Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral henry T. mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet, Instructions for Tactical Exercises of United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet

[Extract]

Confidential

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

U. S. S. PENNSYLVANIA, Flagship

             24 April 1918.

INSTRUCTIONS AND PROGRAM FOR TACTICAL EXERCISES BEGINNING 29 APRIL 1918.

     1. During the week scheduled for Tactical Exercises,

        (a) No leave shall be granted to officers or men except in case of emergency.

        (b) During periods assigned for Battle Exercises such school and instruction periods as interfere with the conduct of these exercises shall be suspended except that Division Commanders are authorized to issue instructions to their Division permitting officers and men not essential to ship and fire control, to leave their battle stations one-half hour after the ship has gone to General Quarters when the work or instruction in which these officers and men are to be engaged is considered of greater importance than the experience gained by additional time at battle stations.

        (c) By midnight 28-29 April 1918, all battleships and submarine chasers at BASE TWO1 shall be prepared to get underway at two hours notice, standard speed 12 knots. Standard speed will be 13 knots for all Battle Exercises.

        (d) SQUADRONS FOUR and THREE will be prepared for flank speed 17 knots by 1:00 P. M. 29 April. These Squadrons shall have steam for 17 knots by 8:00 A. M. on 30 April and 2 May. If the standard speed is increased, 17 knots shall still be considered Flank speed.

        (e) During Battle Exercises the TARGET SQUADRON will maneuver with 1500 yards distance to represent an approximately equal Force. For fire distribution during these exercises each ship of the TARGET SQUADRON shall be considered as three ships. Guns shall be trained on actual ships in order that fire control may receive maximum benefit from these exercises.

        (f) So far as practicable one pounder blanks shall be used to simulate firing during Battle and Fire Distribution Exercises.

     2. A Squadron of battleships designated TARGET SQUADRON, will represent an enemy force during the battle exercises. TARGET SQUADRON will proceed to sea from BASE THREE.2 Destroyers may accompany this force and, if so, they shall be considered, for the purpose of the Battle Exercise, as a division of six destroyers.

     3. The Commander in Chief3 will issue a campaign order by radio. The first order issued will consist of the word STEAM and the time of 0 hours for departure from Base Two.

     4. The Battle Fleet will proceed to sea and conduct exercises in accordance with program in following paragraphs.

     5. The organization of the battleships for these exercises shall be as follows:

BATTLE FLEET

FLEET FLAGSHIP

PENNSYLVANIA

          SQUADRON FOUR                 SQUADRON THREE

            (Strong)                       (Intermediate)

Div. Eight       Div. Six         Div. Five           Div. Four

ARKANSAS         UTAH             SOUTH CAROLINA      MINNESOTA

ARIZONA          NEVADA           MICHIGAN            LOUISIANA

MISSISSIPPI      OKLAHOMA         NEW HAMPSHIRE       KANSAS    

          SQUADRON TWO                    TARGET SQUADRON

            (Weak)                          SQUADRON ONE

Div. Three       Div. Two         ALABAMA             MAINE

VIRGINIA           MISSOURI         ILLINOIS            KENTUCKY

NEW JERSEY       NEBRASKA         WISCONSIN           OHIO

GEORGIA          RHODE ISLAND     NORTH DAKOTA

 

PROGRAM

     6. FIRST DAY – MONDAY – 29 APRIL.

          (a) Proceed to sea.

          (b) Battle Exercise 1.

          (c) Upon completion of this exercise standard speed will be for Battle Fleet 13 knots—for TARGET SQUADRON 11 knots. TARGET SQUADRON proceed independently in accordance with instructions.      

          (d) At 8:00 P. M., SUBMARINE CHASER SQUADRON return to port.

     7. SECOND DAY — TUESDAY — 30 APRIL.

          (a) 8:00 A. M. Battle Fleet will counter-march by Squadrons and take Cruising formation 2 or 4 as directed.

          (b) Conduct Battle Exercise.

          (c) Upon completion of Battle Exercises, TARGET SQUADRON take course South, speed 10 knots. Battle Fleet will be exercised at maneuvers until about 4 P. M. When Battle Fleet takes Cruising Formation 5: TARGET SQUADRON will take station astern of CENTER SQUADRON.

     8. THIRD DAY — WEDNESDAY — 1 MAY.

      

          (a) 8:00 A. M. — Fire Distribution Exercise. Fleet formed in two columns. Right column — SQUADRON FOUR, PENNSYLVANIA, SQUADRON TWO. Left column—SQUADRON THREE, TARGET SQUADRON.

          (b) Upon completion of Fire Distribution Exercises, battleships will be formed in column in following order for periscope target practice:

          TARGET SQUADRON less ILLINOIS and WISCONSIN.

          SQUADRON THREE.

          PENNSYLVANIA.

SQUADRON FOUR.

SQUADRON TWO.

     ILLINOIS and WISCONSIN take station 30° on starboard and port bow respectively of ALABAMA. Upon signal “Commence firing,” ILLINOIS and WISCONSIN drop periscope target buoys—one each five minutes. During this period vary distance from the ALABAMA between 1500 and 2500 yards.

          (c) Ships firing periscope target practice shall use remnants and such part of ammunition furnished for gunnery exercises as may be necessary. Not more than three rounds per gun shall be fired at any one target and not more than six rounds by any one gun. Limits for firing and reports as directed by C-in-C File 1270—13 March. . . .

          (g) Anti-aircraft gun practice—Ships of windward column will upon signal send up hot air balloons at intervals of five minutes—each ship supplied with balloons send up five (5) efficient balloons. Ships of leeward column having anti-aircraft guns shall fire at these balloons. Fire is not to be opened until the balloon is well clear to leeward of the leeward column. Expenditure of ammunition not to exceed 15 rounds per gun. Further instructions as per C-in-C File 71 of 30 March.

          (h) Upon completion of this practice, Battle Fleet will be formed in a Cruising Formation. TARGET SQUADRON proceed independently at 10 knots on Base Course assigned.

     9. FOURTH DAY — THURSDAY — 2 MAY.

          (a) 8:00 A. M. Battle Fleet will counter-march by Squadrons and take Cruising Formation.

          (b) Conduct Battle Exercise.

          (c) Upon completion of this exercise, Battle Fleet will maneuver until about 4 P. M. TARGET SQUADRON proceed independently towards CAPE HENRY at 10 knots.

     10. FIFTH DAY — FRIDAY — 3 MAY.

          Return to BASE TWO following instructions for entering CHESAPEAKE BAY.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

     11. Not later than 11 May 1918, Squadron Commanders (temporary organization) and Commander SUB-CHASER SQUADRON shall submit summarized reports from their commands with suitable comments thereon under sub-headings as follows:

     (a) Personnel.

     (b) Material (casualties or deficiencies).

     (c) Lights, signals, and communications.

     (d) Maneuvers and evolutions; recommendations for changes in Standing Order No. 2 (modified).

     (e) Battle Exercises; value, and recommendations for changes or improved methods for increasing interest or for simulating a greater approach to reality.

     (f) Recommendations for changes in any Standing Order, stating reasons in concise and definite terms.

     N. B. — Each of the above headings shall commence a new page.

     12. These summarized reports shall be forwarded with reports of the Commanding Officers of vessels of their commands. Commanding Officers’ reports be submitted to their respective Division Commanders (temporary organization) as soon as possible after the completion of the exercises. . . .4

H. T. MAYO         

Source Note: Printed, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415. There is a note below close: “Distribution (4):/BATTLESHIP FORCE ONE (91)./ BATTLESHIP FORCE TWO (68)./SUBMARINE CHASER SQUADRON (25)./TRAIN (2)./CRUISER FORCE (2)./MINE FORCE (2)./SUBMARINE FORCE (2)./OPERATIONS (2).

Footnote 1: Hampton Roads, VA.

Footnote 2: York River, VA.

Footnote 3: Adm. Henry T. Mayo.

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