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 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

 

COPY

 File 9/9/4

August 30th, 1917.

From:     Force Commander.

To:       Secretary of the Navy (Operations)

Subject:  Conduct of Group 6, Troop Transports.

     On August 19 and again on August 20, on approaching the French coast, the destroyer escort had evidence of an attack by submarines, although conclusive evidence of these attacks is lacking.1 In both cases it appears that the handling of the troop transports reflected little credit on this organization. I have assumed that these troop convoys were organized under a convoy commander stationed in one of the transports, who is responsible for the conduct of the operations of the convoy, for their instructions, and so forth, following the general lines laid down for handling British convoys, copies of which have already been forwarded to the Department. From the reports it appears that on the supposed attack of August 20th the convoy became very badly split up, and it required more than an hour to reform them. The protection to a convoy is immediately weakened unless it retains its formation. In one case three transports were under the protection of a single destroyer for a time until other destroyers could join. All of this is very dangerous. The destroyers report all vessels of the convoy were firing, and some of the shots fell very close to the destroyers.

     The convoy commanders should be instructed to arrive at the French coast at daylight, so as to pass through the most dangerous submarine area by night. It appears that group 6 first sighted land about 3 <a.m.>

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B.

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