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Captain Hutchison I. Cone, Commander, Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Reference No. 5746

4, Place d’Iena, Paris, France.

25th April 1918.

From:  Commander.

To:    Navy Department, Operations.

Via:   Force Commander.1

Subject:  Characteristics of machines for Foreign Service, and recommendations for 1919 program.

Reference: (a) Cable Force Commander, No.1968.2

Enclosures:(a) Characteristics of aeroplanes required by Naval Aviation, Foreign Service.

           (B) Notes of seaplane development, U.S.

     1.   The following, giving principal characteristics of types of seaplanes required for 1919 program, U.S.Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, is submitted herewith, together with comment on the types at present being produced, experimented with, and studied in the U.S. as shown in “Seaplanes for Service Abroad, Sheet 1”, recently received from Naval Aviation, Operations, Washington.

     2.   This comment and recommendation is based on a study of probable future military requirements, the value of types now in existence, the state of aircraft production and industrial situation abroad, and the very pertinent consideration that aircraft material named must be fully developed and in production in sufficient quantity before the beginning of 1919 in order to accomplish its proper purpose has been specifically considered. Therefore, stress is laid on producing existing types that have demonstrated their usefulness and which can be placed in production, rather than on experimental ideas that may never be realized.

     3.   In naming the characteristics of types of machines, the least speed and endurance are given. Of course, any increase in either of these characteristics is desirable, especially in endurance.

     4.   The proposed program for 1919 giving numbers and types of machines and personnel at the different stations will be forwarded in the near future.


TYPE:     Large flying boat.

          4-7 place, two, three and four motored.

          Speed at least 80 miles. Endurance 5 hours.

          Two types:     (a) for patrol, French and Irish Coast,

armament one or two Lewis guns, at least 4 bombs equal to British 230 lb. bomb.

(b) for regions where enemy aircraft there encountered. Armament 4 to 6 machine guns, all around fire. 4-230 lb bombs if possible.

RADIO:    British 57a C.W.set with auxiliary spark gap set, or equal. Telescopic pole for sending while on water.

          --Engines to have self starters. Mufflers desirable.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPES: H-16 improved, British F5, Porte boat with 2-600 H.P. engines. U.S.3 engined flying boat.

USE:      This type of boat is to be used for anti-submarine patrol and escort, and the larger type for seaplane bombing offensive, against enemy submarine bases, shipping, etc.


     This type is being developed in England and in U.S. It has important uses. The large flying boats would be used at Killingholme, the patrol boat at Irish and French stations. Improvements of H-16 should be put into production as quickly as possible. F5 recommended, also 3 engined flying boat if tests are satisfactory.

     The production of a total of about 1,200 of the large flying boats is needed to equip stations and supply wastage for 1919 program.

TYPE:     Single motored slow bomber flying boat.

          2 – 3 place, single motor. Speed at least 80 miles. Endurance 5 hours. Armament, 1-2 Lewis guns. Bombs at least equal to 2-230 lbs. and as much more as practicable. Fitted with radio. Engines have self starters.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPES: HS-1 improved. HS-2. Tellier, LePen with 350 Liberty engine or equal.

USE:      This type of boat would be used for anti-submarine patrol and escort work at stations where the large flying boat can not be used on account of lack of local harbor conditions. These stations are St.Trojan, Le Croisic, Ile Tudy, L’Aber Vrach, and Treguier.


     There are already ordered as many HS-1’s as are required. The French Tellier and LePen are superior. HS-2 is an apparent improvement. If engines are supplied, French Tellier or LePen can be secured in sufficient quantities to make up wastage.

TYPE:     Special bombing and fighting seaplane.

          2-4 place, 2-3 motor. Speed at least 100 miles. Endurance at least 4 hours. Two Lewis guns. Bombs at least 500 lbs. and much more as practicable. Machines are on floats. Engines to have self starters. Mufflers desirable.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPES: Bi-motor Borel, Henrict on float. Caproni on floats.

USE:      This machine to be used at seaplane stations where offensive bombing operations may be carried on. Dunkirk area, ADRIATIC.


     This type is being developed in Europe. BoralCaproni – a large number of these will probably not be required. Their manufacture can be accomplished in France and Italy if engines and materials of construction are supplied.

     Development test and manufacture should be proceeded with in Europe. Development in U.S.not recommended. Not more than 200 of this type will be required for the 1919 program.

TYPE:     Special two-seater bomber and fighter.

          2 place. Single engine. Land machine with air bags. Speed at least 120 miles. Endurance 4 hours. Mufflers desirable.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPES: Henriot, DeH4-9, Bregnet, fitted with air bags. Minor modifications in land types necessary to use air bags.

USE:      Bombing and anti-submarine work in regions where enemy aircraft may be encountered.


     This type of machine being developed in Europe. A very large number will not be required. DeH-9 in production in U.S.Machines of this type can be secured if engines are supplied. The 1919 program, North Sea and Italy, will not require in excess of 280 of these machines.

TYPE:     Heavy night bomber, Land machine, 3-6 place. 2-4 motors. Speed at least 80 miles. Endurance at least 5 hours. Armament, 4-6 Lewis guns. High ceiling, 15,000 feet. One Vickers gun. Bombs at least 2,000 pounds. Folding wings if possible. 3 engines desirable. Radio. Mufflers very desirable, even if noise is reduced only one half.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPES: Handley-Page, Caproni, Kennedy, 4 engined Fairy.

USE:      Night bombing against enemy submarine bases, shipping, canals, factories, ammunition works.


     This type of machine is in production both in U.S. and in England and Italy. Improved types are being developed in England and Italy. Quickest production can be secured by providing England and Italy with engines and material for construction. At the same time, production of this type should be secured in U.S. To equip contemplated stations and for wastage for 1919, about 900 of these machines will be required.

TYPE:     Two place Day bombers. Land machine. 2 place. Single motor. Speed at least 120 miles. Endurance 4 hours. Armament – 1 Lewis, 1 Vickers or Marlin. 2 – 112 lb. bombs or more. Mufflers desirable.

REPRESENTATIVES TYPES:   DeH-9. U.S.Bristol Fighters. Breguet.

USE :     For day bombing and reconnaissance work in connection with night bombing squadrons. Also photographic work and can take the place of chasse seaplane. A very useful type and adaptable to several fields of activity. A portion of the machines in a squadron are to be specially fitted for photographing.


     This type of machine is in production both in U.S. and in Europe. Improved types are being developed in France and in England. Quickest production can be secured by production in U.S. and also by securing English and French manufacture in exchange for engines and material for construction.

     About 900 of these machines will be required to equip contemplated stations and provide wastage for 1919.

TYPE:     Chasse Seaplane. 1-2 place, single motor. Speed 110 miles. Endurance 3 hours, Armament, 1 Vickers, 1 Lewis.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPE:  Henriot, S.E.5 on floats, S.V.A. (Italy).

USE:      Encountering enemy aircraft over sea. The same work can be done by two place day bomber on air bags.


     There appears to be no great need for this type. If some few are needed, the need can be filled by two place day bombers or by putting land machines on floats. No development of this type in U.S.recommended.

TYPE:     High speed bombing seaplane. 3-3 machine. 1-2-place, single motor, Speed – 110 miles. Endurance at least 3 hours. Armament 1 Lewis gun.

REPRESENTATIVE TYPE:  Paul Schmitt on floats.

USES:     For quick calls at seaplane stations. This need is a secondary one and want could be supplied by two seater land machine on air bags.


     This type is being experimented with in France. No development in U.S.recommended.


     Means for extending operation of seaplane further from base by:

          1st – Use of tender.,

          2nd – Towing barges.

          3rd – Detachable motor lighters.

     These matters are being developed in England and in U.S. Our station at Killingholme can be utilized to develop these matters to a larger extent and these devices should also be developed in U.S.

     It will be noted that for production in U.S. for Naval Aviation purposes, only a few types are recommended, namely:

          Large flying boat        2 varieties.

          Small flying boat        2 varieties

          Two place day bomber     2 varieties

          Heavy night bomber       2 varieties.

     It is believed that U.S.activities should be concentrated on getting good construction and production of these types as quickly as possible and in supplying engines and construction materials to English, French and Italian manufacturers. If this is done effectively the equipment for which there is essential need to help win the war willbe present.

     Experimental work should mainly be confined to improvement in these types, in the direction of reliability, east [i.e., ease] in handling, greater endurance, and larger weight of bombs.

     Experimental and research work for developing engines, improvement in radio, radio apparatus, photographic and other instruments, and for developing methods and materials for construction should be carried on in a comprehensive manner.

     The development of a reliable reduction gear for Liberty motor is highly desirable. A type is under observation in France, also development of a reliable self starter and of mufflers for night bombing machines.

     Improvement in bomb sights and securing of bombs having greater destructive force, on light weight desired.


-- Comment on “Seaplanes for Service Abroad, Sheet No.1”--

     (a) Dunkerque fighter, seaplane.

     Later developments indicate that there is not any great need for a machine of this type, at least, not any large number. There are a number of French and English machines fully developed, which can be fitted with Liberty engines and which would supply the need for a seaplane of this type. The idea of a seaplane chasse machine is a matter of doubtful efficiency and there is no conclusive data as to the needs and desirability of this type. If a few of such a type are needed in any particular area, the special need can be met by the use of land fighters with Air Bags, D/H, or Bristol fighter type, or a French Brequet.

     It is recommended that this type be not put in production in the U.S. in excess of 50.

     The conditions under which seaplanes are being used are changing and though this type may have appeared desirable several months ago, there is at present no special prospect of a machine of this type being needed.

     (b) Bombers for Dunkerque.

     It is now doubtful whether there is a special need for this design and the number needed for Dunkerque is insufficient to require the development of this special type. The need for a few can be met by the French Tellier or Lepen flying boat equipped with Liberty motor or by the HS-2, or by using DH-4 on air bags.

     It is recommended that nothing further be done in the U.S. concerning this type.

     (c) Large bombers.

     Present H-16 is suitable for patrol work at Irish and French stations. For Killingholme and North Sea Stations it should be modified for fighting.

     3 engined Flying boat appears to be a type useful for work in North Sea. Development should be proceeded with.

     Improved H-16 (F-5) should be produced with despatch and special attention should be paid to securing improvement in this type. Experiences with large Porte boat should be utilized.

     (d) Small bombers.

     H.S.-1 though deficient in weight of bombs carried can be used for anti-submarine patrol. This machine is outclassed by French Tellier or Le Pen, which can use Liberty engines. The HS-2 appears to be a desirable design.

     We already have an order in U.S. for sufficient HS-1s for use during 1918 and 1919. Engines should be diverted to HS-2,H-16 and night bombers.

     (e) High speed bombers.

     There appears to be no compelling need for this type of machine. The need can be met by several French machines that can mount Liberty motors.

     It does not seem necessary to put this type in production in U.S.

     (f) Special.

     This large bomber should be a land machine, Handley Page or Caproni. The production of a considerable number of these machines is very much needed.

     EXPERIMENTAL Type Davis gun seaplane.

     This type does not appear to be needed. TheeDavis gun does not appear to be suitable for seaplanes. It is not recommended that this type be put into production. Experiments to improve type of large night bombers should be made.


     The greatest and most important need is for large day bombers. DeH-9 type and for heavy night bombers Handley Page and Caproni types, and for improved H-16 (F-5) and larger flying boat, also for a supply of engines for use on English, French and Italian machines.

     U.S.Navy should confine its energies:

     1st- to securing engines of 300-500 H.P. which can be mounted in foreign machines of suitable type (Generally superior to types being studied or developed in U.S. and which can be quickly modified from time to time to suit special development without arresting production).

     2nd – building of H-16 or improvement of this type.

     3rd – building of night and day bombers, DeH-9, Handley Page, Caproni type.

     4th – Furnishing raw material such as spruce, ash propeller wood, linen, steel, and aluminum tubing to European manufacturers.

     There are sufficient aircraft factories in Europe to materially assist present Navy production needed, provided they can be supplied with engines and material for construction.

Source Note: D, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 148.

Footnote 1: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 2: This cable has not been found.

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