Sivut kuvina

matic photography is made from one part of metallic magnesium and five to seven parts of sodium nitrate.

The following books are announced:

"L'artill6rie actuelle en France et ä l'6tranger. Canons, fusils, poudres et projectiles." Paris, 1889.

"Hand-book of Gunpowder and Gun-cotton." WardeU, London, 1888.

"Vorschrift über die Versendung von Sprengstoffen und Munitions-gegenständen der Militär- und Marineverwaltung auf Landwegen und auf Schiffen (Sprengstoff-Versendungsvorschrift) nebst militärischen Ausführungsbestimmungen." Berlin, 1889.

"Anleitung zum Zünden von Bohrlochladungen durch Friction u. s. w." Von Johann Lauer. Vienna, 1887.

"Anleitung zur Bestimmung der Bohrloch-Ladungen für Sprengungen in Schlagwetter führenden Gruben." Von Johann Lauer, Vienna, 1887.

"Lauer's Vorschläge zur Verhinderung von Explosionen u. s. w." Von Ed. F. Csänk, Vienna, 1887.

"J. Lauer's Frictionszündmethode." Von J. Mayer. Reprinted from Oester. Zeit. Berg- und Hüttenwesen, 1887.

The Mittheilungen des Artillerie und Genie- Wesens, Parts 8 and 9, 1889, contains a Bibliography of the Periodical Military and Technical Literature for the first half of the year 1889, in which we find thirty-two titles of articles on explosives, besides a considerable number on the use of high explosive charges in shells.

"Mining Accidents and their Prevention," by Sir Frederick Abel, with a discussion by some thirty-six experts, to which is appended the laws governing coal-mining in each of the United States and in Great Britain and Germany (431 pp., 1889), is published by the Scientific Publishing Company of New York.



By Lieutenant Richard Wainwright, U.S. Navy.

The first question that arises in entering upon the subject is whether or no modern arms and modern inventions have so changed all methods of naval warfare as to make the lessons drawn from history useless, and also if it is impossible to lay down any rules for the guidance of naval commanders besides the few points of minor details that illustrate the handling of a few vessels or single vessels —in fact, minor tactics, with the gun, ram, and torpedo as weapons. If it is true that the march of progress has so altered the conditions of warfare as to make the study of naval history useless, then we have no guide except what can be found in the study of modern naval peace manoeuvres and a few recent naval battles, of which that of Lissa is the most important; but even from these slight data it is possible to deduce certain rules, and it will be found that these rules agree with those deduced from historical examples, and that it is only minor tactics which must be radically changed with the improvement of the weapon.

There has always been an outcry raised against laying down rules for the conduct of warfare. Military rules have been opposed because of the numerous elements of uncertainty that enter into every problem, and in the case of naval rules the opposition has been still stronger, because of the additional uncertainty introduced by the necessity of contending with the elements. The great master of the'art of war, Jomini himself, says that "war, far from being an exact science, is a terrible and impassioned drama, regulated, it is true, by three or four general principles, but also dependent for its results upon a number of moral and physical complications." In another place he says, " war in its ensemble is not a science but an art. Strategy, particularly, may indeed be regulated by fixed laws resembling those of the positive sciences, but this is not true of war viewed as a whole. Among other things, combats may be mentioned as often being quite independent of scientific combinations, and they may become essentially dramatic, personal qualities and inspirations and a thousand other things frequently being the controlling elements. Shall I be understood as saying that there are no such things as tactical rules, and that no theory of tactics can be useful? What military man of intelligence would be guilty of such an absurdity?" Baron de Jomini lays down general rules for the guidance of the military student, and, by analyzing numerous campaigns and battles, shows how he has derived the rules and illustrates the battles. The march of improvement on land has been great, and yet Jomini is still an authority of the highest value. Because the improvement in the weapons at sea has been great, and because all rules are difficult of application to warfare on the sea, the elements of uncertainty being numerous, shall we therefore say that naval warfare not only is not a science, but also is not even an art? that it is a mere matter of brute force? that no rules can be used as a guide, and that the naval commander must trust to the hard fighting of his individual vessels, and that the best work an admiral can do for his fleet is to command the largest vessel and make it conspicuous in the fight? One might answer in the language of Jomini, What naval (military) man would be guilty of this absurdity ? were it not for the high naval authority cast upon the side of no rules—not openly and plainly, yet with language that will bear no other construction.

Many officers beyond doubt think that there is no better method to conduct a fleet than to carry it on the shortest road to the enemy, trusting to hard fighting to win the day. They say that on the sea all operations and manoeuvres are plainly visible to the enemy, whereas on land there may be doubts in the mind of either side as to the position and strength of the troops opposed, and a portion of the line may be strengthened or weakened without the knowledge of the opposing force. Strategy, with its political, geographical, and military or regular strategic points, remains now, as throughout the history of war, the same, but tactics are useless. The advocates of brute force are not confined to those who pin their faith on any one weapon; there are adherents of the gun, the ram, and the torpedo, who point to the sentence extracted from Nelson's famous Trafalgar order, " No captain can do wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy," as the best rule of the greatest of naval commanders, and yet every line of that order, of which the above is a short extract, shows Nelson to be a believer in tactics and a great tactician, and throughout it he is striving to line out the co„urse to be pursued by his fleet, in accordance with the various positions of the enemy, so that he may combine his strength upon a portion of the enemy's, the aim of all tacticians. The tactics to be pursued in any given case must somewhat depend upon strategical considerations. It may frequently happen that it is not to the best interests of the country to risk a decisive battle, for the resources of the enemy may be so superior that the loss incurred in defeating him will be ruinous to us while not felt seriously by him. If our enemy be decidedly inferior to us, it may be wise to endeavor to overwhelm him at all points at once; but where the two fleets are nearly equal, we can hardly expect that our fighting qualities will be so far superior to his as to give us a decided victory. If both sides rush together and engage in a m$lEe, chance will rule; but the result must be disastrous to both fleets, and the victor of such a combat can have but little fighting value left. In most of the great battles won by the English fleets they gained some decided tactical advantage in the outset through superior handling of their fleets, and in those days their superior seamanship and gunnery, and higher state of discipline made an English vessel far superior to a French, Spanish, or Dutch vessel of the same size. We know that many of their commanders, notably Collingwood, paid great attention to rapidity of fire. The fire was generally reserved until close quarters, and then poured in by brpadsides; the opposing crews, less skillful and fatigued by firing at long range, could not compete with the English in rapidity of fire, and their guns were silenced. The slaughter was usually far greater on the enemy's vessels than on the English, and, although courageously fought, they were obliged to surrender. This great slaughter was largely due, undoubtedly, to the rapid firing, and some may have been due to superior ballistics. Because of this superiority, they adopted the tactics, when to windward, of cutting through the enemy's line and engaging him to leeward, thus preventing him from slipping away to leeward when disabled. Can we expect to have this superiority to all enemies?

In 1812 our officers and vessels were superior to the English, and our crews at least their equals, but the fact remains that in spite of our victories in the naval duels, if the war had continued longer, we would have been without a vessel able to keep the sea. It would be egregious vanity for us to assume any individual superiority over European vessels or fleets as now situated, and if our only dependence must be <jn hard fighting,—unless we contemplate building a naval force equal or superior to our possible foes,—we might as well cease our endeavors to build up a navy. It certainly seems improbable that for many years to come we can expect to have a large fleet. We may hope to have a small fleet of battle-ships, and if this must rush at the enemy whenever he is sighted, we may expect to beat him once, we may hope to defeat his second fleet, but for a third encounter we would certainly have no fleet. There may arise occasions when, because of the political situation, it may be necessary to risk our small fleet; that is, an immediate victory may serve to prevent another nation from joining the enemy, or may serve to induce an ally to join us, but certainly under ordinary occasions it would be foolhardy to attack the enemy at once and insure our final destruction, while on these extraordinary occasions it certainly would be wise to endeavor by manoeuvres to gain some advantage over the enemy, and, while destroying him, preserve as many of our vessels as possible.


To begin with, let us see if we cannot find some rules by which we may be guided, and from which, if we follow them, we may hope for advantage, and which, if we violate them, will plainly give the enemy the advantage if he adopts the correct course.

There will be three cases to consider in the conduct of a fleet; when meeting one of equal strength, when meeting one of superior strength, and when meeting one of inferior strength.

When meeting an equal force, the first thing to be considered is whether an immediate and decisive action is necessary to the interests of the country, or whether it is advisable merely to delay the enemy until we can receive reinforcements; or, is our fleet so important to us that it must not be risked until we have reasonable certainty of a complete victory? Undoubtedly the most satisfactory- course for any commander to pursue is to press on to an immediate engagement; his responsibilities are lighter, and his anxiety is shortened. He has only to have confidence in his own courage and that of his officers. Even if he should be defeated he can fight hard, injure his enemy, and leave his courage unimpugned. On the other hand, if he wait, he must be vigilant day and night; he must restrain those who, desirous of ending their anxiety, will try to force a fight. He knows that if by an unfortunate accident he should lose touch of the

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