The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922, October 08, 1915, Image 6

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I VA I M H 11 !I T-W
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T la upon tho sotiboard gunB that tho
security of tho nation will depend
should nn oneray succeed In crippling
our far-flung line, the navy, and drive
our drcadnnughts to tho cover 01 uiu
harborB and tho protection of tho
heavy rifles and mortars of tho army.
Tho quoBtlon In, can theBO Boaboard
batteries hold a foe at bay?
nn nnr continental shores wo have
u total of 20 coast detenso commands, and 21 of
theso aro located upon tho Atlantic littoral. Dut
oven though there aro fewer stations on tho Ta
ctile coast, still those aro vory formidable. With
out considering weapons of eight-Inch caliber
and under, wo already havo mounted a total
upon our two shores of 372 12-Inch mortars, 105
12-Inch rllles. and 132 10-Inch heavy guns. Tho
Htrongth of tho personnel of tho coast artillery,
according to tho latest llguros, la 758 olllcors and
17,901 enlisted men. This Is n shortago of sol
illors of 1,420 ugreoably to tho forco authorized
by law, and this Is an Intimation of tho extreme
ly heavy work that tho men would havo to faco
In enso of hostilities, bocuuso wo aro minus a
vitally necessary reserve.
Tho arcrago layman has but tho slightest
knowledgo of tho oxtromely technical charactor
of tho Coast Artillery corps, and to bo proficient
thoso eoldlors recotvo a many-sldod education.
Tholrs is tho task of getting tho ndvantago of tho
onemy boforo tho foo can locato tho position of
our guns and mortars, and thcjvholo system of
dofonso Is tho exact opposite idf tho way In
which a hostile squadron would approach Its ag
gross! vo task.
From tho very beginning of tho planning of our
oxlBtlng seaboard battorlcs tho Idea of conceal
ment was tho first concern. Tho mortars woro
Uealgnod to bo hidden away In pits each of
thorn holding four of thoso weapons. Tho heavy
rifles woro not to bo In plain sight, with their
threatening muzzles pcorlng over the crests of
parapets. Instead, tho disappearing carriage was
Invented for a mount. Theso gave tho rlllos tho
powor to crouch whllo loading or awaiting serv
ice, and then, when tho moment for action ar
rived, to Bprlng up suddenly from behind tholr
embrnsuroB, to flro directly at tho foo, and by
tho forco of tholr own recoil to sink from view
and Into position for reloading.
How Is It posslblo for weapons of this sort to
ho ulmed at tholr targots? It Is commonly known
that in nnval servlco the guns aro held upon
their quarry by moans of oloctrlcally operated
mochnnlsma that swing and olovato tho rifles
bo that tho cross hairs of tho telescopic sights
can bo kopt right on a moving tnrgot oven though
tho sea bo rough and tho vessel roll. Tho gun
polntors are undlsturbod by this motion, and at
12,000 yards and moro aro able to do somo won
dorful shooting. Dut tho gun pointers and train
ers in tho mortar pits and tho emplacements of
tho btg rifles do not, thouiBolvos, boo tho onomy.
Yet dosplto this Booming handicap still they aro
ahlo to do some extraordinarily offectlvo work.
Tho army gun pointers near Now York, with
10-Inch disappearing rifles, havo boon 'nblo to flro
four shots In a total elapsed tlmo of loss than
ono minute, and theso wero concentrated upon a
target four mllos away bolng towod at tho rato
of something over five miles an hour. All four
shots struck tho target and actually passed
through a rcctanglo 24 foot high by 53 foot long.
At M.G00 yards tho same caliber guns nt Fortress
Monroo scorod six hits out of six shots at a mov
lng tnrgot. Tho total olapnod tlmo of tho firing
was slightly ovor two minutes, tho battorlcs scor
ing 1.4 hits per gun per mlnuto.
The science of surveying has mndo thoso
achievements posslblo, oven though, as has boon
said, tho guns and mortars must be trained and
ciovated by men who cannot soo tholr targets.
It la a well-known thoorem in plauo geometry
that tho longth of tho two sldos of a trlanglo may
bo found if tho length of tho baBo and tho degree
of the two angles formed by tho oleics in quoBtiou
with this baso aro known. In tho caso of tho
coast artlllory problem tho distant ship of tho
foo is nt tho remoto tip of tho imaginary triangle, -
and tho known baso Is tho span between two ob
serving or rango-flndlug stations. This interval
may bo a mllo or moro and, within somo limits,
tho longor tho bettor for accuracy. s
Many havo seen from afar at our coast defense
Blatlona what scorned to bo big bird boxos
mounted upon towering tubular supports or web
work of stool. There aro always two of thorn,
and ofllclally thoy are known as tho primary and
socondary range stations. In each of thorn, In
tlmo of sorvlco, thero aro at least two men. Ono
turns by mentis of n doltcately graduated
mechanism n poworful tolcscopo from right to
loft, and his function Ib to koop tho moving tar
get continually at tho point of Intersection of
two cross hairs in tho field of his Instrument.
Ills companion reads off nt prescribed intervals
tho angle mado by tho telescope with thd per
manent baso and tho far-away foo.
Tho snmo thing is being' dono nt tho other
range station nt tho opposite end of tho bnBo. A
tlmo bell rings at each of theso stations cvory
20 seconds, and at tho third stroko the man read
ing tho angular scale telophones that measure
ment to tho plotting room located whoro the
onemy cannot see It and itself In telephonic
communication with each gun or mortar division.
In tho plotting room a group of mon make uso
of the Information coming to thorn Intermittently
from tho rango-flndlug towors and by a graphic
procoss determlno with groat nicety tho dlstanco
off of tho steaming foo. Tho plotting tablo or
board whero tho Information from tho observers'
Is nppllod Is a big somlcircular affair tho curved
odgo bolng graduated to fractions of a degree,
while tho straight edgo or diameter represents
on n definite scale tho length of tho base lino
between tho two spotter towors. At ench ond
of thts baso lino Is a pivoted ruler. Ono Is called
tho primary and tho other tho secondary corre
sponding to tho rango-flndlng station with 'which
Its operator is In touch by telephone. Hero Ib
what follows:
Tho soldiers at tho primary and socondary
pivoted rulors or arms bring" tho froo ends to
ward ono another In accordance with tho sopa
rato angles tolophoned to thorn. A third man
oporates anothor ruler called tho gun arm, which
mcasuroa tho dlstanco or range, of tho axis of
this trlanglo. At tho word of command from tho
raugo ofllcor tho observors at tho two telescopes
bring thoso powerful Instruments to bear In
unison upon a chosen part of tho romoto ship.
At tho ordor "Take," tho scalo readers telephone
tho flguros to tho operators at tho plotting board.
In a few seconds tho mon In chargo thoro has
placed on a largo shoot of papor a dot at tho
point whoro tho two straight odgos meet and
has marked this pencilled point No. 1,
Again, 20 soconds later, anothor dot la mado
whoro tho shifting straight edges meot, and this
Is numborod 2. Similarly positions aro thus re
corded for No. 3 and No. 4, and If tho dlstanco
betwoon thoso dots Is uniform tho plotters know
that the target Is moving at a steady speed and
tho path dots gives a vislblo trace of tho dlrec-
Hon In which tho foo Is advancing. As yet nono
of tho weapons hnB been pointed, nor, If mortars
nro to bo used, oven boon loaded.
Tho plottors marks upon his paper a fifth point
ahead and In lino with tho four other dots. This
Is his "predicted point" whore tho onemy vessel
should ho n mlnuto later. In this Interval of
tlmo It is necessary for tho men In tho plotting
room to do a number of things necessary to make
It posslblo for tho weapons to score a hit. The
moro rnngo Is not enough to know. Let us as
sume thnt the foo is to bo attacked by means of
mortars and that tho projectiles aro to- soar
thousands of feet Into tho air upon their long
flight that may take the bettor part of two
minutes bororo plunging upon tho vulnerable
docks of tho hostile drcadnaught.
It is needful to know how long tho shells will
bo in tho air at that range; how far the target
will move during tho flight of tho missiles; how
much tho path of tho projectiles will ho Influ
enced by drift duo to their own rotation and tho
effect of tho prevailing wind; tho oxact powder
charge that will bo needed to propel tho shells
this being determined by tho range and the state
of tho atmosphere; and finally, how much ahead
tho mortars must be aimed In order to allow for
these factors. These complications are duo to
the. method of Indirect flro employed, and In this
particular the mortars are not so accurate as the
big rifles a.nd, therefore, are more difficult to
handle in order to insure good results. The final
point sot In the plotting room is No. C and two
minutes further along than No. 5, tho "predicted
point," tho latter being verified by tho angles
given by the observers at the spotter stations
When the vessel Is duly reported at tho proper
All of this has taken longer to describe than
actual performance calls for, hecauso tho error
factors which havo been Just mentioned aro tabu
lated and aro quickly -worked out graphically by
' means of cunningly devised apparatus. It must
be evident thnt In an interval of four nilnutes
a big ship 12,000 or 1C.000 yards off would not get
measurably closer, and once tho proper range Is
found and the mortars londed tho shifting rango
is quickly verified and tho guns set accordingly.
The men in tho towors and thoso in the plot
ting. room aro at work all the whllo. At doflnfto
intervals tho instructions are sent by tolephono
from tho plotting room to each battery or mortar
pit, and lest theso vocal directions bo mlsundor
stood tho flcures and orders aro visibly repro
duced. For this work tho telautograph Is em
ployed, and thus words and numbers In writing
check tho tolephono calls.
As has been said, thoro ara four mortars In
each pit, and as a" general thing thero aro four
of theso pits at each defonso station. In other
words, a salvo of 1C high oxploslvo sholls can
bo launched by Indirect flro at a foe. If but
two of theso hit tho onemy she would olthor bo
destroyed or gravely damaged, because nono of
hor decks would be ablo to withstand such an
assault. In practice tho performances of such a
battery havo been splendid. Ab a matter of rec
ord, ono mortar company has fired as many as
ton shots In 0 minutes 40 seconds, and In that In
tcrval mado six hits, whllo anothor company has
scored olght times out of ton shots during a
span of 9 minutes 28 seconds. These mortar
projectiles weigh from 800 to 1,000 pounds, and
are charged with from 30 to CO pounds of high
For tho disappearing guns tho modus operandi
differs In Bomo particulars. The tlmo of flight
of tho shot Is far shorter than In tho case of tho
mortar shell, tho powder charge Is not varied to
suit different ranges, and tho stato of tho atmos
phore Is not a deciding factor. Therofore, cor
rections aro moro easily mado, for tho rlflo, when
it does flro. Is pointed right nt Its target. Tho
principal concern of tho battory commander Is
to know tho rnngo, and this Is telephoned and
reproduced by the telautograph at tho firing sta
Tho battory commander also follows tho enemy
ship with a teloscoplc rango finder thnt employs
a short vertical Instead of a horizontal baso. This
Borvea bb a chock and at each gun thoro Is a telo
scoplc sight which Is functioned Independent of
tho weapon tho operator looking ovor tho para
pot and following continually the moving quarry.
Dy swinging his telescope horizontally ho causes
tho lateral anglo to bo Indicated at the gun stn
Hon below, and thoro tho trainer swings tho
weapon In unison and tho olevntor ralsos tho
muzzlo ngroeably to Instructions from tho range
When tho rifles have been loaded and tho mo
ment for action arrives theso groat -war docs
rlso upon t.holr steel haunches and thrust their
muzzles abovo tho heavy parapets of concrete.
Instantly thero la a thunderous boom tho spued
ing projectiles aro on their murderous mission
Dofora tho thin veil of smoko has been swept,
aside tho guns havo sunk behind cover, and but
for tho momentary flashing of their muzzles thoro
Is nothing to show tho spottors on tho hostile
craft whero tho attacking guns Ho.
"I am firmly convinced that a
break between Japan nnd tho United
Stales could como about only as tho
result of a political crime. I found
nothing In Japanese thought to lead
mo to believe thnt Japan anticipates,
oven in a romofo degree, a disturbance
of tho friendly relations between tho
two nations."
Such wero the words of Senator
Wlllard Saulsbury of Dolawaro on his
return from a trip to tho Orient. Ho
mot tho rulers and principal men of
tho two great castorn nations, Japan
and China, and devoted himself to a
study of oriental affairs.
"All of this talk of tho Japanese
peril Is to my mind vorlost humbug,"
said tho sonator. "Tho Japanese aro
vory frlondly to us, particularly tho
cducatod people. I am suro that tho
responsible men in Japan do not want
to raise troublo with tho United
States, any moro than we deslro trou
blo with Japan. The Japanese aro a
very proud and scp.Eltivo people. Thoy glory in their progress, regard tholi
rorm or government as a success, and consider their country ono of the
important nations of tho world.
"Thoy aro vory resontful of any suggestion of racial inferiority, and are
proud not only of their traditions, but of their achievements In modern
times." ,
Grass, If you tako tho word of
Prof. C. V. Piper for it, is tho great
economic necessity of tho world. Pro
fessor Piper 13 tho "grass man" of tho
department of agriculture, and his Job
is -to find the kinds that aro most
adaptable to humanity.
Botanists have described 4,000
species of grass. It Is ono of Profes
sor Piper's ambitions to try out every
one of them to ascertain what they
possess of economic valuo to any part
of the United States. It Is a huge
task. But In laboring to tho desired
end Professor Piper has already mado
astonishing discoveries, and tho great
est of tlieso is Sudan grass.
Only three years ago, as a result
of Professor Piper's experiments, Su
dan grass waB Introduced by tho de
partment of agriculture. Alrcndy It
lias created a remarkable rovlsion of
land values In some parts of Texas.
A native of tho north Pacific coast,
wheffi grass and everything else
grows thick, Charles Vancouver Piper has been an ardent student of plant
life since boyhood. At eighteen ho received the degree of bachelor of sclenco
from the University of Washington. That was in 1855.
From 1892 to 1903 ho was professor of botany and zoology at tho Wash
ington Agricultural college, and then ho was called to Washington as agros-
tologlst in charge of forage crop Investigations.
Next to King -Peter, the nwst
prominent man In Serbia Is Nikola
Pashltch, tho prime minister. Ho Is
a little gray man, sixty-eight years
of age, long-bearded, virile, and Intellectual.
Ills first public appolntmont of any
noto was that of mayor of Belgrade
In 1889. In this position ho showed
such ability that tho people- wero
ablo to see the worth of tho man, and
his advauco was rapid. Ho was sent
to Potrograd (then St. Petersburg) in
1893 as ambassador for Serbia, and
again his. ability so shono out that ho
won the admiration of all tho diplo
mats of tho Russian capital.
Twice he has been in danger of
death owing to hlB connection, or
supposed connection, with mutlnlos.
Tho first time was when still a voting
man. Then sovoral of his confeder
ates wore arrested and- shot. In 1899
ho was again accused. Ho was tried
and sentenced, but ho fought im
prisonment, nnd finally Russia stopped In and ordered his persecution to
cease. The peoplo believed in him thoroughly, and ho was mado minister
for foreign affairs. When Peter bocamo king of Serbia, PasMtcu became 1113
prime minister, and has been so over since.
"That girl Is fishing for a husband."
"Then I suppobo sho uaos a bcaullno In hopos I
01 a coou caicn.
Hot baths are better than cold
baths in tho opinion of Surgeon Gen
oral William C. Bralsted, U. S. N.
Doctor Bralsted acquired his hot
bath habit In Japan. Thero It ia con
sidered a matter of hygleno to Indulgo
in baths as hot as tho bather can en
dure Tho enthusiasts tako three and
four parbolllngs a day and Insist that
It dissolves all tho impurities on tho
skin. To tho Japaneso tho cold bath
Is a mattor of foolishness, for "how
can cold water do the Bkln any good?"
thoy ask.
Doctor Bralsted is unique in that ho
does not Book to impose his ideas on
ovorybody elso. Ho is quito willing
to let tho exponents of tho -cold bath
have tholr way, only ho wishes to bi
left alono in tho Indulgence of his t.
vorlto plunge.
"If you feel 'braced' aftor a cold
bath, why, tako it," ho says.
As for himself, Doctor Bralsted
foels bettor aftor a hot ono, and ho
takes ono every morning, winter and summer. It is so hot that it would
scald one not accustomed to It