HL Deb 24 April 1879 vol 245 cc977-8

asked, Whether the Government had decided to adopt range-finders throughout the Army; and if so, what steps, if any, had been already taken to provide them and insure their efficient and careful use? It was highly desirable that no time should be lost in adopting range-finders and furnishing them to the troops, as we were all aware that success in war could no longer be achieved simply by discipline, by numbers, or by courage, but that we must in future look for our success to scientific appliances and the precision of the arms supplied to the men. Therefore, it was important to ascertain from Her Majesty's Government whether they had adopted this new invention.


in reply, said, that two kinds of range-finders had been adopted in the Service. They had been ordered in considerable quantities, a great many had been served out to the troops, and the regiments now serving at the Cape had range-finders in their possession under the charge of the musketry instructors. Range-finders on the Nolan and Watkin system had also been supplied to the Artillery—one to each battery. His noble Friend had also directed his inquiry as to the mode in which the range-finders were to be kept in order and used. The Committee on Range-finders recommended that men should be specially told off for this purpose. That recommendation had not, however, been carried into effect. It had been thought that the skilled officers in command of batteries and the musketry instructors might be properly intrusted with these duties; therefore, no special non-commissioned officers and men had been told off to work the rangefinders, and no special pay was given to the persons who worked them. This was a matter of military detail and economy. He could give no information as to how the range-finders had worked in practice; but he thought that what he had just stated would be a sufficient answer to the Question of his noble Friend.

House adjourned at a quarter past Seven o'clock, till To morrow, half past Ten o'clock.