Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Byron A. Long, Convoy Operations Section, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

U.S.S. MELVILLE, Flagship.             

30, Grosvenor Gardens,

London, S.W. 1.   

17th April, 1918.      

MEMORANDUM FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF.

          Captain McCully1 proposes to sail submarine chasers with the regular mercantile convoys, with the exception of finding and attacking submarines. It should be observed that these submarine chasers are to be used offensively, and hence must logically be placed in the areas where submarines are most numerous. This at the present time is not with convoys, but in the areas of independent sailings in narrow waters. For instance, during the past week in all ocean convoys, including the Mediterranean, there was only one sinking and this was in the Mediterranean. If 144 chasers had been employed on ocean convoys their effort would have been wasted.

          At the present moment sinkings are occurring in protected waters, and it is in these areas that the submarine chaser should be used to operate offensively against the submarine. If the enemy changes his present tactics due to summer weather, or for other reasons, and proceeds to the westward and concentrates on convoys it might be desirable to take up the suggestion of Captain McCully ; but in any event there will be many difficulties handling these small craft with convoys at sea, due to their inability to maintain station except in fair weather, their liability to breakdowns, and so forth. I should strongly recommend that for the present the submarine chasers be concentrated in focal areas through which submarines must pass or in which they operate.

          Byrant Long.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 387. Sims was an advocate of this policy as well. For an example of his view on the use of submarine chasers, see: Sims to William S. Benson, 2 April 1918.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Newton M. McCully, District Commander, Base Twenty, Rochefort, France.

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