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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


10th August 1918.

From:     Force Commander

To:       Secretary of the Navy (operations)

SUBJECT:  General Report.

     1.   ENEMY SUBMARINE OPERATIONS ( July 20-July 27)

          During the week ending July 27th there were probably at least 23 submarines of the larger types working outside North Sea Waters. These include one of the Deutschland class, and probably one of the new cruiser type of the class 139-142 operating in American Waters.1 There is probably another Deutschland class submarine at sea, but here whereabouts and destination are as yet unknown. The submarines operating on the American Coast have apparently had remarkably little success in their operations. Outside of the sinking of the Cruiser SAN DIEGO by a mine, there have so far been reported sunk during the week only two small schooners, one tug and three barges.2

     The remaining large boats were working chiefly I the northern approaches to the Irish Sea, where there were from four to six submarines operating; in the western approaches to the English Channel, where six to eight submarines were operating, and in the Bay of Biscay, where one or possibly two were operating. There was also apparently one submarine off the coast of Portugal. The activity off the east coast of England was intensified during the week and at times there were as many as six submarines, probably all of UB or UC type,3 operating between Yarmouth and Holy Island.

     The following table, prepared by the British Admiralty estimates the number and distribution of enemy submarines of all types operating in the British Waters and the Atlantic.


Average estimated No.

of S/ms [i.e. submarines] in area per day

North Sea, South of 53  deg. 30’ N


   "   "   North


S. W. Of Ireland


Atlantic North of Finisterre


   "     South


   "     (Western)


N. W. of Ireland & Scotland


Irish Sea, North of 54 deg. N.


  "     "  South      "


  "     "  Bristol Channel


English Channel, Approaches


English Channel, W. of Lyme Regis


English Channel, E.      "


Bay of Biscay







     During the 24 hours ending 10:00 a. m. July 27th, forty-seven submarine reports were received from all areas, which constitutes a record number.

     During the week ending August 4th, the number of submarines operating seems to have been somewhat diminished although there are still concentrations in the North Sea, the approaches to the English Channel, and on the east coast of England near Flamborough Head. One large submarines has been operating well of the coast of Portugal and is now on its way north, possibly to operate off the approaches to the English Channel before going home. There are now three submarines operating in American Waters, i. e., a Deutschland type, a cruiser, probably of the class 139-142, and another probably of a new mine-laying class. Another submarine of the Deutschland type is at sea, but here whereabouts and destination are at present unknown, although it is thought that she may operate about the Azores or Cape Verde Islands. It is probably that one submarine crossed the Dover Barrage during the week.

     The tonnage losses for this week have been very low, totaling only about 25, 000 tons, as compared with 38,000 tons for the week ending July 27th and 99,000 tons for the week ending July 20th. As the weather has been remarkably favorable for submarine operations, the relative lack of success can be viewed with great satisfaction.


              During the week ending July 27th there were a total of 42 reports of actions with enemy submarines, of which 34 took place in waters about the British Isles. The results of these encounters are not yet known, although in one or two cases it appears probable that the submarine was sunk or seriously damaged. The following table gives a summary of the number of craft engaged in action with submarines during the week, in British Waters.

     9 by T. B. D’s or T. B  s4      13 by Auxiliary Patrol

     1 by “P” class vessel5           9 by Aircraft

     1 by Armed Merchant Cruiser        1 by Merchant Vessel

     On July 26th a submarine was sighted by a drifter 16 miles from Cape Santa Maria de Leuca. Ten depth charges were dropped and oil was still coming to the surface two hours later.6

     One of the vessels of the British Mine Laying Flotilla made an attack on a submarine on July 25th in about latitude 54 N. Long 4 E. using Depth charges and an explosive paravane. The latter was exploded and carried away. It was believed that the submarine was destroyed, although there was no subsequent evidence.

     On July 27th nine attacks were made upon the four submarines operating against the coast traffic south of Newcastle on the east shore. Out of a hundred vessels that passed up the Channel close to the coast, one was sunk.


              During the week ending July 27th, a total of 56 mines were swept up, all but two of which were on the east coast of Scotland (13 off May Island and 41 in the presumed barrage area 40 miles east of the Firth the Forth). The only area in which mining activities took place during the week was in the Firth of Forth. Two mines were swept up during the week from an old minefield at Havre. No British Merchant vessels were injured by mines during the week. Although the Destroyer Vanity was damaged by a mine at the entrance to the Firth of Forth on July 23rd, but succeeded in proceeding to Lith.

     4.        TONNAGE SITUATION

              As was stated above, the tonnage losses for the week ending August 4th were much less than in any previous week since the beginning of June. The following table gives a comparative statement of the number and tonnage of all merchant vessels sunk in recent weeks by enemy action.

Week ended

British 1600 tons gross and over.

Vessels under 1600 tons gross.

Allied &

1600 tons gross and over.








July 6

6  25,860

4   542

3  22,992

8  3,555

21  52,949

July 13

6  26,793

1   339

9  27,319

12 4,515

28  58,866

July 20

10 78,713

2   215

3  11,902

8  8,058

23  98,888

July 27

6  21,757

2  2,150

3  11,755

3  2,772

14  38,434

Aug 4 Total



     The total tonnage sunk by enemy action during the month of July was approximately 260,000 tons as compare with 248,000 tons in June. The total tonnage sunk in July was less than in any month since September 1916 except for the month of June. The following table gives a summary of losses of merchant tonnage through enemy action and marine risk.

















  1, 650,720










1st. Quart.




2nd  Quart.




            The output of merchant tonnage in the United Kingdom and in Allied and Neutral countries during the years 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, and in the first two quarters of 1918 was as follows:


United Kingdom

  Allied and




1914 (Aug. to Dec. )--
















1918 1st Quarter




     2nd Quarter








          During the quarter ended June 30th, 1918, the world’s output exceeded the world’s losses from all causes by 285,319 gross tons, while for the first six months of the year, the excess of the output over losses amount to 7,111 gross tons. So far as the United Kingdom is concerned, however, the output still falls short of the losses. The difficiency for the first quarter of 1918 amounted to 377,217 gross tons, while the deficiency for the 2nd quarter amounted to 171,852 gross tons, making a net loss of 549,059 for the first half year of 1918.

     5.        Attacks on Merchant Vessels

              During the week of July 20-27, the tonnage which arrived at or left United Kingdom ports was 210,000 tons less than in the previous week. The percentage of losses to sailings of vessels in the overseas trade was .74% as against 3.12% last week. In the cross channel trades .34% as against .26%, and in the coasting trades .14% as against .11%. While reckoning all United Kingdom trades together, the percentage is .43 as against .25% for the previous week.

     During the week ended July 27th, a total of 14 ships were sunk of which eight were in the North Sea, two in the southern Atlantic, one in the Irish Sea, and three in the Mediterranean. Of the nine vessels over 1600 tons, four were sunk in the North Sea and three in the Mediterranean. Notwithstanding the large number of submarines operating during the week, the number of attacks made were fewer in all areas excepting on the American Coast and in the North Sea. During the week 1296 ships sailing in convoy completed their voyages, while a loss of 10 vessels was sustained in convoys. Five of these were sunk in the North Sea, two in the Scandinavia Convoy, three in the Humber-Tyne Convoy, one vessel was sunk while outbound in the Atlantic, three were sunk in the Mediterranean, one in the Bizerta-Alexandria Convoy and two in the Gibraltar-Genoa Convoy.













The figures for the 2nd quarter 1918 are:













     6.        MISCELLANEOUS

              It is reported from Thorshavn (Faeroes) that an enemy submarine visited Tofte (Osteroe) at 4:30 a. m. on 24th July, landing two persons who embarked again later. The enemy submerged after passing Tofte Light.

     On July 23rd six Naval planes raided Constantinople, dropping bombs on the aerodrome, Admiralty building and dockyard.

     On the night of July 26th, Galata and Nagera were bombed, and Constantinople was again bombed at noon on July 27th, while another visit was paid to Galata and Nagara by six machines during the night of July 28th; the amount of damage has not yet been ascertained.

     During operations on the 2nd of August, the British Destroyers HMS VEHEMENT and HMS ARIEL struck enemy moored mines in an undiscovered enemy minefield and were lost. The total survivors of the two destroyers were 10 officers and 80 men.

     Information has been received during the week that the output of submarines will probably be considerably increased in the immediate future. There will probably be four flotillas with about 25 submarines in each. Six submarines of the new cruiser class will soon be available.7 Boats of the improved UC class, UC-80-120 are being commissioned. It is believed that these are considerably larger than the old UC boats and can carry a cargo of 45 mines.8

     The Commanding Officer of the UB-124 on being examined proved to be quite communicative and has given a great deal of valuable information.9 It was his vessel which attacked the JUSTICIA while she was being towed in and sunk her with two torpedoes.10 He stated that submarines now have orders when stationed off the North entrance to the Irish Sea to keep zigzagging back and forth, and an unusual amount of signalling between submarines was thus made necessary.

     For information received from the survivor of the UC-11, which has been confirmed by reports from agents, the passage at Zeebrugge is now open and surface craft or submarines can pass the blockships by day or night at all states of the tide.11 A passage has been dredged about 10 to 15 metres wide. The Captain of the UC-1112 stated that the whole undertaking was considered by German Naval officers to have been very gallant and dashing. For the first three weeks or so after the attack, only the smallest boats could enter the channel and then only by day. The Bruges-Ostend Canal was used in a few instances but the channel at Zeebrugge was soon cleared. The channel at Ostend has also been cleared and the VINDICTIVE pushed around to the eastern side.

     The latest returns of losses of German submarines indicates that in recent months the most successful method of attack has been by depth charges. Out of a total of 21 submarines known to have been sunk in the quarter from April 1st to June 30th, six were sunk by depth charges, three by gunfire from destroyers or patrol craft, one was rammed by a destroyer and another rammed by a merchant cruiser, and a third rammed by a merchant vessel. Four were sunk by torpedoes fired from submarines, three ran into minefields and were lost and the remained two interned themselves, one as the result of a depth charge attack by the USS CHRISTABEL, the other after an attack by a French aeroplane in the Straits of Gibraltar. Out of a total of 166 submarines known to have been sunk, 53 were sunk by destroyers and patrols, and 26 of these 53 were accounted for by depth charges, 11 by gunfire, nine by ramming and the others by nets, sweeps, paravane or bombs. Nineteen have been sunk by Allied submarines, 11 by decoy ships and 14 by mines.

     The Admiralty has informed the Force Commander that while there is no definite information that the submarine recently attacked by U. S. submarine chasers in the Otranto barrage had been sunk, the circumstances appeared so favorable that the case had been provisionally classified by the Admiralty as “possibly sunk”.13 This is the most favorable comment received by any U. S. patrol craft since the U. S. S. CHRISTOBEL’s action.14

-   - - - -

     Reliable information indicates that enemy submarines frequently use Norwegian territorial waters.

     7.             FORCES BASED ON QUEENSTOWN


          MANLEY  -  Date of completion about 25th October.

          WILKES  -  Under repairs Devonport. Date of completion

 18 August. As with other ships having extensive overhaul, advantage is taken of the opportunity to raise turbines for inspection.

          DAVIS   -  Commenced overhaul August 2.

          JENKINS and

          TERRY Under overhaul at Liverpool

          STERETT -  DIXIE has completely re-tubed No. 4 boiler

during the intervals in port in 25 days.

          KIMBERLEY  Drain tanks are being installed for

 lubricating oil system manufactured by MELVILLE.


     One of the most difficult operations required of destroyers is the escorting of high speed single ships such as the AQUITANIA.15 It is very difficult for the destroyers to maintain their escorting speed in the face of weather which has little effect upon the ship under escort.

     Recently the CALDWELL andSTOCKTON were considerably damaged in escorting the AQUITANIA; bridge screens were carried away, the chart houses badly battered, and ammunition stowage on the fo’castle entirely carried away.

     On the SAMPSON the fore and aft partitions in the wardroom passage were buckled. . . .


     Installation of radio compasses begun on TERRY, WAINWRIGHT and CUMMINGS.

     Air Headquarters Radio Station held test with Portsmouth and Irish Air Stations with satisfactory results. . . .


     Construction of the new storehouse at Deep Water Quay is progressing satisfactorily. The following provisions are hand on board vessels and at storehouses at Base Six:


On Hand.




Number of





 53,400 lbs.




  2,052 lbs.




 72,415 lbs.




 76,319 lbs.



     A depth charge pistol failure similar to that which occurred on the U. S. S. CALDWELL and U. S. S. CUMMINGS, lately happened on board the U. S. S. STEVENS. In setting the pistol for depth, the travelling nut on the depth setting spindle jammed on the thread and spindle, and the firing point was forced down and fired the detonator. The primer, however, was in the same position, and the charge did not detonate. This again shows the importance of modifying all spindles as recommended by the MELVILLE in late correspondence.17

     Diving operations have commenced on the sunken German submarine off this port, for the purpose of recovering her gun. Upon the completion of this work, diving operations will be commenced on the s. S. ORD which was sunk off this port while attempting to smuggle German rifles into Ireland. It is the intention to recover a quantity of these rifles for souvenirs. . . . The First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Eric Geddes, displayed very great interest in the American 21-second fuse as fitted in our 3 inch shrapnel, and stated that the British Naval authorities had had considerable difficulty in keeping the effuses in a condition ready for firing when stowed on deck. He was particularly impressed with the soft brass cap which is used to cover our shrapnel fuses, and evidently intended to recommend something of a kind for the British fuses.

     In order to thoroughly prove the reliability of our fuses after having been stowed on deck for a considerable length of time, a test has been instituted , to be carried out on board the U. S. S. SONOMA. Twelve rounds of 3-inch shrapnel ammunition fitted with the 21 second fuse are to be stowed on deck, with soft brass caps in position, and placed in wooden boxes covered with a piece of canvas. At the end of one (1) month, four rounds of this ammunition will be fired with various fuse settings, and th4e fuse will be timed. At the end of two months, four more rounds will be fired. At the end of three months, the four remaining rounds will be fired. In this way, it is hoped that we will be able to give this fuse a thorough test as to its reliability after considerable exposure under service donditions [i.e., conditions].

`The U. S. S. CALDWELL has returned from Liverpool having mounted two 7.5 howitzers. It is hoped that she will soon meet a submarine and be able to give these weapons a thorough test.

     The SAMPSON, CALDWELL and STOCKTON, when escorting a high speed transport out to sea, ran into a heavy head sea. The ready ammunition stowage racks and cases mounted on the forecastle, were completely sewpt [i.e., swept] away, and the ammunition went overboard. In some cases the shells were knocked out of the cartridge cases, and the cartridge cases were badly twisted and bent. This goes to show that we have not succeeded as yet in designing a ready magazine for the forecastle which will stand all weather conditions. It is to be understood, however, in this case, that the front of the pilot houses were completely dished in, and, in one case, the metal was torn and broken.


     . . . Commander W. D. Leahy, U. S. N. Inspector of target practices, is now at the base, and consultations as to the target practice to be held by destroyers are now being held.

     Commander E. J. King, U. S. N. Assistant Chief of Staff, Atlantic Fleet, is now at the base on liaison duty. . . .

     11.       U. S. NAVAL BASE, PLYMOUTH

     . . . No contacts with enemy submarines reported for the week. A band should be supplies for this base, if possible.

     12.       MINING FORCE

              There is forwarded herewith report of the Fourth U. S. Mining Excursion in the North Sea.

     In view of the very disquieting and unsatisfactory behaviour of the mines on this excursion, the Force Commander has suspended mining operations pending further serious attempts to discover defects.18

     It is definitely known that submarines have been using Norwegian territorial waters. The necessity for closing these waters either ourselves or by Norway is fully realized if the northern barrage is to be effective. Steps are being taken by England in this connection and the Department will be informed as soon as the nature of the steps are definitely known.

     13.       NAVAL BASE CORFU


          (a) OTRANTO DETACHMENT  Cable information indicates that chaser unit K had contact with enemy submarine sighted on surface on July 30th, but does not say what the results were other than that it is being investigated. Chaser unit A had contact with 2 submarines, one on July 31st and another on August 1st, both of which were lost by interference from convoy and barrage vessels.

     The line Lat. 39-15 N. is still held by the chasers, but during coming week some at to be stationed on the Franco-Leuca line to reinforce the drifters and motor launches now patrolling this line.

     Plan have been completed for training listeners at Gallipoli (Italy) using an Italian submarine loaned for the purpose. Two units of chasers at a time will be under instruction in charge of an officer from Base 2519 permanently detailed to Gallipoli. From Gallipoli, en route to Base 25, the chaser will go direct to stations for tour of hunt on barrage. Practically no time is lost from hunting, by having chaser crews instructed at Gallipoli instead of at Corfu.

     Considerable difficulty is being experienced in getting the necessary material for construction of a pier.

     The two Marine Railways request are urgently needed.

     A station ship could be used by the Commander of this Base to great advantage for the purpose of getting out on to the scouting line and also to send to Gallipoli, Malta and elsewhere for stores, personnel, etc. The British Captain in this area|20| has three vessels for such purposes which are in constant demand.

     A vessel with short steaming radius capable of carrying some cargo would serve the purpose, but none can be spared from active duty elsewhere at present.

     At least ten mess attendants and two stewards are badly needed at this base. It is impossible to hire servants from the vicinity and the LEONIDAS is at present messing all of the officers of the ship and Base serving two tables for all meals. She is already short in her allowed complement. An additional Commissiary steward is also needed.

     A band should be sent to this base, if practicable.

     Material requested for the Corfu base should be expedited as much as possible.


     The practical development of sound detection devices is disappointing. Every attempt has been made to arouse the interest of the officers afloat in them as we can expect little success without the heartiest cooperation from those who must actually put the devices into practical use.

     Information indicates that the enemy is rapidly developing ability to run silently and that all submarines are trained before going to sea in both balancing and operating at very low speeds with practically no noise.

     In all experiments with our own submarines, they should be instructed to opposed the listening devices by the same measures.

     Test was made with the MV device installed on the U. S. S. PARKER with the following results: U. S. AL-3 was the submarine listened to. Submarine running at six knots heard up to 2000 yards with PARKER engines stopped. Heard up to 1500 yards PARKER making five knots. Submarine making three knots could not be heard over 150 consistently, even with PARKER’s engines and auxiliaries stopped. Submarine making eight knots could be accurately followed up to 2000 yards, with PARKER making ten knots. When lost at 2000 yards, was again picked up at 800 yards on the opposite bow after a change of course by the PARKER.

     Professor Mason expects somewhat better results with the Blister Spark Plug MV, now being fitted to the WILKES.21


              The BRIDGEPORT, BUFFALO, FAVORITE and 25 submarine chasers have arrived at Brest. The PANTHER will be sent to the Azores and the BUFFALO to Gibraltar as soon as possible.22

     The necessity for increase of escort forces based on French coast and at Gibraltar is growing steadily.

     To date 15 storeships have sailed from the United States for Gibraltar and French Mediterranean ports.

     Three of the four cross-Channel steamers have made satisfactory trips to France and returned. The Yale and CHARLES are very satisfactory as to speed; the other two, however, have not as much speed as is desirable.


              Some difficulty has been experienced in obtaining soluble washers for the firing devices of our mines. An emergency order has been placed in England for 20,000 but first deliveries cannot be expected for at least two weeks owing to the necessity of manufacturing the dies.

     Arrangements have been made for Lt. Commander Coates, R. N. V. R. to proceed with Lieut. Kendall, U. S. Navy, to the United States on liaison duty.

     Commander Coates is one of the Admiralty staff of chemists investigating and developing naval gas warfare.

     No reports have been received from the Naval Railway Battery in France. . . .

     It is understood that we now have an 18,000 yard 26-knot torpedo. It is hoped that these can be issued to the battleships of the Grand Fleet at an early date.


              MEANS OF BULGES,__________________________

              During the past week, there was held a meeting of the Technical Committee of the Allied Naval Council, under the Chairmanship of the Third Sea Lord.23 The principal topic of discussion was torpedo protection for merchant vessels by means of bulges. This subject was first discussed by a special Allied conference in August 1917, which had been assembled at the instance of the Italian Naval authorities. That conference reported adversely on the project on the grounds that the shortage of steel material rendered it inadvisable and that the deficiencies in all Allied supply programs was such as to render it out of the question to lay up existing ships for the length of time necessary to apply this principle of protection. The Technical Committee at the meeting this past week decided to report to the Naval Counsil that, in their opinion, a form of bulge, built either of concrete or pipe reinforcement, is technically practicable and forms an efficient protection against torpedo attack; but that the present economic conditions are such as to render the general application of this protection to merchant ships impracticable; but that is application to ships of special value or for special service should in their opinion be considered. There were quoted, for the information of the Committee, excerpts from a report of a Board appointed by the United States Navy Department reporting adversely on the so-called Donnelly Buoyance Box System of Protection.


     Report was made that the Yarrow Anti-submarine Smoke System had been applied to six British merchant ships, and that report from these vessels was being awaited before taking decision in regard to its more general application.24


     It was also reported that the Admiralty had ordered 200 sets of Actaeon nets,25 which would be applies as opportunity offered to British Merchant vessels. This is the type of net ordered for the U. S. S. LEVIATHAN.


     Two experienced ship draughtsmen and one experienced marine engine draughtsman are urgently needed for duty on this staff in the office of the Naval Constructor.

     Request was made for these men in February last, eight enlisted men and one Chief Yeoman have reported who apparently were intended for this duty, but none of them have the requisite experience. . . .

     17.       SUPPLIES


     Negotiations are still underway to obtain sufficient storage space at Southampton to serve the U. S. vessels in Cross-Channel Service and also reserve supplies for other bases and for the air station at Eastleigh in the vicinity.


     Supplies of food and clothing at Plymouth are sufficient to meet immediate needs and the CELTIC now en route will discharge sufficient cargo to fill to capacity all available storage space. Frozen meats sufficient for approximately six months are already on hand at Plymouth.


     Arrangements are under way with the Admiralty to assign dock storage facilities at Aberdeen for the use of the battleships.


     Supplies at hand at French Ports are sufficient to meet requirements for approximately four months. These supplies are being regularly replenished from incoming transports.


     Plans are being developed for handling the 70 vessels of the Army War Trade by means of a naval organization at Cardiff.


     The number two, 7,000 ton tank for oil storage at Brest will be completed about 10th August, and the number three tank about 15th September. With the completion of the third tanks there will be storage capacity for 27,000 tons of oil. While this capacity is not as great as seems necessary in view of the probable increase in the number of vessels to be based on that port, with careful watching it is believed that it will be possible to meet all demands without serious inconvenience. The Admiralty have been apprised of the fact that the Force Commander will be responsible hereafter for oil stocks at Brest, and that no call can be made on the British Government in this connection except in case of disaster to our oilers. It is proposed to route tankers from the United States ports to Brest direct. This method will be specially advantageous as it will make possible the direct routing of aeroplane material to France, thus avoiding two ports of call.

          The following tabulation shows plainly the position in respect to fuel oil supply for sub-chasers:

Base           Whether storage     Whether craft  REMARKS

              for petrol          can fuel

              available           alongside

_____          __________          ___________    _______

Plymouth           Yes               Yes          Already in use

for general   


Queenstown         Yes             See Remarks    Shore tank at

Cork and one  

tank lighter  

ready; two    


lighters being


Penzance            Yes              Yes          Now ready.

Belfast             Yes              Yes          Necessary

fittings for  

fueling along-

side being    


BARROW              Yes              Yes

Kingstown           Yes              Yes


Waterford           No               Yes          Supplies will

be made for   

     present by tank

wagon. Tank   

storage being


     The total issues of fuel oil to the 25th July, 1918, from Admiralty stocks to vessels of United States Naval Forces, and total receipts in replacement are as follows:

Issues, tons        Receipts, Tons

To 18th July                   365,324              365,793

U.S. Ports                        6,363                7,265

Brest                             4,295                9,056

Gibraltar                           151

                          ____________           ___________

                               376,133                382,114

The OZAMA discharged in the Clyde, under date of 1st August, a cargo of approximately 300 tons of fuel oil for the account of the British Government.

     18.       COMMUNICATIONS

              Lieut. Commander Blakeslee, U. S. Navy, Lieut. Rand, USNRF and Ensign Morgan, U.S. Navy, have returned from Paris after completing duty in connection with the Inter-allied Signal conference and inter-Allied Radio commission.26

     Lieut. Commander Sweet27 has left for France with orders to report to the Commander U. S. Naval Forces in France for duty in connection with construction of the high power radio station at Croix d’Hins.

     There has been established at Plymouth a radio telephone repair base under the civilian expert Mr. Nelson who has been given twelve electricians radio as assistants.28 As radio telephones arrive, it is the intention to use these trained men at the various bases for installation work.

     There is urgent need for increased force of telegraphists as reported by cable. Owing to the rapid growth of traffic it has become necessary to have two men on watch constantly at the Western Union and the General Post Office. It has been very difficult to maintain an adequate telegraphist personnel as this office is constantly being called upon to supply urgent demands from outlying stations.

     The following statement of traffic handled during the week (ten letters to a word) gives an indication of the amount of work required of the Communication Section.

                   SENT      RECEIVED       TOTAL

Western Union     21,816      15,715        37,531

G. P. O.          14,371       10,794        25,165

Brest             15,775      15,000        30,774

Admiralty          5,779        5,127        10,906

Army               3,914        7,813        11,727

Embassy           14,695      17,025        31,720

     TOTALS       73,349      71,474       147,823

     The following is a report of traffic handled during the past month, based on ten letters to a word –

                   SENT      RECEIVED       TOTAL

Western Union     97,059      78,191       175,250

G. P. O.          46,177       28,737        74,914

Brest             59,505      50,743       110,349

Admiralty         22,438      20,030        42,468

Army              35,948      40,881        76,829

Embassy           69,326      86,807       156,135

     TOTALS      330,554      305,389       635,943

     The installation of radio receiving apparatus has been completed. Tests on this experiment of receiving radio messages direct from the United States are being conducted.

     13,000 words were received from the United States during week ending 3rd August principally press news.

     A considerable amount of equipment including the storage batteries and charging cable from the Western Electric Co. has been necessary to get this installation in working order.

     A memorandum concerning radio material is forwarded herewith.


              Arrangements have been made for establishing a hospital at Killingholme.

     Two officers and four men have been received from the Northern Bombing Group via Calais and located in London Hospital.

     Arrangements were completed for sending medical stores to the OLYMPIA at Mourmansk, Russia.

     The transfer to the United States on the U. S. S. HARRISBURG of about 30 survey cases from various British hospitals as well as our own has been made.

     Information received that the legal difficulties of returning bodies from Gibraltar have been overcome, and, in the near future, all dead bodies will be sent home from this port. . . .


              The defects found in the De Haveland aeroplanes destined for the Northern Bombing Group will probably delay operations of this force for about a month.

(Signed)  Sims.             

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is a handwritten note at the top of the first page: “Dup-/Copy for Commander in Chief/Atlantic Fleet.”

Footnote 1: U-140 was operating on the American coast at this time. It was one of three U-boats built as large long-range cruiser submarines. Whereas the Deutschland class were originally designed as merchant submarines, the U-139 class was designed from the outset for war service. The other German submarine operating in American waters at this time, U-156, was a Deutschland-class U-boat.

Footnote 2: For an American analysis of the German strategy, see: William V. Pratt to Sims, 15 August 1918. The U.S. armored cruiser SAN DIEGO struck a mine and sank off Fire Island, NY, on 19 July with six men killed. For a complete account of the sinking, see Clark, U-boats to America, 144-55; for an interesting project undertaken by the Naval History and Heritage Command concerning the ship, see, accessed 9 January 2019.

Footnote 3: For a description of these types of U-boats see, accessed 9 January 2019.

Footnote 4: “T.B.D’s” were torpedo boat destroyers; “T.B” was torpedo boats.

Footnote 5: “P” class were patrol boats.

Footnote 6: No U-boat was reported sunk in this area off southern Italy in late July 1918. Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed, 52-53.

Footnote 7: By war’s end, the number of German U-boats actually declined from 1917.

Footnote 8: Only sixteen of the UC III class were built and they carried only fourteen mines., accessed 9 January 2019.

Footnote 9: Oberleutnant zur see Hans Oscar Wutsdorff.

Footnote 10: On the sinking of the passenger steamer Justicia, see: Sims to Benson, 21 August 1918.

Footnote 11: On the raid on Zeebrugge and the damage done, see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 13 June 1918.

Footnote 12: Oberleutnant zur see Kurt Utke.

Footnote 13: On the attack on the submarine by the submarine chasers, see: Thomas M. Conroy to Charles P. Nelson, Commander, 22 August 1918.

Footnote 14: Sims is referring to the attack of the U.S. armed yacht CHRISTABEL on the UC-56 on 24 May 1918.

Footnote 15: S.S. Aquitania was a former British passenger liner then being used as a troop transport.

Footnote 16: Base Six was at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland.

Footnote 17: The letter recommending this alteration has not been found.

Footnote 18: The report is no longer with this document. According to the history of the North Sea mine barrage, approximately 5 per cent of the mines laid on the fourth operation, which was carried out on 14 July, exploded prematurely. As a result, Sims ordered the minelaying operations suspended until the cause could be determined. Experiments identified two possible explanations that could only be determined by planting so a fifth operation was conducted on 8 August. The number of premature explosions was even worse, nineteen per cent. Further study of the mines determined that the rubber insulation between the copper plates on the firing device caused sulphates and sulphides to form when immersed in salt water, which in turn created a slight current in the firing circuit that caused premature detonation. This problem was fixed and minelaying resumed in earnest. Northern Barrage, 108-12.

Footnote 19: Base 25 was located at Corfu, Greece.

Footnote 20: Commo. William A. H. Kelly.

Footnote 21: Charles Max Mason. A member of the Submarine Committee of the National Research Council, Mason’s MV listening device became the basis for the sonar detectors used in World War II.

Footnote 22: BRIDGEPORT was a repair ship; BUFFALO a tender; FAVORITE a tug; and PANTHER was a repair ship.

Footnote 23: Rear Admiral Charles M. de Bartolme.

Footnote 24: Devised by Sir Alfred Yarrow, it was a system that vented exhaust gases over a ship’s sides. For a picture of the system in action, see:, accessed 10 January 2019.

Footnote 25: This was a kind of anti-torpedo netting.

Footnote 26: Lt. Cmdr. Edward G. Blakeslee, Lt. Robert Rand, and Ens. Junius S. Morgan were all part of the communications section of Sims’ staff.

Footnote 27: Lt. Cmdr. George C. Sweet.

Footnote 28: Edward L. Nelson, who served in the communications section of Sims’ staff.

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