Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/735

This page needs to be proofread.

Defending the United States with Motor Torpedo Boats

How deadly torpedoes can be safely carried on high-speed motor boats and hew the landing of an enemy could be prevented by their means

By Edward F. Chandler

��ON THE Atlantic coast alone there are no less than one hundred and sixteen undefended points where an enem\- could land troops. New York, long considered invulnerable, is in reality helpless. Its guns are so mounted that an enemy fleet could lie off Far Rockaway and throw shells into Four- teenth Street. Not one of our guns could touch the invader.

Our own army officers have pointed out that 400,000 men could easily be landed on the Atlantic coast; that they could possess themselves of a line three hundred miles long, extending from Lake Erie to Chesapeake Bay; that they could hold that line at the rate of one man for every three \-ards or 176,000 for the entire length; and that the rest, 224,000 strong, could cut off ten of our states, all of our great manufacturing establishments, our munition plants, and our richest cities and financial institu- tions from the rest of the Union. In our

��harbor defences we have less than 15,000 men, who must remain where they are stationed to serve their guns.

Against this foreign invading force we could oppose no adequate resistance. The popular notion that we "can lick all creation" with pitchforks and shotguns finds no justification in our military histor>'. In the War of 1812, Washing- ton was defended by 5,400 raw recruits, mostly militia and volunteers. About 1 ,500 British soldiers ignominiously drove out the American defenders of the capital with a loss to themselves of only eight killed and eleven wounded.

Years must elapse before our coast defences and our mobile army can be developed into fighting units capable of frustrating an invasion of our seaboard states. In the meantime we must make the most of the ci\ilian materiel at hand. And so we find that during the month of September the Navy taught a handful of motor-boat owners how to look for sub-

���Each of the proposed motor torpedo-boat stations would be equipped with wireless sending and receiving instruments and would harbor from ten to fifteen boats

�� �