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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Subject Copy                                   File No. 43-4-2

Cablegram Sent      August 13, 1918  JCM

To   Opnavm [i.e. Opnav] Washington,         Serial No. 2848

Prep. by    CS                          NCT    D.R.

                                                       31 ADR

S E C R E T

S3

2848 My 9399 your 7175.1 The Admiralty express a desire to send one or more Q ships to operate off St. Johns and Halifax if the Department is not still averse to their use in that region.2 Request statement of Department’s wishes in this matter.     2848

SIMS               

203313                       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415.

Footnote 2: Q ships, also known as mystery ships, were disguised as unarmed merchantmen to lure German U-boats close enough for an attack. Although they enjoyed success in the spring and summer of 1917, by this point the Germans had long become aware of their existence, and were taking necessary precautions. The last German submarine to be sunk by a Q ship went down in August 1917, and the Navy Department’s resistance to operating them in American waters was based on the recognition that mystery ships had lost their usefulness. Massie, Castles of Steel: 717-725.