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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Admiralty Oswyn A. R. Murray




CABLE ADDRESS, “SIMSADUS”                        LONDON, S.W.1



October 15, 1918.

FROM: Force Commander,

TO  : Secretary of the Admiralty.

SUBJECT: United States Battleships in European Waters.

     1.   In order to provide so far as possible for making repairs in the United States to United States Battleships detailed for service in European Waters and for the further purpose of affording to Officers and men opportunities for leave at home, the Navy Department has proposed the following plan for rotation of vessels composing Battleship Division Nine (Sixth Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet) and Battleship Division Six now stationed at Berehaven, Ireland as a raider guard.

     2.   It is proposed that on a given date one ship of Division Six sail for the north to join Division Nine and upon her reporting, one of the ships of Division Nine shall sail for the United States.

          On the date upon which the vessel sails from Division Nine for the United States, an additional battleship shall sail from the United States to join Division Six.

          The Department has not stated how frequently such a change would be made but it is probable that allowing ten days for the voyage each way across the Atlantic, one month overhaul period and ten days for contingencies, the cycle would be two months.

     3.   This plan has been pronounced satisfactory by the Commanders of both Battleship Divisions concerned1 and the Commander, Battleship Division Nine has stated that the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet2 is in accord with the policy involved. The Admiralty’s view in the premises are requested.

     4.   The principal particulars of the vessels involved are as follows:

                             NAME.          FUEL.     BATTERY.

                        (    TEXAS           Coal      10-14”

          NOW WITH       (    NEW YORK       Coal      10-14”

          DIVISION       (    WYOMING       Coal      12-12”

            NINE.        (    FLORIDA         Coal      10-12”

                        (    ARKANSAS        Coal      12-12”


          NOW WITH       (    UTAH           Coal      10-12”

          Division       (    NEVADA         Oil       10-14”

          SIX.           (    OKLAHOMA       Oil       10-14”


                        (    NORTH DAKOTA    Coal      10-12”

                        (    DELAWARE       Coal      10-12”

          IN             (    ARIZONA        Oil       12 - 14”

          UNITED STATES  (    MISSISSIPPI       Oil       12 - 14”

                        (    NEW MEXICO      Oil       12 - 14”

                        (    PENNSYLVANIA     Oil       12 - 14”


     5.   If the Admiralty sees no objection to the proposal in principle, the details can doubtless be arranged. It seems important that so long as a raider guard is maintained at Berehaven there should be at least two oil burning vessels there, in order to facilitate refueling should the vessels return from a trip and be obliged to proceed immediately to sea on another trip.

     6.   It would also be the endeavor always to replace a 14” gun ship in the Grand Fleet by a 14” gun ship, so as not to reduce the battery strength of the United States Division.

     7.   As docking arrangements have already been made for the vessels with the Grand Fleet covering a period from October 21st to January 21st, these arrangements would have to be altered in case the policy herein set forth is inaugurated, but this can doubtless be arranged without serious dislocation of plans for British vessels.

Wm S Sims

Source Note: DTS, UK-KeNA, ADM 137/655. This document is typed on stationary, with the heading appearing at the top of every page.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Hugh Rodman, Battleship Division Nine, and RAdm. Thomas S. Rodgers, Battleship Division Six.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir David Beatty.

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