|Original title||Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship, or, The Naval Terror of the Seas|
|Genre||Young adult novel Adventure novel|
|Publisher||Grosset & Dunlap|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone|
|Followed by||Tom Swift and His Big Tunnel|
Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship, or, The Naval Terror of the Seas, is Volume 18 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
The story was written in 1915, and World War I, also known as The Great War, was already in progress. As the story opens, Tom is explaining his newest invention to his friend, Ned Newton. Just as Tom is in the middle of explaining the problems he is having, a fire erupts in one of the sheds, where explosives are stored. After the fire has been put out, careful investigation shows that the fire was set deliberately.
In preparation for presenting his new airship to the United States Government, Tom has invited a Lieutenant Marbury, from the Navy, to review his ship. Marbury informs Tom of a possible plot against Tom and his inventions, past and present. Tom scoffs at the idea, but soon finds out otherwise, as his new airship is hijacked by foreign spies with an unknown agenda.
Tom creates two new inventions for this story: a huge airship for military use, and a method of dealing with recoil on the weapons to be used.
The airship is built on a similar model as the German-built zeppelins. These are huge craft, Tom's measuring at 600 feet in length and 60 feet in diameter. It is built of a semi-rigid airbag with several separated gas compartments, which would permit lift even if one or more of the gas compartments was damaged. Three cabins are hung below the airship: at the front is the pilot house, in the middle is the general quarters, and at the rear is the engine. A non-flammable gas is used for lift, and a single gas-powered engine provides forward momentum. Storage batteries, coupled with an electric motor, are used as backup power in the event of main engine failure. Tom hoped to sell this to the United States government, with an eye on the hostilities occurring in Europe at the time of the story.
Secondary to the airship, Tom needs to conceive of a way to neutralize recoil from the guns which he plans to mount: two 4-inch cannon, and several unspecified machine-guns. When fired, the cannon would generate enough recoil to rip the ship apart, but Tom is inspired by Ned's observation of how an automatic door closer operates. Tom's invention is similar to the recoil system used in the French 75mm field gun.
A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is an airship (dirigible) without an internal structural framework or a keel. Unlike semi-rigid and rigid airships, blimps rely on the pressure of the lifting gas inside the envelope and the strength of the envelope itself to maintain their shape.
An airship or dirigible balloon is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft that can navigate through the air under its own power. Aerostats gain their lift from a lifting gas that is less dense than the surrounding air.
USS Akron (ZRS-4) was a helium-filled rigid airship of the U.S. Navy, the lead ship of her class, which operated between September 1931 and April 1933. It was the world's first purpose-built flying aircraft carrier, carrying F9C Sparrowhawk fighter planes, which could be launched and recovered while it was in flight. With an overall length of 785 ft (239 m), Akron and her sister ship Macon were among the largest flying objects ever built. Although LZ 129 Hindenburg and LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II were some 18 ft (5.5 m) longer and slightly more voluminous, the two German airships were filled with hydrogen, and so the two US Navy craft still hold the world record for the largest helium-filled airships.
A carronade is a short, smoothbore, cast-iron cannon which was used by the Royal Navy. It was first produced by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland, and was used from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range, anti-ship and anti-crew weapon. The technology behind the carronade was greater dimensional precision, with the shot fitting more closely in the barrel thus transmitting more of the propellant charge's energy to the projectile, allowing a lighter gun using less gunpowder to be effective. Carronades were initially found to be very successful, but they eventually disappeared as naval artillery advanced, with the introduction of rifling and consequent change in the shape of the projectile, exploding shells replacing solid shot, and naval engagements being fought at longer ranges.
John Ericsson was a Swedish-American inventor. He was active in England and the United States.
A recoilless rifle, recoilless launcher or recoilless gun, sometimes abbreviated "RR" or "RCL" is a type of lightweight artillery system or man-portable launcher that is designed to eject some form of countermass such as propellant gas from the rear of the weapon at the moment of firing, creating forward thrust that counteracts most of the weapon's recoil. This allows for the elimination of much of the heavy and bulky recoil-counteracting equipment of a conventional cannon as well as a thinner-walled barrel, and thus the launch of a relatively large projectile from a platform that would not be capable of handling the weight or recoil of a conventional gun of the same size. Technically, only devices that use spin-stabilized projectiles fired from a rifled barrel are recoilless rifles, while smoothbore variants are recoilless guns. This distinction is often lost, and both are often called recoilless rifles.
An autocannon, automatic cannon or machine cannon is a fully automatic gun that is capable of rapid-firing large-caliber armour-piercing, explosive or incendiary shells, as opposed to the smaller-caliber kinetic projectiles (bullets) fired by a machine gun. Autocannons have a longer effective range and greater terminal performance than machine guns, due to the use of larger/heavier munitions, but are usually smaller than tank guns, howitzers, field guns or other artillery. When used on its own, the word "autocannon" typically indicates a non-rotary weapon with a single barrel. When multiple rotating barrels are involved, such a weapon is referred to as a "rotary autocannon" or occasionally "rotary cannon", for short.
Novgorod was a monitor built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1870s. She was one of the most unusual warships ever constructed, and still survives in popular naval myth as one of the worst warships ever built. A more balanced assessment shows that she was relatively effective in her designed role as a coast-defence ship. The hull was circular to reduce draught while allowing the ship to carry much more armour and a heavier armament than other ships of the same size. Novgorod played a minor role in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and was reclassified as a coast-defence ironclad in 1892. The ship was decommissioned in 1903 and used as a storeship until she was sold for scrap in 1911.
Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice, or, The Wreck of the Airship, is Volume 8 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat, or, Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure, is Volume 4 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Tom Swift and His Airship, or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud, is Volume 3 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle; or, Daring Adventures in Elephant Land is a young adult novel published in 1911, written by Stratemeyer Syndicate writers using the pen name Victor Appleton. It is Volume 10 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap. The novel is notable for inspiring the name of the Taser.
Tom Swift and His Great Searchlight, or, On the Border For Uncle Sam, is Volume 15 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon, or, The Longest Shots on Record, is Volume 16 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters, Or, Battling Flames From the Air, is Volume 24 in the original Tom Swift novel series published by Grosset & Dunlap.
The 3"/23 caliber gun was the standard anti-aircraft gun for United States destroyers through World War I and the 1920s. United States naval gun terminology indicates the gun fired a projectile 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter, and the barrel was 23 calibers long
The Matsushima class was a class of protected cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), with three ships named after the three most famous scenic spots in Japan. The Matsushima class was a highly unorthodox design among cruisers of the 1890s, as each ship had a primary armament of a single massive 320 millimetres (13 in) Canet gun, resulting in a monitor-like appearance.
The 1.59-inch breech-loading Vickers Q.F. gun, Mk II was a British light artillery piece designed during World War I. Originally intended for use in trench warfare, it was instead tested for air-to-air and air-to-ground use by aircraft. Although it fired shells and had no capability to launch rockets, it was widely but misleadingly known as the "Vickers-Crayford rocket gun."
Vitse-admiral Popov was a monitor built for the Imperial Russian Navy in the 1870s. It was one of the most unusual warships ever constructed, and still survives in popular naval myth as one of the worst warships ever built. The hull was circular to reduce draught while allowing the ship to carry much more armour and a heavier armament than other ships of the same size. Vitse-admiral Popov played a minor role in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and was reclassified as a coast-defence ironclad in 1892. The ship was decommissioned in 1903 and sold for scrap in 1911.
Carl Edgar Myers was an American businessman, scientist, inventor, meteorologist, balloonist, and aeronautical engineer. He invented many types of hydrogen balloon airships and related equipment. His business of making passenger airshipballoons and instrument balloons at his "balloon farm" was well known throughout the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He invented a machine for varnishing fabric that would make it impervious to hydrogen so that the finished product could be made into large envelopes for lighter-than-air balloons.