Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas to Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, United States Shipping Board


Subject Copy.                                File No. <46-4-1>

Cablegram Sent 8 March 1918 WHH

To   Opnav Washington                      Serial No. 4845

Prep. by                              D.R.

                                           Q 33



Following for Hurley with copy for Requa Oil Division Fuel Administration begins.1

Admiralty have submitted revised position as of March 1st together with estimate for twelve months ending February 28th 1919. Statement which is confined to fuel oil shows:

     FIRST. Stock at Home and Mediterranean bases March 1st not including bunkers in British and American Naval units 1,177,000 tons.

     SECOND. Estimated monthly expenditures (Tabulate figures)

              March ...............333,000 tons

              April ...............336,000

              May .................341,000

              June ................345,000

              July ................350,000

              August ..............355,000

              September ...........361,000

              October .............369,000

              November ............377,000

              December ............388,000

              January .............393,000

              February ............393,000

                                 4,341,000 tons.

The above figures include:

     (a) British consumption Home and Mediterranean Fleets.

     (b) American Naval units operating in U. K. 25,000 tons monthly.

     (c) Issues to French and Italian depots 14,500 tons monthly.

     (d) Losses in fuel oil through war and marine risk estimated at              30,000 tons monthly.

     (e) Total (b) (c) (d) 69,500 tons.

     THIRD.  To determine three months reserve established by Admiralty      use following formula:

     (a) From specified monthly figures as above deduct 30,000 tons      representing estimated monthly losses. Also deduct 14,500 tons      representing issues to French and Italian depots. Total deduction      44,500 tons monthly. Multiply results thus obtainted by three.

(b) Add to result in (a) 90,000 tons representing reserve for increased fleet mobility.

(c) Add to (b) 225,000 tons representing an estimated quantity regarded as nontransferable from storage points to Naval Bases.

(d) Example. Established reserve March 31st 1,180,500 tons as per statement submitted to us.

FOURTH.  British Government have given orders establishing priority      for March loading of grain over double bottom fuel oil shipments.      Assuming no double bottom fuel oil is loaded from America during      March but thereafter continued in British vessels as in the past:      also, that American tankers referred to in telegram 42942 are      left      in British service then it is estimated April losses will      be recovered and on May 31st stocks will amount to 1,196,500 tons approaching approximately established May 31st reserve    figure of 1,204,500 tons.

FIFTH.  If American tankers are withdrawn but double bottom loadings      resumed after March, then on July 31st stocks are estimated at      1,245,000 tons against established reserve figure of 1,231,500      tons.

SIXTH.  If double bottom shipments in British vessels are not renewed      after March but American tankers previously specified are      retained in British service, stocks at end of March will amount    to 1,219,000 tons against established reserve of 1,180,000 tons thereafter receding to 931,000 tons on February 28th 1919.

SEVENTH.  If double bottom shipments in British vessels entirely cease      and American tankers previously specified now withdrawn then stocks will drop steadily after March 31st to an estimate of     799,000 tons on February 28th 1919.

EIGHTH.  In connection with revised statement which has been most      carefully examined and discussed we would observe:

     (a) Allowance for fuel oil losses 30,000 tons monthly.

     Having regard to heavy losses during

          April 1917 .................29,489 tons

          May 1917 ...................29,529  "

     and  February 1918 ..............23,753  "


     of fuel oil and to possibility of increased submarine activity      Admiralty Navy Staff consider this figure should be used.

The actual losses of Admiralty fuel oil in British tankers and double bottoms in all areas for year ending February 28th 1918 has amounted to an average of only 13,200 tons per month. If losses for next year do not exceed those of last year then stocks for year should increase 200,000 tons over figures shown on statement.

(b)  Losses in tank steamers calculated at 25,000 tons cargo capacity monthly. This is to cover sinkings on all services maintained by British tank steamers and no allowance for sinkings will be included in estimates for services other than Admiralty. This figure represents the considered figure of theAdmiralty Naval War Staff, having regard to following sinkings:

     April . 1917. . . . . . .  . . .47,500 cargo capacity tons.

     May 1917  . . . . . . . . . . . 36,000  "       "      "

     February 1918. . . . . . . . . .20,600  "       "      "

     TOTAL   . . . . . . . . . . . .104,100  "       "      "

Actual losses all British tank steamers for year ending February 28th ascertained to be 16,500 tons per month.

(c)  Statement provides for 16 2/3 percent of assigned tank steamers, British and American, being inefficient as a result of prolonged repairs the time for which is not included in journey. This figure represents such inefficient tonnage as of March 1st and understand same is a correct average for year. Have explained urgent necessity of repairs being effected with least possible delay which is fully recognized. We are informed tank steamer repairs have been given first priority being bracketed with repairs to naval units. Repairs have priority over new construction.

(d)  No action has been taken with respect to Eastern reroutings per our Statement “X” of February 4th3 but we are informed certain proposals will be laid before us shortly.

Signed Foley and Thomas. 4845.   



Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. This copy is printed on a form, and the heading appears on each subsequent page, although the “Serial No.” line and identifier “Q 33” are only filled in on the first page.

Footnote 1: Mark L. Requa, Director of Oil Division, United States Fuel Administration.

Footnote 3: No document referring to “Statement X” has been found. On 4 February, Sims discussed shifting American Line vessels from regular convoys to faster Halifax convoys to avoid congesting French ports, and this may be what Foley and Thomas are referring to here. See: Sims to Opnav, 4 February 1918.

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