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Captain William B. Fletcher, Commander, United States Patrol Squadron, Patrol Instructions


Flag Office [Brest, France]  

12 July, 1917.          


     1.   Patrol areas given in Operation Orders may be changed, by Force Commander when new situations arise.

     2.   When on a LINE PATROL vessels shall proceed along the line of patrol until reaching its extremity, when a return over the line will be made. The courses plotted on chart to cover the LINE PATROL will be BASE courses. The courses STEERED must be such that the advance of the ship will be along the base course. All vessels must zig zag night and day.

     3.   When on an AREA PATROL, vessels shall steer courses to cover the area, but the method adopted must be irregular. Do not proceed with such regularity that patrol vessel’s position may be plotted.

     4.   When on patrol, vessels shall speak all ships sighted. Obtain the following information:

                 (a)    Name of vessels,

                 (b)    From where bound,

                 (c)    To where bound

                 (d)    Character of cargo,

                 (e)    Nationality,

                 (f)    If defensively armed or not,

                 (g)    If escort is desired.

     5.    If the vessel spoken is a valuable vessel, and is bound to a port on west coast of France, below Latitude 40° 30' North, she may be escorted. The fact that you have taken her under escort is to be sent in to Base by radio, in code, in following manner:


-   - - - - - - -.”

     6.   Should the vessel be bound to a port located elsewhere than on the west coast of France, escort may be given to end of your patrol area, then discontinue escort.

     7.   When acting as escorting vessel, keep on exposed bow of convoy and about 1200 yards ahead of her. Insist that all vessels escorted zig zag night and day. Escorting vessel to break joints with convoy when courses are changed, i.e., when convoy turns to port, escort must come over on her starboard bow; when convoy turns to star-board, escort must go over on her port bow.

     8.   Leave patrol and return to base in time to arrive at or about scheduled time.

     9.   Calls for assistance from vessels will be answered and in case of disaster crews are to be rescued if possible. Report rescue of survivors by radio to Base in order to receive instructions.

     10. Ordinary cruising speed of the faster vessels should be at least 12 knots. Fires should be under all boilers. The slower vessels should maintain a speed of 9 knots or over.

     11.  Ships returning from patrol will signal, using numerals, the amount of coal and water needed. Coaling may commence upon arrival in port, or, be done day after arrival.

     12.  Commanding Officers report to Force Commander day after arrival in port.

              W. B. FLETCHER.

Copies to

Commanding Officers

     Sultana          Harvard         Noma      Corsair

     Christabel        Vedette         Kanawha    Aphrodite

Commander, C. D. P. B. [Chief of the Division of Patrols of Bretagne, Contré-amiral Zépherin Alexander Antoine Schwerer]

Vice Admiral [William S.] Sims

U. S. Navy Department, Washington (Operations)


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 125, Entry 30, Box 246. There is a notation at top of this copy: “EXHIBIT “H” because these instructions were introduced as an exhibit in the Court of Inquiry for Fletcher held in March and April 1920. Below the signature is a certification by the Capt. Kenneth M Bennett, Judge Advocate of those proceedings, that this is “A true copy.”

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