Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas, to Lieutenant Commander Ernest Friedrick, Commander, Nahma

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCES

OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

U.S.S. MELVILLE, FLAGSHIP.

17 August, 1917.

From:     Force Commander.

To:       Commanding Officer, U.S.S. NAHMA.

Subject:  Re letter of 14 August 1917.

     1.   The receipt of your letter of 14 August is acknowledged. An answer to your telegram regarding ammunition was duly despatched and you were duly informed that we had 3” ammunition and not the 4”.

     2.   We have taken up the question of the transportation to you of this 3” ammunition, and we find that unless we are able to make shipment by some steamer sailing for Glasgow, we shall be obliged to send an escort with the ammunition thereby incurring very considerable trouble and expense. I cannot, at the moment, say whether we will be able to make this shipment by steamer to Glasgow before the end of the current month or not, but I will endeavor to do so, and as soon as I have accurate information on the subject, I will wire you. It is noted that you have authority to test with service ammunition in case the other ammunition is not on hand, so I do not regard the case as being sufficiently urgent to require shipment by rail with the accompanying complications.

     3.   With regard to your anti submarine equipment, you appear to possess the only defensive weapons in the guns and the depth charges, and I do not think that you will find any one who has anything else.

     4.   With regard to the literature on the subject, I would suggest that you defer getting any additional publications until you arrive at Queenstown and have consulted with some of the destroyer skippers who hunt submarines as a daily occupation.

     5.   If you will permit me to do so, I will state for your information that the best defence at present known against the submarine is

          (a) A vigilant lookout night and day –

          (b) The ability to steam at 15 knots or over –

          (c) A well executed irregular zig-zag –

          (d) Constant readiness of gun crews.

          Upon your arrival here in September, I think you can soak up more information from conversation than you will ever be able to get from publications.

     6.   Regarding your depth charges, I advise you not to let go a depth charge when steaming at a speed of less than 12 knots, and, in general terms, I should say the greater speed the better.

/sd/ J.R. Poinsett Pringle       

by direction.          

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520. Nahma was a Scottish yacht obtained by the United States Navy on 21 June 1917 and commissioned as a patrol vessel on 27 August. It reported to Gibraltar at the beginning of September to join a group of American vessels serving as convoy escorts in the Mediterranean and between Great Britain and Gibraltar.

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