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Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché at Rome, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters



No. C-47                               11 May 1918

From:     Naval Attache, American Embassy, Rome.

To:       Force Commander.

SUBJECT:       Escorting Vessels for Italy.

     1.   Upon taking up the question regarding a certain convoy in the Port of Naples with Rear Admiral LOBETTI in charge of the maritime traffic,1 the point was made that the delay in convoys from Naples bound North and South was due to the lack of proper escorting vessels.

     2.   Naples is now becoming more of a terminal port, and Allied and Neutral vessels are accumulating there. The point in question was the delay of some 15 days of vessels awaiting proper escorts. Another convoy of 18 vessels a few days ago sailed for Messina from Naples, escorted by one 800-ton destroyer, one 400-ton destroyer and one torpedo boat; weather bad. The 400-ton destroyer lost her mast and was otherwise damaged, and, in fact, all three of the escort vessels were hove to and the convoy proceeded on alone.

     3.   The Chief of Staff2 requested through me some days ago submarine chasers for escorting work in these waters. There is no doubt that in this increased coastal convoy work the Italians need some help, and Admiral Lobetti asked if there was a possibility of having some yachts assigned to this work. The Attache informed him that this question should be taken up at the Allied Conference, but that he was always glad to hear of these requests in advance. The Attache asked if an increase in U.S. escorting vessels between Gibraltar and Genoa would permit a redistribution of their own forces in Tyrrhenian Waters. To this Admiral Lobetti replied that even an increase of 2 yacht<s> would materially help him. This report is made not as an official request, but as an expression of the situation from the Office in Charge of Maritime Traffic and Escorting thereof.

(SGD)          C. STRAIN              

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

Footnote 1: Lobetti Bodoni, Inspector of Shipping Defense.

Footnote 2: Adm. Paolo Thaon di Revel.

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