Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander, Battleship Division Nine, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

[Extract]

BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE,

UNITED STATES ATALNTIC FLEET,

U. S. S. NEW YORK, Flagship.

                    [Roswyn, Scotland] 23 May 1918.   

From:     Commander BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE.

To:       Force Commander.

Subject:  Statement of Naval accomplishments for publicity

          purposes.

Reference:(a) F. Comdr. Cir. Letter No.33, dated 14 May 1918.

     1.   In compliance with reference (a) the following information is furnished:

          ORGANIZATION OF BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE.   

          This Division, composed of the

                    U. S. S. NEW YORK,

                    U. S. S. DELAWARE,

                    U. S. S. FLORIDA,and

                    U. S. S. WYOMING,

Was organized 13 November 1917, at Yorktown, Virginia, under the command of Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, the ships proceeding at once to their home yards to prepare for active service; mobilized at Lynnhaven Roads, Virginia, and on 25 November, 1917, got underway for European Waters, arriving at Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, 7 December 1917. Upon arrival at that base Admiral Rodman reported to Commander in Chief, British Grand Fleet,1 and this division was assigned to and designated as the SIXTH BATTLE SQUADRON.

     On February 11, 1918, the division was augmented by the arrival of the TEXAS, making a total of five (5) ships.

     The number of personnel of this division is about 6000 men, with a very few changes since our arrival.

     COMMUNICATION.

     Immediately after our arrival the British system of communication was adopted and put into effect, and in a very short while we were able to maneuver and cooperate efficiently with the Grand Fleet.

               GENERAL DUTIES.

     Since our arrival we have taken part in all operations with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea; taken our turn at escorting Norwegian Convoys, and have done our share in the work ashore at Scapa Flow, which consisted of building an Air Station, and were complimented by the British upon the amount of work accomplished on the latter.

               GUNNERY EXERCISES.

     From our arrival until 15 April 1918, with the excepting of about three weeks around the Christmas Holidays, all of our time was spent at Scapa Flow. During this time two Long Range Full Calibre Exercises were carried out in Pentland Firth, one in which the ships fired individually and the other Pair Concentration Exercise. Day Torpedo Defense and Night Torpedo Defense Exercises were carried out in Scapa Flow.

               LEAVE, LIBERTY AND RECREATION.

     At Scapa Flow there is no opportunity for liberty of any kind as the only town in the near vicinity is Kirkwall which is too small to accommodate liberty parties.

     At a special consideration Edinburgh liberty was granted to our men during the Christmast Holidays while the division was at Rosyth.

     Since our arrival, 15 April 1918, liberty has been granted on alternating days. The men are restricted to the town of Dunfermline.

     At Scapa Flow, during the winter months, there is no recreation and the men are dependent upon moving pictures and amateur theatricals for amusements.

     During our present stay at Rosyth we have been assigned a recreation field which has been turned into a base ball diamond. A league has been organized in the Division and several games already have been played. Base ball is very much of interest to the British. For officers there is plenty of recreation, such as tennis or golf, which are very largely patronized by us.

     The conduct of the men has been excellent; very few cases of liberty breaking and drunkenness. The men have created an excellent impression ashore.

               REFITTING.

     The NEW YORK, IWYOMING and DELAWARE, have had their docking period at Newcastle on Tyne and the FLORIDA is at present undergoing the same. During these docking periods, opportunity has been taken to give the men leave in two periods of five (5) days each, to enable them to see something of the country.

     While refitting all ships have had P.V.s installed.2

     The TEXAS has not had a docking period owing to the fact that she just had an overhaul period before sailing for these waters.

     We have been complimented by the Admiralty for the small amount of work required at the yard from the yard workmen during our refit periods, due largely to the excellent upkeep maintained by the different Commanding Officers with the ship’s forces.

               STOWAGE FACILITIES ASHORE.

     Since our arrival here arrangements have been made and our surplus stores and provisions are now kept at Aberdeen,and drawn as needed; stowage of ammunition has been secured at Rosyth, so as to be readily available after action.

               THEATER OF OPERATIONS.

     The area in which these vessels operate is in the North Sea, and extends from the Shetland Islands, North, to the Heligoland Bight, South.

               OPERATIONS.

     January 31st to February 2nd.

               In Grand Fleet maneuvers in the North Sea.

February 6-10. On Convoy duty (Norwegian Convoy);33 vessels outbound and 27 vessels on return voyage.

February 16-17. Operating with Grand Fleet in the North Sea, with a view to intercepting the German Battle Cruisers which we had information they were out. This operation was in a very heavy gale. On this trip we had one casualty,- the NEW YORK lost and enlisted man overboard.3

March 8-12. On Convoy duty (Norwegian Convoy); 28 vessels on outbound and 25 vessels on return voyage.

April 17-20. On convoy duty (Norwegian Convoy); 28 vessels on outbound and 27 vessels on return voyage.

April 24-26. Operating in North Sea with Grand Fleet; with the object of intercepting the German High Sea Fleet. We had information that they were out, and just missed making contact by 30 miles.

          All the above operations were carried out without mishap and on scheduled time. One or more enemy sub-marines were sighted on each operation and torpedoes were fired at us on several of them. Many floating mines were sighted and destroyed by Destroyer Screens,

     Besides the above operations, weekly exercises in Pentland Firth or in the Flow, Full Calibre Firing, Torpedo Defense Firing and Sub-Calibre Concentration Exercises were carried out during our stay at Scapa.4 During our stay at Rosyth exercises were carried out in Burnt Island Roads, including Sub-calibre Concentration Exercises, range finder exercises, and checking directorscopes.

               STEAMING RECORD.

     Based on the NEW YORK’s record, this division has steamed 812.8 hours, a total of 11248.3 knots, since leaving NEW YORK, 22 November 1917.

          QUARANTINE.

     The health of the men has been excellent as a whole, with the exception of the NEW YORK and FLORIDA. These vessels were quarantined for sometime after our arrival with mumps, have brought [more?] of the cases from the United States. The WYOMING was placed under quarantine for about ten days, due to influenza, which has been removed.

     2.  It is realized that not much of the above information could be passed by the Censor, but it is all submitted in order that the Force Commander may select that which he deems proper to put before the public.

Hugh Rodman        

Source Note: TD, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 382. The signature is a stamp. There is a distribution list at the end of the document: “To: F.Comdr. (2)/File.”

Footnote 1: Adm. Sir David Beatty, R.N.

Footnote 2: That is, paravanes. Paravanes were a form of towed underwater "glider" used to deflect mines away from ships, was developed from 1914–16 by Cmdr. Cecil V. Usborne and Lt. Charles D. Burney.

Footnote 4: “Full Calibre Firing” was firing the battleship’s heavier guns at long range. Jones, “U.S. Battleship Operations,” 67. “Sub-Calibre Concentration Exercises” were presumably firing the battleship’s small weapons at a specific target.

Related Content