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


CS1                               March 28, 1918

FROM:     Force Commander.

TO  :     Secretary of the Admiralty.

SUBJECT:  Employment of the United States Submarine Chasers in the Mediterranean.

REFERENCE:     (a) Admiralty’s letter No. M. 03106 of March 25, 1918.2

     1.   Captain R. H. Leigh, U. S. Navy, of the Force Commander’s Staff, is leaving London to-day for Brindisi, Italy to confer with Commodore Kelly3 in the matter of the employment of the United States submarine chasers which it is proposed to allocate to the Otranto barrage.

     2.   Captain Leigh will also discuss with Commodore Kelly the subject of the best port upon which to base these vessels, and he will, if necessary, continue on to Malta to confer with Admiral Calthorpe.4

     3.   Captain Leigh will probably arrive at Brindisi on April 3rd.

     4.   The recommendation of the Allied Naval Council as to the allocation of thirty six submarine chasers to the Mediterranean was duly communicated to the United States Navy Department, which has not as yet given its approval to the plan, but will doubtless do so at an early date.5

     5.   Assuming that thirty six chasers are allocated to the Otranto barrage as planned, it seems probable that the remaining 108 of the total of 144 vessels of this type will be allocated to the waters contiguous to the British Isles, that is to the Irish Sea and Channel; the English Channel, and the North Sea, and that the Ford Destroyers of which a maximum of one hundred may be expected, will be allocated in part to the same localities and part to the Atlantic coast of France, and in part to the Mediterranean with base at Gibraltar. While this assignment cannot be considered as more than provisional at the present time, it is thought that dispositions should be made for taking care of 108 submarine chasers of the 110 ft. class and 50 Ford destroyers in the ports of the United Kingdom, and of about 20 of the Ford destroyers at Gibraltar.6

     6.   With respect to the new large destroyers which are to be added to the United States Naval Forces in Europe: It may be said that the approximately fifty such vessels may arrive during the present calendar year, and it is safe to assume that of these fifty at least will be assigned to such operative areas as will involve their being supplied from bases in the United Kingdom.

(signed)  WM. S. SIMS.  

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “3/6/D.”

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

Footnote 2: The message referred to have not been found.

Footnote 3: Capt. Robert H. Leigh, Commander, Submarine Chasers, Distant Service, and Commo. William A. H. Kelly, Commander, British Adriatic Force.

Footnote 4: Adm. Somerset A. Gough-Calthorpe, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.

Footnote 6: Sims is referring to the Eagle-class steel hulled Patrol Craft. These ships were not finished in time to play a roll in the war. DANFS