Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/911

This page needs to be proofread.


The Giant Destroyer of the Future

��Can a juggernaut be built which will annihilate a whole army ?

By Frank Shuniaa

Illustrated by Edwin F. Baylia (.

���*<rt*.^

��, The author is a distivguished engineer luho invented the daring sun-power plant described in the October issue of the Popi'lar SriEXCE Monthly. His concrete piles, wired glass, luool-degreasing machines and other inventions have made him famous. — Editor.)

��A CLUB, a bow and arrow, a blunder- buss, an infantryman's ritlc, a forty- two centimeter howitzer are merely instruments for deli\ering blows. The essential difference between the battles of prehistoric times and those of today lies in the manner of delivering blows. Smoke- less powder has merely lengthened the arm of a modern fighter. He strikes and kills at a distance of miles.

For all our machine-guns, for all our ter- rible "artillery- preparation," battles are still won by bayonets. Tactics have been somewhat modified since Napoleon's day, because of the invention of the machine- gun and the high-powered field-piece. But the individual fighter is still as imjiortant as he ever was. \Vc speak of the (ierman or French or Russian "war machine," when we mean a million or more indi- viduals trained to act with a precision that roughly approximates that of a modern universitv football team.

��Only the Battleship Is a Real War Machine

Because armies are still composed es- sentially of many indi%Mduals, fighting ships may be more fittingly temied "war machines." A modern battleship is a real machine. The men on board are merely so many intelligences that control the steam- engines, the turrets, the great guns, the searchlights. No one ever hears now of hand to hand conflicts at sea. Ships are sunk at ranges of five and se\-cn miles. But land warfare is still waged not by a few machines, as on the sea, but by organized millions of men.

Amiies have increased in size. Fighting ships, on the other hand, have diminished in number. Contrast the numerical strength of the British Na\y now with what it was in the days of Drake and Nelson. .\ few dozen ships, highly intricate machines, have taken the place of hundreds.

\Vh\ is there no land battleship, some- thing comparable with our own Penii-

��897

�� �