Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander, Battleship Division Nine, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

U.S.NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

Battleship Division Nine

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

NEW YORK, Flagship.

31 October 1918.

From:     Commander BATTLESHIP DIVISION NINE.

To  :     Chief of NAVAL OPERATIONS.

Via :     Force Commander.1

Subject:  Disposition of German Fleet.

     1.   The principle reasons for our entry into the war were to prevent Germany from realizing her ambition to dominate the world, to force her Kultur upon other nations, to exterminate her militarism, and to insure a lasting world’s peace.

     2.   These objects cannot be fully and completely obtained if she be allowed to retain her fleet, including her submarines. It is a most reasonable and logical assumption that she will be disarmed on land and sea.

     3.   The question, then, of the disposition of her fleet, resolves itself into:

     (a) Its destruction, or

     (b) Its distribution amongst the navies of the Allies.

          RECOMMENDATIONS.

(1)  That the former be adopted in reference to its capital ships, and that they be taken to sea intact and sunk in such a depth as will preclude the possibility of ever raising or salving them.

(2)  That her light cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, be distributed amongst the navies of the Allies.

          REASONS.

(a)  The Allies now have sufficient capital ships to dominate and keep Germany’s navy from the high seas; other types can be utilized by the Allies.

(b)  Such being the case, they, the Allies, would be all the stronger, were Germany’s capital ships taken from her.

(c)  Hence there would be no excuse nor reason for adding to the capital ships of the Allies, thus incurring an unnecessary additional expense.

(d)  A less important reason is that, the guns, ammunition, appliances, installations, structure, etc., would not be in accordance with our standards, which would cause an additional expense over our own, in maintenance.

(e)  In conclusion it should be added that should Germany be deprived of her capital ships, but be allowed to construct others, before she could complete a sufficient number to be a formidable force, the present ones would be all but obsolete. Therefore, there would be no logical reason for their maintenance ad interim.

Hugh Rodman        

Source Note: DTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 413. The notations “File 311” and “1/L” appear at the top of the first page, and the recipient list below close reads: “To: Ch.of Nav.Op./Copy: F.Comdr./File.”

Footnote 1: VAdm William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

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