Very probably a marvellous precision of tactics will be arrived at for the sake of the means without much thought of the end. The suggestion of this is already to be noted in the wedge-shape formation, destroyer almost touching destroyer, evolved by the Germans and copied by the Americans. It may conceivably become the pride of future navies to do this and kindred things at fifty knots with 50,000-ton ships.
Target practice is another very probable form of dry-rot. Already gun-layers' competitions have been elevated to a position altogether out of proportion to their utility. The target practice of the future is tolerably sure to be wonderful. Trick shooting can be foreseen already. Some gun of special precision will appear, not perhaps at all the largest possible, but one in which one or two qualities are sacrificed to a splendid precision. With perfect range finders, perfect speed indicators, and a more or less perfect propellant, hitting the target will be absolutely certain be it still or in motion, and the only uncertainty as to whether the hit is in the centre of the bull's-eye. Torpedoes will probably reach a similar certainty, and speed trials and target practice be done with a precision to evoke unstinted praise. And little by little things will be introduced that will aid these practices to become still more perfect and some small war may serve to demonstrate the perfection.
And then a war with some nation hopelessly