Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
February 7, 1918.
From: Commander, U.S.Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.
To: Secretary of the Navy (Operations).
Subject: Analysis of Transport Delays- Abroad and at home.
Enclosure: Letter from Commander Cruiser Force,and 1st Endorsement,Navy Department.
1. Returned,contents noted.
2. There will always be delays so long as the convoy system is followed. At the present time there are approximately 26 transports in operation,and it is likely that these vessels will not average the round trip oftener than once in six weeks. In the average then,convoys will not exceed about four ships in number if they are sailed every 8 days. Several instances have arisen in which intervals of ten days or more have occurred between the sailings of convoys. As cruisers have to be provided for escorting convoys,there is a certain limit to the rapidity with which convoys may be dispatched,entirely aside from the question of destroyer escort.
3. It will be noted that the last troop transports to leave France have averaged a turn-around in ten days. The rapidity with which these vessels can be turned around depends largely on how fast they are unloaded by the U.S.Army. There will always be some delay in forming convoys after these vessels are discharged. It is generally very difficult to ascertain a definite date of readiness in advance for ships that are unloading. Many instances have occurred of the escorts being detained owing to the transports not having met the predicted dates.
4. Additional destroyers arriving from the United States will be of great assistance in speeding up the return of empty transports. It is not anticipated that there will be any unusual delays in transports discharging at French ports,provided the Army will give them preference in unloading,and assuming that no repairs have got to be made.
Chief of Staff.
Signed for Vice-Admiral Sims
in his absence.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “11-5-15/1/3/C/j/01-8335.”