Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves Commander, Convoy Operations in the Atlantic

 

SECRET ORDER.”

June 13, 1917.              

F O R C E S.

Escort.

Rear Admiral Gleaves

Cruisers.

Convoy.

Rear Admiral Glaeves

Transports.

SEATTLE, CHARLESTON,

BIRMINGHAM, ST. LOUIS.

 

Yachts.

APHRODITE, CORSAIR

 

Destroyers

Those available.

Naval Train.

DE KALB, HANCOCK, CYCLOPS

TENADORES

HAVANA

NOMUS

LENAPE

FINLAND

MONTANAN

OCCIDENTE

SARATOGA

PASTORES

ANTILLES

MALLORY

SAN JACINTO

DAKOTAN

LUCKENBACH

     1.   A military expedition is to be embarked on the above named transports, augmented by a regiment of marines embarked in naval vessels, for transportation to a destination already communicated.

  In addition to the Escort designated above the Vice Admiral Commanding U. S. Naval Forces in European Waters has been directed to furnish additional destroyers to assist in escort duty. Copy of order to the Vice Admiral attached.1

     2.   Guard convoy to destination in accordance with joint rules approved by the President.2

     3.   Proceed when ready to first rendezvous, thence to rendezvous to be designated by French Admiralty and communicated by U. S. Destroyers that are to join escort from British Patrol, thence to destination.

  Destroyers of Escort proceeding from U. S. ports having sufficiently long steaming radius retain for entire voyage. Return destroyers of short steaming radius to a U. S. port from a safe offing.

  Immediately upon arrival at destination:

(1)  Direct U. S. Destroyers from British Patrol to resume station.

(2)  Direct CORSAIR and APHRODITE to report for duty to Captain W. B. Fletcher, U.S.Navy.3

(3)  Arrange with Commander, American Military Forces, for promptest possible return of Transports to a U. S. Port.

(4)  Retain destroyers that accompany convoy from U. S. port to assist in giving transports safe conduct through danger zone on return voyage and then send them to Queenstown, Ireland, to report to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Commanding U. S. Forces in European Waters.

     4.   CYCLOPS accompanying expedition to be returned as soon as possible.

MAUMEE is to fuel destroyers at sea and then return to United States. The ORION is to discharge about six thousand tons of coal at St. Michaels, Azores, and is under provisional orders to discharge two thousand tons of coal at St. Johns, Newfoundland.4 The KANAWHA is about to sail from a U. S. port with a cargo of fuel oil for a European port.

     5.   Submit to Navy Department before sailing complete plans for execution of assigned task, designating therein first rendezvous where U. S. Destroyers from European waters are to meet convoy, destroyers assigned to make entire voyage and destroyers assigned to turn back.

  Upon arrival at destination report to Department through U. S. Naval Attache, Paris.5

 

              W. S. BENSON.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: See: Daniels to Sims, 4 June 1917.

Footnote 3: Capt. William B. Fletcher, Force Commander, Special Patrol Squadron.

Footnote 4: In a cable of 27 May, Commo. Guy R. Gaunt had sent a query to the British Admiralty on behalf of the Americans asking about coal supplies in the Azores in case of “a considerable move.” UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.

Footnote 5: The United States Naval Attaché at Paris at the time was Cmdr. William R. Sayles.

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