This landsman's log is written by the Editor zine Naval Number to appear early in Decem with the Naval Number issued during the Spaii written entirely by prominent officers of the N a The leading article, moreover, will be from the j Navy. The illustrations will consist of special \ practice of the Atlantic Fleet on the Southern IT is a far cry from a battleship, lying peacefully in port and open to visitors to a battleship at sea, developing over one million foot-tons of energy per minute as, with a savage roar, she flings some four tons of steel high into the air, to land with amazing accuracy upon a target, dimly discernible in the haze of the far horizon. For many years it has been the aim of the Scientific American to make clear to the people of the United States, by pen and brush and camera, just what kind of a navy it is that flies our national flag. But photographs and printed statements of length, size and speed, serve, at the best, to give. an impression merely material and technical. To understand what a battleship actually stands for, she must be studied from within and on the high seas. Then it is that the stupendous fabric becomes vibrant with throbbing life, and the inarticulate thought and skill that have been wrought into her at the designers desk, and in forge and shop and dockyard, speak with many voices. As with the ship, so with the men that man her All the world loves a sailorman; but not all the world can understand him the essentially human side of his life, the professional enthusiasm, the pride of ship, and his noble devotion to his country and his countrys emblem, the flag. All this can be grasped only on those rare occasions when, as in the present case, a civilian is privileged. by the courtesy of the Secretary of the Navy, to make the ship at sea his home; sit at mess with its officers; mingle with its men; and absorb the atmosphere unlike anything ashore which pervades this highly-organized community of one thousand souls, shut up in its home of steel. At least, so it seemed to the editor as he stepped aboard the particular steam -cutter at Old Point Comfort wharf that carried the letters N. D. on its bow, and was taken to the gangway of that stately ship, the North Dakota ; The North Dakota was one of sixteen battleships that were awaiting the Admiral signal to weigh anchor and proceed to Tangier Bay in the Chesapeake; there to watch the Delaware (sister to the North Dakota") shoot away as much as she could of what was left of the old hulk, San Marcos ("Texas"). The spacious breadth and long, unobstructed sweep of the main deck of a dreadnought is suggestive rather of an ocean liner than of a ship of war—an impression which is deepened on the “North Dakota” by the yacht-like spotlessness- of her deck. Here at least we see a survival of one of the traditions of the old three-decker; for the holystone and “washing-down” serve now, as in the days of Paul Jones and Nelson, to keep the man-o'-war'sman busy through many a long hour of the cruise. To that distinctively American nlan, the center-line placing of the turrets, is due this fine vista of between three and four hundred feet of deck. "Getting under way” is a very different matter from the picturesque confusion, so stirringly described by Marryat and Fenimore Cooper. Gone are the coils of rope. the rattle of blocks, the creaking yards, the' flapping of canvas and the tramp of many feet around the capstan. Instead, there is the scarcely audible beat of the capstan engine below decks, and the “chug-cLug” of the forty-pound cable links, as they come aboard through the hawsepipe and bring the flukes of the 10-ton anchor to their snug resting place under the bows. We are the fourth ship in the first division, with the “Connecticut,” flagship of Admiral Osterhaus, in the van. From sheer force of habit, I listen for the rhythmical throb of the engines as evidence that we are under way; but it is never felt. although a glance at the water shows that we are already moving at 10-knot speed. And then I remember that this ship is turbine-driven, and therefore tremorless as far as engine-room vibration is concerned. i; tur SINE- of t he Scientific American as a preliminary to a maga-~wh ich will be comparable in its size and completeness War. In one respect it will be unique, for it will be >y, each a specialist in the particular field that he covers. en of the Hon. George von L. Meyer, the Secretary of the hoto graphs taken during the recent maneuvers and target Drill Grounds. Later I understood why it is that the turret officer and gun-pointer swear by the sweet-running turbine, and become impatient when they learn that Washington is still toying with the reciprocating engine and dreaming of pounds-per-horse-power economy. For the “North Dakota” was well aware that her sister-ship. the “Delaware,” with reciprocating engines, was keeping station in that four-mile line of battleships, with forty per cent less consumption of coal than was needed for her own turbines. The matter came up for discussion in the wardroom mess. “Bear in mind,” said one of the engineer officers, “that the 'North Dakota,' by a turn of the throttle and the opening of a few valves in the casing, can at a moment's notice jump her speed from ten to twenty-one knots, and keep going for hours at maximum power, with the same sweet certainty of motion, and without giving her engine-room personnel the least additional anxiety. And you know what happens,” said he, “when a demand for full power is suddenly rung down from the bridge to the reciprocating engines of a battleship.” The turbine has never been able to match the reciprocating engine in coal economy at the low cruising speeds; but when 15 knots has been passed, the difference begins to disappear, and at high speed the latest type of turbine (that of the “North Dakota” is of a rather early design) shows a greatly superior economy. And so we moved majestically out of Hampton Roads. As the flagship drew away, the vessels in divisions of four swung into line, until the fleet of sixteen ships was strung out over some four miles of water. Five hundred yards from foremast to foremast was the distance, which was maintained by turning the propellers of each ship at the revolutions which had been determined in the standardization trials as correct for a 10-knot speed. The distance is also checked by triangulation, the height of the mast of the ship ahead being known and the angle subtended observed by stadimeter. In foggy weather each ship follows a towing spar, towed by the ship ahead at the end of a cable of the proper length. The speed is shown to the ship astern by cones hoisted on the signal yard, half way up for half speed, full up for full speed. When a change of speed is made, the cone is shifted accordingly—were it not for this the vessels might overrun each other. Any one who has handled the wheel in ships, big or small, will understand .that it is no simple matter to keep sixteen vessels of 15,000 to 20,000 tons in absolutely true line ahead, and hold them so for an hour at a time. But it was done so well that, from the taff-rail of our ship, all that could be seen was the “New Hampshire,” flagship of the division immediately astern, which, except at the changes of course, completely shut from view the three miles of ships beyond. No “snakes” are possible here; and when it is' remembered that a battleship is generally far mora difficult to steer than an ocean liner, the excellent work of the quartermasters of the Atlantic fleet wi1! be apparent. In the late afternoon we sighted the partly-sunken “San Marcos"—victim of to-morrow's onslaught—her broken masts and tilted smokestack giving her an appearance more tipsy than tragic. Signals flutter from the flagship, and the bits of' gaudy bunting serve to scatter our hitherto unbroken line. In stately sequence the divisions swing out to port or starboard— the head of the line slows down—there is the crash of falling anchors—and the fleet moves, with an accuracy that is, to unaccustomed eyes, truly wonderful, into three parallel lines, . and each ship, in its appointed position, is snugly anchored for the night. And then, as the shadows deepen, there comes a transformation scene that will not soon be forgotten. The forbidding, dark-gray mass of each ship begins to sparkle with myriad incandescent lights, row above (Continuedon pacre 356.)
This article was originally published with the title "A Landsman's Log Aboard the Battleship “North Dakota”—I."