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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Force Instructions No. 1


MELVILLE, Flagship.       

August 11th, 1917. 


SUBJECT:- Organization and Communications.

     1.   The official designation of these forces is “United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters”; they constitute a Task Forces of the Atlantic Fleet. The Flag Officer commanding the force is officially styled the “Force Commander” and shall be so addressed in official communications.

     2.   The U.S.S. MELVILLE is designated as the Force Flagship.

     3.   Destroyers and parent ships based on Irish ports are officially designated by the Navy Department as “U.S. Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European Waters”.  Yachts and trawlers based on French ports are officially designated by the Navy Department as “U.S.Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters”, under the immediate command of Captain W.B. Fletcher,1 U.S. Navy. Cruisers, gun boats, coastguard cutters and destroyers based on Gibraltar are designated by the Navy Department as a patrol squadron and are under the immediate command of Rear-Admiral H.B. Wilson, U.S.N.2

     4.   Repair and supply bases at Brest and Bordeaux and communication office at St. Nazaire are in course of establishment under command of the senior officer of forces operating on the French Coast.

     5.   A group of destroyers with parent ships based on the Azores, is co-operating with the Force, but does not, at present, form a part of it.

     6.   Task groups will be formed from time to time and duties assigned to them to meet the demands of the situation. All such dispositions of the Force will be communicated to the Force in campaign orders.

     7.   For purposes of possible combined operations of the whole Atlantic Fleet, or of divers units thereof, the vessels of this Force are assigned by the Navy Department order of July 14, 1917 (Op – 17/20392-656)3 to the several Forces of the Atlantic Fleet, but such assignments are not to be considered as effective for either administrative or operative purposes under existing conditions.

     8.   The destroyers based on Irish ports will, at an early date, be provisionally organized into divisions and flotillas as a measure of preparedness for their operation with the battleship Forces, but such organization will have no effect on the execution of the duties now assigned to them.

     9.   The Flagship MELVILLE is stationed at Queenstown, Ireland, The Force Commander, in his additional capacity as naval representative of the United States in the Allied European Countries, as an office at No. 30, Grosvenor Gardens, London. A representative of the Navy Department who is also a member of the Force staff (at present Captain R.H. Jackson,4 U.S.N.) has an Office at the Ministry of Marine, Paris.

     10.  All mail communications from vessels of the Force for the Force Commander shall be addressed to him, and shall be forwarded as follows:-

(a)  From vessels based on Irish ports – via U.S.S. MELVILLE.

(b)  From vessels based on French ports – via the Senior U.S. Naval Officer, Brest, France.

(c)  From vessels based on Gibraltar – via the Senior U.S. Naval Officer, Gibraltar.

     11.  Naval attaches and others having occasion to address the Force Commander by mail should address to the London Office. In France such communications should be forwarded via the staff representative at the Ministry of Marine, Paris.

     12.  Telegraphic and cable addresses are:-

Force Commander “Simsadus London”.

Staff representative in Paris – “Jackson, Marine Paris”.

U.S.S.MELVILLE – “Melvus” Queenstown.

Senior Officer at Brest – “Ampat” Brest.

               Bordeaux – “Ambase” Bordeaux.

               St. Nazaire – “Amport” St. Nazaire.

     For written communications utilize official routes and methods of transmission of the Allied forces with which our forces are operating.

(signed) Wm. S. SIMS.        

Vice Admiral Commanding.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: Copies to:-MELVILLE (40)/Senior Officer, Brest (30)/Senior Officer, Gibraltar (15)/Staff Representative, Paris./Naval Attaches – London, Paris,/Madrid, Rome./Commander-in-Chief (6)/Navy Department (Operations).”

Footnote 1: Capt. William B. Fletcher.

Footnote 2: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson.

Footnote 3: This document has not been found.

Footnote 4: Capt. Richard H. Jackson.