The Goubet class are of iron, sixteen feet long, three feet wide, and about six feet deep. The motive power is a Siemens motor driven by storage batteries. Fifty of these boats were purchased by the Russian government. They have no rudder, but a universal joint in the screw shaft permits of the screw being moved through an arc of ninety degrees. The torpedo is carried outside the boat, secured by a catch worked from inside. On arriving under the enemy, the torpedo is released, and striking the ship's bottom, is held there by spikes. The boat then withdraws, unreeling a connecting wire; and when at a safe distance, fires. The absence of a rudder, however, causes erratic steering, and the spikes with which the torpedo is fitted might fail to stick in steel-bottomed ships.
Some of the earliest three-deckers, or, as we may almost call them, five-deckers, were built at this dockyard; and of these the most famous was the Great Harry, so named after the king, which was launched here in 1514. For the period, the ship was a large one, being of a thousand tons burden; though we should not think much of her size now, when we have ironclads of over eleven thousand tons. There are models of her in the Greenwich Naval Museum, which is not far from Woolwich; and a curious lofty wooden castle she is, rising far up above the water-line, and offering a fair target, if the cannon of those days had any accuracy.
One of the 'Wooden Walls of Old England.' The Duke of Wellington Screw Line-of-Battle Ship. One hundred and thirty-one Guns.