Report of Lieutenant Caldwell, Commanding the 'Holland.'
Naval Torpedo Station,
Newport R.I. September 27, 1900
1. I have the honour to submit the following report of the operations of the 'Holland' to date.
2. The 'Holland' arrived at this station on June 24, 1900, in charge of Mr. Frank Cable and the crew of experts provided by the Holland Company in accordance with paragraph 3 of the contract under which the boat was purchased. I was assigned to duty with the boat, and by July 7 Acting Gunner Owen Hill and five petty officers and seamen gunners had been selected from the numerous volunteers.
3. Shortly after the arrival of the boat two bars of the armature of the main motor burned out at different times, necessitating sending for an electrician from the builders in Philadelphia each time to put in new bars and rewind the bindings. This was due to moisture on the armature making short circuit between bars. No further trouble has been had from this, and care has been taken to run the motor for a few minutes every day to warm it up, and prevent the gathering of moisture. The 'Holland' was accidentally sunk at her moorings about two years ago, and after that much trouble was had from the same cause, but none from about eighteen months ago to this time. This armature is not removable from the boat as it should be, and it is very difficult to get the proper tension for rewinding the bindings in the contracted space it now occupies.
4. July 7 to 17 was spent by the naval crew learning the mechanism of the boat under the instruction of the 'Holland' experts. On the 17th, 19th, and 20th made surface runs, using both gas engine and motor, and shifting from one to the other. On July 28 a submerged run was made, the boat handled by the 'Holland' experts.
5. On July 31 the boat was hauled out on the ways at Crowley's shipyard, cleaned, and painted. Outside manholes were taken off midship and after ballast tanks, and considerable rusting was found in them, especially the after one, in which a large quantity of cork had been placed to reduce its volume for water. These tanks are not accessible for cleaning because the frames are close together, and have solid bulkheads across, with only small holes in them. In new constructions all ballast tanks should be made accessible for cleaning in every part by manholes with plates inside the boat.
6. On August 6, 7, 11 and 15 made submerged runs, gradually working in the naval crew and leaving out the 'Holland' experts. Also exercised putting torpedo into boat and firing it.
7. On August 17 a cast-iron disk of the friction clutch connecting the gas engine to the motor broke. A new one was received from the makers on Philadelphia and put in on the 28th. It was strengthened by shrinking on a wrought-iron band, and no further trouble is expected with this clutch.
8. At about this time much difficulty was experienced in the supply of gasoline to the gas engine, much water being carried over with it. It was the practice of Mr. Cable to admit salt water to the gasoline tank to assist in getting the boat into diving trim. The gasoline was pumped to the engine through a float that was designed to rise and fall with the gasoline and remain in it, but it is supposed that it became leaky or sank far enough to take some water with the gasoline. The defect has been remedied by ceasing to put water in the gasoline tank, and I have never found it necessary to do so, the supply of gasoline being well kept up. An auxiliary feed pipe has been fitted, sticking down into the tank from the top, and this can be used in case it ever becomes necessary to use water in the tank. This tank has only one manhole, opening into the boat, and I am told that it is almost impossible with repeated washing to get the gasoline fumes out of the tank so that a man can go in it with safety. It seems to me very necessary that there be two manholes in the tanks in the new boats in order to get a good current of air through it when it is opened for inspection and cleaning."
9. On August 30 and 31, September 5, 6, 8, and 11, practiced with submerged runs, the naval crew doing all the work.
10. The naval crew is now sufficiently well trained to dispense with the services of the 'Holland' experts, but there is still much for us to learn about the boat. She is in excellent condition, and has had no breakdown since the friction clutch. There have been many minor accidents, but, I think, fewer than on the ordinary torpedo boat. I would urge that she be kept going, for I doubt seriously if she would maintain her efficiency without a crew to keep her delicate mechanism in order.
11. The enlisted men in such a boat must be of the highest intelligence, steady of nerve, quick of resource, and implicitly obedient. The present crew fulfils these requirements. The officer in the turret cannot see what his men are doing and must be able to thoroughly rely on them, as the safety of the boat depends on the individual action of any one. It seems only fair that these men should receive extra compensation.
12. All the mechanism should be tested every day if possible. The main motor especially should be run every day. All gasoline connections should be examined every day. Each cell of the storage battery should be tested once a month for E.M.F. and gravity of acid, and acid should be added whenever necessary. The pump should be put on every ballast tank every day, and the Kingston valves worked at least twice a week. The boat should be ventilated as much as possible, but great care should be taken to protect the motors from moisture.
13. In concluding this report, I desire to call your attention to the ability, patience, and courtesy shown by Mr. Cable and his assistants in instructing the naval crew in the handling of the 'Holland'.
H. H. CALDWELL,
Inspector of Ordnance in Charge
Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I.