Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/853

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Popular Science Monthly


��What Happens in the Stokehold of the Speeding Destroyer

THE soldiers wliu tight with least recog- nition in the battles at sea are the stokers of the destroyers running at full speed. Eight men work under the com- mand of a stoker petty officer, in a space so narrow that movement of any kind seems impossible. There is a furnace in front and one in the back. Sandwiched in between is a maze of levers, pipes, pumps and gear. \'et within these close quarters the stokers find space to perform their heart-breaking toil in an atmosphere almost too hot to breathe. When the men are at their posts, the iron hatch is closed down and the air sucked in through a ventilator has to pass through the furnace before it gets to them. So long as the pumps work well and the evaporated w'ater is displaced with auto- matic regularity by fresh, neither the tubes nor the boiler casing can get dangerously hot. But sometimes without apparent cause, the water slowly descends below the level. Sometimes the cause of is a leakage — a pipe broken joint strained that allows the water to escape. If it can be remedied, well and good. But if not and the w^ater con- tinues to drop steadily, the stoker pett^' officer has but one duty to perform — to keep the hatchway from being opened by the fren- zied stokers, thus allowing the flames to escape and destroy the entire vessel. The heroes w'ho perish in the stokeholds like so many rats caught in a fiery trap are not c\'en listed.

��The Sentinels of the Sky Above the War-Zone Trenches

SENTRIES and sentinels have always held a prominent place in pictures and histories of war-times; but it remained for the present war to develop the sentinels of the sky. These are lines of balloons, each balloon about a rifie-shot from the next, and moored about two or three miles behind the front line of trenches, forming a dotted line in the sky which runs roughly parallel with the real front of the battle.

With unwinking vigilance the sentinels in these balloons scan the sky above and around them and the earth beneath them through powerful glasses. Although so high up that they appear to be nothing more than tiny smudges on the grayness of the sky, they can pick out so small an object as a suspicious-looking automobile dashing along through a fog, and will signal the artillery in time to stop its progress.

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