Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On Thalassocracy, III: Warrior And Wheat

Lake Sidi Ali, in the Moroccan Atlas, 2000m above sea level. So not quite the Sahara Sea.
Thucydides said, early in his Peloponnesian War, that Minos of Crete was first of those to exert thalassocracy, a rulership of the seas. I--

Oh. You're wondering why I'm on about this. October is Thanksgiving month in Canada, and I'm not going to be able to do any techblogging unless I win some time by reusing old material, and it happens I have a grotesquely self-indulgent, 72pp chapter on technology and science and the Nineteenth Century and stuff that I think I can trim down into an interesting post about bonanza wheat lands. Since it also happens that there was a minor flurry of activity around my last "thalassocracy" post, it's a sequel. (Also, I'm eagerly waiting for a "thalassocracy" to make its appearance in Graydon's Commonweal series, so consider this a bit of a fan tribute, even if my take on sea power is unlikely to be his.)

Technology! Maybe someone's riff on the Theseus black sail/white sail myth?

Just to review here, "Minoan thalassocracy" is history that comes in threes. There was a state, or state-like entity, centred on the city of Knossos on the island of Crete in the Late Bronze Age that might have had "colonies" off the island, and certainly had influence overseas. If Suppiluliuma II could fight naval battles against the Cypriots, there's no particular reason that a "Minos of Knossos" could fight naval battles against --well, someone. Honestly, we have no real idea what was going through anyone's head, although it's safe to say that the idea of a "thalassocracy" played into Athenian justifications for its Delian League in some way. It is that League that represents our second historical return of "thalassocracy."

The remains of the sanctuary of Zeus Labraunda in Caria. .

The third return is the one inaugurated by the enormously wealthy, British Liberal-party-aligned, political thought leader-turned-archaeologist, Arthur Evans. In March of 1900, Evans began digging on a flower-covered hill south of Heraklion, on the road that led up through the mountains and down to Gortyn, a major Cretan city in those days that claimed to be ancient Knossos. Evans excavated this Knossos, romantically reconstructed it, and spun the elaborate story about the Late Bronze Age thalassocracy that had once ruled the Aegean from Knossos, all in the interest of justifying current Liberal Party policy. History repeats itself, Marx says, forgetting to add, once as tragedy, once as farce, and a third time as a Thomas Friedman column.
HMS Warrior. The Royal Navy never picks up after itself. By geni - Photo by User:Geni, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7121375

Now for actual history, picking up in 1859, in Paris, the Quai d’Orsay had a very basic request of the Ministry of the Marine: It wanted Britain to take it seriously. It was very, very hard to get England’s attention when it was always being distracted by shiny things like the Taiping Rebellion, the latest New Zealand war, French Canadians rioting in Montreal, American slavery, and how awful the Pope was. (Also, American slavery; but you only brought that up after the year’s cotton crop was landed. Otherwise, it was just de trop.) Obviously, French armies could hardly embark for an invasion of Britain under the fire of British battleships of the line just offshore. Navalists added that they could hardly invade when there was a British squadron, however inferior, waiting in Solent waters to raid their lines of communications, and The Economist was gushing about how manly Lord Palmerston was about want to spend Twelve. Million. Pounds. on fortifying Portsmouth against a French surprise attack. (It’s only “retrenchment” when you stop spending money on stuff other people want.) Solution? The first true “ironclad” battleship-of-the-line, the Gloire, which was answered by the Warrior. One needed an “armoured cruiser” that could take on an “armoured battleship.”

I can see no flaws in this plan.

If the stokers hustled and the coal was good, Warrior could burn 9 tons of coal an hour to make 14 knots, or 3 tons of coal to cruise at 10 knots. Like all steamships of its day, its actual range was limited, but it had steam when it needed provided that it sailed when it could. So that was the cruiser part.i It was also a bit controversial, in that Warrior had limited range because it had very inefficient engines. Most of the energy in its coal escaped into the ship as waste heat, and conditions aboard this compact little vessel can only be imagined, even before shot ploughed through the machinery spaces. Armour protection minimised the risk, but only at the expense of confining the engine rooms still more. Meanwhile, the Admiralty was concerned with reliability, not stokers. Those, it could just press more.ii As a result, Warrior’s machinery differed significantly from commercial, and the first salvos in a century-and-counting “Battle of the Boilers” was soon fired. As far as the Admiralty was concerned, this, far more than Cowper Coles, and Captain, tragic and ludicrous, introduced the inventor as the voice of “studied ignorance,” the controversialist who misunderstands technology as a political wedge.vi Something that we could still stand to learn about “technology.”vii

As for the armoured part, naval architects were just beginning to use cast iron, but while cast iron is hard, it is also brittle. It does not stand up to wrought iron –or even case-forged-- shot very well. Yet up to this point the whole success of British metallurgy had lain in forcing cast iron on the world. Warrior was armoured, at great expense, with wrought iron rather than cast, but it would have been a mere technical novelty had the world not now begun moving towards steel. Bessemer's name stands out here, but Bessemer-made mild steel was clearly not suitable for guns or armour. Open-hearth steel could be turned into combatworthy material, but the notion of forging these great chunks was just not on the horizon in 1859. It was a well-connected young Newcastle-upon-Tyne lawyer named William George Armstrong
By Michael Hanselmann - Quaoar10 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5205849

who changed that, not with his guns of “new invention,” but with hydraulic power, a very quiet kind of technological innovation. Armstrong's first practical invention hardly intimated a changed world. An 1846 water-driven ship-loading crane on the Newcastle docks, it used a free piston with a mechanical amplifier to get all of the virtues of hydraulic power from a low-pressure municipal water main. This success soon led to a request for another machine at a place with no municipal service at all, and in 1850 Armstrong installed the first patent accumulator, a “battery” for storing hydraulic power. Soon, his hydraulic machinery moved the turrets, reloaded the guns. By the 1880s, it forged the guns and the armour. There was, before this, another iteration of the “Admiralty hates innovation” story, as the fleet reverted to muzzle loaders.iii

In 1868 a Magdeburg inventor began offering a new kind of high performance cast iron plate. Up to this point, cast iron's main virtue was cheapness rather than utility, but this new Magdeburg plate defied cut-and-dry iron and steel practice by gaining hardness from being chilled. The great hardness was not accompanied by any great gain in “toughness,” unfortunately. As far as observers understood, it broke by fracture under the direct impact of newly-appearing steel shot and shell, but it did deflect hits at an angle well. It also suggested exciting possibilities when it turned out that the difference between Magdeburg cast iron and regular was the crystalline structure of the iron. New science continued to raise questions for which there were no answer, even if it suggested that it might be possible to make irons and steels of unprecedented properties by shaping these crystals deliberately.viii

In 1877, Schneider, the firm so intimately involved in the development of the Chassepot, followed up by introducing a steel armour. Hardly necessary tests by the Italian navy that year showed the superiority of steel over wrought iron, except when it failed, which it often did due to inclusions, piping and other internal flaws. Accordingly, the ironfounders Cammell of Sheffield introduced a compund armour consisting of steel united with a wrought iron base, using an ingenious patent technique with the drawback of almost entirely failing to fuse the two layers together. Now armour failed by delaminating instead of cracking or holing through, with high velocity “spalls” of armour whizzing about the test areas.

It was at this point that Armstrong’s forging presses began to work their magic. Metallurgists were well aware of the efficacy of forging in general, but traditional forging work was done with a hammer. Fortunately, rolling mills had demonstrated the ability to deliver rails and comparatively thin plate and angles that were comparable with a forged product. It followed that pressed ingots might be equivalent to forged ones, but soon evidence began to mount that presses were better than even the latest steam hammers. None of this changed the fact that while hammers could forge steel armour-piercing projectile, there were no presses large enough to work armour plates as the 1890s dawned. New ones had to be made so that plate could match the guns of British battleships launched in the mid-1880s, launched with 2 to 4 enormous cast-steel breech-loading rifled guns weighing upwards of 65 tons and of upwards of 13.5” calibre. And one might well ask what might happen when guns this size were forged.
HMS Devastation. For blowing up Russian forts, not "controlling the seas," says Andrew Lambert. So no worries about cruising radius or fire control.

One might also wonder exactly how these guns might be persuaded to hit their targets. The default assumption was that battleships would fight at very short ranges; but then came the  “automotive” torpedo, which might even be able to hit if a battleship got close enough to hit with its enormous guns. (Say, 600 yards), and a new front for technological innovation --fire control..ix

Enormous social change roiled the age of Warrior. Perhaps the most important of these was population growth. Between 1850 and 1900, the European population (including Russia) had risen from 266 to 400 millions. Asian, Latin American, and above all African population growth was much less impressive, while on the other hand that of the United States was astonishing. Twenty-three million Americans in 1850 gave way to 76 millions in 1900. This growth curve reflects a major European contribution by way of immigration, but these should not obscure the New World's explosive demographics, the most striking contributor to which that we can reconstruct demographically being the American pattern of marriage. Americans, including new European immigrants, married 6—7 years ahead of the European average.

My sense of what drove this change has been substantially modified in the fifteen years since I wrote this. At the time, I wanted to minimise the role of industrialisation, given that Russia’s population expanded, and that France didn’t, and of public sanitation, given the stubbornly high neo-natal death rate.xiii However, if it was driven by prosperity, which I think is the best argument, then it must be prosperity in agriculture. There were all kinds of ways in which agriculture (and demand for agricultural product) was changing Animal and plant breeding science and transportation infrastructure, engine pumps, artificial fertiliser, sewage farms, arc-lit greenhouses, declining demand for firewood, a rapid decline in the proportion of the population living on the land, from as much as 90% in 1800 to as little as 20% in England and Scotland in 1914. These new urbanites wanted to dress well, eat more bacon, fresh eggs, cream and meat. They wanted canned foods, more soap, margarine. They wanted coal in winter, and large homes. They wanted bedding plants and seeds, flowers and polo and drag hunts, rubber-tyred bicycles. xxiv The higher agriculture rose on the food chain, the lower the actual calorie production. Between 1870 and 1911, 2.5 million British acres (3800 square miles!) went out of arable, and the population had almost doubled in the same period.xxv

So: cheap, imported wheat. As we’ve been hearing a lot about that in the last few weeks, maybe it is time to talk about the “sovereign of the seas.” Taking the long view, Britain had been, historically, anything but. It had promoted its fishery by passing laws against eating meat on two days of the week, passed Navigation Acts that required that British colonies export in British bottoms, imposed mercantilist restrictions on its colonies to increase shipping activity –all in the interest of creating a maritime sector that could support a navy that could defend the nation against overseas invasion. We know that changed in the 1840s, and that that change was at the heart of what being Liberal meant in the age of Warrior. Repeal of the Navigation Acts, in 1849, went with repeal of the Corn Laws, and in some ways it seemed that the pessimists were immediately proven correct as the American and Canadian fleets began to expand at Britain’s expense.xxii

The thesis here is that we have to reimagine British "sea power" if its commercial sailing fleet was fading away in the 1850s; but then the Cutty Sark has to turn out to be an 1869 British build. Stop getting in the way of my grand thesis, stupid facts! By Krzysztof Belczyński from Warsaw, POLAND - Londyn, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44681802

It’s not precisely clear why that changed. (Actually it is, check out the link at the end of the last para; steamships, iron ships, safety, iron cable rigging. Technology! Also, an "endogenous" explanation linked to the Civil War.) 

By the late 1860s, only a century after Cook's pioneering voyages of the 1770s, shipowners could imagine shipping trades on a global scale, relying on ships that were practically self-contained ecosystems, spending months at sea in order to exploit, for example, the world-girdling wind systems of the low southern hemisphere. Fetching gold all the way from the Pacific slope, and California and Washington wheat and British Columbian canned salmon almost as ballast. Australian gold and wool, chilled meat, tropical fats, Chinese tea. Newer, larger, and more efficiently arranged ships were necessary.And wheat, and more wheat.

When we speak of American agricultural exports dominating the world, we are actually telling a story about Ohio, where 94% of 24 million acres lay under farms, 79% of that improved, producing 152 million bushels of corn and 147 million bushels of other grains and occupied by anywhere between 2 and 4 million pigs (compared with a little over 4 million human Ohioans --in 1890, I think?). That is not that story of wheat, but the story of late Nineteenth Century wheat lands, which starts far away, in California

Each to his own: I like this one better than the Pogues. 

Three cheers for American meritocracy!
and then moves onto the Great Plains, to cold and often dry lands where wheat promised huge input/output ratios in places like the Red River Valley of the North, xxvi worked out by men like Northern Pacific president George Cass and director Benjamin Cheney

Between them,, these railway plutocrats held 7400 acres, run like some Junkers estate in eastern Europe by land agent, Oliver Dalrymple. Dalrymple's “bonanza farms” might not have returned the 100% profits announced at the time, but there was money to be made; money that made wheat look like gold, and Chicago look like an industrial city. With land and water free, Dalrymple's only lack was horses, his only big cost, labour. To farm, he had little choice but to buy McCormick equipment and then leave it to rot under the winter sky . In his second year of operations, Dalyrmple operated 26 breaking ploughs, 40 ploughs, 21 seeders, 60 harrows, 30 self-binding harvesters and five steam-powered threshers. Amongst his harvest gangs were some of the men who had build that equipment during the spring, when the water mills were turning.xxvii
I knew Robert McCormick reminds me of someone . . . 

From the Red River, bonanza wheat lands spread across the high plains to Palliser's Triangle, and beyond to Australia and Argentina. By the end, speculators were looking at Hokkaido and dreaming of an inland sea in the Sahara that would humidify the lands around it. These schemes drew on the new generation of explosives, from Nobel’s dynamite to “Poudre B,” I’d like to say more but, too long, etc., etc. 
Hey, a wacky intersection of significant technological developments that have been neglected because they happened in France, and crazy pulp science fiction. Look at this, everybody! By Armémuseum (The Swedish Army Museum) - http://digitaltmuseum.se/011024389339, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41103950

In the new Britain was emerging, based on coal and manufactures out and wheat in, mechanisation might help --but I can't find a solitary contemporary author who had an inkling that might happen. What did happen was a debate over "rifles," or population. For while the population was growing, the country could not feed its larger population on a smaller arable. As the Liberal Party fell apart over Irish Home Rule, a hybrid party of anti-Home Rule Liberals and Conservatives resulted, the Unionists. Unionism played with protectionism, in the form of “Imperial Preference,” with social change in Ireland, where the landlords would be bought out and replaced by a landowning tenant class that would become, as in France, the essential electoral support for a centralist conservatism, with, yes, an enlarged Royal Navy, now tasked with protecting the import of Empire grain. 

Gladstone's Liberal party, the victim of the Union defections, was also rejuvenated by them. For one thing, he was able to rid himself of the Radicals, a broad movement on the Left combining manufacturing interests with people with more sympathy for the emerging socialist movement. By ridding himself of the Radicals, Gladstone could close the door to socialism and identify the Liberal Party as the Party of Home Rule –and launch social and workplace reform from a position that was much more likely to be embraced by the (grumbling) manufacturing employer. For, above all, they got their free trade, and a government that could be trusted not to get in the way of exporting manufactured goods to America, however high American industrial tariffs were driven by the manufacturers and press barons of Chicago. Socialism would be left to find its own place in the British political party system with the foundation of the Labour Party in the 1890s. Liberalism, free of Radicals, could stop opposing popular Unionist imperialist adventures, and dream of an Empire-wide federal political system. And it could stop standing in the way of the wheat bonanza land investors. 

The last time I did this, I tried to push it a bit further, and talk about the relationship between Dreadnought and Lloyd Georges’ social reforms. The connection seems clear enough; the Liberal idea of a navy was a manufacturer's dream, set against a Conservative navy that was more directed to commerce protection; but I despair of making the argument in simple terms, and I have to acknowledge the towering presence of Avner Offer.

The naval technological story is one of an untidy tumble of forwards failure, from, as Oscar Parkes put it, Warrior to Vanguard. There is no privileged point, at the time, when battleship design seems stable and reliable. There is no moment, in the Victorian Age, when it seems as though Britain has achieved security through sea power. It is always aspiration. The real insecurity, the dependence on America for food, and on Ohio, not the Great Plains, is an emergent one, a shock that grew on British policy makers until everything collapsed in a heap in the summer of 1947. A century after Corn Law Repeal introduced a globalised world, that new world had clearly gone to its limit. Meanwhile, every iteration of battleship design had built upon breakthroughs in metallurgy, machinery, chemical engineering, and, latterly, automation and control. Up to 1939, that progress had offset dependence on American grain. As the fall of 1947 slips into the house of summer, the question is: Will Britain continue to ride this avalanche of technical change into an uncertain future?

(Spoiler: No.) 

iS.v. “Warrior” in Oscar Parkes, British Battleships, “Warrior,” 1860 to “Vanguard,” 1950: A History of Design, Construction, and Armament. London: Seeley Service, [1966]; details of speed, coal consumption and cruising radius in Richard Hill, War at Sea in the Ironclad Age (London: Cassel, 2000): 44 [NB]
iiWarrior was 380ft long (shorter than a Canadian football field), had a fully laden displacement of 8830 tons standard, engines giving 6000 I.H.P., 850 tons coal bunkerage, 4.5” thickness iron armour belt extending 213ft, giving no protection for steering gear.
iiiFor the Armstrong experience consider the standard Elswick account in, for example, EB s.v. “Armstrong, William George, Baron;” with the account based on archival accounts in Parke; for a definitive account see Peter Hodges, The Big Gun: Battleship Armament 1860-1945 (London: Conway Maritime, 1981).
ivThe Economist, 20 February 1909, 40.
vStanley Goodall, “Uncontrolled Weapons and Warships of Limited Displacemen,” Trans. Roy. Inst. Nav. Arch. (1937) [NB]; For an insider's history of the professional institution, see David Keith Brown, A Century of Naval Construction: The History of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors ([London]: Conway Maritime, 1983) note, however, that Brown is not a marine engineer and is more than inclined to treat the Department of the Engineer-in-Chief as a scapegoat for mistakes in the design process; Goodall article, {NB]; the notion that informed opinion persisted in building batteships out of a neurotic blindness to their weaknesses is a popular view. It probably suffices to point to is canvassing in the exquisitely under-informed Connell, Sacred Vessels; he quotation probably originates in just this debate, but is familiar to me (and no doubt readers) from James H. Schmitz's Witches of Karres.
viFor the definitive account, see David B. McGee, “Floating Bodies, Naval Science: Science, Design, and the Captain Controversy, 1860-1870.” Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 1994
viiFor an excellent general introduction to marine engineering, see Denis Griffith, Steam at Sea: Two Centuries of Steam-Powered Ships (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1997); more succinct are three articles in the Conway History of the Ship series, Norman Friedman, “Propulsion” in Conway’s History of the Ship: Navies in the Nuclear Age: Warships since 1945, ed. Robert Gardiner, 199-211 (London: Conway Maritime, 1993); Graeme Maclennan, “Marine Propulsion” In Conway’s History of the Ship: The Golden Age of Shipping: The Classic Merchant Ship, 1900-1960, ed. Robert Gardiner, 152-163 (London: Conway Maritime, 1994); and Charles E. Mathieu, “Modern Merchant Ship Propulsion.” In Conway’s History of the Ship: The Shipping Revolution: The Modern Merchant Ship, ed. Robert Gardiner, 184-187 (London: Conway Maritime, 1992); Sir John Kingcome, “Marine Engineering in the Royal Navy: A Review of Progress during the last Twenty-Five Years,” in Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. 160 (1949): 174; and T. W. F. Brown, “A Marine Engineering Review: Past, Present and Future.” Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects 102 (1960): 391—425; for problems with American World War II-era machinery, see Robert F. Sumrall, Sumner-Gearing-Class Destroyers: Their Design, Weapons, and Equipment (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1995); for the consequences of the wartime “graphitisation” crisis, see M. J. Whitley, Destroyers of the World War II: An International Encyclopedia (London and Sydney: Arms and Armour, 1988): 263, 265, 290; and Ibid, Cruisers of World War II: An International Encyclopedia (London and Sydney: Arms and Armour, 1995): 270; for the definitive analysis of fuel economy, graphitisation and superheat condition selection, see M. L. Ireland, H. W. Semar, and N. L. Mochel, “Higher Steam Conditions for Ship’s Machinery: Problems in the Selection and Application of Cycle Components and High Temperature Materials.” In Transactions of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects 93 (1951): J58–101; for an all-too brief account of the crisis see [NB] Story of the Code...
viiiFind a historian who writes on the development of metallurgical analysis of steel or suppress. {NB]
ixHill, 51; for an introduction to the early history of control engineering including a discussion of the Whitehead torpedo, see S. Bennett, A History of Control Engineering, 1800–1930 (London: Peter Peregrinus on Behalf of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1979); more accessible, but unfortunately also much later in focus is David A. Mindell, Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control, and Computing before Cybernetics (Baltimore: the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), which may be read alongside S. Bennett, History of Control Engineering, 1930–1955 (London: Peter Peregrinus on Behalf of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1993).
x“The Antwerp Waterworks, Engineering, 27 May, 1904: 727; 10 June: 868.
xiLeslie Hannah, Electricity Before Nationalisation: A Study in the Development of the British Electrical Supply Industry to 1948 (London: Macmillan, 1979): 18—9; American horse tramways suffered heavily from the effects of manure contamination and had already been supplemented by cabledrawn tramways even before an explosion of electric tramways in 1889—92 Calvin C. Burwell, “Transportaion: Electricity's Changing Importance Over Time,” in Electricity in the American Economy: Agent of Technological Progress. ed. Sam Schurr, 209--232 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1990): 210; “Progress in the Use of Electricity,” Engineering, 4 March 1904, 334.
xiiHew Strachan, The First World War, Vol. 1 To Arms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000): 211—17, 270—5.
xiiiEuropean population trends are well known in outline. I have used Cameron, 194; but compare the discussion and figures cited in Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (New York: Random House, 1987): 182—5, and especially the 1890—1938 population series, 199.
xivBritish industrial decline, see Martin Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 2nd Ed. (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); F. M. L. Thompson, Gentrification and the Enterprise Culture, both using primarily literary evidence; by contrast, Corelli Barnett, Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (London: Macmillan, 1986), and earlier works, uses a grab bag of statistical data, on which I shall comment in a specific context below; against this interpretation, this paragraph poses the ample statistical evidence that can be culled from contemporary periodical literature. For example, tracing firms advertising in early WWII issues of the British aviation technical weekly Flight (excluding primary aerospace contractors) shows that, including Ruston's amalgamation partners, not all of which advertised in Flight, 7 of 22 firms can be confirmed as being founded in the fashion indicated. Second, indexes of patents and advertisers in Engineering in 1904 show overwhelming predominance of British firms and Anglo-Saxon/Celtic family names; this is true of both older and newer sectors, even electrical engineering. Third, a review of selected member obituaries from the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1938—1947), with N=225 shows 63 members whose only training was an industrial apprenticeship; 21 attended night school and part-time classes for the first 10 years or more of engineering careers they fell into as teenagers; 45 earned degrees from universities; 3 from the service engineering universities; 33 from technical colleges; 6 from colleges of science; 21 from assorted other colleges; 5 from polytechnics; 4 from the Crystal Palace School of Practical Engineering; 19 from assorted schools of science, technical institutions and so forth; 10 were educated abroad; and 2 were immigrants from Europe. This evidence is not decisive, but is certainly decisively superior to unsubstantiated assertions.
xvSee for example James Clerk Maxwell, Theory of Electricity and Magnetism Vol. 2. 4th Ed. (Cambridge: Clarendon Press, 1904): 278ff; EB, s.v. “Telephone,” 547—9; Jed. Z. Buchwald, Whittaker....[NB].
xviPatrice Bret, L'état, l'armée, la science: L'inventionn de la recherche publique en France (1763—1830) (Renes: Presses Universitaires des Rennes, 2002): 171—8.
xviiBret, 178—82.
xviiiBret, 182—200.
xixDavid Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), passim; Thomas A. Kinney, The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004): 188—200
xxiWarren D. Devine, “Electrified Mechanical Drive: The Historical Power Distribution Revolution,” in Schurr, ed., 21--6.
xxiiIt is not easy to reconstruct the actual sizes of sailing fleets of the first half of the 1800s, and various ways of counting even the ones that are documented; the discussion below is drawn at length from various articles in Conway's History of the Ship: Sail's Last Century: The Merchant Sailing Ship, 1830—1930 (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1993); for the Japanese mercantile marine (and a more laboured discussion of the general subject), see L. M. McCullen, A History of Japan, 1582—1941: Internal and External Worlds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003): 83—5.
xxiiiBlackwall Frigates, Ibid., 13
xxivRichard Moore-Colyer, Aspects of Horse Breeding and the Supply of Horses in Victorian Britain,” Journal of British Studies 43, Part 1 (1995), 58.
xxvG. Searle, A New England: Peace and War, 1886—1918 a volume in the Bew Oxford History of Britain series (Oxford: Clarendon, 2004): 89;Searle provides figures for agricultural employment, but given the importance of agricultural unemployment, I prefer ensured to employed workforce figures here, for which see Richard Perren , Agriculture in Depression, 1870-1940, a volume in the New Studies in Economic and Social History series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 48–50; Mason, Matter of Honour, 469
xxviThis discussion is based on Gilbert C. Fite, The Farmes' Frontier, 1865—1900 (New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1966): for this paragraph see especially 76—77)
xxviiFite, 81; the probably over-excited details about machinery neglect are in Hounshell –I hope.
xxviiiSee “Cargo Liners,” in Conway's History of the Ship: The Golden Age of Shipping: The Classic Age of Shipping, 1900—1960 (London: Conway's Maritime, 1994): 45; for multiples, see Searle, 107—8.
xxix)Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900—1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986): 4—5.
xxxThe notion of an “alliance of rye and steel” was originally coined by Fritz Fischer, a controversial German historian better known for his claim that the Kaiser's goverment planned and provoked the First World War with broad popular support, presented in [NB] and now generally discredited [NB]; the alliance, however, stands on its own as a better explanation of how the rural interest could have been persuaded,in large measure by Admiral Tirpitz himself, to vote for the naval law of 1900 in the new Sammslungpolitik than that previously argued by, for example, Gordon Craig (Germany: 1866—1945 [Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1978], 246); there is now a good, detailed account of industry's relationship with the Imperial Navy that also recogises the Emperor's efforts to encourage a forward naval policy before Tirpit'z appointment (Gary E. Weir, Building the Kaiser's Navy: The Imperial Navy Office and German Industry in the von Tirpitz Era [Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1992]: see esp. 103—105; Holger Herwig has found that having a predominantly middle class officer corps did not prevent the German naval officer corps from adopting the manners and style of the army, or the emergence of an intranavy class conflict between various groups of officers, but this does not go to its objective social composition and, hence, political significance (in his The German Naval Officer Corps: A Political and Social History [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973]).
xxxiThe origins of Ukrainian nationalism are to some extent controversial. See [NB].
xxxiiAn 1896 synthetic return shows a total population of 36 million, but this includes Egypt and other strictly nominal posessions. There were 26 million in areas under direct Turkish rule, but this figue was to be further eroded in 1908—13. Modern Turkey less Turkey-in-Europe and apparently including the Mosul vilayet now incorporated in Iraq had 15 million, of which 1.4 million were Armenian and 1.8 million other kinds of Christians, while Druze, Gypsies and Jews were counted separately and numbered 0.75 million (EB, s.v. “Turkey.”)
xxxiiiJoseph Conrad, “Outpost of Progress,” in The Portable Conrad Rev. Ed, ed. M. D. Zabel, rev. F. R. Karl (London: Penguin, 1969): 464; “Heart of Darkness,” Ibid., 490—605.
xxxivIt is one of the axioms of popular history that every community is more sinned against than sinning. Here and immediately following I give a more Turcophile account of events leading up to 1878 than is often found, but certainly not an unwarranted one, for which see Richard Millman, Britain and the Eastern Question, 1875—1878 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1979): 13—18, 121—5, 159—64. Certainly something suspicious was going on apart from the usual sad litanies of partisan massacre, because no investigator could find either parish registers of village populations or even lists of Christian villages that would certainly have been held by the exarchate.
xxxvBuryat Buddhists at Czar's court [NB]; population and industry statistics are from EB (“Samarkand” (for industry) and “Tashkent” and “Turkestan” for populationand you can do better.)
xxxviThe so-called “Great Game” of espionage and imperialist activity in Inner Eurasia has been given an enduring romantic appeal thanks to Rudyard Kipling's fine 1898 novel, Kim; more recently we have Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia (London: J. Murray, 1990): esp., for this para., 315—17, 351; for alarming tales of Russian armies about to descend on Chitral (made topical by a controversial frontier campaign there), see E. F. Knight, Where Three Empires Meet: A Narrative of Recent Travel in Kashmir, Western Tibet, Gilgit and the Adjoining Countries (London: Longman, Greens, 1896): 288—90; for an exceptionally unexceptional discussion of the Kafirs, see George Scott Robinson, The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush intr. Louis Dupree (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1969). It was left to others (I am probably not the only person to recognise “Amra/Imra” from American pulp fiction) to romanticise these people, whose paganism (prior to Abdur Rahman's forced conversion campaign) mattered more because it was linked to their mastery of carpentry, a rare skill in Afghanistan, than because they were an autocthonous survival of the ancient past.
xxxviiBarbara Jelavich, The Ottoman Empire, the Great Powers, and the Straits Question, 1870—1887 (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1973): 87—8; Millman, 183—9.
xxxviiiCrowe makes this point in his article on the Russo-Turkish Wars in the EB, and presumably also in his contemporary instant history; George Syddenham Clarke, Fortification [NB].
xxxixNorman Estherington, “Were There Large States in the Coastal Regions of South Africa Before the Roise of the Zulu Kingdom?” In History of Africa: A Journal of Method 31 (2004): 157—83.
xlRobert B. Egerton, Like Lions They Fought: The Zulu War and the Last Black Empire in South Africa (New York: Ballantine, 1989): 78ff.
xliEgerton, 156ff.
xliiHoward Hensman, the Afghan War of 1879—80 (Lahore: Manzoor Press, 1978; original edition London: H. Allen, 1881): 322—24; quote see 323.
xliiiGeneral Burrows commanded a brigade of three infantry battalions, two native units of the Bombay army and one British (1st Bombay Grenadiers, Jacobs Rifles and the 66th Rifles (Royal Americans), 500 sabres of two Bombay native cavalry regiments, 2 half-batteries (6 guns) of the Royal Horse Artillery, various supply troops, and later a battery of 6 smoothbore guns taken over from the defected Afghan troops, a total of 2476 men reporting ready for duty on the day of the Battle of Maiwand. In spite of later disparagement, these were all designated elite troops, and the Bombay Grenadiers were taken seriously enough as such that two companies were detached to the vanguard, the traditional position of picked grenadiers (Hensman, 462ff); for examples of the misleading but narrowly accurate description of the British force as a “brigade,” see James, 377, which also ; EB, s.v. “Maiwand.”
xlivRoberts' march, see Hensman, 502; For 10,000 (and a reduction of the British force to only 1500, the infantry strength, see James, 377); 25,000 fanatics, see, on the authority of Roberts' memoirs, see EB, Ibid; account of the battle, see Hensman, 577ff.; events at Geok Tepe, see Pierce G. Fredericks, The Sepoy and the Cossack (New York and Cleveland: New American Library, 1971): 205ff. None-too profoundly researched accounts of the fall of Geok Tepe differ as to whether the Russian breach was made by artillery alone or by a combination of sapping and artillery battering, but neither go so far as EB, which misleadingly implies its capture à brusque.
xlvMarston, Daniel P. Phoenix from the Ashes: The Indian Army in the Burma Campaign. NB: this record is incomplete in biography, too.
xlviAnson Rabinbach, The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992): 224.
xlvii: Rabinbach, 43.
xlviiiThe preceding is a summary of Rabinbach's rich argument; but for iron rations, see Kemphart's fascinating discussion of a controversy that, but for Gary Gygax, would be entirely forgotten rather than omnipresent urban myth.
xlixThese comments are based on the incessant and sour comments of C. G. Grey, former Coventry-based bicycle journalist turned long-term editor of British trade weekly The Aeroplane. The transition is indicative.
lThis idealised account of how Sandhurst was supposed to work comes from Army Quarterly [NB].
liFuller, [NB]; Antullio Echevarria, After Clausewitz: German Military Thinkers Before the Great War (Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 2000): 81, 197--8.
liiBattalion Commander,” “An Experiment in Thrift in the Army,” Army Quarterly 4 (April 1922): 339.
liiiBloch, see Rabinbach, 226 and Echeverria, [NB]; Regnault and Raoul's work is summarised, as pseudo-science rather than history, in Delbrück, I: 84—5.
livTerraine/Ellis; Ian V. Hogg, and John Weeks, Military Small Arms of the 20th Century 5th ed (London: Arms & Armour, 1985): [NB].
lvStephen Miall, A History of the British Chemical Industry (London: E. Benn, [1931]): 152--6.
lviMiall, 154; EB, s. v. “Rifle.”
lviiMagali Morsy, North Africa, 1800-1900 : A Survey from the Nile Valley to the Atlantic (London and New York: Longman, 1984): 284—88.
lviiiMorsy, 211—2; Charles Sowerwine, France Since 1870: Culture, Politics and Society (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hamps., U.K.: Palgrave, 2001): 63; the sedate authority of the EB is confined to oblique refutations of the idea that the Sahara had been inundated in recent historical times, so I am still looking for a good source, cf. De Lapparent (sv. “Sahara.”)
lix“Emergence of the masses,” see Carlton J. Hayes, The Rise of Modern Europe: A Generation of Materialism, 1871—1900 (New York: Harper and Row, 1963; original edition New York: Harper, 1941): vi, see also for Bismarck's monetary rewards last para., 287; “[the] far distant, storm-beaten ships, upon which the Grand Army never looked, stoode between it and the dominion of the world,” for which see in more brevity than Mahan's gigantic oeuvre (in part devoted to such unlikely theses as that Rome's victory over Carthage could be attributed to its superior sea power), Philip A. Crowl, “Alfred Thayer Mahan, Naval Historian. In Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age ed. Peter Paret, 444—480 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).
lxMorris, Scaremongers, 89.
lxiHannah, 28—33.
lxiiNathan Rosenberg, Exploring the Black Box: Technology, Economics, and History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), [NB].
lxiiiBicycle-auto connection, [NB].
lxivMorsy, 242ff, 271-76; John Pollock, Kitchener: A Historical Biography Vol. 1, The Road to Omdurman (London: Constable, 1998): 107—110, 129—36.
lxvAlthough not always reliable, Shelford Bidwell and Dominick Graham give a good account of developments in countries other than France, where their source is unreliable (Firepower: British Army Weapons and Theories of War [Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1985; original publication 1982]: 8—10, 13—14, 17—18); a recent well-found account of the prewar discussions, of a wider scope than the title suggests but still not wide enough, is Echevarria.
lxviAs if right now, Denis and Peggy Warner, The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904—1905 (New York: Charterhouse, 1974): page numbers fairly irrelevant, as I am looking for a better book.
lxviiEchavarria, 178—81.
lxviiiMason, Matter of Honour, 469; Richard Perren , Agriculture in Depression, 1870-1940, a volume in the New Studies in Economic and Social History series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 48–50; Richard Moore-Colyer, Aspects of Horse Breeding and the Supply of Horses in Victorian Britain,” Journal of British Studies 43, Part 1 (1995), 58; EB, s.v. “Cavalry;” David. Stevenson, Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe, 1904-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996): [NB].
lxixJames Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1914 2 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1929), 1: 471ff; horse totals here and below are from John Keegan, The First World War(London: Hutchinson, 1998): 61; however, see Edmonds, 2: 19 to correct his British figures.
lxxEchavarria, 184ff.; see also now Terrence Zuber, Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning, 1871—1914 (Oxford: OUP, 2002); Edmonds, Ibid.; Strachan, 186ff.
lxxiStevenson, 253.
lxxiiAlarmist rumours about Russian cavalry, see Stevenson, 248—50; Dennis Showalter, Tannenberg: Clash of Empires (Hamden, Conn.: Archon, a Division of Shoestring, 1991).
lxxiiiManfred Rauchensteiner, Tod des Doppeladlers: Österreichischs-Ungarn und der erste Weltkrieg (Graz: Verlag Styria, 1992): 42, 105—16.


  1. I'm glad to read you're looking forward to the Sea People.

    And you're quite correct, it's not about grain imports. :)

  2. Not sure to what extent the 9,000 tonne, 400 foot largest warship of its day really qualifies as a "compact little vessel"

    1. Hmm. Parsing twelve year-old me isn't always easy. (The first step to getting out of a mistake is always finding someone else to blame, even if that "someone else" is you.) I might be parsing the chapter author in the relevant volume of Conway's History of the Ship. I might be establishing that Warrior's machinery spaces were quite small, in the interest of establishing an extended discussion of the "Battle of the Boilers," cut here in the interest of tl;dr. Or, there's an outside possibility that I'm establishing a comparison with Dreadnought.

      Now I'm going to stop and be amazed in public at the fact that a 53-year-old following the engineering news about Dreadnought, would have been eight or nine at the launch of Warrior. Top that, "Mr. Barely remembers the Moon landing"!

  3. This is good. A technical appendix on explosives, bonanzas, and madheaded geoengineering schemes would be six kinds of awesome.

    1. Maybe after I've dealt with the September 1947 Fortune.

  4. The hyperlinks to the footnotes are broken and include many not referenced in the post. The footnotes also desperately need to be cleaned up as some of your sentences appear to have been truncated.

    Not sure where you're going with this, but I'll look forward to the next relevant installment.

  5. Yes - I was a bit baffled why half of them are even there.

  6. The footnotes have carried over through two word processing programmes. I was using OpenOffice in a beta version for awhile because I was desperately poor at the time and it was, uhm, well, you get what you pay for. (I'm sure that there was a way to fix it, but I did my writing with a great, gray donut taking up two-thirds of the page, because I couldn't close the "Select 3D image to Insert" page.) All the footnotes were put in at that time, and refer back to the enormously self-indulgent, 72pp version. I would have removed more of them, but I put a lot of work into them, and this is the closest they're every likely to come to rewarding that work.

    So, really, it's still that old self-indulgence at work. I may clean them up at some point. No guarantees, though . ..

    And I had something like three hours to write this post, as I am ferociously busy at work, and because I wasted my weekend playing Civ V, which I probably shouldn't blame on my employer.
    It's the same reason I'm going to lazily do a Technical Appendix this week, instead of postblogging.