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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces Based in France

February 21, 1918.

From:     Force Commander.

To:       Commander, U.S.Naval Forces in France.

Subject:-      Request for 12 additional Destroyers for the

               French Coast.

Reference:- (a)     Your letter of 10 February, 1918.1

     1.   From present information it will be several months before 12 additional destroyers are available for operation in European Waters. The demand for destroyers for escort work at all bases is increasing. There is, furthermore, an insistent demand for destroyers that are to be used for hunting exclusively. It is very likely that in the near future a number of destroyers will have to be sent for hunting operations to waters well distant from the French Coast.

     2.   In addition to the 5 seagoing yachts in your Forces, there are now 15 destroyers. To these will shortly be added the destroyers WADSWORTH, MACDONOUGH and the destroyer-yacht ISABEL, making a total of 18 very fast vessels. The yachts NOKOMIS, RAMBLER and UTOWANA are now en route from Portugal to join your Forces.

     3.   The Force Commander fully realizes that there is no limit to the number of Forces that can be utilized in the campaign against submarines, but considering the work now being carried on on the French Coast and the co-operation anticipated from the French Forces, it would appear that the forces under your command (including those shortly to join, of which notice has already been given) are adequate for the important work outlined in paragraph 3, Reference (a).

     4.   The Force Commander concurs in your statement of the most important operations on the French Coast. It would seem best to provide first for the important operations, and then use whatever vessels remained for the less important operations.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The document identifier “01.” is in the upper right-hand corner of the first page.