All the new cruising vessels yet designed by the Navy Department are to have the ammunition raised from the magazines to the deck by the old-fashioned shell whip hoists, and then transported along the open deck to the various guns, the crews of which are almost entirely unprotected; and this in the day when a storm of small missiles from machine gun, Hotchkiss, and rapid-fire shell guns makes life on the open deck utterly impossible, and when exposure, in combat with a protected adversary, is equivalent to death, and with it defeat and humiliation. The new offensive weapons by which the decks of warships can now be swept by storms of small percussion shell, which readily penetrate the sides of unarmored ships, imperatively demand and necessitate a change in the plan of mounting guns, and of the manner of conveying ammunition to them. It makes but little difference what the number and power of guns a ship may carry, if the crew cannot work them, or get ammunition to them; they will avail but little in a combat with a protected adversary; and protected the adversary can be, if he chooses, without increase of displacement, or abatement of speed or sea endurance.
The V Gun Shield for Cruisers
By Chief Engineer N. B. Clark, U. S. N.