Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

7 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




OUR SURE SHIELD. THE NAVY'S STUPENDOUS WORK AND ITS READINESS FOR BATTLE. -I [By special permission of the Daily Graphic." Somewhere in Scotland, in a land-locked arm of the sea, lies the Grand Fleet, the iiammer-head of that vast Navy which alone has made war possible and victory sure for this country and her Allies. Mile after mile of great and little fighting ships, they lie folded away between low green capes of pasture, closa neighbours to the domesticity of the villages, a visible and plain token of that part which every inhabitant of these islands and of this Empire possesses in the suzerainty of theseas. A Calculation in Millions. The supreme task of the Navy has been to make secure on all the seas of the world the transportation of men, material, and food. Between the date of the declaration of war and June 30th last the needs of the Allies have involved the carriage by sea of some twenty million men, two million animals, and about a hundred and ten million tons of naval and military stores. The submarine war intensified and waxed to its greatest violence; yet the great work of supply and transportation went forward with never an interruption; there was never a time when the Allied path towards the ultimate victory was closed. The Navy, which in August, 1914, had comprised warships and auxiliary vessels to a total of two and a half million displacement tons, had swelled auxiliary vesels to a total of two and a- half millions; its personnel had grown from 146,000 to nearly 400,000; and of the twenty millions of men embarked and transported the total losses due to enemy action up to April 27th, 1918, had only reached the relatively small figure of 3,282 —roughly, equal to one lost for each six ZD thousand carried. Fighting the Submarine. With the advent of the unrestricted submarine warfare the task of the Navy to secure our communications across the sea became rapidly systematised; a whole new science of sea warfare shaped itself; to be mastered in time to meet America's entry into the war and safeguard the pas- sage of her troops across the Atlantic Thes3 by July 27th had reached a total of well over one million of whom about half were transported in British ships, involv- ing the organisation of fifty-one ocean escorts and 393 destroyer escorts, and escort and convoy duties had imposed upon our ships more than a million and a quarter miles of steaming a month. Be- sides this, the submarine situation called for the ceaseless activities of the whole fleet of patrol and similar vessels, whose work in home waters carries them not less than six million miles a month. The American share in the work cf guarding her own transports was prompt and valuable. Up to July 27th, 556,195 men had been ferried to Europe in Ameri- can ships, escorted by forty ocean escorts of American ships and 335 destroyer escorts. Why Germany Failed. It is by the figures, the unassailable official figures of miles and tons, that one pins down to reality the tale of the daily miracle by virtue of which alone Great Britain and her Allies live and continue the struggle. That wonder of organisation and foresight has its full recognition in Germany. It was by the work of the sub- marine that we were to be starved to sub- mission the blockade was to make our island situation the means of our ruin. Our eight million Army was to be cut off from us America's intervention was to be negligible—she would be sundered from Europe by three thousand impassable miles of water. And the plan at its first showing had in it a real plausibility, a foundation of soundness which convinced all Germany and her Allies. It was devised and put into force by men who were masters in their profession and yet, though Admirals in Germany stand or fall by it, it has failed. How Sinkings Were Reduced. Taking for the purpose of comparison only British steamboats of over 500 tons gross sailing to and from the United Kin.g- dom in the Main Overseas Trades, the period from April to June, 1917, before the convoy system was established, saw 5.41 per cent. of them sunk by enemy action. For August of the same year, when the system was beginning, the losses Z" C5 were nearly 4 per cent.; but during Sep- tember to November, when 91.2 per cent. of the ships were convoyed, the sinkings had already dropped to 2.11 per cent. of the total sailings. And for the period March to June this year the losses on the main overseas routes have fallen to 1.23 per cent., 93.8 per 'cent. of the ships being ZD convoyed. Homeward-bound sailings on the six great steam routes, the North Atlantic, Gibraltar, Dakar, Sierra Leone, Mediter- ranean, and Rio de Janerio, from the date of the first sailing on May 24th, 1917, numbered 6,521 vessels of all nationalities, while ships clearing outward totalled 5,487. To guard them employed 441 con- voys homeward and 392 outward. In all trades convoys have been furnished for 61,691 sailings; 373 ships have been lost; showing a proportion of losses to sailings in convoys of .61 per centv All this has taken place and still goes on with the smooth unhurrying precision of a well-managed railway. Side by side with the policing of the seas of the globe I I Z, and the shepherding of ships across them there continues always the great routine of watchfulness and rfrecaution which keeps open the road to our front in France, the guarding of our own shores. co-operation in the naval operations of our Allies in a dozen seas—all the vast unceas- ing industry of war, and with the readi- ness, the razor-edged keenness of training and preparation, and the never-flagging ZD hope of battle.

_.----------BY THE WAY.