Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/543

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Popular Science Monthly

��527

���unerring accuracy and deadly effect against the barbed-wire entanglements? One of these machines uld cost but one thousand dollars; a modem naval torpedo costs seven thousand dollars

��errective means of destroying the enemy's entrenchments. So far as the actual manu- facturing cost goes, one of these torpedo cars could be built for one thousand dollars, whereas the modern naval torpedo repre- sents an outlay of seven thousand dollars. This, in itself, is an important factor in its favor. Whether or not the torpedo car could withstand the concentrated fire of the defending force, rests entirely upon the distance over which it would have to travel and the material of which it is made.

Briefly, the torpedo car consists of a torf)edo carr>ing several hundred pounds of high explosive mounted on a chassis. It may be propelled either by gas, steam, com- rressed air or a storage batter\' and electric

)tor, all depending on its contemplated

^' and the estimated range of action.

Qut the most important feature of the car concerns the method by which it is guided and fired. This is done by means of cables and wires in the hands of the attacking party, as illustrated on this page. The control cable is attached to a valve in the supply pipe connecting the cylinders of the engine with the boiler, operating the speed of the car. The charge is fired by means of a wire attached to the trigger.

��If it is found that the torpedo cannot reach the enemy because of rough ground, the control cable may be used to close the valve and to draw the machine back to the trench, for aiming it in a new direction. A windlass is provided for this purpose. Spiked wheels insure traction.

The torpedo car is provided with a shield of sufficient strength to bear up under rifle fire, as there is little likelihood that the enemy could train artillery on it in the brief period during which it is exposed and the high speed with which it is driven.

In carrying out an offensive campaign the inventors, Victor A. X'illar, of New York, and Stafford C. Talbot, of London, plan to supply an attacking force with a number of these torp>edo cars. At a given signal these war implements, suitably spaced apart according to the length of the enemy's front to be attacked, are released. They travel toward the enemy's entanglements and obstructions with astonishing speed. When they ha\e reached certain desired points, the torpedoes which they carr>- are auto- matically exploded by pulling the wires attached to the triggers, and everything within a radius of two hundred feet is blown to pieces, including the machines.

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