11 NOVEMBER 1905, Page 14

[To THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR. " ] SIR, —In your editorial remark

attached to the letter of "The Author of A Retrograde Admiralty " in your issue of October 28th you rightly sum up the high speed question in the following words : " Of course, fighting strength must not be lightly sacrificed to speed, or else we should abandon armour altogether, but we shall not easily be persuaded that high speed is not a most important element in fighting capacity." This exactly expresses the views of the advocates of high speed in fighting ships, and I should not have reopened the question had not "R. N." in your impression of the 4th inst. referred to Japan, and pointed out that the naval designers in that practical country are laying down battleships of twenty thousand tons with a designed speed of twenty knots. I ask, Sir, if this does not emphasise the value the Japanese naval officer attaches to speed; and surely such a view from such a quarter is entitled to the closest attention, even if we disregard the 'Dreadnought' of our own Admiralty, which is also to steam at—at least—twenty knots. " R. N." further asks whether the moderate increase of speed makes up for a diminution in the other elements of fighting efficiency. Evidently it does, even if it is admitted that there is a loss in fighting efficiency ; but this I contend is only a surmise, and is set on one side by the action of the Japanese and our own Admiralty. No one. Sir, has ever contended that high speed is the all-in-all in a battleship, but we do contend that in the compromises involved in a big ship design speed should be given a prominent place if it entails no undue sacrifices in other directions.—I am, Sir, &c., J. 0. HonaNs, Admiral.