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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/423

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The Greatest Game in the World

How the fleet at battle practice hits the target at seven miles By Captain Frank E. Evans

United States Marine Corps

��Firing a broadside or "salvo." The huge bulk of the ship slides to port like a crab from the force of the mighty blast. The shells con- tain sand instead of the regular explosive

��© Underwood and Underwood, N. Y.

���WHEN' t li e American fleet steams out to sea for its battle practice every man on board, from the youngest ap- prentice seaman to the grizzled Admiral, knows that he is about to play the greatest game in the world. Back of it lies a wealth of tradition. No other game can approach it in science, in the millions invested, or in thrills. It is played with the gray steel tubes of twelve-and fourteen-inch guns that serve up thousand-pound projectiles.

The game is the culmination of months of patient practice. The reward is the privi- lege of painting a three-foot white E, mean- ing "Excellent," on the winning turrets and, for the champion of the fleet, a red pennant with a black ball in its center to be flown at masthead for a year.

When the fleet steams out past the Capes of the Chesapeake to its favorite playing ground, rails and stanchions are unshipped, ladders housed and life-lines rigged along the bare decks. Cabin doors

���Above: The range-indicator on the Wyom- ing. The chang- ing figures of the range flash up like those in a cash-register

are stowed away and pic- tures and elec- tric light bulbs laid flat in bunks to save them trom the guns. Boats are swung inboard and "nested," the smaller ones in the larger ones. If you walk about the decks, you will see vegetable lockers, boats, crates and all wooden gear tagged "overboard." And over they would go in a real battle.

The quick tattoo of battle gongs clang noisily, insistently, when the teams line up for the final practice, calling them to "general quarters." From the wardroom the "spotters" come storming up the ladders. Glasses to watch the splash of the shells are strapped over their shoulders and chin-straps hold on their visored caps. Some are in dungarees. The members of the gun crews drive past you at the double quick to their stations; bluejackets inside the turrets, bandsmen to the sick bay, the


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