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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

File No. 11-6-6

Cablegram Sent      August <14,> 13, 1918    CFB

To   Opnav Washington                       Serial No. 2870

Prep. By O-1                              NCT D.R.

                                                  46 ARD


2870. Since July 1st 17 storeships have been routed to French Mediterranean ports via Gibraltar. In order to provide escort for storeships between Gibraltar and France the two new destroyers arriving since July 1st have been sent to Gibraltar and it is proposed to assign all new destroyers to Gibraltar until adequate escort is assured.1 The yachts and gunboats based on Gibraltar are slow for the escort of these storeships, which are large and fast. At present these storeships are being sailed in groups of two with one destroyer for escort. This method is considered safer than routing in slow convoys. The results have been successful thus far owing to decreased submarine activity in western Mediterranean. The escort is wholly inadequate however and losses are to be expected when submarine activity increases. This situation is brought to the attention of the Department as most of the storeships sent to the Mediterranean are valuable ones. There seems no practical method of increasing the security of these storeships until new destroyers are sent from the United States as all destroyers now in Europe are needed at their present bases to protect transports and storeships arriving in their areas. 2870 023214.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date above is confirmed by the time-date stamp below.

Footnote 1: These two destroyers were Dyer and Gregory, arriving on 29 and 30 July, respectively. Despite Sims’ request that any new destroyers be sent to Gibraltar, these were the only two that the Navy based there.

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