Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

DISPATCH TO BE SENT

Date 6 April, 1918

To   Opnav Washington, D.C.

Prepared by CS1                   No. 6153

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HIGHLY SECRET.

My 4841.2 Latest information is to the effect that no definite arrangements have been made for destruction of ships, but cooperation of Bolshevik Government being sought and representation being made that destruction of ships is only hope of ensuring that enemy can make no use of them. Admiral Razvasov, Commander-in-Chief, Baltic Fleet, informs British Naval Attache3 that any attempt on the part of officers to prepare ships for destruction cause action against them as counter revolutionaries. On March 20th, Commander-in-Chief was arrested on this pretext. Reliable reports received indicate that Battle Cruisers building at Petrograd cannot be completed under one and one-half years, normal rate of construction. Press reports that Russian ships at Hango, Finland were blown up by their Commanders are not officially confirmed,4 but are credited here. Situation of ships at Helsingfors not known.

SIMS.         

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

Footnote 1: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 3: Russian Adm. Alexsandr Rozvosov, Commander-in-Chief, Baltic Fleet, and British Naval Attaché at Petrograd, Cmdr. Francis N. A. Cromie.

Footnote 4: The ships blown up at Hango, Finland between 4-8 April 1918, were actually British and Russian submarines. The submarines were destroyed out of fear that they might be captured by the Germans advancing on the submarines from land. “Eastern Front and Baltic Sea, 1914-1918 also Russian Bolshevik Waters 1919,” Naval History.Net, Accessed on 19 marches 2018, http://www.naval-history.net/WW1AreaBaltic1914-19.htm.