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oil. Yet without a good margin of will remain illusory and ineffectual. speed, superiority in artillery fire can- Furthermore, the writer submits not be exploited.
that the entire discussion as to the It is just here that a comparison of right or otherwise of the United States the three fleets in tonnage and gun to increase the elevation of its battlepower is likely to be misleading. In ships' guns has been stultified by the modern naval warfare the fleet possess- fact that France, also a signatory to the ing the 'speed gauge' can take the Treaty, has in the last two years raised initiative under practically any cir- the elevation of the turret guns in the cumstances.
battleships Courbet, Jean Bart, Paris, Since the average speed of the Amer- Bretagne, Lorraine and Provence from ican fleet is at least two knots eighteen degrees to twenty-three. Jaless than the Japanese and three knots pan, too, has officially announced her below that of the British, it would intention of effecting similar improvegain nothing by its slight lead in ment in the main armament of her weight of broadside fire, and would earlier capital ships. fight under a severe tactical handicap. Why, then, should the United States An increase in the elevation of its guns alone be inhibited from taking similar would mitigate this disadvantage, but steps? could not overcome the fatal draw. As regards the substitution of liquid back of poor speed.
for solid fuel, there is every reason to Taken for all in all, therefore, the believe that Japan has already made American battle-fleet is tactically in this change in two of her battleferior to the British, and considerably cruisers of the Kongo class, and is now less than two fifths superior to the preparing to convert the other two Japanese; nor is it easy to see how coal-burning ships of the class to oilthis disparity could be adjusted with fuel. out violating the ruling of the Treaty Improved protection against plungby laying down new ships of the ing gunfire, air bombs, and torpedoes capital type.
is expressly allowed for in the TreaAt the same time, there can be no ty, an addition of 3000 tons to the distwo unbiased opinions as to the right placement of each ship being permitof the United States to modernize its ted for this purpose. According to older ships by endowing them with the the statements by the English service shooting range and oil-burning facili- journals, many British battleships ties already enjoyed by corresponding have been equipped with new bulge units of the British and Japanese protection against torpedoes since 1921, navies.
the Royal Oak being the latest vessel Objections to such a course which so treated. may be raised, officially or other. Yet every suggestion that American wise, in London or Tokyo cannot be ships should be similarly fortified sustained by reference to the word against the deadliest form of undering of the treaty. As regards the spirit water attack is met by protests from of that Covenant, surely its purpose quarters where, apparently, the view was to stereotype the 5-5-3 ratio, not prevails that the ‘Limitation Treaty' only in tons and guns, but in actual was designed to keep the United States fighting power; and unless and until Navy permanently in a state of subjecthe older American ships are modern- tion, and must be rigidly interpreted ized on the lines indicated, that ratio in that sense.
fast and efficient carriers in commission
or completing, and Japan three, all of Turning from capital ships to air- which will be available by the summer plane carriers, the position from the of 1925. If a war should develop at any American viewpoint is far from reas- time during the next year or two, the suring. In this type, as in capital ships, American fleet would put to sea without tonnage parity as between the United a single efficient airplane carrier, which States and the British Empire is als means that it would operate under a lowed for by the Treaty, with a three- fatal disadvantage. fifths allotment for Japan, the respec- For this state of affairs we must tive figures being: U. S. A., 135,000 blame not the Limitation Treaty, but tons; British Empire, 135,000 tons; the legislators who have consistently Japan, 81,000 tons. At the present ignored the demands of the Navy moment, however, the American fleet Department for funds wherewith to is dependent on a single carrier of complete the two big carriers already obsolete design — the Langley, a con- authorized. It is to be hoped that no verted navy collier — which would be sudden emergency will arise to drive practically useless for war operations. home the lesson that one ship at sea Whereas the efficient airplane carrier is worth three on the stocks. should be at least six knots faster than We come now to the question of light the swiftest unit of the fleet with which cruisers, which has figured so promiit is operating, the Langley is five knots nently in recent discussions. In this slower than the slowest American class of vessel, which plays a highly battleship.
important part in modern fleet operaA big margin of speed is necessary in tions, the United States is so far behind order that the carrier, having dropped Britain and Japan that scarcely any astern to retrieve the planes she has basis for comparison exists. Fast sent out to scout or to engage enemy cruisers are essential for scouting machines, shall be able to resume ahead of the battle-fleet, screening her place in the cruising formation it from torpedo-boat and submarine without compelling the rest of the attack, leading destroyers against the fleet to slow down. But any fleet to enemy flotillas, patrolling the ocean which the Langley was attached would routes for the protection of friendly have to reduce its speed to 1412 or 15 commerce, and, if need be, for raiding knots, and, if she dropped behind to the enemy's lines of communication. fly off and recover airplanes, would Ships allocated to any one of these have to dawdle along at 8 knots until duties require to be very fast — with a she had rejoined. This leisurely rate of speed of not less than 30 knots — wellprogress would be impossible in war, armed, with good sea-keeping qualities to say nothing of the risk of submarine and a wide radius of action. As the attack, to which slow steaming ships Washington Treaty permits the conare particularly subject. Matters will struction of cruisers up to 10,000 tons, be improved when the ex-battle cruis- armed with 8-inch guns, this very ers Lexington and Saratoga, now being powerful type is coming into universal transformed into airplane carriers, are adoption. Taking cruisers less than ready for service, but unless the appro- ten years old from date of launch, inpriations are largely increased these cluding those building and authorized ships will be held up for several years. but not yet complete, we find the posi
Meanwhile the British Navy has six tion as in the following table:
UNITED STATES GREAT BRITAIN
OCEAN-GOING CRUISERS 10 ships, 7500 tons displacement, speed 33.7 knots, armed with 6-inch guns. 4 ships, 9750 tons, speed 30 knots, armed with 7.5-inch guns. 5 ships, 10,000 tons, armed with 8-inch guns. 2 ships, 7600 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 6-inch guns. 11 ships 4 ships, 7100 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 8-inch guns. 4 ships, 10,000 tons, speed 33 knots, armed with 8-inch guns. 8 ships
UNITED STATES GREAT BRITAIN
. FLEET SCOUTING CRUISERS
This gives a grand total of 44 modern United States 1. This glaring disparity cruisers for Great Britain, 25 for Japan, is, or should be, a matter of profound and only 10 for the United States. concern to the American people. It
Exception may be taken to the above means that the fleet is desperately table on the ground that it lists the ten short of units which have a tactical American cruisers as 'ocean-going,' and strategical value second only to whereas they are officially designated that of the dreadnought. It is impossi. 'scouts.' On the other hand, their ble to visualize a naval campaign in displacement of 7500 tons entitles them which this dearth of cruising ships to be placed in the former category, would not impose an almost crippling and the prolonged 'shake-down'cruises handicap on the American fleet. In which several of them have undertaken Nelson's day the cry of the admirals in the past twelve months have fully was always for more frigates,' which demonstrated their ocean-going quali- corresponded to the modern light ties. For all practical purposes we may cruiser. More than a century later the safely rate a cruiser of 7000 tons as an Allied sea commanders were calling oceanic ship.
incessantly for additional cruisers, and As a matter of fact, ships of much in spite of intensive building the demand smaller displacement are able to make was never adequately met. Yet, thanks deep-sea voyages of long duration. to public apathy and the short-sighted The British light cruisers now steaming policy of Congress, the United States around the world with the Special Navy is left to-day with only ten Service Squadron are of less than 6000 cruisers, or barely one fifth of its proper tons in displacement, and the Japanese complement. ‘Kuma' class, of 5500 tons, have a In the event of war, heavy penalties steaming range of 11,000 nautical would be exacted for this neglect. miles. Nor should it be forgotten that Little or nothing could be done to the German cruiser Emden, the most check the activity of hostile commerce successful commerce-raider of the raiders. The value of American propWorld War, was a puny craft of no erty destroyed in one month would more than 3650 tons.
probably exceed the cost of a whole The present ratio of cruiser strength squadron of new cruisers, which, had for the three leading Powers is approxi- they been completed betimes, might mately: Great Britain 5, Japan 2.5, have kept the sea routes safe from
attack. Many people seem to think ease a situation which all American that the deficiency in cruisers, as in naval students view with the deepest other naval types, could be made good misgiving. after the outbreak of war by rapid Great play is made in Congress, and construction. This is a delusion. To equally by foreign naval critics, with build and equip a cruiser of the modern the fact that the United States possesses class in twelve months would be nearly three hundred destroyers of
a remarkable achievement, and the fairly modern construction, thus giving · writer has good reason to doubt whether it a definite superiority over all other
that the United States Navy can be It must be remembered, however, that adequately reinforced subsequent to the the majority of these boats are laid up outbreak of war are living in a fool's at various navy yards, where, in spite paradise. Meanwhile it is an open of every care, they are probably secret that the lack of cruisers is gravely deteriorating in structure, machinery, impeding the preparation of defensive and equipment. Moreover, they are war plans by those who would be outclassed in size and armament by responsible for controlling Navy opera- the newest British and Japanese detions in a time of national crisis. stroyers, which embody war lessons to
The outlook, bad enough before, has a greater degree than the American changed for the worse since Japan em- 'fush-deckers.' The American Navy barked on the construction of heavily- does not as yet possess a single flotillaarmed cruisers. Four of these ships – leader, or super-destroyer, though the Kako, Furutaka, Kinugasa, Aoba — General Board regards such craft as now building, will each mount a indispensable and other navies have battery of six 8-inch guns, according to built them by the dozen. Our numerian Admiralty statement to the British cal lead in destroyers is admittedly an House of Commons on April 16. Two advantage, but it is a trump card of too larger vessels, Nachi and Myoko, also small a denomination to win any building, will carry eight 8-inch guns important trick in the game of naval apiece, and two further ships of the strategy. same type are to be laid down next
IV year. An artillery duel between one of these ships and an American scout of Owing to its persistent misuse by the Omaha series would almost in- Germany in the late war, the subevitably result in the defeat of the marine has lost caste in the eyes of the latter, judging from recent war ex- American public. It has been vilified perience; for the 8-inch gun, with its — not always by disinterested foreign 250-pound shell, can far outrange the critics — as a murderous weapon which lighter 6-inch piece, whose projectile no decent seaman should handle. This weighs only 105 pounds. In the writer's is sheer camouflage. Irrespective of its judgment, reached after an exhaustive employment as an assassin of women, survey of all available data, a pro- children, and other noncombatants, gramme of fifteen 10,000-ton ships, all the submarine performed legitimate to be completed by the end of 1927, is service of incalculable value during the the absolute minimum required. The world conflict. To none of the belligbuilding of these ships would not bring erents was it more useful than to Great the Navy up to its treaty strength in Britain. The famous 'Bight Patrol,' cruising types, but it would tend to which enabled the British commander
baš, morelerse coastaj had
in-chief to maintain close touch, day volved oversea cruising operations. It in day out, with the movements of is worthy of note that nearly all subthe German fleet, was maintained en- marines of corresponding size and tirely by submarines. So valuable was power in the British Navy have already their reconnaissance work that orders been scrapped. In the 'sea-going' class were actually issued forbidding them we have 50 boats designated by the to attack German warships observed to letter 'S.' They, also, were designed be coming out of the Heligoland Bight. during the World War, before its In fact, it is as a fleet scout and an technical lessons could be fully digested. ocean patrol, not as a torpedoer of They average 900 tons in displacement, merchant ships, that the long-range their best surface speed is 15 knots, and submarine is now prized so highly by the class as a whole has been unfortunaval strategists.
nate in respect of machinery trouble. Modern submarines fall under two Nevertheless, these 50 boats form the heads: sea-going and ocean-going. The backbone of the American submarine former may have a displacement of service, and upon them would fall the anything from 600 to 1000 tons, and a brunt of all wartime underseas work cruising radius of as much as 12,000 which had to be performed outside nautical miles. In practice, however, coastal waters. In the 'ocean-going' their range is circumscribed by the class we have only the three 1106health of the crew, which suffers if ton boats of the 'T' class, completed the boat remains at sea more than a in 1920, and which, when last heard few weeks. Narrow, badly ventilated of, were tied up at Hampton Roads berthing accommodation and restricted owing to defective machinery. Three deck space for exercise soon tell on the larger boats, V-1 to V-3, of 2025 tons, physical and mental fitness of the are under construction. This analysis personnel. For this reason, the so- reduces our sea- and ocean-going subcalled sea-going submarine would be marine force to 56 units, built and of problematical value in an oceanic building. The British Navy indulged campaign where the belligerents were in such ruthless scrapping after the war separated from each other by a dis- that it now contains only 68 subtance of several thousand miles. marines. Nine of these are large ocean
According to the latest returns, the going boats, 31 are sea-going craft of a United States Navy contains 126 very efficient model, and the balance submarines, built and building. This consists of small coastal boats. Comseems a formidable total when com- pared with Great Britain we are fairly pared with Great Britain's 68 and well off as regards submarines, though Japan's 77. But when the American that country is believed to meditate a figure is examined more closely, it is big programme of new construction found to convey an erroneous impres when the experimental types, such as sion. In the first place, no less than 70 X.1 and 0.1, now building, have been boats are of a pre-war model which tried out. later developments have rendered Japan was the first Power to apply practically obsolete, and of these 70 herself energetically to the developall displace less than 600 tons. They ment of the submarine as soon as the are, therefore, 'coastal boats,' useful world war was over. Since the armisenough for such short-range work as tice she has despatched several expert harbor defense, but of exceedingly missions to Europe to study the latest limited value for any duty which in- improvements in the design, machin