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

Chronological Copy.                                  File No.

Cablegram Sent February <22> 1918

To   Opnav Washington                      Serial No. 4234

Prep. by                         D.R.


4234. Your 3029.1 First cruiser submarines will probably be commissioned March.2 Possibly one or two already in commission. No reliable information concerning <their> plans of operation. Best information indicates two types of cruiser submarines, approaching completion or completed. Four of 2800 tons, 16 knots surface speed, and eight of 3000 tons, 18 1/2 knots. No information about submarines of greater displacement. 02522.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The date is a handwritten addition and corresponds to the date stamp at the end of the document.

Footnote 1: This document has not been found.

Footnote 2: Cruiser submarines, or cruising submarines, were large vessels that had the capacity to reach the American coastline and threaten shipping at its point of departure. For Allied concerns and plans for defense against these cruiser submarines, see: Defense Against Submarine Attack, 6 February 1918. Ultimately, Germany was only able to build a handful of cruiser submarines, as its entire submarine building program was starkly limited by the need to devote resources to the Western Front. Despite their great promise, the cruiser submarines had a negligible impact on the war effort, as the Allied convoy system and the heavy losses of experienced submarine crews proved more significant than German innovations. Gray, U-Boat War, 225-240; Strachan, First World War, 292.