Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Joseph K. Taussig to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S.S. Little,

Fore River Shipbuilding Co.,

Quincy, Massachusetts,

February 1, 1918.

My dear Admiral,

     I am sorry to say that the destroyer program here is coming along considerably slower than was anticipated and the vessels building here are at least a month behind. My ship, the “Little”, which is the first of the 35 knotters should have had her dock trials on Jan 10th. but it will be at least the 10th. of this month before she is ready. The unprecedented winter here has put everything behind. I think and hope that when the weather moderates things will go along faster.

     I have been unable to get from any source what the Department’s intentions in regard to me are. I enclose a copy of my suggestions to Operations and a copy of the reply.1 It is of course manifest that we should have a few days where the conditions are favorable where we can fire our guns, practice our fire control, and at least know that we can get a torpedo out of the tube, before we enter the war zone. If the units of the army are allowed six months for training before going into the trenches, I do not think 10 days should be considered excessive for a destroyer. We want to be ready to get efficiency in the job as soon as possible. Johnson and Vernou2 agree with me that what I suggested would be the best way.

     These destroyers are going to be fine ships. They will make speed all right, as the Company gets a bonus if they exceed it and a penalty if they fall below. The Little will standardize and run the extensive four day trials for the whole class. The others will have only a one day trial, using the Little’S standardization curve. The people here are anxious to do the best they can by us, and will do anything so long as it does not delay completion.

     I hope that everything is going well with you and the force on the other side and that those of us over here will soon be back on the job.

     Johnson and Vernou join me in sending regards.

Sincerely,                  

S/   J.K. TAUSSIG      

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. Below the close the letter is addressed, “Vice-Admiral W.S.Sims, U.S.N.,/ 30 Grosvenor Gardens,/ London, England.”

Footnote 1: For the former, see: Taussig to Josephus Daniels, 16 January 1918. The latter reply has not been located.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Alfred W. Johnson and Lt. Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou.

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