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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED June <15, 1918.> 07416   ALS

Origin Opnav Washington            Ser. No. 7346      

Ref’d to N-2  Date 16 June

 29 ADR


7346. State Department has following from Berne QUOTE loss German submarines during April May 17 and 211 respectively while boats launched both months only 27.2 German Admiralty believes that some of those missing may turn up but this is considered improbable. Boats interned in neutral countries included in above. Loss in May greatest monthly loss during war Admiralty announced to Officers that loss of small consequence considering merchant tonnage destroyed.3

     Commanders submarines again being urged take few risks as possible and economize torpedoes. They have been instructed to continue destroying tonnage regardless of nationality cargo or passengers and to attack transports and freight vessels instead of men of war. 22015. 7346.

/s/ Benson

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the date/time stamp at the end of the text. Document identifier in top right-hand corner in columnar fashion: “1/3/C/H/J.”

Footnote 1: According to historian Paul Kemp U-boats sunk totaled 7 in April and 14 in May. Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed: 45-50.

Footnote 2: According to historians R.H. Gibson and Maurice Predergast, Germany launched eighteen U-boats during those months. R.L. Gibson and Maurice Prendergast The German Submarine War 1914-1918 (New York: Richard R. Smith, 1931), 353.

Footnote 3: British tonnage losses were decreasing steadily so that statement is an exaggeration.

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