Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Herbert G. Sparrow, Commander, Submarine Force, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

22 May 1918                  

CONFIDENTIAL

From:     Commander, Submarine Force.

To  :     Chief of Naval Operations.

SUBJECT:  Operations of Submarines in Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay.

Reference: (a) Comdr. Sub. Force letter 8714-F, dated 17 May 1918.1

     1.   Returned.

     2.   The Commander Submarine Force believes that with the present restrictions as given in Department’s despatch 15015 (May), there is no chance of harm resulting from the operations of our submarines in the allotted area.

     3.   This area embraces Cape Cod Bay only, a locality which is not used by ocean going shipping bound in and out of Massachusetts Bay.

     4.   The Force Commander agrees with the opinion that it is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding our own submarines to have surface craft with them while they are operating; such surface craft to fly the Submarine Warning Flag.

     5.   There being no surface vessel of the Submarine Force available for this purpose, it is suggested that the District Commandant2 furnish Submarine Patrol vessels for the purpose. One such Patrol Vessel for two submarines operating or two vessels for three or four submarines would be necessary.

     6.   The sole idea of using these waters is to enable new submarines to operate sufficiently to develop any defects that they may possess before final shoving off from the Navy Yard.

     7.   It will be the policy of the Submarine Force Commander to reduce the time of operations in this vicinity to the minimum possible and then transfer the vessels to the New London Base via Newport, R.I., (for obtaining and proving torpedoes) to continue and complete their training.

R. G. SPARROW.     

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 414.

Footnote 1: Document referred to has not been found, but for more information, see: Spencer S. Wood to Benson, 16 May 1918.

Footnote 2: Commo. James P. Parker, Commandant, 2nd Naval District, Narragansett.