Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commander Charles P. Nelson, Commander, Submarine Chaser Detachment 2, Memorandum for Submarine Chasers of Detachment Two

[Extract]

U.S.NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

SUB CHASER DETACHMENT TWO

U.S.S.C. 95.

October 1, 1918.        

MEMORANDUM FOR SUB-CHASERS

GENERAL PLAN OF CAMPAIGN

     Allied forces will be stationed to the Northward to give warning of approach of enemy surface craft from Cattaro.

These forces will be as follows:

(a) Three Italian Flotilla Leaders (Rosirels class) position Lat. 41°50’ N. Long. 1840 E.

(b) 3 Italian Flotilla Leaders largest type (Aquillas class) position about 10 miles south of vessels mentioned under (a) approximate position Lat. 41.50 N. Long. 18.50 E.

(c) One Italian Battleship (Aliegri)

    One Italian Battle Cruiser (Marsala)

    Two British Light Cruisers (Glasgow and Gloucester)

    Four British Destroyers; position approximately 41-30 N. Between Long. 18.30 E and 19.00 E.

(d) 4 French Submarines in position as follows:

No.1 will patrol a circle 10 miles in diameter – centre of circle Lat. 42.14 N. Long 18.14 E.

No.2 will patrol a similar circle with centre Lat. 42.04N. Long 18.15 E.

No. 3 will patrol a similar circle with centre Lat. 41.49 N. Long. 18.15. E.

No.4 will patrol a line drawn from Mendos Point to Cape Ronodi – she will not get to the eastward of this line. Her center position will be 41.50 N. 19.00 E.

(e) 2 British submarines will patrol as follows:

No.1 will patrol a circle 10 miles in diameter, centre of circle 41.40 N. 18.38 E.

No. 2 will patrol a circle 10 miles in diameter, centre of circle 41.23 N. 18.40 E.

(f) One Italian submarine will patrol a circle 10 miles in diameter centre of circle 41.17 N. 18.40 E.

One will patrol a circle 10 miles in diameter, centre of circle 41.12 N. 18.28E.

          All Allied submarines will be north of Lat. 41.00 N. The Allied submarine recognition signal will consist of a parachute arrangement which, when opening, shows a yellow smoke grenade.

PLAN OF ATTACK

               Admiral Palladini1 (with 3 Italian Battle Cruisers) the SAN GEORGIOS, PISA and SAN MARCO in the order named will leave Brindisi at 0500, October 2, 19.8, and set course for Durazzo, speed 18 knots. He plans to start bombarding at 1000. The line of his approach for bombarding is marked X on the chart. The formation is shown as follows:2

          Admiral Palladini Formation. When bombardment commences Nereide and Ruby will have left and stood to Northward, also Nymph and Cameleon will have left and stood to Southward. Unit “H” should be in position 1000 yards on starboard flank of Italian main ships and Unit “G” should be in position 1000 yards on Port flank.

     NOTE:- Sweeps and Italian PN boats will keep station as shown during bombardment. . . .

     The Italian ships will bombard at a range of 12,000 metres.

     Referring to the above sketch, as the Italian ships turn into their bombarding sector, the left flank destroyers-NEREIDE #89 and the RUBY #16, will turn to port and will stand up to the northward to support the Unit of Chasers in that direction.

     The right flank destroyers – NYMPH #6A and CAMELEON #10, will head to the southward to support the Unit of chasers in that direction. About this time, Unit “G” will manoeuvre to take position on the left flank of the Italian Battle Cruisers, distance 1000 yards, formation – line ahead. Unit “H” will manoeuvre to a similar position on the right flank of the Italian ships. These units will act as a screen against submarine attack. Remember the life of these Battle Cruisers depends upon your vigilance and activity. The probable speed of the Italian ships will be 8 knots. Standard speed for submarine chasers will be 12 knots.

     After the Italian ships have run through their bombarding sector and have finished firing, they will turn off to the starboard. The Italian Admiral will hoise “R” commercial (red flag with yellow cross). This means that the British destroyers that went to the northward and southward before the bombardment will rendezvous on the Italian ships to protect them on their way back to Brindisi. After the Italian ships have turned after finishing their bombarding, Units “G” and “H” will leave the Italian ships and will stand to the northward to screen the British Light Cruisers which will then be coming down into position for their bombarding.

     Commodore Kelly3 (with LOWESTOFT, DARMOUTH & WEYMOUTH tripod foremast) with formation as shown in following sketch, will be heading down to enter his bombarding sector – range 10,000 metres, probable speed 10 knots. Unit “G” will take position on port beam of British Light Cruisers and Unit “H” on starboard beam; distance 1000 yards, formation – line ahead. As the chasers close the Light Cruisers and take up their position the British destroyers will have formed a screen up to this time, will drop back to a position to about one mile astern on the port quarter, of the Light Cruiser formation – line ahead. Remember again that the safety of the Light Cruisers depends on your vigilance and activity.4

     Commodore Kelly’s Formation. Upon approaching bombarding sector Unit “G” should be 1000 yards on port beam of British main ships and Unit “H” on starboard beam of British main ships, distance 1000 yards. Probable speed British vessels 10 knots. As units are taking assigned screening stations, the destroyers shown, TRIBUNE, SHARK, BADGER, FURY, will drop back and take position, 1 mile on port quarter of Weymouth, formation line ahead. When Light Cruisers finish bombardment, and turn to starboard to head for Brindisi, destroyers will again form screen and chasers will rendezvous to return to Brindisi.

     When the British Light Cruisers have passed through their bombarding sector they will turn to starboard and set a course for Brindisi. At the same time the 4 British destroyers on their port quarter will come ahead and form a screen. After the destroyers screen is formed the submarine chasers will rendezvous and set a courseffor Brindisi.

     Unit “B” will take position in the vicinity of Point M on the chart and will stand by to intercept any shipping which comes out of Durazzo. This unit will work back and forth so that nothing gets through. It is believed that the Hospital Ship will come out – this ship will be captured and sent to Valona. Unit “D” will carry out a similar duty in the vicinity of Point N.

     Unit “B” will note that British Destroyers – NEREIDE & RUBY will support them when the Italian ships enter their bombarding sector, and these destroyers will return to screen the Italian ships when the Italian ships have finished bombarding, and hoist commercial “R”. Unit “D” will not that British destroyers – NYMPH and CAMELEON will support them when the Italians enter their bombarding sector and these destroyers will return to screen after the Italian ships have finished firing and hoist commercial “R”.

     There will be a number of Allied aircraft engaged in the operation. In general there will be no firing at aircraft. Special circumstances might warrant firing, for instance if you are close and are sure that the aircraft is hostile. There will be no communication with Allied aircraft. The Allied aircraft signal the presence of a minefield by making low circles and firing 2 red Very’s lights. . . .

     G.M.T. time will be used.

C.P.NELSON

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

Footnote 1: Adm. Osvaldo Paladini, I.R.N.F.

Footnote 2: For the plan of attack, see: Illustrations for the month of October 1918.

Footnote 3: Commo. W.A.H. Kelly, R.N.

Footnote 4: For Commo. Kelly’s plan, see: Illustration for the month of October 1918.

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