« ZurückWeiter »
ships of the line, during an action, should he limited to that which is barely sufficient to keep the ship under the guidance of the helm. Great steam-power occasions great and rapid movements, which are extremely unfavourable to good gunnery; indeed, when engaged in close action with an enemy who is willing to fight, the ship should have as little motion as possible.
This steadiness is particularly necessary in receiving an attack from an enemy, on the beam, because his approach is, in that case, directly upon the broadside batteries of the ships attacked, and he is exposed to a fire so much the mo) destructive, as it is delivered from ships which are nearly at rest.
93. It does not follow that engines capable of putting forth great power, should be worked at high pressure, in ordinary evolutions. If the steam be cut off at any part of the stroke, so that that which has entered the cylinder may act expansively, the fuel is economized without any great loss of power. (See Arts. 8-l0.) Even with the utmost economy in the consumption of fuel, screw steam-ships cannot in general, from a want of stowage-room for coals, continue more than a few days steaming either at full speed or expansively." Exhaustion of fuel on the eve of a battle, or during a protracted action, is a contingency which must at all events be effectually guarded against.
94. Strategical combinations have not hitherto entered into the system of naval operations with sailing fleets, but are absolutely necessary with fleets of steamers. Sailing ships carry with them all the provisions and other supplies, by which they are enabled to keep the sea, and prosecute their service for periods of considerable duration; but steam-ships, being dependent upon supplies of fuel, which must be, at short intervals, constantly conveyed to the fleet from the ports where the depots of coal have been formed, require the organization of a system of steam-transport, analogous to that which is established for keeping open the lines of communication between an army in the field and its base of operations.
a The average numbers of days steaming at full power, for which vessels of the under-mentioned classes can stow coal, are—
For ships of the l2l guns class 8 days.
90 guns, of the ' Renown' class
„ „ 5l guns, of the 'Imperieuse' class..
„ „ '62 guns, of the ' Diadem' class The French type ship, the 'Napoleon,' has stowage sufficient for ten days' consumption at full speed, lC£ knots per hour.
But, however effectually this measure may provide for the evolutions of fleets under steam during an action, the want of an adequate supply of fuel renders it impossible that the strategical operations of fleets can be performed by steam alone; and, on this account, it has been found necessary to provide steam-ships with full sailing, as well as with full steaming power.
95. The speed of the line-of-battle steamers serving in the same fleet should be as nearly as possible uniform ;a if there are some ships in which the power of motion is greater than in others, they should be posted to the reserve, and employed to carry succour promptly wherever it may be required. The steam frigates and sloops attached to the fleet should be capable of exerting considerably more speed than the ships of the line, in order to enable them to be to the fleet what cavalry and horse-artillery are to an army.
* Horse-power, Force, Dimensions, And Displacement Of Ships Of The Line, Screw-Propelled.
Length between Perpendiculars.
Royal Sovereign ..
l30 l30 l30 l0l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 9l 80 80 80 80 80 80 60 60
232 245 24l 205 238 245 245 245 425 245 208 2l9 230 204 2l8 2l7 l99 l90 l90 l90 l90 l90 l84 l8l
60-83 60-37 60-00 54-50 55-75 55-75 55-33 55-75 55-75 55-75 56-00 60-00 55-42 60-33 60-00 58-l0 55-00 57-00 56-75 56 75 56.75 56 75 47-66 47-66
5572 6l00 5680 48l4
The speed of the 'Renown' is about 12 knots per hour, but there is a great inequality of speed in the line-of-battle steamers of the British navy.
If the steam-power of the several ships of the line forming a screw-fleet be not uniform, the speed of the whole fleet must be reduced to that of its slowest ship." The serious inconvenience arising from an inequality of speed in the ships of a sailing fleet was felt by Lord Duncan in approaching the Dutch fleet off Camperdown, when a considerable time was lost in the attempt to close up and re-form the order of battle; the admiral being obliged to signal his good sailing ships to shorten sail, in order to enable the others to take their stations in line. There not being time to do this correctly, the British fleet was in a very disunited state at the commencement of the action. (James's 'Naval History,' vol. ii. p. 269.)
The fleet which, in anticipating the manoeuvres of the enemy, or in manoeuvring itself to get into action (perhaps on a flank of its opponent), can put forth the greatest steam-power, possesses a decided advantage over the other, for which no tactical skill on the part of its commander can compensate.b In the formation of the steam navy of Great Britain this subject, which is one of the utmost importance, has not, apparently, been duly considered; and there is reason to believe that the general speed of a large fleet of French steamers is superior to that of a British fleet consisting of an equal number of ships. We have the testimony of Admiral De la Graviere to the importance which the French naval officers attach to superior swiftness in sailing ships and steamers, in the subjoined quotation from his work, entitled ' Guerres Maritimes.'*
■ It appears from the preceding Table that great discrepancies exist in the amounts of horse-power exerted by the engines compared with the gunnery force and the displacements of the ships; and it is evident that, if these ships were combined in one fleet, the more powerful steamers would be retarded in their progress by the necessity of keeping in company with the others: hence the whole fleet would be deficient in that most important quality—celerity of movement.
b "La rapidite" d'un batiment a helice dtant un des principaux e'le'ments de sa puissance militaire, tous les fourneaux sont allum& en presence de l'ennemi, et les feux prints a etre pouss^s au premier signal ou au moment favorable."— Ministers de la Marine et des Colonies:—' Instructions Officielles sur la Tactique Navale,' Art. II., p. 49.
96. The operation of changing the direction of the front, by a movement on the centre, is highly objectionable with a fleet of steamers; since, in throwing back a wing, the movement must be effected either by backing the steamers or by reversing (countermarching) them. The first of these methods is inexpedient, whilst the other is extremely difficult to perform in good order, and is likely to produce confusion, of which an intelligent enemy will not fail to take advantage. It follows that the measure of placing the slowestgoing ships in the centre of the line, and the fastest on the flanks, on the ground that the flank ships have the greatest distances to pass over, is not to be recommended. A change of direction should be made by wheeling on a flank ship as a moving pivot.
97. All tactical evolutions of fleets consisting wholly of steamers, or of these in combination with ships provided both with steam and sails, should be made under steam exclusively; since the employment of steam propulsion in some only of the ships would necessarily subject the whole to all the limitations imposed by the wind. The tactics of steam-fleets constitute a new art which is capable of producing great effects; but if these are combined with the tactics of sailing fleets, the peculiar advantages of steam propulsion will be wholly, or in a great measure, neutralized.
a "La marche du navire, ne l'oublions pas, est la condition essentielle pour une marine exposee a trouver toujours l'ennemi en nombre.
"La vitesse du navire e'tant admise comme un des gages les plus certains de succes, tout navire a voiles ou a vapeur, qu'il en fut a son debut ou a son vingtieme armement, devrait, en sortant du port, Stre appcle a faire ses preuves de vitesse devant une commission qui put le comparer a un batiment de la flotte dont les qualite's seraient incontestables."—De La Gbaviebe, 'Guerres Maritimes,' torn. ii. pp. 278, 279.
98. The vitality of a screw steam-ship with its sails furled, will depend entirely upon the unimpaired efficiency of its machinery; but the liability of a screw to be broken or fouled, by spars, ropes, or other materials, is a very serious contingency, which in a battle is very likely to occur (see Art. 75). The deeds to be accomplished by colossal fleets will depend upon the efficiency of the screw, just as the success of the bombardment of a fortress depends upon the fuzes of shells duly performing their office; and the failure of a screw may defeat the execution of a great naval operation, should such an accident happen to any of the ships of a steam-fleet, when keeping a course upon which the sails cannot act; for unless the course of the fleet be changed to that on which the sails of the ships with disabled screws can receive the impulse of the wind, these last must be captured: such a combination of the moving powers wind and steam is, however, subject to the disadvantages alluded to in the preceding article.
99. Since, for the reasons stated in Art. 93, the use of sails cannot, in steam fleets, be at present dispensed with, it will still be prudent, in steam warfare, to continue the practice of firing at the masts and rigging of an enemy's ship, before coming to close action, with a view of dismantling the rigging and of increasing the probability of disabling the screw by the falling spars and fragments of sails and ropes becoming entangled with it; after this every shot should be made to tell upon the hull.
The battle over, the fleet must, or should, pass from steaming to sailing, in order to economize fuel, which may be wholly or nearly exhausted during the action; the like expenditure of fuel may have taken place in the enemy's fleet, and this, together with the dismantling effects produced upon the rigging of his ships, will impede or prevent his escape. Both sailing and steaming power, in the same ship, must therefore