Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Waldo A. Evans and Commander Henry E. Yarnell to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

NAVY DEPARTMENT

OFFICE OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

WASHINGTON

October 18, 1918.

MEMORANDUM for Chief of Naval Operations. (Captain Pratt.1)

Subject: Northern Bombing Project.

          In view of the military situation in Belgium, it is probable that in a few days the enemy will be turned out of the Belgium coast, and the ports of Zeebrugge and Bruggs [i.e., Bruges] will no longer be available for enemy submarine bases. The Northern Bombing Project was intended to destroy these bases and its mission will disappear.

          It is recommended that this project be transferred at once to Italy for bombing operations against the Austrian naval base of Pola.

          The results of intensive bombing on this base will be very great. It is the headquarters and only anchorage of the Austrian fleet. It is the main repair base of all submarines operating from the Adriatic.

          The distance from the Italian coast (not over 70 miles) makes it ideal for bombing conditions.

          In view of the above, it is suggested that the following cablegram be sent to Admiral Sims:2

          “Request your views on desirability of immediately transferring Northern bombing project to Italy for operations against Pola.”3

W. Evans      

H E Yarnell   

Source Note: DTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: William V. Pratt, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 2: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 3: On 23 October, a delegation of five officers was created as an inspection commission to investigate the possibility of transferring the bombing group to Italy. Also, in anticipation of the transfer, the Italians began preparing facilities for the American flyers, however, the sudden collapse of Austro-Hungary in early November meant that the commission never got farther than Paris and nothing more was done concerning the proposal. Rossano, Striking the Hornet’s Nest, 207.

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