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of a very different tenor was made by the gentleman to whom in the new Parliament will fall the duty of introducing the Navy estimates. Mr. Arnold Forster said:
If in the matter of submarine boats the First Lord of the Admiralty had said that in the opinion of the engineering advisers of the Admiralty to design and work a submarine boat was so remote of accomplishment that there was no reasonable probability of being able to create it, he would have been slow to contradict him ; but that was not the line taken by him. The First Lord said that the Admiralty had not designed a submarine boat, and did not propose to design one, because such a boat would be the weapon of an inferior Power. But if it could be produced as a working article, the Power which possessed such an article would no longer be an inferior, but a superior power. We above all nations were exposed to the attacks of this engine. He submitted that it was not a satisfactory thing to stand by and allow others to carry out this problem without making some attempt to solve it for ourselves. He admitted the tendency of the Admiralty to follow and not to lead other great nations. He hoped that one of these days we should not follow just a little too late. If we had been compelled to learn our lesson with regard to ironclads, breechloaders, and armoured cruisers in the face of an active enemy, we should have experienced the same lesson which the Austrian army underwent in 1866 when they were compelled to learn the merits of the breechloader by studying it on the field of battle. There was room for improvement in the attitude we had taken up in regard to submarine navigation.
During the short session of December the Admiralty was again questioned, and the reply was that the attention of the Admiralty had been called to the additional provision for submarine boats in the French naval programme, and a statement will be made when the estimates are laid before the House.'
The result, then, is that we are still in the position in which we were left by Mr. Goschen's last statement. We have to conclude that no experiments have been or will be made, and we are still without the explanations which many of us regard as too long. delayed. All that we know is that three months hence the First Lord's statement will contain for the first time a reference to the topic.
In the meantime we receive little additional guidance from experts qualified or accustomed to offer advice to the nation on naval affairs. The Naval Annual for 1900, published since I last wrote, still maintains the non-committal attitude of recent years. But it contains the most complete description I have seen of the French Narval, the latest of the French types. She navigates, we are told, by steam on the surface, and by electricity below water. Her dimensions are stated to be: Displacement 106 tons; length 111 feet 6 inches; extreme beam 12 feet 4 inches. In the original project the boat was to have been propelled on the surface by steam machinery of 300 I.H.P., the stoking being with compressed coal; but it was afterwards decided to supply liquid fuel, and finally an engine of 250 I.H.P. was adopted with multitubular boilers, having five injectors for stoking with heavy petroleum. This is
placed near the centre of the boat, while the electric machinery is further aft. The following are details of the speed and range of the boat: On the surface, 252 miles at a speed of 11 knots, with 23 hours' duration, or 624 miles at 8 knots, with 78 hours' duration; submerged, 25 miles at 8 knots, 72 miles at 5 knots. When navigating upon the surface, the petroleum motor will drive dynamos and recharge the accumulators, thus extending the range. She is double. The inner plating is thicker than the outer, and in the intervening space sea-water circulates freely, the object being to offer greater resistance to projectiles. The armament consists of four Whitehead torpedoes, and there are two Dszewiecki torpedo-tres on each side and towards the upper part of the boat, which launch the torpedoes in the direction of the beam. 'Owing to faults developed in the Norval,' says the Annual, 'work on the Sirène and Triton, which are of the same class, was suspended at Cherbourg, and there will be no effort to multiply vessels of this type until entirely conclusive results have been obtained from the trials of the Narval. The four boats to be built at Rochefort are said to be of a different design from that of the Narval. There is only a perfunctory reference to the American movement, and the writers in the Naval Review draw no conclusions whatsoever. It would almost appear that, as a speaker in the French Senate said the other day, 'the English do not like to speak about submarines.'
In the meantime we are acquiring additional information about French performances and proposals. The Gustave Zède was recently inspected by the Minister of Marine, and the following account of his visit is taken from the Petit Havre, as quoted in the Times of the 7th of November:
The Minister went on board from a steam launch and was accompanied by M. Cuvenet, Senator, Admiral Bienaimé, and some other officers. After they were all below, the manhole through which they had passed was closed, and the vessel was submerged. The operation took nine minutes, but it is said that it can be performed much more quickly when the boat is in movement. The submersion left visible a flag at each end and the tube of the periscope in the centre. The range of the periscope is very limited, but sufficient for a man with a practised eye who is familiar with the surroundings. The commander showed no hesitation in taking his craft out of the harbour into the open. The steam launch followed close in her wake. The submarine with her companion made the round of the warships lying in the roads. On her way she discharged one torpedo which did not go straight, but this is stated to have been the fault of the torpedo, and had nothing to do with the discharge. The boat was kept at a uniform depth throughout the run, her speed being nine knots. The Minister expressed himself satisfied with the performance.
As to French proposals, varying figures are given by various writers, but at the present moment the correct result appears to be as follows: A supplemental programme' has been, or is about to be, authorised which, we are told, appropriates a fixed sum to be expended
VOL. XLIX--No. 287
on the construction of submarines, submersibles, and torpedo-boats to be constructed within the period ending the 1st of January, 1907, but without indicating the number or the type. The original programme' had authorised an expenditure of 68,300,000 francs for the building of 112 torpedo-boats and 26 submarine boats. The latter were to be begun in the following order: 2 in 1900, 8 in 1901, 8 in 1902, and 8 in 1903. The Chamber has now voted a supplementary credit of 50 million francs, which is expected to provide for the construction of 49 torpedo-boats and 18 submarines; of the submarines, 4 are to be begun in 1901, 8 in 1904, and 6 in 1905. Provision is thus made for the building of 44 new submarine and submersible boats, all of which, it is said, ought to be completed before the end of the year 1906. In addition, therefore, to an anticipated flotilla of 300 torpedo-boats ready for service on the date mentioned, the last French programme appears to contemplate a total of 56 submarines or submersibles, of which 4 are already completed, 2 are under trials, 6 are to be completed in 1901, 2 in 1902, and 42 in the period between 1902 and 1906.1
The object of these remarkable preparations appears only too clearly in the Parliamentary debates. The Senate discussed the proposed increase of the Fleet on the 4th of December. A good deal has been heard of that sitting in this country, for it was then that General Mercier delivered a now notorious speech. But General Mercier's fantastic schemes are of little significance when compared with the calm and universal assumption that England is the enemy, and that it is only common prudence to prepare for a naval war with England. And in that war submarines are to play an important part. Nor is the public confidence in the submarine weakened by a frank recognition of its present limitations. The general sense of the French debates appears to me to be well expressed by the Reporter in the following words.
A l'heure actuelle nous sommes certes tous partisans du sous-marin; j'en suis aussi partisan que quiconque, mais il faut reconnaître qu'il est un peu trop encore le bateau de l'avenir. En attendant qu'il puisse faire disparaître tous les cuirassés il faut bien reconnaître qu'actuellement le sous-marin est une arme dont on ne peut encore être sûr, ou du moins dont on ne peut se servir que dans des circonstances spéciales. Du moment où ces armes nouvelles qui seront, je le répète, celles de l'avenir-nous n'en savons pourtant rien encore-ne sont pas les armes effectives actuelles, il n'y a qu'une chose à faire, c'est d'accepter ce que demande le conseil de la marine et d'attendre, pour substituer aux armes que vous demande la marine des engins nouveaux, que l'avenir leur ait donné la force et la valeur que certains veulent déjà leur attribuer.
Finally, according to the Paris correspondent of the Morning Leader, M. Lockroy contemplates the use of submarines as transports for the English invasion, just as Mr. Holland, in the article. referred to below, predicts that they will in a short time become the
1 Petit Parisien, the 13th of December, 1900.
2 Journal Officiel. Debate in the Senate, the 4th of December, 1900.
regular vehicle for the ordinary cross-channel traffic in time of peace. M. Lockroy's idea of invading England is neither Bonaparte's nor General Mercier's. Submarines of the Gustave Zède type,' he says, 'but of three times the tonnage of the present ones, would be the best means of transport; for it would be practically impossible, owing to the difficulty of illuminating the water under the surface, to make submarine destroyers.' But he reassures us by the observation that England would begin to fortify her coasts directly France put such submarines on the stocks.'3 Possibly Mr. Holland's prediction inspired M. Lockroy's theory, but the parallelism at any rate is curious and instructive.
Next to, or even more than, the French, the American type, as represented in the Holland, has attracted public attention in this country. The Chief Constructor of the United States Navy has recently published a valuable paper in which the history of submarine experiment and its present results are clearly set forth. In the opinion of this high authority many of the desiderata are impossible, according to the showing made by the Holland, which is undoubtedly the most advanced example. Speed equal to that of the fastest torpedo-boat, great radius of action, power of directing the course by vision against a moving object while remaining invisible below the surface, habitability for great length of time, unlimited quantities of air for power and respiration-all these, according to Admiral Hichborn, are unattainable, and will not be attained until some new way of acquiring power be discovered and until startling discoveries in chemistry be made. But his analysis of the positive and negative efficiencies of the Holland, in respect of radius of action, surface and submerged speed, control and direction in the vertical and horizontal plane, ventilation, field of vision, armament and protection, surface and submerged motive power, &c., yields a large positive quantity. Its capability for performing certain well-defined duties seems to be as well fixed by official trials as are the capabilities of other types of vessels in their trials. The securing of our coasts, so that our fleet may be free to do its legitimate offensive work, is a most important duty. Can submarines do it? I never heard a naval man of any nationality express the opinion that any battleship in the world could prevent, by her gun-fire or otherwise, the approach of a submarine of the efficiency of the Holland, although many who have not seen her are quite positive that she cannot do what she does do and has been reported as doing by a most careful board of officers.'
Admiral Hichborn writes primarily with reference to the needs of his country, and his conclusion, after examining all the conditions and allowing for less than the efficiency shown on the official trials, is that 'submarines can secure our coasts more perfectly than they can be secured in any other way at present practicable.' And he adds Morning Leader, the 25th of December, 1900.
some reflections from another point of view which may strike some of us as even more suggestive. As a designer of ships,' he says, 'the economy in leading other nations in the adoption of submarines appeals to me strongly. As soon as any particular kind of fighting craft appears in numbers sufficiently large to make the effect of that kind felt, it forces great modifications upon existing types. Whether devices can be invented whereby battleships can meet submarines, or whether they will continue to be vulnerable to offshore attacks as now, certain it is that the general appearance of submarines will force important modifications in design, and certain it is that the first country to accept the modifications will enjoy great comparative advantage in saving in her annual Budget.' 4
Less authoritative than Admiral Hichborn's paper, but of more popular interest, is an article contributed by another American writer, Mr. Kimball, to the September number of Harper's Magazine. In Mr. Kimball's opinion
The submarine has arrived. The recognition of her capabilities within her limited field of usefulness cannot be much longer delayed. France has grasped the idea of the effectiveness of the type in general, and has so far developed it that she has a dozen submarines on her naval register, and has provided for thirty-eight, all told. When she has employed them for coast defence sufficiently to make their potential felt it will be apparent that she will be able to send her whole cruising fleet against an enemy's ships, ports, or lines of communication. Other civilised nations will then be found to follow her lead, as they did in the matter of torpedoboats.
In one passage the writer appears to think that the silence of the British authorities is due to a desire to impede the development of the idea, and so to avoid the expenditure which its success would necessitate. But Mr. Kimball is clearly of opinion that we, too, must submit to the inevitable:
Great Britain was forced to meet the inexpensive torpedo-boat with the expensive torpedo-boat destroyer, and she will be forced to meet the submarine in some way not at present apparent. She accepts the truism that the best coast defence is the energetic attack of the enemy's coast, and accordingly directs her policy towards the increase of her offensive military sea-power. But she continues to provide shore fortifications and mobile sea-defences for the security of her wealth centres and strategic positions, and, as the most practicable feature for these last, she will provide submarines when other nations have brought them forward.
Still more impressive are the statements made by the inventor of the Holland itself. In a remarkable article in last month's North American Review Mr. Holland draws a short and vivid sketch of the place he anticipates for the submarine in war and in peace. With the commercial possibilities of the submarine we are not now concerned; the warlike efficiency, even at the present stage of development, is
4 The Demonstrated Success of the Submarine Boat.' By Admiral Philip Hichborn. Engineering Magazine, June 1900.