Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn, Commander, Azores Detachment

Subject Copy.                            File No. <40/12/2>

Cablegram Sent May 18, 1918

To  Senafloat Ponta Delgada                Serial No  718 LEM1

Prep. by      CS            NCT2       D.R.

29 ADR                  

718. Your 470.3 All experience in European Waters in the warfare against submarines has shown that under conditions such as now exist in the vicinity of the Azores submarines are moressuitable for the work than submarine chasers. Three enemy submarines have been destroyed by British submarines within the past week.4 I therefore do not concur in your opinion that the mission of your command could be better carried out by chasers than by submarines, and it would be inadvisable to divert to the Azores the few vessels of the former type available from areas in which they can be profitably employed. If the submarines now at the Azores are in such condition that they must be sent to the United States for repairs the fact is of the utmost importance and warrants your cabling in some detail, so that I may lay the matter promptly before the Navy Department and ask that other submarines be sent at once to replace them.

          The primary mission of the forces stationed at the Azores is to prevent those islands from being used with impunity as ports of refuge by enemy submarines. The execution of this mission does not require a large force, and it is a fact that no enemy submarine has operated among the islands since the arrival of our forces there. This statement is made in view of the fact that you have made several recommendations as to increasing your force or change in its composition, which would only be necessary in case the mission of the force were radically changed and would be justified only in case other areas were provided with all necessary forces which is very far from being the case at present <02319> 718

SIMS,         

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Someone crossed through the 18 in the date and handwrote “19” over it. The time/date stamp at the end of the text is also handwritten. For that reason the editors have assigned the original date, 18 May, to this copy.

Footnote 1: Presumably, the initials of the transcriber/coder.

Footnote 2: “CS” was chief of staff, which was Capt. Nathan C. Twining (“NCT”).

Footnote 3: Dunn’s cable has not been found.

Footnote 4: Sims is correct. UB-16 was sunk by a British submarine on 10 May 1918; U-154 was torpedoed and sunk on 11 May; and UB-72 was sunk by a third British submarine on 12 May 1918. Kemp. U-Boats Destroyed: 48-49.