Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to the Bureau of Construction and Repair
<August 8, 1918>
FROM: Chief of Naval Operations.
TO: Bureau of Construction & Repair.
SUBJECT: Arming of 3500 Ton Wooden Vessels of the Hough Type.
2. The Department is reluctant to depart from its policy of furnishing where practicable at least one gun not less than 4-inch 50 calibre to a vessel to which Armed Guards are assigned.
In view of the fact, however, that the limited supply of guns for Arming Merchant Vessels will make it impracticable to furnish any armament to these 3500 D.W.T. wooden vessels for some time to come, and as it appears that the after emplacements on the vessels referred to are practically completed on the basis of taking a 3-inch 50 calibre, the Department believes that no advantage would accrue in changing them at the present time.
3. The Department understands that the Shipping Board has decided to prepare but one hundred of their wooden ships for Armed Guards and that this preparation provides for but a single gun emplacement. It was the Department’s understanding that this was to be located on the center line aft, and capable of taking a 4-inch 50 calibre gun.
The Department has not been advised as to which are the 100 vessels selected for this preparation.
W. S. BENSON.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifier “28694-355/Op-21-A/7/3” appears in the upper-left corner. Addressed below close: “Copy for:/Captain [Montgomery M.] Taylor. (Material).”