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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations


Subject:       Thorough Trial of Davis Gun in U.S. Before Being Adopted and Installed on Seaplanes.

Source:        Adm. Sims.

Date:          <8-26-18>

               <Cablegram.>   <August 26, 1918.>  IL 3611

From:     Sims

To:       Opnav

          3611 Reference Bu Ord’s letter 26852 June 27th to Chief of Naval Operations.1 Strongly recommend that Davis gun be given thorough trial in United States before being adopted and installed on seaplanes sent to us.2 Under no circumstances should Davis gun be used to the exclusion of depth bombs which is the most anti-submarine weapon available nor should it be adopted until it has proven itself efficient beyond doubt by thorough trials including actual results obtained by firing at moving target. Disagree with statement “For patrol planes against submarines Bureau considers the Davis gun the most efficient aircraft weapon in existence today and recommends its adoption for such service” I consider depth bombs the most efficient anti-submarine weapon in existence at this time for sea plane use. 214026 3611


Source Note: C, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Handwritten date confirmed by typed time: “752 pm” and date: “8-26-18” after close.

Footnote 1: Document not found.

Footnote 2: In 1911-2, Commander Cleland Davis invented a lightweight recoilless rifle that fired a six pound projectile, counterbalanced with a blank discharged in the opposite direction. In February 1918, work began at the Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF) on the N-1, a seaplane designed specifically to mount and fire the Davis gun. The project was plagued by accidents and the NAF only built four N-1’s before production was cancelled. For more on the Davis gun, see, Trimble, Wings for the Navy: A History of the Naval Aircraft Factory, 1917-1956: 35-36.

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