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

Action Copy.                                     File No.

Cablegram Received May <9, 1918.> 06310  TOH

Origin  Opnav Washington.                        Ser. No. 5866

Ref’d to




10 May

<TAG      May 9 1918>


     40 ARD


5866. Your 7554.1 Following from General Pershing “With reference to paragraph 1 E your cablegram 1130 British state 14-inch guns not required now. War Office will advise when shipments are required” Following from our War Department dated May 8th to General Pershing “Reference paragraph 4 of our 687 paragraph 1 your 582 paragraph 1 our 1130 and paragraph 1 B your 1062. Entire project for five 14 inch guns with personnel complete will be shipped by Navy transportation without interfering with other transportation. In view of your report British do not require 14 inch gun now they will be sent for use with the American Army signed Marsh”2 Shipment material and Naval personnel will be forwarded to port debarkation St. Nazaire designated by our War Department subject approval Pershing.3 What is your information on change of plan. Navy Department on request War Department will add 3 additional mounts and necessary guns and personnel to operate.4 17009 5866


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

Footnote 1: Sims’ cable has not been found.

Footnote 2: That is, Gen. Peyton C. March, Army Chief of Staff.

Footnote 3: On 23 May, Pershing sent a request that the guns, railway mounts and rolling stock be sent to France. The first detachment of naval personnel for the guns, 250 men and 8 officers, sailed from Philadelphia on 26 May 1918 and arrived at St. Nazaire on 10 June. The first shipment of material began on 20 June, arriving at St. Nazaire on 8 July. “Railway Batteries,” Navy History and Heritage Command, accessed on 24 April 2018,

Footnote 4: In the end, five batteries were in operation served by a detachment of 471 officers and men. Ibid.

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