Puslapio vaizdai





things," which are actually of greater with the most remarkable development displacement than some destroyers and of naval policy of the past century. far larger than many above-water tor- If the German people are scientific pedo boats. He notices as he digs and methodical, they are also severely into this or that reference book that practical, and from the moment that the material for the sophistication of the new standard of naval strength statistics for popular consumption is had been legally established by the so plentiful, and the dividing line be- Navy Bill, Germany turned her attentween this type of ship and that so tion to the realization of her high ill-defined, that it is extremely difficult ideals. Side by side with the matériel to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion expansion has proceeded a movement if calculations of naval strength are of even more significance-namely, the confined to

rule-of-thumb consistent and persistent training of enumeration of ships and men.

the personnel for the new navy. In If the strength of navies is to be proportion to her strength in ships judged with any approach to accuracy, Germany maintains on a war footing something more must be taken into ac- a larger numerical force than any count than the numbers of ships in other country, not excepting Great the various loosely defined classes, of Britain. Her strength in ships is still men, and of guns. These efforts in inconsiderable. She possesses to-day the "rule of three" may serve

only ten vessels which cau legitifoundation, but inquiry must be mately be described as battleships. pressed further. The material for These ten vessels are of 13,000 tons such an investigation, it will be found, displacement only, and each carries is at once scanty and confusing. Tue four 11-inch guns in association with only readily accessible basis for a coin- fourteen 6.6-inch quickfirers. Well parison of naval power is supplied by armored, judged by the pre-Dreadthe proportion of the ships and person- nought standard, and of admirable denel which are associated constantly in sign, in fighting power they undoubtpreparation for war-in other words, edly represent good value for the sums in the number of ships kept perma- spent upon their construction. They nently in commission. Other factors are, however, the only ships under the may also enter into the calculation, German flag which can be regarded as such as the degree to which this or battleships, and they are not now of that race has the fighting edge, the ef- the first class. Germany possesses ficiency of the direction and organi- fourteen other "battleships" less than zation, and the period during which twenty-five years old, but in these days officers and men serve, always less of large displacements and great conunder conscription than under a vol. centration of fighting power, they are untary system of national service. In little better than coast-defence vessels. Great Britain, for instance, the aver- Indeed, they belong to the period age time that a seaman serves is over when the German Fleet was a coastten years, and in the German fleet it defence force. Their main armament is three years-a factor of no mean im- is considerably inferior to that which portance.

is carried by the best British cruisers. But for the present purpose attention All these ships are the antithesis to may well be confined to the active the Dreadnought. The German naval peace standing of the European navies authorities in their design sacrificed as a guide to their value as fighting the primary armament in order to obmachines. Thus we come face to face tain a heavy secondary armament.


To-day Germany, in common with other navy departments, is eliminating —or perhaps it is better put as subordinating—the secondary guns in order to obtain a hea vier concentration of big-gun fire in accordance with the allbig-gun principle.

The inferiority of existing German matériel becomes a matter of striking significance when it is considered in direct contrast to the present organization of the German Navy. The naval authorities at the Wilhelmstrasse are, and have for some time past been, cognizant of the existing inferiority of their armored ships; hence the decision to build Dreadnoughts. But nevertheless the existing fleet is being tuned up to a higher note of efficiency. Though Germany possesses only ten ships which are worthy of being regarded as battleships, she fills out her active fleet to-day with smaller vessels, and keeps a force of sixteen of these battleships and coast defence ships in commission and actively employed-on a war footing." By this means she is to-day training the officers and the men who will be required for manning the large vessels of the first class which are now under construction. German policy is the direct opposite to that which was formerly followed in England and the defects of which were glaringly illustrated in the downall of the Russian Fleet. Russia scoured the whole world for ships and neglected to train her personnel. In a relatively short time she acquired an immense amount of war matériel, and then when the crisis in her history arrived it was found that the resources in officers and men were inadequate, and tillers of the soil were suddenly pressed into the na val service, with little or no train

ing, while of trained direction at headquarters there was none. In Germany naval expansion has proceeded on definite, well-calculated lines. In such ships as she possesses Germany is teaching her officers the higher art of naval warfare. As

ships are completed this

personnel will be drafted into them, and thus the naval power of Germany may prove to be greater actually than the mere tabular enumeration of her new matériel resources would suggest.

This work of building up tlie German Navy has been in progress for upwards of ten years, and now a further development of her naval policy has become apparent. In the Navy Act of 1900 it was admitted that Germany could not hope to rival the greatest naval Power-Great Britain-in her marine resources. This inferiority was to be compensated for "by the individual training of the crews and by tactical training by practice in large bodies.” At the time when these words were dictated to the German nation, then unwilling converts to the big navy idea, Great Britain possessed in British waters one poorly organiized and inadequately trained naval force only, and that consisted of eight battleships and four cruisers largely navned by youths and boys, and without any auxiliary vessels or torpedo craft in association with it. In the meantime the efficiency of the British Fleet has been increased, the temper of the British people has been roused, and Germany's original hopes and ambitions are further from realization today than they were ten years ago.

What could Germany do in such circumstances? In consequence of various limitations financial and industrial, she could not hope to realize her early ambitions and gain the advantage from them which had been anticipated. Thus arose the new and startling development of German pol

1 It should be added that from October to March the German High Sea Fleet is manned with practically only nucleus crews, as in the former month nearly one-third of the men go into reserve, and their places are taken by newly entered conscripts-men entirely fresh to the sea routine.


icy. Month by month Germany and large, well-armored cruisers with Austria have been drawing closer to- speeds approaching twenty knots. gether. They already possess armies Apart from these three vessels, Auson a war footing of over seven million tria possesses six other ships carrying

Germany's Fleet is rapidly the same calibre heavy gun, but of growing, while Austria's Fleet to-day considerably smaller displacement, is one of the most insignificant in ma- three being of 8300 tons only and the tériel strength in Europe; it has not remainder of only 5500 tons. The Ausyet begun to grow. Whether at the trian Navy also includes two arinored direct suggestion of Germany or not, cruisers and five protected cruisers, Austria is now about to embark upon The authorities have now under cona policy of naval expansion which will struction three ships which merit the eventually raise her to a first-class na- designation of battleships. They disval Power. This is an event of the place 14,500 tons and will mount four first magnitude. Austria-Hungary 12-inch and eight 9.4-inch guns—they has only a small coastline and no colo- are virtually small Lord Nelsons and nies, and her trade has never for a their fighting power can be judged moment been threatened. Austria has from their displacement. Two of no need for a defensive Navy. Her these ships, it is officially hoped, will new Navy will be an offensive agent. be completed in 1911 and the third in

The importance of the existing naval 1912. Thus three years hence Austria defence of the Austro-Hungarian Ew- will possess a number of coast-defence pire may be judged from the fact that ships and protected cruisers with the total outlay on the fleet amounts to three battleships of the second class. a little over two and a half millions This will be the standard of Austrian sterling annually, which is equivalent strength three years hence. In Austo less than half the expenditure of tria it has hitherto taken four or five Italy, about one-fifth that of France, years to build even a battleship of and one-eighth that of Germany. The moderate displacement owing to the expenditure has been increasing for modest facilities for, construction the past two or three years, but the which exist and the large dependence Austrian Navy remains one of the of the Navy upon Krupp's establishsmallest in Europe. In these circum- ment for its armaments. It is possistances it is curious to read the won- ble, indeed probable, that next year derful stories which have lately ap- Austria will lay down one ship of the peared in the Press to Austrian Dreadnought type and another in 1911, Dreadnoughts as though they were a with a third in 1912, and it will occafait accompli. It is said that three of sion little surprise if, with a doubling these ships will be completed by 1912. of her naval expenditure, these ships It is suggested that in this period of are completed in three years. That three years Austria will develop into German yards will assist by building

powerful ally of Germany. All for Austria is an unlikely contingency these fanciful imaginings arise from in view of the pressure of work they ignorance of the fundamental facts. are now experiencing.

To-day Austria has not a single ves- The dominating fact is that Austria sel which can be legitimately desig- is preparing, as Germany has been nated a battleship. The fleet includes preparing, for the birth of the great three modern vessels of 10,500 tons, fleet of to-morrow. Austria the biggest gun in which is a 9.4 ceeding on the same lines as Germany. weapon of 40 calibres--they are really While the plans for the expansion of



[ocr errors]

is pro

the fleet are being completed, the Aus- Germany has in the meantime gartrian authorities are devoting their at- nered. The German naval authorities tention to the utilization of the exist- were compelled to spend their limited ing resources for the training of offi- resources upon comparatively small cers and men who will be drafted to ships and to build up the whole naval the new ships of maximum power organization on a cramped scale. The which are about to be built. No inci- result is that in Germany a great deal dent of recent date illustrates more of the work which was done in the conclusively the character of the Aus- past ten years, particularly in respect trian naval organization than the inci- of dock construction, harbor developdents of last spring. When the an- ment, and the building of the Kiel Canexation of Herzegovina and Bosnia nal-the essential strategic link bewas decided upon, Austria not only tween the North Sea and the Balticmobilized a large military force, but has to be done over again on a larger, her existing Navy was placed upon a a Dreadnought, plan, at a colossal exwar footing. The order for mobiliza- penditure. Austria will undoubtedly tion was received at Pola on the 15th avoid these error's. The temper in of March: 10,000 reservists were called which the new problems are being upon suddenly to join the fleet in the faced is shown by the decision to adshortest possible time. It was antici. vance at one step from the construcpated that about 20 per cent. would fail tion of small battleships of 14,500 tons to respond. The actual defection to Dreadnought vessels of the first class amounted to only 5 per cent., and this displacing 19,000 to 20,000 tons, and small margin was further reduced by not inferior in armament, speed, or rathe large number of volunteers who dius of action to the vessels now being came in. Within twenty-four hours of designed for the British Navy. It is the order being issued by the Marine true that only the preliminaries in conDepartment of the Ministry of War, nection with the new programme of the reserve squadron of Austria was expansion have yet been settled, but completely manned, and within four next year the execution of these plans days the whole Austrian Navy was or- will be commenced. Whatever may ganized as for war, from the largest be the feelings of Italy, her neighbor vessels down to the comparatively and ally but something less thau small ships which are employed in the friend, Austria-Hungary is about to defence of the Danube. This success- enter the lists as a first-class naval ful mobilization of the Austrian Navy Power. marks the beginning of a new era in It is the very gravity of the situathe Adriatic and in distant waters. tion from the British point of view

Patiently, economically, and maybe which condemns exaggeration. Toslowly the Austrian Fleet is rising to day Austria is of little account as a the new aspirations, and the day is naval Power; not single Dreadnow not very far distant when Austria nought has been laid down, but she is will stand beside Germany as one of getting ready for the to-morrow, big the great Naval Powers of Europe. with promise if only Germany remains She has adopted the German standard faithful and Italy can be wooed, caof naval efficiency. She stands to-day joled or forced into a line of comwhere Germany stood ten years ago mon action. The trend of events is inwhen the first of the Navy Acts passed dicated by the exclusive exchange of the Reichstag; but she has the advan- courtesies between the Austrian and tage of the bitter experience which German Fleets at Kiel. As a sequel


to the recent events in the Near East having shown the way, Italy, with when Germany stood behind Austria, halting step, is following. She inan Austrian squadron, it is reported, tended to lay down two Dreadnoughts; is about to visit the Baltic. Whatever in the past few weeks she has decided the size of the actual force which vis- to double this number and embark on its Kiel, the fact to be realized is that an ambitious programme. It will ocAustria is now maintaining in full cupy six or ten years probably, unless commission in proportion to her exist- some way out of the present financial ing strength a larger force than any difficulties is discovered; in Germany other continental Navy, and, as events salvation has been found in loans. have shown, the machinery for mob- But the main fact is that the Italian ilization is well designed and in good Navy is to be larger and that Italy is working order. Austria may not com- one of the three allies. plete a Dreadnought for three or four In parenthesis and as a fitting part years. But the fact to be insisted in any consideration of the standing upon is that she is treading the same of the navies of Europe, reference may road as Germany. While the House be made to the Russian and French of Commons is discussing a mathemat Fleets. The first named can for the ically accurate two-Power standard, present be ignored. Little progress in and debating whether the United putting the Navy in order has been States does or does not come into the made since the close of the disastrous calculations, the significant develop- struggle in the Far East, and even if ment is almost at our doors where there were a fleet there is no machinGermany, Austria, and-less cordially, ery for organizing victory-no directit is true-Italy are clasping hands ing brain. The French Navy is passing and combining to form a naval com- through a crisis. The fleet, such as it bination, not of to-day, but in this is, is struggling against adversity of generation, which must powerfully in- fortune and perversity of Ministers. fluence British naval policy.

Recent revelations have shown the naItaly is the sixth naval Power of tion that the administration in Paris the world, ranking now after Japan in and at the ports is unsound, that a matériel strength. Her Navy has large proportion of the money annually been the victim of financial strin- voted for the fleet is wasted, and that gency, but though the funds for ship- the matériel-ships of all classes—is building are restricted and the coal neglected and defective. Six battleavailable for cruising is limited, a ships form the Active Squadron, with large proportion of her resources are six older ones in reserve, in the Medin training during the summer months. iterranean, and there are six armored Nine battleships and four armored cruisers and some coast-defence ships cruisers form the active force, fully in the Channel. In proportion to her manned for seven months in the year, nominal strength, France is not mainwith a reserve squadron which com- taining a fleet comparable with that prises three older battleships. A fair of Germany, and her fitness to win proportion of torpedo craft are also must deteriorate year by year. fully manned during the summer. It is one of the unbappy chances of proportion to her existing matériel diplomacy that Great Britain should strength and her financial resources, be a party to a triple entente in which Italy, though as a naval Power she has she herself has to bear practically all receded of late years, is not neglecting the naval burden. The Russian Navy the war training of her fleet. Austria is still in the slough of despond, and


« AnkstesnisTęsti »