a contrac entered into by the Chief of Ordnance with Mr. Emery for one 10inch carriage of his design.
The sundry civil appropriation act of May 27, 1908, contained the following provision :
To enable A. H. Emery to complete the gun carriage he is making for the Government, the Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to increase the price of said contract to be paid to the said Emery for the said carriage by the sum of thirty thousand dollars, which sum is hereby appropriated, twenty thousand of which is to be paid to him on the approval of this act, five
thousand when he is ready to put in the foundation for this carriage, and the other five thousand when he is ready to erect the carriage for its preliminary test.
In the latter part of 1908 Mr. Emery constructed a railroad track connecting the site selected for his carriage at Fort Hancock with the Sandy Hook proving ground railroad. This track was used for the transportation of material for the construction of the concrete foundations for the carriage. Under the provisions of the act of May 27, 1908, Mr. Emery was paid $5,000 for the completion of this work, since which time no further deliveries have been made.
Of the $114,343.02 available for the execution of the present contract with Mr. Emery for his carriage, $100,811.51 has been paid him.
There may be added to the $114,000 mentioned above the sum of $135,656.98 paid under the first contract, which was canceled by congressional authority, so that the total amount authorized has been a quarter of a million dollars. · Of this sum there remains to paid Mr. Emery $13,531.51, or slightly more than 5 per cent of the total amount authorized.
In its last annual report the Board stated that 18 years had elapsed since the construction of a carriage of Mr. Emery's design was first authorized. Little can be added to this except to say that the second decade is drawing to a close since Mr. Emery first undertook the work of developing a suitable gun carriage. In this 20 years other designs have been developed, served their time in the coast defenses, and been superseded by more perfect appliances, while Mr. Emery's work is still uncompleted.
April 4, 1912, an allotment of $1,000 was made for the purchase of a Barr & Stroud field artillery range finder. This instrument is similar in principle to the fortress range finder manufactured by the same firm and now in use in our coast defenses. The allotment has not been expended, but an instrument has been furnished and is under test by the Field Artillery Board.
RANGE AND AZIMUTH TRANSMITTERS.
Barr & Stroud range and azimuth transmitter.-July 26, 1910, the Board made an allotment of $800 for the purchase and delivery at Fort Monroe of a range and azimuth transmitter designed by Barr & Stroud. As the result of exhaustive tests in competition with other instruments the device has been adopted for use in transmission of ranges and azimuths in mortar batteries and of ranges in gun batteries in all cases where mechanical transmission is impracticable.
Gray type-printing telegraph.—July 7, 1910, the Board made an allotment of $$727.50 for the purchase of a type-printing telegraph manufactured by the Gray National Telautograph Co., but as the result of tests it was finally recommended that the device be not adopted for service.
Portable searchlight for field artillery.-October 4, 1906, the Board made an allotment of $6,500 for the development of a portable search
type, and a selection from these several samples will be made shortly and 'molds made for making up models for actual firing test in a 3-inch field piece.
The annual report for 1919 showed a balance of $224,793.39 available on July 1, 1919. This included a sum of $593.39 appropriated under the act of August 18, 1890, which was available for purchases abroad only. The fortification act approved May 21, 1927, carried no appropriation for the Board. Section 5 of the fortification appropriation act approved March 3, 1919, provided that appropriations hitherto made in fortification appropriation acts shall not be available for obligation after June 30, 1920. Therefore there are no funds available for new work.
In compliance with the act of February 24, 1891, which requires “A detail statement of all contracts, allotments, and expenditures made by the board,” an appendix is submitted herewith giving a detailed statement of allotments and expenditures from July 1, 1$19, to June 30, 1920.
P. C. MARCH,
WILLIAM F. TOMPKINS,