Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff for Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

October 3, 1917.

From:     Force Commander

To:       Secretary of the Navy (Operations)

Subject:       Contemplated changes in Operations at Gibraltar

          At the present time shipping between the Mediterranean and the British Isles is handled as follows:

          Vessels are assembled in convoys at Gibraltar and are then escorted to the westward until clear of dangerous submarine waters, when the escort leaves them and returns to Gibraltar. Mercantile ships remain in convoy, however, and continue their course toward the British Isles. As the convoy approaches dangerous submarine water it is met by an escort and carried through to destination. The convoys from Gibraltar are alternately east coast and west coast, and include all Allied ships as well as neutral vessels trading with Allied countries.

          On the outward trip from England to Gibraltar convoys are formed at Milford Haven and at Falmouth. These convoys are escorted out of the dangerous waters in the vicinity of the British Isles and are then dispersed, and arrive at their destination singly.

          It is now proposed that these outward-bound convoys remain together and that they pass into dangerous waters in the vicinity of Gibraltar in convoy, escorted as they approach the Straits of Gibraltar by the forces based on Gibraltar.

          The BIRMINGHAM, CHESTER1 and the coast guard cutters will probably be utilized as ocean escorts for these convoys to and from Gibraltar. Smaller craft based on Gibraltar will assist in the escort of these convoys through local waters and will also patrol the most threatened areas.2

<N C Twining> 

Chief of Staff.    

Signed for Vice-Admiral Sims in his

absence       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There are two identifying numbers; in the upper left-hand corner is: “C-1058”; in the upper right hand corner in columnar fashion is: “”1/5/6/C/J.”

Footnote 1: BIRMINGHAM and CHESTER were scout cruisers.

Footnote 2: On the coast guard cutters and other American ships based at Gibraltar, see: List of United States Navy Ships to be Based at Gibraltar, 8 August 1917.

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