The history of maritime war offers no typical cases of actions between groups of torpedo-boats and ships under way, from which to deduce tactical principles.
To this fact, perhaps, is to be attributed the great diversity of ideas that are generally held upon this important subject.
In the study of such questions as this, eminently practical methods should be employed, rather than simple theoretical analysis. But, on the other hand, when defensive action on the part of the ships is entirely lacking, only a relative value may be assigned to experiments made in time of peace, and even certain exercises of methodical simulated attacks, based only upon special suppositions, may perhaps easily violate tactical criteria, rather than furnish useful experimental data.
And indeed, in analyzing the exercises carried out in time of peace, we encounter, among other circumstances, one in particular; which is, that the torpedo-boats, sure of not running any risk, and of not being disturbed in their maneuvers, follow in the main an exactly prearranged line of conduct, and, in general, the ships do not even attempt to maneuver opportunely for preventing the attack.