Life in the Royal Navy Cigarette Cards (Part 3)

Naval Target

A target for heavy gun practice, as seen here, is a very substantial affair. It consists of a raft made out of massive balks of timber and cement surmounted by a lattice framework over which are stretched canvas sills. A target party has charge of each target, being employed after a shoot to effect the necessary repairs to enable a target to stand up to a further battering by 15 or 16 inch shells. Targets are towed at a fair speed, usually either by one of the special target towing vessels HMS Guardian or Protector or by a big fleet tug. A special camera is used to photograph the fall of every shot so that an exact record can be kept of every ship’s firing.

Launching Torpedo into Tube

When discharged from its tube a torpedo is capable of a long run of 7 miles or even more at moderate speed, or of shorter runs at very high speed. As a general rule long runs are only made when a mass of torpedoes is fired at a fleet a considerable distance away. When an individual ship is attacked every endeavour is made to get within short range so that the torpedoes maximum speed may be utilised and the chances of hitting increased. We show a 21 inch torpedo of the standard naval pattern weighing over 1 1/2 tons. A smaller type of torpedo, the 18 inch, is employed by aircraft and certain small surface vessels.

Adjustment of Torpedo Gear

The illustration shows a torpedo opened up for inspection and adjustment in a workshop. A torpedo includes much delicate mechanism in its internal construction such as the propelling engine worked by compressed air and surrounded by delicate control gear. At the tail end is the buoyancy chamber, containing a valve which can be set to sink the torpedo after it has ended it’s run; this is only used in wartime when the torpedo carries a heavy charge of explosive. The spinning wheel known as a gyroscope which keeps the torpedo on a straight course is also at the tail. Further forward is the balance chamber containing a heavy pendulum weight and a hydrostatic valve. Together these control the horizontal rudders at the tail.

Torpedo Firing Practice

The torpedo is shown in our picture leaving the tube from which it has been fired by a cordite charge. The tube is one of a group of three, mounted on a pivot so that torpedoes can be fired from either side of the ship. Most later types of destroyers have their tubes arranged in groups of either four or five. The torpedo illustrated is of the standard 21 inch type, with a practice head which carries in it a calcium light. This ignites after the torpedo has ended its run, and reveals the position by giving off white smoke, this enabling the destroyer’s boat to recover the torpedo.

Watching Depth Gauge in Submarine

The coxswain in charge of the after hydroplanes (horizontal diving rudders) of a submarine is shown carefully observing his depth gauge. From the reading of the dial it may be surmised that the submarine is just at periscope depth, or sufficiently near the surface to be able to observe what is happening above through her periscope. Perhaps 6 inches of the periscope may be above the surface, but this enables the captain of the submarine to get a clear view of any surface vessel that may be in sight. It will not do to show too much of the periscope above the surface, nor to expose it too often, since if the submarine is moving at any speed it will raise enough spray to attract the attention of an enemy ship.

Depth Charge Exploding

Depth charges are bombs usually containing 300lb of high explosive designed to detonate under water. They are exploded by means of a special device, actuated by the pressure of the water when a certain depth below the surface has been reached. The usual method of projecting depth charges from a destroyer or other vessel is by a simple type of howitzer, known as a depth charge thrower or by a simple dropping gear at the stern of the ship. In attacking submarines four depth charges are dropped at a time dispersed, in a diamond pattern. The explosion of a group of depth charges near a submerged submarine is bound to shake up and strain the vessel and dislocate her electrical arrangements, even if it does not inflict fatal damage.

Hoisting in Paravane

In appearance a paravane resembles a much shortened torpedo, and all warships carry a number of them. They are intended to be towed on either side of the ship’s bow when passing through waters likely to have been mined. While in tow, the fins with which they are fitted keep them streamed out at a wide angle on either side and intercept any mine that may be encountered, the mooring of which is cut by a device Incorporated in the paravane. The mine is thus brought to the surface where it can be exploded by gun or rifle fire. This contrivance was perfected during the Great War by the efforts of a number of officers, the leading part being taken by commander Sir Dennistoun Burney.

Hawker Nimrod Landing on the Flight Deck

Aircraft land on the spacious flight deck of an aircraft carrier in much the same way as they do on the surface of an aerodrome. But in order to check their way before they have run too far, a number of wires are stretched across the flight deck at intervals designed to engage in a hook at the tail of each machine as it lands and bring it up by gradual tension. The machine seen in the picture is a Hawker Nimrod, a single seat fighter biplane. It is propelled by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel 12 cylinder watercooled engine with a horse power of 550. During Navy Week visitors can see a squadron of aircraft of this type carrying out divebombing attacks on warships.

Fairey Swordfish being Manhandled into Position

A number of ratings are pushing a Swordfish aeroplane into position so that it may descend into the ship’s hanger by one of the big hydraulic lifts. Behind them is an officer of the Royal Air Force, borne in the Furious for instructional duties. The Fairey Swordfish is a biplane used either for torpedo dropping, spotting for gunnery practice, or for reconnaissance purposes. In the first case the crew would number two in either of the others it would number three. The machine is propelled by a 655/690 HP Bristol Pegasus III M nine cylinder air cooled engine. The argument includes one Vickers and one Lewis gun with either bombs or an 18 inch torpedo in addition.

Fairey Swordfish Going Down in Lift

Here a Swordfish aircraft is seen descending in one of the big hydraulic lifts which in all modern aircraft carriers give access to the hanger on the deck below. It will be observed that the wings of the machine have been folded back in order to occupy less space in the lift and hanger. Nowadays nearly all aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm have their wings designed to fold in this way. A number of ratings are accompanying the machine in the lift in order to run it off without delay, store it in its proper position in the hanger and effect any necessary lubrication and adjustments.

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