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from the muzzle of the gun fired, might fly back and ignite the cartridge as it was being placed in the other gun, which he considers all but impossible, the distance which they would have to pass through being 12'6”, moreover the guns of the “Royal Sovereign” were fired more than a thousand times without any such risk having been perceived. As regards the working and rapidity with which the 600 pounders may be worked and fired in a sea-way in the turret-ship, we have Captain Coles' assertion that he will apply such an apparatus that they may be worked as easily as those of the vessel above-mentioned, and with a crew properly trained he will guarantee that they shall fire one shot a minute. It was said that error would be caused in taking aiın by the captain having to give directions to a subordinate, who would have to make a calculation in order to direct the piece according to the orders given him. There can be no doubt that it would be an advantage, when in action, that no calculation at all should be requisite, nor any orders, except the order to fire; in fact we can hardly think that any verbal orders could be heard when such huge ordnance was being fired incessantly. We should suppose, therefore, that it would be well to adopt the invention of Captain Singer, which places it in the power of the captain of the turret to direct the amount of elevation to be given to the gun without any intervention; and we have no doubt that even if this intervention shonld be found on trial, not to be so efficient as it is supposed it would be, a person so ingenious as Captain Coles has proved himself to be, would be able to invent one that would effect the required object, especially as it does not appear to vs very difficult of accomplishment; indeed all these minor matters would soon be settled, if the command of the vessel was entrusted to a captain determined to make the most of its offensive powers. A more serious consideration is the manner in which the ship could be worked under sail when in action without danger to the crew, from the continuous firing of guns from the turret. Supposing the necessity for working the ropes on deck to exist, it certainly does appear that the crew would incur some risks from which a vessel carrying her guns on the broadside principle would be exempt; and on this point, we will quote Captain Coles. He says: “I propose, instead of working the ropes on the upper deck, to lead them, when in action, down below, either through or alongside the hollow masts and legs, so that if it were necessary to manæuvre the ship under sail, the captain of the ship, by means of his voire tubes, could give the necessary directions to the men below, when the yards could be braced round and the ship manæuvred without a man being visible to the deadly aim of the present arins of precision. For instance, the preventer main braces would be led down forward as is usual in many ships, the lower and topsil braces aft, &c.; and, if necessary on going into action, the cabin bulkhead, between decks, could be triced up, or unshipped, as was done in our old line of battle ships, giving a clear deck for working the ropes below." The objection that the men might be washed overboard in consequence of the lowness of the bulwarks when driven against a hard sea, he meets by saying, that he would require no men on deck under such circumstances, but he says even then I should have the topgallant-forecastle, and the standing bulwarks aft, top of turret, and platform round the funnel; besides bridge ropes, which should always be kept rove round the ship through the standing stanchions.
The objection with respect to the limited amount of defensive powers against a sudden attack from boats or boarders appears to us a more serious one than Captain Coles regards it. It is not sufficient to say that the defensive powers of the turret ship would be equal to those of the “Pallas," the question is what are its powers of resistance to such an attack, in comparison with those of a vessel armed on the broadside. Supposing the power of resistance to rest entirely on the fire froin the turret guos, it is manifest that for a considerable distance round the ship, there would be a space within which boats could act without any risk beyond those to which the crews would be exposed from the fire of the riflemen; so that the inotive power of the ship being disabled, it would have no choice but between surrender and being sunk by means of torpedoes ; for after the success with which these have lately been used, there can be no doubt they will be resorted to in future on every occasion when they can be made available. The mere inention of these latter suggests that attempts to board are not likely to be made when the risk is great, as it would evidently be so much easier to sink such a ship than to capture it. If by its limited defensive powers be meant the capacity of resistance to the enemy after they had taken possession of the deck, it does not require much argument to prove that in this respect it is stronger than the broadside vessels, as it is presumable that in such an emergency grape or canister would be resorted to instead of firing 600 pound shot : moreover, there are other missiles which every commander would employ to resist such assailants which could be used with effect from a turret, which is in itself a species of fortification, but which would not be available in any other vessel except, perhaps, the “Pallas," or a similarly constructed vessel. Here the question suggests itself, whether for these vessels sinall guns might not be placed for the special purpose of resisting boat attacks and for no other, and we would call Captain Coles' attention to this suggestion as it seems to us one that merits his attention.
Tie liability of the turret ship to be attacked on both sides simultaneously is of course not greater than an ordinary ship, but its power of resistance under such a contingency as compared with a broadside vessel was questioned by the committee. The reply the inventor gives to this is, that "if I were fighting her, I should work the turret guns alternately on each broadside, reloading whilst revolving the turret. For instance, suppose I fired one 600
U.S. Mag. No. 446, Jan. 1866.
pounder to starboard, I should immediately revolve, an operation which takes thirty seconds, and fire the other 600-pounder to port; in the meantime the other 600-pounder would be loading, and when ready, the turret again be in a position for firing starboard, and so on; so that it must be seen I should only lose thirty seconds on the second gun fired : after which I should be firing one 600-pounder alternately on each side, just, as quickly as though the ship was fitted with one 600-pounder in each broadside. . or I could fire both guns simultaneously from each side alternately, representing two 600-pounder guns from each side. Of course a greater time would elapse between the discharge of each broadside, but what could stand a siinultaneous shot from two 600 pounders ?” This last question is precisely what remains to be ascertained, but a more important one for Captain Coles' consideration is what would be the effect of such a discharge on his turret. With the spectacle of the “Agincourt" target after it had been exposed to the Mackay gun fresh in our recollection, we cannot help feeling misgivings as to the effect which such a discharge would have on the turret, if the thickness of its sides are limited to that proposed by him in the design, nainely, “a plating of five and a half inches of iron all round, with twenty inches backing, one inch inner skin, and ten inch iron frames, even though “the front of the turret in the vicinity of the ports has an extra thickness of four and a half inches iron.” To us, it seems that it would be well to build no turret of a less thickness than ten inches of iron, seeing that it represents the entire force of the vessel.
It is a matter of the greatest importance that in the vessels we are now building for the navy, the accommodation for the crew should be such as not to prevent men froin serving in them willingly. The objection raised by the committee therefore on this point is deserving of serious consideration; it is thus stated :-“ It is questionable whether the upper deck is of sufficient height above the water to render the ship a good sea-boat, and afford adequate protection for the health and comfort of the crew, when the ship was making a passage and going against a head sea, trade wind, inonsoon, or strong periodical winds, met with in all parts of the world, and which vessels are liable to encounter when making an ordinary passage.” The minimum of height of the deck prescribed by the Admiralty with respect to a previous design was perfect if the ship was one hundred and twenty feet in length, and an additional foot for every thirty feet additional length. In the present design Captain Coles considerably exceeds this minimum. The length proposed is 228 feet, but the height at the side is ten feet, and rises towards the centre, the height above water of the topgallant forecastle is seventeen feet six inches.
The committee pointed out that the uptake of the boilers is not so well protected as is usual in armour-plated ships of war, and the danger of a shot passing over the armour belt, and through the deck into the boilers, or possibly through the ship’s bottoin on the opposite side, which they said would be the case if the ship were struck when rolling ten degrees towards the enemy.
The weakness of the turret-ship of his designing, as compared with large iron-clads, is not denied by Captain Coles, but he asserts that the Pallas is far more unprotected than his vessel. Here again we cannot help expressing our regret that he should have thought so much of surpassing this vessel, instead of confining, or at any rate giving his attention chiefly to supplying a design for the strongest vessel that could be built on his principle. It is evident that the Committee regarded the design from this point of view, and grounded their objections, not on its superiority or inferiority to a particular vessel, but to the principle of turret-ships as compared with those built in the ordinary way,
As to the danger attending the rolling of the ship, no doubt the chances of a shot reaching the boiler are few; but they must of course be assumed as probabilities, and guarded against accordingly so far as circumstances will adinit; risks must of course be incurred in warfare ; but the designer of a new kind of vessel, if he wishes his plans to be adopted, must prove that the vessel he has designed is not inferior in any respect to those built on the old principle, or that inferiority in one respect is more than counterbalanced by superiority in others. It is therefore a satisfaction to know that one objection can be reduced to very small proportions by lowering the boilers, and that the other risks mentioned are to a great extent obviated by obstructions which do not seem to have been perceived by the Committee.
Upon the objections touching the thickness of the armour-plates, and the comparatively unprotected state of her bow we need not enter, those are matters which apply equally to iron-clads in general, and so long as the turret-ship is not incapacitated from increasing the thickness of its plating by reason of the principle, it is a mere question of advantages and disadvantages, as in the case of the Warrior and similar vessels. Passing over some theoretical objections, we come to the question of the tripod masts patented by Captain Coles. He asserts that these are incomparably stronger than those of the old forin, and as they must be a novelty to most of our readers, we give his answer to the doubt whether under the system of tripod masts there is sufficient elasticity in the legs of the tripod to withstand the working of the vessel, they being fixtures at both ends. He says, “In a strong ironframed ship, such as iron-clads, there can be little or no working, and that the same amount of working or elasticity that would be due to the iron ship would also be due to the iron masts. The principle of these masts is, that they should be as nearly rigid as it is possible to make tubular structures, and the three tubes of the tripod masts would always exert a combined support to each other, one part being in compression while the other is in tension. I find that these masts, taking weight for weight with ordinary iron ones and rigging, will be incomparably stronger. The tripod legs should pass through one or more decks, making themselves self-supporting; one or two light shrouds may be added on each side, if preferred, to act as Jacob's ladders for the men to go aloft."
Having now stated the principal objections raised by men most competent to judge of the matter in general, with Captain Coles' replies thereto, we will leave the further consideration of the matter until next month, by which time we shall probably have better opportunities of forming an opinion from experiments that we may expect will be made in the meantime,
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE CHINESE REBELLION.
In the Revue des Deux Mondes of April, 1863, appeared an article entitled La Chine depuis le Traité de Pékin, purporting to give a detailed account of the operations against the Taiping rebels in the neighbourhood of Shanghai, undertaken in the year 1862 by the French and English in conjunction. It is perhaps no more than was to have been expected from the well-known readiness of our brave allies to appropriate to themselves all credit and glory arising from military operations in which they have borne a part, that, although the same article (page 881) tells us that the French troops engaged in the first capture of Kiating (or Kahding, as it is locally called,) amounted to 1,000 with ten guns, while the English had 2,400 with eighteen, besides Ward's Chinese force of 1,000 (page 869), we find the entire "glory" of the campaign attributed (if not expressly, at least by implication and the tone and spirit of the article), to our active neighbours. No one could object to a little natural amplification or poetic colouring of the unquestionably brave and energetic deeds of the French Admiral Protet, a man of vigour and ability, devoted to his country and profession, who deserved a nobler death than to perish, even though au champ d'honneur, by the bullet of a Chinese marauder; yet perhaps Sir James Hope and Sir Charles Staveley may have an idea that they had something to do with the matter besides concurring in the opinions" of the French chief, and may not have quite understood that (page 89) “Il semblait que, depuis la mort de l'amiral Protet, l'âme de la campagne se fût comme envolée." Still there is little reason to quarrel with this self-exaltation on the part of our old rivals. There is no disposition on the part of the present writer to deny the bigh professional qualities of their military chiefs or officers in general, and it cannot be questioned that having but slight interests in China, and a devouring thirst