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exception of the commander of the rear squadron, who is on the left, in line, and in column brings up the rear, so that in order reversed, that is with the left (or rear) in front, he leads.
In time of war, each division should be accompanied by a few light-armed vessels of great speed, to be employed as look-out and despatch vessels; and two such vessels should always accompany the vessel bearing the flag of the commander-in-chief.
In order of battle, the reserve-division should, as a general rule, be about one-fourth of the strength of the whole fleet, and be composed of vessels taken equally from the van, rear, and centre divisions. Then, upon a signal being made to the reserve to reinforce the fleet, the vessels of it repair to their respective divisions, and when a particular squadron or division is to be strengthened, the commander-in-chief will signal accordingly.
There are but three formations for a fleet, any one of which, according to circumstances, and the vessels of which it is composed, may constitute an order of battle, viz. :—
Line (Fig. 1), Column (Fig. 2), Echelon (Fig. 3).
The order of battle for iron-clads, rams, and torpedo vessels:
The order of battle for vessels whose fighting power is in their broadside batteries:
Orders offensive and defensive for vessels of all descriptions:
Vessels are said to be in direct echelon when, steering the same course, each bears from its next
astern,* at an angle of 45° (4 points) from the course; consequently, the wings of a fleet, in double echelon, form a right angle (Fig. 3); and this is always to be understood as the bearing upon the signal: Form echelon or double echelon, unless the commander-in-chief signals the bearing.
By moving a number of vessels (1, 2, 3) in line (Fig. 4) or in column (Fig. 5), through the arcs of circles of equal radii, or upon their centres as axes, it will be observed that, when steering a course at right angles to their original one, they are in column if moved from line, or in line if moved from column, while at sixteen points they resume their original formation (reversed), and at 4, 12, 20, and 28 points are in echelon. In all these formations the line of bearing remains unaltered.
Fig. 4 represents the vessels (1, 2, 3) in line at the commencement of their manoeuvres :
*The reciprocal bearing of two vessels in direct echelon will of course be 45° and 135° from the course.
representing the three vessels (1, 2, 3) in column, at the commencement of their manoeuvres :
Close order for vessels is one cable's length, or one hundred and twenty fathoms, from mainmast to mainmast; open order is two cables' length ; half distance is sixty fathoms. The distances of vessels from each other, in every formation, are as follows:
HALF DISTANCE. CLOSE ORDER.
Later- Longi- Later- Longi-
Column of vessels
2 cables. cable 1 cable... 1 cable 2 cables.. 2 cables 4
and so on, ad infinitum.
By moving a number of vessels, in any order, from line into column to the right or left, the above will be made apparent. Figs. 6, 7, 8,