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REVIEW OF BOOKS
SUBJECTS OF PROFESSIONAL INTEREST
"Ship Stability and Trim." By Percy A. Hillhouse, B. Sc. M. I. N. A., 297 pages. Price $4.50 net. (London: John Hogg, 13 Paternoster Row, 1918. Distributors, D. Van Nostrand Company, New York.)
The author has summed up the scope and purpose of this book in the Foreword as follows:
"The aim of the writer of the present volume has been to treat the problems of stability more fully than is possible in a work covering the whole range of Naval Architecture, while avoiding the more deeply mathematical portions of the subject and considering its practical rather than its theoretical aspects.
"A knowledge of the elements of stability is of primary importance in both naval and mercantile services. The Board of Trade has now included the subject in their examinations for masters, and it is hoped that Ship Stability and Trim will prove to be of practical value to all who have to do with the designing, loading, or ballasting of ships or other floating bodies."
While the author states that he has avoided the more deeply mathematical portions of the subject of stability no one will quarrel with the lack of mathematics in Chapter IV, where he deals with the height of metacenter in bodies of simple form. The reader may, however, omit this portion of the book without seriously impairing its value for imparting knowledge on the subject of ship stability. The mathematics throughout is made so simple and is illustrated by such understandable diagrams that anyone with a working knowledge of arithmetic should be able to grasp the underlying theory of stability therefrom. The author is particularly happy in his explanation of moment inertia in Chapter IV.
The effect of wind on stability is given a well-deserved chapter. In these days of increasing freeboard of merchant vessels the influence of wind pressure on the stability curve is of considerable importance.
An interesting and instructive chapter is devoted to free water, with a discussion on the relative merits of longitudinal and transverse subdivision, and an explanation of the reasons which led the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea to give preference to transverse watertight subdivision.
The portion of Chapter IX which is devoted to the subject of stability when docking is particularly valuable because this subject is generally not touched upon in works on Naval Architecture. The author explains very clearly how, by the use of the displacement and stability data furnished by the builders, calculations can be made to determine whether a condition of instability will result when the vessel lands on the blocks. It is to be regretted that the author did not add a chapter on stability and trim conditions when a vessel lies stranded in various positions. Salvage operations can frequently be hastened and can usually be given an extra chance of success by careful study of these conditions. However, the discussion on stability when docking covers the theory which should be applied to the stability of a stranded vessel. The book admirably serves the purpose for which it was written.
J. A. F.
"Marine Gas Engines." By Carl H. Clarke. (Published by D. Van Nostrand Company.)
This book describes the construction and principles of operation of the various standard types of gas and oil engines in plain and simple language so that it may be easily understood by anyone interested in power obtained by the internal combustion of gas and oil fuels. As its title implies, the volume is intended primarily for the users of marine gas engines. No attempt is made to deal with the subject matter from a theoretical or thermodynamic standpoint. It is well illustrated and arranged and has been brought up to date by the addition of material on oil and Diesel engines in accordance with recent developments along these lines.
The book is divided into 15 chapters, of which Chapter V on Ignition Devices is very complete and will prove to be a valuable assistance to all operators who desire to master this source of trouble.
On the whole the book covers its field in a capable manner and although the author does not describe the particular types of machines in use in the naval service, he covers the methods and principles of operation thereof so that it should find a wide field in the service, due to the fact that the writer covers the topic in a style that will satisfy all inquiring minds on the subject of the construction and management of marine gas engines.
W. L. L.
"The British Navy in Battle." By A. H. Pollen. Price, $2.50. (New York: Published by Doubleday, Page & Co.)
Chapter I. A Greeting By Way Of Dedication
Mr. Arthur Pollen commences his work by a glowing tribute to the officers and men of the Royal Navy. In his opinion the British Admiralty was faultily organized and carried out an inefficient policy; these mistakes, however, were more than counterbalanced by the thoroughness and efficiency of the officers and men of the navy at sea face to face with the enemy. But let Mr. Pollen speak for himself:
"Take it all in all, never in the history of war has organized force accomplished its purpose at so small a cost in unpreventable loss, or with such utter thoroughness, or in face of such unanticipated difficulties.
"It was inevitable that there should be some failures. Not every opportunity has been seized, nor every chance of victory pushed to the utmost. Who can doubt that there are a hundred points of detail in which your material, the methods open to you, the plans which tied you, might have been more ample, better adapted to their purpose, more closely and wisely considered? For when so much had changed, the details of naval war had to differ greatly from the anticipation. In the long years of peace—that seem so indefinitely far behind us now—you had for a generation and a half been administered by a department almost entirely civilian in its spirit and authority. It was a control which had to make some errors in policy, in provision, in selection. But your skill counterbalanced bad policy when it could; your resources supplied the defects of material; too few of you were of anything but the highest merit for many errors of selection to be possible.
"And the nation understood you very little. Your countrymen, it is true, paid you the lip service of admitting that you stood between the nation and defeat if war should come. But war seemed so unreal and remote to them, that it was only a few that took the trouble to ask what more you needed for war than you already had.
"And you were too absorbed in the grinding toil of your daily work to be articulate in criticism; too occupied in trying to get the right result with indifferent means—because the right means cost too much and could not be given to you—to strive for better treatment; too wholly wedded to your task to be angry that your task was not made more easy for you. Hence, you took civilian domination, civilian ignorance, and civilian indifference to the things that matter, all for granted, and submitted to them dumbly and humbly, as you submitted silent and unprotesting to your other hardships; you were resigned to this being so; and were resigned without resentment. If, then, the plans were sometimes wrong, if you and your force were at other times cruelly misused, if the methods available to you were often inadequate, it was not your fault—unless, indeed, it be a fault to be too loya! and too proud to make complaint."
Chapter II. A Retrospect
This chapter was written in August, 1918, and in it Mr. Pollen makes a broad survey of the war on the sea as carried out up to that time. After calling attention to the fact that reversals in the land warfare had been frequent and startling, he shows that the various crises which occurred in the war on the sea, while fewer in number, were more extreme: "This has not been the case at sea. The transformations here have been fewer; but they have been extreme. For two and a half years the sea power of the Allies appeared so overwhelmingly established and so abjectly accepted by the enemy, that it seemed incredible that this condition could ever alter materially. Yet between the months of February and May, 1917, the change was so abrupt and so terrific that for a period it seemed as if the enemy had established a form of superiority which must, at a date which was not doubtful, be absolutely fatal to the alliance. And, again, in six months' time, the situation was transformed, «o that sea power, on which the only hope of allied victory had ever rested was once more assured."
Mr. Pollen then proceeds to trace the four great crises of the war on the sea. During August, 1914, the British command of the sea had seemed complete. But soon the tide seemed to be turning in the favor of the Germans and doubt began to creep into British minds as to whether the British Navy could retain the supremacy. Let Mr. Pollen describe the situation:
"During September an accumulation of errors came to light. The enormity of the political and naval blunder which had allowed Goeben and Breslau to slip through our fingers in the Mediterranean, and so bring Turkey into the war against us, at last became patent. There was no blockade. There were the raids which Emden and Karlsruhe were making on our trade in the Indian Ocean, and between the Atlantic and the Caribbean. The enemy's submarines had sunk some of our cruisers—three in succession on a single day and in the same area. Then rumors gained ground that the Grand Fleet, driven from its anchorages by submarines, was fugitive, hiding now in one remote loch, now in another, and losing one of its greatest units in its flight. For a moment it looked as if the old warnings, that surface craft were impotent against under-water craft, had suddenly proved true. Von Spee, with a powerful pair of armored cruisers, was known to be at large. As a final insult, German battle cruisers crossed the North Sea, and battered and ravaged the defenseless inhabitants of a small seaport town on the west coast. Something was evidently wrong. But nobody seemed to know quite what it was."
These events caused the first crisis. Prince Louis of Battenburg was relieved from his post as First Sea Lord and Lord Fisher appointed in his place. The situation now changed as if by magic. Emden was destroyed; Von Spee's squadron, with the exception of Dresden, was sunk; Karlsruhe disappeared and finally, in the battle of the 24th of January, Hipper was driven back with the loss of the cruiser Bluchcr. The Churchill-Fisher administration at the Admiralty was apparently completely successful. But this success was not caused by any efficiency of the Admiralty administration. The loss of Karlsruhe was a pure accident. The destruction of Emden was an event which had to come sooner or later. It is true that Lord Fisher gains the credit for the sending of the battle cruisers to the Falkland Islands in search of Von Spec, but the instant success of Sturdee's mission was merely an astonishing piece of luck. The battle of the 24th of January was really far from creditable to the British, as Mr. Pollen shows in his detailed description of this action.
The second crisis soon took place. The Germans commenced their first submarine campaign against merchantmen in February, 1915. The naval attack upon the Dardanelles was a total and disastrous failure. The people began to see the real lesson of the escape of Hipper's cruisers. "The German battle cruisers escaped at Heligoland for exactly the same reasons that the attempt to take the Dardanelles forts by naval artillery was futile. We had prepared for war and gone into war with no clear doctrine as to what war meant, because we lacked the organism that could have produced the doctrine in peace time, prepared and trained the navy to a common understanding of it and supplied it with plans and equipped it with means for their execution. What was needed in October, 1914, was not a new first sea lord, but a higher command charged only with the study of the principles and the direction of fighting." Mr. Churchill was relieved as first lord by Mr. Balfour and Lord Fisher was relieved by Sir Henry Jackson. Again the tide seemed to turn in favor of the British, for the submarine campaign died down in October, 1915, and although revived again in March, 1916, was stopped then by the threat of American intervention. The British supremacy was seemingly definitely proved by the results of the battle of Jutland, which showed to both the British and the Germans that the German High Seas Fleet could never gain the command of the seas.
But the unsatisfactory ending of this battle caused a great controversy. "The critics established themselves in two camps. One side was for facing risks and sinking the enemy at any cost. The other would have it that so long as the British Fleet was unconquered it was invincible, and that the distinction between 'invincible' and 'victorious' could be neglected. After all, as Mr. Churchill told us, while our fleet was crushing the life out of Germany, the German Navy could carry on no corresponding attack on us; and when the other camp denounced this doctrine of tame defense, he retorted that victory was not only unnecessary but that the torpedo had made it impossible.
"Yet, within two months of the battle of Jutland, the submarine campaign had begun again, and, at the time of Mr. Churchill's rejoinder, the world was losing shipping at the rate of three million tons a year. As there had never been the least dispute that to mine the submarine into German harbors was the best, if not the only, antidote, never the least doubt that it was the German Fleet that prevented this operation from being carried out, it seemed strange that an ex-First Lord of the Admiralty should be telling the world, first, that the German Fleet in its home bases delivered no attack on us and therefore need not be defeated! And, secondly, as if to clinch the matter and silence any doubts as to the cogency of his argument, we were to make the best of it because victory was impossible."
The German submarine campaign of the fall of 1916, therefore, brought on the third crisis. "Once more the old wrong remedy was tried. The government and the public had learned nothing from the revelation that we had gone to war on the doctrine that the fleet need not, and ought not, to fight the enemy, and were apparently unconcerned at discovering that it could not fight with success."
While Admiral Jellicoe came to the Admiralty as relief of Sir Henry Jackson the system remained unchanged. The situation grew worse rather than better. "Thus, without having lost a battle at sea—but because we had failed to win one—a complete reverse in the naval situation was brought about. Instead of enjoying the complete command Mr. Churchill has spoken of, we were counting the months before surrender might become inevitable. During the 10 weeks leading up to the culminating losses of April, a final effort was made to make the public and the government realize that failure of the Admiralty to protect the sea-borne commerce of a seagirt people was