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THE NAVY'S WORK

REPLIES TO CEITIOS. The incident in the Downs, writes ArcMbald Hurd in the London "Daily Telegraph,' has attracted a good deal of attention. The gunboat Niger, of 810 tons displacement, was of practically no military value, tor she was buMt nearly a quarter o.a century ago, and, fortunately, all her officers aid men were saved. But two considerations leap to the mind. She was sunk oy a submarine, and the attack was made praytically in our territorial wafers—no less man 300 miles from Wilhelmshavem. _ i There is nothing: really surprising in tu» appearance of underwater craft in the Downs or even in the Channel. They can either npii through the Downs unseen by the British shins on patrol duty because submerged, or they" can blindly poke their way through the minefield, which bin been laid between the Goodwins and the Belgian eoust. In the former case, should a periscope be on tha em-face, the mosquito craft may be noticed, but in that event she can at once dive and get. oui of gunfire. If shs be-, passing through the minefield, well below the surface, s.'ie mar foul one of the mooring ropes; that, is an "ordinary risk of such an operation, ana German officers are not likely to be baulked on that account. —Thos" "Little" ShipsSubmarines have so recently made their appearance and are so repeatedly referred to as ■•little" ships that, there is a tendency to regard them as vessels which can_oEly a. short distance. As a matter or tact, tua latest German submarines—of which there are not manv—have a larger displacement than any of the cnemv's destroyer-, which, again are about as large as the gunboats of veaterdav, such as the Niger, and they posics a greater radius of action—teat is, they can travel for a greater dUtunce from therr base l 1 newest (icrman subntarmea can "motor" 2,000 pea miles on the surface; in other words, they possess a, fuel endurance which is not inferior to that of many Email crei'crs No:: onlv ought we not to he surprised at ihe.se ships being in the Downs, but we .should bo prepared to learn or their appearance, twice as far from their base Once more, the British ship which has been deMrov-d was old and of comparatively slow speed." The war has already s.hown that submarine attack on fa.'t-movmg vessels is conma'-ntivelv innocuous, but mat if the ship b» sieving "slowlv "" "• regular course, and Ftili more if shr be at tnchor, it is not dil.icuh to get the torpedo liomo. —Where Are the British Submarines? I have heard it remarked that apparently German submarines are much more sueoessful than th 3 underwater craft in the British scrvi-e. There is no evidence of_ this. As * matter of fact, the •■captains" or the BntisQ futmarines might very well reply that they cannot hit a target, which does not. exist— m other words, (ierman battleships and cruisers keep in harbor out of range of tins particular peril Submarine cannot tight submanno. The British underwater craft have nothing to ro for. li the British public i\er« content that the ,;..,(, 0 f fhe German naval bases should be. rai"d, and Use patrol of the Vo'-th Sea—which, as has already been remarked, lias twice the area of Great Britain —should be discontinued, then, and tiwsn only, could thev have the satisfaction or knowing that Our f'hips were in no danger of attack by Gfiman submarines. Jn that event the German Hieh Sea l-'iect would soon be m the Channel" or Atlantic—perhaps looking in at Brighton, Kastbourne. or Bournemouth, or mi"hf carrv out the mueh-talked-of protect of invading us. We canno! havo securny o.r ncihing; the Navy pays the price of Auntiralty. —What the Admir.iby Has Done..— It mav be. objected that the Admiralty has net .ufiic.ieiit small craft, in the. North Sea.. I have -.er-n this criticism advancen. Admitting that naval officers do not, know how to oo tiirir -iob." and ihat the Admiralty is not as a' it should lie, as the t;.n-mai>s-prefer to hr-iieve, what are the cotwition'- f Urn- manv small craft are there on rtuiy . The information is set oui, in detail in lito Navy List; it is no r-ecret. . First of all, the Admiralty has engaged m war service, in home waters—anil I purposely rdve onlv rour.vl tigures—about ZUO dcstl p. r; 'too torpedo boats and gunboats, ami Van'ons" other craft tmed for special duties. In addition the Admiralty has on duty in and fhour the North Sea a large number of vessels witieh are designated " auxiliary email craft" -armed vachts, uawlers, and other miscellaneous ves,eh. One of these ships is emmnnd-ed bv the Duke of Sutherland, another bv Mr Dudlev Ward, M.P., end among other commanding" officers are Admiral Sir Alfred now described as Oommander. 8.N.K.," Mr Hamilton Benii, M.P., - Commander" Herbert Purey Cust, C.B. fwho is reallv a Bear Admiral, and was lately in command of the Hydrographfc Depanni'iit) Captain Massy Daw son. Aamvral James Startin now ranking as '■Lieutenant-com-mander, K.N.R.," C'autain Bryan Godtreyraussett and others. Cue of these sh\]>% is inarmed ma'mlv by fauihndgo graduates and undergraduates—Blue?, half-Blues, and wrnnglrrs. , The evidence, shows that the Admiralty has not' been ba-kward in pressing into the naval service cverv vessel, large and F.mab, winch could be usefully employed in assisting in the patrol of the North Sea. But is an extremely large one. and tlie KUijtnanno is r.oi ea.'.y to catch. --A .Shili of Menace and Jly^ery.— M 11 o'clock one day a submarine's )K-ri-soop-a mav be seen, ami then it will disappear. A search is at oner instituted. In the meantime, if the water be shallow, mayta 100 ft or 150 ft, the mosquito rratt can descend and rest on i he. bottom of the sea. eomirx* up again oil.hcr at the same spot, or at some other spot six. seven, or more hours later. On the other hand, instead of resting nn tlie bottom of fhe tea, =he may be quietly submerged, and, travelling under water, placo as much a-. 10 or 12 m/iiee in iho course of n> hour between herself, and her pursuers, the. latter bavin" no meiiirs of ascertaining whai direelinn she, Ims taken. She is a thip of mfraw Ti-nA mrsterv. The only possiOility, appnrcnfJv. of pt.'fting down the encmy-a m;!>maricei is to have as many attttsd.small craft as possible on the look-out. Submarines are bound to <-ome to the surface periodically jn rndrr to obtain fre«h air, and then is the time cither to open fire or use tho ram. Tlie «uhmari«e'is a new development, somotliiii" between the vdrtle and die mosquito. It has the, freedom of movement on or under water of the former and the ability to bne of the latter—to bite with an explosive etvir-c of about 3001b. The™ vessels ar.i employed in war for the first time. ppMrit naval officers have had lo solve strange problems in the past,, end to may be confident ihat they will not be defeated hy this one.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150112.2.53

Bibliographic details

THE NAVY'S WORK, Issue 15698, 12 January 1915

Word Count
1,169

THE NAVY'S WORK Issue 15698, 12 January 1915

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