Skip to main content

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Oswyn A. R. Murray

15 March, 1918.


From :    Force Commander,

To: :    Secretary of the Admiralty,

Subject:  Availability of Tonnage for Transport of U.S.Troops.

     1.   Based on the decisions of the Supreme War Council of February 1, 1918, the United States has undertaken to send to France, beginning April 1, 1918, a total of 90,000 troops per month. This number is in addition to any U.S. troops that may be transported for operations on the British front.

     2.   At the present time there are in service or shortly to be placed in service for troop transport the following number of ships:-

(a)       26 Ex-German and American ships, running direct to France.

(b)       4 American Liners, NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA, ST. LOUIS, and ST. PAUL.

(c)       4 monster ships – LEVIATHAN, AQUITANIA, MAURITANIA, and OLYMPIC.

(d)       4 vessels of French Line, running direct to France.

(e)       40 British liners running from United States to England.

     3.   Investigation shows that the foregoing ships are not adequate to meet the demands for troop transport. American resources are exhausted - at–least, until more ships can be built.

     4.   The Navy Department requests to be informed whether the Admiralty can spare, for transporting U.S. troops any auxiliary cruisers now on service for Admiralty.1

/S/ W.S.Sims.     

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “01./11-4/23/11374-11/4/23/1/3/6/5.”

Footnote 1: In a report dated 14 April 1918, the British Ministry of Shipping wrote that there was shipping enough to transport “100,000” American troops for the coming months. The report also said that “so many fast ships” had been diverted to New York that it would be impossible “to handle all” vessels at that port. Ministry of Shipping to Graeme Thomson, 14 April 1918, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1621.

Related Content