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


June 5, 1918.       SFM 

Opnav Washington                                     9040

     C-1                          SX

                                       40 ADR


9040. Arrangements have been made with Admiralty to overhaul in England destroyers based on French Coast and the oil situation at Brest is now in hand.1 It is proposed therefore to transfer a number of destroyers to Brest and meet troop convoys from this port, instead of from Queenstown as heretofore.2 By basing on Brest destroyers proceeding to meet troop convoys can be utilized to escort empty transports well to westward under strong escort. In order to aviod delays and congestion in French ports, it is desirable that troop convoys be sailed so as to arrive on French Coast every 7 or 8 days.3 In some cases intervals of 10 to 11 days occur between convoys. It is realized that delay of a few days in United States may increase size of convoy ; but this increased convoy congests French ports and delays return of some of vessels inconvoy. The time saved in U.S. is lost on French Coast and economical use is not made of destroyers. Experience in handling convoys indicated that maximum efficiency can be obtained by adhering to an established schedule. An 8-day schedule would permit about 4 days for discharge in French ports and escorts sailing westward to meet convoy should under normal conditions take west all of preceding convoy. In addition to regular convoys, fast convoys not exceeding 3 ships may be sailed irregularly at intervals of 6 days.

     Escort for LEVIATHAN will be arranged separately and handled by Queenstown destroyers for the present. Sailing dates will have to be co-ordinated with other large ships.4 07005 9040.


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

Footnote 3: See: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly to Sims, 3 June 1918.

Footnote 4: Benson responded: “In so far as practicable regular schedule you suggest will be followed. This is present practice convoys are not held up nor are dates set to increase size of convoys.” Benson to Sims, 6 June 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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