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Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander, Battleship Division Nine, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


Battleship Division Nine,


U.S.S. NEW YORK, Flagship.

11 May 1918.       

From:          Commander Battleship Division Nine.

To  :          Secretary of the Navy (OPERATIONS)

Subject:       Weekly Report – for week ending 11 May 1918.

     1.  KITE BALLOON.1

          While exercising the Division under way, 8 May, permission was granted our regular destroyer screen to fire torpedoes at us as a target. At the same time our observer in the Kite Balloon was able to pick up the torpedoes several thousand yards distant, and give the necessary information for conning the ship to avoid them. The Kite Balloon is most useful in this respect; it will be equally so in sighting submarines and will also be of much value in spotting, and for observation over smoke screens and in low hanging fogs. There is no question but that one ship at least of each Division of Battleships and Cruisers, should carry them. A second ship of each Division should be fitted with a winch; etc. as a spare. The telephone from the observer’s basket is connected with six stations in the ship; communication is excellent.

     2.   UPKEEP OF SHIPS.

          Since the ships of this Division have been docking at British yards, the Admiralty has instituted inquiries as to why our ships require so much less work at overhaul periods than theirs. I am unable to answer the question, but think most likely that it is due to a larger complement of mechanicians carried by us, than in the British ships; that our ships were overhauled just before leaving home, and that since our arrival, the utmost endeavor has been made to correct any defects, and bring them up to the highest possible state of efficiency, and that we have done so; utilizing our own force.


          It has been found that director corrections are a minimum and more nearly constant in this Division than formerly, owing no doubt, to the fact that since the bunkers are kept practically filled, and fairly constant two months’ supply of stores and provisions are kept on hand, there is but little change in the hull lines of the ship, due to differences in load; in addition to which there are no sudden changes in temperature, as there are with us at home, thus eliminating two of the probable principal causes of change or error.


          The Division, less the WYOMING, exercised at Gunnery and Range Finder Drills underway, 8 May.

          The WYOMING sailed from NEWCASTLE on TYNE 9 May, and arrived at this base2 at 11:17 P.M., same date. She passed a floating mine enroute.

          The FLORIDA sailed for NEWCASTLE on TYNE 10 May for docking and fitting paravanes, and arrived the same date. She is the last ship of this Division to be docked for the present.


          All ships of the Division including the TEXAS3 are included in the future docking plans for the GRAND FLEET. . . .

Hugh Rodman   

|sn:DS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 381. The signature is a stamp. There is routing list at the bottom of the report: “To: OPERATIONS (2)/Copy to:/C.inC. Atl Flt. [Adm. Henry T. Mayo]/Force Comdr. [VAdm. William S. Sims]/Chief Naval Intel. [Capt. Roger Welles, Jr.],/Adm. [Charles J.] Badger./File.” There is an document identifier on the first page: “File 7.” And “1/S.”

Footnote 1: For a photograph of a kite balloon, see: May Illustrations.

Footnote 2: Rosyth is located in the Firth of Forth, Scotland.

Footnote 3: Texas was a battleship used as a substitute when any battleship in the squadron required repairs and was unavailable for duty. Jones, “U.S. Battleship Operations,” 82.

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