Engineering Wonders of the World
Volume I

Forfatter: Archibald Williams

År: 1945

Serie: Engineering Wonders of the World

Forlag: Thomas Nelson and Sons

Sted: London, Edinburgh, Dublin and New York

Sider: 456

UDK: 600 eng - gl.

Volume I with 520 Illustrations, Maps and Diagrams

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456 ENGINEERING WONDERS OF THE WORLD. immediate development would be a ship of 25,000 tons, 23 knots speed, and carrying ten 13'5-inch guns. From this we shall reach by easy steps an immense funnel-less floating fort, steaming 35 or more knots, fitted with internal- combustion engines, mounting eight or ten 16’25-inch guns, heavily armoured, and with all steering and range-finding arrangements fitted below deck. This foreshadows the future “ capital ” ship as deduced from past evolu- tion. Of smaller ships it is more difficult to speak. The modern desire is not to multiply types beyond necessity, and whilst the armoured cruiser and battleship tend to amalgamate, the sqout and large destroyer are similarly losing their identity in a single class. Speed will govern advance in all smaller craft, submarine or otherwise, but on the development of the former great hopes are based, and we may well see a submersible vessel of several thousand tons, a heavily-armoured deck, a speed of 30 knots, and an armament of twenty or more torpedo tubes. The fast motor vedette will replace the obsolescent steam torpedo boat of 100 tons and under, and, thanks to its speed and immunity from “ sparking ” at night, might conceivably be of great service in coast defence work. We are only on the fringe of high speeds, and may safely look for ships of 50 or 60 knots in the not distant future. The place of the torpedo remains in some doubt, but designs for a 30-knot torpedo cruiser (a glorified destroyer, in fact) of 15,400 tons, and armed with thirty tubes and two dozen small quick-firers, have been completed for the French Navy : it is doubtful, however, if it will mature. The protected cruiser is dead or dying—the fate of the armoured cruiser hangs in the balance ; in the opinion of many people this type has seen its day. Four types, then, would seem to be likely developments of mod- ern ideas and opinions. (1.) The capital ship, with huge displacement, complete armoured protection, the highest possible speed com- patible with these two essentials, and a uni- form armament of the largest guns. (2.) Tho scout, of moderate to large displacement (when the battleship is 55,000 tons or more, 10,000 to 15,000 tons will not be immense !), moderate protection, very high speed, and an armament of light guns. This type will em- brace the destroyer. (3.) The submarine, of comparatively small tonnage, the highest sur- face speed possible, a large torpedo armament, and, perhaps, a few guns, on disappearing mountings, for surface work. (4.) Motor vedette boats, as small as circumstances per- mit, very speedy, and carrying one or two torpedoes. • ' Two facts not generally recognized are worthy of mention. One is that, as types evolve and increase in size and speed, the cost of ship- building per ton advances enormously ; the second that, although the British ton cost follows the general upward trend, the ratio of difference in regard to British shipbuilding remains consistently cheaper. The obvious lesson suggested is that if we courageously make up our minds to buy a position of per- manence as leading naval Power, we shall be able so to do. No nation, to whom it is a national necessity to maintain vast land forces in addition to a fleet, could long stand the strain of a contest waged along these lines. As warships increase in size and cost, so will they, in like ratio, decrease in number. Thus the great expensive ship-of-war will draw a definite line of demarcation between the first- class naval Powers and the rest, proving conclusively that with the navy of big ships lies the victory of the future. END OF VOLUME I.