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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Group 531         

July 24, 1918. EJK.2

Opnav, Washington.                      1694.

O-1                 SX.

48 ARD.            

SECRET.

1694. Urgent. Your 8911.3 Escort will not be available if vessels are sailed in manner proposed. It is of the first importance in economizing destroyers that programme of sailing be arranged so as to keep destroyers as nearly as possible uniformly employed throughout the month. It is most wasteful of destroyers to require abnormally large numbers for a few days only in the month, as these destroyers cannot be profitably employed during the rest of the month. The proposed programme of the Department requires more destroyers in 3 days than during the previous two weeks. I have previously pointed out the desirability of sailing large convoys at regular intervals and arranging the sailings of small fast groups so that one set of escorts can be used for all fast groups. The escort for the LEVIATHAN is also used for the GREAT NORTHERN and NORTHERN PACIFIC, and the same escort is used for other fast groups. In arranging the sailings of the fast groups I recommend that the LEVIATHAN be sailed close whenever ready, and that the GREAT NORTHERN and NORTHERN PACIFIC be sailed at least 4 days on either side of the sailing of the LEVIATHAN and that other fast groups be sailed at 5 – 6 day intervals. By this means adequate escort will be available for all transports. Furthermore congestion in French ports will be minimized,there will be fewer delays in escorting ships to westward and more destroyers will be available to meet storeships in HN4 convoys.

     My objections to sailing LEVIATHAN in convoy have been submitted in endorsement of 18 July.5  1694 19124.

SIMS.         

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “3/C/H.”

Footnote 1: Group 53 was a troop transport convoy that arrived at Brest on 12 August 1918. Wilson, American Navy in France: 53.

Footnote 2: Initials of the transcriber.

Footnote 4: HN convoys were loaded in New York for France.

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