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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Vice Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces in France

            CABLEGRAM SENT              26th October 1918 Y-42

To  Comfran Brest                              Serial No.  8496

Prep by O1                          NCT  SX

                                43 ADR


8496 URGENT. In order that shipping may take full advantage while there is no enemy activity in Bay of Biscay1 and until further orders you are authorised to sail cargo ships to westward in groups with escort of one unit, escort to remain with group approximately 24 hours. Groups not to be sailed from assembly ports oftener than once a day and to be routed clear of convoys as usual. Admiralty concur in including British cargo ships in these groups. Groups should be instructed and formed in same manner as convoys and should remain together until across to convoy tracks and farther if there is submarine activity to westward. Zigzagging and all usual submarine precautions are to be carried out. Suggest escort for coastal convoys may be reduced and escort for HB2 convoys may be reduced to 4 units in order to rest and repair escorting ships.

     Foregoing modifications to revert immediately to former methods when there are indications of submarine activity in Bay of Biscay or when ordered 175926 8496


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 445, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: On the movement of German submarines from the Bay of Biscay, see: Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 26 October 1918.

Footnote 2: HB convoys were from New York to the Bay of Biscay.

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