DREADNOUGHT ORDERS. WHY THEY WENT TO AMERICA. (From Our Own Correspondent.) LONDON, 11th Frbiunry. The announcement tJi.it the Argentine Government has signed a contract with an American firm for tho const ruction of two Dreadnoughts has created mild consternation in shipbuilding circles here. The amount involved is about four nnd a half million pounds, and the yards securing the work will be kept fully employed for about two nnd a half years. The successful firm, the Fore River Shipbuilding Company, is associated in the contract with the New York Shipbuilding Company and the Bethlehem Steel Company. It ha* been such a general thing for England to build warships for foreign nations that one is apt to overlook the fact that America built such vessels as the Retvizan (which Japan captured from Russia and converted into the Hizen), the Russian warships Africa, and Asia, the Japanese cruisers Kasagi, Chitose, and Soya, and a great number of vessels for the South Ameritan Republic. The severity of the blow tovEngland rests in the facts that the amount of English capital in the Argentine seemed to argue some claim for British shipbuilders, end that Great Britain has just completed a formidable battleship for Argentine's rival, Brazil. The new vessels will be of 27,940 tons, or 1590 tons heavier than the British Dreadnought Lion and 1940 heavier than the United States battleship Wyoming. The following figuies givp a comparison of the tendeis :—: — United States— Fore River : 27,940 tons, 22.5 knots, I2in armour, £2,190,000 per ship, 24-27 months. British — Armstrong and Vickers, 27,840 tons, 23 knot?, 12in armour, £2,423,750 per shin, 33 months. French — Forges et Chantiers : 27,840 tons, 22 knot?, lOin nrmour, £2,362,750 per ship, 29 months. German — Blohm and Voss : 26,900 tons, 25 knots, 12in armour, £2,358,000 per ship, 27 months. Italian— An?aldo : 25.600 tons, 22 knot?, lOin armour, £2,200,000 per ship, 24-28 months. The Daily Mail remaikson two somewhat startling facts. In the first place the American price is lower than the lowest British quotation by £8 per ton, or more than 10 pel cent of the cost. The American quotation is for a slower ship than the British firms proposed, but that would hardly explain so remarkable a diffeience in price. The next cheapest tender to the American is that of tho French Gorges et Chantiers, and next to that tomes the Italian firm of Ansuldo. The French and Italian tenders, however, are for ships with thinner armour, and armour is a very expensive Hem. GERMAN RESOURCES. The second surprise is that the foreign firms were all prepared to promise quicker delivery than the British. Blohm and Voss, the German firm, only required from twenty-seven to thirty mouths, against the thirty-threo demanded by Aimstrong and Vickers. Yet Blohm and Voas have now in hnnd no fewer than three German Dreadnoughts — the Yon der Tann, O. and H. — or quite as heavy a programme as Armstrong and Vickei.-. This indicates an enormous expansion in the German resources for rapid construction. The nation supplying the ships will also in all probability supply the guns and ammunition. In December tenders were received fiom eighteen shipyards giving plans for tho vessels. Twelve of these # eighteen were then eliminated, hocuse 'tlie price was too high, or the upeclfication in their case not so good. Six firms only remained m the final competition. Ths Naval Board at Buenos Aires and the Argentine Commission were unanimous in their decision in favour of the American tender. Tho onginea proposed by the Fore River Company were either Curtis or Parsons's turbines. All tho other tenders were for Parsons's turbines. AMERICAN YARDS IDLE. Another view of the matter is stated by The Telegraph :—"lt: — "It has been well known for some time at Washington that, for political reasons, influence was being used from the capital with a view to such a consummation. At the same time, the warship-building resources of the United States are now considerably in advance of the requirements of the American Government. Owing to the policy of financial retrenchment to which the Taft Administration is committed, it is possible that even the two battleships of this year's programmo may not be authorised, although, in view of tho known attitude of the Government towards naval expansion at present, no request for cruisers, torpedo-boat destroyers, or submarines has been put forward by the Navy Department. This is the most modest shipbuilding programme put forward by the department for many years past, and if on financial grounds Congress should eliminate one or both of the armoured ships, the extensive plant >of the great firms associated with the constitution of ships of war will be comparatively idle." British yards, though, are not by any means idle. At the piesent moment there are under construction in the United Kingdom thirteen first-class armoured ships, twelve armoured i-ruis-ers, and forty I orpedo-boat destroyers. DISAPPOINTMENT lN ITALY. There is widespiead disappointment 111 Italy at the decision of the Argentine authorities to placo tile contracts for their new Dreadnoughts iv America. It is asserted that the tender of a leading Italian firm was admittedly the most advantageous, but that it v .\s deliberately passed over. The Corrieie della Sera btates that the Government shaics the opinion of the public in the matter, and that, to mark its disappiovul of the Argentine attitude, it has abandoned its intention to despatch an Italian squadron, under the command <>l ii Prince of the Royal blood, to Buenos Aires, for the opening of the exhibition.
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