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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 08, 1936, Image 81

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1936-03-08/ed-1/seq-81/

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If ITar Comes —
IVill it be as horrible as alarmists predict? These new machines of
destruction — and of defense against old terrors — give the answer
by FLOYD W. PARSONS
The next war will bear little sem
blance to the stand-up and knock
down struggles of the past.
It will be a manufacturing prop
osition a matching of national resources
a contest in the rapid utilization of each
nation's natural and artificial wealth.
It will be HO per cent engineering and 20
[>er cent military, and will be won by weapons
that conquer, not by masses of men. The gun
will overwhelm the enemy; the infantry will
merely take possession.
Each country will use every death dealing
agent it can muster, and the loss of life prob
ably will exceed all the estimates of present
alarmists. The new weapons employed will
make it impossible to safeguard innocent non
combatants.
No war was ever conducted according to
moral rules and international agreements,
and in this respect the next war is not likely
to be any different. The War Book of the most
powerful European nation engaged in the
World War stated that “the errors which pro
ceed from the spirit of benevolence in war
tiic lilc wuiai.
War is still an act of violence which in its
application knows no bounds. In view of the
records of present dictators, it is absurd to
introduce into the philosophy of war itself a
principle of moderation. Doubtless the neces
sities of the immediate hour will determine
the rules of conduct and the degree of injury
and destruction rendered.
The World War gave inventive minds ideas
that in the last sixteen years have been worked
out with startling results.
The newest tanks travel seven times as fast
as they did in 1916. One experimental model
carry ing a 3-inch cannon recently sped 100
. miles an hour, jumped 10-foot gaps and
forded streams under its own power.
One type of tank easily swims rivers and
yet can travel highways at a great speed. The
Germans have a fast amphibian war automo
bile that is capable of making 90 miles an
hour on land and 15 miles an hour in the
water. The body of the machine is water
tight to provide buoyancy.
A Japanese machine can be directed by
radio, carries no crew, and is designed to
explode in enemy trenches like a torpedo.
Airplanes of a new type will carry tanks
beneath them, the plan being to drop these
tanks in enemy territory by means of huge
parachutes. An American inventor is working
on a tank that will fly through the air, and
has wings which can be discarded upon
landing.
Advances in aeronautics not only render it
possible for a pilot to fly an airplane “blind”
by the use of visual instruments in the cock
pit, but he can travel safely when actually
blindfolded, using only his sense of hearing.
This means that if the instrument board of
the war plane goes out of commission, control
will not be lost.
A new American bomber equipped with
self-navigating devices has just completed a
successful test in following a bee-line course
without human aid to a previously fixed
destination.
A new form of solid gasoline, while not as
efficient as the liquid fuel now in use, is non
explosive. and will keep a plane operating
after its gas tank has been punctured by a
bullet. Simultaneously with this announcement
comes a new design that adds wheels to sea
planes, making them as useful on land as
they are at sea.
Cartoon by
Robert Lawson
Fire bombs, so small and powerful that a
single plane can carry 2,000 of them, are a
threat to cities. Ten planes breaking through
military defenses and making only one effec
tive hit out of 100 bombs, could start 200 fires
in widely separated places in a short time.
Science is coming to believe that fire, rather
than gas, may be the obliterating agent in the
next war.
The outstanding success of the Germans
with lighter-than-air craft — huge dirigibles
— emphasizes one thing: In spite of past mis
takes, mostly preventable, the United States
will soon have powerful “flying fortresses.’’
Why? Because this country has 10,000,000,
000 cubic feet of precious helium gas, the only
usable supply in the world, and sufficient to
last 100 years. The Germans are compelled
to use hydrogen, which is explosive — helium
is not.
What a big dirigible means to a nation at
war is evident from the fact that the ill-fated
rtKron, weighing 240.000 pounds, had a total
lifting power of 400,000 pounds — that is, it
could carry 160,000 pounds of fuel, weapons
and war materials. We will see and hear
much more about these huge ships.
Automatons have taken over most of the
pencil-and-paper work that formerly had to
be done by army officers in a hurry under fire.
One of these ‘‘thinking machines" is able to
turn its telescopic eye upon a distant plane,
and within 30 seconds automatically train on
it a battery of high-angle guns that will harry
the plane with a hurricane of steel, shot up
ward at the rate of a ton a minute.
The officers in charge of this artillery may
be half a mile from the mechanical eyes that
aim the gun.
Great secrecy surrounds the new develop
ments in gunnery and ordnance. Marvelous
alloys with special properties have practically
eliminated corrosion and failure under high
heat. Armor-piercing shells now have per
cussion caps that make explosions certain on
The sensation of the next war, if it is not
the aerial torpedo, will likely be the long
range of the huge guns that will be ready
The astonishing development of the World
War was Germany's “Big Bertha." This
monstrous siege gun sent a 12-inch shell into
the stratosphere, where the rarefied atmo
sphere ten miles or more above the earth
offered little resistance to the 90-mile journey
of this screaming agent of death.
The inhabitants of Paris were terrorized by
this storm of destruction from out the heav
ens. Easter Sunday morning 100 helpless
non-combatants in the Church of St. Gervais
were instantly killed. No other known gun
ever had a range of more than 25 miles. So far
away was this death-dealing super-engine
that its operators had to allow for the curva
ture of the earth and the speed of the earth’s
rotation
When the war ended, the only result of an
energetic search for the secret of “Big Bertha”
was the discovery of the gun’s emplacement
more than 80 miles from Paris.
Although the Germans have kept their
secret well, the next war will disclose even
bigger and more accurate cannon hurling their
shells through the unresisting stratosphere
with deadly precision.
No less disturbing are the various new
methods of using rays and beams to rout an
enemy. One new beam of force, similar to the
so-called “death ray” of scientific romance,
may destroy soldiers miles away, or bring
down an airplane like a duck on the wing.
The inventor asserts that this aggregation of
intense short waves will penetrate armor
plate, but it must be generated at a stationary
power plant, which makes it wholly a defen
sive weapon.
Experiments disclose that “radio waves”
used for the electrocution of destructive in
sects may be so amplified that they will kill
human beings. The enemy must enter an elec
tric field between huge electrodes, and it is
the rapid oscillation of high-voltage energy
across this field that does the job.
Radio waves already employed in hospitals
can create in a patient a temperature of 115
degrees — deadly if maintained. In laboratory
experiments, the electrostatic field set up by
an 8000-volt stream of energy has killed
insects instantly and will kill any person wno
remains in the area for very long. The swit 1
of polarity changes from positive to negative
(Continued on pane 13)

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