The Torpedo Boat Flotilla of the Battleship Fleet in
Portland Harbor, Oregon

The torpedo-boat destroyer, commonly called "destroyer," is the battleship's main reliance for protection against hotile torpedo craft. The first successful use of a torpedo boat was in 1864, when Lieut. Cushing destroyed the ram Albemarle at a wharf in Plymouth, N.C. Since then this type of ship has evolved from a craft of 105 tons to one of 1,100 or 1,200 tons.

The Wainwright, authorized by Congress in 1913, built at Camden, N.J., at a cost of $825,000, and launched in 1915, may be taken as a type of the modern destroyer. This ship is 310 ft. long, 30 ft. wide, has a displacement of 1,265 tons, and a speed of 29.67 knots. It has four twin tubes for 21-in. torpedoes, 4 4-in. rapid fire guns, and carries 5 commissioned officers, 9 chief petty officers, and 87 enlisted men. It burns oil exclusively.

The torpedoes are expelled from the tubes by compressed air. A pointer sits in a seat above the tubes with a sighting gear in front of him. He must allow for the speed and course of his own ship and also of the enemy's. The torpedo, itself, is a cigar-shaped affair made of steel, is 21 in. in diameter, 17 1/2 ft. long, weighs over 2,000 pounds and costs about $7,500. It is fired by a pin which is driven against a detonator on striking a target. It is set to travel a fixed distance below the surface varying from zero to 25 feet. The range of the modern torpedo is 10,000 yds.

The torpedo boats of the United States are named from line officers who have distinguised themselves. All are equipped with wireless apparatus.

The modern destroyer can accompany a battleship anywhere. United States torpedo boats have been in the European war zone for some months.

Copyright by The Keystone View Company.

1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved

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