Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/912

This page needs to be proofread.


��pDpiihir Science Monthly

��syhania, something which will concen- trate within one volume the striking power of an army?

Why Not a Battleship On Land ?

There is no good engineering reason why an enormous wheeled structure, heavily armored and capable of tra\eling at high speed should not wage the battles of the future. Technicalh, it is a far easier task to design and build a super-dreadnought than a wheeled destroyer to run on solid ground. The ocean is a vast, level expanse. There are no hills and valleys. Water is the same in density everywhere. But land varies from the hardest rock to the softest quagrnire. Here we have the reason wh>' we still oppose armies against each other instead of machines.

Undeniable as these difficulties are, it seems to me that they could be overcome by boldly designing a machine of such dimensions and of such energy- that it could travel over ordi

��land much as an automobile travels over a countr>' road. A hill fift\- feet high would be to that machine what a si.\-inch ridge of clay would be to an automobile; a swamp would no more hinder its course than half a foot of nuid would stop a touring car. Its speed would be at least one hundred miles an hour on the long, level, sandy beaches along our coasts. And e\en over rough inland country- it would rush far more swiftly than any touring car on a poor road. Indeed, in its speed would lie its destruc- tive possibilities. The impact of a heaxy mass moving with the velocity of an express train would be irresistible. It could mow down everything before it with the relent-

���I nr nii.cliinr j.r.iiK)M:il by Mr. Slumiiiii woiiKl Ik- hicmsI.:.. 'A ilh if. front wlicrls nir.isuring 200 feci in (Jiumclcr, and the wciBl'ts iiKKccntine niuny tons dangling down in front from chains,

�� �