Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/32

This page needs to be proofread.

Protecting a Battleship with a Belt of Air




Uaij/pontoon section

���A new battleship armor is built on the principle of the shock-absorber. The corrugated

chambers, backed by others of smooth-bore, first deflect the shell, and, when it explodes, the

air takes up the shock and the expanding gases are carried off by the chambers, which are

destroyed but save the hull itself from destruction

��READ tlic accounts of the battles fought off Hehgoland and the ■ Falkland Islands, in which ships protected by heavy side armor were sunk by gun fire at ranges of five miles and the <|uestioii must occur: What is the good of armor? If twelve and more inches of steel can be penetrated by the fifteen- inch guns of a British battle-cruiser at distances of miles it woukl seem as if victory in sea engagements is a matter of hitting power rather than of protection. That armor of some kind is necessary would follow from the fact that naval architects are very close students of naval history and that they promptly apply in the' construction of fighting shijjs the U'ssons taught on the proving- grounds and in battle. That the heavy gun si'cms for the time being to have gained the ascendency over armor is

��pro\ed by the fact that in battle-cruisers high speed and enormous striking power are considered more important than steel sides; for the armor belt of a battle-cruiser is only twelve inches — - hardly sufficient i)r<)teclion against any- thing but projectiles of low caliber and low striking energy.

Insijired by thi'se considi'rations, Louis (iathmann, whose experiments in hurling high explosives against armor on proving- grounds attracted much attention some sixteen years ago, has invented an en- tirely new system of armor protection which deserves consideration. His ob- ject is to obtain not onh" protection, but lightness; for the heaxier the armor of a shi() the fewer nmst her guns be or the weaker her engines on a given displace- nu'iit.

In carrying out his ideas Mr. dath-


�� �