Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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The United States Navy in World War I

The Great War in Europe had been raging for two and a half years before the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  The first U.S. Navy ships dispatched were the destroyers of Division Eight.  On arriving at Queenstown, Ireland in May, they went into immediate service alongside the British Grand Fleet.

The British government wanted United States ships to supplement shortages in Royal Navy flotillas, but the U.S. Navy did not want its ships separated.  The difference of approach delayed the arrival of United States Battleship Division Nine until December 1917.  It then entered service as the Sixth Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet.  The squadron served in the North Sea.