Skip to main content

Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters






RECd.26 MAR.1918.



Brest France.

21 March,1918.

From:  Commander U.S.Naval Forces in France.

To  :  Force Commander.

Subject: Submarine Chasers for Service on the French Coast.

     1.  I have been informed that deliveries of submarine chasers of the Ford type May be expected in August or September.

     2.  It is recommended that as soon as possible sighteen [i.e., eighteen] of these vessels be placed under my command as a nucleus for offensive ac-tion against enemy operations on the French coast.

     3.  It would seem that the production of these craft would be about coincident with our increased efforts in transportation of troops and supplies. The enemy being undoubtedly aware of our aims will, as certainly it would seem, direct an offensive looking toward the nullification of our endeavors. Hence, it would seem that we must strengthen our forces here in order to counteract the probable enemy intentions.

     4.  There are certain areas on the French Atlantic Coast which enemy submarines occupy and we, through lack of offensive forces, are, at present, denied that ability to clear these areas, and must operate to avoid them, rather than to render them safe. There is an area off Ushant, another off Penmarc’h, and another off the Gironde, which should be cleared.1 The areas off Ushant and Penmarc’h are direct threats against our lines of communication into and out of Brest and St. Nazaire, and should be denied the enemy.

     5.  In view of these conditions I have asked for the eighteen vessels to form the nucleus mentioned in paragraph (2).

     6.  In order that these vessels may be expedited it would seem desirable to send to the United States some officer who, through service here, is cognizant of the urgency of the need of the presence of these vessels, who, also, through experience, possesses the sailor knowledge necessary to make the Atlantic passage with the best degree of safety, and who has had sufficient experience in destroyers to make him competent to oversee the fitting out, organization, and indoctrination of such a force.

     7.  I. therefore, recommend and request that, when the proper time arrives, Commander F.T.Evans,2 U.S.N., be sent to the United States to collect, fit out, and bring to the French coast, the vessels requested.


Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 387.

Footnote 1: Ushant is an island in the English Channel belonging to France. Penmarc’h (or Penmarch) is a commune in Brittany, located in northwest France. The Gironde Estuary in southwest France is the meeting point of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Frank T. Evans, Commander, Panther.

Related Content