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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

 

                       DISPATCH TO BE SENT        <16-5-26>

Date May 10, 1918.

To        Opnav.

Prepared by    CS1 Approved <A67>   Code    No. <7793>

HIGHLY SECRET

     My 7693.2 Cruiser submarine is probably now in western part of Azores barred zone, and is thought to be the same one that engaged the POCAHONTAS.3

     Another cruiser submarine of same type is believed to be now operating northeast of Madeira, and will probably remain in that general area for about two weeks longer.

     A third cruiser submarine which sank the S/S BOMBALA on April twenty-fifth may also operate for the next two weeks near Canary Islands.4

     U-boat referred to paragraph two previous cable was in Latitude forty-six fifty-eight, Longitude thir<t>een twenty-six on May eighth, and there are indications that she is bound for the eastern portion of the Azores barred zone.     <20210.>

SIMS.

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

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff.

Footnote 3: From the DANFS entry on POCAHONTAS:

The most serious incident occurred in the forenoon of 2 May 1918 when a German submarine surfaced in her path and straddled her with 5.9" shells. Captain Edward C. Kalfbus ordered the crew to battle stations and gave the signal to open fire. Unfortunately the submarine was not within range of POCAHONTASguns. Although fragments of enemy shells fell on the ship, she was not directly hit and suffered no casualties. The transport commenced zig-zag courses, and then at full speed drew away from the submarine, probably U-151, twenty minutes after the attack began. Making a record of 16.2 knots, she kept the enemy astern. For saving the ship Captain Kalfbus was awarded the Navy Cross.

Footnote 4: U-153 and U-154 encountered Bombala, also called Willow Branch, on 25 April 1918 and shelled her for over two hours before the crew finally abandoned ship. One officer was taken prisoner, while several of the crew subsequently died or disappeared at sea.