Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, United States Patrol Squadrons Based on Gibraltar, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


ORIGIN: Senafloat, Gibraltar.                      SER. No. 857.

CS      19 May.

32 ARD.


857. During the night submarine chasers discovered enemy submarine base Sardinia Bay 12 miles North-East Gibraltar in Spanish territorial waters.1 Nelson returned forenoon leaving 2 divisionsto follow submarine working up coast.2 British motor launches are relieving them and force will sail to-morrow as soon as practicable after daylight. Their work here has forestalled an offensive against Gibraltar as they detected presence of 3 submarines in vicinity. Bombs were dropped but not effectively.3 Admiral Grant urgently suggests leaving 2 divisions to follow but am insisting sailing entire force shall be expedited.4  15018   857.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 387.

Footnote 1: For a report on the operation against this submarine, see: Niblack to Sims, 21 May 1918.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Charles P. Nelson, who was en route to Corfu to assume command of U.S. submarine chaser force in the Mediterranean.

Footnote 3: In a report on this incident, Sims noted that the submarine had been discovered by a seaplane. See: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 21 May 1918.

Footnote 4: RAdm. Heathcoat S. Grant, R.N., Commander, British Forces Stationed at Gibraltar. Sims ordered that twelve American submarine chasers could remain temporarily at Gibraltar “for further offensive work against the submarine.” See: Sims to Niblack, 19 May 1918.