HC Deb 22 July 1872 vol 212 cc1516-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether he will continue the experiment further to test the turret of the "Glatton," as the shots fired were exactly in a line with the axis of the turret, and, consequently, could not throw any strain on the revolving gear, and no shot was fired at the glacis?


Sir, in answering the Question of the hon. and gallant Member, I wish the House to understand that I am not putting my own personal views against his upon a professional question, but that I am stating the views of the highly scientific and experienced gunnery officers, and of the professional officers generally, under whom the experiments in connection with the Glatton were conducted. I will now state that the hon. and gallant Officer is mistaken in saying that, because the shots were fired, roughly speaking, in a line with the axis of the turret, they could not throw any strain on the revolving gear. It had been distinctly held by many persons whose opinions were entitled to weight, that a very heavy blow delivered at a short range on the upper part of the turret might strain the machinery by which the turret revolves. A shot was fired to test this particular danger. The turret gear successfully resisted the blow. As regards the glacis plate, though the hon. and gallant Member states that no shot was fired at it, as a matter of fact, the glacis plate was actually struck and cracked, and the projectile driven into the lowest plate of the turret to a depth of 13½ inches at the precise spot where danger was most apprehended—namely, on its abutment with the glacis plate. The appearance of the shot driven in at that point gave the exact impression of a bolt purposely driven in to prevent the turret revolving. I am informed that, if 500 shots were fired, it would be difficult to hit a more critical spot or to secure a more crucial test. Under these circumstances, it was not considered necessary to fire a third shot; and, in fact, no further experiments are contemplated.