On a given amount of displacement, two competent naval architects will produce two ships which, while they may differ very widely in details, are apt to represent about the same amount of military efficiency in the total. What one gains in gun power, the other will exhibit in superior armor protection. Where one excels in speed the other will show great endurance or cruising radius, and so on. And if in estimating the strength of two navies by displacement a proper deduction be made of obsolete ships, and only those be included in the comparison which have real fighting value, a fairly accurate rough-and-ready estimate of relative power may be obtained. This is the principle of comparison which has been followed by the Office of Naval Intelligence of the Navy Department in a table which they have just issued showing the comparative warship tonnage of the principal naval powers. It is simply a statement of the total displacement of all the ships' of each navy without taking any account of the particular design of the individual ships which make up that total. It includes all the ships actually constructed of a thousand tons or more displacement, and all the torpedo craft of more than fifty tons. The vessels excluded from this comparison are as follows: Those over twenty years old unless they have been reconstructed and rearmed since 1900; transports, colliers, repair ships, torpedo-depot ships, converted merchant vessels or yachts; vessels of less than 1,000 tons, except torpedo craft of less than 50 tons. With reference VESSELS BUILT JUNE 1, 1907. England France ... . United States Germany Japan Russia * Battleships, first-class, are those of (about) 10,000 tons or more displacement. t Includes all unarmored cruising veels above 1,00 tons dis- placent. t Includes smaller battleships and monitors. No more veels of this class are being proposed or built by the great powers. to the table summarizing the number of ships of each class possessed by the navy, It should be noted that battleships of the first class are those of about 10,000 tons or more displacement; that under the head of cruisers are included all unarmored cruising vessels above 1,000 tons displacement; and that under coast- defense vessels are included the small battleships and monitors, regarding which it should be noted that no more vessels of this class are being proposed or built by the great powers. It should also be noted that in making comparisons of naval strength, and particularly of naval increase, the fact should be taken into consideration that the rapidity of construction varies greatly in different countries. In England, Germany, and Japan, the battleships and armored cruisers are completed in from two to three years; in the United States, from three to four years; and in France, Italy, and Russia, not less than four years are required. It will be seen from the accompanying diagram that Great Britain continues to hold her commanding lead among the naval powers, with a total tonnage of 1,633,116, which is two and two-thirds as much as that of the second power, which is the United States with 611,616 tons. France comes third with 609,079 tons, Germany fourth with 529,032 tons, and Japan fifth with 374,701 tons. If all the vessels at present building were completed, France and the United States would change places, the position of the other powers remaining the same. Great Britain would have 1,821,610 tons, France 836,112 tons, the United States 771,758 tons, Germany 680,602 tons, and Japan 451,320 tons. Some ingenious and more or less reliable estimates of naval strength have been made, in which the ships are estimated' according to a system of points, so much for guns, so much for armor, so much for speed, with a certain percentage of reduction for age; and, undoubtedly, this is the true way to institute the comparison. But even here, the result is not conclusive; for the reason that it takes no account whatever of (Continued on page 431.) UA PAN- 37470/ 7a#SENLISTED MEN - 34,062. 4/,.070 4.J.400S/.3ZC3B COMPARATIVE STRENGTH OF LEADING NAVAL POWERS IN SHIPS AND ENLISTED MEN
This article was originally published with the title "Warship Tonnage of the Principal Naval Powers"