THE question has been very often asked of late as to how the United States Navy ranks among the naval powers. Ordinarily, this question is answered by giving a tabulated statement of the effective war tonnage of the various nations and establishing their rank with one another in accordance with the amount of their displacement. This answer is accepted by most laymen as being conclusive; but to naval officers and students of naval affairs it Is far from being so. To naval officers two questions naturally arise: What constitutes Naval Strength? How is Naval Strength measured? Therefore, in attempting to fix the rank of the United States Navy with reference to that of. other powers, consideration must be given-not only to battleships, but to all the various types of vessels which go to make up an eff-cient, well balanced fleet-to the Merchant Marine upon which a nation must draw in time of war for certain types of ships, and lastly to personnel, active and in reserve, all of which go to make up a well organized navy and measure its strength. Fleets are created and maintained for offensive operations, and while often spoken of as the mobile defense of a country, the defense lies in the fleets ability to assume operations against an enemy's fleet, or against the coast or territory of an enemy. The table below shows the composition of the fleets of England, France, Germany, the United States, and Japan, and includes vessels which will probably be in commission, or ready for commission on January 1st, 191.2. The launching of the first all-big-gun battleship, the Dreadnought in England in 190G, completely revolutionized modern bat-t I e s h i p construction-so far as offensive power is concerned. The question of an all-big-gun ship had often bfen discussed and elaborated upon by other nations, but the English were the first to put these ideas to a practical use. All-big-gun battleships constitute a distinct type, and all ships launched since th3Jt year have been spoken of as dreadnoughts. The building of this ship placed the navies of all powers upon an entirely different status from that which they had previously occupied; for the “Dreadnought” completely eclipsed in offensive power all ships previously built. Earlier ships, however, so long as they are employed in the active service of navies, cannot be considered as absolutely obsolete at the present writing, but in a few years, as the number of dreadnoughts increases, they will undoubtedly be relegated to the second line. Another type of warship, commonly known as the battleship-cruiser, has developed within the last five years and bids fair to be an important factor in all future naval engagements. The first of these ships Total “Weight of Metal of PrlDlary Broadside of Capital Ships, .anuary 1st, 1912. Weight of letal of PrinIary Broadside. No. Ger- jy<,_ United Dany. States. Battleships (Dreadnought l:s. lbs. type)................. .... 7 44,340 6 50,22*1 Battleships (pre-Dread- nought) ............. _ ... . 21 62,540 25 132,435 Battleship Cruisers ....... 2 11,900....... .......... Arlored Cruisers........... 9 15,130 12 25,500 ...... 133,910 ..... 208,155 was launched by England and called the “Invincible,” so that the term Invincible is now considered to represen t a distinct type of a battleship. In analyzing the composition of the various fleets of the world, fighting or capital ships, as they are now termed, may be divided into three distinct classes, pre-dreadnoughts, or ships that were built or laid down prior to 1906, dreadnoughts, or all-big-gun-ships, and Invincibles. Battleship-cruisers, with a very high speed, carry a smaller number of heavy guns, of the same caliber as those of modern battleships, and their protection has been somewhat reduced. They must, however, be considered as capital ships. The table ShDWS that, the total warship tonnage Df Great Britain is considerably mDre than double that of any other nation, and, therefore, entitles Great Britain to the positiDn of first in the rank Df naval powers. When we come to consider the naval s t rength of Dther powers, we find a difference of Dnly about 15,000 tons in the warship tonnage Df Germany and the United States, a difference which a layman would probably consider a negligible quantity, or in other words, that these two countries were practically on the same fDoting. The character Df the vessels which make up the fleets of Germany and the United States will, however, be carefully considered by those who wish to determine the exact standing of the two fe(ts. The German battleship fleet will, on January 1st, 1912, consist of seven dreadnoughts, twenty-one pre-dreadnoughts and two b3Jttleship-crnisers, a total of thirty capital ships, as opposed to thirty-one capital ships in the United States Navy, composed of six dreadnoughts and 25 pre-dreadnDughts, so that numerically, the fleets will be practically equal. 'hen we CDme, however, to consider the actual fighting value Df the units which make up tl:e two fleets we find that, ship for ship, the United States vessels are decidedly superior to those built at a corresponding period in Germany. e s p e cially in offensive power. The ten vessels of the “Kaiser” and “Wittels-bach” types carry a main battery of only four 9.4-inch guns, while the ten following vessels of the “B r a u n s c h wei g” and “Deutschland” types carry only four ll-inch guns in the main battery; as opposed to these, all the battleships of the United States carry main babteries of fDur 12-inch, or four 13-inch guns, supplemented in all except the six vessels of the “Maine” and “Illinois” types of intermediate batteries of from four to eight 8-inch guns. France will have only twenty-one pre-dreadnoughts ready for service on the first of January, 1912, while Japan will have but thirteen; although the latter nation will on that date have twO of the battleship-cruiser type. Of the thirteen battleships which comprise the fleet of Japan, the “Fuji” is practically DbsDlete; five are reconstructed and repaired vessels captured in the late war and two are coast defense vessel type_ The batteries of the two vessels of the “Satsuma” class-4-12 inch and 12-10 inch guns-are so powerful, however,- that these vessels should properly be considered dreadnoughts, and the two vessels of the “Kawachi” type carry batteries cDnsiderably more powerful than other pre-dreadnDughts of the same period of building. The comparison, therefore, between these four countries as to their battle fleets, is decidedly in favor of the United States, and it may be contended that so far as the strength DJ the battleship fleet is cDncerned that the United States is decidedly superior to that Df either France, Germany, Japan, Dr any other nation. Considering the geographical and political conditions in the United States, students are pretty generally of the opinion that, in the event of future hostilities between this country and any other nation, the United States will have to carry on an offensive warfare; In Dther words, will he compelled to take the initiative and to carry on warfare far removed Probable ,arship Tonnage or the Priucipal Naval Po'ers .anuary 1st, 1912. Vessels CODlpleted. Great Britain. Gerlnany. United States. France. .apan. No. Tons. N o. Tons. No. Tons. No. 'rons. No. '.ons, Battleships (Dreadnought type). 11 213,850 7 138,900 6 115,650 ...................................... Battleships, first-class, . . . • 46 672,300 21 252,712 25 334,146 21 300,676 13 191,698 Coast defense vessels, . . . . * .................. 5 20,273 4 12,900 2 15,400 2 9,086 ArDored cruisers (ne' type), 5 96,850 2 41,000 ..................................... 2 29,200 Arnlored cruisers,.....M 34 406,800 9 94,245 12 157,445 22 211,070 11 10S,900 Cruisers above 6,000 tons, . . 14 146,500 ................ 5 43,800 3 24,022 2 13,130 Cruisers 6,000 to 3,000 tOiS, . 42 200,460 24 98,180 14 49,541 5 21,250 8 30,303 Cruisers 3,000 to 1,000 tons, . 23 49,540 15 34,528 10 12,260 2 4,706 5 9,158 Torpedo boat destroyers, . , .205 112,210 1 07 57,012 36 21,306 72 26,782 59 22,957 Topedo boats,........59 12,710 22 3,789 28 4,802 225 21,224 59 5,560 Su blariles,.........74 23,282 14 4,080 26 7,200 66 17,680 10 1,832 Total cODpleted,............1,934,502 744,719| ..I 759,050 |......| 642,810 I .....| 421,834 Vessels Building and Authorized. Battlesllips (Dreadnought type). 11 263,500 9 216,500 6 162,000 4 92,400 2 41,600 Battleships,.......................................................................................................... Coast Defense, vessels,................................................................................................... Armored cruisers (ne' type) . . 5 116,650 3 73,000 ........................................ 2 55,000 Arllored cIuisers,...................................................................................... ................. Cruisers above 6,000 tons,................................................................................................. Cruisers 6,000 to 3,000 tOlS, 10 52,360 6 33,750 ....................................... 3 15,000 Torpedo boat destroyers, . . , 23 18,400 12 9,600 14 12,450 19 13,700 3 2,550 SubDarines,.........14 11,500 12 6,000 13 7,150 18 10,500 3 1,260 Total building and authorized...... 462,410 ..... 337,850. . .. 183,100 .. .. 116,960 ...... 115,410 'rotal completed, building, and authorized, .............. 2,396,912...... 1,082,569...... 942,150 . .. 7.9,770 . .. 537,244 December (, 1 ( 11 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 523 from our coasts or naval bases. This leads up to 2 consideration of the number and. character of the vessels which make up an efficient, well balanced feet for offensive operations, such as torpedo destroyers, scouts, repair ships, fuel ships, ammunition ships, hospital ships, transports, supply ships and mine,laYing vessels-all of which are essential adjuncts of a fleet. Torpedo Destroyers. It is considered by students of naval operations that at least four torpedo destroyers are necessary for the defense of each battleship. The rapid development of the automobile torpedo and its increased range render it practically impossible to defend, a fleet by means of illumination or the use of searchlights, as the torpedo has now reached a range beyond which, even under the most favorable conditions, the searchlight is of doubtful value. We must, therefore, depend, for the proteetion of our battleship fleet, if operating upon an enemy's coast or in proximity to its battleship fleet, upon torpedo destroyers, scouts and other outlying vessels, thrown out as a shield for the protection of the battleships. An examination of the table shows that on January frst, 1912, England will have two hundred and five torpedo destroyers, Germany one hundred and seven, France seventy·two, Japan fifty·nine, while the UnitBd States wiII possess but thirty·six. This shows that the United States is woefully deficient in torpedo destroyers, as the estimated number for the protection of a fleet composed of sixteen vessels is sixty.four, and therefore, so far as this element of strength is coneerned, the United States ranks below Great Britain, Germany, France and Japan. S c outs . The scout is the eye of the fleet, and no matter whether our fleet is operating on the defensive along our own coasts or on the offensive on an enemy's coast, information as to the movement of the enemy is a most important factor in conducting naval operations. The scout is in no sense of the word a fighting vessel, and its principal characteristics should be speed; ability to steam at high speed in all weathers and ability to keep the sea for long periods without replenishing its fuel supply. While the introduction of wireless outfits on board modern ships is of the greatest possible value, interference with the successful transmission of a message from a scout to the main body of the fleet Is not difficult of accomplishment, and in order to convey important information to the Commander·in·Chief of a fleet, it may be necessary for the vessel obtaining such information to communicate with the fleet by visual signals. While the scout also forms part of the outposts of a fleet for its defense against surprise and against torpedo attack, its principal function is discovering the whereabouts of the enemy's feet, keeping in touch with and successfully transmitting information as to its movements-to its own feet. The United States Navy possesses but three vessels of this important type, and furthermore, its Merchant Marine does not furnish a single vessel which is in all respects adapted for scouting purposes. Few, if any, of our merchant vessels are capable of reachin? a speed of more than twenty·one knots, and when it is considered that the modern scout has a speed of at least twenty·six knots, it is clearly seen how in- adequate our merchant ships are for scouting PUlposes. As against the three vessels of this special type, England possesses twenty·three, with nine building, Germany ten, with six building, and Japan four, with three building; therefore, so far as this type of vessel is concerned, the United States Navy is decidedly inferior to those of England, Germany and Japan. On the other hand, these three countries possesses in their Merchant Marine a large number of vessels, which in a very short time can be converted into efficient scouts. Fuel and Ammunition. One of the most important things to he considered in the operations of an offensive fleet is the problem of supplying fuel and ammunition. Battleships whose fuel or ammunition supply has been reduced or exhausted cannot be considered very formidable. Ar- rangements must be made for the furnishing of fuel to our battleships at stated intervals, either through colIiers built for this purpose by the Government or else through vessels bought qr chartered for the pur· pose. The United States Navy possesses to·day twenty colliers fit for service, but a large percentage of these vessels has such a small cargo-carrying capacity as to be of little value to the fleet. England, Germany and Japan possess few, if any, regular naval colliers, but each of these countries possess a very large Merchant Marine, from which colIiers, supply vessels and other auxiliaries will be drawn in the event of hostilities. We possess no such marine, and to-day there are but very few vessels flying the American flag which are at all suitable for naval purposes In any character. Unless, therefore, something is done to (Continue4 on poge 532.)