The fact that the high explosives are so much heavier than gunpowder has an important bearing on the size of the containing case. Their sp. gr. is as follows:

Blasting gelatine1.45
Forcite gelatine 1.51
Dynamite No. 11.6
Wet gun-cotton1.32
Dry gun-cotton1.06

Their relative efficiency under water per cubic foot, according to Bucknill, is as follows:

Blasting gelatine1.38
Forcite gelatine1.27
Dynamite No. 11.00
Dry gun-cotton0.66
Wet gun-cotton0.66

The wet gun-cotton has twenty-five per cent. of added water.

Mines for harbor defense are of two kinds - buoyant and ground. The buoyant are usually spherical, and contain from 400 to 500 pounds of explosive. They bring the charge near to the ship's bottom, but are difficult to manage in a tideway, and can be easily found by dragging. The ground mines can be made of any size and are not easily found by dragging, but are of little value in very deep water. They are either cylindrical or hemispherical in shape, and contain from 500 to 1,500 pounds of explosive in from thirty to eighty feet of water. Mines of any kind are exceedingly difficult to render efficient when the water is over 100 feet deep. On account of the tendency of all high explosives to detonate by influence or sympathy, and the liability of the cases to collapse by great exterior pressure, harbor mines are separated a certain distance, according as they are buoyant or ground, and according to the nature of the explosive.

Five hundred pounds buoyant gun-cotton mines require 320 feet spacing.

Five hundred pounds buoyant blasting gelatine mines require 450 feet spacing.

Six hundred pounds ground gun-cotton mines require 180 feet spacing.

Six hundred pounds ground blasting gelatine mines require 230 feet spacing.

Of torpedoes, other than those described, we have several modern varieties; submarine projectiles, submarine rockets, automobile and controllable locomotive torpedoes. The first two varieties, though feasible, are not developed and have not yet advanced beyond the experimental stage. Of the automobile, we have the Whitehead, Swartzkopf and Howell. The first two are propelled by means of compressed air and an engine; the last by the stored-up energy of a heavy fly-wheel. Generally speaking, they are cigar-shaped crafts, from 10 to 18 feet long and 15 to 17 inches in diameter, capable of carrying from 75 to 250 pounds of explosive at a rate of 25 to 30 knots for 400 yards, at any depth at which they may be set. Of the controllable locomotive torpedoes, the three representative types are the Patrick, Sims and Brennan. They are in general terms cigar boats, about 40 feet long and 2 feet in diameter, carrying charges of 400 pounds of explosive. The Patrick and Sims are maintained at a constant depth under water by means of a float. The Brennan has diving rudders like a Whitehead or a Howell. The Patrick is driven by means of carbonic acid gas through an engine, and is controlled by an electric wire from shore.

The Sims is driven by electricity from a dynamo on shore through a cable to an electric engine in the torpedo. The Brennan is driven and controlled by means of two fine steel wires wound on reels in the torpedo, the reels being geared to the propeller shafts. The wires are led to corresponding reels on shore, and these are rapidly revolved by means of an engine. A brake on each shore reel controls the torpedo. The speed of all these torpedoes is about 19 knots, and their effective range one mile.

A Whitehead was successfully used in the Turco-Russian war of 1877. The Turkish vessel previously mentioned was sunk by one.

Blasting gelatine, dynamite and gun-cotton are capable of many applications to engineering purposes on shore in time of war, and in most cases they are better than powder. They received the serious attention of French engineers during the siege of Paris, and were employed in the various sorties which were made from the city, in throwing down walls, bursting guns, etc. An explosive for such purposes, and indeed for most military uses, should satisfy the following conditions:

(1) Very shattering in its effects.

(2) Insensible to shocks of projectiles.

(3) Plastic.

(4) Easy and safe to manipulate.

(5) Easy to insert a fuse.

(6) Great stability at all natural temperatures and when used in wet localities.

Neither blasting gelatine, dynamite nor gun-cotton fulfills all these conditions; but they satisfy many of them and are more powerful than other substances. For the destruction of walls, trees, rails, bridges, etc., it is simply necessary to attach to them small bags of explosive, which are ignited by means of blasters' fuse and a cap of fulminate of mercury, or by an electric fuse.

We now come to the application of high explosives to warfare in the shape of bursting charges for shells. This is the latest phase of the problem, and it is undoubtedly fraught with the most important consequences to both attack and defense. Difficult as it has been to obtain an exact estimate of the force of different explosives under water, the problem is far greater out of the water and under the ordinary conditions of shell fire; the principal obstacle being in the fact that it is physically impossible to control the force of large quantities in order to measure it, and small quantities give irregular results. Theoretically, the matter has been accomplished by Berthelot, the head of the French government "Commission of Explosives," by calculating the volume of gas produced, heat developed, etc.; and this method is excellent for obtaining a fair idea of the specific pressure of any new explosive that may be brought forward, and determining whether it is worth while to investigate it further; but the explosives differ so much from each other in point of sensitiveness, weight, physical condition, velocity of explosive wave, influence of temperature and humidity, that we cannot determine from mere theoretical considerations all that we would like to know.