Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Intelligence Section, Staff of Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters, Information Bulletin

U. S. NAVAL FORCES, EUROPEAN WATERS,

LONDON, 4 September 1918.

INFORMATION BULLETIN NO. 197

     1. During the week ending August 31, Merchant tonnage losses were below the average, aggregating about 32,000 tons.

        Reports of 36 encounters with enemy submarines in Eastern Atlantic and North Sea waters were received. Two-thirds were by auxiliary patrol vessels and by aircraft, almost equally divided between them.

     2. A captured German submarine commander who, although he only made one uncompleted cruise as captain, had considerable experience as second-in-command, has quite frankly expressed the following opinions of Allied anti-submarines measures:-

MINES:  Of all our measures mines are by far the most dreaded by the German submarine personnel, principally because of their being nothing to indicate their presence. Also because the quality of our mines has recently been improving in a most unpleasant manner; the former practice of sighing [i.e., scything] them up and taking them home for conversion into Punch-bowls for submarine meases [i.e., messes] has now been entirely abandoned.

DEPTH CHARGES.  The effect of depthcharges is entirely a matter of temperament. In the other boats in which he had served, there were always three or four old hands who were used to depth charges, and the younger ratings took their cue from their behaviour and were not seriously shaken by the noise. On his last boat, however, he does not seem to have had any such men, and her destruction was undoubtedly due to his officers and men l<o>sing their heads when depth charges were dropped in their neighbourhood. He admitted that allied depth charges are now far more effective atthe greater depths than they formerly were.

     3.  The munition employees pf tje [i.e., of the] Wagner Electric Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, have sent a Labour Day message to the Force Commander,stating that their entire efforts on that holiday were devoted to munition products. Enthusiastic congratulations are extended on the work of the Navy, and its “magnificent protection of our boys in France”.

     4.  N.H.Lamport, Sea-2v, RF, (A),1 Was killed by a blow from a revolving propeller at Paimboeuf, France, September 3rd.

     5.  It is reported that the figures giving German losses during the war, as communicated to the Reichstag at its last meeting behind closed doors, were as followsP-

     From the beginning of the war to the March Offensive:

          ARMY  Dead, 1,400,000 (including 50,000 officers).

Wounded, 3,400,000 many of which have returned to the ranks.

          NAVY  Dead, 120,000.

     6.  U.S.S.R-162 was commissioned at Mare Island August 5.

          U.S.S.WATERS (destroyer) was commissioned at Philadelphia Aug 8.3

     7.  Commander W[illiam].R.Sayles has been ordered to command U.S.S.HENDERSON.

          Lieutenant Commander F.B. Conger has been ordered to [d]uty in connection with fitting out U.S.S.Mahan and in command when commissioned.4 Commander A. Buchanan has received similar orders concerning U.S.S.McDERMOTT, and Lieutenant Commander R.R.Stewart concerning U.S.S.Palmer.5

     8. A du[t]ch liner reports having encountered two German submarines near the Dogger Bank on the 29th July, both of which made the following identification signals; first they each sent up a smoke bomb which spread into three parts in the air, followed by a second one which spread into two parts only.

Force Commander’s Office,         

 Intelligence Section.            

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

Footnote 1: Presumably, it meant seaman, second class, reserve force, aviation.

Footnote 2: R-16 was a submarine. After commissioning, it was assigned to the Panama Canal zone. DANFS.

Footnote 3: U.S.S. Waters was used to escort convoys after its commissioning and until war’s end. Ibid.

Footnote 4: U.S.S. Mahan was commissioned on 24 October 1918 with Lt. Cmdr. Franklin B. Conger in command. Ibid.

Footnote 5: U.S.S. McDermut was commissioned on 27 March 1919. Its first commander was Cmdr. Chester L. Hand. U.S.S. Palmer was commissioned 22 November 1918 and Lt. Cmdr. Ralph R. Stewart commanding it. Ibid.

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