DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
World War I 1917-1918
Recognizing the dependence of Great Britain on ocean communications,
Germany launched an intense submarine campaign to bring the British
to terms, and very nearly did so. Indiscriminate sinkings with
accompanying loss of life led the United States into war.
After American entry, the outcome hinged upon m a steady flow
of troops and supplies across the ocean to the battlefields of
France. A vast convoy system of merchant ships, destroyers, and
cruisers, went into operation and dramatically reduced ship losses.
Naval aircraft, flying from European bases, aided in the antisubmarine
effort including the bombing of Zeebrugge and Ostend. Large U.
S. Navy minelayers laid some 60,000 mines in the great North Sea
mine barrier designed to deny German submarines access to the
A variety of craft were mobilized in opposition to U-boats
which had deployed to the U. S. Atlantic coast. Escorted by destroyers,
the Cruiser Transportation Force and the Naval Overseas Transportation
Service participated in carrying over 2 million soldiers and 6.5
million tons of cargo to Europe.
Not one American soldier on his way to France was lost to
submarine action. A division of U. S. battleships joined the British
Grand Fleet in the North Sea to contain the German High Seas Fleet
and thus prevent its contesting the control of the sea. In the
Mediterranean, U.S. subchasers distinguished themselves in protecting
allied ships from submarine attack. And U. S. naval elements fought
ashore in France when 14-inch guns, mounted on railroad cars and
served by seaman gunners, effectively bombarded enemy concentrations
at long range.
In the final analysis, control of the sea approaches to Europe
made victory possible.
1 Silver Star
1. Atlantic convoy operations
2. Western Atlantic operations
3. Operations in Northern European waters
4. Mediterranean operations
5. Operations on the European continent