Note for English language readers: This is the fourth part (and last part) of the transcription, from the Special Supplement of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, of an study of the strength of the U.S. Navy in 1898; the year of the war against Spain.
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El presente articulo es el cuarto y ultimo que completa la transcripción integra, excepto la portada, del Numero 1.165, Vol. XLV, del SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, fechado el 30 de abril de 1898, que es un Suplemento especial dedicado al estado de la U.S. Navy en aquel año en que se enfrentaría, y derrotaría, a la Armada española.
El citado suplemento tiene 40 páginas y unos ochenta documentos que han sido íntegramente transcritos en estos cuatro post.
Aunque es de dominio publico, debido a la fecha en que se publico, hemos solicitado el correspondiente permiso a la redacción de SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, y nos ha sido concedido.
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Aunque queda un poco fuera de nuestro marco de actuación, la composición de la flota que diezmo la Escuadra del Almirante Cervera es de indudable interés técnico e histórico y ayuda a comprender la debacle. Con lo cual fue también notable en nuestra Vida Marítima.
Algún lector ha enviado una interesante crítica sobre la redacción en ingles de este artículo. Noten los lectores que la traducción del original siempre implica la perdida de valor del documento, por perder la fidelidad exacta en la transcripción, por lo que en el futuro siempre trataremos de dar la copia en el idioma original, rogando de la amabilidad de los lectores el uso de los traductores disponibles en la red.

VOL. XLV. NUM. 1165.
April 30, 1998.
Munn & Co…. Editors and Propietors.
Published Weekly at 361 Broadway. New York.
Catalogue of valuable papers published in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT furnished free on request.

The keel of the «MIANTONOMOH» was laid by John Roach & Sons, at their works on the Delaware River, in 1874, and the hull was completed there in many respects she represents a reproduction of the old wooden monitor «MIANTONOMOH.» The present ship is built of iron, except as regards her armor plates, which are of steel. The general dimensions. as given in the official records of the navy, are as follows: Length, 259 ½ feet ; beam, 55 ½ feet; mean draught, 14 feet 6 inches ; displacement, 3,099 tons; indicated horse power, 1,426. The maximum depth is 17 feet 4 ½ inches, leaving about 3 feet of freeboard. The engines are of the inclined compound type, and actuate twin screws. The armor of the hull consists of a protective belt 6 feet deep. The deck, which is almost flat, and non-deflective, is composed of two superimposed plates of 7/8 -inch steel planked over with 4-inch pine.
The outer plating of the turrets is 11 ½ inches thick.
This is backed with 10 inches of wood, which is again backed with two steel plates, each ½ inch thick. The turrets are 24 feet in external diameter, rise a little over 6 feet above the deck, and are each surmounted by a conning tower a little less than 8 feet diameter at the base, and projecting 2 feet above the top of the main turrets. In action, when the turret is struck, rivet heads or splinters are liable to be detached and to fly off with considerable velocity. To protect the firing crew from injury, an inner shield lines the turret. This shield is spaced off 8 inches from the backing, and is composed itself of ¾ -inch steel plate. The deflective armor of the conning tower is 9 inches thick.
In each turret two 10-inch breech-loading rifles are mounted in parallel, and are manipulated by hydraulic gear. Each gun is held in place by hoops upon a saddle, which is free to slide back and forth upon the rails of the carriage. As shown in the cut, the carriage is pivoted to the turret at its front end, so as to be incapable of recoil. The recoil backward of the gun itself is checked by a hydraulic cylinder containing water, through which a piston is driven by the action of the gun on its recoil. A very limited waterway is provided for the escape of the water from behind the piston, so as to bring the gun to a stop without serious shock. With a full charge, the gun recoils about 40 inches.
Below the gun deck of the turret the space is utilized for the supply of ammunition. The shells and powder cartridges are brought in. and by means of a circular railroad are wheeled around the turret so as to come under the hatch, which, of course, shifts around as the turret turns. An elevator is provided for carrying them up to the gun deck, and there they are shipped on a carriage upon another transverse railroad, which brings them opposite the open breech of the piece.
For loading, the, breech is dropped, bringing the bore in line with an inclined hydraulic cylinder and rammer in its rear. An approximately vertical hydraulic cylinder and piston permit the breech to drop, or raise it, as desired. The shell is pushed home by a hydraulic rammer; next the powder is inserted, bag by bag, and pushed home by the same rammer. Brown perforated hexagonal prismatic powder (Dupont’s) is used. It is packed tightly in the cartridge bags, several of which are used for a charge. In the rear of each bag are nine hexagonal grains of priming powder to disseminate the ignition. The breech block, which is of the interrupted screw, type, with mushroom and gas check, is inserted and turned home, a copper priming needle is pushed through the axial vent of the breech block, so as to pick a hole in the rear powder cartridge: the primer, which may be frictional, detonating or electric, is put in place, and the gun is ready for firing. The direction of fire is fixed by rotating the turret. In the conning tower, the firing officer looks out of a little cross-shaped window, which in itself forms the rear sight; forward on the roof of the turret is the front sight. These two are arranged accurately parallel with the vertical planes passing through the axes of the guns. The elevation of the guns is determined by the hydraulic ram just mentioned, and actuated by a lever in the conning tower, and the firing officer has at his side a dial indicating the number of degrees of elevation given each piece.
Through the center of the turret a hollow spindle runs down to the bottom of the ship, through which communication is had from the conning tower to the different mechanisms required to be worked there from.
Without leaving his place, the firing officer can locate the turret to bring his sight to bear upon the object, can raise or depress either or both of the guns to get the range, and can fire them singly or simultaneously, if desired, by the electric primers, simply pressing a button to produce the ignition. Immediately after firing, the turret can be rotated so as to present its unperforated side to the enemy, while the guns are being loaded. Levers and valve handles are provided for all the manipulation, within easy reach in the conning tower.
By the speaking tubes and bell calls of the central spindle, the officers in the tower can communicate with all parts of the ship, including the other turret.
To prevent water from entering around the turret a diaphragm of leather is provided which encircles the base of the turret and is held down by segmental plates of metal and expansion turnbuckles against a wooden scupper groove. In action the turnbuckles are to be backed up a little to relieve the friction, so that the turret can be turned freely and without injury to the diaphragm.
A double line of teeth encircles the base of the turret, with which the turning engine engages. The turret is carried by 20 forged steel coned rollers, 14 inches diameter and 10 inches thick. Eight small horizontal rollers bear against the interior of the base, to prevent lateral displacement.
The vessel has a double bottom, a clear space of 28 inches existing between the two skins. She is lighted throughout by electricity.
Armored Ram «KATAHDIN.»
By far the most unique ship in our navy, and, indeed, the only craft of its kind in the world, is the armoured ram “KATAHDIN.” The ram as a weapon of naval warfare is one of the most ancient of which we have any recorded history. It was used with deadly effect in the naval fights of Greece and Rome, and in later times, as at Lissa and during our own civil war, it proved a terrible engine of destruction.
The value of the ram as attached to the huge and swiftly moving warships of modern navies has yet to be determined, and many authorities claim that the ship which uses the ram is liable to be only less badly strained and shaken up by the shock than her opponent.
The «KATAHDIN,» however, was designed for the express purpose of ramming, and her hull has been constructed with a view to her being able to withstand the terrible wrench which a ship that runs its nose at full speed into a moving vessel is certain to suffer. The dimensions of the vessel are as follows: Length over all, 351 feet; length on the normal water line, 250 feet 9 inches; extreme breadth, 43 feet 5 inches; breadth on water line, 41 feet 6 inches. The total depth from the base to the crown of deck amidships is 32 feet 10 inches and the normal draught of water is 15 feet, the corresponding displacement being 2,155 tons. The lower portion of the hull is dish shaped up to a sharp knuckle, which runs all around the vessel 6 inches below the normal water line, the angle of the knuckle amidship being about 90 degrees. Above this knuckle the shape of the hull is a circular are, with a radius amidship of 89 feet, rising from 6 inches below to 6 feet above the normal water line. This curved deck is armor-plated throughout, the thickness of the armor tapering from 6 inches at the knuckle to 2 inches at the crown of the deck. Above this deck is a conning tower, a smokepipe and ventilators and two light barbettes, within which the 6-pounder guns are mounted, and skid-beams for carrying the boats. Longitudinally from the point of the rain to the stern the lower portion of the hull is shaped in a fair curve, but the upper portion is straight from the head of the stem to within about 30 feet from the stern, from which point it rounds down to the knuckle. An armor belt, from 6 inches to 3 inches thick and 5 feet deep, extends below the knuckle.
The hull is framed by continuous longitudinal girders, both below and about the knuckle, which, gathering; together at the bow and stern, make a rigid structure. A continuous watertight inner bottom, 2 feet from the outer skin, is carried the whole length of the vessel and up to the armor shelf on each side. The double bottom is divided and subdivided by the longitudinal and transverse frames into 72 watertight compartments.
The inner hull is further subdivided by watertight bulkheads, both longitudinal and transverse.
The ramhead is of cast steel (see cut), extending back 11 feet in a vertical line, and is supported by the longitudinal braces in such a way that the force of the blow delivered by it is designed to be distributed through the vessel. The maximum speed, at full power, is 16,1 knots, and the impact of the ram is equivalent to the blow of a hammer weighing over 2,000 tons moving at this rate of speed—a blow which, if fairly delivered, would crash through the sides of any vessel afloat.
The motive power consists of two sets of vertical triple-expansion engines, and there are two double-ended and one single-ended cylindrical horizontal five-tube boilers placed in watertight compartments. The maximum horse power on trial was 5,068, There is a complete installation of electric lights, sufficient for lighting all parts of the vessel. It is arranged that the vessel may be submerged to her fighting trim by means of fourteen 8-inch Kingston outboard valves, one in each transverse watertight compartment of the double bottom. When not submerged the vessel is designed to have sufficient freeboard for coasting service.
The accommodations for both officers and men are roomy and as comfortable as can be made on a vessel of her peculiar build. The quarters for the officers are on the after berth-deck, just abaft the engine room bulkhead, and the wardroom has seven staterooms and a pantry. The forward berth-deck is designed entirely for the crew, but there is an apartment abaft the officer’s quarters which may be used as additional berthing space. The vessel was built at the Bath Iron Works, Maine, and she takes her name from Mount Katahdin, the loftiest point in that State.
Dynamite Gunboat “VESUVIUS.”
The “VESUVIUS,” like the » KATAHDIN,» is a type of vessel that is only to be found in the United States navy. She was designer for carrying dynamite guns of considerable range and enormous power, and it is upon these that she depends for her offensive power.
She was authorized in 1886 and built by the Cramps, of Philadelphia, the date of her first commission being June 7, 1890. The general details, of her interior arrangements, disposition of boilers, engines, armament, etc., are shown in the accompanying illustrations.
The illustration, Fig. 6, shows the «VESUVIUS» as she appeared on her trial trip. Minor changes have since been made, such as the additions of a flying bridge and several ventilators and boats, which do not materially alter her appearance.
In the forward part of the ship are placed the three pneumatic guns that form her armament,. These are built into the ship. Their muzzles are carried forward and project above the deck near the bow at an elevation of 18 degrees. They are 15 inches in diameter, 54 feet long, and are made of thin cast iron. They are not rifled; the vanes upon the projectile being relied on to give any desired axial rotation.
The full-sized shell for this gun is 14 ¾ inches in diameter, and its body is about 7 feet long. Back of the body is a tail fitted with spiral vanes, which secures its alignment and rotation. This is the largest shell the gun can fire, and the effects of its heavy charge of explosive can only be surmised.
In trials by the government of the dynamite gun an old government coast-survey schooner was completely wrecked at a one mile range by 50-pound charges fired from an 8-inch gun. According to the opinion of students of torpedo practice, the submarine explosion of a shell from the «VESUVIUS» would destroy a ship 20 or more feet distant.
The air for discharging the projectiles is compressed by two Norwalk compressors into reservoirs consisting of a number of tubes. These are made of wrought iron, 16 inches in diameter and thirteen-sixteenths inch thick. The firing reservoirs contain 310 cubic feet of compressed air, the storage reservoirs contain 420. The air is stored at 2,000 pounds pressure per square inch, and the firing reservoir is maintained at a pressure of 1,000 pounds. Each shot at one mile range reduces its pressure 150 pounds. This deficit is immediately supplied from the storage reservoir.
Under the rear of each gun are placed two «revolvers» inline with each other. Each contains five chambers, for holding as many torpedoes. To load a gun, its breech is dropped, swinging downward on a pivot at its extreme rearward end. The opening points forward and comes directly opposite and in line with the lowest chamber of the after revolver. By a hydraulic ram the shell is pushed into the breech, which is at once swung upward, again completing the continuity of the barrel. The revolver is then turned one division, so as to be ready for supplying a second shell. When the after revolver is empty, it is filled from the forward one in the same way. All these manoeuvres are executed by hydraulic power. Ten projectiles are provided for each gun giving a total of thirty. This is the full armament of the ship as far as torpedoes are concerned.
The ship is steered by steam. All of her operations will be directed or executed from a conning tower placed on her deck. In firing, the guns have a fixed elevation. Their range is varied by admitting more or less air. This is effected by the firing valve, which is constructed so that any desired amount may be used with certainty. The pointing of the guns is executed by tile movements of the vessel. The officer in the conning tower has under his control the ship with her guns, and he trains her upon the enemy, in the same sense that an artillery officer moves his gun carriage, so as to point in the desired direction the piece it carries. The hull of the »VESUVIUS» is actually a floating gun-carriage carrying three pneumatic guns.
Gunboats. Gunboat «HELENA.»
The «HELENA» is one of three light-draught gunboats authorized in 1893, and constructed by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. Two of these, the «HELENA» and the «WILMINGTON,» are sister ships. Their dimensions are: Length, 250 feet 9 inches; beam, 40 feet , draught. 9 feet; and displacement 1,892 tons.
The «HELENA» has a trial speed of 15 ½ knots and her complement is 175 all told.
The ship was specially designed for service on the rivers of China, and was originally intended for the Asiatic station, where she was proceeding by the Mediterranean route when she was directed to remain at Lisbon until further orders. There were at that port also the «SAN FRANCISCO» and the «BANCROFT,” the three vessels composing our European squadron, when, on March 12, the Secretary of the Navy ordered the «HELENA» and the cruiser «BANCROFT» to Key West.
As we have said, this little vessel was designed for service on the Chinese rivers, and this accounts for her abnormal dimensions; for it will be seen that with a beam of 40 feet she draws only 9 feet of water. She is driven by twin-screw engines of 1,988 indicated horse power, and her twin screws, coupled with her large rudder area, give her excellent turning power—a valuable feature in river work. While the boat was being planned a Japanese officer happened to see the designs, and he suggested the utility of a conning tower of sufficient elevation to overlook the banks of the Yellow River of China, the Yang-tse-Kiang. These banks are so high that they exclude the view of the country from those on an ordinary ship’s deck. The Navy Department acted on the hint, and the result was the curious combined conning tower and fighting mast shown in our cut. The fighting mast is composed of an outer and inner tube. The outer tube is 6 feet, the inner tube is 2 feet in diameter. A spiral staircase winds around the inner tube and gives access to the conning tower, which is carried immediately below the lower top and partly supports it.
The conning tower itself is carried on a sort of sponson on the mast. It contains a steering wheel and all appliances for communication with the different parts of the ship. The windows have hinged shutters with small openings. In it, from a height of nearly 50 feet, the commanding officer can overlook the obstacle presented by the high banks of the river, and can observe the enemy’s actions to great advantage, should an inclination be shown to attack the ship.
Immediately above the conning tower is the lower fighting top, in plan a circle of 14 feet diameter.
Access to this top is had by foot rounds attached to the outside of the 2-foot mast tube. The spiral stairs stop when they reach the floor of the conning tower. The 2-foot tube, still rising, carries the electric light top, and above this a fighting top, a 6-foot circle, with a 10-foot ring bracketed above the top and concentric with it.
From the center of the upper top the signal pole rises nearly 28 feet further.
The «HELENA» carries an armament of eight 4-inch rapid-fire guns as her main battery and in the secondary battery are four 6-pounders, four 1-pounders, two Colts and one field gun. The new navy contains ten unarmored gunboats of the general type of the «HELENA,» whose displacement varies from 892 to 1,777 tons.
Light Draught Composite Gunboats «ANNAPOLIS» and «MARIETTA.»
The rapid accumulation of barnacles and marine vegetation on the bottoms of steel-plated warships; the incidental reduction of speed, with an accompanying increased consumption of coal; and, finally, the semi-annual docking necessitated, with its consequent expense, have troubled the navy department ever since the first ships of the new navy were launched. The composite system of construction was introduced to avoid these evils. The composite vessel is built with steel frames and is plated with steel above and with planking below the water line, the planking being coppered as in the wooden sailing ship. Where greater strength is required it is built with a complete steel shell, and the under-water plating is wood-sheathed and coppered, the sheathing being fastened to the steel frames by composition bolts.
Six vessels of this class have been built, one type having full sail power and propelled, when steaming, by a single screw worked by a triple expansion engine, the ships of the other type carrying merely sail enough to steady them in a seaway, and driven by twin screws actuated each by its own engine of the triple expansion type.
Their principal dimensions and general features are given beneath the accompanying cam of the “ANNAPOLIS” and the “MARIETTA.»
The armament, consisting entirely of rapid-fire guns, is composed of six 4-inch rapid-fire guns, with 900 rounds of ammunition; four 6-pounders, with 2,003 rounds of ammunition; two 1-pounders, with 1,003 rounds of ammunition ; one Colt and one field gun.
Two of the 4-inch rifles, one at the bow and one at the stern, are carried on the main deck, the other guns, excepting the 1-pounders on the hammock berthing, are placed to good advantage on the gun deck and well protected from musketry fire, to which the river and shallow water service may expose them.
When a sheathed and coppered vessel is in motion the weight of any marine growth, assisted by the characteristic exfoliation of the copper plating, would cause its release, and in this very simple natural evolution we have a means of making these vessels more extensively independent of coaling stations and docking facilities than the ordinary steel plated ships, while assuring them a much more extended radius of action.
Torpedo Boats.
One of the earliest successful attempts to make use of the torpedo boat in naval warfare occurred in the Civil War, when the “HOUSATONIC” was sunk by a rebel craft, which paid for its daring with its own destruction, being sucked into the ghastly hole which it had torn in the man-of-war. This was one of the lessons of the Civil War which was laid to heart by the European nations, and out of this and later successful tests of the torpedo has sprung that vast fleet of miniature craft which forms such a formidable feature of the equipment of the navies of the world. The earlier boats were what is known as spar torpedo boats, from the tact that the torpedo was carried at the end of a lung spar which projected forward from the bow of the boat, the torpedo exploding by contact.
Then came the automobile Whitehead torpedo, with its ability when once discharged to run from 600 to 800 yards of its own accord. The size and speed of the torpedo boat were rapidly increased, especially the latter, and the importance of this method of attack was increasingly recognized. The torpedo boat of twenty-five years ago, with its spar torpedo, was a diminutive affair, having a speed of only 12 or 13 knots. In 1877, however, it had grown to have a length of from 85 to 100 feet and a speed of from 18 to 21 knots. As the demand increased, the builders paid particular attention to reduction of weight and increase of boiler and engine efficiency, and in 1887 the «ARIETE,» built by Thornycroft for the Spanish government astonished the world by running a mile at the speed of 26 knots an hour. Five years later the «DARING,» a 220-ton boat built by Thornycroft for the British navy, made 28,65 knots an hour, and in 1895 the “SOKOL,» built by Yarrow for the Russian government, passed the 30-knot limit.
The later torpedo boats are known as destroyers. They are large vessels of 300 to 400 tons displacement and powerful enough to maintain their speed in rough weather, which the torpedo boat cannot do.
They have a speed from 30 to 33 knots and carry a powerful armament of rapid-fire guns, the object being to enable them to chase and sink a fleet of torpedo boats and prevent them from attacking larger ships. At the same time the destroyer carries a full complement of torpedoes and would be capable of sinking battleships and cruisers if she could get within torpedo range.
It is greatly to be regretted that in the earlier years of our naval construction we omitted to provide the navy with an adequate torpedo fleet, as we are likely to suffer somewhat from the lack of them in the event of hostilities. The defect is being remedied, however, as fast as the boats can be turned out, and the present Congress has recommended the construction of thirty craft of the kind in addition to those already on the stocks.
We have chosen three boats for illustration, the ship’s torpedo boat of the kind carried by the ill-fated «MAINE,» the first-class torpedo boat «PORTER” and the destroyer «BAILEY.»
Portable Torpedo Boat Carried by the «MAINE.»
This little craft, which was wrecked at the time of the “MAINE» disaster, was 61 feet 8 inches long. 9 feet 1 ½ inches in beam, the extreme draught was 3 feet 4 inches, and displacement 12,45 tons. With coal and stores aboard she weighed about 15 tons, and she was provided with four heavy eyes by which she could be hoisted from the water to her cradle above the «MAINE’s» superstructure deck by a derrick and steam winch. The hull was built of extremely thin plating, her sides in places being only 3/32 of an inch thick. Six bulkheads divided the interior into seven watertight compartments. The general arrangement of the boat was as follows: There was an open cockpit aft, into which the rudder head entered, so that the boat could be steered from this cockpit if the conning tower had to be deserted. Forward of the cockpit, was the engine room, with a quadruple-expansion engine. Forward of the engine was the boiler room arranged for forced draught by the closed fire room system. The boilers were of the Mosher tubulous type. Next to the boiler room was another open cockpit, forward of which was the conning tower, which contained a steering wheel.
In the bows was built the torpedo tube for discharging a Whitehead torpedo. In the extreme bow and also under the stern cockpit were trimming tanks. On deck aft was mounted a 1-pounder rapid-firing gun, whose ammunition was carried in a magazine just aft of the engine room.
Along each side of the boat were the coal bunkers, which, as far as their diminutive size permitted, might be considered protective. Small torpedo boats of this class are very serviceable for carrying dispatches and performing many of the duties which fall to the lot of a steam launch.
First-Class Torpedo Boat «PORTER.»
The “PORTER» is one of three first-class torpedo boats authorized in 1895, and she was the first torpedo boat of this class commissioned in the United States navy.
Her high speed and rapid-fire guns make her serviceable as a torpedo boat destroyer. Her principal dimensions are: Length, 175 fact; beam, 17 feet; draught, 5 feet 6 inches; and displacement, 190 tons. She is driven by twin-screw, quadruple-expansion engines of 4,000 horse power. She is of extremely light construction, None of her plates being over one-fourth of an inch in thickness and her framing being: light in proportion. We present two excellent illustrations of this vessel, one taken when she was running at a speed of 28,63 knots or 33 miles an hour, and the other showing her in dry dock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. On the trial trip the pressure at the engines was 330 pounds and they ran at 405 revolutions per minute. There were two excellent features that made themselves apparent to those on board, the first being the absence of any banking up of a bow wave (the commotion which our readers will notice in the cut being merely the surface foam), and the second good feature was the absence of extreme vibration. The “PORTER» and a sister boat were built by the Herreshoffs, of Bristol, R. I. Referring to the larger cut, it will be noticed that the water line shows a draught of about 4 feet at the bow, but when the boat is being driven at its full speed of nearly 29 knots an hour, it settles at the stern and lifts its forefoot clear of the water to such an extent that 5 or 6 feet of the keel is visible. This is a common occurrence when light-draught torpedo boat destroyers and pleasure yachts are driven at speeds in the neighbourhood of 30 knots an hour.
Owing the altitude from which the photograph showing the «PORTER» in dry dock was taken, we get an excellent idea of the arrangement of the deck. It will be noticed that a turtleback deck extends from the bow aft as far as the rear of the forward conning tower. This is intended to give the boat increased buoyancy when she is running against a head sea. Just forward of the conning tower is a 1-pounder rapid-fire gun on a tripod mount. Two other 1-pounder guns on similar mounts are located on either beam and another toward the stern. The long cylindrical object seen on the port side of the boat in front of the forward funnel is a torpedo launching-tube. There is another one amidships on the starboard side, and a third tube is located at the stern on the center line. The launching-tube is nothing more nor less than a gun, of which the torpedo is the projectile. The latter, loaded with its charge of explosive, and with its air reservoir charged with compressed air, is thrust into the gun, or tube, at the breech; the breech block is then closed and the torpedo is ejected by firing a small charge of powder or releasing a charge of compressed air. The launching-tube is carried upon a central pivot mount, and may be trained on the mark in the same way as an ordinary gun. In making an attack, the torpedo boat would charge upon the ship at full speed, and when she was within torpedo range she would swing round to port or starboard so as to bring her launching-tubes to bear.
If the torpedoes fired from amidships failed to reach the mark, she would have another chance with the tube that is located at her stern. As the «PORTER» is built of the very thinnest kind of plating, she would be penetrable by the smallest rapid-fire guns of the enemy, and the mad charge through the hail of bullets and shells that would be rained upon her would evidently be somewhat of the nature of a forlorn hope. However, it is not likely that torpedo boat attack will often be carried out in broad daylight.
The best work of these little boats will be done on dark nights and in foggy weather; and even if they never strike a blow, the moral effect which they will exercise will be well worth the cost of their construction and, maintenance.
Torpedo Boat Destroyer «BAILEY.»
The accompanying engravings represent the new torpedo boat destroyer «BAILEY, so named by order of the navy department after the distinguished naval officer Theodorus Bailey, who was second in command to Farragut in the action of passing Forts Philip and Jackson, on the Mississippi. The «BAILEY» is one of three torpedo boat catchers for which provision was made at the last session of Congress. The sum appropriated for each boat was $250,000. In advertising for bids the navy department stipulated that a speed of 30 knots per hour would be exacted on the official course.
The details of the design were left to the discretion of the builders. The contract for the «BAILEY» was awarded to Charles L. Seabury & Company and the Gas Engine and Power Company, of Morris Heights, New York, and she is now nearing completion at their yards on the Harlem River.
If we except the “PORTER,» which is, strictly speaking, a first-class torpedo boat, the «BAILEY» and her mates are the first destroyers to be built for our navy; and if the expectations of her builders are fulfilled, she will be capable of a speed of 33 knots an hour. The principal features of the designs are: Length, 205 feet; beam, 19 feet; depth of hold, 13 feet 5 inches; displacement on trial, 235 tons; and displacement when in commission, 265 tons.
The armament will be a powerful one for a boat of this size. It will embrace four 6-pounder rapid-fire guns and two 18-inch torpedo discharge tubes. The latter are for Whitehead torpedoes.
The 6-pounder guns will be mounted two on the main deck, one on each side amidships, and two or platforms supported by the conning towers. The deck guns will have an arc of fire from sharp on the bow to right astern. The guns on top of the conning tower; will have an almost all-around fire.
As in the case of all high speed vessels, there is no feature more interesting than the motive power. The «BAILEY» will be supplied with engines capable of developing 5,600 horse power. This power is more than one-half the power employed on the Cunard steamer “UMBRIA.” The latter is a vessel of some 8,000 tons displacement, while the «BAILEY» on trial will displace but 235 tons. The «BAILEY’s » engines are of the four-cylinder triple-expansion type. The diameters in inches for the high, intermediate and low pressure cylinders respectively are 20, 30 ½ and 82. The common stroke is 18 inches. The development of 5.600 horse power is expected when the engines are making about 400 revolutions per minute.
Steam will be furnished by four Seabury water tube boilers. Each boiler will be equipped with two furnaces. The working pressure will be 350 pounds to the square inch. As arranged, there will be two fire rooms. Each boiler will have its own funnel, making four in all.
In the crew space forward there will be folding berths for thirty-three men. Of this number, eight will be for the machinists. The officer’s bunks will be Pullman car berths, fitted into the sides of the boat, aft in the wardroom. The «BAILEY,» like the «DUPONT» and «PPRTER,» will be able to do battle with battleships after the fashion of torpedo boats. When thus engaged she will have recourse to her torpedo tubes. But we have shown the principal duty of the new craft will be to drive off and annihilate with gun fire the torpedo boat torments of the battleships and cruisers.
Speed alone will enable the «BAILEY» to do this, and tins speed the catcher is expected, by reason of her size, to maintain in a high sea.
The «BAILEY»is essentially a seagoing vessel. Her bunker capacity is deemed sufficient to enable her to steam three thousand knots at economical speed. In time of war she may be expected to accompany the battleship fleet, and to serve both as a scout and defense for the heavier vessels.
Submarine Torpedo Boat «HOLLAND.»
It is probable that the introduction of a successful submarine torpedo boat will mark one of the greatest revolutions that ever occurred in naval warfare, for there Is a general belief that a thoroughly efficient under-water warship would have the above-water ship at its mercy. We think this belief is well founded. A submarine torpedo boat, because of its invisibility, is deadly by day and in the open—it will be doubly so by night. No searchlight would be powerful enough to detect the insignificant conning tower of an approaching submarine boat before it was well within striking range. No roadstead would be secure from its attack, and no fleet would dare to enter a harbor defended by these invisible, swiftly moving and destructive little craft ; indeed, it is difficult to imagine just what would happen if a. noticed of such boats were dispatched against a fleet of the enemy’s ships.
In 1895 Congress authorized the construction of a vessel of this type, the “PLUNGER,» which is now being built from designs by her inventor, Mr. John P. Holland, at Baltimore, and will soon be completed. The “PLUNGER» is 85 feet long, 11 ½ feet diameter, and will steam at 16 knots speed on the surface and 10 knots when submerged. Her displacement will be 168 tons.
Subsequent to the letting of the contract for the “PLUNGER» Mr. Holland constructed a smaller boat of the same type, which has just undergone a series of official tests in New York Bay and has given good satisfaction. The «HOLLAND» (as she is called) is a smaller boat, being 55 feet long, 10 ¼ feet in diameter and of 75 tons displacement. The steel hull is of a blunt cigar shape. Two sources of motive power are furnished, a gas engine being used at the surface and a motor run by storage batteries when the boat is submerged. The storage batteries, which are of great weight, are located amidships. Above the storage batteries on each side of the ship are located the compressed air tanks, from which fresh air is supplied to the crew when the boat is submerged. The gas engine and electric motor operate a common shaft, the gas engine being located just ahead of the motor. This arrangement, it will be seen, enables the motor to be utilized as a generator for charging the batteries.
The cellular bottom of the little vessel is utilized for the storage of the liquid fuel, and here are located the water-ballast tanks, which assist in trimming and in the operations of diving or rising to the surface. With the tanks filled and all the crew aboard there is a reserve buoyancy of 250 pounds, and the boat is caused to sink by altering the pitch of the horizontal diving rudders, the forward motion of the vessel, combined with the downward pitch of the rudders, combining to force her below the surface. She is maintained at the required depth by means of delicate automatic mechanism, similar to that used in the automobile torpedo.
The offensive powers of the «HOLLAND» are very formidable. In the first place, she carries in her bow or nose an under-water discharge tube for launching the deadly Whitehead torpedo. She also carries two other discharge tubes for firing guncotton projectiles. Unlike the one just described, which lies in the longitudinal axis of the boat, these are upwardly inclined, one pointing forward and the other aft. The forward tube is called an aerial torpedo gun, It is capable of throwing a 100-pound guncotton shell a distance of three-quarters of a mile. The other tube, astern, is called, an under-water torpedo gun, and it is capable of driving its shell with accuracy for a distance of 200 yards under water.
When the boat is at the surface of the water she can be steered by observation through the portholes of the conning tower. When she sinks below the surface a small tube, carrying at its top an inclined mirror or prism, in the manner of the camera lucida, will throw a picture of the surrounding waters upon a board in the conning tower. The vessel also carries a compass and an automatic gage showing the depth below the surface.
Second-Class Battleship «MAINE.»
We feel that any description of the United States navy which failed to make mention of the ill-fated «MAINE» would be guilty of an omission which the fact that this good ship is no longer in existence would scarcely excuse. Our reader will look for a cut of the unhappy vessel, whose appearance was as handsome as it is now familiar to the nation that mourns its loss. The lack of space prevents us from giving in this number such a full description of the «MAINE» and the circumstances attending its destruction as we could wish, and, foreseeing this, we have published a special «MAINE» Supplement, in which the history of the vessel, from the laying of her keel-plates to the disaster in Havana Harbor, is given at full length.
The «MAINE» was authorized in 1886, at the same time as the «TEXAS,» which now forms part of the Flying Squadron at Hampton Roads. In the earlier days of her construction she was known as Armored Cruiser No. 1; but latterly she has appeared on the official register as a second-class battleship. Her hull was designed and built by the government, her keel being laid at the Brooklyn Navy Yard October 17, 1888. The engines were of government design, and were built by the N. F. Palmer, Jr., Company, of New York. They were of the vertical triple-expansion type, and they were the first of this type used in the new navy, the earlier ships having horizontal engines, lying well below the water line.
The «MAINE» was an excellent representative of a type which was popular at the time she was designed. Her main battery of four 10-inch guns was carried in two turrets, one forward on the starboard beam, the other aft on the port beam. The superstructure deck was cat away athwartship and fore and aft to allow the four guns to be concentrated ahead, astern or on either beam—an arrangement similar to that on the Brazilian ship «RIACHUELO,» to which she bore resemblance. She also carried guns, four on the main deck, fore and aft, and two on the superstructure deck, besides a numerous battery. She had a speed of 17,45 knots, and altogether she was an efficient ship that could ill be spared from our navy. The «MAINE” was sent to Havana Harbor in consequence of certain riots which imperiled the safety of American residents on January 25, 1898, and was assigned to an anchorage at a particular buoy, where three weeks later, on the night of February 15, she was blown up and completely destroyed, and the lives of 266 of her crew were lost.
A Court of Inquiry of the United States navy, after an exhaustive investigation, found that, «in the opinion of the court, the «MAINE” was destroyed by a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her magazines”.
It will be noticed that the tables include the three battleships of 12.000 tons and the twelve torpedo boats and eighteen destroyers recommended by Congress this year, giving a complete statement of the strength of our modern navy. As we have shown elsewhere, the completion of the present programme of construction will strengthen it where it has hitherto been somewhat weak, namely, in battleships and torpedo boats.
It is an excellent fleet, and the worst criticism that can be made upon it is that it is altogether inadequate in numbers to properly represent one of the most powerful nation on earth. Powerful as are our battleships, swift as are our cruisers, they do not in the aggregate, compared with the other navies of the world, give an adequate representation of the wealth and power of the nation whose flag they carry.
We trust, however, that recent events have brought home to Congress the imperative necessity for large and systematic additions to this right arm of a nation’s defense. We venture to say—and we take the splendid performance of the various ships as shown in the pages of this issue as our witness—that there are no appropriations of the public money that are- granted to better purpose than those for the upbuilding of our new navy. Not merely have we created an entirely new and efficient fleet, but in the very act of construction we have opened and established new and profitable industries. The work turned out from such firms as the Carnegie Steel Company, the Bethlehem Iron Company, the Carpenter Steel Company and from our arsenals at Washington and Watervliet, has earned a world-wide celebrity and has exercised a powerful formative influence upon the science and art of naval design and construction the world over.
We can scarcely close without a reference to the crisis which, all unexpectedly, is about to put our new navy to the test of actual conflict. We regard the issue with complacency, partly because of the excellence of our ships, but chiefly because of the splendid efficiency and courage of the officers and men to whose care the ships are intrusted.
To assist the reader in following the various naval and military operations of the Cuban campaign we have prepared the very accurate and detailed map which accompanies this issue.