director sight

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A means of directing and controlling the gunfire aboard warships. It was introduced into the British Navy in 1912 by Admiral Sir Percy Scott (1853–1924). Previously, guns had been laid and fired individually by a gunlayer at each gun, but in the heat of firing it was always difficult to make sure that each gunlayer in a ship was firing at the same target. Funnel smoke, cordite smoke, and mist and haze were additional hazards militating against accurate gunnery. Scott's system involved a single telescopic sight mounted in the foretop of warships (see top), well above funnel and cordite smoke, and connected electrically to the sights of each gun, so that individual gunlayers had only to line up their gunsights with a pointer on a dial to ensure that all fired at the target selected by the director with the same elevation and allowance for deflection. The guns were all fired simultaneously by electric contact by the single gunlayer in the foretop so that their shells always fell together and were thus easier to spot.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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