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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

Translation        <February 28, 1918.>

From: Vice Admiral Sims

To: Opnav

#4500 Your 33071  At present every effort is being made to make available Destroyers for purely offensive work against Submarines period One United States Destroyer with hydro-phone is now engaged exclusively in hunting operations and four others are so employed a large part of the time period Additional Destroyers will soon be needed to work in conjunction with submarine chasers and other vessels fitted with hydrophones period It is undesirable to extend the convoy system unnecessarily at the expense of offensive operations period. I have recommended the establishment of a store ship convoy sailing direct to French Atlantic Coast comma but this convoy does not require any additional escort as it will be met by escort of the slow convoy proceeding westward every eight days from Bordeaux period. It is noted that the average troop convoy has fewer than four ships comma and considering the number of transports available the average size of troop convoys will probably not exceed four ships period paragraph

     Sailings were requested not oftener than once in eight days commaso that one group of Destroyers could be set aside for troop convoys period. These Destroyers are at sea five days and in port three days period If sailings are oftener than once in eight days it will require an additional group of Destroyers being placed on troop convoys work period Troop convoys could be handled every four days but convoys would average only two transports each period. Sufficient Destroyers are not now available for this detail unless present hunting operations are largely abandoned period paragraph

     Instead of sailing two additional troop convoys it is suggested that as fast as troop transports are loaded they be sailed in the next troop convoy regardless of speed or destination period As the dates of sailing of troop convoys are not rigidly fixed this arrangement should provide for minimum delay of transports in United States period In Necessity all cases the speed of crossing is the same for all groupscomma due to the necessity of conserving fuel period Fast vessels will make quicker return trips and more trips annually. 01128

Op 19

Op 28              3:55 A M           2-28-18

Op 23

Op 19 – para for C.C.F. and para our 3307 WFB

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “X-15”; “IL-4440.”

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