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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/592

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A Fleet of Indoor Battleships

���One of the ships was mounted on a motor-truck and accompanied by six navy officers it made a two-weeks' tour through New York city recruiting men for the navy

��TO TRAIN its officers and men in fleet evolutions and to teach recruits the nomenclature of a battleship, eight miniature warships have been so constructed by the Second Battalion of the New York Naval Militia that they can perform on an armory floor all the maneuvers of a battle fleet at sea. With the hulls cut off at the water line and with the ships mounted on wheels located inside where spectators cannot see them, they look like real battleships.

Each ship is operated by men seated within its interior so that their heiids come under the forward fire-control masts. From the exterior they are invisible, concealed as they are by the bridge and by weather-cloths through which pec])- holes arc cut. Two men supply the motor -power. They sit under the superstructure and work hand-levers connected by gears with the forward wheels. From the steering- wheel to an axle aft run tiller ropes. The axle carries a loose wheel on either end and swings freely on a vertical shaft so that when the helm is jiul over, the stern swings lo starboard or to port.

Night practice with the fleet of eight miniature warships is carried on in the armory with all lights extinguished. K(|uipi)e(l with running lights, search- light, trucklights and Ardois signal system, all supiilied with current from

��storage-batteries, the ships make their way about the armory floor in any formation that may be desired. They make a picturesque spectacle maneuver- ing in the dark with the aid of their signal lights, the flagship of the little fleet blinking its instructions to those in line behind it, and one after the other repeating the orders.

Large classes of naval men or recruits are often seated in the galleries where they watch the fleet in action and listen attentively to an official explanatioit of what is taking place. The exact move- ments of a division of ships are carried out by the same signals as at sea and the ships form column, line, echelon, turn and countermarch with remarkable facility of movement, affording practitx- which primes the men for the annual summer cruises.

The ships were constructed under the direction of Commander Kingsley L. Martin by the Chief (^iimner's Mate of the Battalion, Williatn H. Free, and his assistants at the armorx", in Brooklyn. In addition to its valui- to the Naval Militia, the fleet has interested the general public. At one of the reviews given by the men, at which time the iniblic was invited to a demonstration of the duties and activities carried on by the Naval Militia, about five thousand people saw for the first time how a fleet

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