ASAILOR'S preparation for battle begins the moment he comes aboard ship. Within half an hour of his arrival, he has been given a station at a gun, with some of the older sailors to instruct him in his duties. The new recruit is first tried at aiming drill with a rifle, to see if there are any personal errors that are likely to disqualify him from the start. If he passes this preliminary step, he is taken immediately to the mechanical instruments, dotter and Morris tube and is directed to aim at a stationary target. An officer supervises this exercise, and .after two or three days work at a stationary target, the recruit is exercised at a moving target so as to develop his skill in controlling the electrical elevating and training gear in any kind of a seaway that may be encountered in action He actually operates the elevating and training gear of the gun he will handle in battle, so that his education is practical from the start. I is easy enough to develop gun pointers to fire from a stationary platform, or to fire in smooth water from a ship under way. As soon as the elements of roll and pitch are brought in, however, an entirely different kind of training is necessary, and it is found that a man who is expert in smooth water may be of no use whatever when firing from a platform, whose motion is as irregular as that of a ship in a moderate sea. In order that no time may be lost by training gun pointers under smooth water conditions, the motion Of the mechanical dotter is made to Simulate, as nearly as possible, the motion of the ship in a seaway, so that the man may not be deprived of this training, should the ship be alongside the dock or in a navy yard for urgent repairs. The dotter is an electrically controlled instrument, so constructed that the target, a miniature ship, will have the same motion with reference to the pointers eye as an enemy's ship would have if viewed from one of our vessels steaming at high speed in a heavy sea. When the cross wires of the pointers telescope are exactly on the center of the target, the gun-firing key should be pressed, causing an electrically operated pencil to make a dot on the target sheet. The target being in motion both vertically and horizontally, the pointers skill is gaged by the rapidity and accuracy with which he places his dots when aiming at the center of the target. The Morris tube is a somewhat Similar instrument, with the exception that a small rifle attached to the heavy gun is fired electrically and sends its bullet through the target sheet. The Navy Department has issued a general order that gun-pointers shall be trained throughout the year several times each week, so that, no matter on what duty engaged or in what country the ship may be, guns crews will be in such efficient condition that they can engage in action at a moment notice. This order has had a very far reaching effect; for it keeps the whole personnel and material of the ships up to the highest standard of efficiency at all times. When the gun-pointers have been trained so that they can follow a rapidly moving target and make hits with great skill, they are taught to fire on signal, so that whole broadeides may be fired at the same instant. This requires unusual concentration on their part and a most intimate knowledge of the electrical gear by which the guns are controlled. The pointers are required to fire within a second after the firing signal is given; and when it is remembered that they operate the controiling levers of the enormous 60-ton guns and of the turrets of 500 tons weight each, making them follow th. peculiar and mystifying roll and pitch of the ship, it can well be seen that constant training and wonderful skill are necessary. During all the above mentioned training the other members of the guns' crews, the sight-setters who mark the range given by the fire control officers, the men who open the breech-plugs, the men who put in the powder, and the men who hoist and ram home the projectiles are all being daily and competitively trained. I is this feature of competition that has had most to do with the remarkable development of gunnery in the Navy; for every officer and man is in com petition with every othEr, and at the completion of the target practice or at the end of the year's gunnery work, they receive their rewards in trophies, letter! of commendation, and gunnery “E's,” which last may be worn only by men of winning gun or turret crews as a special mark of effcency. NO tetail of the training is too small to be given the undivided attention of the officer in charge. The apparently simple motion of setting the sights for each new range has to be watched from day to day, by giving numerous sets of ranges to several men in eompetition, and noting the rapidity and accuracy with which each acC'omplishes the work assigned him. The men who open the heavy breech-plugs, one-half ton in weight, do so wholly by hand-power, as H is found to be as rapid and more reliable than any mechanical means. Even in this particular work the men are placed in competition; for the officer stands by with his stopwatch and starts two plugmen at the same instant withdrawing their plugs, noting the time when each has completed his work. With skilled plugmen this varies from 3 2/5 seconds to 3 seconds for 12-dnch guns, and the slower plugmen are given other work requiring less speed and strepgth. Every step of the drill is carefully worked- out before any two steps are combined. All the men are tried out to see which ones will make the best powder passers, and as this is very trying work during a protracted en'agement, only the strongest 'a most acbive men are selected for this duty. The men who ram home the enormous projectiles, weighing 870 pounds, require a great deal of dri1l, for a sligM error of a fifth of a second 1n applying the necessary force to seat them may well cause Deeember 9, 1911 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 527 the loss of 3 or 4 seconds in the complete load. As it is necessary to deliver the greatest number of hits in the shortest possible time after the enemy is sighted, it will be seen how vHal it is that not a fraction of a second should be lost in any of the details of loading or firing. It may well happen in a naval duel between two battleships that one of them will be put out of action within five minutes after the first shot is fired. Although to the casual observer of the daily competitive drills there appears only the keen sportsman'3 instinct tlO win, there is also a grim feeling that some day the national honor may depend upon the saving of a few seconds, enabling us to deliver a broadside of highly destructive projectiles into the vital parts of an enemy at a critical moment. The character of the enlisted force of the service has changed remarkably in the last 15 years. There js a community { interest between the officers and men. The reasons for every order are fully explained, so thwt the men are thoroughly familiar with the object sought and with the material used. This applies not only to loading and firing the guns but to the whole fire-control and range-finding system, so that when 11 naval battle is fought, inteJigent petty officers may take the plac\ of officers who are killed or disabled. The whole service is working together with one end in view, that of efficiency in battle. A recent order of the Navy Department calls for carrying out the drills v'ith guns and fire-control parties during rain, snow and heavy weather generally, so that our men may be prepared for the most adverse weather conditions to be encountered “in action.” Crews drilled in smooth water only and in fair weather are worthless when firing in rough weather in the open seas. After the training with the mechanical targets on board ship is completed and after the laading crews are well instructed, a certain amount of ammunitian is pravided to fire the guns under the same canditians as wauld obtain “in action,” so that the offcers may find out definitely whether or not any particular pointer is “gun shy.” During this practice a target is used on which the hits are recorded, or photagrwphic recards are kept, s'a that the fnal efficiency of the gun-painter is obtained while the guns are actually firing. Should a painter. show any evidence of. being “gun shy,” he Is immediately dismissed from the gun crew. The training fram now on is a co-ordtnation of all the units; that is of all the gun crews and fire-cantrol parties, so that when the day comes far the final test of the ship at battle practice in heavy weather, the team work will show how faithfully the individual operations have been performed. At battle practice the conditions are made just as severe as thase that wauld obtain in actual “actian.” The firing vessel has no knowledge of the course, speed, lr distance of the target vessel. All the informatian she has is that somewhere on the harizan at a distance of 10 miles or more is a column af smoke which marks the enemy at which she is to shoot. She steams toward it at her best speed and apens fire at whatever range she choases, but the value of hitting at long ranges is vitally impressed 01 her by the amount which is added ta or subtracted from her score for the shots that hit beyond 12,00 yards or under that mark. The whole firing is finished in four minutes and she has na ather chance to make gaad if she has failed in this. No excuses are accepted far failure of guns to fire, far breaking dawn of any gear, lr for any faults of the persannel lr material. The instant the target is Sighted, the firing vessel must steam toward it at high speed and deliver her salvos in the shortest pa'ssible time. Part of the most important training is that given ta the “spotters,” both oJ-ficers and men. These are detailed in accardance with their skill at estimating ,. distances at which the projectiles fall short or over t'he target at ranges of fram Hl,OOO ta 13,000 yards in the lp en sea. They must shaw a very high degree of skill, for on their accurate judgment and their cool heads during battle, depend the life of the Fleet and of the Natian. They are trained daily at “spotting baards,” and at these drills the most skillful are selected to be further trained at the spatting practices, where actual prajectiles are used against an armared target. At the recent spotting practice against the “San Marcos” in Chesapeake, . Bay it was found that salvos af Bight prajectiles fired at a distance of 11,500 yards could be placed on- any part of the target ship. Though the gun pointers and the gun crews are perfect, their skill is of little value if the fire-control parties are nat sufficiently well trained to estimate the praper errors in range and bring the center of impact af all prajectiles on the target. The demonstration against the “San Marcos” (ex-"Texas") was one of the mast remarkable exhibitions af team work ever shawn in the Navy. The theoretical number af passible hits at that range, if all canditians of temperature, atmasphere, steadiness of platfarm, skill of gun painters, etc., were perfect, was 43 per cent. The detailed examinatian made by the special board showed definite evidence of 33 per cent of hits, the boar,a further stating that so much of the ship was shot away, it might well be that many other projeetiles hit the “San Marcas” withaut leaving a definite recard. The prizes for gunnery wark on elementary practice are of little value, and in the annual battle practice each year, where the keenest interest is displayed by every officer and man in the feet, the only reward is a little piece of red bunting with a black ball in the imination. center, faating proudly at the mast head of thf winning ship.