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Title: Aircraft and Submarines - The Story of the Invention, Development, and Present-Day - Uses of War's Newest Weapons
Author: Abbot, Willis J. (Willis John), 1863-1934
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Aircraft and Submarines - The Story of the Invention, Development, and Present-Day - Uses of War's Newest Weapons" ***

[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected.
Hyphenation and accentuation have been standardised, all
other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling
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[Illustration: _Fighting by Sea and Sky._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]


The Story of the Invention, Development, and Present-Day Uses of
War's Newest Weapons



Author of "The Story of Our Army," "The Story of Our Navy," "The
Nations at War"

_With Eight Color Plates and 100 Other Illustrations_

  G. P. Putnam's Sons
  New York and London
  The Knickerbocker Press

  Copyright, 1918

  The Knickerbocker Press, New York


Not since gunpowder was first employed in warfare has so
revolutionary a contribution to the science of slaughtering men been
made as by the perfection of aircraft and submarines. The former
have had their first employment in this world-wide war of the
nations. The latter, though in the experimental stage as far back as
the American Revolution, have in this bitter contest been for the
first time brought to so practical a stage of development as to
exert a really appreciable influence on the outcome of the struggle.

Comparatively few people appreciate how the thought of navigating
the air's dizziest heights and the sea's gloomiest depths has
obsessed the minds of inventors. From the earliest days of history
men have grappled with the problem, yet it is only within two
hundred years for aircraft and one hundred for submarines that any
really intelligent start has been made upon its solution. The men
who really gave practical effect to the vague theories which others
set up--in aircraft the Wrights, Santos-Dumont, and Count Zeppelin;
in submarines Lake and Holland--are either still living, or have
died so recently that their memory is still fresh in the minds of

In this book the author has sketched swiftly the slow stages by
which in each of these fields of activity success has been attained.
He has collated from the immense mass of records of the activities
of both submarines and aircraft enough interesting data to show the
degree of perfection and practicability to which both have been
brought. And he has outlined so far as possible from existing
conditions the possibilities of future usefulness in fields other
than those of war of these new devices.

The most serious difficulty encountered in dealing with the present
state and future development of aircraft is the rapidity with which
that development proceeds. Before a Congressional Committee last
January an official testified that grave delay in the manufacture of
airplanes for the army had been caused by the fact that types
adopted a scant three months before had become obsolete, because of
experience on the European battlefields, and later inventions before
the first machines could be completed. There may be exaggeration in
the statement but it is largely true. Neither the machines nor the
tactics employed at the beginning of the war were in use in its
fourth year. The course of this evolution, with its reasons, are
described in this volume.

Opportunities for the peaceful use of airplanes are beginning to
suggest themselves daily. After the main body of this book was in
type the Postmaster-General of the United States called for bids for
an aërial mail service between New York and Washington--an act urged
upon the Government in this volume. That service contemplates a
swift carriage of first-class mail at an enhanced price--the
tentative schedule being three hours, and a postage fee of
twenty-five cents an ounce. There can be no doubt of the success of
the service, its value to the public, and its possibilities of
revenue to the post-office. Once its usefulness is established it
will be extended to routes of similar length, such as New York and
Boston, New York and Buffalo, or New York and Pittsburgh. The mind
suggests no limit to the extension of aërial service, both postal
and passenger, in the years of industrial activity that shall follow
the war.

In the preparation of this book the author has made use of many
records of personal experiences of those who have dared the air's
high altitudes and the sea's stilly depths. For permission to use
certain of these he wishes to express his thanks to the Century Co.,
for extracts from _My Airships_ by Santos-Dumont; to Doubleday, Page
& Co., for extracts from _Flying for France_, by James R. McConnell;
to Charles Scribner's Sons, for material drawn from _With the French
Flying Corps_, by Carroll Dana Winslow; to _Collier's Weekly_, for
certain extracts from interviews with Wilbur Wright; to _McClure's
Magazine_, for the account of Mr. Ray Stannard Baker's trip in a
Lake submarine; to Hearst's International Library, and to the
_Scientific American_, for the use of several illustrations.

                                                    W. J. A.

NEW YORK, 1918.


    PREFACE                                                        iii


     I.--Introductory                                                3

    II.--The Earliest Flying Men                                    14

   III.--The Services of Santos-Dumont                              39

    IV.--The Count von Zeppelin                                     59

     V.--The Development of the Airplane                            82

    VI.--The Training of the Aviator                               103

   VII.--Some Methods of the War in the Air                        123

  VIII.--Incidents of the War in the Air                           159

    IX.--The United States at War                                  182

     X.--Some Features of Aërial Warfare                           207

    XI.--Beginnings of Submarine Invention                         235

   XII.--The Coming of Steam and Electricity                       256

  XIII.--John P. Holland and Simon Lake                            271

   XIV.--The Modern Submarine                                      294

    XV.--Aboard a Submarine                                        318

   XVI.--Submarine Warfare                                         333

  XVII.--The Future of the Submarine                               362

         Index                                                     383


  Fighting by Sea and Sky                               _Frontispiece_
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  Dropping a Depth Bomb                                              4
      Painting by Lieut. Farré

  A Battle in Mid-air                                                8
      Painting by Lieut. Farré

  Victory in the Clouds                                             12
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  The Fall of the Boche                                             16
      Painting by Lieut. Farré

  Lana's Vacuum Balloon                                             18

  Montgolfier's Experimental Balloon                                21

  A Rescue at Sea                                                   24
      Painting by Lieut. Farré

  Montgolfier's Passenger Balloon                                   27

  Charles's Balloon                                                 31

  A French Observation Balloon on Fire                              32

  Roberts Brothers' Dirigible                                       34

  Giffard's Dirigible                                               37

  A British Kite Balloon                                            40

  British "Blimp"                                                   40
      Photographed from Above.

  A Kite Balloon Rising from the Hold of a Ship                     48

  The Giant and the Pigmies                                         60
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  A French "Sausage"                                                64
      Photo by Press Illustrating Co.

  A British "Blimp"                                                 64

  The Death of a Zeppelin                                           72
      Photo by Paul Thompson

  A German Dirigible, Hansa Type                                    76

  A Wrecked Zeppelin at Salonika                                    76
      Photo by Press Illustrating Co.

  British Aviators about to Ascend                                  80

  Langley's Airplane                                                84

  A French Airdrome near the Front                                  84

  Lilienthal's Glider                                               86

  A German War Zeppelin                                             88

  French Observation Balloon Seeking Submarines                     88
      Photo by Press Illustrating Co.

  Chanute's Glider                                                  90

  A German Taube Pursued by British Planes                          92

  The First Wright Glider                                           93

  Pilcher's Glider                                                  94

  Comparative Strength of Belligerents in Airplanes at the Opening
    of the War                                                      96

  Comparative Strength of Belligerents in Dirigibles at the Opening
    of the War                                                      96

  The Wright Glider                                                 98

  At a French Airplane Base                                        100
      International Film Service

  Stringfellow's Airplane                                          101

  The "America"--Built to Cross the Atlantic                       104

  A Wright Airplane in Flight                                      104

  First Americans to Fly in France                                 108
     The Lafayette Escadrille

  Distinguishing Marks of American Planes                          116

  What an Aviator must Watch                                       116

  A Caproni Triplane                                               124

  A Caproni Triplane Showing Propellers and Fuselage               124

  The Terror that Flieth by Night                                  128
      Painting by Wm. J. Wilson

  A Curtis Seaplane Leaving a Battleship                           132
      Photo by Press Illustrating Co.

  Launching a Hydroaëroplane                                       132

  At a United States Training Camp                                 138

  A "Blimp" with Gun Mounted on Top                                138

  Aviators Descending in Parachutes from a Balloon Struck by
    Incendiary Shells                                              140

  The Balloon from which the Aviators Fled                         140

  German Air Raiders over England                                  144

  One Aviator's Narrow Escape                                      148

  Downed in the Enemy's Country                                    156

  Position of Gunner in Early French Machine                       160

  Later Type of French Scout                                       160
      Photo by Kadel & Herbert

  A French Scout Airplane                                          168
      Photo by Press Illustrating Co.

  "Showing Off." A Nieuport Performing Aërial Acrobatics around a
    Heavier Bombing Machine                                        168

  An Air Raid on a Troop Train                                     174
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  A Burning Balloon, Photographed from a Parachute by the Escaping
    Balloonist                                                     176

  A Caproni Biplane Circling the Woolworth Building                184

  Cruising at 2000 Feet. One Biplane Photographed from Another     184

  An Air Battle in Progress                                        192

  A Curtis Hydroaroplane                                           192

  The U. S. Aviation School at Mineola                             208

  Miss Ruth Law at Close of her Chicago to New York Flight         216

  A French Aviator between Flights                                 216

  A German "Gotha"--Their Favorite Type                            224

  A French Monoplane                                               232

  A German Scout Brought to Earth in France                        232

  A Gas Attack Photographed from an Airplane                       240

  A French Nieuport Dropping a Bomb                                244

  A Bomb-Dropping Taube                                            248

  A Captured German Fokker Exhibited at the Invalides              252

  A British Seaplane with Folding Wings                            252

  British Anti-Aircraft Guns                                       256

  An Anti-Aircraft Outpost                                         264

  A Coast Defense Anti-Aircraft Gun                                264

  The Submarine's Perfect Work                                     270
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  Types of American Aircraft                                       272

  For Anti-Aircraft Service                                        288

  The Latest French Aircraft Guns                                  288

  Modern German Airplane Types                                     296

  A German Submarine Mine-Layer Captured by the British            304

  The Exterior of First German Submarine                           312

  The Interior of First German Submarine, Showing Appliances for
    Man-Power                                                      312

  A Torpedo Designed by Fulton                                     320

  The Method of Attack by Nautilus                                 320

  The Capture of a U-Boat                                          324
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  A British Submarine                                              336

  Sectional View of the Nautilus                                   336

  U. S. Submarine H-3 aground on California Coast                  344

  Salvaging H-3. Views I, II, and III                              348

  U. S. Submarine D-1 off Weehawken                                352

  A Submarine Built for Spain in the Cape Cod Canal                356

  A Critical Moment                                                360
      Painting by John E. Whiting

  A Submarine Built for Chili Passing through Cape Cod Canal       364

  A Submarine Entrapped by Nets                                    368

  Diagram of a German Submarine Mine-Layer Captured by British     372

  A Submarine Discharging a Torpedo                                374

  A German Submarine in Three Positions                            376

  Sectional View of a British Submarine                            380




It was at Mons in the third week of the Great War. The grey-green
German hordes had overwhelmed the greater part of Belgium and were
sweeping down into France whose people and military establishment
were all unprepared for attack from that quarter. For days the
little British army of perhaps 100,000 men, that forlorn hope which
the Germans scornfully called "contemptible," but which man for man
probably numbered more veteran fighters than any similar unit on
either side, had been stoutly holding back the enemy's right wing
and fighting for the delay that alone could save Paris. At Mons they
had halted, hoping that here was the spot to administer to von
Kluck, beating upon their front, the final check. The hope was
futile. Looking back upon the day with knowledge of what General
French's army faced--a knowledge largely denied to him--it seems
that the British escape from annihilation was miraculous. And indeed
it was due to a modern miracle--the conquest of the air by man in
the development of the airplane.

General French was outnumbered and in danger of being flanked on his
left flank. His right he thought safe, for it was in contact with
the French line which extended eastward along the bank of the Somme
to where the dark fortress of Namur frowned on the steeps formed by
the junction of that river with the Meuse. At that point the French
line bent to the south following the course of the latter river.

Namur was expected to hold out for weeks. Its defence lasted but
three days! As a matter of fact it did not delay the oncoming
Germans a day, for they invested it and drove past in their fierce
assault upon Joffre's lines. Enormously outnumbered, the French were
broken and forced to retreat. They left General French's right flank
in the air, exposed to envelopment by von Kluck who was already
reaching around the left flank. The German troops were ample in
number to surround the British, cut them off from all support, and
crush or capture them all. This indeed they were preparing to do
while General French, owing to some mischance never yet explained,
was holding his ground utterly without knowledge that his allies had
already retired leaving his flank without protection.

[Illustration: Photo by Peter A. Juley.

_Dropping a Depth Bomb._

_From the Painting by Lieutenant Farré._]

When that fatal information arrived belatedly at the British
headquarters it seemed like a death warrant. The right of the line
had already been exposed for more than half-a-day. It was
inexplicable that it had not already been attacked. It was
unbelievable that the attack would not fall the next moment. But how
would it be delivered and where, and what force would the enemy
bring to it? Was von Kluck lulling the British into a false sense
of security by leaving the exposed flank unmenaced while he gained
their rear and cut off their retreat? Questions such as these
demanded immediate answer. Ten years before the most dashing scouts
would have clattered off to the front and would have required a day,
perhaps more, to complete the necessary reconnaissance. But though
of all nations, except of course the utterly negligent United
States, Great Britain had least developed her aviation corps, there
were attached to General French's headquarters enough airmen to meet
this need. In a few minutes after the disquieting news arrived the
beat of the propellers rose above the din of the battlefield and the
airplanes appeared above the enemy's lines. An hour or two sufficed
to gather the necessary facts, the fliers returned to headquarters,
and immediately the retreat was begun.

It was a beaten army that plodded back to the line of the Marne. Its
retreat at times narrowly approached a rout. But the army was not
crushed, annihilated. It remained a coherent, serviceable part of
the allied line in the successful action speedily fought along the
Marne. But had it not been for the presence of the airmen the
British expeditionary force would have been wiped out then and

The battle of Mons gave the soldiers a legend which still
persists--that of the ghostly English bowmen of the time of Edward
the Black Prince who came back from their graves to save that field
for England and for France. Thousands of simple souls believe that
legend to-day. But it is no whit more unbelievable than the story of
an army saved by a handful of men flying thousands of feet above the
field would have been had it been told of a battle in our Civil War.
The world has believed in ghosts for centuries and the Archers of
Mons are the legitimate successors of the Great Twin Brethren at the
Battle of Lake Regillus. But Cæsar, Napoleon, perhaps the elder von
Moltke himself would have scoffed at the idea that men could turn
themselves into birds to spy out the enemy's dispositions and save a
sorely menaced army.

When this war has passed into history it will be recognized that its
greatest contributions to military science have been the development
and the use of aircraft and submarines. There have, of course, been
other features in the method of waging war which have been novel
either in themselves, or in the gigantic scale upon which they have
been employed. There is, for example, nothing new about trench
warfare. The American who desires to satisfy himself about that need
only to visit the Military Park at Vicksburg, or the country about
Petersburg or Richmond, to recognize that even fifty years ago our
soldiers understood the art of sheltering themselves from bullet and
shrapnel in the bosom of Mother Earth. The trench warfare in
Flanders, the Argonne, and around Verdun has been novel only in the
degree to which it has been developed and perfected. Concrete-lined
trenches, with spacious and well-furnished bomb-proofs, with
phonographs, printing presses, and occasional dramatic performances
for lightening the soldiers' lot present an impressive elaboration
of the muddy ditches of Virginia and Mississippi. Yet after all the
boys of Grant and Lee had the essentials of trench warfare well in
mind half a century before Germany, France, and England came to
grips on the long line from the North Sea to the Vosges.

Asphyxiating gas, whether liberated from a shell, or released along
a trench front to roll slowly down before a wind upon its
defenders, was a novelty of this war. But in some degree it was
merely a development of the "stinkpot" which the Chinese have
employed for years. So too the tear-bomb, or lachrymatory bomb,
which painfully irritated the eyes of all in its neighbourhood when
it burst, filling them with tears and making the soldiers
practically helpless in the presence of a swift attack. These two
weapons of offence, and particularly the first, because of the
frightful and long-continuing agony it inflicts upon its victims,
fascinated the observer, and awakened the bitter protests of those
who held that an issue at war might be determined by civilized
nations without recourse to engines of death and anguish more
barbaric than any known to the red Indians, or the most savage
tribes of Asia. Neither of these devices, nor for that matter the
cognate one of fire spurted like a liquid from a hose upon a
shrinking enemy, can be shown to have had any appreciable effect
upon the fortunes of any great battle. Each, as soon as employed by
any one belligerent, was quickly seized by the adversary, and the
respiratory mask followed fast upon the appearance of the chlorine
gas. Whatever the outcome of the gigantic conflict may be, no one
will claim that any of these devices had contributed greatly to the

But the airplane revolutionized warfare on land. The submarine has
made an almost equal revolution in naval warfare.

Had the airplane been known in the days of our Civil War some of its
most picturesque figures would have never risen to eminence or at
least would have had to win their places in history by efforts of an
entirely different sort. There is no place left in modern military
tactics for the dashing cavalry scout of the type of Sheridan,
Custer, Fitz Lee, or Forrest. The airplane, soaring high above the
lines of the enemy, brings back to headquarters in a few hours
information that in the old times took a detachment of cavalry days
to gather. The "screen of cavalry" that in bygone campaigns
commanders used to mask their movements no longer screens nor masks.
A general moves with perfect knowledge that his enemy's aircraft
will report to their headquarters his roads, his strength, and his
probable destination as soon as his vanguard is off. During the
Federal advance upon Richmond, Stonewall Jackson, most brilliant of
the generals of that war, repeatedly slipped away from the Federal
front, away from the spot where the Federal commanders confidently
supposed him to be, and was found days later in the Valley of the
Shenandoah, threatening Washington or menacing the Union rear and
its communications. The war was definitely prolonged by this
Confederate dash and elusiveness--none of which would have been
possible had the Union forces possessed an aviation corps.

[Illustration: _A Battle in Mid-air._

(_Note rifleman on wing of airplane._)

_From the painting by Lieutenant Farré._

Photo by Peter A. Juley.]

It is yet to be shown conclusively that as offensive engines
aircraft have any great value. The tendency of the military
authorities of every side to minimize the damage they have suffered
makes any positive conclusion on this subject difficult and
dangerous at this moment. The airplane by day or the Zeppelin by
night appears swiftly and mysteriously, drops its bombs from a
height of several thousand feet, and takes its certain flight
through the boundless sky to safety. The aggressor cannot tell
whether his bombs have found a fitting target. He reports flaming
buildings left behind him, but whether they are munition factories,
theatres, or primary schools filled with little children he cannot
tell. Nor does he know how quickly the flames were extinguished, or
the amount of damage done. The British boast of successful air raids
upon Cuxhaven, Zeebrugge, Essen, and Friedrichshaven. But if we take
German official reports we must be convinced that the damage done
was negligible in its relation to the progress of the war. In their
turn the Germans brag mightily of the deeds of their Zeppelins over
London, and smaller British towns. But the sum and substance of
their accomplishment, according to the British reports, has been the
slaughter and mutilation of a number of civilians--mostly women and
children--and the bloody destruction of many humble working-class

At this writing, December, 1917, it is not recorded that any
battleship, munition factory, any headquarters, great government
building, or fortress has been destroyed or seriously injured by the
activities of aircraft of either type. This lack of precise
information may be due to the censor rather than to any lack of
great deeds on the part of airmen. We do know of successful attacks
on submarines, though the military authorities are chary about
giving out the facts. But as scouts, messengers, and guides for
hidden batteries attacking unseen targets, aviators have compelled
the rewriting of the rules of military strategy. About this time,
however, it became apparent that the belligerents intended to
develop the battleplanes. Particularly was this true of the Allies.
The great measure of success won by the German submarines and the
apparent impossibility of coping adequately with those weapons of
death once they had reached the open sea, led the British and the
Americans to consider the possibility of destroying them in their
bases and destroying the bases as well. But Kiel and Wilhelmshaven
were too heavily defended to make an attack by sea seem at all
practicable. The lesser ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend had been
successfully raided from the air and made practically useless as
submarine bases. Discussion therefore was strong of making like
raids with heavier machines carrying heavier guns and dropping more
destructive bombs upon the two chief lurking places of the
submarines. While no conclusion had been reached as to this strategy
at the time of the publication of this book, both nations were busy
building larger aircraft probably for use in such an attack.

         *       *       *       *       *

The submarine has exerted upon the progress of the war an influence
even more dominant than that of aircraft. It has been a positive
force both offensive and defensive. It has been Germany's only
potent weapon for bringing home to the British the privations and
want which war entails upon a civilian population, and at the same
time guarding the German people from the fullest result of the
British blockade. It is no overstatement to declare that but for the
German submarines the war would have ended in the victory of the
Allies in 1916.

We may hark back to our own Civil War for an illustration of the
crushing power of a superior navy not qualified by any serviceable
weapon in the hands of the weaker power.

Historians have very generally failed to ascribe to the Federal
blockade of Confederate ports its proportionate influence on the
outcome of that war. The Confederates had no navy. Their few naval
vessels were mere commerce destroyers, fleeing the ships of the
United States navy and preying upon unarmed merchantmen. With what
was rapidly developed into the most powerful navy the world had ever
seen, the United States Government from the very beginning of the
war locked the Confederate States in a wall of iron. None might pass
going in or out, except by stealth and at the peril of property and
life. Outside the harbour of every seaport in the control of the
Confederates the blockading men-of-war lurked awaiting the blockade
runners. Their vigilance was often eluded, of course, yet
nevertheless the number of cargoes that slipped through was
painfully inadequate to meet the needs of the fenced-in States.
Clothing, medicines, articles of necessary household use were denied
to civilians. Cannon, rifles, saltpetre, and other munitions of war
were withheld from the Confederate armies. While the ports of the
North were bustling with foreign trade, grass grew on the
cobble-stoned streets along the waterfronts of Charleston and
Savannah. Slow starvation aided the constant pounding of the
Northern armies in reducing the South to subjection.

Had the Confederacy possessed but a few submarines of modern type
this situation could not have persisted. Then, as to-day, neutral
nations were eager to trade with both belligerents. There were then
more neutrals whose interests would have compelled the observance of
the laws of blockade, which in the present war are flagrantly
violated by all belligerents with impunity. A submarine raid which
would have sunk or driven away the blockading fleet at the entrance
to a single harbour would have resulted in opening that harbour to
the unrestricted uses of neutral ships until the blockade could be
re-established and formal notice given to all powers--a formality
which in those days, prior to the existence of cables, would have
entailed weeks, perhaps months, of delay.

How serious such an interruption to the blockade was then considered
was shown by the trepidation of the Union naval authorities over the
first victories of the _Merrimac_ prior to the providential arrival
of the _Monitor_ in Hampton Roads. It was then thought that the
Confederate ram would go straight to Wilmington, Charleston, and
Savannah, destroy or drive away the blockaders, and open the
Confederacy to the trade of the world.

Even then men dreamed of submarines, as indeed they have since the
days of the American Revolution. Of the slow development of that
engine of war to its present effectiveness we shall speak more fully
in later chapters. Enough now to say that had the Confederacy
possessed boats of the U-53 type the story of our Civil War might
have had a different ending. The device which the Allies have
adopted to-day of blockading a port or ports by posting their ships
several hundred miles away would have found no toleration among
neutrals none too friendly to the United States, and vastly stronger
in proportion to the power of this nation than all the neutrals
to-day are to the strength of the Allies.

[Illustration: _Victory in the Clouds._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]

From the beginning of the Great War in Europe the fleets of the
Teutonic alliance were locked up in port by the superior floating
forces of the Entente. Such sporadic dashes into the arena of
conflict as the one made by the German High Fleet, bringing on the
Battle of Jutland, had but little bearing on the progress of the
war. But the steady, persistent malignant activity of the German
submarines had everything to do with it. They mitigated the
rigidity of the British blockade by keeping the blockaders far from
the ports they sought to seal. They preyed on the British fleets by
sinking dreadnoughts, battleships, and cruisers in nearly all of the
belligerent seas. If the British navy justified its costly power by
keeping the German fleet practically imprisoned in its fortified
harbours, the German submarines no less won credit and glory by
keeping even that overwhelming naval force restricted in its
movements, ever on guard, ever in a certain sense on the defensive.
And meanwhile these underwater craft so preyed upon British
foodships that in the days of the greatest submarine activity
England was reduced to husbanding her stores of food with almost as
great thrift and by precisely the same methods as did Germany
suffering from the British blockade.

Aircraft and submarines! Twin terrors of the world's greatest war!
The development, though by no means the final development, of dreams
that men of many nations have dreamed throughout the centuries! They
are two of the outstanding features of the war; two of its legacies
to mankind. How much the legacy may be worth in peaceful times is
yet to be determined. The airplane and the dirigible at any rate
seem already to promise useful service to peaceful man. Already the
flier is almost as common a spectacle in certain sections of our
country as the automobile was fifteen years ago. The submarine, for
economic reasons, promises less for the future in the way of
peaceful service, notwithstanding the exploits of the _Deutschland_
in the ocean-carrying trade. But perhaps it too will find its place
in industry when awakened man shall be willing to spend as much
treasure, as much genius, as much intelligent effort, and as much
heroic self-sacrifice in organizing for the social good as in the
last four years he has expended in its destruction.



The conquest of the air has been the dream of mankind for uncounted
centuries. As far back as we have historic records we find stories
of the attempts of men to fly. The earliest Greek mythology is full
of aeronautical legends, and the disaster which befell Icarus and
his wings of wax when exposed to the glare of the midsummer sun in
Greece, is part of the schoolboy's task in Ovid. We find like
traditions in the legendary lore of the Peruvians, the East Indians,
the Babylonians, even the savage races of darkest Africa. In the
Hebrew scriptures the chief badge of sanctity conferred on God's
angels was wings, and the ability to fly. If we come down to the
mythology of more recent times we find our pious ancestors in New
England thoroughly convinced that the witches they flogged and
hanged were perfectly able to navigate the air on a broomstick--thus
antedating the Wrights' experiments with heavier-than-air machines
by more than 250 years.

It is an interesting fact, stimulating to philosophical reflection,
that in the last decade more has been done toward the conquest of
the air, than in the twenty centuries preceding it, though during
all that period men had been dreaming, planning, and experimenting
upon contrivances for flight. Moreover when success came--or such
measure of success as has been won--it came by the application of an
entirely novel principle hardly dreamed of before the nineteenth

Some of the earlier efforts to master gravity and navigate the air
are worthy of brief mention if only to show how persistent were the
efforts from the earliest historic ages to accomplish this end.
Passing over the legends of the time of mythology we find that
many-sided genius, Leonardo da Vinci, early in the sixteenth
century, not content with being a painter, architect, sculptor,
engineer and designer of forts, offering drawings and specifications
of wings which, fitted to men, he thought would enable them to fly.
The sketches are still preserved in a museum at Paris. He modelled
his wings on those of a bat and worked them with ropes passing over
pulleys, the aviator lying prone, face downward, and kicking with
both arms and legs with the vigour of a frog. There is, unhappily,
no record that the proposition ever advanced beyond the literary
stage--certainly none that Da Vinci himself thus risked his life.
History records no one who kicked his way aloft with the Da Vinci
device. But the manuscript which the projector left shows that he
recognized the modern aviator's maxim, "There's safety in altitude."
He says, in somewhat confused diction:

     The bird should with the aid of the wind raise itself to a great
     height, and this will be its safety; because although the
     revolutions mentioned may happen there is time for it to recover
     its equilibrium, provided its various parts are capable of strong
     resistance so that they may safely withstand the fury and impetus
     of the descent.

[Illustration: _The Fall of the Boche._

_From the painting by Lieutenant Farré._

Photo by Peter A. Juley.]

The fallacy that a man could, by the rapid flapping of wings of any
sort, overcome the force of gravity persisted up to a very recent
day, despite the complete mathematical demonstration by von
Helmholtz in 1878 that man could not possibly by his own muscular
exertions raise his own weight into the air and keep it suspended.
Time after time the "flapping wings" were resorted to by ambitious
aviators with results akin to those attained by Darius Green. One of
the earliest was a French locksmith named Besnier, who had four
collapsible planes on two rods balanced across his shoulders. These
he vigorously moved up and down with his hands and feet, the planes
opening like covers of a book as they came down, and closing as they
came up. Besnier made no attempt to raise himself from the ground,
but believed that once launched in the air from an elevation he
could maintain himself, and glide gradually to earth at a
considerable distance. It is said that he and one or two of his
students did in a way accomplish this. Others, however,
experimenting with the same method came to sorry disaster. Among
these was an Italian friar whom King James IV. of Scotland had made
Prior of Tongland. Equipped with a pair of large feather wings
operated on the Besnier principle, he launched himself from the
battlements of Stirling Castle in the presence of King James and
his court. But gravity was too much for his apparatus, and turning
over and over in mid-air he finally landed ingloriously on a manure
heap--at that period of nascent culture a very common feature of the
pleasure grounds of a palace. He had a soul above his fate however,
for he ascribed his fall not to vulgar mechanical causes, but wholly
to the fact that he had overlooked the proper dignity of flight by
pluming his wings with the feathers of common barn-yard fowl instead
of with plumes plucked from the wings of eagles!

In sharp competition with the aspiring souls who sought to fly with
wings--the forerunners of the airplane devotees of to-day--were
those who tried to find some direct lifting device for a car which
should contain the aviators. Some of their ideas were curiously
logical and at the same time comic. There was, for example, a
priest, Le Père Galien of Avignon. He observed that the rarified air
at the summit of the Alps was vastly lighter than that in the
valleys below. What then was to hinder carrying up empty sacks of
cotton or oiled silk to the mountain tops, opening them to the
lighter air of the upper ranges, and sealing them hermetically when
filled by it. When brought down into the valleys they would have
lifting power enough to carry tons up to the summits again. The good
Father's education in physics was not sufficiently advanced to warn
him that the effort to drag the balloons down into the valley would
exact precisely the force they would exert in lifting any load out
of the valley--if indeed they possessed any lifting power
whatsoever, which is exceedingly doubtful.

Another project, which sounded logical enough, was based on the
irrefutable truth that as air has some weight--to be exact 14.70
pounds for a column one inch square and the height of the earth's
atmosphere--a vacuum must be lighter, as it contains nothing, not
even air. Accordingly in the seventeenth century, one Francisco
Lana, another priest, proposed to build an airship supported by four
globes of copper, very thin and light, from which all the air had
been pumped. The globes were to be twenty feet in diameter, and were
estimated to have a lifting force of 2650 pounds. The weight of the
copper shells was put at 1030 pounds, leaving a margin of possible
weight for the car and its contents of 1620 pounds. It seemed at
first glance a perfectly reasonable and logical plan. Unhappily one
factor in the problem had been ignored. The atmospheric pressure on
each of the globes would be about 1800 tons. Something more than a
thin copper shell would be needed to resist this crushing force and
an adequate increase in the strength of the shells would so enhance
their weight as to destroy their lifting power.

[Illustration: Lana's Vacuum Balloon.]

To tell at length the stories of attempt and failure of the earliest
dabblers in aeronautics would be unprofitable and uninteresting. Not
until the eighteenth century did the experimenters with
lighter-than-air devices show any practical results. Not until the
twentieth century did the advocates of the heavier-than-air machines
show the value of their fundamental idea. The former had to discover
a gaseous substance actually lighter, and much lighter, than the
surrounding atmosphere before they could make headway. The latter
were compelled to abandon wholly the effort to imitate the flapping
of a bird's wings, and study rather the method by which the bird
adjusts the surface of its wings to the wind and soars without
apparent effort, before they could show the world any promising

Nearly every step forward in applied science is accomplished because
of the observation by some thoughtful mind of some common phenomenon
of nature, and the later application of those observations to some
useful purpose.

It seems a far cry from an ancient Greek philosopher reposing
peacefully in his bath to a modern Zeppelin, but the connection is
direct. Every schoolboy knows the story of the sudden dash of
Archimedes, stark and dripping from his tub, with the triumphant cry
of "Eureka!"--"I have found it!" What he had found was the rule
which governed the partial flotation of his body in water. Most of
us observe it, but the philosophical mind alone inquired "Why?"
Archimedes' answer was this rule which has become a fundamental of
physics: "A body plunged into a fluid is subjected by this fluid to
a pressure from below to above equal to the weight of the fluid
displaced by the body." A balloon is plunged in the air--a fluid. If
it is filled with air there is no upward pressure from below, but if
it is filled with a gas lighter than air there is a pressure upward
equal to the difference between the weight of that gas and that of
an equal quantity of air. Upon that fact rests the whole theory and
practice of ballooning.

The illustration of James Watt watching the steam rattle the cover
of a teapot and from it getting the rudimentary idea of the steam
engine is another case in point. Sometimes however the application
of the hints of nature to the needs of man is rather ludicrously
indirect. Charles Lamb gravely averred that because an early
Chinaman discovered that the flesh of a pet pig, accidentally
roasted in the destruction by fire of his owner's house, proved
delicious to the palate, the Chinese for years made a practice of
burning down their houses to get roast pig with "crackling." Early
experimenters in aviation observed that birds flapped their wings
and flew. Accordingly they believed that man to fly must have wings
and flap them likewise. Not for hundreds of years did they observe
that most birds flapped their wings only to get headway, or
altitude, thereafter soaring to great heights and distances merely
by adjusting the angle of their wings to the various currents of air
they encountered.

In a similar way the earliest experimenters with balloons observed
that smoke always ascended. "Let us fill a light envelope with
smoke," said they, "and it will rise into the air bearing a burden
with it." All of which was true enough, and some of the first
balloonists cast upon their fires substances like sulphur and pitch
in order to produce a thicker smoke, which they believed had greater
lifting power than ordinary hot air.

In the race for actual accomplishment the balloonists, the advocates
of lighter-than-air machines, took the lead at first. It is
customary and reasonable to discard as fanciful the various devices
and theories put forward by the experimenters in the Middle Ages and
fix the beginning of practical aeronautical devices with the
invention of hot-air balloons by the Montgolfiers, of Paris, in

The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Jacques, were paper-makers of
Paris. The family had long been famous for its development of the
paper trade, and the many ingenious uses to which they put its
staple. Just as the tanners of the fabled town in the Middle Ages
thought there was "nothing like leather" with which to build its
walls and gates, thereby giving a useful phrase to literature, so
the Montgolfiers thought of everything in terms of paper. Sitting by
their big open fireplace one night, so runs the story, they noticed
the smoke rushing up the chimney. "Why not fill a big paper bag with
smoke and make it lift objects into the air?" cried one. The
experiment was tried next day with a small bag and proved a complete
success. A neighbouring housewife looked in, and saw the bag bumping
about the ceiling, but rapidly losing its buoyancy as the smoke

[Illustration: Montgolfier's Experimental Balloon.]

"Why not fasten a pan below the mouth of the bag," said she, "and
put your fire in that? Its weight will keep the bag upright, and
when it rises will carry the smoke and the pan up with it."

Acting upon the hint the brothers fixed up a small bag which sailed
up into the air beyond recapture. After various experiments a bag of
mixed paper and linen thirty-five feet in diameter was inflated and
released. It soared to a height of six thousand feet, and drifted
before the wind a mile or more before descending. The ascent took
place at Avonay, the home at the time of the Montgolfiers, and as
every sort of publicity was given in advance, a huge assemblage
including many officials of high estate gathered to witness it. A
roaring fire was built in a pit over the mouth of which eight men
held the great sack, which rolled, and beat about before the wind as
it filled and took the form of a huge ball. The crowd was
unbelieving and cynical, inclined to scoff at the idea that mere
smoke would carry so huge a construction up into the sky. But when
the signal was given to cast off, the balloon rose with a swiftness
and majesty that at first struck the crowd dumb, then moved it to
cheers of amazement and admiration. It went up six thousand feet and
the Montgolfiers were at once elevated to almost an equal height of
fame. The crowd which watched the experiment was wild with
enthusiasm; the Montgolfiers elated with the first considerable
victory over the force of gravity. They had demonstrated a principle
and made their names immortal. What remained was to develop that
principle and apply it to practical ends. That development, however,
proceeded for something more than a century before anything like a
practical airship was constructed.

But for the moment the attack on the forces which had kept the air
virgin territory to man was not allowed to lag. In Paris public
subscriptions were opened to defray the cost of a new and greater
balloon. By this time it was known that hydrogen gas, or
"inflammable air" as it was then called, was lighter than air. But
its manufacture was then expensive and public aid was needed for the
new experiment which would call at the outset for a thousand pounds
of iron filings and 498 pounds of sulphuric acid wherewith to
manufacture the gas.

The first experiment had been made in the provinces. This one was
set for Paris, and in an era when the French capital was
intellectually more alert, more eager for novelty, more interested
in the advancement of physical science and in new inventions than
ever in its long history of hospitality to the new idea. They began
to fill the bag August 23, 1783 in the _Place des Victoires_, but
the populace so thronged that square that two days later it was
moved half filled to Paris's most historic point, the _Champ de
Mars_. The transfer was made at midnight through the narrow dark
streets of mediæval Paris. Eyewitnesses have left descriptions of
the scene. Torch-bearers lighted on its way the cortège the central
feature of which was the great bag, half filled with gas, flabby,
shapeless, monstrous, mysterious, borne along by men clutching at
its formless bulk. The state had recognized the importance of the
new device and cuirassiers in glittering breastplates on horseback,
and halbardiers in buff leather on foot guarded it in its transit
through the sleeping city. But Paris was not all asleep. An escort
of the sensation-loving rabble kept pace with the guards. The cries
of the quarters rose above the tramp of the armed men. Observers
have recorded that the passing cab drivers were so affected by
wonder that they clambered down from their boxes and with doffed
hats knelt in the highway while the procession passed.

The ascension, which occurred two days later, was another moving
spectacle. In the centre of the great square which has seen so many
historic pageants, rose the swaying, quivering balloon, now filled
to its full capacity of twenty-two thousand feet. Whether from the
art instinct indigenous to the French, or some superstitious idea
like that which impels the Chinese to paint eyes on their junks, the
balloon was lavishly decorated in water colours, with views of
rising suns, whirling planets, and other solar bodies amongst which
it was expected to mingle.

Ranks of soldiers kept the populace at a distance, while within the
sacred precincts strolled the King and the ladies and cavaliers of
his court treading all unconsciously on the brink of that red terror
soon to engulf the monarchy. The gas in the reeling bag was no more
inflammable than the air of Paris in those days just before the
Revolution. With a salvo of cannon the guy-ropes were released and
the balloon vanished in the clouds.

Benjamin Franklin, at the moment representing in France the American
colonies then struggling for liberty, witnessed this ascension! "Of
what use is a new-born child?" he remarked sententiously as the
balloon vanished. 'Twas a saying worthy of a cautious philosopher.
Had Franklin been in Paris in 1914 he would have found the child,
grown to lusty manhood, a strong factor in the city's defence. It is
worth noting by the way that so alert was the American mind at that
period that when the news of the Montgolfiers' achievement reached
Philadelphia it found David Rittenhouse and other members of the
Philosophical Society already experimenting with balloons.

[Illustration: _A Rescue at Sea._

_From the painting by Lieutenant Farré._

Photo by Peter A. Juley.]

A curious sequel attended the descent of the Montgolfier craft which
took place in a field fifteen miles from Paris. Long before the days
of newspapers, the peasants had never heard of balloons, and this
mysterious object, dropping from high heaven into their peaceful
carrot patch affrighted them. Some fled. Others approached timidly,
armed with the normal bucolic weapons--scythes and pitchforks.
Attacked with these the fainting monster, which many took for a
dragon, responded with loud hisses and emitted a gas of unfamiliar
but most pestiferous odour. It suggested brimstone, which to the
devout in turn implied the presence of Satan. With guns, flails, and
all obtainable weapons they fell upon the emissary of the Evil One,
beat him to the ground, crushed out of him the vile-smelling breath
of his nostrils, and finally hitched horses to him and dragged him
about the fields until torn to tatters and shreds.

When the public-spirited M. Charles who had contributed largely to
the cost of this experiment came in a day or two to seek his balloon
he found nothing but some shreds of cloth, and some lively legends
of the prowess of the peasants in demolishing the devil's own

The government, far-sightedly, recognizing that there would be more
balloons and useful ones, thereupon issued this proclamation for the
discouragement of such bucolic valour:

     A discovery has been made which the government deems it wise to
     make known so that alarm may not be occasioned to the people. On
     calculating the different weights of inflammable and common air
     it has been found that a balloon filled with inflammable air will
     rise toward heaven until it is in equilibrium with the
     surrounding air; which may not happen till it has attained to a
     great height. Anyone who should see such a globe,
     resembling the moon in an eclipse, should be aware that far from
     being an alarming phenomenon it is only a machine made of
     taffetas, or light canvas covered with paper, that cannot
     possibly cause any harm and which will some day prove serviceable
     to the wants of society.

Came now the next great step in the progress of aeronautics. It had
been demonstrated that balloons could lift themselves. They had even
been made to lift dumb animals and restore them to earth unhurt. But
if the conquest of the air was to amount to anything, men must go
aloft in these new machines. Lives must be risked to demonstrate a
theory, or to justify a calculation. Aeronautics is no science for
laboratory or library prosecution. Its battles must be fought in the
sky, and its devotees must be willing to offer their lives to the
cause. In that respect the science of aviation has been different
from almost any subject of inquiry that has ever engaged the
restless intellect of man, unless perhaps submarine navigation, or
the invention of explosives. It cannot be prosecuted except with a
perfect willingness to risk life. No doubt this is one of the
reasons why practical results seemed so long in the coming. Nor have
men been niggardly in this enforced sacrifice. Though no records of
assured accuracy are available, the names of forty-eight aeronauts
who gave up their lives in the century following the Montgolfiers'
invention are recorded. That record ended in 1890. How many have
since perished, particularly on the battlefields of Europe where
aircraft are as commonplace as cannon, it is too early yet to

[Illustration: Montgolfier's Passenger Balloon.]

After the success of the ascension from the _Champ de Mars_, the
demand at once arose for an ascension by a human being. It was a
case of calling for volunteers. The experiments already made showed
clearly enough that the balloon would rise high in air. Who would
risk his life soaring one thousand feet or more above the earth, in
a flimsy bag, filled with hot air, or inflammable gas, without means
of directing its course or bringing it with certainty and safety
back to a landing place? It was a hard question, and it is
interesting to note that it was answered not by a soldier or sailor,
not by an adventurer, or devil-may-care spirit, but by a grave and
learned professor of physical science, Pilatre de Rozier. Presently
he was joined in his enterprise by a young man of the fashionable
world and sporting tastes, the Marquis d'Arlandes. Aristocratic
Paris took up aviation in the last days of the eighteenth century,
precisely as the American leisure class is taking it up in the first
days of the twentieth.

The balloon for this adventure was bigger than its predecessors and
for the first time a departure was taken from the spherical
variety--the gas bag being seventy-four feet high, and forty-eight
feet in diameter. Like the first Montgolfier balloons it was to be
inflated with hot air, and the car was well packed with bundles of
fuel with which the two aeronauts were to fill the iron brazier when
its fires went down. The instinct for art and decoration, so strong
in the French mind, had been given full play by the constructors of
this balloon and it was painted with something of the gorgeousness
of a circus poster.

A tremendous crowd packed the park near Paris whence the ascent was
made. Always the spectacle of human lives in danger has a morbid
attraction for curiosity seekers, and we have seen in our own days
throngs attracted to aviation congresses quite as much in the
expectation of witnessing some fatal disaster, as to observe the
progress made in man's latest conquest over nature. But in this
instance the occasion justified the widest interest. It was an
historic moment--more epoch-making than those who gathered in that
field in the environs of Paris could have possibly imagined. For in
the clumsy, gaudy bag, rolling and tossing above a smoky fire lay
the fundamentals of those great airships that, perfected by the
persistence of Count Zeppelin, have crossed angry seas, breasted
fierce winds, defied alike the blackest nights and the thickest fogs
to rain their messages of death on the capital of a foe.

Contemporary accounts of this first ascension are but few, and those
that have survived have come down to us in but fragmentary form. It
was thought needful for two to make the ascent, for the car, or
basket, which held the fire hung below the open mouth of the bag,
and the weight of a man on one side would disturb the perfect
equilibrium which it was believed would be essential to a successful
flight. The Marquis d'Arlandes in a published account of the brief
flight, which sounds rather as if the two explorers of an unknown
element were not free from nervousness, writes:

"Our departure was at fifty-four minutes past one, and occasioned
little stir among the spectators. Thinking they might be frightened
and stand in need of encouragement I waved my arm."

This solicitude for the fears of the spectators, standing safely on
solid earth while the first aeronauts sailed skywards, is
characteristically Gallic. The Marquis continues:

     M. de Rozier cried: "You are doing nothing, and we are not
     rising." I stirred the fire and then began to scan the river,
     but Pilatre again cried: "See the river. We are dropping into
     it!" We again urged the fire, but still clung to the river bed.
     Presently I heard a noise in the upper part of the balloon,
     which gave a shock as though it had burst. I called to my
     companion: "Are you dancing?" The balloon by this time had many
     holes burnt in it and using my sponge I cried that we must
     descend. My companion however explained that we were over Paris
     and must now cross it; therefore raising the fire once more we
     turned south till we passed the Luxembourg, when,
     extinguishing the flames, the balloon came down spent and

If poor Pilatre played the part of a rather nervous man in this
narrative he had the nerve still to go on with his aeronautical
experiments to the point of death. In 1785 he essayed the crossing
of the English Channel in a balloon of his own design, in which he
sought to combine the principles of the gas and hot-air balloons. It
appears to have been something like an effort to combine
nitro-glycerine with an electric spark. At any rate the dense crowds
that thronged the coast near Boulogne to see the start of the
"Charles--Montgolfier"--as the balloon was named after the
originators of the rival systems--saw it, after half an hour's drift
out to sea, suddenly explode in a burst of flame. De Rozier and a
friend who accompanied him were killed. A monument still recalls
their fate, which however is more picturesquely recorded in the
signs of sundry inns and cafés of the neighbourhood which offer
refreshment in the name of _Les Aviateurs Perdus_.

Thereafter experimenters with balloons multiplied amazingly. The
world thought the solution of the problem of flight had been found
in the gas bag. Within two months a balloon capable of lifting
eighteen tons and carrying seven passengers ascended three thousand
feet at Lyons, and, though sustaining a huge rent in the envelope,
because of the expansion of the gas at that height, returned to
earth in safety. The fever ran from France to England and in 1784,
only a year after the first Montgolfier experiments, Lunardi, an
Italian aeronaut made an ascension from London which was viewed by
King George III. and his ministers, among them William Pitt. But the
early enthusiasm for ballooning quickly died down to mere curiosity.
It became apparent to all that merely to rise into the air, there to
be the helpless plaything of the wind, was but a useless and futile
accomplishment. Pleasure seekers and mountebanks used balloons for
their own purposes, but serious experimenters at once saw that if
the invention of the balloon was to be of the slightest practical
value some method must be devised for controlling and directing its
flight. To this end some of the brightest intellects of the world
directed their efforts, but it is hardly overstating the case to say
that more than a century passed without any considerable progress
toward the development of a dirigible balloon.

[Illustration: Charles's Balloon.]

But even at the earlier time it was evident enough that the Quaker
philosopher, from the American Colonies, not yet the United States,
whose shrewd and inquiring disposition made him intellectually one
of the foremost figures of his day, foresaw clearly the great
possibilities of this new invention. In letters to Sir Joseph Banks,
then President of the Royal Society of London, Franklin gave a
lively account of the first three ascensions, together with some
comments, at once suggestive and humorous, which are worth quoting:

     Some think [he wrote of the balloon] Progressive Motion on the
     Earth may be advanc'd by it, and that a Running Footman or a
     Horse slung and suspended under such a Globe so as to have no
     more of Weight pressing the Earth with their Feet than Perhaps
     8 or 10 Pounds, might with a fair Wind run in a straight Line
     across Countries as fast as that Wind, and over Hedges, Ditches
     and even Waters. It has been even fancied that in time People
     will keep such Globes anchored in the Air to which by Pullies
     they may draw up Game to be preserved in the Cool and Water to
     be frozen when Ice is wanted. And that to get Money it will be
     contriv'd, by running them up in an Elbow Chair a Mile high for
     a guinea, etc., etc.

With his New England lineage Franklin could hardly have failed of
this comparison: "A few Months since the Idea of Witches riding
through the Air upon a broomstick, and that of Philosophers upon a
Bag of Smoke would have appeared equally impossible and ridiculous."

To-day when aircraft are the eyes of the armies in the greatest war
of history, and when it appears that, with the return of peace, the
conquest of the air for the ordinary uses of man will be swiftly
completed, Franklin's good-humoured plea for the fullest
experimentation is worth recalling. And the touch of piety with
which he concludes his argument is a delightful example of the
whimsical fashion in which he often undertook to bolster up a
mundane theory with a reference to things supernatural.

[Illustration: _A French Observation Balloon on Fire._

© U. & U.]

     I am sorry this Experiment is totally neglected in England, where
     mechanic Genius is so strong. I wish I could see the same
     Emulation between the two Nations as I see between the two
     Parties here. Your Philosophy seems to be too bashful. In this
     Country we are not so much afraid of being laught at. If we do a
     foolish thing, we are the first to laugh at it ourselves, and are
     almost as much pleased with a _Bon Mot_ or a _Chanson_, that
     ridicules well the Disappointment of a Project, as we might have
     been with its success. It does not seem to me a good reason to
     decline prosecuting a new Experiment which apparently increases
     the power of Man over Matter, till we can see to what Use that
     Power may be applied. When we have learnt to manage it, we may
     hope some time or other to find Uses for it, as men have done for
     Magnetism and Electricity, of which the first Experiments were
     mere Matters of Amusement.

     This Experience is by no means a trifling one. It may be attended
     with important Consequences that no one can foresee. We should
     not suffer Pride to prevent our progress in Science.

     Beings of a Rank and Nature far superior to ours have not
     disdained to amuse themselves with making and launching Balloons,
     otherwise we should never have enjoyed the Light of those
     glorious objects that rule our Day & Night, nor have had the
     Pleasure of riding round the Sun ourselves upon the Balloon we
     now inhabit.

                                                B. FRANKLIN.

The earliest experimenters thought that oars might be employed to
propel and direct a balloon. The immediate failure of all endeavours
of this sort, led them, still pursuing the analogy between a balloon
and a ship at sea, to try to navigate the air with sails. This again
proved futile. It is impossible for a balloon, or airship to "tack"
or manoeuvre in any way by sail power. It is in fact a monster sail
itself, needing some other power than the wind to make headway or
steerage way against the wind. The sail device was tested only to be
abandoned. Only when a trail rope dragging along the ground or sea
is employed does the sail offer sufficient resistance to the wind to
sway the balloon's course this way or that. And a trailer is
impracticable when navigating great heights.

[Illustration: Roberts Brothers' Dirigible.]

For these reasons the development of the balloon lagged, until Count
Zeppelin and M. Santos-Dumont consecrated their fortunes, their
inventive minds, and their amazing courage to the task of perfecting
a dirigible. In a book, necessarily packed with information
concerning the rapid development of aircraft which began in the last
decade of the nineteenth century and was enormously stimulated
during the war of all the world, the long series of early
experiments with balloons must be passed over hastily. Though
interesting historically these experiments were futile. Beyond
having discovered what could _not_ be done with a balloon the
practitioners of that form of aeronautics were little further along
in 1898 when Count Zeppelin came along with the first plan for a
rigid dirigible than they were when Blanchard in 1786, seizing a
favourable gale drifted across the English Channel to the French
shore, together with Dr. Jefferies, an American. It was just 124
years later that Bleriot, a Frenchman, made the crossing in an
airplane independently of favouring winds. It had taken a century
and a quarter to attain this independence.

In a vague way the earliest balloonists recognized that power,
independent of wind, was necessary to give balloons steerage way and
direction. Steam was in its infancy during the early days of
ballooning, but the efforts to devise some sort of an engine light
enough to be carried into the air were untiring. Within a year after
the experiments of the Montgolfier brothers, the suggestion was made
that the explosion of small quantities of gun-cotton and the
expulsion of the resulting gases might be utilized in some fashion
to operate propelling machinery. Though the suggestion was not
developed to any useful point it was of interest as forecasting the
fundamental idea of the gas engines of to-day which have made
aviation possible--that is, the creation of power by a series of
explosions within the motor.

In the effort to make balloons dirigible one of the first steps was
to change the form from the spherical or pear-shaped bag to a
cylindrical, or cigar-shape. This device was adopted by the brothers
Robert in France as early as 1784. Their balloon further had a
double skin or envelope, its purpose being partly to save the gas
which percolated through the inner skin, partly to maintain the
rigidity of the structure. As gas escapes from an ordinary balloon
it becomes flabby, and can be driven through the air only with
extreme difficulty. In the balloon of the Robert brothers air could
from time to time be pumped into the space between the two skins,
keeping the outer envelope always fully distended and rigid. In
later years this idea has been modified by incorporating in the
envelope one large or a number of smaller balloons or "balloonets,"
into which air may be pumped as needed.

The shape too has come to approximate that of a fish rather than a
bird, in the case of balloons at least. "The head of a cod and the
tail of a mackerel," was the way Marey-Monge, the French aeronaut
described it. Though most apparent in dirigible balloons, this will
be seen to be the favourite design for airplanes if the wings be
stripped off, and the body and tail alone considered. Complete,
these machines are not unlike a flying fish.

In England, Sir George Cayley, as early as 1810 studied and wrote
largely on the subject of dirigibles but, though the English call
him the "father of British aeronautics," his work seems to have been
rather theoretical than practical. He did indeed demonstrate
mathematically that no lifting power existed that would support the
cumbrous steam-engine of that date, and tried to solve this dilemma
by devising a gas engine, and an explosive engine. With one of the
latter, driven by a series of explosions of gunpowder, each in a
separate cell set off by a detonator, he equipped a flying machine
which attained a sufficient height to frighten Cayley's coachman,
whom he had persuaded to act as pilot. The rather unwilling aviator,
fearing a loftier flight, jumped out and broke his leg. Though by
virtue of this martyrdom his name should surely have descended to
fame with that of Cayley it has been lost, together with all record
of any later performances of the machine, which unquestionably
embodied some of the basic principles of our modern aircraft, though
it antedated the first of these by nearly a century.

[Illustration: Giffard's Dirigible.]

We may pass over hastily some of the later experiments with dirigibles
that failed. In 1834 the Count de Lennox built an airship 130 feet
long to be driven by oars worked by man power. When the crowd that
gathered to watch the ascent found that the machine was too heavy to
ascend even without the men, they expressed their lively contempt for
the inventor by tearing his clothes to tatters and smashing his
luckless airship. In 1852, another Frenchman, Henry Giffard, built a
cigar-shaped balloon 150 feet long by 40 feet in diameter, driven by
steam. The engine weighed three hundred pounds and generated about 3
H.-P.--about 1/200 as much power as a gas engine of equal weight would
produce. Even with this slender power, however, Giffard attained a
speed, independent of the wind, of from five to seven miles an
hour--enough at least for steerage way. This was really the first
practical demonstration of the possibilities of the mechanical
propulsion of balloons. Several adaptations of the Giffard idea
followed, and in 1883 Renard and Krebs, in a fusiform ship, driven by
an electric motor, attained a speed of fifteen miles an hour. By this
time inventive genius in all countries--save the United States which
lagged in interest in dirigibles--was stimulated. Germany and France
became the great protagonists in the struggle for precedence and in
the struggle two figures stand out with commanding prominence--the
Count von Zeppelin and Santos-Dumont, a young Brazilian resident in
Paris who without official countenance consecrated his fortune to, and
risked his life in, the service of aviation.



In his book _My Airships_ the distinguished aviator A. Santos-Dumont
tells this story of the ambition of his youth and its realization in
later days:

     I cannot say at what age I made my first kites, but I remember
     how my comrades used to tease me at our game of "pigeon flies."
     All the children gather round a table and the leader calls out
     "Pigeon Flies! Hen flies! Crow flies! Bee flies!" and so on; and
     at each call we were supposed to raise our fingers. Sometimes,
     however, he would call out "Dog flies! Fox flies!" or some other
     like impossibility to catch us. If any one raised a finger then
     he was made to pay a forfeit. Now my playmates never failed to
     wink and smile mockingly at me when one of them called "Man
     flies!" for at the word I would always raise my finger very high,
     as a sign of absolute conviction, and I refused with energy to
     pay the forfeit. The more they laughed at me the happier I was,
     hoping that some day the laugh would be on my side.

     Among the thousands of letters which I received after winning the
     Deutsch prize (a prize offered in 1901 for sailing around the
     Eiffel Tower) there was one that gave me peculiar pleasure. I
     quote from it as a matter of curiosity:

     "Do you remember, my dear Alberto, when we played together
     'Pigeon Flies!'? It came back to me suddenly when the news of
     your success reached Rio. 'Man flies!' old fellow! You were right
     to raise your finger, and you have just proved it by flying round
     the Eiffel Tower.

      "They play the old game now more than ever at home; but the
     name has been changed, and the rules modified since October 19,
     1901. They call it now 'Man flies!' and he who does not raise his
     finger at the word pays the forfeit."

The story of Santos-Dumont affords a curious instance of a boy being
obsessed by an idea which as a man he carried to its successful
fruition. It offers also evidence of the service that may accrue to
society from the devotion of a dilettante to what people may call a
"fad," but what is in fact the germ of a great idea needing only an
enthusiast with enthusiasm, brains, and money for its development.
Because the efforts of Santos-Dumont always smacked of the amateur
he has been denied his real place in the history of aeronautics,
which is that of a fearless innovator, and a devoted worker in the

Born on one of those great coffee plantations of Brazil, where all
is done by machinery that possibly can be, Santos-Dumont early
developed a passion for mechanics. In childhood he made toy
airplanes. He confesses that his favourite author was Jules Verne,
that literary idol of boyhood, who while writing books as wildly
imaginative as any dime tale of redskins, or nickel novel of the
doings of "Nick Carter" had none the less the spirit of prophecy
that led him to forecast the submarine, the automobile, and the
navigation of the air. At fifteen Santos-Dumont saw his first
balloon and marked the day with red.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A British Kite Balloon._

(_The open sack at the lower end catches the breeze and keeps the
balloon steady._)]

     I too desired to go ballooning [he writes]. In the long
     sun-bathed Brazilian afternoons, when the hum of insects,
     punctuated by the far-off cry of some bird lulled me, I would lie
     in the shade of the veranda and gaze into the fair sky of Brazil
     where the birds fly so high and soar with such ease on their
     great outstretched wings; where the clouds mount so gaily in the
     pure light of day, and you have only to raise your eyes to fall
     in love with space and freedom. So, musing on the exploration of
     the aërial ocean, I, too, devised airships and flying-machines in
     my imagination.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A British "Blimp" Photographed from Above._]

From dreaming, the boy's ambitions rapidly developed into actions.
Good South Americans, whatever the practice of their northern
neighbours, do not wait to die before going to Paris. At the age of
eighteen the youth found himself in the capital of the world. To his
amazement he found that the science of aeronautics, such as it was,
had stopped with Giffard's work in 1852. No dirigible was to be
heard of in all Paris. The antiquated gas ball was the only way to
approach the upper air. When the boy tried to arrange for an
ascension the balloonist he consulted put so unconscionable a price
on one ascent that he bought an automobile instead--one of the first
made, for this was in 1891--and with it returned to Brazil. It was
not until six years later that, his ambition newly fired by reading
of Andrée's plans for reaching the Pole in a balloon, Santos-Dumont
took up anew his ambition to become an aviator. His own account of
his first ascent does not bear precisely the hall-mark of the
enthusiast too rapt in ecstasy to think of common things. "I had
brought up," he notes gravely, "a substantial lunch of hard-boiled
eggs, cold roast beef and chicken, cheese, ice cream, fruits and
cakes, champagne, coffee, and chartreuse!"

The balloon with its intrepid voyagers nevertheless returned to
earth in safety.

A picturesque figure, an habitué of the clubs and an eager
sportsman, Santos-Dumont at once won the liking of the French
people, and attracted attention wherever people gave thought to
aviation. Liberal in expenditure of money, and utterly fearless in
exposing his life, he pushed his experiments for the development of
a true dirigible tirelessly. Perhaps his major fault was that he
learned but slowly from the experiences of others. He clung to the
spherical balloon long after the impossibility of controlling it in
the air was accepted as unavoidable by aeronauts. But in 1898 having
become infatuated with the performances of a little sixty-six pound
tricycle motor he determined to build a cigar-shaped airship to fit
it, and with that determination won success.

Amateur he may have been, was indeed throughout the greater part of
his career as an airman. Nevertheless Santos-Dumont has to his
credit two very notable achievements.

He was the first constructor and pilot of a dirigible balloon that
made a round trip, that is to say returned to its starting place
after rounding a stake at some distance--in this instance the Eiffel
Tower, 3-1/2 miles from St. Cloud whence Santos-Dumont started and
whither he returned within half an hour, the time prescribed.

This was not, indeed, the first occasion on which a round trip,
necessitating operation against the wind on at least one course, had
been made. In 1884 Captain Renard had accomplished this feat for the
first time with the fish-shaped balloon _La France_, driven by an
electric motor of nine horse-power. But though thus antedated in his
exploit, Santos-Dumont did in fact accomplish more for the
advancement and development of dirigible balloons. To begin with he
was able to use a new and efficient form of motor destined to become
popular, and capable, as the automobile manufacturers later showed,
of almost illimitable development in the direction of power and
lightness. Except for the gasoline engine, developed by the makers
of motor cars, aviation to-day would be where it was a quarter of a
century ago.

Moreover by his personal qualities, no less than by his successful
demonstration of the possibilities inherent in the dirigible,
Santos-Dumont persuaded the French Government to take up aeronautics
again, after abandoning the subject as the mere fad of a number of

Turning from balloons to airplanes the Brazilian was the first
aviator to make a flight with a heavier-than-air machine before a
body of judges. This triumph was mainly technical. The Wrights had
made an equally notable flight almost a year before but not under
conditions that made it a matter of scientific record.

But setting aside for the time the work done by Santos-Dumont with
machines heavier than air, let us consider his triumphs with
balloons at the opening of his career. He had come to France about
forty years after Henry Giffard had demonstrated the practicability
of navigating a balloon 144 feet long and 34 feet in diameter with a
three-horse-power steam-engine. But no material success attended
this demonstration, important as it was, and the inventor turned his
attention to captive balloons, operating one at the Paris Exposition
of 1878 that took up forty passengers at a time. There followed
Captain Renard to whose achievement we have already referred. He had
laid down as the fundamentals of a dirigible balloon these

     A cigar, or fishlike shape.

     An internal sack or ballonet into which air might be pumped to
     replace any lost gas, and maintain the shape of the balloon.

     A keel, or other longitudinal brace, to maintain the longitudinal
     stability of the balloon and from which the car containing the
     motor might be hung.

     A propeller driven by a motor, the size and power of both to be
     as great as permitted by the lifting power of the balloon.

     A rudder capable of controlling the course of the ship.

Santos-Dumont adopted all of these specifications, but added to them
certain improvements which gave his airships--he built five of them
before taking his first prize--notable superiority over that of
Renard. To begin with he had the inestimable advantage of having the
gasoline motor. He further lightened his craft by having the
envelope made of Japanese silk, in flat defiance of all the builders
of balloons who assured him that the substance was too light and its
use would be suicidal. "All right," said the innovator to his
favourite constructor, who refused to build him a balloon of that
material, "I'll build it myself." In the face of this threat the
builder capitulated. The balloon was built, and the silk proved to
be the best fabric available at that time for the purpose. A keel
made of strips of pine banded together with aluminum wire formed the
backbone of the Santos-Dumont craft, and from it depended the car
about one quarter of the length of the balloon and hung squarely
amidships. The idea of this keel occurred to the inventor while
pleasuring at Nice. Later it saved his life.

One novel and exceedingly simple device bore witness to the
ingenuity of the inventor. He had noticed in his days of free
ballooning that to rise the aeronaut had to throw out sand-ballast;
to descend he had to open the valves and let out gas. As his supply
of both gas and sand was limited it was clear that the time of his
flight was necessarily curtailed every time he ascended or
descended. Santos-Dumont thought to husband his supplies of lifting
force and of ballast, and make the motor raise and lower the ship.
It was obvious that the craft would go whichever way the bow might
be pointed, whether up or down. But how to shift the bow? The
solution seems so simple that one wonders it ever perplexed
aviators. From the peak of the bow and stern of his craft
Santos-Dumont hung long ropes caught in the centre by lighter ropes
by which they could be dragged into the car. In the car was carried
a heavy bag of sand, which so long as it was there held the ship in
a horizontal plane. Was it needful to depress the bow? Then the bow
rope was hauled in, the bag attached, and swung out to a position
where it would pull the forward tip of the delicately adjusted gas
bag toward the earth. If only a gentle inclination was desired the
bag was not allowed to hang directly under the bow, but was held at
a point somewhere between the car and the bow so that the pull would
be diagonal and the great cylinder would be diverted but little from
the horizontal. If it were desired to ascend, a like manipulation of
the ballast on the stern rope would depress the stern and point the
bow upwards. For slight changes in direction it was not necessary
even to attach the sand bag. Merely drawing the rope into the car
and thus changing the line of its "pull" was sufficient.

The Deutsch prize which stimulated Santos-Dumont to his greatest
achievements with dirigibles was a purse of twenty thousand dollars,
offered by Mr. Henry Deutsch, a wealthy patron of the art of
aviation. Not himself an aviator, M. Deutsch greatly aided the
progress of the air's conquest. Convinced that the true solution of
the problem lay in development of the gasoline engine, he expended
large sums in developing and perfecting it. When he believed it was
sufficiently developed to solve the problem of directing the flight
of balloons he offered his prize for the circuit of the Eiffel
Tower. The conditions of the contest were not easy. The competitor
had to sail from the Aero Club at St. Cloud, pass twice over the
Seine which at that point makes an abrupt bend, sail over the Bois
de Boulogne, circle the Tower, and return to the stopping place
within a half an hour. The distance was about seven miles, and it is
noteworthy that in his own comment on the test Santos-Dumont
complains that that required an average speed of fifteen miles an
hour of which he could not be sure with his balloon. To-day
dirigibles make sixty miles an hour, and airplanes not infrequently
reach 130 miles. Moreover there could be no picking of a day on
which atmospheric conditions were especially good. Mr. Deutsch had
stipulated that the test must be made in the presence of a
Scientific Commission whose members must be notified twenty-four
hours in advance. None could tell twenty-four hours ahead what the
air might be like, and as for utilizing the aviator's most
favourable hour, the calm of the dawn, M. Santos-Dumont remarked:
"The duellist may call out his friends at that sacred hour, but not
the airship captain."

The craft with which the Brazilian first strove to win the Deutsch
prize he called _Santos-Dumont No. V._ It was a cylinder, sharp at
both ends, 109 feet long and driven by a 12-horse-power motor. A new
feature was the use of piano wire for the support of the car, thus
greatly reducing the resistance of the air which in the case of the
old cord suspensions was almost as great as that of the balloon
itself. Another novel feature was water ballast tanks forward and
aft on the balloon itself and holding together twelve gallons. By
pulling steel wires in the car the aviator could open the
stop-cocks. The layman scarcely appreciates the very slight shift in
ballast which will affect the stability of a dirigible. The shifting
of a rope a few feet from its normal position, the dropping of two
handfuls of sand, or release of a cup of water will do it. A
humorous writer describing a lunch with Santos-Dumont in the air
says: "Nothing must be thrown overboard, be it a bottle, an empty
box or a chicken bone without the pilot's permission."

After unofficial tests of his "No. 5" in one of which he circled the
Tower without difficulty, Santos-Dumont summoned the Scientific
Commission for a test. In ten minutes he had turned the Tower, and
started back against a fierce head-wind, which made him ten minutes
late in reaching the time-keepers. Just as he did so his engine
failed, and after drifting for a time his ship perched in the top of
a chestnut tree on the estate of M. Edmond Rothschild. Philosophical
as ever the aeronaut clung to his craft, dispatched an excellent
lunch which the Princess Isabel, Comtesse d'Eu, daughter of Dom
Pedro, the deposed Emperor of Brazil, sent to his eyrie in the
branches, and finally extricated himself and his balloon--neither
much the worse for the accident. He had failed but his determination
to win was only whetted.

The second trial for the Deutsch prize like the first ended in
failure, but that failure was so much more dramatic even than the
success which attended the third effort that it is worth telling and
can best be told in M. Santos-Dumont's own words. The quotation is
from his memoir, _My Airships_:

     And now I come to a terrible day--8th of August, 1901. At 6:30
     A.M. in presence of the Scientific Commission of the Aero Club, I
     started again for the Eiffel Tower.

     I turned the tower at the end of nine minutes and took my way
     back to St. Cloud; but my balloon was losing hydrogen through one
     of its two automatic gas valves whose spring had been
     accidentally weakened.

     I had perceived the beginning of this loss of gas even before
     reaching the Eiffel Tower, and ordinarily, in such an event, I
     should have come at once to earth to examine the lesion. But here
     I was competing for a prize of great honour and my speed had been
     good. Therefore I risked going on.

     The balloon now shrunk visibly. By the time I had got back to the
     fortifications of Paris, near La Muette, it caused the suspension
     wires to sag so much that those nearest to the screw-propeller
     caught in it as it revolved.

     I saw the propeller cutting and tearing at the wires. I stopped
     the motor instantly. Then, as a consequence, the airship was at
     once driven back toward the tower by the wind which was strong.

[Illustration: Photo by International Film Service Co.

_A Kite Balloon Rising from the Hold of a Ship._]

     At the same time I was falling. The balloon had lost much gas. I
     might have thrown out ballast and greatly diminished the fall,
     but then the wind would have time to blow me back on the Eiffel
     Tower. I therefore preferred to let the airship go down as it was
     going. It may have seemed a terrific fall to those who watched it
     from the ground but to me the worst detail was the airship's lack
     of equilibrium. The half-empty balloon, fluttering its empty end
     as an elephant waves his trunk, caused the airship's stern to
     point upward at an alarming angle. What I most feared therefore
     was that the unequal strain on the suspension wires would break
     them one by one and so precipitate me to the ground.

     Why was the balloon fluttering an empty end causing all this
     extra danger? How was it that the rotary ventilator was not
     fulfilling its purpose in feeding the interior air balloon and in
     this manner swelling out the gas balloon around it? The answer
     must be looked for in the nature of the accident. The rotary
     ventilator stopped working when the motor itself stopped, and I
     had been obliged to stop the motor to prevent the propeller from
     tearing the suspension wires near it when the balloon first began
     to sag from loss of gas. It is true that the ventilator which was
     working at that moment had not proved sufficient to prevent the
     first sagging. It may have been that the interior balloon refused
     to fill out properly. The day after the accident when my balloon
     constructor's man came to me for the plans of a "No. 6" balloon
     envelope I gathered from something he said that the interior
     balloon of "No. 5," not having been given time for its varnish to
     dry before being adjusted, might have stuck together or stuck to
     the sides or bottom of the outer balloon. Such are the rewards of

     I was falling. At the same time the wind was carrying me toward
     the Eiffel Tower. It had already carried me so far that I was
     expecting to land on the Seine embankment beyond the Trocadero.
     My basket and the whole of the keel had already passed the
     Trocadero hotels, and had my balloon been a spherical one it
     would have cleared the building. But now at the last critical
     moment, the end of the long balloon that was still full of gas
     came slapping down on the roof just before clearing it. It
     exploded with a great noise; struck after being blown up. This
     was the terrific explosion described in the newspaper of the day.

     I had made a mistake in my estimate of the wind's force, by a few
     yards. Instead of being carried on to fall on the Seine
     embankment, I now found myself hanging in my wicker basket high
     up in the courtyard of the Trocadero hotels, supported by my
     airship's keel, that stood braced at an angle of about forty-five
     degrees between the courtyard wall above and the roof of a lower
     construction farther down. The keel, in spite of my weight, that
     of the motor and machinery, and the shock it had received in
     falling, resisted wonderfully. The thin pine scantlings and piano
     wires of Nice (the town where the idea of a keel first suggested
     itself) had saved my life!

     After what seemed tedious waiting, I saw a rope being lowered to
     me from the roof above. I held to it and was hauled up, when I
     perceived my rescuers to be the brave firemen of Paris. From
     their station at Passy they had been watching the flight of the
     airship. They had seen my fall and immediately hastened to the
     spot. Then, having rescued me, they proceeded to rescue the

     The operation was painful. The remains of the balloon envelope
     and the suspension wires hung lamentably; and it was impossible
     to disengage them except in strips and fragments!

The later balloon "No. VI." with which Santos-Dumont won the Deutsch
prize may fairly be taken as his conception of the finished type of
dirigible for one man. In fact his aspirations never soared as high
as those of Count Zeppelin, and the largest airship he ever
planned--called "the _Omnibus_"--carried only four men. It is
probable that the diversion of his interest from dirigibles to
airplanes had most to do with his failure to carry his development
further than he did. "No. VI." was 108 feet long, and 20 feet in
diameter with an eighteen-horse-power gasoline engine which could
drive it at about nineteen miles an hour. Naturally the aeronaut's
first thought in his new construction was of the valves. The memory
of the anxious minutes spent perched on the window-sill of the
Trocadero Hotel or dangling like a spider at the end of the
firemen's rope were still fresh. The ballonet which had failed him
in "No. V." was perfected in its successor. Notwithstanding the care
with which she was constructed the prize-winner turned out to be a
rather unlucky ship. On her trial voyage she ran into a tree and was
damaged, and even on the day of her greatest conquest she behaved
badly. The test was made on October 1, 1901. The aeronaut had
rounded the Tower finely and was making for home when the motor
began to miss and threatened to stop altogether. While Santos-Dumont
was tinkering with the engine, leaving the steering wheel to itself,
the balloon drifted over the Bois de Boulogne. As usual the cool air
from the wood caused the hydrogen in the balloon to contract and the
craft dropped until it appeared the voyage would end in the tree
tops. Hastily shifting his weights the aeronaut forced the prow of
the ship upwards to a sharp angle with the earth. Just at this
moment the reluctant engine started up again with such vigour that
for a moment the ship threatened to assume a perpendicular position,
pointing straight up in the sky. A cry went up from the spectators
below who feared a dire catastrophe was about to end a voyage which
promised success. But with incomparable _sang-froid_ the young
Brazilian manipulated the weights, restored the ship to the
horizontal again without stopping the engines, and reached the
finishing stake in time to win the prize. Soon after it was awarded
him the Brazilian Government presented him with another substantial
prize, together with a gold medal bearing the words: _Por ceos nunca
d'antes navegados_ ("Through heavens hitherto unsailed").

In a sense the reference to the heavens is a trifle over-rhetorical.
Santos-Dumont differed from all aviators (or pilots of airplanes)
and most navigators of dirigibles in always advocating the strategy
of staying near the ground. In his flights he barely topped the
roofs of the houses, and in his writings he repeatedly refers to the
sense of safety that came to him when he knew he was close to the
tree tops of a forest. This may have been due to the fact that in
his very first flight in a dirigible he narrowly escaped a fatal
accident due to flying too high. As he descended, the gas which had
expanded now contracted. The balloon began to collapse in the
middle. Cords subjected to unusual stress began to snap. The air
pump, which should have pumped the ballonet full of air to keep the
balloon rigid failed to work. Seeing that he was about to fall into
a field in which his drag rope was already trailing the imperilled
airman had a happy thought. Some boys were there flying kites. He
shouted to them to seize his rope and run against the wind. The
balloon responded to the new force like a kite. The rapidity of its
fall was checked, and its pilot landed with only a serious shaking.

But thereafter Santos-Dumont preached the maxim--rare among
airmen--"Keep near the ground. That way lies safety!" Most aviators
however, prefer the heights of the atmosphere, as the sailor prefers
the wide and open sea to a course near land.

After winning the Deutsch prize, Santos-Dumont continued for a time
to amuse himself with dirigibles. I say "amuse" purposely, for never
did serious aeronaut get so much fun out of a rather perilous
pastime as he. In his "No. IX." he built the smallest dirigible
ever known. The balloon had just power enough to raise her pilot and
sixty-six pounds more beside a three-horse-power motor. But she
attained a speed of twelve miles an hour, was readily handled, and
it was her owner's dearest delight to use her for a taxicab, calling
for lunch at the cafés in the Bois, and paying visits to friends
upon whom he looked in, literally, at their second-story windows. He
ran her in and out of her hangar as one would a motor-car from its
garage. One day he sailed down the Avenue des Champs Élysées at the
level of the second-and third-story windows of the palaces that line
that stately street. Coming to his own house he descended, made
fast, and went in to _déjeuner_, leaving his aërial cab without. In
the city streets he steered mainly by aid of a guide rope trailing
behind him. With this he turned sharp corners, went round the Arc de
Triomphe, and said: "I might have guide-roped under it had I thought
myself worthy." On occasion he picked up children in the streets and
gave them a ride.

Though before losing his interest in dirigibles Santos-Dumont
carried the number of his construction up to ten, he cannot be said
to have devised any new and useful improvements after his "No. VI."
The largest of his ships was "No. X.," which had a capacity of
eighty thousand cubic feet--about ten times the size of the little
runabout with which he played pranks in Paris streets. In this
balloon he placed partitions to prevent the gas shifting to one part
of the envelope, and to guard against losing it all in the event of
a tear. The same principle was fundamental in Count Zeppelin's
airships. In 1904 he brought a dirigible to the United States
expecting to compete for a prize at the St. Louis Exposition. But
while suffering exasperating delay from the red-tape which
enveloped the exposition authorities, he discovered one morning that
his craft had been mutilated almost beyond repair in its storage
place. In high dudgeon he left at once for Paris. The explanation of
the malicious act has never been made clear, though many Americans
had an uneasy feeling that the gallant and sportsman-like Brazilian
had been badly treated in our land. On his return to Paris he at
once began experimenting with heavier-than-air machines. Of his work
with them we shall give some account later.

Despite his great personal popularity the airship built by
Santos-Dumont never appealed to the French military authorities.
Probably this was largely due to the fact that he never built one of
a sufficient size to meet military tests. The amateur in him was
unconquerable. While von Zeppelin's first ship was big enough to
take the air in actual war the Frenchman went on building craft for
one or two men--good models for others to seize and build upon, but
nothing which a war office could actually adopt. But he served his
country well by stimulating the creation of great companies who
built largely upon the foundations he had laid.

First and greatest of these was the company formed by the Lebaudy
Brothers, wealthy sugar manufacturers. Their model was semi-rigid,
that is, provided with an inflexible keel or floor to the gas bag,
which was cigar shaped. The most successful of the earlier ships was
190 feet long, with a car suspended by cables ten feet below the
balloon and carrying the twin motors, together with passengers and
supplies. Although it made many voyages without accident, it finally
encountered what seems to be the chief peril of dirigible balloons,
being torn from its moorings at Châlons and dashed against trees to
the complete demolition of its envelope. Repaired in eleven weeks
she was taken over by the French Department of War, and was in
active service at the beginning of the war. Her two successors on
the company's building ways were less fortunate. _La Patrie_, after
many successful trips, and manoeuvres with the troops, was
insecurely moored at Verdun, the famous fortress where she was to
have been permanently stationed. Came up a heavy gale. Her anchors
began to drag. The bugles sounded and the soldiers by hundreds
rushed from the fort to aid. Hurled along by the wind she dragged
the soldiers after her. Fearing disaster to the men the commandant
reluctantly ordered them to let go. The ship leaped into the black
upper air and disappeared. All across France, across that very
country where in 1916 the trenches cut their ugly zigzags from the
Channel to the Vosges, she drifted unseen. By morning she was flying
over England and Wales. Ireland caught a glimpse of her and days
thereafter sailors coming into port told of a curious yellow mass,
seemingly flabby and disintegrating like the carcass of a whale,
floating far out at sea.

Her partner ship _La République_ had a like tragic end. She too made
many successful trips, and proved her stability and worth. But one
day while manoeuvring near Paris one of her propellers broke and
tore a great rent in her envelope. As the _Titanic_, her hull ripped
open by an iceberg, sunk with more than a thousand of her people, so
this airship, wounded in a more unstable element, fell to the ground
killing all on board.

Two airships were built in France for England in 1909. One, the
_Clement-Bayard II._, was of the rigid type and built for the
government; the other, a _Lebaudy_, was non-rigid and paid for by
popular subscriptions raised in England by the _Morning Post_. Both
were safely delivered near London having made their voyages of
approximately 242 miles each at a speed exceeding forty miles an
hour. These were the first airships acquired for British use.

In the United States the only serious effort to develop the
dirigible prior to the war, and to apply it to some definite
purpose, was made not by the government but by an individual. Mr.
Walter Wellman, a distinguished journalist, fired by the effort of
Andrée to reach the North Pole in a drifting balloon, undertook a
similar expedition with a dirigible in 1907. A balloon was built 184
feet in length and 52 feet in diameter, and was driven by a
seventy-to eighty-horse-power motor. A curious feature of this craft
was the guide rope or, as Wellman called it, the equilibrator, which
was made of steel, jointed and hollow. At the lower end were four
steel cylinders carrying wheels and so arranged that they would
float on water or trundle along over the roughest ice. The idea was
that the equilibrator would serve like a guide rope, trailing on the
water or ice when the balloon hung low, and increasing the power of
its drag if the balloon, rising higher, lifted a greater part of its
length into the air. Wellman had every possible appliance to
contribute to the safety of the airship, and many believe that had
fortune favoured him the glory of the discovery of the Pole would
have been his. Unhappily he encountered only ill luck. One season he
spent at Dane's Island, near Spitzenberg whence Andrée had set sail,
waiting vainly for favourable weather conditions. The following
summer, just as he was about to start, a fierce storm destroyed his
balloon shed and injured the balloon. Before necessary repairs could
be accomplished Admiral Peary discovered the Pole and the purpose
of the expedition was at an end. Wellman, however, had become deeply
interested in aeronautics and, balked in one ambition, set out to
accomplish another. With the same balloon somewhat remodelled he
tried to cross the Atlantic, setting sail from Atlantic City, N. J.,
October 16, 1911. But the device on which the aeronaut most prided
himself proved his undoing. The equilibrator, relied upon both for
storage room and as a regulator of the altitude of the ship, proved
a fatal attachment. In even moderate weather it bumped over the
waves and racked the structure of the balloon with its savage
tugging until the machinery broke down and the adventurers were at
the mercy of the elements. Luckily for them after they had been
adrift for seventy-two hours, and travelled several hundred miles
they were rescued by the British steamer _Trent_. Not long after
Wellman's chief engineer Vanniman sought to cross the Atlantic in a
similar craft but from some unexplained cause she blew up in mid-air
and all aboard were lost.

Neither Great Britain nor the United States has reason to be proud
of the attitude of its government towards the inventors who were
struggling to subdue the air to the uses of man. Nor has either
reason to boast much of its action in utterly ignoring up to the
very day war broke that aid to military service of which Lord
Kitchener said, "One aviator is worth a corps of cavalry." It will
be noted that to get its first effective dirigible Great Britain had
to rely upon popular subscriptions drummed up by a newspaper. That
was in 1909. To-day, in 1917, the United States has only one
dirigible of a type to be considered effective in the light of
modern standards, though our entrance upon the war has caused the
beginning of a considerable fleet. In aviation no less than in
aerostatics the record of the United States is negligible. Our
country did indeed produce the Wright Brothers, pioneers and true
conquerors of the air with airplanes. But even they were forced to
go to France for support and indeed for respectful attention.

So far as the development of dirigible balloons is concerned there
is no more need to devote space to what was done in England and the
United States than there was for the famous chapter on Snakes in



The year that witnessed the first triumphs of Santos-Dumont saw also
the beginning of the success of his great German rival, the Count
von Zeppelin. These two daring spirits, struggling to attain the
same end, were alike in their enthusiasm, their pertinacity, and
their devotion to the same cause. Both were animated by the highest
patriotism. Santos-Dumont offered his fleet to France to be used
against any nation except those of the two Americas. He said: "It is
in France that I have met with all my encouragement; in France and
with French material I have made all my experiments. I excepted the
two Americas because I am an American."

Count Zeppelin for his part, when bowed down in apparent defeat and
crushed beneath the burden of virtual bankruptcy, steadily refused
to deal with agents of other nations than Germany--which at that
time was turning upon him the cold shoulder. He declared that his
genius had been exerted for his own country alone, and that his
invention should be kept a secret from all but German authorities. A
secret it would be to-day, except that accident and the fortunes of
war revealed the intricacies of the Zeppelin construction to both
France and England.

Santos-Dumont had the fire, enthusiasm, and resiliency of youth;
Zeppelin, upon whom age had begun to press when first he took up
aeronautics, had the dogged pertinacity of the Teuton. Both were
rich at the outset, but Zeppelin's capital melted away under the
demands of his experimental workshops, while the ancestral coffee
lands of the Brazilian never failed him.

Of the two Zeppelin had the more obstinacy, for he held to his plan
of a rigid dirigible balloon even in face of its virtual failure in
the supreme test of war. Santos-Dumont was the more alert
intellectually for he was still in the flood tide of successful
demonstration with his balloons when he saw and grasped the promise
of the airplane and shifted his activities to that new field in
which he won new laurels.

Zeppelin won perhaps the wider measure of immediate fame, but
whether enduring or not is yet to be determined. His airships
impressive, even majestic as they are, have failed to prove their
worth in war, and are yet to be fully tested in peace. That they
remain a unique type, one which no other individual nor any other
nation has sought to copy, cannot be attributed wholly to the
jealousy of possible rivals. If the monster ship, of rigid frame,
were indeed the ideal form of dirigible it would be imitated on
every hand. The inventions of the Wrights have been seized upon,
adapted, improved perhaps by half a hundred airplane designers of
every nation. But nobody has been imitating the Zeppelins.

[Illustration: _The Giant and the Pigmies._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]

That, however, is a mere passing reflection. If the Zeppelin has not
done all in war that the sanguine German people expected of it,
nevertheless it is not yet to be pronounced an entire failure. And
even though a failure in war, the chief service for which its
stout-hearted inventor designed it, there is still hope that it may
ultimately prove better adapted to many ends of peace than the
airplanes which for the time seem to have outdone it.

Stout-hearted indeed the old _Luftgraaf_--"Air Scout"--as the
Germans call him, was. His was a Bismarckian nature, reminiscent of
the Iron Chancellor alike physically and mentally. In appearance he
recalls irresistibly the heroic figure of Bismarck, jack-booted and
cuirassed at the Congress of Vienna, painted by von Werner. Heir to
an old land-owning family, ennobled and entitled to bear the title
_Landgraf_, Count von Zeppelin was a type of the German aristocrat.
But for his title and aristocratic rank he could never have won his
long fight for recognition by the bureaucrats who control the German
army. In youth he was anti-Prussian in sentiment, and indeed some of
his most interesting army experiences were in service with the army
of South Germany against Prussia and her allied states. But all that
was forgotten in the national unity that followed the defeat of
France in 1872.

Before that, however, the young count--he was born in 1838--had
served with gallantry, if not distinction, in the Union Army in our
Civil War, had made a balloon ascension on the fighting line, had
swum in the Niagara River below the falls, being rescued with
difficulty, and together with two Russian officers and some Indian
guides had almost starved in trying to discover the source of the
Mississippi River--a spot which can now be visited without
undergoing more serious hardships than the upper berth in a Pullman

It was at the siege of Paris that Zeppelin's mind first became
engaged with the problem of aërial navigation. From his post in the
besieging trenches he saw the almost daily ascent of balloons in
which mail was sent out, and persons who could pay the price sought
to escape from the beleaguered city. As a colonel of cavalry, he
had been employed mainly in scouting duty throughout the war. He was
impressed now with the conviction that those globes, rising silently
into the air, above the enemy's cannon shot and drifting away to
safety would be the ideal scouts could they but return with their
intelligence. Was there no way of guiding these ships in the air, as
a ship in the ocean is guided? The young soldier was hardly home
from the war when he began to study the problem. He studied it
indeed so much to the exclusion of other military matters that in
1890 the General Staff abruptly dismissed him from his command. They
saw no reason why a major-general of cavalry should be mooning
around with balloons and kites like a schoolboy.

The dismissal hurt him, but deterred him in no way from the purpose
of his life. Indeed the fruit of his many years' study of aeronautic
conditions was ready for the gathering at this very moment. On the
surface of the picturesque Lake Constance, on the border line
between Germany and Switzerland, floated a huge shed, open to the
water and more than five hundred feet long. In it, nearing
completion, floated the first Zeppelin airship.

In the long patient study which the Count had given to his problem
he had reached the fixed conclusion that the basis of a practical
dirigible balloon must be a rigid frame over which the envelope
should be stretched. His experiments were made at the same time as
those of Santos-Dumont, and he could not be ignorant of the measure
of success which the younger man was attaining with the non-rigid
balloon. But it was a fact that all the serious accidents which
befell Santos-Dumont and most of the threatened accidents which he
narrowly escaped were fundamentally caused by the lack of rigidity
in his balloon. The immediate cause may have been a leaky valve
permitting the gas to escape, or a faulty air-pump which made prompt
filling of the ballonet impossible. But the effect of these flaws
was to deprive the balloon of its rigidity, cause it to buckle,
throwing the cordage out of gear, shifting stresses and strains,
and resulting in ultimate breakdown.

Whether he observed the vicissitudes of his rival or not, Count
Zeppelin determined that the advantages of a rigid frame counted for
more than the disadvantage of its weight. Moreover that disadvantage
could be compensated for by increasing the size, and therefore the
lifting power of the balloon. In determining upon a rigid frame the
Count was not a pioneer even in his own country. While his
experiments were still under way, a rival, David Schwartz, who had
begun, without completing, an airship in St. Petersburg, secured in
some way aid from the German Government, which was at the moment
coldly repulsing Zeppelin. He planned and built an aluminum airship
but died before its completion. His widow continued the work amidst
constant opposition from the builders. The end was one of the many
tragedies of invention. Nobody but the widow ever believed the ship
would rise from its moorings. It was in charge of a man who had
never made an ascent. To his amazement and to the amazement of the
spectators the engine was hardly started when the ship mounted and
made headway against a stiff breeze. On the ground the spectators
shouted in wonder; the widow, overwhelmed by this reward for her
faith in her husband's genius, burst into tears of joy. But the
amateur pilot was no match for the situation. Affrighted to find
himself in mid-air, too dazed to know what to do, he pulled the
wrong levers and the machine crashed to earth. The pilot escaped,
but the airship which had taken four years to build was
irretrievably wrecked. The widow's hopes were blasted, and the way
was left free for the Count von Zeppelin.

Freed, though unwillingly, from the routine duties of his military
rank, Zeppelin thereafter devoted himself wholly to his airships. He
was fifty-three years old, adding one more to the long list of men
who found their real life's work after middle age. With him was
associated his brother Eberhard, the two forming a partnership in
aeronautical work as inseparable as that of Wilbur and Orville
Wright. Like Wilbur Wright, Eberhard von Zeppelin did not live to
witness the fullest fruition of the work, though he did see the
soundness of its principles thoroughly established and in practical
application. There is a picturesque story that when Eberhard lay on
his death-bed his brother, instead of watching by his side, took the
then completed airship from its hangar, and drove it over and around
the house that the last sounds to reach the ears of his faithful
ally might be the roar of the propellers in the air--the grand pæan
of victory.

[Illustration: Photo by Press Illustrating Service.

_A French "Sausage"._]

Though Count von Zeppelin had begun his experiments in 1873 it was
not until 1890 that he actually began the construction of his first
airship. The intervening years had been spent in constructing and
testing models, in abstruse calculations of the resistance of the
air, the lifting power of hydrogen, the comparative rigidity and
weight of different woods and various metals, the power and weight
of the different makes of motors. In these studies he spent both his
time and his money lavishly, with the result that when he had built
a model on the lines of which he was willing to risk the
construction of an airship of operative size, his private fortune
was gone. It is the common lot of inventors. For a time the Count
suffered all the mortification and ignominy which the beggar, even
in a most worthy cause, must always experience. Hat in hand he
approached every possible patron with his story of certain success
if only supplied with funds with which to complete his ship. A
stock company with a capital of $225,000 of which he contributed one
half, soon found its resources exhausted and retired from the
speculation. Appeals to the Emperor met with only cold indifference.
An American millionaire newspaper owner, resident in Europe, sent
contemptuous word by his secretary that he "had no time to bother
with crazy inventors." That was indeed the attitude of the business
classes at the moment when the inventors of dirigibles were on the
very point of conquering the obstacles in the way of making the
navigation of air a practical art. A governmental commission at
Berlin rejected with contempt the plans which Zeppelin presented in
his appeal for support. Members of that commission were forced to an
about-face later and became some of the inventor's sturdiest
champions. But in his darkest hour the government failed him, and
the one friendly hand stretched out in aid was that of the German
Engineers' Society which, somewhat doubtfully, advanced some funds
to keep the work in operation.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A British "Blimp"._]

With this the construction of the first Zeppelin craft was begun.
Though there had been built up to the opening of the war twenty-five
"Zeps"--nobody knows how many since--the fundamental type was not
materially altered in the later ones, and a description of the first
will stand for all. In connection with this description may be noted
the criticisms of experts some of which proved only too well

The first Zeppelin was polygonal, 450 feet long, 78 broad, and 66
feet high. This colossal bulk, equivalent to that of a 7500-ton
ship necessary to supply lifting power for the metallic frame,
naturally made her unwieldy to handle, unsafe to leave at rest,
outside of a sheltering shed, and a particularly attractive target
for artillery in time of war. Actual action indeed proved that to be
safe from the shells of anti-aircraft guns, the Zeppelins were
forced to fly so high that their own bombs could not be dropped with
any degree of accuracy upon a desired target.

The balloon's frame is made of aluminum, the lightest of metals, but
not the least costly. A curious disadvantage of this construction
was made apparent in the accident which destroyed _Zeppelin IV._
That was the first of the airships to be equipped with a full
wireless outfit which was used freely on its flight. It appeared
that the aluminum frame absorbed much of the electricity generated
for the purpose of the wireless. The effect of this was two-fold. It
limited the radius of operation of the wireless to 150 miles or
less, and it made the metal frame a perilous storehouse of
electricity. When _Zeppelin IV._ met with a disaster by a storm
which dragged it from its moorings, the stored electricity in her
frame was suddenly released by contact with the trees and set fire
to the envelope, utterly destroying the ship.

The balloon frame was divided into seventeen compartments, each of
which held a ballonet filled with hydrogen gas. The purpose of this
was similar to the practice of dividing a ship's hulls into
compartments. If one or more of the ballonets, for any reason, were
injured the remainder would keep the ship afloat. The space between
the ballonets and the outer skin was pumped full of air to keep the
latter taut and rigid. Moreover it helped to prevent the radiation
of heat to the gas bags from the outer envelope whose huge expanse,
presented to the sun, absorbed an immense amount of heat rays.

Two cars were suspended from the frame of the Zeppelin, forward and
aft, and a corridor connected them. A sliding weight was employed
to raise or depress the bow. In each car of the first Zeppelin was
a sixteen-horse-power gasoline motor, each working two screws, with
four foot blades, revolving one thousand times a minute. The engines
were reversible, thus making it possible to work the propellers
against each other and aid materially in steering the ship. Rudders
at bow and stern completed the navigating equipment.

In the first Zeppelins, the corridor connecting the two cars was
wholly outside the frame and envelope of the car. Later the perilous
experiment was tried of putting it within the envelope. This
resulted in one of the most shocking of the many Zeppelin disasters.
In the case of the ship _L-II._, built in 1912, the corridor became
filled with gas that had oozed out of the ballonets. At one end or
the other of the corridor this gas, then mixed with air, came in
contact with fire,--perhaps the exhaust of the engines,--a violent
explosion followed while the ship was some nine hundred feet aloft,
and the mass of twisted and broken metal, with the flaming envelope,
fell to the ground carrying twenty-eight men, including members of
the Admiralty Board, to a horrible death.

But to return to the first Zeppelin. Her trial was set for July 2,
1900, and though the immediate vicinity of the floating hangar was
barred to the public by the military authorities, the shores and
surface of the lake were black with people eager to witness the
test. Boats pulled out of the wide portal the huge cigar-shaped
structure, floating on small rafts, its polished surface of pegamoid
glittering in the sun. As large as a fair-sized ocean steamship, it
looked, on that little lake dotted with pleasure craft, like a
leviathan. Men were busy in the cars, fore and aft. The mooring
ropes were cast off as the vessel gained an offing, and ballast
being thrown out she began to rise slowly. The propellers began to
whir, and the great craft swung around breasting the breeze and
moved slowly up the lake. The crowd cheered. Count von Zeppelin,
tense with excitement, alert for every sign of weakness watched his
monster creation with mingled pride and apprehension. Two points
were set at rest in the first two minutes--the lifting power was
great enough to carry the heaviest load ever imposed upon a balloon
and the motive power was sufficient to propel her against an
ordinary breeze. But she was hardly in mid-air when defects became
apparent. The apparatus for controlling the balancing weight got out
of order. The steering lines became entangled so that the ship was
first obliged to stop, then by reversing the engines to proceed
backwards. This was, however, a favourable evidence of her handiness
under untoward circumstances. After she had been in the air nearly
an hour and had covered four or five miles, a landing was ordered
and she dropped to the surface of the lake with perfect ease. Before
reaching her shed, however, she collided with a pile--an accident in
no way attributable to her design--and seriously bent her frame.

The story told thus baldly does not sound like a record of glorious
success. Nevertheless not Count Zeppelin alone but all Germany was
wild with jubilation. _Zeppelin I._ had demonstrated a principle;
all that remained was to develop and apply this principle and
Germany would have a fleet of aërial dreadnoughts that would force
any hostile nation to subjection. There was little or no discussion
of the application of the principle to the ends of peace. It was as
an engine of war alone that the airship appealed to the popular

But at the time that fancy proved fickle. With a few repairs the
airship was brought out for another test. In the air it did all that
was asked for it, but it came to earth--or rather to the surface of
the lake--with a shock that put it out of commission. When Count
Zeppelin's company estimated the cost of further repairs it gave a
sigh and abandoned the wreck. Thereupon the pertinacious inventor
laid aside his tools, got into his old uniform, and went out again
on the dreary task of begging for further funds.

It was two years before he could take up again the work of
construction. He lectured, wrote magazine articles, begged, cajoled,
and pleaded for money. At last he made an impression upon the
Emperor who, indeed, with a keen eye for all that makes for military
advantage, should have given heed to his efforts long before. Merely
a letter of approval from the all-powerful Kaiser was needed to turn
the scale and in 1902 this was forthcoming. The factories of the
empire agreed to furnish materials at cost price, and sufficient
money was soon forthcoming to build a second ship. This ship took
more than two years to build, was tested in January, 1906, made a
creditable flight, and was dashed to pieces by a gale the same

The wearisome work of begging began again. But this time the
Kaiser's aid was even more effectively given and in nine months
_Zeppelin III._ was in the air. More powerful than its predecessors
it met with a greater measure of success. On one of its trials a
propeller blade flew off and penetrated the envelope, but the ship
returned to earth in safety. In October, 1906, the Minister of War
reported that the airship was extremely stable, responded readily to
her helm, had carried eleven persons sixty-seven miles in two hours
and seventeen minutes, and had made its landing in ease and safety.
Accepted by the government "No. III." passed into military service
and Zeppelin, now the idol of the German people, began the
construction of "No. IV."

That ship was larger than her predecessors and carried a third
cabin for passengers suspended amidships. Marked increase in the
size of the steering and stabling planes characterized the
appearance of the ship when compared with earlier types. She was at
the outset a lucky ship. She cruised through Alpine passes into
Switzerland, and made a circular voyage carrying eleven passengers
and flying from Friedrichshaven to Mayence and back via Basle,
Strassburg, Mannheim, and Stuttgart. The voyage occupied twenty-one
hours--a world's record. The performance of the ship on both voyages
was perfection. Even in the tortuous Alpine passes which she was
forced to navigate on her trip to Lucerne she moved with the
steadiness and certainty of a great ship at sea. The rarification of
the air at high altitudes, the extreme and sudden variations in
temperature, the gusts of wind that poured from the ice-bound peaks
down through the narrow canyons affected her not at all. When to
this experience was added the triumphant tour of the six German
cities, Count von Zeppelin might well have thought his triumph was

But once again the cup of victory was dashed from his lips. After
his landing a violent wind beat upon the ship. An army of men strove
to hold her fast, while an effort was made to reduce her bulk by
deflation. That effort, which would have been entirely successful in
the case of a non-rigid balloon, was obviously futile in that of a
Zeppelin. Not the gas in the ballonets, but the great rigid frame
covered with water-proofed cloth constituted the huge bulk that made
her the plaything of the winds. In a trice she was snatched from the
hands of her crew and hurled against the trees in a neighbouring
grove. There was a sudden and utterly unexpected explosion and the
whole fabric was in flames. The precise cause of the explosion will
always be in doubt, but, as already pointed out, many scientists
believe that the great volume of electricity accumulated in the
metallic frame was suddenly released in a mighty spark which set
fire to the stores of gasoline on board.

With this disaster the iron nerve of the inventor was for the first
time broken. It followed so fast upon what appeared to be a complete
triumph that the shock was peculiarly hard to bear. It is said that
he broke down and wept, and that but for the loving courage and
earnest entreaties of his wife and daughter he would then have
abandoned the hope and ambition of his life. But after all it was
but that darkest hour which comes just before the dawn. The
demolition of "No. IV." had been no accident which reflected at all
upon the plan or construction of the craft--unless the great bulk of
the ship be considered a fundamental defect. What it did demonstrate
was that the Zeppelin, like the one-thousand-foot ocean liner, must
have adequate harbour and docking facilities wherever it is to land.
The one cannot safely drop down in any convenient meadow, any more
than the other can put into any little fishing port. Germany has
learned this lesson well enough and since the opening of the Great
War her territory is plentifully provided with Zeppelin shelters at
all strategic points.

[Illustration: _The Death of a Zeppelin._

Photo by Paul Thompson.]

Fortunately for the Count the German people judged his latest
reverse more justly than he did. They saw the completeness of the
triumph which had preceded the disaster and recognized that the
latter was one easily guarded against in future. Enthusiasm ran high
all over the land. Begging was no longer necessary. The Emperor,
who had heretofore expressed rather guarded approval of the
enterprise, now flung himself into it with that enthusiasm for which
he is notable. He bestowed upon the Count the Order of the Black
Eagle, embraced him in public three times, and called aloud that all
might hear, "Long life to his Excellency, Count Zeppelin, the
Conqueror of the Air." He never wearied of assuring his hearers that
the Count was the "greatest German of the century." With such august
patronage the Count became the rage. Next to the Kaiser's the face
best known to the people of Germany, through pictures and statues,
was that of the inventor of the Zeppelin. The pleasing practice of
showing affection for a public man by driving nails into his wooden
effigy had not then been invented by the poetic Teutons, else von
Zeppelin would have outdone von Hindenburg in weight of metal.

The story that Zeppelin had refused repeated offers from other
governments was widely published and evoked patriotic enthusiasm.
With it went shrewd hints that in these powerful aircraft lay the
way to overcome the hated English navy, and even to carry war to the
very soil of England. It was then eight years before the greatest
war of history was to break out, but even at that date hatred of
England was being sedulously cultivated among the German people by
those in authority.

As a result of this national attitude Count Zeppelin's enterprise
was speedily put on a sound financial footing. Though "No. IV." had
been destroyed by an accident it had been the purpose of the
government to buy her, and $125,000 of the purchase price was now
put at the disposal of the Count von Zeppelin. A popular Zeppelin
fund of $1,500,000 was raised and expended in building great works.
Thenceforward there was no lack of money for furthering what had
truly become a great national interest.

But the progress of the construction of Zeppelins for the next few
years was curiously compounded of success and failure. Fate seemed
to have decreed to every Zeppelin triumph a disaster. Each mischance
was attributed to exceptional conditions which never could happen
again, but either they did occur, or some new but equally effective
accident did. Outside of Germany, where the public mind had become
set in an almost idolatrous confidence in Zeppelin, the great
airships were becoming a jest and a byword notwithstanding their
unquestioned accomplishments. Indeed when the record was made up
just before the declaration of war in 1914 it was found that of
twenty-five Zeppelins thus far constructed only twelve were
available. Thirteen had been destroyed by accident--two of them
modern naval airships only completed in 1913. The record was not one
to inspire confidence.

In 1909, during a voyage in which he made nine hundred miles in
thirty-eight hours, the rumour was spread that von Zeppelin would
continue it to Berlin. Some joker sent a forged telegram to the
Kaiser to that effect signed "Zeppelin." It was expected to be the
first appearance of one of the great ships at the capital, and the
Emperor hastened to prepare a suitable welcome. A great crowd
assembled at the Templehoff Parade Ground. The Berlin Airship
Battalion was under orders to assist in the landing. The Kaiser
himself was ready to hasten to the spot should the ship be sighted.
But she never appeared. If von Zeppelin knew of the exploit which
rumour had assigned to him--which is doubtful--he could not have
carried it out. His ship collided with a tree--an accident
singularly frequent in the Zeppelin records--so disabling it that
it could only limp home under half power. A rather curt telegram
from his Imperial master is said to have been Count von Zeppelin's
first intimation that he had broken an engagement.

However, he kept it two months later, flying to Berlin, a distance
of 475 miles. He was greeted with mad enthusiasm and among the crowd
to welcome him was Orville Wright the American aviator. It is a
curious coincidence that on the day the writer pens these words the
New York newspapers contain accounts of Mr. Wright's proffer of his
services, and aeronautical facilities, to the President in case an
existing diplomatic break with Germany should reach the point of
actual war. Mr. Wright accompanied his proffer by an appeal for a
tremendous aviation force, "but," said he, "I strongly advise
against spending any money whatsoever on dirigible balloons of any

Thereafter the progress of Count von Zeppelin was without
interruption for any lack of financial strength. His great works at
Friedrichshaven expanded until they were capable of putting out a
complete ship in eight weeks. He was building, of course, primarily
for war, and never concealed the fact that the enemy he expected to
be the target of his bomb throwers was England. What the airships
accomplished in this direction, how greatly they were developed, and
the strength and weakness of the German air fleet, will be dwelt
upon in another chapter.

But, though building primarily for military purposes, Zeppelin did
not wholly neglect the possibilities of his ship for non-military
service. He built one which made more than thirty trips between
Munich and Berlin, carrying passengers who paid a heavy fee for the
privilege of enjoying this novel form of travel. The car was fitted
up like our most up-to-date Pullmans, with comfortable seats, bright
lights, and a kitchen from which excellent meals were served to
the passengers. The service was not continued long enough to
determine whether it could ever be made commercially profitable,
but as an aid to firing the Teutonic heart and an assistance in
selling stock it was well worth while. The spectacle of one of these
great cars, six hundred or more feet long, floating grandly on even
keel and with a steady course above one of the compact little towns
of South Germany, was one to thrill the pulses.

But the ill luck which pursued Count von Zeppelin even in what
seemed to be his moments of assured success was remorseless. In 1912
he produced the monster _L-I_, 525 feet long, 50 feet in diameter,
of 776,900 cubic feet capacity, and equipped with three sets of
motors, giving it a speed of fifty-two miles an hour. This ship was
designed for naval use and after several successful cross-country
voyages she was ordered to Heligoland, to participate in naval
manoeuvres with the fleet there stationed. One day, caught by a
sudden gust of wind such as are common enough on the North Sea, she
proved utterly helpless. Why no man could tell, her commander being
drowned, but in the face of the gale she lost all control, was
buffeted by the elements at their will, and dropped into the sea
where she was a total loss. Fifteen of her twenty-two officers and
men were drowned. The accident was the more inexplicable because the
craft had been flying steadily overland for nearly twelve months and
had covered more miles than any ship of Zeppelin construction. It
was reported that her captain had said she was overloaded and that
he feared that she would be helpless in a gale. But after the
disaster his mouth was stopped by the waters of the North Sea.

[Illustration: _A German Dirigible, Hansa Type._

© U.& U.]

This calamity was not permitted long to stand alone. Indeed one of
the most curious facts about the Zeppelin record is the regular,
periodical recurrence of fatal accidents at almost equal intervals
and apparently wholly unaffected by the growing perfection of the
airships. While _L-I_ was making her successful cross-country
flights, _L-II_ was reaching completion at Friedrichshaven. She was
shorter but bulkier than her immediate predecessor and carried
engines giving her nine hundred horse power, or four hundred more
than _L-I._ On its first official trip this ship exploded a thousand
feet in air, killing twenty-eight officers and men aboard, including
all the officials who were conducting the trials. The calamity, as
explained on an earlier page, was due to the accumulation of gas in
the communicating passage between the three cars.

[Illustration: _A Wrecked Zeppelin at Salonika._

Photo by Press Illustrating Service.]

This new disaster left the faith and loyalty of the German people
unshaken. But it did decidedly estrange the scientific world from
Count von Zeppelin and all his works. It was pointed out, with
truth, that the accident paralleled precisely one which had
demolished the _Severo Pax_ airship ten years earlier, and which had
caused French inventors to establish a hard and fast rule against
incorporating in an airship's design any inclosed space in which
waste gas might gather. This rule and its reason were known to Count
von Zeppelin and by ignoring both he lent new colour to the charge,
already current in scientific circles, that he was loath to profit
by the experiences of other inventors.

Whether this feeling spread to the German Government it is
impossible to say. Nor it is easy to estimate how much official
confidence was shaken by it. The government, even before the war,
was singularly reticent about the Zeppelins, their numbers and
plans. It is certain that orders were not withheld from the Count.
Great numbers of his machines were built, especially after the war
was entered upon. But he was not permitted longer to have a monopoly
of government aid for manufacturers of dirigibles. Other types
sprung up, notably the Schutte-Lanz, the Gross, and the Parseval.
But being first in the field the Zeppelin came to give its name to
all the dirigibles of German make and many of the famous--or
infamous--exploits credited to it during the war may in fact have
been performed by one of its rivals.

It would be futile to attempt to enumerate all these rivals here.
Among them are the semi-rigid Parseval and Gross types which found
great favour among the military authorities during the war. The
latter is merely an adaptation of the highly successful French ship
the _Lebaudy_, but the Parseval is the result of a slow evolution
from an ordinary balloon. It is wholly German, in conception and
development, and it is reported that the Kaiser, secretly disgusted
that the Zeppelins, to the advancement of which he had given such
powerful aid, should have recorded so many disasters, quietly
transferred his interest to the new and simpler model. Despite the
hope of a more efficient craft, however, both the Gross and the
Parseval failed in their first official trials, though later they
made good.

The latter ship was absolutely without any wooden or metallic
structure to give her rigidity. Two air ballonets were contained in
the envelope at bow and stern and the ascent and descent of the
ship was regulated by the quantity of air pumped into these. A most
curious device was the utilization of heavy cloth for the propeller
blades. Limp and flaccid when at rest, heavy weights in the hem of
the cloth caused these blades to stand out stiff and rigid as the
result of the centrifugal force created by their rapid revolution.
One great military advantage of the Parseval was that she could be
quickly deflated in the presence of danger at her moorings, and
wholly knocked down and packed in small compass for shipment by rail
in case of need. To neither of these models did there ever come such
a succession of disasters as befell the earlier Zeppelins. It is
fair to say however that prior to the war not many of them had been
built, and that both their builders and navigators had opportunity
to learn from Count von Zeppelin's errors.

Among the chief German rivals to the Zeppelin is the Schutte-Lanz,
of the rigid type, broader but not so long as the Zeppelin, framed
of wood bound with wire and planned to carry a load of five or six
tons, or as many as thirty passengers. No. I of this type met its
fate as did so many Zeppelins by encountering a storm while
improperly moored. Called to earth to replenish its supply of gas it
was moored to an anchor sunk six feet in the ground, and as an
additional precaution three hundred soldiers were called from a
neighbouring barracks to handle it. It seems to have been one of the
advantages of Germany as a place in which to manoeuvre dirigibles,
that, even in time of peace, there were always several hundred
soldiers available wherever a ship might land. But this force was
inadequate. A violent gust tore the ship from their hands. One poor
fellow instinctively clung to his rope until one thousand feet in
the air when he let go. The ship itself hovered over the town for an
hour or more, then descended and was dashed to pieces against trees
and stone walls.

The danger which was always attached to the landing of airships has
led some to suggest that they should never be brought to earth, but
moored in mid-air as large ships anchor in midstream. It is
suggested that tall towers be built to the top of which the ship be
attached by a cable, so arranged that she will always float to the
leeward of the tower. The passengers would be landed by gangplanks,
and taken up and down the towers in elevators. Kipling suggests this
expedient in his prophetic sketch _With the Night Mail_. The airship
would only return to earth--as a ship goes into dry dock--when in
need of repairs.

A curious mishap that threatened for a time to wreck the peace of
the world, occurred in April, 1913, when a German Zeppelin was
forced out of its course and over French territory. The right of
alien machines to pass over their territory is jealously guarded by
European nations, and during the progress of the Great War the Dutch
repeatedly protested against the violation of their atmosphere by
German aviators. At the time of this mischance, however, France and
Germany were at peace--or as nearly so as racial and historic
antipathies would permit. Accordingly when officers of a brigade of
French cavalry engaged in manoeuvring near the great fortress of
Luneville saw a shadow moving across the field and looking up saw a
huge Zeppelin betwixt themselves and the sun they were astonished
and alarmed. Signs and faint shouts from the aeronauts appeared to
indicate that their errand was at least friendly, if not
involuntary. The soldiers stopped their drill; the townspeople
trooped out to the Champs de Mars where the phenomenon was exhibited
and began excitedly discussing this suspicious invasion. Word was
speedily sent to military headquarters asking whether to welcome or
to repel the foe.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_British Aviators about to Ascend._

_Note position of gunner on lower seat._]

Meantime the great ship was drifting perilously near the housetops,
and the uniformed officers in the cars began making signals to the
soldiers below. Ropes were thrown out, seized by willing hands and
made fast. The crew of Germans descended to find themselves
prisoners. The international law was clear enough. The ship was a
military engine of the German army. Its officers, all in uniform,
had deliberately steered her into the very heart of a French
fortress. Though the countries were at peace the act was technically
one of war--an armed invasion by the enemy. Diplomacy of course
settled the issue peacefully but not before the French had made
careful drawings of all the essential features of the Zeppelin, and
taken copies of its log. As Germany had theretofore kept a rigid
secrecy about all the details of Zeppelin construction and operation
this angered the military authorities beyond measure. The unlucky
officers who had shared in the accident were savagely told that they
should have blown the ship up in mid-air and perished with it rather
than to have weakly submitted it to French inspection. They suffered
court-martial but escaped with severe reprimands.

The story of the dirigibles of France and Germany is practically the
whole story of the development to a reasonable degree of perfection
of the lighter-than-air machine. Other nations experimented
somewhat, but in the main lagged behind these pioneers. Out of Spain
indeed came a most efficient craft--the Astra-Torres, of which the
British Government had the best example prior to the war, while both
France and Russia placed large orders with the builders. How many
finally went into service and what may have been their record are
facts veiled in the secrecy of wartime. Belgium and Italy both
produced dirigibles of distinctive character. The United States is
alone at the present moment in having contributed nothing to the
improvement of the dirigible balloon.



The story of the development of the heavier-than-air machine--which
were called aëroplanes at first, but have been given the simpler
name of airplanes--is far shorter than that of the balloons. It is
really a record of achievement made since 1903 when the plane built
by Professor Langley of the Smithsonian Institution came to utter
disaster on the Potomac. In 1917, at the time of writing this book,
there are probably thirty distinct types of airplanes being
manufactured for commercial and military use, and not less than
fifty thousand are being used daily over the battlefields of Europe.
No invention save possibly the telephone and the automobile ever
attained so prodigious a development in so brief a time. Wise
observers hold that the demand for these machines is yet in its
infancy, and that when the end of the war shall lead manufacturers
and designers to turn their attention to the commercial value of the
airplane the flying craft will be as common in the air as the
automobiles at least on our country roads.

The idea of flying like a bird with wings, the idea basicly
underlying the airplane theory, is old enough--almost as old as the
first conception of the balloon, before hydrogen gas was discovered.
In an earlier chapter some account is given of early experiments
with wings. No progress was made along this line until the
hallucination that man could make any headway whatsoever against
gravity by flapping artificial wings was definitely abandoned. There
was more promise in the experiments made by Sir George Cayley, and
he was followed in the first half of the nineteenth century by half
a dozen British experimenters who were convinced that a series of
planes, presenting a fixed angle to the breeze and driven against it
by a sufficiently powerful motor, would develop a considerable
lifting power. This was demonstrated by Henson, in 1842,
Stringfellow, in 1847, Wenham, who arranged his planes like slats in
a Venetian blind and first applied the modern term "aeroplane" to
his invention, and Sir Hiram Maxim, who built in 1890 the most
complicated and impressive looking 'plane the world has yet seen.
But though each of these inventors proved the theorem that a
heavier-than-air machine could be made to fly, all failed to get
practical results because no motor had then been invented which
combined the necessary lightness with the generation of the required

In America we like to think of the brothers Wright as being the true
inventors of the airplane. And indeed they did first bring it to the
point of usefulness, and alone among the many pioneers lived to see
the adoption of their device by many nations for serious practical
use. But it would be unjust to claim for them entire priority in the
field of the glider and the heavier-than-air machine. Professor
Langley preceded them with an airplane which, dismissed with
ridicule as a failure in his day, was long after his death equipped
with a lighter motor and flown by Glenn Curtis, who declared that
the scientist had solved the problem, had only the explosive engine
been perfected in his time.

Despite, however, the early period of the successful experiments of
the Wrights and Professor Langley, it would be unjust for America to
arrogate to herself entire priority in airplane invention. Any story
of that achievement which leaves out Lilienthal, the German, and
Pilcher, the Englishman, is a record in which the truth is
subordinated to national pride.

[Illustration: Langley's Airplane.]

Otto Lilienthal and his brother Gustav--the two like the Wrights
were always associated in their aviation work--had been studying
long the problem of flight when in 1889 they jointly published their
book _Bird Flight as the Basis of the Flying Art_. Their
investigations were wholly into the problem of flight without a
motor. At the outset they even harked back to the long-abandoned
theory that man could raise himself by mere muscular effort, and
Otto spent many hours suspended at the end of a rope flapping
frantically a pair of wings before he abandoned this effort as
futile. Convinced that the soaring or gliding of the birds was the
feat to emulate, he made himself a pair of fixed, bat-like wings
formed of a light fabric stretched over a willow frame. A tail
composed of one vertical and one horizontal plane extended to the
rear, and in the middle the aviator hung by his armpits, in an erect
position. With this device he made some experimental glides, leaping
from slight eminences. With his body, which swung at will from its
cushioned supports, he could balance, and even steer the fabric
which supported him, and accomplished long glides against the wind.
Not infrequently, running into the teeth of the breeze down a gentle
slope he would find himself gently wafted into the air and would
make flights of as much as three hundred yards, steering to either
side, or rising and falling at will. He was even able to make a
circuitous flight and return to his starting place--a feat that was
not accomplished with a motor-driven airplane until years later.
Lilienthal achieved it with no mechanical aid, except the wings. He
became passionately devoted to the art, made more than two thousand
flights, and at the time of his death had just completed a
motor-driven airplane, which he was never able to test. His earlier
gliding wings he developed into a form of biplane, with which he
made several successful flights, but met his death in 1896 by the
collapse of this machine, of the bad condition of which he had been

[Illustration: © Kadel & Herbert.

_French Airdrome near the Front._]

Lilienthal was more of a factor in the conquest of the air than his
actual accomplishments would imply. His persistent experiments, his
voluminous writings, and above all his friendly and intelligent
interest in the work of other and younger men won him a host of
disciples in other lands who took up the work that dropped from his
lifeless hands.

[Illustration: Lilienthal's Glider.]

In England Percy S. Pilcher emulated the Lilienthal glides, and was
at work on a motor-propelled machine when he was killed by the
breakage of a seemingly unimportant part of his machine. He was on
the edge of the greater success, not to that moment attained by
anyone, of building a true airplane propelled by motor. Many
historians think that to Lilienthal and Pilcher is justly due the
title "the first flying men." But Le Bris, a French sailor, utterly
without scientific or technical equipment, as far back as 1854 had
accomplished a wonderful feat in that line. While on a cruise he had
watched an albatross that followed his ship day after day apparently
without rest and equally without fatigue. His imagination was fired
by the spectacle and probably having never heard of the punishment
that befell the Ancient Mariner, he shot the albatross. "I took the
wing," he wrote later, "and exposed it to the breeze, and lo, in
spite of me, it drew forward into the wind; notwithstanding my
resistance it tended to rise. Thus I had discovered the secret of
the bird. I comprehend the whole mystery of flight."

A trifle too sanguine was sailor Le Bris, but he had just the
qualities of imagination and confidence essential to one who sets
forth to conquer the air. Had he possessed the accurate mind, the
patience, and the pertinacity of the Wrights he might have beaten
them by half a century. As it was he accomplished a remarkable feat,
though it ended in somewhat laughable failure. He built an
artificial bird, on the general plan of his albatross. The wings
were not to flap, but their angles to the wind were controlled by a
system of levers controlled by Le Bris, who stood up in the basket
in the centre. To rise he required something like the flying start
which the airplanes of to-day get on their bicycle wheels before
leaving the ground. As Le Bris had no motor this method of
propulsion was denied him, so he loaded the apparatus in a cart, and
fastened it to the rail by a rope knotted in a slip knot which a
jerk from him would release. As they started men walked beside the
cart holding the wings, which extended for twenty-five feet on
either side. As the horses speeded up these assistants released
their hold. Feeling the car try to rise under his feet Le Bris cast
off the rope, tilted the front end of the machine, and to his joy
began to rise steadily into the air. The spectators below cheered
madly, but a note of alarm mingled with their cheers, and the
untried aviator noticed a strange and inexplicable jerking of his
machine. Peering down he discovered, to his amaze, a man kicking
and crying aloud in deadly fear. It was evident that the rope he had
detached from the cart had caught up the driver, who had thus
become, to his intense dismay, a partner in the inventor's triumph.
Indeed it is most possible that he contributed to that triumph for
the ease and steadiness with which the machine rose to a height
estimated at three hundred feet suggests that he may have furnished
needed ballast--acted in fact as the tail to the kite. Humanity
naturally impelled Le Bris to descend at once, which he did
skilfully without injuring his involuntary passenger, and only
slightly breaking one of the wings.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A German War Zeppelin._]

Had Le Bris won this success twenty years later his fame and fortune
would have been secure. But in 1854 the time was not ripe for aeronautics.
Le Bris was poor. The public responded but grudgingly to his appeals
for aid. His next experiment was less successful--perhaps for lack of
the carter--and he ultimately disappeared from aviation to become an
excellent soldier of France.

[Illustration: Photo by Press Illustrating Service.

_A French Observation Balloon Seeking Submarines._]

Perhaps had they not met with early and violent deaths, the
Lilienthals and Pilcher might have carried their experiments in the
art of gliding into the broader domain of power flight. This however
was left to the two Americans, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who have
done more to advance the art of navigating the air than all the
other experimenters whose names we have used. The story of the
Wright brothers is one of boyhood interest gradually developed into
the passion of a lifetime. It parallels to some degree the story of
Santos-Dumont who insisting as a child that "man flies" finally made
it a fact. The interest of the Wrights was first stimulated when, in
1878, their father brought home a small toy, called a "helicopter,"
which when tossed in the air rose up instead of falling. Every child
had them at that time, but curiously this one was like the seed
which fell upon fertile soil. The boys went mad, as boys will, on
the subject of flying. But unlike most boys they nurtured and
cultivated the passion and it stayed with them to manhood. From
helicopters they passed to kites, and from kites to gliders. By
calling they were makers and repairers of bicycles, but their spare
time was for years devoted to solving the problem of flight. In time
it became their sole occupation and by it they won a fortune and
world-wide fame. Their story forms a remarkable testimony to the
part of imagination, pertinacity, and courage in winning success.
After years of tests with models, and with kites controlled from the
ground, the brothers had worked out a type of glider which they
believed, in a wind of from eighteen to twenty miles an hour, would
lift and carry a man. But they had to find a testing ground. The
fields near their home in Ohio were too level, and their firm
unyielding surface was not attractive as a cushion on which to light
in the event of disaster. Moreover the people round about were
getting inquisitive about these grown men "fooling around" with
kites and flying toys. To the last the Wrights were noted for their
dislike of publicity, and it is entirely probable that the sneering
criticisms of their "level headed" and "practical" neighbours had a
good deal to do with rooting them in this distaste.

Low steep hills down the sides of which they could run and at the
proper moment throw themselves upon their glider; a sandy soil which
would at least lessen the shock of a tumble; and a vicinage in which
winds of eighteen miles an hour or more is the normal atmospheric
state were the conditions they sought. These they found at a little
hamlet called Kitty-Hawk on the coast of North Carolina. There for
uncounted centuries the tossing Atlantic had been throwing up its
snowy sand upon the shore, and the steady wind had caught it up,
piled it in windrows, rolled it up into towering hills, or carried
it over into the dunes which extended far inland. It was a lonely
spot, and there secure from observation the Wrights pitched their
camp. For them it was a midsummer's holiday. Not at first did they
decide to make aviation not a sport but a profession. To their camp
came visitors interested in the same study, among them Chanute, a
well-known experimenter, and some of his associates. They had
thought to give hours at a time to actual flight. When they closed
their first season, they found that all their time spent in actual
flight footed up less than an hour. Lilienthal, despite all he
accomplished, estimated that he, up to a short time before his
death, spent only about five hours actually in the air. In that
early day of experimentation a glide covering one hundred feet, and
consuming eight or ten seconds, was counted a triumph.

[Illustration: Chanute's Glider.]

But the season was by no means wasted. Indeed such was the estimate
that the Wrights put upon it that they folded their tents determined
that when they returned the year following it would be as
professionals, not amateurs. They were confident of their ability to
build machines that would fly, though up to that time they had never
mounted a motor on their aircraft.

In the clear hot air of a North Carolina midsummer the Wrights used
to lie on their backs studying through glasses the methods of flight
of the great buzzards--filthy scavenger birds which none the less
soaring high aloft against a blue sky are pictures of dignity and

     Bald eagles, ospreys, hawks, and buzzards give us daily
     exhibitions of their powers [wrote Wilbur Wright]. The buzzards
     were the most numerous, and were the most persistent soarers.
     They apparently never flapped except when it was absolutely
     necessary, while the eagles and hawks usually soared only when
     they were at leisure. Two methods of soaring were employed. When
     the weather was cold and damp and the wind strong the buzzards
     would be seen soaring back and forth along the hills or at the
     edge of a clump of trees. They were evidently taking advantage of
     the current of air flowing upward over these obstructions. On
     such days they were often utterly unable to soar, except in these
     special places. But on warm clear days when the wind was light
     they would be seen high in the air soaring in great circles.
     Usually, however, it seemed to be necessary to reach a height of
     several hundred feet by flapping before this style of soaring
     became possible. Frequently a great number of them would begin
     circling in one spot, rising together higher and higher till
     finally they would disperse, each gliding off in whatever
     direction it wished to go. At such times other buzzards only a
     short distance away found it necessary to flap frequently in
     order to maintain themselves. But when they reached a point
     beneath the circling flock they began to rise on motionless
     wings. This seemed to indicate that rising columns of air do not
     exist everywhere, but that the birds must find them. They
     evidently watch each other and when one finds a rising current
     the others quickly make their way to it. One day when scarce a
     breath of wind was stirring on the ground we noticed two bald
     eagles sailing in circling sweeps at a height of probably five
     hundred feet. After a time our attention was attracted to the
     flashing of some object considerably lower down. Examination with
     a field-glass proved it to be a feather which one of the birds
     had evidently cast. As it seemed apparent that it would come to
     earth only a short distance away, some of our party started to
     get it. But in a little while it was noted that the feather was
     no longer falling, but on the contrary was rising rapidly. It
     finally went out of sight upward. It apparently was drawn into
     the same current in which the eagles were soaring and was carried
     up like the birds.

It was by such painstaking methods as these, coupled with the
mathematical reduction of the fruits of such observations to terms
of angles and supporting planes, that the Wrights gradually
perfected their machine. The first airplane to which they fitted a
motor and which actually flew has been widely exhibited in the
United States, and is to find final repose in some public museum.
Study it as you will you can find little resemblance in those
rectangular rigid planes to the wings of a bird. But it was built
according to deductions drawn from natural flight.

[Illustration: Photo by Paul Thompson.

_A German Taube Pursued by British Planes._]

The method of progress in these preliminary experiments was, by
repeated tests, to determine what form of airplane, and of what
proportions, would best support a man. It was evident that for free
and continuous flight it must be able to carry not only the pilot,
but an engine and a store of fuel as well. Having, as they thought,
determined these conditions the Wrights essayed their first flight
at their home near Dayton, Ohio. It was a cold December day in 1903.
The first flight, with motor and all, lasted twelve seconds; the
fourth fifty-nine seconds. The handful of people who came out to
witness the marvel went home jeering. In the spring of the next year
a new flight was announced near Dayton. The newspapers had been
asked to send reporters. A crowd of perhaps fifty persons had
gathered. Again fate was hostile. The engine worked badly and the
airplane refused to rise. The crowd dispersed and the newspapermen,
returning the next day, met only with another disappointment.

[Illustration: The First Wright Glider.]

These repeated failures in public exhibitions resulted in creating
general indifference to the real progress that the Wrights were
making in solving the flight problem. While the gliding experiments
at Kitty-Hawk were furnishing the data for the plans on which the
tens of thousands of airplanes used in the European war were
afterwards built, no American newspaper was sufficiently interested
to send representatives to the spot. The people of the United States
were supremely indifferent. Perhaps this was due to the fact that
superficially regarded the machine the Wrights were trying to
perfect gave promise of usefulness only in war or in sport. We are
not either a warlike or a sporting people. Ready enough to adopt a
new device which seems adapted for utilitarian purposes, as is shown
by the rapid multiplication of automobiles, we leave sport to our
professional ball players, and our military equipment to luck.

[Illustration: Pilcher's Glider.]

So after continued experimental flights in the open fields near
Dayton had convinced them that the practical weaknesses in their
machine had been eliminated, the Wrights packed up their flyer and
went to France. Before so doing they tried to get encouragement from
the United States Government, but failed. Neither the government nor
any rich American was willing to share the cost of further
experiments. All that had been done was at their own cost, both in
time and money. In France, whither they went in 1908, they had no
coldness to complain of. It was then the golden day of aviation in
the land which always afforded to the Knights of the Air their
warmest welcome and their most liberal support. Two years had
elapsed since Santos-Dumont, turning from dirigibles to 'planes, had
made a flight of 238 yards. This the Wrights had at the time
excelled at home but without attracting attention. France on the
contrary went mad with enthusiasm, and claimed for the Brazilian the
honour of first demonstrating the possibility of flight in a
heavier-than-air machine. England, like the United States, was cold,
clinging to the balloon long after all other nations had abandoned
it. But France welcomed the Wrights with enthusiasm. They found
rivals a-plenty in their field of effort. Santos-Dumont, Bleriot,
Farman, Latham were all flying with airplanes, but with models
radically different from that of the American brothers. Nevertheless
the latter made an instant success.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_The Comparative Strength of Belligerents in Airplanes at the
Opening of the War._

_The French Army had at least 500 aëroplanes. England had about 250
aëroplanes of all types Russia had 50 aëroplanes--Austria had at
least 50 aëroplanes Germany is about the equal of France, having 500

From the moment they found that they had hit upon the secret of
raising, supporting, and propelling an airplane, the Wrights made of
their profession a matter of cold business. In many ways this was
the best contribution they could possibly have made to the science
of aviation, though their keen eye to the main chance did bring down
on them a certain amount of ridicule. Europe laughed long at the
_sang-froid_ with which Wilbur Wright, having won the Michelin prize
of eight hundred pounds, gave no heed to the applause which the
assembled throng gave him as the money was transferred to him with a
neat presentation speech. Without a word he divided the notes into
two packets, handed one to his brother Orville, and thrust the other
into his own pocket. For the glory which attended his achievement he
cared nothing. It was all in the day's work. Later in the course of
trials of a machine for the United States Government at Fort Myer,
just across the Potomac from Washington, the Wrights seriously
offended a certain sort of public sentiment in a way which
undoubtedly set back the encouragement of aviation by the United
States Government very seriously.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_The Comparative Strength of Belligerents in Dirigibles at the
Opening of the War._

_France must be credited with at least eighteen airships of various
types--England had only seven--Russia had probably not more than
three airships available--Belgium had one airship Austria had not
less than three, not more than five airships available--Germany had
twenty three airships of the rigid, semi-rigid, and non-rigid

In 1909, they had received a contract from the government for a
machine for the use of the Signal Service. The price was fixed at
$25,000, but a bonus of $2500 was to be paid for every mile above
forty miles an hour made by the machine on its trial trip. That
bonus looked big to the Wrights, but it cost the cause of aviation
many times its face value in the congressional disfavour it caused.
Aviation was then in its infancy in the United States. Every man in
Congress wanted to see the flights. But Fort Myer, whose parade was
to be the testing ground, was fully fourteen miles from the Capitol,
and reached only most inconveniently from Washington by trolley, or
most expensively by carriage or automobile. Day after day members
of the House and Senate made the long journey across the Potomac.
Time and again they journeyed back without even a sight of the
flyer in the hangar. One after another little flaws discovered in
the machine led the aviators to postpone their flight. Investigating
statesmen who thought that their position justified them in seeking
special privileges were brusquely turned away by the military guard.
The dusk of many a summer's night saw thousands of disappointed
sightseers tramping the long road back to Washington. The climax
came when on a clear but breezy day Wilbur Wright announced that the
machine was in perfect condition and could meet its tests readily,
but that in order to win a bigger bonus, he would postpone the
flight for a day with less wind. All over Washington the threat was
heard that night that Congress would vote no more money for
aviation, and whether or not the incident was the cause, the
sequence was that the American Congress was, until the menace of war
with Germany in 1916, the most niggardly of all legislative bodies
in its treatment of the flying corps. When the Wrights did finally
fly they made a triumphant flight before twelve thousand spectators.
The test involved crossing the Potomac, going down its north side to
Alexandria, and then back to Fort Myer. Ringing cheers and the
crashing strains of the military band greeted the return of the
aviator, but oblivious to the enthusiasm Wilbur Wright stood beside
his machine with pencil and pad computing his bonus. It figured up
to five thousand dollars, and the reporters chronicled that the
Wrights knew well the difference between solid coin and the bubble
of reputation.

[Illustration: Wright Glider.]

But this seemingly cold indifference to fame and single-minded
concentration on the business of flying on the part of the Wrights
was in fact of the utmost value to aviation as an art and a science.
They were pioneers and successful ones. Their example was heeded by
others in the business. In every way they sought to discourage that
wild reaching after public favour and notoriety that led aviators to
attempt reckless feats, and often sacrifice their lives in a foolish
effort to astonish an audience. No one ever heard of either of the
Wright brothers "looping-the-loop," doing a "demon glide," or in any
other fashion reducing the profession of aviation to the level of a
circus. In a time when brave and skilful aviators, with a mistaken
idea of the ethics of their calling, were appealing to sensation
lovers by the practice of dare-devil feats, the Wrights with
admirable common sense and dignity stood sturdily against any such
degradation of the aviator's art. In this position they were joined
by Glenn Curtis, and the influence of the three was beginning to be
shown in the reduced number of lives sacrificed in these follies
when the Great War broke upon the world and gave to aviation its
greatest opportunity. The world will hope nevertheless that after
that war shall end the effort to adapt the airplane to the ends of
peace will be no less earnest and persistent than have been the
methods by which it has been made a most serviceable auxiliary of

In July, 1915, _Collier's Weekly_ published an interview with
Orville Wright in which that man, ordinarily of few words, set up
some interesting theories upon the future of airplanes.

     "The greatest use of the airplane to date," said Mr. Wright, "has
     been as a tremendously big factor of modern warfare. But--

     "The greatest use of the airplane eventually will be to prevent

     "Some day there will be neither war nor rumours of war, and the
     reason may be flying machines.

     "It sounds paradoxical. We are building airplanes to use in time
     of war, and will continue to build them for war. We think of war
     and we think of airplanes. Later on, perhaps, we shall think of
     airplanes in connection with the wisdom of keeping out of war.

     "The airplane will prevent war by making it too expensive, too
     slow, too difficult, too long drawn out--in brief, by making the
     cost prohibitive.

     "Did you ever stop to think," inquires Wright, "that there is a
     very definite reason why the present war in Europe has dragged
     along for a year with neither side gaining much advantage over
     the other? The reason as I figure it out is airplanes. In
     consequence of the scouting work done by the flying machines each
     side knows exactly what the opposing forces are doing.

     "There is little chance for one army to take another by surprise.
     Napoleon won his wars by massing his troops at unexpected places.
     The airplane has made that impossible. It has equalized
     information. Each side has such complete knowledge of the other's
     movements that both sides are obliged to crawl into trenches and
     fight by means of slow, tedious routine, rather than by quick,
     spectacular dashes.

     "My impression is that before the present war started the army
     experts expected it to be a matter of a few weeks, or at the
     most, a few months. To-day it looks as if it might run into years
     before one side can dictate terms. Now, a nation that may be
     willing to undertake a war lasting a few months may well hesitate
     about engaging in one that will occupy years. The daily cost of a
     great war is of course stupendous. When this cost runs on for
     years the total is likely to be so great that the side which wins
     nevertheless loses. War will become prohibitively expensive. The
     scouting work in flying machines will be the predominating
     factor, as it seems to me, in bringing this about. I like to
     think so anyhow."

     "What, in your opinion, has the present war demonstrated
     regarding the relative advantages of airplanes and Zeppelin
     airships?" the inventor was asked.

     "The airplane seems to have been of the more practical use,"
     replied Wright. "In the first place, dirigible airships of the
     Zeppelin type are so expensive to build, costing somewhere around
     a half million dollars each, that it is distinctly
     disadvantageous to the nation operating them to have one
     destroyed. But what is more important is the fact that the
     Zeppelin is so large that it furnishes an excellent target,
     unless it sails considerably higher than is comparatively safe
     for an airplane. And when the Zeppelin is at a safe height it is
     too far above the ground for your scout to make accurate
     observations. Similarly, when the Zeppelin is used for dropping
     bombs, it must be too high for the bomb thrower to show much

     "You think that the use of flying machines for scouting purposes
     will be of considerably more importance than their use as a means
     of attack?" was another question.

     "That has been decidedly true so far," replied Wright. "About all
     that has been accomplished by either side from bomb dropping has
     been to kill a few non-combatants and that will have no bearing
     on the result of the war.

[Illustration: _At a French Airplane Base._ © International Pilot

     "English newspapers have long talked of the danger of Zeppelin
     attacks or airplane attacks, but it was all for a purpose,
     because they did not believe the country was sufficiently
     prepared for war and sought to arouse the people and the War
     Department to action by means of the airship bogy. [Later history
     showed Mr. Wright sadly in error on this point.]

     "Aside from the use of the machines for war purposes the war will
     give a great boost to aviation generally. It has led more men to
     learn to fly, and with a higher degree of skill than ever before.
     It has awakened people to aviation possibilities.

[Illustration: Stringfellow's Airplane.]

     "Just like the automobile, it will become more and more
     fool-proof, easier to handle and safer. There is no reason why it
     should not take the place of special trains where there is urgent
     need of great speed.

     "The airplane has never really come into its own as a sporting
     proposition. Of late years the tendency has been to develop a
     high rate of speed rather than to build machines that may be
     operated safely at a comparatively low speed. You see, a machine
     adapted to make from seventy to one hundred miles an hour cannot
     run at all except at a pretty rapid clip, and this means
     difficulty in getting down. One must have a good, smooth piece of
     ground to land on and plenty of it. When we get an airplane that
     will fly along at twenty miles an hour, one can land almost any
     place,--on a roof, if necessary,--and then people will begin to
     take an interest in owning an airplane for the enjoyment of

     "Is it true that you and your brother had a compact not to fly

     "Yes, we felt that until the records of our work could be made
     complete it was a wise precaution not to take a chance on both of
     us getting killed at the same time. We never flew together but
     once. From 1900 to 1908 the total time in the air for both Wilbur
     and myself, all put together, was only about four hours."

Mr. Wright's statement of the brevity of the time spent in actual
flying in order to learn the art will astonish many people. Few
novices would be so rash as to undertake to steer an automobile
alone after only four hours' practice, and despite the fact that the
aviator always has plenty of space to himself the airplane can
hardly yet be regarded as simple a machine to handle as the
automobile. Nevertheless the ease with which the method of its
actual manipulation is acquired is surprising. More work is done in
the classroom and on the ground to make the fighting pilot than in
the air. As we have traced the development of both dirigible and
airplane from the first nascent germ of their creation to the point
at which they were sufficiently developed to play a large part in
the greatest of all wars, let us now consider how hosts of young
men, boys in truth, were trained to fly like eagles and to give
battle in mid-air to foes no less well trained and desperate than



The Great War, opening in Europe in 1914 and before its end
involving practically the whole world, including our own nation, has
had more to do with the rapid development of aircraft, both
dirigible balloons and airplanes, than any other agency up to the
present time. It tested widely and discarded all but the most
efficient. It established the relative value of the dirigible and
the airplane, so relegating the former to the rear that it is said
that the death of Count Zeppelin, March 8, 1917, was in a measure
due to his chagrin and disappointment. It stimulated at once the
inventiveness of the constructors and the skill and daring of the
pilots. When it opened there were a few thousand machines and
trained pilots in all the armies of Europe. Before the war had been
in progress three years there were more flying men over the
battlefields of the three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa,
than there were at that time soldiers of all classes enlisted in the
regular army of the United States. Before that war the three arms of
the armed service had been infantry, artillery, and cavalry. The
experience of war added a new arm--the aviation corps--and there is
to-day some doubt whether in importance it should not be ranked
above the cavalry.

[Illustration: "_America"--Built to Cross the Atlantic Ocean._ © U.
& U.]

When war was declared none of the belligerent nations had its aërial
fleet properly organized, nor was the aviation department in any of
them equal in preparedness to the rest of the army. The two great
antagonists did not differ greatly in the strength of their flying
forces. Germany possessed about 1000 airplanes, exclusive of about
450 in private hands, of all which it is estimated about 700 were
ready for immediate service. Fourteen Zeppelins were in commission,
and other large dirigibles of different types brought the number of
the craft of this sort available up to forty.

[Illustration: _Wright Airplane in Flight._]

France was stronger in airplanes but weaker in dirigibles. Of the
former she had about 1500; of the latter not more than twenty-five.
The land was swept for planes in the hands of private owners and, as
the French people had from the first taken a lively interest in
aviation, more than 500 were thus obtained. The French furthermore
at the very outset imperilled their immediate strength in the air
for the sake of the future by adopting four or five machines as army
types and throwing out all of other makes. More than 550 machines
were thus discarded, and their services lost during the first weeks
of the war. The reason for this action was the determination of the
French to equip their aviation corps with standardized machines of a
few types only. Thus interchangeable parts could always be kept in
readiness in case of an emergency, and the aviation corps was
obliged to familiarize itself with the workings of only a few
machines. The objection to the system is the fact that it
practically stopped all development of any machines in France except
the favoured few. Moreover it threw out of the service at a stroke,
or remanded for further instruction, not less than four hundred
pilots who had been trained on the rejected machines. The order was
received with great public dissatisfaction, and for a time
threatened serious trouble in the Chamber of Deputies where
criticisms of the direction of the flying service even menaced the
continuance of the ministry in power.

At the outset of the war Great Britain lagged far behind the other
chief belligerents in the extent of her preparations for war in the
air. As has been pointed out the people of that nation had never
taken the general interest in aviation which was manifested in
France, and there was no persistent Count von Zeppelin to stir
government and citizens into action. The situation was rather
anomalous. Protected from invasion by its ring of surrounding
waters, England had long concentrated its defensive efforts upon its
navy. But while the danger of invasion by the air was second only to
that by sea the British contemplated with indifference the feverish
building of Zeppelins by Germany, and the multiplication of aircraft
of every sort in all the nations of the continent. The manufacture
of aircraft was left to private builders, and not until the war was
well under way did the government undertake its systematic
supervision. The Royal Aërial Factory, then established, became the
chief manufacturer of machines for army and navy use, and acted also
as the agent for the inspection and testing of machines built by
private firms. Control of the Royal Flying Corps is vested in the
Admiralty, the government holding that the strategy of airships was
distinctly naval.

In the use of seaplanes the British were early far in the lead of
other nations, as we shall see in a later chapter. And in the prompt
and efficient employment of such aircraft as she possessed at the
opening of the war she far outclassed Germany which in point of
numbers was her superior. At that moment Great Britain possessed
about five hundred machines, of which two hundred were seaplanes,
and fifteen dirigibles. Despite this puny force, however, British
aviators flew across the channel in such numbers to the headquarters
in France that when the Expeditionary Army arrived on the scene it
found ready to its hand a scouting force vastly superior to anything
the Germans could put in the air. It is no exaggeration to say that
the Royal Flying Corps saved Sir John French's army in his long and
gallant fight against the overwhelming numbers of the foe.

Russia before the war had hidden her aeronautic activities behind
the dreary curtain of miles of steppe and marsh that shut her off
from the watchfulness of Western Europe. Professional aviators,
indeed, had gone thither to make exhibition flights for enormous
purses and had brought back word of huge airplanes in course of
construction and an eager public interest in the subject of flying.
But the secrecy which all the governments so soon to be plunged in
war sought to throw about their production of aircraft was
especially easy for Russia in her isolation. When the storm burst
her air fleet was not less than eight hundred airplanes, and at
least twenty-five dirigibles.

A competent authority estimates that at the outbreak of the war the
various Powers possessed a total of 4980 aircraft of all sorts. This
sounds like a colossal fleet, but by 1917 it was probably multiplied
more than tenfold. Of the increase of aircraft we can judge only by
guesswork. The belligerents keep their output an inviolable secret.
It was known that many factories with a capacity of from thirty to
fifty 'planes a week were working in the chief belligerent lands,
that the United States was shipping aircraft in parts to avoid
violation of neutrality laws before their entrance upon the war, and
that American capital operated factories in Canada whence the
completed craft could be shipped regardless of such laws. How great
was the loss to be offset against this new construction is a subject
on which no authoritative figures are available.

It was estimated early in the war that the life of an airplane in
active service seldom exceeded three weeks. In passing it may be
mentioned that by some misapprehension on the part of the public,
this estimate of the duration of a machine was thought to cover also
the average life of the aviators in service. Happily this was far
from true. The mortality among the machines was not altogether due
to wounds sustained in combat, but largely to general wear and tear,
rough usage, and constant service. The slightest sign of weakness in
a machine led to its instant condemnation and destruction, for if it
should develop in mid-air into a serious fault it might cost the
life of the aviator and even a serious disaster to the army which he
was serving. As the war went on the period of service of a machine
became even briefer, for with the growing demand for faster and more
quickly controllable machines everything was sacrificed to lightness
and speed. The factor of safety which early in the war was six to
eight was reduced to three and a half, and instances were known in
all services of machines simply collapsing and going to pieces under
their own weight without wound or shock.

About the extent to which the belligerent governments developed
their air forces after the outbreak of war there was during the
continuance of that conflict great reticence maintained by all of
them. At the outset there was little employment of the flyers except
on scouting reconnaissance work, or in directing artillery fire. The
raids of Zeppelins upon England, of seaplanes on Kiel and Cuxhaven,
of airplanes on Friedrichshaven, Essen, and Venice came later. It
has been noted by military authorities that, while Germany was
provided at first with the largest aviation force of all the
belligerents, she either underestimated its value at the outset, or
did not know how to employ it, for she blundered into and through
Belgium using her traditional Uhlans for scouts, to the virtual
exclusion of airmen. The effectiveness of the Belgian fight for
delay is ascribed largely to the intelligent and effective use its
strategists made of the few aircraft they possessed.

Wellington was wont to say that the thing he yearned for most in
battle was to "see the other side of that hill."

Napoleon wrote:

     Nothing is more contradictory, nothing more bewildering than the
     multitude of reports of spies, or of officers sent out to
     reconnoitre. Some locate army corps where they have seen only
     detachments; others see only detachments where they ought to have
     seen army corps.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_The Lafayette Escadrille--First Americans to Fly in France._
(_Lufbery on left, Thaw on right._)]

So the two great protagonists of the opening years of the
nineteenth century deplored their military blindness. In the opening
years of the twentieth it was healed. All that Wellington strove to
see, all that the cavalry failed to find for Napoleon is to-day
brought to headquarters by airmen, neatly set forth in maps,
supported by photographs of the enemy's positions taken from the

Before describing the exploits of the airmen in actual campaign let
us consider some account of how they were trained for their arduous
and novel duties.

To the non-professional an amazing thing about the employment of
aircraft in war has been the rapidity with which pilots are trained.
The average layman would think that to learn the art of manoeuvring
an airplane with such swiftness as to evade the attacks of an enemy,
and to detect precisely the proper moment and method of attacking
him in turn, would require long and arduous practice in the air. But
as we have seen in earlier chapters, inventors like the Wrights,
Bleriot, and Farman learned to fly with but a few hours spent in the
air, with flights lasting less than ten minutes each. So too the
army aviators spent but little time aloft, though their course of
instruction covered in all a period of about four months.

Some account of the method of instruction as reported by several out
of the hundred or more American boys who went to fly for France may
be interesting.

As a rule the aviators were from twenty to twenty-five years of age.
"Below twenty boys are too rash; above twenty-five they are too
prudent," said a sententious French aviator. A slight knowledge of
motors such as would be obtained from familiarity with automobiles
was a marked advantage at the start, for the first task of the
novice was to make himself familiar with every type of airplane
engine. The army pilot in all the armies was the aristocrat of the
service. Mechanics kept his motor in shape, and helpers housed,
cleaned, and brought forth his machine for action. But while all but
the actual piloting and fighting was spared him, there was always
the possibility of his making an untimely landing back of the
enemy's lines with an engine that would not work. To prepare for
such an emergency he was taught all the intricacies of motor
construction, so that he might speedily correct any minor fault.

In our army, and indeed in all others, applicants for appointment to
the aviation corps were subjected to scientific tests of their
nerves, and their mental and physical alertness. How they would
react to the sudden explosion of a shell near their ears, how long
it took the candidate to respond to a sudden call for action, how
swiftly he reacted to a sensation of touch were all tested and
measured by delicate electric apparatus. A standard was fixed,
failing to attain which, the applicant was rejected. The practical
effect might be to determine how long after suddenly discovering a
masked machine gun a given candidate would take before taking the
action necessary to avoid its fire. Or how quickly would he pull the
lever necessary to guard against a sudden gust of wind. To the
layman it would appear that problems of this sort could only be
solved in the presence of the actual attack, but science, which
enables artillerists to destroy a little village beyond the hills
which they never see, was able to devise instruments to answer these
questions in the quiet of the laboratory.

One of the best known flying schools of the French army was at Pau,
where on broad level plains were, in 1917, four separate camps for
aviators, each with its group of hangars for the machines, its
repair shops, and with a tall wireless tower upstanding in the
midst for the daily war news from Paris. On these plains the Wright
Brothers had made some of their earliest French flights. A little
red barn which they had made their workshop was still standing there
when war suddenly turned the spot into a flying school often with as
many as five thousand pupils in attendance. "To-day that little red
barn," writes Carroll Dana Winslow, one of the Americans who went to
fly for France, "stands as a monument to American stupidity, for
when we allowed the Wrights to go abroad to perfect their ideas
instead of aiding them to carry on their work at home we lost a
golden opportunity. Now the United States which gave to the world
the first practical airplane is the least advanced in this
all-important science."

Arrived at the school the tyro studies the fundamentals of flying in
the classroom and on the field for two months before he is allowed
to go up--to receive as they express it, his _baptême de l'air_. He
picks motors to pieces, and puts them together, he learns the
principles of airplane construction, and can discourse on such
topics as the angle of attack of the cellule, the incidence of the
wings, and the carrying power of the tail-plane. More than any other
science aviation has a vocabulary of its own, and a peculiarly
cosmopolitan one drawn from all tongues, but with the French
predominating. America gave the airplane to France, but France has
given the science its terminology.

The maps of the battlefields of this war are the marvels of military
science. Made from the air they show every road and watercourse,
every ditch and gully, every patch of woodland, every farmhouse,
church, or stonewall. Much of the early work of the aviator is in
learning to make such maps, both by sketches and by the employment
of the camera. It is no easy task. From an airplane one thousand
feet up the earth seems to be all a dead level. Slight hills, gentle
elevations, offer no contrast to the general plain. A road is not
easy to tell from a trench. All these things the aviator must first
learn to see with accuracy, and then to depict on his map with
precision. He must learn furthermore to read the maps of his
fellows--a task presupposing some knowledge of how they had been
made. He must learn to fly by a map, to recognize objects by the
technical signs upon it, to estimate his drift before the wind
because of which the machine moves sidewise _en crabe_--or like a
crab as the French phrase it.

His first flight the novice makes in a machine especially fitted for
instruction. The levers are fitted with double handles so that both
learner and tutor may hold them at once. If the greenhorn pushes
when he should pull the veteran's grip is hard on the handle to
correct the error before it can cost two lives--for in the air there
is little time to experiment. Either set of controls will steer the
machine. The pupil grasps his levers, and puts his feet on the
pedals. At first the instructor will do the steering, the pupil
following with hands and feet as the motions made by the instructor
are communicated to him by the moving levers. For a time the two
work together. Then as the instructor senses that the student
himself is doing the right thing he gradually lessens his own
activity, until after a few days' practice the student finds that he
is flying with a passenger and directing the machine himself. In
France, at any rate, they teach in brief lessons. Each flight for
instruction is limited to about five minutes. At first the student
operates in a "penguin"--a machine which will run swiftly along the
ground but cannot rise. It is no easy trick at first, to control the
"penguin" and keep its course direct. Then he will try the "jumps"
in a machine that leaps into the air and descends automatically
after a twenty to forty yards' flight. As Darius Green expressed it
so long ago, the trouble about flying comes when you want to alight.
That holds as true to-day with the most perfect airplanes, as in
boyhood days when one jumped from the barn in perfect confidence
that the family umbrella would serve as a parachute. To alight
with an airplane the pilot--supposing his descent to be voluntary
and not compelled by accident or otherwise--surveys the country
about him for a level field, big and clear enough for the machine to
run off its momentum in a run of perhaps two hundred yards on its
wheels. Then he gets up a good rate of speed, points the nose of the
'plane down at a sharp angle to the ground, cuts off the engine, and
glides. The angle of the fall must be great enough for the force of
gravity to keep up the speed. There is a minimum speed at which an
airplane will remain subject to control. Loss of speed--"_perte de
vitesse_," as the French call it--is the aviator's most common peril
in landing. If it occurs after his engine is cut off and he has not
the time to start it again, the machine tilts and slides down
sideways. If it occurs higher up a _vrille_ is the probable result.
In this the plane plunges toward the ground spinning round and round
with the corner of one wing as a pivot. In either case a serious
accident is almost inevitable.

In fact the land is almost as dangerous to the navigator of the air
as it is to him of the sea. To make good landings is an art only
perfected by constant practice. To shut off the engine at precisely
the right moment, to choose an angle of descent that will secure the
greatest speed and at the same moment bring you to your landing
place, to change at the most favourable time from this angle to one
that will bring you to the ground at the most gentle of obtuse
angles, and to let your machine, weighing perhaps a ton, drop as
lightly as a bird and run along the earth for several hundred feet
before coming to a full stop, are all features of making a landing
which the aviator has to master.

In full air there are but few perils to encounter. All airmen unite
in declaring that even to the novice in an airplane there is none of
that sense of dizziness or vertigo which so many people experience
in looking down from high places. The flyer has no sense of motion.
A speed of forty miles an hour and of one hundred miles are the
same to him. As he looks down the earth seems to be slipping away
from him, and moving by, tailwards, like an old-fashioned panorama
being unwound.

Everything about the control of an airplane has to be learned
mechanically. Once learned the aviator applies his knowledge
intuitively. He "senses" the position and progress of the craft by
the feel of the controls, as the man at the yacht's tiller tells
mysteriously how she is responding to the breeze by "the feel." Even
before the 'plane responds to some sudden gust of wind, or drops
into a hole in the air, the trained aviator will foresee precisely
what is about to happen. He reads it in some little thrill of his
lever, a quiver in the frame, as the trained boxer reads in his
antagonist's eyes the sort of blow that is coming. This instinctive
control of his machine is absolutely essential for the fighting
pilot who must keep his eyes on the movements of his enemy, watch
out for possible aircraft guns below, and all the time be striving
to get an advantageous position whence he can turn his machine gun
loose. A row of gauges, dials, a compass, and a map on the frame of
the car in which he sits will engage his attention in any moments of
leisure. It is needless to remark that the successful pilot must
have a quick eye and steady nerves.

Nerve and rapidity of thought save the aviator in many a ticklish
position. It is perhaps a tribute to the growing perfection of the
airplanes that in certain moments of peril the machine is best left
wholly to itself. Its stability is such that if freed from control
it will often right itself and glide safely to earth. This not
infrequently occurs in the moment of the dreaded _perte de vitesse_,
to which reference has been made. In his book, _With the French
Flying Corps_, Mr. Carroll Dana Winslow, a daring American aviator,
tells of two such experiences, the one under his observation, the
other happening to himself:

     The modern airplane is naturally so stable [he says] that if not
     interfered with it will always attempt to right itself before the
     dreaded _vrille_ occurs, and fall _en feuille morte_. Like a leaf
     dropping in an autumn breeze is what this means, and no other
     words explain the meaning better.

     A curious instance of this happened one day as I was watching the
     flights and waiting for my turn. I was particularly interested in
     a machine that had just risen from the "Grande Piste." It was
     acting very peculiarly. Suddenly its motor was heard to stop.
     Instead of diving it commenced to wabble, indicating a _perte de
     vitesse_. It slipped off on the wing and then dove. I watched it
     intently, expecting it to turn into the dreaded spiral. Instead
     it began to climb. Then it went off on the wing, righted itself,
     again slipped off on the wing, volplaned, and went off once more.
     This extraordinary performance was repeated several times, while
     each time the machine approached nearer and nearer to the ground.
     I thought that the pilot would surely be killed. Luck was with
     him, however, for his slip ceased just as he made contact with
     the ground and he settled in a neighbouring field. It was a very
     bumpy landing but the airplane was undamaged.

     The officers rushed to the spot to find out what was the matter.
     They found the pilot unconscious, but otherwise unhurt. Later in
     the hospital he explained that the altitude had affected his
     heart and that he had fainted. As he felt himself going he
     remembered his instructions and relinquished the controls, at the
     same time stopping his motor. His presence of mind and his luck
     had saved his life--his luck I say, for had the machine not
     righted itself at the moment of touching the ground it would have
     been inevitably wrecked.

The spectacle, though terrifying, proved valuable as an education to
young Winslow who a few days later was ordered to a test of
ascension of two thousand feet. This is his story:

     I had a narrow escape. I had received orders to make a flight
     during a snow-storm. I rose to the prescribed height and then
     prepared to make my descent. A whirling squall caught me in the
     act of making a spiral. I felt the tail of my machine go down and
     the nose point up. I had a classical _perte de vitesse_. I looked
     out and saw that I was less than eight hundred feet above the
     ground and approaching it at an alarming rate of speed. I had
     already shut off the motor for the spiral, and turning it on, I
     knew, would not help me in the least. Suddenly I remembered the
     pilot who fainted. I let go of everything, and with a sickening
     feeling I looked down at the up-rushing ground. At that instant I
     felt the machine give a lurch and right itself. I grabbed the
     controls, turned on the motor, and resumed my line of flight only
     two hundred feet in the air. All this happened in a few seconds,
     but my helplessness seemed to have lasted for hours. I had had a
     very close call--not as close as the man who fainted, but
     sufficiently so for me.

[Illustration: _Distinguishing Marks of American Planes._]

We have said that the process of training a flyer is remarkably
expeditious. So far as the fundamentals of his profession are
concerned it is. But his education in fact never ends. In the mere
matter of reconnaissance, for example, experience is everything. One
might imagine that ten thousand men marching on a road would look
alike in numbers whatever the nationality. Not so. To the untrained
eye five thousand or six thousand French troops will look as
numerous as ten thousand British or Germans. Why? Because the French
march in much more extended order. Into their democratic military
methods the precision and mechanical exactitude of German drill do
not enter. With the same number of troops they will extend further
along the road by at least a third than would a detachment of either
of the other armies.

[Illustration: _What an Aviator must Watch._

   1 _Watch_
   2 _Altimeter-registering height_
   3 _Compass_
   4 _Pressure gauges for two gasoline tanks_
   5 _Dial registering engine revolutions_
   6 _Inclinometer, registering level fore and aft_
   7 _Oil pulsator_
   8 _Control stick, with thumb switch_
   9 _Switches, two magnetos_
  10 _Air speed indicator_
  11 _Gasolene supply pipe_]

And again. Great skill has been developed in the course of the war
in the art of concealing positions and particularly in disguising
cannon. The art has given a new word to the world--_camouflage_.
Correspondents have repeatedly told of their amazement in suddenly
coming across a battery of 75's, or a great siege gun so cunningly
hidden in the edge of a thicket they would be almost upon it before
detecting it. From an airplane 2500 feet or more in the air it
requires sharp eyes to penetrate artillery disguises. A French poilu
in a little book of reminiscences tells with glee how a German
observation aviator deceived his batteries. A considerable body of
French troops being halted in an open field, out of sight of the
enemy batteries, found the glare of the sun oppressive, and having
some time to wait threw down their equipment and betook themselves
to the cool shadows of a neighbouring wood. Along came an enemy
aviator. From his lofty height the haversacks, blanket-rolls, and
other pieces of dark equipment lying upon the grass looked like a
body of troops resting. After sailing over and around the field
twice as though to make assurance doubly sure he sailed swiftly
away. In a very few minutes shells from a concealed battery began
dropping into that field at the rate of several a minute. Every foot
of it was torn up, and the French soldiers from their retreat in the
woods saw their equipment being blown to pieces in every direction.
The spectacle was harrowing, but the reflection that the aviator
undoubtedly thought that he had turned his guns on a field full of
men was cheering to them in their safety.

An art which the fighting aviator must master early in his career is
that of high diving. Many of us have seen a hawk, soaring high in
air, suddenly fold his pinions and drop like a plummet full on the
back of some luckless pigeon flapping along ungainly scores of feet
below, or a fishhawk drop like a meteor from the sky with a
resounding splash upon the bosom of some placid stream and rise
again carrying a flapping fish to his eyrie in the distant pines.
The hunting methods of the hawk are the fighting methods of the
airman. But his dives exceed in height and daring anything known to
the feathered warriors of the air.

Boelke, most famous of all the German airmen--or for that matter of
all aërial fighters of his day--who in 1917 held the record for the
number of enemy flyers brought down, was famed for his savage dives.
He would fly at a great height, fifteen thousand or more feet, thus
assuring himself that there was no enemy above him. When he sighted
his prey he would make an absolutely vertical nose dive, dropping at
the rate of 150 miles an hour or more and spattering shots from his
machine gun as he fell. Six hundred shots a minute and the sight of
this charging demon were enough to test the nerve of any threatened
aviator. In some fashion Boelke was enabled to give a slight spiral
form to his dive so that his victim was enveloped in a ring of
bullets that blocked his retreat whichever way he might turn for

Personality in fighting counted much for success. Boelke's method,
its audacity and fierceness, placed him first in the list of airmen
with killing records. Captain Immelman, also a German, who rolled up
a score of thirty enemies put out of action before he himself was
slain, followed entirely different tactics. His battle manoeuvre
savoured much of the circus, including as it did complete
loop-the-loop. For instead of approaching his adversary from the
side, or as would be said in the sea navy, on the beam, he followed
squarely behind him. His study was to get the nose of his machine
almost on the tail of the aircraft he was pursuing. This gave him,
to begin with, what used to be called in the navy a raking position,
for his shots would rake the whole body of the enemy airplane from
tail to nose with a fair chance of hitting either the fuel tank,
the engine, or the pilot. Failing to secure the position he most
coveted, this daring German would surrender it with apparent
unconcern to the enemy who usually fell into the trap. For just as
the foeman's machine came up to the tail of Immelman's craft the
latter would suddenly turn his nose straight to earth, drop like a
stone, execute a backward loop, and come up behind his surprised
adversary who thus found the tables suddenly turned.

These two German aviators long held the record for execution done in
single combat. Boelke was killed before the air duel vanished to be
replaced by the battle of scores of planes high in air. Immelman
survived longer, but with the incoming of the pitched battle his
personal prowess counted for less and his fame waned.

In July, 1917, arrangements were complete in the United States for
the immediate training in the fundamentals of aviation of ten
thousand young Americans. The expectation was that long before the
end of the year facilities would be provided for the training of
many more. Both France and Great Britain sent over squads of their
best aviators, some of them so incapacitated from wounds as to be
disqualified for further fighting, but still vigorous enough for the
work of an instructor. The aërial service took hold upon the
imagination and the patriotism of young America as did no other. The
flock of volunteers was far beyond the capacity of the government to
care for, and many drifted over into private aviation schools which
were established in great numbers. The need for the young students
was admittedly great. More and more the impression had grown in both
Great Britain and France that the airplane was to be the final
arbiter in the war. It was hailed at once as the most dangerous
enemy of the submarine and the most efficient ally of troops in the
field. No number seemed too great for the needs of the entente
allies, and their eagerness to increase their flying force was
strengthened by the knowledge of the fact that Germany was building
feverishly in order that its fleet in the air might not be

Perhaps the best description of an idealized aviator was given by
Lieutenant Lufbery, of the Lafayette Escadrille, who came to the
United States to assist in training the new corps of American flying
men. Lufbery himself was a most successful air fighter--an "ace"
several times over. Though French by lineage, he was an American
citizen and had been a soldier in the United States Army. In October
of 1917 his record was thirteen Boches brought down within the
allied lines. In the allied air service one gets no credit for the
defeated enemy plane if it falls within the enemy lines.

While young Americans were being drilled into shape for service in
the flying corps, Lufbery gave this outline of the type of men the
service would demand:

     It will take the cream of the American youth between the ages of
     eighteen and twenty-six to man America's thousands of airplanes,
     and the double cream of youth to qualify as chasers in the
     Republic's new aërial army.

     Intensive and scientific training must be given this cream of
     youth upon which America's welfare in the war must rest.
     Experience has shown that for best results the fighting aviator
     should be not over twenty-six years old or under eighteen. The
     youth under eighteen has shown himself to be bold, but he lacks
     judgment. Men over twenty-six are too cautious.

     The best air fighters, especially a man handling a chaser, must
     be of perfect physique. He must have the coolest nerve and be of
     a temperament that longs for a fight. He must have a sense of
     absolute duty and fearlessness, the keenest sense of action, and
     perfect sight to gain the absolute "feel" of his machine.

     He must be entirely familiar with aërial acrobatics. The latter
     frequently means life or death.

     Fighting twenty-two thousand feet in the air produces a heavy
     strain on the heart. It is vital therefore that this organ show
     not the slightest evidence of weakness. Such weakness would
     decrease the aviator's fighting efficiency.

     The American boys who come over to France for this work will be
     subject to rapid and frequent variations in altitude. It is a
     common occurrence to dive vertically from six thousand to ten
     thousand feet with the motor pulling hard.

     Sharpness of vision is imperative. Otherwise the enemy may escape
     or the aviator himself will be surprised or mistake a friendly
     machine for a hostile craft. The differences are often merely
     insignificant colours and details.

     America's aviators must be men who will be absolute masters of
     themselves under fire, thinking out their attacks as their fight

     Experience has shown that the chaser men should weigh under 180
     pounds. Americans from the ranks of sport, youth who have played
     baseball, polo, football, or have shot and participated in other
     sports will make the best fighting aviators.



The fighting tactics of the airmen with the various armies were
developed as the war ran its course. As happens so often in the
utilization of a new device, either of war or peace, the manner of
its use was by no means what was expected at the outset. For the
first year of the war the activities of the airmen fell far short of
realizing Tennyson's conception of

  The nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue.

The grappling was only incidental. The flyers seemed destined to be
scouts and rangefinders, rather than fighters. Such pitched combats
as there were took rather the form of duels, conducted with
something of the formality of the days of chivalry. The aviator
intent upon a fight would take his machine over the enemy's line and
in various ways convey a challenge to a rival--often a hostile
aviator of fame for his daring and skill in combat. If the duel was
to the death it would be watched usually from the ground by the
comrades of the two duellists, and if the one who fell left his body
in the enemy's lines, the victor would gather up his identification
disk and other personal belongings and drop them the next day in the
camp of the dead man's comrades with a note of polite regret.

It was all very daring and chivalric, but it was not war according
to twentieth century standards and was not long continued.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A Caproni Triplane._]

When at first the aviators of one side flew over the enemy's
territory diligently mapping out his trenches, observing the
movements of his troops, or indicating, by dropping bunches of
tinsel for the sun to shine upon or breaking smoke bombs, the
position of his hidden battery, the foe thus menaced sought to drive
them away with anti-aircraft guns. These proved to be ineffective
and it may be said here that throughout the war the swift airplanes
proved themselves more than a match for the best anti-aircraft
artillery that had been devised. They could complete their
reconnaissances or give their signals at a height out of range of
these guns, or at least so great that the chances of their being hit
were but slight. It was amazing the manner in which an airplane
could navigate a stretch of air full of bursting shrapnel and yet
escape serious injury. The mere puncture, even the repeated
puncture, of the wings did no damage. Only lucky shots that might
pierce the fuel tank, hit the engine, touch an aileron or an
important stay or strut, could affect the machine, while in due
course of time a light armour on the bottom of the fusillage or body
of the machine in which the pilot sat, protected the operator to
some degree. Other considerations, however, finally led to the
rejection of armour.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A Caproni Triplane_ (_Showing Propellers and Fuselage_).]

Accordingly it soon became the custom of the commanders who saw
their works being spied out by an enemy soaring above to send up one
or more aircraft to challenge the invader and drive him away. This
led to the second step in the development in aërial strategy. It was
perfectly evident that a man could not observe critically a position
and draw maps of it, or seek out the hiding place of massed
batteries and indicate them to his own artillerists, and at the same
time protect himself from assaults. Accordingly the flying corps of
every army gradually became differentiated into observation machines
and fighting machines--or _avions de réglage_, _avions de
bombardement_, and _avions de chasse_, as the French call them. In
their order these titles were applied to heavy slow-moving machines
used for taking photographs and directing artillery fire, more
heavily armed machines of greater weight used in raids and bombing
attacks, and the swift fighting machines, quick to rise high, and
swift to manoeuvre which would protect the former from the enemy, or
drive away the enemy's observation machines as the case might be. In
the form which the belligerents finally adopted as most
advantageous the fighting airplanes were mainly biplanes equipped
with powerful motors seldom of less than 140 horse-power, and
carrying often but one man who is not merely the pilot, but the
operator of the machine gun with which each was equipped. Still
planes carrying two men, and even three of whom one was the pilot,
the other two the operators of the machine guns were widely adopted.
They had indeed their disadvantages. They were slower to rise and
clumsier in the turns. The added weight of the two gunmen cut down
the amount of fuel that could be carried and limited the radius of
action. But one curious disadvantage which would not at first
suggest itself to the lay mind was the fact that the roar of the
propeller was so great that no possible communication could pass
between the pilot and the gunner. Their co-operation must be
entirely instinctive or there could be no unity of action--and in
practice it was found that there was little indeed. The smaller
machine, carrying but one man, was quicker in the get-away and could
rise higher in less time--a most vital consideration, for in the
tactics of aërial warfare it is as desirable to get above your enemy
as in the days of the old line of battleships it was advantageous to
secure a position off the stern of your enemy so that you might rake
him fore and aft.

The machines ultimately found to best meet the needs of aërial
fighting were for the Germans always the Fokker, and the Taube--so
called from its resemblance to a flying dove, though it was far from
being the dove of peace. The wings are shaped like those of a bird
and the tail adds to the resemblance. The Allies after testing the
Taube design contemptuously rejected it, and indeed the Germans
themselves substituted the Fokker for it in the war's later days.

The English used the "Vickers Scout," built of aluminum and steel
and until late in the war usually designed to carry two aviators.
This machine unlike most of the others has the propeller at the
stern, called a "pusher" in contradistinction to the "tractor,"
acting as the screw of a ship and avoiding the interference with the
rifle fire which the pulling, or tractor propeller mounted before
the pilot to a certain degree presents. The Vickers machine is
lightly armoured. The English also use what was known as the "D. H.
5," a machine carrying a motor of very high horse-power, while the
Sopwith and Bristol biplane were popular as fighting craft.

The French pinned their faith mainly to the Farman, the Caudron, the
Voisin, and the Moraine-Saulnier machines. The Bleriot and the
Nieuport, which were for some reason ruled out at the beginning of
the war, were afterwards re-adopted and employed in great numbers.

It would be gratifying to an American author to be able to describe,
or at least to mention, the favourite machine of the American
aviators who flocked to France immediately upon the declaration of
war, but the mortifying fact is that having no airplanes of our own,
our gallant volunteer soldiers of the air had to be equipped
throughout by the French with machines of their favourite types.
After we entered the war we adopted a 'plane of American design to
which was given the name "Liberty plane."

It may be worth while to revert for a moment to the distinction
drawn in a preceding paragraph between the pusher propeller and the
tractor which revolved in front of the aviator and of his machine
gun. It would seem almost incredible that two heavy blades of hard
wood revolving at a speed not less that twelve hundred times a
minute, a speed so rapid that their passage in front of the eyes of
the aviator interfered in no way with his vision, should not have
blocked a stream of bullets falling from a gun at the rate of more
than six hundred a minute. Nevertheless it was claimed during the
earlier days of the war that these bullets were not appreciably
diverted by the whirling propellers nor were the latter apparently
injured by the missiles. The latter assertion, however, must have
been to some extent disproved because it came about that the
propellers of the later machines were rimmed with a thin coating of
steel lest the blades be cut by the bullets. But the amazing ability
of modern science to cope with what seemed to be an insoluble
problem was demonstrated by the invention of a device light and
compact enough to be carried in an airplane, which applied to the
machine gun and timed in accordance with the revolutions of the
propeller so synchronized the shots with those revolutions that the
stream of lead passed between the whirling blades never once
striking. The machine was entirely automatic, requiring no attention
on the part of the operator after the gun was once started on its
discharge. This device was originally used by the Germans who
applied it to their Fokker machines. It was claimed for it that by
doing away with the wastage caused by the diversion of the course of
bullets, which struck the revolving propellers, it actually saved
for effective use about thirty per cent. of the ammunition employed.
As the amount of ammunition which can be carried by an airplane is
rigidly limited this gave to the appliance a positive value.

[Illustration: _The Terror that Flieth by Night._

_Painting by William J. Wilson._]

Reference has been made to the extraordinary immunity of flying
airplanes to the attacks of anti-aircraft guns. The number of wounds
they could sustain without being brought to earth was amazing.
Grahame-White tells of a comparison made in one of the airdromes of
the wounds sustained by the machines after a day's hard scouting and
fighting. One was found to have been hit no less than thirty-seven
times. Curiously enough the man who navigated it escaped unscathed.
Wounds in the wings are harmless. But the puncture of the fuel tank
almost certainly means an explosion and the death of the aviator in
the flame thousands of feet in the air. During an air battle before
Arras, a British aviator encountered this fate. When his tank was
struck and the fusillage, or body, of his machine burst into flames,
he knew that he was lost. By no possibility could he reach the
ground before he should be burned to death. A neighbouring aviator
flying not far from him told the story afterwards:

     Jack was not in the thick of this fight [said he]. He was rather
     on the outskirts striving to get in when I suddenly saw his whole
     machine enveloped in a sheet of flame. Instantly he turned
     towards the nearest German and made at him with the obvious
     intention of running him down and carrying him to earth in the
     same cloud of fire. The man thus threatened, twisted and turned
     in a vain effort to escape the red terror bearing down upon him.
     But suffering acutely as he must have been, Jack followed his
     every move until the two machines crashed, and whirling over and
     over each other like two birds in an aërial combat fell to earth
     and to destruction. They landed inside the German lines so we
     heard no more about them. But we could see the smoke from the
     burning débris for some time.

As the range of anti-aircraft guns increased the flyers were driven
higher and higher into the air to escape their missiles. At one time
4500 feet was looked upon as a reasonably safe height, but when the
war had been under way about two years the weapons designed to
combat aircraft were so improved that they could send their shots
effectively 10,000 feet into the air. If the aircraft had been
forced to operate at that height their usefulness would have been
largely destroyed, for it is obvious that for observation purposes
the atmospheric haze at such a height would obscure the view and
make accurate mapping of the enemy's position impossible. For
offensive purposes too the airplanes at so great an elevation would
be heavily handicapped, if not indeed rendered impotent. As we shall
see later, dropping a bomb from a swiftly moving airplane upon a
target is no easy task. It never falls direct but partakes of the
motion of the plane. It is estimated that for every thousand feet of
elevation a bomb will advance four hundred feet in the direction
that the aircraft is moving, provided its speed is not in excess of
sixty miles an hour. As a result marksmanship at a height of more
than five thousand feet is practically impossible.

In the main this situation is met, as all situations in war in which
efficiency can only be attained at the expense of great personal
danger are met, namely, by braving the danger. When the aviators
have an attack in contemplation they fly low and snap their fingers
at the puff balls of death as the shrapnel from their appearance
when bursting may well be called. Naturally, efforts were made early
in the war to lessen the danger by armouring the body of the machine
sufficiently to protect the aviator and his engine--for if the
aviator escaped a shot which found the engine, his plight would be
almost as bad as if the missile had struck him.

The main difficulty with armouring the machines grew out of the
added weight. The more efficient the armour, the less fuel could be
carried and the less ammunition. If too heavily loaded the speed of
the machine would be reduced and its ability to climb rapidly upon
which the safety of the aviator usually depends, either in
reconnaissance or fighting, would be seriously impeded. The first
essays in protective armour took the form of the installation of a
thin sheet of steel along the bottom of the body of the craft. This
turned aside missiles from below provided the plane were not so near
the ground as to receive them at the moment of their highest
velocity. But it was only an unsatisfactory makeshift. At the higher
altitudes it was unnecessary and in conflict with other airplanes it
proved worthless, because in a battle in the air the shots of the
enemy are more likely to come from above or at least from levels in
the same plane. The armoured airplane was quickly found to have less
chance of mounting above its enemy, because of the weight it
carried, and before long the principle of protecting an airplane as
a battleship is protected was abandoned, except in the case of the
heavier machines intended to operate as scouts or guides to
artillery, holding their flights near the earth and protected from
attack from above by their attendant fleet of swift fighting
machines. Of these the Vickers machine used mainly by the British is
a common type. It is built throughout of steel and aluminum, and the
entire fusillage is clothed with steel plating which assures
protection to the two occupants from either upward or lateral fire.
The sides of the body are carried up so that only the heads of the
aviators are visible. But to accomplish this measure of protection
for the pilot and the gunner who operates the machine gun from a
seat forward of the pilot, the weight of the craft is so greatly
increased that it is but little esteemed for any save the most
sluggish manoeuvre.

Indeed just as aircraft, as a factor in war, have come to be more
like the cavalry in the army, or the destroyers and scout cruisers
in the navy, so the tendency has been to discard everything in their
design that might by any possibility interfere with their speed and
their ability to turn and twist, and change direction and elevation
with the utmost celerity under the most difficult of conditions. It
is possible that should this war run into the indefinite future we
may see aircraft built on ponderous lines and heavily armoured, and
performing in the air some of the functions that the British "tanks"
have discharged on the battlefields. But at the end of three years
of war, and at the moment when aërial hostilities seemed to be
engaging more fully than even before the inventive genius of the
nations, and the dash and skill of the fighting flyers, the tendency
is all toward the light and swift machine.

[Illustration: Photo by Press Illustrating Service.

_A Curtis Seaplane Leaving a Battleship._]

The attitude of the fighting airmen is somewhat reminiscent of that
of America's greatest sea-fighter, Admiral Farragut. Always opposed
to ironclads, the hero of Mobile Bay used to say that when he went
to sea he did not want to go in an iron coffin, and that when a
shell had made its way through one side of his ship he didn't want
any obstacle presented to impede its passing out of the other side.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_Launching a Hydroaëroplane._]

The all important and even vital necessity for speed also detracted
much from the value of aircraft in offensive operations. It was
found early that you could not mount on a flying machine guns of
sufficient calibre to be of material use in attacking fortified
positions. If it was necessary for the planes to proceed any
material distance before reaching their objective, the weight of
the necessary fuel would preclude the carriage of heavy artillery.
In the case of seaplanes which might be carried on the deck of a
battleship to a point reasonably contiguous to the object to be
attacked, this difficulty was not so serious. This was demonstrated
to some extent by the British raids on the German naval bases of
Cuxhaven and Wilhelmshaven, but even in these instances it was bombs
dropped by aviators, not gunfire that injured the enemy's works. But
for the airplane proper this added weight was so positive a handicap
as to practically destroy its usefulness as an assailant of
fortified positions.

The heavier weapons of offence which could be carried by the
airplane even of the highest development were the bombs. These once
landed might cause the greatest destruction, but the difficulty of
depositing them directly upon a desired target was not to be
overcome. The dirigible balloon enjoyed a great advantage over the
airplane in this respect, for it was able to hover over the spot
which it desired to hit and to discharge its bombs in a direct
perpendicular line with enough initial velocity from a spring gun to
overcome largely any tendency to deviate from the perpendicular. But
an airplane cannot stop. When it stops it must descend. If it is
moving at the moderate speed of sixty miles an hour when it drops
its missile, the bomb itself will move forward at the rate of sixty
miles an hour until gravity has overcome the initial forward force.
Years before the war broke out, tests were held in Germany and
France of the ability of aviators to drop a missile upon a target
marked out upon the ground. One such test in France required the
dropping of bombs from a height of 2400 feet upon a target 170 feet
long by 40 broad--or about the dimensions of a small and rather
stubby ship. The results were uniformly disappointing. The most
creditable record was made by an American aviator, Lieutenant Scott,
formerly of the United States Army. His first three shots missed
altogether, but thereafter he landed eight within the limits. In
Germany the same year the test was to drop bombs upon two targets,
one resembling a captive Zeppelin, the other a military camp 330
feet square. The altitude limit was set at 660 feet. This, though a
comparatively easy test, was virtually a failure. Only two
competitors succeeded in dropping a bomb into the square at all,
while the balloon was hit but once.

The character and size of the bombs employed by aircraft naturally
differed very widely, particularly as to size, between those carried
by dirigibles and those used by airplanes. The Zeppelin shell varied
in weight between two hundred and two hundred and fifty pounds. It
was about forty-seven inches long by eight and a half inches in
diameter. Its charge varied according to the use to which it was to
be put. If it was hoped that it would drop in a crowded spot and
inflict the greatest amount of damage to human life and limb it
would carry a bursting charge, shrapnel, and bits of iron, all of
which on the impact of the missile upon the earth would be hurled in
every direction to a radius exceeding forty yards. If damage to
buildings, on the other hand, was desired, some high explosive such
as picric acid would be used which would totally wreck any
moderate-sized building upon which the shell might fall. In many
instances, particularly in raids upon cities such as London,
incendiary shells were used charged with some form of liquid fire,
which rapidly spread the conflagration, and which itself was
practically inextinguishable.

Shells or bombs of these varying types were dropped from airplanes
as well as from the larger and steadier Zeppelins. The difference
was entirely in the size. It was said that a Zeppelin might drop a
bomb of a ton's weight. But so far as attainable records are
concerned it is impossible to cite any instance of this being done.
The effect on the great gas bag of the sudden release of a load so
great would certainly cause a sudden upward flight which might be so
quick and so powerful as to affect the very structure of the ship.
So far as known 250 pounds was the topmost limit of Zeppelin bombs,
while most of them were of much smaller dimensions. The airplane
bombs were seldom more than sixty pounds in weight, although in the
larger British machines a record of ninety-five pounds has been
attained. The most common form of bomb used in the heavier-than-air
machines was pear-shaped, with a whirling tail to keep the missile
upright as it falls. Steel balls within, a little larger than
ordinary shrapnel, are held in place by a device which releases them
during the fall. On striking the ground they fall on the explosive
charge within and the shell bursts, scattering the two or three
hundred steel bullets which it carries over a wide radius. Bombs of
this character weigh in the neighbourhood of six pounds and an
ordinary airplane can carry a very considerable number. Their
exploding device is very delicate so that it will operate upon
impact with water, very soft earth, or even the covering of an
airship. Other bombs commonly used in airplanes were shaped like
darts, winged like an arrow so that they would fall perpendicularly
and explode by a pusher at the point which was driven into the body
of the bomb upon its impact with any hard substance.

It seems curious to read of the devices sometimes quite complicated
and at all times the result of the greatest care and thought, used
for dropping these bombs. In the trenches men pitched explosive
missiles about with little more care than if they had been so many
baseballs, but only seldom was a bomb from aloft actually delivered
by hand. In the case of the heavier bombs used by the dirigibles
this is understandable. They could not be handled by a single man
without the aid of mechanical devices. Some are dropped from a
cradle which is tilted into a vertical position after the shell has
been inserted. Others are fired from a tube not unlike the torpedo
tube of a submarine, but which imparts only slight initial velocity
to the missile. Its chief force is derived from gravity, and to be
assured of its explosion the aviator must discharge it from a height
proportionate to its size.

In the airplane the aviator's methods are more simple. Sometimes the
bombs are carried in a rack beneath the body of the machine, and
released by means of a lever at the side. A more primitive method
often in use is merely to attach the bomb to a string and lower it
to a point at which the aviator is certain that in falling it will
not touch any part of the craft, and then cut the string. Half a
dozen devices by which the aviator can hold the bomb at arm's length
and drop it with the certainty of a perpendicular fall are in use in
the different air navies. It will be evident to the most casual
consideration that with any one of these devices employed by an
aviator in a machine going at a speed of sixty miles an hour or more
the matter of hitting the target is one in which luck has a very
great share.

There is good reason for the pains taken by the aviators to see that
their bombs fall swift and true, and clear of all the outlying parts
of their machines. The grenadier in the trenches has a clear field
for his explosive missile and he may toss it about with what appears
to be desperate carelessness--though instances have been known in
which a bomb thrower, throwing back his arm preparatory to launching
his canned volcano, has struck the back of his own trench with
disastrous results. But the aviator must be even more careful. His
bombs must not hit any of the wires below his machine in
falling--else there will be a dire fall for him. And above all they
must not get entangled in stays or braces. In such case landing will
bring a most unpleasant surprise.

A striking case was that of a bomber who had been out over the
German trenches. He had a two-man machine, had made a successful
flight and had dropped, effectively as he supposed, all his bombs.
Returning in serene consciousness of a day's duty well done, he was
about to spiral down to the landing place when his passenger looked
over the side of the car to see if everything was in good order.
Emphatically it was not. To his horror he discovered that two of the
bombs had not fallen, but had caught in the running gear of his
machine. To attempt a landing with the bombs in this position would
have been suicidal. The bombs would have instantly exploded, and
annihilated both machine and aviators. But to get out of the car,
climb down on the wires, and try to unhook the bombs seemed more
desperate still. Stabilizers, and other devices, now in common use,
had not then been invented and to go out on the wing of a biplane,
or to disturb its delicate balance, was unheard of. Nevertheless it
was a moment for desperate remedies. The pilot clung to his
controls, and sought to meet the shifting strains, while the
passenger climbed out on the wing and then upon the running gear. To
trust yourself two thousand feet in mid-air with your feet on one
piano wire, and one hand clutching another, while with the other
hand you grope blindly for a bomb charged with high explosive, is an
experience for which few men would yearn. But in this case it was
successful. The bombs fell--nobody cared where--and the two
imperilled aviators came to ground safely.

A form of offensive weapon which for some reason seems peculiarly
horrible to the human mind is the fléchette. These are steel darts a
little larger than a heavy lead pencil and with the upper two thirds
of the stem deeply grooved so that the greater weight of the lower
part will cause them to fall perpendicularly. These are used in
attacks upon dense bodies of troops. Particularly have they proved
effective in assailing cavalry, for the nature of the wounds they
produce invariably maddens the horses who suffer from them and
causes confusion that will often bring grave disaster to a
transport or artillery train. Though very light, these arrows when
dropped from any considerable height inflict most extraordinary
wounds. They have been known to penetrate a soldier's steel helmet,
to pass through his body and that of the horse he bestrode, and bury
themselves in the earth. In the airplane they are carried in boxes
of one hundred each, placed over an orifice in the floor. A touch of
the aviator's foot and all are discharged. The speed of the machine
causes them to fall at first in a somewhat confused fashion, with
the result that before all have finally assumed their perpendicular
position they have been scattered over a very considerable extent of
air. Once fairly pointed downward they fall with unerring directness
points downward to their mark.

[Illustration: _At a United States Training Camp._ © U. & U.]

It is a curious fact that not long after these arrows first made
their appearance in the French machines, they were imitated by the
Germans, but the German darts had stamped upon them the words: "Made
in Germany, but invented by the French."

[Illustration: _A "Blimp" with Gun Mounted on Top._ © U. & U.]

One of the duties of the fighting airmen is to destroy the
observation balloons which float in great numbers over both the
lines tugging lazily at the ropes by which they are held captive
while the observers perched in their baskets communicate the results
of their observations by telephone to staff officers at a
considerable distance. These balloons are usually anchored far
enough back of their own lines to be safe from the ordinary
artillery fire of their enemies. They were therefore fair game for
the mosquitoes of the air. But they were not readily destroyed by
such artillery as could be mounted on an ordinary airplane. Bullets
from the machine-guns were too small to make any rents in the
envelope that would affect its stability. Even if incendiary they
could not carry a sufficiently heavy charge to affect so large a
body. The skin of the "sausages," as the balloons were commonly
called from their shape, was too soft to offer sufficient resistance
to explode a shell of any size. The war was pretty well under way
before the precise weapon needed for their destruction was
discovered. This proved to be a large rocket of which eight were
carried on an airplane, four on each side. They were discharged by
powerful springs and a mechanism started which ignited them as soon
as they had left the airplane behind. The head of each rocket was of
pointed steel, very sharp and heavy enough to pierce the balloon
skin. Winslow was fortunate enough to be present when the first test
of this weapon was made. In his book, _With the French Flying
Corps_, he thus tells the story:

     Swinging lazily above the field was a captive balloon. At one end
     of Le Bourget was a line of waiting airplanes. "This is the
     second; they have already brought down one balloon," remarked the
     man at my elbow. The hum of a motor caused me to look up. A
     wide-winged double motor, Caudron, had left the ground and was
     mounting gracefully above us. Up and up it went, describing a
     great circle, until it faced the balloon. Everyone caught his
     breath. The Caudron was rushing straight at the balloon, diving
     for the attack.

     "Now!" cried the crowd. There was a loud crack, a flash, and
     eight long rockets darted forth leaving behind a fiery trail. The
     aviator's aim however was wide, and to the disappointment of
     everyone the darts fell harmlessly to the ground.

     Another motor roared far down the field, and a tiny _appareil de
     chasse_ shot upward like a swallow. "A Nieuport," shouted the
     crowd as one voice. Eager to atone for his _copain's_ failure,
     and impatient at his delay in getting out of the way, the tiny
     biplane tossed and tumbled about in the air like a clown in the
     circus ring.

     "Look! he's looping! he falls! he slips! no, he rights again!"
     cried a hundred voices as the skilful pilot kept our nerves on

     Suddenly he darted into position and for a second hovered
     uncertain. Then with a dive like that of a dragon-fly, he rushed
     down to the attack. Again a sheet of flame and a shower of
     sparks. This time the balloon sagged. The flames crept slowly
     around its silken envelope. "_Touchez!_" cried the multitude.
     Then the balloon burst and fell to the ground a mass of flames.
     High above the little Nieuport saucily continued its pranks, as
     though contemptuous of such easy prey.

[Illustration: _Aviators Descending in Parachutes from a Balloon
Struck by Incendiary Shells._ © U. & U.]

It may be properly noted at this point that the captive balloons or
kite balloons have proved of the greatest value for observations in
this war. Lacking of course the mobility of the swiftly moving
airplanes, they have the advantage over the latter of being at all
times in direct communication by telephone with the ground and being
able to carry quite heavy scientific instruments for the more
accurate mapping out of such territory as comes within their sphere
of observation. They are not easy to destroy by artillery fire, for
the continual swaying of the balloon before the wind perplexes
gunners in their aim. At a height of six hundred feet, a normal
observation post, the horizon is nearly thirty miles from the
observer. In flat countries like Flanders, or at sea where the
balloon may be sent up from the deck of a ship, this gives an
outlook of the greatest advantage to the army or fleet relying upon
the balloon for its observations of the enemy's dispositions.

[Illustration: _The Balloon from which the Aviators Fled._ © U. &

Most of the British and French observation balloons have been of the
old-fashioned spherical form which officers in those services find
sufficiently effective. The Germans, however, claimed that a balloon
might be devised which would not be so very unstable in gusty
weather. Out of this belief grew the Parseval-Siegfeld balloon which
from its form took the name of the Sausage. In fact its appearance
far from being terrifying suggests not only that particular edible,
but a large dill pickle floating awkwardly in the air. In order to
keep the balloon always pointed into the teeth of the wind there is
attached to one end of it a large surrounding bag hanging from the
lower half of the main envelope. One end of this, the end facing
forward, is left open and into this the wind blows, steadying the
whole structure after the fashion of the tail of a kite. The effect
is somewhat grotesque as anyone who has studied the numerous
pictures of balloons of this type employed during the war must have
observed. It looks not unlike some form of tumor growing from a
healthy structure.

Captive or kite balloons are especially effective as coast guards.
Posted fifty miles apart along a threatened coast they can keep a
steady watch over the sea for more than twenty-five miles toward the
horizon. With their telephonic connections they can notify airplanes
in waiting, or for that matter swift destroyers, of any suspicious
sight in the distance, and secure an immediate investigation which
will perhaps result in the defeat of some attempted raid. Requiring
little power for raising and lowering them and few men for their
operation, they form a method of standing sentry guard at a nation's
front door which can probably be equalled by no other device. The
United States at the moment of the preparation of this book is
virtually without any balloons of this type--the first one of any
pretensions having been tested in the summer of 1917.

As late as the third year of the war it could not be said that the
possibilities of aërial offense had been thoroughly developed by any
nation. The Germans indeed had done more than any of the
belligerents in this direction with their raids on the British coast
and on London. But, as already pointed out, these raids as serious
attacks on strategic positions were mere failures. Advocates of the
increased employment of aircraft in this fashion insist that the
military value to Germany of the raids lay not so much in the
possibility of doing damage of military importance but rather in the
fact that the possibility of repeated and more effective raids
compelled Great Britain to keep at home a force of thirty thousand
to fifty thousand men constantly on guard, who but for this menace
would have been employed on the battlefields of France. In this
argument there is a measure of plausibility. Indeed between January,
1915, and June 13, 1917, the Germans made twenty-three disastrous
raids upon England, killing more than seven hundred persons and
injuring nearly twice as many. The amount of damage to property has
never been reported nor is it possible to estimate the extent of
injury inflicted upon works of a military character. The extreme
secrecy with which Great Britain, in common with the other
belligerents, has enveloped operations of this character makes it
impossible at this early day to estimate the military value of these
exploits. Merely to inflict anguish and death upon a great number of
civilians, and those largely women and children, is obviously of no
military service. But if such suffering is inflicted in the course
of an attack which promises the destruction or even the crippling of
works of military character like arsenals, munition plants, or naval
stores, it must be accepted as an incident of legitimate warfare.
The limited information obtainable in wartime seems to indicate that
the German raids had no legitimate objective in view but were
undertaken for the mere purpose of frightfulness.

The methods of defence employed in Great Britain, where all attacks
must come from the sea, were mainly naval. What might be called the
outer, or flying, defences consisted of fast armed fighting
seaplanes and dirigibles. Stationed on the coast and ready on the
receipt of a wireless warning from scouts, either aërial or naval,
that an enemy air flotilla was approaching the coast, they could at
once fly forth and give it battle. A thorough defence of the British
territory demanded that the enemy should be driven back before
reaching the land. Once over British territory the projectiles
discharged whether by friend or foe did equal harm to the people on
the ground below. Accordingly every endeavour was made to meet and
beat the raiders before they had passed the barrier of sea. Beside
the flying defences there were the floating defences. Anti-aircraft
guns were mounted on different types of ships stationed far out
from the shore and ever on the watch. But these latter were of
comparatively little avail, for flying over the Channel or the North
Sea the invaders naturally flew at a great height. They had no
targets there to seek, steered by their compasses, and were entirely
indifferent to the prospect beneath them. Moreover anti-aircraft
guns, hard to train effectively from an immovable mount, were
particularly untrustworthy when fired from the deck of a rolling and
tossing ship in the turbulent Channel.

Third in the list of defences of the British coast, or of any other
coast which may at any time be threatened with an aërial raid, are
defensive stations equipped not only with anti-aircraft guns and
searchlights but with batteries of strange new scientific
instruments like the "listening towers," equipped with huge
microphones to magnify the sound of the motors of approaching
aircraft so that they would be heard long before they could be seen,
range finders, and other devices for the purpose of gauging the
distance and fixing the direction of an approaching enemy.

Some brief attention may here be given to the various types of
anti-aircraft guns. These differ very materially in type and weight
in the different belligerent armies and navies. They have but one
quality in common, namely that they are most disappointing in the
results attained. Mr. F. W. Lancaster, the foremost British
authority on aircraft, says on this subject:

"Anti-aircraft firing is very inaccurate, hence numbers of guns are
employed to compensate."

[Illustration: Photo by International Film Service.

_German Air Raiders over England._

_In the foreground three British planes are advancing to the

That is to say that one or two guns can be little relied upon to put
a flyer _hors du combat_. The method adopted is to have large
batteries which fairly fill that portion of the air through which
the adventurous airman is making his way with shells fired rather at
the section than at the swiftly moving target.

"Archibald," the British airmen call, for some mysterious reason, the
anti-aircraft guns employed by their enemies, sometimes referring to a
big howitzer which made its appearance late in the war as "Cuthbert."
The names sound a little effeminate, redolent somehow of high teas and
the dancing floor, rather than the field of battle. Perhaps this was
why the British soldiers adopted them as an expression of contempt for
the enemy's batteries. But contempt was hardly justifiable in face of
the difficulty of the problem. A gun firing a twenty-pound shrapnel
shell is not pointed on an object with the celerity with which a
practised revolver shot can throw his weapon into position. The gunner
on the ground seeing an airplane flying five thousand feet above
him--almost a mile up in the air--hurries to get his piece into
position for a shot. But while he is aiming the flyer, if a high-speed
machine, will be changing its position at a rate of perhaps 120 miles
an hour. Nor does it fly straight ahead. The gunner cannot point his
weapon some distance in advance as he would were he a sportsman intent
on cutting off a flight of wild geese. The aviator makes quick
turns--zigzags--employs every artifice to defeat the aim of his enemy
below. Small wonder that in the majority of cases they have been
successful. The attitude of the airmen toward the "Archies" is one of
calm contempt.

The German mind being distinctly scientific invented early in the
war a method of fixing the range and position of an enemy airplane
which would be most effective if the target were not continually in
erratic motion. The method was to arrange anti-aircraft guns in a
triangle, all in telephonic connection with a central observer. When
a flyer enters the territory which these guns are guarding, the
gunner at one of the apexes of the triangle fires a shell which
gives out a red cloud of smoke. Perhaps it falls short. The central
observer notes the result and orders a second gun to fire. Instantly
a gunner at another apex fires again, this time a shell giving
forth black smoke. This shell discharged with the warning given by
the earlier one is likely to come nearer the target, but at any rate
marks another point at which it has been missed. Between the two a
third gunner instantly corrects his aim by the results of the first
two shots. His shell gives out a yellow smoke. The observer then
figures from the positions of the three guns the lines of a
triangular cone at the apex of which the target should be. Sometimes
science wins, often enough for the Germans to cling to the system.
But more often the shrewd aviator defeats science by his swift and
eccentric changes of his line of flight.

At the beginning of the war Germany was very much better equipped
with anti-aircraft guns than any of her enemies. This was due to the
remarkable foresight of the great munition makers, Krupp and
Ehrhardt, who began experimenting with anti-aircraft guns before the
aircraft themselves were much more than experiments. The problem was
no easy one. The gun had to be light, mobile, and often mounted on
an automobile so as to be swiftly transferred from place to place in
pursuit of raiders. It was vital that it should be so mounted as to
be speedily trained to any position vertical or horizontal. As a
result the type determined upon was mounted on a pedestal fixed to
the chassis of an automobile or to the deck of a ship in case it was
to be used in naval warfare. The heaviest gun manufactured in
Germany was of 4-1/4-inch calibre, throwing a shell of forty pounds
weight. This could be mounted directly over the rear axle of a heavy
motor truck. To protect the structure of the car from the shock of
the recoil these guns are of course equipped with hydraulic or other
appliances for taking it up. They are manufactured also in the
3-inch size. Germany, France, and England vied with each other in
devising armored motor cars equipped with guns of this type--the
British using the makes of Vickers and Hotchkiss, and the French
their favourite Creusot. The trucks are always armoured, the guns
mounted in turrets so that the effect is not unlike that of a small
battleship dashing madly down a country road and firing repeatedly
at some object directly overhead. But the record has not shown that
the success of these picturesque and ponderous engines of war has
been great. They cannot manoeuvre with enough swiftness to keep up
with the gyrations of an airplane. They offer as good a target for a
bomb from above as the aircraft does to their shots from below.
Indeed they so thoroughly demonstrated their inefficiency that
before the war had passed its third year they were either abandoned
or their guns employed only when the car was stationary. Shots fired
at full speed were seldom effective.

The real measure of the effectiveness of anti-aircraft guns may be
judged by the comparative immunity that attended the aviators
engaged on the two early British raids on Friedrichshaven, the seat
of the great Zeppelin works on Lake Constance, and on the German
naval base at Cuxhaven. The first was undertaken by three machines.
From Belfort in France, the aviators turned into Germany and flew
for 120 miles across hostile territory. The flight was made by day
though indeed the adventurous aviators were favoured by a slight
mist. Small single seated "avro" machines were used, loaded heavily
with bombs as well as with the large amount of fuel necessary for a
flight which before its completion would extend over 250 miles. Not
only at the frontier, but at many fortified positions over which
they passed, they must have exposed themselves to the fire of
artillery, but until they actually reached the neighbourhood of the
Zeppelin works they encountered no fire whatsoever. There the attack
on them was savage and well maintained. On the roofs of the
gigantic factory, on neighbouring hillocks and points of vantage
there were anti-aircraft guns busily discharging shrapnel at the
invaders. It is claimed by the British that fearing this attack the
Germans had called from the front in Flanders their best marksmen,
for at that time the comparative worthlessness of the Zeppelin had
not been demonstrated and the protection of the works was regarded
as a prime duty of the army.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_One Aviator's Narrow Escape._]

The invading machines flew low above the factory roofs. The
adventurers had come far on an errand which they knew would awaken
the utmost enthusiasm among their fellows at home and they were
determined to so perform their task that no charge of having left
anything undone could possibly lie. Commander Briggs, the first of
the aviators to reach the scene, flew as low as one hundred feet
above the roofs, dropping his bombs with deadly accuracy. But he
paid for his temerity with the loss of his machine and his liberty.
A bullet pierced his petrol tank and there was nothing for him to do
save to glide to earth and surrender. The two aviators who
accompanied him although their machines were repeatedly hit were
nevertheless able to drop all their bombs and to fly safely back to
Belfort whence they had taken their departure some hours before. The
measure of actual damage done in the raid has never been precisely
known. Germany always denied that it was serious, while the British
ascribe to it the greatest importance--a clash of opinion common in
the war and which will for some years greatly perplex the student of
its history.

The second raid, that upon Cuxhaven, was made by seaplanes so far as
the air fighting was concerned, but in it not only destroyers but
submarines also took part. It presented the unique phenomenon of a
battle fought at once above, upon, and below the surface of the sea.
It is with the aërial feature of the battle alone that we have to

Christmas morning, 1915, seven seaplanes were quietly lowered to the
surface of the water of the North Sea from their mother ships a
little before daybreak. The spot was within a few miles of Cuxhaven
and the mouth of the River Elbe. As the aircraft rose from the
surface of the water and out of the light mist that lay upon it,
they could see in the harbour which they threatened, a small group
of German warships. Almost at the same moment their presence was
detected. The alarms of the bugles rang out from the hitherto quiet
craft and in a moment with the smoke pouring from their funnels
destroyers and torpedo boats moved out to meet the attack. Two
Zeppelins rose high in the air surrounded by a number of the smaller
airplanes, eager for the conflict. The latter proceeded at once to
the attack upon the raiding air fleet, while the destroyers, the
heavier Zeppelins, and a number of submarines sped out to sea to
attack the British ships. The mist, which grew thicker, turned the
combat from a battle into a mere disorderly raid, but out of it the
seaplanes emerged unhurt. All made their way safely back to the
fleet, after having dropped their bombs with a degree of damage
never precisely known. The weakness of the seaplane is that on
returning to its parent ship it cannot usually alight upon her deck,
even though a landing platform has been provided. It must, as a
rule, drop to the surface of the ocean, and if this be at all rough
the machine very speedily goes to pieces. This was the case with
four of the seven seaplanes which took part in the raid on Cuxhaven.
All however delivered their pilots safely to the awaiting fleet and
none fell a victim to the German anti-aircraft guns.

In May of 1917, the British Royal Naval Air Service undertook the
mapping of the coast of Belgium north from Nieuport, the most
northerly seaport held by the British, to the southern boundary of
Holland. This section of coast was held by the Germans and in it
were included the two submarine bases of Zeebrugge and Ostend. At
the latter point the long line of German trenches extending to the
boundary of Switzerland rested its right flank on the sea. The whole
coast north of that was lined with German batteries, snugly
concealed in the rolling sand dunes and masked by the waving grasses
of a barren coast. From British ships thirty miles out at sea, for
the waters there are shallow and large vessels can only at great
peril approach the shore, the seaplanes were launched. Just south of
Nieuport a land base was established as a rendezvous for both
air-and seaplanes when their day's work was done. From fleet and
station the aërial observers took their way daily to the enemy's
coast. Every mile of it was photographed. The hidden batteries were
detected and the inexorable record of their presence imprinted on
the films. The work in progress at Ostend and Zeebrugge, the active
construction of basins, locks, and quays, the progress of the great
mole building at the latter port, the activities of submarines and
destroyers within the harbour, the locations of guns and the
positions of barracks were all indelibly set down. These films
developed at leisure were made into coherent wholes, placed in
projecting machines, and displayed like moving pictures in the ward
rooms of the ships hovering off shore, so that the naval forces
preparing for the assault had a very accurate idea of the nature of
the defences they were about to encounter.

This was not done of course without considerable savage fighting in
mid-air. The Germans had no idea of allowing their defences and the
works of their submarine bases to be pictured for the guidance of
their foes. Their anti-aircraft guns barked from dawn to dark
whenever a British plane was seen within range. Their own aërial
fighters were continually busy, and along that desolate wave-washed
coast many a lost lad in leather clothing and goggles, crumpled up
in the ruins of his machine after a fall of thousands of feet, lay
as a memorial to the prowess of the defenders of the coast and the
audacity of those who sought to invade it. But during the long weeks
of this extended reconnaissance hardly a spadeful of dirt could be
moved, a square yard of concrete placed in position, or a submarine
or torpedo boat manoeuvred without its record being entered upon the
detailed charts the British were so painstakingly preparing against
the day of assault. When peace shall finally permit the publication
of the records of the war, now held secret for military reasons,
such maps as those prepared by the British air service on the
Belgian coast will prove most convincing evidence of the military
value of the aërial scouts.

What the lads engaged in making these records had to brave in the
way of physical danger is strikingly shown by the description of a
combat included in one of the coldly matter-of-fact official
reports. The battle was fought at about twelve thousand feet above
mother earth. We quote the official description accompanied by some
explanatory comments added by one who was an eye-witness and who
conversed with the triumphant young airman on his return to the
safety of the soil.

     "While exposing six plates," says the official report of this
     youthful recording angel, "I observed five H. A.'s cruising."

     "H. A." stands for "hostile aeroplane."

     "Not having seen the escort since returning inland, the pilot
     prepared to return. The enemy separated, one taking up a position
     above the tail and one ahead. The other three glided toward us
     on the port side, firing as they came. The two diving machines
     fired over 100 rounds, hitting the pilot in the shoulder."

     As a matter of fact, the bullet entered his shoulder from above,
     behind, breaking his left collarbone, and emerged just above his
     heart, tearing a jagged rent down his breast. Both his feet,
     furthermore, were pierced by bullets; but the observer is not
     concerned with petty detail.

     The observer held his fire until H. A., diving on tail, was
     within five yards.

     Here it might be mentioned that the machines were hurtling
     through space at a speed in the region of one hundred miles an

     The pilot of H. A., having swooped to within speaking distance,
     pushed up his goggles, and laughed triumphantly as he took sight
     for the shot that was to end the fight. But the observer, had his
     own idea how the fight should end.

     "I then shot one tray into the enemy pilot's face," he says, with
     curt relish, "and watched him sideslip and go spinning earthward
     in a train of smoke."

     He then turned his attention to his own pilot. The British
     machine was barely under control, but as the observer rose in his
     seat to investigate the foremost gun was fired, and the aggressor
     ahead went out of control and dived nose first in helpless

     Suspecting that his mate was badly wounded in spite of this
     achievement, the observer swung one leg over the side of the
     fusillage and climbed on to the wing--figure for a minute the air
     pressure on his body during this gymnastic feat--until he was
     beside the pilot, faint and drenched with blood, who had
     nevertheless got his machine back into complete control.

     "Get back, you ass!" he said through white lips in response to
     inquiries how he felt. So the ass got back the way he came, and
     looked around for the remainder of the H. A.'s. These, however,
     appeared to have lost stomach for further fighting and fled.

     The riddled machine returned home at one hundred knots while the
     observer, having nothing better to do, continued to take

     "The pilot, though wounded, made a perfect landing"--thus the
     report concludes.

When the time came for the assault upon Zeebrugge the value of these
painstaking preparations was made evident. The attack was made from
sea and air alike. Out in the North Sea the great British
battleships steamed in as near the coast as the shallowness of the
water would permit. From the forward deck of each rose grandly a
seaplane until the air was darkened by their wings, and they looked
like a monstrous flock of the gulls which passengers on ocean-going
liners watch wheeling and soaring around the ship as it ploughs its
way through the ocean. These gulls though were birds of prey. They
were planes of the larger type, biplanes or triplanes carrying two
men, usually equipped with two motors and heavily laden with high
explosive bombs. As they made their way toward the land they were
accompanied by a fleet of light draft monitors especially built for
this service, each mounting two heavy guns and able to manoeuvre in
shallow water. With them advanced a swarm of swift, low-lying,
dark-painted destroyers ready to watch out for enemy torpedo boats
or submarines. They mounted anti-aircraft guns too and were prepared
to defend the monitors against assaults from the heavens above as
well as from the sinister attack of the underwater boats. Up from
the land base at Nieuport came a great fleet of airplanes to
co-operate with their naval brethren. Soon upon the German works,
sheltering squadrons of the sinister undersea boats, there rained a
hell of exploding projectiles from sea and sky. Every gunner had
absolute knowledge of the precise position and range of the target
to which he was assigned. The great guns of the monitors roared
steadily and their twelve and fourteen-inch projectiles rent in
pieces the bomb proofs of the Germans, driving the Boches to cover
and reducing their works to mere heaps of battered concrete. Back
and forth above flew seaplanes and airplanes, giving battle to the
aircraft which the Germans sent up in the forlorn hope of heading
off that attack and dropping their bombs on points carefully mapped
long in advance. It is true that the aim of the aviators was
necessarily inaccurate. That is the chief weakness of a bombardment
from the sky. But what was lacking in individual accuracy was made
up by the numbers of the bombing craft. One might miss a lock or a
shelter, but twenty concentrating their fire on the same target
could not all fail. This has become the accepted principle of aërial
offensive warfare. The inaccuracy of the individual must be
corrected by the multiplication of the number of the assailants.

The attack on Zeebrugge was wholly successful. Though the Germans
assiduously strove to conceal the damage done, the later
observations of the ruined port by British airmen left no doubt that
as a submarine base it had been put out of commission for months to
come. The success of the attack led to serious discussion, in which
a determination has not yet been reached, of the feasibility of a
similar assault upon Heligoland, Kiel, or Cuxhaven, the three great
naval bases in which the German fleet has lurked in avoidance of
battle with the British fleet. Many able naval strategists declared
that it was time for the British to abandon the policy of a mere
blockade and carry out the somewhat rash promise made by Winston
Churchill when First Lord of the Admiralty, to "dig the rats out of
their holes." Such an attack it was urged should be made mainly from
the air, as the land batteries and sunken mines made the waters
adjacent to these harbours almost impassable to attacking ships.
Rear-Admiral Fiske, of the United States Navy, strongly urging such
an attack, wrote in an open letter:

     The German Naval General Staff realizes the value of
     concentration of power and mobility in as large units as
     possible. The torpedo plane embodies a greater concentration of
     power and mobility than does any other mechanism. For its cost,
     the torpedo plane is the most powerful and mobile weapon which
     exists at the present day.

     An attack by allied torpedo planes, armed with guns to defend
     themselves from fighting airplanes, would be a powerful menace to
     the German fleet and, if made in sufficient numbers, would give
     the Allies such unrestricted command of the North Sea, even of
     the shallow parts near the German coast, that German submarines
     would be prevented from coming from a German port, the submarine
     menace abolished, and all chance of German success wiped out.

     I beg also to point out that an inspection of the map of Europe
     shows that in the air raids over land the strategical advantage
     lies with Germany, because her most important towns, like Berlin,
     are farther inland than the most important towns of the Allies,
     like London, so that aëroplanes of the Allies, in order to reach
     Berlin, would have to fly over greater distances, while exposed
     to the fire of other aëroplanes, than do aëroplanes of the
     Germans in going to London for raids on naval vessels.

     However, the strategical advantage over water lies with the
     British, because their control of the deep parts of the North Sea
     enables them to establish a temporary aeronautical base of mother
     ships sufficiently close to the German fleet to enable the
     British to launch a torpedo-plane attack from it on the German
     fleets in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, while the Germans could not
     possibly establish an aeronautical base sufficiently close to the
     British fleet.

[Illustration: © Press Illustrating Service.

_Downed in the Enemy's Country._]

     This gives the Allies the greatest advantage of the offensive. It
     would seem possible, provided a distinct effort is made, for the
     Allies to send a large number of aeroplane mother ships to a
     point, say, fifty miles west of Heligoland, and for a large force
     of fighting aëroplanes and torpedo planes to start from this
     place about two hours before dawn, reach Kiel Bay and
     Wilhelmshaven about dawn, attack the German fleets there and sink
     the German ships.

     The distance from Heligoland to Kiel is about ninety land miles,
     and to Wilhelmshaven about forty-five.

The torpedo planes referred to are an invention of Admiral Fiske's
which, in accordance with what seems to be a fixed and fatal
precedent in the United States, has been ignored by our own
authorities but eagerly adopted by the naval services of practically
all the belligerents. One weakness of the aërial attack upon ships
of war is that the bombs dropped from the air, even if they strike
the target, strike upon the protective deck which in most warships
above the gunboat class is strong enough to resist, or at least to
minimize, the effect of any bomb capable of being carried by an
airplane. The real vulnerable part of a ship of war is the thin skin
of its hull below water and below the armor belt. This is the point
at which the torpedo strikes. Admiral Fiske's device permits an
airplane to carry two torpedoes of the regular Whitehead class and
to launch them with such an impetus and at such an angle that they
will take the water and continue their course thereunder exactly as
though launched from a naval torpedo tube. His idea was adopted both
by Great Britain and Germany. British torpedo planes thus equipped
sank four Turkish ships in the Sea of Marmora, a field of action
which no British ship could have reached after the disastrous
failure to force the Dardanelles. The Germans by employment of the
same device sank at least two Russian ships in the Baltic and one
British vessel in the North Sea. The blindness of the United States
naval authorities to the merits of this invention was a matter
arousing at once curiosity and indignation among observers during
the early days of our entrance upon the war.



In time, no doubt, volumes will be written on the work of the airmen
in the Great War. Except the submarine, no such novel and effective
device was introduced into the conduct of this colossal struggle as
the scouting airplane. The development of the service was steady
from the first day when the Belgian flyers proved their worth at
Liège. From mere observation trips there sprang up the air duels,
from the duels developed skirmishes, and from these in time pitched
battles in which several hundred machines would be engaged on each
side. To this extent of development aërial tactics had proceeded by
midsummer of 1917. Their further development must be left to some
future chronicler to record. It must be noted, however, that at that
early day the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States,
pleading for a larger measure of preparation for the perils of war,
asserted that the time was not far distant when this country would
have to prepare to repel invading fleets of aircraft from European
shores. This may have been an exaggeration. At that moment no
aircraft had crossed the Atlantic and no effort to make the passage
had been made save those of Wellman and Vanniman. When the guns
began to roar on the Belgian frontier there was floating on Keuka
Lake, New York, a huge hydro-airplane with which it was planned to
make the trans-Atlantic voyage. The project had been financed by Mr.
Rodman Wanamaker, of Philadelphia, and the tests of the ship under
the supervision of a young British army officer who was to make the
voyage were progressing most promisingly. But the event that plunged
the world into war put a sudden end to experiments like this for the
commercial development of the airplane. There is every reason to
believe, however, that such a flight is practicable and that it will
ultimately be made not long after the world shall have returned to
peace and sanity.

[Illustration: Photo by Kadel & Herbert.

_Later Type of French Scout._

_The gun mounted on the upper wing is aimed by pointing the machine
and is fired by the pilot._]

Airmen are not, as a rule, of a romantic or a literary temperament.
Pursuing what seems to the onlooker to be the most adventurous and
exhilarating of all forms of military service, they have been chary
of telling their experiences and singularly set upon treating them
as all in the day's work and eliminating all that is picturesque
from their narratives. Sergeant James R. McConnell, one of the
Americans in the French flying corps, afterwards killed, tells of a
day's service in his most readable book, _Flying for France_, in a
way that gives some idea of the daily routine of an operator of an
_avion de chasse_. He is starting just as the sky at dawn is showing
a faint pink toward the eastern horizon, for the aviator's work is
best done in early morning when, as a rule, the sky is clear and the
wind light:

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_Position of Gunner in Early French Machines._]

     Drawing forward out of line, you put on full power, race across
     the grass, and take the air. The ground drops as the hood slants
     up before you and you seem to be going more and more slowly as
     you rise. At a great height you hardly realize you are moving.
     You glance at the clock to note the time of your departure, and
     at the oil gauge to see its throb. The altimeter registers 650
     feet. You turn and look back at the field below and see others

     In three minutes you are at about four thousand feet. You have
     been making wide circles over the field and watching the other
     machines. At forty-five hundred feet you throttle down and wait
     on that level for your companions to catch up. Soon the
     escadrille is bunched and off for the lines. You begin climbing
     again, gulping to clear your ears in the changing pressure.
     Surveying the other machines, you recognize the pilot of each by
     the marks on its side--or by the way he flies.

     The country below has changed into a flat surface of varicoloured
     figures. Woods are irregular blocks of dark green, like daubs of
     ink spilled on a table; fields are geometrical designs of
     different shades of green and brown, forming in composite an
     ultra-cubist painting; roads are thin white lines, each with its
     distinctive windings and crossings--from which you determine your
     location. The higher you are the easier it is to read.

     In about ten minutes you see the Meuse sparkling in the morning
     light, and on either side the long line of sausage-shaped
     observation balloons far below you. Red-roofed Verdun springs
     into view just beyond. There are spots in it where no red shows
     and you know what has happened there. In the green pasture land
     bordering the town, round flecks of brown indicate the shell
     holes. You cross the Meuse.

     Immediately east and north of Verdun there lies a broad, brown
     band. From the Woevre plain it runs westward to the "S" bend in
     the Meuse, and on the left bank of that famous stream continues
     on into the Argonne Forest. Peaceful fields and farms and
     villages adorned that landscape a few months ago--when there was
     no Battle of Verdun. Now there is only that sinister brown belt,
     a strip of murdered Nature. It seems to belong to another world.
     Every sign of humanity has been swept away. The woods and roads
     have vanished like chalk wiped from a blackboard; of the villages
     nothing remains but grey smears where stone walls have tumbled
     together. The great forts of Douaumont and Vaux are outlined
     faintly, like the tracings of a finger in wet sand. One cannot
     distinguish any one shell crater, as one can on the pockmarked
     fields on either side. On the brown band the indentations are so
     closely interlocked that they blend into a confused mass of
     troubled earth. Of the trenches only broken, half-obliterated
     links are visible.

     Columns of muddy smoke spurt up continually as high explosives
     tear deeper into this ulcered area. During heavy bombardment and
     attacks I have seen shells falling like rain. The countless
     towers of smoke remind one of Gustave Doré's picture of the fiery
     tombs of the arch-heretics in Dante's "Hell." A smoky pall covers
     the sector under fire, rising so high that at a height of one
     thousand feet one is enveloped in its mist-like fumes. Now and
     then monster projectiles hurtling through the air close by leave
     one's plane rocking violently in their wake. Airplanes have been
     cut in two by them.

     For us the battle passes in silence, the noise of one's motor
     deadening all other sounds. In the green patches behind the brown
     belt myriads of tiny flashes tell where the guns are hidden; and
     those flashes, and the smoke of bursting shells, are all we see
     of the fighting. It is a weird combination of stillness and
     havoc, the Verdun conflict viewed from the sky.

     Far below us, the observation and range-finding planes circle
     over the trenches like gliding gulls. At a feeble altitude they
     follow the attacking infantrymen and flash back wireless reports
     of the engagement. Only through them can communication be
     maintained when, under the barrier fire, wires from the front
     lines are cut. Sometimes it falls to our lot to guard these
     machines from Germans eager to swoop down on their backs. Sailing
     about high above a busy flock of them makes one feel like an old
     mother hen protecting her chicks.

     The pilot of an _avion de chasse_ must not concern himself with
     the ground, which to him is useful only for learning his
     whereabouts. The earth is all-important to the men in the
     observation, artillery-regulating, and bombardment machines, but
     the fighting aviator has an entirely different sphere. His domain
     is the blue heavens, the glistening rolls of clouds below the
     fleecy banks towering above the vague aërial horizon, and he must
     watch it as carefully as a navigator watches the storm-tossed

      On days when the clouds form almost a solid flooring, one feels
     very much at sea, and wonders if one is in the navy instead of
     aviation. The diminutive Nieuports skirt the white expanse like
     torpedo boats in an arctic sea, and sometimes, far across the
     cloud-waves, one sights an enemy escadrille, moving as a fleet.

     Principally our work consists of keeping German airmen away from
     our lines, and in attacking them when opportunity offers. We
     traverse the brown band and enter enemy territory to the
     accompaniment of an anti-aircraft cannonade. Most of the shots
     are wild, however, and we pay little attention to them. When the
     shrapnel comes uncomfortably close, one shifts position slightly
     to evade the range. One glances up to see if there is another
     machine higher than one's own. Low, and far within the German
     lines, are several enemy planes, a dull white in appearance,
     resembling sandflies against the mottled earth. High above them
     one glimpses the mosquito-like forms of two Fokkers. Away off to
     one side white shrapnel puffs are vaguely visible, perhaps
     directed against a German crossing the lines. We approach the
     enemy machines ahead, only to find them slanting at a rapid rate
     into their own country. High above them lurks a protection plane.
     The man doing the "ceiling work," as it is called, will look
     after him for us.

     Getting started is the hardest part of an attack. Once you have
     begun diving you're all right. The pilot just ahead turns tail up
     like a trout dropping back to water, and swoops down in irregular
     curves and circles. You follow at an angle so steep your feet
     seem to be holding you back in your seat. Now the black Maltese
     crosses on the German's wings stand out clearly. You think of him
     as some sort of a big bug. Then you hear the rapid tut-tut-tut of
     his machine-gun. The man that dived ahead of you becomes mixed up
     with the topmost German. He is so close it looks as if he had hit
     the enemy machine. You hear the staccato barking of his
     mitrailleuse and see him pass from under the German's tail.

     The rattle of the gun that is aimed at you leaves you
     undisturbed. Only when the bullets pierce the wings a few feet
     off do you become uncomfortable. You see the gunner crouched
     down behind his weapon, but you aim at where the pilot ought to
     be--there are two men aboard the German craft--and press on the
     release hard. Your mitrailleuse hammers out a stream of bullets
     as you pass over and dive, nose down, to get out of range. Then,
     hopefully, you redress and look back at the foe. He ought to be
     dropping earthward at several miles a minute. As a matter of
     fact, however, he is sailing serenely on. They have an annoying
     habit of doing that, these Boches.

Zeppelins as well as the stationary kite balloons and the swiftly
flying airplanes often tempted the fighting aviators to attack. One
of the most successful of the British champions of the air, though
his own life was ended in the second year of the war, was
sub-Lieutenant R. A. J. Warneford, of the British Flying Corps. In
his brief period of service Warneford won more laurels than any of
the British aviators of the time. He was absolutely fearless, with a
marvelous control of the fast Vickers scout which he employed, and
fertile in every resource of the chase and of the flight. In an
interview widely printed at the time, Lieutenant Warneford thus told
the story of his casual meeting of a German Zeppelin high in air
between Ghent and Brussels and his prompt and systematic destruction
of the great balloon. The story as told in his own language reads
like the recountal of an everyday event. That to meet an enemy more
than a mile above the earth and demolish him was anything
extraordinary does not seem to have occurred to the aviator.

     I proceeded on my journey at an increased height [he says]. It
     was just three o'clock in the morning when all of a sudden I
     perceived on the horizon about midway between Ghent and Brussels
     a Zeppelin flying fast at an altitude of about six thousand feet.
     I immediately flew toward it and when I was almost over the
     monster I descended about fifteen metres, and flung six bombs at
     it. The sixth struck the envelope of the ship fair and square in
     the middle. There was instantly a terrible explosion. The
     displacement of the air round about me was so great that a
     tornado seemed to have been produced. My machine tossed upward
     and then flung absolutely upside down, I was forced to loop the
     loop in spite of myself. I thought for a moment that the end of
     everything had come. In the whirl I had the pleasure of seeing my
     victim falling to the earth in a cloud of flames and smoke. Then
     by some miracle my machine righted herself and I came to earth in
     the enemy's country. I was not long on the ground you may be
     sure. I speedily put myself and my machine into working order
     again; then I set my engine going.

This time the fortunate aviator returned safely to his own
territory. He had then served only four months, had attained the age
of twenty-three, and even in so brief a service had received the
Cross of the Legion of Honour from France and the Victoria Cross
from the British. Only one week after this courageous exploit he was
killed while on a pleasure flight and with him a young American
journalist, Henry Beach Needham, to whom he was showing the

During the early years of the war all of the governments were
peculiarly secretive concerning all matters relative to their
aviation services. This was probably due to the fact that the flying
corps was a brand new branch of the service. No nation was
adequately equipped with flyers. Each was afraid to let its enemies
know how insufficient were its air guards, or what measures were
being taken to bring the aërial fleet up to the necessary point of
efficiency. Investigators were frowned upon and the aviators
themselves were discouraged from much conversation about their work.

About the beginning of 1916 the British suddenly awoke to the fact
that even in war publicity has its value. It was necessary to arouse
the enthusiastic support of the people for recruiting or for the
conscription which ultimately was ordered. To do this graphic
descriptions of what was doing at the front in the various branches
of the service seemed necessary. The best writers in England were
mobilized for this work. Kipling wrote of the submarines, Conan
Doyle of the fighting on the fields of France. The Royal Flying
Corps gave out a detailed story the authorship of which was not
stated, but which describes most picturesquely the day of a flying

In the United States it appeared in the _Sun_, of New York, and
sections of it are reprinted here:

     "The following bombing will be carried out by No.--Squadron at
     night (10 P.M., 12 midnight, and 2 A.M.). At each of these times
     three machines, each carrying eight twenty-pound bombs, will bomb
     respectively P----, C----, H----."

     Thus the operation order read one evening in France. Just an
     ordinary order too, for bombing is carried out day and night
     incessantly. Bombing by night is usually carried out on towns and
     villages known to be resting places of the German troops, and it
     is part of the work of the Royal Flying Corps to see that the Hun
     never rests.

     Fritz after a hard spell in the trenches is withdrawn to some
     shell torn village behind his lines to rest. He enters the ruined
     house, that forms his billet, and with a sigh of contentment at
     reaching such luxury after the miseries of trench life prepares
     to sleep in peace. He dreams of home, and then out of the night
     comes the terror of the air.

     A bomb falls in his billet, exploding with a terrific report and
     doing more damage to the already ruined walls. Possibly a few of
     his comrades are wounded or killed. Other explosions take place
     close by and the whole village is in turmoil.

     Fritz does not sleep again. His nerves are jangled and all
     possibility of sleep is gone. The next day he is in a worse
     condition than after a night in the trenches. This continues
     night after night. The damage to German morale is enormous.

     From the aërial point of view things are different. A pilot
     warned for night flying takes it as he takes everything else,
     with apparent unconcern. He realizes that he will have an
     uninteresting ride in the dark; the danger from "Archie" will be
     small, for an airplane is a difficult target to keep under
     observation with a searchlight, and the danger from hostile
     aircraft will be smaller still.

     Over the trenches the star shells of the infantry may be seen,
     occasionally the flash of a badly concealed gun glints in the
     darkness or the exploding bombs of a trench raiding party cause
     tiny sparks to glimmer far below. Probably the enemy, hearing the
     sound of engines, will turn on his searchlights and sweep the sky
     with long pencils of light. The pilot may be picked up for a
     second, and a trifle later the angry bang, bang, bang of "Archie"
     may be heard, firing excitedly at the place where the aeroplane
     ought to be but is not--the pilot has probably dipped and changed
     his course since he was in the rays of the searchlight. He may be
     caught again for an instant and the performance is repeated.

     Before long the vicinity of the target is reached and he prepares
     to drop his bombs, usually eight in number. A little before he is
     over the spot the first bombs will be released, for the
     trajectory of the bomb follows the course of the machine if the
     latter keeps on a straight course and when it explodes the
     airplane is still overhead. Down far below will be seen a tiny
     burst of flame; possibly a large fire blazes up and the pilot
     knows that his work is good. He then turns and repeats his
     performance until all his bombs are exhausted, when he turns for

     Bombs are usually dropped from a low altitude at night in order
     to be surer of getting the target. If during the performance any
     local searchlights are turned on "Archie" gets busy and a merry
     game of hide and seek in and out the beams takes place. If the
     airplane is very low, and bombs are sometimes dropped from a
     height of only a few hundred feet, it is highly probable that the
     bursting shells do more damage than the airplane's bombs, and it
     is almost impossible to wing an airplane by night.

[Illustration: Photo by Press Illustrating Service.

_A French Scout Airplane._]

     Over the lines the pilot probably meets more searchlights, dodges
     them, and gradually descends. Below him he sees the aerodromes of
     the surrounding squadrons lighted up for landing purposes. Should
     he be in doubt as to which is his own he fires a certain
     combination of signal lights and is answered from below. He then
     lands, hands his machine over to the mechanics, and turns in.

[Illustration: Photo by International Film Service.

"_Showing Off._"

_A Nieuport performing aërial acrobatics around a heavier bombing

     So much for night bombing. By day it is different. Though at
     night it is the billets which usually form the target, by day
     bombing is carried out for the purpose of damaging specific
     objects. Railroads, dumps of stores and ammunition, and enemy
     aerodromes are the favourite targets.

     The raiding machines fly in formation and are surrounded by other
     machines used solely for protective purposes. Generally a raid is
     carried out by machines from two squadrons, the bomb carriers
     belonging to a corps wing and the escorting machines to an army

     All the machines meet at a prearranged rendezvous well on our
     side of the line at a certain time and a given altitude. There
     they manoeuvre into their correct formation. A flight commander
     leads the raid and his machine is distinguished by streamers tied
     to it.

     Once over the target the fighters scatter and patrol the
     neighbourhood while the bombers discharge their missiles on the
     objective. Usually, unless anti-aircraft fire is very heavy, they
     descend a few thousand feet to make surer of the target, and when
     their work is completed rise again to the level of the escort.

     Results can usually be fairly judged by day. An ammunition dump
     quickly shows if it is hit and stores soon burst into flame.
     Railway stations or junctions show clearly damage to buildings or
     overturned trucks, but the damage to the track itself is hard to
     estimate. Aerodromes may be bombed for the purpose of destroying
     enemy machines in their hangars or merely in order to spoil the
     landing by blowing holes all over the place. It is with great
     delight that a pilot remarks in his report that a hostile
     machine, surrounded by mechanics, was about to ascend, but that
     instead he had descended to within a few hundred feet and
     obtained a direct hit, with the result that the enemy machine,
     including the surrounding men, seemed to be severely damaged.

     One officer on a bomb raid saw his chance in this way, descended
     to four hundred feet under intense rifle fire, successfully
     bombed the enemy machine, which was just emerging from its
     hangar, and then tried to make off. Unfortunately at this moment
     his engine petered out, possibly on account of the enemy's fire,
     and he had to descend.

     By skillful planing he managed to descend about three quarters of
     a mile away, in full view of the enemy. Instead of giving up the
     ghost and at once firing his machine, this officer jumped out
     and, utterly unperturbed by the German fire or by the Huns making
     across country to take him prisoner, commenced to inspect the
     engine. Luckily he found the cause of the trouble at once, put it
     right,--it was only a trifling mishap,--adjusted the controls,
     and swung the propeller.

     The engine started, he jumped in, with the nearest Hun only a
     hundred yards off, and opening the throttle raced over the ground
     and into the air pursued by a futile fusillade of bullets. His
     engine held out and he safely regained his aerodrome, after
     having been reported missing by his comrades. For this escapade
     he received the Military Cross--a well-earned reward.

     When all the bombs have been dropped and the formation resumed
     the machines head for home. It is on the homeward journey that
     events may be expected, for time enough has elapsed for the Hun
     to detail a squadron to intercept our returning machines and pick
     off any stragglers that may fall behind.

     It is a favourite Boche manoeuvre to detail some of his slow
     machines to entice our fighters away from the main body, and when
     this has been accomplished, to attack the remainder with Fokkers,
     which dive from aloft onto the bombing machines. This trick is
     now well-known and the fighters rarely leave their charges until
     the latter are in comparative safety.

     Sometimes a Hun of more sporting character than his brothers will
     wait alone for the returning convoy, hiding himself thousands of
     feet up in the clouds until he sees his moment. Then singling out
     a machine he will dive at it, pouring out a stream of bullets as
     he falls. Sometimes he achieves his object and a British machine
     falls to earth, but whatever the result, the Hun does not alter
     his tactics. He dives clean through the whole block of machines,
     down many thousands of feet, only flattening out when close to
     the ground.

     The whole affair is so swift--just one lightning dive--that long
     before a fighter can reach the Hun the latter is away thousands
     of feet below and heading for home and safety. Every Fokker
     pilot knows that once his surprise dive is over he has no chance
     against another machine--the build of the Fokker only allows this
     one method of attack--and he does not stop to argue about it. His
     offensive dive becomes a defensive one--that is the sole

     Sometimes a large squadron of German machines, composed of
     various types of airplanes, intercepts a returning formation. If
     it attacks a grand aërial battle ensues. The British fighting
     machines spread out in a screen to allow the bombing machines a
     chance of escape and then attack the Huns as they arrive. In one
     place one British airplane will be defending itself from two or
     three German machines; close by two or three of our busses will
     be occupied in sending a Hun to his death; elsewhere more equal
     combats rage and the whole sky becomes an aërial battlefield,
     where machines perform marvellous evolutions, putting the best
     trick flying of pre-war days very much in the shade. No sooner
     has a pilot accounted for his foe, by killing him, forcing him to
     descend, or making him think discretion the better part of
     valour, than he turns to the help of a hard-pressed brother,
     surprising the enemy by an attack from the rear or otherwise
     creating a diversion.

     A single shot in the petrol tank proves fatal; loss of pressure
     ensues, the engine fails, and the pilot is forced to descend. He
     can usually land safely, but should he be in enemy territory he
     must fire his machine and prepare for a holiday in Germany.
     Should he be fortunate enough to plane over our lines little
     damage is done; the tank can be repaired and the machine made
     serviceable again. But for the time being he is out of the fight.
     Sometimes the escaping petrol may ignite and the pilot and
     observer perish in the flames--the most terrible fate of all.

     The aërial battle ends in one of two ways: one side is
     outmanoeuvred, outnumbered, and has lost several machines and
     flies to safety, or, the more usual ending, both sides exhaust
     their ammunition, only a limited quantity perforce being carried,
     and the fight is of necessity broken off. Meanwhile the bombing
     machines have probably crossed the line in safety, and their duty
     is finished. Should they be attacked by a stray machine they are
     armed and quite capable of guarding themselves against any attack
     except one in force.

     During these bomb raids photographs of the target are frequently
     obtained or should the staff require any district crossed on the
     journey and taken they are generally secured by bombing machines.
     It is wonderful what minute details may be seen in a photograph
     taken at a height of from eight to twelve thousand feet, and our
     prints, which are far superior to those taken by the Hun, have
     revealed many useful points which would otherwise have remained

     When it is remembered that a single machine crossing the line is
     heavily shelled it may be conceived what an immense concentration
     of "Archies" is made on the raiders on their return. It is
     remarkable what feeble results are obtained considering the
     intensity of the bombardment, but rarely is a machine brought
     down, though casualties naturally occur occasionally.

     Lieutenant C., in company with other machines, had successfully
     bombed his target and had meanwhile been heavily shelled, with
     the result that his engine was not giving its full number of
     revolutions and he lagged a little behind the rest of the
     formation. No hostile aircraft appeared and all went well until
     he was about to cross the lines, when a terrific bombardment was
     opened on him.

     He dodged and turned to the best of his ability, but a well-aimed
     shell burst just above him and a piece of the "Archie" hit him on
     the head, not seriously wounding him, but knocking him
     unconscious. The machine, deprived of the guiding hand,
     immediately got into a dive and commenced a rapid descent from
     ten thousand feet, carrying the unconscious pilot with it, to be
     dashed to pieces on the ground.

     Whether the rush of air, the sudden increase of pressure, or the
     passing off of the effect of the blow caused the disabled man to
     come to his senses is not known, but when the machine was only a
     few hundred feet from the ground, Lieutenant C. recovered his
     senses sufficiently to realize his position and managed to pull
     the machine up and make a landing. He then lapsed into
     unconsciousness again. Had he remained in his state of collapse
     half a minute longer, he would inevitably have been killed.

     Another curious case of wounding was that of Lieutenant H., who
     was also returning from a bomb raid. When passing through the
     heavily shelled zone his machine was hit by a shell, which passed
     through the floor by the pilot's seat and out at the top without
     exploding. Lieutenant H. thought it must have been very close to
     his leg, but he was so fully occupied with manoeuvring to dodge
     other shells that he had no time to think of it.

     He crossed the line and began to plane down when he was aware of
     a feeling of faintness, but pulling himself together he landed
     his machine, taxied up to the sheds, and attempted to get out. It
     was only then that he realized that his leg was shot almost
     completely off above the knee; the lower part was merely hanging
     by a piece of skin.

     Incredible as it may seem the shell which hit his machine also
     tore through the leg--luckily without exploding--unknown to
     Lieutenant H. Probably the force of the blow and excitement of
     the moment caused it to pass unnoticed and the torn nature of the
     wound helped to close the arteries and prevent his bleeding to
     death. He recovered, and though no longer flying is still engaged
     in doing his duty for the duration of the war.

[Illustration: _Raid on a Troop Train by John E. Whiting._]

The courage and dash of the American aviators, serving with the
French Army, led the Allies to expect great things of our flying
corps which should be organized immediately after our declaration of
war. About the time of that declaration Major L. W. B. Rees, of the
British Flying Corps, came to the United States for the purpose of
giving to our authorities the benefit of British experience in
raising and equipping aërial fleets and in the development of the
most efficient tactics. Major Rees in an official statement set
forth many facts of general interest concerning the various flying
services of the belligerent armies. The British, he said, fly on
three levels with three different kinds of machines. Nearest the
ground, about six thousand feet up, are the artillery directors who
hover about cutting big figure eights above the enemy trenches and
flash back directions by wireless to the British artillerists. These
observers are, of course, exposed to attack from anti-aircraft guns,
the effective range of which had by the middle of war become as
great as ten thousand feet. Yet, as has already been noted, the
amount of execution done by these weapons was surprisingly small.
The observers are protected from attack from above, first by the
heavy fighting planes, flying at ten thousand feet, carrying two men
to the plane and able to keep the air for four hours at a time at a
speed of 110 miles an hour. They are supposed to use every possible
vigilance to keep the enemy's fighters away from the slower and busy
observing machines. In this they are seconded by the lighter one-man
fighting machines which cruise about at a height of fifteen thousand
feet at a speed of 130 miles an hour and able to make a straight
upward dash at the rate of ten thousand feet in ten minutes. The
aviators of these latter machines came to describe their task as
"ceiling work," suggesting that they operated at the very top of the
world's great room. They are able to keep the air only about two
hours at a time.

Americans, perhaps, gave exaggerated importance to the work of the
Lafayette Escadrille which was manned wholly by American boys, and
which, while in service from the very beginning of the war, was the
first section of the French Army permitted to display the flag of
the United States in battle after our declaration of war. It was
made up, in the main, of young Americans of good family and
independent means, most of them being college students who had laid
down their books for the more exciting life of an airman. They paid
heavily in the toll of death for their adventure and for the
conviction which led them to take the side of democracy and right in
the struggle against autocracy and barbarism months, even years,
before their nation finally determined to join with them. In the
first two and a half years of the war, seven of the aviators in this
comparatively small body lost their lives.

Harvard College was particularly well represented in the American
Flying Corps--although this is a proper and pertinent place to say
that the sympathy shown for the allied cause by the young collegians
of the United States was a magnificent evidence of the lofty
righteousness of their convictions and the spirit of democracy with
which they looked out upon the world. When the leash was taken off
by the declaration of war by the United States the college boys
flocked to training camps and enlistment headquarters in a way that
bade fair to leave those institutions of learning without students
for some years to come.

But to hark back to Harvard, it had in the Lafayette Escadrille five
men in 1916; three of these, Kiffen Rockwell, Norman Prince, and
Victor Chapman, were killed in that year. A letter published in
_Harvard Volunteers in Europe_ tells of the way these young
gladiators started the day's work:

     Rockwell called me up at three: "Fine day, fine day, get up!" It
     was very clear. We hung around at Billy's [Lieutenant Thaw] and
     took chocolate made by his ordonnance. Hall and the Lieutenant
     were guards on the field; but Thaw, Rockwell, and I thought we
     would take _a tour chez les Boches_. Being the first time the
     _mechanaux_ were not there and the machine gun rolls not ready.
     However it looked misty in the Vosges, so we were not hurried.
     "Rendezvous over the field at a thousand metres," shouted Kiffen.
     I nodded, for the motor was turning; and we sped over the field
     and up.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A Burning Balloon, Photographed from a Parachute by the Escaping

     In my little cockpit from which my shoulders just protrude I have
     several diversions besides flying. The compass, of course, and
     the map I keep tucked in a tiny closet over the reservoir before
     my knees, a small clock and one altimetre. But most important is
     the contour, showing revolutions of the motor which one is
     constantly regarding as he moves the manettes of gasoline and gas
     back and forth. To husband one's fuel and tease the motor to
     round eleven takes attention, for the carburetor changes with the
     weather and the altitude.... The earth seemed hidden under a fine
     web such as the Lady of Shalott wove. Soft purple in the west,
     changing to shimmering white in the east. Under me on the left
     the Vosges like rounded sand dunes cushioned up with velvety
     light and dark masses (really forests), but to the south standing
     firmly above the purple cloth like icebergs shone the Alps. My!
     they look steep and jagged. The sharp blue shadows on their
     western slopes emphasized the effect. One mighty group standing
     aloof to the west--Mount Blanc perhaps. Ah, there are quantities
     of worm-eaten fields my friends the trenches--and that town with
     the canal going through it must be M----. Right beside the capote
     of my engine, showing through the white cloth a silver snake--the

     What, not a quarter to six, and I left the field at five!
     Thirty-two hundred metres. Let's go north and have a look at the

     While thus engaged a black puff of smoke appeared behind my tail
     and I had the impression of hearing a piece of iron hiss by.
     "Must have got my range first shot!" I surmised, and making a
     steep bank piqued heavily. "There, I have lost them now." The
     whole art of avoiding shells is to pay no attention till they get
     your range and then dodge away, change altitude, and generally
     avoid going in a straight line. In point of fact, I could see
     bunches of exploding shells up over my right shoulder not a
     kilometre off. They continued to shell that section for some
     time; the little balls of smoke thinning out and merging as they
     crossed the lines.

In the earlier days of the war, when the American aviators were
still few, their deeds were widely recounted in their home country,
and their deaths were deplored as though a personal loss to many of
their countrymen. Later they went faster and were lost in the daily
reports. Among those who had early fixed his personality in the
minds of those who followed the fortunes of the little band of
Americans flying in France was Kiffen Rockwell, mentioned in an
earlier paragraph, and one of the first to join the American
escadrille. Rockwell was in the war from sincere conviction of the
righteousness of the Allies' cause.

"I pay my part for Lafayette, and Rochambeau," he said proudly, when
asked what he was doing in a French uniform flying for France. And
pay he did though not before making the Germans pay heavily for
their part. Once, flying alone over Thann, he came upon a German
scout. Without hesitation the battle was on. Rockwell's machine was
the higher, had the better position. As aërial tactics demanded he
dived for the foe, opening fire as soon as he came within thirty or
forty yards. At his fourth shot the enemy pilot fell forward in his
seat and his machine fell heavily to earth. He lighted behind the
German lines much to the victor's disgust, for it was counted a
higher achievement to bring your foe to earth in your own territory.
But Rockwell was able to pursue his victim far enough to see the
wreck burst into flames.

Though often wounded, Rockwell scorned danger. He would go into
action so bandaged that he seemed fitter to go to an hospital. He
was always on the attack--"shoved his gun into the enemy's face" as
his fellows in the escadrille expressed it. So in September, 1916,
he went out after a big German machine, he saw flying in French
territory. He had but little difficulty in climbing above it, and
then dashed down in his usual impetuous manner, his machine gun
blazing as he came on. But the German was of heavier metal mounting
two machine guns. Just as to onlookers it seemed that the two
machines would crash together, the wings of one side of Rockwell's
plane suddenly collapsed and he fell like a stone between the lines.
The Germans turned their guns on the pile of wreckage where he lay,
but French gunners ran out and brought his body in. His breast was
all blown to pieces with an explosive bullet--criminal, of course,
barbarous and uncivilized, but an everyday practice of the Germans.

Rockwell was given an impressive funeral. All the British pilots,
and five hundred of their men marched, and the bier was followed by
a battalion of French troops. Over and around the little French
graveyard aviators flew dropping flowers. In later days less
ceremony attended the last scene of an American aviator's career.

Another American aviator, also a Harvard man, who met death in the
air, was Victor Chapman of New York, a youth of unusual charm, high
ideals, and indomitable courage. At the very outbreak of the war he
enlisted in the French Foreign Legion--a rough entourage for a
college-bred man. Into the Foreign Legion drifted everything that
was doubtful, and many that were criminal. No questions were asked
of those who sought its hospitable ranks, and readers of Ouida's
novel _Under Two Flags_ will recall that it enveloped in its
convenient obscurity British lordlings and the lowest of Catalonian
thieves. But in time of actual war its personnel was less mixed, and
Chapman's letters showed him serving there contentedly as pointer of
a mitrailleuse. But not for long. Most of the spirited young
Americans who entered the French Army aspired to serve in the
aviation corps, and Chapman soon was transferred to that field.
There he developed into a most daring flyer. On one occasion, with a
bad scalp wound, after a brush with four German machines, he made
his landing with his machine so badly wrecked that he had to hold
together the broken ends of a severed control with one hand, while
he steered with the other. Instead of laying up for the day he had
his mechanician repair his machine while a surgeon repaired him,
then, patched up together, man and machine took the air again in
search for the Boches.

In June, 1916, though still suffering from a wound in the head, he
started in his machine to carry some oranges to a comrade lying
desperately wounded in a hospital some miles away. On the way he saw
in the distance behind the German lines two French airmen set upon
by an overwhelming force of Germans. Instantly he was off to the
assistance of his friends, plunging into so unequal a fight that
even his coming left the other Americans outnumbered. But he had
scarce a chance to strike a blow. Some chance shot from a German gun
put him out of action. All that the other two Americans, Lufbery and
Prince, knew was that they saw a French machine come flying to their
aid, and suddenly tip and fall away to earth. Until nightfall came
and Chapman failed to return none was sure that he was the victim.

The part played by young Americans as volunteers for France before
the United States entered upon the war was gallant and stimulating
to national pride. It showed to the world--and to our own countrymen
who needed the lesson as much as any--that we had among our youth
scores who, moved by high ideals, stood ready to risk their lives
for a sentiment--stood ready to brave the myriad discomforts of the
trenches, the bursting shrapnel, the mutilating liquid fire, the
torturing gas that German autocracy should be balked of its purpose
of dominating the world.

And the service of these boys aided far more than they knew. The
fact that our countrymen in numbers were flying for France kept ever
before the American people the vision of that war in the air of
which poets and philosophers had dreamed for ages. It brought home
to our people the importance of aviation before our statesmen could
begin to see it. It set our boys to reading of aircraft, building
model planes, haunting the few aviation fields which at the time our
country possessed. And it finally so filled the consciousness of our
people with conviction of the supreme importance of aviation as an
arm of the national armed service that long before the declaration
of war the government was embarrassed by the flood of volunteers
seeking to be enrolled in the flying forces of the nation.



The entrance of the United States upon the war was the signal for a
most active agitation of the question of overwhelming the enemy with
illimitable fleets of aircraft. Though the agitation was most
vociferous in this country whence it was hoped the enormous new
fleets of aircraft would come, it was fomented and earnestly pressed
by our Allies. France sent a deputation of her leading flyers over
to supervise the instruction of our new pilots. England contributed
experts to advise as to the construction of our machines. The most
comprehensive plans were urged upon Congress and the Administration
for the creation of a navy of the air. A bill for an initial
appropriation of $640,000,000, for aircraft purposes alone, was
passed and one for a Department of Aeronautics to be established,
co-ordinate with those of War and the Navy, its secretary holding a
seat in the cabinet, was introduced in Congress. Many of the most
eminent retired officers of the navy joined in their support.
Retired officers only because officers in active service were
estopped from political agitation.

There was every possible reason for this great interest in the
United States in wartime aviation. The nation had long been
shamefaced because the development of the heavier-than-air machines,
having their origin undoubtedly in the inventive genius of Professor
Langley and the Wrights, had been taken away from us by the more
alert governments of France and Germany. The people were ready to
buy back something of our lost prestige by building the greatest of
air fleets at the moment when it should exercise the most
determinative influence upon the war.

But more. We entered upon the war in our chronic state of
unpreparedness. We were without an army and without equipment for
one. To raise, equip, and drill an army of a million, the least
number that would have any appreciable effect upon the outcome of
the war, would take months. When completed we would have added only
to the numerical superiority of the Allies on the Western Front. The
quality of a novel and decisive contribution to the war would be

So too it was with our navy. The British Navy was amply adequate to
deal with the German fleet should the latter ever leave its prudent
retreat behind Helgoland and in the bases of Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
True it was not capable of crushing out altogether the submarine
menace, but it did hold the German underwater boats down to a fixed
average of ships destroyed, which was far less than half of what the
Germans had anticipated. In this work our ships, especially our
destroyers, took a notable part.

The argument for a monster fleet of fighting aircraft, thus came to
the people of the United States in a moment of depression and
perplexity. By land the Germans had dug themselves in, holding all
of Belgium and the thousands of square miles of France they had won
in their first dash to the Marne. What they had won swiftly and
cheaply could only be regained slowly and at heavy cost. True, the
Allies were, day by day, driving them back from their position, but
the cost was disheartening and the progress but slow.

By sea the Germans refused to bring their fleet to battle with their
foes. But from every harbour of Belgium, and from Wilhelmshaven and
Kiel, they sent out their sinister submarines to prey upon the
commerce of the world--neutral as well as belligerent. Against them
the navies of the world were impotent. To the threat that by them
Germany would starve England into cowering surrender, the only
answer was the despairing effort to build new ships faster than the
submarines could sink those afloat--even though half a million tons
a month were sent to the bottom in wasteful destruction.

[Illustration: Photo by Levick.

_A Caproni Biplane Circling the Woolworth Building._]

Faced by these disheartening conditions, wondering what they might
do that could be done quickly and aid materially in bringing the war
to a triumphant conclusion, the American people listened eagerly to
the appeals and arguments of the advocates of a monster aërial

[Illustration: © International Film Service.

_Cruising at 2000 Feet._

_One Biplane photographed from another._]

     Listen [said these advocates], we show you a way to spring full
     panoplied into the war, and to make your force felt with your
     first stroke. We are not preaching dreadnoughts that take four
     years to build. We are not asking for a million men taking nearly
     a year to gather, equip, drill, and transport to France, in
     imminent danger of destruction by the enemy's submarines every
     mile of the way.

     We ask you for a cheap, simple device of wood, wire, and cloth,
     with an engine to drive it. All its parts are standardized. In a
     few weeks the nation can be equipped to turn out 2000 of them
     weekly. We want within the year 100,000 of them. We do not ask
     for a million men. We want 10,000 bright, active, hardy, plucky
     American boys between 20 and 25 years of age. We want to give
     them four months' intensive training before sending them into the
     air above the enemy's lines. In time we shall want 25,000 to
     35,000 but the smaller number will well do to open the campaign.

     And what will they effect?

     Do you know that to-day the eyes of an army are its airplanes?
     Cavalry has disappeared practically. If a general wishes to pick
     out a weak point in his enemy's line to assault he sends out
     airmen to find it. If he is annoyed by the fire of some distant
     unseen battery over the hills and far away he sends a man in an
     airplane who brings back its location, its distance, and perhaps
     a photograph of it in action. If he suspects that his foe is
     abandoning his trenches, or getting ready for an attack, the
     ready airmen bring in the facts.

     And of course the enemy's airmen serve their side in the same
     manner. They spy out what their foe is doing, and so far as their
     power permits prevent him from seeing what they are doing.

     Now suppose one side has an enormous preponderance of
     aircraft--six to one, let us say. It is not believed, for
     example, that at this moment Germany has more than 10,000
     aircraft on the whole western front. Let us imagine that through
     the enterprise of the United States our Allies were provided with
     25,000 on one sector which we intended to make the scene of an
     attack on the foe. Say the neighbourhood of Arras and Lille. For
     days, weeks perhaps, we would be drawing troops toward this
     sector from every part of the line. Through the reports of spies
     the enemy's suspicions would be aroused. It is the business of an
     efficient general to be suspicious. He would send out his
     airplanes to report on the activities of the other side. Few
     would come back. None would bring a useful report. For every
     German plane that showed above the lines three Allied planes
     would be ready to attack and destroy it or beat it back. The air
     would be full of Allied airmen--the great bombing planes flying
     low and inundating the trenches with bombs, and the troops on
     march with the deadly fléchettes. Over every German battery would
     soar the observation plane indicating by tinsel or smoke bombs
     the location of the guns, or even telegraphing it back by
     wireless to the Allied batteries safe in positions which the
     blinded enemy could never hope to find. Above all in myriads
     would be soaring the swift fighting scouts, the Bleriots,
     Nieuports, Moranes or perhaps some new American machine to-day
     unknown. Let the wing of a Boche but show above the smoke and
     they would be upon him in hordes, beating him to the ground,
     enveloping him in flames, annihilating him before he had a chance
     to observe, much less to report.

     What think you would be the result on that sector of the battle
     line? Why the foe would be cut to pieces, demolished,
     obliterated. Blinded, he would be unrelentingly punished by an
     adversary all eyes. Writhing under the concentrated fire of a
     thousand guns he could make no response, for his own guns could
     not find the attacking batteries. Did he think to flee? His
     retreating columns would be marked down by the relentless scouts
     in the air, and the deadly curtain of fire from well-coached
     batteries miles away would sweep every road with death. If in
     desperation he sought to attack he would do so ignorant whether
     he were not hurling his regiments against the strongest part of
     the Allied line, and with full knowledge of the fact that though
     he was blinded they had complete information of his strength and

The argument impressed itself strongly upon the mind of the country.
There appeared indeed no public sentiment hostile to it nor any
organized opposition to the proposition for an enormous
appropriation for purposes of aviation. The customary inertia of
Congress delayed the actual appropriation for some months. But the
President espoused its cause and the Secretaries both of War and the
Navy warmly recommended it, although they united in opposing the
proposition to establish a distinct department of aeronautics with a
seat in the Cabinet. Being human neither one desired to let his
share of this great new gift of power slip out of his hands. Leading
in the fight for this legislation was Rear-Admiral Robert E. Peary,
U. S. N., retired, the discoverer of the North Pole. Admiral Peary
from the very outbreak of the war consecrated his time and his
abilities to pushing the development of aeronautics in the United
States. He was continually before Congressional committees urging
the fullest appropriations for this purpose. In his first statement
before the Senate Committee he declared that "in the immediate
future the air service will be more important than the army and navy
combined," and supported that statement by reference to utterances
made by such British authorities as Mr. Balfour, Lord Charles
Beresford, Lord Northcliffe, and Lord Montague. In an article
published shortly after his appearance before the Senate Committee,
the Admiral summarized in a popular way his views as to the
possibility of meeting the submarine menace with aircraft, and what
the United States might do in that respect. He wrote:

     We are receiving agreeable reports as to the efficiency of the
     American destroyer flotilla now operating against submarines in
     the North Sea. An unknown naval officer, according to the
     newspapers of May 30th, calls for the immediate construction of
     from 100 to 200 additional American destroyers.

     By all means let us have this force--when it can be made
     ready--but it would take at least two years to construct, equip,
     and deliver such a heavy additional naval tonnage, while 200
     fighting seaplanes, with a full complement of machine guns,
     bombs, microphones, and aërial cameras, could be put in active
     service in the North Sea within six months.

     Seaplanes, small dirigibles on the order of the English "blimp"
     type, and kite balloons have already shown themselves to be more
     effective in detecting submarines than are submarine chasers or
     armed liners.

     Not only have the British, French, German, and Turkish forces
     destroyed trawlers, patrol boats, and transports by aircraft,
     but successful experiments in airplane submarine hunting have
     also been made in this country.

     In September, 1916, our first Aërial Coast Patrol Unit, in acting
     as an auxiliary to the Mosquito Squadron in the annual manoeuvres
     of the Atlantic fleet, detected objects smaller than the latest
     type of German submarines from fifteen to twenty feet below the

     A more complete aërial submarine hunt took place on March 26th of
     this year. This was the real thing, because the fliers were
     looking for German U-boats. Inasmuch as the Navy Department is
     still waiting before establishing its first and only aeronautical
     base on the Atlantic seaboard, the honour of having conducted the
     first aërial hunt of the enemy submarines in American history
     went to the civilian aviators who are soon to be a part of the
     Aërial Reserve Squadron at Governor's Island and to the civilian
     instructors and aërial reservists connected with the Army
     Aviation School at Mineola, Long Island.

     These hawks of the air darted up and down the coast in search of
     the enemy, often flying as far as eleven miles out to sea. The
     inlets and bays were searched, vessels plotted, compass direction
     and time when located were given.

     No enemy submarines were found. It developed that the supposed
     submarines were two patrol motor-boats returning from a trial
     trip. Nevertheless the incident is illuminating, and the official
     statement of the Navy Department closed with the words: "This
     incident emphasizes the need of hydroaëroplanes for naval
     scouting purposes."

     It is also interesting to note what happened when Lawrence Sperry
     went out to sea one day last summer in his hydroplane and failed
     to return. Two seaplanes and three naval destroyers were sent in
     search of him. In forty minutes the seaplanes returned with the
     news that they had located Sperry floating safely on the water.
     At the end of the day, after several hours of search, the
     destroyers came back without having seen Sperry at all.

     Those who may still believe that we Americans cannot build
     aircraft and that all the exploits we read so much about in the
     newspapers taking place on the other side are being done in
     foreign aircraft will be surprised to know that a large number of
     the big flying boats now in use in the English navy, harbour, and
     coast defence work are Curtiss machines, designed and built in
     this country by Americans, with American material and American

     Great Britain wants all the machines of this type that it can
     get, and sees no reason why we cannot do the same thing in
     protecting our own Atlantic seaboard. I quote from C. G. Grey,
     editor of _The London Aeroplane_:

     "Curiously enough, these big flying boats originated in America,
     and, if America is seriously perturbed about the fate of American
     shipping and American citizens travelling by sea in the vicinity
     of Europe, it should not be a difficult matter for America to rig
     up in a very small space of time quite a fleet of seaplane
     carriers suitable for the handling of these big seaplanes. If
     each seaplane ship were armed with guns having a range of five to
     ten miles, and if the gunners were practised in co-operating with
     airplane spotters, such ships ought to be the very best possible
     insurance for American lives and goods on the high seas."

     I quote from _The Associated Press_ report from Paris on May 14th
     to show the relative importance of aëroplanes in submarine

     "During the last three months French patrol boats have had twelve
     engagements with submarines, French hydroaëroplanes have fought
     them thirteen times, and there have been sixteen engagements
     between armed merchantmen and submarines."

     Henry Woodhouse, one of the most distinguished authorities on
     aeronautics in the United States, in his standard _Textbook on
     Naval Aeronautics_, published by the Century Company, has
     assembled the following data on submarine and aeroplane combats:

     "On May 4, 1915, the German Admiralty reported an engagement
     between a German dirigible and several British submarines in the
     North Sea. The submarines fired on the dirigible without success,
     whereas bombs from the dirigible sank one submarine.

     "On May 31, 1915, the German Admiralty announced the sinking of a
     Russian submarine by bombs dropped by German naval aviators near

     "On July 1, 1915, the Austrian submarine U-11 was destroyed in
     the Adriatic by a French aeroplane, which swooped suddenly and
     dropped three bombs directly on the deck of the submarine. The
     craft was destroyed and the entire crew of twenty-five were lost.

     "On July 27, 1915, a German submarine in the Dardanelles was
     about to launch a torpedo at a British transport filled with
     troops and ammunition, when British aviators gave the alarm to
     the transport, and immediately began dropping bombs at the
     submarine, which had to submerge and escape hurriedly, without
     launching its torpedo.

     "On August 19, 1915, the Turkish War Office stated that an Allied
     submarine had been sunk in the Dardanelles by a Turkish

     "On August 26, the Secretary of the British Admiralty announced
     that Squadron Commander Arthur W. Bigsworth in a single-handed
     attack bombed and destroyed a German submarine off Ostend.

     "Lieutenant Viney received the Victoria Cross and Lieutenant de
     Sincay was recommended for the Legion of Honour for having flown
     over a German submarine and destroyed it with bombs off the
     Belgian coast on November 18, 1915.

     "Early in 1916 an Austrian seaplane sank the French submarine
     _Foucault_ in the southern Adriatic. Lieutenant Calezeny was the
     pilot and the observer was Lieutenant von Klinburg. After
     crippling the submarine they then performed the remarkable feat
     of calling another Austrian seaplane and rescuing the entire
     French crew, two officers and twenty seven men, in spite of the
     fact that a high sea was running at the time."

It will be noted that Admiral Peary lays great stress on the supreme
value of aircraft as foes of the submarine. This was due to the fact
that at about the time of his appearance before the Senate Committee
the world was fairly panic-stricken by the vigour and effect of the
German submarine campaign and its possible bearing upon the outcome
of the war. Of that campaign I shall have more to say in the section
of this book dealing with submarines. But the subject of the
undersea boat in war became at this time inextricably interwoven
with that of the aërial fleets, and the sudden development of the
latter, together with the marked interest taken in it by our people,
cannot be understood without some description of the way in which
the two became related.

From the very beginning of the war the Germans had prosecuted a
desultory submarine warfare on the shipping of Great Britain and had
extended it gradually until neutral shipping also was largely
involved. All the established principles of international law, or
principles that had been supposed to be established, were set at
naught. In bygone days enemy merchant ships were subject to
destruction only after their crews had been given an opportunity to
take to the boats. Neutral ships bearing neutral goods, even if
bound to an enemy port, were liable to destruction only if found
upon visit to be carrying goods that were contraband of war. The
list of contraband had been from time immemorial rigidly limited,
and confined almost wholly to munitions of war, or to raw material
used in their construction. But international law went by the board
early in the war. Each belligerent was able to ascribe plausible
reasons for its amendment out of recognizable form. Great Britain
established blockades two hundred miles away from the blockaded
ports because the submarines made the old practice of watching at
the entrance of the port too perilous. The list of contraband of war
was extended by both belligerents until it comprehended almost every
useful article grown, mined, or manufactured. But the amendment to
international law which acted as new fuel for the flames of war,
which aroused the utmost world-wide indignation, and which finally
dragged the United States into the conflict, was that by which
Germany sought to relieve her submarine commanders of the duty of
visiting and searching a vessel, or of giving its people time to
provide for their safety, before sinking it.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_An Air Battle in Progress._]

The German argument was that the submarine was unknown when the code
of international law then in force was formulated. It was a
peculiarly delicate naval weapon. Its strength lay in its ability to
keep itself concealed while delivering its attack. If exposed on the
surface a shot from a small calibred gun striking in a vital point
would instantly send it to the bottom. If rammed it was lost. Should
a submarine rise to the surface, send an officer aboard a ship it
had halted, and await the result of his search, it would be exposed
all the time to destruction at the hands of enemy vessels coming up
to her aid. Indeed if the merchantman happened to carry one gun a
single shot might put the assailant out of business. Accordingly the
practice grew up among the Germans of launching their torpedoes
without a word of warning at their helpless victim. The wound
inflicted by a torpedo is such that the ship will go down in but a
few minutes carrying with it most of the people aboard. The most
glaring, inexcusable, and criminal instance of this sort of warfare
was the sinking without warning of the great passenger liner,
_Lusitania_, by which more than eleven hundred people were drowned,
one hundred and fourteen of them American citizens.

[Illustration: Photo by U. & U.

_A Curtis Hydroaëroplane._]

Against this policy--or piracy--the United States protested, and
people of this country waxed very weary as month after month through
the years 1915 and 1916 Germany met the protests with polite letters
of evasion and excuse continuing the while the very practice
complained of. But late in January, 1917, her government announced
that there would be no longer any pretence of complying with
international law, but that with the coming month a campaign of
unlimited submarine ruthlessness would be begun and ships sunk
without warning and irrespective of their nationality if they
appeared in certain prohibited zones. Within twenty-four hours the
United States sent the German Ambassador from the country and within
two months we were at war.

At once the submarine was seen to be the great problem confronting
us. Its attack was not so much upon the United States, for we are a
self-contained nation able to raise all that we need within our own
borders for our own support. But England is a nation that has to be
fed from without. Seldom are her stores of food great enough to
avert starvation for more than six weeks should the steady flow of
supply ships from America and Australia to her ports be interrupted.
This interruption the Germans proposed to effect by means of their
underwater boats. Von Tirpitz and other leaders in the German
administration promised the people that within six weeks England
would be starved and begging for peace at any price. The output of
submarines from German navy yards was greatly increased. Their
activity became terrifying. The Germans estimated that if they could
sink 1,000,000 tons of shipping monthly they would put England out
of action in two or three months. For some weeks the destruction
accomplished by their boats narrowly approached this estimate, but
gradually fell off. At the same time there was no period in 1917 up
to the time of Admiral Peary's statement, or indeed up to that of
the preparation of this book, when it was not felt that the cause of
the Allies was in danger because of the swarms of German submarines.

It was that feeling, coupled with the wide-spread belief that
aircraft furnished the best means of combating the submarine, that
caused an irresistible demand in the United States for the
construction of colossal fleets of these flying crafts. Congress
enacted in midsummer the law appropriating $640,000,000 for the
construction of aircraft and the maintenance of the aërial service.
The Secretaries of War and the Navy each appealed for heavy
additional appropriations for aërial service. The arguments which
have already been set forth as supporting the use of aircraft in
military service were paralleled by those who urge its unlimited use
in naval service.

     Consider [said they] the primary need for attacking these vipers
     of the sea in their nests. Once out on the broad Atlantic their
     chances of roaming about undetected by destroyers or other patrol
     boats are almost unlimited. But we know where they come from,
     from Kiel, Antwerp, Wilhelmshaven, Ostend, and Zeebrugge. Catch
     them there and you will destroy them as boys destroy hornets by
     smoking out their nests. But against this the Germans have
     provided by blocking every avenue of approach save one. The
     channels are obstructed and mined, and guarded from the shore by
     heavy batteries. No hostile ships dare run that gauntlet. Even
     the much-boasted British navy in the three years of the war has
     not ventured to attack a single naval base. You could not even
     seek out the submarines thus sheltered by other submarines
     because running below the surface our boats could not detect
     either mines or nets and would be doomed to destruction. The
     enemy boats come out on the surface protected by the batteries
     and naval craft. But the air cannot be blocked by any fixed
     defences. Give us more and more powerful aircraft than the
     Germans possess and we will darken the sky above the German bases
     with the wings of our airplanes, and rain explosive shells upon
     the submarines that have taken shelter there until none survive.

     The one essential is that our flyers shall be in overwhelming
     numbers. We must be able not only to take care of any flying
     force that the Germans may send against us, but also to have
     enough of our aircraft not engaged in the aërial battle to devote
     their entire attention to the destruction of the enemy forces

From every country allied with us came approval of this policy. At
the time the debate was pending in Congress our Allies one after
another were sending to us official commissions to consult upon the
conduct of the war, to give us the benefit of their long and bitter
experience in it, and to assist in any way our preparations for
taking a decisive part in that combat. The subject of the part to be
played by aircraft was one frequently discussed with them. With the
French commission came two members of the staff of General Joffre,
Major Tulasne and Lieutenant de la Grange, experts in aviation
service. A formal interview given out by these gentlemen expressed
so clearly the point of view on aviation and its possibilities held
in France where it has reached its highest development that some
extracts from it will be of interest here:

     "At the beginning of the war the Germans were the only ones who
     had realized the great importance of aviation from a military
     point of view," said these officers.

     "France had looked upon aviation as a sport, Germany as a
     powerful weapon in war. This is illustrated by the fact that
     even in August, 1914, German artillery fire was directed by

     "It was only after the retreat from Belgium and the battle of the
     Marne that the Allies realized the great importance of aviation.
     Between August 15 and 25 the French General Staff thought that
     the greater part of the German army was concentrated in Alsace
     and that only a few army corps were coming through Belgium. It
     was only through the reports of the aviators that they realized
     that this was a mistake and that almost the whole of the German
     army was invading Belgium.

     "Immediately after the battle of the Marne the greatest efforts
     were made in France to develop the aviation corps in every
     possible way. The English army, then in process of formation,
     profited by the experience of the French. Since that time the
     allied as well as the German aviation corps has grown constantly.

     "A modern army is incomplete if it has not a strong aviation
     corps. All the different services are obliged to turn to the
     aviation corps for help in their work. An army without airplanes
     is like a soldier without eyes. An army which has the superiority
     in aviation over its adversary will have the following

     "It will have constantly the latest information on the movements
     of the enemy. In this way, no concentration of troops will be
     ignored and no surprise attack will be possible. The attack
     against the enemy positions will be rendered easier because all
     the details of these positions will be thoroughly known
     beforehand. The artillery fire will be much more accurate. Many
     enemy machines will be brought down by the superior fighting
     machines and the result will be to strengthen the morale both of
     the aviators and of the army."

     The next question put to the French experts was: "Why do we need
     to make a great effort to obtain the superiority in the air?"
     They answered with much interesting detail:

     "Because the Germans have understood the importance of aviation
     from a military point of view and have concentrated all their
     forces to develop this service.

     "Owing to the large number of scientists and technicians they
     possess they are able constantly to perfect motors and planes.
     Owing to their great industrial organization they are able to
     produce an enormous number of the best machines.

     "The German aviation service is now fully as strong as that of
     the Allies as far as numbers are concerned. The superiority in
     the air can only remain in the hands of the Allies because of the
     spirit of self-sacrifice of their aviators and their greater

     "Germany feels that the decisive phase of the war is imminent and
     the efforts she will make next year will be infinitely greater
     than any she has made before. She will try in every way to regain
     the supremacy of the air. Realizing what a formidable enemy
     America can be in the air, she will strengthen her aviation
     forces in consequence.

     "The aeroplane is by far the most powerful of all the modern
     weapons. If the Allies have the supremacy of the air the German
     artillery will lose its accuracy of aim. It is impossible,
     because of the long range, for modern guns to fire without the
     help of airplanes. The accuracy of artillery fire depends
     entirely on its being directed by an airplane.

     "This was clearly illustrated during the battle of the Somme in
     1916. The French at that time had concentrated such a large
     number of fighting machines that no German machine was allowed to
     fly over the lines. On the other hand, the Allies' reconnaissance
     machines were so numerous that each French battery could have its
     fire directed by an airplane.

     "The destruction of the enemy positions was in consequence
     carried out very effectively and very rapidly, while the Germans
     were obliged to fire blindly and scatter their shells over large
     areas, incapable as they were of locating our battery
     emplacements and the positions of our troops. Unluckily, a few
     weeks later the Germans had called from the different parts of
     the line a good many of their squadrons, and were able to carry
     out their work under better conditions.

     "We need such a superiority that it will be impossible for any
     German airplane to fly anywhere near the lines.

     "Every German kite balloon, every airplane would immediately be
     attacked by a number of allied machines. In this way the German
     aviation will not only be dominated but will be entirely crushed.

     "If we can prevent the Germans from seeing, through their
     airplanes, what we are preparing we will be very near the end of
     the war. It will require a huge effort to carry out this plan.
     Neither the English nor the French are able to do so by their own

     "As far as France is concerned, she is able to keep on building
     machines rapidly enough to increase her aviation corps at about
     the same rate as Germany is increasing hers. If she wanted to
     double or triple her production of machines she could do so, but
     she would have to call back from the trenches a certain number of
     skilled workmen, and this would weaken her fighting power. She
     needs in the trenches all the men who are able to carry a rifle.

     "If the Allies are to have the absolute supremacy of the air
     which we have been describing it will be the privilege of America
     to give it to them. We want three or four or even five allied
     machines for one German. America only has the possibilities of
     production which would allow her to build an enormous number of
     machines in a very short time.

     "The airplane is a great engine of destruction. It tells the
     artillery where to fire, it drops bombs, it gives the enemy all
     the information he needs to plan murderous attacks. Drive the
     German airplanes down and you will save the lives of thousands
     of men in our trenches. As Ulysses in the cavern put out the eye
     of the Cyclops, so the eyes of the beast must be put out before
     you can attempt to kill it."

     Major Tulasne and Lieutenant de la Grange then outlined what the
     aviation programme of the United States should be, saying:

     "American industry must be enabled to begin building at once. No
     time must be lost in experiments. America must profit by the
     experience of the Allies. She must choose the best planes and
     build thousands of them.

     "She must build reconnoissance machines which she will need for
     her army; she must build a large number of fighting machines
     because it is these machines that will destroy German planes; she
     must also build squadrons of powerful bombing machines which will
     go behind the German lines to destroy the railway junctions and
     bomb the enemy cantonments, so as to give the soldiers no rest
     even when they have left the trenches.

     "Bombing done by a few machines gives poor results. The same
     cannot be said of this operation carried out by a large number of
     machines which can go to the same places and bomb continually.

     "Besides the number of men that are actually killed in these
     raids, great disturbance is caused in the enemy's communication
     lines, thereby hindering the operations. For example, since the
     British Admiralty has increased the number of its bombing
     squadrons in northern France and has decided to attack constantly
     the two harbours of Ostend and Zeebrugge and the locks, bridges,
     and canals leading to them they have greatly interfered with the
     activity of these two German bases.

     "It is certain that shortly, owing to this, these two ports will
     no more be used by German torpedo boats and submarines. What the
     English Royal Naval Air Service has been able to accomplish with
     100 machines the Flying Corps of the United States with 1000
     machines must be able to carry out on other parts of the front.

     "The work of the bombing machines is rendered difficult now by
     the fact that the actual lines are far from Germany. But it is
     hoped that soon fighting will be carried on near the enemy
     frontier and then a wonderful field will be opened to the bombing

     "All the big ammunition factories which are in the Rhine and Ruhr
     valleys, like Krupp's, will be wonderful targets for the American
     bombing machines. If these machines are of the proper type--that
     is to say, sufficiently fast and well armed and able to carry a
     great weight of bombs--nothing will prevent them from destroying
     any of these important factories.

     "As Germany at the present time is only able to continue the war
     because of her great stock of war material the destruction of her
     sources of production would be the end of her resistance. For
     this also the Allies must turn to America. Such a large number of
     machines is required to produce results that America must be
     relied on to manufacture them.

     "Every man in this country must know that it is in the power of
     the United States, no matter what can be done in other fields, to
     bring the war to an end simply by concentrating all its energies
     on producing an enormous amount of material for aviation, and to
     enlist a corresponding number of pilots. But this will not be
     done without great effort. In order to be ready for the great
     1918 offensive work must be begun at once."

The extreme secrecy which in this war has characterized the
operation of the governments--our own most of all--makes it
impossible to state the amount of progress made in 1917 in the
construction of our aërial fleet. During the debate in Congress
orators were very outspoken in their prophecies that we should
outnumber the Kaiser's flying fleet two or three to one. The press
of the nation was so very explicit in its descriptions of the way in
which we were to blind the Germans and drive them from the air that
it is no wonder the Kaiser's government took alarm, and set about
building additional aircraft with feverish zeal. In this it was
imitated by France and England. It seemed, all at once about the
middle of 1917, that the whole belligerent world suddenly recognized
the air as the final battlefield and began preparations for its

All statistical estimates in war time are subject to doubt as to
their accuracy--and particularly those having to do in any way with
the activities of an enemy country. But competent estimators--or at
any rate shrewd guessers--think that Germany's facilities for
constructing airplanes equal those of France and England together.
If then all three nations build to the very limit of their abilities
there will be a tie, which the contribution of aircraft from the
United States will settle overwhelmingly in favour of the Allies.
How great that contribution may be cannot be foretold with certainty
at this moment. The building of aircraft was a decidedly infant
industry in this country when war began. In the eight years prior to
1916 the government had given orders for just fifty-nine
aircraft--scarcely enough to justify manufacturers in keeping their
shops open. Orders from foreign governments, however, stimulated
production after the war began so that when the United States
belatedly took her place as national honour and national safety
demanded among the Entente Allies, Mr. Howard E. Coffin, Chairman of
the Aircraft Section of the Council of National Defence was able to
report eight companies capable of turning out about 14,000 machines
in six months--a better showing than British manufacturers could
have made when Great Britain, first entered the war.

A feature in the situation which impressed both Congress and the
American people was the exposure by various military experts of the
defenceless condition of New York City against an air raid by a
hostile foreign power. At the moment, of course, there was no
danger. The only hostile foreign power with any considerable naval
or aërial force was Germany and her fleet was securely bottled up in
her own harbours by the overpowering fleet of Great Britain. Yet if
one could imagine the British fleet reduced to inefficiency, let us
say by a futile, suicidal attack upon Kiel or Heligoland which would
leave it crippled, and free the Germans, or if we could conceive
that the German threat to reduce Great Britain to subjection by the
submarine campaign, proved effective, the peril of New York would
then be very real and very immediate. For, although the harbour
defences are declared by military authorities to be practically
impregnable against attack by sea, they would not be effective
against an attack from the air. A hostile fleet carrying a number of
seaplanes could round-to out of range of our shore batteries and
loose their flyers who could within less than an hour be dropping
bombs on the most congested section of Manhattan Island. It is true
that our own navy would have to be evaded in such case, but the
attack might be made from points more distant from New York and at
which no scouts would ever dream of looking for an enemy.

The development in later months of the big heavily armed cruising
machines makes the menace to any seaport city like New York still
greater. The Germans have built great biplanes with two fuselages,
or bodies, armoured, carrying two machine guns and one automatic
rifle to each body. They have twin engines of three hundred and
forty horse power and carry a crew of six men. They are able in an
emergency to keep the air for not less than three days. It is
obvious that a small fleet of such machines launched from the deck
of a hostile squadron, let us say in the neighbourhood of Block
Island, could menace equally Boston or New York, or by flying up the
Sound could work ruin and desolation upon all the defenceless cities
bordering that body of water.

Nor are the Germans alone in possessing machines of this type. The
giant Sikorsky machines of Russia, mentioned in an earlier chapter,
have during the war been developed into types capable of carrying
crews of twenty-five men with guns and ammunition. The French, after
having brought down one of the big German machines with the double
bodies, instantly began building aircraft of their own of an even
superior type. Some of these are driven by four motors and carry
eleven persons, besides guns and ammunition. The Caproni machines of
Italy are even bigger--capable of carrying nine guns and thirty-five
men. The Congressional Committee was much impressed by consideration
of what might be done by a small fleet of aircraft of this type
launched from a hostile squadron off the Capes of Chesapeake Bay and
operating against Washington. It is not likely that any foreign foe
advancing by land could repeat the exploit of the British who burned
the capitol in 1812. But in our present defenceless state a dozen
aircraft of the largest type might reduce the national capitol to

If an enemy well provided with aërial force possesses such power of
offence an equal power of defence is given to the nation at all well
provided with flying craft. In imitation, or perhaps rather in
modification, of the English plan for guarding the coasts of Great
Britain, a well matured system of defending the American coasts has
been worked out and submitted to the national authorities. It
involves the division of the coasts of the United States into
thirteen aeronautical districts, each with aeronautical stations
established at suitable points and all in communication with each
other. Eight of these districts would be laid out on the Atlantic
Coast extending from the northern boundary of Maine to the Rio
Grande River.

Just what the purpose and value of these districts would be may be
explained by taking the case, not of a typical one, but of the most
important one of all, the third district including the coast line
from New London, Conn., to Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey. This of
course includes New York and adjacent commercial centres and the
entrance to Long Island Sound with its long line of thriving cities
and the ports of the places from which come our chief supplies of
munitions of war. It includes the part of the United States which an
enemy would most covet. The part which at once would furnish the
richest plunder, and possession of which by a foe would most cripple
this nation. To-day it is defended by stationary guns in land
fortresses and in time of attack would be further guarded by a
fringe of cruising naval vessels. Apparently up to the middle of
1917 the government thought no aërial watch was needed.

But if we were to follow the methods which all the belligerent
nations of Europe are employing on their sea coasts we would
establish in this district ten aeronautical stations. This would be
no match for the British system which has one such station to every
twenty miles of coast. Ours would be farther apart, but as the Sound
could be guarded at its entrance the stations need only be
maintained along the south shore of Long Island and down the Jersey
coast. Each station would be provided with patrol, fighting, and
observation airplanes. It would have the mechanical equipment of
microphones, searchlights, and other devices for detecting the
approach of an enemy now employed successfully abroad. Its
patrolling airplanes would cruise constantly far out to sea, not
less than eighty miles, keeping ever in touch with their station. As
the horizon visible from a soaring airplane is not less than fifty
miles distant from the observer, this would mean that no enemy fleet
could approach within 130 miles of our coast without detection and
report. The Montauk Point station would be charged with guarding the
entrance to Long Island Sound and, the waters of Nantucket shoals
and Block Island Sound where the German submarine U-53 did its
deadly work in 1916. The Sandy Hook station would of course be the
most important of all, guarding New York sea-going commerce and
protecting the ship channel by a constant patrol of aircraft over

The modern airplane has a speed of from eighty to one hundred and
sixty miles an hour--the latter rate being attained only by the
light scouts. Thus it is apparent that if an alarm were raised at
any one of these stations between New London and Barnegat three
hours at most would suffice to bring the fighting equipment of all
the stations to the point threatened. There would be thus
concentrated a fleet of several hundred swift scouts, heavy fighting
machines, the torpedo planes of the type designed by Admiral Fiske,
hydroaëroplanes capable of carrying heavy guns and in brief every
form of aërial fighter. Moreover, by use of the wireless, every ship
of the Navy within a radius of several hundred miles would be
notified of the menace. They could not reach the scene of action so
swiftly as the flying men but the former would be able to hold the
foe in action until the heavier ships should arrive.

The enormous advantage of such a system of guarding our coasts needs
no further explanation. It is not even experimental, for France on
her limited coast has 150 such stations. England, which started the
war with 18, had 114 in 1917 and was still building. We at that time
had none, although the extent of our sea coast and the great
multiplicity of practicable harbours make us more vulnerable than
any other nation.



As devices to translate German hate for England into deeds of bloody
malignancy and cowardly murder the German aircraft have ranked
supreme. The ruthless submarine war has indeed done something toward
working off this peculiar passion, but it lacked the spectacular
qualities which German wrath demanded. As the war proceeded, and it
became apparent that the participation of Great Britain--at first
wholly unexpected by the Kaiser's advisers--was certain to defeat
the German aims, the authorities carefully inculcated in the minds
of the people the most malignant hatred for that power. As
Lissauer's famous hymn of hate had it--

  French and Russians it matters not,
  A blow for a blow, and a shot for a shot.
  We have one foe and one alone--

By way of at once gratifying this hatred and still further
stimulating it the German military authorities began early in the
war a series of air raids upon English towns. They were of more than
doubtful military value. They damaged no military or naval works.
They aroused the savage ire of the British people who saw their
children slain in schools and their wounded in hospitals by bombs
dropped from the sky and straightway rushed off to enlist against so
callous and barbaric a foe. But the raids served their political
purpose by making the German people believe that the British were
suffering all the horrors of war on their own soil, while the iron
line of trenches drawn across France by the German troops kept the
invader and war's agonies far from the soil of the Fatherland.

[Illustration: ©International Film Service.

_The U. S. Aviation School at Mineola._]

The first German air raids were by Zeppelins on little English
seaside towns--Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Harwich. Except in so
far as they inflicted mutilation and death upon many non-combatants,
mostly women and children, and misery upon their relatives and
friends they were without effect. But early in 1915 began a
systematic series of raids upon London, which, by October of 1917,
had totalled thirty-four, with a toll of 865 persons killed, and
2500 wounded. It seems fair to say that for these raids there was
more plausible excuse than for those on the peaceful little seaside
bathing resorts and fishing villages. London is full of military
and naval centres, arsenals and navy yards, executive offices and
centres of warlike activity. An incendiary bomb dropped into the
Bank of England, or the Admiralty, might paralyze the finances of
the Empire, or throw the naval organization into a state of anarchy.
But as a matter of fact the German bombs did nothing of the sort.
They fell in the congested districts of London, "the crowded warrens
of the poor." They spread wounds and death among peaceable theatre
audiences. One dropped on a 'bus loaded with passengers homeward
bound, and obliterated it and them from the face of the earth. But
no building of the least military importance sustained any injury.
It is true, however, that the persistent raiding has compelled
England to withhold from the fighting lines in France several
thousand men and several hundred guns in order to be in readiness to
meet air raids in which Germany has never employed more than fifty
machines and at most two hundred men, including both aviators and

It is entirely probable that the failure of the Germans to strike
targets of military importance and the slaughter they wrought among
peaceful civilians were due to no intent or purpose on their part.
Hitting a chosen target from the air is no matter of certainty. The
bomb intended for the railway station is quite as likely to hit the
adjacent public school or hospital. If the world ever recurs to that
moderate degree of sanity and civilization which shall permit wars,
but strive to regulate them in the interest of humanity this
untrustworthiness of the aircraft's aim will compel some form of
international regulation, just as the vulnerability of the submarine
will force the amendment of the doctrine of visitation and search.
But neither problem can be logically and reasonably solved in the
middle of a war. And so, while the German violation of existing
international law had the uncomfortable result for Germany of
bringing the United States into the war, the barbarous raids upon
London caused the British at last to turn aside from their
commendable abstention from air raids on unfortified and
non-military towns and prepare for reprisals in kind.

From the beginning of the war the British had abstained from bombing
peaceful and non-military towns. They had not indeed been weak in
the employment of their air forces. General Smuts speaking in
October, 1917, said that the British had, in the month previous,
dropped 207 tons of bombs behind the lines of the enemy. But the
targets were airdromes, military camps, arsenals and munitions
camps--not hospitals or kindergartens. The time had now come when
this purely military campaign no longer satisfied an enraged British
people who demanded the enforcement of the Mosaic law of an eye for
an eye and a tooth for a tooth, against a people whom General Smuts
described as "an enemy who apparently recognizes no laws, human or
divine; who knows no pity or restraint, who sung Te Deums over the
sinking of the _Lusitania_, and to whom the maiming and slaughter of
women and children appear legitimate means of warfare."

And Premier Lloyd George, speaking to an audience of poor people in
one of the congested districts which had suffered sorely from the
aërial activities of the Hun, said:

"We will give it all back to them, and we will give it soon. We
shall bomb Germany with compound interest."

But whether undertaken as part of a general programme of
frightfulness or as reprisals for cruel and indefensible outrages
air raids upon defenceless towns, killing peaceable citizens in
their beds, and children in their kindergartens, are not incidents
to add glory to aviation. The mind turns with relief from such
examples of the cruel misuse of aircraft to the hosts of individual
instances in which the airman and his machine remind one of the
doughty Sir Knight and his charger in the most gallant days of
chivalry. There were hosts of such incidents--men who fought
gallantly and who always fought fair, men who hung about the
outskirts of an aërial battle waiting for some individual champion
of their own choosing to show himself and join in battle to death in
the high ranges of the sky. Some of these have been mentioned in
this book already. To discuss all who even as early as 1917 had made
their names memorable would require a volume in itself. A few may
well be mentioned below.

There, for example, was Captain Georges Guynemer, "King of the
French Aces." An "ace" is an aviator who has brought down five enemy
aircraft. Guynemer had fifty-three to his credit. Still a youth,
only twenty-three years of age at the time of his death, and only
flying for twenty-one months, he had lived out several life times in
the mad excitement of combat in mid-air. Within three weeks after
getting his aviator's license he had become an "Ace." Before his
first year's service had expired he was decorated and promoted for
gallantry in rushing to the aid of a comrade attacked by five enemy
machines. He entered the combat at the height of ten thousand feet,
and inside of two minutes had dropped two of the enemy. The others
fled. He pursued hotly keeping up a steady fire with his machine
gun. One Boche wavered and fell, but just then an enemy shell from
an "Archie" far below exploded under Guynemer, tearing away one wing
of his machine. Let him tell the rest of that story:

     I felt myself dropping [he said later]. It was ten thousand feet
     to the earth, and, like a flash, I saw my funeral with my
     saddened comrades marching behind the gun carriage to the
     cemetery. But I pulled and pushed every lever I had, but nothing
     would check my terrific descent.

     Five thousand feet from the earth, the wrecked machine began to
     turn somersaults, but I was strapped into the seat. I do not know
     what it was, but something happened and I felt the speed descent
     lessen. But suddenly there was a tremendous crash and when I
     recovered my senses I had been taken from the wreckage and was
     all right.

Two records Guynemer made which have not yet been surpassed--the
first, the one described above of dropping three Fokkers in two
minutes and thirty seconds, and rounding off the adventure by
himself dropping ten thousand feet. The second was in shooting down
four enemy machines in one day. His methods were of the simplest. He
was always alone in his machine, which was the lightest available.
He would rather carry more gasoline and ammunition than take along a
gunner. The machine gun was mounted on the plane above his head,
pointing dead ahead, and aimed by aiming the whole airplane. Once
started the gun continued firing automatically and Guynemer's task
was to follow his enemy pitilessly keeping that lead-spitting muzzle
steadily bearing upon him. In September, 1917, he went up to attack
five enemy machines--no odds however appalling seemed to terrify
him--but was caught in a fleet of nearly forty Boches and fell to
earth in the enemy's country.

One of the last of the air duels to be fought under the practices
which made early air service so vividly recall the age of chivalry,
was that in which Captain Immelman, "The Falcon," of the German
army, met Captain Ball of the British Royal Flying Corps. Immelman
had a record of fifty-one British airplanes downed. Captain Ball was
desirous of wiping out this record and the audacious German at the
same time, and so flying over the German lines he dropped this


     I challenge you to a man-to-man fight to take place this
     afternoon at two o'clock. I will meet you over the German lines.
     Have your anti-air craft guns withhold their fire, while we
     decide which is the better man. The British guns will be silent.


Presently thereafter this answer was dropped from a German airplane:


     Your challenge is accepted. The guns will not interfere. I will
     meet you promptly at two.


The word spread far and wide along the trenches on both sides.
Tacitly all firing stopped as though the bugles had sung truce. Men
left cover and clambered up on the top to watch the duel. Punctually
both flyers rose from their lines and made their way down No Man's
Land. Let an eye witness tell the story:

     From our trenches there were wild cheers for Ball. The Germans
     yelled just as vigorously for Immelman.

     The cheers from the trenches continued; the Germans increased in
     volume; ours changed into cries of alarm.

     Ball, thousands of feet above us and only a speck in the sky, was
     doing the craziest things imaginable. He was below Immelman and
     was apparently making no effort to get above him, thus gaining
     the advantage of position. Rather he was swinging around, this
     way and that, attempting, it seemed, to postpone the inevitable.

     We saw the German's machine dip over preparatory to starting the
     nose dive.

     "He's gone now," sobbed a young soldier, at my side, for he knew
     Immelman's gun would start its raking fire once it was being
     driven straight down.

     Then in a fraction of a second the tables were turned. Before
     Immelman's plane could get into firing position, Ball drove his
     machine into a loop, getting above his adversary and cutting
     loose with his gun and smashing Immelman by a hail of bullets as
     he swept by.

     Immelman's airplane burst into flames and dropped. Ball, from
     above, followed for a few hundred feet and then straightened out
     and raced for home. He settled down, rose again, hurried back,
     and released a huge wreath of flowers, almost directly over the
     spot where Immelman's charred body was being lifted from a
     tangled mass of metal.

     Four days later Ball too was killed.

But the Germans, too, had their champion airmen, mighty fliers,
skillful at control and with the machine gun, in whose triumphs they
took the same pride that our boys in France did in those of Chapman,
Rockwell or Thaw, the British in Warneford, or the French in
Guynemer. Chief of these was Captain Boelke, who came to his death
in the latter part of 1917, after putting to his credit over sixty
Allied planes brought down. A German account of one of his duels as
watched from the trenches, will be of interest:

     For quite a long time an Englishman had been making circles
     before our eyes--calmly and deliberately.... My men on duty
     clenched their fists in impotent wrath. "The dog--!" Shooting
     would do no good.

     Then suddenly from the rear a harsh, deep singing and buzzing
     cuts the air. It sounds like a German flyer. But he is not yet
     visible. Only the buzz of an approaching motor is heard in the
     clouds in the direction of the Englishman. More than a hundred
     eyes scanned the horizon. There! Far away and high among the
     clouds is a small black humming bird--a German battle aeroplane.
     Its course is laid directly for the hostile biplane and it flies
     like an arrow shot with a clear eye and steady hand. My men crawl
     out of the shelters. I adjust my field glasses. A lump rises in
     our throats as if we are awaiting something new and wonderful.

     So far the other does not seem to have noticed or recognized the
     black flyer that already is poised as a hawk above him. All at
     once there is a mighty swoop through the air like the drop of a
     bird of prey, and in no time the black flyer is immediately over
     the Englishman and the air is filled with the furious crackling
     of a machine gun, followed by the rapid ta-ta-ta of two or three
     more, all operated at the highest speed just as during a charge.
     The Englishman drops a little, makes a circle and tries to escape
     toward the rear. The other circles and attacks him in front, and
     again we hear the exciting ta-ta-ta! Now the Englishman tries to
     slip from under his opponent, but the German makes a circle and
     the effort fails. Then the enemy describes a great circle and
     attempts to rise above the German. The latter ascends in sharp
     half circles and again swoops down upon the biplane, driving it
     toward the German trenches.

     Will the Englishman yield so soon? Scattered shouts of joy are
     already heard in our ranks. Suddenly he drops a hundred yards and
     more through the air and makes a skillful loop toward the rear.
     Our warrior of the air swoops after him, tackles him once more
     and again we hear the wild defiant rattle of the machine guns
     over our heads. Now they are quite close to our trenches. The
     French infantry and artillery begin firing in a last desperate
     hope. Neither of them is touched. Sticking close above and behind
     him the German drives the Englishman along some six hundred yards
     over our heads and then just above the housetops of St. A. Once
     more we hear a distant ta-ta-ta a little slower and more
     scattered and then as they drop both disappear from our view.

     Scarcely five minutes pass before the telephone brings up this
     news: Lieutenant Boelke has just brought down his seventh flyer.

Methods of air-fighting were succinctly described in a hearing
before the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, in June, 1917. The
officers testifying were young Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille
of the French army. To the civilian the testimony is interesting for
the clear idea it gives of military aviation. The extracts following
are from the official record:

     _Adjt. Prince_: Senator, there are about four kinds of machines
     used abroad on the western front to-day. The machines that Adjt.
     Rumsey and myself are looking after are called the battle
     machines. Then there are the photography machines, machines that
     go up to enable the taking of photographs of the German
     batteries, go back of the line and take views of the country
     behind their lines and find out what their next line of attack
     will be, or, if they retreat from the present line, then
     everything in that way. Probably we have, where we are, in my
     group alone, a hundred and fifty photographers who do nothing all
     day long except develop pictures, and you can get pictures of any
     part of the country that you want. When the Germans retreated
     from the old line where they used to be, by Peronne and Chaulnes,
     we had absolute pictures of all the Hindenburg line from where
     they are now right down to St. Quentin, down to the line the
     French are on. We had photographs of it all.

     _Senator Kirby_: When they started on the retreat?

[Illustration: © Kadel & Herbert.

_Miss Ruth Law at Close of her Chicago to New York Flight._]

     _Adjt. Prince_: Yes, sir. So we knew exactly where their stand
     would be made. Then, besides that, those photograph machines do a
     lot of scouting. They have a pilot and a photographer aboard. He
     has not only a camera, but quite often he has a Lewis gun with
     him in order to ward off any hostile airmen if they should get
     through the battle planes that are above him; in other words,
     should get through us in order to fight him. They do a great deal
     of the scouting, because they fly at a lower level. The battle
     planes go up to protect photography machines, or to go
     man-hunting, as it is called; in other words, to fight the
     Germans. We fly all day, like to-day, as high as we can go, or as
     high as the French go as a rule, about 5500 metres, about 17,000
     to 18,000 feet.

[Illustration: © International Film Service.

_A French Aviator between Flights._]

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: I think 5500 metres is about 19,000 feet. Some go
     up 6000 metres, which makes about 20,000 feet.

     _Adjt. Prince_: We go up there, and we have a certain sector of
     the front to look after. If we are only man-hunting, we go
     backward and forward like a policeman to prevent the Germans from
     getting over our own lines. We usually fly by fours, if we can,
     and the four go out together, so as not to be alone. We are
     usually fighting inside of the German lines, because the morale
     of the French and English is better than that of the Germans
     to-day; and every fight I have had--I have never been lucky
     enough to have one inside of my own lines--they have all been
     inside of the German lines.

     _Senator Kirby_: What is the equipment of a battle plane such as
     you use?

     _Adjt. Prince_: I use the 180 horse-power machine. It is called a
     "S. P. A. D.," which has a Spanish motor. But a great many of the
     motors to-day are being built here in America.

     _Senator Kirby_: How many men do you carry?

     _Adjt. Prince_: We go up alone in these machines. We did have two
     guns. We had the Lewis gun on our upper wing and the Vickers down
     below, that shoots through the propeller as the propeller turns
     around. Then we gave up the Lewis above. It added more weight,
     and we did not need it so much. The trouble with the Lewis gun is
     that it has only ninety-seven cartridges, while the Vickers has
     five hundred, and you can do just as much damage with the Vickers
     as you could with them both.

     _Senator Sutherland_: You drive and fight at the same time?

     _Adjt. Prince_: Yes, sir.

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: The machine gun is fixed.

     _Adjt. Prince_: It is absolutely fixed on the machine, and if I
     should want to adjust it to shoot you, I would adjust my machine
     on you.

The witness then took up the nature and work of some of the heavier
machines. He testified:

     _Adjt. Prince_: Then comes the artillery regulating machine. That
     machine goes up, and it may be a Farman or a bi-motor, or some
     other kind of heavier machine, a machine that goes slowly. They
     go over a certain spot. They have a driver, who is a pilot, like
     ourselves; then they have an artillery officer on board, whose
     sole duty it is to send back word, mostly by Marconi, to his
     battery where the shots are landing. He will say: "Too far," "Too
     short," "Right," or "Left," and he stays there over this battery
     until the work done by the French guns has been absolutely
     controlled, and above him he has some of these battle planes
     keeping him from being attacked from above by German airmen. Of
     course, they may be shot at by anti-aircraft guns, which you can
     not help. That is artillery regulating.

     _The Chairman_: Are you always attacked from above?

     _Adjt. Prince_: By airplanes; yes, sir. It is always much safer
     to attack from above.

     Then you have the bomb-dropping machines, which carry a lot of
     weight. They go out sometimes in the daytime, but mostly at
     night, and they have these new sights by which they can stay up
     quite high in the air and still know the spot they are going at.
     They know the wind speed, they know their height, and they can
     figure out by this new arrangement they have exactly when the
     time is to let go their bombs.

     _Senator Kirby_: Something in the nature of a range-finder?

     _Adjt. Prince_: A sort of range-finder.

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: It is a sort of telescope that looks down between
     your legs, and you have to regulate yourself, observing your
     speed, and when you see the spot, you have to touch a button and
     off go these things.

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: In a raid my brother went on there were
     sixty-eight machines that left; the French heavy machines, the
     English heavy machines, and then the English sort of
     half-fighting machine and half-bombing machine. They call it a
     Sopwith, and it is a very good machine. They went over there, and
     the first ones over were the Frenchmen, and they dropped bombs on
     these Mauser works, and the only thing that the English saw was a
     big cloud of smoke and dust, and they could not see the works so
     they just dropped into them. Out of that raid the fighting
     machines got eight Germans and dropped them, and the Germans got
     eight Frenchmen. So, out of sixty-eight they lost eight, but we
     also got eight Germans and dropped six tons of this stuff, which
     is twenty times as strong as the melinite. We do not know what
     the name of the powder is. The fighting machines on that trip
     only carried gasolene for two hours, and the other ones carried
     it for something like six hours, so we escorted them out for an
     hour, came back to our lines, filled up with gasolene, went out
     and met them and brought them back over the danger zone.

     _Adjt. Prince_: Near the trenches is where the danger zone is,
     because there the German fighting machines are located.

     _Senator Kirby_: How far was it from your battle front that you

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: I think it was about 500 miles, 250 there and 250
     back; it was between 200 and 250 miles there.

     _Senator Kirby_: Beyond the battle front?

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: Yes; or, to be more accurate, I think it was
     nearer 200 than 250.

     _The Chairman_: What do you think of the function of the airplane
     as a determining factor?

     _Adjt. Prince_: There is no doubt that if we could send over in
     huge waves a great number of these bomb-dropping machines, and
     simply lay the country waste--for instance, the big cities like
     Strassburg, Freiburg, and others--not only would the damage done
     be great, but I guess the popular opinion in Germany, everything
     being laid waste, would work very strongly in the minds of the
     public toward having peace. I do not think you could destroy an
     army, because you could not see them, but you could go to
     different stations; you could go to Strassburg, to Brussels, and
     places like that.

     _The Chairman_: Then, sending them over in enormous numbers would
     also put out of business their airplanes, and they would be
     helpless, would they not?

     _Adjt. Prince_: Absolutely. You not only have on the front a
     large number of bomb-dropping machines, but a large number of
     fighting machines. When the Somme battle was started in the
     morning the Germans knew, naturally, that the French and British
     were going to start the Somme drive, and they had up these
     Drachens, these observation balloons, and the first eighteen
     minutes that the battle started the French and the English, I
     think, got twenty-one "saucisse"; in other words, for the next
     five days there was not a single German who came anywhere near
     the lines, but the French and English could go ahead as they-felt

     _Admiral Peary_: Have you any idea as to how many airplanes there
     are along that western front on the German side?

     _Adjt. Prince_: There must be about 3000 on that line in actual

     _Admiral Peary_: That means, then, about 10,000 in all, at least?

     _Adjt. Prince_: I should think so; I should say the French have
     about 2000 and the English possibly 1000, or we have about 2500.

     _Adjt. Rumsey_: If they have 3000 we have 4000; that is, right on
     the line.

     _Adjt. Prince_: We have about 1000 more than they have, and we
     are up all the time. The day before I left the front I was called
     to go out five times, and I went out five times, and spent two
     hours every time I went out.

It would be gratifying to author and to reader alike if it were
possible to give some account of the progress in aërial equipment
made by the United States, since its declaration of war. But at the
present moment (February, 1918), the government is chary of
furnishing information concerning the advance made in the creation
of an aërial fleet. Perhaps precise information, if available, would
be discouraging to the many who believe that the war will be won in
the air. For it is known in a broad general way that the activities
of the Administration have been centred upon the construction of
training camps and aviation stations. Orders for the actual
construction of airplanes have been limited, so that a chorus of
criticism arose from manufacturers who declared that they might have
to close their works for lack of employment. The apparent check was
discouraging to American airmen, and to our Allies who had expected
marvellous things from the United States in the way of swift and
wholesale preparation for winning battles in the air. The response
of the government to all criticism was that it was laying broad
foundations in order that construction once begun would proceed with
unabated activity, and that when aircraft began to be turned out by
the thousands a week there would be aviators and trained mechanics
a-plenty to handle them. In this situation the advocates of a
special cabinet department of aeronautics found new reason to
criticize the Administration and Congress for having ignored or
antagonized their appeals. For responsibility for the delay and
indifference--if indifference there was--rested equally upon the
Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War. Each had his measure
of control over the enormous sum voted in a lump for aviation, each
had the further millions especially voted to his department to
account for. But no single individual could be officially asked what
had been done with the almost one billion dollars voted for
aeronautics in 1917.

But if the authorities seemed to lag, the inventors were busy.
Mention has already been made of the new "Liberty" motor, which
report had it was the fruit of the imprisonment of two mechanical
experts in a hotel room with orders that they should not be freed
until they had produced a motor which met all criticisms upon those
now in use. Their product is said to have met this test, and the
happy result caused a general wish that the Secretaries of War and
of the Navy might be similarly incarcerated and only liberated upon
producing plans for the immediate creation of an aërial fleet suited
to the nation's needs. If, however, the Liberty motor shall prove
the complete success which at the moment the government believes it
to be, it will be such a spur to the development of the airplane in
peace and war, as could not otherwise be applied. For the motor is
the true life of the airplane--its heart, lungs, and nerve centre.
The few people who still doubt the wide adoption of aircraft for
peaceful purposes after the war base their skepticism on the
treachery of motors still in use. They repudiate all comparisons
with automobiles. They say:

     It is perfectly true that a man can run his car repeatedly from
     New York to Boston without motor trouble. But the trouble is
     inevitable sooner or later. When it comes to an automobile it is
     trifling. The driver gets out and makes his repairs by the
     roadside. But if it comes to the aviator it brings the
     possibility of death with it every time. If his motor stops he
     must descend. But to alight he must find a long level field, with
     at least two hundred yards in which to run off his momentum. If,
     when he discovers the failure of his motor, he is flying at the
     height of a mile he must find his landing place within a space of
     eight miles, for in gliding to earth the ratio of forward
     movement to height is as eight to one. But how often in rugged
     and densely populated New England, or Pennsylvania is there a
     vacant level field half a mile in length? The aviator who made a
     practice of daily flight between New York and Boston would
     inevitably meet death in the end.

The criticism is a shrewd and searching one. But it is based on the
airplane and the motor of to-day without allowance for the
development and improvement which are proceeding apace. It
contemplates a craft which has but one motor, but the more modern
machines have sufficient lifting power to carry two motors, and can
be navigated successfully with one of these out of service.
Experiments furthermore are being made with a device after the type
of the helicopter which with the steady lightening of the aircraft
motor, may be installed on airplanes with a special motor for its
operation. This device, it is believed, will enable the airplane
so equipped to stop dead in its course with both propellers out of
action, to hover over a given spot or to rise or to descend gently
in a perpendicular line without the necessity of soaring. It is
obvious that if this device prove successful the chief force of the
objections to aërial navigation outlined above will be nullified.

The menace of infrequent landing places will quickly remedy itself
on busy lines of aërial traffic. The average railroad doing business
in a densely populated section has stations once every eight or ten
miles which with their sidings, buildings, water tanks, etc., cost
far more than the field half a mile long with a few hangars that the
fliers will need as a place of refuge. Indeed, although for its size
and apparent simplicity of construction an airplane is phenomenally
costly, in the grand total of cost an aërial line would cost a tithe
of the ordinary railway. It has neither right of way, road bed,
rails, nor telegraph system to maintain, and if the average flyer
seems to cost amazingly it still foots up less than one fifth the
cost of a modern locomotive though its period of service is much

Just at the present time aircraft costs are high, based on
artificial conditions in the market. Their construction is a new
industry; its processes not yet standardized; its materials still
experimental in many ways and not yet systematically produced. A
light sporting monoplane which superficially seems to have about
$250 worth of materials in it--exclusive of the engine--will cost
about $3000. A fighting biplane will touch $10,000. Yet the latter
seems to the lay observer to contain no costly materials to justify
so great a charge. The wings are a light wooden framework, usually
of spruce, across which a fine grade of linen cloth is stretched.
The materials are simple enough, but every bit of wood, every screw,
every strand of wire is selected with the utmost care, and the
workmanship of their assemblage is as painstaking as the setting of
the most precious stones.

[Illustration: © International Film Service.

_A German "Gotha"--their Favorite Type._]

frequently seen hanging over the work benches in an airplane

When stretched over the framework, the cloth of the wings is
treated to a dressing down of a preparation of collodion, which in
the jargon of the shop is called "dope." This substance has a
peculiar effect upon the cloth, causing it to shrink, and thus
making it more taut and rigid than it could be by the most careful
stretching. Though the layman would not suspect it, this wash alone
costs about $150 a machine. The seaplanes too--or hydroaëroplanes as
purists call them--present a curious illustration of unexpected and,
it would seem, unexplainable expense. Where the flyer over land has
two bicycle wheels on which to land, the flyer over the sea has two
flat-bottomed boats or pontoons. These cost from $1000 to $1200 and
look as though they should cost not over $100. But the necessity of
combining maximum strength with minimum weight sends the price
soaring as the machine itself soars. Moreover there is not yet the
demand for either air-or seaplanes that would result in the division
of labour, standardization of parts, and other manufacturing
economies which reduce the cost of products.

To the high cost of aircraft their comparative fragility is added as
a reason for their unfitness for commercial uses. The engines cost
from $2000 to $5000 each, are very delicate and usually must be
taken out of the plane and overhauled after about 100 hours of
active service. The strain on them is prodigious for it is estimated
that the number of revolutions of an airplane's engine during an
hour's flight is equal to the number of revolutions of an
automobile's wheels during active service of a whole month.

It is believed that the superior lightness and durability of the
Liberty motor will obviate some of these objections to the
commercial availability of aircraft in times of peace. And it is
certain that with the cessation of the war, the retirement of the
governments of the world from the purchasing field and the reduction
of the demand for aircraft to such as are needed for pleasure and
industrial uses the prices which we have cited will be cut in half.
In such event what will be the future of aircraft; what their part
in the social and industrial organization of the world?

Ten or a dozen years ago Rudyard Kipling entertained the English
reading public of the world with a vivacious sketch of aërial
navigation in the year 2000 A.D. He used the license of a poet in
avoiding too precise descriptions of what is to come--dealing
rather with broad and picturesque generalizations. Now the year 2000
is still far enough away for pretty much anything to be invented,
and to become commonplace before that era arrives. Airships of the
sort Mr. Kipling pictured may by that period have come and
gone--have been relegated to the museums along with the
stage-coaches of yesterday and the locomotives of to-day. For that
matter before that millennial period shall arrive men may have
learned to dispense with material transportation altogether, and be
able to project their consciousness or even their astral bodies to
any desired point on psychic waves. If a poet is going to prophecy
he might as well be audacious and even revolutionary in his

Mr. Kipling tried so hard to be reasonable that he made himself
recognizably wrong so far as the present tendency of aircraft
development would indicate. _With the Night Mail_, is the story of a
trip by night across the Atlantic from England to America. It is
made in a monster dirigible--though the present tendency is to
reject the dirigible for the swifter, less costly, and more
airworthy (leave "seaworthy" to the plodding ships on old ocean's
breast) airplanes. If, however, we condone this glaring
improbability we find Mr. Kipling's tale full of action and
imaginary incident that give it an air of truth. His ship is not
docked on the ground at the tempest's mercy, but is moored high in
air to the top of a tall tower up which passengers and freight are
conveyed in elevators. His lighthouses send their beams straight up
into the sky instead of projecting them horizontally as do those
which now guard our coasts. Just why lighthouses are needed,
however, he does not explain. There are no reefs on which a packet
of the air may run, no lee shores which they must avoid. On overland
voyages guiding lights by night may be useful, as great white
direction strips laid out on the ground are even now suggested as
guides for daylight flying. But the main reliance of the airman must
be his compass. Crossing the broad oceans no lighted path is
possible, and even in a voyage from New York to Chicago, or from
London to Rome good airmanship will dictate flight at a height that
will make reliance upon natural objects as a guide perilous. The
airman has the advantage over the sailor in that he may lay his
course on leaving his port, or flying field, and pursue it straight
as an arrow to his destination. No rocks or other obstacles bar his
path, no tortuous channels must be navigated. All that can divert
him from his chosen course is a steady wind on the beam, and that
is instantly detected by his instruments and allowance made for it.
On the other hand the sailor has a certain advantage over the airman
in that his more leisurely progress allows time for the
rectification of errors in course arising from contrary currents or
winds. An error of a point, or even two, amounts to but little in a
day's steaming of perhaps four hundred miles. It can readily be
remedied, unless the ship is too near shore. But when the whole
three thousand miles of Atlantic are covered in twenty hours in the
air, the course must be right from the start and exactly adhered to,
else the passenger for New York may be set down in Florida.

It is not improbable that even before the war is over the crossing
of the Atlantic by plane will be accomplished. Certainly it will be
one of the first tasks undertaken by airmen on the return of peace.
But it is probable that the adaptation of aircraft to commercial
uses will be begun with undertakings of smaller proportions. Already
the United States maintains an aërial mail route in Alaska, while
Italy has military mail routes served by airplanes in the Alps.
These have been undertaken because of the physical obstacles to
travel on the surface, presented in those rugged neighbourhoods. But
in the more densely populated regions of the United States
considerations of financial profit will almost certainly result in
the early establishment of mail and passenger air service. Air
service will cut down the time between any two given points at least
one half, and ultimately two thirds. Letters could be sent from New
York to Boston, or even to Buffalo, and an answer received the same
day. The carrying plane could take on each trip five tons of mail.
Philadelphia would be brought within forty-five minutes of New York;
Washington within two hours instead of the present five. Is there
any doubt of the creation of an aërial passenger service under such
conditions? Already a Caproni triplane will carry thirty-five
passengers beside guns--say, fifty passengers if all other load be
excluded, and has flown with a lighter load from Newport News to New
York. It is easily imaginable that by 1920 the airplane capable of
carrying eighty persons--or the normal number now accommodated on an
inter-urban trolley car--will be an accomplished fact.

The lines that will thus spring up will need no rails, no right of
way, no expensive power plant. Their physical property will be
confined to the airplanes themselves and to the fields from which
the craft rise and on which they alight, with the necessary hangars.
These indeed will involve heavy expenditure. For a busy line, with
frequent sailings, of high speed machines a field will need to be in
the neighbourhood of a mile square. A plane swooping down for its
landing is not to be held up at the switch like a train while room
is made for it. It is an imperative guest, and cannot be gainsaid.
Accordingly the fields must be large enough to accommodate scores of
planes at once and give each new arrival a long straight course on
which to run off its momentum. It is obvious therefore that the
union stations for aircraft routes cannot be in the hearts of our
cities as are the railroad stations of to-day, but must be fairly
well out in the suburbs.

A form of machine which the professional airmen say has yet to be
developed is the small monoplane, carrying two passengers at most,
and of low speed--not more than twenty miles an hour at most. In
this age of speed mania the idea of deliberately planning a
conveyance or vehicle that shall not exceed a low limit seems out of
accord with public desire. But the low speed airplane has the
advantage of needing no extended field in which to alight. It
reaches the ground with but little momentum to be taken up and can
be brought up standing on the roof of a house or the deck of a ship.
Small machines of this sort are likely to serve as the runabouts of
the air, to succeed the trim little automobile roadsters as pleasure

[Illustration: © International Film Service.

_A French Monoplane._]

The beginning of the fourth year of the war brought a notable change
in aërial tactics. For three years everything had been sacrificed to
speed. Such aërial duels as have been described were encouraged by
the fact that aircraft were reduced to the proportions needful for
carrying one man and a machine gun. The gallant flyers went up in
the air and killed each other. That was about all there was to it.
While as scouts, range finders, guides for the artillery, they
exerted some influence on the course of the war, as a fighting arm
in its earlier years, they were without efficiency. The bombing
forays were harassing but little more, because the craft engaged
were of too small capacity to carry enough bombs to work really
serious damage, while the ever increasing range of the "Archies"
compels the airmen to deliver their fire from so great a height as
to make accurate aim impossible.

[Illustration: Photo Press Illustrating Service.

_A German Scout Brought to Earth in France._]

But Kiel, Wilhelmshaven and Zeebrugge are likely to change all this.
The constant contemplation of those nests for the sanctuary of
pestiferous submarines, effectively guarded against attack by either
land or water, has stirred up the determination of the Allies to
seek their destruction from above. Heavy bombing planes are being
built in all the Allied workshops for this purpose, and furthermore
to give effect to the British determination to take vengeance upon
Germany, for her raids upon London. It is reported that the United
States, by agreement with its Allies, is to specialize in building
the light, swift scout planes, but in other shops the heavy
triplane, the dreadnought of the air is expected to be the feature
of 1918. With it will come an entirely novel strategic use of
aircraft in war, and with it too, which is perhaps the more
permanently important, will come the development of aircraft of the
sort that will be readily adaptable to the purposes of peace when
the war shall end.




In September, 1914 the British Fleet in the North Sea had settled
down to the monotonous task of holding the coasts of Germany and the
channels leading to them in a state of blockade. The work was dismal
enough. The ships tossing from day to day on the always unquiet
waters of the North Sea were crowded with Jackies all of whom prayed
each day that the German would come from hiding and give battle. Not
far from the Hook of Holland engaged in this monotonous work were
three cruisers of about 12,000 tons, each carrying 755 men and
officers. They were the _Cressy_, _Aboukir_, and _Hogue_--not
vessels of the first rank but still important factors in the British
blockade. They were well within the torpedo belt and it may be
believed that unceasing vigilance was observed on every ship.
Nevertheless without warning the other two suddenly saw the
_Aboukir_ overwhelmed by a flash of fire, a pillar of smoke and a
great geyser of water that rose from the sea and fell heavily upon
her deck. Instantly followed a thundering explosion as the magazines
of the doomed ship went off. Within a very few minutes, too little
time to use their guns against the enemy had they been able to see
him, or to lower their boats, the _Aboukir_ sank leaving the crew
floundering in the water.

In the distance lay the German submarine U-9--one of the earliest of
her class in service. From her conning tower Captain Weddigen had
viewed the tragedy. Now seeing the two sister ships speeding to the
rescue he quickly submerged. It may be noted that as a result of
what followed, orders were given by the British Admiralty that in
the event of the destruction of a ship by a submarine others in the
same squadron should not come to the rescue of the victim, but
scatter as widely as possible to avoid a like fate. In this instance
the _Hogue_ and the _Cressy_ hurried to the spot whence the
_Aboukir_ had vanished and began lowering their boats. Hardly had
they begun the work of mercy when a torpedo from the now unseen foe
struck the _Hogue_ and in twenty minutes she too had vanished. While
she was sinking the _Cressy_, with all guns ready for action and her
gunners scanning the sea in every direction for this deadly enemy,
suddenly felt the shock of a torpedo and, her magazines having been
set off, followed her sister ships to the ocean's bed.

In little more than half an hour thirty-six thousand tons of
up-to-date British fighting machinery, and more than 1200 gallant
blue jackets had been sent to the depths of the North Sea by a
little boat of 450 tons carrying a crew of twenty-six men.

The world stood aghast. With the feeling of horror at the swift
death of so many caused by so few, there was mingled a feeling of
amazement at the scientific perfection of the submarine, its power,
and its deadly work. Men said it was the end of dreadnoughts,
battleships, and cruisers, but the history of the war has shown
singularly few of these destroyed by submarines since the first
novelty of the attack wore off. The world at the moment seemed to
think that the submarine was an entirely new idea and invention.
But like almost everything else it was merely the ultimate reduction
to practical use of an idea that had been germinating in the mind of
man from the earliest days of history.

We need not trouble ourselves with the speculations of Alexander the
Great, Aristotle, and Pliny concerning "underwater" activities.
Their active minds gave consideration to the problem, but mainly as
to the employment of divers. Not until the first part of the
sixteenth century do we find any very specific reference to actual
underwater boats. That appears in a book of travels by Olaus Magnus,
Archbishop of Upsala in Sweden. Notwithstanding the gentleman's
reverend quality, one must question somewhat the veracity of the
chapter which he heads:

"Of the Leather Ships Made of Hides Used by the Pyrats of

He professed to have seen two of these "ships," more probably boats,
hanging in a cathedral church in Greenland. With these singular
vessels, according to his veracious reports the people of that
country could navigate under water and attack stranger ships from
beneath. "For the Inhabitants of that Countrey are wont to get small
profits by the spoils of others," he wrote, "by these and the like
treacherous Arts, who by their thieving wit, and by boring a hole
privately in the sides of the ships beneath (as I said) have let in
the water and presently caused them to sink."

Leaving the tale of the Archbishop where we think it must belong in
the realm of fiction, we may note that it was not until the
beginning of the seventeenth century that the first submarine boat
was actually built and navigated. A Hollander, Cornelius Drebel, or
Van Drebel, born in 1572, in the town of Alkmaar, had come to
London during the reign of James I., who became his patron and
friend. Drebel seems to have been a serious student of science and
in many ways far ahead of his times. Moreover, he had the talent of
getting next to royalty. In 1620 he first conceived the idea of
building a submarine. Fairly detailed descriptions of his boats--he
built three from 1620-1624--and of their actual use, have been
handed down to us by men whose accuracy and truthfulness cannot be
doubted. The Honorable Robert Boyle, a scientist of unquestioned
seriousness, tells in his _New Experiments, Physico-Mechanical
touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects_ about Drebel's work
in the quaint language of his time:

     But yet on occasion of this opinion of Paracelsus, perhaps it
     will not be impertinent if, before I proceed, I acquaint your
     Lordship with a conceit of that deservedly famous mechanician and
     Chymist, Cornelius Drebel, who, among other strange things that
     he perform'd, is affirm'd, by more than a few credible persons,
     to have contrived for the late learned King James, a vessel to go
     under water; of which, trial was made in the Thames, with admired
     success, the vessel carrying twelve rowers, besides passengers;
     one which is yet alive, and related it to an excellent
     Mathematician that informed me of it. Now that for which I
     mention this story is, that having had the curiosity and
     opportunity to make particular inquiries among the relations of
     Drebel, and especially of an ingenious physician that married his
     daughter, concerning the grounds upon which he conceived it
     feasible to make men unaccustomed to continue so long under water
     without suffocation, or (as the lately mentioned person that went
     in the vessel affirms) without inconvenience; I was answered,
     that Drebel conceived, that it is not the whole body of the air,
     but a certain quintessence (as Chymists speak) or spirituous part
     of it, that makes it fit for respiration; which being spent, the
     remaining grosser body, or carcase, if I may so call it, of the
     air, is unable to cherish the vital flame residing in the heart;
     so that, for aught I could gather, besides the mechanical
     contrivances of his vessel, he had a chymical liquor, which he
     accounted the chief secret of his submarine navigation. For when,
     from time to time, he conceived that the finer and purer part of
     the air was consumed, or over-clogged by the respiration and
     steam of those that went in his ship, he would by unstopping a
     vessel full of this liquor, speedily restore to the troubled air
     such a proportion of vital parts, as would make it again, for a
     good while, fit for respiration whether by dissipating, or
     precipitating the grosser exhalations, or by some other
     intelligible way, I must not now stay to examine, contenting
     myself to add, that having had the opportunity to do some service
     to those of his relations that were most intimate with him, and
     having made it my business to learn what this strange liquor
     might be, they constantly affirmed that Drebel would never
     disclose the liquor unto any, nor so much as tell the nature
     whereof he had made it, to above one person, who himself assured
     me what it was.

This most curious narrative suggests that in some way Drebel, who
died in London in 1634, had discovered the art of compressing oxygen
and conceived the idea of making it serviceable for freshening the
air in a boat, or other place, contaminated by the respiration of a
number of men for a long time. Indeed the reference made to the
substance by which Drebel purified the atmosphere in his submarine
as "a liquor" suggests that he may possibly have hit upon the secret
of liquid air which late in the nineteenth century caused such a
stir in the United States. Of his possession of some such secret
there can be no doubt whatsoever, for Samuel Pepys refers in his
famous diary to a lawsuit, brought in the King's Courts by the heirs
of Drebel, to secure the secret for their own use. What was the
outcome of the suit or the subsequent history of Drebel's invention
history does not record.

Throughout the next 150 years a large number of inventors and
near-inventors occupied themselves with the problem of the
submarine. Some of these men went no further than to draw plans and
to write out descriptions of what appeared to them to be feasible
submarine boats. Others took one step further, by taking out
patents, but only very few of the submarine engineers of this period
had either the means or the courage to test their inventions in the
only practicable way, by building an experimental boat and using it.

In spite of this apparent lack of faith on the part of the men who
worked on the submarine problem, it would not be fair to condemn
them as fakirs. Experimental workers, in those times, had to face
many difficulties which were removed in later times. The study of
science and the examination of the forces of nature were not only
not as popular as they became later, but frequently were looked upon
as blasphemous, savouring of sorcery, or as a sign of an unbalanced

[Illustration: © Kadel & Herbert.

_A Gas Attack Photographed from an Airplane._]

England and France supplied most of the men who occupied themselves
with the submarine problem between 1610 and 1760. Of the
Englishmen, the following left records of one kind or another
concerning their labours in this direction. Richard Norwood, in
1632, was granted a patent for a contrivance which was apparently
little more than a diving apparatus. In 1648, Bishop Wilkins
published a book, _Mathematical Magick_, which was full of rather
grotesque projects and which contained one chapter on the
possibility "of framing an ark for submarine navigation." In 1691,
patents were granted on engines connected with submarine navigation
to John Holland--curious forerunner of a name destined to be famous
two hundred years later--and on a submarine boat to Sir Stephen

In Prance, two priests, Fathers Mersenne and Fournier, published in
1634 a small book called _Questions Théologiques, Physiques, Morales
et Mathématiques_, which contained a detailed description of a
submarine boat. They suggested that the hull of submarines ought to
be of metal and not of wood, and that their shape ought to be as
nearly fishlike as possible. Nearly three hundred years have hardly
altered these opinions. Ancient French records also tell us that six
years later, in 1640, the King of France had granted a patent to
Jean Barrié, permitting him during the next twelve years to fish at
the bottom of the sea with his boat. Unluckily Barrié's fish stories
have expired with his permit. In 1654, a French engineer, De Son, is
said to have built at Rotterdam a submarine boat. Little is known
concerning this vessel except that it was reported to have been
seventy-two feet long, twelve feet high, and eight feet broad, and
to have been propelled by a paddlewheel instead of oars.

Borelli, about whom very little seems to be known, is credited with
having invented in 1680 a submarine boat, whose descent and ascent
were regulated by a series of leather bottles placed in the hull of
the boat with their mouths open to the surrounding water. The
English magazine, _Graphic_, published a picture which is considered
the oldest known illustration of any submarine boat. This picture
matches in all details the description of Borelli's boat, but it is
credited to a man called Symons.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1774, another Englishman, J. Day, built
a small submarine boat, and after fairly extensive experiments,
descended in his boat in Plymouth harbour. This descent is of
special interest because we have a more detailed record of it than
of any previous submarine exploit, and because Day is the first
submarine inventor who lost his life in the attempt to prove the
feasibility of his invention. The _Annual Register_ of 1774 gives a
narration in detail of Day's experiments and death and inasmuch as
this is the first ungarbled report of a submarine descent, it may be
quoted at length.

     _Authentic account of a late unfortunate transaction, with
     respect to a diving machine at Plymouth._

     Mr. Day (the sole projector of the scheme, and, as matters have
     turned out, the unhappy sacrifice to his own ingenuity) employed
     his thoughts for some years past in planning a method of sinking
     a vessel under water, with a man in it, who should live therein
     for a certain time, and then by his own means only, bring himself
     up to the surface. After much study he conceived that his plan
     could be reduced into practice. He communicated his idea in the
     part of the country where he lived, and had the most sanguine
     hopes of success. He went so far as to try his project in the
     Broads near Yarmouth. He fitted a Norwich market-boat for his
     purpose, sunk himself thirty feet under water, where he continued
     during the space of twenty-four hours, and executed his design to
     his own entire satisfaction. Elated with this success, he then
     wanted to avail himself of his invention. He conversed with his
     friends, convinced them that he had brought his undertaking to a
     certainty; but how to reap the advantage of it was the difficulty
     that remained. The person in whom he confided suggested to him,
     that, if he acquainted the sporting Gentlemen with the discovery,
     and the certainty of the performance, considerable betts would
     take place, as soon as the project would be mentioned in company.
     The Sporting Kalendar was immediately looked into, and the name
     of Blake soon occurred; that gentleman was fixed upon as the
     person to whom Mr. Day ought to address himself. Accordingly, Mr.
     Blake, in the month of November last, received the following


     "I found out an affair by which many thousands may be won; it is
     of a paradoxical nature, but can be performed with ease;
     therefore, sir, if you chuse to be informed of it, and give me
     one hundred pounds of every thousand you shall win by it, I will
      very readily wait upon you and inform you of it. I am myself
     but a poor mechanic and not able to make anything by it without
     your  assistance.

                              "Your's, etc.

                                                   "J. DAY."

     Mr. Blake had no conception of Mr. Day's design, nor was he sure
     that the letter was serious. To clear the matter up, he returned
     for answer, that, if Mr. Day would come to town, and explain
     himself, Mr. Blake would consider of the proposal. If he approved
     of it, Mr. Day should have the recompence he desired; if, on the
     other hand, the plan should be rejected, Mr. Blake would make him
     a present to defray the expences of his journey. In a short time
     after Mr. Day came to town; Mr. Blake saw him and desired to know
     what secret he was possessed of. The man replied, "that he could
     sink a ship 100 feet deep in the sea with himself in it, and
     remain therein for the space of 24 hours, without communication
     with anything above; and at the expiration of the time, rise up
     again in the vessel." The proposal, in all its parts, was new to
     Mr. Blake. He took down the particulars, and, after considering
     the matter, desired some kind of proof of the practicability. The
     man added that if Mr. Blake would furnish him with the materials
     necessary, he would give him an occular demonstration. A model of
     the vessel, with which he was to perform the experiment, was then
     required, and in three or four weeks accomplished, so as to give
     a perfect idea of the principle upon which the scheme was to be
     executed, and, in time, a very plausible promise of success, not
     to Mr. Blake only, but many other gentlemen who were consulted
     upon the occasion. The consequence was, that Mr. Blake, agreeably
     to the man's desire, advanced money for the construction of a
     vessel fit for that purpose. Mr. Day, thus assisted, went to
     Plymouth with his model, and set a man in that place to work upon
     it. The pressure of the water at 100 feet deep was a circumstance
     of which Mr. Blake was advised, and touching that article he gave
     the strongest precautions to Mr. Day, telling him, at any
     expence, to fortify the chamber in which he was to subsist,
     against the weight of such a body of water. Mr. Day set off in
     great spirits for Plymouth, and seemed so confident, that Mr.
     Blake made a bett that the project would succeed, reducing,
     however, the depth of water from 100 yards to 100 feet, and the
     time from 24 to 12 hours. By the terms of the wager, the
     experiment was to be made within three months from the date; but
     so much time was necessary for due preparation, that on the
     appointed day things were not in readiness and Mr. Blake lost the

[Illustration: Photo by International Film Service.

_A French Nieuport Dropping a Bomb._]

     In some short time afterwards the vessel was finished, and Mr.
     Day still continued eager for the carrying of his plan into
     execution; he was uneasy at the idea of dropping the scheme and
     wished for an opportunity to convince Mr. Blake that he could
     perform what he had undertaken. He wrote from Plymouth that
     everything was in readiness and should be executed the moment Mr.
     Blake arrived. Induced by this promise, Mr. Blake set out for
     Plymouth; upon his arrival a trial was made in Cat-water, where
     Mr. Day lay, during the flow of tide, six hours, and six more
     during the tide of ebb; confined all the time in the room
     appropriated for his use. A day for the final determination was
     fixed; the vessel was towed to the place agreed upon; Mr. Day
     provided himself with whatever he thought necessary; he went into
     the vessel, let the water into her and with great composure
     retired to the room constructed for him, and shut up the valve.
     The ship went gradually down in 22 fathoms of water at 2 o'clock
     on Tuesday, June 28, in the afternoon, being to return at 2 the
     next morning. He had three buoys or messengers, which he could
     send to the surface at option, to announce his situation below;
     but, none appearing, Mr. Blake, who was near at hand in a barge,
     began to entertain some suspicion. He kept a strict lookout, and
     at the time appointed, neither the buoys nor the vessel coming
     up, he applied to the _Orpheus_ frigate, which lay just off the
     barge, for assistance. The captain with the most ready
     benevolence supplied them with everything in his power to seek
     for the ship. Mr. Blake, in this alarming situation was not
     content with the help of the _Orpheus_ only; he made immediate
     application to Lord Sandwich (who happened to be at Plymouth) for
     further relief. His Lordship with great humanity ordered a number
     of hands from the dock-yard, who went with the utmost alacrity
     and tried every effort to regain the ship, but unhappily without

     Thus ended this unfortunate affair. Mr. Blake had not experience
     enough to judge of all possible contingencies, and he had now
     only to lament the credulity with which he listened to a
     projector, fond of his own scheme but certainly not possessed of
     skill enough to guard against the variety of accidents to which
     he was liable. The poor man has unfortunately shortened his days;
     he was not however tempted or influenced by anybody; he confided
     in his own judgment, and put his life to the hazard upon his own
     mistaken notions.

     Many and various have been the opinions on this strange, useless,
     and fatal experiment, though the more reasonable part of mankind
     seemed to give it up as wholly impracticable. It is well-known,
     that pent-up air, when overcharged with the vapours emitted out
     of animal bodies, becomes unfit for respiration; for which
     reason, those confined in the diving-bell, after continuing some
     time under water are obliged to come up, and take in fresh air,
     or by some such means recruit it. That any man should be able
     after having sunk a vessel to so great a depth, to make that
     vessel at pressure, so much more specifically lighter than water,
     as thereby to enable it to force its way to the surface, through
     the depressure of so great a weight, is a matter not hastily to
     be credited. Even cork, when sunk to a certain depth will, by the
     great weight of the fluid upon it, be prevented from rising.

The English of the _Annual Register_ leaves much to be desired in
clarity. It makes reasonably clear, however, that the unfortunate
Mr. Day's knowledge of submarine conditions was, by no means, equal
to Mr. Blake's sporting spirit. Even to-day one hundred feet is an
unusual depth of submersion for the largest submarines.

The credit for using a submarine boat for the first time in actual
warfare belongs to a Yankee, David Bushnell. He was born in
Saybrook, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale with the class of
1775. While still in college he was interested in science and as far
as his means and opportunities allowed, he devoted a great deal of
his time and energy to experimental work. The problem which
attracted his special attention was how to explode powder under
water, and before very long he succeeded in solving this to his own
satisfaction as well as to that of a number of prominent people
amongst whom were the Governor of Connecticut and his Council.
Bushnell's experiments, of course, fell in the period during which
the Revolutionary War was fought, and when he had completed his
invention, there naturally presented itself to him a further
problem. How could his device be used for the benefit of his country
and against the British ships which were then threatening New York
City? As a means to this end, Bushnell planned and built a submarine
boat which on account of its shape is usually called the _Turtle_.

General Washington thought very highly of Bushnell, whom he called
in a letter to Thomas Jefferson "a man of great mechanical powers,
fertile in inventions and master of execution." In regard to
Bushnell's submarine boat the same letter, written after its
failure, says: "I thought and still think that it was an effort of
genius, but that too many things were necessary to be combined to
expect much against an enemy who are always on guard."

During the whole period of the building of the _Turtle_ Bushnell was
in ill health. Otherwise he would have navigated it on its trial
trip himself for he was a man of undoubted courage and wrapped up
alike in the merits of his invention and in the possibility of
utilizing it to free New York from the constant ignominy of the
presence of British ships in its harbour. But his health made this
out of the question. Accordingly he taught his brother the method of
navigating the craft, but at the moment for action the brother too
fell ill. It became necessary to hire an operator. This was by no
means easy as volunteers to go below the water in a submarine boat
of a type hitherto undreamed of, and to attach an explosive to the
hull of a British man-of-war, the sentries upon which were
presumably especially vigilant, being in a hostile harbour, was an
adventure likely to attract only the most daring and reckless
spirits. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, other portions of which we
shall have occasion to quote later, Bushnell refers to this
difficulty in finding a suitable operator and tells briefly and with
evident chagrin the story of the failure of the attempts made to
utilize successfully his submarine:

[Illustration: Photo by U. & U.

_A Bomb-Dropping Taube._]

     After various attempts to find an operator to my wish, I sent one
     who appeared more expert than the rest from New York to a 50-gun
     ship lying not far from Governor's Island. He went under the ship
     and attempted to fix the wooden screw into her bottom, but
     struck, as he supposes, a bar of iron which passes from the
     rudder hinge, and is spiked under the ship's quarter. Had he
     moved a few inches, which he might have done without rowing, I
     have no doubt but he would have found wood where he might have
     fixed the screw, or if the ship were sheathed with copper he
     might easily have pierced it; but, not being well skilled in the
     management of the vessel, in attempting to move to another place
     he lost the ship. After seeking her in vain for some time, he
     rowed some distance and rose to the surface of the water, but
     found daylight had advanced so far that he durst not renew the
     attempt. He says that he could easily have fastened the magazine
     under the stem of the ship above water, as he rowed up to the
     stern and touched it before he descended. Had he fastened it
     there the explosion of 150 lbs. of powder (the quantity contained
     in the magazine) must have been fatal to the ship. In his return
     from the ship to New York he passed near Governor's Island, and
     thought he was discovered by the enemy on the island. Being in
     haste to avoid the danger he feared, he cast off the magazine, as
     he imagined it retarded him in the swell, which was very
     considerable. After the magazine had been cast off one hour, the
     time the internal apparatus was set to run, it blew up with great

     Afterwards there were two attempts made in Hudson's River, above
     the city, but they effected nothing. One of them was by the
     aforementioned person. In going towards the ship he lost sight
     of her, and went a great distance beyond her. When he at length
     found her the tide ran so strong that, as he descended under
     water for the ship's bottom, it swept him away. Soon after this
     the enemy went up the river and pursued the boat which had the
     submarine vessel on board and sunk it with their shot. Though I
     afterwards recovered the vessel, I found it impossible at that
     time to prosecute the design any farther.

The operator to whom Bushnell had entrusted his submarine boat was a
typical Yankee, Ezra Lee of Lyme, Connecticut. His story of the
adventure differs but little from that of Bushnell, but it is told
with a calm indifference to danger and a seeming lack of any notion
of the extraordinary in what he had done that gives an idea of the
man. "When I rode under the stern of the ship [the _Eagle_] I could
see the men on deck and hear them talk," he wrote. "I then shut down
all the doors, sunk down, and came up under the bottom of the ship."

This means that he hermetically sealed himself inside of a craft,
shaped like two upper turtle shells joined together--hence the name
of the _Turtle_. He had entered through the orifice at the top,
whence the head of the turtle usually protrudes. This before sinking
he had covered and made water-tight by screwing down upon it a brass
crown or top like that to a flask. Within he had enough air to
support him thirty minutes. The vessel stood upright, not flat as a
turtle carries himself. It was maintained in this position by lead
ballast. Within the operator occupied an upright position, half
sitting, half standing. To sink water was admitted, which gathered
in the lower part of the boat, while to rise again this was
expelled by a force pump. There were ventilators and portholes for
the admission of light and air when operating on the surface, but
once the cap was screwed down the operator was in darkness.

In this craft, which suggests more than anything else a curiously
shaped submarine coffin, Lee drifted along by the side of the ship,
navigating with difficulty with his single oar and seeking vainly to
find some spot to which he might affix his magazine. A fact which
might have disquieted a more nervous man was that the clockwork of
this machine was running and had been set to go off in an hour from
the time the voyage was undertaken. As to almost anyone in that
position minutes would seem hours, the calmness of sailor Lee's
nerves seems to be something beyond the ordinary.

When he finally abandoned the attempt on the _Eagle_ he started up
the bay. Off Governor's Island he narrowly escaped capture.

     When I was abreast of the Fort on the Island three hundred or
     four hundred men got upon the parapet to observe me; at length a
     number came down to the shore, shoved off a twelve oar'd barge
     with five or six sitters and pulled for me. I eyed them, and when
     they had got within fifty or sixty yards of me I let loose the
     magazine in hopes that if they should take me they would likewise
     pick up the magazine and then we should all be blown up together.
     But as kind providence would have it they took fright and
     returned to the Island to my infinite joy.... The magazine after
     getting a little past the Island went off with a tremendous
     explosion, throwing up large bodies of water to an immense

During the last quarter of the eighteenth and during the first half
of the nineteenth century France was the chief centre for the
activities of submarine inventors. However, very few of the many
plans put forward in this period were executed. The few exceptions
resulted in little else than trial boats which usually did not live
up to the expectations of their inventors or their financial backers
and were, therefore, discarded in quick order. In spite of this lack
of actual results this particular period was of considerable
importance to the later development of the submarine. Almost every
one of the many boats then projected or built contained some
innovation and in this way some of the many obstacles were gradually
overcome. Strictly speaking the net result of the experimental work
done during these seventy-five years by a score or more of men, most
of whom were French, though a few were English, was the creation of
a more sane and sound basis on which, before long, other men began
to build with greater success.

The one notable accomplishment of interest, especially to Americans,
was the submarine built in 1800-01 by Robert Fulton. Fulton, of
course, is far better known by his work in connection with the
discovery and development of steam navigation. Born in Pennsylvania
in 1765, he early showed marked mechanical genius. In 1787 he went
to England with the purpose of studying art under the famous painter
West, but soon began to devote most of his time and energy to
mechanical problems. Not finding in England as much encouragement as
he had hoped, he went, in 1797, to Paris and, for the next seven
years, lived there in the house of the American Minister, Joel

As soon as he had settled down in France, he offered his plans of a
submarine boat which he called the _Nautilus_ to the French
Government. Though a special commission reported favourably on this
boat, the opposition of the French Minister of the Marine was too
strong to be overcome, even after another commission had approved a
model built by Fulton. In 1800, however, he was successful in
gaining the moral and financial support of Napoleon Bonaparte, then
First Consul of the French Republic.

Fulton immediately proceeded to build the _Nautilus_ and completed
the boat in May, 1801. It was cigar-shaped, about seven feet in
diameter and over twenty-one feet in length. The hull was of copper
strengthened by iron ribs. The most noticeable features were a
collapsible mast and sail and a small conning tower at the forward
end. The boat was propelled by a wheel affixed to the centre of the
stern and worked by a hand-winch. A rudder was used for steering,
and increased stability was gained by a keel which ran the whole
length of the hull.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A Captured German Fokker Exhibited at the Invalides._]

Soon after completion the boat was taken out for a number of trial
trips all of which were carried out with signal success and finally
culminated, on June 26, 1801, in the successful blowing up of an old
ship furnished by the French Government. Although the _Nautilus_
created a great sensation, popular as well as official interest
began soon to flag. Fulton received no further encouragement and
finally gave up his submarine experiments.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A British Seaplane with Folding Wings._]

In 1806 he returned to America. By 1814 he had built another
submarine boat which he called the _Mute_. It was, comparatively
speaking, of immense size, being over eighty feet long, twenty-one
feet wide, and fourteen feet deep and accommodating a hundred men.
It was iron-plated on top and derived its peculiar name from the
fact that it was propelled by a noiseless engine. Before its trials
could be completed, Fulton died on February 24, 1815, and no one
seemed to have sufficient interest or faith in his new boat to
continue his work.

In the middle of the nineteenth century for the first time a German
became seriously interested in submarines. His name was Wilhelm
Bauer. He was born in 1822 in a small town in Bavaria and, though a
turner by trade, joined the army in 1842. Bauer was even in his
youth of a highly inventive turn of mind. He possessed an
indomitable will and an unlimited supply of enthusiasm. Step by step
he acquired, in what little time he could spare from his military
duties, the necessary mechanical knowledge, and finally, supported
financially by a few loyal friends and patrons, he built his first
submarine at Kiel at a cost of about $2750. It sank to the bottom on
its first trial trip, fortunately without anyone on board. Undaunted
he continued his efforts.

When he found that his support at Kiel was weakening, he promptly
went to Austria. In spite of glowing promises, opposition on the
part of some officials deprived Bauer of the promised assistance. He
went then to England and succeeded in enlisting the interest of the
Prince Consort. A boat was built according to Bauer's plans, which,
however, he was forced by the interference of politicians to change
to such an extent that it sank on its first trial with considerable
loss of life.

Still full of faith in his ability to produce a successful
submarine, Bauer now went to Russia. In 1855, he built a boat at St.
Petersburg and had it accepted by the Russian Government. It was
called _Le Diable Marin_ and looked very much like a dolphin. Its
length was fifty-two feet, its beam twelve feet five inches, and its
depth eleven feet. Its hull was of iron. A propeller, worked by four
wheels, furnished motive power. Submersion and stability were
regulated by four cylinders into which water could be pumped at

The first trial of the boat was made on May 26, 1856, and was
entirely successful. In later trials as many as fourteen men at a
time descended in _Le Diable Marin_. It is said that Bauer made a
total of 134 trips on his boat. All but two were carried out
successfully. At one time, however, the propeller was caught in some
seaweed and it was only by the quickest action that all the water
was pumped out and the bow of the boat allowed to rise out of the
water, so that the occupants managed to escape by means of the
hatchway. Like Fulton in France, Bauer now experienced in Russia a
sudden decrease of official interest. When he finally lost his boat,
about four weeks later, he also lost his courage, and in 1858 he
returned to Germany where he later died in comparative poverty.

Contemporary with Bauer's submarines and immediately following them
were a large number of other boats. Some of these were little more
than freaks. Others failed in certain respects but added new
features to the sum-total of submarine inventions. As early as 1854,
M. Marié-Davy, Professor of Chemistry at Montpellier University,
suggested an electro-magnetic engine as motive power. In 1855 a
well-known engineer, J. Nasmith, suggested a submerged motor, driven
by a steam engine. None of the boats of this period proved
successful enough, however, to receive more than passing notice, and
very few, indeed, ever reached the trial stage. But before long the
rapid development of internal-combustion engines and the immense
progress made in the study of electricity was to advance the
development of submarines by leaps and bounds.



In the fall of 1863, the Federal fleet was blockading the harbour of
Charleston, S. C. Included among the many ships was one of the
marvels of that period, the United States battleship _Ironsides_.
Armour-plated and possessing what was then considered a wonderful
equipment of high calibred guns and a remarkably trained crew, she
was the terror of the Confederates. None of their ships could hope
to compete with her and the land batteries of the Southern harbour
were powerless to reach her.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A British Anti-Aircraft Gun._]

During the night of October 5, 1863, the officer of the watch on
board the _Ironsides_, Ensign Howard, suddenly observed a small
object looking somewhat like a pleasure boat, floating close to his
own ship. Before Ensign Howard's order to fire at it could be
executed, the _Ironsides_ was shaken from bow to stern, an immense
column of water was thrown up and flooded her deck and engine room,
and Ensign Howard fell, mortally wounded. The little floating object
was responsible for all this. It was a Confederate submersible boat,
only fifty feet long and nine feet in diameter, carrying a
fifteen-foot spar-torpedo. She had been named _David_ and the
Confederate authorities hoped to do away by means of her with the
Goliaths of the Federal navy. Manned only by five men, under the
command of Lieutenant W. T. Glassel, driven by a small engine and
propeller, she had managed to come up unobserved within striking
distance of the big battleship.

The attack, however, was unsuccessful. The _Ironsides_ was
undamaged. On the other hand the plucky little _David_ had been
disabled to such an extent that her crew had to abandon her and take
to the water, allowing their boat to drift without motive power.
Four of them were later picked up. According to an account in
Barnes, _Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare_, the engineer, after having
been in the water for some time, found himself near her and
succeeded in getting on board. He relighted her fires and navigated
his little boat safely back to Charleston. There she remained,
making occasional unsuccessful sallies against the Federal fleet,
and when Charleston was finally occupied by the Federal forces, she
was found there.

In spite of this failure the Confederates continued their attempts
to break the blockade of their most important port by submarine
devices. A new and somewhat improved _David_ was ordered and built
at another port. News of this somehow reached the Federal Navy
Department and was immediately communicated to Vice-Admiral
Dahlgren, in command of the blockading fleet. Despite this warning
and instructions to all the officers of the fleet, the second
_David_ succeeded in crossing Charleston bar.

This new boat was a real diving submarine boat and though frequently
called _David_ had been christened the _Hundley_. It had been built
in the shipyards of McClintock & Hundley at Mobile, Alabama, and had
been brought to Charleston by rail. On her trial she proved very
clumsy and difficult to manage. For her first trip a crew of nine
men volunteered. Not having any conning tower it was necessary that
one of the hatchways should be left open while the boat travelled on
the surface so that the steersman could find his bearings. While she
was on her first trip, the swell from a passing boat engulfed her.
Before the hatchway could be closed, she filled with water. Of
course, she sank like a piece of lead and her entire crew, with the
exception of the steersman, was drowned.

In spite of this mishap the _Hundley_ was raised and again put in
commission. Lieutenant Payne who had steered her on her first fatal
trip had lost neither his courage nor faith and again assumed
command of her. Soon after she started on her second trip a sudden
squall arose. Before the hatchways could be closed, she again filled
with water and sank, drowning all of her crew with the exception of
Lieutenant Payne and two of his men.

Undaunted he took her out on a third trip after she had again been
raised. Ill luck still pursued her. Off Fort Sumter she was capsized
and this time four of her crew were drowned.

The difficulties encountered in sailing the _Hundley_ on the surface
of the water apparently made no difference when it came to finding
new crews for her. By this time, however, the powers that be had
become anxious that their submarine boat should accomplish something
against an enemy, instead of drowning only her own men and it was
decided to use her on the next trip in a submerged state. Again
Lieutenant Payne was entrusted with her guidance. Her hatches were
closed, her water tanks filled, and she was off for her first dive.
Something went wrong however; either too much water had been put in
her tanks or else the steering gear refused to work. At any rate she
hit the muddy bottom with such force that her nose became deeply
imbedded and before she could work herself free her entire crew of
eight was suffocated. Lieutenant Payne himself lost his life which
he had risked so valiantly and frequently before.

Once more she was raised and once more volunteers rushed to man her.
On the fifth trip, however, the _Hundley_, while travelling
underwater, became entangled in the anchor chains of a boat she
passed and was held fast so long that her crew of nine were dead
when she was finally disentangled and raised.

Thirty-five lives had so far been lost without any actual results
having been accomplished. In spite of this a new crew was found. Her
commander, Lieutenant Dixon, was ordered to make an attack against
the Federal fleet immediately, using, however, the boat as a
submersible instead of a submarine.

Admiral David Porter in his _Naval History of the Civil War_
described the attack, which was directed against the U. S. S.
_Housatonic_, one of the newest Federal battleships, as follows:

     At about 8.45 P. M., the officer of the deck on board the
     unfortunate vessel discovered something about one hundred yards
     away, moving along the water. It came directly towards the ship,
     and within two minutes of the time it was first sighted was
     alongside. The cable was slipped, the engines backed, and all
     hands called to quarters. But it was too late--the torpedo struck
     the _Housatonic_ just forward of the mainmast, on the starboard
     side, on a line with the magazine. The man who steered her (the
     _Hundley_) knew where the vital spots of the steamer were and he
     did his work well. When the explosion took place the ship
     trembled all over as if by the shock of an earthquake, and seemed
     to be lifted out of the water, and then sank stern foremost,
     heeling to port as she went down.

Only a part of the _Housatonic's_ complement was saved. Of the
_Hundley_ no trace was discovered and she was believed to have
escaped. Three years later, however, divers who had been sent down
to examine the hull of the _Housatonic_ found the little submarine
stuck in the hole made by her attack on the larger ship and inside
of her the bodies of her entire crew.

The submarines and near-submarines built in the United States during
the Civil War were remarkable rather for what they actually
accomplished than for what they contributed towards the development
of submarine boats. Perhaps the greatest service which they rendered
in the latter direction was that they proved to the satisfaction of
many scientific men that submarine boats really held vast
possibilities as instruments of naval warfare.

France still retained its lead in furnishing new submarine
projects. One of these put forward in 1861 by Olivier Riou deserves
mention because it provided for two boats, one driven by steam and
one by electricity. Both of these submarines were built, but
inasmuch as nothing is known of the result of their trials, it is
safe to conclude that neither of them proved of any practical value.

Two years later, in 1863, two other Frenchmen, Captain Bourgeois and
M. Brun, built at Rochefort a submarine 146 feet long and 12 feet in
diameter which they called the _Plongeur_. They fitted it with a
compressed-air engine of eighty horse-power. Extensive trials were
made with this boat but resulted only in the discovery that, though
it was possible to sink or rise with a boat of this type without
great difficulty, it was impossible to keep her at an even keel for
any length of time.

During the next few years, undoubtedly as a result of the submarine
activities during the Civil War, a number of projects were put
forward in the United States, none of which, however, turned out
successfully. One of them, for which a man by the name of Halstead
was responsible, was a submarine built for the United States Navy in
1865. It was not tried out until 1872 and it was not even successful
in living up to its wonderful name, _The Intelligent Whale_. Its
first trial almost resulted in loss of life and was never repeated.
In spite of this, however, the boat was preserved and may still be
seen at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In the meantime, an invention had been made by an Austrian artillery
officer which before long was to exert a powerful influence on
submarine development, though it was in no sense a submarine boat.
The manner in which the submarines had attacked their opponents
during the Civil War suggested to him the need of improvements in
this direction. As a result he conceived a small launch which was to
carry the explosive without any navigators. Before he could carry
his plans very far he died. A brother officer in the navy continued
his work and finally interested the manager of an English
engineering firm located at Fiume, Mr. Whitehead. The result of the
collaboration of these two men was the Whitehead torpedo. A series
of experiments led to the construction of what was first called a
"Submarine Locomotive" torpedo, which not only contained a
sufficient quantity of explosives to destroy large boats, but was
also enabled by mechanical means to propel itself and keep on its
course after having been fired. The Austrian Government was the
first one to adopt this new weapon. Whitehead, however, refused to
grant a monopoly to the Austrians and in 1870 he sold his
manufacturing rights and secret processes to the British Government
for a consideration of $45,000.

Before very long, special boats were built for the purpose of
carrying and firing these torpedoes and gradually every great power
developed a separate torpedo flotilla. Hand in hand with this
development a large number of improvements were made on the original
torpedo and some of these devices proved of great usefulness in the
development of submarine boats.

The public interest in submarines grew rapidly at this time. Every
man who was a boy in 1873, or who had the spirit of boyhood in him
then,--or perhaps now,--will remember the extraordinary piece of
literary and imaginative prophecy achieved by Jules Verne in his
novel _Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea_. Little about the
_Nautilus_ that held all readers entranced throughout his story is
lacking in the submarines of to-day except indeed its extreme
comfort, even luxury. With those qualities our submarine navigators
have to dispense. But the electric light, as we know it, was unknown
in Verne's time yet he installed it in the boat of his fancy. Our
modern internal-combustion engines were barely dreamed of, yet they
drove his boat. His fancy even enabled him to foresee one of the
most amazing features of the Lake boat of to-day, namely the
compressed air chamber which opened to the sea still holds the water
back, and enables the submarine navigator clad in a diver's suit to
step into the wall of water and prosecute his labors on the bed of
the ocean. Jules Verne even foresaw the callous and inhuman
character of the men who command the German submarines to-day. His
Captain Nemo had taken a vow of hate against the world and
relentlessly drove the prow of his steel boat into the hulls of
crowded passenger ships, finding his greatest joy in sinking slowly
beside them with the bright glare of his submarine electric lights
turned full upon the hapless women and children over whose
sufferings he gloated as they sank. The man who sank the _Lusitania_
could do no more.

More and more determined became the attempts to build submarine
boats that could sink and rise easily, navigate safely and quickly,
and sustain human beings under the surface of the water for a
considerable length of time. Steam, compressed air, and electricity
were called upon to do their share in accomplishing this desired
result. Engineers in every part of the world began to interest
themselves in the submarine problem and as a result submarine boats
in numbers were either projected or built between 1875 and 1900.

One of the most persistent workers in this period was a well-known
Swedish inventor, Nordenfeldt, who had established for himself a
reputation by inventing a gun which even to-day has lost nothing of
its fame. In 1881 he became interested in the work which had been
done by an English clergyman named Garret. The latter had built a
submarine boat which he called the _Resurgam_ (I shall rise)--thus
neatly combining a sacred promise with a profane purpose. In 1879
another boat was built by him driven by a steam engine. Nordenfeldt
used the fundamental ideas upon which these two boats were based,
added to them some improvements of his own as well as some devices
which had been used by Bushnell, and finally launched in 1886 his
first submarine boat. The government of Greece bought it after some
successful trials. Not to be outdone, Greece's old rival, Turkey,
immediately ordered two boats for her own navy. Both of these were
much larger than the Greek boat and by 1887 they had reached
Constantinople in sections where they were to be put together. Only
one of them, however, was ever completed. Characteristic Turkish
delay intervened. The most typical feature of this boat was the fact
that it carried a torpedo tube for Whitehead torpedoes. On the
surface of the water this boat proved very efficient, but as an
underwater boat it was a dismal failure. More than in any other
craft that had ever been built and accepted, the lack of stability
was a cause of trouble in the _Nordenfeldt II._ As soon as any
member of the crew moved from one part of the boat to another, she
would dip in the direction in which he was moving, and everybody,
who could not in time take hold of some part of the boat, came
sliding and rolling in the same direction. When finally such a
tangle was straightened out, only a few minutes elapsed before
somebody else, moving a few steps, would bring about the same
deplorable state of affairs. The _Nordenfeldt II._ acted more like a
bucking bronco than a self-respecting submarine boat and as a result
it became impossible to find a crew willing to risk their lives in
manning her. Before very long she had rusted and rotted to pieces.
In spite of this lack of success, Nordenfeldt built a fourth boat
which displayed almost as many unfortunate features as her
predecessors and soon was discarded and forgotten.

[Illustration: Photo by Bain News Service.

_An Anti-Aircraft Outpost._]

In the latter part of the nineteenth century the French Government,
which for so many years had shown a strong and continuous interest
in the submarine problem, was particularly active. Three different
types of boats built in this period under the auspices and with the
assistance of the French Government deserve particular attention.
The first of these was the _Gymnote_, planned originally by a
well-known French engineer, Dupuy de Lome, whose alert mind also
planned an airship and made him a figure in the history of our
Panama Canal. He died, however, before his project could be
executed. M. Gustave Zédé, a marine engineer and his friend,
continued his work after modifying some of his plans. The French
Minister of Marine of this period, Admiral Aube who had long been
strongly interested in submarines, immediately accepted M. Zédé's
design and ordered the boat to be built. As the earliest of
successful submarines she merits description:

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_A Coast Defense Anti-Aircraft Gun._]

The _Gymnote_ was built of steel in the shape of a cigar. She was 59
feet long, 5 feet 9 inches beam, and 6 feet in diameter, just deep
enough to allow a man to stand upright in the interior. The motive
power was originally an electro-motor of 55 horse-power, driven from
564 accumulators. It was of extraordinary lightness, weighing only
4410 pounds, and drove the screw at the rate of two thousand
revolutions a minute, giving a speed of six knots an hour, its
radius of action at this speed being thirty-five miles.

Immersion was accomplished by the introduction of water into three
reservoirs, placed one forward, one aft, and one centre. The water
was expelled either by means of compressed air or by a rotary pump
worked by an electro-motor. Two horizontal rudders steered the boat
in the vertical plane and an ordinary rudder steered in the

The _Gymnote_ had her first trial on September 4, 1888, and the
Paris _Temps_ described the result in the following enthusiastic

     She steered like a fish both as regards direction and depth; she
     mastered the desired depth with ease and exactness; at full power
     she attained the anticipated speed of from nine to ten knots; the
     lighting was excellent, there was no difficulty about heating. It
     was a strange sight to see the vessel skimming along the top of
     the water, suddenly give a downward plunge with its  snout, and
     disappear with a shark-like wriggle of its stern, only to come up
     again at a distance out and in an unlooked-for  direction. A few
     small matters connected with the accumulators had to be seen to,
     but they did not take a month.

Following along the same lines as this boat another boat,
considerably larger, was built. Before it was completed, M. Zédé
died and it was decided to name the new boat in his honour. The
_Gustave Zédé_ was launched at Toulon on June 1, 1893; she was 159
feet in length, beam 12 feet 4 inches, and had a total displacement
of 266 tons. Her shell was of "Roma" bronze, a non-magnetic metal,
and one that could not be attacked by sea water.

The motive power was furnished by two independent electro-motors of
360 horse-power each and fed by accumulators. In order to endow the
boat with a wide radius of action a storage battery was provided.

The successive crews of the _Gustave Zédé_ suffered much from the
poisonous fumes of the accumulators, and during the earlier trials
all the men on board were ill.

In the bows was a torpedo tube, and an arrangement was used whereby
the water that entered the tube after the discharge of the torpedo
was forced out by compressed air. Three Whitehead torpedoes were
carried. In spite of the fact that a horizontal rudder placed at the
stern had not proved serviceable on the _Gymnote_, such a rudder was
fitted in the _Gustave Zédé_. With this rudder she usually plunged
at an angle of about 5°, but on several occasions she behaved in a
very erratic fashion, seesawing up and down, and once when the
Committee of Experts were on board, she proved so capricious, going
down at an angle of 30°-35°, often throwing the poor gentlemen on to
the floor, that it was decided to fix a system of six rudders, three
on each side.

Four water tanks were carried, one at each end and two in the
middle, and the water was expelled by four pumps worked by a little
electro-motor; these pumps also furnished the air necessary for the
crew and for the discharge of the torpedoes. For underwater vision,
an optical tube and a periscope had been provided.

On July 5, 1899, still another submarine boat was launched for the
French Navy. She was called the _Morse_. She was 118 feet long, 9
feet beam, displaced 146 tons, and was likewise made of "Roma"
bronze. The motive power was electricity and in many other respects
she was very similar to the _Gustave Zédé_, embodying, however, a
number of improvements. M. Calmette, who accompanied the French
Minister of War on the trial trip of the _Morse_, described his
experience in the Paris _Figaro_ as follows:

     General André, Dr. Vincent, a naval doctor, and I entered the
     submarine boat _Morse_ through the narrow opening in the upper
     surface of the boat. Our excursion was to begin immediately; in
     two hours we came to the surface of the water again three miles
     to the north to rejoin the _Narval_. Turning to the crew, every
     man of which was at his post, the commandant gave his orders,
     dwelling with emphasis on each word. A sailor repeated his orders
     one by one, and all was silent. The _Morse_ had already started
     on its mysterious voyage, but was skimming along the surface
     until outside the port in order to avoid the numerous craft in
     the Arsenal. To say that at this moment, which I had so keenly
     anticipated, I did not have the tremor which comes from contact
     with the unknown would be beside the truth. On the other hand,
     calm and imperturbable, but keenly curious as to this novel form
     of navigation, General André had already taken his place near
     the commandant on a folding seat. There were no chairs in this
     long tube in which we were imprisoned. Everything was arranged
     for the crew alone, with an eye to serious action. Moreover, the
     Minister of War was too tall to stand upright beneath the iron
     ceiling, and in any case it would be impossible to walk about.

     The only free space was a narrow passage, sixty centimetres
     broad, less than two metres high, and thirty metres long, divided
     into three equal sections. In the first, in the forefront of the
     tube, reposed the torpedoes, with the machine for launching them,
     which at a distance of from 500 to 600 metres were bound to sink,
     with the present secret processes, the largest of ironclads. In
     the second section were the electric accumulators which gave the
     light and power. In the third, near the screw, was the electric
     motor which transformed into movement the current of the
     accumulators. Under all this, beneath the floor, from end to end,
     were immense water ballasts, which were capable of being emptied
     or filled in a few seconds by electric machines, in order to
     carry the vessel up or down. Finally, in the centre of the tube,
     dominating these three sections, which the electric light
     inundated, and which no partition divided, the navigating
     lieutenant stood on the lookout giving his orders.

     There was but one thing which could destroy in a second all the
     sources of authority, initiative, and responsibility in this
     officer. That was the failure of the accumulators. Were the
     electricity to fail everything would come to a stop. Darkness
     would overtake the boat and imprison it for ever in the water. To
     avoid any such disaster there have been arranged, it is true,
     outside the tube and low down, a series of lead blades which were
     capable of being removed from within to lighten the vessel. But
     admitting that the plunger would return to the surface, the boat
     would float hither and thither, and at all events lose all its
     properties as a submarine vessel. To avoid any such disaster a
     combination of motors have been in course of construction for
     some months, so that the accumulators might be loaded afresh on
     the spot, in case of their being used up.

     The _Morse_, after skimming along the surface of the water until
     outside the port, was now about to sink. The commandant's place
     was no longer in the helmet or kiosque whence he could direct the
     route along the surface of the sea. His place was henceforth in
     the very centre of the tube, in the midst of all sort of electric
     manipulators, his eyes continually fixed on a mysterious optical
     apparatus, the periscope. The other extremity of this instrument
     floated on the surface of the water, and whatever the depth of
     the plunge it gave him a perfectly faithful and clear
     representation, as in a camera, of everything occurring on the

     The most interesting moment of all now came. I hastened to the
     little opening to get the impression of total immersion. The
     lieutenant by the marine chart verified the depths. The casks of
     water were filled and our supply of air was thereby renewed from
     their stores of surplus air. In our tiny observatory, where
     General André stationed himself above me, a most unexpected
     spectacle presented itself as the boat was immersed.

     The plunge was so gentle that in the perfect silence of the
     waters one did not perceive the process of descent, and there was
     only an instrument capable of indicating, by a needle, the depth
     to which the _Morse_ was penetrating. The vessel was advancing
     while at the same time it descended, but there was no sensation
     of either advance or roll. As to respiration, it was as perfect
     as in any room. M. de Lanessan, who since entering office has
     ordered eight more submarine vessels, had concerned himself with
     the question as a medical man also, and, thanks to the labours of
     a commission formed by him, the difficulties of respiration were
     entirely solved. The crew were able to remain under water sixteen
     hours without the slightest strain. Our excursion on this
     occasion lasted scarcely two hours. Towards noon, by means of
     the mysterious periscope, which, always invisible, floated on the
     surface and brought to the vessel below a reflection of all that
     passed up above, the captain showed us the _Narval_, which had
     just emerged with its two flags near the old battery
     _Impregnable_. From the depths in which we were sailing we
     watched its slightest manoeuvres until the admiral's flag, waving
     on the top of a fort, reminded us that it was time to return.

[Illustration: _The Submarine's Perfect Work._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]



The Naval Committee of the House of Representatives of the United
States in the early part of 1900 held a meeting for the purpose of
hearing expert testimony upon the subject of submarines. Up to then
the United States authorities had shown, as compared with the ruling
powers of other navies, only a limited amount of interest in the
submarine question. Increased appropriations for the construction of
submarine boats which were then beginning to become more frequent in
other countries acted, however, as a stimulus at this time.

The committee meeting took place a few days after some of the
members of the committee, together with a number of United States
navy officers, had attended an exhibition of a new submarine boat,
the _Holland No. 9_.

The late Admiral Dewey gave the following opinion about this
submarine to the committee, an opinion which since then has become
rather famous:

     Gentlemen: I saw the operation of the boat down off Mount Vernon
     the other day. Several members of this committee were there. I
     think we were very much impressed with its performance. My aid,
     Lieutenant Caldwell, was on board. The boat did everything that
     the owners proposed to do. I said then, and I have said it since,
     that if they had two of those things at Manila, I could never
     have held it with the squadron I had. The moral effect--to my
     mind, it is infinitely superior to mines or torpedoes or anything
     of the kind. With two of those in Galveston all the navies of the
     world could not blockade the place.

Admiral Dewey's approval of the _Holland No. 9_ undoubtedly exerted
a considerable influence on the Naval Committee and as a result of
its recommendations the United States Government finally purchased
the boat on April 11, 1900, for $150,000. This amount was about
$86,000 less than the cost of building to the manufacturers, the
Holland Torpedo Boat Company. The latter, however, could well afford
to take this loss because this first sale resulted a few months
afterwards--on August 25th--in an order for six additional
submarines. The British Government also contracted in the fall of
the same year for five Hollands. The navy of almost every power
interested in submarines soon followed the lead of the British
Admiralty. Submarines of the Holland type were either ordered
outright, or else arrangements were concluded permitting the use of
the basic patents held by the Holland Company. It will be noted that
the United States Government having discovered that it had a good
thing benevolently shared it with the governments that might be
expected to use it against us.

[Illustration: Copyright by Munn & Co., Inc.

From the _Scientific American._

_Types of American Aircraft._]

The _Holland No. 9_, as her very name indicates, was one of a long
line of similar boats. As compared with other experimental submarine
boats she was small. She was only fifty-three feet ten inches long,
and ten feet seven inches deep. Although these proportions made her
look rather thickset, they were the result of experimental work done
by the builder during a period of twenty-five years. She was
equipped both with a gasoline engine of fifty horse-power and an
electric motor run by storage batteries. The latter was intended for
use when the boat was submerged, the former when she was travelling
on the surface of the water. She was capable of a maximum speed of
seven knots an hour. Her cruising radius was 1500 miles and the
combination of oil and electric motors proved so successful that
from that time on every submarine built anywhere adopted this
principle. Two horizontal rudders placed at the stern of the boat
steered her downward whenever she wanted to dive and so
accomplished a diver was this boat that a depth of twenty-eight feet
could be reached by her in five seconds. Her conning tower was the
only means of making observations. No periscopes had been provided
because none of the instruments available at that time gave
satisfaction. This meant that whenever she wished to aim at her
target it was necessary for her to make a quick ascent to the
surface. Her stability was one of her most satisfactory features. So
carefully had her proportions been worked out that there was
practically no pitching or rolling when the boat was submerged. Even
the concussion caused by the discharge of a torpedo was hardly
noticeable because arrangements had been made to take up the recoil
caused by the firing and to maintain the balance of the boat by
permitting a quantity of water equal to the weight of the discharged
torpedo to enter special compartments at the very moment of the

The _Holland No. 9_ was built at Lewis Nixon's shipyards at
Elizabethport, New Jersey, and was launched early in 1898, just
previous to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Although
numerous requests were made to the United States Government by her
inventor and builder, John P. Holland, for permission to take her
into Santiago harbour in an attempt to torpedo Cervera's fleet, the
navy authorities at Washington refused this permission. Why?
Presumably through navy hostility to the submarine idea. When the
_Monitor_ whipped the _Merrimac_ in 1862 the former ship belonged to
her inventor, not to the United States Government. It would have
been interesting had Holland at his own expense destroyed the
Spanish ships.

John P. Holland at the time when he achieved his success was
fifty-eight years old, Irish by birth and an early immigrant to the
United States. He had been deeply interested for many years in
mechanical problems and especially in those connected with
navigation. The change from the old wooden battleships to the new
ironclads and the rapidly increasing development of steam-engines
acted as a strong stimulus to the young Irishman's experiments. It
is claimed that his interest in submarine navigation was due
primarily to his desire to find a weapon strong enough to destroy or
at least dominate the British navy; for at that time Holland was
strongly anti-British, because he, like many other educated Irishmen
of that period, desired before everything else to free Ireland. His
plans for doing this by supplying to the proposed Irish Republic a
means for overcoming the British navy found little support and a
great deal of ridicule on the part of his Irish friends. In spite of
this he kept on with his work and in 1875 he built and launched his
first submarine boat at Paterson. This boat was far from being very
revolutionary. She was only sixteen feet long and two feet in
diameter, shaped like a cigar but with both ends sharply pointed. In
many respects except in appearance she was similar to Bushnell's
_Turtle_. Room for only one operator was provided and the latter was
to turn the propeller by means of pedals to be worked by his feet.
She accomplished little beyond giving an opportunity to her inventor
and builder to gather experience in actual underwater navigation.

Two years later in 1877 the _Holland No. 2_ was built. In spite of
the number of improvements represented by her she was not
particularly successful. Her double hull, it is true, provided space
for carrying water ballast. But the leaks from this ballast tank
continuously threatened to drown the navigator sitting inside of the
second hull. A small oil engine of four horse-power was soon
discarded on account of its inefficiency.

The experience gathered by Holland in building and navigating these
two boats strengthened his determination to build a thoroughly
successful submarine and increased his faith in his ability to do
so. He opened negotiations with the Fenian Brotherhood. This was a
secret society founded for the purpose of freeing Ireland from
British rule and creating an Irish Republic. Holland finally
succeeded in persuading his Fenian friends to order from him two
submarine boats and to supply him with the necessary means to build
them. Both of these boats were built. The lack of success of the
first one was due primarily to the inefficiency of her engine. The
second boat which was really the _Holland No. 4_ was built in 1881.
It is usually known as the _Fenian Ram_, and is still in existence
at New Haven, Connecticut, where a series of financial and political
complications finally landed her.

These two boats added vastly to Holland's knowledge concerning
submarine navigation. A few others which he built with his own means
increased this fund of knowledge and step by step he came nearer to
his goal. By 1888 his reputation as a submarine engineer and
navigator had grown to such an extent that Holland was asked by the
famous Philadelphia shipbuilders, the Cramps, to submit to them
designs for a submarine boat to be built by the United States
Government. Only one other design was submitted and this was by the
Scandinavian, Nordenfeldt.

William C. Whitney, then Secretary of the United States Navy,
accepted Holland's design. Month after month passed by wasted by the
usual governmental red tape, and when all preliminary arrangements
had been made and the contract for the actual building of an
experimental boat was to be drawn up, a sudden change in the
administration resulted in the dropping of the entire plan.

Holland's faith in the future submarine and in his own ability was
still unshaken, but this was not the case with his financial
condition. None of the boats he had built so far had brought him any
profits and on some he had lost everything that he had put into
them. His financial support, for which he relied entirely upon
relatives and friends, was practically exhausted. But fortunately on
March 3, 1893, Congress appropriated a sum of money to defray the
expenses of constructing an experimental submarine. Invitations to
inventors were extended. So precarious was Holland's financial
condition at that time that he found it necessary to borrow the
small sum of money involved in making plans which he had to submit.
It is claimed that he succeeded in doing this in a manner highly
typical of his thoroughness.

He needed only about $350.00 but even this comparatively small sum
was more than he had. However, he happened to be lunching with a
young lawyer just about this time and began to tell him about his
financial difficulties. Holland told him that if he only had $347.19
he could prepare the plans and pay the necessary fees. And that
done, he was sure of being able to win the competition. His lawyer
friend, of course, had been approached before by other people for
loans. Invariably they had asked him for some round sum and
Holland's request for $347.19 when he might just as well have asked
for $350.00 aroused his interest. He asked the inventor what the
nineteen cents were to be used for. Quick as a flash he was told
that they were needed to pay for a particular type of ruler
necessary to draw the required plans. So impressed was the lawyer
with Holland's accuracy and honesty in asking not a cent more than
he actually needed that he at once advanced the money. And a good
investment it turned out to be. For in exchange he received a
good-sized block of stock in the Holland Torpedo Boat Company which
in later years made him a multi-millionaire.

Holland's plans did win the competition just as he asserted that
they would; but, of course, winning a prize, offered by a
government, and getting that government to do something about it,
are two different matters. So two years went by before the Holland
Torpedo Boat Company at last was able to start with the construction
of the new submarine which was to be called the _Plunger_.

The principal feature of this new boat was that it was to have a
steam engine for surface navigation and an electric motor for
underwater navigation. This arrangement was not so much a new
invention of Holland's as an adaptation of ideas which had been
promulgated by others. Especially indebted was he in this respect to
Commander Hovgaard of the Danish navy who, in 1887, had published an
important book on the subject of double propulsion in submarines.
Though Holland had made many improvements on these earlier theories,
he soon found out that even at that there was going to be serious
trouble with the _Plunger's_ engines. The boat had been launched in
1897; but instead of finishing it, he persuaded the government to
permit his company to build a new boat, and to return to the
government all the money so far expended on the _Plunger_.

The new boat, _Holland No. 8_, was started immediately and completed
in record time but she, too, was unsatisfactory to the inventor. So
without loss of time he went ahead and built another boat, the
_Holland No. 9_, which, as we have said, became the first United
States submarine.

Two other men submitted plans for submarine boats in the competition
which was won by the Holland boat, George C. Baker and Simon Lake.
Neither of these was accepted. Mr. Baker made no further efforts to
find out if his plans would result in a practicable submarine boat.
But Simon Lake was not so easily discouraged.

It is very interesting that the United States Navy Department at
that time demanded that plans submitted for this competition should
meet the following specifications:

  1. Safety.
  2. Facility and certainty of action when submerged.
  3. Speed when running on the surface.
  4. Speed when submerged.
  5. Endurance, both submerged and on the surface.
  6. Stability.
  7. Visibility of object to be attacked.

In spite of the many years that have passed since this competition
and in spite of the tremendous progress that has been made in
submarine construction these are still the essential requirements
necessary to make a successful submarine boat.

The designs submitted by Mr. Lake provided for a twin-screw vessel,
80 feet long, 10 feet beam, and 115 tons displacement, with 400
horse-power steam engines for surface propulsion and 70 horse-power
motors for submerged work. The boat was to have a double hull, the
spaces between the inner and the outer hulls forming water ballast
tanks. There were to be four torpedo tubes, two forward and two aft.

In an article published in 1915 in _International Marine
Engineering_, Mr. Lake says about his 1893 design:

     The new and novel feature which attracted the most attention and
     skepticism regarding this design was (the author was later
     informed by a member of the board) the claim made that the vessel
     could readily navigate over the waterbed itself, and that while
     navigating on the waterbed a door could be opened in the bottom
     of a compartment and the water kept from entering the vessel by
     means of compressed air, and that the crew could, by donning
     diving suits, readily leave and enter the vessel while submerged.
     Another novel feature was in the method of controlling the depth
     of submergence when navigating between the surface and waterbed.
     The vessel was designed to always submerge and navigate on a
     level keel rather than to be inclined down or up by the back, to
     "dive" or "rise." This maintenance of a level keel while
     submerged was provided for by the installation of four depth
     regulating vanes which I later termed "hydroplanes" to
     distinguish them from the forward and aft levelling vanes or
     horizontal rudders. These hydroplanes were located at equal
     distances forward and aft of the center of gravity and buoyancy
     of the vessel when in the submerged condition, so as not to
     disturb the vessel when the planes were inclined down or up to
     cause the vessel to submerge or rise when under way.

     I also used, in conjunction with the hydroplanes, horizontal
     rudders which I then called "levelling vanes," as their purpose
     was just the opposite from that of the horizontal rudder used in
     the diving type of vessel. They were operated by a pendulum
     controlling device to be inclined so as to always maintain the
     vessel on a level keel rather than to cause her to depart
     therefrom. When I came to try this combination out in practice, I
     found hand control of the horizontal rudders was sufficient. If
     vessels with this system of control have a sufficient amount of
     stability, you will run for hours and automatically maintain both
     a constant depth and a level keel, without the depth control man
     touching either the hydroplane or horizontal rudder control gear.
     This automatic maintenance of depth without manipulating the
     hydroplanes or rudders was a performance not anticipated, nor
     claimed in my original patent on the above-mentioned
     combination, and what caused these vessels to function in this
     manner remained a mystery, which was unsolved until I built a
     model tank in 1905 in Berlin, Germany, and conducted a series of
     experiments on models of submarines. I then learned that a down
     pull of a hydroplane at a given degree of inclination varied
     according to its depth of submergence and that the deeper the
     submergence, the less the down pull. This works out to give
     automatic trim on a substantially level keel, and I have known of
     vessels running for a period of two hours without variation of
     depth of one foot and without once changing the inclination of
     either the hydroplanes or the horizontal rudder.

A great deal of skepticism was displayed for many years towards this
new system of controlling the depth of submergence. But in recent
years all the latest submarine boats have been built on this plan.

Who, then, was this mechanical genius who was responsible for these
far-going changes in submarine construction? Simon Lake was born at
Pleasantville, New Jersey, September 4, 1866. He was educated at
Clinton Liberal Institute, Fort Plain, New York, and Franklin
Institute, Philadelphia. Early in life he displayed a marked
interest in and genius for mechanical problems. His lack of success
in the 1893 competition only spurred him on to further efforts. As
long as the United States Government was unwilling to assist him in
building his submarine boat, there was nothing left for him except
to build it from his own means. In 1894, therefore, he set to work
on an experimental boat, called the _Argonaut, Jr._ According to Mr.
Lake's description as published in _International Marine
Engineering_ in a series of articles from his pen the _Argonaut,
Jr._, was

     provided with three wheels, two on either side forward and one
     aft, the latter acting as a steering wheel. When on the bottom
     the wheels were rotated by hand by one or two men inside the
     boat. Her displacement was about seven tons, yet she could be
     propelled at a moderate walking gait when on the bottom. She was
     also fitted with an air lock and diver's compartment, so arranged
     that by putting an air pressure on the diver's compartment equal
     to the water pressure outside, a bottom door could be opened and
     no water would come into the vessel. Then by putting on a pair of
     rubber boots the operator could walk around on the sea bottom and
     push the boat along with him and pick up objects, such as clams,
     oysters, etc. from the sea bottom.

So much interest was aroused by this little wooden boat that Mr.
Lake was enabled to finance the building of a larger boat, called
the _Argonaut_. It was designed in 1895 and built in 1897 at

Concerning the _Argonaut_ Mr. Lake says in the same article:

     The _Argonaut_ as originally built was 36 feet long and 9 feet in
     diameter. She was the first submarine to be fitted with an
     internal-combustion engine. She was propelled with a thirty
     horse-power gasoline (petrol) engine driving a screw propeller.
     She was fitted with two toothed driving wheels forward which were
     revolved by suitable gearing when navigating on the waterbed, or
     they could be disconnected from this gearing and permitted to
     revolve freely, propulsion being secured by the screw propeller.
     A wheel in the rudder enabled her to be steered in any direction
     when on the bottom. She also had a diving compartment to enable
     divers to leave or enter the vessel when submerged, to operate on
     wrecks or to permit inspection of the bottom or to recover
     shellfish. She also had a lookout compartment in the extreme bow,
     with a powerful searchlight to light up a pathway in front of her
     as she moved along over the waterbed. This searchlight I later
     found of little value except for night work in clear water. In
     clear water the sunlight would permit of as good vision without
     the use of the light as with it, while if the water was not
     clear, no amount of light would permit of vision through it for
     any considerable distance.

     In January, 1898 [says Mr. Lake], while the _Argonaut_ was
     submerged, telephone conversation was held from submerged
     stations with Baltimore, Washington, and New York.

     In 1898, also, the _Argonaut_ made the trip from Norfolk to New
     York under her own power and unescorted. In her original form she
     was a cigar-shaped craft with only a small percentage of reserve
     buoyancy in her surface cruising condition. We were caught out in
     the severe November northeast storm of 1898 in which over 200
     vessels were lost and we did not succeed in reaching a harbour in
     the "horseshoe" back of Sandy Hook until, of course, in the
     morning. The seas were so rough they would break over her conning
     tower in such masses I was obliged to lash myself fast to prevent
     being swept overboard. It was freezing weather and I was soaked
     and covered with ice on reaching harbour.

     This experience caused me to apply to the _Argonaut_ a further
     improvement for which I had already applied for a patent. This
     was, doubled around the usual pressure resisting body of a
     submarine, a ship-shape form of light plating which would give
     greater seaworthiness, better surface speed, and make the vessel
     more habitable for surface navigation. It would, in other words,
     make a "sea-going submarine," which the usual form of
     cigar-shaped vessel was not, as it would not have sufficient
     surface buoyancy to enable it to rise with the seas and the seas
     would sweep over it as they would sweep over a partly submerged

     The _Argonaut_ was, therefore, taken to Brooklyn, twenty feet
     added to her length, and a light water-tight buoyancy
     superstructure of ship-shape form added. This superstructure was
     opened to the sea when it was desired to submerge the vessel,
     and water was permitted to enter the space between the light
     plating of the ship-shaped form and the heavy plating of the
     pressure resisting hull. This equalized pressure on the light
     plates and prevented their becoming deformed due to pressure. The
     superstructure increased her reserve of buoyancy in the surface
     cruising condition from about 10 per cent. to over 40 per cent.
     and lifted right up to the seas like any ordinary type of surface
     vessel, instead of being buried by them in rough weather.

     This feature of construction has been adopted by the Germans,
     Italians, Russians, and in all the latest types of French boats.
     It is the principal feature which distinguishes them in their
     surface appearance from the earlier cigar-shaped boats of the
     diving type. This ship-shaped form of hull is only suited to the
     level keel submergence.

In those days submarine boats were a much more unusual sight than
they are to-day and simple fishermen who had never read or heard
about submarines undoubtedly experienced disturbing sensations when
they ran across their first underwater boat. Mr. Lake, a short time
ago, while addressing a meeting of electrical engineers in Brooklyn,
told the following experience which he had on one of his trips in
the _Argonaut_:

     On the first trip down the Chesapeake Bay, we had been running
     along in forty feet of water and had been down about four hours.
     Night was coming on, so we decided to come up to find out where
     we were. I noticed one of those Chesapeake "Bug Eyes" lighting
     just to leeward of us, and, as I opened the conning tower hatch,
     called to the men aboard to find out where we were. As soon as I
     did so, he turned his boat around and made straight for the
     beach. I thought he was rather discourteous. He ran his boat up
     on that beach and never stopped; the last I saw of him was when
     he jumped ashore and started to run inland as hard as he and his
     helper could go. Finally I learned we were just above the mouth
     of the York or Rappahannock River and I found a sort of inland
     harbour back of it. I decided to put up there for the night. Then
     learning that there was a store nearby, we called after dark for
     more provisions and I noticed a large crowd there. We got what we
     wanted, and stepped outside the door. He asked us where we were
     from. "We are down here in the submarine boat, _Argonaut_, making
     an experimental trip down the bay." He then commenced to laugh.
     "That explains it," he said; "just before nightfall, Captain
     So-and-So and his mate came running up here to the store just as
     hard as they could, and both dropped down exhausted, and when we
     were able to get anything out of them, they told a very strange
     story. That's why all these people are here." This is the story
     the storekeeper told me: "The men were out dredging and all at
     once they noticed a buoy with a red flag on it, and that buoy was
     going against the tide, and they could not understand it. It came
     up alongside, and they heard a 'puff, puff,' something like a
     locomotive puffing, and then they smelt sulphur." (The "puff,
     puff" was the exhaust of our engine and those fumes were what
     they thought was sulphur.) "Just then the thing rose up out of
     the water, then the smokestack appeared, and then the devil came
     right out of that smokestack."

In the January, 1899, issue of _McClure's Magazine_ there appeared a
profusely illustrated article entitled "Voyaging under the Sea." The
first part of it, "The Submarine Boat _Argonaut_ and her
Achievements," was written by Simon Lake himself. In it he quotes
as follows from the log book of the _Argonaut_ under date of July
28, 1898.

     Submerged at 8.20 A. M. in about thirty feet of water.
     Temperature in living compartment, eighty-three degrees
     Fahrenheit. Compass bearing west-north-west, one quarter west.
     Quite a lively sea running on the surface, also strong current.
     At 10.45 A. M. shut down engine; temperature, eighty-eight
     degrees Fahrenheit.

     After engine was shut down, we could hear the wind blowing past
     our pipes extending above the surface; we could also tell by the
     sound when any steamers were in the vicinity. We first allowed
     the boat to settle gradually to the bottom, with the tide running
     ebb; after a time the tide changed, and she would work slightly
     sideways; we admitted about four hundred pounds of water
     additional, but she still would move occasionally, so that a
     pendulum nine inches long would sway one eighth of an inch
     (thwartship). At 12 o'clock (noon) temperature was eighty-seven
     degrees Fahrenheit; at 2.45 P. M. the temperature was still
     eighty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. There were no signs of carbonic
     acid gas at 2.45, although the engine had been closed down for
     three hours and no fresh air had been admitted during the time.
     Could hear the whistle of boats on the surface, and also their
     propellers when running close, to the boat. At 3.30 the
     temperature had dropped to eighty-five degrees. At 3.45 found a
     little sign of carbonic acid gas, very slight, however, as a
     candle would burn fairly bright in the pits. Thought we could
     detect a smell of gasoline by comparing the fresh air which came
     down the pipe (when hand blower was turned). Storage lamps were
     burning during the five hours of submergence, while engine was
     not running.

     At 3.50 engine was again started, and went off nicely. Went into
     diving compartment and opened door; came out through air-lock,
     and left pressure there; found the wheels had buried about ten
     inches or one foot, as the bottom had several inches of mud. We
     had 500 pounds of air in the tanks, and it ran the pressure down
     to 250 pounds to open the door in about thirty feet.

     The temperature fell in the diving compartment to eighty-two
     degrees after the compressed air was let in.

     Cooked clam fritters and coffee for supper. The spirits of the
     crew appeared to improve the longer we remained below; the time
     was spent in catching clams, singing, trying to waltz, playing
     cards, and writing letters to wives and sweethearts.

     Our only visitors during the day were a couple of black bass that
     came and looked in at the windows with a great deal of apparent

     In future boats, it will be well to provide a smoking
     compartment, as most of the crew had their smoking apparatus all
     ready as soon as we came up.

     Started pumps at 6.20, and arrived at the surface at 6.30. Down
     altogether ten hours and fifteen minutes. People on pilot boat
     _Calvert_ thought we were all hands drowned.

The second part of this article was called "A Voyage on the Bottom
of the Sea." It was written by Ray Stannard Baker, who had been
fortunate enough to receive an invitation from Mr. Lake to accompany
him on one of the trips of the _Argonaut_. Any one who has read
Jules Verne's fascinating story _Twenty Thousand Leagues under the
Sea_ must be struck immediately with the similarity between Mr.
Baker's experiences and those of Captain Nemo's guests. It is not at
all surprising, therefore, to have Mr. Baker tell us that during
this trip Mr. Lake told him:

     "When I was ten years old, I read Jules Verne's _Twenty Thousand
     Leagues under the Sea_, and I have been working on submarine
     boats ever since."

Mr. Baker's record of what he saw and how he felt is not only a
credit to his keen powers of observation, but also a proof of the
fact that, in many ways, there was little difference between the
_Argonaut_ of 1898 and the most up-to-date submarine of to-day. In
part he says:

     Simon Lake planned an excursion on the bottom of the sea for
     October 12, 1898. His strange amphibian craft, the _Argonaut_,
     about which we had been hearing so many marvels, lay off the pier
     at Atlantic Highlands. Before we were near enough to make out her
     hulk, we saw a great black letter A, framed of heavy gas-pipe,
     rising forty feet above the water. A flag rippled from its
     summit. As we drew nearer, we discovered that there really wasn't
     any hulk to make out--only a small oblong deck shouldering deep
     in the water and supporting a slightly higher platform, from
     which rose what seemed to be a squatty funnel. A moment later we
     saw that the funnel was provided with a cap somewhat resembling a
     tall silk hat, the crown of which was represented by a brass
     binnacle. This cap was tilted back, and as we ran alongside, a
     man stuck his head up over the rim and sang out, "Ahoy there!"

     A considerable sea was running, but I observed that the
     _Argonaut_ was planted as firmly in the water as a stone pillar,
     the big waves splitting over her without imparting any
     perceptible motion.

     We scrambled up on the little platform, and peered down through
     the open conning-tower, which we had taken for a funnel, into the
     depths of the ship below. Wilson had started his gasoline engine.

     Mr. Lake had taken his place at the wheel, and we were going
     ahead slowly, steering straight across the bay toward Sandy Hook
     and deeper water. The _Argonaut_ makes about five knots an hour
     on the surface, but when she gets deep down on the sea bottom,
     where she belongs, she can spin along more rapidly.

     The _Argonaut_ was slowly sinking under the water. We became
     momentarily more impressed with the extreme smallness of the
     craft to which we were trusting our lives. The little platform
     around the conning-tower on which we stood--in reality the top of
     the gasoline tank--was scarcely a half dozen feet across, and the
     _Argonaut_ herself was only thirty-six feet long. Her sides had
     already faded out of sight, but not before we had seen how
     solidly they were built--all of steel, riveted and reinforced, so
     that the wonder grew how such a tremendous weight, when
     submerged, could ever again be raised.

     I think we made some inquiries about the safety of submarine
     boats in general. Other water compartments had been flooded, and
     we had settled so far down that the waves dashed repeatedly over
     the platform on which we stood--and the conning-tower was still
     wide open, inviting a sudden engulfing rush of water. "You
     mustn't confuse the _Argonaut_ with ordinary submarine boats,"
     said Mr. Lake. "She is quite different and much safer."

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_For Anti-Aircraft Service._]

     He explained that the _Argonaut_ was not only a submarine boat,
     but much besides. She not only swims either on the surface or
     beneath it, but she adds to this accomplishment the extraordinary
     power of diving deep and rolling along the bottom of the sea on
     wheels. No machine ever before did that. Indeed, the _Argonaut_
     is more properly a "sea motorcycle" than a "boat." In its
     invention Mr. Lake elaborated an idea which the United States
     Patent Office has decided to be absolutely original.

[Illustration: Photo by Bain News Service.

_The Latest French Aircraft Gun._]

     We found ourselves in a long, narrow compartment, dimly
     illuminated by yellowish-green light from the little round, glass
     windows. The stern was filled with Wilson's gasoline engine and
     the electric motor, and in front of us toward the bow we could
     see through the heavy steel doorways of the diver's compartment
     into the lookout room, where there was a single round eye of

     I climbed up the ladder of the conning-tower and looked out
     through one of the glass ports. My eyes were just even with the
     surface of the water. A wave came driving and foaming entirely
     over the top of the vessel, and I could see the curiously
     beautiful sheen of the bright summit of the water above us. It
     was a most impressive sight. Mr. Lake told me that in very clear
     water it was difficult to tell just where the air left off and
     the water began; but in the muddy bay where we were going down
     the surface looked like a peculiarly clear, greenish pane of
     glass moving straight up and down, not forward, as the waves
     appear to move when looked at from above.

     Now we were entirely under water. The rippling noises that the
     waves had made in beating against the upper structure of the boat
     had ceased. As I looked through the thick glass port, the water
     was only three inches from my eyes, and I could see thousands of
     dainty, semi-translucent jellyfish floating about as lightly as
     thistledown. They gathered in the eddy behind the conning-tower
     in great numbers, bumping up sociably against one another and
     darting up and down with each gentle movement of the water. And I
     realized that we were in the domain of the fishes.

     Jim brought the government chart, and Mr. Lake announced that we
     were heading directly for Sandy Hook and the open ocean. But we
     had not yet reached the bottom, and John was busily opening
     valves and letting in more water. I went forward to the little
     steel cuddy-hole in the extreme prow of the boat, and looked out
     through the watch-port. The water had grown denser and yellower,
     and I could not see much beyond the dim outlines of the ship's
     spar reaching out forward. Jim said that he had often seen fishes
     come swimming up wonderingly to gaze into the port. They would
     remain quite motionless until he stirred his head, and then they
     vanished instantly. Mr. Lake has a remarkable photograph which he
     took of a visiting fish, and Wilson tells of nurturing a queer
     flat crab for days in the crevice of one of the view-holes.

     At that moment, I felt a faint jolt, and Mr. Lake said that we
     were on the bottom of the sea.

     Here we were running as comfortably along the bottom of Sandy
     Hook Bay as we would ride in a Broadway car, and with quite as
     much safety. Wilson, who was of a musical turn, was whistling
     _Down Went McGinty_, and Mr. Lake, with his hands on the
     pilot-wheel, put in an occasional word about his marvellous
     invention. On the wall opposite there was a row of dials which
     told automatically every fact about our condition that the most
     nervous of men could wish to know. One of them shows the pressure
     of air in the main compartment of the boat, another registers
     vacuum, and when both are at zero, Mr. Lake knows that the
     pressure of the air is normal, the same as it is on the surface,
     and he tries to maintain it in this condition. There are also a
     cyclometer, not unlike those used on bicycles, to show how far
     the boat travels on the wheels; a depth gauge, which keeps us
     accurately informed as to the depth of the boat in the water, and
     a declension indicator. By the long finger of the declension dial
     we could tell whether we were going up hill or down. Once while
     we were out, there was a sudden, sharp shock, the pointer leaped
     back, and then quivered steady again. Mr. Lake said that we had
     probably struck a bit of wreckage or an embankment, but the
     _Argonaut_ was running so lightly that she had leaped up jauntily
     and slid over the obstruction.

     We had been keeping our eyes on the depth dial, the most
     fascinating and interesting of any of the number. It showed that
     we were going down, down, down, literally down to the sea in a
     ship. When we had been submerged far more than an hour, and there
     was thirty feet of yellowish green ocean over our heads, Mr. Lake
     suddenly ordered the machinery stopped. The clacking noises of
     the dynamo ceased, and the electric lights blinked out, leaving
     us at once in almost absolute darkness and silence. Before this,
     we had found it hard to realize that we were on the bottom of the
     ocean; now it came upon us suddenly and not without a touch of
     awe. This absence of sound and light, this unchanging
     motionlessness and coolness, this absolute negation--that was the
     bottom of the sea. It lasted only a moment, but in that moment we
     realized acutely the meaning and joy of sunshine and moving
     winds, trees, and the world of men.

     A minute light twinkled out like a star, and then another and
     another, until the boat was bright again, and we knew that among
     the other wonders of this most astonishing of inventions there
     was storage electricity which would keep the boat illuminated for
     hours, without so much as a single turn of the dynamo. With the
     stopping of the engine, the air supply from above had ceased; but
     Mr. Lake laid his hand on the steel wall above us, where he said
     there was enough air compressed to last us all for two days,
     should anything happen. The possibility of "something happening"
     had been lurking in our minds ever since we started. "What if
     your engine should break down, so that you couldn't pump the
     water out of the water compartments?" I asked. "Here we have
     hand-pumps," said Mr. Lake promptly; "and if those failed, a
     single touch of this lever would release our iron keel, which
     weighs 4000 pounds, and up we would go like a rocket."

     I questioned further, only to find that every imaginable
     contingency, and some that were not at all imaginable to the
     uninitiated, had been absolutely provided against by the genius
     of the inventor. And everything from the gasoline engine to the
     hand-pump was as compact and ingenious as the mechanism of a
     watch. Moreover, the boat was not crowded; we had plenty of room
     to move around and to sleep, if we wished, to say nothing of
     eating. As for eating, John had brought out the kerosene stove
     and was making coffee, while Jim cut the pumpkin pie. "This isn't
     Delmonico's," said Jim, "but we're serving a lunch that
     Delmonico's couldn't serve--a submarine lunch."

     By this time the novelty was wearing off and we sat there, at the
     bottom of the sea, drinking our coffee with as much unconcern as
     though we were in an up-town restaurant. For the first time since
     we started, Mr. Lake sat down, and we had an opportunity of
     talking with him at leisure. He is a stout-shouldered, powerfully
     built man, in the prime of life--a man of cool common sense, a
     practical man, who is also an inventor. And he talks frankly and
     convincingly, and yet modestly, of his accomplishment.

     Having finished our lunch, Mr. Lake prepared to show us something
     about the practical operations of the _Argonaut_. It has been a
     good deal of a mystery to us how workmen penned up in a submarine
     boat could expect to recover gold from wrecks in the water
     outside, or to place torpedoes, or to pick up cables. "We simply
     open the door, and the diver steps out on the bottom of the sea,"
     Mr. Lake said, quite as if he was conveying the most ordinary

     At first it seemed incredible, but Mr. Lake showed us the heavy,
     riveted door in the bottom of the diver's compartment. Then he
     invited us inside with Wilson, who, besides being an engineer, is
     also an expert diver. The massive steel doors of the little room
     were closed and barred, and then Mr. Lake turned a cock and the
     air rushed in under high pressure. At once our ears began to
     throb, and it seemed as if the drums would burst inward.

     "Keep swallowing," said Wilson, the diver.

     As soon as we applied this remedy, the pain was relieved, but the
     general sensation of increased air pressure, while exhilarating,
     was still most uncomfortable. The finger on the pressure dial
     kept creeping up and up, until it showed that the air pressure
     inside of the compartment was nearly equal to the water pressure
     without. Then Wilson opened a cock in the door. Instantly the
     water gushed in, and for a single instant we expected to be
     drowned there like rats in a trap. "This is really very simple,"
     Mr. Lake was saying calmly. "When the pressure within is the same
     as that without, no water can enter."

     With that, Wilson dropped the iron door, and there was the water
     and the muddy bottom of the sea within touch of a man's hand. It
     was all easy enough to understand, and yet it seemed impossible,
     even as we saw it with our own eyes. Mr. Lake stooped down, and
     picked up a wooden rod having a sharp hook at the end. This he
     pulled along the bottom....

     We were now rising again to the surface, after being submerged
     for more than three hours. I climbed into the conning-tower and
     watched for the first glimpse of the sunlight. There was a sudden
     fluff of foam, the ragged edge of a wave, and then I saw, not
     more than a hundred feet away, a smack bound toward New York
     under full sail. Her rigging was full of men, gazing curiously in
     our direction, no doubt wondering what strange monster of the sea
     was coming forth for a breath of air.



Holland and Lake must be considered the fathers of the modern
submarine. This claim is not made in a spirit of patriotic
boastfulness, though, of course it is true that the latter was an
American by birth, and the former by choice, and that, therefore,
we, as a nation, have a right to be proud of the accomplishments of
these two fellow-citizens of ours. Without wishing to detract
anything from the value of the work done by many men in many
countries towards the development of the submarine after and
contemporaneously with Holland and Lake, it still remains true that
the work which these two did formed the foundation on which all
others built. To-day, no submarine worthy of the name, no matter
where it has been built and no matter where and how it is used, is
without some features which are typical of either the Holland or
Lake type. In many instances, and this is true especially of
submarines of the highest type and the greatest development, the
most significant characteristics of the Holland and Lake boats have
been combined.

During the years that followed the small beginnings of Holland and
Lake, vast and highly efficient organizations have been built up to
continue and elaborate their work. Death claimed Mr. Holland shortly
after the outbreak of the great war, on August 12, 1914. Mr. Lake in
1917 was still personally connected with and the guiding spirit of
the extensive industrial establishments which have been created at
Bridgeport, Conn., as a result of his inventions. He, too,
surrounded himself with a corps of experts who in co-operation with
him have brought the Lake submarines to a point of perfection which
at the time of the _Argonaut's_ first trip would have appeared all
but impossible.

Roughly speaking, the beginning of the twentieth century may be called
the turning point in the history of submarine invention and the
beginning of the modern submarine. Although, as we have heard, various
governments, especially those of France and the United States,
interested themselves in the submarine question and appropriated
small sums of money towards its solution previous to 1900, it was only
after that year that governmental interest and influence were set to
work with determination and purpose on behalf of submarine inventors.
Quite naturally this resulted in increased popular interest.
Experimental work on and with submarines no longer had to rely
exclusively on private capital, frequently inconveniently timid and
limited, but could count now on the vast financial resources of all
the great nations of the world. This also made available the unlimited
intellectual resources of serious scientists in every part of the
universe. Mechanical and electrical engineers, naval designers and
constructors, active men of finance and business, and quiet thinkers
and investigators in laboratories began to interest themselves in the
further development of the submarine.

The United States for a number of years after its adoption of the
Holland type remained true to its first choice. Between 1900, when
the first Holland boat was bought by the United States Government,
and 1911 all the United States submarine, boats were of the Holland
type. In the latter year, however, it was decided to give the Lake
boat a trial and since that time a number of boats of this type have
been built. In all essential features both the Holland and Lake
boats of later days were very similar to the original boats of these
two types. In all the details, however, immense progress was made.
Each new boat thus became greatly superior to its predecessors. This
was especially true in regard to size and speed and the improvements
made in these two respects naturally resulted in a corresponding
increase in radius of activity. The passing years also brought a
wonderful refinement of all the technical details of the submarine
boats. Practically every feature was developed to a remarkable
degree. There is, indeed, a great difference between the submarine
boats of the early twentieth century which had to rely on their
conning-tower for steering, and more recent boats with their
wonderful periscopes and gyro compasses. Similar progress was made
in the development of the means of propulsion. The engines used for
surface travelling became more powerful and efficient. This was also
true of the electric motors, batteries, and accumulators employed
in the submerged state. The problem of ventilation likewise has been
worked out to such an extent that in the most modern submarines most
of the inconveniences experienced by the crews of earlier boats have
been removed. This perfection of technical details which was thus
gradually approached also permitted a very considerable increase in
the fighting power of submarine boats. The number of torpedo tubes
was increased and it became possible to carry a larger reserve stock
of torpedoes. Submarines of to-day furthermore carry guns varying in
calibre, attaining in some instances four inches, and when in later
years it became evident that one of the most dangerous enemies of
the submarine was the airplane, some of the boats were equipped even
with anti-aircraft guns.

[Illustration: Copyright by Munn & Co., Inc. From the _Scientific

_Modern German Airplane Types._]

In the United States Navy the submarine has never been popular.
Indeed it is by no means certain that in comparison with other
navies of the world the United States was not better off in
underwater boats in 1911 than she was three years later when the
warcloud broke. The bulk of our naval opinion has always been for
the dreadnoughts. A change of political administration at Washington
in 1912 gave a temporary setback to naval development, and the
submarines, being still a matter of controversy, languished. Few
were built and of those few many showed such structural weakness
that the reports of their manoeuvres were either suppressed, or
issued in terms of such broad generality that the public could by no
possibility suspect, what all the Navy knew to be the fact, that the
submarine flotilla of the United States was weak to the point of

Happily we had nearly three years in which to observe the progress
of the war before becoming ourselves embroiled in it. During this
period our submarine fleet was somewhat increased, and upon our
actual entrance upon the struggle a feverish race was begun to put
us on an equality with other nations in underwater boats. It would
have been too late had any emergency arisen. But Germany had no
ships afloat to be attacked by our submarines had we possessed them.
Her own warfare upon our merchant shipping could not be met in kind,
for submarines cannot fight submarines. We have, therefore, up to
the present time, not suffered from the perilous neglect with which
we long treated this form of naval weapon.

Indeed the submarine fleet of the United States Navy at the
beginning of the war was so inconsiderable that foreign writers on
the subject ignored it. In 1900 we had purchased nine of the type of
submarines then put out by the Holland Company. One of these, the
first in actual service, known as the "Baby" Holland was kept in
commission ten years and upon becoming obsolete was honoured by
being taken in state to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and there
mounted on a pedestal for the admiration of all comers. She was 59
feet long and would make a striking exhibit placed next to one of
the new German submersible cruisers which exceed 300 feet and have a
displacement of 5000 tons. These first Holland ships which long
constituted the entire underwater force of the United States were
but trivial affairs compared with the modern vessel. Their
displacement was but 122 tons, their engines for surface navigation
were of 160 horse-power, gasoline, and for underwater navigation 70
horse-power, electric. They carried but one torpedo tube and two
extra torpedoes and had a radius of action of but 300 miles. At that
time in fact the naval theory was that submarines were coast defence
vessels altogether. After this war they are likely to form part of
the first battle line of every navy. Yet these pioneer vessels
established their seaworthiness well in 1911, when four of them
accompanied by a parent ship to supply them with fresh stocks of
fuel and to render assistance in case of need, crossed the Pacific
Ocean under their own power to the Philippines. This exploit tended
to popularize these craft in the Navy Department, and soon after
larger vessels known as the "Viper" class were ordered. One of these
was called the _Octopus_, the first submarine to be fitted with twin
screws. In many ways she represented a distinct advance in the art
of submarine construction. She was in fact the first vessel built
with the distinct idea of being a cruising, as well as a harbour
defence ship. Her type proved successful in this respect. The
_Octopus_ further established a record for deep sea submergence in
1907 when she descended to a depth of 205 feet off Boston, returning
to the surface in entire safety.

The ability to withstand the pressure of the water at great depths
is a vital quality of a successful submarine. One American submarine
narrowly escaped destruction because of structural weakness in this
respect. She had by accident descended a few feet below the normal
depth at which such boats navigate. The water pressure affected the
valves which refused to work and the vessel slowly sank deeper and
deeper. At a recorded depth of 123 feet the sinking of the vessel
became so much more rapid that the crew with frantic endeavours
sought at once to stop the leaks and pump out the water which had
entered. At that depth there was a pressure of 153-1/2 pounds upon
every square inch of the surface of the submarine. This the workers
at the one hand pump had to overcome. It was a savage and a
desperate struggle but the men finally won and the vessel regained
the surface. As a result of this experience every navy prescribed
submergence tests for its submarines before putting them into
commission. How to make these tests was perplexing at first. A
government did not want to send men down in a steel casket to see
just how far they could go before it collapsed. But if no observer
accompanied the ship it would be impossible to tell at what depth
leakage and other signs of weakness became apparent. An Italian
naval architect, Major Laurenti, whose submarines are now found in
every navy of the world, invented a dock in which these tests can be
made up to any desired pressure while the observers inside the
submarine are in communication with those without and the pressure
can be instantly removed if signs of danger appear. In the United
States Navy boats to be accepted must stand a pressure equivalent to
that encountered at 200 feet. In the German navy the depth
prescribed is 170 feet. Under normal conditions submarines seldom
travel at a depth of more than 100 feet although the "F-1" of the
United States Navy accomplished the remarkable feat of making a
six-hour cruise in San Francisco Bay at a depth of 283 feet. At this
depth the skin of the ship has to withstand a pressure of no less
than 123 pounds per square inch.

Specific information as to the nature of submarine construction in
the United States since the beginning of the war in 1914 is
jealously guarded by the Navy Department. In broad general terms the
number of ships under construction is revealed to the public, but
all information as to the size of individual vessels, their armour
or the qualities of novelty with which every one hopes and believes
American inventive genius has invested them, are kept secret. The
_Navy Year Book of 1916_ summarized our submarine strength at that
time as follows:


  Submarines fit for action                42   15,722 Tons
     "       under construction            33   21,093  "
     "       authorized and appropriated
             for                           30   22,590  "
                                          ---   ------
             Total                        105   59,405  "

In addition thirty-seven more had been authorized by Congress
without the appropriation of money for them. By this time however
these appropriations have been made together with further heavy
ones. While figures are refused at the Navy Department, it is
declared that while the United States in 1914 was the last of the
great powers in respect to submarine strength provided for, it is
now well up to the foremost, even to Germany.

Great Britain like the United States continued for many years to
build submarines of the Holland type. Naturally all the recent
improvements were incorporated in the British boats. Very little,
however, is known concerning the details of the more recent
additions to the British submarine flotilla because of the secrecy
maintained by the British authorities in war time.

At the beginning of the present war, the British navy possessed 82
active submarines of 5 different classes. They were all of the
Holland type, but in each class there were incorporated vast
improvements over the preceding class. Displacement, size, motive
power, speed, radius of action, and armament were gradually
increased until the "E" class contained boats possessing the
following features: Submerged displacement, 800 tons; length 176
feet; beam 22-1/2 feet; heavy oil engines of 2000 H.-P.; electric
engines of 800 H.-P.; surface speed 16 knots; submerged speed 10
knots; cruising range 5000 miles; armament: 4 torpedo tubes, space
for 6 torpedoes, and two 3-inch quick-firing, high-angle,
disappearing guns; armoured conning-towers and decks; wireless
equipment; 3 panoramic periscopes.

At the same time 22 other submarines were said to be in course of
construction. Some of these were of the "F" class (Holland type),
similar to the "E" class except that every single characteristic had
been greatly increased, in many instances even doubled. In addition
to the "F" class Holland-type boats, there were also under
construction a number of boats of different types designated
respectively as "V," "W," and "S" class. The "V" class were of the
Lake type, the "W" of the French "Laubeuf" type, and the "S" class
of the Italian "F. I. A. T." or Laurenti type; both of the last
named were adaptations of the Lake type.

France, which was for many years the prodigal of the nations when it
came to submarine building has continued this tendency. In a way
this liberal expenditure of money did not pay particularly well.
For, although it resulted in the creation of a comparatively large
submarine fleet, this fleet contained boats of every kind and
description. Quite a number of the boats were little more than
experiments and possessed not a great deal of practical value. The
manning and efficient handling of a fleet having so little
homogeneity naturally was a difficult matter and seriously
restricted its fighting efficiency.

At the outbreak of the war France had 92 submarines in active
service, belonging to 12 different classes. In addition there had
also been built at various times 5 experimental boats which had been
named: _Argonaute_, _Amiral Bourgeoise_, _Archimède_, _Mariotte_,
and _Charles Brun_. The majority of the boats belonging to the
various classes were of the Laubeuf type, an adaptation of the Lake
type made for the French navy by M. Laubeuf, a marine engineer. In
their various details these boats vary considerably. Their
displacement ranges from 67 tons to 1000 tons, their length from 100
feet to 240 feet, their beam from 12 feet to 20 feet, their surface
speed from 8-1/2 knots to 17 1/2 knots, their submerged speed from 5
knots to 12 knots, the horse-power of their heavy oil engines from
1300 to 2000 and that of their electric motors from 350 to 900. Some
of the boats, however, have steam engines, others gasoline motors,
and still others steam turbines. The cruising range of the biggest
and newest boats is 4000 miles. Armament varies with size, of
course, the latest boats carrying 4 torpedo tubes for eight 18-inch
torpedoes and two 14-pdr. quick-firing, high angle, disappearing

Nine more submarines were in course of construction at the outbreak
of war, most of which were of the improved "Gustave Zédé" class.
During the war French shipyards were chiefly occupied with capital
navy ships and it is not thought the submarine strength has been
much increased.

Of the great naval powers, Germany was, strangely enough, the last to
become interested in the building of a submarine fleet. This, however,
was not due to any neglect on the part of the German naval
authorities. It is quite evident from the few official records which
are available that they watched and studied very carefully the
development of the submarine and growth of the various submarine
fleets. During the early years of the twentieth century, however, the
Germans seemed to think that most of the boats that were being built
then had not yet passed through the experimental stage and they also
apparently decided that it would be just as well to wait until other
nations had spent their money and efforts on these quasi experimental
boats. Not until submarines had been built in the United States,
England, and France which had proved beyond all doubt that they were
practicable vessels of definite accomplishments, did the Germans
seriously concern themselves with the creation of a German submarine
fleet. When this period had been reached they went ahead with full
power, and with the usual German thoroughness they adopted the best
points from each of the various types developed by that time. The
result of this attitude was a submarine boat built at first
exclusively by Krupp and known as the "Germania" type. It was this
type which formed the basis of the German submarine which has become
known so extensively and disastrously during recent years. In most
respects this type is perhaps more similar to the Lake type than to
any other, although some features of the Holland type have been
incorporated as well.

At the beginning of the war Germany was credited with only thirty
submarines. Six more were then rapidly approaching completion and
the German naval law passed some time before provided for the
building of seventy-two submarines by the end of 1917. It is
believed in fact that by that time the Germans had not less than two
hundred _Unterseeboots_.

From the very beginning the Germans have designated their submarines
by the letter "U" (standing for _Unterseeboot_) followed by numbers.
The first boat was built in 1905 and was named "U-1." It was a
comparatively small boat of 236 tons displacement. The motive power
on the surface was a heavy-oil engine of 250 H.-P. Under water the
boat was driven by electric motors of a little more than 100 H.-P.
Submerged the "U-1" was capable of a speed of 7 knots only, which on
the surface of the water could be increased to 10. Her radius of
action was about 750 miles. Only one torpedo tube had been provided.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_German Submarine Mine-Layer Captured by the British._]

From this boat to the modern German submarine was indeed a long step
taken in a comparatively short time. Not very much is known
regarding modern German submarines, but the latest boats completed
before the war were vessels of 900 tons displacement with heavy-oil
engines of 2000 H.-P. and electric motors of 900 H.-P., possessing a
surface and submerged speed of 18 and 10 knots respectively and a
cruising radius of 4000 miles. They had four torpedo tubes for eight
torpedoes, two 14-pdr. quick-firing guns, and two 1-pdr. high-angle
anti-aircraft guns. Naturally they were also equipped with all the
latest improvements, such as wireless apparatus, panoramic
periscopes, armoured conning-towers, and decks. Since the outbreak
of the war the Germans have built even more powerful submarine boats
whose perfections in regard to speed, radius of action and armament
became known through their accomplishments. Of these we will hear
more in a later chapter.

At just what period of the war the Germans woke up to the vital
importance to them of an enormous submarine fleet is not known. It
may have been immediately upon the amazing exploit of Captain
Weddigen in the North Sea. At any rate the war had not long
progressed before the destruction caused by German submarine attacks
began to awaken the apprehension of the Allies and neutral nations.
Retaliation in kind was impossible. The Germans had neither
merchant nor naval ships at sea to be sunk. The rapidity with which
the volume of the loss inflicted upon merchant shipping grew
indicated an equally rapid increase in the size of the German
underwater fleet. Neutrals were enraged by the extension by the
Germans of the areas of sea in which they claimed the right to sink
neutral ships, and their growing disregard for the restraining
principles of international law. How greatly they developed the
submarine idea was shown by their construction in 1916 of vessels
with a displacement of 2400 tons; a length of 279 feet, and a beam
of 26 feet; a surface speed of 22 knots, cruising radius of 6500
miles, mounting 4 to 8 guns and carrying a crew of from 40 to 60.
But it was reported that two vessels designed primarily for surface
cruising, but nevertheless submersible at will, had been laid down
of 5000 tons, a length of 414 feet, and a radius of 18,000 to 20,000
miles. These "submersible cruisers" as they were called, mounted 6
to 8 guns, 30 torpedo tubes, and carried 90 torpedoes. What part
vessels of this type shall play in war is still to be determined.

Of the smaller naval powers, Italy comparatively early had become
interested in the building of submarines. Most of her boats are of
the Laurenti type--which is a very close adaptation of the Lake
type. Russia and Japan, especially the latter, built up fairly
efficient underwater fleets. The lesser countries, like Austria,
Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Spain have concerned
themselves seriously with the creation of submarine fleets. The
submarine boats of all of these countries in most instances were
either of the Lake or Holland type though frequently they were built
from plans of English, French or German adaptations rather than in
accordance with the original American plans.

The exact number of submarines possessed now by the various navies
of the world is a matter of rather indefinite knowledge. Great
secrecy has been maintained by every country in this respect. From a
variety of sources, however, it has been possible to compile the
following list which at least gives an approximate idea of the
respective strength of the various submarine fleets at the beginning
of the war. The numbers assigned to each country are only
approximate, however, and include both boats then in existence or
ordered built: United States 57; Great Britain 104; France 92;
Germany 36; Italy 28; Russia 40; Japan 15; Austria 12; Holland 13;
Denmark 15; Sweden 13; Norway 4; Greece 2; Turkey 2; Brazil 3; Peru

Having traced the development of the submarine from its earliest
beginnings to recent times we are naturally now confronted with the
question "What are the principal requirements and characteristics of
the modern submarine?"

The submarine boat of to-day, in order to do its work promptly and
efficiently, must first of all possess seaworthiness. This means
that no matter whether the sea is quiet or rough the submarine must
be able to execute its operations with a fair degree of accuracy and
promptness and must also be capable of making continuous headway.
Surface and underwater navigation must be possible with equal
facility and it is necessary that a state of submergence can be
reached without loss of time and without any degree of danger to the
boat's safety. At all times, travelling above water or below, the
submarine must possess mechanical means which will make it possible
to control its evolutions under all conditions. Furthermore, the
ability of the submarine to find and to observe objects in its
vicinity must not be greatly reduced when it is in a submerged
position. In the latter it also becomes of extreme importance that
the provisions for ventilation are such that the crew of the
submarine should lose as little as possible in its efficiency and
comfort. A fair amount of speed both on and below the surface of the
water is essential and the maintenance of the speed for a fairly
long period of time must be assured.

In regard to their general outward appearance, submarines of various
types to-day vary comparatively little. In many respects they
resemble closely in shape, torpedo boats--the earlier submarines
particularly. In size, of course, they differ in accordance with the
purposes for which they have been designed. As compared with earlier
submarines the most notable difference is that modern submarines
possess more of a superstructure. Almost all of them are built now
with double hulls. The space between the outer and the inner hull is
utilized primarily for ballast tanks by means of which submergence
is accomplished and stability maintained and regulated. Some of
these tanks, however, are not used to carry water ballast, but serve
as reservoirs for the fuel needed by the engines. The stability of
the submarine and the facility with which it can submerge also
depend greatly on the distribution of weight of its various parts.
This problem has been worked out in such a way that to-day there is
little room for improvement. Its details, however, are of too
technical a nature to permit discussion in this place.

Hydroplanes both fore and aft are now generally used to assist in
regulating and controlling stability in the submerged state. The
motive power of the modern submarine is invariably of a two-fold
type. For travelling on the surface internal combustion engines are
used. The gasoline engine of former years has been displaced by
Diesel motors or adaptations of them. Although these represent a
wonderful advance over the engines used in the past there is still a
great deal of room for improvement. The opinions of engineers in
this respect vary greatly, American opinion being generally
unfavourable to the Diesel type, and whether the final solution of
this problem will lie in the direction of a more highly developed
motor of Diesel type, of an improved gasoline engine, or of some
other engine not yet developed, only the future can tell. Simplicity
of construction and reliability of operation are the two essential
features which must be possessed by every part of the power plant of
a submarine. For underwater travel electric motors and storage
batteries are employed exclusively. These vary, of course, in
detail. In principle, however, they are very much alike. Although
this combination of electric and oil power is largely responsible
for having made the submarine what it is to-day, it is far from
perfect. Mechanical complications of many kinds and difficulties of
varying degrees result from it. Up to comparatively recently these
were considered insurmountable obstacles. But engineers all over the
world are giving their most serious attention to the problem of
devising a way to remove these obstacles and continuous progress is
made by them.

As an immediate result of the development of motive power in the
submarine its speed both on and below the surface of the water as
well as its radius of action has been materially increased. To-day
submarines travel on the water with a speed which even a few years
ago would have been thought quite respectable for the most powerful
battleships or the swiftest passenger liners. And even under water,
submarines attain a velocity which is far superior to that of which
earlier submarines were capable on the surface of the water. How
immensely extended the radius of action of the submarine has become
in recent years, has impressed itself on the world especially in the
last few years. Both English and French submarines have travelled
without making any stops from their home ports to the Dardanelles
and back again. And used to, and satiated as we are with mechanical
wonders of all kinds the whole world was amazed when in 1916 German
submarines made successful trips from their home ports to ports in
the United States and returned with equal success. This meant a
minimum radius of action of 3500 miles. In the case of the German
U-boat which in 1916 appeared at Newport for a few hours, then
attacked and sank some merchantmen off the United States coast and
later was reported as having arrived safely in a German port, it has
never been established whether the boat renewed its supplies of food
and fuel on the way or carried enough to make the trip of some 7000

One other important feature without which submarines would have
found it impossible to score such accomplishments is the periscope.
In the beginning periscopes were rather crude appliances. They were
very weak and sprung leaks frequently. Moisture, formed by
condensation, made them practically useless. In certain positions
the image of the object picked up by the periscope became inverted.
Their radius of vision was limited, and in every way they proved
unreliable and unsatisfactory. But, just as almost every feature of
submarine construction was gradually developed and most every
technical obstacle overcome, experts gradually concentrated their
efforts on the improvement of periscopes. Modern periscopes are
complicated optical instruments which have been developed to a very
high point of efficiency. A combination of prisms and lenses makes
it possible now to see true images clearly. Appliances have been
developed to make the rotation of the periscope safe, prompt, and
easy so that the horizon can be swept readily in every direction.
Magnification can be established at will by special devices easily
connected or disconnected with the regular instrument. The range of
vision of the modern periscope is as remarkable as its other
characteristics. It differs, of course, in proportion to the height
to which the periscope is elevated above the surface of the water.
In clear weather a submarine, having elevated its periscope to a
height of 20 feet can pick up a large battleship at as great a
distance as 6 miles, while observers on the latter, even if equipped
with the most powerful optical instruments, are absolutely unable to
detect the submarine. This great distance is reduced to about 4000
yards if the periscope is only 3 feet above the surface of the water
and to about 2200 yards if the elevation of the periscope is 1 foot.
But even the highly developed periscope of to-day, usually called
"panoramic periscope," has its limitations. The strain on the
observer's eyes is very severe and can be borne only for short
periods. In dirty weather the objectives become cloudy and the
images are rendered obscure and indefinite, although this trouble
has been corrected, at least in part, by forcing a strong blast
through the rim surrounding the observation glass. At night, of
course, the periscope is practically useless. Formerly a shot which
cut off the periscope near the water's edge might sink the boat.
This has been guarded against by cutting off the tube with a heavy
plate of transparent glass which does not obstruct vision but shuts
off the entrance of water.

Important as the periscope is both as a means of observing the
surroundings of the submarine and as a guide in steering it, it is
not the only means of accomplishing the latter purpose. To-day every
submarine possesses the most reliable type of compass available. At
night when the periscope is practically useless or in very rough
weather, or in case the periscope has been damaged or destroyed,
steering is done exclusively by means of the compass. The latest
type in use now on submarines is called the gyroscope compass which
is a highly efficient and reliable instrument.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_The Exterior of First German Submarine._]

In the matter of ventilation the modern submarine also has reached a
high state of perfection. The fresh air supply is provided and
regulated in such a manner that most of the discomforts suffered by
submarine crews in times past have been eliminated. The grave danger
which formerly existed as a result of the poisonous fumes, emanating
from the storage batteries and accumulators, has been reduced to a
minimum. In every respect, except that of space, conditions of life
in a submarine have been brought to a point where they can be
favourably compared with those of boats navigated on the surface of
the water. Of course, even at the best, living quarters in a
submarine will always be cramped. However, it is so important that
submarine crews should be continuously kept on a high plane of
efficiency that they are supplied with every conceivable comfort
permitted by the natural limitations of submarine construction.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_The Interior of First German Submarine. Showing Appliances for

Submarine boats so far have been used almost exclusively as
instruments of warfare. One of their most important features,
therefore, naturally is their armament. We have already heard
something about the use of torpedoes by submarines. The early
submarines had as a rule only one torpedo tube and were incapable of
carrying more than two or three torpedoes. Gradually, however, both
the number of torpedo tubes and of torpedoes was increased. The
latest types have as many as eight or ten tubes and carry enough
torpedoes to permit them to stay away from their base for several
weeks. In recent years submarines have also been armed with guns.
Naturally these have to be of light weight and small calibre. They
are usually mounted so that they can be used at a high angle. This
is done in order to make it possible for submarines to defend
themselves against attacks from airships. The mountings of these
guns are constructed in such a way that the guns themselves
disappear immediately after discharge and are not visible while not
in use. Though mounted on deck they are aimed and fired from below.
As part of the armament of the submarine we must also consider the
additional protection which they receive from having certain
essential parts protected by armour plate.

All these features have increased the safety of submarine navigation
to a great extent. In spite of the popular impression that submarine
navigation entailed a greater number of danger factors than
navigation on the surface of the water, this is not altogether so.
If we stop to consider this subject we can readily see why rather
the opposite should be true. Navigation under the surface of the
water greatly reduces the possibility of collision and also the
dangers arising from rough weather. For the results of the latter
are felt to a much lesser degree below than on the surface of the
water. Many other factors are responsible for the comparatively high
degree of safety inherent in submarines. Up to the outbreak of the
present war only about two hundred and fifty lives had been lost as
a result to accidents to modern submarines. Considering that up to
1910 a great deal of submarine navigation was more or less
experimental this is a record which can bear favourable comparison
with similar records established by overwater navigation or by
navigation in the air.

To the average man the thought of imprisonment in a steel tube
beneath the surface of the sea, and being suddenly deprived of all
means of bringing it up to air and light is a terrifying and nerve
shattering thing. It is probably the first consideration which
suggests itself to one asked to make a submarine trip. Always the
newspaper headlines dealing with a submarine disaster speak of those
lost as "drowned like rats in a trap." Men will admit that the
progress of invention has greatly lessened the danger of accident to
submarines, but nevertheless sturdily insist that when the accident
does happen the men inside have no chance of escape.

As a matter of fact many devices have been applied to the modern
submarine to meet exactly this contingency. Perhaps nothing is more
effective than the so-called telephone buoy installed in our Navy
and in some of those of Europe. This is a buoy lightly attached to
the outer surface of the boat, containing a telephone transmitter
and receiver connected by wire with a telephone within. In the event
of an accident this buoy is released and rises at once to the
surface. A flag attached attracts the attention of any craft that
may be in the neighbourhood and makes immediate communication with
those below possible. Arrangements can then be made for raising the
boat or towing her to some point at which salvage is possible. An
instance of the value of this device was given by the disaster to
the German submarine "U-3" which was sunk at Kiel in 1910. Through
the telephone the imprisoned crew notified those at the other end
that they had oxygen enough for forty-eight hours but that the work
of rescue must be completed in that time. A powerful floating
derrick grappled the sunken submarine and lifted its bow above
water. Twenty-seven of the imprisoned crew crept out through the
torpedo tubes. The captain and two lieutenants conceived it their
duty to stay with the ship until she was actually saved. In the
course of the operations one of the ventilators was broken, the
water rushed in and all three were drowned.

In some of the Holland ships of late construction there is an
ingenious, indeed an almost incredible device by which the ship
takes charge of herself if the operators or crew are incapacitated.
It has happened that the shock of a collision has so stunned the men
cooped up in the narrow quarters of a submarine that they are for
quite an appreciable time unable to attend to their duties. Such a
collision would naturally cause the boat to leak and to sink. In
these newer Holland ships an automatic device causes the ship, when
she has sunk to a certain depth, registered of course by automatic
machinery, to start certain apparatus which empties the ballast
tanks and starts the pumps which will empty the interior of the ship
if it has become flooded. The result is that after a few minutes of
this automatic work, whether the crew has sufficiently recovered to
take part in it or not, the boat will rise to the surface.

This extraordinary invention is curiously reminiscent of the fact
chronicled in earlier chapters of this book that the most modern
airplanes are so built that should the aviator become insensible or
incapacitated for his work, if he will but drop the controls, the
machine will adjust itself and make its own landing in safety.
Unaided the airplane drops lightly to earth; unaided the submarine
rises buoyantly to the air.

In recent years there have been developed special ships for the
salvage of damaged or sunk submarines. At the same time the navies
of the world have also produced special submarine tenders or mother
ships. The purpose of these is to supply a base which can keep on
the move with the same degree of facility which the submarine itself
possesses. These tenders are equipped with air compressors by means
of which the air tanks of submarines can be refilled. Electric
generators make it possible to replenish the submarine storage
batteries. Mechanical equipment permits the execution of repairs to
the submarine's machinery and equipment. Extra fuel, substitute
parts for the machinery, spare torpedoes are carried by these
tenders. The most modern of them are even supplied with dry dock
facilities, powerful cranes, and sufficiently strong armament to
repel attacks from boats of the type most frequently encountered by

There are, of course, many other special appliances which make up
the sum total of a modern submarine's equipment. Electricity is used
for illuminating all parts of the boat. Heat is supplied in the same
manner; this is a very essential feature because the temperature of
a submarine, after a certain period of submergence, becomes
uncomfortably low. Electricity is also used for cooking purposes.

Every submarine boat built to-day is equipped with wireless
apparatus. Naturally it is only of limited range varying from one
hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty miles, but even at that
it is possible for a submarine to send messages to its base or some
other given point from a considerable distance by relay. If the
submarine is running on the surface of the water the usual means of
naval communication-flag signals, wig-wagging or the semaphore, can
be employed. The submarine bell is another means for signalling. It
is really a wireless telephone, operating through the water instead
of the air. Up to the present, however, it has not been sufficiently
developed to permit its use for any great distance. It is so
constructed that it can also be used as a sound detector.

Some submarines, besides being equipped with torpedo tubes, carry
other tubes for laying mines. In most instances this is only a
secondary function of the submarine. There are, however, special
mine-laying submarines. Others, especially of the Lake type, have
diving compartments which permit the employment of divers for the
purpose of planting or taking up mines.

Disappearing anchors, operated by electricity from within the boat,
are carried. They are used for steadying the boat if it is desired
to keep it for any length of time on the bottom of the sea in a

From this necessarily brief description it can be seen readily that
the modern submarine boat is a highly developed, but very
complicated mechanism. Naturally it requires a highly trained,
extremely efficient crew. The commanding officers must be men of
strong personality, keen intellect, high mechanical efficiency, and
quick judgment. The gradual increase in size has brought a
corresponding increase in the number of a submarine's crew. A decade
ago from 8 to 10 officers and men were sufficient but to-day we hear
of submarine crews that number anywhere from 25 to 40.

In spite of the marvellous advances which have been made in the
construction, equipment, and handling of the submarine during the
last ten years, perfection in many directions is still a long way
off. How soon it will be reached, if ever, and by what means, are,
of course, questions which only the future can answer.



Submarines have been compared to all kinds of things, from a fish to
a cigar. Life on them has been described in terms of the highest
elation as well as of the deepest depression. Their operation and
navigation, according to some claims, require a veritable
combination of mechanical, electrical, and naval genius--not only on
the part of the officers, but even on that of the simplest
oiler--while others make it appear as if a submarine was at least as
simple to handle as a small motor boat. The truth concerning all
these matters lies somewhere between these various extremes.

It is quite true that except on the very latest "submerged cruisers"
built by the Germans, the space for the men operating a submarine is
painfully straitened. They must hold to their positions almost like
a row of peas in a pod. From this results the gravest strain upon
the nerves so that it has been found in Germany that after a cruise
a period of rest of equal duration is needed to restore the men to
their normal condition. Before assignment to submarine duty, too, a
special course of training is requisite. Submarine crews are not
created in a day.

What the interior of the new German submarines with a length of 280
feet, and a beam of 26 feet may be, no man of the Anglo-Saxon race
may know or tell. The few who have descended into those mysterious
depths will have no chance to tell of them until the war is over.
Nor is it possible during wartimes to secure descriptions even of
our own underwater boats. But the interior of the typical submarine
may be imagined as in size and shape something like an unusually
long street car. Along the sides, where seats would normally be, are
packed wheels, cylinders, motors, pumps, machinery of all imaginable
kinds and some of it utterly unimaginable to the lay observer. The
whole interior is painted white and bathed in electric light. The
casual visitor from "above seas" is dazed by the array of machinery
and shrinks as he walks the narrow aisle lest he become entangled in

Running on the surface the submarine chamber is filled with a roar
and clatter like a boiler shop in full operation. The Diesel engines
are compact and powerful, but the racket they make more nearly
corresponds to their power than to their size. On the surface too
the boat rolls and pitches and the stranger passenger, unequipped
with sea legs grabs for support as the subway rider reaches for a
strap on the curves. But let the order come to submerge. The Diesels
are stopped. The electric motors take up the task, spinning
noiselessly in their jackets. In a moment or two all rolling ceases.
One can hardly tell whether the ship is moving at all--it might for
all its motion tells be resting quietly on the bottom. If you could
disabuse your mind for a moment of the recollection that you were in
a great steel cigar heavy laden with explosives, and deep under the
surface of the sea you would find the experience no more exciting
than a trip through the Pennsylvania tubes. But there is something
uncanny about the silence.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_A Torpedo Designed by Fulton._]

Go forward to the conical compartment at the very bow. There you
will find the torpedo chamber for the submarine, like the cigar to
which it is so often compared, carries its fire at its front tip.
The most common type of boat will have two or four torpedo tubes in
this chamber. The more modern ones will have a second torpedo
chamber astern with the same number of tubes and carry other
torpedoes on deck which by an ingenious device can be launched from
their outside cradles by mechanism within the boat. In the torpedo
chamber are twice as many spare torpedoes as there are tubes, made
fast along the sides. Here too the anchor winch stands with the
cable attached to the anchor outside the boat and an automatic knife
which cuts the cable should the anchor be fouled.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_The Method of Attack by Nautilus._]

Immediately aft of the torpedo chamber, cut off by a water-tight
partition, is the battery compartment. It gets its name because of
the fact, that beneath the deck which is full of traps readily
raised are the electric storage batteries of anywhere from 60 to 260
cells according to the size of the boat. This room is commonly used
as the loafing place for the crew, being regarded as very spacious
and empty. In it are nothing but the electric stove, the kitchen
sink, the various lockers for food and all the housekeeping
apparatus of the submarine. Mighty trim and compact they all are.
The builder of twentieth century flats with his kitchenettes and his
in-door beds might learn a good deal from a study of the smaller
type of submarine. Next aft come the officers' staterooms, rather
smaller than prison cells, each holding a bunk, a bureau, and a
desk. Each holds also a good deal of moisture, for the greatest
discomfort in submarine life comes from the fact that everything is
dripping with the water resulting from the constant condensation of
the air within.

The great compartment amidships given over to machinery is a place
to test the nerves. The aisle down the centre is scarcely two feet
wide and on each side are whirling wheels, engines, and electric
motors. Only the photographs can give a clear idea of the crowded
appearance of this compartment. It contains steering wheels, the
gyroscopic compass, huge valves, dials showing depth of submergence,
Kingston levers, motor controllers, all polished and shining, each
doing its work and each easily thrown out of gear by an ignorant

The author once spending the night on a United States man-of-war was
shown by the captain to his own cabin, that officer occupying the
admiral's cabin for the time. At the head of the bunk were two small
electric push buttons absolutely identical in appearance and about
two inches apart. "Push this button," said the captain genially, "if
you want the Jap boy to bring you shaving water or anything else.
But be sure to push the right one. If you push the other you will
call the entire crew to quarters at whatever hour of night the bell
may ring."

The possibility of mistaking the button rested heavily on the
writer's nerves all night. A somewhat similar feeling comes over one
who walks the narrow path down the centre of the machinery
compartment of a submarine. He seems hedged about by mysterious
apparatus a touch of which, or even an accidental jostle may release
powerful and even murderous forces.

While the submarine is under way, submerged, the operator at every
piece of individual machinery stands at its side ready for action.
Here are the gunner's mates at the diving rudder. They watch
steadily a big gauge on which a needle which shows how deep the boat
is sinking. When the required depth is reached swift turns of two
big brass wheels set the horizontal rudders that check the descent
and keep the boat on an even keel. Other men stand at the levers of
the Kingston valves which, when open, flood the ballast tanks with
water and secure the submergence of the boat. Most of the underwater
boats to-day sink rapidly on an even keel. The old method of
depressing the nose of the boat so as to make a literal dive has
been abandoned, partly because of the inconvenience it caused to the
men within who suddenly found the floor on which they were standing
tilted at a sharp angle, and partly because the diving position
proved to be a dangerous one for the boat.

In the early days of the submarines the quarters for the men were
almost intolerable. The sleeping accommodations were cramped and
there was no place for the men off duty to lounge and relax from the
strain of constant attention to duty. Man cannot keep his body in a
certain fixed position even though it be not rigid, for many hours.
This is shown as well at the base ball grounds at the end of the
sixth inning when "all stretch" as it was in the old time underwater
boats. The crews now have space in which to loaf and even the strain
of long silent watches under water is relieved by the use of talking
machines and musical instruments. The efficiency of the boat of
course is only that of her crew, and since more care and more
scientific thought has been given to the comfort of the men, to the
purity of the air they breathe, and even to their amusements, the
effect upon the work done by the craft has been apparent. Ten years
ago hot meals were unthought of on a submarine; now the electric
cooker provides for quite an elaborate bill of fare. But ten years
ago the submarine was only expected to cruise for a few hours off
the harbour's mouth carrying a crew of twenty men or less. Now it
stays at sea sometimes for as long as three months. Its crews number
often as many as fifty and the day is in sight when accommodations
will have to be made for the housing of at least eighty men in such
comparative comfort that they can stand a six months' voyage without
loss of morale or decrease in physical vigour.

It is, of course, very rare that a civilian has the chance to be
present on a submarine when the latter is making either a real or a
feigned attack. Fred B. Pitney, a correspondent of the New York
_Tribune_, was fortunate enough to have this experience, fortunate
especially because it was all a game arranged for his special
benefit by a French admiral. He writes of this interesting
experience in the _Tribune_ of Sunday, May 27, 1917, and at the same
time gives a vivid description of a French submarine.

It appears that Mr. Pitney was on a small vessel put at his disposal
by the French Ministry of Marine to view the defences of a French
naval base. This boat was attacked by what seemed to be an enemy
submarine, but later turned out to be a French one which was giving
this special performance for Mr. Pitney's information. We read:

     Our officers were experts at watching for submarines, and though
     the little white wave made by the periscope disappeared, they
     caught the white wake of the torpedo coming toward the port
     quarter and sheered off to escape it. The torpedo passed
     harmlessly by our stern, but the adventure was not ended, for
     hardly a minute later we heard a shot from off the starboard
     quarter and, turning in that direction, saw that the submarine
     had come to the surface and was busily firing at us to bring us

     We stopped without any foolish waste of time in argument. I asked
     if a boat would be sent to us, or if we would have to get out our

     "They carry a small folding boat," said the officer to whom I had
     been talking, "but we will have to send our boat."

     While we were getting our boat over the side, the submarine
     moved closer in, keeping her gun bearing on us all the time, most
     uncomfortably. The gun stood uncovered on the deck, just abaft
     the turret. It was thickly coated with grease to protect it when
     the vessel submerged. It is only the very latest type of
     submarines that have disappearing guns which go under cover when
     the vessel submerges and are fired from within the ship, which
     makes all the more surprising the speed with which a submarine
     can come to the surface, the men get out on deck, fire the gun,
     get in again and the vessel once more submerges.

     I was in the first boatload that went over to the submarine. From
     a distance it looked like nothing so much as a rather long piece
     of 4×8 floating on the water, with another block set on top of it
     and a length of lath nailed on the block. It lost none of these
     characteristics as we neared it. It only gained a couple of ropes
     along the sides of the 4×8, while men kept coming mysteriously
     out of the block until a round dozen was waiting to receive us.
     The really surprising thing was that the men turned out to be
     perfectly good French sailors, with a most exceedingly polite
     French lieutenant to help us aboard the little craft....

[Illustration: _The Capture of a U-Boat._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]

     The vessel we were in was a 500-ton cruising submarine. It had
     just come from eight months' guarding the Channel, and showed all
     the battering of eight months of a very rough and stormy career
     with no time for a lie-up for repairs. It was interesting to see
     the commander hand the depth gauge a wallop to start it working
     and find out if the centre of the boat was really nine feet
     higher than either end. We were fifty-four feet under water and
     diving when the commander performed that little experiment and we
     continued to dive while the gauge spun around and finally stopped
     at a place which indicated approximately that our back was not
     broken. I suppose that was one of the things my friend the
     lieutenant referred to when he said life on a submarine was such
     a sporting proposition.

     We boarded the submarine over the tail end and balanced our way
     up the long narrow block, like walking a tight rope, to the
     turret, where we descended through a hole like the opening into a
     gas main into a small round compartment about six feet in
     diameter exactly in the midship section, which was the largest
     compartment in the ship. Running each way from it the length of
     the vessel were long corridors, some two feet wide. On each side
     of the corridors were rows of tiny compartments, which were the
     living and working rooms of the ship. Naturally, most of the
     space was given up to the working rooms.

     The officers' quarters consisted of four tiny compartments, two
     on each side of the after corridor. The first two were the mess
     room and chart room, and the second pair were the cabins of the
     commander--a lieutenant--and his second in command, an ensign.
     Behind them was an electric kitchen, and next came the engines,
     first two sets of Diesel engines, one on each side of the
     corridor, each of four hundred horse-power. These were for
     running on the surface. Then came four bunks for the
     quartermasters and last the electric motors for running under the
     surface. The motors were run from storage batteries and were half
     the power of the Diesel engines. The quarters of the crew were
     along the sides of the forward corridor. The floors of the
     corridor were an unbroken series of trap doors, covering the
     storage tanks for drinking water, food, and the ship's supplies.
     The torpedo tubes were forward of the men's quarters. Ten
     torpedoes were carried. The ammunition for the deck gun was
     stored immediately beneath the gun, which was mounted between the
     turret and the first hatch, abaft the turret. Besides the turret
     there were three hatches in the deck, one forward and two aft.

     There were thirty-four men in the crew. The men are counted every
     two hours, as there is great danger of men being lost overboard
     when running on the surface, and in bad weather they are
     sometimes counted as often as every half hour.

     The turret was divided in two sections. In the after part was the
     main hatch and behind it a stationary periscope, standing about
     thirty inches above the surface of the water when the deck was
     submerged and only the periscope showing. There was no opening in
     the forward section of the turret, but the fighting periscope,
     which could be drawn down into the interior or pushed up to ten
     feet above the surface when the vessel was completely submerged,
     extended through the top.

     For two hours, turn and turn about, the commander and his second
     stand watch on the iron grips in the turret, one eye on the
     periscope, the other on the compass. And this goes on for weeks
     on end. It is only when they lie for a few hours fifty to
     seventy-five feet below the surface that they can get some rest.
     And even then there is no real rest, for one or the other of them
     must be constantly on duty, testing pipes and gauges, air
     pressure, water pressure, and a thousand other things.

     When we dropped through the hatch into the interior of the
     submarine and the cover was clamped down over our heads the
     commander at once ordered me back into the turret.

     "Hurry, if you want to see her dive," he said.

     I climbed into the after section of the turret and fastened my
     eye to the periscope. Around the top of the turret was a circle
     of bulls' eyes and I was conscious of the water dashing against
     them while the spray washed over the glass of the periscope. The
     little vessel rolled very slightly on the surface, though there
     was quite a bit of sea running. I watched the horizon through the
     periscope and watched for the dive, expecting a distinct
     sensation, but the first thing I noticed was that even the slight
     roll had ceased and I was surprised to see that the bulls' eyes
     were completely under water. The next thing there was no more
     horizon. The periscope also was covered and we were completely
     beneath the surface.

     "Did it make you sick?" the commander asked, when I climbed down
     from the turret, and when I told him "no" he was surprised, for
     he said most men were made sick by their first dive.

     The thing most astonishing to me about that experience was how a
     submerged submarine can thread its way through a mine field. For
     though the water is luminous and translucent one can hardly make
     out the black hull of the boat under the turret and a mine would
     have to be on top of you before you could see it. The men who
     watch for mines must have a sense for them as well as
     particularly powerful sight.

     We continued to dive until we were sixty-eight feet below the
     surface, too deep to strike any mine, and there we ran tranquilly
     on our electric engines, while the commander navigated the vessel
     and the second in command opened champagne in the two by four
     mess room. After half an hour of underwater work we came near
     enough the surface for our fighting periscope to stick twenty
     inches out of the water and searched the lonely horizon for a
     ship to attack.

     It was not long before we sighted a mine trawler, steaming for
     the harbour, and speeded up to overtake her.

     "Pikers!" said our commander, as we circled twice around the
     trawler; "they can't find us."

     Five men on the trawler were scanning the sea with glasses
     looking for submarines. We could follow all their motions, could
     tell when they thought they had found us and see their
     disappointment at their mistakes, but though we were never more
     than five hundred yards from them, I did not think they were
     pikers because they did not find us. I had tried that hunt for
     the tiny wave of a periscope.

     "No use wasting a torpedo on those fellows," said our commander.
     "We will use the gun on them."

     "How far away can you use a torpedo?" I asked.

     "Two hundred yards is the best distance," he said. "Never more
     than five hundred. A torpedo is pure guesswork at more than five
     hundred yards."

     We crossed the bow of the trawler, circled around to her
     starboard quarter and came to the surface, fired nine shots and
     submerged again in forty-five seconds.

     The prey secured, we ran submerged through the mine field and
     past the net barrier to come to the surface well within the
     harbour and proceed peacefully to our mooring under the shelter
     of the guns of the land forts.

Life and work on a German submarine is known to us, of course, only
from descriptions in German publications. One of these appeared,
previous to our entry in the war, in various journals and was
translated and republished by the New York _Evening Post_. It reads
partly as follows:

     "U-47 will take provisions and clear for sea. Extreme economical

     A first lieutenant, with acting rank of commander, takes the
     order in the grey dawn of a February day. The hulk of an old
     corvette with the Iron Cross of 1870 on her stubby foremast is
     his quarters in port, and on the corvette's deck he is presently
     saluted by his first engineer and the officer of the watch. On
     the pier the crew of U-47 await him. At their feet the narrow
     grey submarine lies alongside, straining a little at her cables.

     "Well, we've our orders at last," begins the commander,
     addressing his crew of thirty, and the crew grin. For this is
     U-47's first experience of active service. She has done nothing
     save trial trips hitherto, and has just been overhauled for her
     first fighting cruise. Her commander snaps out a number of
     orders. Provisions are to be taken in "up to the neck," fresh
     water is to be put aboard, and engine-room supplies to be

     A mere plank is the gangway to the little vessel. As the
     commander, followed by his officers, comes aboard, a sailor hands
     to each a ball of cotton-waste, the sign and symbol of a
     submarine officer, which never leaves his hand. For the steel
     walls of his craft, the doors, and the companion-ladder all
     sweat oil, and at every touch the hands must be wiped dry. The
     doorways are narrow round holes. Through one of the holes aft the
     commander descends by a breakneck iron ladder into the black hole
     lit by electric glow-lamps. The air is heavy with the smell of
     oil, and to the unaccustomed longshoreman it is almost choking,
     though the hatches are off. The submarine man breathes this air
     as if it were the purest ozone. Here in the engine-room aft men
     must live and strain every nerve even if for days at a time every
     crack whereby the fresh air could get in is hermetically sealed.
     On their tense watchfulness thirty lives depend.

     Here, too, are slung some hammocks, and in them one watch tries,
     and, what is more, succeeds in sleeping, though the men moving
     about bump them with head and elbows at every turn, and the low
     and narrow vault is full of the hum and purr of machinery. In
     length the vault is about ten feet, but if a man of normal
     stature stands in the middle and raises his arms to about half
     shoulder height his hands will touch the cold, moist steel walls
     on either side. A network of wires runs overhead, and there is a
     juggler's outfit of handles, levers, and instruments. The
     commander inspects everything minutely, then creeps through a
     hole into the central control station, where the chief engineer
     is at his post. With just about enough assistance to run a fairly
     simple machine ashore the chief engineer of a submarine is
     expected to control, correct, and, if necessary, repair at sea an
     infinitely complex machinery which must not break down for an
     instant if thirty men are to return alive to the hulk.

     Forward is another narrow steel vault serving at once as
     engine-room and crew's quarters. Next to it is a place like a
     cupboard, where the cook has just room to stand in front of his
     doll's house galley-stove. It is electrically heated, that the
     already oppressive air may not be further vitiated by smoke or
     fumes. A German submarine in any case smells perpetually of
     coffee and cabbage. Two little cabins of the size of a decent
     clothes-chest take the deck and engine-room officers, four of
     them. Another box cabin is reserved for the commander--when he
     has time to occupy it.

     At daybreak the commander comes on deck in coat and trousers of
     black leather lined with wool, a protection against oil, cold,
     and sea-water. The crew at their stations await the command to
     cast off.

     "Machines clear," calls a voice from the control-station and
     "Clear ship," snaps the order from the bridge. Then "Cast-off!"
     The cables slap on to the landing-stage, the engines begin to
     purr, and U-47 slides away into open water.

     A few cable-lengths away another submarine appears homeward
     bound. She is the U-20 returning from a long cruise in which she
     succeeded in sinking a ship bound with a cargo of frozen mutton
     for England.

     "Good luck, old sheep-butcher," sings the commander of U-47 as
     the sister-ship passes within hail.

     The seas are heavier now, and U-47 rolls unpleasantly as she
     makes the light-ship and answers the last salute from a friendly
     hand. The two officers on the bridge turn once to look at the
     light-ship already astern, then their eyes look seaward. It is
     rough, stormy weather. If the egg-shell goes ahead two or three
     days without a stop, the officers in charge will get no sleep for
     just that long. If it gets any rougher they will be tied to the
     bridge-rails to avoid being swept overboard. If they are hungry,
     plates of soup will be brought to them on the bridge, and the
     North Sea will attend to its salting for them.

Frequently this "meal" is interrupted by some announcement from the
watch, such as: "Smoke on the horizon off the port bow." Then--so we
are told:

     The commander drops his plate, shouts a short, crisp command,
     and an electric alarm whirs inside the egg-shell. The ship buzzes
     like a hive. Then water begins to gurgle into the ballast-tanks,
     and U-47 sinks until only her periscope shows.

     "The steamship is a Dutchman, sir," calls the watch officer. The
     commander inspects her with the aid of a periscope. She has no
     wireless and is bound for the Continent. So he can come up and is
     glad, because moving under the water consumes electricity, and
     the usefulness of a submarine is measured by her electric power.

     After fifty-four hours of waking nerve tension, sleep becomes a
     necessity. So the ballast-tanks are filled and the nutshell sinks
     to the sandy bottom. This is the time for sleep aboard a
     submarine, because a sleeping man consumes less of the precious
     oxygen than one awake and busy. So a submarine man has three
     principal lessons to learn--to keep every faculty at tension when
     he is awake, to keep stern silence when he is ashore (there is a
     warning against talkativeness in all the German railway-carriages
     now), and to sleep instantly when he gets a legitimate
     opportunity. His sleep and the economy of oxygen may save the
     ship. However, the commander allows half an hour's grace for
     music. There is a gramophone, of course, and the "ship's band"
     performs on all manner of instruments. At worst, a comb with a
     bit of tissue paper is pressed into service.

Another American who suffered an enforced voyage on an
_unterseeboot_ made public later some of his experiences. His
captor's craft was a good sized one--about 250 feet long, with a
crew of 35 men and mounting two 4-1/2 inch guns. She could make 18
knots on the surface and 11 submerged and had a radius of 3200 miles
of action. Her accommodations were not uncomfortable. Each officer
had a separate cabin while the crew were bunked along either side of
a narrow passage. The ventilation was excellent, and her officers
declared that they could stand twenty-four hours continuous
submergence without discomfort, after that for six hours it was
uncomfortable, and thereafter intolerable because of the exudation
of moisture--or sweating--from every part. At such times all below
have to wear leather suits. The food was varied and cooked on an
electric stove. The original stores included preserved pork and
beef, vegetables, tinned soups, fruits, raisins, biscuits, butter,
marmalade, milk, tea, and coffee. But the pleasures of the table
depended greatly on the number of their prizes, for whenever
possible they made every ship captured contribute heavily to their
larder before sinking her. Of the tactics followed the observer

     It appears that 55 per cent., or more than half, of the torpedoes
     fired miss their mark, and with this average they seem satisfied.
     Once they let go at a ship two torpedoes at 3000 yards' range,
     and both missed, the range being too long but they did not care
     to come any nearer, as they believed the ship to be well armed.

     They prefer to fire at 500 to 700 yards, which means that at this
     range the track or "wake" of a projectile would be discernible
     for, say, twenty-five to thirty seconds--not much time, indeed,
     for any ship to get out of the way. At 100 yards' range or less
     they do not care to fire unless compelled to, as the torpedo is
     nearly always discharged when the submarine is lying ahead of the
     object, _i. e._, to hit the ship coming up to it; it follows that
     a gun forward is more useful than one aft, the gun aft being of
     real service when a submarine starts shelling, which she will do
     for choice from aft the ship rather than from forward of her,
     where she would be in danger of being run over and rammed.



At the moment of writing these words the outcome of the greatest war
the world has ever known is believed by many to hang upon the
success with which the Allies can meet and defeat the campaign of
the German submarines. The German people believe this absolutely.
The Allies and their sympathizers grudgingly admit that they are
only too fearful that it may be true.

To such a marvellous degree of military efficiency has the ingenuity
of man brought these boats which so recently as our Civil War were
still in the vaguest experimental stage and scarcely possessed of
any offensive power whatsoever!

Nevertheless these machines had reached a degree of development, and
had demonstrated their dangerous character so early in the war that
it was amazing that the British were so slow in comprehending the
use that might be made of them in cutting off British commerce. It
is true that the first submarine actions redounded in their results
entirely to British credit. In September of 1914 a British submarine
ran gallantly into Heligoland Bay and sank the German light cruiser
_Hela_ at her moorings. Shortly after the Germans sought retaliation
by attacking a British squadron, but the effort miscarried. The
British cruiser _Birmingham_ caught a glimpse of her wake and with a
well-aimed shot destroyed her periscope. The submarine dived, but
shortly afterwards came up again making what was called a porpoise
dive--that is to say, she came up just long enough for the officer
in the conning tower to locate the enemy, then submerged again.
Brief, however, as had been the appearance of the conning tower, the
British put a shell into it and in a few minutes the submarine and
most of her crew were at the bottom of the sea.

Soon after followed the attack upon and sinking of the three
cruisers by the submarine under the command of Lieutenant Commander
Otto von Weddigen, the narrative of which we have already told. But
while after that attacks upon British armed ships were many,
successes were few. There were no German ships at sea for the
British to attack in turn, but some very gallant work was done by
their submarines against Austrian and Turkish warships in the
Mediterranean and the Dardanelles. All this time the Germans were
preparing for that warfare upon the merchant shipping of all
countries which at the end they came to believe would force the
conclusion of the war. It seems curious that during this early
period the Allies were able to devise no method of meeting this form
of attack. When the United States entered the war more than three
years later they looked to us for the instant invention of some
effective anti-submarine weapon. If they were disappointed at our
failure at once to produce one, they should have remembered at least
that they too were baffled by the situation although it was
presented to them long before it became part of our problems.

About no feature of the war have the belligerents thrown more of
mystery than about the circumstances attending submarine attacks
upon battleships and armed transports and the method employed of
meeting them. Even when later in the war the Germans apparently
driven to frenzy made special efforts to sink hospital and Red Cross
ships the facts were concealed by the censors, and accounts of the
efforts made to balk such inhuman and unchristian practices
diligently suppressed. In the end it seemed that the British, who of
course led all naval activities, had reached the conclusion that
only by the maintenance of an enormous fleet of patrol boats could
the submarines be kept in check. This method they have applied
unremittingly. Alfred Noyes in a publication authorized by the
British government has thus picturesquely told some of the incidents
connected with this service:

     It is difficult to convey in words the wide sweep and subtle
     co-ordination of this ocean hunting; for the beginning of any
     tale may be known only to an admiral in a London office, the
     middle of it only to a commander at Kirkwall, and the end of it
     only to a trawler skipper off the coast of Ireland. But here and
     there it is possible to piece the fragments together into a
     complete adventure, as in the following record of a successful
     chase, where the glorious facts outrun all the imaginations of
     the wildest melodrama.

     There were suspicious vessels at anchor, one moonless night, in a
     small bay near the Mumbles. They lay there like shadows, but
     before long they knew that the night was alive for a hundred
     miles with silent talk about them. At dawn His Majesty's trawlers
     _Golden Feather_ and _Peggy Nutten_ foamed up, but the shadows
     had disappeared.

     The trawlers were ordered to search the coast thoroughly for any
     submarine stores that might have been left there. "Thoroughly" in
     this war means a great deal. It means that even the bottom of the
     sea must be searched. This was done by grapnels; but the bottom
     was rocky and seemed unfit for a base. Nothing was found but a
     battered old lobster pot, crammed with seaweed and little green

     Probably these appearances were more than usually deceitful; for
     shortly afterward watchers on the coast reported a strange
     fishing boat, with patched brown sails, heading for the suspected
     bay. Before the patrols came up, however, she seemed to be
     alarmed. The brown sails were suddenly taken in; the disguised
     conning tower was revealed, and this innocent fishing boat,
     gracefully submerging, left only the smiling and spotless April
     seas to the bewildered eyes of the coast guard.

     In the meantime signals were pulsing and flashing on land and
     sea, and the U-boat had hardly dipped when, over the smooth green
     swell, a great sea hawk came whirring up to join the hunt, a hawk
     with light yellow wings and a body of service grey--the latest
     type of seaplane. It was one of those oily seas in which a
     watcher from the air may follow a submarine for miles, as an
     olive green shadow under the lighter green. The U-boat doubled
     twice; but it was half an hour before her sunken shadow was lost
     to sight under choppy blue waters, and long before that time she
     was evidently at ease in her mind and pursuing a steady course.
     For the moment her trail was then lost, and the hawk, having
     reported her course, dropped out of the tale.

[Illustration: Photo by U. & U.

_A British Submarine._]

     The next morning in the direction indicated by that report
     several patrol boats heard the sound of gunfire and overhauled a
     steamer which had been attacked by a submarine. They gave chase
     by "starring" to all the points of the compass, but could not
     locate the enemy. A little later, however, another trawler
     observed the wash of a submarine crossing her stern about two
     hundred yards away. The trawler star-boarded, got into the wake
     of the submarine and tried to ram her at full speed. She failed
     to do this, as the U-boat was at too great a depth. The enemy
     disappeared, and again the trawlers gathered and "starred."

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Sectional View of the Nautilus._]

     In the meantime, certain nets had been shot, and, though the
     inclosed waters were very wide, it was quite certain that the
     submarine was contained within them. Some hours later another
     trawler heard firing and rushed toward the sound. About sunset
     she sighted a submarine which was just dipping. The trawler
     opened fire at once without result. The light was very bad and it
     was very difficult to trace the enemy, but the trawler continued
     the search, and about midnight she observed a small light close
     to the water. She steamed within a few yards of it and hailed,
     thinking it was a small boat. There was a considerable amount of
     wreckage about, which was afterward proved to be the remains of a
     patrol vessel sunk by the submarine. There was no reply to the
     hail, and the light instantly disappeared. For the third time the
     patrols gathered and "starred" from this new point.

     And here the tale was taken up by a sailor who was in command of
     another trawler at the time. I give it, so far as possible, in
     his own words.

     "About 4 o'clock in the morning I was called by Deckhand William
     Brown to come on deck and see if an object sighted was a
     submarine. I did so, and saw a submarine about a mile distant on
     the port bow. I gave the order, 'Hard a-starboard.' The ship was
     turned until the gun was able to bear on the submarine, and it
     was kept bearing. At the same time I ordered hands to station,
     and about ten minutes afterward I gave the order to fire. The
     submarine immediately altered her course from W. to N. N. W., and
     went away from us very fast. I burned lights to attract the
     attention of the drifters, and we followed at our utmost speed,
     making about eight knots and shipping light sprays. We fired
     another shot about two minutes later, but it was breaking dawn,
     and we were unable to see the fall of the shots. After the second
     shot the submarine submerged. I hoisted warning signals and about
     half an hour later I saw a large steamer turning round, distant
     between two and three miles on our starboard beam. I headed
     toward her, keeping the gun trained on her, as I expected,
     judging by her action, that she had smelt the submarine. When we
     were about a mile and a half from the steamer I saw the submarine
     half a mile astern of her. We opened fire again, and gave her
     four shots, with about two minutes between 'em. The submarine
     then dodged behind the off quarter of the steamer."

     He paused to light his pipe, and added, quite gravely, "When she
     had disappeared behind the steamer I gave the order 'Cease fire,'
     to avoid hitting the larger vessel."

     I made a mental note of his thoughtfulness; but, not for worlds
     would I have shown any doubt of his power to blast his way, if
     necessary, through all the wood and iron in the universe; and I
     was glad that the blue clouds of our smoke mingled for a moment
     between us.

     "I saw two white boats off the port quarter," he continued. "But
     I paid no attention to them. I ordered the helm to be
     star-boarded a bit more, and told the gunner to train his gun on
     the bow of the steamer; for I expected the submarine to show
     there next. A few minutes later she did so, and when she drew
     ahead I gave the order to fire. I should say we were about a mile
     and a quarter away. We gave him two more shots and they dropped
     very close, as the spray rose over his conning tower. He altered
     his course directly away from us, and we continued to fire. The
     third shot smothered his conning tower with spray. I did not see
     the fourth and fifth shots pitch. There was no splash visible,
     although it was then broad daylight; so I believe they must have
     hit him. A few moments after this the submarine disappeared.

     "I turned, then, toward the two white boats and hailed them. The
     chief officer of the steamer was in charge of one. They were
     returning to their ship, and told me that we had hit the
     submarine. We escorted them through the nets and parted very good

     "But how did you get the scalp of this U-boat?" I asked.

     "We signalled to the admiral, and sent the Daffy to investigate.
     She found the place, all right. It was a choppy sea, but there
     was one smooth patch in it, just where we told 'em the submarine
     had disappeared; a big patch of water like wavy satin, two or
     three hundred yards of it, coloured like the stripes on mackerel,
     all blue and green with oil. They took a specimen of the oil."

     "Did it satisfy the Admiralty?"

     "No. Nothing satisfies the Admiralty but certainties. They count
     the minimum losses of the enemy, and the maximum of their own.
     Very proper, too. Then you know where you are. But, mind you, I
     don't believe we finished him off that morning. Oil don't prove
     that. It only proves we hit him. I believe it was the 'Maggie and
     Rose' that killed him, or the 'Hawthorn.' No; it wasn't either.
     It was the 'Loch Awe.'"

     "How was that?"

     "Well, as Commander White was telling you, we'd shot out nets to
     the north and south of him. There were two or three hundred
     miles, perhaps, in which he might wriggle about; but he couldn't
     get out of the trap, even if he knew where to look for the
     danger. He tried to run for home, and that's what finished him.
     They'll tell you all about that on the 'Loch Awe.'"

     So the next day I heard the end of the yarn from a sandy-haired
     skipper in a trawler whose old romantic name was dark with new
     significance. He was terribly logical. In his cabin--a
     comfortable room with a fine big stove--he had a picture of his
     wife and daughters, all very rigid and uncomfortable. He also had
     three books. They included neither Burns nor Scott. One was the
     Bible, thumbed by his grandfather and his father till the paper
     had worn yellow and thin at the sides. The second, I am sorry to
     say, was called _The Beautiful White Devil_. The third was an odd
     volume of Froude in the _Everyman_ edition. It dealt with the

     "I was towin' my nets wi' the rest o' my group," he said, "till
     about 3 o'clock i' the mornin' on yon occasion. It was fine
     weather wi' a kind o' haar. All at once, my ship gaed six points
     aff her coorse, frae S. E. to E. N. E., and I jaloused that the
     nets had been fouled by some muckle movin' body. I gave orders to
     pit the wheel hard a-port, but she wouldna answer. Suddenly the
     strain on the nets stoppit.

     "I needna tell you what had happened. Of course, it was
     preceesely what the Admiralty had arranged tae happen when
     gentlemen in undersea boats try to cut their way through our
     nets. Mind ye, thae nets are verra expensive."

A different situation, however, has lately developed in the more
unequal fight between submarines and merchant vessels. There the
submarine unquestionably has gained and maintained supremacy. Two
factors are primarily responsible for this: lack of speed and lack
of armament on the part of the merchantman. Of course, recently the
latter condition has been changed and apparently with good success.
But even at best, an armed merchantman has a rather slim chance at
escape. Neither space nor available equipment permits a general
arming of merchantmen to a sufficient degree to make it possible for
the latter to attack a submarine from any considerable distance.
Then, too, what chance has a merchant vessel unprotected by patrol
boats to escape the torpedo of a hidden submarine? How successfully
this question will finally be solved, the future only will show. At
present it bids fair to become one of the deciding factors in
determining the final issue of this war.

The first authentically known case of an attack without warning by a
German submarine against an allied merchantman was the torpedoing of
the French steamship _Amiral Ganteaume_ on October 26, 1914, in the
English Channel. The steamer was sunk and thirty of its passengers
and crew were lost. A number of other attacks followed during the
remainder of 1914 and in January, 1915. Then came on February 3,
1915, the now famous pronouncement of the German Government
declaring "all the waters around Great Britain and Ireland,
including the whole of the English Channel, a war zone," and
announcing that on and after Feb. 18th, Germany "will attempt to
destroy every enemy ship found in that war zone, without its being
always possible to avoid the danger that will thus threaten neutral
persons and ships." Germany gave warning that "it cannot be
responsible hereafter for the safety of crews, passengers, and
cargoes of such ships," and it furthermore "calls the attention of
neutrals to the fact that it would be well for their ships to avoid
entering this zone, for, although the German naval forces are
instructed to avoid all violence to neutral ships, in so far as
these can be recognized, the order given by the British Government
to hoist neutral flags and the contingencies of naval warfare might
be the cause of these ships becoming the victims of an attack
directed against the vessels of the enemy."

This was the beginning of the submarine controversy between Germany
and the United States and resulted in a note from the United States
Government in which it was stated that the latter viewed the
possibilities created by the German note

     with such grave concern, that it feels it to be its privilege,
     and, indeed, its duty, in the circumstances to request the
     Imperial German Government to consider before action is taken the
     critical situation in respect of the relation between this
     country and Germany which might arise were the German naval
     forces, in carrying out the policy foreshadowed in the
     Admiralty's proclamation, to destroy any merchant vessel of the
     United States or cause the death of American citizens:--To
     declare and exercise a right to attack and destroy any vessel
     entering a prescribed area of the high seas without first
     certainly determining its belligerent nationality and the
     contraband character of its cargo would be an act so
     unprecedented in naval warfare that this Government is reluctant
     to believe that the Imperial Government of Germany in this case
     contemplates it as possible.

After stating that the destruction of American ships or American
lives on the high seas would be difficult to reconcile with the
friendly relations existing between the two Governments, the note
adds that the United States "would be constrained to hold the
Imperial Government of Germany to a strict accountability for such
acts of their naval authorities, and to take any steps it might feel
necessary to take to safeguard American lives and property and to
secure to American citizens the full enjoyment of their acknowledged
rights on the high seas."

It is not within the province of this book to go in detail into the
diplomatic history of the submarine controversy between Germany and
the United States. Suffice it to say, therefore, that from the very
beginning the controversy held many possibilities of the disastrous
ending which finally came to pass when diplomatic relations were
broken off between the two countries on February 3, 1917, and a
state of war was declared by President Wilson's proclamation of
April 6, 1917.

The period between Germany's first War Zone Declaration and the
President's proclamation--two months and three days more than two
years--was crowded with incidents in which submarines and submarine
warfare held the centre of the stage. It would be impossible within
the compass of this story to give a complete survey of all the
boats that were sunk and of all the lives that were lost. Nor would
it be possible to recount all the deeds of heroism which this new
warfare occasioned. Belligerents and neutrals alike were affected.
American ships suffered, perhaps, to a lesser degree, than those of
other neutrals, partly because of the determined stand taken by the
United States Government. On May 1, 1915, the first American
steamer, the _Gulflight_, was sunk. Six days later the world was
shocked by the news that the _Lusitania_, one of the biggest British
passenger liners, had been torpedoed without warning on May 7, 1915
and had been sunk with a loss of 1198 lives, of whom 124 were
American citizens. Before this nation was goaded into war, more than
200 Americans were slain.

Notes were again exchanged between the two Governments. Though the
German government at that time showed an inclination to abandon its
position in the submarine controversy under certain conditions,
sinkings of passenger and freight steamers without warning
continued. All attempts on the part of the United States Government
to come to an equitable understanding with Germany failed on account
of the latter's refusal to give up submarine warfare, or at least
those features of it which, though considered illegal and inhuman by
the United States, seemed to be considered most essential by

Then came the German note of January 31, 1917, stating that "from
February 1, 1917, sea traffic will be stopped with every available
weapon and without further notice" in certain minutely described
"prohibited zones around Great Britain, France, Italy, and in the
Eastern Mediterranean."

The total tonnage sunk by German submarines from the beginning of
the war up to February 1, 1917, has been given by British sources as
over three million tons, while German authorities claimed four
million. The result of the German edict for unrestricted submarine
warfare has been rather appalling, even if it fell far short of
German prophesies and hopes. During the first two weeks of February
a total of ninety-seven ships with a tonnage of about 210,000 tons
were sent to the bottom of the sea. Since then the German submarines
have taken an even heavier toll. It has, however, become next to
impossible, due to the restrictions of censorship, to compute any
accurate figures for later totals, though it has become known from
time to time that the Allied as well as the neutral losses have been
very much higher during the five months of February to July, 1917
than during any other five months.

[Illustration: © U. & U.

_U. S. Submarine H-3 Aground on California Coast._]

The figures of the losses of British merchantmen alone are shown by
the following table:

                              Over 1,600      Under 1,600
  Week ending--                  Tons.           Tons.       Total.

  March  4                         14              9           23
  March 11                         13              4           17
  March 18                         16              8           24
  March 25                         18              7           25
  April  1                         18             13           31
  April  8                         17              2           19
  April 15                         19              9           28
  April 22                         40             15           55
  April 29                         38             13           51
  May    6                         24             22           46
  May   13                         18              5           23
  May   20                         18              9           27
  May   27                         18              1           19
  June   3                         15              3           18
  June  10                         22             10           32
  June  17                         27              5           32
  June  24                         21              7           28
  July   1                         15              5           20
  July   8                         14              3           17
  July  15                         14              4           18
  July  22                         21              3           24
  July  29                         18              3           21
  Aug.   5                         21              2           23
  Aug.  12                         14              2           16
  Aug.  19                         15              3           18
  Aug.  26                         18              5           23
  Sept.  2                         20              3           23
  Sept.  9                         12              6           18
  Sept. 16                          8             20           28
  Sept. 23                         13              2           15
  Sept. 30                         11              2           13
  Oct.   7                         14              2           16
  Oct.  14                         12              6           18
  Oct.  21                         17              8           25
  Oct.  28                         14              4           18
  Nov.   4                          8              4           12
  Nov.  11                          1              5            6

The table with its week by week report of the British losses is of
importance because at the time it was taken as a barometer
indicative of German success or failure. The German admiralty at the
moment of declaring the ruthless submarine war promised the people
of Germany that they would sink a million tons a month and by so
doing would force England to abject surrender in the face of
starvation within three months. During that period the whole
civilized world looked eagerly for the weekly statement of British
losses. Only at one time was the German estimate of a million tons
monthly obtained. Most of the time the execution done by the
undersea boats amounted to less than half that figure. So far from
England being beaten in three months, at the end of ten she was
still unshattered, though sorely disturbed by the loss of so much
shipping. Her new crops had come on and her statesmen declared that
so far as the food supply was concerned they were safe for another

During this period of submarine activity the United States entered
upon the war and its government immediately turned its attention to
meeting the submarine menace. In the first four months literally
nothing was accomplished toward this end. A few submarines were
reported sunk by merchantmen, but in nearly every instance it was
doubtful whether they were actually destroyed or merely submerged
purposely in the face of a hostile fire. Americans were looked upon
universally as a people of extraordinary inventive genius, and
everywhere it was believed that by some sudden lucky thought an
American would emerge from a laboratory equipped with a sovereign
remedy for the submarine evil. Prominent inventors indeed declared
their purpose of undertaking this search and went into retirement to
study the problem. From that seclusion none had emerged with a
solution at the end of ten months. When the submarine campaign was
at its very height no one was able to suggest a better remedy for it
than the building of cargo ships in such quantities that, sink as
many as they might, the Germans would have to let enough slip
through to sufficiently supply England with food and with the
necessary munitions of war.

Many cruel sufferings befell seafaring people during the period of
German ruthlessness on the high seas. An open boat, overcrowded with
refugees, hastily provisioned as the ship to which it belonged was
careening to its fate, and tossing on the open sea two or three
hundred miles from shore in the icy nights of midwinter was no place
of safety or of comfort. Yet the Germans so construed it, holding
that when they gave passengers and crew of a ship time to take to
the boats, they had fully complied with the international law
providing that in the event of sinking a ship its people must first
be given an opportunity to assure their safety.

There have been many harrowing stories of the experiences of
survivors thus turned adrift. Under the auspices of the British
government, Rudyard Kipling wrote a book detailing the agonies which
the practice inflicted upon helpless human beings, including many
women and children. Some of the survivors have told in graphic story
the record of their actual experiences. Among these one of the most
vivid is from the pen of a well-known American journalist, Floyd P.
Gibbons, correspondent of the Chicago _Tribune_. He was saved from
the British liner, _Laconia_, sunk by a German submarine, and thus
tells the tale of his sufferings and final rescue:

     I have serious doubts whether this is a real story. I am not
     entirely certain that it is not all a dream and that in a few
     minutes I will wake up back in stateroom B. 19 on the promenade
     deck of the Cunarder _Laconia_ and hear my cockney steward
     informing me with an abundance of "and sirs" that it is a fine

     I am writing this within thirty minutes after stepping on the
     dock here in Queenstown from the British mine sweeper which
     picked up our open lifeboat after an eventful six hours of
     drifting, and darkness and baling and pulling on the oars and of
     straining aching eyes toward that empty, meaningless horizon in
     search of help. But, dream or fact, here it is:

     The first-cabin passengers were gathered in the lounge Sunday
     evening, with the exception of the bridge fiends in the
     smoking-room. _Poor Butterfly_ was dying wearily on the
     talking-machine and several couples were dancing.

     About the tables in the smoke-room the conversation was limited
     to the announcement of bids and orders to the stewards. This
     group had about exhausted available discussion when the ship gave
     a sudden lurch sideways and forward. There was a muffled noise
     like the slamming of some large door at a good distance away. The
     slightness of the shock and the mildness of the report compared
     with my imagination was disappointing. Every man in the room
     was on his feet in an instant.

     I looked at my watch. It was 10.30.

     Then came five blasts on the whistle. We rushed down the corridor
     leading from the smoking-room at the stern to the lounge, which
     was amidships. We were running, but there was no panic. The
     occupants of the lounge were just leaving by the forward doors as
     we entered.

     It was dark when we reached the lower deck. I rushed into my
     stateroom, grabbed life preservers and overcoat and made my way
     to the upper deck on that same dark landing.

     I saw the chief steward opening an electric switch box in the
     wall and turning on the switch. Instantly the boat decks were
     illuminated. That illumination saved lives.

     The torpedo had hit us well astern on the starboard side and had
     missed the engines and the dynamos. I had not noticed the deck
     lights before. Throughout the voyage our decks had remained dark
     at night and all cabin portholes were clamped down and all
     windows covered with opaque paint.

     The illumination of the upper deck, on which I stood, made the
     darkness of the water, sixty feet below, appear all the blacker
     when I peered over the edge at my station boat, No. 10.

     Already the boat was loading up and men and boys were busy with
     the ropes. I started to help near a davit that seemed to be
     giving trouble, but was stoutly ordered to get out of the way and
     get into the boat. We were on the port side, practically opposite
     the engine well. Up and down the deck passengers and crew were
     donning lifebelts, throwing on overcoats, and taking positions in
     the boats. There were a number of women, but only one appeared

     The boat started downward with a jerk toward the seemingly hungry
     rising and falling swells. Then we stopped and remained suspended
     in mid-air while the men at the bow and the stern swore and
     tusselled with the lowering ropes. The stern of the boat was
     down, the bow up, leaving us at an angle of about forty-five
     degrees. We clung to the seats to save ourselves from falling

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Salvaging H-3, View I._]

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Salvaging H-3, View II._]

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Salvaging H-3, View III._]

     "Who's got a knife? A knife! a knife!" bawled a sweating seaman
     in the bow.

     "Great God! Give him a knife," bawled a half-dressed, gibbering
     negro stoker who wrung his hands in the stern.

     A hatchet was thrust into my hand, and I forwarded it to the bow.
     There was a flash of sparks as it crashed down on the holding
     pulley. Many feet and hands pushed the boat from the side of the
     ship and we sagged down again, this time smacking squarely on the
     billowy top of a rising swell.

     As we pulled away from the side of the ship its receding terrace
     of lights stretched upward. The ship was slowly turning over. We
     were opposite that part occupied by the engine rooms. There was a
     tangle of oars, spars and rigging on the seat and considerable
     confusion before four of the big sweeps could be manned on either
     side of the boat.

     The gibbering bullet-headed negro was pulling directly behind me
     and I turned to quiet him as his frantic reaches with his oar
     were hitting me in the back.

     "Get away from her, get away from her," he kept repeating. "When
     the water hits her hot boilers she'll blow up, and there's just
     tons and tons of shrapnel in the hold."

     His excitement spread to other members of the crew in the boat.

     It was the give-way of nerve tension. It was bedlam and

     We rested on our oars, with all eyes on the still lighted
     _Laconia_. The torpedo had struck at 10.30 P. M. It was thirty
     minutes afterward that another dull thud, which was accompanied
     by a noticeable drop in the hulk, told its story of the second
     torpedo that the submarine had despatched through the engine room
     and the boat's vitals from a distance of two hundred yards.

     We watched silently during the next minute, as the tiers of
     lights dimmed slowly from white to yellow, then a red, and
     nothing was left but the murky mourning of the night, which hung
     over all like a pall.

     A mean, cheese-coloured crescent of a moon revealed one horn
     above a ragged bundle of clouds low in the distance. A rim of
     blackness settled around our little world, relieved only by
     general leering stars in the zenith, and where the _Laconia's_
     lights had shone there remained only the dim outlines of a
     blacker hulk standing out above the water like a jagged headland,
     silhouetted against the overcast sky.

     The ship sank rapidly at the stern until at last its nose stood
     straight in the air. Then it slid silently down and out of sight
     like a piece of disappearing scenery in a panorama spectacle.

     Boat No. 3 stood closest to the ship and rocked about in a
     perilous sea of clashing spars and wreckage. As our boat's crew
     steadied its head into the wind a black hulk, glistening wet and
     standing about eight feet above the surface of the water,
     approached slowly and came to a stop opposite the boat and not
     six feet from the side of it.

     "What ship was dot?" The correct words in throaty English with a
     German accent came from the dark hulk, according to Chief Steward
     Ballyn's statement to me later.

     "The _Laconia_," Ballyn answered.


     "The _Laconia_, Cunard Line," responded the steward.

     "Vot did she weigh?" was the next question from the submarine.

     "Eighteen thousand tons."

     "Any passengers?"

     "Seventy-three," replied Ballyn, "men, women, and children, some
     of them in this boat. She had over two hundred in the crew."

     "Did she carry cargo?"


     "Well, you'll be all right. The patrol will pick you up soon."
     And without further sound save for the almost silent fixing of
     the conning tower lid, the submarine moved off.

     There was no assurance of an early pick-up, even tho the promise
     were from a German source, for the rest of the boats, whose
     occupants--if they felt and spoke like those in my boat--were
     more than mildly anxious about their plight and the prospects of

     The fear of some of the boats crashing together produced a
     general inclination toward further separation on the part of all
     the little units of survivors, with the result that soon the
     small craft stretched out for several miles, all of them
     endeavouring to keep their heads in the wind.

     And then we saw the first light--the first sign of help
     coming--the first searching glow of white brilliance, deep down
     on the sombre sides of the black pot of night that hung over us.

     It was way over there--first a trembling quiver of silver against
     the blackness; then, drawing closer, it defined itself as a
     beckoning finger, altho still too far away yet to see our feeble
     efforts to attract it....

     We pulled, pulled, lustily forgetting the strain and pain of
     innards torn and racked from pain, vomiting--oblivious of
     blistered hands and wet, half frozen feet.

     Then a nodding of that finger of light--a happy, snapping,
     crap-shooting finger that seemed to say: "Come on, you men," like
     a dice-player wooing the bones--led us to believe that our lights
     had been seen. This was the fact, for immediately the coming
     vessel flashed on its green and red side-lights and we saw it was
     headed for our position.

     "Come alongside port!" was megaphoned to us. And as fast as we
     could we swung under the stern, while a dozen flashlights blinked
     down to us and orders began to flow fast and thick.

     A score of hands reached out, and we were suspended in the husky
     tattooed arms of those doughty British jack tars, looking up into
     the weather-beaten, youthful faces, mumbling thanks and
     thankfulness and reading in the gold lettering on their pancake
     hats the legend "H. M. S. Laburnum."

Of course, the submarine fleets of the various navies paid a heavy
toll too. It has become, however, increasingly difficult to get any
accurate figures of these losses. The British navy, it is known, has
lost during 1914, 1915, and 1916 twelve boats, some of which
foundered, were wrecked or mined while others simply never returned.
The loss of eight German submarines has also been definitely
established. Others, however, are known to have been lost, and their
number has been greatly increased since the arming of merchantmen.
In 1917 it was estimated that the Germans lost one U-boat a week and
built three.

Just what sensations a man experiences in a submerged submarine that
finds it impossible to rise again, is, of course, more or less of a
mystery. For, though submarines, the entire crew of which perished,
have been raised later, only one record has ever been known to have
been made covering the period during which death by suffocation or
drowning stared their occupants in the face. This heroic and
pathetic record was written in form of a letter by the commander of
a Japanese submarine, Lieutenant Takuma Faotomu, whose boat, with
its entire crew, was lost on April 15, 1910, during manoeuvres in
Hiroshima Bay. The letter reads in part as follows:

[Illustration: © International Film Service, Inc.

_U. S. Submarine D 1 off Weehawken._]

     Although there is, indeed, no excuse to make for the sinking of
     his Imperial Majesty's boat and for the doing away of
     subordinates through my heedlessness, all on the boat have
     discharged their duties well and in everything acted calmly until
     death. Although we are departing in pursuance of our duty to the
     State, the only regret we have is due to anxiety lest the men of
     the world may misunderstand the matter, and that thereby a blow
     may be given to the future development of submarines. While going
     through gasoline submarine exercise, we submerged too far, and
     when we attempted to shut the sluice-valve, the chain in the
     meantime gave way. Then we tried to close the sluice-valve, by
     hand, but it was too late, the rear part being full of water, and
     the boat sank at an angle of about twenty-five degrees.

     The switchboard being under water, the electric lights gave out.
     Offensive gas developed and respiration became difficult. The
     above has been written under the light of the conning-tower when
     it was 11.45 o'clock. We are now soaked by the water that has
     made its way in. Our clothes are very wet and we feel cold. I
     have always expected death whenever I left my home, and therefore
     my will is already in the drawer at Karasaki. I beg,
     respectfully, to say to his Majesty that I respectfully request
     that none of the families left by my subordinates shall suffer.
     The only matter I am anxious about now is this. Atmospheric
     pressure is increasing, and I feel as if my tympanum were
     breaking. At 12.30 o'clock respiration is extraordinarily
     difficult. I am breathing gasoline. I am intoxicated with
     gasoline. It is 12.40 o'clock.

Could there be a more touching record of the way in which a brave
man met death?

       *       *       *       *       *

More interest in submarine warfare than ever before was aroused in
this country when the German war submarine U-53 unexpectedly made
its appearance in the harbour of Newport, R. I., during the
afternoon of October 7, 1916. About three hours afterwards, without
having taken on any supplies, and after explaining her presence by
the desire of delivering a letter addressed to Count von Bernstorff,
then German Ambassador at Washington, the U-53 left as suddenly and
mysteriously as she had appeared.

This was the first appearance of a foreign war submarine in an
American port. It was claimed that the U-53 had made the trip from
Wilhelmshaven in seventeen days. She was 213 feet long, equipped
with two guns, four torpedo tubes, and an exceptionally strong
wireless outfit. Besides her commander, Captain Rose, she was manned
by three officers and thirty-three men.

Early the next morning, October 8, it became evident what had
brought the U-53 to this side of the Atlantic. At the break of day,
she made her re-appearance southeast of Nantucket. The American
steamer _Kansan_ of the American Hawaiian Company bound from New
York by way of Boston to Genoa was stopped by her, but, after
proving her nationality and neutral ownership was allowed to
proceed. Five other steamships, three of them British, one Dutch,
and one Norwegian were less fortunate. The British freighter
_Strathend_, of 4321 tons was the first victim. Her crew were taken
aboard the Nantucket shoals light-ship. Two other British
freighters, _West Point_ and _Stephano_, followed in short order to
the bottom of the ocean. The crews of both were saved by United
States torpedo boat destroyers who had come from Newport as soon as
news of the U-53's activities had been received there. This was also
the case with the crews of the Dutch _Bloomersdijk_ and the
Norwegian tanker, _Christian Knudsen_.

Not often in recent years has there been put on American naval
officers quite so disagreeable a restraint as duty enforced upon the
commanders of the destroyers who watched the destruction of these
friendly ships, almost within our own territorial waters, by an
arrogant foreigner who gave himself no concern over the rescue of
the crews of the sunken ships but seemed to think that the function
of the American men of war. It was no secret at the time that
sentiment in the Navy was strongly pro-Ally. Probably had it been
wholly neutral the mind of any commander would have revolted at this
spectacle of wanton destruction of property and callous indifference
to human life. It is quite probable that had this event occurred
before the invention of wireless telegraphy had robbed the navy
commander at sea of all initiative, there might have happened off
Nantucket something analogous to the famous action of Commodore
Tatnall when with the cry, "Blood is thicker than water" he took a
part of his crew to the aid of British vessels sorely pressed by the
fire of certain Chinese forts on the Yellow River. As it was it is
an open secret that one commander appealed by wireless to Washington
for authority to intervene. He did not get it of course. No
possible construction of international law could give us rights
beyond the three-mile limit. He had at least however the
satisfaction when the German commander asked him to move his ship to
a point at which it would not interfere with the submarine's fire
upon one of the doomed vessels, of telling him to move his own ship
and accompanying the suggestion with certain phrases of elaboration
thoroughly American.

The rapid development of submarine warfare naturally made it
necessary to find ways and means to combat this new weapon of naval
warfare. Much difficulty was experienced, especially in the
beginning, because there were no precedents and because for a
considerable period everything that was tried had necessarily to be
of an experimental nature.

To protect harbours and bays was found comparatively easy. Nets were
spread across their entrances. They were made of strong wire cables
and to judge from the total absence of submarines within the
harbours thus guarded they proved a successful deterrent. In most
cases they were supported by extensive minefields. The danger of
these to submarines, however, is rather a matter of doubt, for
submarines can dive successfully under them and by careful
navigating escape unharmed.

The general idea of fighting submarines with nets was also adopted
for areas of open water which were suspected of being infested with
submarines. Recently, serious doubts have been raised concerning the
future usefulness of nets. Reports have been published that German
submarines have been fitted up with a wire and cable cutting
appliance which would make it possible for them to break through
nets at will, supposing, of course, that they had been caught by the
nets in such a way that no vital parts of the underwater craft had
been seriously damaged. A sketch of this wire cutting device was
made by the captain of a merchantman, who, while in a small boat
after his ship had been torpedoed, had come close enough to the
attacking submarine to make the necessary observations. The sketch
showed an arrangement consisting of a number of strands of heavy
steel hawsers which were stretched from bow to stern, passing
through the conning tower and to which were attached a series of
heavy circular knives a foot in diameter and placed about a yard
apart. Even as early as January, 1915, Mr. Simon Lake, the famous
American submarine engineer and inventor, published an article in
the _Scientific American_ in which he dwelt at length on means by
which a submarine could escape mines and nets. One of the
illustrations, accompanying this article, showed a device enabling
submarines travelling on the bottom of the sea to lift a net with a
pair of projecting arms and thus pass unharmed under it.

[Illustration: © International Film Service, Inc.

_Submarine Built for Spain in the Cape Cod Canal._]

Many other devices to trap, sink or capture submarines have been
invented. A large number of these, of course, have been found
impracticable. Others, however, have been used with success. Few
details of any of these have been allowed to become known.

The most dangerous power of submarines, is their ability to approach
very closely to their object of attack without making their presence
known to their prey. This naturally suggested that a way be found to
detect the presence of submarines early enough to make it possible
to stave off an attack or even to assume the offensive against the
underwater boat. A recent invention, the perfection of which is due
to the work of Mr. William Dubilier, an American electrical
engineer, and of Professor Tissot, a member of the French Academy of
Science, is the microphone. Few details are known about this
instrument except that it records sound waves at as great a distance
as fifty-five miles. This would permit in most cases the calling of
patrol boats or the use of other defensive means before the
submarine would be able to execute an attack.

At the present moment it would appear that the most dangerous enemy
of the submarine yet discovered is the airplane or the dirigible.
Some figures as to the mortality among submarines due to the efforts
of aircraft have been published in an earlier chapter. The chief
value of aircraft in this work is due to the fact that objects under
the water are readily discernible at a considerable depth when
viewed from a point directly over them. An illustration familiar to
every boy is to be found in the fact that he can see fish at the
bottom of a clear stream from a bridge, while from the shore the
refraction of the water is such that he can see nothing. From the
air the aviator can readily see a submarine at a depth of fifty feet
unless the water is unusually rough or turbid. The higher he rises
the wider is his sphere of vision. With the lurking craft thus
located the airman can either signal to watching destroyers or may
bide his time and follow the submarine until it rises to the
surface, when a well placed bomb will destroy it. Both of these
methods have been adopted with success. For a time the submarines
were immune from this form of attack because of the difficulty of
finding a bomb which would not explode on striking the surface of
the water, thus allowing its force to be dissipated before it
reached the submarine, or else would not have its velocity so
greatly checked by the water that on reaching the submarine the
shock of its impact would not be great enough to explode it at all.
Both of these difficulties have been overcome. The new high
explosives have such power, taken in connection with the fact that
water transmits the force of an explosion undiminished to a great
distance, that many of them exploding at the surface will put out of
action a submarine at a considerable depth. Furthermore bombs have
been invented, which being fired, not merely dropped from an
airplane, will go through the water with almost undiminished
momentum and explode on striking the target, or after a period fixed
by the assailant. Other bombs known as "depth bombs" are fitted with
flanges that revolve as they sink, causing an explosion at any
desired depth.

About the actual achievements of the airplane as a foe to submarines
there hangs a haze of mystery. It has been the policy of the Allied
governments to keep secret the record of submarines destroyed and
particularly the methods of destruction. But we know that a few have
met their fate from bolts dropped from the blue. In _The Outlook_
Lawrence La Tourette Driggs, himself a flying man of no contemptible
record, describes the method and result of such an attack. After
recounting the steps by which a brother airman attained a position
directly above a submerged submarine preparatory to dropping his
bomb, he says:

     Down shot his plummet of steel and neatly parted the waters ahead
     of the labouring submarine. But it did not explode. I could see a
     whirling metal propeller on the torpedo revolve as it sank. It
     must have missed the craft by twenty feet.

     Suddenly a column of water higher than my position in the air
     stood straight up over the sea, then slipped noiselessly back. By
     all that is wonderful how did that happen?

     As we covered the spot again and again in our circling machines,
     we were joined by two more pilots, and finally by a fast clipper
     steam yacht. The surface of the water was literally covered with
     oil, breaking up the ripple of the waves, and smoothing a huge
     area into gleaming bronze. Here and there floated a cork belt,
     odd bunches of cotton waste, a strip of carpet, and a wooden
     three-legged stool. These fragments alone remained to testify to
     the _corpus delicti_.

     "Philip," I said half an hour later, as the hot coffee was
     thawing out our insides, "what kind of a civilized bomb do you
     call that?"

     "That bears the simple little title of trinitrotoluol; call it T.
     N. T. for short," replied Sergeant Pieron.

     "But what made it hang fire so long?" I demanded.

     "It's made to work that way. When the bomb begins sinking the
     little propeller is turned as it is pulled down through the
     water. It continues turning until it screws to the end. There it
     touches the fuse-pin and that sets off the high explosive--at any
     depth you arrange it for."

     I regarded him steadfastly. Then I remarked, "But it did not
     touch the submarine. I saw it miss."

     "Yes, you can miss it fifty yards and still crush the submarine."
     He took up an empty egg shell. "The submarine is hollow like
     this. She is held rigidly on all her sides by the water. Water is
     non-compressible like steel. Now when the T. N. T. explodes, even
     some distance away, the violent expending concussion is
     communicated to this hollow shell just as though a battering ram
     struck it. The submarine can't give any because the  surrounding
     water holds her in place. So she crumples up--like this."

     Pieron opened his hand and the flakes of egg shell fluttered down
     until they struck the floor.

Gunfire undoubtedly is still the most reliable preventive against
submarine attacks. Comparatively small calibred guns can cause
serious damage to submarines even by one well directed shot.
Submarines have been sunk both by warships and merchantmen in this
way and many more have been forced to desist from attacks. Not every
merchantman, of course, can be equipped with the necessary guns and
gunners. Neither equipment nor men can be spared in sufficient
quantities. But the efficiency of gun protection has been proved
beyond all doubt by many authentic reports of successful encounters
between armed merchantmen and submarines in which the latter were

Ramming, too, has been advocated and tried. It is, however, a
procedure involving considerable danger to the attacking boat. For
one thing all the submarine has to do is to dive quick and deep
enough and it is out of harm's way. Then, too, the chances are that
the submarine can launch a torpedo in time to reach the ramming
vessel before the latter can do any damage.

[Illustration: _A Critical Moment._

_Painting by John E. Whiting._]

There have been reports of submarine duels between Austrian and
Italian submarines in the Adriatic in which it was claimed that in
each at least one submarine was destroyed, and, at least, in one
instance both the duellists were sunk. Generally speaking the fact
has been established, however, that submarines cannot fight
submarines with any degree of success, except in exceptional cases
and under exceptional conditions.

Since the outbreak of the war between the United States and Germany
the question of combating the submarine has become more acute than
ever. The latest development has been along negative rather than
affirmative lines. It has apparently been decided that none of the
devices, known at present and capable of destroying submarines, is
sufficient either alone or in combinations to defeat the submarines
decisively. The best means of balancing as much as possible the
losses which German submarines are inflicting on the shipping
facilities of the Allies at the present seems to be the unlimited
and prompt building of large fleets of comparatively small ships. If
this can be accomplished in time, the German submarines undoubtedly
will find it impossible to destroy a tonnage sufficient to exert any
great influence on the final outcome of the war.



The world will not always be at war. Interminable as the conflict by
which it is now racked seems, and endless as appear the resources of
the nations participating in it, the time must come when victory or
sheer exhaustion shall compel peace. People talk of that peace being
permanent. That is perhaps too sanguine a dream while human nature
remains what it is, and nations can still be as covetous, ambitious,
and heedless of others' rights as are individuals. But beyond doubt
a prolonged period of peace awaits the world. What then is to be the
future of the aircraft and the submarine which had to wait for war
to secure any recognition from mankind of their prodigious

Of the future of the aircraft there can be no doubt. Its uses in
peace will be innumerable. Poor old Count Zeppelin, who thought of
his invention only as a weapon of war, nevertheless showed how it
might be successfully adapted to the needs of peace merely as a
byproduct. As for the airplane both for sport and business its
opportunities are endless. Easy and inexpensive to build, simple to
operate with but little training on the part of the aviator, it will
be made the common carrier of all nations. Already the United States
is maintaining an aërial mail service in Alaska. Already too, bi-
and triplanes are built capable of carrying twenty-five to thirty
men besides guns and ammunition. It is easy to foresee the use that
can be made of machines of this character in times of peace. Needing
no tracks or right of way, requiring no expensive signalling or
operative system, asking only that at each end of the route there
shall be a huge level field for rising and for landing, these
machines will in time take to themselves the passenger business of
the world.

But the future of the submarine is more dubious. Always it will be a
potent weapon of war. It may indeed force the relegation of
dreadnoughts to the scrap heap. But of its peaceful services there
is more doubt. That it can be made a cargo carrier is unquestionably
true. But to what good? There is no intelligent reason for carrying
cargoes slowly under water which might just as well be carried
swiftly on the surface unless war compels concealment. Underwater
navigation must always be slower and more expensive than surface
navigation, nor does it seem probable that the underwater boats can
ever equal in size ordinary ships, though undoubtedly their present
proportions are going to be greatly increased.

As a result of the German submarine campaign it is possible that the
United States may develop a fleet of underwater merchantmen to
circumvent the enemy while this war continues, though there has been
but little discussion of it. But even so, commonsense would indicate
that such a fleet would be abandoned on the restoration of peace. If
anything is to be done toward making the submarine a vessel of
ordinary everyday use the present double system of motors--the
Diesels for surface navigation and the electric for submerged
service--will have to be abandoned. Inventors however are diligently
working on this problem to-day. Indeed so well known and successful
a builder of submarines as Mr. Simon Lake seemed to have faith in
their possibilities as merchant craft. As early as February, 1916,
he announced that he had taken out a patent on a new form of
cargo-carrying submarine which he described as made up of "nests of
light-weight circular tanks of comparatively small diameter
surrounded by a ship-shape form of hull." What advantage was to
accrue from this type of vessel Mr. Lake has not explained. However
the Germans who seemed to originate everything successfully
demonstrated that the merchant submarine was a practicable and
useful craft with which to beat the blockade.

This was proved by the two successful trips made by the unarmed
German merchant submarine _Deutschland_ between Germany and the
United States in 1916. Loaded with a cargo of dyestuffs and
chemicals she left Bremen on June 14, 1916, and arrived in Baltimore
early in July. After a short stay, during which she took on a full
return cargo, consisting chiefly of rubber and metal, she started on
August 1, 1916, for her return trip to Bremen where she arrived
safely soon after August 15, 1916. Once more, in October of the same
year she made a successful round trip, docking this time in New
London. There was considerable talk about additional trips by other
German merchant submarines, but none of them were ever carried out.
It has never become known whether this was due to the loss of these
merchant submarines or to political relations between Germany and
the United States which were then gradually assuming a less friendly

[Illustration: Photo by International Film Service.

_A Submarine Built for Chili, Passing through Cape Cod Canal._]

Of course, it is true that such boats are blockade runners and in a
way, therefore, part and parcel of warfare. But they are unarmed
merchantmen just the same and their exclusively mercantile character
has been officially acknowledged by the United States Government.
Under conditions of peace, however, it is very doubtful whether
submarine merchantmen would pay, nor does it seem as if they
possessed any advantages at all over surface merchant vessels.
Nevertheless they represent an entirely new development of submarine
navigation and, therefore, deserve attention.

During her stay in the United States, very few people were permitted
to get more than a glance of the _Deutschland_. As a result,
comparatively little became known regarding her mechanical details.
The _Scientific American_, however, in its issue of July 22, 1916,
gives a fairly detailed description of this first merchant

From this account we learn that the _Deutschland_ conforms rather
closely to the typical German naval U-boat. The hull proper consists
of an internal cigar-shaped, cylindrical structure, which extends
from stem to stern, and in its largest diameter measures about
twenty feet. Enclosing this hull is a lighter false hull, which is
perforated, to permit the entrance and exit of the sea-water, and is
so shaped as to give the submarine a fairly good ship model for
driving at high speed on the surface and at a much lesser speed
submerged. The upper portion of the false hull does not present such
a flat deck-like appearance as is noticeable in the naval U-boats.
In fact, the whole modelling of the _Deutschland_, as compared with
the naval boats, suggests that she has been fulled out somewhat,
with a view to obtaining the necessary displacement for cargo

     The interior cylindrical hull is divided by four transverse
     bulkheads into five separate water-tight compartments.
     Compartment No. 1, at the bow, contains the anchor cables and
     electric winches for handling the anchor; also general ship
     stores, and a certain amount of cargo. Compartment No. 2 is given
     up entirely to cargo. Compartment No. 3, which is considerably
     larger than any of the others, contains the living quarters of
     the officers and crew. At the after end of this compartment, and
     communicating with it, is the conning tower. Compartment No. 4 is
     given up entirely to cargo. Compartment No. 5 contains the
     propelling machinery, consisting of two heavy oil engines and two
     electric motors. The storage batteries are carried in the bottom
     of the boat, below the living compartment. For purposes of
     communication, a gangway, 2 feet 6 inches wide by 6 feet high, is
     built through each cargo compartment, thus rendering it possible
     for the crew to pass entirely from one end of the boat to the

     The length of the _Deutschland_ is about 315 feet; beam 30 feet,
     and draught 17 feet. For surface propulsion and for charging the
     batteries, the boat carries two 4-cylinder, Diesel, heavy-oil
     motors of about 600 H. P. each. The speed at the surface is from
     12 to 13 knots; and submerged it is 7 knots. At the surface the
     displacement of the boat is about 2000 tons, and she has a cargo
     capacity of about 700 tons.

     The freeboard to the main deck, which runs the full length of the
     boat, but is only about 5-1/2 feet wide, is about 6 feet, and the
     cockpit at the top of the conning tower is about 15 feet above
     the water. This cockpit, by the way, is suggestive of the
     protection afforded a chauffeur in an automobile, there being a
     shield in front of the quartermaster, so shaped as to throw the
     wind and spray upwards and clear of his face.

     Two periscopes are provided; one at the forward end of the
     conning tower, and the other, of larger diameter, being forward
     and on the starboard of the conning tower. An interesting feature
     is the two folding, steel, wireless masts, about 50 feet in
     height, both of which fold aft into pockets built in the deck of
     the ship. The forward one of these masts carries a crow's nest
     for the lookout.

The commander of the _Deutschland_, Captain Paul König, was before the
war a popular captain of North German Lloyd liners. He has published a
very vivid and interesting account of the _Deutschland's_ trip, the
_Voyage of the Deutschland_. In this book, he tells us how he was
offered this novel command while the plans were still being drawn and
that he immediately accepted, making, however, the proviso "if the
thing really comes off."

The men, backing the venture, lost no time and, so Captain König
tells us,

     in less than two months a telegram called me to Berlin to an
     important conference. Here I looked at sketches, plans, and
     working drawings until my eyes swam. Four more months passed
     which I utilized to the full. I then went to Kiel and saw a
     remarkable framework of steel slowly take shape upon the stocks
     across the way at Gaarden. Rotund, snug, and harmless the thing
     lay there. Inside it were hidden all the countless, complicated,
     and powerful features of those sketches and working drawings. I
     cannot boast that the reality as executed in steel and brass was
     any easier to grasp than the endless network of lines and circles
     which had bewildered me when inspecting the blueprints.

     Those of you who have seen illustrations and photographs of the
     interior of the "central station" or the "turret" of a submarine,
     will understand what I mean. And should you have entered a
     submarine itself and felt yourself hopelessly confused by the
     bewildering chaos of wheels, vents, screws, cocks, pipes,
     conduits--above, below, and all about--not to speak of the
     mysterious levers and weird mechanisms, each of which has some
     important function to fulfill, you may find some consolation in
     the thought that my own brains performed a devils' dance at the

     But after this monster, with its tangle of tubes and pipes, had
     been duly christened, and its huge grey-green body had slid
     majestically into the water, it suddenly became a ship. It swam
     in its element as though born to it--as though it had never known

     For the first time I trod the tiny deck and mounted the turret to
     the navigation platform. From here I glanced down and was
     surprised to see beneath me a long, slender craft--with gracious
     lines and dainty contours. Only the sides, where the green body
     vaulted massively above the water, gave an indication of the huge
     size of the hull. I felt pride and rapture as my eye took in this
     picture. The fabric swayed slightly beneath my feet--an
     impressive combination of power and delicacy.

     And now I know that what had at first seemed to me nothing more
     than the product of some mad phantasy on the part of the
     technicians was in reality a ship. It was a ship in which oceans
     might be crossed, a real ship, to which the heart of an old
     sailor like myself might safely attach itself.

     Then came a short period of trial trips and diving tests, all of
     which were carried off successfully, and at last the day of
     departure arrived. As soon as the last escort had turned around a
     final diving test was ordered.

     Instantly the response came back from the turret and the central
     station, and the men hurried to their posts. The oil engines were
     still hammering away at a mad rate. I left the manhole of the
     turret. The cover was battened down, the engines stopped at the
     same moment.

     We felt a slight pressure in our ears for a moment. We were cut
     off from outside and silence reigned. But this silence was merely
     an illusion--and was due to the change.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_A Submarine Entrapped by Nets._]

     "Open the diving-valves! Submerge!"

     The valves were flung open and the compressed air escaped hissing
     from the tanks. At the same time a gigantic, intermittent
     snorting ensued, like the blowing and belching of some
     prehistoric monster. There was an uncomfortable pressure in our
     ears, then the noise became more regular, followed by a buzzing
     and a shrill hum. All the high notes of the engines in the
     central station intermingled and made a bewildering noise. It was
     like a mad diabolical singsong. And yet it was almost like
     silence after the dull, heavy pounding of the oil-motors--only
     more insistent and irritating. The penetrating hum in the various
     vents announced the fact that the diving mechanism was in
     operation. It moaned and sang lower and lower in the scale of
     tones. These slowly diminishing and steadily deepening tones
     give one the physical feeling of mighty volumes of water pouring
     in and flooding full.

     You have the sensation of growing heavier and sinking as the boat
     grows heavier and sinks, even though you may not be able to see
     through the turret window, or the periscope, how the bows are
     gradually submerged and the water climbs higher and higher up the
     turret until all things without are wrapped in the eerie twilight
     of the depths.

     The faithful lamps burned, however, and then a real silence
     suddenly ensued. There was no sound but the gentle trembling
     rhythm of the electric engines.

     I then gave the order:

     "Submerge to twenty meters!"

     "Both engines half steam ahead!"

     I was able to follow our submersion by means of the manometer.
     Through flooding the tanks, the boat is given several tons
     over-weight and the enclosed ship's space is made heavier than
     the displaced quantity of water. The titanic fish, therefore,
     began to sink downward in its element, that is to say, it began,
     in a certain sense, to fall. At the same time the electric
     engines are put into motion and the propulsive force of the
     propellers acts upon the diving rudders and causes the sinking to
     become a gliding. After the required depth has been
     reached--something which may easily be read from the manometer
     that records the depth--all further sinking may be stopped by
     simply lightening the hull, which is done by forcing out some of
     the water in the submarine's tanks. The furious growling of the
     pump is always a sure sign that the required depth is being
     approached. The noise ceased, only the electric motors continued
     to purr, and the word came from the central station:

     "Twenty meters--even keel!"

     "Rudder set!"

     So we forged ahead at a depth of twenty meters. Of course we are
     "blind" under such conditions and can regulate our movements only
     by means of the depth recorder and that precious little jewel of
     the boat, our compass. No ray of light reached us any longer from
     without, the periscope was submerged long ago and the steel
     safety covers over the windows were closed. We had been
     metamorphosed completely into a fish.[1]

         [Footnote 1: ©]

Orders were then given to rise again. The _Deutschland_ carried out
this manoeuvre with the same facility with which she had taken the
initial dive of her long voyage. In record time the ballast tanks
were emptied and the change from electric motors to oil engines was
completed without further loss of time. The boat was started at top
surface speed towards her ultimate goal, the United States.

On the following day the _Deutschland_ barely escaped running foul
of a British submarine chaser, disguised as a neutral merchantman. A
quick dive alone saved her. When she came up again a wild storm and
a heavy sea were raging. Even before the change from the electric
motors to the oil engines had been completed, another dangerous
looking vessel appeared and before long was recognized as a hostile
destroyer by Captain König. He tells us that he "Made one jump into
the turret and slammed the cover fast."

     "Alarm! Dive quickly! Flood!"

     "Set diving rudder!"

     "Twenty meters' depth!"

     The commands were uttered in almost one breath. But the execution
     of them!

     To attempt to dive with such a sea running was sheer madness, as
     experience has taught us. What was I to do? The destroyer might
     have seen us already!

     Well, we knew we must get under--and as quickly as possible.

     The men in the central below me were working away in silent
     haste. All the exhausts were opened wide, the compressed air
     hissed from the tanks--the diving vents were chanting in all
     possible keys.

     I stood with my lips pressed together and stared out of the
     turret window upon the tossing sea, and watched for the first
     sign of our going down. But our deck remained still visible and
     we were continually lifted into the air by some wave. There was
     not a moment to be lost.

     I ordered the diving rudder to be set still more sharply and both
     engines to drive ahead with full power.

     The whole vessel quivered and thrilled under the increased
     pressure of the engines and made several leaps. She staggered
     about in the furious seas--but still seemed loath to leave the
     surface. Then she gave a jerk and her bows suddenly dipped and
     cut into the flood. She began to sink into the depths at an
     ever-increasing angle. The coming daylight vanished from the
     windows of the turret, the manometer in rapid succession showed
     2--3--6--10 meters' depth. But the angle of the boat also began
     to increase.

     We staggered about, leaned back, slipped off our feet. We then
     lost our footing entirely--for the floor of the _Deutschland_
     slanted sharply toward the front. I was just able to catch hold
     of the ocular or eye-piece of the periscope. Down in the central
     the men were hanging on to the hand-wheels of the diving rudder.
     A few terrible seconds passed thus.

     We had not yet seized the full significance of this new situation
     when there came a severe shock. We were hurled to the floor and
     everything that was not fastened down went flying in all

     We found ourselves in the queerest attitudes--and stared into one
     another's faces. There was a grim silence for a moment, then
     First Officer Krapohl remarked dryly:

     "Well, we seem to have arrived!"

     This broke the ghastly tension.

     We were all rather pale around the gills, but at once tried to
     get our bearings.

     What had happened?

     What had caused this unnatural inclination of the boat? And why
     were the engines above us raving at intervals in a way that made
     the whole boat roar from stem to stern?

     Before any of us had arrived at any solution of the mystery, our
     Chief Engineer, little Klees, had jumped up from his crouching
     position, and, swift as lightning, had swept the engine-signal
     dial around to "Stop!"

     And suddenly there was a deep silence.

     We slowly assembled our proper legs and arms and thought hard
     over what had happened.

     The vessel had slanted down toward the bows at an angle of about
     36 degrees. She was standing, so to speak, on her head. Our bow
     was fast upon the bottom of the sea--our stern was still
     oscillating up and down like a mighty pendulum. The manometer
     showed a depth of about 15 meters.[2]

         [Footnote 2: ©]

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Diagram of a German Submarine Mine-Layer Captured by British._]

However, the _Deutschland_ finally worked herself free and soon was
again on the surface. Luck must have been with her, for she had
suffered no damage and, in spite of the mountains of water which she
must have thrown up, the hostile destroyer had not discovered her.
Once more she was off on her way.

So the days went by and before long the merchant submarine had
passed, without having been detected, beyond the territory in which
British patrol boats were operating. Then came a succession of
uneventful days and fine weather. Practically every day diving tests
were made. One of these the captain describes as follows:

     During these experimental diving tests we were treated to a
     spectacle of fairy-like loveliness.

     I had set the rudder in such a way that the turret was travelling
     about three yards under water. Overhead the sun shone brilliantly
     and filled the deeps with a clear radiance. The pure water was
     luminous with colour--close at hand it was of a light azure blue,
     of fabulous clearness and transparent as glass. I could see the
     entire boat from the turret windows. The shimmering pearls of the
     air-bubbles which rise constantly from the body of the craft
     played about the entire length of the vessel from deck to bows,
     and every detail stood out in miraculous sharpness. Farther ahead
     there was a multi-coloured twilight. It seemed as if the prow
     kept pushing itself noiselessly into a wall of opalescent green
     which parted, glistening, and grew to an ethereal, rainbow-like
     translucency close at hand.

     We were spell-bound by this vision of beauty. The fairy-like
     effect was increased by medusæ which, poised in the transparent
     blue, frequently became entangled in the wires of the mine-guards
     or the railings and glowed like trembling fires of rose, pale
     gold, and purple.[3]

         [Footnote 3: ©]

But less pleasant things were in store for the _Deutschland's_ crew.
The nearer the boat came to the region of the Gulf Stream, the more
violent the weather became. Though she still ran most of the time on
the surface, it became necessary to keep all openings battened down.
Even the manhole, leading to the turret, could be kept open only
for short periods. Naturally the temperature was rising all the
time. It was midsummer and the Gulf Stream contributed its share of
warmth. No wonder, therefore, that Captain König compares conditions
below decks to a "veritable hell," and then continues:

     While in the Gulf Stream we had an outer temperature of 28°
     Celsius. This was about the warmth of the surrounding water.
     Fresh air no longer entered. In the engine-room two 6-cylinder
     combustion motors kept hammering away in a maddening two-four
     time. They hurled the power of their explosions into the whirling
     crankshafts. The red-hot breath of the consumed gases went
     crashing out through the exhausts, but the glow of these
     incessant firings remained in the cylinders and communicated
     itself to the entire oil-dripping environment of steel. A choking
     cloud of heat and oily vapour streamed from the engines and
     spread itself like a leaden pressure through the entire ship.

     During these days the temperature mounted to 53° Celsius.

     And yet men lived and worked in a hell such as this! The watch
     off duty, naked to the skin, groaned and writhed in their bunks.
     It was no longer possible to think of sleep. And when one of the
     men fell into a dull stupor, then he would be aroused by the
     sweat which ran incessantly over his forehead and into his eyes,
     and would awake to new torment.

     It was almost like a blessed deliverance when the eight hours of
     rest were over, and a new watch was called to the central or the

[Illustration: Redrawn from _The Sphere_. Permission of _Scientific

_A Submarine Discharging a Torpedo._]

     But there the real martyrdom began. Clad only in an undershirt
     and drawers, the men stood at their posts, a cloth wound about
     their foreheads to keep the running sweat from streaming into
     their eyes. Their blood hammered and raced in their temples.
     Every vein boiled as with fever. It was only by the exertion of
     the most tremendous willpower that it was possible to force the
     dripping human body to perform its mechanical duty and to remain
     upright during the four hours of the watch....

     But how long would we be able to endure this?

     I no longer kept a log during these days and I find merely this
     one note: "Temperature must not rise any higher if the men are to
     remain any longer in the engine-room."

     But they did endure it. They remained erect like so many heroes,
     they did their duty, exhausted, glowing hot, and bathed in sweat,
     until the storm centre lay behind us, until the weather cleared,
     until the sun broke through the clouds, and the diminishing seas
     permitted us once more to open the hatches.[4]

         [Footnote 4: ©]

The _Deutschland_ was now near her goal. Without any trouble she
entered Hampton Roads and was docked at Baltimore. There her cargo
was discharged and her return cargo loaded. This latter operation
involved many difficulties. During her stay a United States
Government Commission made a detailed inspection of the
_Deutschland_ to determine beyond all question her mercantile
character. But at last the day of departure, August 1, had arrived.
Properly escorted she made the trip down the Patapsco River and
Chesapeake Bay. On her way down she made again diving trials which
Captain König describes as follows:

     In order to see that everything else was tight and in good order,
     I gave the command to set the boat upon the sea bottom at a spot
     which, according to the reading upon the chart, had a depth of
     some 30 meters.

     Once again everything grew silent. The daylight vanished the
     well-known singing and boiling noise of the submerging vents
     vibrated about us. In my turret I fixed my eyes upon the
     manometer. Twenty meters were recorded, then twenty-five. The
     water ballast was diminished--thirty meters appeared and I waited
     the slight bump which was to announce the arrival of the boat at
     the bottom.

     Nothing of the sort happened.

     Instead of this the indicator upon the dial pointed to 32--to
     33--to 35 meters....

     I knocked against the glass with my finger--correct--the arrow
     was just pointing toward thirty-six.

     "Great thunder! what's up?" I cried, and reached for the chart.
     Everything tallied. Thirty meters were indicated at this spot and
     our reckoning had been most exact.

     And we continued to sink deeper and deeper.

     The dial was now announcing 40 meters.

     This was a bit too much for me. I called down to the central and
     got back the comforting answer that the large manometer was also
     indicating a depth of over forty meters!

     The two manometers agreed.

     This, however, did not prevent the boat from continuing to sink.

     The men in the central began to look at one another....

     Ugh! it gives one a creepy feeling to go slipping away into the
     unknown amidst this infernal singing silence and to see nothing
     but the climbing down of the confounded indicator upon the
     white-faced dial....

     There was nothing else to be seen in my turret. I glanced at the
     chart and then at the manometer in a pretty helpless fashion.

     In the meantime the boat sank deeper; forty-five meters were
     passed--the pointer indicated forty-eight meters. I began to
     think the depth of the Chesapeake Bay must have some limit; we
     surely could not be heading for the bottomless pit? Then--the
     boat halted at a depth of fifty meters without the slightest

     I climbed down into the central and took counsel with Klees and
     the two officers of the watch.

     There could be only one explanation; we must have sunk into a
     hole which had not been marked upon the chart.[5]

         [Footnote 5: ©]

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_A German Submarine in Three Positions._]

When orders were now given to rise, it was found that the exhaust
pumps refused to work. After a while, however, the chief engineer
succeeded in getting them started. They reached the surface after
about two hours of submergence.

It was dark by the time the merchant submarine was approaching the
three-mile limit. Outside of it hostile warships were lying in wait.
That the _Deutschland_ escaped them well illustrates the fact that
submarines may be kept by various means from entering a bay or a
harbour, but that to blockade their exit is practically impossible.
This is how Captain König speaks of his escape.

     We knew that the most dangerous moment of our entire voyage was
     now approaching. We once more marked our exact position, and then
     proceeded to make all the preparations necessary for our breaking

     Then we dived and drove forward. All our senses were keyed to the
     utmost, our nerves taut to the breaking-point with that cold
     excitement which sends quivers through one's soul, the while
     outwardly one remains quite serene, governed by that clear and
     icy deliberation which is apt to possess a man who is fully
     conscious of the unknown perils toward which he goes....

     We knew our path. We had already been informed that fishermen had
     been hired to spread their nets along certain stretches of the
     three-mile limit; nets in which we were supposed to entangle
     ourselves; nets into which devilish mines had very likely been

     Possibly these nets were merely attached to buoys which we were
     then supposed to drag along after us, thus betraying our

     We were prepared for all emergencies, so that in case of extreme
     necessity we should be able to free ourselves of the nets. But
     all went well.

     It was a dark night. Quietly and peacefully the lighthouses upon
     the two capes sent forth their light, the while a few miles
     further out death lay lowering for us in every imaginable form.

     But while the English ships were racing up and down, jerking
     their searchlights across the waters and searching again and
     again in every imaginable spot, they little surmised that, at
     times within the radius of their own shadows, a periscope pursued
     its silent way, and under this periscope the _U-Deutschland_.

     That night at twelve o'clock, after hours of indescribable
     tension, I gave the command to rise.

     We Had Broken Through!

     Slowly the _Deutschland_ rose to the surface, the tanks were
     blown out and the Diesel engines flung into the gearing. At our
     highest speed we now went rushing toward the free Atlantic.[6]

         [Footnote 6: ©]

The homeward voyage was completed without untoward incident and long
before the month had ended, the first--and probably last--merchant
submarine was again safe and snug in her home port.

The cargo-carrying submarine, however, is by no means the only type
of underwater vessel engaged in peaceful pursuits which has been
suggested so far. Mr. Simon Lake, the American submarine engineer
and inventor, has frequently pointed out the commercial
possibilities of the submarine.

In the early part of 1916 a series of articles from his pen appeared
in _International Marine Engineering_. They contained a number of
apparently feasible suggestions looking towards the commercial
development of the submarine.

First of all he tells of experiments made with submarines for
navigation under ice. The proper development of this idea, of
course, would be of immense commercial value. Many harbours in
various parts of the world are inaccessible during the winter months
for vessels navigating on the surface. Navigation on many important
inland lakes likewise has to be stopped during that period.
Submarines, built so that they can safely travel under the ice,
would overcome these conditions and would make it possible to use
most ice-bound ports throughout the entire year at least in Mr.
Lake's view.

Ever since Mr. Lake began inventing and building submarines he has
been interested in the possibilities which submarines offer for the
exploration of the sea-bottom and for the discovery of wrecks and
recovery of their valuable cargoes. His first boat, the _Argonaut_,
as we have heard, possessed a diving chamber for just such purposes.
He has continued his investigations and experiments along this line,
and in these articles he shows illustrations of submarine boats and
devices adapted for such work. Properly financed and directed, the
recovery of cargoes from wrecks undoubtedly would not only bring
large financial returns to the backers of such a venture, but also
do away with the immense waste which the total loss of sunken
vessels and cargoes inflicts now on the world. Submarines in peace
may yet recover for the use of man much of the wealth which
submarines in war have sent to the bottom of the sea. Marine
insurance, too, would be favourably affected by such an undertaking.

Still one other commercial submarine boat is advocated by Mr. Lake.
This is to be used for the location and collection of shellfish on a
large scale. Of this vessel its inventor says:

     The design of this submarine oyster-dredging vessel is such that
     the vessel goes down to the bottom direct, and the water is
     forced out of the centre raking compartment so that the oysters
     may be seen by the operator in the control compartment. With only
     a few inches of water over them, headway is then given to the
     submarine and the oysters are automatically raked up, washed, and
     delivered through pipes into the cargo-carrying chambers.
     Centrifugal pumps are constantly delivering water from the cargo
     compartments, which induces a flow of water through the pipes
     leading from the "rake pans" with sufficient velocity to carry up
     the oysters and deposit them into the cargo holds. In this manner
     the bottom may be seen, and by "tracking" back and forth over the
     bottom the ground may be "cleaned up" at one operation.

     This boat has a capacity of gathering oysters from good ground at
     the rate of five thousand bushels per hour. The use of the
     submarine will make the collection of oysters more nearly like
     the method of reaping a field of grain, where one "swathe"
     systematically joins on to another, and the whole field is
     "cleaned up" at one operation.

Man's greediness for profit has already driven the salmon from the
rivers of New England where once they swarmed. Mechanical devices
for taking them by the hundreds of thousands threaten a like result
in the now teeming rivers of Washington and British Columbia. Mr.
Lake's invention has the demerit of giving conscienceless profiteers
the opportunity to obliterate the oyster from our national waters.

[Illustration: Permission of _Scientific American_.

_Sectional View of a British Submarine._]

It does not appear, however, that, except as an engine of war the
submarine offers much prospect of future development or future
usefulness. And as we of the United States entered this war, which
now engages our energies and our thoughts, for the purpose of making
it the last war the world shall ever know, speculation on the future
of the submarine seems rather barren. That does not mean however
that there will be a complete stoppage of submarine construction or
submarine development. War is not going to be ended by complete
international disarmament, any more than complete unpreparedness
kept the United States out of the struggle. A reasonable armament
for every nation, and the union of all nations against any one or
two that threaten wantonly to break the peace is the most promising
plan intelligent pacifism has yet suggested. In such an
international system there will be room and plenty for submarines.

Indeed it is into just such a plan that they intelligently fit.
Though not wholly successful in their operations against capital
ships, they have demonstrated enough power to make nations hesitate
henceforth before putting a score of millions into ponderous
dreadnoughts which have to retire from submarine-infested waters as
the British did in their very hour of triumph at Jutland. They have
not nullified, but greatly reduced the value of overwhelming sea
power such as the British have possessed. A navy greater than those
of any two other nations has indeed kept the German ships, naval and
commercial, locked in port. But less than two hundred inexpensive
submarines bid fair to sweep the seas of all merchant ships--neutral
as well as British unless by feverish building the nations can build
ships faster than submarines can sink them. Huge navies may
henceforth be unknown.

The submarine has been the David of the war. It is a pity that its
courage and efficiency have been exerted mainly in the wrong cause
and that the missiles from its sling have felled the wrong Goliath.

Aircraft and submarine! It is still on the cards that when the
definitive history of the war shall be written, its outcome may be
ascribed to one or the other of these novel weapons--the creation of
American inventive genius.



  _Aboukir_, 235, 236

  Aërial mail service, 362

  Aërial instruction, 109-121

  Aërial Coast Patrol Unit, 188

  Aerodromes, 170

  Airplane costs, 224, 225

  American aviators in France, 109, 111, 174

  American Flying Corps, 175

  André, General, 267-269

  Andrée, Polar expedition, 41, 56, 57

  Anti-aircraft guns, 128, 129, 144-147, 150, 151, 169, 172, 173, 211,
    230, 297, 305

  Antwerp, 195

  "Archies," _see_ anti-aircraft guns

  Arlandes, Marquis, d', 29

  Archimedes, 19

  Army Aviation School, Mineola, 188

  Arras, 185

  Astra-Torres, 81

  Austrian, submarine, U-11, 190;
    seaplane, 191;
    warships _vs._, British submarines, 334;
    submarines, 261, 360;
    submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Aviation, in England, 104, 105, 106;
    in France, 104-106;
    Germany, 104-106, 108;
    Russia, 106;
    United States, 182-190, 194, 202, 221

  "Avro" machines, 148


  Baker, Ray Stannard, quoted, 287-293

  Ball, Captain, 212-214

  Baltic, 157

  Bauer, Wilhelm, 253, 254

  Belgium, 18, 108, 184, 196

  Belgium, mapping coast of, 150

  Berlin, 65, 74, 75, 156, 357

  Besnier, wings, 16

  Blanchard, aeronaut, 35

  Bleriot, aviator, 35, 95, 109;
    airplane, 186

  Blockade, United States, 10

  Boelke, Lieutenant, 118-120;
    story of air duel of, 214-216

  Brazil, submarine strength of, 307

  Briggs, Commander, 148

  Bristol, biplane, 126

  British, 105, 147, 149, 151, 152, 164, 166, 171, 183, 188, 190, 334;
    Admiralty, 236, 272;
    Navy, 195, 274;
    Royal Flying Corps, 105, 106, 164, 166, 167, 174, 212;
    Royal Naval Air Service, 150, 200;
    submarine strength, 301, 302

  Brussels, 165

  Bushnell, David, 246-249, 263


  Calmette, M., 267-270

  Canada, airplane factories in, 107

  Caproni, airplanes, 204, 228

  Cayley, Sir George, 36, 83

  Channel, English, 30, 35, 55, 144, 324, 340, 341

  Chanute, 90

  Chapman, Victor, 176, 179, 180, 214

  Charles, M., 25;
    balloon, 31

  Churchill, Winston, 155

  Civil War, 5, 7, 10, 61, 260, 261, 333

  _Clement-Bayard II._, 56

  Coffin, Howard E., 202

  Congress of the United States, 182, 187, 194, 196, 201, 221, 276, 301

  Congressional Committee, 204

  _Cressy_, 235, 236

  Curtis, Glenn, 83, 98

  Cuxhaven, 8, 108, 132, 148, 149, 150, 155


  Dardanelles, 157, 190, 310, 334

  Da Vinci, Leonardo, 15

  Day, J., 242-246

  "D. H. 5," 126

  Denmark, submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Department of Aeronautics, 182

  Deutsch, Henry, prize for aviation, 39, 46-50

  _Deutschland_, The, 13, 364-378

  Dewey, Admiral, 271, 272

  Diesel motor, 308, 309, 319, 325, 363, 366

  Douaumont, 162

  Drachens, 220

  Drebel, Cornelius, 238-240

  Driggs, Lawrence La Tourette, 358, 359

  Dubilier, William, 357


  Eiffel Tower, 42, 46-49, 51. _See also_ Santos-Dumont

  Emperor of Germany, 65, 69, 72

  England, 73, 75, 95, 105, 108, 142, 147, 166, 182, 184, 194, 201,
    202, 207, 209, 240, 251, 253, 303, 345

  Essen, 8, 108

  Expeditionary Army, 106


  Faotomu, Lieutenant Takuma, 352, 353

  Farman, 95, 108, 218

  Farragut, Admiral, 132

  Fiske, Rear-Admiral, 155, 157, 206

  Flanders, 6, 148

  Fléchette, 138, 186

  Fokker, 126, 128, 163, 170, 171, 212

  Fort Myer, 96, 97

  _Foucault_, submarine, 191

  France, 59, 80, 81, 95, 104-106, 111, 120, 133, 142, 147, 167, 180,
    182, 183, 195, 199, 200-202, 208, 209, 214, 240, 251, 254, 295,
    303, 343

  Franklin, Benjamin, views of balloons, 24;
    letters, 32, 33

  French, airplanes at Battle of Somme, 198;
    Commission to United States, 196;
    guns, 147;
    improve on German airplane, 204;
    inspection of captive Zeppelin, 81;
    standardize their airplanes, 104;
    submarine, 309;
    submarine strength, 302, 303

  French, General Sir John, 3-5, 106

  Friedrichshaven, 8, 70, 75, 76, 108, 147

  Fulton, Robert, 251, 252, 253


  George, Lloyd, 210

  German, Admiralty, 190;
    air champion, 214;
    air raids on England, 207;
    attempt to starve England, 194;
    fleet, 183, 184;
    submarine attacks on allied shipping, 305;
    submarine destroyed by bombs, 191;
    submarines _vs._ international law, 192;
    submarine strength, 303-305

  German U-boats, 188, 206, 236, 304, 310, 314, 333, 336, 338

  Germany, 61, 62, 69, 72, 73, 75, 79, 80, 81, 97, 104, 105, 106, 108,
    121, 133, 142, 146-149, 157, 171, 183-185, 193, 198, 200, 210, 235,
    280, 297, 310, 341, 361, 364

  Ghent, 165

  Gibbons, Floyd P., 347-351

  Giffard, dirigible, 37, 38, 41, 43

  Grange, de la, Lieutenant, 196, 199

  Great Britain, 57, 58, 105, 106, 120, 142, 143, 157, 191, 192, 202,
    203, 204, 207, 310, 341, 343

  Great War, 3, 12, 72, 80, 98, 103, 159

  Greece, submarine strength of, 307

  Grey, C. G., quoted, 189

  Gross, dirigible, 77, 78

  Guynemer, Captain Georges, 211, 212, 214

  Gyroscope compass, 312


  Hartlepool, 208

  Harvard University, 175, 176

  Harwich, 208

  Heligoland, 155-157, 202, 333

  _Hogue_, 235, 236

  Holland, 150, 235;
    submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Holland, John P., 241, 274-277, 294;
    submarine, 294-296, 298, 301, 302, 304, 306, 313

  Holland Torpedo Boat Company, 272, 277, 298

  Hotchkiss, 147

  _Housatonic_, U. S. S., 259, 260

  Hydro-airplane, 160, 189, 190, 206, 225

  Hydroplane, 280, 308


  Icarus, 14

  Immelman, Captain, 119, 212-214

  Instruction, in aviation, 111-118;
    of American aviators, 11

  _Ironsides_, 256, 257, 295

  Italy, 81, 343;
    submarine strength of, 306

  Italian submarines, 360


  Japan, submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Japanese submarines, 352

  Joffre, General, 4, 196

  Jutland, battle of, 12, 381


  Kaiser, 78. _Also see_ Emperor of Germany

  Kiel, 9, 108, 155-157, 183, 195, 202, 230, 253, 314, 367

  Kipling, Rudyard, 80, 166, 226, 227, 346

  Kitchener, Lord, 58

  Kitty-Hawk, 89, 94

  Kluck, General von, 3, 4

  König, Captain Paul, 367-377

  Krebs, 39


  Lafayette Escadrille, 121, 175, 176, 216

  Lake Constance, 62, 148

  Lake, Simon, 278-295, 356, 364, 378-380;
    submarine, 294-296, 302, 304, 306, 317

  Lana, Francisco, 17

  Lancaster, F. W., 144

  Langley, Professor Samuel, 82, 83, 84, 183

  _La Patrie_, 55

  _La République_, 55

  Latham, 95

  Laurenti, Major, 300;
    submarine, 302, 306

  Lebaudy Brothers, 54;
    airplane, 56, 78

  Le Bris, 86-88

  Lee, Ezra, 249, 250

  Lewis gun, 217

  Liberty motor, 222, 226;
    plane, 127

  Liège, 159

  Lilienthal, Gustav, 84

  Lilienthal, Otto, 84-86, 90

  Lilienthals, 88

  Lille, 185

  London, 9, 134, 142, 156, 208, 209, 230

  Lufbery, Captain Raoul, 121, 180

  Lunardi, aeronaut, 30

  _Lusitania_, 193, 210, 263, 343


  McConnell, Sergeant James R., 160

  Marne, battle of, 5, 183, 196

  Maxim, Sir Hiram, 83

  _Merrimac_, 12

  Meuse river, 4, 161

  _Monitor_, 12

  Mons, battle of, 3, 5

  Montgolfier Brothers, Jos. & Jacques, 20, 22;
    balloon, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 30

  Moranes, 186


  Namur, 4

  Napoleon, 99, 108, 252

  Naval Committee, House of Representatives, 271, 272

  Navy Department of U. S., 188, 189, 278, 298, 300, 301

  Navy Department, Civil War, 256, 257

  Navy, Secretary of, 187, 194, 222

  Needham, Henry Beach, 166

  Nieuport, airplane, 140, 163, 186;
    town of, 150, 151, 154

  Nordenfeldt, Swedish inventor, 263, 264, 275

  North Sea, 6, 76, 144, 149, 154, 156, 157, 187, 188, 190, 235, 236, 305

  Norway, submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Noyes, Alfred, quoted, 335-340


  Ostend, 9, 150, 151, 191, 194, 200


  Paris, 3, 23-25, 28, 48, 50-53, 61, 110

  Parseval, dirigible, 77, 78

  Parseval-Siegfeld, 141

  Pau, 110

  Père Galien, 17

  Periscopes, 296, 305, 310, 311, 326-328, 333, 366

  Petersburg, 6

  Pilcher, Percy S., 84, 86, 88

  Pitney, Fred B., quoted, 323-328

  Porter, Admiral David, 259

  Prince, Norman, 176, 180, 216-221


  Rees, Major L. W. B., 174

  Renard, 38, 42, 43

  Richmond, 6

  Roberts Brothers' balloon, 34, 35

  Rockwell, Kiffen, 176-179, 214

  Royal Aërial Factory, 105

  Rozier, Pilatre de, 27, 29;
    death of, 30

  Rumsey, Adjt., quoted, 217-220

  Russia, 81, 106, 203, 254;
    submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Russian ships sunk in Baltic, 157;
    submarine sunk by bombs, 190


  Santos-Dumont, 34;
    quoted, 38, 39-47, 48-50, 51-54, 59, 60, 62, 63, 88, 95

  Scarborough, 208

  Schutte-Lanz, dirigible, 77, 79

  Schwartz, David, 63

  Scott, Lieutenant, 133

  Seaplanes, 105, 106, 108, 143, 149, 150, 154, 188, 191, 225, 236

  _Severo Pax_, 77

  Sikorsky, airplanes, 203

  Sincay, Lieutenant de, 191

  Sopwith, biplane, 126, 219

  "S. P. A. D.," 217

  Spain, 81;
    submarine strength of, 306

  St. Louis Exposition, 54

  St. Petersburg, 63

  Submarine, controversy between U. S. and Germany, 342;
    cruise on, 323-331;
    interior of, 318-323;
    losses, 351-354;
    tenders, 316;
    strength of different countries, 306, 307;
    ventilation, 239, 240, 307, 312;
    war zones, 342, 343

  Submarine warfare, allied losses, 344;
    British losses, 344, 345;
    neutral losses, 344

    _Argonaut_, 282-295, 379
    _David_, 256, 257
    "E" class, 301
    _Fenian Ram_, 275
    "F-1," 300
    "F" (Holland type), 301
    German type, 304
    _Gustave Zédé_, 266, 267
    _Gymnote_, 265, 266
    _Holland No. 2_, 275
    _Holland No. 4_, 275
    _Holland No. 8_, 278
    _Holland No. 9_, 271-273, 278
    _Hundley_, 258-260
    _Intelligent Whale_, 261
    _Le Diable Marin_, 254
    Laurenti type, 306
    _Morse_, 267-270
    _Mute_, 253
    _Narval_, 267, 270
    _Nautilus_, 252
    _Nordenfeldt II._, 264
    _Octopus_, 299
    _Plongeur_, 260
    _Plunger_, 277, 278
    _Resurgam_, 263
    "S" class, 302 (Laurenti or "F. I. A. T." type)
    _Turtle_, 247, 249, 275
    "U-3," 314
    "U-20," 330
    "U-47," 328-331
    "V" class (Lake type), 302
    "W" class (Laubeuf type), 302
    "Viper" class, 299

  Submarines, aircraft as enemy of, 357, 358;
    armament of, 312;
    (general topic), 159, 188, 190-195, 209;
    marksmanship, 322;
    microphone, 357;
    motives powers of, 308, 309;
    precautions and devices against, 345, 346, 355, 361;
    requirements of modern, 307-317

  Sweden, submarine strength of, 306, 307

  Switzerland, 150


  Taube, 126

  Thaw, Lieutenant William, 214

  Tissot, Professor, 357

  Torpedo chamber, 320;
    plane, 156, 157;
    tubes, 298, 301, 303-306, 312, 315, 317, 320, 353

  Trocadero, 49-51

  Tulasne, Major, 196, 199

  Turkey, submarine strength of, 307

  Turkish, 177, 188, 334


  U-53, 12, 206, 353, 354

  U-Boat attacks on, allied merchantmen;
    _Amiral Ganteaume,_ 340;
    _Gulflight_, 343;
    _Lusitania_, 193, 210, 263, 343;
    _Laconia_, 347-351;
    _Strathend_, 354;
    _West Point_, 354;
    _Stephano_, 354;
    _Bloomersdijk_, 354;
    _Christian Knudsen_, 354;
    in general, 346-354

  United States, 56-58, 81, 91, 94-96, 103, 107, 111, 120, 142, 158,
      166, 180, 182, 185, 187, 193, 194, 200, 202, 209, 221, 228, 230,
      239, 260, 261, 271, 295, 297, 301, 303, 310, 334, 341, 343, 345,
      361, 364, 365, 381;
    government of, 96, 272, 273, 276, 296, 343;
    declares war upon Germany, 342;
    Navy, 297, 298, 300, 354;
    submarine strength, 350


  Vanniman, 57, 159

  Vaux, 162

  Venice, 108

  Verdun, 6, 55, 161, 162

  Verne, Jules, 40, 262, 287

  Vickers, gun, 217;
    scout airplane, 126, 131, 147, 164

  Vicksburg, 6

  Viney, Lieutenant, 191

  von Bernstorff, Count, 353


  Wanamaker, Rodman, 160

  War, Department of, 101;
    Secretary of, 187, 194, 222

  War zones, 341, 342

  Warneford, sub-Lieutenant R. A. J., 164, 165, 214

  Washington, D. C., 96, 97, 204

  Washington, General George, 247

  Watt, James, 19

  Weddigen, Captain, Otto von, 236, 305, 334

  Wellington, 108

  Wellman, Walter, 56, 57, 159

  White, Claude Graham, 128

  Whitehead torpedo, 261, 262, 264, 266

  Wilhelmshaven, 132, 156, 157, 183, 195, 230, 353

  Winslow, Carroll Dana, 111, 115, 116, 139

  Woodhouse, Henry, 190

  Wright Brothers, 14, 43, 58, 60, 64, 83, 84, 87, 89, 90-95, 97,
    98, 109, 111, 183

  Wright, Orville, 74, 75, 88, 99-102

  Wright, Wilbur, 88, 91, 96, 97


  Zédé, M. Gustav, 265, 266, 303

  Zeebrugge, 8, 9, 150, 151, 153, 155, 195, 200, 230

  Zeppelin, Count, von, 28, 34, 38, 50, 54, 59-65, 68-77, 79, 105, 362

  Zeppelin, Eberhard, 64

  Zeppelin disasters:
    _Zeppelin I._, 66-69
      _IV._, 66, 72
      _L-I_, 76
      _L-II_, 67

  Zeppelin raids, 9, 208, 209

  Zeppelins, 8, 60, 62, 65-81, 100, 101, 104, 105, 108, 133, 134,
    148-150, 164, 165, 208

_A Selection from the Catalogue of_


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  And Its Operations in the Field

  A Study Bated on the Experience of
  Three Years on the French Front

  René Radiguet
  Général de Division, Army of France

  Translated by
  Henry P. du Bellet
  Formerly American Consul at Rheims

  _12{o}. 18 Illustrations and Diagrams. $1.50 net.
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The younger Americans who are now in training for active service in
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The old text-books must be put to one side. The methods of
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war whose instructions can be accepted as authoritative.


  The Making of the American Navy Officer:
  His Studies, Discipline, and Amusements


  Ralph Earle
  Rear-Admiral, U. S. N.
  (Formerly Head of the Department of Ordnance and
  Gunnery, U. S. Naval Academy)

  With an Introduction by
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  Assistant-Secretary of the Navy

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  Foreword by

  Major-General Hugh L. Scott
  Chief-of-Staff, U. S. Army

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The book, while of interest to all who have attended the
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is invaluable as a foretaste of the duties, responsibilities, and
privileges obtaining at West Point.



  Georges Bertrand
  Capitaine, Chasseurs, de l'Armée de France


  Oscar N. Solbert
  Major, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A.

  _16{o}. 35 Diagrams. $1.50 net. By mail, $1.65_

  000.7                (OD)              1st Ind.

War Department, A. G. O., December 21, 1917--To Major O. N. Solbert,
Corp of Engineers, Office of the Chief of Engineers.

1. The manuscript forwarded with this letter has been examined in
the War College Division and the opinion given that it has
exceptional merit, presenting the principles governing trench
warfare in such a clear and logical manner that the publication,
with some changes and additions,[7] will be of considerable value to
our Officers.

         [Footnote 7: These changes have been made.]

2. You are directed to confer with the Chief of the War College
Division regarding the effecting of the changes desired.

  By order of the Secretary of War
                         (Signed) F. W. Lewis
                                          Adjutant General.

G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York London

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