Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander, United States Convoy Operations in the Atlantic, Operations Order Number One

CONFIDENTIAL

Op. Order                      DESTROYER FORCE, ATLANTIC FLEET,

No.1.                             U.S.S.SEATTLE, FLAGSHIP.

7 June 1917.       

FORCES:

(a)    GROUP ONE.

Convoy: TENADORES, SARATOGA, HAVANA, PASTORES.

Escort: SEATTLE, CORSAIR, DeKALB, WILKES, TERRY, ROE.

(b)    GROUP TWO.

Convoy: MOMUS, ANTILLES, LENAPE.

Escort: BIRMINGHAM, APHRODITE, FANNING (if ready) <, Parker (if ready),> BURROWS<,> LAMSON.

(c)    GROUP THREE.

Convoy: MALLORY, FINLAND, SAN JACINTO.

Escort: CHARLESTON, CYCLOPS, ALLEN, McCALL, PRESTON.

(d)    GROUP FOUR.

Convoy: MONTANAN, DAKOTAN, OCCIDENTE, LUCKENBACK.

Escort: St. LOUIS, HANCOCK, SHAW, AMMEN, FLUSSER.

     1. Reports of enemy submarine activity indicate that the area of greatest activity is east of longitude twenty West, and within a circle radius five hundred miles from FAYAL, AZORES. Submarines may be operating on the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada – Every effort has been made to hold secret the sailing of the convoy but it may be assumed that the departure of convoy from United States and the hour of departure will be communicated to the enemy. It is possible that particular effort will be made by the enemy to accomplish the destruction of the convoy and no part of the waters traversed by the convoy may be assumed to be free from submarines. Enemy raiders may be encountered.

     2. This force will furnish transportation and escort for U.S.Troops and their equipment to the port designated.

     3. (a) (b) (c) (d). Escort assemble AMBROSE CHANNEL LIGHTSHIP1 at _________________ - see area clear – Convoy arrive at AMBROSE CHANNEL LIGHTSHIP at ________________. Groups take formation specified and proceed without delay on course and speed signalled by Group Commander.

     The date and hour of departure will be given orally to Group Commanders.

     (v) Coal burning destroyers attached to any group will continue with Group such distance as will permit destroyer to return to U.S.Port without refueling – where they will report arrival to Commander in Chief and request instructions.

     (w) The MAUMEE has been stationed at sea on the route of the convoy to refuel oil burning destroyers. When last destroyer of Group Four has refueled MAUMEE will proceed to St.JOHNS, NEW FOUNDLAND. Group Commanders will be informed orally of MAUMEE’S position and this position will also be contained in the sealed instructions to each ship.

     (x) Oil burning destroyers will refuel from MAUMEE when directed by the Group Commander. Seven hundred and fifty ton destroyers <less AMMEN & BURROWS> will, after refueling from the MAUMEE continue with convoy such distance as will permit them to proceed to St.JOHNS, NEW FOUNDLAND without again refueling. Thousand ton destroyers <plus AMMEN & BURROWS> will continue with convoy to destination.

     (y) Yachts will continue with convoy to destination. If it becomes apparent that their fuel capacity is not sufficient, yachts will be directed to proceed to FAYAL, AZORES to refuel and thence to destination.

     (z) Before arrival at destination convoy will be met <at Rendezvous X> by a Division of <US> destroyers <from England.> This division of destroyers will form part of escort from meeting point <rendezvous x> to destination. <At rendezvous Y convoy will be met by French escort vessels which will continue with convoy to destination.>

     4. All ships will be fueled to maximum capacity.

     5. Convoy Commander in SEATTLE. If necessity for use of radio arises use sigcode quintuple cipher 3084 – 672 – 5934 – 186 – 7865. <No attention will be paid to any radio changing the destination of the convoy. The destination of the convoy, if changed, will be by word of mouth from the Comdr. of the French escort vessels.>                         Albert Gleaves.

Rear Admiral       

Commander Destroyer Force and     

Commander U.S. Convoy Operations

in the Atlantic.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Below the close is a distribution list: “Copies to:/Operations/C-in-C [Adm. Henry T. Mayo]/Ships Mentioned (2). The handwritten changes in this document came from an undated document entitled “IMPORTANT! ! !/CHANGES IN OPERATION ORDER NUMBER ONE OF JUNE 7, 1917. that follows these instructions.

Footnote 1: Ambrose Channel is New York harbor’s main shipping channel.

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