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


November 26, 1917. 

From:     Force Commander.

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

Subject:  Policy re.allocating new Destroyers.

     It is the intention of the Force Commander to send to Queenstown all new destroyers arriving from the United States. Owing to the insistent demand for more destroyers on the French Coast to handle the large transports now arriving there, as well as to provide offshore escort for the many supply ships arriving in France, it will be necessary for the present to send to France one 750 ton destroyer for each new destroyer that joins from the United States. It is believed that this will meet the most urgent demands for service on the French Coast, and that it will not be necessary to diminish the number of destroyers now based on Queenstown.

     The great bulk of the work on the French Coast will be offshore escort, which will not require vessels of great economy; but it should be carefully kept in mind that the repair facilities at Brest are very inadequate, and do not compare in any way with the facilities afforded by the MELVILLE, DIXIE, and the Dockyard at Queenstown. For this reason it is of the greatest importance that reliable vessels only be sent to Brest. It is noted that the WARRINGTON has been slated to be sent to Brest. It would be advantageous if the next vessels were to be taken from Division 4, so that this Division would ultimately be based at Brest. Any weak vessels in Division 4 could be replaced by a more reliable vessel from Division 5, if necessary.1

     From present information it is expected that the U.S.S. MANLEY will arrive at Queenstown about December 9. As soon as this vessel is ready for service send one 750-ton destroyer to report to Admiral Wilson2 and base on Brest in continuation of the general policy. After sufficient destroyers are based on Brest I shall try to increase the Queenstown Force by 5 destroyers as you have previously suggested, unless other demands arise that will make it impossible to carry out this suggestion.

     If troop convoys continue to arrive with greater frequency than at present, it may be desirable in the future to place one group of destroyers on Brest for troop escort work.

WM. S. SIMS   



Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification marker “C.” appears in the upper-left corner, followed by hand-written numbers “3105”.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, Patrol Forces in France.

Footnote 2: Fanning, Cummings, and Jarvis were assigned to Brest from Division 4, along with Drayton from Division 5.

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