Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations
C O P Y
CABLEGRAM RECEIVED Nov. 09928
Origin Opnav, Washington Ser. No. 1325
Ref’d. to C. S. Date 28 Nov.
1325. Your 1590 our 1194 Forward Benson. Following plans and disposition of Force approved by Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet is submitted for your approval. Plans as follows
First, organize the cruiser Force into six Divisions which you verbally agreed to before leaving with Division 2 and 3 composed of the Armored Cruiser class Division 4 U.S.S. CHARLESTON class Division 5 and 6 U.S.S. DENVER class.
Second, assign units of Battleship Force 1 to troop ships and important cargo convoys to double protection against raiders.
Third, assign units of Atlantic Fleet to general task groups or grand divisions as stated later herein.
Disposal of Forces as follows,
First, Forces in European Waters under general command of Vice Admiral Sims as at present.
Second, Atlantic convoys under general command of Vice Admiral Grant grouped as follows,
(1) Trans-Atlantic Troop Ship convoys under Rear Admiral Gleaves composed of Transport Force Battleship Division 3 Cruiser Divisions 2 and 3 Destroyer Divisions 2 and 3.
(2) Cargo Convoy out of New York under direct charge of Vice Admiral Grant composed of Battleship Division 4 and Cruiser Divisions 1 and 4.
(3) Cargo Convoy from Hampton Roads to Gibraltar under Rear Admiral Johnson composed of Cruiser Divisions 5 and 6.
(4) Coastal Convoys Colon to Halifax Nova Scotia under Rear Admiral Glennon composed of Battleship Squadron 1.
Third, Battleship Force 2 under Vice Admiral Coffman together with Destroyer Divisions A and B and Fleet Submarine Chaser Squadron.
Four, Train under Rear Admiral W. L. Rodgers.
Five, Remainder Force as at present.
Plan and disposition outlined above has the advantage of enabling us to undertake the convoy to Gibraltar and of double protection given each trans-Atlantic convoy against possible raiders. Tran-Atlantic troop-ship convoys every 8 days from New York each escorted by 1 battleship and one armored cruiser. Cargo convoy every 8 days from New York each escorted by 1 battleship and 1 cruiser. Cargo convoy Hampton Roads, Va. to Gibraltar every 15 days each escorted by 2 cruisers. Coastal convoys Colon to Halifax, Nova Scotia every 15 days each escorted by 1 battleship.
Later on when destroyers of extended sea radius become available a portion of these should be added to the Trans-Atlantic Troopship Convoys if large cruiser submarines operate in the middle and Western Atlantic. For this purpose it is estimated that at least two Divisions of Destroyers would be needed. If submarine cruiser operations become extensive still more destroyers will be needed to give adequate protection to cargo convoys. Method of handling over-sea and convoy operations to remain as at present under direct control of Operations, the Commander-in-Chief Atlantic to maintain a liaison officer in the office of Operations for the promotion co-operation and exchange of information concerning operations in progress or in contemplation.