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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. <25-9-15>

Cablegram Received May 16 <15>, 1918.

Origin Opnav. Washington.                   Ser. No. Simben 2.

  Ref’d to          Date           ACTION, NOTES and INITIALS.

                                      <May 15, 1918>

                             COPY                        SIMBEN


SIMBEN 2. The present system of routing troop ships provides for crossing 30º between 44º and 47º. From these points direct routes to northern and southern French Atlantic ports of disembarkation will cross 15º at 45º and 48º. These extreme positions mark the most favorable extreme positions for entering Bay of Biscay. Due to necessity for taking every precaution to guard our troop ships, the constantly increasing use of Azores Islands, and the fact that many vessels make direct sailings now routed via or near Azores Islands, it is opinion of the Department that a small destroyer force ought to be based upon Azores.

     U. S. S. LITTLE, U. S. S. CONNER and U. S. S. KIMBERLY are temporarily assigned to this duty. In addition to present system of routing troop convoys between latitude 44º and 47 at longitude 30º an additional cross zone is assigned at 30º to be used if desired in the following manner: Cross Meridian of 30º between latitude 40 degrees 30 and latitude 43 degrees 30. Cross Meridian longitude 15 degrees between latitude 45 degrees and latitude 48 degrees. From Meridian latitude 15 degrees convoy will steer straight for destination. Whatever the number of degrees and minutes above latitude 40 degrees 30 the crossing at longitude 30 degrees is made, the same number of degrees and minutes difference will be preserved in crossing longitude 15 degrees, for example a ship crosses meridian longitude 30 degrees in latitude 41 degrees 30 will cross longitude 15 degrees at latitude 46 degrees then straight to destination. No other crossing except those at longitude 30 degrees will be reported by us to you following present procedure. Admiral Dunn1 will be informed by you of the lower degree crossing of any convoy group for which special escort is desired and is expected within the limit of his force to meet any such group as far west as necessary or practicable and to accompany such groups eastward up to the time your destroyer escort join up as far as is compatible with the safe steaming radius of the destroyers based upon Azores Islands. This plan to become effective upon receipt of our cable stating additional crossing plan effective.

     Acknowledge and repeat by cable paraphrasing of essential points. Simben 2. 15015.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The hand-written date is confirmed by the time/date stamp at the end of the cable.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Herbert O. Dunn, Commander, Azores Detachment, Atlantic Fleet.

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