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Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, United States Patrol Squadron Based at 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 this operation, see: Niblack to Sims, 21 May 1918.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Charles P. Nelson, Commander, Leonidas, was en route to Corfu to assume command of the 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, Senior Officer, 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.