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 Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers, Commander, Battleship Division Six, Atlantic Fleet

August 20th, 1918.

My dear Rodgers,

     I have been informed that you have sailed for Bantry Bay with the NEVADA and OKLAHAMA and that the UTAH is to follow. I am sending you instructions based upon a plan suggested by the Navy Dept. for protecting our troop convoys against a possible attack by German battle cruisers.1

     This plan is based upon the assumption that we will be informed that a cruiser has passed the line between Scotland and Norway. I believe this to be a dangerous assumption, and am now in cable correspondence with theDepartment, recommending that the final plan be passed upon the assumption thatwe would <not> know of the exit of one of these cruisers.2 We will of course keep you promptly informed of any changes in plans.

     I am afraid you will find Bantry Bay rather uninteresting and it is bound to be irksome standing by at short notice to carry out the Department’s instructions. However, in all such cases we try to console ourselves with the reflection that that sort of duty is better than fighting in the trenches in France.

     After you get settled down a bit we would like to have you come to London and talk over matters.

     Admiral Bayly3 arrived here today and is now consulting the Admiralty. He informs me that he has written to you and invited you to visit him after he returns to Queenstown, which will be about September 1st. If you should come down here before that time, he will be in London on the 26th, 27th, and 28th. Perhaps it would be well for you to be here at that time, so that the question of the final instructions can be talked over not only with Admiral Bayly and our headquarters, but also with the Admiralty.4 I will let you know on this point later.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 24. Following the close, this letter is addressed, “Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rodgers,/ U.S.S.NEVADA,/c/o U.S.S.MELVILLE./Queenstown.”

Footnote 3: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 4: Rodgers did travel to London on the dates that Sims recommends herein, in order to meet with Bayly about the matters discussed in this letter.

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