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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Lord Charles Beresford's Programme

Lord Charles Beresford's Programme.

Lord Charles Beresford, in a naval programme, says that England, on the basis of making her fleet one-third stronger than both France and Russia combined, should have 60 battleships. England has only 42 battleships. With regard to cruisers, Lord Charles Beresford says that France and Russia combined have 90, and one-third more makes England's requirements 120, which number she possesses.

But as two cruisers ought to be attached to each battleship nothing is left for the protection of mercantile marine. Therefore, in his opinion, ten more large cruisers should be built. The French possess 242 torpedo-boats, the English 97, and Russia has 135 (March, 1893), or France and Russia combined 377, Great Britain 97.

To watch the torpedo stations in the narrow seas he proposes to build an entirely new class of ironclad. "It is absolutely necessary that some such vessel should be built. The first duty on the outbreak of a war for a British Admiral would be to smash the torpedo stations of the enemy in the narrow seas in order to insure a safe highway for our mercantile marine." For this purpose Lord Charles Beresford proposes to build ten new ironclads at a cost of £2,600,000, displacement about 3500 tons, armoured belt 8in and 6in, speed about 17 knots, principal armament 6in and 4.7 guns (about 12 in number), with light draught to enable to get at their work.

Lord Charles urges the immediate necessity of building a mercantile mole at Gibraltar, and greatly lengthening the present military mole another 1800ft on the eight-fathom line. This work, which is all-important, should be undertaken at case and not spread over a number of years.

The sum of the suggestions is as follows:—
6 Royal Sovereigns £5,376,000
12 Barfleurs 7,560,000
10 Blakes 4,320,000
10 New-class Ironclads 2,600,000
50 Havocks 1,800,000
30 Torpedo-boats 450,000
Gibraltar Moles 634,000
Reserve ammunition and stores 500,000
Total £23,240,000

"This was my proposal," says Lord Charles Beresford, "on March 30, 1893—88 vssels and 30 torpedo-boats at a cost of £23,240,000; but since that date the following ships have been projected:—Battle-ships—Magnificent, Majestic, Renown, £620,000; cruisers—Powerful, Terrible (about £800,000 each), £1,600,000; Talbot, Eclipse, Minerva (about £250,000), £800,000; ten torpedo-boats. £150,000; total £5,170,000, and their cost would be deducted from the original proposal, leaving £18,070,000."—The Times.