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In his past estimates there have been sketches submitted to you of these magazines, and these are of the same general kind as those we have erected before.
Mr. SHERLEY. These are meant to be permanent buildings?
Mr. SHERLEY. The only reason for asking that is because, of course, this committee can not make a determination as to the need of a particular building of a particular size. Now, there is this broad, basic fact, that the Frankford Arsenal is there and is going to remain there, and, considering the investment that is now there and the demand that is incident to the war, as well as the demand that will likely be placed upon that arsenal during normal times, are you warranted in making these buildings permanent buildings?
Gen. CROZIER. I think so, Mr. Chairman, because you can see this. Whenever the arsenal is operated at its capacity as a balanced plant, these storehouses are necessary, or the magazines are necessary: Now, if in normal times we do not operate at full capacity, it would be because of a policy that would dictate that we should not do so and that it would be better to rely on something else, in which case a part of this magazine-storage space and a part of the manufacturing plant would become again a part of the reserve capacity of the Government, but they are needed in order to balance the plant for a complete output of the manufacturing part of the establishment. We need this as a come-and-go reservoir for powder and explosives.
Mr. SHERLEY. And there is an unquestioned need now by virtue of the war situation?
Gen. CROZIER. Yes, sir. Now, the manufacturing part of the plant is permanent. That is, not in temporary buildings, but in permanent buildings and, therefore, as to the corresponding portions of the plant, like these magazines, good policy would dictate that they be permanent also.
Mr. Cannon. These magazines are to be at the Frankford Arsenal ? Gen. CROZIER. Yes, sir.
INCREASED FACILITIES FOR ASSEMBLING
Mr. SHERLEY. For increasing facilities for assembling artillery ammunition, you ask $150,000.
Gen. CROZIER. The principal object of that estimate is to provide a plant for loading high explosives by a different process from that which we have used before. The high explosives that we use come oftentimes in the form of powder, and a good method of loading them into the projectiles has been to put them in under pressure. Sometimes they are packed in by hand with hand plungers and blunt sticks. That process is a slow process, although, taking it altogether, it is perhaps the safest one. A much cheaper and much more rapid process is the process of casting the explosives in.
These explosives melt at a low temperature, and they are then run into the projectiles and quickly cooled. The disadvantage about that is the fear that we may not get a solid casting—that is to say, a casting may be had which has cavities in it, and in the shock of the discharge in the shell, those cavities might crush in or break down. That is disposed to generate heat, which is one of the speculative ways of accounting for certain premature explosions of these shells which we have had from time to time in the bore of the gun. Like everything else, these processes are in continuous course of improvement, and we think that we have improved this casting process now so that it is safe. It is the process which practically everybody else uses, and we think it can be followed efficiently and safely.
Mr. SHERLEY. That is for the erection of a building?
Gen. Crozier. Yes, sir; for the erection of a building and providing certain facilities for this casting work.
Mr. SHERLEY. How soon can you get that building and the facilities?
Gen. CROZIER. All the facilities will be ordered and will be in process of manufacture during the construction of the building, and so, as you see, the time limit would be about that for the construction of the building, and I think we ought to get that in about 12 months.
Mr. SHERLEY. The point that has suggested itself is whether we are going to get any use of those facilities in the making of your ammunition in this war?
Gen. CROZIER. I think so. Of course, it would be better if we had the facilities already.
Mr. SHERLEY. How much building do you contemplate and what capacity will you have?
Gen. Crozier. This is one of those things in regard to which there has not been a complete study. There has not been time for a complete study. This decision to go ahead with this casting process, instead of with the pressure process of loading the shell, is a comparatively recent one which we have taken this spring only, or in the early part of the summer. We have got to look ahead in a general way to see that the size of the plant is reasonable and justified, but it has not been thoroughly thought out.
Mr. SHERLEY. It is not practicable to use the building where the hand process is being conducted or any of those facilities for the machine loading?
Gen. Crozier. No, sir; that is not practicable. The hand process is a slow one, involving benches around the walls principally where the men handle the projectiles individually. This casting process means the providing of furnaces, buckets, lifting arrangements, and arrangements for placing the shells around on the floor where they can be gotten at.
Mr. SHERLEY. At what temperature can you melt this explosive!
Gen. (ROZIER. No, sir; it does not explode at that temperature. You see, 100° C. is the boiling point of water, and this is below the boiling point of water. They are heated by a steam jacket.
PIER AND WAREHOUSE.
Mr. SHERLEY. For a pier and warehouse you are asking $300,000.
Gen. Crozier. That estimate was submitted with the idea that the Frankford water front on a navigable stream, the Delaware River, would be useful as a shipping place. I do not know whether we will use that or not. It might be used as a shipping place for vessels to cross the ocean, or it might be used as a shipping place for lightering materials farther down the river, to be there loaded on vessels. I would not like to have the item go out of consideration altogether, but I am not sufficiently satisfied that it is necessary to ask you to report it with this bill. So I suggest that you pass over it, and unless you hear further from me leave it out. Before the bill gets out of Congress I may bring it up again.
INCREASING FACILITIES FOR MANUFACTURING SMALL-ARMS AMMUNITION.
Mr. SHERLEY. For increasing facilities for the manufacture of small-arms ammunition you ask $30,000.
Gen. CROZIER. I would like to have you increase that estimate to $125,000.
Mr. SHERLEY. Why?
Gen. CROZIER. I referred to it in speaking of an estimate the last time I was before the committee, a day or two ago, of $175,000 for a small-arms ammunition storehouse, which was intended to be used in connection with certain changes in the manufacturing arrangements. There were several things concerned in that appropriation. There is a demand for a greater output of certain processes. For instance, there is a demand for a greater output of lead wire which is made by pressing cast lead through a small opening, pressing it into wire, and that is afterwards cut up into slugs for bullets. That increased capacity has got to be provided for. It is desirable to make some change in the lead furnaces, changing them from the oil-burning type to the gas-burning type.
Mr. SHERLEY. Why is that?
Gen. CROZIER. The gas-burning type of furnaces are more efficient and more easily handled and are more flexible. That is to say, they are more quickly and economically turned on and off. They are more convenient in handling. The estimate as it has been sent to the committee heretofore of $30,000 related mainly to the improvement in facilities and increased capacity for the manufacture of lead wire out of which bullets are made. The addition is for providing facilities, including buildings, for the purpose of manufacturing certain new and different kinds of bullets.
Mr. SHERLEY. General, the next item is “For a target range, $15,000.” What is the purpose of this?
Gen. CROZIER. You understand, Mr. Chairman, that small-arms ammunition which is made at Frankford Arsenal, like all other kinds of ammunition, needs to be tested for various qualities, and one of the qualities for which we test it, of course, is its accuracy. If something goes wrong with the bullet-making machine so that the points are no longer symmetrical and are a little on one side of the axis, off goes your accuracy. If there is something wrong with your loading machine so that you do not get the same charge of powder in the different cartridges and it is irregular, off goes your accuracy. If something happens to the material, the cupro-nickel, which is very difficult to make and which forms the jacket of the bullet, so it does not take the rifling properly, off goes your accuracy. There are no
end of things that affect the accuracy, and consequently we have to test for accuracy continually.
Now, testing for accuracy requires a reasonably long range, a longer range than there is at the Frankford Arsenal. We test for accuracy at 1,000 yards as the maximum range. A bullet has a very effective range at a distance greater than 1,000 yards, but we do not test for accuracy beyond that range. In order to secure a range long enough to give us these 1,000 yards we have to send our people with the rifles and ammunition on a truck down to Essington, which is below Philadelphia, and there they use a rifle range belonging to the National Guard. This is some distance from the arsenal, about 20 miles, and during the winter months there is a great deal of difficulty in using it, and during the summer it frequently happens that it is being used by the National Guard organizations, so that although its use is possible and it is better than nothing, it is inconvenient and expensive. The city of Philadelphia has made an offer to the arsenal of the use of the frontage of one of its public buildings out near the arsenal, at Holmesburg, where it has a house of correction, and where we can get a range of about 1,000 yards. It has offered it to us free of charge.
Mr. SHERLEY. For what time?
Gen. CROZIER. I do not know whether the offer lasts beyond the war or not. The $15,000 is for the purpose of fixing up targets, butts, safety places, etc., to make the range available.
Mr. SHERLEY. We gave you last year $25,000 for a range, including a proof house and targets.
Gen. CROZIER. Yes; that was for expenditure at the arsenal itself where the range is much shorter. In addition to the testing for accuracy there are a good many other things for which ammunition has to be tested. If your cartridge material goes wrong the extractor in pulling the cartridge out of the barrel will pull it in two. This happens every once in a while in machine guns. If it goes wrong your cartridge case is apt to split, then it will become wedged in the gun, and when you attempt to pull it out you will pull it in two and stop the action of your machine gun. If something goes wrong with your primer composition and it is not sufficiently sensitive, when the firing pin hits it it won't go off, and you will have a misfire; or if something happens to it in another direction and it becomes too sensitive, it will go off with just the shock of the bolt when you close the breach, either with a machine gun or rifle, without the firing pin hitting it at all. If anything goes wrong with your powder you won't get your velocity right.
We test our velocity by firing through screens, and that is continually being done. There is a regular, systematic test of a certain proportion of all ammunition which is manufactured; and, of course, the greater part of this testing can be done at the arsenal itself, because a long range is not necessary. That is what that $25,000 · Mr. SHERLEY. And this estimate is for fixing up the butts, etc., for this 1,000-yard range.
Gen. Crozier. Yes, sir; in order to free us from the necessity of going great distances and encountering the obstacles which we encounter at Essington.
Mr. SHERLEY. So far as the city of Philadelphia is concerned the Government is involved in no expense in taking advantage of this offer?
Gen. CROZIER. No.
PEDIMENT FOR FUSE-SHOP BUILDING.
Mr. SHERLEY. “For a pediment to the fuse-shop building, $30,000.”
Gen. CROZIER. That is to contain an outside stairway with an inclosed stair well and elevator well for the safety of the employees. Congress created, I think, at the last session, a Federal Employees' Compensation Commission which is taking over the duty of passing on all questions of Government liability for injury and also for the purpose of reducing the liability by taking supervision of all matters relating to the safety of employees in Government establishments. The commission has visited several of the arsenals and among others has visited the Frankford Arsenal and has made a report of its visit to the Frankford Arsenal, which I have here, and among other things covered by the report is the congestion in the fuse shop which would interfere with the safety of the employees in case there should be any necessity for getting out of it quickly.
Mr. SHERLEY. This will result in lessening the liability in case of fire or explosion, and is for the safety of the employees.
Gen. CROZIER. That is the object; yes, sir.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, DOVER, N. J.
STOREHOUSE, OFFICE BUILDING, ETC. Mr. SHERLEY. For buildings for assembling powder charges, including an igniter building, a storehouse for completed cartridge bags, an office building, covered passageway connecting the same, heating plant, toilets, etc., $10,000.
Gen. Crozier. The terms of the appropriation carry the explanation of it pretty well, Mr. Chairman. This is required to take care of the increased work of assembling powder charges at Picatinny. We can divide it up into its elements. The igniter building will cost about $6,000. The igniter is a little charge of fine powder which is sewed onto the rear end of the cartridge containing the charge of powder. The smokeless powder which we use is hard to ignite
. It burns with great intensity when it is ignited, but it is difficult to ignite. The ordinary primer will not ignite it. You can fire a blaze of flame against it, and, generally speaking, it will not ignite, so in order to insure ignition a little gauze sack of fine-grain charcoal powder is sewed to the read end, and you fire your primer into that. That is much more easily ignited, and the flame from that ignites the other.
Making these igniters is a little bit hazardous, because they have to be stitched through-quilted, as we call it. They are little disks of about that size [indicating) and flat, not as thick as your finger, and the powder is spread around over those disks. Now, in ordinary handling the powder will all shake down on one side, just like feathers will do in a pillow sometimes. In order to prevent that these things are sewed through in a criss-cross direction, and that is called quilting. That is done on a machine, and, of course, it is a little hazardous, so it is desirable to do it in a building by itself;