Head-shot – Chap. 3, Act 4, Strip 7

Unfortunately, Sir Lostalot’s attitude towards superstructural damage is still somewhat rooted in ideas from Victorian times. Back then, many battleships had issues with damage to the superstructure when guns were fired at the limit of their firing arcs, an issue naval architects considered a necessary trade-off for good firing arcs on a limited displacement. After all, you wouldn’t fire your guns when the situation wasn’t serious, and when the situation was serious some superficial damage and a ruined paint-job should be an acceptable investment, right? Nobody seems to have considered the necessity of gunnery training, though – especially not the British Admiralty, which made the issue worse by insisting that “cosmetic” repairs should continue to be paid for by a ship’s officers, as had traditionally been the case. Naturally, Captains who had to pay for their ship’s paint-job out of their own pocket were not easily convinced of the necessity of ruining it for training purposes – so gunnery training became rare to unheard-of, and the Royal Navy’s accuracy suffered accordingly during that period.

Sir Lostalot’s accuracy, of course, is absolutely beyond criticism, and it’s not like the “Queen Victoria Souvlaki” has anything even resembling a paint-job to lose – her rust-job should be self-repairing. The Professor is still right in stopping his friend from firing his big gun – it’s not the damage to the superstructure he’s afraid of, it’s the damage to the substructure. And all the damage to all of the structures between the superstructure and the substructure, including his body structure. And that’s just one end of the gun. At the other end, the Professor has some serious doubts whether Zorba’s rickety old boat would even be able to absorb the recoil from the massive gun without suffering a DBBASNCBTCLOTWL – a distance between bow and stern not covered by the construction length of the waterline. The situation just isn’t desperate enough to run that risk, just yet – Biff has a lot of stamina, he should be able to…uh…keep those tentacles occupied for quite a while.

More on Thursday.

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