Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Chronological Copy.                     File No.

     Cablegram Received  April <16, 1918.> 21017. SFM1

Origin    Opnav Washington         Ser. No. 5003

A-1  Apr 18

29 ARD

VERY SECRET

Simsadus.

5003.     Your 5496 and 5989.2 The following is quoted from War Department reply to Navy’s request for 75 night bombers 40 Chasse type for high offensive patrol to be delivered by 1 July and 75 2-place fighters or day bombers to be delivered by 1 October. Quote “Referring to your inquiry as to equipment War Department has on order in this country neither of the first two items that you request and would not be able to deliver them by 1 July. It has however on order from European manufacturers certain Caproni night bombers planes and Spad pursuit planes equipped with Hispanosuiza engines. Also probable it will be possible to secure 40 SE 5 pursuit planes3 to be manufactured in England and equipped with 180 horse-power direct drive Hispano engines made in this country. It is recommended you request the representative of the Navy in Europe to put him in touch with General Pershing4 and endeavor to arrange with him for delivery the 2 items mentioned above.

     In regard to the 75 2-place fighter or day bombers to be delivered by October 1st probably there will not be difficulty supply you with either De Haviland or Bristol fighters in this country by that time. Unquote” Your 5989 and information here indicates impossible to obtain Caproni in Italy but you are directed to take up entire matter with General Pershing and obtain such air craft within limit of number enumerated above. 80 Liberty engines E Bristol fighters mentioned in my 46765 are exclusive of air craft named above. 16116. 5003

Benson.       

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

Footnote 1: Initials of the Transcriber.

Footnote 3: Caproni were Italian mutltiengine bombers. SPAD pursuit planes were Frenchsingle engine biplane fighter aircraft. The SE 5 were British single engine biplane fighter aircraft.

Footnote 4: Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, United States Naval Representative in Paris; and Gen. John J. Pershing, U.S.A., American Expeditionary Forces.

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