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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

Chronological Copy.                          File No. <25/14/2>


Cablegram Sent  March 24, 1918

To  Opnav Washington                         Serial No. 5523

Prep. by  CS                COS1        D.R.


5523. Owing to limited mine-laying capacity of USS BALTIMORE2 the services of one or more additional mine-layers are very much needed by the Admiralty. I am informed by Rear Admiral Strauss3 that he thinks it probable that the USS QUINNEBAUG and USS ROANOKE could be despatched at once, or at a very early date. If this is the case, I request that both vessels be despatched as soon as practicable without sacrifice of any work necessary to put them in the best possible condition for their ultimate service. Request to be informed of Department’s decision, probable date of sailing, and probable maximum draft of each vessel when loaded to capacity with mines.4 These vessels should bring no American Mines. 11024 5523.


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

Footnote 1: Sims’ chief of staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: Combined with San Francisco, the only other minesweeper in comission at this time, the two ships had a “combined capacity of only 350 mines.” Northern Barrage: 70.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Joseph Strauss, Commander, Mine Force, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 4: See: William S. Benson to Sims, 29 March 1918. Seven mine planters, including Quinnebaug and Roanoke, were to be sent. The latter sailed first, in mid-April, but it proved to be a “fruitless trip, as Roanoke took no part in the BAaltimore’s mining operation.” The remainder of the squadron left the United States on 11-12 May 1918. Ibid., 83-84