Skip to main content

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



March 8, 1918.




          Your 3518 (A).2 It is not possible at present to make a definite forecast of the allocation of the entire force of craft referred to. It seems extremely probable however that the greater part of these forces will operate in the waters contiguous to the British Isles where shore facilities can probably be depended on for repairs, thus rendering it possible to get on without parent ships. It further seems probable that eventually and perhaps at an early date, some of these vessels must be assigned to the Mediterranean where repair facilities will be found meager making parent ships necessary. It is recommended that the designation of LEONIDAS and HANNIBAL as parent ships for these vessels be not changed. Beyond these two parent ships it seems probable that no more will be absolutely necessary and I entirely concur in the Department’s implied opinion that it is undesirable to take steamers from overseas service and use them for tenders if this can be avoided. Without the MELVILLE and DIXIE at Base Six3 our destroyers would be entirely unable to operate, as the local repair facilities on shore would be found inadequate. A similar situation exists on the coast of France so that without very extensively and undesirably expanding shore facilities the repair ships and tenders now in service could not be diverted from their present employment.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff.

Footnote 2: See: William S. Benson to Sims, 5 March 1918. The craft discussed in this cable were submarine chasers and patrol boats.

Footnote 3: Both ships were destroyer tenders; Melville also served as Sims’ flagship.

Related Content