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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to the Bureau of Ordnance


Op-31-B                                    Jan. 29, 1918.



TO  :  Bureau of Ordnance.

SUBJECT  :  Anti-submarine mining.

Reference   :  (a) Commander H. Lanning’s letter of Dec. 14.

                   1917, to Secretary of the Navy.1

              (b) Bureau of Ordnance letter (N3) 32767-297

                   of January 3, 1918.2

          1.   Considered apart from immediate application to any specific plan of operations the method of using mines proposed in reference (a) has considerable military value and will probably be of considerable use in plans for the use of mines on our own coasts and in our operations in the West Indies. The method promises to be of sufficient value to us, aside from any use in present operations abroad, to warrant our being prepared to use it.

          2.   Reference (b) indicates that while the American Mark VI mine could be so used with a reasonable degree of safety, it contains no device especially designed for safety in case of planting shallower than intended. Such a device is understood to be practicable and in use in British mines similarly employed and some provision of that kind is desirable.

          3.   It is desired, therefore, that steps be taken to develop such a safety device for Mark VI mine as well as make its use in deep mine fields safe for surface vessels navigating over them, except on the rare occasions when the safety device may fail to function.

                                  /s/ W.S. Benson.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520.

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