Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Joseph Strauss, Commander, Mine Force, Atlantic Fleet

June 28, 1918.              

FROM:     Force Commander.

TO  :     Commander, Mine Force.

SUBJECT:  Mining Operations, - policy of.

Reference: (a) Mine Force File 18-S, of June 22, 1918.1

     1.   The extract from Operation Order of the Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet,2 as quoted in reference (a) is noted.

     2.   The escort and protection of the mine forces engaged in laying the northern barrage constitute an additional demand on the already over-taxed light forces of the Grand Fleet, and it is apparently therefore necessary that the operations of both mine laying forces be protected by one force. This however, is one of those questions which should if possible be solved by discussion and co-ordination with the allied officers directly concerned – in this case Admiral Beatty and Rear Admiral Clynton Baker.3

     3.   There can be no question but that the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet must have general control over mining as well as other naval activities in the North Sea, particularly as he is responsible for ensuring the necessary support and protection.

     4.   The difficulties of co-ordination of effort between allies is fully recognized – is in fact historical.

          It has been the Force Commander’s policy to leave nothing undone to insure complete co-operation of the U.S.Navy in this war, and it is hoped that nothing will be allowed to occur in connection with our mining operations which will interfere with this policy in any way.

     5.   It is manifest from the nature of these operations that our Mine Force should be treated, as far as operations are concerned, as a <unit> of the Grand Fleet, and it is hoped therefore that the Mine Force Commander will find it possible to satisfactorily adjust such questions as those raised in his letter without requiring the Force Commander to intercede officially via the Admiralty.

SIMS.                                 

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir David R. Beatty.

Footnote 3: Lewis Clinton-Baker, Commander, Benbow, and senior officer in charge of laying the British portion of the Northern Mine Barrage

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