Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William S. Sims to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

 

CONFIDENTIAL COPY.

OUTGOING TELEGRAM.                      CYPHER.

Sent:-  April, 24, 1917.                125-9-2

28-10-2

          With regard to submarines entering and leaving their bases and their approximate whereabouts while operating, the Admiralty is able to maintain information that is fairly exact.

          Of the thirty-four mine U boats two for some days were not located and the Admiralty was on the point of informing us of the proba<b>ility of their being en route to the United States when their whereabouts were discovered. It is the Admiralty’s belief now that at present none are likely to be sent over and that the present effort of the submarines – which is successful will be kept up off the Channel entrance. All the destroyers that can be freed from duty with the fleet are being employed. It has beenshown by experience that fifty per cent of the destroyers can be maintained on patrol. The area covered by destroyers is practically untenable by submarines but this area is ineffective as it is too small. Yesterday the War Council and Admiralty1 decided that co-operation of twenty odd American destroyers with base at Queenstown would no doubt put down the present submarine activity which is dangerous and keep it down. The crisis will be passed if the enemy can be forced to disperse his forces from this crucial zone.

     I believe our Navy has an opportunity for glorious distinction and I seriously recommend that there be sent at once maximum possible number destroyers. Depth charges and all supplies necessary will be furnished the six destroyers now en route2 and there will be assigned to the staff of our senior officer an expert destroyer patrol officer.3

Sims.         

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

Footnote 1: That is, the Imperial War Council and the British Admiralty.

Footnote 2: On the dispatch of the first division of six destroyers from the United States, see: Sims to Joseph K. Taussig, 14 April 1917.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. E.R.G.R. Evans. For more on this officer and his career, see: Sims to Taussig, second letter of 29 April 1917. Sims wrote his wife of Evans: “I asked for such an officer and he was sent for to see if I approved of him. He seems exactly the type to do the stunt. He is breezy and vivacious and much more like an american, and I am sure he will get along very well with our people.” Sims to Anne Hitchcock Sims, 28 April 1917, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers.

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