Geyser Judith Basin Times (Geyser, Mont.) 1911-1920, October 08, 1915, Image 2

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T is upon the seaboard guns that the security of the nation will depend should an enemy succeed in crippling our far-flung line, the navy, and drive our dreadnaughts to the cover of the harbors and the protection of the heavy rifles and mortars of the army. The question is, can these seaboard batteries hold a foe at bay? On our continental shores we have a total of 26 coast defense commands, and 21 of these are located upon the Atlantic littoral. But even though there are fewer stations on the Pa- cific coast, still those are very formidable. With- out considering weapons of eight -inch caliber and under, we already have mounted a total upon our two shores of 372 12 -inch mortars. 105 12 -inch rifles, and 132 10 -inch heavy guns. The strength of the personnel of the coast artillery. according to the latest figures. is 75s oflicers and I7,90i enlisted men. This is a shortage of sol- diers of 1,420 agreeably to the force authorized by law, #nd this is an intimation of the extreme- ly heavy work that the men would have to face in case of hostilities, because we are minus a vitally necessary reserve. The average layman has but the sii,qhtest knowledge of the extremely technical character of the Coast Artillery corps, and to be proficient these soldiers receive a many-sided education. Theirs is the task of getting the advantage of the enemy before the foe can locate the position of our_ guns and mortars., and the whole system of defense is the exact opposite of the way in which a hostile squadron would approach its ag- gressive task. From the very beginning - of the planning of our existing seaboard batteries the idea of conceal- ment was the first concern. The mortars were designed to be hidden away in pits—each of them holding four of these weapons. The heavy rifles were not to be in plain sight, with their threatening muzzles peering over the crests of parapets. Instead, the disappearing carriage was invented for a mount. These gave the rifles the Power to crouch while loading or awaiting serv- ice, and then, when the moment for action ar- rived, to spring up suddenly from behind their embrasures, to fire directly at the foe, and by the force of their own recoil to sink from view and into position for reloading. How is it possible for weapons of this sort to be aimed at their targets? It is commonly known that in naval service the guns are held upon their quarry by means of electrically operated mechanisms that swing and elevate the rifles so that the cross hairs of the teldscopic sights can be kept right on a moving target even though the sea be rough and the vessel roll. The gun pointers are undisturbed by this motion. and at 12,000 yards and more are able to do some won- derful shooting. But the gun pointers and train- ers in the mortar pits and the emplacements of the big rifles do not, tIltmseives, see the enemy. Yet despite this seeming handicap 'Mill they are able to do some extraordinarily effective work. The army gun pointers near New York, with 10 -inch disappearing rifles, have been able to fire four shots in a total elapsed time of less than one minute, and these were concentrated upon a target tour miles away being towed at the rate of something over five miles an hour. All four shots struck tho target and actually passed through a rectangle 24 feet high by 53 feet long. At 4,600 yards the same caliber guns at Fortress Menroe scored six hits out of six shots at a mov- ing target. The total elapsed time of th% firing was slightly over two minutes, the batteries scor- ing 1,4 hits per gun per minute. The science of surveying has made these achievements possible, even though, as has been said, the guns and mortars must be trained and elevated by men who cannot see their targets. It is a well-known theorem In plane geometry that the length of the two sides of a triangle may be found tithe length of the bane and the degree of the two angles formed by the sides in question with this hasp are known. In the case of the GEYSER ju MTH coast artillery probieni :he distant ship of the foe is at the remote tip of the imaginary triangle. and the known base Is the span between two ob- serving or range -finding stations. This interval may be a mile or more and, within some limits. the longer the better for accuracy. Many have seen from afar at our coast defense stations what seemed to be big bird boxes mounted upon towering tubular supports or web - work of steel. There are always two of them. and officially they are known as the primary and secondary range stations. In each of them, In time of service, ,there are at least two men. One turns by means of a delicately graduated mechanism a powerful telescope from right to left, and his function is to keep the moving tar- get continually at the point of intersection of two cross hairs in the field of his instrument. his companion reads off at prescribed intervals the angle made by the telescope with the per- manent base and the far -away foe. The same thing is being done at the other range station at the opposite end of the base. A time bell rings at each of these stations every 20 seconds, and at the third stroke the man read- ing tile angular scale telephones that measure- ment to the plotting room located where the enemy cannot see it and itself in telephonic communication with each gun or mortar division. In the plotting room a group of men make use of the information coming to them Intermittently from the range -finding towers and by a graphic process determine with great nicety the distance off of the steaming foe. The plotting table or board where the information from the observers I s applied is a big semicircular affair—the curved edge being graduated to fractions of a degree. while the straight edge or diameter represents on a definite scale the length of the base line between the two spotter towers. At each end of this base line is a pivoted ruler. One is called the primary and the other the secondary—corre- sponding to the range -finding station with which its operator is in touch by telephone. Here is what follows: The soldiers at the primary and secondary pivoted rulers or arms bring the free ends to- ward one another in accordance with the sepa- rate angles telephoned to them. A third man operates another ruler called the gun arm, which measures the distance or range of the axis of this triangle. At the word of command from the range officer the observers at the two telescopes bring these powerful instruments to bear in unison upon a chosen part of the remote ship. At the order \Take.\ the scale readers telephone the figures to the operators at the plotting board. In a few seconds the man in charge there has placed on a large sheet of paper a dot at the point where the two straight edges meet and has marked this pencilled point No I. Again, 20 seconds later, another dot is made where the shifting straight edges meet, and this is numbered 2. Similarly positions are thus re- corded for No. 3 and No. 4, and if the distance between these dots is uniform the plotters know that the target is moving at a steady speed and the path dots gives a visible trace of the direc- BASIN 'JIMA'S tion in which tile foe is advancing. As yet none of the weapons has been pointed, nor, if mortars are to be used, even been loaded. The plotters marks upon his paper a fifth point ahead and in line with the four other dots. This is his \predicted point\ where the enemy vessel should be a minute later. In this interval of time it is necessary for the men in the plotting room to do a number of things necessary to make it possible for the weapons to score a hit. The mere range is not enough to know. Let us as- sume that the foe is to be attacked by means of mortars and that the projectiles are to soar thousands of feet into the air upon their long flight that may take the better part of two minutes before plunging upon the vulnerable decks of the hostile dreadnaught. It is needful to know how long the shells will be in the air It that range; how far the target will move during the flight of the missiles; how much the path of the projectiles will be influ- enced by drift lee to their own rotation and the effect of the irevailing wind; the exact powder charge that wil be needed to propel the shells— this being detemined by the range and the state of the atmosplere; and finally, how much ahead the mortars mist be aimed in order to allow for these factors. These complications are due to the method of indirect fire employed, and in this particular theaiortars are not BO accurate as the big rifles ant, therefore, are snore difficult to handle in ord r to insure good results. The final point • set in ne plotting room is No. 6 and two minutes furthr along than No. 5. the \predicted 'point.\ the later being verified by the angles given by th observers at the spotter stations when the yes& Is duly reported at the proper moment. All of Mit has taken longer to describe than actual perftmance calls for, because the error factors whib have been just mentioned are tabu- lated and re quiekly worked out graphically by means of tinningly devised apparatus It must be evident that in an Interval of four minutes a big ship 2.000 or 16.000 yards off would not get measurabli closer, and once the proper range is found and the mortars loaded the shifting range is quickly verified and the guns set accordingly. The mei In the towers and those in the plot- ting room ire at work all the while. At definite Intervals no instructions are sent by telephone from the rotting room to each battery or mortar pit, and let these vocal directions be misunder- stood the figures and orders are visibly repro- duced. Fir this work the teiautograph Is em- ployed. ad thus words and numbers in writing check the telephone calls. As has been said, there are four mortars in each pit,and as a general thing there are four of these pits at each defense station. In other words, a salvo of 16 high explosive shells can be iauncied by indirect fire at a foe. If but two of nese hit the enemy she would either be destroyei or gravely damaged, because none of her dew; would be able to withstand such an assault. In practice the performances of such a battery have been splendid. As a matter of rec- ord, oin mortar company has fired as many as ten shoe in 6 minutes 49 seconds, and in that in- terval nade six hits, while another company has scored eight times out of ten shots during a span a' 9 minutes 28 seconds. These mortar projecties weigh from 800 to 1,000 pounds, and are chtrged with from 30 to 60 pounds of high explosPe. For the disappearing guns the modes operandi differs in some particulars. The time of flight of the diet is far shorter than In the case of the mortar shell, the powder charge is not varied to suit direeent ranges, and the state of the atmos- phere is not a deciding factor. Therefore. cor- rectiose are more easily made, for the rifle, when it does tire, Is pointed right at its target. The principal concern of the battery commander Is to know the range, and this is telephoned and reproduced by the telautograph at the firing sta- tions The battery commander also follows the enemy ship with a telescopic range tinder that employs a short vertical instead of a horizontal base. This serves as a check and at each gun there Is a tele- scopic eight which is functioned independent of the weapon—the operator looking over the para- pet and following continually the moving quarry. By swinging his telescope horizontally he causes the lateral angle to be indicated at the gun sta- tion below, and there the trainer swings the weapon in unison and the elevator raises the muzzle agreeably to instructions from the range- finders. When the rifles have been loaded and the mo- ment for action arrives these great war dogs rise upon their steel haunches and thrust their muzzles above the heavy parapets of concrete. Instantly there Is a thunderous boom—the speed- ing projectiles are on their murderous mission. Before the thin veil of smoke has been swept aside the guns have sunk behind cover, and but for the momentary flashing of their muzzles there in nothing to show the spotters on the hostile craft where the attacking guns Ile. HER EQUIPMENT. ''That girl is fishing for a husband \ \Then I suppose she uses a beauline In hopes of a good catch.\ THE WitsTrR PALACE HE famed winter palace of the Russian czar probably has seen more romantic history In the making than any other build- ing in Europe. The dramas that have unfolded within its walls would overshadow, If told, the most highly colored imaginings of politi- cal fictioniste, and the huge building appears worthy of all the fascinat- ing memories which cling to it. For generations Russia has reached out from this home of the empire toward ever more distant frontiers, toward every compass point, building the greatest of states. The winter palace, a symbol of the empire, mayhap en- dangered by the present Teutonic in- vasion, is described in the following statement issued by the National Geo- graphic society. Among the many palaces of Petro- grad, a city wherein dukes, grand dukes, diplomats and millionaires Elwell in abundance, the czar's win- ter palace, a structure of truly impe- rial immensity, stands out unapproach- a,ble. It is one of the world's largest arid most imposing buildings, and the air of its rooms and corridors is sur- charged with the romance of history. During the capital seasons in peace times, the most brilliant courein Eu- rope could be seen here, when the great rooms were ablaze with lights and jewels, and filled with a splendid display of gowns ad uniforms. ComPleted 6y Catherine. The winter palace stands on the left bank of the Neva. on a site bequeathed to Peter the Great by his high admiral, Count Apraxin. The Empress Anne first made her residence in the ad- miral's house, which was pulled down in 1754 and the foundations of the winter palace laid. The building was first completed in the reign of Cath- erine the Great. The whole interior of the palace was destroyed by fire in December. 1837, when valuables estimated at $20,000,000 were consumed. It was restored on an even more elaborate scale in 1839. The structure is four stories high, or about 80 feet, with a frontage of 455 feet and a width of 350 feet. The principal entrance, the \Perron des Ambassadeurs,\ is from the Neva river. Connected with the winter palace is the heritage of Cath- erine the Great, where the renowned queen played first Bohemian in a Bo- hemian throng. There is a table hung on the walls of the palace, draped with a green cur- tain, which contains Queen Cath- erine's by-laws for the Hermitage soci- eties. They were: \1. Leave your rank outside, as well as your hat, and especially your sword. 2. Leave your right of precedence, your pride, and any similar feeling out- side the door. 3. Be gay, but do not spoil anything; do not break or gnaw anything. 4. Sit. stand, walk as you will, without reference to anybody. 6. Talk moderately and not very loud, so as not to make the ears and heads of others ache. 6. Argue without an- ger and without excitement. 7. Nei- ther sigh nor yawn, nor make any- body dull or heavy. 8. In all innocent games, whatever one proposes, let ell join. 9. Eat whatever is sweet ald savory, but drink with modern - tic's, so that each may find his legs on leaving the room. 10. Tell no tales out of school; whatever goes in at one ear must go out at the other before leaving the room.\ Good rules all, but rules difficult for any but a queen to hold before her friends. The penalty for breaking the rules was the drinking of a glass of cold water for every offense. The queen was most severe with those who broke the tenth commandment; they were never again admitted to the hermitage, after being once found guilty of tittle-tattle. Treasure House of Art. An immense square before the pal- ace gives it the proper dignity of set- ting. Within, it is said, 3,000 people can dance under the blazing light crys- tals at one time, while 2,000 people can be seated at the great dinner gather- ings. The palace Is a treasure house of relies, jewels and paintings. One of the finest collectione'of pictures in Russia . is hung on the palace walls, among them numerous excellent war pictures. Among the jewels stored here there is a scepter with one of the largest diamonds in Europe, 19% carats, the great Orloff diamond, which was originally the eye of a lion that crouched before the throne of the Great Mogul. When the czar is in the vicinity of his capital, the imperial standard floats from the winter palace flagstaff. Petrograd, the city made to the or- der of Peter the Great to serve as Russia's political capital, now prob- ably at higher tension than any other city on earth, performing, as ever, the work necessary to the ,administration of church and state over vast dis- tances, from the Gulf of Finland to the Black sea and the far Pacific, and, be- sides, taking care of a great war busi- ness, which includes planning for the defense of more than 30,000 miles of frontier. This 30,000 miles of fron- tier, of course, does not take into ac- count the vaguely known northern boundary of the empire. Petrograd's High Tension, Petrograd has always been a high - tensioned city. It was constructed upon islands and swamps at the be- hest of a high-tension ruler; built with wide, straight streets upon a perfect- ly fiat country, with no softening nat- ural beauty except that of its dividing Neva, a river that has often been com- pared to the English Thames. Even the architecture of the city is repres- sive, almost wholly of sternly chaste classic Roman and Greek. And in this city the primary business has been that of caring fo \ r a vast etnelire, embracing in Its far-reaching sweep many peoples, numerous religions, di- verse traditions, a confusion of tongues, and widely varying ideals. The responsibilities of government have held the city as tense as when Its founder, with 40,000 workmen, drained the Neva swamps and builded overnight his capital hard upon the lands of tho Finns. Petrograd is the greatest importing center of the empire. A great Part of the products of Europe which find their way to the bleak northern plain are entered at the mouth of the Neva, and this despite the fact that the port is icebound five months of the year. It has, too, some industry, though its surrounding region is not rich In any of the raw materials of industry. Some 200,000 of is men and women normally are employed in manufac- ture, in the machine and iron works, in the ship yards. In the cloth fac- tories, shoe factories, and cigarette factories, that stand on the outskirts of the city, around the Finland sta- tion. There hi a certain stern beauty in the capital. The . broad, arrowlike Novelty Prospect is fully as interest- ing as any of the world's famous thor- oughfares. It is a business street. some three miles long, lined with shops of average appearance, churches representing Greek, Protestant and Catholic religions, bank buildings, the public library, the Imperial theater, a garden, and some dark red palaces. The remarkably diversified life of the remarkable empire flows in a never- ending stream along this avenue. When the Birds Wake Up. An enthusiastic ornithologist has amused himself by investigating the question at what hour in summer the commonest small birds wake up and sing. He says: 'The greenfinch ,s the earliest riser, as it pipes as early as half -past one in the morning. At about half -past two the binckcap gins, and the quail apparently wakes up half an hour later. It is nearly four o'clock and the sun is well above the horizon before the real songster appears in the person of the blackbird. He is heard half an hour before the thrush, and the chirp of the robin be- gins about the same length of time before that of the wren. Finally, the house sparrow and the tomtit occupy the last place on the list.\ This investigation has altogether ruined the lark's reputation for early rising. That much -celebrated bird is quite a sluggard. as It does not rise till long after chaffinches, linnets and a number of hedgerow birds have been up and about for some time. The Reason Wherefore. \Do yqu notice that these royal people always have their pictures taken carrying an umbrella?\ \That is probably because they au accustomed to • coattaned reign.\

Geyser Judith Basin Times (Geyser, Mont.), 08 Oct. 1915, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.