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nance, Chief of Engineers, and Chief of Coast Artillery. The board recommended to the Secretary of War:
That wherever it may be necessary to construct new works, especially at important points such as the entrances to our principal harbors, naval bases, etc., the major-caliber gun should be at least a 16-inch 45-caliber gun mounted so as to have the greatest possible protection and an all-round fire where it may be necessary to have such fire.
The general policy with reference to seacoast defenses should be to have the armament there emplaced of greater range and power than any which can be brought against it.
This recommendation was subsequently approved by the Secretary of War, and at the present time may be considered as the adopted policy of the War Department.
It is to be pointed out that the recommendation of the board was for guns of “at least” 16-inch caliber. Inasmuch as there has been some discussion as to mounting 16-inch and even 17-inch guns afloat, it is a question whether the dimensions of our primary shore guns should not be made of larger caliber than 16 inches. The advantages that come from increasing calibers are not only those due to greater striking energy, greater accuracy of fire, and greater perforation of armor, but also those due to increased weight of explosive carried in the cavity of the shell. The weight of explosive carried increases as the cube of the diameter, but experiments have shown that the destructive effects caused by the explosion of a high explosive shell charge increases in greater ratio than the cube. It will therefore be understood that an exceptional advantage is to be attained from the fact alone that the weight of the shell charge is increased. The destructiveness of the 42-centimeter and other large shell guns used by the Germans in the land warfare in Europe have clearly brought out this fact. It was on these considerations that the Chief of Coast Artillery recommended that our present system of guns mounted in fixed positions should be modified by providing a new type of armament that would involve the use of howitzers of the largest practicable shell capacity, one type to be mounted on railroad trucks so designed as to permit the howitzers to be fired therefrom and the other of the maximum size practicable for wagon road transportation.
From time to time the Chief of Coast Artillery has recommended that more consideration be given to the advantages to be had by utilizing coast guns and mortars in fire landward. The ranges of these guns and mortars are such that they would be very effective against raiding parties of the enemy seeking to attack the fortifications from the rear, and they could be made of great assistance to the commanding officers of mobile Army troops operating in the vicinity of the fortifications. The efficiency of indirect fire of landward operations has been very much increased by the aid of observers in aeroplanes. If the aviator has a reliable topographical map of the land about the fortifications, on which may be laid off a number of squares of suitable dimensions, he can, from his position aloft, with a sufficient degree of accuracy locate bodies of troops and signal such information to a battery commander, also provided with a duplicate of such map. The battery commander, with this informa
tion in his possession, can immediately cover the locality designated with an effective fire. Experimental firing has been authorized with a view to exploiting the possibilities of fire of this nature. If found to be as effective as it gives promise of being, it would seem to be desirable that in all future construction of coast fortifications guns as well as mortars should be provided with all-around fire. This principle was recognized in the findings of the Breckinridge Board, referred to above.
HAMMOND RADIO-CONTROLLED TORPEDO.
The effectiveness of the Hammond radio-controlled torpedo appears to have been well established. The Board of Ordnance and Fortification recommended favorably to the Secretary of War as to the merits of this invention, and the Secretary recommended to Congress that the rights of the inventor be acquired. The recommendation of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification was made, however, at too late a date for consideration by the last Congress. It is recommended that the recommendations be renewed to the next Congress, to the end that this new type of weapon may be installed in a few of our more important coast defenses.
The Coast Artillery districts in the United States and the Philippine coast defenses are now commanded by brigadier generals. When the Panama Coast Artillery garrisons are complete, the coast defenses there should be organized into a Coast Artillery district and commanded by a brigadier general.
At the present time the Coast Artillery Corps has an authorized strength of 701 officers (exclusive of chaplains) and 19,019 enlisted men. The chief of a corps of that strength should have the rank of a major general, especially when it is considered that four officers who now command Coast Artillery units are brigadier generals.
The target practice reports indicate that, in general, the Coast Artillery companies are being maintained at a high state of efficiency. The percentage of hits has been very encouraging, as shown in the diagram at the end of this report. Experimental mortar firings in the Coast Defenses of Galveston, Oahu, Manila Bay, and Chesapeake Bay have resulted in obtaining useful data for the study of the control of mortar fire. A hydroplane furnished by the Navy Department was used during the firing in the Coast Defenses of Chesapeake Bay to observe splashes of the shots. Submarine mine practice has been conducted with excellent results and in many cases companies have made perfect scores.
The greater part of the funds required for the construction of batteries for the defenses of Los Angeles has been appropriated by
Congress and work thereon is in progress. An additional appropriation should be asked of Congress at its next session to complete these batteries. An appropriation should be requested also to cover the initiation of battery construction at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, and for the additional defenses that are needed at several important seacoast cities to meet the increased range of naval ordnance. As several years will be required for the completion of these defenses, and as their provision is deemed to be a matter of pressing military necessity, it is believed that the commencement of the construction thereof should not be deferred beyond the beginning of the ensuing
The most serious deficiency that exists in accessory material for the seacoast defenses now installed in continental United States is the shortage in ammunition. The policy followed heretofore has contemplated the accumulation of the so-called two hours' allowance for half the armament in continental United States, an allowance assumed to be sufficient for the duration of a single engagement. The operations of the present European war have prored conclusively that that allowance is inadequate, and that the rule to be followed in the accumulation of ammunition should be that which should apply in the accumulation of all other military supplies, namely, that the quantities on hand at the outbreak of war should be such as to enable the Government to conduct a war of the first magnitude for such a period as will enable the industrial and manufacturing agencies of the country to be organized and to become operative to the extent of maintaining the needs of the Army after the depots shall have been exhausted.
The recent development of air craft and its extensive and important use in the direction of heavy artillery fire during the present European war, leaves no doubt as to the necessity for early action looking toward the provision of an adequate number of air craft at the seacoast defenses, not alone for scouting and the direction of our fire, but also to combat any such craft which the enemy may attempt to use in connection with the observation of his fire and the attack of our batteries, which are generally unprotected against overhead attack, except as to magazines.
Not including the requirements as to searchlights for the new batteries to be installed at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, the searchlight project for the seacoast defenses in continental United States requires a total of 243 searchlights. It is estimated that the funds for this purpose appropriated by Congress at its last session will provide five more 60-inch projectors and the installation of certain projectors now on hand. This will leave 115 searchlights yet to be provided, for which additional appropriations by Congress will be necessary.
Excluding the new project for the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, the sum of $596,231 will be required to complete the submarine mine projects for continental United States. The measure of defensive protection to be afforded by the appropriation of this sum of money for this purpose is so great as to indicate clearly the wisdom of presenting an estimate to Congress for the entire amount of this deficiency.
FIRE CONTROL COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS.
The installation of the fire control system should be carried to completion as expeditiously as possible. Even in those coast defenses where the standard fire control system has been installed, there are certain deficiencies in the minor and intermediate caliber batteries for which there was no approved type of installation at the time the system was installed. Since then it has been approved that the minor caliber batteries should be provided with coincidence range finders, while the intermediate caliber batteries should have either coincidence range finders or depression position finders, depending upon the heights of site of the batteries.
In those coast defenses where the system is only provisional, the installation provided was only for those batteries which were manned.
It is urgently recommended that appropriations be obtained at this time to purchase all the observing instruments needed to complete the entire system. These can not be procured at the outbreak of war, and must be provided before war is declared.
WAR RESERVE INSTRUMENTS,
It is believed that steps should be taken at this time to supply an adequate war reserve of observing instruments for the outlying possessions. If war should come, Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands should be self-sustaining, at least until the supremacy of the sea is established in our favor.
The replacement of instruments destroyed or injured must be accomplished at once in order the the armament may be used effectively. It is believed that 50 per cent of the instruments installed in the insular possessions and Panama should be supplied for use as a war reserve.
COAST ARTILLERY SCHOOL.
The Coast Artillery School has been maintained at a high state of efficiency, and it has been utilized as a means of raising the standard of efficiency for the officers and enlisted specialists of the corps.
During the last school year 41 officers and 90 enlisted men received instruction at the school. Of these, 40 officers and 66 enlisted men completed the respective courses successfully.
The work of the school during the past year has been very satisfactory, and the commandant and other officials of the school are deserving of great credit for the work accomplished.
The Torpedo Depot is, under the supervision of the Chief of Coast Artillery, charged with the design, purchase, and supply of all matériel for the submarine mine service of the Coast Artillery Corps. During the past year this depot has continued its work of improving existing matériel and of designing new matériel to meet special requirements, and in this connection has conducted considerable important experimental work. Very respectfully,
E. M. WEAVER, Brigadier General, Chief of Coast Artillery. The CHIEF OF STAFF.
REPORT OF THE CHIEF, DIVISION OF MILITIA AFFAIRS.
Washington, October 1, 1915. To the CHIEF OF STAFF.
SIR: The following annual report concerning militia affairs is submitted. The report is brought up to date as far as practicable; in fiscal matters, however, it is made to include June 30, 1915, only.
According to the latest returns the aggregate strength of the Organized Militia is 8,705 commissioned officers and 120,693 enlisted men, a decrease over last year of 87 officers, and an increase of 1,442 enlisted men. Definite progress has been made during the year toward the development of the militia into an efficient field force, and while some units have failed of recognition under the requirements of section 3 of the militia law, distinct gains in the aggregate have been made toward the model or standard demanded by the divisional scheme of militia organization. On the divisional basis there is altogether an excess of infantry units, though not an excess in numerical strength in infantry, even on a peace basis. While there have been gains in cavalry, field-artillery, and machine-gun units, especially in the last-named element, there are still serious deficiencies in those respects, as well as in engineers, signal, and sanitary troops. On the basis of coast-defense requirements, as estimated by the Chief of Coast Artillery, there is a deficiency in coastartillery militia of 21 per cent in company units, and on a numerical basis a deficiency of 38 per cent in commissioned officers and 57 per cent in enlisted men.
Reports show that Circular No. 3, Division of Militia Affairs, of February 26, 1914, has generally been taken advantage of in preparing schemes of theoretical and practical instruction in armories and at camps of instruction, and the effect undoubtedly has been in many cases to substitute order and system for random effort and more or less aimless methods of instruction. The effect eventually throughout the militia must be to standardize ideas and methods of instruction and in the end to establish that uniformity which is desired.
Correspondence courses for officers have been carried on in a majority of the States. While this method is in the nature of a shift or