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Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché in Rome, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


Telegraphic Address

Alusna, Rome,,              ROME/

                                                16 July, 1918.


Dear Admiral:-

          I have just returned from inspecting the Italians’ Net Barrage/ I went through the entire process and made a complete report on the subject which has been forwarded to you today/1

          Contrary to your belief and to the belief of all officers other than Italians, I am of the opinion that the net, if 25 meters deeper, would be a great success.

          The net will be laid if remaining material arrives from England before the fall and I believe that it will stand any wear and that a submarine striking it will be sunk.

          It is to be regretted that a whole year was lost in hot air between the parties concerned, particularly England who objected generally to the scheme due in my opinion to their own scheme being an absolute failure and an impracticable one/

          The Italians’ Sub-surface Net can be quickly laid, will stand any kind of wear and will be a success if 25 meters deeper.

          I had a long talk with Commodore Kelly,2 but personally believe that the Mobile Barrage3 of his is a waste of time, energy and fuel. Our chasers are doing good work.

          The Italian battleships SAN MARCO and SAN GIORGO and NAPOLI have arrived at Brindisi to meet any move of the third dreadnaught division of battleships out of Cattaro.

          Very sincerely yours,


Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Container 24. “ADMIRAL SIMS’ PERSONAL FILE” appears just below the telegraphic address and the identification number “1/5/6/J/Q” appears in the upper-right corner.

Footnote 1: See: Train to Sims, 15 July 1918.

Footnote 2: Commo. William A. H. Kelly, Commander, British Adriatic Forces.

Footnote 3: Sims’ staff, particularly the Ordnance Section, did not share Train’s optimism about the net barrage, and his request for more materials to make it deeper was “politely refused.” Halpern, The Naval War in the Mediterranean: 510.

Footnote 4: For Kelly’s barrage ideas, see: Kelly Memo, 9 April 1918.

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