ARMOUR PLATES. The earliest recorded proposal to employ armour for ships of war (for body armour, etc., see Arms and Armour ) appears to have been made in England by Sir William Congreve in 1805. In The Times of the 20th of February of that year reference is made to Congreve's designs for an armoured, floating mortar battery which the inventor considered would be proof against artillery fire. Among Congreve's unpublished papers there is also a suggestion for armour-plating the embrasures of casemates. Nothing, however, seems to have come of these proposals, and a similar lack of appreciation befell the next advocate of armour, John Stevens of New Jersey, U.S.A., who submitted the plans of an armoured vessel to Congress in 1812. The Stevens family, however, continued to work at the subject, and by 1841 had determined by actual experiment the thickness of wrought-iron armour which was proof against the projectiles then in use. The necessity for armouring ships as a protection against shell fire was again pointed out by General Paixhans in 1841, and in 1845 Dupuy de Lôme had prepared the designs of an armoured frigate for the French government. During the period between 1827 and 1854, experiments in connexion with the proposed application of armour to both ships and forts were carried out in England, the United States and France, but the question did not get beyond the experimental stage until the latter year, when armoured floating batteries were laid down in all three countries, probably as the immediate outcome of the destruction of the Turkish fleet by shell fire at Sinope on the 30th of November 1853.
Three of the French floating batteries were in action at the bombardment of Kinburn in 1855, where they achieved a conspicuous success, silencing the Russian forts after a four hours' engagement, during which they themselves, although frequently struck, were practically uninjured, their loss in personnel being but trifling. To quote Very: "This comparatively insignificant action, which had little if any effect upon the course of the Crimean War, changed the whole condition of armour for naval use from one of speculation to one of actual and constant necessity." The military application of armour for the protection of guns mounted in permanent fortifications followed. Its development, however, took rather a different course, and the question of armour generally is of less importance for the military engineer than for the naval constructor. For the employment of armour in ship construction and in permanent works on land, see the articles Shipbuilding; Fortification and Siegecraft; the present article is concerned solely with the actual armour itself.
Construction and testing
The earliest armour, both for ships and forts, was made of wrought iron, and was disposed either in a single thickness or in successive layers sandwiched with wood or concrete. Such armour is now wholly obsolete, though examples of it may still be found in a few forts of early date. The chief application of armour in modern land defences is in the form of shields for the protection of guns mounted en barbette. Examples of such shields are shown in figs. 1 and 2. Fig. 1 shows a 4.5-in. steel shield for the U.S.A. government, face-hardened by the Harvey process, to which reference is made below. It was attacked by 5-in. and 6-in. armour-piercing shot, and proved capable of keeping out the 5-in. up to a striking velocity of nearly 1800 ft. per second, but was defeated by a 6-in. capped A.P. shot with a striking velocity of 1842 ft. per second. The mounting was not seriously damaged by the firing, but could be operated after the impact of one 3.2-in., five 5-in. and three 6-in. projectiles. Fig. 2 shows a gun-shield, manufactured by Messrs Hadfield of Sheffield, after attack by 4.1-in., 4.7-in. and 6-in. armour-piercing and other projectiles. The limit of the shield's resistance was just reached by an uncapped 4.7-in. A.P. shell with a striking velocity of 2128 ft. per second. The shield (the average maximum thickness of which was 5.8 in.) showed great toughness, and although subjected to a severe battering, and occasionally outmatched by the attacking projectiles, developed no visible crack. It is chiefly remarkable for the fact that it was cast and not forged. As is evident from the fringing around the hole made by the 6-in. A.P. shell, the shield was not face-hardened. A more highly developed form of the gun-shield is to be found in the armoured cupola, which has been employed to a very considerable extent in permanent fortifications, and whose use is still strongly advocated by continental European military engineers. The majority of the cupolas to be found in continental forts are not, however, of very recent date, those erected in 1894 at Molsheim near Strassburg being comparatively modern instances. Any cupolas constructed nowadays would be of steel, either forged or cast, and would probably be face-hardened, but a large number of those extant are of compound or even of iron armour. Many of those on sea-fronts are made of chilled cast iron. Such armour, which was introduced by Gruson of Magdeburg in 1868, is extremely hard, and cannot be perforated, but must be destroyed by fracture. It is thus the antithesis of wrought iron, which, when of good quality, does not break up under the impact of the shot but yields by perforation. Armour of the Gruson type is well adapted for curved surfaces such as cupolas, which on account of their shape are scarcely liable to receive a direct hit, except at distant ranges, and its extreme hardness would greatly assist it to throw off shot striking obliquely, which have naturally a tendency to glance. Chilled iron, on account of its liability to break up when subjected to a continuous bombardment by the armour-piercing steel projectiles of guns of even medium calibre, was usually considered unsuitable for employment in inland forts, where wrought iron, mild steel or compound armour was preferred. On the other hand, as pointed out by the late Captain C. Orde Browne, R.A., it was admirably adapted to resist the few rounds that the heavy guns of battleships might be expected to deliver during an attack of comparatively limited duration.
Chilled iron was never employed for naval purposes, and warship armour continued to be made exclusively of wrought iron until 1876 when steel was introduced by Schneider. In an important trial at Spezzia in that year the superiority in resisting power of steel to wrought iron was conclusively proved, but, on the other hand, steel showed a great tendency to through-cracking, a defect which led Messrs Cammell of Sheffield in 1877 to introduce compound armour consisting of a steel surface in intimate union with a wrought-iron foundation plate. In Cammell plates, which were made by the Wilson process, the steel face was formed by running molten steel on to a white-hot foundation plate of iron, while in the compound plates, made by Messrs John Brown & Co. according to the patent of J.D. Ellis, a thin steel surface plate was cemented on to the wrought-iron foundation by running in molten steel between. Compound armour possessed the advantages of a harder face than was then possible in a homogeneous steel plate, while, on the other hand, the back was softer and less liable to crack. Its weak point was the liability of the surface plate to crack through under fire and become detached from its iron backing. The manufacture of steel, however, continued to improve, so that in 1890 we find steel plates being made which were comparatively free from liability to through-cracking, while their power to resist perforation was somewhat greater than that of the best compound. The difference, however, was at no time very marked, and between 1880 and 1890 the resistance to perforation of either steel or compound as compared with wrought iron may be taken as about 1.3 to 1.
Compound armour required to be well backed to bring out its best qualities, and there is a case on record in 1883 when a 12-in. Cammell plate weighing 10 tons, backed by granite, stopped a 16-in. Palliser shot with a striking energy of nearly 30,000 foot tons and a calculated perforation of 25 inches of wrought iron. As steel improved, efforts were made to impart an even greater hardness to the actual surface or skin of compound armour, and, with this object in view, Captain T.J. Tresidder, C.M.G., patented in 1887 a method of chilling the heated surface of a plate by means of jets of water under pressure. By this method it was found possible to obtain a degree of hardness which was prevented in ordinary plunging by the formation of a layer of steam between the water and the heated surface of the plate. Compound plates face-hardened on this system gave excellent results, and forged-steel armour-piercing projectiles were in some cases broken up on their surfaces as if they had been merely chilled iron. Attempts were also made to increase the toughness of the back by the substitution of mild nickel steel for wrought iron. The inherent defect of compound armour, however - its want of homogeneity, - remained, and in the year 1891 H.A. Harvey of Newark, N.J., introduced a process whereby an all steel plate could be face-hardened in such a way that the advantages of the compound principle were obtained in a homogeneous plate. The process in question consisted in carburizing or cementing the surface of a steel plate by keeping it for a fortnight or so at a high temperature in contact with finely divided charcoal, so that the heated surface absorbed a certain amount of carbon, which penetrated to a considerable depth, thus causing a difference in chemical composition between the front and back of the plate. After it had been left a sufficient time in the cementation furnace, the plate was withdrawn and allowed to cool slowly until it reached a dull red heat, when it was suddenly chilled by the application of water, but by a less perfect method than that employed by Tresidder. Steel plates treated by the Harvey and Tresidder processes, which shortly became combined, possessed about twice the resisting power of wrought iron. The figure of merit, or resistance to penetration as compared with wrought iron, varied with the thickness of the plate, being rather more than 2 with plates from 6 to 8 in. thick and rather less for the thicker plates. In 1889 Schneider introduced the use of nickel in steel for armour plates, and in 1891 or 1892 the St Chamond works employed a nickel steel to which was added a small percentage of chromium.
All modern armour contains nickel in percentages varying from 3 to 5, and from 1.0 to 2.0% of chromium is also employed as a general rule. Nickel in the above quantities adds greatly to the toughness as well as to the hardness of steel, while chromium enables it to absorb carbon to a greater depth during cementation, and increases its susceptibility to tempering, besides conducing to a tough fibrous condition in the body of a plate. Alloy steels of this nature appear to be very susceptible to thermal treatment, by suitable variation of which, with or without oil quenching, the physical condition of the same steel may be made to vary to an extraordinary extent, a peculiarity which is turned to good account in the manufacture of the modern armour plate.
The principal modern process is that introduced by Krupp in 1893. Although it is stated that a few firms both in Great Britain and in other countries use special processes of their own, it is probable that they differ only in detail from the Krupp process, which has been adopted by the great majority of makers. Krupp plates are made of nickel-chrome steel and undergo a special heat treatment during manufacture which is briefly described below. They can either be cemented or, as was usual in England until about 1902 in the case of the thinner plates (4 in. and under) and those used for curved structures such as casemates, non-cemented. They are in either case face-hardened by chilling. Messrs Krupp have, however, cemented plates of 3 in. and upward since 1895. Although the full process is now applied to plates of as little as 2 in. in thickness, there is some difference of opinion between manufacturers as to the value of cementing these very thin plates. The simple Harvey process is still employed to some extent in the case of plates between 5 and 3 in. in thickness, and excellent results are also stated to have been obtained with plates from 2 to 4 in. in thickness, manufactured from a special steel by the process patented by M. Charpy of the St Jacques steel works at Montluçon. A Krupp cemented (K.C.) plate is not perhaps harder as regards surface than a good Harveyed plate, but the depth of hard face is greater, and the plate is very much tougher in the back, a quality which is of particular importance in the thicker plates. The figure of merit varies, as in Harveyed plates, with the thickness of the armour, being about 2.7 in the case of good 6-in. plates while for the thicker plates the value gradually falls off to about 2.3 in the case of 12-in. armour. This figure of merit is as against uncapped armour-piercing shot of approximately the same calibre as the thickness of the plate. The resisting power of the non-cemented Krupp plates is usually regarded as being considerably less than that of the cemented plates, and may be taken on an average to be 2.25 times that of wrought iron.
Figs. 3, 4 and 5 are illustrations of good cemented plates of the Krupp type. Fig. 3 shows an 11.8-in. plate, tried by Messrs Krupp in 1895, after attack by three 12-in. steel armour-piercing projectiles of from 712.7 to 716.1 lb in weight. In the third round the striking velocity of the projectile was 1993 ft. per second, the calculated perforation of wrought iron by Tresidder's formula being 25.9 in. The attack was successfully resisted, all the projectiles being broken up without effecting perforation, while there were no serious cracks. The figure of merit of the plate was thus well in excess of 2.2. The great toughness of the plate is perhaps even more remarkable than its hardness; its width was only 6.28 ft., so that each shot head formed a wedge of approximately one-sixth of its width. The excellence of the metal which is capable of withstanding such a strain is apparent.
Fig. 4 is of a 9-in. K.C. plate, made by Messrs Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. for the Japanese government, after undergoing an unusually severe official test. The fourth round was capable of perforating 22 in. of wrought iron, so that the figure of merit of the plate must have been considerably in excess of 2.45, as there were no through-cracks, and the limit of resistance was far from being reached.
Fig. 5 shows the front of an excellent 6-in. cemented plate of Messrs Beardmore's manufacture, tried at Eskmeals on the 11th of October 1901. It withstood the attack of four armour-piercing 6-in. shot of 100 lb weight, with striking velocities varying from 1996 to 2177 ft. per second. Its limit of resistance was just passed by the fifth round in which the striking velocity was no less than 2261 ft. per second. The projectile, which broke up in passing through the plate, did not get through the skin plate behind the wood backing, and evidently had no surplus energy left. The figure of merit of this plate was between 2.6 and 2.8, but was evidently much closer to the latter than to the former figure. A sixth round fired with a Johnson capped shot weighing 105.9 lb easily perforated both plate and backing with a striking velocity of 1945 ft. per second, thus reducing the figure of merit of the plate to below 2.2 and illustrating very clearly the advantage given by capping the point of an armour-piercing projectile. There were no through-cracks in the plate after this severe trial, the back being evidently as tough as the face was hard.
Fig. 6 shows a 3-in. K.N.C. plate of Messrs Vickers, Sons & Maxim's manufacture, tested privately by the firm in November 1905. It proved to be of unusual excellence, its limit of resistance being just reached by a 12-lb armour-piercing shell of 3 in. calibre with a striking velocity of 2558 ft. per second, a result which, even if the projectiles used were not relatively of the same perforating power as those used in the proof of 6-in. and thicker plates, shows that its resisting power was very great. At a low estimate its figure of merit against 3-in. A.P. shot may be taken as about 2.6, which is exceptionally high for a non-cemented, or indeed for any but the best K.C. plates.
The plate also withstood the attack of a 4.7-in. service pattern steel armour-piercing shell of 45 lb weight striking the unbacked portion with a velocity of 1599 ft. per second, and was only just beaten by a similar shell with a velocity of 1630 ft. per second. The effect of all the above-mentioned rounds is shown in the photograph. The same plate subsequently kept out two 6-in. common shell filled up to weight with salt and plugged, with striking velocities of 1412 and 1739 ft. per second respectively, the former being against the unbacked and the latter against the backed half of the plate, - the only effect on the plate being that round 6 caused a fragment of the right-hand top corner of the plate to break off, and round 7 started a few surface cracks between the points of impact of rounds 1, 2 and 3.
Within the limitations referred to below, the resisting power of all hard-faced plates is very much reduced when the armour-piercing projectiles used in the attack are capped, the average figure of merit of Krupp cemented plates not being more than 2 against capped shot as compared with about 2.5 against uncapped. So long ago as 1878 it was suggested by Lt.-Col. (then Captain) T. English, R.E., that armour-piercing projectiles would be assisted in attacking compound plates if caps of wrought iron could be fitted to their points. Experiments at Shoeburyness, however, did not show that any advantage was gained by this device, and nothing further was heard of the cap until 1894, when experiments carried out in Russia with so-called "magnetic" shot against plates of Harveyed steel showed that the perforating power of an armour-piercing projectile was considerably augmented where hard-faced plates were concerned, if its point were protected by a cap of wrought iron or mild steel. The conditions of the Russian results (and of subsequent trials in various parts of the world which have confirmed them) differed considerably from the earlier English ones. The material of both projectiles and plates differed, as did also the velocities employed - the low velocities in the earlier trials probably contributing in large measure to the non-success of the cap. The cap, as now used, consists of a thimble of comparatively soft steel of from 3 to 5% of the weight of the projectile, attached to the point of the latter either by solder or by being pressed hydraulically or otherwise into grooves or indentations in the head. Its function appears to be to support the point on impact, and so to enable it to get unbroken through the hard face layers of the plate. Once through the cemented portion with its point intact, a projectile which is strong enough to remain undeformed, will usually perforate the plate by a true boring action if its striking velocity be high enough. In the case of the uncapped projectile, on the other hand, the point is almost invariably crushed against the hard face and driven back as a wedge into the body of the projectile, which is thus set up so that, instead of boring, it acts as a punch and dislodges or tends to dislodge a coned plug or disk of metal, the greatest diameter of which may be as much as four times the calibre of the projectile. The disproportion between the maximum diameter of the disk and that of the projectile is particularly marked when the calibre of the latter is much in excess of the thickness of the plate. When plate and projectile are equally matched, e.g. 6" versus 6", the plug of metal dislodged may be roughly cylindrical in shape, and its diameter not greatly in excess of that of the projectile. In all cases the greatest width of the plug or disk is at the back of the plate.
A stout and rigid backing evidently assists a plate very much more against this class of attack than against the perforating attack of a capped shot. Fig. 7 shows the back of a 6-in. plate attacked in 1898, and affords an excellent illustration of the difference in action of capped and uncapped projectiles. In round 7 the star-shaped opening made by the point of a capped shot boring its way through is seen, while rounds 2, 3, 4 and 5 show disks of plate partially dislodged by uncapped projectiles. The perforating action of capped armour-piercing projectiles is even better shown in fig. 8, which shows a 250-mm. (9.8 in.) Krupp plate after attack by 150-mm. (5.9 in.) capped A.P. shot. In rounds 5 and 6 the projectiles, with striking velocities of 2302 and 2281 ft. per second, perforated. Round 7, with a striking velocity of 2244 ft. per second, just got its point through and rebounded, while round 8, with a striking velocity of 2232, lodged in the plate. In many cases a capped projectile punches out a plug, usually more or less cylindrical in shape and of about the same diameter as the projectile, from a plate, and does not defeat it by a true boring action. In such cases it will probably be found that the projectile has been broken up, and that only the head, set up and in a more or less crushed condition, has got through the plate. This peculiarity of action can best be accounted for by attributing either abnormal excellence to the plate or to that portion of it concerned - for plates sometimes vary considerably and are not of uniform hardness throughout, - or comparative inferiority to the projectile. Whichever way it may be, what has happened appears to be that after the cap has given the point sufficient support to get it through the very hard surface layers, the point has been flattened in the region of extreme hardness and toughness combined, which exists immediately behind the deeply carburized surface. The action from this point becomes a punching one, and the extra strain tends to break up the projectile, so that the latter gets through wholly or partially, in a broken condition, driving a plug of plate in front of it. At low striking velocities, probably in the neighbourhood of 1700 ft. per second, the cap fails to act, and no advantage is given by it to the shot. This is probably because the velocity is sufficiently low to give the cap time to expand and so fail to grip the point as the latter is forced into it. The cap also fails as a rule to benefit the projectile when the angle of incidence is more than 30° to the normal.
Fig. 1. - HARVEYIZED SHIELD, 4.5 INCHES THICK, ON 6-INCH PEDESTAL MOUNT, AFTER ATTACK BY 5-INCH AND 6-INCH CAPPED ARMOUR-PIERCING SHOT.
Fig. 2. - GUN SHIELD, 6 INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK.
Fig. 3. - KRUPP-CEMENTED PLATE, 11.8 INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK.
Fig. 4. - KRUPP-CEMENTED PLATE, 9 INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK.
(ARMSTRONG, WHITWORTH & CO.)]
Fig. 5. - BEARDMORE CEMENTED PLATE, 6-INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK BY 6-INCH SHOT.
(From Brassey's Naval Annual, 1902 by permission.)
Fig. 6. - KRUPP-CEMENTED PLATE, 3 INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK.
(VICKERS, SONS & MAXIM.)
Fig. 7. - BACK OF A 6-INCH PLATE SHOWING ACTION OF CAPPED AND UNCAPPED PROJECTILES.
Fig. 8. - BACK OF KRUPP PLATE 9.8 INCHES THICK, AFTER ATTACK, WITH CAPPED PROJECTILE. (KRUPP, MEPPEN.)
(From Brassey's Naval Annual, by permission.)
Laws of Resistance
The laws governing the resistance of armour to perforation have been the subject of investigation for many years, and a considerable number of formulae have been put by means of which the thickness of armour perforable by any given projectile at any given striking velocity may be calculated. Although in some cases based on very different theoretical considerations, there is a general agreement among them as far as perforation proper is concerned, and Tresidder's formula for the perforation of wrought iron, t  = wv /dA, may be taken as typical. Here t represents the thickness perforable in inches, w the weight of the projectile in pounds, v its velocity in foot seconds, d its diameter in inches and A the constant given by log A = 8.8410.
For the perforation of Harveyed or Krupp cemented armour by capped armour-piercing shot, this formula may be employed in conjunction with a suitable constant according to the nature of armour attacked. In the case of K. C. armour the formula becomes t  = wv /4dA. A useful rough rule is t/d = v/1900.
Hard armour, such as chilled cast iron, cannot be perforated but must be destroyed by fracture, and its destruction is apparently dependent solely upon the striking energy of the projectile and independent of its diameter. The punching of hard-faced armour by uncapped projectiles is intermediate in character between perforation and cracking, but approaches the former more nearly than the latter. The formula most used in England in this case is Krupp's formula for K.C., viz. t  = wv /dA , where t, w, v and d are the same as before, and log A  = 6.3532. This, if we assume the sectional density (w/d ) of projectiles to be constant and equal to 0.46, reduces to the very handy rule of thumb t/d = v/2200, which, within the limits of striking velocity obtainable under service conditions, is sufficiently accurate for practical purposes. For oblique attack up to an angle of 30° to the normal, the same formula may be employed, t sec θ being substituted for t, where θ is the angle of incidence and t the normal thickness of the plate attacked. More exact results would be obtained, however, by the use of Tresidder's W.I. formula, given above, in conjunction with a suitable figure of merit, according to the nature and thickness of the plate. It should be remembered in this connexion that the figure of merit of a plate against a punching attack falls off very much when the thickness of the plate is considerably less than the calibre of the attacking projectile. For example, the F.M. of a 6-in. plate may be 2.6 against 6-in. uncapped A.P. projectiles, but only 2.2 against 9.2-in. projectiles of the same character. In the case of the perforating action of capped projectiles, on the other hand, the ratio of d and t does not appear to affect the F.M. to any great extent, though according to Tresidder, the latter is inclined to fall when d is considerably less than t, which is the exact opposite of what happens with punching.
Another method of measuring the quality of armour, which is largely employed upon the continent of Europe, is by the ratio, r, between the velocity requisite to perforate any given plate and that needed to pierce a plate of mild steel of the same thickness, according to the formula of Commandant Jacob de Marre, viz. v = Ae0.7·a0.75/p0.5 where e = the thickness of the plate in centimetres, a = the calibre of the projectile in centimetres, p = the weight of the projectile in kilogrammes, v = the striking velocity of the projectile in metres per second, and log A = 1.7347. Converted into the usual English units and notation, this formula becomes v = A t0.7·d0.75/w0.5, in which log A  = 3.0094; in this form it constitutes the basis of the ballistic tests for the acceptance of armour plates for the U.S. navy.
Common shell, which are not strong enough to remain undeformed on impact, derive little benefit from the cap and usually defeat a plate by punching rather than by perforation. Their punching power may be taken roughly as about 2/3 that of an uncapped armour-piercing shot. Shells filled with high explosives, unless special arrangements are made to deaden the bursting charge and so obviate detonation upon impact, are only effective against the thinnest armour.
With regard to manufacture, a brief account of the Krupp process as applied in one of the great English armour plate works (omitting confidential details of temperature, etc.) will illustrate the great complexity of treatment which the modern armour plate has to undergo before its remarkable qualities of combined hardness and toughness can be developed. The composition of the steel probably differs slightly with the manufacturer, and also with the thickness of the armour, but it will usually contain from 3 to 4% of nickel, from 1.0 to 2.0% of chromium and about 0.25 to 0.35% of carbon, together with from 0.3 to 0.7% of manganese. After being cast, the ingot is first heated to a uniform degree of temperature throughout its mass and then generally forged under the hydraulic forging press. It is then reheated and passed through the rolls. After rolling, the plate is allowed to cool, and is then subjected to a thermal treatment preparatory to surfacing and cutting. Its surface is then freed from scale and planed. After planing, the plate is passed into the cementation furnace, where its face remains for some weeks in contact with specially prepared carbon, the temperature being gradually raised to that required for cementation and as gradually lowered after that is effected. After cementation the plate is heated to a certain temperature and is then plunged into an oil bath in order to toughen it. After withdrawal from the oil bath, the plate is cooled, reheated to a lower temperature, quenched again in water, reheated and passed to the bending press, where it is bent to shape while hot, proper allowance being made for the slight change of curve which takes place on the final chilling. After bending it is again heated and then allowed to get cold, when the final machining, drilling and cutting are carried out. The plate is now placed in a furnace and differentially heated so that the face is raised to a higher temperature than the back. After being thus heated for a certain period the plate is withdrawn, and both back and face are douched simultaneously with jets of cold water under pressure, the result being that the face is left glass-hard while the back is in the toughest condition possible for such hard steel.
The cast-steel armour made by Hadfield has already been alluded to. That made by Krupp (the only other maker at present of this class of armour) is of face-hardened nickel steel. A 5.9-in. plate of this material tried in 1902 had a figure of merit of more than 2.2 against uncapped 5.9-in. armour-piercing projectiles of 112 lb in weight. The main advantage of cast armour is that it is well adapted to armoured structures of complicated design and of varying thickness, which it would be difficult or impossible to forge in one piece. It should also be cheaper than forged armour, and, should time be a consideration, could probably be turned out more quickly; on the other hand, it is improbable that heavy castings such as would be required could be as regular in quality and as free from flaws as is possible when forged material is used, and it is unlikely that the average resistance to attack of cast-steel armour will ever be equal to that of the best forged steel.
Defence against small-arms
Of recent years there has been a considerable demand for thin steel plating proof against small-arm bullets at close ranges. This class of steel is used for field-gun shields and for sap shields, to afford cover for men in field-works, for armoured trains, motor-cars and ambulances, and also very largely for armouring shallow-draught river-gunboats. Holtzer made chrome steel breastplates in 1890, 0.158 in. of which was proof against the 0.43-in. hard lead bullet of the Gras rifle at 10 metres range, while 0.236 in. was proof against the 0.32 in. 231-grain Lebel bullet at the same distance, the striking velocities being approximately 1490 and 2070 ft. per second respectively. The bullet-proof steel made by Messrs Cammell, Laird & Co. in Great Britain may be taken as typical of that produced by the best modern manufacturers. It is proof against the 215-grain Lee-Enfield bullet of 0.303 in. calibre striking directly, as under:
Range. Thickness of Plate. Striking Velocity.
10 yards 0.187 inch 2050 f.s.
100 " 0.167 " 1865 "
560 " 0.080 " 1080 "
The weight of the 0.08 in. plating is only 3.2 lb per sq. ft. The material is stated to be readily adaptable to the ordinary operation of bending, machining, drilling, etc., and is thus very suitable for the purposes indicated above.
(W. E. E.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)