Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forced based in France

Subject Copy.                                File No.

Cablegram Sent May 16, 1918.  TOH

To Comfran, Brest.                            Serial No. 2277

Prep. by M-4                  NCT  D.R.



2277. Your 2329.1 U.S. Naval expedition for service on shore in France consisting of five 14 inch gun railway mountings with complete train for each gun and mount will be shipped to France about June 1st.2 Originally intended operate with British Army, now probably operate with United States Army. Expedition under command Captain Plunkett,3 Navy will furnish all personnel for erection operation and supply. Cable just received from Navy Department designates St. Nazaire port debarkation subject approval Pershing.4 Space and facilities for erection with crane capable lifting maximum lift 178300 pounds required. Until otherwise instructed refer all inquiries concerning this matter to me. 09116 2277


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

Footnote 1: Wilson’s cable has not been found.

Footnote 2: For more on the Navy’s railway gun, see: William S. Benson to Sims, 9 May 1918. Also, see: Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 16 May 1918.

Footnote 3: Capt. Charles P. Plunkett.

Footnote 4: See ibid. Gen. John J. Pershing was the American army commander in France. On the same day, Sims sent a cable to Capt. Richard H. Jackson asking him to confirm with Pershing that St. Nazaire should be the port of “debarkation” for the railway guns. DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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