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The distances from each other of the divisions or squadrons of a fleet, steaming in order abreast, depend on their formation, as shown by Figs. 19, 23, 27, etc.; the object being, in all formations, to enable the fleet to deploy into line to the front, rear, right, or left, with its vessels in their proper positions. Figs. 100, 102, 105, 106, 108, 109, etc.
The commander-in-chief may signal the fleet to close up or close in, however, as his judgment dictates.
When vessels are thrown into echelon from line or column, by turning to the right or left, 4, 12, 20, or 28 points, their distances remain the same, provided they have described equal arcs. (Figs. 4 and 5.) When they move forward into echelon, however, upon the signal, Form "echelon!” (as in Figs. 10 and 11) their distances are in close order 170, in open order 340 fathoms, and at half distance 85 fathoms.*
A fleet is in natural order with the van on the right, or leading, and in order reversed when the contrary is the case.
One vessel should always be designated by sig
* Mathematically stated, these distances are :
169.9+ 339.4+ 84.8+
nal to act as a guide, by which the movements of the other vessels are to be governed, and should wear a guide flag at the main. This, of course, applies only while the fleet is en route ; when it is maneuvring, the vessels upon
which formation is made must necessarily be the guides.
The rate of speed of a fleet en route must be regulated by signal from the commander-in-chief; steerage-way is four knots an hour.
The commander-in-chief of a fleet may arrange and number the vessels thereof, as in his judgment may seem best.
In the following problems I have supposed the fleet to be in natural order, to be numbered from right to left, and to be heading North, simply for convenience in demonstrating.
Figs. 12, 13, 14, and 15 show the order of a fleet of twenty-four vessels, formed into three divisions of two squadrons each, in line, column, and echelon.
FIG. 12. Fleet in line, in natural order, that is, with the van squadron on the right.
This order is reversed by each vessel turning sixteen points to the right or left, so that the rear squadron takes the right.
FIG. 13. Fleet in column, in natural order, that is with the van squadron leading. This order is reversed by each vessel turning sixteen points, to starboard or port, so that the rear squadron leads.
Van squadron. 400
Next to van.
Rear Division. Centre Division. Van Division.