Page images

of parts.

of premature discharge through improper manipulation or breaking

Improvements in breech mechanisms of guns of other calibers have been made, and modified mechanisms are being supplied as opportunity offers.

Twenty guns, of which 17 were of 12-inch caliber, have been relined during the year or are now in process of relining. The 12-inch guns of seven battleships have been removed for relining and new or relined guns installed in their places.

The operation of relining is slow and costly, but improved methods of original manufacture recently decided upon, together with improved methods of relining, will materially reduce both the time and the cost for relining.

The bureau has from time to time given careful consideration to suggested changes in the material to be used for gun construction and to changing the methods of construction. Material and methods used in some other services would undoubtedly lower the cost of the guns, but the bureau has always reached the conclusion that, strength being the main desideratum, the quality of gun steel should not be lowered nor cheaper methods of construction adopted. No changes from present practice in these respects are considered desirable.

Valuable data on the subject of erosion have been collected, but, while the causes thereof are now well understood and the amount that will result from the firing of a given number of rounds can be predicted with accuracy, no considerable progress has been made toward reducing or eliminating this source of deterioration of guns,

, although experiments have been made along a number of different lines.


In the design of battleships No. 36 and No. 37 the triple turret first appears in United States ships. The problems presented by this marked departure from previous design have been, so far as ordnance is concerned, solved by the adoption of a modified type of mount.

The mounts proper, rammers, ammunition hoists, sights, and other items of turret equipment have been specially designed for these turrets and give every promise of being practical and efficient. No projecting sight hoods will be required for the sights of the new type, and their arrangement will be such as to reduce the number of men required for their operation.

The matter of ammunition supply to turrets has been much discussed of late, and in many ships the hand passing of powder, stowage of shell in turrets, and hand loading have been advocated and successfully practiced. In other ships the old method of supplying all ammunition from the handling rooms by means of power hoists has been adhered to.

There seems to be no doubt that powder can be passed up by hand, and that so long as the supply of shell in the turret is not exhausted a rapidity of fire can be maintained which is at least equal to that attained when ammunition is mechanically supplied. The bureau believes, however, that the true measure of a turret's efficiency is the average rate of fire it can maintain until its ammunition supply is exhausted rather than the rate it can maintain during the short or long period of time required to exhaust the supply of shell stowed in the turret, and that false ideas of the desirability of certain features of the so-called hand-loading systems have been engendered by the excellent results attained at target practice by means of them.

Mountings for guns of 5-inch and 4-inch caliber have been improved; the latest designs show reduced weights, less recoil pressure, greater rigidity, and wider arcs of train for given sizes of gun ports than have been heretofore attained.


The Navy smokeless powder has reached such a degree of excellence that it it is not possible to report any marked advance in quality during the past year. The uncomplimentary assertions recently made against the excellence of American powder by a wellknown American residing abroad attracted considerable attention in professional circles, but as the criticism was directed against a feature that is recognized as one of the chief merits of the powder, it was easily refuted.

The “ stabilizer” which is now incorporated in the powder not only acts in the designed capacity but is an efficient and automatic detector of irregularities in manufacture, and thus insures the production of better powder.

Experimental firings with powder mingled with ozokorite and graphite have been conducted to determine the reduction in the amount of erosion of guns secured by the use of the foreign element. No conclusive results have yet been attained.

The cost of production of powder at Indian Head has been materially reduced during the year by the installation of new machinery and by the addition of needed equipment. This reduction in cost has been effected in spite of the increased cost of cotton.

Previous decisions as to installation of magazine-cooling systems on board ship have been reconsidered and the number of vessels in which this equipment is to be installed has been much reduced. The necessity for it in certain vessels is not obvious, and in other cases the advantage to be gained has not seemed commensurate with the expense involved.


The situation with respect to armor-piercing shells has not materially improved during the year. Only three firms are engaged on contracts for these shells and deliveries are slow, owing to frequent ballistic failures. The bureau has, since the end of the fiscal year, issued, with the department's approval, revised specifications for armor-piercing projectiles under which it is hoped that the manufacture and delivery of shells will be facilitated without any depreciation in quality.

Target projectiles of excellent quality are obtained in quantities as required. It is the bureau's intention to expend shells of obsolete type at target practice, the shells being first rebanded and fitted with long-point caps.


No marked improvement in thick armor can be reported as having been attained during the year. Plates of satisfactory quality are being produced and ballistic failures have been very few, but the bureau has not been warranted in increasing the severity of the tests. There has been a steady, though not remarkable, improvement in quality of thin plates made of special-treatment steel.

The experimental firings at the Katahdin and San Marcos have been very instructive in the matter of armor and have furnished information of value in connection with the design of later vessels. Two of the most important facts that have been clearly demonstrated are that a projectile while in flight is at all times tangent to the trajectory, and that the penetrative effects of projectiles at battle ranges on modern armor are in accordance with previously calculated data. These two points have been consistently disputed by some inventors of high explosives, their claim being that the axis of a projectile in flight was parallel to its position at the time of leaving the gun and that therefore at high angles of fall it would be impossible to penetrate armor. These claims have been entirely discredited by the firing at the Katahdin. The firings at the San Marcos have been less instructive, since the quality of her armor was not high enough to give a severe test to the projectiles with which it was attacked. The efficiency of the projectiles against her armor, however, has been demonstrated.

Contracts were awarded during the year for 13,475 tons of armor plate and appurtenances for battleships No.34 and' No. 35, New York and Texas, the armor having been allotted in practically equal proportions to the Carnegie Steel Co., the Bethlehem Steel Co., and the Midvale Steel Co.


Manufacture of the 3-inch landing gun of new type referred to in last year's report has progressed satisfactorily. Twenty-five outfits have been completed, and a contract for 25 more is now being executed. Before purchasing any additional guns of this type, the bureau believes that a definite policy as to assignment of landing guns to vessels should be formulated, and a memorandum on the subject has been addressed to the department.

Existing contracts for the Benet-Mercié, caliber .30, automatic machine gun will fill all present requirements of the service. The bureau is now formulating recommendations to the department as to the disposition of the older types and calibers of Gatling and Colt machine guns of which a large number are on hand.

Practically all battleships and armored cruisers are now equipped with the latest model Springfield rifle, and steps are being taken to secure automatic pistols of the Colt type for the equipment of the fleet.


The bureau has taken up consideration of the design and manufacture of guns for defense against air craft and also for guns to be carried by such craft. Whether guns of such types will ever be demanded by service conditions is still doubtful.


So far as design and supply are concerned, the torpedo situation has shown a slight improvement during the year, but it is not yet satisfactory to the bureau nor to the service.

Two new types of long-range, high-speed torpedoes are being designed and built by private firms under contract with the department, the terms of the contract being such that very high hopes are entertained of securing a torpedo which will be effective at ranges considerably in excess of those now realized.

The Montgomery and Vesuvius have continued their experimental and testing work on torpedoes with very useful results.

It is a fact that torpedo runs are often erratic and the torpedoes temporarily lost, but, due to the excellent arrangements for following up the torpedo and the diligence in searching for torpedoes that have made erratic runs, no actual losses have been reported in firing over a thousand shots.


The work of the bureau, which is of vital importance to the Navy, is carried on under overwhelming and most discouraging difficulties. The office space assigned to the bureau is insufficient, the number of officers is insufficient, and the clerical force is far too small.

The following quotation from the last annual report of the bureau sets forth the situation with respect to office facilities as it existed at the date of that report and as it still exists.

If this matter were a question alone of comfort or convenience, the conditions might be accepted without complaint; but the eyesight and the general bealth of the officers and employees concerned are matters with regard to which the bureau feels that it has a responsibility which can not be ignored ; and the delay and possible errors resulting from the handling, in such cramped and crowded quarters, of the great volume of business passing through this bureau is a matter even more serious, especially when the nature of the matters dealt with by the bureau is considered.

The department has recently authorized an additional officer, but Congress only can authorize additional clerks.

NAVAL GUN FACTORY. This establishment has, as heretofore, been the principal designing and manufacturing center for naval ordnance material, and as such its activities have covered a wide range; the work has in general been prosecuted with vigor and the output of the factory has, in design and in quality of workmanship, reflected credit on the official and civilian personnel.

The demands of new construction and the requirements of the commissioned fleet in the field of improvements in ordnance appliances have imposed a heavy burden on the drafting force and additions to that force have been found absolutely necessary in order to keep up with the demands made upon it. Further additions are needed, but can not be made at present, owing to lack of funds.

The volume of photographic and blue-print work required at the gum factory is very great and serious delays in furnishing prints to navy yards, vessels, and contractors frequently occur owing to the insufficient force engaged on this work. Recognizing the necessity for some action to minimize these delays and finding it impossible, through lack of funds, to increase the force, the bureau has recently ordered the discontinuance of the previously existing practice of supplying all navy yards with Vandyke prints of all drawings of ordnance issued to or installed on board ship. All navy yards are now supplied with catalogues of all ordnance drawings and with bulletins of all new and corrected drawings from which they may order from the gun factory such prints as are needed in their work.

The work of the chemical and physical laboratory of the gun factory has been of very great importance and has been efficiently and expeditiously performed.

The equipment of the laboratory has been increased by the addition of a refractometer for use in tests of oil and ground paints.

a It would be tedious and uninstructive to enumerate in detail even the principal items of manufacturing work performed at the gun factory during the year. The following summary contains in a condensed form a statement of the work accomplished and the expenditures made:

Guns, all calibers.
Partly completed.


115 137 10



Breech mechanisms.

Completed for completed guns.
Partly completed.-.
Converted to new types.


89 207


411 Gun mounts, entire or major portions thereof, built, rebuilt, or extensively modified..

235 Torpedo tubes

43 Detonating fuses.

18, 209 Powder tanks

16, 780 Cartridge cases.

10, 737 Chests and boxes for ammunition and for smokeless powder---

23, 739 Primers.--

47, 000 Castings produced in foundry.

-pounds.. 3, 155, 275 Forgings


1,631, 205 Number of shipments..

1, 846 Total weight of shipments-

-pounds.. 12, 256, 280 Expenditures, labor and material.

$6, 791, 743, 82 Many improvements in machinery and methods of work have been made and introduced during the year with a view to increased economy of operation of the plant, and resulting savings are already becoming evident.

Aside from customary purchase of new and improved machinery for existing shops during the next fiscal year, for which an estimate of $125,000 has been submitted, the most important improvement contemplated is the erection and equipment of a new foundry, which has already been authorized and partly appropriated for by Congress.

The gun factory has long suffered in efficiency and economy of operation through the inadequacy and unsuitability of its foundry as to both building and equipment. If the amounts estimated for are appropriated at the next session of Congress, the new foundry should be ready for use shortly after June 30, 1913. This new

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