Any seaman who, without knowing how Ruyter, Benbow, Hawke, Nelson, and, of our own navy, McDonough and Perry, fought their ships, could, by an examination of the types of vessel used, determine with a high degree of probability what their tactics were. What these tactics were in the main ; for, of course, commanders used the force under their command in a way differing slightly from each other. Without these differences, sea tactics would become an exact science, every possible feature and operation of which might be laid down in a closet on shore, and naval officers might dismiss the further consideration of the subject from their minds.
From about the middle of the sixteenth century to nearly the middle of the nineteenth—from about 1550 to 1850, a period of only 300 years—the principal tactical features of ships remained the same. The limits of this historical period, usually called the Period of Sails, are roughly marked by the sailing of the Invincible Armada in 1588, and the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854.
Any one skilled in the tactics of sea battles, being shown one of the vessels of this period, would say—after possibly a good deal of reflection, if the question were presented to him for the first time—those ships must fight with their beams presented to the enemy, and they must not allow him to get much before or abaft the beam, for the arc of train of their guns is very small. He would say also—as a ship is more manageable when close-hauled than when on any other point of sailing, it will probably be best for fleets to fight in close-hauled line ahead, and probably for single ships also to fight close hauled, so far as these need to lay down any rule for their guidance in battle. Our supposed tactician would thus lay down the tactical rules that these vessels would each adopt an angle of presentment of nearly 90°, and that fleets would fight in a single line ahead, the direction of the line being six points away from the direction of the wind : and it maybe noticed that the substitution of steam for sails has almost entirely relieved us from any consideration of the direction and strength of the wind, and has thus simplified the tactics of the sea—sea-tactics, which have always been so much simpler than tactics on shore, from the absence of those accidents of the ground and buildings and cover of various kinds which are found on all battle-fields, became by the introduction of steam, so far as its locus or theater is concerned, of ideal simpleness.
To get at a correct idea of the tactics of the Sail Period, we must know, besides the angle of presentment, the distance at which ships fought. And we ask our tactician to discover, without reading naval history other than the history of the material used, what the ordinary fighting range of the Sail Period was. This, if he knows the thickness of the sides of the ships of that period, and the penetration of the guns, he can approximately do by assuming that ships whose captains mean business will come so close that their guns will penetrate the sides of their antagonist. Or he may assume that a more deadly range will be taken up—that at which the fire of musketry will be effective. It may be added, in reference to this table, that the muzzle velocities are higher than they probably ruled throughout the Sail Period ; and that, therefore, the penetrations are also probably greater.
From this table, as roughly amended by such scant historical accounts as we have, and from our knowledge of the history of caliber in guns and of shipbuilding, it is fair to assume that no material harm could usually be done by ships to each other' at ranges greater than about 200 or 300 yards at the beginning of the Period of Sails, or greater than about 500 to 700 at its end. We have thus reached the conclusion, from the history of types of ships during the Sail Period, that fleets fought in a close-hauled line ahead, with the enemy right abeam, and at a distance increasing from 200 to 700 yards.
All of this seems very simple to us now, because by our reading of history we were supplied with the key to the problem in advance. And so, perhaps, in 50 or 100 years will the appropriate tactics for the ships of to-day seem. But, in order that they shall seem simple, it is necessary that the types of war-ships, which have not as yet perhaps taken the forms they are destined to keep, shall show out a little more. We have, shading down by almost imperceptible gradations, battle-ships, armored cruisers, protected, unprotected, and partially protected cruisers, ram and torpedo cruisers. And then, with no clearly drawn line to separate them from the foregoing, come the gun-boats and gun-vessels, protected, unprotected, and protected in part ; torpedo boats, torpedo avisos, torpedo catchers and hunters, sea-going and coast-defense torpedo boats, etc., in an apparently inextricable confusion.
The question which it is hoped to answer in some degree in this essay is—have any of these types tactical features which are permanently grafted on ships. If this question cannot be answered beyond all doubt, as may not improbably be the case, an important end may yet be reached by the examination of the prominent tactical features of a number of recent war-ships. Such a study may be called an inductive tactical study: it is an attempt to ascertain from the views of a number of men who have given much attention to the subject of sea-fighting, as embodied in the ships they have built or designed, whether there is a consensus of opinion upon points of vital interest to sea officers.
The attempt to build up deductively tactical science from an examination of the inherent features and qualities of the gun, ram, and torpedo ; from the actual state of ship construction, and the actual possibilities of moving and controlling ships, is another way of reaching the end desired.
The subjects which come before us in an essay on Gun Tactics are the amount, kind, and distribution of guns; and the protection afforded the ship's fighting efficiency by structural arrangement, whether of iron armor applied or what not. We are not concerned with the building of the ship's ram bow, except in so far as it affects her handiness ; nor with the cellular construction of ships, except as this controls the inflow of water through a shot-hole at the water line. Before, however, examining the guns and armor of existing ships—their powers of offense and defense, so far as the gun is concerned—it will be of advantage to examine, in such manner as is possible, the guns and armor of ships of an earlier date than our own.
Broadly speaking, the power of the offense seems to have steadily gained on the sea, as compared with the defense, from the earliest times of which we have record. This statement is borne out both by what we know of weapons of offense and defense at different times, and also by the greater duration and less fighting range of battles in former times than now. Men cannot stand more than a certain amount of punishment, and, though this amount may vary slightly from age to age, from causes depending upon differences in physical and mental condition and education, yet, in the main, short battles and long ranges show that the offense is stronger than the defense ; while the reverse is indicated by the opposite.
The sea battles fought under oars in the Mediterranean between about 500 B. C. and 1500 A. D.—between the battle of Salamis, say (480 B. C), and the battle of Lepanto (1571)—were all long contests, fought at very short range. These battles lasted the whole of one daylight, and even longer in some cases, and the fighting stage of them, as distinguished from the manoeuvring stage, occurred with the vessels nearly or quite in contact. In these battles, particularly in those between the Greeks, in the earlier part of the period, a high degree of tactical skill was displayed, and the ram was often used with telling effect ; whilst in those later on—those in which the Romans took part, and then again, after a long lapse of centuries when there was little sea fighting in the Mediterranean, at the battle of Lepanto—the fighting was almost altogether hand to hand.
It may be worth while, at this point, to inquire what effect tactical skill has upon the duration of combats. On the open sea, tactical skill consists in bringing a force into collision with the enemy in such a way as to obtain the full advantage of it, and in parrying the enemy's attempts to do the same. And it is clear that an increase of tactical skill will shorten the fighting stage of combats, whether the increase be on the side of one or both combatants. As we run our eye over the history of battles, whether on the land or sea, we recognize in all of them an epoch at which the real fighting begins—at which the fencing and sparring of the two commanders cease, and, the two forces being brought within reach of each other, the fighting of the units of the force begins. After this instant, tactical order is largely lost, and the work of the commander is over.
I venture again to wander a little from the subject immediately in hand, to point out how rarely seamen have been tacticians. This may be instructive to us, and it may contain a warning to us. The men who commanded our ships in the War of 181 2 were skillful tacticians, and had deeply studied that important branch of our profession. Nelson, De Ruyter, and Rodney were tacticians ; so were some of the French leaders of the eighteenth century ; but seamen have notoriously neglected the subject of tactics—have, indeed, often regarded it with a tinge of contempt. The men who commanded the rowing fleets of Greece and Rome, as well as those which fought at Lepanto, and many of the earlier sailing fleets of England, were soldiers, bred to land fighting. Robert Blake, one of England's greatest admirals, was trained in the army, and first went to sea at the age of about fifty.
To resume now our proper subject. As we leave the wars of the Greeks and come down to times nearer our own—to the fierce battles waged in the northern waters of Europe in the tenth and eleventh century, and to the battle of Lepanto—it may, perhaps, be true that the offense has lost a little. At Lepanto there were a number of guns carried by the galleys, and these must have given great power to the offense if properly handled ; but in the battles fought in the Middle Ages by the Norsemen, the offense was not strong. The war vessels used in these latter combats were not larger than a frigate's launch, and were doubtless more or less undecked. Also, probably, from the irregular manner of raising these fleets and from the considerable independence retained by the smaller commanders, they lacked the compactness and discipline of present national navies, and thus also lacked the power to make effective tactical combinations.
The duration of these battles was often two or three days and the fighting range extremely short. This would indicate that the offense was weak, and thus does not agree with the statement already made that the offense has gained slowly on the defense. The offense did, then, suffer a set-back in the Middle Ages ; the art of sea warfare, in common with other arts, suffered a serious check when the Grecian and Roman civilization were overthrown.
There is a truth of general application with reference to the history of the offense and defense in sea warfare which it will be of advantage to note here : it is that the defense becomes stronger as the ship becomes larger. Not, perhaps, from any settled tactical conviction that this should be the case, but because large ships require thick sides in order that they shall be as strong as smaller vessels. We often hear now of the unsinkable. impenetrable war-ship; and the British Admiralty estimated in 1886 that such a ship would cost about $9,000,000, and would therefore be of about 23,000 tons displacement. We may note that from the time of Drake and Raleigh the middle of the sixteenth century—when it may fairly be said that sailing ships had assumed the principal features which they wore during the next 300 years, ships continued to increase steadily in size. Thus the "protection," to use a word totally unknown to the seamen of the time, of ships continually increased ; but, at about the date just fixed, the installation of guns on shipboard had assumed an effective phase ; and, not many years later, the line of battle, of which we see nothing in the destruction of the Invincible Armada, began to be used by sailing ships. Thus, while the defense gains from the thickening sides of ships, the offense gains from the increasing number and power of guns and from the improvements in tactics.
To sum up then—as we run our eye over the scant records which exist of sea fighting from the battle of Salamis to the time of the Invincible Armada—a length of time compared to which the duration of the tactics of Ruyter, Nelson, and Perry is very insignificant—we see that the oar was generally the motive power used by ships in battle, particularly in the narrow seas; that ramming was much used, and with great skill and effect by the Greeks ; that the fate of the day hung largely, however, upon hand-to-hand fighting, and, on the whole, particularly after the introduction of guns, the offense gained relatively to the defense. That there were many balancings between the two main elements of fighting power, many and wide oscillations to and fro, cannot be doubted. But it appears to be true, broadly speaking, that at the same fighting distance, battles were shorter ; or that, if their duration was about the same, as I am disposed to think was the case, the fighting range was greater.
Whilst then, in the 2000 years which elapsed between the battle of Salamis and the sailing of the Invincible Armada, we have few lessons which are applicable to the question of guns and armor in its narrower sense, this period shows us with regard to the broader question, that between the offense and defense in sea battles, the offense was gaining slowly.
There is one other point regarding the history of naval operations during the long Oar Period, as it may conveniently and with sufficient accuracy be called, which, though it has no immediate relation with the history of the strife between the offense and defense, may yet find a place here. I refer to the close relations which then existed with the army and land operations in general. Many of the men embarked in fleets—the majority of the leaders, it would appear, indeed—were equally soldiers and sailors. Voyages were generally shorter, so that fleets were punctual in their movements ; and there was less fear of the land than in the Sail Period, principally because the voyages were generally coasting, and so the land was always kept aboard. Does not the situation approach that which now confronts us ? We navigate the ocean, and not inland waters ; but, moving at high speed, our voyages will be short and our movements punctual. Thus, from the simplicity, in one respect, of our environment, we shall be expected to keep touch with the army, and our training must keep this in view. The days of long sea voyages, of the isolation of the seaman, have gone by; many of our naval exercises and drills take place at first most appropriately in port, and, after we have become sufficiently expert there, we try the same thing at sea. Some of our drills, again, take place only in port. Thus, in plain English, we shall be less in blue water than the men who navigated sailing ships—a less time, but shall probably cover a greater distance. Shall it be said, because of this, that we are less seamen than those who went before us? By no means, no more than it is said that the hardy fisherman who goes on the water daily in his small and flimsy craft is less of a seaman than the man who passes his life in the stately wheat ships that ply between California and the shores of the Atlantic, or in the great steam liners that now carry so large a part of the over-sea commerce of the world.
It would be most interesting to know what the contemporary opinion as to the effect of the introduction of cannon upon sea warfare was. Seamen probably held that it was murderous, perhaps inhuman and barbarous, in much the way that many officers of our navy held the introduction of torpedoes in the Civil War to be barbarous and inhuman. And yet, if historians may be believed, the effect of these improved engines of war is to spare human life, to increase the importance of the tactical part of battles, and to shorten the fighting which follows when the tactical stage is wrought out, first in the council and draughting rooms, and afterwards by the commander on the field of battle. Such a view, moreover, appears reasonable.
The effect of the introduction of guns upon the contest between the offense and defense was most marked. Coming, as it did in some sense, simultaneously with the attainment of some perfection in the art of rigging sea-going ships of large size with sails, the change was as great as that caused by the introduction of steam, shell-guns, and the torpedo ; though it was perhaps not accomplished in so short a time. We must carefully avoid, however, the impression that any great change in material, whether intended for peace or war, is effected suddenly. Guns were first used afloat in 1372 ; but portholes were not invented until about 1500—a century and a quarter later—and though the evidence is not perfectly clear, there can be no doubt that it took naval guns a full century to come to anything like maturity. Shell-guns and steam propulsion have taken about the same time to grow to their present state ; while torpedoes, effectively used a full century ago, and of unquestionable service during our Civil War, still find among naval officers those who believe in their very limited use only.
No further striking changes occurred during the period of sails. The size of vessels increased slowly, as it was found that large vessels permitted concentration of power for war and better freights in peace ; and the guns improved, no doubt, in power. We have very little accurate knowledge of the power of the guns used during this time. The habit, of ascertaining muzzle velocities and other ballistic elements at proof, came in afterwards, and we must accept, for want of anything better, such indirect evidence as exists. We know that the equipment of guns grew better slowly ; the history of the battles of the period warrants the statement that the offense gained on the defense.
From the table of velocities of smoothbore guns already given, we may conclude that no material harm could be inflicted by ships at greater ranges than about 200-300 yards in the time of the great Dutch and English maritime wars—the time of Blake, Van Tromp, and De Ruyter. A hundred years later, when Hawke, Anson, and Boscawen were at the head of the British navy, the calibers of naval guns had changed very little ; the larger ships carried a few 32s and 24s, but the greater number of guns afloat were 9s and 18s, and of even less caliber. As to the velocities of the projectiles we know very little ; but from the want of attention to this important element of ballistic power, we may conclude that the velocities were low. This view, too, is strengthened by the frequent complaints of naval officers of the inferiority of the powder furnished to ships—a fact which they observed from the failure of their shots to penetrate the enemy's side in battle.
Even as we proceed to a period later than the middle of the i8th century—to the time of Howe, Rodney, Jervis, Collingwood, and Nelson—we find no sharp change. These men sometimes pounded their enemies with the fifty or more guns which the heavy ships carried on one broadside, for three or four hours, when within pistol shot—50 yards. The Berwick, Hawke's ship in Mathews' action off Toulon in 1744, battered the Poder for four hours within pistol shot. Collingwood, in the Royal Sovereign at Trafalgar, lay with his yardarms almost touching those of the huge Santissima Trinidad for as long. We cannot suppose that a great many of the shots missed the immense target presented, and are therefore forced to conclude that many of the shot failed to penetrate. The guns of these ships were well and rapidly served, too. Collingwood used to tell his men that "any ship which could fire three well-directed broadsides in two minutes was invincible." Note here that this great commander evidently appreciated all the elements of effective gun-fire: the guns must be served rapidly, must be well aimed, and the firing be by broadside. It is not meant to conclude from this remark that the firing of all English ships of that time was strictly by broadside, but that the first shots were fired in this way, and that it was understood that a ship, which had made a serious impression on her enemy by firing a few broadsides in this way at short range, had half won the battle. The handling of the Victory's guns at Trafalgar, and many other cases, bears this out.
Whether it was from a full appreciation of the want of power of naval guns as compared with the work they were required to do, or merely an unconscious growth, certain it is that our ships of the beginning of this century—those which fought in the War of 1812—marked an era in the history of guns and armor. For the well-worn story of guns versus armor began, not when iron armor was introduced in 1850-60, not even in the War of 1812, but when guns were invented and mounted in ships. The attention of naval men was first strongly drawn to the matter of guns and protection, however, in the War of 18 12. The early builders of English and French ships of war had no very definite idea of how much tonnage should be assigned to guns and how much to armor—to thick and resisting sides ; and, while English naval officers had certainly a sense of the value of thick sides, the keenness of that impression was immensely heightened by the results of the actions between their ships and ours.
Everywhere in naval history we see the records of lessons ; some learned and some unlearned. Suppose it had been fully understood by Englishmen that good powder meant high velocity and good penetration, how long, if the conviction had borne proper fruit, could the Santissima Trinidad have lain under Collingwood's guns? This was perhaps understood ; indeed, the history of the times enables us to knocv that it was understood, and understood best of all by naval officers, being corroborated, too, by the experiments of Robins, Hutton, and others. But the designs of ships and the guns and their equipment had not embodied the knowledge gained at so great expense. Naval officers, from causes which they could not perhaps control, had failed to press their views effectively, and their ships were not as good as they might have been.
The tactical features of the war-ships of the sail period were thus fairly well settled upon before the date of the Spanish Armada; their motive power was the sail, and their guns were nearly all carried on the broadside ; but we shall look in vain for the close-hauled line of battle as early as this. The English vessels which fought with the Spanish Armada were handy craft, but the Admiral made no attempt to form a line of battle, and there is ground for believing that the close-hauled line was first formally adopted by the English in about 1685, through the influence of the Duke of York, afterwards James II. Thus more than a century elapsed between the fixation of the tactical features of ships and the formal adoption of the corresponding line of battle. But it may be noted that during the sixty years immediately following the Spanish Armada, no great fleet actions were fought.
It has been stated that the tactical features of ships were fixed before 1550, but it was not meant to assert that no minor changes were made. The ships grew gradually in size, and whereas the first had never more than one covered gundeck, this number was gradually increased to two and three within the space of about 200 years. As the fighting ship—the line-of-battle ship—thus grew larger, there arose a disposition to exclude lighter ships—lighter in both guns and protection—from the line of battle ; and we are told that Mathews' action in 1744 was the first in which fifty-gun ships were formally excluded from the line.
In the period between 1850 and 1860 great strides were made by the offense in the introduction of rifles and explosive shells ; this was met by the defense by the application of iron armor; and the subsequent steps in the growth of these three elements have been very numerous, and are familiar to us all. The precise study of the relations between the offense and defense in naval warfare began at this time, and the full magnitude and importance of the question was perhaps for the first time realized by naval men. Such refinements as the forms of heads of projectiles, muzzle and remaining velocities, and qualities of temper of armor-plate and projectile, began to be studied assiduously. And let us not forget, in noting these additions to the curriculum, what changes they entail in the customs and habits of sea-officers. It is surprising and instructive, however, to find that neither the word penetration nor velocity occurs in the index of the Ordnance Instructions of our navy of date 1866, and a search has failed to discover them in the range tables given, or elsewhere in the text. Surely, in the light of the history of the ten years preceding the issue of this book ; in view of the fact that Holley's excellent and exhaustive treatise on Ordnance and Armor had appeared four years before ; and because the navy was still quivering under the spur of a great war, this is a pregnant instance of the so-called conservatism of naval officers.
It seems not a little extraordinary that, in view of the perfectly well-recognized contest between the offense and defense in land warfare, the recognition of that contest in sea warfare should have been so tardy. We are told that our frigates of 1812 were disguised seventy-fours; and in so far as their true power was disguised, we had a tactical advantage over the British ; but let it be remembered that this tactical gain was quite as much in protection as in guns. Our ideas must be definite and precise on this point : the concentration of great power in a few guns is claimed as an American idea, and as one which is valuable in warfare. But this principle, as ordinarily stated, is false. False in that it is stated as one of general application ; and that it is not general admits of perfectly clear and rigid proof. The power of a gun should be such that it can overcome the structure to which it will be opposed in war. If this structure is a gun-carriage protected by an armored turret, the gun must give its projectile sufficient power to be able to destroy the carriage after penetrating the turret ; if it is a gun's crew, behind a shield or behind only the unarmored side of a steel-built ship, the power required is only that necessary to get through this defense. Any greater power of projectile than that here indicated—the power necessary to overcome the defensive arrangements to which it will be opposed—is not only useless, it is harmful ; because the problem comes to the naval tactician, when designing the ship, in this way : he has such a weight to put in guns and their equipment, and whether we regard the number of shells which will hit or their bursting effect, the result will be the same whether this weight is in few or many guns, provided the speed of serving the guns remains the same.
The table given shows at a glance the tactical values of the 5-inch and 10-inch guns. It has been supposed that these guns are similar, as is the case with our 5-inch and 10-inch guns, and therefore the weights for the 10- inch gun are found by multiplying those for the 5-inch by 2 or 8.
The chance of hitting, when at sea with either of these guns, a ship twelve feet high situated at 1000 yards range, is about 1. The Atlanta, if 60 tons were allotted to the guns alone of her main battery (her tonnage is 3189), could carry twenty 5-inch guns and 26/2, or about three lo-inch guns. Thus, in firing at an enemy whose defenses either gun can penetrate, for any length of time, if each gun is served at the same speed—no matter what its weight and caliber is—the same weight of iron and bursting charge will be landed in the enemy's battery, whatever the caliber of the firing guns may be. But the guns will not be served at the same speed ; the lighter guns can be served more rapidly, and thus the ship should carry light guns if they can penetrate.
As has been asserted before, there is a certain relation of equality of power which should be maintained between the guns and protection of a ship. To say that they should be equal in power is pushing the theory too far—and equal in power at some definite and settled fighting distance, it must be remembered ; but that we should have always an eye to this while guiding the distribution of guns and armor according to existing and approved models, is not saying too much. It was discovered, after the War of 1812, that our ships threw a greater weight of metal at a broadside than the English ships, and this has been adopted, and repeated again and again, by writers on naval subjects as a principal cause of the brilliant victories of that war. But it must not be forgotten that our ships were better protected than the English ships ; they were larger and their sides were much thicker.
A consideration of the changes in tactical features between the Constitution, built in 1797, and the Atlanta, built in 1883—a century apart nearly—is very striking. The table below gives the batteries of the two ships, the one given for the Constitution being that carried when she fought the Guerriere.
With her long 24s, the Constitution could probably just about penetrate her own side—some twenty inches of oak—at 1000 yards range ; to penetrate with the short 32s, she would have to approach nearer. This ship, then, is completely protected against her own fire at ranges greater than 1000 yards ; she is impenetrable to it at greater range, and this extends, it should be noted, to the ship's life—her buoyancy and stability—and to the lives of her crew. The Atlanta's 6-inch guns can penetrate, at 1000 yards, about 11 inches of iron—that is, a thickness twenty-two times that of her side at the water line ; and the 8-inch guns, at the same range, can penetrate about 14 inches of iron. And, it may be observed, the 1-inch steel of the Atlanta has just about the same resisting power as the 20 inch oak of the Constitution. Thus, while the defensive power of the hulls alone is the same, the later ship has a battery which has gained penetrative power in about the ratio of 25 to 1. Nor will the balance be materially altered by including in the discussion the other defensive arrangements of the Atlanta. Her under-water protective deck may throw off a 6-inch projectile fired at 1000 yards range, but it hardly would an 8-inch ; and, so far as the protection afforded the gun's-crews by the shields goes, there is nothing gained, as these are intended only to keep out quick-fire projectiles. If we examine the danger of raking fire to the two ships, the showing of the protection of the Atlanta will be even worse, because, as the under-water deck does not extend to her ends, she has no protection here but what the thin plating of her side affords. It is true, then, that whereas the protection afforded to the lives of the gun's-crews of the Atlanta and Constitution is of the same resisting power, the power of the main battery to penetrate is in the ratio of 25 to i in favor of the later ship. It follows from this, since the men who will fight the ships are much the same, that the Atlanta's fighting range is greater than the Constitution's.
In the study of the subject of Gun Tactics as Discoverable from Types of War-Ships, the difficulties we encounter as regards our own times are very different from those which pertain to earlier periods. The student of naval history finds few clear and full accounts of the material used, in the various works to which he ordinarily has access ; and the difficulties arising from the absence of much that is important to form a clear picture of the war-ships and crews of only a century ago, become very great when we go further back, to the time of the genesis of the sailing war-ship.
On the other hand, our difficulties are the opposite as regards our own times. There were, perhaps, not more differences in the types of the ships which formed the great fleet England got together last summer to celebrate the Queen's jubilee year, than were present when Howard, Drake, John Hawkins, and, as so charmingly and graphically told by Charles Kingsley in Westward Ho, Amyas Leigh and his crew of Biddeford men, went out to attack the Invincible Armada of Spain. But the types of later date are all known to us—our embarrassments arise from the mass of material before us. There were, I think, nearly as many types then as now ; but we have them now all described, and commented on the comment exhibiting every shade of difference of opinion. The story of the growth of late types is told most accurately and fully, and in such a way as to be accessible to all. But the immense mass of information and of conflicting opinion, and the want of any test by which to try theories that we may form, makes the task of discovering tactical types a difficult one.
Our discussion must, for the present, be strictly limited to battle ships, to what were formerly called line-of-battle ships, that is, vessels of great power which were intended to fight in fleets. These vessels were less useful, it must be remembered, for many purposes in war than were the frigates. They were as large as the seamen of the day thought could be safely and economically used, because an increase in size means an increase in fighting power, both of offense and defense. But, in passing to the limit of size, so far as safety, with some regard to convenience, is concerned, a certain degree of handiness and general efficiency was sacrificed. No reason could justify the building the line-of-battle ship of old, except the necessity imposed by possible enemies possessing these craft ; just as the huge ironclads of to-day must be maintained by nations which would retain their sea power. By thus formally separating battle-ships from other war ships, a certain difference between them is implied. Let us see if this difference exists.
It hardly existed in the sail period. The frigate was faster, more weatherly, and more handy than the ship of the line. And these qualities gave her important military advantages—she could lie closer in to a blockaded port, whether the wind were blowing on shore or the reverse; but her protection and the fire of her guns, whether considered as to the arc of the horizon it commanded or as to its weight on different arcs, was the same in kind—it differed in degree only. Frigates' sides were not mere paper covering, while battleships carried strongly resisting armor, as is now the case. The tactical differences separating war-ships of different classes are sharper now than formerly ; and, indeed, are sufficiently sharp to warrant the study of each class separately.
The sailing line-of-battle ship—of which the 74-gun ship is the type—took on clearly the tactical features which they wore for 200 years, in the last half of the seventeenth century ; between the beginning of the great Dutch-English wars and the time of Benbow—that gallant seaman of the old school. The first two-decked war-ships—or 74, according to the nomenclature finally adopted—built in England was the Great Harry, laid down by order of Henry VH, about the year 1500. Thus the 74, the battle-ship of the sail period, took at least a century and a half to mature. And you will recollect that the 50-gun ship still often fought in the line until 1744; nearly 250 years after some distinctive features of the two-decked 74-gun ship were adopted. How then can we hope by an examination of the history of navies for the last forty or fifty years to know what the true battle-ship is and how she will fight? Yet it may be that we can determine with some degree of certainty ; for it appears that there is already a consensus of opinion upon many important points. The agreement as to type of ship carries with it agreement as to fighting tactics.
To put myself on record before we invade the great mass of facts and opinions which we shall encounter, I wish to express the view that the usual battle-ship—the type-ship—will be of about 6500 tons, will be a ram, and will have nearly equal all-round fire from rifled guns of about 12-inch caliber. The distribution of armor is the matter which involves the greatest difficult)\ My preference is for a distribution of armor similar to that adopted in the Italian ships Italia, Lepanto, and in the three projected ships of the Re Umberto class. That is, for the abolition of all hull armor, and the reliance for the protection of the ship's buoyancy and stability against shot holes at the water-line upon internal protection, so called—that is, underwater decks and the minute cellular subdivision of the hull at the water-line. Whatever weight of armor is available may be used to cover the ammunition hoists, the smoke-pipes, steering gear, conning tower, and the mechanism and crews of the guns.
Ships such as the English Conqueror, the Brazilian Riachuelo, our own battle-ship, and the French Duguesclin, are vessels of about the type here contemplated. It would be curious, however, to speculate as to whether, in our battle-ships, we shall adhere to our policy of building vessels of each type a little heavier than those of other nations, as was the case with our frigates and sloops of 1812, ourlineof- battle ships built just after that date, and with the classes of new steel vessels just built.
There are some points about the four vessels just named which appear worthy of note.
First.—They all carry batteries, of no inconsiderable power, of guns lighter than their heavy guns—that is, a number of guns of about 6-inch caliber. This feature has been of recent growth in English battle ships, while those of France have had it from the first. The heavier guns, again, are of greater absolute power than the guns of earlier ships ; that is, the power of the guns has been growing. This growth has, perhaps, reached its limit in the B. L. no- ton guns of the English ship Benbow and the Italian ships Lepanto and Italia. The wave is now receding, and it is doubtful if many naval officers are in favor of larger guns than those of 12-inch bore (about 45 tons weight), except in a few ships of great size and power. The term absolute power has here been used to signify the actual power of a gun, rather than its power relatively to the ship's displacement, or to the power of the protection afforded it.
Second.—The armor which protects the buoyancy and stability of these vessels—their water-line belt—is usually of about the same thickness as that which protects the mechanism of the heavier guns. The Duguesclin exhibits the most marked departure from this rule; her belt armor is 25 per cent thicker than the barbette armor (ten and eight inches).
Third.—The distance at which the heavy guns of these ships can penetrate the water-line belt of their own ship is about 4000 yards. This, of course, is for normal impact, and assumes—what is very nearly true—that the muzzle velocities of all the guns is 1800 f. s. In view of the oblique impact which will rule in war, this range may be materially shortened. It is meant here to take into account obliquity arising from the angle of fall of projectiles and from the accidents of flight. When we add that arising from the enemy's skillful maintenance of large angles of presentment, the range may be further shortened.
Fourth.—The lighter guns of the main battery have not quite enough power to penetrate either the water-line belt or the armor protecting the mechanism of the heavy guns, even when the range is very short.
Fifth.—The crews of the heavy guns of the Duguesclin are protected only by the gun-shields—that is, against the fire of secondary guns only. The crews of the smaller guns of the main battery, and the mechanism of these guns, are wholly unprotected, except by shields, in all four ships.
This last is the point where all attempt to strike a balance between the offense and defense seems to be abandoned. It looks as if the 6-inch guns were thrown in without much reflection. Let us, however, dispose of the simpler question first ; that of barbette versus complete turrets. The Duguesclin has barbettes, and the other ships have the complete turrets. The advantage claimed for the barbette, outside of the saving of weight, is that the crew cannot see well in a complete turret—at times will be ignorant of where the target is. The crews of barbette guns, it may be added, are always protected against secondary fire by shields. But, throwing the gun's crew out of consideration entirely, why is the mechanism of the gun protected and the gun itself unprotected ? It is not likely that a 12-inch gun would survive a blow from a heavy gun. The French, it may be added, have adopted barbettes almost exclusively ; the Italians use them in their large ships, and the English adopted them in the Admiral class, of recent date, but in their latest ships, the Nile and Trafalgar, have returned to complete turrets.
In the four ships now under consideration—all built between 1882 and 1888—there is no protection whatever afforded either gun or crew in the light main battery guns, against the fire of similar guns. And, it may be added, there is not one main battery gun of lighter power than the heaviest gun of that battery, in any French or English ship built since 1880, of which the crew is protected. There are several ships built just before 18S0 in which these guns are protected; as the Trident class in France, and the Temeraire and Rupert in England. And, if we go back to the earlier ironclad ships, we find that many of the guns'-crews are protected.
It appears that the tactical rule which is thus recognized in these four ships of recent design may be challenged. Why are these guns better than an equal weight of quick-fire guns of lighter caliber? From these latter a greater weight of shell and of bursting charge may be delivered in a given time ; and they would secure, in the absence of armor protection, the protection which is gained by scattering the weight in a number of guns. As far as penetration goes, the two kinds of battery are the same, if we assume, as we surely may as a rule of general application, that ships are intended to fight their likes. We can conceive, however, of many cases in war in which the battery of 6-inch guns would be better than the numerous quick-fire guns of equal total weight ; as, for instance, in a battle with an ironclad of inferior power, or in shelling defensive works on shore.
Sixth.—As to the range at which battles will be fought. We must accustom ourselves, in thinking of guns and protection, to further complicate this difficult subject by carrying in our mind the range at which we desire protection. The Conqueror and our battle-ship can pierce her twin in a vital part, with normal impact, at 4000 yards range ; and, in view of the very remote probability of a shot striking just right at this range, we may conclude that no material danger will usually be incurred outside of 2000 yards. At this range, shots which strike at any inclination to the plane of the armor, greater than 45°, will penetrate. Will 2000 yards, then, be the fighting range? Or, to put a more direct question, have those who controlled the designs of these ships assumed that battle-ships will fight at 2000 yards ? And here we are met by an apparent absurdity. If the range of the gun contest will usually be less than 2000 yards, nearly every shot that strikes will penetrate, and the armor be much worse than useless. Why, then, have armor at all ?
But if the combatant ships are commanded by skillful officers, one will seek close range and one will try to avoid it. The ship with skillful gunners will hold off at a range where her guns will penetrate and where yet it requires some skill to hit; and, when she has gained some advantage, will approach nearer and trust to the rapidity and accuracy of her fire to drive the enemy from the guns. One ship cannot abandon her armor unless the other one does also.
Seventh.—Is the rule that the ship's stability and buoyancy should be protected by about the same thickness of armor as the fighting power of the heavy guns a sound one? It is very difficult to answer this question ; particularly as, after all, the protection is afforded often to a part only of the gun's fighting power. The ship, however, we may say, is built to carry the heavy guns about ; and if the gun is destroyed, nearly as much harm is done as though the ship were destroyed. Such an argument would justify an approach to equality in the two thicknesses. The present disposition is to make the water-line belt a little the thickest, as the following table will show. In this table, B. L. guns are assumed to have a velocity of 1800 f s.; M. L. one of 1400 ; and to state thickness of armor in equivalent measure, compound and steel armor has been increased by 50 per cent of itself.
From these tables it appears that both the French and English think that the mechanism of the heavy guns of a ship should be protected by nearly as great a thickness of armor as the water-line. The barbette towers, which appear in nearly all late French battle-ships, show how little protection they think it necessary to give the crews. The English give much more weight to this feature. The crews of the heavy guns are protected in all their battle-ships except in the Admiral class—the Collingwood, Benbow, Anson, etc. The Temeraire is the only other ship which has barbettes, but her guns are mounted on the disappearing principle, and thus the crew are protected when loading. Another interesting conclusion may be reached by dividing the sum of the first column by the sum of the third ; that is, divide the average penetration at 2000 yards by the average thickness of iron protecting the gun.
The difference in the practice of the two nations is even more noticeable here than in the comparison first made. The French give more to the offense than do the English— the mechanism of French guns is not so well protected as is the English.
In our examination of some types of ironclads of recent construction, we have, however, passed over an important era in the history of the development of war ships and tactics—that of the disappearance of the seventy-four and the genesis of the ironclad. To cover this period we must return to the year 1850, and to the time immediately following our Civil War. Already, as early as 1841, a board, consisting of Commodores Perry and Stewart and two army officers, had been ordered to report upon Stevens' ironclad battery, proposed in the year 18 16 for the defense of harbors ; the proposal to protect what we call sea-going battle-ships was not made until about half a century later, as we all know.
The death-knell of the wooden 74-gun ship—the sea-going battleship—was sounded when the Wabash class of frigates appeared in this country in 1855. Other ships carrying numerous guns on a single gun-deck had appeared before the Wabash, notably the Imperatrice Eugenie, built in France in 1854, and measuring 3600 tons. But this ship was far surpassed in battery power by the Wabash, as were also all 74s then afloat, both steam and sailing. The Wabash class, until they were displaced by ironclads—and note how arbitrary is the naming of these types—were the battle-ships of the world. The English built frigates even larger—the Orlando and the Mersey—and the impression being strongly fixed that ironclads could not be made sea-going, these heavy frigates were really becoming the ships-of-the- line. The English and French went on for a short time building the old type of battle-ship—vessels carrying guns on two or three gun-decks—and converting those in service into steamers ; but none of these vessels were the equal of the Wabash class in fighting power. The Duke of Wellington, one of England's later steam ships-of-the-line, was a larger ship than the Wabash, but she was probably unequal to her in fighting power.
It is curious and instructive to speculate as to the tactical differences exhibited by these heavy frigates and their probable opponents in war, the so-called ship of the line, and to try to determine what the growth of tactical ideas would have been if the ironclad had not stepped in and cut the Gordian knot. The difference between the heavy ships which we built and the liners built in Europe at about the same time, was, in the main, that we put the guns on a single covered deck, while in Europe they put them on two or three. It would be hard to discover any sufficient tactical distinction between the two : and our departure probably arose more from a desire to make the ship's lines easy than from any consideration as to the disposition of the guns. The movement in the direction of long narrow ships, for both trade and war, which culminated a few years since, took its growth in the craft built in this country in the early part of this century.
The ironclads came along rapidly, however. Stimulated by the results of the engagement at Kinburn in 1854, the Gloire, Invincible, Normandie, and Couronne were laid down in France in 1S58; and in the following year the English laid down the Warrior and Black Prince. These ships, in their turn, pushed the heavy wooden frigates out, and succeeded, for a short time, to the position of first-class sea-going battle-ships. They were opposed by many officers, and their sea-going qualities, or rather sea-keeping qualities, were affirmed to be inferior. But as we look back now, we see that they were, in their short day, the most powerful war-ships afloat. They were very large ships for their time, being of 9210 tons displacement. And here, at the very start of the race between England and France in the development of the new battle-ship, we see the evidence of the boldness and energy which has marked England's course at every step. The heaviest steam line-of-battle ships of the day were of about 5500 tons; the English laid down two ironclads of 9200 tons, and the French four of only 5500. The defense of the English ships differed from that of the French. It consisted of a rectangular patch of iron armor extending about two-fifths only of the ship's length, and vertically from two feet below the water-line to the upper deck beams ; this patch was from six to four and one-half inches thick. The French ships were armored with a rectangular patch of armor extending from two feet below the water-line to the upper deck beams, throughout the whole length of the ship. It is from four and three-quarter inches to three inches thick. The guns carried by the English ships were twelve one-hundred-pounder Armstrong rifles and twenty-eight sixty-eight-pounder S. B.; those of the French ships were thirty-six fifty-pounder rifles. The former could penetrate their own thickest armor with their rifles at about 2500 yards range ; the latter could do the same at about the same distance. Thus, so far as the measure selected between the offense and defense in these ships goes, they are equal ; but in absolute power the English ships are superior, as of course we should expect them to be from their greater tonnage.
The engagement between the Monitor and Merrimac in Hampton Roads in March, 1862, gave the next sharp note of the coming changes. Neither of these vessels was sea-going and sea-keeping, as we now readily admit ; but Ericsson's Monitor perhaps did more to change tactical types and naval tactics than any other type-ship that ever appeared. And to the credit of naval officers be it noted, these extraordinary crafts were well received by them. First, by the board consisting of Captains Joseph Smith, Hiram Paulding, and Charles H. Davis, who, in September of 1861, in passing upon a number of designs placed before them by the Secretary of the Navy, recommended Ericsson's plan as " novel, but . . . based upon a plan which will render the battery shot and shell proof"; and afterwards, in actual service, by John L. Worden, John Rodgers, Admirals Dahlgren and Porter, and others.
The tactical qualities first embodied afloat in the Monitor are (1) a fire which is equal all around, however we may measure it, whether as to penetration, weight of projectiles thrown in a given time, or chance of hitting ; and (2) equal all-round protection. The latter quality is, at first sight, possessed by all the old sailing vessels. But from the greater danger incurred as fire was received from before or abaft the beam, these vessels were, defensively speaking, far from being independent of the presentment angle.
The absolute power of the offense and defense of the Monitor, as compared with ships just completed, was very great. Here is a vessel of 1300 tons—not much larger than the Macedonian or Java—carrying two guns of 11-inch caliber, throwing a shot of 165 pounds weight. Her guns and guns'-crews were protected by 1 1 inches of iron, and the ship's life by 5 inches of iron and nearly three feet of wood. She was practically impenetrable to her own fire ; and, by virtue of the form of her turret, round shot of any size would bound away harmlessly from all but about one half the cross-section of her turret. Between the Gloire and the first Monitor, the power of the defense is more than doubled (4.7 inches to 11 inches) ; and the offense has increased in nearly the same ratio (50-pdr. M. L. R. to 11-inch (140-pdr.) S. B.).
The increasing power of rifled guns soon overcame the balance shown against the offense in the Monitor, and has accelerated the movement already begun, to withdraw armor from the less vital parts of ships and mass it wherever important to the ship's fighting power. In this latter direction—towards protecting very strongly what are held to be the vital parts of ships—naval construction has been driven too far by the gun. Of late years, naval officers have expressed themselves as opposed to this tendency.
These two tactical qualities, equal all-round offense and defense, are the most characteristic of the Monitor. They may be summed up by saying that she was indifferent as to the angle of presentment ; a matter of vast importance when considering her gun tactics, whether in single or fleet actions. She is also a most interesting type from the fact that she was very nearly indestructible by her own fire.
There is some uncertainty involved in the last ratio, owing to the difficulty of stating the power of penetration of the S. B. guns which the Monitor carried, but it suffices to show through how wide limits the ratio of the power of the offense to the defense has varied.
The claim often brought forward for the Monitor class of vessels—that they offer a small target to gun-fire—is, perhaps, not wholly admissible. They have concentrated the gun-power in a small space, but this space is not much smaller than the same two guns would occupy under any circumstances. It is true that, from the curved form of turrets, the part of the cross-section where shot will bite is much smaller (about one half) than would be the case with flat armor. But this reduction in size of the target is the only one which the Monitor type secures, for the parts of the ship which contain the other things necessary to fighting power are of the same size. It is a mistake to claim the low free-board of the Monitors as a military advantage. This matter has a peculiar interest just now, when so many battle-ships which are more or less of the Monitor type have their ends built up to increase their margin of buoyancy and stability, and give proper and healthful quarters to their ship's companies, as, for instance, the Victoria, and all the large Italian ironclads. The feature is, indeed, almost universal in European battle-ships of the Monitor type.
The ships just mentioned—the Victoria and the large Italian ironclads—together with such ships as the English Nile and Trafalgar, the French Marceau, Hoche, and others of their class, representing the furthest advance in fighting power, are little more than Monitors, with their turrets lifted higher out of water, and with light superstructures at their ends for the berthing of the crew and for mounting lighter and unprotected guns. This type, which first showed itself in the Monitor, has become, it would appear, the battleship of all nations.
To run through the history of the development of ironclad vessels is the work of a few minutes. And note the advent of a sharp line of demarcation between armored and unarmored vessels. We have now, it is true, besides armored battle-ships, armored cruisers, armored gunboats, and armored torpedo-boats—a fleet without unarmored vessels. But, though a few of these latter are in existence, the rule is to leave many war-ships unarmored ; we are familiar with such terms as partially protected and unprotected cruisers, and most gunboats and torpedo-boats are entirely unprotected, in the modern sense of the term. Will this armored fleet prevail ; will the mixed rule of tactics be adopted—will there be both armored and unarmored classes of vessels, or will the armor of the battle-ships gradually shrink up and be discarded ?
Such are the questions which naval officers, not by the chance utterance of hastily formed opinion, but by the steady pressure which settled conviction makes possible, must decide. Why should recently laid down ships like the Atlanta and Boston, and the four English ships of the Leander class, all of about 3500 tons displacement, while unprotected except by an underwater deck extending through a part of their length and covering boilers, engines, and magazines, carry guns of 6-inch and 8-inch caliber ; and the four of the Mersey type, and our own ship Charleston, of practically the same displacement, have heavy protective decks extending throughout their length, and carry guns of from 9.2-inch to 6-inch caliber? The ships last named are more recent by two or three years than the others, and may represent the movement in the direction of better protection which is here urged.
We shall not find any of the ships just named among lists of armored vessels—they are never so classed. But if we mount the scale of displacement tonnage from the 3550 tons of the Mersey type to the 5000 tons of the seven English ships of the Orlando class, we find, with an increase of gun-caliber of only from 8 inches to 9.2 inches, an increase of armor from the 2-inch to 3-inch protective deck to a 10-inch water-line belt extending through a part of the ship's length, while the rest is protected by an underwater deck. The ratio of the defense of the Mersey to that of the Orlando is about 1 (the ratio of horizontal thickness for a slope of protective deck of 28°) ; while that of their offense is (estimating for the heaviest guns only 8/9.2. One or the other of these types must disappear, or we must agree upon a compromise. They cannot both be well considered.
To go back, then, to the question of ironclad development since the time of the Monitor, we may say that it has consisted in an increase in size and fighting power of the unit. The Monitor measured 1300 tons, cost $275,000, and was built in 100 days; the Nile and Trafalgar, the last additions to the battle-ships of England, measure 12,000 tons, cost $5,000,000, and will not be ready to go into battle five years after their original design. We may well doubt whether such a showing is, in all respects, an improvement. The ratio of the power of offense between the Monitor and the Nile is, at the guns' muzzles.
The power of the gun has increased more than that of the armor. And, it must be noted, the armor has shrunk up in the parts taken, at the expense of leaving other parts unprotected. This growth has gone too far, if navy officers are to be believed.
If we examine the history of types of battle-ships in the British navy, we recognize that they have narrowed down to one type—the monitor. And it is plain also that the two distinctive tactical qualities already asserted to belong to the monitors—equal all-round fire and protection—are possessed by these vessels.
The tactical results which follow, if it be true that the Monitor has imprinted her qualities upon modern battle-ships, are most important. So far as gun tactics then go, the gun asks nothing with regard to the presentment angle, and we need inquire only what range the gun will prefer. For good effect, as we know, this should be less than the dangerous range, so far as the chance of hitting goes. We are then met with the further question, will the shots which hit usually penetrate at this range? The examination we have already given to the ratio of the power of offense and defense in forty-four large and recently constructed French and English battle-ships, enables us to assert that the guns, as a rule, lack power to penetrate the thickest armor beyond 2000 yards. This latter range, then, which has been indicated as the opening range, from consideration of the chance of hitting, receives support as such from considerations of penetrative effect. This near coincidence can be no more than an accident, but it would be curious to speculate upon whether we should admit, as a rule of ship design, that the guns should be able to overcome the armor at less ranges than the opening range. And, if we admit such a rule for battle-ships, should we extend it to cruisers and other smaller vessels ? The opening range, depending as it does upon elements which are the same for all high-power guns, is the same for guns of all calibers.
There is little use in attempting to describe all the various minor changes through which English battle-ships went before the Monitor was recognized as the true type, without the aid of full and complete drawings ; and the attempt will not be made here. The guns were continually increased in power, as was also the armor ; but the latter did not move so rapidly. This led the ship designers and constructors in two directions: (1) toward greater displacements, and (2) toward bunching the weight of armor on vital parts. But naval officers oppose a too great extension in either of these directions ; and the result is a compromise which, while it satisfies neither class, may yet embody much that is wise in the views of both.
The first English battle-ships were purely of the broadside type. Large rectangular patches of rather thin (according to present notions) armor covered considerable part of the ship's broadside. This armor covered the water-line or the guns crews, or both ; but, it should be noted, the first movement, while the lessons of the Crimean War were still fresh, was in the direction of covering both guns and guns' crews. In 1S66, the Monarch, the first turret ship built in England, was laid down. She was followed by the Thunderer and Devastation in 1869, and the Dreadnought in 1870. No purely broadside ship has been built since this date. The Sultan, Shannon, and Alexandra, usually classed as broadside battle-ships, were laid down in 1873 ; but in their tactical features, equal all-round fire and protection, they approach the Monitor type. Then, in 1874, the Nelson and Northampton, also classed as broadside ships, were laid down. The same remark applies to them.
The difference between the protection of British and French ships may be broadly stated to be that, whereas the latter have generally a complete water-line belt, with the mechanism of the heavy guns protected, the former diminish the length of the belt, and apply the weight thus saved to an increase in thickness of the part of the belt remaining, and to covering the crews of heavy guns.
The French battle-ship is distinctly a barbette ship, carrying her heavy guns high above the water, and protected throughout the whole water-line by an armor belt. This type appeared as early as 1867, in the Alma class ; the last broadside ships being the Provence class, of date 1863.
Before quitting the history of battle-ships, I wish to say a word as to the introduction of underwater protective decks. Vessels whose official classification is armored, as well as those classed imarjnorcd, often have these decks. The latest of the large Italian ironclads are protected throughout their water-line by a protective deck three and a half inches thick ; and all recent English battle-ships are so protected for a part of their length. The French adhere, however, to their complete belt of vertical water-line armor.
The underwater deck was first introduced in the nine English ships of the Comus class (sometimes called the C class), laid down in 1876. The decks in these vessels are only one and a half inch thick, and cover only the engines, boilers and magazines. Protective decks were of slow adoption, and are not much used in the FreAch navy. The French laid down the fine cruisers of the La Perouse class of 2300 tons in 1873-6, without an ounce of protection, except gun shields; the Ar6thuse and Dubourdieu, of 3400 tons, in 1883, also without protection ; and only when we come to the Sfax, Tage, and Amiral Cecile, of from 5000 to 7000 tons displacement, and laid down in 1883-5, do we find them adopting protective decks. As regards the use of underwater decks as the water-line protection in battle-ships, it has been already remarked that the French refuse entirely to trust to it ; that the Italians have frankly adopted it in their latest and most powerful vessels ; and that the English use it always for water-line protection at the ends of ships. The English used it first in the Inflexible, laid down in 1874.
As has been mentioned, it may be that much which now marks sharply the division between armored and unarmored vessels will disappear—that, in short, the value of the ratio Power of offense/Power of defense at a fixed range, will be approximately the same for vessels of all classes. First among the changes which may bring this similarity about is the adoption, by war-ships of nearly every class, of underwater protective decks.
The history of the development of unarmored vessels since about the year 1850 offers little of interest not already noticed. The Wabash class of ships—of 4700 tons displacement—is the vanishing point of all the old types. She was a frigate, so-called, and the French and English continued to build battle-ships on two decks for years after her appearance. But the Wabash was a battle-ship, and would unquestionably have fought in the line if she had ever been in battle on the high seas. Her nearest representatives are now the so-called armored cruisers ; such as our 6600-ton vessel of that class, the Aurora class, of 5000 tons, in England, and in France, the Sfax and Amiral Cecile. And, it may occur to us, are not these perhaps the future battle-ships ? They are usually armored turret or barbette ships, of rather less gun-power and protection than the vessels classed as battle-ships, and with more speed and coal endurance.
But although the old type of frigate—the eyes of the fleet, as Nelson called them—was lost in the Wabash, it was not lost irrevocably. It was much confused by the redundancy of types which sprung up during our Civil War. But the frigate of old is still extant, in vessels of from 1500 to 3000 tons displacement ; like our Atlanta and Boston, and the Comus, Leander, and Mersey classes in England. The last two classes, of 3700 and 3500 tons, are probably the extreme limit to which the frigate class should be pushed.
Let us now, while occupied with this subject, inquire what military qualities the frigate must possess. The history of the sail period— a period of 300 years, prolific in great maritime wars—shows that they must be able to accompany the fleet ; must, indeed, have speed, seakeeping and sea-going qualities in excess of those of the battle-ships ; and must be able to patrol and guard trade routes, or to convoy along them. Their power of offense and defense must be made subordinate to these requisites. As regards the ratio of the power of their offense to that of their defense, history teaches nothing but what common-sense will equally assert—that there is no reason why this should depart widely from that usual in battle-ships. Frigates and ships of the line fought at the same range in former times; and frigates did not—never did—attempt to fight battle-ships ; nor did sloops or brigs fight frigates. The vessels of the smaller class, if overhauled, would fire a gun for the honor of the flag and then surrender.
Two 10-inch B. L. R, have lately been mounted in the paper-sided Esmeralda (2920 tons.) For what? We are told that it is so that she may be able to give a good account of an ironclad, if she encounters one ; and Mr. Brassey says less pointedly, in his Naval Annual for 1SS6, that it is the development of Mr. Rennie's idea of carrying very powerful guns in small and swift vessels. The Italians have reproduced some of the tactical features of the Esmeralda in Giovanni, Vesuvio, Etna, Stromboli, and Fieramosca ; the Japanese in the Naniwa-Kan and Takachi-Ho; and we have some of her features—but not the one here discussed, of very heavy unprotected guns on a small displacement—in the Charleston.
The unarmored 10-inch guns of the Esmeralda and her class, and the armored guns of the same caliber carried by other ships, cannot endure together. If it is right that guns of this caliber should go to sea unprotected, they should go in smaller and less expensive vessels than the Esmeralda. In the sudden stress of war it might be well to build quickly five or six small vessels, each to carry a lo-inch unprotected gun ; and several such craft might overcome an ironclad of large size. But there can be no equilibrium of type as long as 10-inch guns, both protected and unprotected, are at sea. It may be, as some contend, that armor protection will be disused; and though the Esmeralda may contribute to this end, she herself will pass away when that end is reached.
The following table gives the weights of the main batteries of a number of unarmored and armored ships (the weights of the guns have been multiplied by two, in order to allow approximately for the carriages). The Esmeralda, it is curious to observe, has a very slender secondary battery.
Besides the Wabash class, we designed and built in this country, at about the same time, two other classes of vessels which were really more nearly frigates—though they carried their guns on an uncovered deck—than were the Wabash class. I refer to the Hartford class, of 3000 tons, and the Iroquois class, of 1500 tons. Then, in the fever and pressure caused by the Confederate cruisers—a feature of war by no means new or original—were built several classes of vessels, all of the same type—long and fast broadside wooden ships. These vessels were generally called commerce-destroyers, and it has been by many mistakenly supposed that a new type of war-ship had arisen. But in truth commerce-destroying has always formed a considerable part of maritime wars, and has been performed—or prevented—by ships of the type of the old frigates and sloops.
These fast sea-going ships culminated in the Wampanoag, of 4500 tons and 18 knots speed. She was truly a wonderful vessel, though unfit for the purpose for which she was designed ; and the impulse she gave to the development of sea speed was immense and endures—perhaps to too great an extent—at the present day. The Wampanoag—even the Piscataqua and Congress—types of less radical development, have passed away. The English built the Inconstant and Raleigh ; but the type of a very long and fast broadside ship, with no protection, never took root.
It soon began to be asserted—was clearly asserted by the designs of battle-ships as early as 1867—that war ships must have bow fire ; and the ships of the lighter classes followed the lead immediately. There have been no ships of war, except in types designed for some special purpose, constructed since 1870 without bow fire; and few without stern fire also. It may here be mentioned that the English usually get keel fire by sponsoning out the side, and the French by recessing the side.
As regards the ratio of the total weight of bow and stern to beam fire in recent types of vessels which, in a military sense, are strictly frigates, the table will be interesting.
Newark, by two pairs of 6-inch guns, all on main deck ; all sponsoned out.
Charleston, by one 8-inch gun amidships, and a pair of 6-inch sponsoned out ; all on main deck.
Chicago, by a pair of 8-inch guns on upper deck, and a pair of 5-inch on lower deck ; all sponsoned out.
Duguay-Trouin, by three guns of 19 cm. mounted on the forecastle; a pair in sponsons, and one in the eyes of the ship.
None of these ships, it may be observed, mount guns in turrets or barbettes in pairs, a method much used in battle-ships. The advantages and disadvantages of mounting a given weight in one or two guns in a turret may be shortly stated as follows : the two lighter guns will require rather less weight of armor to protect them by the same amount as the large gun ; while, the total weight in guns being supposed fixed, the caliber of the smaller guns will be eight tenths of the large one. Thus we shall gain some weight in armor, lose one fifth in penetration, and gain in rapidity of fire—or number of hits—by substituting a pair of guns for one gun; the weight being the same.
It is not quite in the line of the argument now in hand, but our attention may be drawn for a moment to a peculiarity of the class of cruisers lately laid down in this country. We have followed our historical policy of building ships larger than the corresponding types in other countries, in all of these. The Baltimore, Newark, Chicago, Cruisers No. 4 and 5, are all of more than 4000 tons : the Chicago and Baltimore being of about 4500 tons, while the Charleston is of 3700 tons. Vessels, then, of about 4000 tons, or a little above, form our unarmored (so-called) cruiser class ; while the corresponding vessels in England are of about 3500 tons displacement and less. We have but to increase the Chicago's tonnage to 5000—one ninth of itself—to reach the displacement of the Aurora class in England ; ships carrying 10 inches of compound armor on a waterline belt extending two fifths of their length. The English Mersey of 3500 tons, and the Chicago or the Baltimore, are classed as protected cruisers ; their protection consisting of a complete underwater protective deck ; and though we may conclude that the American ship, in a fight between these ships of nominally the same rate, might win, as did our ships in 181 2, yet we must not forget that as between the Mersey and Baltimore—and Baltimore and Aurora, there is not much difference in tonnage, the true measure of fighting power.
The way of measuring the weight of battery that has been adopted—adding up the weights of all the projectiles thrown—is the one generally used ; but it is not entirely satisfactory, because it does not tell us whether the weight is in few or many projectiles. It appears to be, however, the only way short of a complete description of each battery, and as such has been used. There can be little doubt that if ships are to carry one or two guns of heavier caliber than the others on board, these guns ought to be mounted in the bow and stern and on elevated decks, because then they get the largest arcs of train. It is by no means uncommon now to find the heavier guns mounted higher from the water than the lighter ones—just the contrary of the practice which formerly prevailed. This feature will be found, for example, in the U. S. armored battle-ship, the Chicago, and the Baltimore. It appears to me, also, that the place for an armor-piercing gun in an unarmored ship is the stern, because, if she is engaged with an armored vessel, it will generally be in chase.
Our gunboats Nos. 1, 3, and 4, of 1700 tons, and even gunboat No. 2 of 900 tons, are protected cruisers, and would be classed as such in England or France. The larger class, it appears to me, would be most useful vessels in war time—being able, as they are, to perform all the functions of war except fighting in the line. The contract cost of gunboat No. 1 is $455,000, while that of the Newark is $1,248,000—nearly three times as much. While of course the Newark is much the more powerful vessel, yet there are a great many duties in war which were formerly performed by frigates that can be as well done by the smaller vessel as by the Newark. The Newark carries twelve 6-inch guns, and three gunboats like No. 1 would carry eighteen of the same caliber ; the protective deck of the gunboats being complete and three-eighths inch thick, their defense is of only one eighth the power of the Newark's.
Our gunboats, it may be observed finally, approach very closely in tactical features the Scout, Archer, and Condor types of England and France. They will have eight torpedo-ejectors.
Besides the vessels which may be said to have taken the place of the frigates and sloops of old, there are the smaller and more irregular classes of vessels ; including, at the present time, torpedo, gam, and dispatch vessels and boats. Among these are the Alacrity and Surprise, in England, and the Archer, Scout, and Grasshopper classes; in France, the Condor and Bombe classes; in our own country, the dynamite vessel ; and in France and England a large number of small gunboats of various types, such as the English Staunch.
The Alacrity and Surprise are usually classed as dispatch vessels. They are of 1400 tons displacement, have a speed of 17 knots, coal endurance of 6500 knots, and carry four 5-inch rifles and a secondary battery. They have complete protective decks three-eighths inch thick. These vessels are about the tonnage of our gunboats Nos. 1, 3, and 4, and of the Dolphin ; but are superior to the Dolphin in all military qualities.
The Scout and Fearless are torpedo cruisers, a class of vessels which are intended to accompany the battle-ships anywhere, and to aid them in engagements when possible. They are of 1430 tons, have a partial protective deck three-eighths inch thick, carry four 5-inch rifles, and are supplied with eleven torpedo-tubes which are worked behind light protection.
There can be no doubt that this class of "enlarged torpedo boats," as these vessels have been called, has obtained a considerable measure of approval ; for the English, a year after laying down the Scout, laid down the six ships of the Archer class—vessels of 1600 tons, of very similar tactical features. But here, as so often in our study of the development of types, we find a slight recoil from a position lately maintained—the evidence of the continual motion to and fro of opinion regarding the features of naval war. The Scout puts her trust in eleven torpedo-ejectors, a partial three-eighths inch deck, and four 5-inch guns ; the Archer, on a slightly greater displacement, has only eight ejectors, a complete three-eighths inch deck, and six 6-inch guns. In 1885 the French laid down the four torpedo cruisers of the Condor class. These are of 1300 tons, and carry five torpedo-ejectors and five lo-centimeter guns. They are protected throughout their length by an underwater deck which varies from 1.5 inch to 2 inches in thickness.
The English Grasshopper class and the French Bombe are classed as torpedo hunters. They are small vessels, of high speed and light draft, so that torpedoes may pass under them ; and are usually armed with a gun of 4-inch or 5-inch caliber, and several R. F. guns. These vessels are intended to accompany the fleet, but perhaps not to great distances. Our dynamite vessel, now constructing, has attracted a great deal of attention, and doubtless will fill an important special place in war. She will not, however, contend with other vessels of similar type on the ocean, and is not, therefore, destined to become a type of cruiser.
The French and English have large numbers of gunboats carrying one or two guns of calibers from five inches to ten inches. The English gunboats of the Staunch type, for example, are of from 180 to 250 tons displacement, and carry one heavy gun so mounted that it can be lowered below the deck when at sea. The impossibility of giving such small vessels effective protection is probably the reason why they are not favorably regarded ; and the attempt to build them in place of large ironclads, which has sometimes been advocated, seems now to be finally abandoned.
We have finally to sum up our review of the history of the types of war-ships, and to endeavor to draw conclusions as to naval tactics from it. Nothing has so much struck me, in my reading and study of this subject, as the similarity of the broader features of naval warfare in all time. The sea-captains of the period of sails had but one principal weapon to use—the gun. We now have three, and naval tactics have been greatly altered by the change ; but, at the same time, the purposes, aims and objects of naval warfare have changed so little that many of the broader tactical features which are now required in classes of ships were required formerly also.
We recognize all through the seventeenth, eighteenth, and first part of the nineteenth century three main classes of war-ships : ships of the line, frigates, and sloops and brigs. The office of the first class was to contend with similar ships of other navies. It appears that we are warranted in concluding that their size was determined by this test—that they were as large as the actual state of the shipbuilding art would permit ; and, though their power of offense was considerably in excess of that of frigates, yet the ratio of their offense to defense did not differ very widely from that existing in frigates. Finally, as an off-set to their great fighting power, they lost in mobility; they were less weatherly than frigates, and consequently could not gain or maintain a position as well ; and also, from their greater draft, were unable, in some cases, to go where lighter vessels went safely. The sailing ship-of-the-line was then made as large as possible, and possessed many military qualities in a lower degree than frigates, or even sloops and brigs. The only reason they were built was that they were the most powerful fighting ships which could be made, and because other nations possessed them. They were, however, fit for nothing but to contend with each other, and occasionally with forts on shore.
The frigates were swifter and more truly sea-going than the ships of the line. In a pecuniary sense they were a better investment of a nation's money than the liners ; but, for all that, they were not able to displace these latter. Their office was, in fleet operations, to see and feel for the heavy liners, and, in some cases, to provision and water them. They also performed important work in the way of patrolling trade routes, convoying, and destroying the enemy's commerce. Frigates were everywhere useful, and service in them was always popular, so that a large part of the money expended on navies was put in them.
The sloops and brigs as a rule performed little work in connection with fleets. Many of them were too small to accompany the heavy ships in all weathers ; and they were never as well able to tow a disabled liner, or take possession of a subdued enemy's vessel, as were the frigates. In destroying enemy's commerce, these small vessels were as useful as frigates, however ; except of course that they were in great danger of capture if they fell in with a heavy ship of the enemy. The brigs and sloops were the corsairs, the guerillas, of naval warfare.
It might have at first appeared to the preparers of naval estimates and to the designers of war-ships, that naval warfare might with advantage be made a war upon commerce alone—a war carried on by numerous Alabamas—and that, therefore, there was no use in building ships of the line. This view, it would appear, might very reasonably have been taken by the enemies of countries strategically situated as Spain, Holland, and England successively have been—the mother country, united by long and rich arteries of commerce with her distant colonies.
But history positively stamps this policy as false. Never has a powerful impression been created in war by mere commerce-destroying— by the capture and destruction of ships. The effect upon the enemy of destroying his merchant ships has always been to cause him to put forth greater effort ; to build fleets of powerful war-ships that, he hopes, may destroy the thing which is annoying him. The control of the sea has, again and again, powerfully contributed in deciding great wars and the fate of nations : as in our Revolutionary and Civil Wars, not to go outside our own history. But this control has been, and must always be, decided by battleships, by war-ships which, when united in fleets, can overcome the enemy's fleets. The maritime power of Spain was thrown down by the destruction of the Armada, and not by the previous exploits brilliant and stirring as they were—of Drake, Richard Grenville, Hawkins, and others of the splendid galaxy of seamen of the Elizabethan era. Blake's fleet victories over the Dutch, and not the capture of single Dutch ships, gave England the carrying trade of the world. Hawke, when he destroyed the French fleet in Quiberon Bay, saved England from an invasion ; Nelson again, by his sleepless watch of the French fleet, and by his brilliant victories at the Nile and Trafalgar, twice overthrew the strategic combinations of far-reaching importance of Buonaparte. In our own country, the command of the sea about our coast, held towards the close of the Revolution by the French fleet, contributed most materially to the happy issue of the war ; the victories of M'Donough's and Perry's fleets on the lakes greatly influenced the conduct and consequences of the War of 181 2 ; and Farragut, when he passed up the Mississippi, struck a heavy blow at the power of the Confederacy.
And yet, in this country, we talk of not building battle-ships. As well provide an army to consist of isolated companies, whose organization and drill contemplate n© union of more than two or three companies, upon extraordinary occasions. Our frigate and sloop victories in 1812, the victory of the Kearsarge over the Alabama, were soothing to the national pride and beneficial to the cause of the navy; but they contributed in no material degree to the result of the wars in progress. It may be that the battle-ship now adopted in Europe and elsewhere is tactically unsound ; but, if this is so, let us find the true type, and not put our faith in frigates. It is unworthy of a great nation like ours to contemplate privateering warfare alone—a war of guerillas.
Yet this is certainly what some of us do contemplate ; at least as far as offensive naval operations go. It may be that the Government will be strong enough to induce the nation to accept a war policy to consist in shutting ourselves up within our shores, submitting to the insult of our ports in some cases, and repelling these with torpedoes and guns mounted in tugs and other river craft in others. But this I doubt. And what can we do in the way of maritime operations, against even nations whose wealth and power are insignificant as compared with our own ? You cannot send a regiment of men to march through a country held by armies. A naval policy which builds no battle-ships does not contemplate war, but privateerism.
Our geographical position, as regards any war whatever, except one with Canada or Mexico, resembles exactly that of England. Whether it were a war for national existence, waged against a combination of powerful European nations, such as might have occurred in the Civil War ; or a petty war, arising from some trifling dispute, fanned into war by injudicious diplomacy, it must be maritime. The control of the sea will be the supreme question. We have one advantage over England, it is true, but even this ceases to have effect if it be true, as I have said, that the control of the sea is the question of most moment : I refer, of course, to the question of the food supply of England, and to our own independence in this respect. The United States, however, will never consent to be shut up within its borders in case of war; and bitterly we shall repent our short-sightedness, and loud will be the abuse of the Navy, when it is found that our large steel cruisers, upon which so much national interest has been centered, are powerless to drive the enemy from our doors.
A battle-ship, then, is as large a ship as can be built, and conveniently and safely be navigated and fought. A frigate—to generalize this term—is a smaller vessel, which, in fleet operations, accompanies the liners, and sees and feels for them. Frigates also perform many minor and very necessary duties. The sloops—to generalize this term also—are sea-going craft smaller than frigates, whose functions are more purely commerce-destroying and protecting than frigates. We operate, in naval warfare, for the control of the sea, which the enemy tries to hold by his battle-ships, while his own and foreign merchant ships supply him with every necessity. We strive, by bringing his fleets of battle-ships into pitched battles with our own, to destroy the true guardian of his sea power. Our sloops, meanwhile, operate on the merchant ships going to his ports, and evade the battle-ships, whose attention is necessarily engaged by our fleet. Our frigates stand between these two classes, and help each as they can.
Such a view of naval warfare may perhaps be accepted as a general one, applicable to any age or combination of weapons. Or, if the precise scheme here drawn up is erroneous, there yet is a general view, of the nature here sketched out.
Such a view will, by discovering from the history of wars the objects of navies, in some measure help us to decide on the principal characteristics of the various classes, as preliminary to fixing upon the installation of weapons. The type battle-ship already mentioned, of about 6500 tons displacement, comes within the definition of what a battle-ship should be—as large as convenient. We have, in our country, special reasons for limiting the draft of ships to not more than twenty-two feet at the outside ; and it will be hard to build a ship of 6500 tons or more with less draft. This ship should carry probably guns of about 12-inch caliber, and, to narrow the matter down still more, two such guns might be mounted in a turret armored with ten inches or twelve inches of steel ; and the ship might carry in addition a battery of numerous 6-inch or 5-inch guns. These should be protected by stout steel shields, of such form as to give efficient protection.
The frigate should be of about 3500 tons displacement. The ratio between the offense and defense in these ships should approach that existing in battle-ships. This, it may be observed, is the direct contrary of the rule of practice now adopted ; for no vessels of 3500 tons are armored, but are protected—to use the phraseology now current; and in all protected ships the offense exceeds the defense far more than in armored ships. This will require frigates—or " second or third class protected cruisers," as they are frequently called—to be better protected, and their guns to be lighter than now. The protection to the ship herself may be in the way either of a vertical armor belt at the water-line, or by a protective deck. The guns and guns'-crews must also be protected better than they are now, as a rule. Armor three inches or four inches thick, and so disposed as to receive blows in a glancing direction, will give protection in many cases, and should be applied athwartships and wherever necessary on the beam.
To decide upon the offensive and defensive arrangements of a frigate, if we admit a certain ratio of power between these, it is sufficient to decide upon their guns. These probably should be of about 5-inch caliber. Guns of 5-inch caliber, though usually not dangerous to the supposed battle-ship, would yet be so if she were disabled, and if the range were very short. If one or two heavy guns in addition to the battery of 5-inch guns were desired, they should be of full 9-inch bore. My view of large guns in small ships is, however, that they will be useful only in the irregular operations of war—bombardments, the capture of disabled ships of higher rates, etc. The rule will be in the future, as in the past, that vessels will contend with their likes ; and of two frigates of 3500 tons, one carrying two 9-inch guns, and the other an equal weight in twelve 5-inch guns, the latter has certainly the best chance of winning.
The sloop type-ship should be of about 1500 tons displacement, and their batteries would be mostly of guns of about 4-inch caliber. Here, too, my view is that present types lack in defensive arrangements. The ½-inch protective deck of our gunboats and of the class of the English Archer will hardly throw off a 3-pounder R. F. gun when the range is short ; and yet the two classes named are the best protected in the world for their tonnage.
The scheme presented of a convenient classification of war-ships is, of course, open to criticism in all respects ; and perhaps the best result which can flow from its presentation is the realization of the necessity for a comprehensive plan. The growth of a type of warship is an extraordinary and most complex study, and all that any individual can do to fix or control it is infinitesimal in amount.
The scheme presented lays down, from a study of naval wars and of present needs, the three classes of battle-ships, frigates, and sloops. The first we make as big as is safe and convenient ; their office is to fight similar ships. The third must be fast sea-going vessels of high coal endurance; their office is to stop the enemy's commerce and protect our own ; incidentally they fight vessels of their own class and run away from larger ones. The second—the frigates—are intermediate in every respect; their first duty is to accompany and help the fleet of battle-ships; incidentally they perform all the duties laid down for sloops.
Now, what does our examination of the types of ships teach us of naval tactics—the tactics of sea-battles? In the first place, will the tactics of battle-ships, frigates, and sloops, whether in single combat or fleet actions, differ ? If the tactical features of these classes differ as much as they now do, their tactics must differ ; but if their tactical features will be the same, their tactics will be the same, as in former times they were the same. That the frigates and sloops shall approach the battle-ships in tactical features, it is necessary that their armor shall increase, and that they shall carry a heavy gun with a large arc of train ; a feature now found in many frigates, as the Charleston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Mersey class, and nearly all French cruisers.
If, then, the tactical features of war-ships of all classes are approaching similarity—'the differences being even now more apparent than real—the fighting tactics of all, whether engaged singly or in fleets, will be the same. If the guns of ships are so installed that they have equal all-round fire, they have no preference for one angle of presentment more than another. The line of bearing in fleet formations may then, so far as the question of bringing the guns to bear is concerned, have any direction whatever with respect to the direction in which the enemy is seen. The defensive arrangements of ships—the ratio of their offense to defense on various presentments—will control the range. If these defensive powers approach equality in all directions, as it appears to me logical that they must, if the powers of offense are equal all round, then the gun lays down no tactical rule whatever, except that it prefers that the range should have a certain value. The Monitors—to which type the battle-ships of all nations now approach in tactical features—laid down nothing as to the angle of presentment. In a purely gunnery duel between two of them, the only datum we need know, for a complete understanding of the contest, is the range.
A word may be said finally in defense of the use of the old words frigate and sloop, instead of some of the infinity of new names which have been invented to designate vessels whose functions would be the same as those classes. These new names are intended usually to convey something as to the tactical features of a ship—to indicate in some degree how thick her armor is, and how it is disposed ; and to show whether her powers of offense are lodged principally in gun, ram, or torpedo. But, as already stated, the existing differences in these respects, except in the matter of armor, are small, and they are growing still smaller ; in other words, the sloop of the future may be very nearly produced by a parallel contraction in all respects of the battleship.
As to the strain put upon the old meaning of the words sloop and frigate—the meaning with which we are familiar—it is not very great not greater than the changes of meaning they underwent before reaching the one we know. It does not seem possible to discover how the term sloop came to be applied to a ship-rigged war-vessel carrying guns on one uncovered deck, though James has something to say regarding the origin of the term. The word frigate passed through a variety of very different meanings, to be applied finally to a ship-rigged war-vessel carrying her guns on one covered deck. The old word ship-of-the-line we have changed to battle-ship; a good term, and one firmly lodged in naval terminology. This word alone, among those formerly used to designate different classes of war-ships, has a distinctly military origin. This is probably due to the fact that, of these classes, the ship of the line alone had a distinctly military origin and purpose.