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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

File 4-6-1

Cablegram received 09107 March <6,> 1918.

Opnav Washington        3569

     CS1 Mar 7



3569.     Highly confidential. General Board recommends in substance as follows: Establishment of force of land fighting aircraft capable of over-water flights manned by Marines in Dunkirk-Calais region to protect Navy bombing seaplanes. This fighting force to number four squadrons in beginning to be increased to total of 200 airplanes. To give this precedent and to invite the earnest co-operation of French and English especially in the provision of fighting aircraft, proceed with equipment of necessary station (s) all # for effective co-operation with Navy seaplanes for interference with # German submarine operations off Belgian Coast and through Dover Strait These recommendations approved by the Secretary of the Navy2 and training of personnel xxxxx is underway. All possible fighting aircraft will be obtained from the Army but it is desired that you endeavor to obtain whatever possible from English and French for fear of delayed delivery on this side. Anticipated that four squadrons will be ready by June 1st. Select site (s) not easily located by enemy bombers in general vicinity indicated and proceed with preparation for establishment of station (s) to accommodate four squadrons. Building material and all station equipment will be shipped as soon as possible. Tents will be used for housing pending completion of buildings. 18006.


# indicates word came garbled.

Decoded and typed by C-2

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

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff.

Footnote 2: Josephus Daniels.

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