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Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Senior Officer, Destroyer Flotilla, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters





30 November 1917.

From:     Commanding Officer, U.S.S.MELVILLE.

To:       Force Commander.

Subject:  Policy re allocating new Destroyers.

Reference: (a) Force Commanders letter C. 3103.of Nov. 26,1917.1

     1.  The receipt of reference (a) is acknowledged. It has been given most careful consideration and the policy therein outlined is understood and will be carried out.

     2.  Referring specifically to the destroyers (750 tonners) to be detailed for duty in France, the following is submitted:- The WARRINGTON was detailed in accordance with previous instructions from the Force Commander as being a reliable but not an economical ship. At the time that instructions for the detail of a destroyer for duty in France were received, it was not forseen that other destroyers would be similarly detailed and as a consequence, the question of a Divisional detail was not considered. Had it been considered a destroyer of Division 5 would have been detailed instead of the WARRINGTON because a careful consideration of the relative reliability of destroyers of Divisions 4 and 5 exclusive of the WARRINGTON, brings me to the conclusion that they are to be classed as reliable in the following order:

              WARRINGTON - - - - - - Division Four.

              JARVIS   - - - - - - -  Division five.

              AMMEN - - - - - - - -  "          "

              DRAYTON - - - - - - -  "         Four.

              FANNING - - - - - - -  "        Five.

              TRIPPE  - - - - - - -  "          " 

              PAULDING - - - - - - - "         Four.

              BURROWS - - - - - - -  "          Five.

              STERRETT - - - - - - - "          Four.

              JENKINS - - - - - - -  "          "

              PATTERSON - - - - - -  "         Five.

     3.  From the above it can be seen that of the three remaining ships composing Division 4, the DRAYTON is third in point of reliability, while the STERRETT and JENKINS are eighth and ninth. The JENKINS is in process of having her boilers retubed, which work will not be completed for probably two months, as it is being done during her stays in port. When this work is completed, the JENKINS will be quite as reliable as any ship in either of the two divisions.

     4.  In view of this classification and of the Force Commander’s desire that the vessels should be taken all from one division, it is submitted for consideration that the fifth Division be sent to this duty, one by one, as may be necessary, when new ships arrive, in accordance with the policy outlined.

     5.  If the Force Commander deems this to be proper and if it is in accordance with his desires, it is suggested that when the MANLEY arrives and is ready for service, the JARVIS and AMMEN be sent to Brest, and the WARRINGTON returned to Queenstown and that FANNING, TRIPPE, PAULDING,BURROWS and PATTERSON be sent in the order named. It is to be remembered in this connection, that the PATTERSON is due to return to the United States sometime in the early spring in order that she may be reb-oilered [i.e., re-boilered].

     6.  In order that the arrangements for escorts may be as little interfered with as possible by changes of ships at the base, it is desirea-ble to decide as far ahead of time as possible upon the changes that are actually to be made and it is therefore respectfully requested that the Force Commander indicate his desires in this matter as soon as convenient.2

(Sgd) J.R.P.PRINGLE.    

Source Note: LTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, box 413. Note in top left-hand corner: “Refer to/No.D-26-8.”

Footnote 2: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining replied on 6 December 1917, writing that the policy Pringle proposed in paragraph four above would be adopted, although it was not considered “of enough importance” to recall WARRINGTON. Twining added that there was no intention to “interfere” with the employment of the destroyers at Queenstown and that vessels designated for Brest “should not be released from Queenstown” until the relieving vessels were ready “in all respects to take the place of vessels sent to Brest.” He added that in would not be necessary to adhere strictly to the order of ships as given by Sims in his letter of 26 November as “emergencies may arise which will make to suitable to amend this order.”  Twining to Pringle, 6 December 1917, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, box 413.

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