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Captain Richard H. Jackson, United States Staff Representative in Paris, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Patrol Forces based in France



Staff Office in France <Jan. 27, 1918>

4, Place D’Iena,   

Paris, France.

From:-  Captain R.H. Jackson, U.S. Navy.

To:-    Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France.

Subject:  Disposition of Submarine Chasers.

Reference:  Force Commander’s letter of January 18, 1918.1

     1.  21 chasers are now assigned to the different French ports and are in active service.

              9 have just arrived at the Azores.

              1 at Bermuda undergoing repairs.

             7 to leave the U.S. shortly and 12 to follow later.

     2.  Assignment of these vessels to zones is as follows:

          To the patrol of the Northern Army Zone –- 6.2

          To the Normandy patrol –- 3.

          To the Britanny patrol –- 6.

          To the Gascogny patrol –- 6.

     Corresponding with the above zones the vessels are based on the following ports:

               6 at Dunkerque.

               3 at Cherbourg.

               6 at Brest.

               3 at Lorient.

               3 at Rochefort.

     3.  The duty performed varies somewhat with the condition and the necessities of the ports. Those employed in the Channel are used as lookouts and offensive patrols for submarines. They operate on shoals or banks close to channels where submarines are likely to pass and make short excursions in search of them. Those on the Atlantic ports are principally used for operating in the vicinity of ports in search for submarines and in getting away coast-wise convoys except those stationed at Rochefort as part of the regular escort of the Verdon convoy leaving the Gironde. They accompany the escort about 150 miles from the coast.

     4.  The group now at the Azores will be assigned as follows:

          6 to the West Altantic ports, probably Lorient and Rochefort and 3 to the Mediterranean basing on Toulen. The next 6 after that will base on the North Coast of Africa (Bizerte) and 3 at Bougit or a neighboring port.

     5.  With one drawback, the high consumption of gasoline, these boats are spoken of in the highest terms. They have frequently proved their capability and staunchness under trying sea conditions. It is possible that they wil find the short seas of the Mediterranean trying during the winter season and this will probably slow them down more quickly but not force them to return to port.

(Sd.)   R.H. JACKSON.   

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 387. Below Jackson’s signature is an endorsement signed by Henry Wilson. In it Wilson notes that this report has been forwarded to the “Force Commander,” VAdm. William S. Sims and that the information contained in Jackson’s report was requested by Sims in his letter of 18 January 1918.

Footnote 1: Sims’ letter has not been found but is discussed in the source note.

Footnote 2: As seen later in this report, this was the port of Dunkirk on the English Channel in the north of France.