Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

 

CABLEGRAM SENT      August 29, 1917

 

          To Opnav  Washington                   Serial No. 396

          Via Noyes1    Prep. By               Appvd. By

          Sent Aug. 29 8.30 P   Initials JVB2 File No.34-5-15

Reference. Serial No. 480

396.  AFTER DISCUSSION WITH ADMIRAL JELLICOE ADMIRAL BEATTY3 AND VICE-ADMIRAL SIMS RECOMMEND SEND ONE DIVISION SUBMARINES OPERATE AGAINST ENEMY SUBMARINES VICINITY AZORES WITH MONITOR TENDER BASE4 NAVAL WHERE MONITORS GUNS FURNISH LOCAL BASE DEFENSE COMMA TENDER SHOULD BE PREPARED LAY NET IN HORTA HARBOR ENTRANCE FROM BREAKWATER END FOLLOWING TWENTY FATHOM CURVE TOWARDS SIGNAL STATION5 COMMA SUBMARINES AND TENDER SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO NAVAL FORCES IN EUROPEAN WATERS PERIOD6

     AFTER ARRIVAL SUBMARINES AZORES DESTROYER DIVISION ONE7 PROCEED OPERATE FROM BASE BREST STOPPING QUEENSTOWN EN ROUTE FOR INSTRUCTION COMMA PANTHER ALSO PROCEED BASE BREST WHERE CAN ASSIST IN YACHT UPKEEP PROVIDED ANOTHER DESTROYER TENDER AVAILABLE FOR UPKEEP DESTROYERS HOME WATERS8 15429.

Mayo

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

Footnote 1: Lt. Leigh Noyes, Communications Officer, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 2: , Cmdr. John V. Babcock, the personal aide to VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 3: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe and Adm. Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet.

Footnote 4: Mayo later explained that he was advocating sending the submarines with the monitor Tonapah to serve as their tender. Benson agreed to sending the submarines and, on 27 October, four K-class American submarines arrived in Ponta Delgada . See: Mayo to Josephus Daniels, 30 August 1917, and Still, Crisis at Sea, 136-37.

Footnote 5: When the United States Navy arrived in the Azores, it made Ponta Delgada, the largest city in the island chain its base of operations. Still, Crisis at Sea, 137.

Footnote 6: That means that the Navy forces in the Azores would be under Sims’ command. In a letter to Secretary Daniels of 20 August, Sims complained that he was not been kept apprised of American activity in the islands. Sims to Daniels, 20 August 1917, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 7: Benson initially denied the request to relocate the destroyer flotilla to France. Naval Investigation, 1: 1452-53; Still, Crisis at Sea, 135.

Footnote 8: On 30 August, Benson agreed to send Panther to Brest. See: Benson to Sims, 31 August 1917.

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