150 THF. INHABITANTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
In both channels the tide rushes in and out with great force.
With channels of such a width there was no difficulty in taking a squadron in at night, and little chance of suffering damage from the hastily improvised batteries of the Spaniards.
And it will be evident to all having the slightest knowledge of submarine mining that the conditions are most unfavourable to defence by such means. As a matter of fact, the Spaniards possessed only nine obsolete submarine mines fitted to explode by contact. These were sent over to Corregidor, but were not sunk, as it was obvious that they were useless.
On the other hand, it was a perfect position for the employment of torpedo boats or gunboats, there being excellent anchorage for such craft on both sides of the Channel and in Corregidor Cove. But at the time of the declaration of war, the Spaniards had no torpedo boats in the Philippines. The Elswick-built cruisers Is/a de Cuba and Is/a de Luzon were fitted with torpedoes, and might have been watching the channels for a chance to use them. Admiral Montojo knows best why he did not detach them on this service.
There was then nothing to prevent the entrance of the American Squadron ; the mines, torpedo boats and narrow channels only existed in the imagination of some American newspaper correspondents.
But Admiral Deweys exploit does not need any such enhancing, it speaks for itself.
To any one having a knowledge of the Spanish navy, and especially of the squadron of the Philippines, the result of an action against an American Squadron of similar force could not be doubtful, As a matter of fact the Spanish ships, except the two small cruisers built at Elswick in 1887, were quite obsolete. The Cas til/a and Reina Cristina were wooden vessels, standing very high out of the water, and making admirable targets, whilst their guns were small, some of them had been landed at Corregidor, though never placed in battery. The boilers of one vessel were in the arsenal.
But even allowing for the fact that the tonnage of the American Squadron was half as much again as that of the Spaniards, and that they had more than twice as many, and heavier guns, no one would have supposed it possibleBut even allowing for the fact that the tonnage of the American Squadron was half as much again as that of the Spaniards, and that they had more than twice as many, and heavier guns, no one would have supposed it possible