Captain William V. Pratt, Assistant (Acting) Chief of Naval Operations, to Bureau of Ordnance
From: Chief of Naval Operations.
To:- Bureau of Ordnance.
Commandants, U. S. Navy Yards,
BOSTON, NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA
NORFOLK, NEW ORLEANS.
SUBJECT: Army Chartered Vessels:
Armed Guards,- Changes in Batteries.
1. Owing to the limited supply of guns heavier than 3-inch 50 cal. available for arming merchant vessels including Army cargo and animal transports, and to the urgent necessity of providing armament for a great number of vessels with at least one heavy high velocity gun (to be mounted aft) to reassign batteries already furnished.
2. It is therefore directed that when certain vessels (as listed below) become available and as 3-inch 50 cal. guns become available, the forward heavy gun (4-inch or 5-inch) be replaced by a 3-inch 50 cal.
3. The 4-inch 50 cal. or the 5-inch 40 cal. removed will be considered available for further assignment by Bureau of Ordnance. . . .
5. As the lighter gun can be mounted with little or no change to the emplacement there should be practically no delay or alterations necessary in effecting this change. . . .
8. There are a considerable number of Army cargo and animal transports now furnished with but two 3-inch 50 cal. or two 4-inch 40 cal. guns. It is desired that eventually all vessels be furnished with at least one gun heavier than this caliber.
At such time as such vessels become available and the work can be done without delaying the vessel the after gun emplacement should be prepared to be capable of taking a 5-inch 40 cal. gun. At such time as the vessel is so prepared the Department will consider the furnishing of a 4-inch 50 cal. or a 5-inch gun to the vessel, altho[ugh] no assurance can be given to this effect.
9. When any of the above changes have been effected, memo report should be made to Operations and to Bureau of Ordnance.
[William V. Pratt]
Acting [Chief of Naval Operations].
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification numbers “28754-1:20./Op-24-D” appear in the upper-left corner, although some of these numbers are so smudged and crossed out they cannot be identified with certainty.