Four principal elements enter into warship design, viz., battery, protection, radius of action, and speed. When it is attempted to combine these on a given displacement each crowds the other for space to such an extent that the limitation in displacement has steadily given way, until many students of the subject have concluded that this tendency must be stopped, even at a sacrifice. It is possible, however, that those so concluding are becoming disheartened when almost in sight of the goal, and that only by persistently designing warships which combine the highest tactical elements of their class, on whatever displacement these demand, can we hope to excel.
The order of importance of the elements in the design differs according to the class of vessel. Thus, for battleships, we should consider-
1st. What combination of guns will produce the most efficient fighting battery?