Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas, to Destroyer Flotillas

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCES

OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS.

U.S.S. MELVILLE, FLAGSHIP.

     BASE SIX,

        5 June 1918.

From:   Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas.

To:     Destroyer Flotillas.

Subject:  Depth Charge Throwers; Policy Regarding Installation Of.

     1.   The following letter from the Force Commander1 is quoted for your information and compliance:

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“1.    Depth charge throwers have proved an efficient weapon in the prosecution of the anti-submarine campaign. Both the American Y gun and the Thornycroft depth charge throwers have given satisfactory results. The principal advantage of the Y gun is that all horizontal forces of recoil are balanced and the resulting action upon the deck of the vessel is one of downward thrust only which amounts to a total of 10-tons. This thrower may therefore be mounted upon a comparatively light vessel. The greatest advantage of the Thornycroft depth charge thrower is the ability to project a depth charge on one side only.

2.     The performances of these depth charge throwers warrant the installation of additional throwers where space is available on vessels of the patrol and destroyer forces. In determining upon the type of the additional throwers to be installed due consideration should be given to the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two types of throwers and to the structural conditions and available space on the various types of vessels.

3.     The depth charge thrower installation to be generally regarded as standard is outlined as follows:

(a)    Install 2 Y guns on following vessels:-

BIRMINGHAM, CHESTER, MACHIAS, CASTINE, MARIETTA, PADUCAH, NASHVILLE, NAHMA and such yachts as practicable.

(b)    Install 1 Y gun and 2 Thornycroft throwers on the following vessels:-

All destroyers except 420-ton boats.

The coast guard cutters, if practicable.

(c)    Install 1 Y gun on the following vessels:-

110 ft. submarine Chasers and Trawlers;

where practicable on Tugs and Minesweepers provided it can be done without interference with towing and sweeping gear.

4.     Some of the destroyers were equipped with 2 Thornycroft throwers and no Y guns; these vessels may be permitted to install 2 additional Thornycroft throwers giving them a total of 4 Thornycroft throwers instead of the installation provided for in paragraph 3 (b).

5.     Additional depth charge throwers will be installed in vessels operating in European Waters in accordance with this policy as soon as the depth charge throwers are available. The installations for vessels now in the United States destined for European Waters, will be taken up with the Navy Department.

/s/ SIMS:

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     2.   All destroyers will immediately furnish the MELVILLE with the following information:-

(a)    What type of additional depth charge thrower do you deem best fitted to be installed upon your ship?

(b)    Will the construction and deck-space available on your ship, permit the mounting of 1 Y gun and 2 Thornycroft throwers?

(c)    If you desire any other arrangement then that directed by Paragraph 3 (b) of the above quoted letter, give your reasons for same.

          J.R. POINSETT PRINGLE.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. At the top of the page is printed, “Refer to/No. 1559-59”. For images of the Y Gun and Thornycroft Thrower, see the illustrations section for June 1918.

Footnote 1: VAdm. William S. Sims.

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