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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Force Instructions






LONDON, ENGLAND, 28 December, 1917.

FORCE INSTRUCTIONS NO.4. (Superseding Force Instructions No. 1).1

SUBJECT: Organization and Communications.

     1. The official designation of these forces is “United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters”; they constitute a Task Force of the Atlantic Fleet. The Flag Officer commanding the forces is officially styled the “Force Commander” and shall be so addressed in official communications.

     2. The U.S.S. MELVILLE is designated as the Force Flagship.

     3. Destroyers and parent ships based on Irish ports are officially designated by the Navy Department as “U.S. Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European Waters.”

4. Yachts and other vessels based on French ports are officially designated by the Navy Department as “U.S. Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters” under the immediate command of Rear-Admiral H.B. Wilson, U.S.Navy.2

5. Cruisers, gunboats, coastguard cutters, and destroyers based on Gibraltar are designated by the Navy Department as a Patrol Squadron and are under the immediate command of Rear-Admiral A.P. Niblack, U.S. Navy.3

6. A force of Yachts, submarines, and other vessels is based at Ponta Delgada, Azores, under the command of Rear-Admiral H.O. Dunn, U.S. Navy.4

7. Division Nine Battleship Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral Hugh Rodman, U.S. Navy,5 is attached to the British Grand Fleet, and is designated as the Sixth Battle Squadron.

8. A number of aviation and aeroplane stations are in course of establishment in France and in the British Isles, which are to be manned and operated by our forces, designated as U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service. Captain H.I. Cone, U.S. Navy, with headquarters in Paris, is in command of these forces.6

9. The Department has designated Brest and Bordeaux as U.S. Naval Bases. The base at Brest is under the direct command of the officer commanding the floating forces on the French coast. The Base at Bordeaux has not yet been developed, but includes activities at Bordeaux, Pauillac, Bassens and other nearby places on or near the Gironde River. This base is under the command of the senior officer of the forces operating on the French coast, but has a Commandant subordinate to him.7

10. At St. Nazaire, France, a U.S. Naval Port Officer is stationed, who has charge, under the Commander of the floating forces, of naval activities at that port.8 The Naval Port Officer at Bordeaux is the Base Commandant.

11. Task groups will be formed from time to time and duties assigned to them to meet the demands of the situation. All such dispositions of the Force will be communicated to the Force in Campaign Orders.

12. For purposes of possible combined operations of the whole Atlantic Fleet, or of divers units thereof, the vessels of this Force are assigned by Navy Department Order of November 3, 1917 (Op.-17/20392-656)9 to the several Forces of the Atlantic Fleet, but such assignments are not to be considered as effective for either administrative or operative purposes under existing conditions.

13. The Flagship MELVILLE is stationed at Queenstown, Ireland, in the triple capacity of Force Flagship, Flotillas Flagship, and Tender to Flotilla Two of the Destroyer Forces.

14. The Force Commander, in his additional capacities of Naval Representative of the United States in the Allied European Countries and Naval Attache, London, has an Office at No. 30 Grosvenor Gardens, London, S. W. 1.

 15. There is also a Staff Office at No. 4 Place D’Iena, Paris, France, which is the Headquarters of the Aviation Service and of the Force Commander’s Staff Representative with the French Ministry of Marine, (at present Captain R.H. Jackson, U S. Navy).10 This is also the Headquarters of Paymaster J. F. Hatch, U.S. Navy, who is the Aid for Material, Supplies, and Repairs in France.

16. All mail communications from vessels of the Force for the Force Commander shall be addressed to him and shall be forwarded as follows:-

(a) From vessels based on Irish ports: Via U S S. MELVILLE.

(b) From vessels based on French ports: Via the Senior U.S. Naval Officer, Brest, France.

(c) From vessels based on Gibraltar: Via the Senior U.S. Naval Officer, Gibraltar.

(d) From vessels based on Azores: Via the Senior U.S. Naval Officer, Ponta Delgada, Azores.

(e) From Aviation Stations in France: Via the Commanding Officer, Aviation Forces, Paris, France.

(f) From Aviation Stations in the British Isles: Via the Commanding Officer, Aviation Forces, Paris, France, with copy to Force Commander in cases requiring early action.

(g) From vessels attached to British Grand Fleet: Via the Commander of their Division.

17. Naval Attaches and others having occasion to address the Force Commander by mail should address to the London Office. In France such communications should be forwarded via the Staff Representative, No. 4 Place D’Iena, Paris, France.

18. Telegraphic and cable addresses are:

     Force Commander, “Simsadus London”.

     Staff Office in Paris, “Jackson Marine, Paris”.

     U.S.S. MELVILLE, “Melvus” Queenstown.

     Senior Officer, Brest, “Ampat” Brest.

       "      "      Bordeaux, “Ambase” Bordeaux.

       "      "      St. Nazaire, “Amport” St. Nazaire.

     Commander Battleship Division 9, “Fibatus” (via Admiralty London).

     Senior Officer, Gibraltar, “Senafloat” Gibraltar

     Senior Officer, Azores, “Senafloat” Ponta Delgada.

19. For written communications utilize official routes and methods of transmission of the Allied Forces with which our Forces are operating when such are available.

20. All cable communications between the Navy Department and the units of the Force shall be conducted via the Force Commander. Official cablegrams should be addressed to the Force Commander and not to higher authorities.

  WM. S. SIMS,          

Vice-Admiral, U.S. Navy,     

Commander, United States Naval Forces

Operating in European Waters.   

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification marker “FILE/1-14-20/Two sheets-1.” appears on the left margin roughly even with the heading.

Footnote 2: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, Patrol Forces Based on the French Coast.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Albert P. Niblack, Commander, Patrol Squadrons Based on Gibraltar.

Footnote 4: RAdm. Herbert O. Dunn was given command of American forces on the Azores in November, but he did not arrive on the islands until 23 January 1918.

Footnote 5: RAdm. Hugh Rodman, Commander, Battleship Division Nine, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 6: Capt. Hutchison I. Cone, Commander, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service.

Footnote 7: RAdm. Wilson was the senior officer in France. Cmdr. John B. Patton, (Ret.) commanded the base at Bordeaux. Still, Crisis at Sea: 114.

Footnote 8: This officer’s identity is unknown.

Footnote 9: This order has not been found.

Footnote 10: Capt. Richard H. Jackson, American Naval Representative in Paris.