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

13 Jan 1918       


OPNAV 2172, Our 1860 Your 25501 Following received from USS SOUTH DAKOTA sailing from Halifax with convoy January 122 quote USS SOUTH DAKOTA sailed destination Liverpool arrive J<a>nuary 24 unquote Our understanding is that our escorting cruisers will return to United States after leaving convoy unless raider is present period There is evident misunderstanding on part of routing officer Halifax period Please arrange with admiralty and if practicable have USS SOUTH DAKOTA directed to return when falling in with Eastern light escort3 period We furnished armored cruisers capable of such a policy purposely to avoid coaling other side comma unnecessary crossing danger zone and unnecessary waste of time 13013.     OPNAV.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. At the bottom of this copy is a note: “COPY/CCF.” CCF may have been Cmdr. Christopher C. Fewel, aide to the commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard.

Footnote 1: Neither of these cables has been found.

Footnote 2: U.S.S. SOUTH DAKOTA was part of Cruiser Squadron One, which was composed of the larger and faster cruisers in the U.S. Navy. Gleaves, A History of the Transport Service, 155.

Footnote 3: The “Eastern light escort” were vessels such as destroyers, trawlers, patrol vessels, etc., based in the British Islands and designed to protect convoys from attack by submarines but not strong enough to protect them against most German surface raiders.

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