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COMMANDER S. A. TAFFINDER, U. S. Navy
Great Britain PERSONNEL
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BRAZIL BRAZILIAN NAVAL Visit.—The naval squadron which Brazil dispatched to European waters in order to coöperate with the Allied Fleet, and which was expected at Portsmouth to-day, having been invited by the British Government to pay a visit to this country, will not arrive until January 24, as the ships are calling at Lisbon. The squadron, although small in point of numbers, consists of several new and powerful vessels, all of which were built in British yards. The commander of the squadron is Admiral Frontin, an officer of progressive and up-to-date views.
It will be remembered that when Brazil entered the war in October, 1917, on the side of the Allies, her government, as the result of a conference between Admiral Caperton, commanding the American South Atlantic Fleet, and Admiral A. de Alencar, the Minister of Marine, undertook the responsibility of patrolling the South Atlantic. Early in January of last year the further announcement was made of Brazil's decision to coöperate with the Allied Fleets in European waters, and it was reported that the force allocated for this purpose consisted of a squadron of cruisers and destroyers.
The squadron under the command of Admiral Frontin is composed of two light cruisers, the Bahia and the Rio Grande do Sul, with four 27-knot destroyers. The first-named vessels were built by the Armstrong firm at Elswick, and were completed in 1910. They have a length of 380 feet, a beam of 39 feet, and a mean draft of 14.5 feet. The displacement is 3,100 tons. Protection is given by an armored deck of 1.5 inches thickness, with 5 inches of armor on the conning-tower. The armament comprises ten 4.7-inch (50 cal.) guns, two of which are mounted to fire ahead, two right astern, and five on each broadside. There are also six 3-pounders and two 18-inch torpedo tubes. The machinery, manufactured by Messrs. Vickers, is of the Parsons' turbine type, operating three screws, and sup
plied with steam from ten Yarrow boilers. As designed, the engines were to develop 18,000 s. h. p., but this was exceeded on trial in both vessels, when the speed obtained was over 27 knots. The maximum quantity of coal which can be carried is 650 tons. The destroyers were built at the Yarrow yard, and displace 650 tons. Their dimensions are: Length, 240 feet; beam, 23.5 feet, and mean draft, 7.6 feet. The armament consists of two 4-inch guns, four 3-pounders, and two 18-inch torpedo-tubes. They have reciprocating engines, with Yarrow boilers, and, as designed, the engines were of 8000 i. h. p., to give a speed of 27 knots, which was considerably exceeded on trial.
From the United States the squadron came to Gibraltar where it arrived on November 10.-London Times, 15/1.
FRANCE SIZE OF FRENCH Navy.--At the time of Germany's request for an armistice, the French Navy consisted of 1,296 vessels of all classes, excluding transports and those ships which were either in reserve or in process of equipment or used for training purposes. Eight hundred and seventy-four units were armed for the war against submarines--namely, 735 vessels used for escort and patrol work and the protection of fisheries, and 130 submarine chasers, in addition to 192 mine-sweepers. Seventy vessels maintained the service of inspection of merchantmen at harbor entrances. The naval forces, made up of squadrons and large type vessels sent on special missions, numbered 117 battleships, cruisers, and large torpedo boats, which, since August, 1914, were almost continually away from France. Finally, 43 submarines took part in various naval operations. The French Navy also possessed 870 aeroplanes and 258 dirigible or captive balloons.-United Service Gazette, 9/1.
France's War TONNAGE LOSSES.-According to a calculation by M. Paul de Rousiers, the French mercantile marine had a tonnage of 2,498,286 gross tons at the outbreak of the war. From the beginning till the close of hostilities, 1,037,773 gross tons of French shipping were lost. Of this total, 920,152 tons were destroyed through war's causes and 117,621 tons disappeared in consequence of ordinary sea perils. As during this same period, new vessels, aggregating 132,290 gross tons, were completed in French yards and ships representing 249,255 gross tons purchased from foreign owners, the French merchant marine totals at present of 1,842,058 gross tons.--Nautical Gazette, 1/2
France's Man-POWER IN THE WAR.-The Ministry of War publishes statistics of the men mobilized for the army since the beginning of the war. Starting with the figures 92,838 officers and 3,781,000 other ranks on August 15, 1914, the strength of the army reached on January 1, 1918, the total of 128,372 officers and 5,064,000 other ranks. The new classes from 1914 to 1918 realized in all 1,098,000 men, the largest contingent being furnished by the 1915 class, which produced 265,000 men. Two combingouts in September, 1914, and in February, 1917, produced 575,000 men.London Times, 1/23.
FRENCH AIR SERVICE.—It is now permitted to give details of the progress of French aviation since 1914. When the war started there were 21 squadrons, with 321 pilots and a total personnel of 4,342. By the end of 1917 the personnel had increased to 75,105, the pilots numbering 6,417 and observers 1,682. The aviation programme of July, 1918, brought up. the number of machines to more than 6,000.
The credits voted for the French Aviation Service in 1914 were just over two and a half millions sterling. This sum was quadrupled in 1916, and by 1917 had exceeded thirteen and a half millions.-London Times, 15/1.
GERMANY GERMAN NAVAL CONSTRUCTION.-The utter collapse of German naval power had led to a heated discussion in the German press on the causes of the debacle. Capt. Persius attributes it mainly to the faulty construction and feeble armament of the capital ships and cruisers, but other officers demur, and the resulting debate has elicited some useful information. Writing as “a long-standing contributor to Nauticus and Marine Rundschau, and as first officer of a battle-cruiser, in which capacity during the war I superintended gunnery for two years and took part in the Skagerrak battle," Captain Schelbe points out that a ship's type is in its complexity one of the most difficult of technical compromises. According to this authority, the German constructors in adjusting weight pursued a middle course in relation to armament, armor, resistance, speed, and bulk. England subordinated protection, security, and resistance to offensive attributes, gun armament and speed. “The touchstone of a weapon is battle. Granted,” he continues, "that the caliber of our guns was almost below what was requisite, and that the 4. lin. gun in the light cruisers did not fully comply with military requirements; still, after our successes in battle, it can by no means be maintained that our material was universally “inferior to the British and 'defective, Admiral Lord Fisher was reproached, when the first dreadnought construction was announced, with these ships being ten-minute ships, that is, they would be overcome in ten minutes, for they did not possess the necessary resisting power. That more or less occurred. The cruisers Indefatigable and Invincible were blown to pieces some 15 minutes after fire was opened, and the cruiser Queen Mary after about half an hour. Our armament was in effect and accuracy superior to the British. The caliber of our guns proved sufficient. On the German side one capital ship, the Lützow, was put out of action, but it sank only during the return voyage. Ships with about 25 severe hits, and very dangerous damage below the waterline, got back to the home ports. The Seydlitz continued to fight to the end with undiminished speed, although struck by a torpedo in the forepart at the very beginning of the action.” There is no reason to doubt the accuracy of Captain Schelbe's version of the damage sustained by the German ships, or of his claim that they possessed remarkable powers of resistance. This is the first admission that the Seydlitz was torpedoed early in the battle, and the fact that she did not fall out of line is undoubtedly a tribute to the excellence of her internal protection. On the other hand, the large number of "severe hits " admitted by this authority testifies to the accuracy of the British fire. Though their massive armor and minute subdivision kept the German ships afloat, the British shells took a heavy toll among the personnel-one battleship alone had 300 casualties after being under fire only a quarter of an hour.-Engineer, 10/1.
PRE-DREADNOUGHTS USELESS.-Captain Schelbe denies that the High Sea Fleet owed its escape to the timely intervention of thick weather. Most of the damage to both sides, he asserts, was inflicted in the first part of the action, when very good visibility prevailed. He agrees that predreadnoughts cannot contend against ships of the all-big gun type, and proceeds: “The battle of the Falkland Islands cannot be adduced as proof that the German material was inferior, because in that case British ships of the dreadnought type were pitted against old German ships of the predreadnought era. The absolute inferiority of the pre-dreadnought type in comparison with the modern battleship is an obvious fact, which was apparent in the Skagerrak battle, when the old British armored cruisers were destroyed. But Coronel is a proof that the oldest German material also was superior to the older British material. It is stated that, 'for a year it had been possible to speak of a German High Sea Fleet only in a restricted sense,' because a great many ships of the pre-dreadnought type
had been withdrawn from the first battle line in order to provide material for submarine construction. “In reality, the withdrawal from the first line was effected because the pre-dreadnought type is absolutely useless in a modern artillery battle. For this reason the British did not put their squadrons of older ships in their battle fleet, and for the same reason Admiral Scheer, after the experience of the Skagerrak, decided to withdraw them from the first line. That from the material of some older ships nickel had been obtained for submarine construction has nothing to do with this withdrawal."-Engineer, 10/1.
SUBMARINE TONNAGE FIGURES.—The battleship Baden is due at Scapa Flow this week, and with her arrival the surrender of the German surface warships, as stipulated in the armistice, will be complete, the battleship Koenig and the light cruiser Dresden having been delivered early in December.-Engineer, 10/1,
GERMAN NAVAL TYPES.-Of the five German battle-cruisers now in custody at Scapa Flow, the latest and most powerful are the Derfflinger and Hindenburg, which, if outward appearance goes for anything, are sister-ships. There is, however, some doubt on this point, though the report that the Hindenburg carries eight 15-inch guns, as against eight 12-inch in the Derfflinger, remains unconfirmed. The Derfflinger was laid down at the Blohm and Voss yard, in Hamburg, in March, 1912, and completed a week or two before the outbreak of war. Her dimensions and other particulars are as follows: length (on water-line), 689 feet; beam, 95 feet; mean draft, 2772 feet; normal displacement, 26,600 tons. The propelling machinery consists of “Marine" type-modified Parsons-turbines, driving four screws, and supplied by 18 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers, all of which are coal fired. The contract called for 63,000 horse-power and 26.5 knots, but those figures are nominal only. The maximum fuel supply amounts to no less than 4700 tons, including about 600 tons of oil. Like all German battle-cruisers, the Derfflinger carries a great weight of armor. The main belt, 12 inches thick, is surmounted by an upper strake of 8-inch armor, above which again is the 5.9-inch battery protected by 7-inch armor. The extremities of the ship are clothed with 4-inch or 5-inch plating as high as the main deck. At each end of the main belt there is a 10-inch transverse bulkhead, and two protective decks are fitted with an aggregate thickness of seven inches over boiler, machinery, and magazine spaces. The main battery comprises eight 12-inch 50 caliber guns, disposed on the center-line, all the guns having a wide arc of fire. Twelve 5.9-inch Q. F. are mounted in the upper deck battery, and there is a number of 3.4-inch Q. F., including several on A.-A. mountings, in the superstructure. The Derfflinger is heavily built up amidships, in contrast to the low freeboard at bow and stern. The large fore tripod carries a fire-control station, in the upper section of which a range-finder will be observed.-Engineer, 17/1.
THE GERMAN SUBMARINE “U. B.-64."-An opportunity having been given by the Admiralty for certain members of the public to inspect the German submarine U. B.-64, moored off the Terrace of the House of Commons, a description of the construction of this enemy submarine will doubtless prove of considerable interest to all of us.
To those who have tried to follow the trend of German submarine construction without inside information, the prefix “U. B.” has always been taken to denote a small coastal submarine of a rather primitive type, as exemplified by the photographs which the French Government allowed to be published of the captured U. B.-26 in dry dock. The dimensions of U. B.-64, therefore, came as something of a shock, for there seems to be little difference in size between her and the U-boats which we knew before the war.
Hull. Like all modern submarines, she is constructed in the form of an inner cylindrical pressure-resisting hull on to which is built an outer hull of light plating. The water flows freely into the space between the inner and outer hulls, and therefore the plating of the outer hull is not subjected to any particular pressure. The inner pressure hull and the conning tower built on to it is the submarine proper, the outer hull being nothing but a light superstructure, built in the form of a ship designed to make her a passable sea boat when traveling on the surface, and to give a practicable deck. This ship hull has a very fair freeboard forward with a cutaway stem. The deck sheers considerably, has a flush midship section, and then drops until it is awash aft. It is of wood, the planks being spaced in order to offer no obstruction to the free flooding.
In order to neutralize our net barrages, a heavy saw-edged knife is fitted to the top of the stem, raking aft at an angle of about 45 degrees, and being supported by two steel struts. From this cutter two wires are led over fairlands on the conning tower and are secured to the deck aft, their object being to lift any obstruction or sweep clear of the vessel. A portion of their length before and abaft the conning tower is insulated to allow of their being used for wireless. The main wireless aerials are
supported by two tall masts with quadrant heels, which are raised and lowered by means of wires from the interior of the boat. The after mast is fitted with rungs to enable it to be used as a lookout station. Normally they lie flat along the deck, which is recessed to take them.
On either side of the hull are the ballast and fuel tanks, the rounded tops of which make the “cigar-shaped hull ” which shows in all the published photographs. As the fuel is used the tanks are allowed to fill with sea water in order to maintain the trim of the boat. It would appear that any or all of the ballast tanks can be filled with fuel oil to increase the radius of action, but, of course, the fuel would all be lost should it be necessary to empty the tanks hurriedly.
Conning Tower. The conning tower, which is placed roughly amidships, seems very large for the hull, and is stream-line shaped with a sharp forward edge. It is surmounted by a permanent steel wind screen enclosing the “bridge,” which does not, however, extend to the forward end of the conning tower, a steering position being exposed before it. The reason of this arrangement is not quite clear. The two periscopes pass through the conning tower and have a peculiar feature in that near the top they are suddenly thinned down, until their diameter is certainly not more than three inches. The value of certain published stories of a