Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William L. Rodgers, Commander, Training and Service Force, Atlantic Fleet, to Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet

(COPY)

File S-6

SECRET

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

TRAIN U.S.S. SUPPLY FLAGSHIP

BASE TWO1 5 JUNE 1918.

From:     Commander Train

To:       Commander in Chief.

SUBJECT:       ATLANTIC II – Use of as mystery ship.

     1.   The ATLANTIC-II now acting as mother ship to Squadron One Submarine Chasers and as guard ship at the entrance to Base Two is a three masted schooner equipped with one three inch gun and a gun platform installed ready to receive a second three inch gun. She has a small engine with which she can make six knots in smooth weather. She also has a wireless set which cannot be seen from any great distance.

     2.   The enemy submarine which is operating off our coast is attacking schooners and according to newspaper reports is going close aboard them to place bombs on board to destroy them.2

     3.   The ATLANTIC II can be made ready for sea on short notice. A second three inch gun can be transferred to her without difficulty from the HELENITA or HACKETT if one cannot be sent from Norfolk. A deck load of lumber can be placed on board and a screen painted to shield her guns to conceal them until she desires to open fire. Also, it will be advisable to place lumber between decks to give her flotation if she were torpedoed.

     4.   A Lieutenant Commander is in command3 and in addition there is one Ensign on board who was on her as a Mate when she crossed the ocean in 1905.4 Her crew consist of regulars and reserves who have been on board about a year.

     5.   The Commander Train suggest that the second in command, Lieut. Hammill U.S.N.,5 together with all the records of the Submarine Chaser Squadron, be transferred to the HELENITA and that Lieut. Hammill be given command of the submarine chasers temporarily.

     6.   He further suggests that the ATLANTIC II be fitted with a second three inch gun and sent to sea to cruise between Norfolk and New York as a decoy ship and that a destroyer be detailed to remain ten to twenty miles away to come to her assistance if she should encounter a submarine and her surprise attack should not be successful as the ATLANTIC II could radio the destroyer which could arrive on the spot in less than an hour.

/s/ W.L.RODGERS.        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415. The Navy did not follow through on Rodgers’ recommendation due, in large part, to the lack of success of mystery ships in European waters. ATLANTIC II continued to serve as a guard ship and tender for the duration of the war.

Footnote 1: Yorktown, Virginia.

Footnote 2: See: Warning to All Ships and Stations, 3 June 1918.

Footnote 3: Lt. Cmdr. Charles S. Keller.

Footnote 4: Ens. John M. Barr, Jr., U. S. N. R. F.

Footnote 5: Lt. (j. g.) Carroll W. Hamill.

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