Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Bureau of Ordnance, Bureau of Construction and Repair, and Bureau of Navigation
File No. <27-3-7>
31st July <30, 1918.> EWC
To Opnav, Washington (Buord, Bucon, and Bunav) Serial No. 2052.
Prep. by M-4 & R-3 SX D.R.
2052. Opnav 9084 and 8644. Altogether 40 guns have been removed from vessels under my Command; 18 have yet to be removed from Coastguard cutters. 15 have been installed on vessels of General Pershing’s Cross Channel Fleet other than Lake vessels. 8 will be reserved for installation on 8 Cross Channel troopships YALE, CHARLES, etc. There remain sufficient number to arm 20 Lake boats already here, some of which have been installed and others now being installed, and 15 of the 30 coming. I recommend that the remaining 15 vessels be armed in the United States; also urgently request that the 15 to be armed on this side be fitted complete with gun foundations, Armed Guard equipment, etc., in the United States, leaving only the gun to be put aboard on arrival here. This Cross Channel Fleet operates from Bristol Channel ports. We can under no conditions, count on getting work done on French coast; consequently, all work of installing guns, enlarging and rearranging quarters suitable to Naval requirements for Naval personnel and keeping vessels in general repair, must be done at shipyards in Bristol Channel. As British operate upwards of 400 ships in same trade from same ports, the question of keeping vessels in repair, to say nothing of making alterations in quarters, with limited facilities available is serious. I assume from policy indicated by 8644, that these additional 30 boats will sooner or later be taken over by Navy, and in view of conjestion existing in shipyards in Bristol Channel, urgently recommend that they be provided with suitable quarters for sufficient Naval personnel before leaving United States, and if possible, Naval personnel go on board there. Report will be made by letter covering transfers of guns and mounts. 22330. 2052.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date stamp at the end of the cable.