Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, USS Little, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

COPY CONFIDENTIAL            

U.S.S.LITTLE,                  

Fore River Shipbuilding Co., 

Quincy, Massachusetts,       

January 16, 1918.            

From:     Commander J. K. Taussig, U.S.Navy,

To:       Secretary of the Navy, (Operations).

Subject:  Preparing new Destroyers for active service.

     1.   As a large percentage of the crews assigned to new destroyers will be untrained men in this branch of the service, and as the services of these vessel will be required for active operations against the enemy as soon as they are ready, the following procedure is suggested in order to bring them to a high state of efficiency soon after commissioning:

(1) As soon as a destroyer is ready for sea proceed to Guantanamo and carry out:

(a) Such target practice with guns, as experience of Commanding Officers in Submarine danger zone has shown to be desirable.

(b) Test and proving practice with torpedoes. It is considered that vessels should not be required to make successful 10,000 yards proving shots with all torpedoes, but torpedoes should be fired in order that the Commanding Officer may satisfy himself as to the peculiarities of each one.

(2) Ten days would be required for those practices. The destroyer would then be ready to either (a) proceed direct to European base, stopping for oil at Azores or at mid-ocean fuel ship is necessary, or (b) proceed to a United States port for duty with a transatlantic convoy. Alternative (a) would be preferable during the winter months as by following a southern route better conditions for carrying on necessary drills would be encountered and immediately on arrival in European waters the ship would be ready to engage the enemy in battle.

     2.   It is considered most desirable that ships commissioning prior to April 1st should proceed to Cuba for ten days. Those commissioning after April 1st could carry out necessary gun and propedo [i.e., torpedo] practices in Chesapeake Bay.

     3.   It would be advantageous if destroyers could shake down in pairs, but this is not essential. It would be especially useful in carrying on torpedo work and in making the trans-atlantic passage.

(sd) J. K. Taussig.

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. Document reference: “1112 JKT-AA/1” and in columnar fashion: “10/3/J.” “Admiral Sims’/Personal File.” appears in the upper-left corner.

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