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this decision it is interesting to follow the various measures of retaliation adopted by both sides and to note the part taken, either directly or indirectly, by the submarine; the creation of danger zones, the indiscriminate use of mines and torpedoes, the lengthened contraband lists—all the various successive moves by which the belligerents, actuated by the policy of military necessity, have trespassed more and more upon the rights of neutrals and noncombatants. But in spite of the scientific triumph of the modern U-boat, and notwithstanding the toll of shipping sacrificed, a careful study of all sides of the question seems to lead to the conclusion that in the end the submarine will not vindicate the expectations of those who hail it as a decisive factor of modern war. The submarine may be able to prevent a close blockade by the enemy; but it does not seem to be able either to break the grip of a distant blockade or to establish an effective submarine blockade as a countermeasure.
The Submarine's Limitations Submarines of many different types and sizes, which may be divided into two general classes: the smaller coast-defense submarine of moderate cruising capacities, and the larger seagoing submarine with greater fighting and cruising abilities. The first-mentioned class comprises the five-hundredton to eight-hundred-ton submarines, and includes the familiar E, F, G, H, K, and L boats of our navy. Germany uses these types chiefly in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and other home waters. The other and more modern class includes the larger U-boats operating on the high seas.
The most recent of Germany's large submarines may be described
as the fighting consorts of the Deutschland. Although little is known positively about them, the following approximate characteristics may be attributed: tonnage, 2,000; Diesel engines of 6,000 to 8,000 horse power, giving a surface speed of 18 to 20 knots and a submerged speed of 12 to 14 knots; a cruising radius at most economical speed of about 7,000 miles; and an armament of one or two small calibre (three inch or four inch)
guns in addition to about sixteen torpedoes.
These are formidable craft, capable of doing much damage, especially if operating from a secret base supplied and provisioned by ships like the Deutschland. But they have difficulties to overcome. The problems of submarine navigation have not all been satisfactorily solved. When submerged the speed is slow, making it necessary to rise to the surface in order to overtake even moderately fast freighters. It is then that the trader's guns for defense become dangerous.
Moreover, the distance the submarine can go below the surface on a stretch is still comparatively short, probably 150 miles for the newest U-boats is an overestimate. When the limit is reached the submarine either has to remain stopped or come to the surface to recharge her batteries. If the submarine is forced to keep below the surface, besides having a reduced speed, she cannot use her guns and therefore has to draw upon her limited supply of expensive torpedoes. Nor is it an altogether easy matter to manoeuvre a submarine by periscope so as to score a hit on an alert merchant
Advantages of Armed Ships Suppose a submarine on the edge of the war zone, either stopped or cruising slowly on the surface looking for merchantmen. Smoke is sighted, say, at twenty-five or thirty thousand yards. The submarine would probably manoeuvre to get in the path of the quarry and then submerge at a range of about fifteen to twenty thousand yards before there were likelihood of her being sighted by the supposedly armed trader. If the merchantman should come straight on, to destroy her is comparatively easy; but if, instead of this, a zigzag, irregular course should be steered, the submarine would have to estimate the changes through her periscope and manoeuvre to keep ahead of the merchantman, with consequently more likelihood of being discovered and less likelihood of getting near enough for a sure shot. If the periscope should be seen by the trading vessel, she would probably open fire and turn away. Shots
splashing in front of a submarine's peri which might be had by conceiving a sort scope would hamper her manoeuvring of submersible monitor of about 4,000 to abilities and the chances of getting a hit 6,000 tons displacement, carrying a turin a stern-on target steering a zigzag ret mounting two six-inch guns so atcourse would, unless close aboard, hardly tached to the hull as to present when be worth expending a torpedo. To catch firing only armor-protected parts above the trader, unless a slow one, the sub the water. A division of these submarine would have to come to the sur mersible monitors, accompanied by a few face and risk destruction by gun fire. Deutschlands fitted as troop-carrying
All these limitations contribute to and supply ships, might set out from a make the submarine vulnerable and less blockaded coast, steam to distant parts, effective. Although nets, aircraft, and and there seize, fortify, and hold with the lighter submarine chasers will not be considerable tenacity an advance base as competent against seagoing subma from which to operate against commerce. rines as against the smaller coast sub Such an expedition might do a lot of marines, both because of the greater size damage unless met and defeated by the of the former and because of the rough
determined measures of an equally enterer weather and sea conditions to be con. prising adversary. tended with, still they may do some good The evolution of the submarine apwhile more effectual methods are being pears to be toward the submersible batdeveloped. Undoubtedly the United tleship; but the consensus of naval opinStates Navy will be of great help in ion at present seems to be that a supersolving this problem-but it would be submersible capable of navigating under improper at this time to discuss our the water and also strong enough to fight navy's share in the game.
battleships on the surface involves an Until means of neutralizing the sub almost prohibitive cost, which would be marines are found they will take great out of proportion to the advantages toll from merchantmen. It is folly not gained. By increasing the tonnage of the to realize that they are destroying many submarine its mechanical difficulties are vessels, and not to acknowledge that aggravated. On the other hand, the merchantmen run risks, especially under large tonnage of the surface battleship conditions of poor visibility at night, in is like a reserve of wealth, which may be fog, and in mist. Early dawn is also a expended in any desirable way; if undercritical time for the trader. But it is water attack is a serious menace to the probable, as schemes of co-operation are battleship some of this tonnage can be developed between the submarine-hunting drawn upon to supply suitable protection, navies and the shipping they are trying such as a series of outer and inner botto safeguard, that these dangers will be toms so constructed and subdivided as lessened.
to make the ship practically nonsinkable; Future of the Submarine
or, if attack from the air is dangerous,
reserve tonnage may be drawn upon for The question of the future of under
aero defense--and so on. In estimating water craft is conjectural, but it is possi
the value of the submarine in wars to ble to make some tentative deductions
come it would appear safe, therefore, to from the trend along which development
assume that in future struggles for conhas so far proceeded.
trol of the seas the rôle of the submarine The submarine is always asking for a will always be secondary to that of surgreater cruising radius, more speed, bet face ships. ter habitability, and more power. It is also reported that new designs call for
Summary of Results an increased number of torpedoes, to In making a brief survey of the naval gether with guns and armor protection activities of the war it is seen that the for surface fighting. There is perhaps a submarine has been of no great value to new type of submarine under construction the superior navies controlling the seas, or possibly already afloat, some idea of but has been practically the only effective
naval weapon of the inferior fleets. When used against the enemy battle squadrons it has influenced strategy and tactics and scored a few minor successes in sinking some of the older men-of-war, but generally speaking has produced no very important results. When used against merchant ships the submarine has been unable to attain effectiveness while complying with the rules and usages of international law, but by resorting to unscrupulous methods it has become a dangerous commerce destroyer; and the suppression of this evil must be one of the tasks of the navies at war with Germany.
The war has shown that the chief tactical value of the submarine is for defense, to hold the enemy at a distance. The fleet submarine has also demonstrated an offensive value which may be useful in attaining a tactical advantage. Ir. addition,
Secret U-Boat Orders to German
it is not to be denied that the submarine has raised havoc with both neutral and belligerent commerce. But the submarine blockade has not proved effective, and the lawless methods of the U-boat have aroused a worldwide condemnation. The reactive effect of Germany's submarine war on commerce may easily prove so damaging as to more than counterbalance any temporary advantage gained.
It may be inferred, therefore, that the United States needs submarines both to help defend her coasts and to operate as a tactical subdivision of the fleet. A lesson also learned is that, although the submarine is not now, and probably never will be, a dominating factor in naval warfare, it should be squarely faced as a serious menace which to combat successfully under certain circumstances might demand our utmost ingenuity and energy.
JHE following document, which is be
lieved to be authentic, indicates the
method used by the German Government to obtain unanimous press support for the present submarine campaign:
General Command, Seventh Army Corps, Dept. 11d., No. 1149.
Münster, February, 1917.
No. 515 : NOTICE
1. Opinions regarding the usefulness of the measures and of the time chosen, after the decision has been made, would have the effect of weakness and lack of harmony, would encourage the enemy, and perhaps induce wavering neutrals to come in.
2. For the beginning of the concluding struggle absolute internal unison is essential. The determined approval of the entire people must ring out from the press.
3. It is a question, not of a movement of desperation-all the factors have been carefully weighed after conscientious technical naval preparation-but of the best and only means to a speedy, victorious ending of the
4. Toward America it is advisable to use the outward forms of friendliness. Unfriendliness would increase the danger of America coming in-the breaking off of diplomatic relations, even active participation, hangs in the balance. The attitude of the press must not increase this danger.
5. The navy, fully conscious of its power, enters into this new section of the war with firm confidence in the result. It is recommended that the phase be called unlimited, not ruthless, “U” boat war.
6. Material, personnel, and appliances are being increased and approved continually ; trained reserves are ready.
7. England's references to the perfection of her means of defense, which are intended to reassure the English people, are refuted by the good results of the last months.
8. Each result is now much more important, because the enemy's Mercantile Marine is already weakened, the material used
up. Much colored personnel.
9. The psychological influence should not be underestimated. Fear amongst the enemy and neutrals leads to difficulties with the crews, and may induce neutrals to keep ships in harbor.
10. “U” boat war is now exclusively a part of the combined method of waging war, therefore a purely military matter.
A Submarine Torpedo: What It Is and
How It Works
N EARLY all the belligerent powers
are now manufacturing their own
torpedoes, and the type of all is the same, differing only in details. A glance at the Whitehead torpedo, which is manufactured at Fiume, Austria, and which has long been the only one in use, will give a clear idea of the working of these engines of destruction. After being fired from a tube in the side of a torpedo boat or submarine, the torpedo travels under its own power until this is spent, or until it strikes an object and explodes. The vessel launching it must stop its engines in order to get any accuracy of aim.
In its external appearance the torpedo is a spindle-shaped tube of sheet steel furnished with a “tail ” that gives no clue to the wonderful mechanism inside it. The most powerful type in use measures 21 inches in diameter and about 20 feet long. It weighs 3,000 pounds. The cost of a torpedo is upward of $1 a pound; even for one of medium size $2,000 is a moderate price.
The torpedo contains its own motive power, which is compressed air. It is divided into compartments which screw into each other, and which may here be examined in the order in which they are placed.
The “charge cone” at the apex is filled with an explosive-uşually moist guncotton—in which is placed a tube of dry guncotton furnished with a fulminating cap preceded by a plunger. When the plunger strikes a solid object it explodes the charge. The earlier model of torpedo contained fifteen or twenty pounds of guncotton, but the largest today contain more than 225 pounds of this or some other powerful explosive.
Behind the charge cone is the compressed-air chamber, with a capacity varying from 12,000 to 20,000 cubic inches and in direct communication with the motor. The air in it is usually compressed to 150 atmospheres. The machine
chamber contains the motor which oper boats and battleships. To fire the torates the screws and the auxiliary motor pedo from the surface a cannon tube is that controls the depth rudder. While used, charged with one-half to two-thirds the other compartments of the torpedo of a pound of powder. This tube is are water tight, the machine chamber is usually installed on the deck, mounted on
a truck that permits it to be aimed POWDER CHAMBER
like an ordinary gun. .
Firing under water is the only TORPEDO
method that can be used by submarines. Every navy maintains secrecy regarding its apparatus for this purpose, but the machinery all belongs
to one of two types—(1) a shuttle LOADED TORPEDO TUBE
tube manipulated inside the ship, pierced with holes through which it is with the muzzle fitted into the hull; filled with sea water, thus keeping the (2) a cradle fixed in the water at motor cool. The rear cone, also called the side of the ship and containing the the rear float, contains a considerable torpedo, which goes forth under the proquantity of ordinary air. Here is found pulsion of its own screw after this has the gyroscope-whose function is to keep been started from the interior of the the torpedo going straight in its original vessel. The Armstrong tube, which is direction—with its auxiliary motor, the screw shafts, and a compartment for gearing.
The screws turn in opposite directions, the force being transmitted through two concentric shafts. These
FIRING THE TORPEDO shafts are hollow; it is through their tubes that the compressed air escapes represented in the accompanying diaon emerging from the motor, producing grams, belongs to the former class. the bubbles that betray the track of The effects of a charge of 200 pounds the torpedo on the surface of the water.
of guncotton exploding against the side This track, visible to the naked eye at of a vessel are likely to vary according 800 or 1,000 yards, can scarcely be
to the point struck, the depth below the seen 100 yards away if the sea is rough. surface, and the strength of the hull. The The “ tail” is formed by a frame, best torpedoes travel to a distance of six inside of which the screws and rudders miles, with a speed of about twenty-five move.
knots; by limiting the range to two or As the torpedo propels itself and guides three miles a speed of thirty-five knots itself by its own power, the firing of it can be obtained, or about twenty yards has no other object than to launch it in a second. Within 500 or 1,000 yards the water in the right direction. The there is a chance of hitting the target; process differs according as the torpedo at 2,000 yards the chances are meagre, is fired from the surface or under water. and beyond 3,000 yards the probable Both methods are used in torpedo lateral deviation is more than 150 meters.