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 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

A-1.                                    23 May 1918

From:-    Force Commander.

To:-      Secretary of the Navy.

Subject:- SITUATION IN EUROPE AS REGARDS U.S. AIRCRAFT ACTIVITIES.

Reference:-(a) Cable No.3776, February 9, 1918.1

1.   Although it is thoroughly appreciated that effort is being made in the United States to produce aeroplanes in sufficient numbers to meet our requirements on this side, the situation in this respect is so acute that I feel impelled again to invite particular attention to this important subject.2

2.   There can be no doubt but that the successful prosecution of the anti-submarine campaign will be greatly increased by the Adequate employment of aeroplanes, and as we have committed ourselves to a rather extensive program in this connection, it is most important that every effort be made to permit us to meet our contracts along these lines.

3.   In addition to the establishment of seaplane, dirigible, and kite balloon stations in Europe, we have now undertaken the establishment of the very important Northern Bombing Squadrons in France.

4.   Although a complete list of our requirements, both as regards personnel and materiel, for this program, has been sent in, I feel it incumbent upon me to urge that every possible step be taken to expedite the shipment of both the personnel and the materiel not only for this particular project, but for our entire aeronautical obligations. We have now progressed to the state where we are in a position to receive, accommodate and operate all seaplanes which may be manufactured in the United States and sent to us in accordance with the program under which we are now operating. We have some little material of which we are making the best possible use, and we have already accomplished results.

5.   Unfortunately, however, due to the delays in the production of aeronautical material in the United States, the Navy is far behind its contemplated program.

6.   In order, therefore, that we may join our allies in the prosecution of a vigorous campaign in the air, it is most urgently important that we be given the necessary personnel and material to accomplish this as expeditiously as possible.

Wm. S. SIMS.       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Document referred to has not been found.

Footnote 2: Procurement of aircraft material constructed in the United States was so slow that it was viewed as an embarrassment by Sims and the Naval Aviation Commander in European, Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone. Aircraft shipping was plagued by problems including damaged equipment, disorganized shipping, and limited technical experts to repair and construct the planes on arrival. Rossano, Stalking the U-Boat: 142-143.