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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters



Oct. 26, 1917.

Origin    Opnav Washington                Serial No. Opnav 840

Via       N.C.B. 18 D.                          Date No. 17025

Copies to C. of S.; J.V.B., B.A.L.1

Action referred to:

C. of S.



Opnav 840. Captain Samuel S. Robison2 has planned for operation of his force in Azores. Senior submarine commander will naturally keep you informed and will be guided by your instructions. Azores force is within the limit of your command and all forces there will be under your general directions. Very probably in the near future a group of destroyers assigned to troop convoy work may be based on the Azores.3 You will be informed of any intended additions to Azores force as soon as additions are made. It is not intention to keep Captain Robison permanently at Azores but later on an officer of suitable rank will be ordered probably a Rear Admiral as Base Commander.4 You will be informed of the detail when it is made. 17025.

Admiral Benson.    

6:30 A.M.     

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. “C O P Y” appears centered at the top of the page on a broken underline. Identification numbers “1/3/4/N/J” appear in columnar fashion just below the headings.

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff; Cmdr. John V. Babcock, Sims’ aide who handled intelligence; and Lt. Cmdr. Byron A. Long, Sims’ aide who handled convoying issues.

Footnote 2: Capt. Samuel S. Robison commander, Atlantic Submarine Force.

Footnote 3: The Navy Department did station a few destroyers at the Azores, despite objections from Sims, who strongly urged concentrating them in European waters. His arguments eventually persuaded Washington and destroyers stationed on the islands were moved to Europe. To defend against submarine threats, the Azores kept the First Marine Aeronautic Company and a submarine flotilla, though both the planes and subs were old and functioned poorly. Still, Crisis at Sea: 134-136.

Footnote 4: On 23 January 1918, RAdm. Herbert O. Dunn assumed command at Ponta del Gada. Ibid, 138.