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The Cost of Modern War Vessels

One of the earliest impressions produced upon a true-born Briton by a sight of the Great Armada of August, 1889, would (says the ‘Army and Navy Gazette’) probably be in regard to its enormous cost. Steaming down between those three closely-serried lines, or rather columns, of battle ships and cruisers, two and a half miles in length, one’s first reflection was that the value of so vast a number of vessels, the cost of which varied between L 140,000 for a Melpomene and L 679.000 for a Rodney, must compute to a fabulous amount. The following figures may, therefore, not bo considered uninteresting :—The total value of the fleet which was inspected by the German Emperor on Monday, irrespective of armament, which is, of course, a very considerable item, may be placed at 1.17,000,000. When we remember that the programme included 7.1 great warships and light ernisers and 18 torpedo vessels we arrive at some approximate idea ot the power and importance of the tremendous increment which is about to be made to the fighting ships of our country in the expenditure of 1.21,000,000 extra upon the navy within the next four and a-half years. _ Only a very limited cumber of vessels is to be built, and yet they are to cost four millions more than the value of that huge fleet which we have just seen stretching along the whole length of the Solent. Verily, warfare is an expensive pastime. No less than 569 heavy guns, of both muzzle-loading and breech-loading type, were mounted in the fleet. The weight of this armament was C,109 tons, or approximately an equivalent weight to that of the armament of forty three-deckers of the early days of this century. But when it is borne in mind that the whole arsenal of quick - firing and machine guns which were present have been excluded from the calculation, it is clear that the modern fleet is incomparably superior, not only in power, but in actual weight cf metal.

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Bibliographic details

The Cost of Modern War Vessels, Evening Star, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889

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The Cost of Modern War Vessels Evening Star, Issue 8035, 11 October 1889