1908-01-07 THE FUTURE NAVY

London Times, 7 January 1908, p. 3: THE FUTURE NAVY (From our own correspondent) St. Petersburg, Dec. 30. Before a crowded audience at the Navy League Captain Dobrotvorsky read a lecture on the principles on which the Russian navy should be reconstructed. The lecturer is a stanch adherent of the necessity of building exclusively unarmoured ships, such as light cruisers, destroyers, and especially submarines. He further proceeded to criticize the condition of the personnel and of the naval regulations. The staff of officers, he said, showed a marked inferiority as regards technical knowledge or training, while the men were undisciplined and in many cases demoralized, and required to be trained anew. The naval penal code also required revision, as in many instances the punishments inflicted amounted to an alleviation of the duties of the service. In foreign navies discipline was severer, while the service was lighter.

Lieutenant Podgoursky stated that in the recent manoeuvers of Admiral Essen’s squadron off Helsingfors four submarines succeeded, according to the unanimous opinion of the umpires, in destroying half the attacking squadron.

M. Roukhloff, a member of the Council of the Empire, president of the league, said it was a criminal policy to construct huge, expensive armoured battleships and cruisers at a time when Russia possessed no adequately furnished ports, no disciplined crews, and no trained officers, and contrasted the time a cruiser took in building in building in Russia, six or seven years, with the eight months a battleship remained on the stocks in Japan.

Provided by Stephen McLaughlin