Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander, Battleship Division Nine, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET,

U.S.S.NEW YORK, Flagship.

                    [Scapa Flow, Scotland] 22 June 1918.    

From:          Commander BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE.

To:            Secretary of the Navy (OPERATIONS).

Subject:       General Report – week ending 22 June 1918.

          1.   MOVEMENTS OF VESSELS, TARGET PRACTICE.

               On Tuesday, June 18th, the division exercised by individual ships, at 5-inch reduced charge target practice, five rounds per gun, at distances from about 5,000 to 6,500 yards. This was, of necessity, held in the protected waters of the base. Upon its completion the division was assembled and exercised at sub-calibre practice, main battery, practicing concentration.

               On Thursday, June 20th, the NEW YORK fired a spotting practice outside of the base; she was accompanied by the TEXAS which kept position 500 yards on our off beam as on observation ship.

               Both ships were flying their balloons, in which were stationed expert spotters. . . .

               The spotting was remarkably accurate and most promising; the average variation from the rake observations being about 50 yards.

               The Chief Spotter stated that it was as easy to estimate as it is when using 1-pounders at 800 yards; that the fall of shots were clearly defined, and that it would prove a most valuable asset for accurate fire control for getting on and keeping on the target. . . .

               Main battery practice for the division is scheduled for next week.

               Divisions and vessels of the GRAND FLEET are exercising daily at target practice. . . .1

          4.   HEALTH.

               The FLORIDA is in strict quarantine, having developed a single case of meningitis. . . .

Hugh Rodman             

Source Note: TDS, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 381. The signature is a stamp. Distribution list at end of document: “To: Secnav. (OP) (2)/Copy to:/Force Comdr. [VAdm. William S. Sims]/CinC.Atl.Fleet. [Adm. Henry T. Mayo],/Ch. Naval Intell. [Capt. Roger Welles, Jr.],/Adm. Badger. [Adm. Charles J. Badger, President, General Board of the Navy],/File.” Document identifier at top of first page: “File 7”; “1/L.” There is also a running head at the top of the second page: “C.B.D. [Commander Battleship Division] 9, file 7, 22 June 1918 - Subject: General Report - week ending 22 June 1918.”

Footnote 1: According to historian Jerry Jones:

In his studies of U.S. battleship design, Norman Friedman has recognized that U.S. cooperation with the Grand Fleet revealed deficiencies in U. S. gunnery . . . the most serious problem was excessive dispersion of fire compared with British firings. He also recognizes that practice with the Grand Fleet greatly improved the gunnery of the U.S. battleships. . . . My research . . . supports and amplifies Friedman’s conclusions. Jones, “U.S. Battleship Operations,” 154.

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