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THE CANOPUS., Issue 15672, 10 December 1914
TO THE KDITOIt.
Sir, —In Mr SpeneeV article on the CanopuH in to-night's paper lie has immlc somp errors. In the first place, the Cnnoptis is 14, not 17 years old. Secondly, ho says she was 15,000 yards away during the hattle in which the Good Hops was sunk. "Well, she i* armed with four 12in guns (.Mark VIII.') and twelve Gin. The big guns at yards range can pierce II Jin of Kmpp cemented armor, and she has a speed of 16[ knots; «o in nn hour's time she would have been wirltin range for her big guns, as she would b" practically among them—which she wasn't, by the way. In le?s than half an hour from where she was, at the distance given, she would have had the range of the Germans: and the Germans could not have touched her, as their 8.2 guns could only pierce .'iiu of K.C. armor at 9,000 yards and the Canopus would have been at least 10,000 yards away, so they could not have done enough damage to sink her, or even pierce her armor—which fact makes me doubt the statement that was in the papers after the battle, that the Germans opened fire at 10.000 yards range and sank the Good Hope after the fourth round.
Mr Spenco also says the Germans could fire 30 rounds a minute on the broadside. That would only be possible if the Can opus was in a "pair of breeches," as they say in draughts, and a good commander would hardly do that The fact that the Canopus only had Hnrveyiscd nickel armor does not account for much, as, in the first place, it takes a lot of gunfire to sink even an old battleship; and in the second place, she could have sunk tinlot without getting within their range. Lastly, the papers said that the Canopus could not get on the scene of the battle in time because of her inferior speed, so why should Mr Spenco be doubtful about her chances against the Germans?—l am, etc., D. R. Hamilton. Port Chalmers, December 8. [Mr Spence replies: The Correspondent has both arms locked round some secondclass fact, and on this he stacks some third-rate deduction. The Canopus was laid down in January, 1897, and completed in 1900, so whether'she is 14 years old or 17 years old is a matter which those who like to argue about such things may settle for themselves. The penetrations, as Mr Hamilton gives them, are right, but ho docs not perhaps realise sufficiently that a naval action may not be decided so much by penetration of the belt as delivery of fire, wrecking important stations on the ship, and jamming the turntables. The correspondent is in error in supposing that tho German delivery of fire could only be 36 shots per minute if the Canopus had been enclosed in what draughts players call "breeches." Counting primary guns only the Scharnhorst and the Gneisonau could throw 8,7121b of projectile per minute on either beam, and the Canopus only 3,4001b per minute. As to tho speed of the Canopus, authorities certainly say that she can still toianage 16£ knots, but those paper speeds look less convincing after a talk with a chief engineer. The statement about the Canopus " sinking the lot'' without getting within their range is an absurdity. An equal absurdity is the statement that it takes "a lot of gunfire to sink oven en old battleship." How much gunfire did it take to sink the battleship Osliabia at Tsushima?]
THE CANOPUS., Issue 15672, 10 December 1914
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