The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, 1883, Vol. 55 (Classic Reprint)

The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, 1883, Vol. 55 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, 1883, Vol. 55 These great experiments certainly seem to have shown that armour was tougher, and the loo-ton muzzle-loading gun less potent as against it, than had been generally supposed. Vvhen the enormous advantages which the gun has in experiments is remembered, it seems clear that a vessel armoured as to her vital parts and batteries with 19-inch steel plates, or, maybe, with 19-inch compound plates, properly made and bolted, could defy even the loo-ton muzzle-loader. Taking the case of the steel-clad vessel, it seems clear that, in order to destroy one of her plates, it would be necessary to strike it four times in succession at right angles. \vhen this had been done, a fifth shot, very accurately aimed, would be necessary to carry destruction into her. No such practice could be hoped for in a naval engagement, and therefore the steel-clad ship would, so far as the 19-in. Armour covered her, be safe against the penultimate great gun, unless, indeed, the gunners chose to load with dangerous charges. Since the terrible accident on board the Duz'lz'o it has not, according to Sir T. Brassey, been thought advisable to use more than 507 lbs. Of powder, and the highest charge consistent with safety was therefore nearly reached when the Whitworth projectile was fired. Very remarkable, then, was the conclusion to be drawn from the Spezia experiments, and it is not surprising that the artillerists in council assembled were much impressed by them. With resistant plates and repulsed shot before them, they had once more to betake themselves to their not infrequent occupation of changing their minds on an important subject. Before, however, they could draw new con elusions with anything like certainty, it was necessary that further experiments should be made. It had been shown that a great engine of destruction might not be, under some conditions, quite so deadly as had been fondly hoped; but another and yet more terrible engine of destruction was ready which might prove capable of doing all the injury that could be wished for. One of the loo-ton breech-loading guns was at Spezia when the other weapon was tried, and there were reasons for supposing that it would be found to surpass it considerably in power. What of course was desired was to see the degree of superiority proved by actual trial. This desire, however, has not been gratified, for, as has been said, the much wished-for experiment has not been made. The gun's power was, however, partly demonstrated, as, though not fired against a plate, it was, according to the T z'mes' report, fired eighteen times, and the velocity of the shot was in all but three cases ascertained. Only when very large charges of powder were used did this greatly exceed the velocity of the shot from the muzzle-loader. The speed of the \vhitworth pro jectile at the moment of striking was feet a second; that of the shot from the breech-loader, when 7716 lbs. Of powder were used, was and feet a second. With 6063 lbs. Of powder, the velocity was and feet, and with-496 lbs. Of powder it was feet only. The superiority, then, does not seem at first sight so great as might be expected; but it is to be remembered that the breech loader can be fired with charges considerably larger even than those which have been used. Theoretically, the chamber will bear a strain of 29' 5 tons to the square inch, and though it is not well to rely too much on theoretical strength, it seems probable that the highest pressure hitherto reached may be exceeded without danger. Possibly, then, the victory of the steel plates may be but short-lived; and, though they are seemingly able to resist the shot -of any vessel now afloat, it may be shown that they are not able to resist shot from guns which will be mounted on board fighting ships before very more

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  • Paperback | 856 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 43mm | 1,120g
  • Forgotten Books
  • English
  • 871 Illustrations; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0243104936
  • 9780243104932