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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Lieutenant Commander Joseph F. Daniels

5th July, 1917.

My dear Daniels,

          Please keep me fully informed of everything in connection with the Submarine Detecting Apparatus which is installed on some of the boats which recently joined us.

          Don’t allow the officers on the ships to treat this device as we so often treat new gear in the Service. For example – as you well know, in the past when many new devices have been put afloat the tendency of the officers afloat has been to condemn them without fair trial.

          We have all felt that a device which would really defeat the submarine was out of the question or particularly that nothing could be developed in sufficient numbers which would be of use in time.

          From what little I have heard of this device, it looks as if it was a step in the right direction even if it is not sufficiently developed to give us the direction from whence the waves come, still there seems to be a possibility that a destroyer might be able to keep in touch with the submarine by frequentland [i.e., frequent and] radical changes of course with a view of keeping the sound within audible radius.

          If it is justified at all, why not seize the first opportunity when a submarine is within close striking distance of Queenstown to set one of the destroyers who have the device,on her trial independent of any escort or other duty.

          Of course, I mean you to discuss any such questions with Admiral Bayly1 and I have written to him on the same subject.

          As the British have not developed anything along this line, I ordered the WILKES to Portsmouth where their experts will go into the subject thoroughly with a view of bringing themselves up to date as much as possible in this particular field of experimentation. The WILKES has been ordered to proceed to Queenstown just as soon as that duty is completed.

Very sincerely,


Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520. Document is addressed below close: “Lieut.-Commander Daniels, U.S.N.,/U.S.S.Melville.”

Footnote 1: VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Naval Forces Southern Ireland.

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