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longest ever known. Imagine what Nelson, who to a 0.32 caliber pistol ball weighing but a fifth sometimes fought with his shiplashed to the of an ounce. enemy's, would have thought of such ranges ! After the first vessels finish firing, the target
While the firing is in progress, certain officers, screens must be removed and brought on board called "spotters," act as the eyes of the ship. the individual ships for the umpires (always visThey are in the "spotters' top" of the "waste- iting officers) to count the hits and send their basket" cage mast, about 120 feet above the wa- reports, through the flag-ship, to Washington. ter. This is purposely placed as high as possible The shot-up masts of the targets must be replaced (the height being limited to that which will pass by the "repair-party" from the vessel that did the under the Brooklyn Bridge), so that the splash shooting; and, this done, the first vessels to fire of the projectile, as it hits the water, may be become observers of those that follow. You are observed to best advantage, and the gunners, if then close enough to see that the tiny speck at necessary, directed by telephone or speaking-tube which you have been shooting really has some to point more accurately for the next shot. size. Yet it is only about one fifth the length of
The writer was in one of these tops on the a battle-ship. Michigan (which, later, won the pennant) during From an observing ship a sublime sight comthe September practice, and had a wonderful mences when the other ships open fire. A vivid bird's-eye view of all the guns of the division, flash is seen through the heavy atmosphere, which, in a few minutes' time, fired 100,000 though the firing ship itself is scarcely discernible pounds of steel at a speed of thirty times that of at this range of six or seven miles. an express-train making sixty miles an hour. To Eleven seconds can be timed between the flash do this, 50,000 pounds of powder is required. and the arrival of the shell at the target. Bursts
While we are speaking of weights, it is inter- of snow-white mist and sea ("geysers,” they are esting to know (and few people, even those ac- called) are dashed to the towering height of 200 customed to dealing with ammunition, have to 300 feet as the shells hit the water. The beknowledge of the rule) that the actual weight in lated sound arrives a few seconds later. A secpounds of a projectile is very close to one half ond, and sometimes a third, smaller burst of mist the cube of its diameter. Thus, the actual weight can be seen two or three miles beyond, as the of a twelve-inch shell is 870 pounds. Applying shell ricochets, or rebounds, along the water's the rule, 12 x 12 x 12 = 2 864 pounds. The rule surface in the final stages of its seven-mile jourholds approximately true for all sizes, even down ney before going to its last resting-place.
From photograph, copyright, 1911, by Enrique Muller.
In the ricochet the shell sometimes leaves its time. The handling and loading of the charge for line of flight many degrees, usually to the right, a twelve-inch gun is as pretty a piece of clockbeing thus influenced by the rapid rotation given work as could be done by human hands. It takes it by the rifling of the gun-barrel. For this rea- more than a score of men to supply and feed its son, it is usual for observing vessels to remain shell and its four bags of powder. Each of these some distance away, unless they are to the left men has a particular part of the job to do, and, of the firing vessel.
like a foot-ball player, has learned to do it just at It seems scarcely credible that the flight of a the right moment and in the shortest possible twelve-inch shell moving 2800 feet a second can time. Strength is required as well as skill, for be followed with the eye, yet it can be so traced one load weighs over half a ton, and must be if a position is chosen well in the line of fire. A raised from the handling room to the turret, a position to the rear is doubtless more popular, height of forty or fifty feet. but the observers of the test of the dynamite guns During the same period that the ammunition of the old Vesuvius had such faith in the limit and gun crews are handling and loading the powof its reach, that many of them faced the shell der and shell, the pointers and trainers are "getas it was fired. A twelve-inch shell in flight can ting on" the target. This seems almost a superalso be seen at times from one side, when a human task; for the ship, by rolling and pitch"geyser" from another shot happens to form a ing, and steaming ahead at the same time, is background at the appropriate instant.
given a peculiar zigzag or "corkscrew" motion, Many things are happening during the eleven and the target has also had time, while the shell seconds that the shell is in Aight. So perfectly is in flight, to move 100 feet and change its posihave the ammunition parties and the gun crews tion vertically ten feet with one wave, and start been drilled that the heavy twelve-inch gun is in the opposite direction on the next. Reference
almost ready to fire again before its former shell to the skill of these men means "skill" in its · has landed; and some of the crack crews of the broadest sense.
seven-inch guns, which can be loaded more rap- Target-practice, like everything else in this era idly, actually had two shells in flight at the same of progress, has been a development. Many problems had to be solved and all sorts of ob- near the target would note the splashes and calcustacles overcome by long experience, before four late how many shots would have been "hits" had immense crewless and rudderless target hulks the targets been 25 feet by 100 feet. Actual could be successfully operated at a speed which holes in this target were not looked for. would faithfully represent cruising vessels.
On a recent practice, an old boatswain on the It has been but a few years since the target Michigan, who had served on the Kentucky, told consisted of a stationary piece of triangular can- me how, at her early practices, the latter vessel vas, ten feet high, stretched between two masts, had used an island for a target. The island was and intended only as an aiming point. Observers inhabited by gulls. If the shot struck anywhere on the island, the gulls would fly up. If they key is pressed, a gun is always actually fired. were seen to rise, the shot was counted a "hit." The crack of a rifle is heard, however, instead of
Since that time our gunners have made marvelous strides. As fast as they advanced in skill, new conditions were prescribed and the distances increased. The best thought throughout the service has been put on the subject. Training has been incessant, and the most advanced methods have been introduced to attain accurate aim and rapidity of fire.
Actual conditions are imitated, as far as practicable, to prevent false training even in the drill practice. The "dummy" ammunition is made just the proper shape and weight. One end of the powder bag is even painted red to accustom the teams to keep the ignition powder, or fast-burning end of the bag, next to the primer, though both kinds of powder used at drill practice are actually represented by a harmless bag of beans. The pointers and trainers are drilled even in
From photograph by Brown. port with actual firing. The miniature target is ingeniously rigged on a spar a few feet away, to move with the gun, and presents itself whichever the roar of its big brother. Effective prelimiway the gun is trained. The firing is done with nary training is thus secured and a great saving a rifle which shoots a ball the size of a pea. This effected, for the ammunition to fire a twelve-inch rifle is rigged sometimes inside and sometimes gun costs $360, and the gun generally requires
outside the bore of the large gun, yet always ar- reboring after about 100 shots. The ammunition ranged to move and point with it. Thus when of the new fourteen-inch guns for the New York the pointers and trainers are "on" and the firing and Texas, now building, will cost $750 per shot. The victory at Santiago was complete, and a changed as to its fundamentals since men began to fight on grateful country will never minimize the work land or sea. The purpose is, with a stronger force, to
overwhelm the weaker opposing fleet; to strike first, hardest, and quickest. It was Goliath's idea to pick off the Israelites one by one, and a modern pugilist could defeat a hundred men if they charged him singly, and he could down the first before a second came up:
: . A battle-ship steaming as fast as any rivals, bringing more guns into action than any rival, hitting an enemy at seven miles, could destroy the whole of an opposing fleet one by one,
as the pugilist would take the lighter weights one by one. But the horsetrotting, fire-fighting, American stop-watch practice is also in the Navy, and it was realized that if these big guns could be fired four times as fast, it would be very nearly the same as liaving four times as many guns, or four times as many dreadnoughts; and also that if the skill of aim could be increased fourfold, if four shots would reach the target as compared with one in the older
From photograph by H. R. Jackson.
THE RECORD OF TWENTY SHOTS, TWENTY HITS IN
of the men who fought and won that famous and effective sea-fight. At that battle, however, the efficiency of our gunners was only from two to four per cent. of the shots fired. We cannot but feel gratified, therefore, to know that the efficiency of our marksmen has increased over a thousand per cent. since that time.
Percentages for battle practice are not made public. In elementary practice the men are allowed prize-money. This will average about $10 per man, but has run up as high as $125 in an individual case. Prize-money is not allowed for battle practice. The trophy which the successful individual can win is a small pennant, intrinsically worth about five cents. Yet the honor of possessing this bit of cloth is such that an enormous interest is manifested by the men. They have been quick to appreciate the difference between winning a game-a contest—and winning out in actual test under battle conditions.
Mr. Harrington Emerson, writing in “The Engineering Magazine” on another subject, recently paid a great compliment to the American Navy in the following words:
From photograph, copyright, by Enrique Muller. Probably the most marvelous and valuable example of standardized operations anywhere in the world is on our practice, one modern Arkansas or Wyoming, with twelve American fleets in battle practice. The art of war has not twelve-inch guns firing four times as fast and bitting four