NAVAL R VIEW
THE NAVAL SOCIETY
For Private Circulation
among its Members.
Copy?<qhfeJ ?~?Zd€r o r9rr.
ADMIRAL COMMAND. DUTIES AN. TRANSLATED
IN THE OF FROM
THE REVISTA MARITTIMA. JANUARY. 1914 ... ... 297
AIR SERVICE. METEOROLOGY THE IN ... ... ... ... 271
AGES O F ENTRY INTO THE NAVY. HISTORICAL ABSTRACT OF.
1676 TO 1914 ... ... ... ... ... ... 148
APPRECIATING SITTIATION. NOTES ON . 1. . . . ...
A ... 118
7> 7 I1 . . . . ... ... I97
ATROPHYOF THE LIEUTENANT. THE ... ... ... ... 25
AUSTRALIA AND HER NAVY... ... ... ... ... ... 208
BOOKS. NOTICES O F ... ... ... 78. 158. 2 3 8 . 3'5
COLONIAL EXPEDITIONS... ... ... ... ... ... 244
COMMERCE WAR.THEINFLUENCE ...
IN OF ... ... ... I59
AIR CRAFT.SUBMARINES . . . . . . AND ... ... ... 73
ATROPI-IY O F THE LIEUTENANT. THE. . . . . . I547 155. 156
BRITISH POSSESSIONS THE PACIFIC.
IN FORCE REQUIRED
FOR THE DEFENCE O F THE ... ... ... ... 237
DISCIPLINE. QUALIFICATIONS OFFICERS AFFECTING ...
OF AS 236
FIRST CAPTAINS ... ... ... ... ... ... 76
NAVAL' ~ A C T I C S . NOTES ON T H E THEORY OF
757 1 5 2 7 2 3 4 . 2 3 5 . 314
, . STUDIES THE THEORY . AMEND-
MENT TO ARTICLE111 . . . . ... ... ... ... 74
SERVICE PULLING BOATS.MERITSAND DEMERITSF SAILS. O
ETC.. IN ... ... ... ... ... ... 77. 156
DISTRIBUTION TIIE FLEET.
07 THE STRATEGIC ... ... ... 2r4
DEPARTMENTAL CO-OPERATION. DEFICIENCY IN. AND ITS I N -
FLUENCE ON CONSTRUCTION ... ... ... ... 129
ENEMY'S COAST. THEFALLACYTHE . A CRITICISM
OF ... I94
FLEET ACTION.THE ...
IN ... ... ... ... ... 35
FOREIGN LANGUAGESTHE NAVY
IN ... ... ... 278
AND COAST DEFENCE I . . .. ... ...
.. . . .
111 . . .
FRENCHNAVAL A N ~ U V R E 19 14 (FIRST PHASE) TRANS-
M S. .
LATED FROM LE MONITEUR DE LA E'LOTTE ... ...
FUTUREFLEE^ ACTIONS. TQRPEDO FIRE IN ... ... ...
GRAND FLEZT. WITH THE . ( I O / I O / I ~... ) ... ... ...
GUNNERY. THE SPECIALITY . A TRANSLATION
OF FROM LE
MONITEUR LA FLOTTE.WITH A NOTE BY THE TRANS-
LATOR ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
HOME DEFENCE. SOMEHISTORICAL ASPECTSOF . A REPLY
TO R.X. ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
HOMEDEFENCE A REPLYBY R.X. . ... ... ... ...
IMPERIAL DEFENCE. . . . . . ... ... ... ... ...
INSIDE THE CUP. THE . . . . . .
OF ... ... ... ...
NAVALEDUCATION . . . . . . ... ... ... ... ...
NAVAL ENGAGEMENT. MOST RECENTTHE ... ... ...
NAVAL POLLCY. THE INFLUENCE SUBMARINE . I11. . . .
OF THE ON
NAVALSTRATEGY. THE INFLUENCE EFFICIENTHOME
DEFEKCE ARMY . R.X. . . . . . .
ON ... ... ...
NAVAL TACTICS. STUDIES THE THEORTI . IV . C.Q. I . . . .
NAVALWARFARE. THE EXECUTIVE COMMAND AND STAFF IN .
111. A.X. . . . . ... ... ... ... ... ...
NELSON'SGREATNESS. THE SOURCE . . . . . .
OF ... ...
NEW SCHEME LIEUTENANT THE (S). ... ... ... ...
~ R G A N I S . ~ T I O N . THE SCIENCE F . . . . . .
O ... ... ...
PACIFICPROBLEM. THE ... ... ... ... ...
PASTWARS. PRC~TECTION TRADE . . . . . . OF IN ... ...
PATROLFLOTILLAS.THE: I S THEIR PRESENT EMPLOYMENT
STRATEGICALLY SOUND ...? ... ... ... ...
PERMANENT COMMISSIONS ... ... ... ... ...
SPECIALISATION ITS DRAWBACKS ...
AND ... ... ...
SPECIALIST OFFICER.A PLEA FOR THE ... ... ... ...
STRATEGY AND TACTICS. A MANUAL . TRANSLATED
THE ': MARINE RUNDSCHAU " ... ... ... ...
STRATEGY TACTICS. AND COMMENTS . . . . . .
ON ... ...
SUBMARINE THE SURFACE AND .
VESSEL THE ... ... ...
SUBMARINE MENACE. THE . . . . . ... ... ... ...
TORPEDO OFFICBR? WHATIS A ... .. ... ... ...
OF THE ... ... ... ... ...
OBJECTS AND REGULATIONS O F
T H E NAVAL SOCIETY.
THEobject of the Naval Society in founding a REVIEWis to encourage
thought and discuusioln on such subjects a s strategy, tactics, naval opera-
tions, staff work, administration, organisation, command, discipline,
education, naval history, and any other topic affecting the fighting
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doctrine which is so essential to success in war, and to provide a means
of expression and discussion within the Service.
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W. H. HENDERSON,
3, Onslow Houses,
London, S. W.
T H E EXECUTIVE COMMAND AND STAFF IN
THEdisadvantage of command by stereotyped rules and regulations and
the failure of Howe and Kempenfelt's signal book have been explained in
the August number of the REVIEW.^ I t was demonstrated that Nelson's
high standard of command was primarily based on decentralization,
unity of doctrine and an aggressive offensive. Moltke also evolved these
same principles from a critical study of past wars and move them into
a definite doctrine of command which culminated in the victories of
Sadowa, Sedan, and Mukden. I n his school-trained army, it was
fostered by the General Staff and disseminated throughout the army by
means of criticisms at manceuvres and staff rides. On the other hand,
Nelson's work was forgotten after Trafalgar, and during the remainder
of the nineteenth century " the doctrine of no doctrine " and the cen-
tralized system which had been responsible for the failures of the
eighteenth century, were consistently followed in the British Navy.
The standard of command will sway the balance even more heavily in
the future than the past, for unity of action must now be obtained under
conditions of greater strain and urgency. The increased speed and
certainty of movement of ships, the terribly demoralizing effect of shell
and torpedo fire, and the multigl~cationof weapons and types of ships
will demand a higher standard of direction than that which sufficed in
the sailing ship period. r h e various phases will develop much more
quickly, and the rapidity of action and counter action will necessitate a
higher degree of initiative and co-operation. If the various squadrons
and flotillas could always be arranged to fight in accordance with a
stereotyped plan, and if a battle mas nothing more than an artillery duel
in which the various phases developed on orderly and methodical lines,
then, unity of doctrine and spontaneous action might not be essential
sand our highly organised system of signalling, which is merely the
eighteenth century system of command in a different form, might suffice.
A contest in which moral, mental, and material forces are inextricably
interwoven and in which the reciprocal action of the enemy is a matter
of vague conjecture, cannot, however, be enclosed in the childish formula
of the long rigid line. Any theory which results in such a solution shows
by that fact alone, its utter inadequacy. The grand object of tactics
being a demoralization of the enemy, and formations being merely a
means to that end, centralized command with its rigid rules and
formations must be replaced by trained initiative. Subordinate leaders
must be bound together by common doctrines and must adopt a variety of
formations each suited to the immediate situation. Those who view
tactics as a kind of glorified target practice, in which they have merely
to follow the track of their next ahead, suffer from lack of imagination.
1 Executive Command and Staff. NAVALREVIEW, Vol. I., No. 3, p. 229 ; or
p. 129, Vol. 1 reprint.
2 NAVAI. R E V I E W .
Their stereotyped plans will be quickly paralysed by the insistent and
violent threat of death, and they will be very liable to rout and panic on
realising their mistake and consequent lack of training.
A sound system of command must then, in the future as in the past,
be founded on trained initiative and unity of doctrine, and it is with the
developnlent of the former that this article is primarily concerned. The
type of character which readily acts on its own responsibility and uses its
own judgment is not peculiar to any particular nation, nor is it naturally
evolved by peace routine and regulations. That it is only developed by
special methods of training and discipline is illustrated by a comparison
between Rodney's and Nelson's battles. On the one hand, spontaneous
action and co-operation were entirely lacking, on the other, mutual trust
and initiative were carried to their extreme limit. Again, the characteristic
of the Prussian generals that were driven from the field at Jena was terror
of responsibility and lack of initiative, and yet in 1870 it was fearlessness
of responsibility and an almost aggressive initiative that were primarily
responsible for their uninterrupted triumphs. The change was merely
a measure of the difference between two different systems of command
Our own history and that of other countries clearly prove that an
army's or navy's system of command and the character of its officers
react on each other, and that a centralized and formal system destroys
initiative and enthusiasm. Villeneuve at Trafalgar and Kuropatkin at
Mukden learnt too late that their subordinates were incapable of indepen-
dent action and they had to limit their plans accordingly.
The vast majority of human thoughts and actions are based on the
experience of everyday life, and it is extremely di'fficult to visualise the
unknown conditions of war. I t is certain however that they are radically
different from those of peace, and, that satisfactory working under peace
conditions is no criterion of fighting efficiency. I n peace time, the effect
of centralization and subordination to routine and regulations lies below
the surface, but in war it leads armies and navies to disaster. The system
of training officers must therefore be based on a true conception of the
conditions of mar and on that conception the responsibilities of different
ranks must be arranged. Nor will it serve any useful purpose merely
to embody thcse in regulations and text books, for it is only the habit
of everyday work which moulds our thoughts and character.
I n other words, methods of command in a Navy will largely depend
on the methods of work in its ships. If the executive work is centralized
in one or two officers and the remainder are relegated to routine duties,
if there is little delegation of responsibility, and little outlet for the
individual initiative and enthusiasm of junior officers, it may be inferred
that the higher command will be seriously defective. If, on the other
hand, ship's work is arranged so that junior officers have their definite
responsibilities and are not too much supervised and controlled, the way
will at least have been prepared for the application of sound methods.
The question arises whether the required qualities are systematically
cultivated and whether we are producing officers capable of applying the
modern doctrine of command. The fact that much of the work of a
naval officer tends to develop self-confidence does not in itself suffice to
produce the high moral courage and initiative which is required in war.
A few years subjection to a faulty system of command soon obliterates
natural tendencies. Nor are the traditions of the past a reliable guide,
for naval training has been completely revolutionised during the last fifty
T H E E X E C U T I V E COMMAND AND S T A F F I N NAVAL WARFARE. 3
years. The great school of executive command-masts and yards-has
passed away, more and more time is devoted to the acquirement of techni-
cal knowledge, and the virtue of the old system which lay in commanding
men and doing responsible work are sacrificed to a greater or less extent.
If we examine the duties and responsibilities of different ranks at
the present time we find that they vary considerably with the personality
of the captain and commander, and that personal acquaintance is the
only guide by which a junior may guess how much is expected of him.
I n a few ships, principles of divisional responsibility and decentralization
are really follomed, in others there is a certain amount of lip service to
the idea, but in the majority we find a severely centralized organization
in which the commander personally supervises the routine, even down to
minute details of cleaning ship. Similarly the gunnery revolves rouid
the gunnery lieutenant, and overspecialisation in that direction tends to
cletract still further from the authority and position of the general s e r ~ i c e
officer. This so reacted on gunnery training and target practice a few
years ago that the officers on nhom the fighting and control of the guns
mould devolve, received much less attention than the ratings who laid the
guns. These questions are intimately connected with the application of
the modern doctrine of command because they bear on the training of
Although the necessity of decentralization is beginning to be recog-
nised, it sometimes commences on nrong lines. The system of detailing
one lieutenant to look after the upper deck, another the flats, a third to
assist the gunnery lieutenant and so on, has the serious military defect
that it associates officers with a particular division of work instead of
with a particular division of men. So far as training is concerned. it
still further reduces the responsibilities of those not detailed for special
work and leaves a residuum of watchkeepers with no real interest nor
partnership in the ship's \$ark. The disadvantage of confining officers
to one particular sphere of work is illustrated by the employment of
young warrant officers in large ships. Instead of being used to assist
divisional officers in the organization and execution of divisional work
Lvhich includes cleaning ship, stationing men, gunnery training and watch-
keeping, they are merely employed in looking after the cleanliness of some
particular part of the ship. Under the circumstances, it is not sur-
prising that these officers do not generally develop the qualities which
will be demanded from them in destroyers and small craft.
Overcentralization in the execution1 of ship nork has other dis-
advantages. If the commander attends to a mass of details and if nothing
is done without leference to him, he tends to lose the po\TTer of super-
vision and direction. H e is unable to see the wood for the trees and
cannot appreciate the lost time and motion which generally characterise
such systems. Also, having destroyed the self-confidence of junior officers
by continual supervision and control, he tends to exaggerate the evil by
making their incompetence an excuse for further misdirected activities.
The most serious aspect of centralized organization is, however, its
influence on officers in later life. Commallders and the senior lieutenants
of ships are at the age when their minds are being finally moulded. Their
methods of nork in the higher ranks will therefore be based on the habits
contracted during this period. I n a small organization, such as a ship,
1 A clear d~stlnctlon qhould be made between central~zatlonin execution and
centralization in diiectlon; whilst the former cannot be too strongly deprecated in
a war service, the latter contributes to unity of thought and effort.
4 NAVAL REVIEW.
energetic and ambitious, officers may obtain out\rardly good results by
centralization, but as the sphere under his control widens, his power
and influence depend more and more on his ability to direct the energies
of subordinates into the most remunerative channels, and less and less
upon the nork he does himself. Intelligent observers cannot fail to see
that a desire to do everything and a tendency to busy themselves over
relatilely unimportant questions are, under our system, dangers which
threaten all naval officers in high positions, and the possibility that they
may find themselves doing the work of junior officers and clerks, whilst
their own nork is temporarily neglected, requires to be constantly guarded
against. This danger is not easy to diagnose in peace time but it
reveals itself nith startling suddenness in war. The acuteness of the
danger can only be appreciated after a careful study of present day
administration. A stream of correspondence dealing with matters which
might be left to captains, continually ebbs and flows from headquarters,
whilst there is constant misdirection of effort through lack of guidance
in the things that matter.
I n gunnery training, for example, the practices are regulated down
to the last detail, but the end in view is seldom defined. I t nould be
morc in accordance with principles of administration, if headquarters
merely stated the general conditions for which ships had to prepare and
then left the captains to produce the required results for the inspection
of their various admirals. At present, captains cannot be really held
responsible for the fighting efficiency of their ships for they have little
to say in the methods of training. I t therefore appears that headquarters
should merely define the nature and object of the various practices,
leaving the execution of the general instructions to the admirals and
captains in command. The statement that ships must be prepared to
fight at short as well as long range, and that in the firing which tests the
former organization, the control must be decentralized and everyone
behind armour, illustrates the kind of general direction that might
emanate from headquarters. Similarly the gunnery and t?rpedo training
of torpedo craft would be more efficient if the functions and methods of
their employment \+ere clearly defined, so that time should not be devoted
to preparing for corlditions which may never arise. The gunnery
correspondence of the fleet has reached colossal proportions, round and
round go the files and returns, solemn, stately, slow and sure, but their
end is the naste paper basket, and officers both ashore and afloat look
in vain for guidance on vital questions.
I t is hol~ever the operational work of the fleet that the influence
of earlv training produces its worst effects. Attempts to run a fleet on
the same centralized system as a ship continually lead to chaos and con-
fusion at manceuvres, and the command and staff organisation continually
show grave signs of weakness from this cause. Under the additional
strain of war they might break down altogether. The mass of operation
orders and the enormous number of signals which accumulate after a few
days' work at manceuvres are typical of a system which has been entirely
discredited in land war, and which would probably fail just as disastrously
in naval operations.
I t can be depended on, that authority will never be freely delegated
to junior admirals and captains, so long as decentralization has never
been practised by commanders and lieutenants. The faults which accom-
pany overcentralization are also noticeable in other directions. Por-
tentous narratives are drawn up after manceuvres, and painstaking dia-
THE EXECUTIVE COMMAND AND STAFF I N NAVAL WARFARE. 5
grams after tactical exercises, but there is no skilled analysis nor
criticism. Valuable lessons are thus forgotten until war comes to bring
them home again in real earnest. So serious is this neglect that many
of the manceuvres and exercises of the last 2 0 years might never have
been carried out so far as the higher education of the command and staff
are concerned. There is the same anarchy of ideas and methods, the
same confusion as to the functions of different types of ships, and the
same lack of reasoned policy or doctrine.
Reorgclnization m m t commence on tile quarterdeck o f H i s Majesty's
ships and a divisional system in wJzicJt each officer and petty officer Jzas
Jzis definite respotzsibilities must b e strictly enforced. T h e commander
must be viewed as the centre of authority and direction, and he must
freely delegate the organization and execution of work to the divisional
officers. They,tin their turn, must deal with petty officers of sections,
giving them definite responsibilities and a certain degree of independence.
" Olrders " should also be clearly differentiated from " instructions "
and subordinates should only be interfered with in order to avoid acci-
dents. Criticism should be reserved until work is completed, and seniors
should exercise patience and forbearance, especially if mistakes occur
through overzealousness or inexperience. The plea that officers trained
under a centralized system are incompetent and cannot be trusted, is all
the more reason for making them realise their responsibilities.
There is nothing new in these principles, for our best generals and
admirals applied them long ago. Sir John Moore was the great exponent
of the company system in our army, and his decentralized training pro-
duced the men of the Light Division, who time after time proved them-
selves to be the m a t efficient and well disciplined troops in the British
Army. Also Lord Barham, Kempenfelt and Phillip Patton, three excep-
tionably able naval officers, all laid stress on the responsibilities of
divisional lieutenants in their writings.
These principles of command, which we learnt by war, have been
since forgotten during peace, whereas the Germans have enshrined them
in a doctrine which is enforced throughout their corps of naval and mili-
tary otlicers. This doctrine should help us, for we lack the German
faculty of discovering general principles. Our splendid executive ability
will take us through most concrete difficulties, but in preparing for anp-
thing so uncertain as war, the habit of meeting emergencies as they arise
will not suffice.
In both the German and Japanese navies, ship organization is based
on the strict enforcement of the duties of divisional officers. All
lieutenant-commanders and lieutenants including specialists are detailed
for divisions, whilst the junior lieutenants, sublieutenants, and midship-
men work under them. Watchkeeping does not seriously interfere with
divisional work because it is spread over as many officers as possible. All
ship work and training are distributed amongst the divisional officers.
For example, in closing watertight doors, the commander merely lays
down the general procedure, whilst the divisional officers and their sub-
ordinates make out their lists of doors, etc., and station and exercise their
own men. Similarly with regard to coaling ship, nets, etc., and also the
cleaning and general care and maintenance of the ship, the work of
organization and inspection is delegated to the divisional officers and the
commander does not as a rule deal directly with the petty officers and the
men. The difference between their system and our own is illustrated by
the commander and first lieutenant in our service, sueerintending the
6 NAVAL REVIEW.
cleaning of the ship on Saturday whilst the younger officers are ashore.
In the German navy, there are no specialists in our sense of the word;
a commander or lieutenant-commander may be detailed to co-ordinate the
gunnery work of the divisional officers but he in no way relieves them
from their responsibilities nor encroaches upon their executive functions.
The following extracts from the German general orders for service
on board are an instructive commentary on their methods of training : -
" The requirements of war are constantly to be borne in mind . . . .
The captain is to allow his officers suitable freedom of action and is not
to hamper them with unnecessary instructions, he must allow them to
perfect their own education while teaching others. The captain is only to
interfere when he observes faults or if his subordinates fail in their
duties. The direct consequence of too early interference with a sub-
ordinate is that zeal, love of profession and alacrity are not stimulated
but diminished, that the training for independent action and development
of individuality which are so necessary for the young executive officer
become impossible; and lastly that the superior himself becomes biassed
and instead of educating himself for higher duties comes to a halt."
The relationship betneen the higher ranks are also regulated by
definite principles. Captains are held responsible in fact as well as
in name for the work and internal economy of their ships. The general
orders for the German High Sea Fleet state that the captain is to render
an account of his programme and mdhods of training so that his senior
officer may be able to judge their suitability and the activity of his ship,
but his superiors are to leave him freedom of management so that his
independence which in great measure influence success in war may be
developed. With these objects in view the ships of the High Sea Fleet
work independently for six months of the year, and during that period
their training and movements are almost entirely in the hands of in-
The first principle of naval or military command is a clear under-
standing of the responsibilities of different ranks and the limitation of
each to its own particular sphere. I t appears that in the British Navy,
the extent to which authority is delegated to captains of ships and
divisional leaders entirely depends on the personal idiosyncrasies of each
particular admiral, and that sometimes there is much misdirection of
energy from attempts to conform to two different programmes or methods
of work. There must, of course, always be a tendency for o'fficers to
interfere with the routine work of those beneath them, principally owing
t o greater familiarity with the latter. If, however, this is not guarded
against in the administration and command of a fleet, the flagship is
viewed with nervousness and suspicion, and an atmosphere of strain is
developed which undermines self-confidence and reliance. I t is also
inevitable that if an admiral encroaches upon the work and authority
of his captains, he must neglect his higher functions.
The internal organization of our ships on sound lines is then the
crux of an efficient system of command, and if like Moltke after Sedan
we are able to say, " Here the well-grounded training of the individual
asserted itself with all its advantages," more attention must be given to
the question. The recent Admiralty Letter on the duties of divisional
officers was issued to bring them more in touch with the lower deck, but
we will wvork better than we know if we understand that modern prin-
ciples of command also demand their strict enforcement. Unfortunately
some officers view the question from a thoroughly false perspective. The
THE EXECUTIVE COMMAND AND STAFF IN NAVAL WARFARE. f
question of whether the upper deck will be as clean or whether the nets
will go out as quick under one system as the other, is a matter of minor
importance compared with the question of whether we are producing
line officers of high moral courage and a system which \.\-ill continually
direct and redirect the work of the fleet into the most remunerative
Finally it must be pointed out that the sword of initiative is a two-
edged weapon, which, unless it is tempered by unity of thought, may
turn against friends as well as foes. Those who would wield it with
maximum effect must therefore speak a common language and act in
accordance with comnlon principles, so that they may act in the same
direction though not necessarily in the same way in carrying out the
wishes of the supreme command. I t is one of the principal functions
of a staff to provide the training and organization which alone \.\-ill
temper the sword of initiative. In a future article it is hoped to discuss
the meaning and development of " doctrine " and its application in
modern naval war.
T H E INSIDE O F THE CUP.
A QUESTION OF PERSONALITY.
THEobject of this article is to give expression to some thoughts which
have obsessed the writer with regard to the subject of naval routine and
discipline; which he claims have originated in a sympathetic observation
of present day conditions as they exist afloat. They are penned with
the hope that the views expressed may be judged, not from any irrelevant
standards such as naval rank or length of experience, but from the
standpoint of truth and of utility, and with the tolerant allowance that
the writer may be animated by the same desire for the good of the
Service as inspires all readers of the NAVAL REVIEW.
By such a title the writer would call attention to what he considers
is the difference which exists between the inside and the outside o f the
cup. By the " outside of the cup " he means not only each individual
ship or unit which forms part' of that macrocosm the fleet; but all the
rules and regulations; the discipline, order, and routine, the exercises
and conventions by which its internal economy is governed and defined.
By the " inside of the cup " the personal element is referred to, the
personal equation which exists behind or within the external government
and which alone lends it strength and vitality. The writer's purpose is
to give evidence for his belief that the " outside of the cup " may be as
beautiful and as imposing as to please any fastidious eye; the machine
may work smoothly and harmoniously from a spectacular point of view,
yet nithout a vitalising force, a governing and directing spirit, it avails
nothing. Behind the machine and its mechanical processes is the greater
fact of the personnel, and behind personnel is the greatest fact and
force, the greatest of all necessities-that of personality.
T h e writer states his conviction, which he trusts is not an uneducated
one, that the work of the navy to safeguard the Empire, and the capacity
of the navy-for that n o r k \\ill depend, not upon guns or matkriel, but
upon men, upon personality inspiring and influencing persms, upon that
illimitable quality, that unquantitative factor-the personal equa t'Ion.
"Now, there may be ' too much Nelson,' for the times have changed since then,
But as long as man is human w e shall have to count on men;
Though machines be ne'er so perfect, there may come a day, perhaps,
When you find out just how helpless is a heap of metal scraps."
I n spite of the differences which exist in naval construction, organi-
zation, and education, between the present day navy and the past, the
one link of continuity is the fact that ships are controlled, fleets are
handled, and engagements won by the force of personality.
T h e writer of a very interesting article in the NAVAL REVIEW
(Vol. I., No. 2 ) , l entitled ( ' The Psychology of War," quotes authorities
which emphasise this view, e.g. :-
" Mere ships do not make a fleet, nor do they form the strong
right arm of an Empire, for the strength of a nation does not lie
in armour, guns, or torpedoes, but in the souls of the men behind
these things. "-Kuropatkin.
' P. 176, or p. 101, Vol. I. reprint.
THE INSIDE OF THE CUP. 9
" Wellington knew that the issue of battle lies in the hearts of
men-in the heart of the co~mmandereven more than in the hearts
of the soldiers. "-Henderson.
" T h e moral is to the physical as three to one."-Zbzd.
Claiming then the admission that personality is still the dominating
and essential factor to-day in the higher art of war, an enquiry is made
as to whether this truth is grasped in modern naval life, and whether the
conditions which exist evidence its presence. T h e orbit for the exercise
of personality in such a microcosm as a ship of war extends to and
includes all those relations which exist between those who govern and
those who are governed. (Those who govern may include ward room
officers, who are subordinate to the captain, since they exercise their
personalities over their own divisions, yet they may be included under
those who are governed, since they not only are subordinate, but they are
susceptible to the personality of the captain, and may be moulded by it.)
I t includes the action, reaction and inter-action between the mind
of the stimulating and directing force, i.e., the one who governs, and
the minds of those who are governed. Now a very limited experience of
the conditions which prevail afloat amongst those who constitute what is
termed the " lower deck " will suffice to observe that the nature of its
5ervice is oftimes grudgingly rendered and generally uninspired; and
if the enquiry be pushed further back and a cause elicited, experience
may justify the observation that the art of governing is itself mechanical
and perhaps unintelligent, and certainly lacking in that constructive and
idealistic aim which promotes gcod government and which gcod govern-
ment promotes. I n no other Service such as the Service afloat can the
advantages and the disadvantages od a tradition be s o clearly manifest.
An intangible inarticulate sentiment which is termed naval tradition, and
which may be likened to the conventions of the constitution, instils a
devotion to duty, and inspires the body of the governed with dutious
submission to authority and attachment to the ship in itself; t: suchy
tradition tends to become stereotyped and debased, and naval officers can
be found who, lacking inspiration and imagination, are content to obey
and demand obedience for the letter of the Service, forgetful that the
letter killeth, and that performance without perception and routine with-
out reasoning is a waste of energy; and regardless of the fact that
without sympathy, insight, and imagination-personality in fact-the
machine moves but tardily and lacks persistence. The present writer
urges the need for a fresh perspective, a psychological insight and
illumination which will reveal to those who govern the mental workings
of those whose wills they desire to! direct, and which will inspire them
with constructive appreciation, so that the mellowed wine of personality
may flow into the old wineskins of routine and discipline.
Let it not be inferred that any reflection is cast upon the obedience
of those who obey and the conduct af those who command. I t is not
contended that the discipline of the navy as it exists to-day is not of a
satisfactory nature; it is contended that there is rcom for improvement,
and that an enquiry into the principles of right government and the
exercise of those principles will make naval discipline not only rational
and scientific, but will manifest the need and the abundant scope for
the exercise of persanality. The privileged naval growl is nolt regarded
as indicative of a spirit! of discontent in the " lower deck," neither is
an abnormal case of mal-administration taken as sufficient data for
generalising on the art displayed in governing. Admittedly, the health
I0 NAVAL REVIEW.
of a nation is not tested by an examination of hospitals, nor the sanity
of a population by the existence of asylums for lunatics; at the same
time these institutions must be taken into account if it is desired to study
pathological conditions, and if the existence of disease be admitted it
were preferable that the person charged to deal with it should do so with
wisdom and skill. I t may be conceded that naval discipline, using the
term in its narrower connotation for the outside of the cup, does not
present data for the study of pathological conditions, yet this article 1s
concerned rather with the psychology of discipline and would find its
raison d ' l t r e in the existence of one unhappy ship's company or of one
tactless and short sighted executive officer.
T h e ideal which the art of naval government unconsciously strives
to attain is that the minds of the governed may be so reconciled with
those of the governing, their inter-action sa harmonized, that the com-
mands, intelligent and equitable of the one may receive the prompt and
voluntary obedience of the other. It is the fulfilment of the paradox that
service may be perfect freedom.
As then personality reaches its orbit through the personnel, through
inter-action with the minds of the governed, and the thought processes
of any intelligent subject are complex and perhaps obscure, it would
seem to need no special pleading to advocate the necessity of psycho-
logical training to fit those who command with an adequate knowledge of
the nature and activity of the thinking and obedience rendering subject.
I t is not insinuated that without such psychological training an officer is
not qualified to exercise control and personality. F a r from such being
the case, it is admitted that there have been in the past and there are
to-day officers who, without scientific research or laborious aim, have
attained success intuitively in the governing art, in the same way that
history might perhaps exemplify born strategists or tacticians who, by
natural reason, have grasped the fundamental laws of war, though the
present writer doubts it. Yet the admission of this fact should not dis-
pense the officer whose talents are but mediocre from a proper study and
mastery of the rules governing the profession he is proud to call an art.
Governing is an art of which psychology is the science, and an intelli-
gent grasp of the principles which constitute the science will illuminate
and mould the governing art. Without a doubt the governing art would
be less marred by the vagaries of unthinking and irresponsible officers
if they could but obey the philosophic dictum to know themselves, and
by such introspection appreciate the complexities and the delicacy of the
mental mechanism they are called u9on to handle. The restlessness of a
ship's company; the friction and sense of annoyance existing whether in
ward room or lower deck; the kicking against the irksome goads of naval
discipline with the resultant irritation and sense of exhaustion, may be
traced t o the lack of a man, a personality to inspire and control.
Psychology, then, by imparting a knowledge of the working instru-
ment and its intricacies, tends to inspire sympathy and appreciation wit11
its operations; and such sympathetic insight into! the minds of the
governed will gain from them not only obedience, but readv and willing
obedience, nay more-most needful of all---intelligent obedience.
Tt is not service which counts, but its quality, and that commander
who complaisantly exacts a.n obedience with the aid of an iron-cast code,
and rests his authority upon the traditional spirit of submission in those
he governs, apart from the harm he inflicts upon the morale of the
Service, may boast of the listless degrading service of serfs, and will
THE INSIDE OF THE CUP. II
never experience the spontaneous ungrudging obedience of free men. I t
is said, and perhaps with truth, that the relations which exist between
those " fore " and those " aft " are the same as exist between a teacher
and those who are taught. Yet it is a matter for surprise that the light
shed by psychology upoln the principles of the teaching profession,
making the dry bones of p ~ d a g o g ylive again, should be eclipsed by
lethargy and mental opaqueness in the naval sphere. T h e seaman; no
less than the child, is a human being, not an automaton or a mere
" hand," and as such requires as much care and discrimination in his
treatment as is required in dealing with the child. Whether the reader
chooses to regard psychology as a branch of mental physiology, or as a
distinct science, matter enough will be furnished him by writers from
Locke to Hamilton, and Carpenter to James, which will shed new light
upon the old paths, yet the old method-" their's not to reason why,
their's not to make reply, their's but to do, and die "--still obtains, and
is applauded by those who govern as the acme of naval discipline, whilst
the fact that men do reason why, and that the crushing of that instinct
of reason does not tend to produce the best men, is ignored. So the
path to the " peak that is gilded " is strewed with the good intentions
and the potentialities of tho~sewho govern, and the unhallowed corpses
of those from the ranks of the " lower deck " who might have been.
Now, there are two limitations which control the exercise of any
absolute form of government, and they may with propriety be men-
tioned here as governing the absolutism obtaining in a ship of war. The
first may be termed a subjective one, and consists in the bias, the educa-
tion, and the subjective influences affecting the one holding autocratic
sway. I t is a common-place of psychology and of experience that the
prejudices, the unconscious weaknesses, apart frorm more sinister influ-
ences which affect the one in power, will affect the weight of his
authority and the orbit of his personality. Men are quick to discover
weaknesses or fond tendencies and to take advantage of them a r bitterly
resent them. The writer remembers an instance where a party of engine-
room ratings were about to go ashore, and the officer of the watch, after
inspecting them. so far allowed his natural bias to find expression, that
he told them that as the landing was difficult, and there was a risk of
breaking their freshly-coloured necks, it was no matter, they need not
disturb themselves, they were of no colo~ireduse to the Service and it
could do without them.
I t may be in place to mention here that great scourge which is
corroding national life, and also affects naval life and discipline so
vitally, the great curse of immorality. The Service as a whale is
weakened and its work impaired through the vast numbers of men
incapacitated from active duty, yet the tendency of those in command is
to adopt a Gallio-like attitude and to care for none of these things. A
man when reproved for this vice pleaded in extenuation that the com-
mander and the first lieutenant of the same ship were undergoing treat-
ment for the same complaint. Truly. those whom the Gods destroy they
first deprive of sight !
I t has been said that the " strength of a nation lies in the souls of
men " ; that " the moral is to1 the physical as three to one," yet could
this psychological fact be deduced from the conditions which exist aflolat?
Experience tempts one to question whether the whole weight of the
Service does not press in a contrary direction. Those responsible for
this branch o~fnaval work could teIl of more than mere subjective bias
12 NAVAL REVIEW.
which cripples their efforts, and undermines their influence in ljromoting
moral well-being; and all on the score of the necessities of naval dis
ci~line and routine !
At the risk of being considered tedious and didactic, the present
~ r i t e rwould quote the words of the Lord Chancellor who, when
Minister for War, delivered an inaugural address to a Committeu
appointed to advise the Army Council in matters affecting the spiritual
and moral welfare of the Army, in which he said : " No soldier fights
his best who is not an idealist and touched with idealism about his duty.
Every man has in him a latent spark which can be kindled, and which
can send through him that idealism which raises him to a different level
of personality. There are times when the history of our race has shown
that it is so. The British soldier on the field of battle, in the frontal
attack or the cavairy charge, has shown that he can rise to heights of
idealism in the conception of his duty which make the t h o ~ ~ g h t him
self as an individual disappear in the corlsciousness that he is serving
his King and his country. We must in time of peace be preparing the
soldier so that in the last moment of supreme stress he may be capable
of displaying the highest qualities of which he is capable, and for this
reason those organisations which assist him in the religious side of his
life have always been deemed of importance. Yet I am not sure that
it has always been realised what a help religion ran Ile from a merely
military paint of view. "
H a d Lord Haldane been treating of matters naval he might have
spared himself the uncertainty, for the psychological value of the truth
he uttered seems ignored or discounted. We prefer to make clean the
outside of the cup and the platter, nnd why not? Naval philosophy
vouches for the fact that many have risen thereby.
T h e second limitation to autocratic naval rulk is that which is given
by Leslie Stephen in his " Science of Ethics," viz., the actual limitation
caused by the fact that the instinct of subordination to rules imposed
by the governing is itself limited. I t implies that the final court of
appeal for the obedience of the subject is his own sense of justice, and
thus emphasises the need for the intelligent foresight and the educated
control of the superior and governing authority. T o mention such a
limitation as this to officers whose sense of importance is untempered
with discretion, is to invite the forcible retort that the! speaker is himself
ignorant of naval discipline and tends to subvert i t ; yet the present
writer cannot help thinking that the mission to take this fact into
consideration may perhaps account for the existence of the naval reci-
divist. An occasion is recalled when a youth was sentenced to a long
term of cells for using an oath to a petty officer under provocation, that
a number of men, a warrant officer, the master-at-arms, and o~thers
approached a certain officer individually, and spontaneously. to beg
his intercession in attempting to gain a reduction of the sentence. These
men were no mere sentimentalists, but governed by a strict sense of
discipline and obedience, yet they recalled vividly to mind the limitation
This last train of thought leads naturally to a consideration of that
most: i m p r t o n t and weighty branch of naval discipline-that of naval
crime and punishment.
I n no department of naval life sa clearly as in this can the presence
of personality be felt and appreciated, and in no other department is
THE INSIDE OF THE CUP. I3
there such scope for the personal equation to have free play. No1 task is
more onerous and responsible, or calls for the exercise of wise dis-
crimination and penetrating judgment as is required in dealing with
offences and assessing awards. T h e captain must at one and the same
time maintain discipline and uphold the Service by supporting a petty
officer who urges a charge against a subordinate, and yet question the
absence of motive and the possibility of inflicting harm upon the Service,
by meting out punishment, and thereby breaking dolwn the greatest safe-
guard of discipline, viz., the moral will of the subordinate. But enough
on this point.
What has bee11 said with regard to the need for an enlightened view
of government applies with greater force here. T h e importance of the
subject renders it imperative; and yet of necessity the captain is entitled
to all the latitude and forbearance that charity can command, for reasons
to be stated. The Navy knows no economic maxim of the division of
labour so far as its captain is concerned; and in himself he must c m b i n e
not only the duties of tactician, disciplinarian, organiser, etc., but this
in addition-that he must display all the qualities of a trained jurist,
with the instinct of a Sherlock Holmes. I t cannot b a matter for
wonder therefore that the vast amount of valuable research and the
illumination to be gained therefrom in treating naval offenders is not
utiliseid by those called upon to administer justice. The captain of a
ship cannot be 3 Lombroso, even allowing the desire; and abstract
theories regarding crime and its relationship with heredity and are out
of place in a ship of war. Whether guilt may be traced to passion, or
opportunity, or acquired habit, o,r whether the offender is the victim of a
defective cerebral organization, or unfavourtible social surroundings, it
matters not. 'The captain must deal with things as they are, and there-
fore allows no weight to matters which appear of academic interest
merely. At the same time if naval methods are to be saved from the
reproach of being considere~darchaic or unscientific, an educated and
constructive view of the purpose and aim of punishment is imperative.
The naval captain unconsciously gives his adherence to the doctrine
of Raccaria, Blackstone, Romilly, and others that the sole permissible
object of inflicting punishment is t o prevent repetition of an offence.
If this be true, then in nearly every ship the captain is confronted with
the problem of the naval recidivist, and it is but begging the question,
though a cutting of the Golrdian knot, to place such on the beach. What
attitude should a captain who believes this doctrine take to the conten-
tion of Archbishop Whately that " every instance of the infliction of a
punishment is an instance of the failure of that punishment "?-since
the threat of it has not proved perfectly deterrent. Should a captain,
on the other hand, be susceptible to modern methods and motives, and
endeavour to aim at the reformation of the offender-both devoutly to
be wished for-then psychological insight will instruct him that to
publicly proclaim the recidivist as a " had hat," as at present obtains.
and even to announce drastic punishment far such an one preliminary
to hearing his case, is an error of judgment.
I n this connection one welcomes as a sign od intelligent reform the
memorandum issued from the Admiralty directing that each officer is to
aim at being the friend of the men in his division. I t is a wise policy,
instigated by psychological insight; and it is to be hoped that the order
will receive the warm support and the intelligent interpretation of those
who are to carry it into effect.
14 NAVAL REVIEW.
One u,elcomes, in addition, the order abolishing the old 1 0 . A.
punishment, for such punishment stmd condemned by what is called in
this paper the second limitation of government, viz., the limited instinct
of subordination in those governed-since offenders preferred the
punishment for greater offences, and frequently aggravated the lesser
offence in order to escape this form of punishment.
One illustration may be given which will serve to emphasize the
need of an intelligent grasp of first principles. I t is vouched for as
genuine by .a reliable authority, though of course it may be granted
that it casts no light on the normal methods which obtain : Two men
came before their commander asking him to adjudicate the ownership of
a flannel which each claimeld, and which was supported by the evidence
of the names of each printed on the flannel. The commander did not
consider evidently that " possession was nine paints of the law," and
that the possessor should continue his possession till the claimant could
prove his title; neither did h e follow the age-worn precedent od Solomon
and order the garment to be equally divided between them to meet the
ends of justice, though not perhaps of utility. No, he meted out to
them a dose of 10.A. punishment. An &cer once.said to the writer,
quite unconscious of any humour, that naval justice was not justice but
equity. Then the above incident would make an adaptation of Selden's
famous saying the retort obvious-that " equity differs with the size of
each commander's foot "-on the uplift.
What then is the conclusion of the whole matter? What is the
airn and end of this paper ? Not to advocate the inclusion of psychology
as a part of the curriculum for an educated naval officer, though the
advantages of this have been made manifest, and though such a study
may be essential to gcmd government. I t is to point out the abundant
scope which exists to-day for the exercise of personality ; the great and
commanding need for a man, and all the qualities that such n term
connotes-the need for sympathy, intuition and educated control.
I t is penned in the conviction that " the issue o'f battle lies in the
hearts of men, in the heart of the rommander. more than in the hearts
of the men," and in the hope that therefore the dav may dawn when
our captains shall attain to such rank not merely by examination pro-
ficiency, nor by the fact that they are able to enfo~rcediscipline-but by
virtue of the fact that they can command it, not by the strength of the
Service, or the traditional spirit of submi-jsion in the men. but by the
force of personality. I t is written to em~hasisethe n ~ e dof making
clean the inside of the cup. of placing first things first, and that moral
influence may be a dominating and commanding factor in the govern-
ment of men : nay, more, that without perwnalitv. without nzcn, in the
day of reckoning our majestic ships will be but a charnel hause of d m 6 '
men's bones. for " where there is no vision. the people perish."
T H E INFLUENCE OF A N E F F I C I E N T H O M E
DEFENCE AKMY O N NAVAL STRATEGY.
THE object of this essay is neither to bless nor to curse any existing
portion of our defences, but merely to set down, in language that can be
understood by all, the plain truths that may be deduced from history,
a s studied in His Majesty's Navy. For it is of primary importance that,
if possible, the public should be given the whole truth without conceal-
ment or extenuation, and that the facts should be presented to them
without any shadow of bias or partisan feeling.
I n the first place it must be pointed out that this subject cannot be
discussed only in terms of ships and hotme defence troops. War is all
one, and we have t o consider how these factors will supplement and fit
in with the other forces on ~vhich we depend for bringing a war to a
successful conclusion. 'This is clearly expressed in the two opening
paragraphs of our Field Service Iiegulations-" War is the ultimate
resource of policy, by which the nation imposes its will on its enemies
in defence of its honour, its interests, and its existence.
" The armed forces of the Empire are the instruments by which
in the last resource the National policy is carried into effect."
We1 require, then, t o consider the value of a competent Home
Defence Army in enabling the armed forces of the Empire, and par-
ticularly the Navy, to execute successfully the duties required of them
in War. The other forces concerned are the British Field Army, or
.expeditionary force, and the Naval and Military forces of the British
Dominions, all of which must have their share in determining the final
success or failure of the British Fleet. Now the chief requirement in
war is that it shall end successfully, 2nd in order to make clear how
this is to be achieved it is necessary first to combat certain widespread
wpular fallacies. I t is argued by a large section of the public
(a) That the Kavy should be able to protect us from invasion, and
that any money spent on Home Defence would be better expended
on ships than on troops.
((b)That a large expeditionary force savours of aggressive jingoism,
that we have no need for it unless we attempt an unwise policy
of territorial expansion, and that the doctrine of maintaining the
balance of power in Europe should be superseded by the policy
of " splendid isolation. "
(c) That if we avoid involving ourselkes in European complications.
we have amply sufficient trmps in the country to protect our
Now these theories are most natural and plausible to those who have
not studied the Art of War, which is the oldest and perhaps the most
difficult of all the Arts, but every expert will regard such theories as
16 NAVAL REVIEW
I t is hoped that in refuting them, military readers will pardon the
recital of arguments which, to them, must be time-worn platitudes.
T h e writer wishes to prove :-
That the Navy must not be saddled with the sole responsibility
for protecting our shores, for to do so might lead to irreparable
That an efficient Home Defence Army is necessary for allo~v-
ing perfect freedom of action not only to our Fleets, but also to
our expeditionary force.
That whether for an offensive campaign, or for a war that 's
purely defensive, a powerful expeditionary force on the ContilzenL
will be a potent factor both for bringing the war to a successful
end and for assisting to defend our shores against invasion.
These points must be established conclusively in order to sweep away
the fallacies ref erred to.
The great error in the public mind is to suppose that we can await
attack with perfect confidence if we provide ourselves with ample means
of defence. Rut this is no more use than if a man attacked by an
assassin were to content himself with trying to ward off his assailant's
blows. No pugilist could win a fight by continual defence-so why
should be expect it of a nation-but as soon as he strikes m ~ to fell his
opponent, he adopts the only rational method of winning the contest.
So also in war, cur enemy, whether he be the aggressor or not, will
be ready to accept our terms of peace only when we have shown our-
selves able to menace his national existence by the most severe form of
military, economic, or financial pressure. But is it conceivable that this
can be achieved with purely defensive forces?
Obviously we must have powerful mobile forces ready and free to
take the offensive and attack the enemy in some vital spot. For to make
war is to attack, and whether our war be one of aggression (which 's
most unlikely) or a defensive war in the strictest sense, the same principle
holds gmd; that to end the war successfully we must attack the enemy
and beat down his defence.
T h e mobile attacking forces are therefore the essential factor in
war, but in order that they may be free to execute their true function
with vigour and certainty it is most necessary that they should have
behind them a sound system of defence. The attacking forces, whether
they be a fleet, an army, o r a tribe of Red Indians, must operate from a
securely defended territory and must feel that their homes are safe
during their absence. This then is the duty of the Home Defence Army.
I t is not a complete protection in itself, but it is a vital factor in our
system of defence. I t must provide such measure of security against
invasion that our first line of defence-the attacking forces-may be free
to go anywhere and d o anything, untrarnmelled by the fatal handicap
of having to keep one eye on the British coast-line. I n this respect the
Navy and-the Field Army are similarly situated, but the Army is freed
from anxiety once it has reached the Continent, or over-sea destination
ordered, for then its connection with the shores of Britain is so com-
pletely severed that it can turn to its true r61e with an untroubled mind.
The Navy however, when operating in home waters, is liable at any
rnoment to be hurried to our coast-line by the pressure of popular
clamour, with results that might well be disastrous The naval aspect
of the case will be dealt with at length later, but it is desired first to
finish with the expeditionary force. T h e questions concerning it which
THE INFLUENCE O F AN EFFICIENT HOME DEFENCE ARMY. Is
chiefly affect our subject are, why should it go abroad, and what should
be its strength? F a r going abroad there are two reasons; iirst that i t
may be needed in some distant part of the Empire, bciund that it m a j
be needed to support a European ally. I n either case our Field army,
habing moved to a point where our enemy was making a great military
cffort, would attract his land forces so irresistibly that his chances o i
invading the British Isles would be greatly reduced. I n this way we
may almost look on our expeditionary force, when properly applied, as
our first line of defence, for it draws off the enemy's army at its source
and farms a measure of prevention f a r better than any prospective cure.
I t is well knolwn in military circles that if we sent 150,ooo men to
aid a European ally, the force requiled to check them suc:cessfully would
be not less than 200,000, and after providing such a force the numbers
left over that could be safely diverted for purposes of invasion would
not exceed ~oo,ooo,as the Armies of Europe stand at present. I t must
be remembered holwever that considerable risks might be run by a
European enemy if by some form of raid he had a chance of preventing
our Field Army f r m leaving this country. An adequate Home Defence
Army would obviate the difficulty, and it is to this force that we must
look as our second line of defence against invasion.
I t may well be asked, where does the Navy come i n ? I n the
writer's opinion the Navy, so f a r as invasion is concerned, should really
he described as our third line of defence. For the Fleet is, par excel-
lence, the weapon of attack : it has high mobility and great offensive
power, and by the moral effect of these qualities it forms, inevitably, a
p w e r f u l deterrent to serious invasion. But to use it directly as a " 'first
line of defence " would be a grave strategic blunder. One does not
keep a tiger in the drawing-room to guard against burglars, or an
armourecl train to patrol the chicken-run, because, for one reason, mobile
and powerful forces are not meant to be crippled by passive defence.
Similarly our Field Army must have no direct concern with the protec-
tion of our shores. I f we are engaged alone ill war with a continental
power we cannot well send it to the Continent, for unfortunately it is
too small, but it might very possibly be needed in one of our Dominions,
say South Africa or India. I f , however, cur foreign policy compels a
European alliance, as on numerous occasions it has in the past. and n o
doubt will in the future, then it is essential that we should be able t o
give aid to our ally in the one form in which he urgently needs it, i.e.,
with military force.
For this to be of any practical value we have to send such strength
that the country we decide to assist shall be, with ocr aid, in a position
of decided superiority. I f we adopt half-measures and send only an
insignificant force, it means, in the light of history, that we are liable
to find ourselves lighting on the weaker side and unable to save it from
defeat. 'This view gives us a measure of the size our Field Army should
be : the minimum strength required may vary from time to1 time, but in
view of the enormous military forces now maintained in Europe it is
certain that our effective Field Army should never f a l l belorn 15o,ooo,
while 250,000 might well be needed.
The argument that such a force map prove conducive to militarism
or aggression is entirely untenable. Consistent with maintaining our
position and dignity in the councils of Europe, it is universally accepted
that the policy of Great Britain is pacific and purely defensive. I t has
been shown that mobile offenslve forces are essential for defence, but
I8 NAVAL REVIEW.
another of the fundamental principles of war tells us that no nation can
hope to win a war unless it is supported by the approval and enthusiasm
of the people. Every British Government knows well that we have
no conceivable need to enlarge our Empire, and that a war of
aggression could never receive the sanction or approval of the British
people. Rut equally we know that powerful nations less fortunate than
ourselves are preaching openly the doctrine that we stand between them
and the sun, and the sword must decide our differences. I t is this
factor, combined with the immense military preparations on the Con-
tinent and the social unrest throughout Europe, that requires our defen-
sive forces to be made ready and adequate.
Enough has been said of the expeditionary force, our first line of
defence against invasion; we turn now to the Home Defence Army to
consider its requirements. I t must be assumed that the Navy and the
Field Army shall be free to perform their true functions, and not be
called upon for passive defence : of what then should the Home Defence
Army consist? I n considering what it may have to meet, we have got
the carefully worked-out official estimate which says that it should be
able to defeat an invasion not exceeding 70,000 men. This estimate
seems a very god one, for if our Field Army is taking part in military
operations abroad on a large scale it is not likely that a much greater
force than 70,000 could be allotted for invasion. We m ~ ~ showever. t,
also consider that great efforts may be made to prevent our Field Army
going abroad ; some margin of safety is an obvious necessity; and further
there is always a steady increase in those facilities of transport whereby
a large invasion might be despatched with great rapidity. Allowing for
these factors, it seems that our Home Defence Army s h o ~ ~ l d able to
men. How this army should be
defeat with certainty a force of ~ o o , o o o
raised or trained is no concern of the essay. I t mav consist of 500,ooo
ill-trained territorials, or of 150,ooo goad troops : either would na d m b t
suffice, provided that they can guarantee to defeat ~ o o , o o o
I t should be understood that this defence force must, of course, be
a mobile army, and therefore is exclusive of the necessary garrisons for
our fortified ports.
We have now reviewed briefly the main outlines of the militarj
situation in its relation to war as a whole. A great deal has been said
about offensive operations, for this is the whole foundation of war, but
the writer has been conscientio~~sly considering, throughout, the problem
of defence against aggression. This is our c.hief problem, for Great
Britain is little likely to go to war again except with a nation that has
been definitely aggressive, but we must never on this account make the
fatal error of confining our thoughts to measures of passive defence. So
far, the part played by the Navy has only been touched on as briefly as
possible. This must non he described in detail.
It may seem from the foregoing arguments that the Fleet is looked
on as an expensive luxury which has no direct concern with our defence
against attack. But this is not the case. I t is argued only that the
Fleet should have no direct concern with the defence of our shores.
Indirectly its influence is, of course, enormous, but its powers of defence
THE INFLUENCE O F AN EFFICIENT HOME DEFENCE ARMY. I9
will only attain their maximum when the Navy is employed on its true
duties, which are as follows : -
(a) T o bring to action as soon as possible every hostile warship that
puts to sea.
(b) T o cover the transporting of our Field Army and convoy it
wherever may be necessary.
(c) Tb defend our trade and food supplies by bringing to action every
warship or armed merchant vessel that attempts to molest it.
( d ) By blockade and commerce attack to harass the enemy's trade and
thus exert severe economic pressure on his national life.
The above duties are all important, and they have to be performed
simultaneously. Each requires a very considerable force, particularly in
small cruisers, of which all experts are agreed that we have not nearly
sufficient for our needs.
No comparative tables of Naval forces are necessary to prove this,
for the cruiser shortage of which Nelson complained so frequently in the
past is almost as great at the present day, while our dependence on these
vessels and the food supplies protected by them is vastly greater.
Every battle fleet now requires small cruisers to protect it at night
against torpedo craft. Cruisers are essential for protecting trade routes,
and for locating enemy's forces that are reported at sea: while the
number of cruisers necessary for holding up effectively an enemy's sea-
borne trade is so large that we could probably supply only about one-
third of the number needed. This last is, perhaps, the most important
duty that the Navy has to perform. The destruction of enemy's war-
ships is only a means to an end, though the moral effect would be enor-
mous and the loss of life in the beaten fleet would create a profound
social effect. But having secured the command of the sea, and before
doing so if possible, it is the destruction of seaborne commerce which
furnishes the Navy with its greatest weapon for exerting financial and
economic pressure on the enemy. I n addition t o these duties, the lack of
an adequate Home Defence Army might compel us to undertake the
further ~vorkof keeping watch at sea for a possible invasion. Such work
is dangerous and difficult in the extreme, for the North Sea can be
crossed in winter by fast steamers during the hours of darkness, while
by day a fog might make the crossing equally easy. The ~vatch,there-
fore, must be a very close one, and there are only two ways of making it
even temporarily effective. Either our cruisers must keep close watch
on every enemy's port, thereby rendering themselves liable to constant
attacks from submarines and destroyers; or they must string out right
across the Worth Sea to watch at a great 61stance. In this case they
run grave risks of being cut off in detail by the enemy's armoured or
battle cruisers, \\-hich would sally out frequently for the purpose. Sup-
ports for our cruiser line would no doubt be used, hut they 1%-ould not
suffice to guard it from the serious dangers nhich must always menace
the ~esselsemployed on duty of this nature. Apart from this, it is
obvious that the nulnerous cruisers withdrawn from other duties for that
work, would most seriously hamper the execution of the n'avy's proper
functions. This then is the first point in which we consider an efficient
Home Defence Army essential.
There are numerous others, of ~chich principal must be specified.
For some hundreds of years it has been an accepted duty of the N a ~ y
to provide local defences, in the form of coastal flotillas of small vessels,
capable of destroying transports not supported by warships. I n the
past the vessels used were sloops and gunboats whose fighting value on
the high seas, or against capital ships, was negligible. But now we can
afford to build no ships except those of primary importance in warlike
operations, and i t is a peculiar fact that the small craft-z.e., the
destroyer by night and the submarine by day are the vessels which are
endowed in the highest degree with powers of offensive action. I n waters
so limited and so peculiarly suitable as the North Sea, they can operate
offensively with such effect that even battle fleets must retreat beyond
their reach. Hut- these submarines and destroyers are the only available
vessels with which to form our coastal flotillas, so that a large number
of these valuable units have to be tied to our shores for purposes of
passive defence. Reference to the monthly Navy List will show how very
serious is this reduction of our available striking forces. We see there,
allocated under the heading " PATROLFLOTILLAS," no less than 67
destroyers, 24 tospedo boats, 48 submarines, 15 flotilla dep6t ships, and
4 cruisers !
Surely this list cries aloud for an adequate Home Defence Army to
relieve our striking forces from the burden of passive defence. We may
pass without further comment to the next point.
I t is well known that, if our Field Army is required abroad, a large
part of the garrisons of our Naval Ports must be replaced by Special
Reserve of Territorials, while the normal process of mobilisation will
bring numerous ill-trained men to the forts and batteries.
But in arranging the defence of these ports it is necessary that our
narships should be able to pass in or out by night, while any vessel
behaving or appearing like an enemy should be instantly fired on. Only
by careful training and ample practice is it found possible to ensure
that these duties shall be performed efficiently. But with raw garrisons
entirely unaccustomed to such work it is almost certain that the defence
\vould be unreliable, nhile our 01511 ships might frequently be fired upon.
The insecurity, and definite danger, to which our naval forces
nould thus be exposed is a most serious mattel. Rut if n e had a well-
trained Home Defence Army it would not be necessary to use our Field
Army for coastal garrisons in peace, or to replace them hastily with
mobilised troops on the outbreak of war.
A fourth case may be quoted which is more important than all the
Our main battle fleet constitutes our most poverful and most impor-
tant floating force; to obtain the best results it must be stationed, and
moved, in accordance with the requirements of naval strategy-which
may change from day to day. I n the (lays of Nelson one of our main
fleets was situated for many months off Toulon, it evemcrossed the Atlantic
and was absent foir several weeks searching for anenemy who was believed
to be in the West Indies; though no certain news of his movements had
been received Nelson started westwards. Similarly now, we cannot be
certain as to where or how far away our main fleet may be required; but
n w , as then, we can name some positions to which it should be and
some to which it should not be sent. Speaking generally we may say that
the battle fleet must be in such a position that it can cut off the enemy's
fleet from any enterprise on the high seas; it must be at such distance
from the enemy's bases that it is not exposed to constant danger from
submarine and destroyer attacks; and it must be in a position for sup-
porting effectively the operations of our cruisers while attacking the
enemy's seaborne commerce and defending our own.
THE INFLUENCE O F AN EFFICIENT HOME DEFENCE ARMY. 21
These requirements indicate that, whoever our European adversary
may be, our main fleet will often be placed at a considerable distance
from the coasts on which we might expect an invasion. Further, it is
very clear that if our fleet is kept in the vicinity of those coasts for
defensive purposes, or is compelled to return there even for a short visit,
it will have to be brought so close to the enemy's bases that it will be
exposed to serious danger from their mobile torpedo craft.
This is the greatest danger of all, for if no destroyers or sub-
lnarines existed we could feel confident that our fleet mould hold its own
against any in Europe, but the insidious attack of these almost invisible
vessels is as difficult to guard against as it may be decisive in its result.
Knowing this, an enemy might use a small invasion, or even the
mere threat of invasion, to exert pressure on public opinion in England
with a view to influencing the movements of our fleet. Nothing is more
natural than for an uneducated public to demand some practical demon-
stration that our shores are effectually protected. History shows that
such a demand is as common as it is dangerous; but once an enemy can
thus impel us to bring our fleet to some spot that is threatened, o r
supposed to be threatened, he has victory almost within his grasp.
Minefields can be sown round the fatal spot, and in the track of the
approaching fleet; submarines can lie in wait for it by day and
destroyers by night.
And these perils we have no means of evading, unless our Home
Army is adequate for its obvious duty. 1 1 that case the enemy can
only bring an invasion of such size that its support with a large fleet
would be imperative, and the \\hole aspect of affairs is then changed.
All our mobile forces can rush to the spot, for we have then an objective
that justifies us in taking risks. Our destroyers and submarines attack
without delay, while the main fleet comes up, screened by numerous
cruisers. to join issue in a battle nhich nould settle decisively in less
than an hour the ultimate command of the seas.
I11 this case the coastal attack changes from a side-issue to an opera-
tion of primary importance, nhich justifies us in moxing there uith
decisive force. Thus it may be noted that whereas a minor raid is a
setere inconvenience to our naval operations, a really large invasion
mould prove a welcome means of forcing a decisive battle at sea.
Space forbids further examples of the urgent need for giving our
fleets complete freedom of action in war, but a few words should be said
here on the subject of aircraft, which are non becoming such an im-
Apart from offensive action, which is at present not far developed,
their use for observation and scouting is of great importance to the Navy.
If our Home Army, and Naval Bases, are supplied with air vessels whose
radius of action is not less than 500 miles, they can perform many of
the arduous duties at present allotted to the fleet. They can watch an
enemy's base for warships ~ u t t i n g sea, or inspect his harbours and
observe at once if an expedition is being prepared there. They can
patrol the North Sea or Channel far quicker, and with greater safety,
than it can be done by cruisers; equally well they can patrol our coasts
and set free a portion of the numerous " patrol flotillas " at present tied
to our shores. They cannot, of course, relieve the Home Army from
the necessity of being able to defeat any force that may land, but they
are an accessory which would be most useful to the Home Army a n d
invaluable to the Navy.
22 NAVAL REVIEW.
A few remarks now on the historical aspect of Home Defence : space
permits only a few examples.
More than 300 years ago, when the Spanish Armada was being
prepared, our ablest seamen, headed by Drake, insisted that our Fleet
must sail for Spain to destroy the force that menaced us. Once before.
Drake had already done this successfully, but the Queen and the Cabinet,
obsessed with ideas of coastal defence, massed the Fleet at the Nore in
order to prevent the threatened invasion of the Prince of Parma by
passively awaiting him in the Channel. They did at last, when it was
too late, send the Fleet to Spain: and it was then detached at a distance
where, as with Nelson in the West Indies, it might have taken many
weeks' sailing to return to the threatened coastline. But this \\-as only
performing their proper functions. They were not in time to catch the
Armada in its ports, but when they did meet it they were still nearl)
300 miles distant from Parma's transports which lay waiting in Dunkirk.
Obviously it was not off Dunkirk that the Fleet was needed, in fact
that was the one spot where Drake particularly objected to having it, but
in those days we relied very largely on a Home Defence Army to compete
even with the most serious invasion. T h e spirit of those times is \\,ell
shown in hlacaulay's historic poem on the Armada.
H e describes how, in a single night,
T h e lugged miners poured to war from 31endip'a sonless c.lves,
Till board ant1 fierce the star c a ~ n eforth on Ely's st.~telyf.me,
And tower : ~ n dhamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain.
But that was 300 years ago : where is that spirit now?
I n 1756, during the seven years' war, a threat of invasion a c l o s
the Channel caused our ministry to concentrate the Fleets in home waters
and seriously to neglect the Mediterranean. The direct result of this was
that 15,000 troops were sent from Toulon to Minorca entirely unmolested,
and there invested Port Mahon and successfully captured the \\hole
island. T o take a modern parallel, it is by 110 mean.; impossible that n e
might lose Malta in a precisely similar manner.
Coming to the date of the Napoleonic wars, the desperate but
belated attempts to construct an adequate Home Defence Army show
clearly enough that, once ~ a had begun, the Nation and its expert
advisers were eclually agreed on the urgent need for it. Yet throughout
these wars the large military expeditions that we sent to Europe and
elsewhere are proof that the strategic necessity for a military offensile
was recognised as imperative. Even when threatened with invasion, our
expeditions were still sent to exert their pressure, directly or indirectly,
in the main theatre of war on the continent: they were sent by men whose
knowledge of war was open to no question, and had the expeditions bee11
larger, or in some cases hetter led, their effect would have been enormous.
Competent critics have stated that if England had assisted her allies with
roo,ooo good troops, instead of usually sending only gold, the poner of
Sapoleon might have been broken many years earlier. As with the Field
Army so also with the Navy : our ships were operating in every sea, one
of our largest fleets was off Taulo11, and our Naval defences against
invasion consisted mainly of small craft distributed in coastal flotillas.
But had our Fleets been colncei~trate~d the Channel to await an attack,
there would have been no Rattle of Trafxlgar. -
I n modern times we see always the same lessons. Japan broke the
power of Russia hy taking the offensive with a powerful Field Army and
THE INFLUENCE O F AN EFFICIENT HOME DEFENCE ARMY. 23
a Fleet which was free and ready t o go anywhere it was needed. That
Fleet sailed to attack its enemy on the day that war was declared, and
never returned to the coasts of Japan till the Russian Fleet had been
destroyed. But their successes were made possible by a mobile Home
.kmy in Japan competent to deal with any possible invasion. For
example, the existence at Vladivostok of four Russian cruisers which
might have convoyed a small raid, persuaded the Japanese to keep a
whole division of first-class troops near Tsuguru in case of attack on their
northern coasts. But they made no attempt to deflect any Naval force
to assist in protecting those coasts. The Navy kept to its proper work:
offence against the enemy, and covering the communications of its Field
An opposite instance may be cited from the Spanish-American war.
The American people were so afraid of some coastal attack by the
Spanish ships (which Spain had never dreamed of attempting) that they
insisted on having a large naval force detailed to protect their shores.
This so reduced their forces in the theatre of war, round Cuba, that the
reported sighting of a Spanish warship, which incidentally was quite
untrue, caused a delay of several weeks in despatching the expeditionary
force on which their hopes of taking Cuba entirely depended.
The fact that the Americans, somewhat characteristically, had named
their defensive force the " Flying Squadron " was responsible for a
ludicrous error on the other side; for the Spaniards, supposing that this
" Flying Squadron " was coming to attack their shores, hastily recalled
all the warships that mere proceeding t o reinforce their unfortunate
Admiral in the main theatre of operations, which of course was Cuba.
History records many similar instances where the deflection of mobile
fighting forces, whether naval or military, to purely defensive duties has
led to well-merited disaster.
The foregoing remarks have been intended to describe briefly the
nlai~l principles on which this problem depends. I n choosing illus-
trations every effort has been made to avoid individual cases, but
where operations in or across the North Sea have been spoken of, it
should be understood that the same deductions apply with equal or .
greater force to the English Channel. As every probable invasion would
be launched across one or the other, it may be taken that the deductions
stated are of general application. Space forbids a detailed examination
of any of the numelous factors concerned, but once the main principles
are accepted the rest is easy. Our difficulty is not to decide what is right,
or 1~11yit is right; on these poin.ts the Navy at all events would find
Bttle to hinder it from unanimity. But the difficulty is to persuade the
public to accept, and to act on, the principles which their expert advisers
assure them to be essential for the security of the country. These, which
must now be recapitulated briefly, are as follows : -
(a) The only way to bring a war to a successful end is to use powerful
mobile forces for exerting military or economic pressure, in its
severest form, on the enemy's national life. T h e forces for this
mork are the Navy and the Field Army.
( b ) Any geographical tie, or any limitation on the perfect freedom of
actlon of these forces, is fatal to their efficiency.
24 NAVAL REVIEIT.
If n-e call on the Navy to watch our shores, or the Field Army to
keep guard round our coasts, we limit them to a form of passive
defence which invites disaster. Offence is not merely the best
defence, it is, from a military standpoint, the only defence.
'The Navy is essentially a weapon of offence; it should be ready
to go anywhere and do anything at the shortest notice.
( c ) The perfect freedom of action required by our mobile forces can
0nly b assured b y having behind them a strong H o m e Defence
Army. 'That Army must be able to deal with any invading force
which our experts from time to time think likely to be sent. I t is
entirely false to argue that money spent on a Home Army could be
better expended on ships. The Navy and the.Home Army have
separate and entirely different functions to perform, and neither
can be taken over by the other.
So long as our Navy and Field Army are employed actively on
their primary duties, it is considered that, under present con-
ditions, the Home Army would never have to face a greater force
than roo,ooo men. But these nlen may be well trained and
( d ) The teaching of history provides numberless examples of the truth
of the above principles. I t also shows that needs which the public
admit readily enough in time of war cannot be extemporised at
the last moment. Long and thorough preparation in time of peace
is the only means of meeting successfully the shock of modern
These principles are few and they are simple, but they are not yet
accepted by the British public. Only within the last few months both
the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the General Staff have stated publicly
that the Navy alone cannot guarantee this country against invasion.
The need for an adequate Home Army is plain: the fact that we have
not yet got one is plainer.
When we have, when the British people have taken the steps so
rlecessary to their safety, they can rely on the Navy for their part, to
" secure and maintain the command of the seas and to keep open our
lines of food supply. "
Not only this, but the destruction of the enemy's seaborne trade, the
safe despatch of our Field Army to any destination, and all that is
implied by the term " command of the sea," must rest on the broad
foundation of a competent Home Defence Army.
Only when this has been provided, and the Fleet freed thereby from
all considerations of passive defence, can we expect our seamen to do full
justice to the traditions and the power of the British Navy.
?;OTE.-O~ account of a somewhat widrspread misconception the writer
wishes to take this opportunity of stating that he has contributed
no other articles to the NAVALREVIEWexcept the following:
February, 1913. Article 5 ; and May. 1913, Article 6.
THE ATROPHY O F T H E 1,IEUTENANT
THE tentlencj to specialise the most important parts of the ordinary
work of executile officers is exercising a very evil influenoe on the
Service. So much of the <ap is beinb directed into the branches, that
the tree is beginning to rot and decay. T h e profession of a naval
oHicer is that of war. Command of men, knowledge of the use oi
matCrie1, twmbined with an intelligent understanding of the ideas
actuating the higher command, are some of the qualities which must be
developed in all executive offioers. The study off the mechanical details
of matCriel is of no asdstance to these ends.
At present, if an officer shows early aptitude in his profession,, he
is invited and encouraged t relinquish the higher and broader corn-
ception, and to burrow industriously into n mass of technical detail,
which must inevitabl) tend to narrow the confines of his mind to those
of a skilled artisan.
Now, if this process is necessary as a preparation for the command
of ships or fleets, or as a qualificz.tion to1 assist i n the broader organisa-
tion o~f a fighting force, it obviously justifies itself, and the ship's
officer, the " watchkeeper," must b sacrificed.
But let us see if this is the case. With the exception of the recently
folrmed War Staff Course, no officer below the rank of commander
~eoeivesany instruction in the co-ordinated use af the various arms, or
any training in the principles on which the successful o~rganisationand
command of a ship or fleet depend.
I n yhort, he is taught nothing of the art of war or the principles of
command, which are as necessary to prepare him for the higher ranks,
as they are to enable him to co-operate intelligently in the conduct of n
war, while in the junior ranks. H e is taught to1 work in his own water-
tight compartment, separated froin the work osf the Navy as a whole ;
and to 'slunt his imagination and initiative by the study of technical
detail. I t is useless t o w a ~ ttill an oficer's habit of thought is set,
before teaching him to study the art of war, especially if the impres-
s i ~ n ~ a bperiod of his vo~uth has k n spent in the deadening studv of
intricate machinery. If these methods were correct, an engine fitter
would make the best managing director of a railway.
We will now trace the actual effects of specialisation in each of its
branches2 and, as destructive criticism by itself serves no useful purpo,se,
proposals for remedying the present state of affairs will also be
A few years ago the olrdinairy gunnery work of the ship was enitirely
in the hands ot scho~oll-trainedspecialists, many of whom were junior
d c e r s without any real knowledge or experience. The remainder of
the lieutenants had very little interest or respnnsibilitv in the fighting
26 NAVAL REVIEW.
efficiency of the ship. Moreover, an unrealistic system of target practicw
had practically reduced the lieutenants, on w h m the whole brunt of
fighting the .;hip ~voulddevolve, to the level o mere onlookers.
A truer conception of the nature of war is causing a gradual reform
of this undesirable state of affairs, and Is bringing home the axiom that
the fighting of the ship is the business of all the executive o~fficersin
that ship. Gur~llery is no longer loo~kedon as one of the black arts,
initiation into who.* mysteries can c m l ~be acquired by a long coarse
at Whale Island. The gradual acceptance of the principle that the
" officers of quarters " are responsible in fact as well as in name for
the efficiency and control of their quarters is a great step forward, and
the definite responsibility it entails is producing afficers who are at least
the equal in practical ability of he recently fledged specialist.
After a few years prxtical expaience they are capable of con-
trolling the armament of a battleship, and of getting the best out of the
men and matkriel of their quarters. I n fact, it is responsibility and
practical experience that makes a n officer efficient in the gunnery work
of a ship. T h e placing of this responsibility on the &cer of quarters
is the logical coincludon of divisional deoentralisati~nwith its attendant
delegation of authority.
All credit is due to gunnery officers for beginning to reoognise that
the guncery branch is only a part of the tree, and not a separate gro~wth.
But this is only the first step, which leads up to the real question of
whether specialisation in gunnery is necessary at all.
There can be little dor~btthat the course of academical mathematics
at Greenwich is of small use a s f a r as the fighting of a ship is con-
cerned, while it is positively antagonis~ticto the development of man!
importanrt faculties. A large part of the course at the gunnery x h m I
could also be discarded without any loss.
I t appears, therefore, that we should aim at the gradual despecialisa-
tion of gunnberq by shortening the length of the specialist's course, and
by improving the training of the officer of quarters until the distinction
between the two has entirely disappeared. Any lieutenant would then
be eligible to be detailed as armament lieutenant or as officer in charge
of the fire control , officers being selected for these duties by the captain
in the samle way that the " assistant (G) " is now chosen.
I n the tor11,edo Jepairtment as at preslent constituted, it is doubtless
true that the highly technical nature of electrical machinery requires a
specialist to supervise it. Rut iq this the work of an executive officer?
Should ~ m the care and maintenance of the electrical machinery an'd
fittings be entrusted to the engineer officer, who would reueive valuable
as,sistal?cefrom the warrant elwtricians ?
I n the same way the technical and mechanical details of wireless
telegraphy a~neno part of the duty of an executive officer, unless he is
dive~tcd from the general service and renounces his chance of com-
manding a ship or fleet. The1 principles and organisation of communica
tion by wireless tdegraphv should, however, k part of the training of
ebery staff diner.
The torpedo school expends colossal industry on the study of an
ever-increasing mass of technical detail, but the principles governing
the use and aplicatio~nof the material alre a closed book. The study
of mechanical detail tends t o became more and more minute; there is
al\vays the keep screw which holds the iarger screw. An enormous
amount of experimental work has been don,? in the attempt to produce
THE ATROPHY OF THE LIEUTENANT. 27
a Whitehead torpedo as near perfcctioa as possible, but 110 thought has
baa given to the angle at which the torpedo should leave the ship.
Although it is kmtwn that the general scheme of a fleet action would be
broadside to broadside, and that a tube must point well ahead to hit
under these conditions, many of our tubes are on quite other bearings.
This is a goad example of how d,etail can obscure principle. Similarly,
these officers may have the formulae for the chemical action of various
cells and batteries at their finger tips, but if they are asked to define
the functions of torpedo craft in mar, the reply will be most unsatis-
factory, althmgh it is on such questionls that the armament and training
of these craft depend.
If the pliesent system of training in the gunnery and torpedo schaals
is allowed to continue much longer, we shall be heard, after the next
war, voicing Semenoff's lament on the Russian Technical Schools : " Oh,
these magicians and necrmxancers, they are luining us ! "
It appears that W-hitehead work in a ship should k e the duty of
an officer of torpedo quarters, assisted by a warrant officer for duties
purelv connected with the materiel.
Specialisation in physical training is the next question, and its
institution is certainly a matter for wonder and surprise. The drilling
of a divisioln in any particular manner is as obvic~~sly proper work
of the divisimal officer, as is the drill involved in marching the men
aft to prayers in the morning. In many ships the physical training
&oer also performs ship's duties. The fact that be has time to do so
is a clear proof that the ship's officer, a fortiori, has time to p ~ r f o r m
the physical training duties, n& of the whole ship but of one division.
The close study of the various anatomical reasons for the exercises
is unnecessary, and corresponds to the over indulgence in technical detaiI
~xevalentin same other branches. It cannot be t w s t m g l y emphasised
that the handling of his men, whether at physical drill or a t small arm
companies, is essentially the duty of th'e officer of the division and of n o
one else. At present he neglects physical training owing to the presence
of a specialist appointed and paid for that purpase.
The physical training course teaches an officer nothing that can
possibly help to qualify him for the higher ranks or broader conceptions
of the Service, it merely produces a glorified physical training instructor.
Surely the limits of common sense are reached when an officer is
appointed to the staff of an admiral to perform the wolrk of a
This,fmm of specialisation should be entirely abolished, and if it
is fmnd necessary to detail an afm to supervise and evolve the
system of physical training in a fleet, a ship's offioer should be detailed,
and should confine himself to organisation anld not attempt to transform
himself into a physical training instructor. Better still, leave the
physical training of the men in a ship to the captain of that ship,
broad lines being laid down by the Admiralty for his guidance.
Captain5 have never been allowed to control this matter, which has
heen supervisod by a lieutenant in the flagship, yet the personal direction
of the captain would haw far more effect.
If a physical training expert is necessary at the Admiralty, he
should be a medical ofKcer.
With regard to th,e navigating branch it should be clearly laid down
and enforced that the busiress of the navigator is navigation, and that
the manceuvring of the ship is the dutv of the officer of the watch under
28 NAVAL REVIEW.
the direction of the captain. I t is not reocrgnised in every ship that the
officer of the watch is the person \\ho should stand at the compass and
give the orders for the helm and engines, working dirmtly under his
captain. I n some ships this duty is usurped by the navigator, although
he is only responsible for navigatio~l and pildage. The mnnectiml
between these matters and the manceuvring of the ship is hard to tram.
I n such castes the chfficer of the watch is redumd to the paGtion of a
" flag and cone man. "
rhexe is ~ l e n t yof scope for the navigator in the care and main-
tenance of the compasses and charts, the navigation and pilotage of the
ship, and the important ~vo~rk ureparing plans and track charts for
the information of an admiral or captain in peace and IT-ar. Until
recently this was almost ihe onlj form of staff work recognised in the
Thi5 branch requires pruning, so that it shall no longer absorb the
fuiwtims of the officer of the watch, and the qualifying course niight
also be considerably shortmed.
Let us now examine signal symialisation.
Signalling in all its foms is part of the ordinary duty of e\er>
lieutenant. Appoint s spsialist and the O.O.MT. will neglect
signalling. .\Tor can the plea of the study of applied mathematics be
brought in to justifv this form of specialisation.
It is the practice to appoint an officer who1 has heen through this
course to the staff of an admiral; and yet staff work is elltirely and
rigorously excluded from the course! For example, he is not even
taught to make a prCcis of a s i g n ~ l .to ~vordit as shortly and cvnciselv
as possible, or to see that it is not ambiguous. A signal officer will
often take down word for word the verbal instructions given him b ~ the ?
admiral, who is probably thinking nut the subject as he speaks. He
then launches them in an unahbreviated form into the alreadv over-
loaded wireless office. Anyone who doubts this Iias only to refer t~ the
signals made during manceuvras, for he will have no difficulty in reducing
the nurnber of esential ~ ~ o l r d s a k m ~ ~ t
by fifty par cent. An admjrdl
should not be burdened with the task of revising and shortening his
signals, it is the obvious duty olf his ~ ~ t a f f .This is through no fault
of the signal officer. I t is a subject he has never h e n taught to practice
H i s course consists almost entirely (36 the details of the medium of
communication, with nu regard for the principles rqorerning communicn-
tion5 ;ind orders. He never even questions the nwes~ityor otherwise
for the cnormous vnlnme nf cignalling which is characteristic of all our
Very often vhen a squadron of ~ i or eight ships is a b u t to anchor,
in the present time of peace, with no matter o hand more urgent than
the rerrect alignment of the fleet, the casual observer might be excused
fm supposing that it had niddenl\- been decided t o dress ship. I t would
yeerr, that in war time, when matters of increasing urgencv were being
suddenly remembered. three or four masts would be necessarv. There
would he 2bout fifty men on the bridge of a fleet flagship f i n g into
action : fice s ~ a r c h l i ~ h t sv o r l dbe 11.1sily flashing in a frrn7ied n t t ~ m p t
to fill the tactical void caused by the absence of any previously considered
principles or dortrine.
We have latelv heard a good deal about a proposed year's h n l i d ~ r
in na, a1 shinbuilding. A more immediatelv practical reform, w o ~ ~ l d be
a year's holidav from naval cignalllnq.
THE ATROPHY OF TIlE LIEUTENANT. 29
Consider, tor example, the systems of signals by 1111ich it is proposetl
to direct the fire of ships in action. Woiuld it not hale been far better
if the time devoted to c m p i l ~ n g them had Leen directed towards a
consitleration of whether thej were necessary, desirable, or even feasible?
It r;:aj well be asked what is the use of a captain if he cannot direct
the fire of his own ship, in accordance with the general principles laid
down by the commander-in-chief.
These ideas show a simple faith in methocls of m m a n a which
have bee.1 discredited time after time in 11ava1 and inilltary war, and
signal officers had much better leave the signals- to their subordinates,
and devote little thought and study to the p~rinciplesof command.
Instead olf- considering these subjects, the signal course produces the
super yeoman of signals, a position much more efficiently fulfilled by
the signal boatswain. T h e ambition od an officer a t the signal scliowl
is to be able to take in Morse and Semaphore as fast as a yeoman. H e
seldom attains it, and should never attempt to d o sol.
This form of specialisation should be suppressed altogether. Any
lieutenant 06 experience is competent to control the signal school. I t
is organisatio~xof instruction that is required, rather than the mechanical
details of signalling.
Ihere is 110 merit in copying blindly the systems of others, but,
having evolved a plan on a reasoned basis, it is well to o k r v e whether
any similar method has been tried, and if so, to note the result. I t
will be found that in the two next greatest navies tot olur on n, systems of
a similar nature to that suggested are in force. I n the American and
German navies specialisatim, in olur sense of the word, is unknown.
The foregoing may be summarised by saying that such duties as
physical tfraining and signals are an integral part of the business of
every exerutive &cer, and there is nothing in either subject that is m
any way beyond the scqe of the watch-keeping lieutenant. I t is not
eten claimed that these specialisrts are selected for superior ability.
It would be as logical to select an d c e r for a SIX months' course ss a
specialist in hoisting boats or in the inspection of kit bags.
Tile direct result of the present system is that the lieutenant who
dous not specialise is invited to consider such subjects as navigation.
physical training, and signals, as outside his province. H i s frame of
mind can be expressed somewhat as follows : " Why should 1 trouble to
master these subjects, when specialists go through a six months' course
and are sent to my ship specially for these duties? "
The lieutenant in a ship, on whom will fall the greater part of the
duty of fighting the ship, is thus gradually shorn of all his motre respoc-
sible and interesting duties, and finds himself reduced to the polsitioil
of a kind of super petty officer, with every i n d u m e n t to allow his mint1
T o say that these duties have been taken out of the hands of ship's
lieutenants as they were r~ntcapable of performing t h m , is simply
p ~ ~ t t i n g cart before the horse. It is a well recognised principle of
command that officers will become what you expect them to be. The!
are quite capable of rising tt. the ocrnsim, and if trusted to perform
the duties of a lieutenant they will not fail. I f on the other hand, nn
trust is placed in them. they will 17e lazy and ~ncompetenk \\it11 little
interest or enthusiasm in their work.
Young oficers are thuc led to l m k upan tw duty of the watch-
keeper, nhich j., the h~sinc.sq of fighting the c;hip, nith a modified form
30 NAVAL REVIEW.
of contempt. They specialise to " gt out of the ruck," and the term
" ocxrlie-work " is aften applied to the duties of a divisional f i c e r ,
although cnn the way he performs them, depend the discipline and
morale of the ship in war.
Those branches af the tree known as physical training and signals
must be lopped off altogether, the other branches need pruning and
tending in the right direction.
That the trunk of the tree is withering must be admitted, and in
this article an attempt has ken made to trace the causes of this atrophy
and to suggest a a r e .
T H E INFLUENCE O F THE SUBMARINE ON NAVAL
1~ two previous articles on this subject strong claims have been made for
certain changes in naval policy, which it is contended are now necessary
in order to make full preparation to meet the submarine menace.
I t cannot be too strongly emphasised that these claims are based
upon the fact that modern science and ingenuity have provided an
entirely new type of fighting machine which is not governed by the laws
of strategy and tactics as we know them, and for the behaviour of which
in war, or for the effects they are likely to produce on the course of a
war, the tearhings of history are valueless, as no precedent exists.
This is the heart of the matter, if it is not true, a certain time
could be assumed in the early days of a naval war, when submarines
might be a nuisance ; perhaps certain restricted areas might be given up
to them entirely, but they could be left to fight by themselves, the course
of the war would not be affected, and we could turn from this distasteful
question to the better known problems of surface warfare, to historical
lessons and the beaten tracks af naval strategy and tactics.
There is still an air of hope, and even expectancy, that at any time
an antidote to submarines may be forthcoming; but though there is
there is any for expectation, for
reason for the hope, it is not t h o ~ ~ g h t
the desired issue is now regarded as almost impassible.
The limits of vision under water stand in the way of progress in
that element, so that all attempts at capture or destruction of sub-
marines, are directed to the period that elapses between their being
sighted and the moment that they disappear beneath the surface. This
is a maximum of three minutes, it can be very much less. What prospect
of success is there if the submarine is determined upon evasion ?
The oflicer cammanding will surely take gaod care that his time for
submergence correspnds to his limit of vision, his life depends upon i t ;
that he will neglect such precaution in war is not reasonable, though he
may take chances in peace exercises. I t would be as fair to assume that
his enemy will not prepare her offensive measures, until the submarine is
reported to be in sight.
A writer in this REVIEW upon Air Power appeared td understand
what the submarine menace was coming to, in fact he predicted that a
raison d'&dre of the seaplane would be to counteract it. One's hopes were
raised that perhaps a real antidote t o submarines was coming and pos-
sibly some of his forecasts may be justified, but it is not thought the
arguments were very convincing. The claim was prophetic only, and it
is unnecessary here to deal with it in detail, as the writer stated, that
attention is still concentrated on evolving a practical flying machine; but
if he really believes in the future of seaplanes as iighting machines
capable of being rnade rohust enough to stand the hard conditions of
32 NAVAL REVIEW'.
sea warfare, ~t is not clear, why he should select his most elusive
adversary to commence upon, the latter can at any rate dive, whilst every
other vessel must remain in his sight, possessing only much inferior
Even in the service the full significance of the submarine menace is
not generally recognised. T o the battleship or cruiser, a submarine
attack is an interesting exercise, partaking rather of the nature of a set
piece; perhaps two or three hours are devoted to it, but the atmosphere is
unreal, there are probably destroyers a b u t to pick up torpedoes, or a
convoy with the submarines for the purpose of warning off the ordinary
traffic, all eyes are fresh, the1 time to look out is short, as often as not
the direction of the attack is more or less knoll\-n, and the torpedo will
have a dummy head. I n manceuvres too, the pace is forced, and the
plot is arranged, s o that the final act which comes quickly, contains
probably a junction of forces, fleet action, command of the sea and
curtain. But after a fleet action the subxl~arinesremain, they must be
reckoned with; in fact as surfacc ships meet and disable each other,
submarines must become less harassed and Inore aggressive. The
umpires rlports also, axe composed in the big ships, with the feeling of
solid security that is engendered in them, so that though each year sees
a little more notice given to submarines, the reports have rather the same
colouring one would have expected, if for example, the captain of the
Titanic, had reported upon the safety of his ship before lelaving on her
last voyage. We d o not face the inevital~leconciusions which follow ;
and the immediate changes in policy that are involved. The battleship
lmks s o imposing that we are naturally prone to turn from a discussion
which may jeopardise her supremacy, it is in fact distasteful, we prefer
not to face it, hoping against hope that any (lay an antidote map be
I f it is agreed in the light of what has been said, that submarines
are, and seem likely t o remain upon a different footing to surface war-
ships, it will probably be agreed alsa, that we are at present engaged if
somewhat blindly, in a competition hetween vessels that can submerge
and those that cannot.
How f a r has this competition progressed and which are gaining?
I t is suggested that surface warships are rapidly losing ground, that the
areas in which they remain the most efficient weapons for keeping com-
mand of the sea are becoming more and more restricted, and that with
submarines in increasing numbers of about 800-1000tons displacement,
the North Sea, English Channel. and Mediterranean, are already con-
sidered as areas capable of being dominated Oy them. Can this be
To go back 10 years when our first Holland submarines splashed
about the Nab, it was agreed that the best course for surface ships, was
to retire from these waters ; it is not known that this is disputed. The
ten years interval, has resulted in a very great increase in the area of
effectiveness of submarines ; what was true of the approarhes to harbours
then, is to-day true of the areas mentioned, and the steps necessary to
meet these conditions have been suggested.
I t is not considered, however, that submarines are yet capable of
dominating the high seas and great trade routes, there are not enough of
them, and those already at sea are not large enough, so that for this
reason alone we are not yet in a pasition to give up surface vessels
entirely for submarines.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE SUBMARINE ON NAVAL POLICY. 33
Our geographical pasition is m strong, that for some years it will
be difficult far our prospective enemies to prey seriously upon our
southern and western coasts with them, and every effort should be made
to take advantage of this on the lines indicated in the last article.
The North Sea, English Channel, and Mediterranean, however, are
considereti to be ideal hunting grounds for submarines in their present
stage, it is not seen haw we can obtain or keep command of these seas
with surface ships; as already suggested, they s h a ~ l dbe replaced by
submarines as soon as possible. and the surface ships withdrawn before
war breaks out.
When one leaves the broad cluestion of submarines versus surface
ships, to form some practical conclusion as t o what change should be
advocated in our ship-building programines ; it is evident, i t it is agreed
that where the latter were the only means of obtaining command of
certain seas, that the former will supersecte them in these areas ; then
the submarine should be substituted; but there must be great difficulty
in the way of stating the exact number that would be required.
On the basis of cost, it is assumed, that a modern battleship can be
replaced by 2 0 submarines, a battle cruiser by the same number, and a
light cruiser by four, the submarines in each case being vessels of 1,000-
1,500 tons submerged displa~em~ent. This estimate is open to correction
and includes the differences in personnel, ordnance, etc.
I f it were desired to lay down a programme far most of the1 Con-
tinental Powers, the issue would be more simple, particularly in the
cases of those whose seaboards are entirely in the hlediterranean ; what
possible object is there in their building Dreadnoughts?
If Turkey, in her last two wars, had possessed a dozen good sub-
marines instead of the1 fleet she had, what would any submarine officer
think of transports unloading of Tripoli, ar of the Greek fleet flaunting-
itself outside the Dardanelles? IVould not such metaphorically make
his i n o ~ ~ water ?
I f , again, any nation who wished to compete with us for command
of the sea, was given the choice between 40 Dreadnoughts and attendant
light craft on the one hand, and 800 submarines on the other, which
would one advise? I f , on the same lines, the Triple Alliance Powers
in the Mediterranean, substituted roo snht?iarines for their present fleet,
what could we do in these waters ?
I t is suggested that with 400 in the first case, ant1 50 in the serond,
they would be much nearer getting what they want than they can ever
be with surface ships; so that, the substitution of submarines would 111
their case bet both advantageous arid economical.
The matter it is suggested, must be fared Ily commraring from first
What we want is command of the sea. What is the hest type of
fighting unit to obtain this? There are two competitors, the super-
Dreadnought with her attendant craft on the one hand, and say 2 0
suhmarines on the other. Which is the better far our purpose Will 2 0
After all, this command of the sea about which so much is said,
entails a complete em oval of the enemy's forces, so that it is not
necessary even to argue whether 2 0 , 10, or even 2 submarines will defeat
a battleship. I f it is only proved, that the former can avoid the issue of
battle and remain on their station, they have won their case ; the reasons
for having battleshins in any plarc where this ran he done have really
34 NAVAL REVIEW.
disappeared. They may, by making quick rushes, as much as possible
by night, or at great speed, protected by large numbers of other surface
vessels, get about safely for a time; they may even encounter and defeat
the surface vessels of the enemy, but it will be probably a t considerable
lass to themselves, and if there are any number of submarines still in
being, matters are not advanced towards obtaining command of the dis-
puted area; in fact, the loss of money and many valuable lives, will
have been merely a drain on the National resources and nothing more.
So long as all nations build battleships it is difficult for any one of
them to stop, even more so for us who cannot leave anything in this
connection t o chance, but the moment our prospective enemies commence
to add largely to their submarine flotillas, it will be evident that the
arguments, imperfectly put, I fear, in these articles, are obtaining
I t is thought that the move will first come from the smaller powers,
as a relief from the excessive cost d the modern battleship, when the
capabilities of large submarines become more generally known. Our
present position is, that we are not profviding nearly enough of these
vessels for thosa seas in which the submarine will predominate; that we
are not taking the fullest advantage of our geographical position; or
meeting the menace with sufficient forethought. The remedies were
indicated in the last article, and though the effect of these upon our
trade, will, without doubt, be one of inconvenience, this would be nothing
compared with that which would be produced by suddenly trying to meet
the dislocation of the east coast trade routes without any preparation.
T h e safety o the country from invasion must be enormously in-
creased, for the despatch of expeditionary forces across seas dominated
by submarines, is a f a r more hazardous business than it has even been.
When sufficiently developed in size and offensive power to dominate
the high seas, so that all waters can be infested in war by those of the
belligerents, the position lmks like one of stale mate, and this on the
narrower seas is very nearly reached now. I t may be, therefore, that
after all the submarine will prove t o be a messenger of peace, but thiq
is only prophecy, the object of these articles has been to condemn the
present " ostrich " pdicy of ignoring the effects that the submarine
should now have upon our naval policy.
THE FLEET I N ACTION.
THE object of the following paper is to suggest some points for con-
sideration with regard to the handling of a fleet in action. Experience
teaches that they are not the relative numbers of the ships engaged, but
the leadership, quality, and training of the personnel, which are the
decisive factors in war. In other words, it is the way in which the
matCriel is utilised, rather than the mathiel itself, which is of the first
importance. What is required with regard to matCriel, is that it should
be carefully designed to fulfil the conditions demanded by skilled leader-
ship. I t follows, that the first essential is to establish sound principles of
leadership based upon sound tactics, when the rest will follow.
The object of tactics is to bring the weapons employed into action
under conditions most favourable to-their effective use. Hence it is
necessary to discover what those conditions are; nor need it be supposed
that the subject is necessarily complex; it is really a question of adapting
means to ends. The principles governing tactics, like other principles.
are educed by experiment and experience; once formulated they may be
I t is perhaps, the difficulty of producing principles acceptable to the
many that has so long delayed the production of any definite system.
Once principles are accepted, there follows immediately : training in ships
designed for specific purposes based on these principles; a gunnery tech-
nique is produced which can cope with the conditions; and what is by
far the most valuable, a clear understanding as to the methods which
can be employed.
EFFECTOF PEACE TACTICS.
It is a curious historical fact that the effect of peace on war per-
sonnel, is to produce a general feeling that if a good defensive attitude
can be assumed the attack can be left to the enemy.
Thus, in the early wars of the eighteenth century, a convention had
developed that the fleet was not to engage an enemy until it was in a
compact line, and that under no circumstances \$-as this line to be
broken. All idea of doubling on the enemy, or of making a general
attack on one part of his line was practically forbidden by the fighting
instructions, so that the battle resolved itself into first forming a single
line of battle, and then the engagement by each ship of her opposite
number in the enemy's line. The result was demonstrated by many
indecisive engagements and is clearly described by Clerk of Eldin.
In sifting out the teachings of a peace training, it is probably correct
to say that the single line is the best defensive formation. But as an
offensive formation it possesses grave disadvantages ; and if worked for
and adhered to in an action, the result would depend solely on gun or
torpedo fire-tactical advantage will have no part in the play.
36 NAVAL REVIEII:
I t may be that the main body-the centre-of a fleet would be
kept at a distance outside torpedo range from the enemy, but it has to
be observed in connection with this long range gun combat, that battles
have alnays been won at [lecisive ranges, at which the proportion of hits
to rounds is high.
At the battle between the Japanese and the Russians off Port Arthur
on 10th August, 1904, the range was great, the consequent percentage
of bits was small, and the result was an inconclusive action. It is only
right to add that each fleet was in single line and worked as a whole, i.e.,
each fleet put into play the best lessons of peace training. It is quite
evident from the different methods pursued by the Japanese at Tsushima,
that they had hy then realised that though one single line was good for
defence, it gave no prospect of annihilating the enemy, and that a fight
to a finish had to be conducted by divisions at a hitting range.
Unless it can be assumed, that at a range outside that of a torpedo,
good hitting can be obtained, there can be no expectation of entirely
defeating the enemy. I t does not by any means appear from peace
practice that our fleet is prepared to do very much actual hitting at these
long ranges. This with a fleet kept in single line and manceuvred as a
n hole, the situation practically becomes an impasse. The fleet is obliged
to keep at long range owing to fear of torpedoes, and yet it is able to
cio little more than scratch the enGmy.
The method practised in peace time, has generally been to deploy
the divisions of the fleet into single line just outside fighting range, on a
course at right angles to the " bearing of the enemy's centre." If the
deployment is made too late, the movement has to be continued under
fire; if too early, the enemy has time to alter his disposition.
I n the movements of a large fleet the " time element " has an
T o deploy a fleet of 24 ships into line at 1 2 knots takes at least
lo minutes; to complete an alteration of course of 8 points with the
same number of ships in single line at 1 2 knots takes 23 minutes. Once
committed to single line, any alteration of course in succession will take
a similar time to effect, so that a fleet in single line is seriously hampered
in its movements bv its verv size.
Moreover, if an alteration of course in succession is forced on the
fleet, owing to the leading ships being in an unfavourable position, the
rear ship of the line must pass through the same position in following
I t must also be noted that, no matter what is the position of the
commancler-in-chief in the line, he will be quite unable to see more than
a few cables ahead or astern of him, owing to smoke from funnels, guns,
and bursting shell.
The disadvantages of a single line are then : -
(1) I t is uiimieldly.
( 2 ) Unable to prevent concentration by the enemy's ships on any part
of the line, except bv turning away.
(3) Limited in speed to that of the slowest ship.
(4) Makes no use of high speed ships.
( j ) Makes no use of the skill of divisional leaders.
There appears to be an idea that a fleet A with a potential advantage
of speed over fleet R is able to say definitely that it will fight at a range
THE F L E E T IN ACTION. 37
most suitable to its gun power. For example, it has been stated that a
fleet of battleships of the " Dreadnought " type, can fight at a distance
at which their guns are still accurate while the guns of the enemy are
If A has only heavy guns, whilst B has a mixed armament of heavy
and medium calibres, evidently A will endeavour to keep at such a range
that B's medium guns are comparatively harmless.
A, will thus be forced to do one of two things, viz. :-
(a) Try to annihilate B before he reaches his fighting range.
( b ) Turn away and go faster than B.
Supposition (a) makes great demands on gunnery efficiency. The
large rate of rapidly decreasing range requires to be accurately known,
and peace training does not lend itself to practice under such conditions ;
so that it cannot be stated with any accuracy what the percentage of hits
is likely to be; the conditions must remain to be dealt with for the first
time when the action opens.
Supposition ( b ) does not demand much examination. T o begin
with, the effect on the morale must be considered, and secondly, it is
by no mcans easy to turn a long line together even in peace battles.'
The effect, when engaged, of trying to d o so through a large number of
points will almost inevitably result in confusion and possible accidents.
I t will in fact for a time, entirely disorganise the fire of the fleet and
render it impossible for the commander-in-chief to make any other move
ment until the ships have sorted themselves out and taken up their allotted
Thus, if one course is doubtful, the other is worse. Nothing could
play into the enemy's hands better than (b).
At the present time, owing largely to judging results by paper tests.
it is found that the fleet is usually worked as a single line unit.
Attempts have been made in several exercises t o use divisional attack,
but the actual difference of speed allowed between the van, rear, and
centre, has rarely exceeded three knots. The attacks under such con-
ditions have always failed 011 paper, and will continue to fail, so long as
a difference of speed amounting to about three knots is considered
The result of these failuses has naturally been accepted as sufficient
evidence that the teaching of the tactical board is correct, and theory
is siid to be confirmed by practice. The result therefore is, that single
line attack is the accepted principle; in fact, the single line is at present
the master of tactics instead of being a useful servant.
Hence it is found, that a battle fleet in line-of-battle possesses ships
capable of a high speed which is not used; moderate speed units which
are expected to keep up for them a high rate of speed; and divisional
leaders whose experience and ability are not utilised.
S o man, certainly no sailor, is inclined to anticipate failure. But
as things are now, it is easy to imagine a single ship being compelled to
attack under conditions which have never been tried, or a division being
directed to carry out a flank attack, the object of which and the method
of carrying it out have never been discussed.
1 Observe that the turn must be made together, if it is made in succession t h e
tail of the line will k unsupported.
38 NAVAL REVIEW.
POINTS FOR CONSIDERATION.
Such being the conditions obtaining at present, it has to be con-
sidered whether a survey of past experience, together with an examina-
tion of the difficulties to be overcome, may not suggest further develop-
Of all the teachings of peace, there is none more erroneous than the
doctrine of " centralisation. "
In war, the road to success lies in decentralisation after the wishes
of the com~iander-in-chief made known to the divisional commanders.
From centralisation arose the cult of the line of battle. It em-
powered the commander-in-chief to work the fleet as a whole, so that no
ship, squadron, or division could move without his orders. This system
first destroyed all sense of ,responsibility of the divisional leaders; and
second, forced the fleet to maintain a single line which though perhaps
best for defence, has never, if maintained, annihilated an enemy.
The influence that Nelson brought to bear on his subordinates was
that of trust and confidence; they were " a band of brothers." He
was careful that his brother officers had a very clear conception of his
ideas, so that a subordinate was not left in ignorance of the manner in
which he was expected to deal with any situation that might arise. He
formed clear ideas a.i fo whaf ht wanted, impressed them upon his
officers; and herein lies the gist of the whole matter.
The two general orders issued by Nelson in the Trafalgar campaign,
clearly emphasised the fact that he did not intend to work the fleet as a
whole. Each divisional leader had to work his division in such a
manner as would best give effect to the known intentions of the com-
Nelson fully appreciated that whatever position in the line might
be taken by the commander-in-chief, he would be wholly unable to see
what was happening at any distance, and he therefore left it to divisional
commanders, and even to individual ships, to take up such positions for
mutual support as were open to them.
The effect of over centralisation of command shews itself plainly in
peace exercises, when it not infrequently forces inaction upon divisional
commanders. In war it may be fatal.
Any system of decentralisation must be based on certain premises : -
( I ) The commander-in-chief must have definite principles of tactics.
(2) These principles must be well understood by his subordinates.
Unless these conditions are fulfilled, there cannot be that mutual
co-operation which is essential to success.
Tactics being.the art of obtaining the position in action in which
the weapons employed may be used to the greatest advantage, it is now
t o consider what that position is. There are thus two factors : ( I ) posj-
tion, (2) hitting.
Position.-To obtain a tactical advantage over an enemy it is neces-
sary so to place the portions of a fleet, that while one portion of the
enemy's fleet is being crushed by overwhelming gun fire, there is no equal
opportunity given to the enemy of dealing out similar treatment to any
portion of our own.
So far as experience in peace exercises gcres, it has been conclusively
proved that in order to gain a position of tactical advantage, high speed
and frequent alterations of course are necessary. The value of gun fire
THE FLEET IN ACTION. 39
under such conditions may reasonably be gauged by comparing them with
those required, with our present experience, to obtain effective gun fire.
I t follows, that it is only right to assume that a fleet secking tacticaI
advantage over an enemy, when within range, cannot count on making
the most effective use of its weapons unlcss a stcady course be main-
tained. Thus the two elements of success appear to be in direct opposi-
tion to each other.
I I t will be noted that this statement is qualified by the words when
7uithin rangc. I t is clearly possible, if the enemy allows it, to obtain a
pasition of tactical advantage before an action commences. This, in
itself, is a separate problem which may be dealt with later on.
Hitting.-Our peace experience of hitting is obtained under the
following conditions :-
(I) Moderate speed.
(2) Steady course for a definite period. during which the speed and
course of the enemv can be obtained.
From (2) it is commonly expected that :-
(a) During a turn firing is to be suspended.
(6) After a turn firing is ineffective until a new rate is obtained.
(c) Hence frequent turns militate against hitting.
Presumably therefore, ( I ) and (2) are the conditions under which
gun fire may be expected to be effective.
Consider the following possibilities in a fleet action :-
(I) The fleet to be worked in single line, controlled by the commander-
in-chief, as already discussed.
(2) The fleet to be worked by divisions, or sub-divisions, on general
principles laid down by the commarider-in-chief.
With this latter organisation there may be :-
(a) A division of the fleet before action commences.
(b) A division of the fleet under cover of the fire of the centre after
action has commenced.
If it be accepted that these are the general sysicnis for working a
fleet in action, then the enemy is limited to the saIne.
I n this paper there is not intention of producing plans and figures
or of discussing each combination in detail : they can be studied at
leisure, so that the mind becomes familiar with the various openings and
Let it be granted at the outset that there are risks attached to tactical
movements (2), (a) and (b), greater risks than are involved in the com-
fortable policy of the single llne.
I t is probably quite correct to say that taking as a test " weight o f
metal per minute fired by a fleet," the one worked in single line will on
paper prove to be the victor, as against a fleet which has been subdivided
into units, some of which have for a time had to reduce their gun fire in
order to take up a position of tactical advantage; but in this paper
victory there lies the fallacy, that the theoretical value of weight of
metal fired, includes no consideration of morale.
I n moving a sub-division to leinfolce an attack on part of the
enemy'e line, four things must be taken into account from the enemy's
p i n t of view :-
4 O' NAVAL REVIEW.
Firrt, being already engaged it becomes necessary for the enemy tc
divert part of his gun fire to combat the advance of the--if It is admis-
sible to call it so--flanking force.
Sccond, the necessity for taking immediate steps 11y alteration of
tourse or speed to counter the move.
I'/rird, the fact that unless something be done, and doue quicklj.
part of the line will be under fire from at least two different directions.
Fourth, the possible conf~~sion the enemy's lines due to the bold
divisional tactics of his opponent. This is not seen ill peace practice.
and therefore it is an effrct not taken into consideration in the general
summary o f the result.
From experience gained under peace canditious, the difficulties
vvhic*h have to be overcome before a single target can be hit at long
range are now known. But the problem set to the enemy of hitting tv o
different objects at different ranges, different bearings, and moving at
different speeds, presents difficulties which go far to reduce still further
his chance of hitting. So that there are potential factors of success in
arranging that part of the enemy's line should have gun fire directed on
it from two or more directions.
Clause\\ itz (Vol. I I I . , page rgo et sep) states :-
" We try to fall upon a point in the enemy's position; that is, a
part of his army, division or corps with a great preponderance of force
while we keep the other parts in uncertainty, that is to say, occupy
them. I t is only in this way that when our forces are equal or inferior
\\e can fight with superiority on our side." . . .
" The principal blow is directed against a wing of the enemy's
force by an attack in front and flank." . . .
" Even when in strong force we often choose only one point for the
great shock. and give the blow against that point the greater strength."
An attack in front and flank will necessitate a high relative speed
of the force moving to the flank compared with that of the force attacking
ill front. The principal blow ~vould naturally be delivered by the largest
division under the direction of the commander-in-chief.
T o meet these requirements it follows that :-
( I ) There should be a large potential difference of speed between the
ning divisions and the centre.
( 2 ) The centre division should be as large as is consistent with ease
(3) The centre division will either deliver the main attack, or will
cover with its fire the flanking movements to be carried out by the
1 ing divisions.
Let us suppose there are two wing divisions, composed entirely of
fast ships, one on each side of the centre. They could be used either
for attack or defence. I n defence, a wing division would confine its
attention to preve~ltinga detached division of the enemy from harassing
the centre. As a general rule, a wing division should never allow itself
to get into such a position that the centre is nearer the enemy's ma'n
force than itself. Such a position vcould deprive the centre of support
if a turn towards the enemy had to be made.
T H E FLEET IN ACTION. 4I
In attack a wing di~isionmay have a double function. I t may be
necessary not only to try and clear the flank of the enemy, but, while so
doing, to threaten the main body o t the enemy in order to frustrate any
move on his part. T o effect this, a wing division should be of sufficient
strength to form two strong sub-divisions, the leading sub-division pur-
suing its course towards a flank or a detached division, and the rear
sub-division, containing, or threatening, the flank ships of the enemy's
The advantage that mould accrue from such organisation has been
manifest on several occasions in peace exercises. It may happen that a
meeting of opposing fleets takes place in narrow waters where there is
little sea room, or where, even if there be sea room. it nould be an
advantage to force the enemy to turn in some given direction. A wing
division being detached will probably have the desired effect, although
there may be no intention of delivering the main attack on the part of
the enemy's force threatened.
When the centre division is used as a containing folce. moderate
speed is necessary in order to get effective gun fire and to ensure a large
difference of speed between the centre and the wing divisions.
The effectiveness of gun fire in these circumstances is the one co11-
sideration, and everything should be d m to give it ever\ po~ssible
Fleets do not cruise at nearly their highest speed, indeed, the
greater part of their work is done at about 12 knots, and the average
battleship captain is accustomed to this speed; station keeping, even
without flags and romes, or helm signals, is ~wlmparativelyeasy. anfd there
is practically no nerve strain from anxiety as to the safety of the ship in
the line. Thus a captain's attention can be given mostly to the actual
fighting of his ship. ant1 the conning may be left to the navigator. This
is no small matter : the onlooker sees most of the game and also the
mistakes. Control officers and officers of the quarters, frquently miss
l~ointswhich are seen and grasped by an onlooker.
A captain with his mind at rest as t o the connirlg of the ship can
do valuable work in observing and controlling the actual fighting of his
ship. It may seem unnecessary to labour this point at all. In former
days the captain fought the ship, the master conned her. With ships
of the present date 600-700 feet long, in close order, and at high speed,
he is only able to devote his attention to the actual handling of his
The personal leadership of the captain is necessary to success, hence
it becomes requisite in these days to produce an arrangement under
\\hich, while the safety of the ship and her consorts in the line is assured,
he is able to devote his attention to the destruction of the enemy. ~vhich,
after all, is what he is there for.
So ihat, if the centre be used as a containing force, its speed must
be moderate in order to ensure. so far as possible, the most effective
It has been considered by some officers that an extra speed of a
few knots will give an initial advantage to a fleet possessing it. If this
theory be examined it 11-ill be found that under certain conditions the
extra speed is of no advantage.
42 NAVAL R E V I E W .
0n)e fleet worked as a unit may have as\ much as three knots ad-
vantage over another, but the net result is that the slower fleet works
on interior and the faster on exterior lines. So long as there is sea
room, the slower fleet will probably reap the advantage since its gun
fire should be more accurate.
If, honever, the fleet be worked in divisions, there is a real ad-
vantage in having a, certain number of ships capable of high s@.
T o effect a change of position of a wing division (division or sub-division)
in order to obtain position, the speed at which the movement is carried
out must be high to ensure success, and not only high in itself but high
in comparison with the speed of the centre.
A speed of 20 knots is high in itself, but not in comparison with
1 7 knots, and to obtain a relatzvely rapid change of position, there must
be a large difference of speed between the centre and the wings. Fur-
ther, the greater the relative difference in speed, the sooner the fast
divisions will be able to develop their maximum gun fire.
T o give support to a wing division by efficient gun fire, and further
to assist in decreasing the time necessary to effect the movement, the
centre must move at a moderate speed. The proper point for the
delivery of the concentrated attack will probably be in doubt for some
time. The movements of the enemy's fleet and their general disposition
will be the determining factors; and it may even be necessary to move
the centre directly to the support of one of the wings.
When it becomes necessary for the centre to reinforce a wing
division, considerations of time must come first, so that speed should be
increased to the maximum, sacrificing gun fire for a, time in order more
quickly to get into the required position, and when there to develop
its maximum again.
There would seem, from the results and criticisms .of peace
manceuvres, to be a general feeling that unless the " A " arc of a ship is
bearing, there is a grave defect in the position; so much so, that in many
cases frequent alterations of course have been made to try to keep the
'' A " arcs on. Such alterations are really not justified by the present
state of gunnery technique. The fire from even a few guns from a ship
on a steady course is more likely -to be effective than that from the w h d e
of a broadside with the ship making frequent changes in course.
A division moving to reinforce or attack should endeavour to shape
a course and adhere to it without regard as to whether the maximum
number of guns are bearing or not. I t cannot be assumed that
because all the guns are firing there will necessarily be more hitting.
For a time the volume of gunfire must be reduced to obtain position, but
though reduced in volume, there is no need still further to reduce it in
accuracy by frequent alterations in course.
The simplest case presupposes that both fleets are engaged, each in
single line ahead and steering more or less parallel courses.
If the deployment of both fleets has taken place much at the same
time, the result will be a ship against ship action. There will be no
tactical advantage 011 either side, and unless some move is made the
victory must lie with the best shooting fleet, irrespective of speed advan-
tages and prolonged sea training. I t is purely a question of gunnery
THE FLEET IN ACTION. 13
technique, and does not bring into play the skill of leaders or the speed
There are two ways of checking an enemy's fire. One is to over-
whelm him by superior accuracy of fire; another is to force him to make
some move in the performance of which he is compelled to reduce his
gun fire both in volume and in accuracy.
Atta'ck on the enemy's van.-To get the van,, or ar portion of it,
in such a position as to force the enemy to turn away in order to prevent
his T being crossed, presupposes either that the van has an advantage of
speed over that of the enemy, or that the latter has formed his line of
battle wrongly. If the van has not this advantage of speed, the battle
will become one of isolated units, each fighting its own battle. Neither
van is able to get ahead of the other, but both will rapidly draw away
from the centre divisions.
There is little doubt but that the van attack is the safest. With the
present forward bearing of torpedo tubes, there is far less risk from
torpedoes, and it is easy to reduce speed and drop back on the centre
if it is seen that the flank attack cannot be brought off.
On a careful study, it very much points to the necessity of having a
Ii reserve " or '' advanced " squadron similar to that organised by Lora
Howe when in command of the Channel Fleet in I 794.l
Unless there is a marked numerical superiority in numbers over the
enemy, it would be inadvisable to reduce the strength of the centre in
order to reinforce the van. The alternative is to use the fast armoured
cruisers, if present, which could move up under cover of the fire of the
van (proper). Their line of advance should be towards that of the
enemy's course, so that, should the enemy not alter the course away,
the cruisers would cross their line of advance at about 5,000 yards.
It may not be advisable for the cruiser division actually to cross
the line of the enemy's advance; it will probably be better to take up a
position on the engaged side of the bow of the leading ship, on whom the
fire of the cruisers should be concentrated. The true object is to subject
the leading ship to two fires from ships on largely different bearings, and
so long as this is effected the actual position of the cruisers is not of very
Altack on enemy's rear.-The case olf a divisional attack on the
enemy's rear after action has been joined next comes under consideration.
Here, assuming as before, that both fleets have deployed into line
and are engaged practically ship against ship, a certain loss of gunfire
for a time is involved if the rear division is detached to flank the enemy's
rear; but the compensations are that since the rear division is moving
at high speed, the fire of the enemy would, m r d i n g to our tests, be less
efflective; and that he will he oblige? to make some move to reply to
the threatened attack.
The rear division can alter towards the enemy to a course which
bears a direct relation to the difference of speed between the centre and
the rear, and to the speed of the enemy. They must on no account mask
the fire of the centre, and on the other hand, should not drop so far
astern as to be out of gun range of the enemy.
A move to flank the rear cannot be well carried out if the centre is
much before the beam of the enemy. I t is most effectual when the
1 I t is worth mentioning that Lord Howe subsequently modified the organisation,
placed all the battleships in the line, and formed the reserve d two frigate
44 NAVAL REVIEW.
enemy's line is rather ahead, the general principle being, that the rear
division move to a flank and do not drop materially astern of the line of
advance of the centre.
Whilst moving across, in fine weather and smooth water, the rear
division will be able to keep at least the forecastle guns employed, and
probably others. Unless the enemy alter course his rate will be known,
and gun fire should therefore be accurate. On the other hand, the
enemy will not know the new co.urse and speed of the division, and will
take some time to find it out.
In order that this move shall be still further covered, it is quite
possible to direct that each of the rear ships in the centre division should
engage two ships in the enemy's line.
The rear attack will be met with both torpedo and gun fire, and
every effort will be made to cripple or stop the crossing division, but
unless the advancing ships are disabled in a short time they will inevitably
bite off the enemy's tail bit by bit.
I t is open to the enemy ,todetach a fast divisian to attack in a similar
manner, a reply which is met by sending a division of armoured cruisers
As in the case of the van divisional attack, the rear attack may be
made by a cruiser division under cover of the fire of the centre.
The question then arises whether the policy of a uniform type of
battleship best meets tactical requirements, or ships should be built for
the specific purpose they are to fulfil, according to the position they will
occupy on the day of battle. I t is of course convenient, to have ships
which can be put ill any position in the line, but it may involve sacrificing
valuable units of offence.
In designing a ship only a certain number of units can be placed
in her, viz., gun power, armour, speed, coal capacity, etc. To get high
speed the unlts of gun power and defence must be reduced, and vzce
What is required in a battleship in the oentre division is the maxi
mum of offence : high speed has no fighting value to her, except to correct
faulty strategy, a queslion which lies beyond the scope of this paper.
On the other hand, a ship in the van or the rear may at any time
require high speed, without which she will be unable to make the rapid
changes of position necessary to effect a concentration on a part of the
Moreover, when a type of ship is to be built, the tactics of a probable
opponent should be considered. Where it can reasonably be anticipated
that a destroyer attack will be delivered in day time during a fleet action,
it becomes necessary to provide a gun armament and a complement of
men to man it, in order successfully to repel such an attack. A secondary
armament is also desirable if the enemy means to fight at close range.
The probable tactics of an enemy can to some extent be deduced
from an examination of what he does in peace time; but there is a factor
which must also be borne in mind, the characteristics and known senti-
ments of the leaders.
It is at present, easier to get an idea of the probable tactics of an
army rather than of a navy. It may be assumed that if the traditions
THE FLEET IN ACTION. 45
and training of an army are all shaped towards offensive tactics, the
same spirit must be in the naval force of the same power; so that, if
Germany be the power under consideration, it is well to try and deduce
the probable tactics of their sea forces, from what we know of the '
tactics of their land forces. I n their army-an enormous force of men,
short service, adequate reserve, traditions of bold attack-all point to
the employment of offensive tactics, and the question is finally settled
by their practice in peace manceuvres.
Offensive tactics at sea involve :-
First, a bold advance to some fairly close range at which the hits
should be frequent.
Second, a concentration of ships on a part of the enemy's line.
Third, the use of all possible means of offence; snch as the employ-
ment of destroyers and mine layers with the fleet.
If the training of the personnel, anid the matkriel eml~loyed, are
suitable for these three conditions, there can be little doubt that they
intend to use offensive tactics. I t will be interesting to summarize what
is known of the training and mat6riel in the German Savy.
The Germans are far too close students of the art of war to miss
the point, that a fight to a finish must be at a hitting range. I n their
battleships the heavy guns have high muzzle velocity and fire compara-
tively light projectiles; the guns of the large secondary armament have
the same characteristics; finally, no control position is apparently higher
than jo feet above the water line. These three features all point to
short range ;in fact it is compulsory with such armaments and fittings.
The further point, the training of the personnel, is far more difficult
to answer. So far the information at hand on the subject points to the
same conclusion. I n one sham fight in the presence of the Emperor,
in the middle of what they termed the mCl6e, the ships were so close that
a sudden fog coming on, the whole fleet was ordered to stop engines,
the informant stating that the conditions were very dangerous as the
ships ant1 torpedo boats were so close to one another. This may be an
isolated instance, but on the other hand, the German Navy is so largely
framed on their army system, that judging by what is known of the
tactics of the latter, it seems probable that the former is trained to the
bold attack and close formations which characterise the movements of
With regard to the use of destroyers and mine layers with a large
fleet, there is undoubted evidence that destroyers are habitually kept with
the high sea fleet, and are used for attack both by day and by night. The
extreme value set by the Emperor on a cavalry charge in land warfare,
must in the logical mind of the German, have its counterpart in naval
warfare. With a system of tactics, one feature of \vl~ichis the employ-
ment of destroyers well practised in peace time, there would seem no very
strong reason to urge against a possible success. It must be remembered
that a destroyer attack is a part of offensive tactics; it has no real tactical
part in a system of defensive tactics, although occasions may arise when
its use in defence might be of advantage.
The success of a destroyer attack by day depends on many things;
but first of all, on the partial demoralisation of the foe, or on the fact,
that the foe is already so busily engaged that he is not in a position t o
offer a vigorous resistance.
As regards the use of mine layers with the German fleet. nothing is
known definitely; so that the question cannot be discussed.
46 NAVAL REVIEW.
It is particularly desired that it shall not be thought that this paper
in any way advocates a set form of attack. Each battle requires to be
dealt with on dilferent lines; weather, sea room, etc., all have their
effect; but it is maintained that, with proper study and practice, a fleet
can be made into a far more flexible weapon than it is at pre~ent.
A batsman can defend his wicket by continually playing on the
defensive, but he won't make any runs. He has at his command a
variety of strokes, drives, cuts, snicks, et:., but he doesn't make up his
mind which to use till he sees the ball is in the air. So, in the great
war game; in a fleet well trained and exercised in all methods of attack,
the experience and ability of the leaders will immediately see the best
form to adopt, and once decided on, it can be delivered with absolute
confidence, the outcome of experience and practice.
Again, it will have been seen that there necessarily exists a very
close connection between tactics and gunnery technique. A ship in the
centre division, will have in a divisional attack, conditions under which
to fire that are different from those under which the van and rear have
to hit the enemy. A van or rear division may, and will, have to advance
at high speed firing as they approach, then turn, and, as soon as possible,
develop the maximum firs. A ship in the centme will, unfder the con-
ditions suggested in this paper, be steadily firing at either her opposite
number or at two ships in the enemy's line.
If a divisional attack is undertaken, then the gunnery technique
of the conditims must be duly practised in p e m time. The present
system under which all battleships and cruisers carry out battle practice
under practically the same conditions, results in a ampetition for
points with little relation to war requirements. Of course sol long as
the single line attack remains the master of tactics, any and all ships
may do their practices under exactly similar mnditions.
I t is hoped that it has been accepted that this paper is written in
no carping spirit. Ta those who have been, and who are trying to
pl?epare for the day of battle, the dficulty has far long been that they
could not ge?; any authoritative statement on the principles of tactics,
an the uses of the vasims types of ships in the fleet ; or an the kind
o work that wmld be expected from a ship in any particular ~ n ~ i t i o n
in the battle-line.
TORPEDO F I R E I N F U T U R E F L E E T ACTIONS.
UNTIL lately it was a generally accepted maxim that the torpedo a u l d
not play any part in a fleet action until one side had established a
definite superiority in gun-fire, and that then its function was merely
to complete, in the shortest possible time, the work -begun by the guns.
The introduction of the loag range torpedo has changed these
conditions entirely an~drather suddenly. Its range approaches equality,
and its effectzve range may in circumstances prove superior to that of
t l ~ egun, it is quite conceivable that wm-e future fleet actions may
Lommence with torpedo fire.
This change in conditions does not appear to be fully recognis&
~ e t and, even among thcwe who realise it, there is considerable divergence
of view as to how best to deal with the new state of affairs.
The following ideas are put fo~rwardnot with any claim that they
provide a solution of the problem, but with a view to starting a discussion
xhich may lead to a crystalisation of opinion and assist the Service
generally to a right appreciation of the possibilities of torpedo fire in
Now that the ranges of g 1 u s and t o r p e d m are comparable, a
comparison between the t w o weapons i n other respects may be of
assistance when considering the use of the latter.
The torpedo may be regarded as a slow moving projectile with a
flat trajectory ; the gun fires a projectile the time of flight of which is
comparatively very small and the trajectory not flat.
Consequently, the characteristic error of the gun is a range error,
nhile that of the torpedo is a lateral or deflection error.
Hence, at long ranges, if the gun projectile is t o hit, the range
must be known within narrow limits, and, in most circumstances it will
either hit the ship aimed at or miss altogether,-it is unlikely that it
will hit any other ship in the same line.
As regards the torpedo, however, the lateral error, which causes
it to miss the ship ainied at, may very possibly cause it to hit another
ship in the same line.
At long ranges this lateral error is a very important item. I t
results not so much from any fault in the actual running of the torpedo,
a s from the difficulty of estimating the enemy's course and s p e d
correctly. Therefore it is mainly the result of the personal error of
man :ather than than of the mechanical defect of the torpedo. A
rumber of toipedaes may be expected t o d o much the same thing when
fired, under the same conditions, but no two p e r m s are likely to do
anyf6iiig ~h exact6 tlie same way, a n d when attempting to solve a
problem depending largely on visual observations made under somewhat
dificult conditions, a number of persans are certain to differ widely in
their results. Further, it is p~olhb1ethat they will arrive at con-
48 NAVAL REVIEW.
clusians mt only nearer to, and further from, but also erring a l a r t
equally on each side of the correct s,olution. Consequently one may
expect that if n numbex of torpedoes are fired by a number oot different
p e r m s under more or less similar conditions, and if all are fired at the
same mark, then, oning to the personal errors referred to a b ~ e they ,
will run at variolus angles to their correct line^, and pass at various
distanoes from the point of aim; also, that about an equal number of
t q e d o e s will pass on either side of the point of aim, and that the
mean errors on both sides will be abaut equal.
Although human fallibility at the director is the main source of
error, failures of torpedces fram what may be broadly classed as
mechanical faults also came in to a oertain extent. The most common
effect of such faults is to decrease the speed, and in 1m circumstances
is a torpedo likely to run much a b v e its correct speed over a long
range. Ther~efore effect of mechanical faults will generally tend t o
put the wntm of spread of the torpedoes some~~rhat abaft the point of
aim; this effect, however, is snzall compared with that of persona1
I t follo~~rs that, if a number of torpedoes are fired fram different
ships in actian, all aimed at oxae ship, they will spread out like a fan,
the centre of spread approximating to, but probably not quite coinciding
with, the paint of aim.
Since the errors made, result in angular divergences from th,e
correct line of flight, the linear spread increases with the range. am1
this effect is augmented by the fact that the difficulty od making correct
estimations of course and speed of enemy also increases with the range.
There are really three effects :-
(a) The angular spread resulting from personal errors, nhich is likely
to become greater as the range at which observatims are made
(b) Thte angular spread resulting from failur'es of torpedoes.
(c) The linear spread resulting from any angulltr spread, 1~11ich
must increase with, the distance run by the tolrpedoes.
This matter has been dealt with at some length, because, until a
torpedo having a speed approximating to that of the gun projectile is
evollved, the effect of errors in estimating enemy's co\urse and speed
must be great, and mnsequently spread must be considerable. A
simple calculation will show that in wder to1 make certain that a torpedo
of average speed shall hit a single ship at a range of over 3,000 yards,,
it ~~-oruld necessary to ascertain the ship's course and speed almost
exactly,--certainly more accurately than would be practicable at such
ranges in action even with the best appliances yet produwd.
Ir is therefore necessary, at long ranges, to take the whole of an
enemy's line as Ihe target, and, since the centre of spread should be
near the point of aim, it is desirable to fire xt the centre of the lzne.
'rhe spread of the torpedotes if a number are fired, may then be expected
to cover a considerable area, and, provided the enemy are within range
and maintain the same course and speed during the time of flight,
not anly the centre ship, but a part of the line on each side of the
centre will be in danger, the length of line endangered depending on
the actual spread of the torpedoes. Mareaver, even if the enemy alters
course after they are fired, he will probably noii be able to k q entirely
clear of the dangerous area unlms he turns at least eight poi~uts,nr, if
at ;Lrange near to the extreme running range of the torpedws, turns to
F U C ~less extent as will admit of his ships outrangzng them. Nothing
less than an eight point turn is likely to keep the whole lin,e clear of
their angular spread, but a smaller turn may suffice to take the line
outside their range before the torpedoes can reach it.
This fact appears t afford a strong argument in favour of future
tkvelopment being towards increasing the range raither~than the speed,
though there are practical limits to any possible decrease of speed fojr
the sake of range.
I f , for example, the speed were reduced to equalit) with that of
the ship fired at, it is obvious that the ship could always mtrange the
torpedo. So it follows that it must always have some superiority of
s p e d , the actual lowest practical ratio1 to speed of ship being a matter
for consideration and decision. Given this> essential superiarity, an7
further increase, thmgh desirable, is nothing like sol importanit as an
increase in range, and the fact that at the longer ranges the time of
flight may be great compared with anything we are used to does not
really affect the argument. T o make this point perfectly clear it n-culd
be necessary to use figures and diagrams, which it i s preferred to omit
in this article; but if it be b o r n in mind that the linear spread must
increase with the running range, it will be manifest that an enemy
dtering course outwards at the moment a " volley " of torpedoes is
fired, will find an ever increasing dangerous area as he gets away, and
wepe the range of the torpedoes untlimited, could hardly escape them
all without turning eight points or more from his original course. This
question is, however, intricate and mlntroversial, and need not be furtheir
There remain t \ b a other points which it mill be as well to take into
cansideration before attempting to amive at a ldecisio~nas to the best
methods of employing tarpedaes in acticm.
First, there is the fact that the eflect of a hit by a tor-pedo is the
snme at all ranges, and s i n e it must hit on or below the water-line, the
amollnt of damage resulting, though dependent to some extent on the
position at which the torpedo explodes, must always be very serious.
This suggests the desirability of risking the waste of a few torpedms
at extreme ranges if there is a reasonable chance of making even one or
two hits in the early stages of an action. I t must not be forgotten
however, that the number catrried in a ship is very limited, and that
those fired at extreme ranges are always liable to be outranged if thle
enemy make a slight alteration of course ou,twa,rds; so undoubtedly the
majority o a ship's torpedoes should be reserved for use at shorter
ranges in order t make certain that a considerable percentage shall hit.
Again, when visibility is low, opposing fleets may sight me
another within torpedo range. I n these circumstances it may pmve
impossible at first to open fire &ectively with guns, on amount bf the
difficulty of obtaining sufficiently accurate ranges or spatting corrections;
but it would almost always be possible to make such a rough estimation
of the enemy's o a u ~ r ~ speed a,s would give a reasonable chance of
successively " browning " his line with torpedoes.
From the above gemeral cm,Yiderationzs. it is safe to1 assume that
torpedo fire will not be a negligible item in future fleet acti~n~s, its
effect on fleet tactics may now be considered.
There are two forms of torpedo fire to LE taken into' account :-
(a) That from capital ships,-ships in the line.
so NAVAL REVIEW.
( 6 ) That from light cruisers and torpedo craft in campany with the
battle fleet. l
In disicuslsing torpedo fire from ships, the question of the ranges
at which actions are likely to be fought must be taken into consideratian.
It may be assumed that in clear weather gun-tire could, and prabablj
~vcluldbe opened while fleets were still outside torpedo range, but that
the results of gun-fire are not likely to be decisive at such ranges.
Therefore, if bath fleets desired TO engage, and if gun fire only had to
be cansidered, they wcruld pmbably not remain f a r long outside the
range of modern torpedws.
Presumably, also#,each fleet will be formed in one or more lines;
the lines may conceivably be many and short, but there must be some
kind of formation, and it is inmmeivabbe that one fleet can approach
another for the purpose of engaging without some of the ships com-
prising the fleet forming a marc or less straight linle in m e direction.
S o it is fair to assume that fleets will tend to close within torpedo
range, and that a fleet can hardly avoid some sont of line formation.
These assumptions being made, some hard facts of a technical
nature though matters of mnmon knowledge, may n~extbe considered.
Since a t a p e d o has a long time of Hight, it mast, if fired to hit a
ship under way, be aimed ahead of that ship, so that ship and torpedo
may meet at a given spot. Hence, if fired from a position abeam, or
abaft the beam of its target, it will have to run a distance greater than
the actual range of the target at the moment od firing.
I f , however, it is fired from a position well before the beam o f
its target, it will meat the target after running a distance less than the
range at the moment of firing.
Therefoire, if an a bearing before the Ixm oif the enemy, it 1s
possible that a ship m y ke able to reach the enemy with her torpedoes
while the gun range remains in excess olf the extreme running range o of
On the other hand, if on an after hearing from the enemy. it may
& impsisible t o reach the enemy with torpedces, although the gull
range may be less than their running range.
Putting thesle two facts together, it fo~llowsthat sthips on a f o r ~ a r d
bearing from an enemy's fleet, and steering such a course that the enemy
bear abaft their beam, have a velry great advantage in that :---
(i.) They can open fire with torpedoes at ranges outsidn their running
(ii.) They can close the enemy with safeity to a distance actuall!
inside the running range of his twpedms. In this case the enemy
is exposed to ser&s rs from torpedo fire.
Sol, from the paint af view of torpedo fire, it is extremely important,
when closing an enemy's fleet, to obtain a position befare his beam and
to keep him on an after bearing. Such a position is clescri!xd as a
" position of torpedo advantage."
It will be evident that if the speeds of the two fleets are nearly
equal, either fleet will generally ne able to prevent the olther obtaining
such a porjition; under which circumstances it wouldqbe had policy to
1 Possibly in the near future submarines also will have to be takem into account
during fleet actions, but the writer assumes that it is impracticable at present for
these vessels to ~Iccompanya battle fleet.
TORPEDO F I R E I N FUTURE FLEET ACTIONS. jr
waste time manceuvring for an unobtainable object; but a fleet which
does succeed in gaining a position of torpedo1 advantage will certaidy
be fighting under spw+ally favourable circumstances, so, even if unable
to obtain this position for one's ofin fleet, every endeavour must be
made to avoid giving the enemy such an advantage. Probably both
sides will work t o these principles, with the result that the leaders of the
two opposing lines will keep i w r l y abeam of one another.
If a fleet A is in a pmitioa of torpedo advantage, and the enemy
H then turns to bring A abaft his beam, then A's torpedo advantage (as
regards firing at B) dis%appears,but B does not gain any advantage as
regards firing his own torpedoes so long as A maintains his original
course, since B is still abaft the beam of his target.
Hence the two fleets are now on an equality as regards torpedo fire.
Turning away from torpedo fire may, and if the turn be large
probably will, place B at a disadvantage as regards gun-fire, but A
\\ill not be able to make full use of his consequent gunnery advantage
~f he maintains his original course, since, obviously, if the enemy turns
aiiay and the other fleet maintains its co~urse,the two fleets will be on
,>pening courses, and the action must be indecisive until they get on t o
closing courses again. But if A alters course to follow B who has
turned away, he is liable to find himself in serious danger from
torpedoes when he gets on to the new course.
The danger of an alteratim of course in succession while exposed
to an enemy's torpedo fire must be nolted. During such 311 alteration
each ship turns at a fixed point, and it is feasible for enemy's ships to
put all director adjustments at zero and fire all tmpedoa at this p i n t ,
hitting one ship after another as they arrive on the spot and start to
turn. This argument. does not apply ta a short line at long range, when
all ships may succeed in passing the turning point before the torpedoes
leach it, but in the case of a long line they may be used very effectively
in the mannler described. So turns in succession are to be avoided b !
n long line when thus exposed.
The turn together may also p r o ~ edisastrous unlesc made \tith
discretion, since it may result in a formation specially vulnerable to
torpedo fire. Take the extreme case of a fleet turning eight points
together fmm line ahead t o line abreast, bringing the enemy 0111
the flank od the line abreast; the fleet in line abreast provides
a practically solid target for all torpedoes which run ahead of the
flank ship. This !mint will he clear if the path of a torpedo which just
misses ahead of the nearest ship is follo~ved. I t has missed the first
ship, but, a s it runs on the farther ships advance to melet it, and
provided that the enemy's line is reasonably long, and that the ~vhole
of it is within range, it will be exbremkly difficult for the torpedo to
miss all ships. If the flank ship is aimed at, any torpedces missing
astern of her will be lost shots, but if it is feasible to aim at the centre
ship, or even if the point of aim be taken as a ship's length or so
ahead of the flank ship, prartically every torpedo should find a ship.
This is an extreme case, but any turn together from line ahead if it
brings an enemy on the flank, is liable to have the same kind of effect,
though to a less extent.
I t will be seen, then, that alterations of course towards an enem!
who has turned away from a position of torpedo disadvantage ma\
entail serious danger, and that it will generally be safer to open to a
distance outside extreme torpedo range before turning.
5" NAVAL REVIEW.
I t is possible, however, that the fleet ~ h i c hturns away from the
position of torpedo disadvantage may, as a result of the alteration af
cou~se, assume such a folrmation that most of their torneda tubes are
masked. I t might then be worth while for the other flelet to alter
cmrse after them immediately, acre!,t~ng the risk of a few torpedoes
from the nearest enemy's ships.
With reference to t h e - p o s i t i o ~ of torpedo advantage, speed of
ship appears to assume great importance as enabling a fleet to keep
outside torpe(1o range while i n a position of torpedo disadvantage, and
as facilitating manceuvres to olbtain a position of torpedo advantage.
This is an old problem in a slightly novel form, and an old
argument is relived thereby. Thus it can be urged that n matter what
superiorit! of speed one fleet may have, the slofwer fleet can a l ~ a y s
turn auay at the critical moment and w avoid the disadvantageous
position as regalds torpedo fire. This line of argument leads to s m e -
thing approaching a reducdo ad absurdurn, since the slower fleet becomes
practically the pivot of the action, turning always on an inner circle
and always forcing their opponents to keep outside torpedo range; but
if the problem is examined carefully it will be seen, that if the slows
fleet once gets into a _nosition of torpedo disadvantage, within torpedo
range, a turn in sumesssio~n may be too dangexous t o be undertaken, and
a turn together is liable to mask many guns and tubes. I n the
latter case the outside fleet may tvell accept a slight risk to gain a
large gunnery advantage.
T h e possibility of obtaining a gunnery advantage as a result of
being in a pchsition olf torpedo advantage is a n important cmsideration.
Without going into details of a number of possible cases, it may be
said that one fleet's pasitioa of torpedo advantage may frequently
f o r e the other fleet into a poisition of gunnery disadvaiitage, and
obviously superiority in speed nil1 be of great service to a fleet
rnanceuvring for such a position as \\ill either give it n pasition of
torpedo advantage or force the e n m v to turn swap.
Reduced to elementary principles the argumens amounts to this :-
a sloweir fleet cannot prevent the faster fleet from gatting into a polsition
before the beam (position of tosrpedo advantage) except by turning; a
forced turn 1s probably disadvantageous fmm a gunnery point of view,
therefore superioir speed properly used, is bon~ndto be of great assistance
t o the fleet possessing it.
If the reasoning employed so far is accepted, it follows that the
potential danger of torpedo fire may have considerable effect even when
rm torpedoes are fired. Taking the case of a slaw fleet continually avoid-
ing danger froon torpeldoes, it is chnceivable that neither side might ever
be in a pasition to fire torpedoes effectively, but the side which can force
the other to turn from the torpedo danger may reap great aclvantagcs
in other mays.
S o far several considerations have Seen discussed more or less a t
random. An attempt to summarise the ~aclusicunsalready arrived at,
and such others as can be logically deduced is made in the following
paragraphs : -
I . T h e position of torpedo advantage i s of the greatest importance
(a) Allowing a fleet to use torpedoes while immune from enemy's
TORPEDO FIRE IN FUTURE FLEET ACTIONS. 53
( 6 ) Enabling a fleet to force a n enemy to turn away, thus
probably putting him at a disadvantage as regards gunnery,
I t is t h ~ e f o r edesirable on going into action to obtain a position
of torpedo advantage, and this is specially the case when vidbility
is low, and the action is likely to cammence at ranges within or
approximating to torpedo range.
r . A new risk attaches to concentration on an enemy's rear, since such
concentration almost certainly entails giving the e n m y the position
of torpedo advantage.
3. rhe effect of concentration on the enemy's van is greatly enhanced,
since, in addition to the gunnery advantage .w obtained, the con-
centrating fleet probably holds the additional advantage described
in I . The application of this l~leasaning the use of a fast division
NOTE.--Even when in a pasitioal before the beam of enem!,
care must be taken not to close recklessly, or enemj's
torpedoes may come into play.
4. A fleet having established a definite superiority in gun-fire, must
use great discretion when closing the enemy for the purpose of
finishing off the action. I f thle fleet can close while keeping the
enemy abaft the beam, it is in a position to complete his d i m -
fiture effectually ; but if, while closing, the fleet brings the enemy
before the beam, the latter may, by means of a few lucky shots
with torpedoes, equalise matters again.
j. Similarly, it surely might be worth while for a fleet relatively
weak in gun-fire to take great risks in an endeavour to close to
effective torpedo range in the hope of redressing the balance.
Presumably this could be effected only by a fleet having superior
speed, and even then might be very difficult; still there are circum-
stances, especially when visibility is low, in which it is quite
conceivable that the best thing far one fleet to do would be to
manceuvre to obtain at all costs a position from which they could
open fire with torpedoes.
6 . In future it is possible that when visibility is 1(1w an action may
commence with torpedo fire.
7. Perhaps ane general effect of the long range torpedo will be a
tendency to fight actions at very long ranges (when weather is
clear), the side which has an, advantage in range of torpedoes
endeavouring to close at the earliest moment to that range, but not
I t must not be assumed, however, that this is a policy to h rwom-
~nended. The object of a Aeet going into action is to knock out the
enemy as quickly as possible with all the weapons it can bring i n b
play, and this can be best accomplished by closing to decisive ranges as
won as possible.
In this canmctim, it may be as well to make it clear that where
in p~reviouspages the danger of torpedo fire in certain circumstances is
pointed out, and methods of avoiding it suggested, it is not intended to
advocate a policy of playing f m safety. The subject under considwa-
tion is torpedo fire, and it is desirable that its risks and the ways of
avoiding these risks be rmgnised, but the torpedo is only one branch
of the armament, and keeping in view the main object the annihilation
of the enemy's fleet, it may often be necessary to accept a torpedo risk
in order to cress an attack home, rather than sacrifice some advantage
.'54 NAVAL REVIEW.
in other respects in order to avoid this particular risk. For example,
a fleet making a large turn away from torpedo fire is liable to lose
encnrmously in effective gun-fire, and thus, In avoiding the tor@
danger, may lase an opportunity for the destruction of the enemy by
gun-fire, an opportunity which may not recur, and which, if taken, ma)-
give the &sired result in a few minutes. Emphaticall!-, then, it is not
suggested that risks should not be taken,; but that they should be remg-
nised and not incurred needlessly; and that the psition of tolrpdo
advantage, entailing an additional risk to the enemy, should be obtained
and maintained if possible.
I t must be noted also, that all the above conclusions depend on the
assumption that fleets will use a line formation. As has been explained
earlier in the article, it is difficult to conceive a fleet going into action
without being in some sort of line, but if line formations can be avoided
without sacrificing anything essential to success, then the fleet which
abandons the line will have great advantages. Perhaps, now that the
need has arisen, some scheme nil1 be evolved to avoid the dangers of
the line formation, or perhaps it will simply be modified by decreas~ng
the length of each individual line, i.e., splitting the fleet up into a number
of small divisions each comprising one short line, or by increasing the
intervals between ships, or possibly both. At first sight, however, it
appears extremely difficult to employ a number of isolated divisions
effectively in action, and extremely probable that the divisions would
inte~ferewith one another; also there would probahly bs a tendency in
the natural course of events for the various divisions to gradually and
unconsciously reform into one line. Again, though increasing the inter-
vals between ships will cause more torpedoes to miss through water
spaces, it will also increase the total length of any line, and perhaps
shots which might have missed ahead or astern of a shorter line will
become effective on the longer one. The writer is not prepared to
express any opinion as to what can be done in either direction, but the
possibility of greatly reducing the torpedo danger hy avoic-ling the long
single line is a matter for careful thought.
TORPEDO FIRE FROM LIGI-ITCRUISERS AND TORPEDO CRAFT IN
COMPANY WITH A BATTLE FLEET.
Although light cruisers and destroyers have different functions, it
will he more convenient to discuss them together since each is affected
by the other. As regards the duties of light cruisers in action, much will
depend on whether the enemy have destroyers with them or not, and this
raises a question of strategy. Assuming for the moment that destroyers
attached to a battle fleet can be used effectively against enemy capital
ships in a day action, it is evident that the side having superiority in
capital ships ha.; least to gain by using destroyers for ofienaive purposes
in this way, and most to lose in case enemy destroyers bring off a success-
ful attack. Therefore, assuming this country to be fighting a single
power, and to have a preponderance in capita! ships: it would appeal
more important from the British point of viem to prevent the enemy
biinging destroyers into a general action, than ourselves to employ
destroyers in this way. If fighting a group of powers, and relatively
inferior in battleship strength, the use of destroyers with the battle fleet
would be to the advantage of this country.
Taking the first case, there are two obvious though not necessarily
practicable nethods by which an enemy might be prevented from bringing
his destroyers into a battleship action, viz. : -
TORPEDO FIRE IN FUTURE FLEET .ACTIONS. 5 5.
(a) By exterminating all enemy torpedo craft by means of our own
clestropers and cruisers before risking our capital ships in a general
(b) By ensuring that the general action shall be fought at some point
outside the steaming radius of enemy destroyers from their bases
Both these means of preventing the enemy using destroyers might
also prevent our using them. All our destroyers might be expended in
the annihilation of the enemy's torpedo craft, or the position in which
the action is fought may be equally outside the cruising radius of
destroyers on either side. I n either case the advantages of preventing
the enemy using destroyers are consideretl to outweigh the disadvantage
of having to fight without them ourselves. But either policy might con-
ceivably be expanded to the extent of preventing the use of destroyers
by the enemy, while retaining the poner to use them ourselves. If all
enemy torpedo craft were removed, while a proportion of our destroyers
survived, or if the action were fought outside the radius of enemy
destroyers but within reach of our own destroyer bases, then we might
have this great advantage. But this theoretically sound policy is
probably not a practicable one; the locality in which an action is to be
fought will not depend on one side only; it is doubtful enough whether
other strategical considerations would permit of our fleets remaining
quiescent long enough for all enemy torpedo craft to be hunted down
and destroyed, and it is more than doubtful that pure strategy will be
able to stand against the pressure of other considerations. So, it cannot
be assumed that the enemy can be prevented from using their destroyers
in a day action, and the best means of defence and counter attack must
In dealing with torpedo fire from light craft new considerations have
to be taken into account. There is the extra speed of light craft, the
possibility that any movement of torpedo craft may not be detected
immediately, the small target they present, and finally the fact that from
the point of view of the admiral commanding a fleet, the range of tor-
pedoes as measured from the battle fleet, is, in this case, not merely the
running range of the torpedo itself, but a range equivalent to the running
range plus the distance the light craft can run in before firing their tor-
Thus, if two battle fleets are engaged at a distance of 2,000 yards
outside torpedo range, destroyers might \$ell be able to run in to effective
range without bcing stopped. The position of torpedo advantage does
not come in to quite the same extent as in the case of capital ships, since
torpedo craft do not have to consider torpedoes from enemy ships; but
the position before the beam still remains the best for the attackers,
since from this position the torpedo mill have to run a less distance to
hit; and since the approach to the attack will be much more rapid if
the attacking vessels and enemy's fleet are on more or less opposite
courses, it appears desirable that the initial position of destroyers with a
I)attle fleet shsula be ahead rather tilan astern of the capital ships, z.e., if
the two battle fleets are on approximately parallel courses. This position
<.annot, however, be assumed to be the best under all circumstances, and
it may sometimes prove better policy to divide the destroyers, placing
half on the outer bow and half outs5de the rear of the battle line.
The difficulty of stopping a determined attack by torpedo craft
approaching from a position 011 the off bow of their own fleet after gun-
fire has commenced. would appear to be enormous. The battleship's
56 NAVAL REVIEW.
guns are already fully employed, movements of small craft not directly in
the line of fire are likely to be overlooked, and even if they are seen,
diversion of gun-fire is not likely to be effective at once.
If both fleets have destroyers, and on an attack developing, the
defending flotilla moves out to repel the attack, it is almost impossible
that it should get within effective range of the attacking destroyers in
time to stop them firing their torpedoes. The scheme of defence having
the best chance of success would appear to be ,the stationing of light
cruisers well ahead of the line ready to move in at the first sign of the
enemy's flotilla attacking. But it is difficult to select a position in which
the light cruisers would be fairly safe from gun-fire and yet able to reach
the enemy's flotilla before it could get within range for firing torpedoes.
Again, a position ahead of the line will not be suitable for repelling an
attack from the rear of the enemy's line; so perhaps the light cruisers
should be disposed in two divisions, one ahead of the battle fleet, and
one on the outer beam of the rear of the line, ready to deal with an
attack from the enemy's rear.
Obviously, their ultimate disposition must depend to some extent
on the disposition of the enemy destroyers, the guiding principle being to
keep the light cruisers on a forward bearing from the position from which
an attack is possible, so that they will be able to meet it rapidly, and
not have to chase from an after bearing. Rut when all is said and done,
the fact remains that it appears, on paper, to be extraordinarily difficult
to stop a well delivered attack by destroyers, and the more one uses one's
imagination in an attempt to visualise the conditions in action, the more
apparent does this difficulty become. The logical conclusion is that
uses its destroyers first. The
i h e advantage will rcst m ' t h the fleet -~p,hicll,
attack even if not fully successful, will have its effect on morale
in the enemy's ships. and thus may give our light cruisers a better chance
of closing in to deal with their destroyers; if completely successful, such
an attack will go far towards deciding the result of the action.
As regards the best method of attack for destroyers, the writer is
strongly of opinion that to approach from a forward bearing, and pass
down between the two fleets will give destroyers much the best chance
of bringing off a successful attack and getting clear again. The rate of
change of bearing mill be a maximum, the attacker will at least to some
extent, be hidden by smoke and spray, and the time between commencing
the attack and getting clear again will be a minimum. If the attack
is delivered as suggested, while fleets are still far apart, there need be
little risk of short shots from either fleet hitting destroyers. Any attempt
to turn back to regain their old positions must render destroyers an
easier target and keep them longer under fire.
Whatever the method of attack preferred, it is important that it
should be clearly understood and practised beforehand, and that the
officer in charge of the destroyer flotilla having received his general
instructions previously, be left to carry out the actual attack 011 his own
initiative. The flag officer in command of the fleet has other matters
to occupy his attention, and the policy of waiting vaguely for a favour-
able opportunity to use destroyers must prove futile. The most favour-
able opportunity is the earliest opportunity, and the man to see and
seize the occasion is the officer in command of destroyers, who has little
else to think about. So, it is most strongly urged that this officer should
receive clear general instructions beforehand and be left an absolutely
free hand in action.
TORPEDO FIRE IN FUTURE FLEET ACTIONS. 5i
The same principle should be applied in the employment of light
cruisers against enemy destroyers in a fleet action, the officer in charge
receiving his general instructions previously, and being left a free hand so
far as is practicable to deal with hostile torpedo craft during the action.
It may perhaps be as well to point out here that while the principal dut.3
of light cruisers when used in this way is to deal with enemy destroyers,
this service will probably give them a chance of using their torpedoes,
since, as they move in to repel an attack by destroyers, they will probably
arrive at a favourable position for browning the enemy's capital ships.
If fortunate enough to have destroyers in company while fighting
an enemy without destroyers, the general principles of attack would
appear to be much the same, with the exception that under these con-
ditions the destroyer attack could, if other circumstances permitted, be
withheld till the range was such as to render it practically certain that a
high percentage of the torpedoes fired will hit.
A SUGGESTION IMMEDIATE
Some possibilities of the long range torpedo in a fleet action, as
conceived by one individual, having been considered, it remains to throw
out a suggestion for increasing our own opportunities of making use of
this weapon. If, as the writer believes, the long range torpedo is to play
a great part in future naval wars, it is worth great exertions and great
expense to put ourselves ahead of other nations in this respect. We have
a considerable preponderance in pre-" Dreadnought " ships, but a far
smaller superiority in later ships. Broadly speaking, the long range
torpedo and the " Dreadnought " came in almost simultaneously, only
later ships being armed with these weapons ; our superiority in long range
torpedoes is therefore also comparatively small. We cannot convert
pre-" Dreadnoughts " into " Dreadnoughts," but it is not impossible to
re-arm pre-" Dreadnoughts " with modem torpedoes, thus putting them
almost on an equality with the newest ships as regards a very important
part of their armament. I t would be difficult to exaggerate the effect of
such a policy. Imagine a squadron of pre-" Dreadnoughtss" meeting a
squadron of hostile '' Dreadnoughts " and endeavouring to fall back on a
supporting force, or even accepting a most unequal action. Under
present conditions they could do scarcely anything; with long range tor-
pedoes they might conceivably inflict enormous damage on the enemy's
fleet, while the fact of their having them must at least tend to prolong
the action by preventing the enemy closing in. Or imagine an old cruiser,
on a misty day, falling in with an enemy fleet and without the speed to
escape. At present she can do njothing, with long range torpedws sht.
might fairly hope to take one or more battleships with her as she sank.
Instances might be multiplied, and while admittedly the policy of putting
new wine into old bottles is to be deprecated, more especially when deal-
ing with navies, surely here is an exception. The new wine in this case
gives new life to the old bottles,and it can be taken out when the old
bottles are finally condemned and can then be employed in less ancient
Such a policy means a great increase in works, ranges, etc. ; it
would be difficult to carry out sufficiently rapidly to be of use. and it
would be expensive, but none of the money so spent need be wasted
since works and torpedoes would be available for many years to come.
The difficu\fies are formidable but not insurmountable, and would it not
be worth while?
FORTIFICATION AND COAST DEFENCE.
FOR proper understanding of the subjects coming under the heading of
this article it is proposed firstly to review briefly the strategic functions
performed by fortification, ( I ) in land war, ( 2 ) in sea war. and (3) in
amphibious wars, in which b t h services take a direct part. I n a subse-
quent article it is proposed to deal in greater detail with the subject of
Coast Defence, the branch of fortification which is of special interest to
naval officers. I n deciding upon this method of treatment the object is
to maintain a proper sense of perspective, and thereby as far as possible
to avoid any undue magnification of the importance of sedentary defence.
Fortification is a branch of the study of war which exercises
especial fascination upon many minds. At certain periods of the world's
history the attack and defence of fortified places were the dominating
factors in the conduct of war. Provisions were scarce, and means of
co~mmunicationwere bad. Vast supplies of grain and of other foodstuffs
were collected in strongly fortified places in which the population
attacked took refuge, while the attackers attempted to get at them. The
problem of .supply which presented itself to the attackers was one of
extreme difficulty, and if it could not be solved for the time required
to reduce the place, they gradually melted away. On both sides thc.
utmost ingenuity was exercised in the invention and use of new engines
of war to enable one side to hold, and the other side to overcome, the
formidable physical obstacles erected to protect the garrisons. From the
siege of Troy to that of Port Arthur the history of the world's wars 1s
full of heroic tales of human endurance and ingenuity displayed in
attempt$ to defend m to cross such obstacles, and in this, as in all
operations of war, the human element has been the dominating factor.
I n Bacori's words :-
"Walled towns, stored arsenals an'd armouries, . . . ordnan~ce, artillery.
"and the like; all this is but a sheep in a lion's skin, except the breed and
"disposition d the ,people b e stout and warlike."
In this connection it is essential for the strategist to take into con-
sideration the deterioration of the fighting spirit of mobile forces which
can find security behind fortifications, and this deterioration is accentu-
ated by time. The condition applies both to fleets and to, armies. I t is
acknowledged by historians, and it is not necessary to examine into
historical examples to elucidate the point. The case of Metz, with its
influence upon Bazaine's army in 1870, and the case of Port Arthur and
the Russian fleet in 1904, may be taken as typical. They are well known
to all students of war, so detailed descriptions would he out of place.
T h e condition was so well understmd by the leaders of the " stout and
warlike " Spartans that fortification of their capital city was forbidden.
Following this line of thought, fortification has sometimes been
held up to opprobrium as a disease affecting moribund nations, and it
has even been advanced that no uses can be found for it in sound
strategy. This is a much exaggerated view of the question. Fortifica
FORTIFICATION AND COAST D E F E N C E . 59
tion, properly applied, can be of great value to the mobile forces upon
which the ultimate issue of a war must always depend, and the realisa-
tion of this fact gives us a convenient test to apply to every individual
proposal far its application in strategy. This test is the enquiry whether
the proposed fortification will aid the mobile forces either on the sea
or on the land. I f it does not do this, or if it prevents the provision of
sufficient mobile forces for concentration tot settle thp issue by decisive
battle, then the symptoms of disease appear.
With these preliminaries in our mind, we are now in a position to
turn our attention to the functions which can be performed by fortifica-
tion under the three headings we selected.
There are some who hold, with the Spartans of old, that it is a
mistake to have any fortresses at all, because even the smallest of them
require garrisons of men who could otherwise be in the field army. This,
as Napoleon pointed out, is going too far. I t can only be advanced by
theorists who count a man as a man in war, without considering the
different classes of men, and the dift'erent uses to which they can suit-
ably be put. For the field army, marching powers are required, and the
alility to endure exposure and hardships.
If only men suitable for such work were employed in war, no use
would be made of the older men who have had a military training, nor
of the partly trained forces which require some months to mature before
they can be counted as efficient field troops. There would therefore be a
wastage of the nlanhood of the country able and willing to undertake the
more sedentary war duties, but unfitted for the strenuous work of the
mobile field armies. Of these men g m d use can be made in garrison
work, and if the fortifications which protect them are so placed that they
help the strategy of the field armies, it would be wasting power to ignore
them, provided that, by the aid of fortifications, they can be of some
The mast conspicuous advantage conferred by fortifications is that
they enable forces that are inferior in numbers, in training, or even in
~ n o r a l ,to hold out successfully for a long time against stronger forces,
and time is the measure of success in all strategical dispositions.
Many uses have been claimed for fortification in !and war. One
of these is that by its means certain lines of advance can tot some extent
be denied to an enemy's armies. This is the functioin of fortification
which has the most direct influence upon the strategical movements, and
therefore the most direct influence upon strategy. Dependent as armies
are upon roads and railways for their advance, it is clear that fortresses
placed astride these have considerable and direct delaying power upon
movement. They must either be captured, or forces must be left behind
to watch or even to surround their garrisons, to secure the lines of com-
munication of an army that decides, to make a detour dnd continue its
advance. Where serious obstacles, such as mountain ranges, rivers, or
marshes, lie across the line of advance, the roads must converge to the
crossing places, be they mountain passes, bridges, or causeways. Folrt-
resses placed at such points of convergence are especially effective.
I t is not necessary to our purpose tot examine the various other uses
of fortiiication in land war, which produce an indirect effect upon
strategy, but it is desirable, for the sake of comparison with naval con-
ditions, to note one other special function. When a field army, for some
60 NAVAL REVIEW.
reason or other, is obliged to rest temporarily on the defensive, then
defensive works and entrenched camps are sometimes employed to give
it the needed security. Wellington's lines of Torres Vedras afford a
good example. T h e dominlting condition that must be fulfilled in such
cases is that the defensive bttitude must be only temporary, and used as
a means of recuperation before undertaking movements, without which
no strategy can lead to success. Instead of recuperating their powers.
field armies which shelter for too long behind fortified positions will
always deteriorate in spirit. I t is also necessary to note the drawing
power which seems frequently t o be exercised by fortifications upon field
armies which sometimes remain there, lost to all intents and purpojses.
for the decisive operations of war.
(2) FORTIFICATION STRATEGY.
We are now in a position to turn our attention to the particular form
~f fortification which may be of strategic value to1 naval forces, fortifica-
tion which is applied to coast defence. I t is perhaps fortunate that we
devoted attention to the land first, because we are now in a position to
note at once the essential difference between sea and land war in this
respect. We noted that the only direct influence which fortified places
have on land forces is their power to deny to them certain routes of
adlance. Looked at from this point of view we can say that fortification
has no direct influence whatever upon the strategy of sea forces, because
it cannot interfere with their movements. Fleets d o not move along roafls
as ar~nies do. and the open sea upon which they move cannot t,e
dominated by the guns of a fortress. " People often say," as Mahall
writes,l " that such an island or harbour will give control over such
a body of water. I t is an utter deplorable and ruinous mistake," and
to show how common the error is n e can quote from the same author the
words " Ireland, by its geographical position, lies across and c o ~ t r o l s
(sic) the communications of Great Britain with the outside world."'
The error possibly takes its origin in the fact that many more books
have been published, and much more has been written, upon land than
upon sea war. I n referring to it, we must note that there are a few
exceptional places in the world where the sea is so narrow that the guns
of forts on the coast can bring their fire to bear upon the channel for
heavy ships. The Dardanelles and Hosphorus afford the best examples.
T h e strategical use of fortification in such places depends upon the
nature, extent, and importance of the seas into which they lead. T o
sea canals fortifications c m l d be most effectively applied. T h e Kiel
canal is one of them, but this is defended in order to protect it for the
use of German fleets, rather than to deny its use to the fleet of an enemy.
T h e Suez Canal cannot be fortified on account of International agree-
ments. The Panama Canal is to1 be strongly defended, and affords by
far the most important, and almost the only, example in the world of
the direct influence of fortification upon the movement of naval forces.
and therefore of its direct strategic value.
To illustrate its important indirect value we cannot dot better than
refer again t o the writings of Admiral Mahan. " Control of a maritime
region is ensured primarily by a Navy, and secondarily by positions,
suitably chosen and spaced from one another, upon which, as bases the
Yavy rests, and from which it can exert its ~ t r e n g t h , " ~ later on in
1 " T h e Interest of America in Sea Power," p. 35.
"Prospect and Retrospect," p. loo.
"'The Interest of America in Sea Power," p. 102.
FORTIFICATION AND COAST DEFENCE. 61
the same book, " I n a naval war coast defence is the defensive factor,
the Navy the offensive. Coast de~fence,when adequate, assures the Naval
Commander-in-Chief that his base of operations-the dockyards and
coal dep8ts-is secure. I t also relieves him and his Government, by the
protection of commercial centres, from the necessity of considering them,
and so leaves the offensive arm perfectly free. "l These definitions are
of great value, but they do not, and do not claim to, exhaust the subject
of the strategic value od coast fortifications to a Navy.
One very Important functio~n,performed by defended harbours for
naval forces, is to afford them security from stronger hostile forces until
a more favourable oppofrtunity presents itself for engagement. The
expression " Fleet in being " has been employed by some writers to
describe an inferior fleet which thus avoids serious action, and anaits a
better opportunity. The objection to this phrase is that its meaning has
never been properly defined, or rather it has been defined, but differently
hy different writers, and if we introduce into strategy a term which con-
veys different meanings to different minds, confusion of thought is
certain to follow. The practice of temporarily avoiding serious action,
by sheltering in a fortress, or by other means, is well understood in both
land and sea war, and in all cases it is realised that such action must be
temparary if success is to be expected. If forces shelter permanently
they not only deteriorate in spirit, but, from the strategical point of view,
they might as well be non-existent. Both fleets and armies, simply by
their existence, may for a time produce a moral effect upon their
opponents, but smner or later it becomes clear to1 all that their existence
alone produces no material effect, it is a question of the uses to which
they are put. We noticed the case of Wellington's army which took
shelter behind the lines of Torres Vedras to await a more favourable
opportunity of offensive action against the French armies in Spain. I t
does not seem to make the point any clearer if the words " Army in
being " were to be employed in that case, and expressions of this nature
tend to lend an air of mystery to1 what is really quite a simple condition
Let us note, then, that fortification lends to a fleet, o~rto any naval
force, the power to avoid action until a favourable opportunity presents
itself. Most effective use is sometimes made of this fact in sea strategy.
The object of a navy being to secure control of sea communications, it is
clear that under certain conditions it may be essential to keep touch with
hostile war-vessels sheltering in defended harbours. I t is further pois-
sible that these war vessels may be so placed geographically that, if
allowed to escape, they wobld be able to do such dam~ageas vitally to
affect the issue of a war. They might work serious havoc amongst
merchant shipping, or they might sink a whole convoy of transports full
of troops. In these circumstances it may be essential not only to watch
them, but to bring them to action against stronger forces. War vessels
of the present day depend to so great an extent upon machinery and fuel
folr mo'vement, and upon docking for maintenance of their best speed,
that the fleet in harbour may be actually improving, while a fleet waiting
for them at sea may be deteriorating in these respects. I n the old days
the crews of the outside fleet improved in seamanship, and therefore in
manceuvring power, while those in harbour deteriorated. Furthermore,
the fleet in harbour could only come out if the wind was favourable,
1 " Ibid," p. 194.
62 NAVAL REVIEW.
and, knowing this, the fleet at sea could relax their watch during periods.
when this condition was not fulfilled.
Arrangements must be made, under present-day conditions, to pro-
vide for sending ships into harbour for various minor repairs, and
possibly for docking. I f , then, it should be essential to make such
provision that all ho~stilefleets and \\ar vessels shall meet equal forces
as soon as they put to sea, larger forces must be used for the purpose.
Again, a considerable surplus is required to allow for replenishment of
fuel. T h e ships at sea will be using up their fuel, those in harbour will
not. Some of the outside ships must always for this reason be awaj,
coaling, or oiling, or both.
This brings us at once to a definite effect which can be produced by
fortification upon naval strategy. I n some circumstances inferior naval
forces, by sheltering in defended harbours, can " contain " hostile forces
of superior strength, and so keep them away from the decisive point.
Great superiority ,in numbers is required by a navy which must be ready
to dominate all hostile war vessels sheltering in defended harbours, and
at the same time to concentrate a superior force in readillebs to meet the
enemy's main fleet in battle.
Here we must notice other methods of dealing with war vessels
sheltering in defended harbours, \vithout the expenditure of sufficient naval
force to ensure their immediate defeat at sea. Instead of always being
ready to meet them at sea, and distributing fleets accordingly, it is
possible under certain conditions to delay their issue. This can be done,
either by strewing the exit from the harbour with mines, or by employing
l~lockships, if the deep-water channel is narrow enough. There are
difficulties in both methods. Mines are much affected by tides, and a
channel can be cleared through them by sweeping for them, and by other
methods. I n spite of the number of mines strewn outsitle Port Arthur
by the Japanese, the Russian fleets succeeded in coming out 011 several
occasions, notably on the 10th of August, 1904. Blockships, as we have
seen, are only applicable to narrow channels. If the attempt to employ
then1 is made in clear weather, they may be sunk by batteries, mines, or
torpedoes, before they have effected their purpose. If at night, the
tlifficulty of their navigation to the right spot is considerable. Of late
years, perhaps Lieutenant Hobson's exploit with the " Merrimac," at
Santiago, in 1898, and Togo's attempts to close Port Arthur are the
best known cases; the latter were partially successful in delaying the
issue of the Russian war vessels. As it is manifestly most important for
the stronger fleet to get their enemies to sea and sink them once for all,
the strategic policy of sealing them up in harbour must be exceptional
for the stronger side, though it may be good strategy for the weaker. I t
is usually only resorted to on special occasions, such as when many trans-
ports are at sea full of troops, or when some important trade convoy is
passing in the neighbourhood.
We can now evamine in detail into further aspects of fortification
as a factor in naval war, following the line of Mahan's list of the various
functions which it can perform.
Fortification can assure a Naval Comnander-in-Chief that his base
of operations, the dockyards and depots of fuel, is secure. Here we
must note the fact that war vessels depend for movement upon coal and
oil fuel. I t is true that these can be sent to them in colliers and in tank
vessels or oilers, but these vessels have to obtain their supplies from
somewhere, and it is usual to keep a certain amount ready for immediate
FORTIFICATION AND COAST DEFENCE. 63
use at naval bases. The p~oportion of reserves to expenditure must
upon the next supply obtainable, and whether this is i r ~ home
country, or drawn from foreign sources. As no strategical plan can be
carried out without movement, and as the power of movement could be
seriously interfered with by an enemy who succeeded in seizing the
reserves which have been stored up, it is necessary to take such measures
as will prevent him from doing so. If the harbours where the reserves
are stored were not fortified it would be necessary to detach war vessels
for their protection; fortifications and their garrisons therefore economize
naval force, and enable an Acllniral to concentrate a larger proportion
of his resources for battle.
I t is also necessary to consider the defence, by the same methods, of
reselves of ammunition. Requirements will of course depend u p m
expenditure, resulting from contact with the enemy; and it is important
to have reserves ~uitablydistributed for replenishment. For most other
stores, and for supplivs, war vessels are independent for months at a
time, but special attention requires to be paid to lubricants, nithout
which movement could not be sustained, and to fresh water. Whatever
the nature of the reserves may be, it will be necessary lo make some pro-
vision for the defence of those that are essential for movement or for
hattle, and by resetting t o fortification for protection it may be possible
to economize in naval force.
We have left to the last another aspect of naval war which was
especially conspicuous in the Russo-Japanese conflict ten years ago.
This is, the great advantage in a prolonged struggle possessed by the
side having the best facilities for repairing ships which are damaged.
Such darnage may occur in action, from mines at other times, or from
accidents not directly caused by the enemy. The damages sustained by
the Russian ships while practising manceuvres at sea afford an example
of the last mentioned contingency. There is a certain school of strategists
who hold that a naval mar will be speedily settled by great naval actions,
like the battle of Tsushima, in wk'1cl1 one side will i ~ n k capture prac-
tically all the important warships of their enemy. This view is not
generally accepted. The assumption is, that during the course of the
\jar, many vessels will require repairs to fit them to take their place again
111 the active operations. For this to be possible it is necessary to have
dry docks of various natures, and workshops and appliances for repair.
I n a prolonged war dry docks may also be used to clean the bottoms of
ships that can be spared for the purpose, in order to avoid the reduction
of speed that would result if they remained constantly at sea. T h e defence
of such repairing facilities also requires consideration, and here again
fortification may help to economize in naval force. Not only for the
repairing facilities themselves will defences be wanted, but also, more
especially, for the war vessels using them. T o these we may add the
warships which are approaching completion on the building slips, and
those nhich have been launched, in fact, all such vessels as can be com-
pleted in time to settle the issue of the mar, or the attitude of neutrals
Folloning the line of thought sketched out by Mahan, we have now
studied the application of fortification to the defence of harbours and
naval bases for a fleet, and it is only necessary here to recall the fact
that fleets are manned by men, and that men's endurance wears out before
the endurance of machinery and mattriel. I n these days of constant look
out for enemies in the air, as well as on and below the surface of the sea,
64 NAVAL REVIEIV.
it is essential for an Admiral to pay attention to the mental, physical,
and nerve strain on the personnel while at sea in the neighbourhood of
hostile forces. The constant reports and messages which now can come
in from long distances by nireless telegraphy add enormously to the
strain upon the leaders themselves. Defended harbours give to the crews
of fleets, of destroyers, of submarines, and of small craft of all sorts, the
opportunity of occasional spells of rest from their most strenuous duties.
Such harbours a150 afford protection to war vessels at anchor when taking
in fuel from colliers or from lighters. During this process they are par-
ticularly vulnerable, because of the difficulty of manning the armament
due to the whole crew being strenuously engaged, and in some ships to
the dismantlement of resources required for action, in order to expedite
Finally, " Coast defence " writes Mahan (' when adequate, relieves
the Naval Commander-in-Chief and his Government, by the protection
afforded to commercial centres, from the necessity of considering them,
and so leaves the offensive arm perfectly free " (see above). It would
be indeed well for the naval strategist if this were all that need be said
upon the subject. It will doubtless be some advantage that mercantile
harbours and their ~vharves, warehouses, and appliances, should be
secured for fortifications, but, in the words of Lord Carnarron's Royal
commission on Coaling Stations and Commerce :-" I t is the movement
of commerce upon t h e s e a in war, not its security in port, that is essen-
tial." This movement cannot be ensured by fortification. Nevertheless,
although it has its limitations, we have seen that in sea war, as in land
war, great use may be made of fortification to aid the strategy of the
(3) FORTIFICATION IN AMPHIBIOUS STRATEGY.
There remains the question of the application of fortification in
amphibious strategy. I n the old wars we were familiar with the fact
that it is possible for armies to help fleets to destroy an enemy's war
vessels, and examples of this have been offered in every recent amphibious
war, notably in the cases of the Chinese fleets in 1894-5, the Spanish
war vessels at Santiago in 1898, and the Russian fleet at Port Arthur.
Fleets also can sometimes help armies against an enemy's land forces.
I t is only necessary for us to note here that both fleets and armies, when
so attacked, can gain from fortified places the temporary security which
I n a subsequent article it is proposed to continue our investigation
of this branch of the study of war, devoting particular attention to the
tactics of coast defence under modern conditions. This will involve some
further reference to strategical objectives in amphibious war, because there
must be an intimate connection between both services in all operations of
coastal attack and defence. While the methods employed may be a ques-
tion of tactics, the selection of objectives for defence or attack is a ques-
ion of strategy. No dividing line can be drawn between subjects which
are s o intimately connected.
T H E T R I N I T Y O F EFFICIENCY.
IF we ask ourselves the question, what qualities constitute an e'fficient
fleet commander. the answer is, that he must possess three types of
efficiency, viz., personal, tactical, and strategical. The union of these
three in one represents a trinity of efficiency which can only exist in
perfect form when each of the factors comprising it is developed to its
highest degree and in correct relationship to one another.
Obviously, these three qualities are not of equal necessity to a fleet
commander, since a lack of tactical ability can be supplied by a staff
officer particularly efficient in that direction, and the possession of only
moderate strategical insight may be discounted on the supposition that
the Admiralty War Staff will furnish the necessary strategical conceptions.
On the other hand, a lack of personal efficiency cannot be balanced by
great ability in other directions, and this inevitably renders an admiral
unsuitable for the great responsibility of fleet command. It must not,
however, be supposed that tactical or strategical ability can be dispensed
with, for a comparatively high standard in each of these subjects is essen-
tial in order that the spirit of the tactical and strategical conczptions pro-
pounded by the Staff may be appreciated and translated into action.
If these premises are accepted as substantially correct, we see at
once that the problem before the Admiralty is primarily to develop a
body of personally efficient officers, instilled with the germs of tactical
and strategical insight, and afterwards to cultivate these qualities in those
who show an aptitude for them, always bearing in mind that the develop-
ment of either at the expense of personal efficiency-the greatest factor of
all-is to defeat one's object. It is therefore of the greatest importance
to arrive at a clear understanding of what is meant by personal, tactical,
and strategical efficiency respectively.
An article on what is here termed personal efficiency appeared in
the first number of the NAVAL REVIEW,which should be studied by a11
aspirants to the higher ranks of the Service.l
It will suffice for my purpose to repeat the last paragraph.
" When a commander has by tact, patience, justice, and firmness,
each exercised in its proper turn, produced such an impression upon those
under his orders in a ship of war, he has only to await the appearance
of his enemy's topsail on the horizon and he may be sure of victory over
an equal or somewhat superior force, or honourable defeat by one greatly
The creation of this impression constitutes " leadership," and that
in turn is the essence of personal efficiency.
1 Individual Preparation for War, p. go. Quotation from Paul Jones.
66 NAVAL REVIEW.
Tact, patience, jz~stice, and firmness! This is indeed a heav!
demand on weak human nature, and yet a total lack of any one of these
qualities must necessarily render the possession of the others of little
value ; add to this the imperative necessity of exercising these virtues in
their proper turn, and it becomes evident that no haphazard methods, no
relying on the so-called " born leader," can hope to produce a sufficient
proportion of personally efficient officers. I t would seem that the
development of these virtues must commence at the earliest possible
period of an officer's career, and continue uninterruptedly until the time
is reached when his primary duty is to exercise rather than to develop
Broadly speaking, this will synchronise with the assumption of the
half stripe (z.e., with eight years seniority as lieutenant).
The fact that we have so many efficient fleet commanders to-day may
be attributed to the resourcefulness which they developed in the school
of masts and yards, and finally to the War College training they have
undergone; yet it may be doubted whether a sufficient proportion have
developed for the needs of an expanding fleet, and whether the general
standard of efficiency is as high as a systematic scheme of development
would have produced. I t is to the past that we must look for the secret
of developing personal efficiency, and more particularly to the lives of
the commanders who were most distinguished for their personality.
The outstanding features of the training which produced such men
as Lord St. Vincent, Lord Nelson, Admiral Troubridge, and Captain
Paul Jones were that-
( a ) they l ~ e n t sea very young;
(b) They a e r e throlwn to a special degree in1 contact with the men the)-
were to lead in after life;
(c) they remained at sea continu~usly during their early careex ;
( d ) they had responsibility thrust u;?on them \\hen very y ~ u n g .
Perhaps no four men could have been more different in character,
yet a common training produced a like result ; there is therefone gmd
reason to think that it is to these salient or analogous points that we
must look in order to produce a body of officers possessing high personal
In the case of tactical eficiency a knowledge of tactics does not
and cannot constitute a tactician; for example, Clerk of Eldiu was an
acknowledged authority on the tactics of the sailing ship era, without
having the necessary technical knowledge to take a fleet into action.
On the other haud, a merely technical knowledge of such kindred
subjects a,s gunnery, torpedo, and engineer~ng,is insufficient aithout a
thorough grasp of tactics. Tactical efficiency therefore consists in the
blending of thlese various subjects into a harmonious whole, in such a
way that eat-h should play its part in surprising and defeating the
For simplicity we may consider this subject under t ~ heads :-
(6) Weapon t d l n i q ~ e .
" It is undeniable that the boarding tactics 04 the galley era are
things of the past, whereas, it is equally beyond clo~uhtthat the principle
T H E TRINITY O F EFFICIENCY. 67
of cmelbtrating superior force on part of the enemy's folrce must
remain for ever the aim of a commander."
The principle embodied in the above quotation has remained
unchallenged f r m the earliest times; baarding, ramming, and competi-
tion in armaments, being merely methods employed to achieve it.
Herein lies the peculiarity of tactics which renders it a subject which
any intelligent person can master by a diligent study of history.
I n order to determine the tactics suitable to the period, a good
general knowledge of the capacity and limitations of armaments,
engines, and ships is essential, and this cammt be gained except by
prolonged experience in a ship of was a t sea. I t is 110 exaggeration to
say that a theoretical knowledge of this subject is positively misleading
until the effect of sea experience has moulded that knowledge into
Unlike tactics, weapon technique is constantly developing and
k~urwsno finality, wrisequently, officers who lose direct touch with the
ship of war at sea, very quickly lose touch with the weapon technique
of the day.
History may l~ searched in vain to find any guiding principles by
which we might hope to develop a body of tactically efficient affimrs.
It is tirue that we have had great tacticians such as Hood, Howe, and
Nelson, but this is more than discounted b j the Ion tactical abilitv of
such men as Mathews, Byng, and Rodney's Captains, in the West
Where no system od development is employed, a few officers will
fue found triumphing over the difficulties they encounter, and will
emerge " Great," but the vast majority wili not do so, and many will
not even make the attempt, with the result that a low general standard
of efficiency will ensue.
Just a,s it is no disparagement to the modern naval officer to say
that he lacks the resourcefulness of his predecessors, which is merely
an ackncwledgme~~t the difference between sails and steam, SO it is
with no arrogant pride that the modern offioev claims greater scientific
and' technical knowledge and a more highly developed brain. H i s
complaint is, thst these qualities are not utilised while his lack of others
is SQ often deplored and used to discredit him and his early training.
It would therefo~re :ippear that a system should be devised b>-
which this defect would he remedied, and as w e have already seen it
(4 A dillgent study of naval history ;
(6) Thorough instructim in weapon technique ;
( c ) Cantinurns sea experience.
Though few will disagree as to the necessity of a fleet commander
being possessed in a high degree of tactical efficiency, many will be found
to assert that he need no longer be a strategist. The argument used to
support this contention is that wireless telegraphy, submarine cables, and
the ordinary telegraph wire have focussed strategical control at Whitehall,
and that all strategy will emanate from the Admiralty and their War
65 NAVAL REVIEW.
Another school to whom the sight of the Admiralty Wireless Staff
is anathema takes a diametrically opposite view, and see nothing but an
insatiable desire on the part of the Admiralty to destroy all initiative and
rob the fleet commander of his power.
Neither school of thought is right, although both have an element
of truth in them. A study of Admiralty administrations, especially that
of Lord Barham,l will show, that it has been the invariable policy of
the Admiralty to diotate, not only the strategical plan of the war, but
the general strategical dispositions which fleet commanders had to assume
in order to further Admiralty policy.
Thus, on the famous occasion of the arrival of the H.M. brig
" Curieux " with news of Admiral Villeneuve, orders were sent out to
Admiral Cornwallis of the moist precise nature, " . . . . you are hereby
required and dire.c%ad tol strengthen the Squadron olff Ferrol under the
orders of Vice-Admiral Siir Robert Calder, with the ships off Rochefort
unldei- Rear-Admiral Sterling; and to instruct the Vice-Admiral to pro-
ceed without loss of time off C a ~ e Fiaisterre, from whence he is to
cruise for the enemy to the distance of 30 or 40 leagues to1 the westward
for the spare of six o eight days."
This is no isolated case, but typical of the policy pursued by the
Admiralty, and it is useless to contend that the wireless poles on the
Admiralty building is the outward sign of any new policy of interference.
But as accidents and unforeseen circumstances may arise transferring
Admiralty control to the shoulders of the fleet commanders on whose
strategical insight the fate of the country will then depend, it follows that
a fleet commander must be a strategist, capable not only of grasping the
strategical problems as seen at Whitehall, but of seeing them in the same
There is yet another aspect of the case. Distant stations may con-
ceivably !xi! entirely cut & from mmunicatian with the Admiralty, and
then the responsibility of adapting his strategy to the necessities of the
moment will fall entirely on the shoulders of the commander-in-chief.
Lord Sandwich writing to Admiral Rodney with reference to the trans-
ference of the West Indies Squadron to the North American Coast in
1780, said: " It is impossible for us to have a superior fleet in every
part; and unless commanders-in-chief will take the great line as you do,
and consider the King's whole dominions as under his care, our enemies
must find us unprepared somewhere and carry their point against us."
This nas the verdict of a great authority, and although means of
communication have greatly changed, the world, too, has shrunk under
the influence of steam and petrol.
The writer can suggest no better means for developing strategical
knowledge than the reading of history and the study of particular cam-
paigns, yet it is certain that this alone will not produce a strategist,
although it may be expected to give minds with a natural aptitude in that
direction a general conception of the subject. Fortunately, this would
seem to be all that is essential in an officer's early career, since strategy
is peculiarly the province of the mature mind with access to information
which cannot be made known to junior officers.
It remains for the Admiralty to discover those whose forte lies in
that direction, and to give them a special course under the supervision
of the operations section of the War Staff.
1 Letters o f Lord Berham, published by the Nnvnl Records Society.
THE TRINITY OF EFFICIENCY. 69
Bearing in mind that the whole basis of this essay is to prove that
the business of Admilralty administratim is to develop the Trinity of
Efficiency in as great a proportion of officers as possible, we are now in
a position to discuss the educational system of the service in the light
of the foregoing conclusions.
The principal points to be legislated for may be summarised a s
(a) Continuous sea experience during early career.
( b ) Early assumption of responsibility.
(c) Early introduction to the sea service.
(d) Contact with, and consequent knowledge of, and sympathy with
the lower deck.
( e ) Thorough knowledge of weapon technique.
(f)A diligent study of-
(I) Naval battles.
(2) Naval campaigns.
T o those familiar with the old and the new systems of education in
the Service, it d l be evident that a great and far reaching effort has
been made in these directions. I t is, however, open to doubt whether
enough has been done, or whether sufficient stress has been laid on the
all important feature of sea training. We will consider these points in
the above order.
The recent re-introduction of courses for acting sub-lieutenants is
undoubtedly a retrograde move, but since it was necessary under the
existing system o~fexaminatians it is impossible to raise any objection to
it; the remedy being to alter the examination system so that an officer's
seniority is not so dependent on the result.
No such excuse can justify the undue amount of time spent by the
average lieutenant ashore. Of this, the time spent in training specialist
officers is necessary, but the same cannot be said of the staffing of the
various schools, barracks, and other training establishments, all of which
would be officered with advantage by lieutenants af over eight years
seniority, who would bring with them their sea experience to the undoubted
advantage of those being trained.
Under a better system of educating officers at sea (see weapon tech-
nique on pages 7 0 and 71)) short courses in technical subjects could be
entirely abolished, thus freeing a large number of officers for service
EARLY ASSUIVIPTION RESPONSIBILITY.
Recent circulars sho~v that the Admiralty are fully alive to the
benefits to be derived from making young officers feel their responsibility,
and yet, the most frequent complaint made about officers to-day is that
they do not take charge and are shy of assuming responsibility; and for
this mnast unfortunate state of affairs ship's officers must be held to blame.
Enquiries from sub-lieutenants and midshipmen on this subject
invariably elicit the same reply, and it is one which there is much evi-
dence to support.
They say in effect : " We aire never given charge of an! thing " . . .
Boats? " Oh yes," they reply, " but the bloat is not ours, we only run
it now and then when we are not engineering or attached to the G. T.
or N. departments; our crew is never the same, etc. . . ." Turrets P
7" NAVAL REVIEW.
They laugh and admit having been frequently in a turret, but add, " We
worked a clock, Dumaresq, or some other instrument." Companies, or
even a squad of men under arms? " No, never; but we do rifle drill
sometimes at five bells," is the discouraging reply.
Thus one tries in vain to elicit some one point in which these
officers have had responsibility given them.
It is difficult to exaggerate the evil consequences that will result
unless this state of things is remedied, and the remedy lies chiefly with
the officers of the ship.
A company or squad of men under anns is always possible, and no
better way of learning to take charge can be devised than that derived
from drilling a squad of British bluejackets. Apart from this, there
are many ways of putting responsibility on a midshipman's shoulders
provided that his seniors are prepared to bear some themselves, since
mistakes are to be expected and doubtless will occur.
It seems so certain that the demands of education prohibit tht~
possibility of advancing the age at which midshipmen now come to sea,
that this point need not be considered.
CONTACT WITH,AND CONSEQUENT KNOWLEDGE AND OF.
SYMPATHY THE LOWER
Nothing is so astonishing as the change in the personnel of the
lower deck which has marked the last t w o decades, and perhaps no factor
i n naval life calls for more attention on the part of officers. Twenty years
ago, it was far from exceptional to find men who could neither read nor
write. To-day such a thing is unknown; on the contrary, a high stan-
dard of education prevails, and every year serves to raise it. While this
is matter for sincere congratulation, it is useless to deny that it creates
fresh responsibilities for those whose duty it is to lead a body of thinking
men imbued with the strong opinions and perceptions of their class.
Unfortunately this change has run concurrently with : -
(a) The concentration of practically the whole navy in home waters.
where the ship necessarily loses something of her character of a
home, and becomes more akin to the factory ashore, i.e., becomes
a place where men merely work, awaiting the opportunity to go
(6) A great reduction of boat sailing and other kindred occupations
which brought officers and men in close contact with one another.
These t~vofactors, together with others of less importance, have
tended to decrease the bond of sympathy between officers and men just at
a time when it is specially needed.
No doubt it mas a realisation of this that underlay the recent Ad-
miralty memorandum dealing with the subject, which will be familiar to
readers of this essay, and there can be little doubt, that a full and loyal
attention to the recommendations contained in it will do much to bring
officers and men back to that close sympathy which has always marked
the British navy. We must frankly face the fact that unless officers can
supply an antidote, the spirit which is causing such an upheaval in the
industrial world will spread to the sea service.
In considering how best to develop a more general and thorough
knowledge of weapon technique, we are at once struck with the total
THE TRINITY OF EFFICIEiiCT. 71
lack of system governing the training of commissioned officers, and with
the necessity for further education after reaching commissioned rank.
Something might be done by the introduction of weekly lectures on
5pecialist subjects, to be attended by all commissioned officers of under
five years seniority, nhilst all officers should be called upon to write
essays, read papers, or deliver lectures on subjects of general pro-
Again, with greater clecentralisation of responsibility in specialist
nark, the specialists could devote more time to the instruction of their
brother officers, and these in turn would take over the instruction and
examination of their ovcn men; the various schools could be staffed nith
non-specialist officers possessing sufficient knonledge to instruct the men,
under the supervision of a few senior specialist officers who would also
undertake the instruction of officers.
In this way the schools would be freed from the stigma which now
attaches t o them, due to the fact that they retain junior specialists ashore
tor an unnecessarily long time, at a critical period of their development,
jeopardizing their personal efficiency, and encouraging book learning
untempered by the practical experience which is gained in a ship of war
Note.-It is within the writer's own experience that schools teach both
officers and men much which they have only to forget after they
join a sea-going ship, and that much harm is done by employing
inexperienced officers as examiners in practical subjects.
A DILIGENT STUDY ( a ) NAVAL
(b) NAVAL CAMPAIGNS.
A great deal of what has been written under the foregoing heading
applies equally to this section, since the point of primary importance is
to inculcate habits of study. When this is accomplished, natural pro-
fessional interest will attract the student to a study of naval battles and
ca~ripaigns. It then only remains to direct an officer's thought along
correct lines. This entails frequent and easy access to the tactical table,
and officers should be encouraged in every possible way to make use of
this means to illustrate the result of their studies.
Much could also be done by the publication of text books on these
two subjects, in which specific tactical and strategical studies would be
separated from their aurroundings. anrl set forth in such a manner as to
attract the attention of those who may he disinclined to read the entire
history of a war.
Intimately connected with the development of efficiency are the twin
tactors-examinations and promotion. Under present regulations the
relative seniority of lieutenants is determined by the results of certain
examinations, which can .have no bearing on their relative personal
efficiency 10 or I a years later, yet, as a result of those examinations,
officers of equal age and efficiency do not possess the same chance of
advancement to commander's rank.
An examination of the promotions during the last five years dis-
closes the fact that a very large proportion of officers obtain this step
from causes other than personal efficiency, measured by their capacity
for leadership in a ship of war at sea.
Obviously, however, lieutenants of equal efficiency should possess
equal chances of promotion, and the e'fficiency taken primarily into con-
72 NAVAL REVIEW.
sideration should be personal, since efficiency. as a tactician, strategist,
o r in weapon technique, except in so far as this affects personal efficiency,
is of secondary importance in a commander.
I n selecting officers for further promotion to captain's rank, other
considerations should legitimately be taken into account, especially tac-
tical efficiency, because it is not only essential for every captain to
appreciate the tactical conceptions of his fleet commander, but he should
be in a position to assist his lieutenants to acquire tactical knowledge by
his advice, criticism, and guidance.
Attendance at a war course should therefore be obligatory for all
commanders, and it mould appear that failure to reach a reasonable stan-
dard of proficiency as a tactician should disqualify an officer from attain-
ing to captain's rank. I t is from the commander's list that candidates
for War Staff duties should be selected, and the letters W. S. before a
commander's name should be m e t e d as the hall-mark of pr~fes~sional
merit, denoting an officer of known personal efficiency, who has shown
further capabilities rendering him peculiarly eligible for higher rank.
Under such a system as has been outlined, lieutenants would be
developing personal efficiency and habits of study, commanders mould
be acquiring tactical knowledge, whilst the third factor would become
the special sphere of captains, who, aspiring to fleet commands, would
realise the importance of completing the Trinity within themselves.
In conclusion, it should be said that the writer is fully conscious
that he has failed to invest his subject with the importance that it
deserves; it is, however, hoped it has been sufficiently outlined to s h o ~
that it is one of really vast importance to the welfare of the navy, and
worthy of attention from those of greater literary ability.
If, by good chance, this essay should promote discussion in the
REVIEW, writer will feel that his work has not been undertaken
i n vain.
SUBMARINES AIR CRAFT.
Sir,--ln the articles that have appeared in the REVIEW predicating
that submarines and air craft will alter the conditions of naval warfare,
and even possibly lead to its abolition; the question may well be asked,
what is the factor governing this assumption? A similar one was
advanced on the introduction of the torpedo boat, particularly by
Admiral ilube and M. Gabriel Charmes which induced France to practi-
cally cease the building of battleships for some years, until the fallacy
The ansner is, that during the historical period from the earliest
Egyptian, through Phcenician, Greek, and Roman times, down to our
own day, vessels have differentiated in size and purpose, and so long as
they remained surface craft, each class was complementary to the others,
one could not become predominant.
With submarines and seaplanes it is different because besides being,
and becoming, capable of surface control, they possess an additional
capacity, the one in the water the other in the air, and when in their
own special element, surface craft are so far and it seems always will be
not only impotent to seriously interferz with them, but largely at their
mercy as their approach is sudden and often invisible. Possessing two
attributes instead of one they must in the end get the best of the struggle,
in which at present the submarine is foremost, being the more highly
It is true, both are not and probably never will be on quite the same
footing; for air craft can fight air craft, and a movement and transference
of forces is possible; but it is still the sole prerogative of the submarine
to decline to fight, and it is this, which by making the movement of
enemy's forces impossible, will entail a position of equality in the
dominated areas, which are bound to expand.
I t behoves us t o see that we are not behindhand in the qplication
and development of these new factors, both in number and capacity.
and that we do not find ourselves in the same position as we did in the
case of the breech-loading gun. Though in total numbers we appear to
be well placed, it is evident that during the last three or four years one
large continental naval power, has by applying more money, and devot-
ing the whole of it to large seagoing submarines, f a r outstripped us in
this class, whilst owing to the orders she has received from other
countries, her submarine producing capacity is a long way in excess
Sir,-Criticisms and a careful review of the discussion upon the
lelative value of the gun and the torpedo1 suggest the need of amendment
and further explanation of some of the statements therein.
I t was stated on page 3 5 2 (pages 208 allld 209 Vol. I . reprint) that
the target presented by a line od shi17s biecamr less discol~tinuo~us t h ~
the convergence of the target line increased.
I f the problem is regarded statically and the track of the torpedo is
considered merely as a line or as a belt equal to the projected length of
the target ship, it is clear that the proportion between the target spaces
and the water spaces remain the same whatever the inclination of the
line. But if a kinetic diagram is constructed, so that the speeds of the
torpedo and the firing ships are shown, and the track of the torpedo
represented by a zone corresponding to a small probable angular error
of aim, then the probability of a hit u p m the ships ahead of or astern
of the target ship is seen to increaqe with the inclination of the target
Hence, speaking broadly, the target presented by an inclined line
of ships is less discontinuous than that given hy a parallel line.
The general trend of the argument upon the relative value of the
gun and torpedo as set out in the article al)penrs liable to some rnis-
I t was not intended that the absolute value olf the torpedo should be
depreciated, but rather that the complementary nature of the gun and
the torpedo should be emphasised.
The unseen blow of the torpedo delivered w i t h o ~ ~ t
edly must have a tremendous moral effect; its positive material effect
is also very great; but if the main premise be granted, namely, that
tactically for the torpedo there is a wider permissible margin of error
with respect to the range and to the elements of the change of range,
than is the case with the gun, it follows that, within obvious limits,
differences of technical skill in these respects have no very great battle
value. I n the fight ~ l i t htorpedoes alone the comparatiz~ely skilful ancl
the very skilful may be practically on level terms, and the battle becomes
one of mutual destruction.
I n this respect, the torpedo as a weapon does not compare well with
the gun, in the technique of which, the product of various small differ-
ences in skill have a decisive influence upon the result. Every little
difference in technical skill has a very definite effect and in nlany cases a
very decisive effect. The diflerences between ships in battle prartice
afford a striking example.
T h e long time of flight of the torpedo seems to he the decis~cefactor.
111 two modern Navies of the first class, thc difference between them in
the time of getting reliable data and firing their torpedoes is a matter
of seconds only; hut the time of flight is a matter of minutes. I t can
hardly be expected that one.can entirely (lush the other and deny him
the chance of an effective reply.
That element, to the writer, seems to put the possibilit) of a big
ship armed solely with the torpedo entirely out of the cluestion. The
torpedo must be associated with the gun. Under cover of the more
rapidly acting gun, the torpedo can develop its greatest power, without
the assistance of the gun the effect is uncertain. But such is not the case
with the gun armament, though it is not necessarily as completely
effective by itself, as it is when associated with a t o r ~ e d o
In conclusion, the modern squadrons of capital ships which can use
their torpedo and gun armaments in close tactical ccr-operation will have
an almost immeasurable advantage over those that are unable t o d o so.
Torpedo concentration combined with geneial gun attack will be a very
powerful tactical weapon in the squadron fight.
C. Q. I.
T o the HON. EDITOR,
NOTES ON THE I'HEORY OF NAVALTACTICS.
Sir,-In the Grst part of " Studies in the Theory of Naval Tac-
tic ,," by ('.(,).T.. in Vol. I., KO. I of the XAT-AL REVIEW, ib stated
that the immediate object o t tactics is '' to make a s difficult as possible
the operations which the enemy must perform. "l This definition
appears to fail in two respect5 ; it does not say enough of the absollute
as opposed to the relative development of the fire of cxir own fleet; and
it is not a strong enough expression to use for the procedure of Nelson
at Trafalgar, or Togo at Tsushima.
The first objection is as Ecllows :-The definition of the object o f
tactics might, as it stands, be taken to mean the engagement olf the enemy
at the greatest possible range,--obviously not its intended meaning, or,
011 the other hand, if it is taken for granted without any limitation that
the first object is to develop the maximum possible fire from our own
fleet, the whole case fur the use of consideral~lerelative movement, or
of any other tactical expedient involving a teniporary loss of gunfire
falls to the ground, and we are committetl t a a rigid system of tactics
akin to the close-hauled line of battle of James I I . 2 T o be complete a
theory of naval tactics should deal with destroying the enemy as well as
\\it11 defeating Iiim, arid theiefore \\ith the question of sacrificing some
gunfire during one phase of an action with a view to a more decisive
result later on.
As regards the second objrction to C.Q.I.'s definition of the object
of tactics, the uritcr feels that it does not adequately describe Nelson's
attack on the windward end of the French deet at the Nile, or his feint
on the van of the combined fleet a t Trafalgar, (11 Top,o's rz-point turn
in succession at 'I'sushima; to say that the operations which the enemy
had to perform were made as difficult as possible. Was it no more than
that? Surely tactics of this tlescription are o t an essentially different
nature : to such aperutions as the use of large relative movement o r of B
the sun and wind to produce a difference af fighting energy by hampering
the enemv's gunfire. Is not the art to nhich c . Q . 1 . ) ~ definition applies
a part of the tactical side of gnnnery ant1 seamanship rather than a part
of tactics proper ?
The following is the outline of the theory of naval tactics suggested
as a substitute for that given by C.Q. I., which it should include :-
I . The fighting power af a fle~etis made up of two elements :-
(a) hlanceuvring and fighting power :-the fighting power of its
individual ships with respect t o their immediate opponents.
1 P. 32,or 0. 16. Vol. I reprint
a See "Fighting Instructions," N.R.S., Vnl. uxix., pp. 133-199.
y6 NAVAL REVIEW.
(b) Powers of mutual support;--the lighting power of the ships of
the fleet \kith respect to one another as regards co-operation in fire
'11. The fighting power of a fleet can be reduced in two ways :-
(a) Overconling it ship to ship by superior n~anceuvr~ng and fighting
(b) Destroying, first its power s f mutual support, and then, by con-
centrating fire on some ships while others cannot reply with effect,
destroying the manceuvring and fighting power of its ships in
( a ) Must be a gradual process involving perhaps the defeat of some
ships on the winning side, if the fleets are answerable to one another in
efficiencv and numl~ers.
(b) II'ould be a mare rapid prccess than (a), starting with a greater
difference of fighting power in favour of one side, this difference would
increase with greater rapidity and leave the winning side with a much
greater margin of strength at the end.
The following general lines of action appear to cover most of the
possibilities of breaking down the enemy's power of mutual support :-
( I ) Containing action by taking advantage of confusion produced in
the enemy's line by accident, mismanagement, or lucky hits with
gun or torpedo, particularly on flagships or leading ships.
( 2 ) Containing action brought about by unexpected tactics.
I t will be noticed that both the above imply at least a temporary or
chalice superiority in manceuvring and fighting power depending almost
entirely on the human element.
The sudden and unexpected result of a successful torpedo attack,
the possibility of surprise given by the high mobility of the destroyer,
o r the secrecy of the submarine, the direct blow struck at the enemy's
power of mutual support by the instantanmus loss of one or more ships
from their places, and on the other hand, the uncertainty of reaching
the probable percentage of successful shots with a comparatively small
number of projectiles, combine to make the torpedo a particularly suit-
a l ~ l eweapon for containing operations, the immediate object of which is
not to destroy but to threaten. I n any event the main work must be
done by the guns of the battle fleet, but to get the hest results the torpedo
attack 1n11stbe co-ordinated with the gun attack, not simply super-added
t o it. I t appears not altogether unlikely that the tactics, and therefore
the strategy of the future, wilI have to he based to a very great extent
on this co-ordinate action of the battle squadrons and the torpedo flotillas.
T o the H O N . EDITOR,
FIRST CAPTAIKS .
Sir,--The following memorial, addressed by the Hoard of Admiralty
of 1747 to the Kirg. is 04' some interest, indicating as it does an exten-
sion of the principle of providing Commanders-in-Chief with First
Captains, or as we should now rall them, Chiafs of the Staff. I t was
clearly the outcome of the experience of the w a ~ the Austrian Succes-
sion which was then just drawing l o a close. D u r i n ~
that war, only the
rldrnir~lof the Fleet had a First Captain. but a.; the memorial shows.
" the great weight of business " was also felt in the unnller squadrons,
and the limitation is placed in this case at zo ships of the line. T h e title
Admiral of the Fleet, it may be observed, had then a real meaning, there
being only one of that rank who was also Commander-in-Chief, and who
usually commanded the grand fleet in home waters. T h e anomaly that
arose through the regulation which confined the ailmation of First Cap-
tains to the Admiral of the Fleet is shown by the fact that while Sir
George Byng (who was the first officer to hold the substantive rank) in
r 718 had a First Captain in the small squadron he commanded at
Passaro, Admiral Mathews, with a fleet of aver 60 sail in the Mediter-
aanean at a later date^, had no First Captain.
MEMORIAL RESPECTING THE APPOINTMENT OF FIRSTCAPTAINS TO
ADMIRALS FLEETS SQUALRONS.
May it please your Majesty.
There being allowed LJJ- the Establishment of the Navy two
captains to the Admiral of your Majesty's Fleet when he goes to
sea, and only one captain to all other flag officers, and the First
Captain to the aforesaid admiral being al\vays one of the eldest
captains and sometimes the next t o be pronloted to a vacant flag;
and the reasons for allowing such an officer being not merely on
account of the dignity of the Admiral but also to ease and assist
him by his prudence and experience in the great weight of business
under his care, commanding large fleets at sea, and no less to
qualify himself the better to perform the functions of a flag oficer
upon his advancement to that rank : upon these consideratioas we
d o humbly offer our opinion for the better maintaining the govern-
ment and command od great fleets, and for easing and taking off the
lower cares and suhrdinate parts of business of a flag officer en-
trusted with a command of such national importance, that whenever
any flag officer shall be appointed to command a fleet or squadron
of twenty ships of the line of battle, whether all your Majesty's awn
shills or united on the same service with those of your allies, he
shall be allowed a First Captain with the pay and rank of a rear
admiral, and all other privileges and profits belonging to the said
post in the same manner as is allowed to the First Captain of the
admiral of your Majesty's fleet, the said appointment to continue
only during the time of the Rag officer's command.
T o the HON. EDITOR, 3rd February, 1747-8.
MERITSAND DEMERITS SAILS, ETC., IW SERVICE
P ~ L L I NBOATS.
Sir, -I \ ~ o u l dput forward the following, in qi~alificationof what
at first sight appear to be overwhelming reasons for the abolition of sail-
ing gear and armament in service boats, given by a writer in the
(i.) Constantly during recent years boats have been employed
cruising, during the safe season, on the Somali Coast and in the Persian
Doubtless these services could be performed better by vessels
designed and built ad hoc, but the fact remains that man-of-war boats are
78 NAVAL REVIEW.
'They are visited evely week o r ten days by the ship, and meanwhile
a r e tolerably efficient and self-contained agents of police, thanks to their
armament and rifles, anti to the locomotive power of sails and secondarily
I n one case a ship serving in the hfediterranean was ordered sud-
denly from Crete to Arlen for the Solmali Blockade, anld for some weeks
maintaineld a sailing pinnace and two1 cutters i n that service.
All t h e E a s t Indies Squatiron, were then employed similarly in the
Gulf or o n t h e Somali C o ~ s t .
A history of the hoat cruising of the last few years would be quite a
formidable little volume and could be called " A Side Issue of Naval
I n a proltean Service like ours such side issues cannot be neglected.
(ii.) I remember hearing extracts f r o m a letter written from the
" Powerful " a t Durban wherein praise was given t o " the excellent
work done b y the young officers in the boom boats landing tons of stores
under sail in bad welather. all the steam boats having been ' broken up.' "
I quote sol f a r as a fourteen-year old memory nil1 serve.
(iii.) May I suggest that t h e views of the author show a certain
want of perspective, which the inevitable monomania of the North Sea
has rendered somewhat prevalent amongst us ?
T h e Navy is still a n instrument of Empire and has many subsidiary
duties t o fulfil and side issues to meet. No one knows when or where
t h e necessity may arise to " go anywhere a n d do anything."
This aspect of the matter cannot be omitted from t h e reasons for
(iv.) One can see admirable work under sail, being done every day
by the Montagu whaler5 in our flotillas, work impossible in similar
weather t o t h e kind of motor hoat which destroyers can carrv.
To the HON. EDITOR.
THE NAVAL REVIEW.
NOTICES O F ROOKS.
MEMBERS will find " T h e Naxal ant1 hlilitarc Situation of the British
Isles." " 1 3 ~an Tsl,lntle,," published in 1913, by John M u ~ r a y ,price
one shilling, worth reading. I t is well written and present? v i t h interest
the views and idea? of n well informed writer. presumably a civilian.-