Skip to main content

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

February 26th. 1918.    

My dear Taussig,

          Thank you very much for your letter of February 1st. giving me some details about the time your vessels will be turned out by the Fore River Works.1

          I regret of course that there should have been any delay, and that you fellows should in consequence, have been sent home sooner than was necessary. I understand that both the Department and all these shipbuilding companies are doing everything that is materially possible to hurry along this work. I am writing by this mail to Powell2 on the subject.

          As for your proposition to have a ten day shake down cruise in the South I am sorry to say I do not agree with it at all. Of course I understand that this would be very desirable for many reasons and that if you could do it you would arrive on this side in a more efficient condition. But the essential thing is to get the destroyers on to this side at the earliest practicable moment. As you very well know the question of gun fire on destroyers can never cut very much ice in opposition to the submarine for the simple reason that there are very few opportunities to use the guns with efficiency. The principal thing now is numbers, numbers, numbers, but these numbers will be no good unless they arrive here in time. The situation is really very critical. We are hard up against <it for a sufficient number of vessels to supply adequate escorts for the>3 merchant convoys. We also almost entirely lack a sufficient number of vessels to carry out the hunting operations against the submarines that we hope to carry out as soon as possible. Therefore, you fellows should use every possible effort to get your vessels away from the Yard and to start over here, training or no training. I understand that you can do very LITTLE on the way. The important thing is the presence of the vessel on this side.

          Please give my best regards to Vernon and Courtney4 and any others of the gang that you may come across.

very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. Addressed below close: “Commander J.K.Taussig, U.S.N./U.S.S.LITTLE.” Document identifier: “1/3/J”; “10”. Note at top of page: “Admiral Sims’/Personal File.”

Footnote 1: See: Taussig to Sims, 1 February 1918. Fore River Works were in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Footnote 2: Lt. Cmdr. Halsey Powell.

Footnote 3: The material in angle brackets was handwritten in the left margin.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou and Cmdr. Charles E. Courtney, who, like Taussig, had commanded destroyers at Queenstown before being sent to the United States to take command of destroyers then under construction.

Related Content