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Modern Naval Warfare: IV.—Development of the Torpedo

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out of their original position. .fter bhing launched, a siunple device alloys the anchor to drag the mine to a pre- arranged depth beneath the tlur ac’. Another device regli- lates the period of flotation, so that if a mine does not achieve is object in a given time it is automatical lv flooded and sinks, or rises to the surface. This should prevent it being danger- ouis to neutrals. The development of mines has brought special classes of vessels into existence for deal- img with them. Most navies have their own mine-lavers, in which the ships’ sterns are usually cut away to facilitate dropping the machines into the sea. In the British Navy, the ex-cruisers of the Apollo type fulfil this function. But almiost any kind of ship can be fitted for sowing nines-even liners, as was shown by the exploit of the K]iniguin Luise, one of tihe Hamburg-Amerika steam-ships. Submarines have also been built which are equipped for running’ a line of mines. The Russians have such a vessel in the Krab, which is stationed in the Black Sea. Then there are mine- sweepers, which work by mleans


of a trawl or net paused underneath the mines. Originally, mines were both laid and swept by the ,mall oared or steam-driven boats carried by war- ships, but these were not suitable for ocean-going work. About five years ago, the British Navy purchased


a group of North Sea trawlers, and began the creation of a branch of the ito’val Naval Reserve, co Iposed of fitsheltrmen, whosce dte it 1is to precede the tttle fIlet to sea antd clear its path11 of illy lostile Ilines. The mister of each trawler has thl rank of ” skipper, ii Ni.1 ,”and according to the last issue of the ” Navy libt,” there were I t of these officers. Probably the nlllumbter has Ibeen xtendled since the war began. lrctl homnbs are the newest forms of torpedo, andI have attracted more attention fronl naval mecn sin ce the succes-ful ilevelopment of air-craft. Their value is, howeve-cr very uncertain andl problematical,


r( ci ti I], II( THE MEN NOW HOLDING BACK THE GERMAN FLEET: CG A TORPEDO CLASS UNDER INSTRUCTION. 1p A class of seamen on board the torpedo school-shp “Actaeon ” at I( Sheerness bong instructed in the mechanism of the compressed-air en- gines whrch propel automobile torpedoes under water are seen here. Torpedo school-shrps are stationed at each of our naval ports. l’hInwrph 1 larke ..Id Hd. CI


anl It do)es not sCee likely that they will play a very large part in the present camnpaigins. Some extrava- gant claims hIave been made for a certain type of gun-boat supposed to be litted with one huge gun for- hurling aerial bhuimb tihrmuh thg air. Further


FOR DEFENDING THE APPROACHES TO A NAVAL PORT: FOR DEFENDING THE APPROACHES TO A NAVAL PORT : THE EXPLOSION OF A zoo-LB. “OBSERVATION “-MINE PART OF A MINE-FIELD EXPLODED BY ELECTRICITY. The waterways at the entrance of our naval harbours are sowa with mine, either singly or in groupo. They extend over certain areas and are connected by submarine electric cables with observation-stations on shore, where officers keep watch ready to explode the mines by the touch of a button under any hostile vessel crossing one omine-field.–loton;ir by Cribb.]


reference will be made to this matter in a later article dealing with aerial attack. Coining now to the automobile torpedo itself, it must be pointed out that it has a long history behind it, although as a practical weapon of offence it is only


about lifty yV’ais old. As we know it to-day, the tLorpedo was invented by ( .aptain Luppis, an Aus- trian naval officer. He offered it to his Govern ment, but it was then thought too crude and unwork- abile. Mr. Robert Whitehead, however, the able manager of an engine factory at Fiume, lent his mechanical genius to the invention, and so quickly was it developed that in 1869 it was reported on satisfac- torily by British naval officers. At this date, the charge only amounted to 07 lb. of gun-cotton, and the range was 1000 yards. Now the torpedo carries a charge of 330 lb. or more, and can maintain a speed of 27 knots for 8oo000 yards, while an effective range of c8too yards, or nearly six miles, has been spoken of by an eminent naval architect.


Ilhe nature of a torpedo is probably well known to most people, but they may be reminded that it is cigar-shaped, with a length of perhaps 28 feet, and is divided into six principal parts. There is il) the war head, containing the explosive charge, which is ignited by means of a detonator on strik- ing the object aimed at. To avoid premature de- tonation, such as might be caused by striking float. ing wreckage, there is an ingenious fan which has to unscrew itself as the torpedo goes along before ignition takes place. Behind the war head is (2) the air-chamber, containing the motive-power of com-


pressed air, and also, in the later models, the super- heating device which increases speed and efficiency. ‘Then there are (3) the balance-chamber, for adjusting the depth at which the weapon runs; (4) the engine- room, with the propelling machinery; (5) the buoyancy- chamber, with the tubes through which pass the propeller-shafting and the diving-rod for working the horizontal rudders; andl (os) the tail and propellers. This brief outline of its interior, and the fact that it costs over 15oo, gives some idea of the skill and energy which goes to the making of a ingle torpedo. The craft which specially use the torpedo are destroyers, for protecting the battle fleet and beating off torpedo-attack by the enemy; and submarines, about which more will be said in a later article. But every fighting ship is now fitted to discharge tor- pedoes, some of the armoured vessels ha
ving no fewer than eight tubes for the


purpose. As with the large guns, ýo with the smaller weapons for defence against torpedo craft. These craft have grown in size and power, neces- sitating an advance in the guns for dealing with them. The Dreadnought. like earlier ships, carried r 2-pounder guns for this purpose-two dozen of them- placed as far apart as possible, some on top of the larger gun- turrets, others on the super- structure, and others, again, in the stern. At that time the destroyers of most of the other Powers only catried small guns up to 12-pounders, the German boats having only 4-pounders. Now foreign destroyers mount guns up to 4-inch calibre. To meet this menace, not only has the torpedo defence battery developed from one composed of 12-pounders to one of 4-inch guns, and finally of 6-inch guns, but the plan of scattering them about the ship has been aban- doned, and they are arranged instead in a kind of citadel be- hind armour. The Iron Duke, Sr John Jellicoe’s flag-ship, was the first British vessel to have 6-inch guns for repelling hostile torpedo attack. Night defence in the Navy has for some time


been an important item in its war training, and with the aid of the improved searchlights now in use throughout the fleet it is probably true that the battle-ships and cruisers are now as well prepared for torpedo attack at night as in the daylight.



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