Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

Chronological Copy.

Cablegram Sent 27 Jan[u]ary 1918         [WRH?]

To Opnav Washington                         Serial No. 3312

Prep. by  C.S.               NCT1    D.R.

27 A R D      

V E R Y   S E C R E T

3312. Your 2110 and 2206.2 Present very inadequate armament our vessels engaged in ocean escort Gibraltar to England gives me great uneasiness. With Department’s approval U.S.S. NAHMA has been given two five inch guns from MELVILLE.3 Size and speed of BIRMINGHAM and CHESTER seems to justify giving them best available armament they can carry.4 The particular ofjection [i.e., objection] mentioned in your two two naught eight should not weigh against real advantage attaching to increased gun power, but in any case it could be avoided by giving one or the other of the vessels a batter<y> of four MELVILLE guns, the other vessel to take the two five inch guns removed from first. Each would then have a homogeneous battery.

     I am unable to say whether the structure and stability of the scout cruisers will permit the proposed change, but I consider it a matter of extreme importance and recommend that Department reconsider its decision and cause an immediate investigation to be made to determine the possibility of these vessels carrying the additional guns.

     Further recommend Department consider possibility and means of rearming with heavier guns Coast Guard Cutters serving in European Waters. 10327

Sims

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: “C.S.” is chief of staff; “NCT” is the initials of Sims’ chief of staff Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: Neither of these cables has been found.

Footnote 3: U.S.S. NAHMA was an armed yacht; U.S.S. MELVILLE was the destroyer tender at Queenstown, Ireland.

Footnote 4: U.S.S. BIRMINGHAM and CHESTER were cruisers.

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