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


CABLEGRAM RECEIVED  <3 February 1918>

ORIGIN                Opnav Washington        SERIAL NO 963

VIA                   NCB 18-D                DATE NO. 202

COPIES TO           COS JVB ECT1             FILE NO 16003




963  Your 1219.2 Buord3 is preparing to supply 60,000 mines and sinkers destined for Area A and C North Sea barrage but slight delay may result from American wire rope Manufacture being heavily burdened by other war requirements.4 Obtaining 4 mine-layers similar to Old Colony but somewhat inferior,5 4 others similar to U.S.S.DIXIE 14 to 15 knots, carrying 1,000 mines or more. Ship fitted with lift from lower track level. 16003.

Admiral Benson     

4.00 am.      

Source Note: Cy. DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: in columnar fashion: 1/2/A/J”; in upper right-hand corner: “28/I/2.”

Footnote 1: “COS” is chief of staff, which was Capt. Nathan C. Twining; “JVB” are the initials of Sims’ personal aide, Cmdr. John V. Babcock, and “ECT” is Paymaster Eugene C. Tobey, an aide on Sims’ staff.

Footnote 2: See: Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 2 November 1917.

Footnote 3: That is, the Bureau of Ordnance.

Footnote 4: For more on the proposed areas for the barrage, see: Sims to Benson, 29 December 1917; on the proposed schedule of delivery of materials for the barrage from the United States, see: Sims to Benson, 12 December 1917. In the end, United States minelayers laid 56,700 mines for the Northern barrage. Naval Investigation, 2: 1071.

Footnote 5: According to the official history of the barrage, several “high-speed vessels” were needed for the barrage and there were only “three of suitable size and build” on the east coast of the United States and one of these, Old Colony, “had been promised to the British Navy.” The United States Navy acquired the other two, renaming them Shawmut and Aroostook. Navy Department Office of Naval Records and Library Historical Section, The Northern Barrage and Other Mining Activities (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1920), 71.

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