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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European Waters




                                   BASE SIX,

S E C R E T                        19 January 1918.

From:     Force Commander.

To  :     U.S.Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European Waters.

Subject:  Destruction of Enemy Submarines.

     1.   The following letter, received from the Commander-in-Chief,1 Coast of Ireland Station, Queenstown, is quoted for information.

     2.   Attention is invited to the escort nature of this matter.

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“M.0776/18                              Admiralty, S.W.1.

                                        14 January 1918.

     S E C R E T

     The Commander-in-Chief,

          Coast of Ireland.

          Their Lordships2 have had under review the present state of submarine warfare, and wish to bring to your notice the following facts;-

     2.   Admiral von Capelle3 states in the Reichstag that the output of German submarines was expected to be between 8 and 12 a month; statistics which have been procured show that the average is about 9. From the 1st of September to the end of December, 1917, the rate of destruction of enemy submarines has also averaged about 9.

     3.   It will thus be seen that, in order to crush this form of warfare, we should have to sink more than 9 enemy submarines per month, and the greater the number over this figure accounted for, the quicker will be our ultimate victory. Thus to combat the output, a weekly average of about 2.25 enemy submarines sunk is necessary, and the more this is increased the sooner will the end come.

     4.   Their Lordships are cognizant of and fully recognize the efforts which have been made by all ranks and ratings in this very difficult campaign and they confidently look forward to an amelioration in the near future. They may realise that the weapons at our disposal have not up to the present been as numerous and effective as might have been hoped for, but with the steady increase in material, the improvement in training, in scientific methods and in experience, coupled with the energetic measures which are being taken to hamper the enemy submarines’ movements, they hope for a bigger monthly average in the destruction of these craft in the future.


(sgd) O.Murray.4       



Coast of Ireland.





Captain of Patrols)

For information.”


Copy to



J.R. Poinsett Pringle5

Chief of Staff

Destroyer Flotillas

By direction.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “File/5134-5/16-5-9/(B)/1/3/H/J.”

Footnote 1: Adm. Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 2: The British Admiralty.

Footnote 3: Adm. Eduard von Capelle, Imperial German Navy.

Footnote 4: Secretary of the Admiralty Oswyn A.R. Murray

Footnote 5: Capt. J.R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotilla.

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