Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Influence of Air-Ships on War

The art of war keeps constant pace with the sciences, taking advantage of all discoveries and inventions, which may be found of use. Money without limit is spent to obtain the most efficient results in steam and electrical engineering, in chemistry, optics and metallurgy. The demands which modern war makes upon science are usually more imperative than those made for civil and commercial purposes. It may be readily understood, then, that, should a successful air-ship be constructed, it would find immediate occupation in the armies of the different nations who are rivaling each other in warlike preparations.
But is the success of the air-ship probable? Eminent engineers and scientists have for some time conceded that many of the important obstacles in the way of artificial flight have been removed, and it now seems probable that within a few years all problems connected with it will be solved, and a machine capable of sustained flight and entirely under control will be an actual fact.
Langley's Aerodrome
The many failures of attempts at flight have made people skeptical in regard to success, and the ridicule commonly accorded experimenters has doubtless deterred many scientific investigators and withheld the capital necessary to make experiments, but within the last decade exhaustive experiments in regard to the sustaining and resisting power of the air have been made by several scientists, notably by Mr. Hiram Maxim and Mr. S. P. Langley. It is now known what weight the air will sustain, what power is necessary to support a definite weight, and other facts, which before were only guessed at. Experiments have also been made to determine the best material and the best form for the sustaining planes and the propellers.
To secure a satisfactory motor has long been regarded as the most difficult problem to be solved in obtaining flight, and until within a few years no motor had been constructed capable of sustaining, in addition to its own weight, that of the aeroplane or other means of support, the supply of fuel and the engineer, etc., but within that time, improvements in the quality of metals, and especially the advances made in steam engineering, have made such an achievement possible.
The power necessary to sustain a man in the air has been variously estimated by several experimenters. Mr. S. P. Langley, in his experiments with planes on a whirling table, found that one horse-power, rightly applied, would support over 200 pounds in the air at velocities over forty-five miles per hour. Mr. Maxim found, in a similar series of experiments, that with a plane moved at an angle of one on fourteen, one horse-power would support 133 pounds. Mr. 0. Chanute, in "The Progress of Flying Machines," states that as a general conclusion it may be said that, including the resistance of the machinery and framing, 100 pounds per horse-power is about the maximum that can be lifted, and he estimates that, in small aeroplanes capable of lifting one man, fifty pounds per horse-power is the greatest amount that can be allowed for the weight of the motor.
Motors have been constructed which will more than fulfill these demands. Mr. Langley has made a steam engine which, without the boiler, weighed only six pounds per horse-power. Mr. Hargrave, of Australia, has constructed a small engine which weighs only 10.7 pounds per horse-power. Mr. Maxim's engines of 300 horse-power weigh, with boiler and condensers complete, only eight pounds per horse-power, while the engines alone weigh only two pounds per horse-power. He considers it practicable to build an engine, boiler, condenser, etc., complete, which will weigh only five pounds per horse-power. Mr. Mosher, who built the steam yacht " Norwood," has stated that he can supply engines for experimental flying machines of less than ten pounds per horse-power.
The question of a suitable motor being disposed of, the most important difficulties remaining are successful alighting after flight and a satisfactory method of retaining equilibrium during flight. It is not probable that these will long remain obstacles in the path of the many investigators now interested in the work.
During the last twenty-fire years the French have been interested in the dirigible balloon, and have had partial success with it. The "La Prance," which attained the greatest success, was cigar-shaped, 165 feet long, and, with a nine-horse-power electric motor, attained a speed of fourteen miles per hour. A larger one is now projected that will make twenty-five miles per hour. While the dirigible balloon would be very useful, in the absence of anything better, the most experienced investigators claim that the aeroplane presents greater prospects of complete success. Many inventors are now experimenting with different forms of supporting and propelling machines. One of the most interesting is that of Mr. Otto Lilienthal, of Berlin, who, with a pair of bat-like wings twenty-six feet from tip to tip, has succeeded in flying 400 yards down the slope of a hill. In a recent model he uses a small motor, driven by compressed carbonic acid gas, to assist him in moving his Wings.
Mr. Phillips, of England, has constructed a flying machine weighing 330 pounds, which has a record of having flown 2,000 feet at the rate of forty miles per hour. While this machine was not absolutely free from the ground, it demonstrated its ability to raise more than its weight. The peculiar feature of it is the aeroplane, which resembles a Venetian blind eight feet high and twenty-two feet wide.
Mr. Maxim's aeroplane, which is one of the few air ships that have ever succeeded in getting beyond the model stage, and the only one of its size that has shown itself capable of rising from the ground, offers great promise. It has 5,400 square feet of aeroplane. Its extreme length is 125 feet; width, 104 feet; weight, 8,000 pounds, and its lifting power at a velocity of about fifty miles per hour is 10,000 pounds. Its record of actual free flight is over 500 feet. Mr. Maxim says that after having been so successful in constructing this machine, "it only remains to continue the experiments with a view of learning the art of manoeuvring it."
Since the perfecting of the air-ship in the near future seems so probable, it is certainly not out of place to speculate as to what would be its effect on warfare, since it would probably first be used for that purpose. The advantages to be gained by their use in war are so evident and so important that when once perfected they will form just as necessary a part of the defenses of a nation as is now furnished by a navy.
Air-ships may be used in war for observation of the enemy, for reconnaissance, for carrying dispatches, and for offensive attack.
Zeppelin's LZ-1 makes its first ascent.
Balloons, usually captive, have often been used for observation of the enemy, and they now form part of the equipment of almost .all nations. An air-ship, completely under control, would be an ideal means of observation and reconnaissance. It could penetrate far into the enemy's country, and return promptly with intelligence. The most minute information of an enemy's numbers, disposition and movements could be obtained, which from its accuracy would be of incalculable importance to the commander of an army.
The general in command of an army could, from a position on an air-ship, make better disposition of his forces and, having better knowledge of how a battle was going, could meet emergencies more promptly.
For topographical work an air-ship would be a valuable auxiliary. By instantaneous photography of the underlying country, accurate maps could be made and multiplied for circulation.
For carrying messages the air-ship might be useful in the absence or interruption of electrical communication.
The most important field, however, for the operation of the air-ship would be its use in offensive operations. For this purpose it is eminently adapted, and will far surpass any weapon or means of offence that man has heretofore invented. An air-ship could, by rising beyond the range of the enemy's guns, or by moving rapidly in irregular or zigzag directions, prevent guns being trained and fired upon it, while its own guns would still be effective. The high angle of elevation required to fire at an air-ship would make the artillery of the present day useless, with the exception of mortars. The concentration of mortar fire might be attempted, but only a chance shot, while the air-ship was at a low altitude, could have any effect.
Air-ships will probably be armed with light rapid-fire guns for attack upon other air-ships, and with guns of low power, possibly pneumatic, for firing at objects beneath. In many cases guns could be dispensed with and projectiles of all kinds could simply be dropped. By coming up against the wind and making certain adjustments of the rudders and aeroplanes, the velocity could be diminished, possibly almost to a full stop, with-out the air-ship falling, and thus give the gunners an opportunity to do more accurate firing. A handful of bullets thrown from the height of a half-mile or so would be very destructive upon reaching the earth. Shell or shrapnel could be used with good effect. The greatest use of the air-ship, however, would be to drop torpedoes containing a high explosive. One torpedo exploded in the vicinity of a man-of-war would annihilate it. The ship would be entirely powerless to protect herself. No matter what her speed, she could not run away or conceal herself in any way, so that the destruction of an entire fleet would be a comparatively short matter. The bombardment of a city or a fort would be much more easily accomplished since the target would be larger and stationary.
An air-ship, then, hovering over the capital of a country would, unless a more powerful similar antagonist were brought against it, soon bring the government to favorable terms.
Land fortifications would be tenable only if provided with proper overhead protection for guns and men, and would be powerless against an air-ship. An army, when a hostile air-ship appeared, would be forced to adopt the most open kind of extended formation, since a closed mass would offer a good target for the aerial gunners.
The ability of an air-ship to hover over and threaten the headquarters of the commander of an army might have a vital effect upon the result of a battle.
The only method of attacking an air-ship that would offer a reasonable hope of success would be by other air-ships. The battle between them would be in some respects similar to one between naval vessels, with the additional features of much higher speed and of its not being confined to one plane. Each would endeavor to cripple the other. Their light construction would allow them to be easily damaged. The sustaining aeroplane destroyed, gravity would do the rest. Ramming would probably be impracticable. In a conflict between an aeroplane and a dirigible balloon, the latter would be at a decided disadvantage.
The possession of an air-ship, or the successful termination of a battle between air-ships, will thus quickly decide a war. We may look forward, then, to shorter wars in the future, and since the conflict of the air-ships will be the decisive factor of a battle, the relative importance of large armies and navies will be diminished. It would be absolutely necessary, therefore, that a nation engaging in war with another nation owning air-ships, should herself possess a sufficient number of them. To be without would be certain defeat, even though her antagonist were a small nation with an insignificant army and navy.
We may say, then, that the invention of a successful air-ship will cause an entire revolution in the art of war more stupendous than that caused by any invention since that of gunpowder, and even surpassing that, since it only increased the distance between the lines of the combatants, while the principles of attack and defense, strategy and supply, remained unchanged, or were only slowly modified. A flying machine, however, will nullify strategy, make vital changes in the principles of attack and defense, diminish the importance of navies and sea-coast fortifications, and by bringing the theatre of operations to the doors of palaces and legislatures, render speedy settlement of national grievances imperative.

by Lt. John K. Cree, U.S.A., ©1896; This article originally appeared in the January 1, 1896, issue of the North American Review.

A View from the Bridge

Month three of Paleotechnic Press is under my belt, and I remain pleased with both the reception of the website and my progress in making it a useful tool for Victorian SciFi enthusiasts. 
Those who are observant will notice some changes to the bottom of the template. I added the Blogger and Google+ follower widgets. I am open to changing those widgets and welcome suggestions. I also added the poll widget and invite everyone's participation. To that end the first poll is about what kinds of articles readers would like to see. I've got several more old magazine (Challenge and others) articles that I have permission to use, as well as a few new ones including a campaign scenario for Ironclads & Ether Flyers that I ran back in the 1990s. But what types of articles are you most interested in?  Check out the poll and/or leave a comment.
I am also happy to announce that the PDF edition of Chronicle City's edition of Space 1889 was released to Kickstarter subscribers today, I hope that the physical copies will not be far behind (along with the other modules and sourcebooks)! In a tangentially related development, Brigade Games, in the UK, released a new model of a 2mm scale airship hanger, as a scenery item for their Aeronef & Land Ironclads lines of miniatures. The model looks like it will work well with the classic GameTech and Houston's Ships zeppelin models, so plans for a "build-up" article are underway.
Finally, following this editorial, I plan to post another "historical" article, The Influence of the Air-Ship on War (from an 1890s edition of the North American Review), and early next month should have Greg Porter's original Ships of the Line article up as well.  Continue to check this space for future developments, and happy gaming!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fire and Movement Variants

Phased Movement & Defenisve Fire Rules for Space: 1889 Aerial Combat

A common complaint about Sky Galleons of Mars has been that with sequential movement it is difficult, if not impossible, to have anything like a fair or balanced game. To that end, a proposal to divide movement into phases is laid out, herein. During each phase of a turn, every ship expends a number of movement points depending on its set speed for the turn (editors note: initiative determination is handled normally). Additionally, at the end of each phase, each ship should be allowed to fire its guns, assuming that the gun fired has a target within its arc of fire, and within its range, AND the gun has not already reached its maximum rate of fire (ROF) for the turn.
Basically, any gun that hasn't fired yet, may shoot. For guns with a ROF more than 1, they can fire up to their rate of fire for the whole turn. OR, they can fire part of their allowed ROF and save some for later.
As an example, a 6pdr Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon (HRC) has an ROF of 3. If the HRC has a target in its firing arc at the end of phase one; it could fire 1, 2, or 3 rounds. If the gun fires 1 round, then it has 2 rounds left for the remaining two phases, assuming it has a target within its firing arc during the following phases. IF it fires 2 rounds, then it has 1 round left to use. IF it fires all three (max ROF) then it cannot fire for the remainder of the turn.
Defensive Fire: May take place at the end of any phase in which a ship was fired upon; assuming the defending vessel still has weapons with which to return fire, and the enemy vessel that fired upon them is within the firing arc, and range, of those weapons.
Naturally, these variants entail a little more bookkeeping for the players, however they should prove less cumbersome than trying to graft, and execute, a plotting and simultaneous move system onto Sky Galleons of Mars. In the end, initiative will still rule the day, but these modifications should provide some measure of balance for all players.
As with any rules, these variants are not written in stone. They are simply meant as guidelines, and the reader is free to modify them to suit their personal tastes.
Speed Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
0:  0 0 0
1:  0 1 0
2:  1 0 1
3:  1 1 1
4:  1 2 1
5:  2 1 2
6:  2 2 2
7:  2 3 2
8:  3 2 3
9:  3 3 3
10:  3 4 3
11:  4 3 4
12:  4 4 4
Higher speeds, if needed, can be extrapolated by continuing the linear progression of the chart. The author, and the editor, welcome your comments, questions, and short speeches about these variants in the space below...—the editor.

by Albert Lowe ©2001; this variant originally appeared on Mr. Lowe's Space: 1889 website, and it is used here with his permission.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sky Galleons of...Venus?!

Dirigible Battles Using the Sky Galleons of Mars Rules.

On Venus the imperial powers have begun using dirigibles, and colonial ambitions inevitably create conflict. Dirigible battles can be fought using Sky Galleons of Mars, with a few minor changes.
The rules for hydrogen dirigible design given in Ironclads and Ether Flyers are somewhat unrealistic, as the airships created are all vastly bigger than anything Victorian technology could produce. A 200-ton airship of Hull Size 2 would be the size of the giant dirigibles of the 1930s, and a 1000-ton Zeppelin would be three times the size of the Hindenburg! The following rules allow the creation of more realistic airships.
Italian dirigible RA Umberto displaying its distinct "kite" tail.
Hull Size: When designing a gas-filled dirigible, choose the Hull Size normally. Each Hull Size number represents a gas bag volume of about 300,000 cubic feet. Most airships weigh only 10 tons per Hull Size number, instead of the 100 tons possible for liftwood flyers. Non-rigid airships can be built up to Hull Size 2; larger than that they must be rigid. Rigid airships are an invention, requiring a Flight knowledge of 10, with a Reliability modifier of 2. At present, only the Zeppelin company has the secret of building rigids. They can be constructed up to Hull Size 10. Giant Airships are another invention, requiring Flight knowledge of 20, with a Reliability modifier of 3. Giant Airships can be built up to Hull Size 20. Finally, Super Airships require a Flight Knowledge of 30 to create, with a Reliability modifier of 4. Super Airships can be as big as Hull Size 30. All dirigibles cost £5,000 per hull size number. Rams may not be used, and airships cannot be armored.
Engines: Propulsion follows the Sky Galleons rules, but petrol-burning forced-draught boilers or turbine engines are favored.In determining engine size it is useful to employ fractional hull sizes. A 15-ton dirigible would count as hull size 1 1/2, and consequently would need an engine of size 1 1/2 to drive it at speed 6. Fuel consumption should also be worked out to fractional values. Airships often have much smaller cruising ranges than liftwood vessels, with only a few days' fuel on board.
Weapons: Armament follows the standard rules, but use only half the listed weight for all gun mounts (dirigibles don't have large magazines, and everything on board is specially modified for lightness). Liftwood devices such as Tether Mines or Smutts Torpedoes are not available on Venus, but can be mounted on airships in use on Earth or Mars. Drogue Torpedoes and Spike Droppers may be used normally. Incendiary devices are out of the question.
Other Features: Additional crew or passengers require 1 ton each. Since airships tend to have cramped accommodations, the designer must add features like a galley, promenade or lounge (1 ton each).
There are few differences between airship combat and the Sky Galleons rules. Because a gas bag is so easily punctured, all shells pass through the envelope without detonating, so all Hull hits inflict only 1 point of damage. Fires automatically destroy hydrogen airships. If one catches at Low or Very Low altitude, the crew may try to ride the flaming wreckage to a safe landing. Each crewman who rolls a 6 on one die survives; the remainder perish.
The damage rules for targets at different altitudes are reversed for airships, since the bulk of the hull is above the crew compartment - the reverse of the usual arrangement for liftwood flyers. If one fires at a dirigible at a lower altitude, then all Crew hits count as Hull hits. If one fires at a target which is at a higher altitude, then all hits are resolved normally on the damage table.
German Zeppelin Gunboat: Though flimsy compared with gunboats on Mars and Earth, the Zeppelin is a veritable battleship on Venus. The armament is chiefly for use against dinosaurs and Lizard-men. The German air fleet on Venus includes four such vessels, the L ("Luftschiff")-16, L-19, L-20, and L-24.
The gunboat is a hydrogen-filled rigid Zeppelin of Hull Size 4, with an oil-fired forced-draught engine of size 2.7 and a 4-day petrol supply. The ship is armed with a 3-pounder Hotchkiss forward, a pair of 5-barrel Nordenfelts in wing mounts, and a Maxim gun astern. It has space for 3 passengers and carries a ton of cargo. The Zeppelin costs £26,570. It has a speed of 4, and can reach Very High altitude. If the ship carries fuel for an additional 5 days of flight (or 7 tons of cargo), its maximum altitude is High. At medium altitude it can haul another weeks worth of fuel or 11 more tons of cargo.
Italian Dirigible: The Italians have pioneered the semi-rigid dirigible, of which this is a good example. It has a rigid keel along the base of the gasbag, to which the engines and gondola are attached. It is a multipurpose patrol craft, not a warship. There is currently one such ship on Venus, the RA ("Regia Aeronave") Umberto.
The RA Umberto is a hydrogen-lift airship with a Hull Size of 2. It has an oil-fired forced-draught engine (ES=1) and 3.5 tons of fuel (enough for 7 days). It is armed with two wing-mount 50-caliber Gatlings and a Gardner gun forward. It has space for 5 passengers. The ship can reach Very High altitude, has a Speed of 3, and costs £19,330. With an additional 3.5 tons of cargo or week's fuel it is limited to High altitude, and carrying 5 tons more of cargo or petrol it can reach Medium.
An Italian patrol blimp over Venus.
Italian Patrol Blimp: This smaller craft is a non-rigid blimp; it is cheap and fast. The Italians presently operate two blimps, the RA Roma and the RA Venezia.
The blimp is Hull Size 1, with a total weight of 8 tons.It has an oil-fired turbine engine and carries 2 tons of oil   (burning1/2 ton per day). The blimp mounts a pair of Gardner guns. It can carry 3 passengers at Very High altitude, adding 2 tons of cargo or fuel at High, and another 2.5 tons of payload at Medium. The patrol blimp has a Speed of 6, and costs £9,160.
British Royal Navy Airship: The British have had difficulty translating their expertise in liftwood flyer design to dirigibles. This blimp is essentially a copy of an Italian design, but with heavier armament. The British have three blimps in their colony, the NA.3 ("Naval Airship"), NA.5, and NA.6.
The blimp is Hull Size 1, weighing 8 tons. It has an oil-fired steam turbine engine with 2 tons of fuel, giving it a 4-day endurance. Armament consists of a single 1-inch Gatling gun forward, and three Maxim guns in wing and stern mounts. Maximum altitude is Very High, but the blimp can carry no cargo at that height. Speed is 6; cost is £9,520.
Russian Post Stamp depicting an Army Blimp.
Russian Army Blimp: The Russian blimp sacrifices speed and altitude for armament and carrying capacity. It can transport a squad of soldiers to a trouble spot and provide fire support, or carry vital cargo. The Russians currently have two blimps, the Alexander and the St. Petersburg.The Russian blimp is of Hull Size 2. It has an oil-fired forced-draught engine of size 1, and 4.5 tons of fuel (enough for 9 days' cruising). The armament consists of a single Mitrailleuse mounted forward. The blimp has space for 8 passengers, and at Medium altitude can carry 5 tons of cargo. It can reach High altitude, and has a top speed of 3. Cost: £12,220.
In the spring of 1888, the Zeppelin L-19 was sent to survey the Venusian Alps northwest of the Italian colony. The Italian governor got word of the mission, and feared that the Germans were trying to secure a colonial claim in Italian territory. The newly-completed Umberto and a patrol blimp were sent to chase away the L-19 and protect Italy's rights to the area.
Rules: Use the mountain map from Sky Galleons of Mars. The contour lines mark the different altitude levels. The Germans start at any height in the center of the map; and the Italians enter from one side at any altitude.
Victory: The Italians win if the German ship is destroyed or forced to leave the map. The Germans win if they withstand the Italian attack.
In August 1889, Russian and Italian blimps were sent to establish relations with the coastal tribes north of the Hestia Highlands. Both states hoped to overawe the natives with their flying ships. The two blimps arrived with in a week of each other, and the captains began shooting at one another shortly there after.
Rules: Each side gets one blimp. The desert map is used, ignoring surface features. The two ships enter from opposite sides of the map at any altitude.
Victory: The victor must destroy his enemy and still be able to return home. To return home, an airship must have a working screw and rudder, and must be able to reach low altitude.
click to download a copy of the blimp charts
William Sigerson, a British spy in the Italian colony, was discovered and had to flee. With the help of sympathetic Lizard-men, he reached the coast and sailed toward British territory. Sigerson was pursued by the Umberto. In mid-ocean however, a British blimp arrived just as the Italians began to attack the raft.
Rules: The British get a blimp, the Italians get the Umberto. Either map is used, ignoring surface features. A marker in the center of the map represents the raft which moves one hex toward the right hand edge each turn. The Italians start within 4 hexes of the raft at Medium or higher altitude; the British enter one side of the map at any altitude.
Victory: The British win if they can finish one turn at ground altitude on the raft (and pick up Sigerson) and leave the map, or else destroy the Umberto. The Italians win if they sink the raft before Sigerson is rescued, or destroy the blimp. To sink the raft, the Italians must score a total of 30 hits on it.
The feud between Kaptanleutnant Freitag of the L-19 and Lieutenant MacRoss of the NA.5 began because both were amateur naturalists. MacRoss repeatedly beat Freitag into publication with descriptions of Venusian flora and fauna. Freitag claimed plagiarism. When the L-19 encountered the NA.5 over German territory, Freitag decided to end the feud once and for all.
Rules: Use the desert map. The contour lines mark different altitude levels. The British get a blimp; the Germans get a Zeppelin. The NA.5 begins at any altitude in the center of the map; the L-19 enters at Very High from the right hand edge. The German player automatically gets the initiative on the first turn.
Victory: The British player must escape off the left-hand edge of the map, or destroy the L-19. The German player wins if the captain of the NA.5 is killed.
About the Author
James L. Cambias is Chief Game Architect at Zygote Games. Jim began writing games in 1990, and worked for Game Designers' Workshop, Steve Jackson Games, HERO Games, and Iron Crown Enterprises before joining Zygote. He is also the author of the SF novel A Darkling Sea, and the forthcoming Corsair (Tor Books, Spring 2015)

by James Cambias, ©1993; the article appeared in Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographical Society, Vol. 1, No. 6. It has been updated, and is used here with the author's permission.

Friday, September 19, 2014

HMS Imperieuse


As an example of one of the latest additions to the Royal Navy, we give an engraving of H.M.S. Imperieuse. for which we are indebted to the Illustrated London News. The Imperieuse and her sister ship, the Warspite, were launched in 1883 & 1884, receiving their commissioning pennants in 1886 & 1888 respectively. The ships are designed as fast cruisers, carrying four heavy revolving guns in barbette towers, capable of being fired in any direction, besides six lighter guns. Each ship will be able to carry 900 tons of coal, and to steam at the rate of sixteen knots per hour. The ships are brig-rigged, with a large spread of canvas for cruising.
The dimensions of the ship are: Length, 315 feet; displacement, 7,300 tons; horse power, 8,000.Engineering
Technical Specifications:
F,A,P,S: [1x9B], FS,AS: 1x6B, BS:3x6B; BT-2, ST-2, MT-1, 4QF

Click image for a PDF copy of the ship chart.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hallmarks of Civilization

The various departments of science are so closely interlinked that achievements in each throw light upon the problems of the others, often in vary unexpected ways. It is for those who, taking the worlds as they are, are concerned to make them as better as they can; for those who can see, without elaborate explanation, that sanitary savagery does not well accord with clean living which is a distinguishing mark of civilization; for those who are not too indolent or engaged to look fairly at the reasons which have given rise to the general demand, so frequent today, for clean surroundings, and the physical and mental vigor which these conditions foster.
Clean water is one of the hallmarks of civilization. Today, like never before, we can utilize science and technology to turn the brackish canal waters of Mars, the steamy swamp waters of Venus, as well as less-desirable quantities of water here on Earth, into potable water. Further, once purified, that water can be turned to ice for all manner of purposes, from the preservation of food to the cooling of dwellings. Truly we live in a gilded age.editor

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HIJMS Kotaka


We give a photograph of the Japanese Government's new torpedo boat, HIJMS Kotaka, lately completed by Messrs. Yarrow & Co., of Poplar, which is of more than usual interest, as she is a distinct departure from the now stereotyped form of torpedo boat. Not only is she the largest that has hitherto been built, but she embodies several new features. The principal novelty is that vulnerable parts of the the vessel, including the machinery, are all protected by one inch steel armor which may be considered as an almost perfect defense against machine-gun fire, having in view the distance at which a torpedo boat attacks and the acute angle of fire at which it would be hit. The dimensions are 166 ft. long by 19 ft. beam, and she will be propelled by twin screws driven by engines indicating 1,400 horse power, from which a speed of nineteen to twenty knots, or about 23 miles an hour, maybe reasonably expected. The vessel has already been shipped in pieces to Japan, where she was put together; and if the trials come up to the expectations formed, there is no doubt that this type of torpedo boat will find much favor with many governments. For not only is good protection obtained, but the vessel, from her large size, offers great and very comfortable accommodation for the officers and crew, and is undoubtedly deserving of being considered thoroughly sea-going. How far the advantages gained by the one inch of steel armor will counter-balance the disadvantages of reduced speed and increased cost in consequence is for naval authorities rather than for engineers and shipbuilders to determine.
The Kotaka's armament consists of two torpedo tubes placed forward for direct firing ahead, the torpedoes being ejected by gunpowder. There will also be amidships and aft, on the deck, turntables, upon each of which will be mounted two torpedo guns, placed at an acute angle with one another and arranged for firing over the side. These guns, by being nearly, but not quite, parallel with each other, if fired simultaneously, will clearly very materially increase the probability of the vessel aimed at being hit. It is a remarkable fact that the Japanese were the first to introduce sea-going torpedo boats into their navy, Messrs. Yarrow & Co. having, some eight years ago, constructed a number of such craft for the Japanese Government, under the superintendence of Sir E. J. Reed. Again they have taken the initiative, in conjunction with Messrs. Yarrow and Co., in adopting a vessel of such an entirely new type and possessing such evident advantages over their predecessors. The Engineer.
Technical Specifications:
BT-2, DT-4, 4QF

Click image to download a PDF copy of the chart.

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