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

CABLE GRAM SENT         March 17, 1918. SFM

To        Opnav Washington             Serial No. 5249

Prepared by   CS        NCT1         Code 25ARD

V E R Y _S_E_C_R_E_T_.

5249. Your 3825.2 Tactical details of convoy plan contained in weekly report of Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman ( Signal Number 56 ) for week ending January 25th, page 2, forwarded under my endorsement AC XXXXXXXX 7943, February 4th.3

          Four battleships and a number of cruisers form a covering forcethe former screened by Destroyers. This force is augmented when information concerning enemy forces in the Heligoland Bight indicate this necessity.

          After two attacks on Norwegian convoys, once by Destroyers and once by fast light cruisers, the Admiralty adopted present plan as being the only one which could safeguard convoy against future attacks by similar or heavier forces.

          While the losses in the two attacks were not intrinsically serious, the moral[e] effect of another successful attack on this convoy would be very bad, and I entirely concur in the opinion of the Admiralty that it is justifiable to incur some risk to Battleships in order to safeguard this convoy.

          This convoy work is taken in rotation by all vessels of the Dreadnaught type, as stated in the report referred to.

          There are no Pre-dreadnaughts with fleet, and I consider it undesirable that our vessels of this type be sent over for this work, since it would require no less than ten, and the additional tonnage requirements for their supply could not be conveniently be met. Inany case, Dreadnaughts are safer than Pre-dreadnaughts for the reason started in the Department’s cable.        5249.


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

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

Footnote 2: See, Benson to Sims, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 30.

Footnote 3: See, Rodman to Daniels, 4 February 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 331.

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