|Robert Anthony Edwards Scott R.N.||Explanation|
|Son of Edward Scott (c1795-1843)|
|Date (from)||(Date to)||Personal|
|20 June 1817||Born (Estover, Eggbuckland, Plymouth, Devon)|
|9 January 1849||Married firstly Madeline (1828-1857), daughter of Major-general Frederick Bowes (c1785-1842)|
|21 October 1858||Married secondly Fanny Maria (1841-1909), daughter of Richard Addis Archer Julian (1793-1872)|
|25 December 1903||Died (Greenwich, Kent)|
|25 July 1836||Mate|
|17 May 1842||Lieutenant|
|28 July 1848||Commander|
|22 November 1866||Captain|
|20 October 1870||Retired Captain|
|27 March 1885||Retired Rear-Admiral|
|Date from||Date to||Service|
|3 October 1836||16 January 1837||Mate in Thunderer, commanded by Captain William Furlong Wise, Mediterranean|
|30 January 1837||8 December 1837||Mate in Excellent, commanded by Captain Thomas Hastings, gunnery ship, Portsmouth|
|9 December 1837||14 May 1842||Mate in President, commanded by Captain James Scott, Pacific|
|25 June 1842||19 April 1847||Lieutenant in Salamander, commanded by Commander Andrew Snape Hamond, South America|
|19 July 1847||17 June 1848||Lieutenant in Vixen, commanded by Commander Alfred Phillipps Ryder, Charles Napier's Western Squadron|
|18 January 1854||24 January 1859||Coast Guard, Inspecting Commander, Southend then Ryde, isle of Wight|
|14 June 1860||11 October 1861||Additional commander in Fisgard, commanded by Commodore James Robert Drummond, Woolwich, for special service|
|14 March 1863||3 September 1863||Additional commander in Fisgard, commanded by Captain Frederick Archibald Campbell, Woolwich, for special service|
|1 May 1864||25 September 1865||Additional commander in Fisgard, commanded by Hugh Dunlop, Woolwich, for special service|
|26 September 1865||3 December 1866||Commander in Research, Portsmouth|
|26 January 1867||19 October 1870||Additional captain in Fisgard, commanded by Commodore William Edmonstone for service in the Controllers office then with the Director General of Naval Ordnance|
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|We 25 January 1865||The Lords of the Admiralty have approved the machinery proposed to be adopted for working the large 12-ton 300-pounder Armstrong rifled guns with which the ironclad frigate Bellerophon, 14,1,060-horse power, is to be armed, and instructions have be given for one of the training machines to be immediately constructed from the plans submitted by Mr Reed, in order that it may undergo a variety of tests, chiefly with the view of ascertaining its capabilities of satisfactorily withstanding the shock of the discharge of the guns. Should the new machinery pass through this ordeal satisfactorily, it is intended to place one of the 12-ton guns, worked on the new principle, on board either the iron-clad frigate Pallas or Favourite, whichever can be first made ready for sea, in order that the application of the principle to monster guns worked at sea, under all circumstances of rolling, pitching, and other exigencies, may be carefully tested, and the results reported upon. In conjunction with the new plan of training guns of the largest calibre on board ironclad vessels of war, the Lords of the Admiralty have decided on testing the improved form of iron gun-carriage, the invention of Commander Scott, of the Royal Navy, on which it is proposed to mount the Bellerophon's guns, and which, judging from the models and plans exhibited at Chatham, seems to possess very great facilities for running the guns in and out, as well as for elevating and depressing them, as compared with the system hitherto in use in the service, The results of the trials, which are shortly to be made, are looked forward to with the keenest interest. It is believed that the working of ship's guns by machinery will inaugurate an entirely new era in naval gunnery, for should the results anticipated prove successful, of which no reasonable doubt exists in the minds of those qualified to form an opinion, the problem which has hitherto been the stumbling-block to the employment of monster guns at the broadside will be solved. The plans and drawings of the new machinery show the mechanism employed by Mr. Reed to be exceedingly simple, so that it will not readily get out of order, even in the hands of seamen. Another most important feature in the invention is that the apparatus by which the guns are to be worked will be placed below the gun deck and beneath the water-line, thus rendering it secure from injury by shot or shell. The only portion of it which will be seen on the gundeck will be a kind of steering wheel for each gun, by the aid of which some three or four seamen only will be able to shift it from side to side and train it with the utmost nicety in any direction. Although, however, every precaution will be taken to prevent the machinery becoming injured, the ordinary train tackles, &c., will be supplied to each gun in the event of any unforeseen accident. During the last few days the officials connected with the War-office to which department everything is confided relating to the armament of vessels of war - have made frequent inspections of the Bellerophon, in order to ascertain the extent of accommodation offered for the heavy armament intended for her, and it is satisfactory to know that from the manner in which that frigate has been built there is abundant room afforded at the broadside ports for ten of the 300-pounders which it is intended to place in the central battery, while arrangements have at the same time been made to enable her to carry a formidable armament at her armour-plated bow battery, the guns of which will fire in a direct line with her keel.|
|Tu 12 December 1865|
HER MAJESTY’S SHIP MINOTAUR.The iron frigate Minotaur, 6,621 tons, 1,250-horse power, Master Frank Inglis, under the command pro tem, of Captain F.A. Herbert, and manned by the crew of the Royal Sovereign, with supernumeraries from the Steam Reserve, went out of Portsmouth harbour yesterday afternoon and anchored at Spithead, where she will take in her ammunition and be swung to ascertain the deviation of her compass prior to starting for Portland on her trials of competitive 12-ton broadside gun carriages. The trials will be under the direction and superintendence of Captain A.C. Key, C.B., commanding Her Majesty’s gunnery ship Excellent. Portland roads will be made the anchorage ground on her return from each day's trial until their conclusion, when she will return to Spithead and await further orders from the Admiralty. The trials were originally intended to have been made with four carriages and slides; but one, designed by Sir William. Armstrong, not having been yet been received from Elswick, they will be confined to the following three:—
1. The Admiralty wooden pattern carriage and slide, fitted with eccentric rollers and other improvements suggested by Captain Key. The training gear is that of Mr. Cunningham ("Patent-topsail Cunningham," as he is termed in the Navy), and is precisely similar in every respect to the training gear fitted to the 12-ton broadside gun-carriage on board the Excellent, when it is spoken of as the most simple and yet efficient means of training heavy guns yet devised. It consists of a single port chain made fast on each side of the rear end of the slide, and leading thence by two single blocks on each side of the gun and its carriage, by the waterways to a crab winch fixed on the deck, entirely out of the way of the guns crew in working their gun in rapid firing, and also from its position not liable to injury from concussion on the ship's side being struck by an enemy's shot.
The weight of the carriage is 39 cwt. 2 qrs. 4 lb.; the weight of the slide, 38 cwt. 2 qrs. 8 lb. — total weight of carriage and slide, 78 cwt. 0 qrs. 12 lb.
The principal, or, perhaps, more correctly speaking, the only recommendation this carriage possesses is its antiquity. Its objectionable features are the absence of an easily worked running in and out gear, and the presence of all the inherent defects and weaknesses of a wooden gun-carriage when applied to mounting ordnance of such exceptional weight as guns of 12 tons. Captain Key's improvements have, however, so effectually reformed the character and power of the carriage and its slide that it will now act as a most excellent test for comparison with the results obtained by the new pattern iron carriages and their slides.
2. The Woolwich Arsenal, or Colonel Shaw’s iron carriage and slide. This carriage has single sides, strengthened with its iron framing. The compressor is a large iron clamp athwart the bottom of the carriage, and grasping the flanges of the slide. The gun’s running in and out gear is a flat endless chain, working over tooth-wheels at each end of the slide, worked by small hand-wheel levers at the rear of the slide. The slide is constructed of double T-iron. The training gear has been fitted under the superintendence of Mr. W. Lynn, assistant to Mr. Murray, the Superintending Engineer of Portsmouth dockyard. It consists of a cast-iron bracket fitted with a chain pinion, and fixed on the ship's side midway between the gunports. Upon the under side of the deck, directly below this bracket between the ship's beams, a transverse piece of shafting is fixed, having a chain wheel on one end and a bevel wheel on the other, the motion to the shafting being given by means of an endless chain between the chain wheels on the bracket on the gun-deck and the similar wheel on the transverse shafting below. The bevel wheel at the other or inner end of the transverse shafting gears with a similar wheel upon a short upright spindle which passes through the deck, and there is capped by a small chain wheel. Round this wheel an endless chain passes, attached to the slide of the gun-carriage, and to a single block on the opposite side of the carriage. The weight of the carriage is 34 cwt, 0 qrs. 2 lb.; the weight of the slide, 43 cwt. 3 qrs. 18 lb.; total weight, 77 cwt. 3 qrs. 20 lb. The main features of recommendation of this carriage and slide are lightness combined with strength, the acknowledged correctness of the principle on which it has been built, and the ease with which all its parts can be got at and repaired in the event of temporary injury during action without the delay of dismounting the gun. Its features of weakness are — a possible too great lightness of metal to stand without damage the shock from the discharge of a 12-ton rifled gun, a faulty application of the compressors, and an absolute want of leverage power over the running in and out gear from a want of larger pinions and wheel levers. All this would be remedial in another carriage built on the same principle.
3. Iron carriage and slide designed by and made under the superintendence of Commander Scott, Her Majesty's ship Research. This carriage has double, or box girder, sides of immense strength, and is filled in with wood to absorb the vibration of the iron if struck by the enemy's shot. The gun is run in and out by endless chains, similar to Colonel Shaw's carriage, worked by powerful pinions and hand-wheel levers, holding great control over the gun. The compressors are composed of three tapered balks of timber lying parallel with each other in the bed of the slide. From the bottom of the carriage four iron plates descend and fit in between these balks; through the sides of the carriage and through the upper edges of these plates are fixed right and left-handed screw levers, worked by wheel levers on each side, the whole forming a fourfold compressor of tremendous power. The slide is of equal strength and massiveness with the carriage. It is built on the box-girder principle, and traverses on raised metal racers, with hollow-soled trucks on Colonel Colquhoun's plan. The training gear forms part of the carriage and slide; a longitudinal shaft running under the slide is fitted with pinions at either end, and works in a rack-way upon the deck next the fore-and-after racers. The gun runs in and out and trains, apparently, with great facility. Another means of training is fitted to this gun, which, however, is only a copy of Mr. Cunningham's plan. The weight of the carriage is 2 tons 6 cwt, and of the slide, 3 tons 12 cwt., giving a total weight of 5 tons 18 cwt.
The chief apparent recommendations of Commander Scott's carriage and slide are the ease with which all its parts can be worked, and its evident ability to carry its gun and withstand the shock of its discharge. Its objectionable features in its present form are its evident cost of manufacture, weight of metal, and the objectionable metal rackway laid down on the ship's deck next to the raised metal racers. All these objections are, of course, removable in any second carriage and slide made on the same plan.
The forthcoming trials on board the Minotaur are of the highest importance. If our ironclads can, by the mechanical aid of improved carriages, carry guns of 12-tons' weight on their broadsides, they will not only do what the ships of no other naval Power have yet attempted, but also what some of the moat distinguished officers in the American navy have but just declared, as the result of their recent experience, to be altogether impracticable. In the "Report of the Secretary of the United States' Navy in relation to Armoured Vessels," printed by order of Congress, and containing all the official reports and documents on the subject received by Mr. Gideon Welles up to March 30, 1864, Rear-Admiral Goldsworthy, the officer quoted, says, in his "Opinion of Ironclads," sent in to Mr. Secretary Welles, and dated March 24, 1864,—
"According to my impressions, a gun of 12,000lb., fired with a normal charge of 21lb. of powder, is about the heaviest that can be used to advantage in the broadside ports of any vessel whatever."
After recommending that a gun of this weight should be made and fully tested and reported on, the Rear-Admiral adds:—
"I am fully aware that the New Ironsides has now on board still heavier guns and of larger calibre, carried broadside-wise — guns of 16,000lb. in weight and 11 inches in calibre — but I am not aware that either they or their carriages, which occupy, unavoidably so much space, have been subjected continuously, in action or at sea, to the effect of the use of solid shot, with charges of powder approaching one-fourth the weight of the projectiles. The test, no doubt, would prove palpably excessive in many respects. In all the actions of this vessel off Charleston, the rule with her, as I understand, was loaded shells with corresponding charges; and if she ever has resorted to solid shot with a large increase of charge, I am uninformed of the fact."
Our own opinion on this subject is very well expressed by Captain A.C. Key, in his official Report to the Admiralty on the smooth water trials conducted by him of the turrets and guns of the Royal Sovereign, and dated July 11, 1865. Captain Key says, at page 3 of his Report:—
"No practical reasons exist why a heavy gun should not be worked on a broadside with the same security as in a turret, and I am satisfied that there is no difference in this respect."
Captain Key at the time was writing of 12-ton guns, and he here appears to accept this as the maximum weight of the gun to be fought through a ship's broadside port — that is a gun weighing 26,880lb., in contradistinction to Admiral Goldsworthy's opinion that 12,000lb. must be the maximum weight. The American Admiral, no doubt, meant his gun to be fought under extreme conditions of weather and the ship's motion, and, unless the Minotaur be subjected to these conditions during her trials of these new iron carriages, her cruise will prove valueless, and American opinion, in the main, be found correct. Whatever may be the final results of the apparently interminable "Battle of the Guns," the Admiralty by their selection of the 12-ton coil-built gun have made that weapon, for the present, the maximum of size and calibre for the broadside armament of the iron-clad ships of Her Majesty’s navy, should the Minotaur's cruise prove the soundness of Captain Key's opinion. In their incomplete state, as smoothbores of 10·5-inch calibre, five of these guns have been now for some time in the turrets of the Royal Sovereign, four in those of the Scorpion, three on board the Minotaur for trials of carriages, and there are also understood to br somewhere about 200 more at Woolwich waiting the 9-inch rifled steel tubes with which it has been determined to fit them. One rifled gun of the same weight, imperfect however in some part of its bore, is also on board the gunnery ship Excellent for drill purposes. When a sufficient number of the guns at Woolwich have received their steel tubes they will be exchanged for their smoothbore brethren at present on board the Royal Sovereign, Scorpion, and Minotaur, and the formal entry of the gun as part armament of Her Majesty’s navy may then be considered to have been effected. Turret ships, such as we have even at present, can certainly carry and work a much heavier gun than one of 12 tons, and will doubtless receive them when we can procure them. Our present difficulty lies in providing carriages fitted with such mechanical aids as shall enable us to mount and fight such guns efficiently through broadside ports, and to meet this several inventors have come forward with carriages and their slides, and gear for running the gun in and out under sufficient control and all the conditions of the ship's movements at sea, for training quickly and steadily to any given angle, and for elevation, depression, &c. Preliminary trials have been made with both iron and modern carriages on board the Research and Minotaur, and valuable data have been deduced; but the first of a series of really comprehensive, competitive trials will commence on board the Minotaur, under Captain Key's direction, during the present week, in the generally rough waters off the Bill of Portland.
|Sa 20 January 1866||The iron frigate Minotaur steamed into Portsmouth harbour yesterday at high water from Spithead, and was berthed alongside the dockyard. She is ordered to receive on board a 12½-ton 9-inch rifled gun — the "Woolwich gun," as it is now generally termed, from its system of rifling — and its carriage, which will be mounted on the fourth main deck central gunport, which has been constructed in the Minotaur's main deck battery for this description of ordnance. The port and deck fittings for the gun and its carriage and slide have yet to be prepared, and this will necessarily occupy several days. When this has been completed, the ship, according to the present arrangements of the Admiralty, will sail from Portsmouth for Portland, and in her subsequent trials from that anchorage her course will be extended sufficiently far westward to insure her meeting with waves large enough to give her the desired lateral motion, or "roll" — from 14 to 16 degrees each way. This will at once and definitively settle the disputed question as to the possibility of efficiently working 12½-ton guns on a ship's broadside in a considerable seaway, and also define the exact merits and demerits of their present competitive gun carriages and slides, their compressors, running in and out gear, training gear, and other points of detail. What trials have taken place on board the Minotaur on her two cruises south of the Isle of Wight, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 17th and 18th inst., have been confined to three gun carriages and their slides — Commander R. Scott's, iron; the Woolwich Arsenal, iron; and the wooden Admiralty pattern carriage improved according to the suggestions of Captain A.C. Key, C.B. The trials, however, were really so limited, owing to the ship's hull being so large, and hence slightly affected by what sea there was found in the Channel south of Dunnose, that we may discard any consideration of what has been so far done with the wooden carriage and its slide, and make only a very few, and necessarily very brief, remarks upon the two iron carriages and their slides. On the Wednesday there was a moderately fresh breeze near the land in the Channel, but no waves of sufficient volume to materially affect the ship's steadiness could be met with either close in with the land or off in the main tide-way. The maximum roll attained by the ship was only 8 deg. each way. On the following day the weather was very squally in the morning, with the wind, as on the previous day, from the S.W. (the south cone cautioning signal being up), and it freshened considerably in the afternoon. The Minotaur was really less fortunate on this second than on her first search for big waves, as she only succeeded in giving her sides a maximum roll of about 4 degrees each way. Any reliable comparative results were, therefore, out of the question, beyond these somewhat general observations, that Commander Scott's iron carriage and slide worked remarkably well, and proved the excellence of its mechanical fittings as turned out of hand by the engineering staff of Woolwich dockyard, or whichever department of that yard or arsenal may have done the work. The Woolwich Arsenal iron carriage and slide, which appears to be wonderfully rough in appliances and general finish in comparison with the carriage and slide on Commander Scott's plan, has so far proved itself good and serviceable. It is simple, and consists of few parts, but it had serious defects in its general arrangement. Any further comparison between the two would at the present time be premature. Speaking of all three carriages and their slides, however, it may safely be observed that there is not a single new mechanical contrivance about either of them. Some very rapid firing was made from the guns mounted on both these carriages and slides on Commander Scott's and the Arsenal plan on Wednesday and also on Thursday, but especially on the latter day, Rapid firing means necessarily also ease of working, but this fact most be taken only for what it is worth in considering that the ship was only attaining a maximum roll at the time of 4 degrees. Whatever may be done on board small ships, it may be considered now so far certain that on board the Minotaur, with well-trained gun's crews, a 12½ ton-gun, mounted and worked with our present mechanical appliances, as adapted to the carriages and slides on board the Minotaur, may be handled on the broadside with much greater facility and ease than was the old 112 cwt. 68-pounder gun on a pivot on board our paddle-steamers 20 years ago. The former throws a rifled projectile of 225lb. weight, and the latter a spherical one of 68lb. What can be really done with the 12½-ton gun in rough weather the forthcoming cruise of the Minotaur must decide. The rifled 9in. gun for the Minotaur arrived at Portsmouth, from Woolwich in the Dee steam storeship on Thursday.|
|We 24 January 1866||The iron screw frigate Minotaur, Capt. F.A. Herbert, manned by the officers and crew of the Royal Sovereign, with seamen gunners from Her Majesty's ship Excellent, and engineers and stokers from the Steam Reserve, steamed out of Portsmouth harbour yesterday at high water, and anchored at Spithead. Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, G.C.B., Port Admiral and Naval Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, went out to Spithead in the ship, and, after she had been brought to an anchor, returned ashore in his steam yacht, the Fire Queen, Staff Commander Paul. According to the arrangements at the time of the Minotaur leaving Portsmouth harbour yesterday, she will sail from Spithead at an early hour on Thursday morning. Capt. A.C. Key, C.B., commanding Her Majesty's ship Excellent, with his staff, previously embarked to conduct the experiments with the 12½-ton guns and their carriages now on board the ship, with the different mechanical appliances fitted to the latter for running the guns in and out, training, compressing the recoil, &c. If the weather is found sufficiently rough in the Channel off the Isle of Wight the trials will be made there, but, if not, the ship will proceed to Portland, and carry out the contemplated trials in the "race" off Portland Bill, or further westward, if necessary, according to the state of the sea. The main conditions attending the trials of the 12½-ton guns on the Minotaur's broadside to be sought for are that the ship should attain as near an extent of roll as may be possible to that attained by the Royal Sovereign when trying the same description of guns in her central turrets - 16 deg. In the recent limited cruises of the Minotaur off the Isle of Wight the ship had on board three 12½-ton guns - one mounted on Commander Scott's iron-box girder-built slide and carriage, the second on the Woolwich Arsenal H iron slide and its iron carriage, and the third on the Admiralty pattern wooden slide and carriage, fitted with eccentric movement rollers and other improvements, as suggested to the Admiralty by Capt. A.C. Key. All three of these guns were smoothbores of 10·5 inch calibre, and all three, with the same slides and carriages, she takes to sea with her again on this occasion. The Arsenal iron carriage is now fitted with an improvement in the compressor, having a much quicker action than the former one. The fourth gun taken out on her cruise by the ship on this occasion is also a 12½ -ton gun, but it is rifled on the Woolwich plan, with six shallow grooves, on a Firth's steel tube, having a diameter of nine inches. This gun is mounted on a wooden slide and carriage similar to that with Capt. Key's improvements. It is not at all probable that the results of the trials will be favourable to the wooden carriages in comparison with the two iron ones. This makes it the more to be regretted that the iron carriage and its slide now being manufactured by the Elswick Company from the designs of Sir William Armstrong have not been completed in time to be sent on board the Minotaur to mount the rifled gun she takes out with her for trial. In justice to Commander Scott we are bound to state that his iron carriage and slide, which mounts one of the 10·5-inch smooth-bore guns, has so far answered admirably under fire. In the smooth-water trials that have been made - no rough water trials having yet been carried out for want of a fitting opportunity - the gun has been worked with the ease and regularity of clockwork. The gun, with its carriage and slide, is held in position on the ship's deck most effectually by the hollow-soled slide-rollers working over the massive raised metal racers without the aid of the embrasure pivot, and the compressors have been found fully equal to check the gun at any desired length of recoil, with single or double charges. It delivers a very rapid fire, 12 rounds having been discharged on the last day the Minotaur was off the Wight in six minutes and 35 seconds. On that day also its compressors came out of their trial with great credit. The gun was being fired double shotted with 40lb. powder charges. On the first round being fired it recoiled 4ft. 5in. on the slide. Nos. 3 and 4 of the gun's crew, who were loaders, asked for more room for loading the gun in the next round, and the adjusting screw of the compressors was slackened up accordingly by direction of the captain of the gun. On the gun being again fired, she recoiled 5ft. 6in. This was rather more than the loaders required, and a half turn was given the opposite way again to the compressor wheel, when the gun, on its third round, recoiled 5ft., which was found to be just the distance required. We mention this incident thus particularly as best illustrating the ease with which the compressors of Capt. Scott's carriage are adjusted, and the power they hold over the movement of the gun, and at the same time take the opportunity of remarking that the compressors may even now be very much improved by rendering them self-acting. There are many parts of this carriage and its slide, or rather of their fittings, which may be very much simplified, this opinion being one which Capt. Scott appears to share. For instance, there is the elevating screw. It works admirably in giving the gun quick elevation and depression at moderate angles, but it appears in its present arrangement, with its rigid vertical screw, to be somewhat unsuited to extreme elevations of the gun in firing. This, however, yet remains, for actual proof, and at the same time it must be confessed that, in all probability, but few opportunities will be taken of firing the 12½-ton guns of any ironclad's main deck batteries at extreme elevations, owing to the confined nature of the gunports. Objections have been raised to the observation made in our Naval Intelligence of the 20th inst., that in all three gun carriages and their slides then on board the Minotaur "there was not a single new mechanical contrivance or idea." There now seems no reason for modifying this statement. The guns, in each instance, are carried on their carriages as in years past, and the carriages themselves run on the same form of slides. Two of the carriages are certainly made of iron, in lieu of wood, but this change of material in a body keeping the old form cannot be termed "a new" mechanical idea. With regard to the fittings of the gun carriages and their slides; endless chains, eccentric motions, friction compressors, and other arrangements of a like nature, cannot be termed "new." They are simply mechanical forms of power in daily use in all parts of the world, but in the present case are for the first time applied in their new arrangements to the working of heavy guns on a ship's broadside - adaptations of sound principles, and adapted, too, in a most ingenious manner. The Minotaur will be swung to-day at Spithead to ascertain the deviation of her compass, preparatory to leaving to-morrow on her cruise, which, if she completes the trials of the guns and their carriages, as at present intended, may possibly be a somewhat lengthened one.|
|Mo 26 February 1866||The Gun-Carriage Competition.-Although we dissented from the employment of any one officer to decide upon the best means of mounting our heavy guns In broadside ships, the expenditure necessary to prepare so valuable a vessel as the Minotaur for the trials of the four competitive plans seemed to us justifiable, believing as we did that these trials would be conducted at the mouth of the Channel in a sufficiently heavy sea, and at the same time to try the vessel's ability to carry and fight the heavy guns proposed for her new armament under every circumstance of wind and weather. Although disappointed in these reasonable hopes, it is said that the trials prove that of the four plans tried Commander Scott's has alone been equal to the task of holding both gun-carriage and slide securely, and of enabling its crew to work their gun with quickness and safety. This is, however, a great step; and, having got so far through the experiments (obtaining comparative data), which only need for completion the trial of Sir W. Armstrong's carriage against Commander Scott, we hear there is a proposal to delay the competition, by removing the guns and fittings to some other smaller vessel, under consideration, which, if carried out, must have the effect of nullifying what has been already effected at such considerable cost, and of indefinitely postponing the rational issue of the trials - viz., the obtaining the very best broadside gun-carriage. But we still hope the experiments will be at once pushed to their legitimate issue, and finally finished in Her Majesty's ship Minotaur, in the presence of those who are responsible to the country for their due completion. - Army and Navy Gazette.|
|We 28 February 1866||Orders have been received at Portsmouth dockyard by the Admiralty to complete the iron frigate Minotaur in her fittings for commission, irrespective of any future trials of the competitive gun-carriages, provision for which has been otherwise arranged. These future arrangements for the trials of the gun-carriages are understood to be the substitution of the Bellerophon for the Minotaur, and the Admiralty, in this change of ship, appear to have been guided by sound common-sense views in the endeavour to render the results of such important competitive trials as complete and exhaustive as may be possible. The Minotaur with her enormous bulk of hull - upwards of 6,600 tons - could never be given on any one of her recent trips into the Channel any motion exceeding an easy lateral swing of 10 degrees each way, which is useless for proving the comparative merits of broadside gun-carriages and their slides intended to mount 12½-ton guns It was found impossible to attain the necessary degree of quick lurching motion with the Minotaur in mere Channel waves, but with the Bellerophon - a vessel nearly 2,400 tons less in the size of her hull - it may be attained. The question will then be settled beyond possibility of doubt or cavil. There are also other reasons in favour of the trials being completed in the Bellerophon rather than in the Minotaur. The latter vessel is greatly deficient in space between the only ports she has fitted for fighting 12½-ton guns through, and she is also somewhat deficient in height between decks and elevation of her ports for such ordnance The Bellerophon has none of these defects. On the contrary, her battery and its ports have been expressly built and fitted for working the guns, and afford ample space for a trial of any mechanical appliances fitted for working them. She is also fitted with training gear designed by Mr. E.J. Reed, Chief Constructor of the Navy, which possesses the great advantage of being all fixed and worked on the deck below the battery, and therefore secure from danger in action, as well as not encumbering the gun deck. It also possesses the serious disadvantages of being very complicated in its parts, of great weight, and excessively costly, looking at it in relation to the simple end for which It has been designed; the training of heavy ordnance being the least of the difficulties that have to be met with and overcome in its adoption on the broadsides of our ships of war. Mr. Reed's plan being fitted, however, on board the Bellerophon will now have to stand its competitive trial with Commander Scott's gear as fitted to his carriage, with Mr. Lynn's gear as fitted to the Woolwich carriage, and with the gear of Mr. Cunningham as fitted to the Admiralty pattern wooden carriage. The iron carriage of one of the guns on board the Minotaur, and which was constructed in the Woolwich Arsenal, has been returned to Woolwich from the ship to be fitted with a different system of compressors, and when completed will be sent back to Portsmouth for trial in the Bellerophon. Sir William Armstrong's iron carriage, which has been manufactured at Elswick, is also expected to arrive at Portsmouth during the present week, and will enter the lists against the other carriages in the trials on board the Bellerophon. This carriage from Elswick is spoken of very favourably from its appearance, but any peculiar features of construction it may possess will be seen in a truer light when it stands on the deck of the Bellerophon in company with its rivals -- the Scott and the Woolwich Arsenal iron carriages and the Admiralty pattern wooden carriage. There can be no disputing the fact that with the cruises of the Bellerophon will commence the real trials of the iron gun carriages, the Elswick carriage only then entering upon the scene, and the Woolwich carriage having been virtually disabled on board the Minotaur by the inefficiency of the compressors. The trials will be of the highest importance, and their results will be watched with eager interest by all who study and value the efficiency of the Navy. For the fulness and impartiality with which they will be conducted the professional standing and reputation of the officer intrusted with their supervision - Capt. Astley Cooper Key, C.B., Governor of the Royal Naval College, and commanding the gunnery ship Excellent - are ample surety.|
|We 18 July 1866||After repeated experiments with the newly-introduced wrought-iron gun carriage and platform, made on the Woolwich Arsenal design, an order was granted by the War Department for the manufacture on that principle of 32 carriages and platforms to serve that number of 9-inch and 7-inch guns, to supply a demand from Halifax. The order is now complete, and will be shipped from Woolwich shortly for its destination. The advantages of employing wrought-iron in the place of wood are stated to be that it is less likely to splinter when struck by an enemy's shot; that the carriages for heavy guns are lighter than those of wood, and that a constant supply of the necessary material can always be obtained from the Thames Iron-works and other establishments at hand. A difficulty has been frequently experienced in purchasing well-seasoned wood. The mechanical arrangements for depressing and elevating the gun, fitted to the more solid material, are also less liable to derangement and become less affected by the severity of the weather. The Royal carriage department officials have now received instructions to commence, on an extensive scale, the construction of wrought-iron carriages to furnish the whole of Her Majesty's ships of the fleet. The establishment will be increased for that purpose, and the work will be urged on as speedily as possible. The forgemen and others have commenced working over time, but, in consequence of the great heat, the working hours have been reduced. The Ordnance Select Committee of Woolwich Arsenal have recommended that the principle on which the new carriages are to be built shall not be confined exclusively to the Arsenal system, but shall embrace portions of other inventors' methods. The elevating and depressing apparatus will be on Sir William Armstrong's principle, the running-out gear on that of Capt. Scott, and the general construction of the carriages on that of the Royal Arsenal. As the work progresses the carriages are to be issued to the whole of the ships in commission, so as not to interfere materially with existing arrangements.|
|Mo 20 May 1867||On Friday Vice-Admiral Sir Sydney C. Dacres, K.C.B., First Sea Lord of the Admiralty; Rear-Admiral Spencer Robinson, Controller of the Navy; Rear-Admiral Astley Cooper Key, C.B., Director-General of Naval Ordnance, and other officials of the Board of Admiralty, arrived at Chatham on a visit of inspection to the dockyard and naval establishments. The members of the Board were received on their arrival by Capt. W. Houston Stewart, C.B., superintendent of the dockyard, and other officials, and proceeded to the dockyard offices, where they were engaged in the transaction of official business. The principal object of the visit of the members of the Board was to inspect the model and witness the actual working of an invention by Capt. R.A.E. Scott, late of the Research, for enabling the heaviest description of naval ordnance to be worked at the broadside by means of machinery of a very simple description. Soon after the arrival of their Lordships at the dockyard they proceeded to the mould-loft, where the gun and its machinery lad been previously deposited, Capt. Scott being in attendance to superintend the working and explain the principle of the invention. The leading advantages of Capt. Scott's invention are the increased facilities obtained for swinging the gun rapidly through widely different angles on a turn-table of such moderate dimensions as not to interfere with the ordinary construction of a ship, while the extra gear thus required can be fitted to the heaviest guns, in both ships and fortresses, at very trifling cost. The model experimented with on Friday in Chatham Dockyard represents one of the new pattern 10-inch 18-ton rifled guns about to be manufactured expressly for the ironclad frigate Hercules, constructed to a quarter scale, the turn-table for working the gun being placed on a model of the forepart of the battery of the Hercules, Capt. Scott designing the turn-table to be applied in moving the foremost and aftermost guns of the battery from the broadside to the bowports and quarterports, and vice versâ. As far back as last summer the Lords of the Admiralty were so satisfied with the advantages possessed by the invention that they came to the decision of having it fitted on the Hercules, but as that vessel was not then in a sufficiently forward state, it was considered desirable to apply the experience gained in the Channel squadron to the improvement of the turn-table principle. The experiments made on Friday in the presence of the members of the Board of Admiralty were in all respects satisfactory, the gun having been repeatedly shifted from port to port, by means of its own machinery, by three men, and secured ready for firing, in periods varying from 20 seconds to 35 seconds, while it was stated yesterday by Captain Scott that the gun fitted with this invention can be discharged on the broadside, loaded, and shifted in readiness for firing on the bow or quarter in the short space of one minute. The machinery required for shifting the gun is exceedingly simple. In pointing the gun the appliances brought into requisition are independent of the turn-table, and consist of a rack upon the deck, into which a pinion works, a portion of the rack and of the rear-racer being laid upon the turn-table corresponding with the rack and racers laid down upon the deck. To facilitate the operation of working the large 18-ton guns of the Hercules some new appliances have been substituted for those hitherto in use with the 12-ton gun carriages. The chief of these are a compressor, which is entirely self-acting, so that in case of the crew leaving their hold the gun is at once set fast, a new means of clutching the running in and out gear, and other minor appliances, the object aimed at by Capt. Scott, as he explained to the Board, being that in case of the crew being struck down in action the gun will remain fixed, which operation was at the time being carried out After inspecting the turn-table and machinery the members of the Board examined the model of the slide which Capt. Scott proposes for the 18-ton gun. This has a Bessemer steel web on the top, wrought iron flanges bolted through to the web, or T-plate, and a wrought iron web bottom. The slide is deep in the middle and shallow at the ends, so as to allow the trucks to be placed under the slide, and is stated to combine a great amount of strength with a comparatively small quantity of material. After making a lengthened inspection of the model, and witnessing the working of the gun, the members of the Board inspected the new turret-ship Monarch, the ironclad frigate Hercules, the composite twin-screw steamers Beacon and Blanche, and the other vessels building at the dockyard. In the afternoon a lengthened visit was paid to the extension works at the eastern end of the yard for the enlargement of the dockyard.|
|Tu 13 April 1869||The 25-ton 600-pounder 12-inch muzzle-loading rifled guns for the turrets of the ironclad ship Monarch, 7, 1,100 horse power, Capt. J.E. Commerell, C.B., V.C., fitting at Chatham for commission, are being fitted in the factory at the dockyard with Capt, Scott's compound pivoting iron carriages, previously to being placed in the Monarch's turrets. Every exertion is being used by the hands employed on board in completing the fitments, in order that the Monarch may be ready for being commissioned by the 30th inst.|