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replacement of the battleship force by new ships of much greater size and power, if there were no loss of time, and no increase in the cost of maintenance. It is not necessary to argue that the men now on the old ships would have much greater fighting power on the new ships. But the millennium has not yet come, and there is the ever present spectre of cost.
When all is said and done, there is available a certain amount of 'money, to be expended in a given time, for fighting ships. Leaving out of consideration the small craft and auxiliaries, which consume but a small fraction of the total, the available funds will build, in a given time, a number of capital ships, the number depending on the type. What type shall be built ? Clearly, the type or types that will give their crews, of a fixed number, the greatest fighting power. And why build capital ships? For the reason that the capital ships do give to a fixed number of men the greatest fighting power. Fighting power means offence and defence. It is just as necessary to protect our own men and material, as it is to damage or destroy the enemy's men and material.
The battleship has been developed into a machine that represents the greatest amount of fighting power that can be obtained from its crew. There is both offence and defence, balanced evenly. At different periods we will see battleships of different sizes, and different degrees of effectiveness, depending on the state of mechanical development at the time. But always there is the balance between offence and defence. A ship is no more a battleship, if she has no armor, than if she has no guns; if she has no torpedo protection than if she has no offence against torpedo vessels. The battleship has consistently represented the maximum fighting power for a given crew, which is the only thing that counts on the day of battle.
Many times have we seen special types evolved, even in capital ships. They have been brought about in most cases, perhaps in all, by ideas that might be traced to other bases than the fundamental one of fighting, and of producing fighting equipment. Already we have seen many of them disappear, after a short life, while the battleship type so far has remained. We need only mention the ram, the commerce destroying cruiser, the armored cruiser, the monitor. They all have wasted money that should have gone into fighting ships. We now have the battle cruiser,
that has grown until it is twice as expensive as a battleship of its date. Has it adequate fighting power against capital ships? There is but a limited offence and practically no defence. We shall perhaps see the battle cruiser go the way of the others.
We cannot tell who will be our enemies of the future. It takes a long time to build a fighting fleet, much longer than it takes to start a war. As long as we cannot predict whom we shall have to fight, and what forces we must have, we can only prepare on the basis of our own ultimate strength. We can tell how many. skilled fighters we can obtain for the navy, and how many others must be reserved for the army. The number is large, the cost of equipment is large, and we cannot afford to waste any labor in building it-waste it on material that will not give our men an adequate amount of fighting power for the cost represented. That should always be the criterion. Do we get a proper return in fighting power for the expenditure?
What is fighting power in a battleship? First, it is represented by the destruction the ship can accomplish. Secondly, it is the defence it affords, from destruction, to its own crew. consider these separately.
The first, the offence, is nowadays easily measured. We no longer expect to lay alongside and board, or to ram, or perhaps even to torpedo, in a capital ship action. The power of offence in a battleship is measured by the number of effective hits she can make with her main battery, before her allowance of ammunition is expended. It is useless to make hits that glance off armor or decks, that make small holes in light upper works, or that do minor damage about the decks. It is only when serious damage is being done that the fighting power of the enemy is being crippled. Also, it is useless to rain projectiles about his ships, without hitting.
Let us now consider the defence. This has perhaps shown up better in the battles of the present war than has the offence. Battleships have been torpedoed in battle, and have remained in line. Ships have been exposed to heavy fire, such as, before the war, would have been considered fatal, and they have been heavily hit, but they went on fighting. But still, some of the ships, after receiving a few hits, were out of control, and some ships barely reached port. There is still much to be desired in the defence. There should be no lucky shots, a ship should
withstand severe pounding and still remain a fighting ship; she should be able to receive several torpedoes and not only remain afloat, but an effective fighting ship, with speed and control undiminished, and offensive power intact. Do we say that this is impossible? It is not. It can be done, if we give to protection its proper place. It may be that in Farragut's time the best defence was a vigorous offence, but times have .changed; main batteries at short range are now entirely too vigorous for an undefended ship to withstand.
These two, offence and defence, are the main requirements in a capital ship. We have gotten into the habit of expecting a certain fixed amount of them in every battleship, depending on its size; in other words, these two have been given a fairly standard percentage of the total displacement, and it has not been a small one either. Perhaps this has been a bad habit, but there you are, and, after all, a habit is always the result of subconscious justification, if nothing more. We can often justify an action to ourselves, even without logic. If it withstands the test of time, it is usually right.
Providing as large an amount of offence and defence as possible in each ship ensures fighting efficiency and economy of expenditure. These two, offence and defence, should be as large as it is possible to make them, and other factors should be of secondary importance, and receive corresponding attention and weight. Not to do so means that we distrust our premises and neglect what should be considered an axiom, namely, that fighting power consists of but two things, as we have said, offence and defence.
Chief of the secondary factors that go to make up the battleship, leaving out of consideration the hull that carries all, is mobility. A battleship must of course be brought to the scene of action, and within striking distance of the enemy. When she has arrived at the distance she chooses, she must maintain her position so as to fight her battery to the best advantage, and she should be able to take advantage of the changing conditions of the battle. To do all this she must have power of motion and of controlling her motion. We need not here discuss the question of maneuvering ability, since this does not cost much, and is not so important as it was in the days when the ship herself was intended to be the weapon.
Mobility requires a certain maximum speed and also ability to travel a considerable distance, while hunting the enemy. The first requires a certain expenditure, irrespective of the second, and both together, if insisted on in exaggerated amount, mean a very heavy expenditure, to the detriment of fighting power. We should therefore inquire carefully whether they are needed in great amount.
We can perhaps arrive at an answer better by inquiring how much mobility we can afford to give the battleship. It might be said at once that the battleship will not be required to chase small craft, nor fast cruisers, not even the ships of the battlecruiser type. We recognize readily that this is beyond the capacity of the type. What then is she required to chase? There is no other type except her own type. If it should be required that she chase other battleships, then this can be done only in the case of older ships of the type, for, if the higher speed type is approved and copied by other nations, then the difference of speed that makes overtaking possible disappears, and if the type is not approved, the enemy will have instead a type of greater fighting power, for the same expenditure, and it would not be safe to engage in pursuit of such an enemy. There are therefore limitations in the uses of high speed in a battleship.
The question of how much mobility we can afford to give the battleship type depends on what we lose in fighting power when we substitute extreme mobility. There was a time when we were satisfied with fifteen knots in a battleship, as a maximum speed, but we will find that the weight or cost given to the motive power at the time was about the same as we would now give to a modern ship with a higher speed. In other words, maximum speed grows with time, just as size and other qualities do. It is therefore not an absolute figure, but a relative one. It is when we attempt to determine what we gain or lose in fighting power by decreasing or increasing the motive power, that we can arrive at a fairly satisfactory determination of what cost we can afford to stand for motive power.
It has been customary in our usual standard battleship to give about 40 per cent of the displacement to fighting power, represented by armament, armor, and ammunition, and 15 per cent to motive power, the hull making up the remainder. The hull always includes a considerable amount of weight that is strictly protection, such as the armored decks, and torpedo protection, so that the percentage given to fighting power is really considerably greater than the figures show. If now we take away some of the displacement used for motive power, what can we do with it? Evidently not much, since we could not take very much after all. The ship must have some motive power, and common sense will indicate without any figures at all that we could certainly not take away more than, say, half. Seven per cent of the total added to the forty or more already given to fighting power would not make any startling changes in the power of the battery, the thickness of the armor, or the amount of ammunition, especially as we would want to increase all of these factors at the same time. The loss in motive power represented by the seven per cent would reduce the radius of action to half, and the maximum speed from 21 to somewhere around 16 knots. It does not need any elaborate argument to show that the fighting power does not lose much if we retain the present speed and radius of action, and that there is therefore nothing to be gained by reducing these. The question now becomes, What do we lose when we attempt to increase radically the cost of motive
It might here be mentioned, though it should not be necessary, that minor changes from one design to the next, in the quantities referred to, are of no importance, provided they are not progressive. There is no absolute limit in either of the conflicting factors, and one or two per cent one way or the other need not be considered.
We must not, furthermore, take into account large quantities of fuel taken on board for a long voyage, which greatly increase the draft. It is never intended that these should be on board at the time of action, and it is only the weight on board in fighting trim that need be considered. We are not now concerned with any ill effects such extra weights might have on the habitability or seaworthiness of the vessel.
If, now, we should double the allowance given to motive power, we see that the effect on fighting power, if we retain the same total cost, is as great as the effect on the motive power was in the previous instance. The allowance is cut from 40 per cent to 25 per cent, and the effect on each of the quantities included in the general term, fighting power, is serious. We would have