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IRISH SEA "WAR." !

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IRISH SEA "WAR." BLUES VERSUS REDS. The torpedo craft manoeuvres in the Irish Sea commenced with the declaration of "war" on Sunday midnight, and they will last until Satur- day at noon. The idea of the operations is, roughly, this England is at war with France, and the Irish Sea is the English Channel, with Ireland represent- ing the British coast and England the French. France, the real France, is rich in torpedo- boats, and England is rich in destroyers. So long as the French torpedo-boats are alive and unhurt the British shins in the Channel are. in constant peril. The object, therefore of the British fleet is to sweep the Channel clean of French torpedo craft, so that it will be plain sailing for her cruisers, and the object of the French craft is to creep up in the darkness of the night and sink as many of those cruisers as he can find. As a matter of fact, the English, or Blue fleet, has four cruisers-the Aurora, the Isis, the Cur- lew, and the Landrail-but for manoeuvre pur- poses these four ships represent a large fleet, and if one of them is sunk or captured she is resurrected the following day, and fights again. The scheme of the operations is carefully de- fineu in the rules. "The object of the Red side I will be to torpedo the four- Blue cruisers. As these vessels are supposed to represent part of a larger cruiser force out of reach which can sub- stitute other ships for them if destroyed, the effort is to be made every twenty-four hours, counting from noon to noon, and when success- fully attacked they are only to remain out of action till the noon following. The object of the Blue side will be to render the sea safe for Blue cruisers by putting as many of the Red side out of action as possible in the time at their disposal. On both sides, however, the opera- tions must be considered as an experiment to ascertain the conditions of torpedo craft war- fare as far as is possible in peace manoeuvres, and not .-as a question of defeat or victory for either iae. Call Blue England, and Red France, and then without the smallest reflection upon the entente cordiale a fair idea of the scheme of war will be acquired. The Blue territory represents practically the whole of the east coast of Ireland. Belfast, Kingstown, Waterford and Queenstown are the headquarters of the destroyer flotillas, and each of these is to be considered a defended port. Immediately opposite them are the four French flotillas of torpclo-boats, their headquarters being Loch Ryan (by the Mull of Kintyre:) Holyhead, Milford Haven, and the Scillys. Now if the Red fleet knew where the Blue cruisers were to be their task would be com- paratively simple but they do not. All that they do know is that every night between the hours of ten and two, three of the four cruisers will be within thirty miles of three defended Red ports. One port of the four will presumably be free from menace every night, but which it will be the Frenchmen-that is ourselves-have no means of knowing. We have to sweep the seas every night up to a distance of thirty miles in every direction, in the hope of catching the per- fidious English cruiser unawares, in which case down he goes to the bottom, and Waterloo is avenged. But, of course, the Englishmen who drew up the rules have given all the advantage to them- selves. Our torpedo-destroyers are restricted to the use of half their boiler power; they must never fill up to more than two-thirds of their total coal capacity for fighting power they are to be considered as torpedo-boats only. As a gunboat is equal to four destroyers and a de- stroyer equal to four torpedo-boats, it will be obvious that the power of the French fleet in harbour is not nearly so great as it seems. The relative power of the various craft is re- duced to a mathematical formula. A cruiser can be put out of action by being torpedoed, and to torpedo her a vessel must get within 600 yards and fire a Very's light before being discovered. As to the smaller craft the test of destruction is the discovery of her secret number. This number, which is known only to her own side, is to be carried in a prominent place on deck, and if the enemy can read it with their search- light the owner of the number is doomed, and must proceed like a lame duck to lie up in Mil- ford Haven for the rest of the manoeuvres. Three gunboats went out from Holyhead when war was declared, but returned without finding the enemy or being found themselves. Off the Mull of Kintyre a torpedo-boat of the Loch Ryan flotilla was captured by the English, and put out of action.

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