(See page 1292, December, 1927, Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander W. M. Quigley, U. S. Navy.—The subject matter of this article is one which is as old as ships of war themselves. The question of size of various types of naval ships is one which is now under discussion in its application to light cruisers, destroyer leaders, aircraft carriers and other units in the Navy. In no case in design and least of all in submarine construction, is displacement, in a wish to have a ship bigger than any possessed by other navies, decided upon in an arbitrary manner. It is needless to state that in the design of any type of warship certain characteristics are specified, certain requirements are laid down by those responsible for military efficiency, which the constructor must incorporate in the vessel, if such be humanly possible. No one wants large displacement in any type and it is only accepted as the means of getting everything required into the ship.
The author lists various types of submarines built during and subsequent to the late war. As the ninth type he summarizes the characteristics of the U135-U138 class (1,175 tons surface) and states, “they were considered by the Germans as the last word in medium size submarines and were the result of the best talent in Germany after nearly four years of war experience.” It might be inferred from the above that, inasmuch as German designers of submarines were admittedly the best authorities, we should take a “page from their book” and accept the findings of their experience. It is true that we have taken a number of features of material from the German submarines, modified them to our requirements and profited thereby. It is not felt, however, that we may adopt that part of the German submarine policy which applies to displacement without in the same manner modifying and, if necessary, amplifying it to suit bur needs. It cannot be assumed that Germany’s or any other country’s submarine problems will be ours. The distances to be traversed in our “Western Ocean” are considerably greater than in Germany’s. Greater feats of performance are to be demanded of our submarines, and the determination of the size of any ship depends upon the duty which that ship is intended to perform. A three-quarter-ton truck can go as fast as a ten-ton truck, but it cannot carry as great a useful load. Vessels built for large performances must be large.
Lieutenant Commander Burrough specifies the ideal submarine: “It would seem that the ideal boat should be of about 1,500 tons surface displacement, eighteen knots speed with a cruising radius of 12,000 miles, four bow, and two stern tubes and one four or five-inch gun. It would be possible to carry at least sixteen torpedoes and possibly more.” From knowledge of the requirements of the various activities charged with designing, building and installing the component parts of a submarine, it is not believed that the material necessary to meet these specifications could be crowded into that size of a hull. From past experience these requirements might be met in a boat of 2,200 tons surface displacement.
In this connection, and as an example of the fact that displacement of a vessel depends upon the required performance or the military characteristics demanded of the vessel, it is understood that the later boats of the Obcron class (1,480 tons) (British) are of fifteen feet greater length and of 200 tons greater displacement than the Oberon. This increase was found necessary in order to accommodate main engines of higher power, so as to obtain the greater speed demanded of them. If such be the case, it would appear that this class is bordering on the upper limit of the medium size submarines (1,800 tons, surface displacement). Again, size depends upon the use to which the machine is to be put.
To quote the article again, “it is seen that our V-4, the largest mine layer in the world, carries sixty mines, while U-117 carried forty-two.” This statement will bear amplification. The U-117 and her class were designed to carry thirty-four mines in the stowage racks. By stowing two in the mine elevator and three in each tube, a total of forty-two could be carried. It must be understood that under these conditions the six mines stowed in the launching tubes could not be got at for adjustment, inasmuch as there was no room within the boat for such adjustment. In other words these six were carried in what was to all purposes a “wet” stowage. As to their mine carrying capacity, published reports show, however, that the number of mines carried varied according to the amount of other stores (fuel, lubricating oil, spares, food, etc.) carried, and that no more than twenty- eight have been carried, in some instances, due to overweight. It would appear that a fair average would be somewhere between thirty-two and thirty-six.
From articles which have appeared recently on the propriety of a submarine exercising the right of search and seizure upon a merchantman, in time of war, it would appear that the commanding officer of a submarine who committed such an act would go the way of the ill-fated Kidd and of that dour person “Samuel Hall.” This fact notwithstanding, it is felt that submarines will exercise the right of any belligerents. The speed of merchant ships as a class is increasing due to competition and to conversion to Diesel engines in so many of this type. Although the speed and surface armament of submarines is not dependent upon the speed and armament of merchant motor ships, the relative balance must be maintained.
It has been stated that the larger submarines are as crowded as the medium or small sized ones. This statement, if correct, is due entirely to the installation of additional equipment which, having been developed recently, is considered essential to the safe operation of the submarine, its battle efficiency or the comfort of the crew, and for which there is insufficient space available in a smaller vessel. However, a glance at the table of “net free air space” in the various classes of our submarines is instructive. Suffice it to say that our larger submarines have many times as much free air space as our smaller boats.
While the V class submarines may not appear to be any roomier than the S class, it cannot be denied that the V class are more habitable. To quote the article: “Even two months of this duty (submarine patrol) would wear the crews down excessively due to the cramped living quarters and the lack of sufficient cold storage and fresh water.” The necessary equipment and space to meet the deficiencies on the small and medium sized submarines can be, and are “worked into” the large sized boats. This being the case, and in consideration of our peculiar needs, it is submitted that the larger type is more desirable in that it will permit a fresher crew to exert the greatest weight of effort at the greatest distance.
Test of Fact Against Fiction in the Battle of Jutland
(See page 169, March, 1928, Proceedings)
Commander C. S. Stan worth, U. S. Navy.—In reading the. excellent article on the battle of Jutland in the March issue, I was impressed by the statement that the prestige gained by the successful handling of the German fleet in contact with a superior English fleet was a factor in the adoption by the Germans of unrestricted submarine warfare. Also that the subsequent destruction of merchantmen by submarines brought more peril to the cause of the Allies, destroyed more physical values, than a ninety per cent loss of the English fleet would have, had Admiral Jellicoe pressed home his attack, and won a decisive victory. The injury to England’s navy spirit is incalculable.
Admiralty instructions to Admiral Jellicoe were based upon the pernicious doctrine of a “Fleet in Being” and curiously enough the May issue of the Proceedings publishes an article deprecating the execution of Admiral Byng. Had the English Admiralty adhered to the policy that justified the execution of Admiral Byng, and not lent an attentive ear to the teachings of
Admiral Colomb, the Battle of Jutland would have had a different ending. Admiral Mahan found little to approve of in the policy, “Fleet in Being.”
This leads me to the propriety and timeliness of a discussion of navy spirit, and the limitations it places on instructions issued by an admiralty or navy department, here today, gone tomorrow.
In the days of sailing ships when cordage was all important, ropes woven for the English Navy had a blue strand in the cordage so that navy rope could always be distinguished. So in the history of navies you can detect the blue strand of navy spirit, placed there in early days by some worthy sailor, and more or less unconsciously adopted as the guiding principle of succeeding officers.
In 1588, Sir Richard Grenvil, commanding the Revenge, was surprised in a harbor in the Azores by a Spanish fleet of fifteen ships. Instead of surrendering to a superior force, the Revenge fought, and though finally captured or sunk, inflicted such damage to the Spanish fleet that it became an English Navy tradition that one English ship could whip five Spanish:
In the fight between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis, John Paul Jones laid his ship alongside the enemy as the Bon Homme Richard was sinking, and captured the Serapis. “We have not begun to fight,” became a slogan for our Navy.
The web that connects cause and effect is too intricate for any commanding officer to say, “My surrender to a superior force will not be important,” as is illustrated in the following.
In 1815, Captain S. C. Reid in command of the privateer General Armstrong was in the harbor of Funchal, when the English squadron convoying Sir Edwin Pakenham’s troops to capture New Orleans appeared in the offing, and sent in a boat expedition to cut out the General Armstrong. This and a second boat attack were repelled, and Captain Reid, when his ship was finally disabled by gun fire, took possession of a Portuguese fort, and continued the fight.
The English squadron remained at Funchal for several days to repair the damages inflicted by Reid, and the delay this caused in the arrival of Pakenham’s troops enabled General Jackson to organize the defense of New Orleans.
Influenced by the teachings of Admiral Colomb, the English Admiralty has at various times stressed the importance of “Fleet in Being,” and there was a dim shadowing of this policy in the instructions given by our Navy Department to Admiral Sampson off Santiago in 1898.
What effect the instructions to Admiral Sampson not to risk his battleships had, is not known, but their purpose had largely disappeared when the New York arrived off Santiago, and found the Spanish ships practically destroyed, and the harbor open. Had he signalled, “Follow the flag,” and steamed into Santiago harbor and forced a surrender, the gain to navy spirit would have more than offset the loss of several ships, and we would have had no Sampson- Schley controversy.
The Articles of War adopted by act of Congress prescribe such punishment as a court-martial may inflict on any commanding officer who does not do his utmost to bring his ship or ships into action, and both the English and our Navy have court- martialed officers under this article, but there has never been a court-martial of an officer for fighting against odds.
No navy department has the moral right to issue instructions that violate the living navy spirit, and in view of the Articles of War, they would have no legal right.
Every naval officer should be indoctrinated with the thought that he can be court- martialed for using his judgment not to fight, but that if he fights even against overwhelming odds, his defeat will be a victory for true navy spirit.
(See pages 235, 236, March, 1928, Proceedings)
Lieutenant Carl J. Lamb, U.S..N.R. —In reading the March, 1928, issue of the Proceedings, I ran across some matter on pages 235-236, under the heading “Professional Notes,” “United States,” concerning which I think comment is appropriate.
In discussing the Saratoga and Lexington, it was stated, “It is of interest to note that the boilers in both the Saratoga and Lexington—the highest-powered ships ever built— are of British design.”
As a matter of fact, I believe it is true that practically all of the express type boilers (small tube) in U. S. naval vessels of any appreciable size (destroyers and larger) are of British design. Also, the shipyard built geared turbines are of British or other foreign design, and when the Navy builds vessels with such foreign designed machinery in them, it is subsidizing the foreign equipment builders, because of the royalty money sent abroad. Aside from the military importance of keeping the detailed design of such important machinery from reaching other navies, it would seem best to encourage American manufacturers and designers of machinery by using our own designs and to spend relatively large sums of royalty money inside of the United States.
On page 236 in the same article, but in a discussion of the two new 10,000 ton treaty cruisers Pensacola and Salt Lake City, the following sentence appears: “The steam pressure is said to be 700 pounds, though this has yet to be confirmed.” This reference to 700 pounds of steam pressure is evidently a typographical error, as it is well and publicly known that the boilers for the two vessels mentioned, as well as for the six later ones now in process of construction, are designed for 300 pounds pressure with no superheat.
This question of steam pressures and temperatures for U. S. naval vessels is an interesting one, usually avoided by our naval and shipyard design engineers. Forgetting the comparatively large number of land plants which operate with steam conditions ranging from 400 pounds with 250° F. superheat up to 1200 pounds with 750 °F total temperature, it should be noted that, at present, several merchant ships are operating with pressures in excess of 300 pounds, and with varying amounts of superheat. The U. S. Coast Guard is now building five cutters whose turbines will operate with steam conditions of 250 pound
pressure and 250° F. superheat. The British, besides Parsons’ 550 pound pressure, 800° F. total temperature steamship King George V, have launched two fifteen thousand S.H.P twin screw, geared turbine passenger ships having Yarrow boilers. The ships are for the Canadian Pacific R.R. and each one has steam conditions of 350 pounds and 650° total temperature, one being an oil fired vessel, the other being a coal burner with mechanical stokers.
It used to be that the U. S. Navy and merchant service were the leaders in marine engineering. We remember with pride that the steamboat, the Kingsbury thrust, the armored vessel, the submarine, the screw propeller, etc., were first used successfully by American engineers. The late Admiral George Melville, U.S.N. (Retired), and his colleague, MacAlpine, financed by George Westinghouse, pioneered geared turbine propulsion against the skepticism of the entire marine world, and the U. S. Navy made the first installation in 1911 in the U.S.S. Neptune, four years after the inventors filed their first patents. Since that time our Navy has installed about 12,500,000 S.H.P. of geared turbine propelling machinery, of which over 9,000,000 S.H.P. was built to foreign design, but, strange to say, has made practically no advances toward the greatly improved economies which may be secured by the use of increased pressure and temperature steam.
The writer has said considerably more than he originally intended, when he started this letter. It, however, expresses beliefs which are very evident. It is passing strange that, considering the undoubted ability and leading position of American steam engineers and their advanced knowledge of the art, the U. S. Navy should remain so many years behind contemporary practice, and should specify foreign designed machinery.