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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

C O P Y.


Date February 2, 1918.

To   Opnav               Prepared by CS1              No.3561


     My 3328.2 Careful estimate Adriatic situation by planning section results in following decisions which I propose present for discussion at Rome conference:

     One. To seize a Naval Base between Curzola Island and Sabbioncello Peninsula and simultaneously to raid the Cattaro railroad near by destroying tunnels and bridges.3

     Two. To interrupt all surface traffic by land and sea between Cattaro and North Adriatic ports.

     Three. When forces are available to seize the Islands of Lisea, Brazza, Lesina, Lagosta, Lelada, Gazza, Pelagosa.4

     Four. To fortify Lagosta, Gazza and Pelagosa Islands as supporting points for light craft engaged in patrolling mine barrage

     Five. To lay a mine field from Italian coast to Curzola.

     Six. To make a surprise raid with battleships on Cattaro, vessels actually to enter the Barbour provided conditions warrant the effort.

     Seven. To reorganize and equip patrol with modern listening devices and multiple depth charges.

     Eight. To assign general command in Adriatic to an American Admiral.

     Nine. To assign the task of raid on Cattaro to American pre-Dreadnought battleships.

     Ten. To concentrate a continuous air attack on Cattaro subsequent to raid.

     Eleven. To plant trap minesfields in the vicinity of Cattaro.

     Twelve. To augment surface patrol effort by all available aircraft not specially suited to air attack on Cattaro.

     It is probable that above plan if accepted would require contribution from United States of twenty-five thousand mines, as many destroyers as can be spared from other areas, five VIRGINIA or CONNECTICUT class battleships, thirty-six submarine chasers with tender.

     I deem it very important that radical steps be taken in the Adriatic. I request earliest possible information of Department’s view of above proposals.5

     I leave London February fourth and arrive Rome February seventh. Request all cables sent to London address. 07503.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “16JADCX.”

Footnote 1: “CS” was chief of staff, which was Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: That cable has not been found.

Footnote 3: Curzola is today the Croatian island Korčula; Sabbioncello is the Italian name for the Pelješac Peninsula, which is in southern Dalmatia in Croatia; Cattaro is today Kotor and is a coastal town in Montenegro.

Footnote 4: Today, those are the Croatian islands of Vis, Brač, Hvar, Lastovo, Šolta, Daksa, and Palagruža.