Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Based in Europe, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

October 2nd, 1918

FROM:     Force Commander

TO:       Secretary of the Navy (Operations)

SUBJECT:  General Report

       1. ENEMY SUBMARINE OPERATIONS

September 8 – 14

          During the week September 7 – 14 it is estimated that approximately twenty four submarines of a type which operate outside North Sea waters were out, included in this number being 5 or 6 ‘cruisers’ – two apparently on passage to the Atlantic coast, and one just arrived there, two in Atlantic Waters and North Sea and homeward bound, and one in the vicinity of the Azores.

          The remaining large boats were mainly operating to the south of Ireland (between Fastnet and the Scillies) to the westward of the Bay of Biscay, and to the north of Ireland (including the North Channel).

          The English Channel was free of submarines till the end of the week, when one appeared in Lyme Bay; two boats xxxx apparently were operating continually off the east coast of England, but with little success.

          The following table gives the estimated distribution in Atlantic Waters and North Sea:

Area

Average number of submarines in area per day,

North Sea, south of 53° 30’ N

-

North Sea, north of 53°30’ N

5 - 6

S.W. of Ireland

2 - 3

Atlantic, north of Finisterre

5 – 6

Atlantic, south of Finisterre

2 – 3

Atlantic, Western

1

N.W. of Ireland and Scotland

3 - 4

Irish Sea, North of 54° N

1

Irish Sea, south of 54° N

    1 (?)

Irish Sea, Bristol Channel

    1 (?)

English Channel, Approaches

2

English Channel, W. of Lyme Regis

1

English Channel, N. of Lyme Regis

1

Bay of Biscay

_______1_______

TOTAL     26  -  31

 

              ENEMY SUBMARINE OPERATIONS

September 15 – 21

          During the past week there have been an unusual number of submarines operating about the British Isles, though they have been more scattered than during the week before. The submarines appear to have been driven in by bad weather to operate near shore, and have reaped a harvest of small ships in Lyme Bay, the Cornish Coast and Irish Sea.

          In the North Sea and along East Coast of England there has been very little activity, except for perhaps one U.B. and 2 U.C. boats,1 the latter laying mines along the British Coast. There were 2 small ships sunk in this area. Several boats have safely crossed the Northern Barrage but there appear to be 4 which have not been heard from for several days since the time when they should have been passing the Barrage.

          During the first part of the week there was one submarine operating in the northern part of the Irish Sea, with two ships to her credit and during the latter part one boat appeared in St. George’s Channel, probably from the South, and sunk two ships. There have been five boats operating just South of Ireland, and the entrance to the English Channel and Bristol Channel. Those boats have sunk six ships along the Cornish Coast and five in Lyme Bay, the latter all being sunk by the same boat.

          In the Bay of Biscay there have been three boats operating with two 5,000-ton British ships and one U.S. ship to their credit. A British steamship was sunk just off the entrance to Brest and another of 3,000 tons near L’Orient by a Flanders boat2 operating in this area.

          The converted mercantile boat operating in the Azores zone is at present not far south of the Azores. In the Mediterranean there appear to have been 5 boats operating, with 8 ships to their credit, mostly sailing vessels and in the Eastern area.

          The aggregate tonnage sunk for the week is in excess of the losses of the previous three weeks, estimated at 55,000 tons, and the number of ships unusually high, twenty-six, including seven sailing vessels.

              ATTACKS ON ENEMY SUBMARINES

September 8 – 14

          In the Eastern Atlantic and North Sea waters reports of 11 encounters with enemy submarines have been received as follows:

                   4 by T.B.D’s. [i.e., Torpedo Boat Destroyer]

                   6 by Auxiliary Patrol.

                   1 by Merchant Vessel.

          The following reports of action of U.S.Naval Forces with submarines have been received:-

September 5    U.S.S. WINSLOW. While escorting O.E.80 in 43° 26'

N.09° 50' W. after the U.S.S. MOUNT VERNON was torpedoed two depth charges were dropped by the WINSLOW in the rear of the convoy. U.S.S. CONNER and WAINWRIGHT dropped charges also with no apparent result. The submarine continued to operate.

September 4.   U.S.S. BURROWS. While the BURROWS was making

contact with H.H.81 in 49° 30' 12° 45' W.the S.SS. DORA was torpedoed and sunk. An oil patch was bombed with twenty-nine charges with no apparent result. The submarine continued to operate. . . .

     2.   ENEMY MINE LAYING

September 8 – 14

          Mine laying by enemy submarines took place inshore waters off Aberdeen, but as far as is known no further mines have been laid in offshore waters to the eastward of Scotland, which are now considered to be comparatively clear. During the week ten mines were destroyed.

     3.   ATTACKS ON MERCHANT VESSELS, SEPTEMBER 8 – 14

          Although the number of submarines operating in the week under review was greater than usual the number of attacks were comparatively few, but they achieved an unusual proportion of success: of a total of 15 attacks reported sinkings resulted in 13, and although in the two other cases the vessels were not sunk, they were both hit and damaged.

          There is attached (Annex ‘A’)3 a list of vessels of over 500 tons sunk during the week; also 3 vessels sunk in previous weeks not previously reported. The tonnage losses this week show a decline from last (54,358 <to> 41,801) and a decline of 3 (16 to 13) in the number of vessels sunk as compared with the previous week.

          The following table compares for this and previous weeks the sailings, losses and percentage of losses of British and Foreign Merchant vessels sailing in convoy, completing voyages during the week; the total to September 14 is also given.

Sailing in

convoys.

Week ending September 7

Week ending September 14

Total to September 14

Number of ships

    1531

   1453

  71,900

Losses               

       4

      7

     407

Percentage of losses

      

     .251

 

   .483

 

    .566

 

          The losses of 7 ships in convoy during the week ending September 14 were as follows:

                   One outward from Milford Haven

                   One outward from Liverpool.

                   One Humber – Tyne Convoy.

                   One Bizerta – Malta Convoy.

                   One Algiers – Marseilles Convoy.

                   Two Gibraltar – Genoa Convoy.

          It will be noted that this week 4 of the 7 lost in convoy occurred in the Mediterranean, where there were no losses in convoy during the week ending September 7.

     4.   TONNAGE SITUATION

          The following table gives the comparison of the tonnage losses in the past six weeks:-

Week Ending

British Vessels

Allied & Neutral Vessels.

1918

1600 tons and over

Under 1600 tons

1600 tons and over

Under 1600 tons

     Totals

No.

Tonnage

No.

Tonnage

No.

Tonnage

No.

Tonnage

No.

Tonnage

Aug. 17

8

39,694

2

2,603

9x

33,703x

4

3,832

23x

79,232x

Aug. 24

8

37,029

5

4,823

8 x

19,927x

5

1,691

24x

63,470x

Aug. 31

3

14,095

2

1,683

5

15,185

8 x

5,485x

18x

34,449x

Sept.7

9 x

36,415 x

1

  975

5

16,922

1 x

   46x

16x

54,358x

Sept.14

4

29,436

3

2,294

2

 7,849

4

2,192

13

41,801

Sept.21

Estimated

55,000

X Adjusted

 

 

     5.   ANALYSIS OF ATTACKS ON MERCHANT VESSELS (500 tons and

              AUGUST, 1918                           over)

          There were 128 merchant vessels of 500 tons and over attacked by enemy submarines during the month of August, exceeding the totals for July and June by 14 and 11 respectively.

          The following table summarises the attacks by areas for the past three months:

Area

June

July

August

East Coast of England

31

24

19

West Coast of England

15

18

25

English Channel and Scilly Approaches

18

19

19

Scandinavian Waters

 1

Atlantic

18

21

21

Mediterranean

25

27

24

American Waters

16

 5

19

                         TOTAL                                              

123

114

128

          Of the total number of attacks 71, or 55%, were successful as against 58 vessels sunk or 51% in July. The following table summarises sinkings by areas for the past three months:

Area

June

July

August

East Coast of England

21

12

10

West Coast of England

 9

 6

14

English Channel and Scilly Approaches

11

 9

 8

Scandinavian Waters

 -

 -

 1

Atlantic

 3

11

13

Mediterranean

13

20

13

American Waters

10

 -

12

        TOTAL

67

58

71

 

          The following table compares percentage of success of attacks by areas for the past three months. It will be noted that submarines attacking in American Waters secure a comparatively high degree of success.

Area

 June

July

August

East Coast of England

 67.7

 50.0

 52.6

West Coast of England

 60.0            

 33.5

 56.0 

English Channel and Scilly Approaches

  61.1     

 47.4

  41.8

Scandinavian Waters

-

-

 100.0

Atlantic

23.1

 52.4

  61.9

Mediterranean

  52.0

 74.1

  54.2

American Waters

66.6

-

  63.1

          The hour of attack with resulting sinkings for all areas are given below. It will be noted that 52% of the attacks occurred between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. although the percentage of success of attacks during these hours was only 46% as against 55% for all hours.

Hour

Total No.

vessels

attacked

Sinkings

  Hour

Total No.

vessels

attacked

Sinkings

12 a.m. – 1 <a.m.>

   54

   27

   1 - 2

   4

    1

Noon - 1

    9

    7

   2 - 3

   7

    5

   1 - 2

    9

    6

   3 - 4

   3

    2

   2 - 3

    8

    2

   4 - 5

   2

    1

   3 - 4

   12

    6

   5 - 6

   2

    2

   4 - 5

    8

    4

   6 - 7

   1

    1

   5 - 6

    3

    2

   7 - 8

   3

    2

   6 - 7

    4

    1

   8 - 9

   3

    1

   7 - 8

    3

    2

   9 - 10

   5

    3

   8 - 9

    4

    3

  10 - 11

   3

    1

   9 - 10

    5

    5

  11 - noon

  11

    4

  10 - 11

    5

    4

 

  10

 

    4

  11 - midnight

 

    1

 

    -

 Hour     unknown

 

    2

 

    2

  54

   27

Grand Total

 

   127

 

   71

          August sailings to and from the United Kingdom, totaled 10,946, whilst the ratio of attack and loss to sailings are .71% and .38% respectively.

          In the Mediterranean the risk in August was slightly less, .65% of the sailings being attacked and .35% being sunk.

          There is increasing enemy activity in the United States – France and Gibraltar trade, 18 vessels having been attacked in this trade, against 11 in June and 9 in July. Statistics are not available as to the number of sailings on this route, and although undoubtedly increasing monthly the ratio of losses for August as compared with previous months has probably advanced. The following table gives the comparison of losses for June, July and August.

Attacks on U.S.A. – France

and Gibraltar Trade.

 June

 July

August

       Sunk

   5

   6

   10

       Damaged

   -

   -

    2

       Escaped

   6

   3

    6

                       Total                                  

  11

   9

   18

          The ratio of attacks and lossesto sailings to and from United Kingdom, in respect of British and Foreign vessels, separately, is given below for the last three months, showing that each month British vessels appear to have incurred a higher risk of attack than Foreign vessels. During the last two months, however, percentage of loss was lower in the case of British vessels.

                          British                                                  

        Foreign                    

                   June

July

August

 June

 July

August

Sunk

.51

 .24

 .34

  .39

  .35

  .46

Damaged

.10

 .13

 .09

  .04

  .04

   -

Escaped

.25

 .34

 .32

  .26

  .24

  .14

Total Attacks.

 .86

 .71

 .75

  .59

  .64

  .60

          The following table compares for the United Kingdom Overseas trades the size of vessels sunk and those sailing during recent months. It will be noted that while the average size of the sinkings has increased 27%, the size of the vessels sailing has only increased 8%.

  Period

    Sailings

         Losses

    1918

 Tons

 Standard-

 ization

 Tons

Standard-

ization

First Quarter

3,426

   100

 3,825

  100.

Second Quarter

3,647

   106.5

 3,916

  102.4

July

3,750

   109.5

 5,047

  132.0

August

3,707

   108.2

 4,860

  127.1

          The number of Convoys which sailed or dispersed during the month of August in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Mediterranean and Scandinavian Trades is 96, comprising 1744 vessels, of which 7 were sunk.

          There were 9 attacks by submarines on Homeward Convoys 5 vessels being sunk; 3 attacks on Outward Convoys, 2 vessels lost.

          The monthly convoy figures for July and August and the average for the past two quarters are given in the following table:

    Month

 Total

sailings

 No of attacks

Percentage

attacks to

sailings.

No.

sunk

Percentage

sunk to

sailings.

Monthly average

First quarter

 

 1,356

  

  12

 

   .88

 

  6

 

 

     .44

Monthly average

Second quarter

 

 1,618

 

  17

 

  1.05

 

 10

 

  .61

July

 1,567

  19

  1.21

 10

  .64

August

 1,744

V 12

   .69

  7

  .40

NOTE:     Vessels sailing in the French Coal Trade are not

          included in this table.

          Losses of non-convoyed sailings during August amounted to 10 vessels, 5.71% of the sailings. 18 vessels were attacked on their way to join or after dispersal from convoy, of which 9 were sunk.

          The following table relating to attacks by submarines in the Eastern Atlantic and North Sea waters only, during the last three months, anal<y>zes attacks as to distance and light conditions. It will be noted that in this area there is an increased tendency to <attack> between 10 – 50 miles more especially by day, with a corresponding reduction beyond the 50 mile limit. Activity within 10 miles remains practically constant, while during July and August even the number of day and night attacks were almost identical.

Month

  Within 10

    miles

Between 10-50

   miles.

More than 50

   miles.

   Total

Light

Dark-

ness

Total

Light

Dark-ness

Total

Light

Dark-

ness

Total

Light

Dark-

ness

Total

June

24

17

  41

   8

  8

  16

  3

  4

  7

 35

29          64

July

34

 7

  41

 10

  2

  12

  6

  2

  8

 50

11          61

Aug.

32

 7

 39

 14

  6

  20

  3

  1

  4

 50

13          63

          A further analysis of the 13 attacks made at night during August shows that of the two attacks in darkness, two sinkings resulted; and of the 11 attacks in moonlight, 5 sinkings resulted; while 2 ships were damaged and escaped, and 4 ships escaped without damage.

     6.   MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS.

          V.A.Dover,4 reports that a serious explosion occurred amidships on board H.M.S. GLATTON at 6:17 p.m. 16th September followed by fire of oil fuel. After 1-1/2 hours attempt to extinguish fire, and as after magazine could not be flooded as it was unable to be approached on account of flames, ships was sunk by torpedo in the harbour.

          R.A. Egypt5 reports that the French destroyer PERRIER [i.e., Pierrier] bombarded East Jetty, Beirut, 6th September without reply. French destroyers COUTELAS and PERRIER bombarded same jetty again on 10th September, and according to agent, sank a schooner in the port. Only reply was an aeroplane with machine gun which was driven off. Same vessels then fired on Submarine Base Tripoli (Syria) without reply; result not known.

          H.M.S. Destroyer NESSUS sank on 8th September as a result of a collision with a minelayer AMPHRITE. There were no casualties.

          On 13th September H.M.S. armed boarding steamer SARAWA was sunk by torpedo 24 miles from Alexandria; 64 of the crew were missing.

          Owing to bad weather there was very little aerial activity during the week ending September 14, although R.A.F. machines from Dunkirk, working with the Navy, carried out several raids on the Belgian coast, including Bruges Docks, and C<G>histelles and Stalhille aerodromes, about 3 tons of bombs in all being dropped.

          Rear-Admiral Mercier de Le<o>stende, who is being succeeded as Naval Attache to the French Embassy in London by Rear-Admiral Grasset,6 will take up command of the Coast Defences at Toulon.

          There are no serious developments of the Spanish submarine crisis. The German Government are reported to have offered to give Spain 6 or 7 vessels in place of those sunk outside the prohibited zone, but the proposal has not yet been accepted. Meanwhile another Spanish steamship the SAN SEBASTIAN is reported to have been torpedoed off Sardinia, and still another attacked off the Canary Islands, but no details of either of these cases are yet to hand. Even if Spain were to seize an interned German steamship it is not likely that Germany would proceed to war or even to rupture of negotiations. The numerous strikes which are taking place throughout Spain may be fostered by Germany with the object of diverting the attention of the Spanish Government.

          During the week ending September 14, eight enemy merchant ships arrived at and 9 sailed from Norwegian ports outside the Cattegat.7 No enemy ships have entered or left Rotterdam.

          A unit of sub-chasers recently in the Straits of Otranto encountered a school of black fish and while in their vicinity the listeners distinctly heard the “mechanical tapping sounds” which have been heard by other sub-chasers in the Atlantic as well and which had previously been attributed to possible signalling between enemy submarines.

          During a recent hunt by U.S. sub-chasers, an excellent demonstration of the use of detection devices (in this case a “C” tube) in connection with scouting occurred. The listener heard and definitely stated that a convoy was approaching on a certain bearing although there was nothing in sight in that direction. Half and hour later smoke was sighted and eventually two steamers escorted by two destroyers appeared over the horizon. This convoy must have been located at a distance of at least 25 miles.

     7.   FORCES BASED ON QUEENSTOWN

          All vessels available for duty with the following exceptions:

          CALDWELL   -   Operating on one engine. Available for

service up to 18 knots. After section of pinion – intermediate gears and main gear – under manufacture by Cammell Lairds.8

ALLEN     -   Under overhaul

DUNCAN    -   Under repairs to bow.

MANLEY    -   Under general repairs. Present estimated

date of completion 25 October.

OPERATIONS

          Three convoys were escorted during the week by this force assisted by British vessels.

          The ALLEN, KIMBERLY, and CALDWELL exercised during the week with one of our own submarines off Bantry Bay. On the 12th September the ALLEN sighted a submarine on the surface distant about ten thousand yards. After running at high speed to approximate position, searched at high speed for 1-1/2 hours and then stopped and hunted, using listening devices, for about five hours but nothing was heard. . . .

     10.  SUBMARINE DETACHMENT

          There is forwarded herewith report of Operations from Submarine Division 5 for week ending September 7th.9

          It is hoped that the Department will find it possible to increase this submarine force.

          The importance of having submarines available for periodic exercise with our own anti-submarine forces has been demonstrated very clearly. Anti-submarine craft have so little opportunity of actually encountering submarines and becoming familiar with their appearance in different conditions, as well as studying the methods which they pursue to avoid surface craft, that the detail of submarines for this duty is considered fully warranted.

          In addition to the need for submarines for the above purposes, there is no doubt that more submarines can be advantageously employed particularly from the Bantry Bay Base.

          Numerous suggestions have been received from officers afloat urging that the operation of surface craft in conjunction with submarines be developed. It is realized that it has been generally accepted in the past that the difficulties of such joint operations are prohibitive. Nevertheless, many officers afloat are convinced, not only that such operations are possible, but also that an important development in anti-submarine operations is involved therein.

          While it is true that, if the number of craft operating is taken into consideration, the submarine stands at the head of the list as regards efficiency in anti-submarine operations, still the number of contacts gained by submarines which they are unable to follow up is noteworthy. This particularly applies to our own submarines owing to their inferiority of speed as compared with enemy submarines.

          The average employment of this Division is about three submarines on patrol, two undergoing overhaul and rest in harbor, one under overhaul at a dockyard and one making experiments with submarine chasers or destroyers.

          It is considered that a division of “O” Boats and a division of “R” boats, could be utilized to excellent advantage in the anti-submarine campaign on this side. . . .

     12.  MINE FORCE

          . . . The Ninth Mining Operation was completed on 20 September, 5520 mines being laid in area B10 with a 4-1/2 per cent explosion. In this joint operation the British laid 1295, the total operation (6815 mines) being completed in four hours. This unquestionably constitutes a feat unparalleled in the annals of mining. . . .

     14.  DISPOSITION OF FORCES

          The TAYLOR has arrived at Brest having been damaged while oiling at sea from the MALLORY. She was sent immediately to Liverpool for repairs. It is the intention to assign the STRINGHAM to Brest and the STRIBLING and LUCE to Gibraltar.

          The BALTIMORE has been given orders to proceed to Hampton Roads.

          The American Steamer J.L.SKINNER which broke her tail shaft N.W. of Finister<r>e was picked up by the tug MONTAUK and towed to the Azores where a spare tail shaft is being installed.

          Considerable congestion of Cross-Channel Steamers continues owing to the large number of American troops landing in England together with the necessity for transporting wounded from the recent British operations in France. At one time about 40,000 American U.S.Troops were in England and 6,000 arriving on the AQUITANIA were necessarily held on board two days owing to lack of camp facilities. . . .

     16.  TRANSPORT OF U.S. TROOPS

          During September there will have arrived in Europe 311,219 American troops. These were carried as follows:-

American ships - - - - - - -  121,547 or 39% of total

British ships or

ships controlled

By British- - - - - - - - - - 175,721 or 57% of total.

French Line as

passengers and

French ships - - - - - - - - - 13,951 or 4% of total

                      Total  311,219

Arrived in France - - - - - - - - - - 153,246

Arrived in England - - - - - - - - - -157,973

                                         Total  311,219

          The foregoing figures are for American troops only. In addition there were transported about 5,000 Canadians and 4,000 U.S. bluejackets, making a total transport of . . . 320,000.

          September compares very favorably with the big month of July, in which 317,000 American troops were transported. The largest convoy into France for the month of September carried 31,108. The largest convoy into England carried 28,873

          The total American troops arrived in Europe up to the end of September are . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,766,160

These have been carried as follows:-

American ships - - - - -  - 785,311

British or British

controlled ships- - - -  -  956,649

French Line as

passengers and French ships. 32,547

Italian ships - - - - - - - - 1,653

                   Total 1,766,160

     17.  PERSONNEL

          Rear Admiral Andrews and Captain Pettengill have reported for duty in connection with the Cardiff Base.11

          Commander Roger Williams assisted by a Reserve Officer from this staff, have been in Brest for sometime assisting in taking over ships for the Army Coal Trade.

          Commander Bulmer12 has taken command of the Aviation Repair Station at Eastleigh, England.

          Civil Engineer Chambers13 has completed his duties in connection with inspection of Port facilities in Great Britain.

          The Pipe Line Unit which has been employed in England is gradually being disbanded. Some of the force is being sent to Brest for Pipe Line work and some of the enlisted personnel to Queenstown for further assignment.

          The special mechanics in this force will be given opportunity to have their ratings changed for duty afloat. If this cannot be accomplished they will be returned to the United States for disenrollment in accordance with the provision of their special enlistment.

     18.  OPERATIONS SUB-CHASER

(a) Detachment One.

          During the week chasers of this detachment have been kept:

          (a) With PARKER in area about Scillies, and Lands End.

          (b) Off the Headlands from Eddystone Light to Lands End.

          No contacts are reported by any of the chasers of this detachment. Weather conditions in the channel have been bad throughout the week.

(b) Detachment Two

          No contacts are reported by cable.

          Reports have been received of Hunts No. 18 and No. 19. During the former three contacts were made with enemy submarines.

          In the first of the contacts chasers responded to a report of a submarine made by British drifters. On reaching the location where the submarine had been reported, so many vessels were making sound interference that it was not possible to obtain sound contact.

          A French aeroplane, however, sighted the submarine submerged, and indicated the position by dropping a lighted marker buoy, distant from the Unit of chasers about 600 yds. The chasers steamed to the position and dropped 16 depth charges without app<a>rent injury to the submarine. The plane then lighted on the water, and the chasers went within hail. The aeroplane reported that the buoy was 200 ft. ahead of the submarine.

          The second contact was made by a unit which took over a hunt which has been begun by a trawler. This submarine was tracked for one hour and 25 minutes. At the end of which at <9:05> p.m. the submarine was cut in by bearing 400 yards ahead of the unit. They delivered attack dropping 16 depth charges. The submarine was not heard again, and the chasers were directed after 1 hour and 35 minutes in the vicinity to reform on their barrage line.

          The third attack followed a sound contact made at 2:00 a.m. August 21st. The sound was followed until 4:35 <a.m.> when one of the chasers sighted an oil slick. She got in the wake and listened, and hearing a faint clicking which could not be centered, judged it to be a submarine running slow and deep. She proceeded up the wake, and dropped two depth charges beyond it, one set at 150 and the other at 200 ft.

          Although this attack was delivered in such haphazard fashion, and so few depth charges were dropped, it was followed by rising air and oil bubbles varying from the size of a pea to a hens egg and continuing for one and one half hours. A teakwood door fitted with brass hinges made by a German manufacturer in Vienna was recovered. This door was not of such a type as might have been expected in the interior of a submarine, but may have been used for something about his docks. The depth of water was 460 fathoms, so that it could not have come from a sunken wreck.

          The Commander of the Barrage14 has appointed a joint board to investigate and report on this attack which is considered a very good one.

Training Training with the Italian submarine at Gallipoli had to be discontinued due to damage to the submarine, and has not been resumed. An American submarine should be assigned for this duty.

(c) Detachment Three.

     September 16th was the date set for the commencement of operations by this detachment. This date was extended four days, as due to the scattering of the chasers at Berehaven, Queenstown, and cruising along the coast, certain necessary work remain uncompleted. During these four days the following program was carried out.

(a)    Signalling and communication drill.

(b)    Inspections and instructions with a principal view of improving interior administration and ship routine.

(c)    Special instructions of listeners, utilizing the services of Mr.C.F. Scott, technical expert, from this office.

(d)    Completing of repairs, including installation of depth charges racks on last eight chasers.

     Commencing 20th September 1918 di<v>isions will be employed:-

(a)    One division off Holyhead, using that as submarine chaser base.

(b)    Two divisions based at Base No.6 [Queenstown], working to the eastward.

(c)    Two divisions off Bantry Bay, basing at Berehaven.

     The Commander Sub-Chaser Detachment Three again requests the services of the HANNIBAL,15 in order to maintain the submarine chaser bases. These submarine chaser bases are desirable to keeps the chasers in the most favorable operating waters, but the services of the HANNIBAL cannot at present be spared at Plymouth. . . .

     The officers training for Ford chasers,16 have been assigned to the chasers, where they will assist in training and watch keeping, but will not assume command.

     SUB-CHASER BASES

     Base No.25.17

Depth Charges. 250 depth charges have arrived at Base 25.

     Further report in regard to this base has not been received.

     Base No.2718

     Construction of Pier. Work held up pending decision as to advisability of building it.

     Sub-Chaser Graving Dock. No change from last week.

     Machine Shop Work progressing but Machine tools are [not?] yet in service.

     Marine Hotel has been taken over by us.

     Base No.6

     Progress has been made in the assembly of material needed for the construction of offices, store rooms, and wharf repairs. Work should now begin nearing completion on the wharves, and the offices well underway. . . .

     19.  ORDNANCE

          Two of the Naval Railway Battery guns are in operation and it is understood that the other three guns have reached <Haussimont> Reserve Artillery Base. No reports have been received from the Commander of the Railway Battery.19

          It has been recommended that rough machined linear forgings be forwarded to England for re-lining these guns in this country.

          It is hoped that the delivery of light projectiles can be expedited.

          Commander Pickering,20 Bureau of Ordnance representative on the Board investigating aircraft activities has visited Weymouth Whitehead Torpedo Works, and also the Woolwich Arsenal, the latter in connection with gun design and manufacture. . . .

          The Torpedo Training School inaugurated at Queenstown for training officers and men is progressing satisfactorily.

     20.  COMMUNICATIONS

          The Communications Section of the Force Commander’s staff now covers the following activities –

          COMMUNICATIONS_

1.  Land wire and cable connections with bases.

2.  Codes and ciphers for such communications.

3.   Cable addresses.

4.  Preparation of Force Instructions and Circulars regarding communications.

          CODE AND SIGNAL SECTION

1.  Distribution of Allied Signal Publications to all Forces in Europe.

2.  Distribution of U.S.Signal Publications to all Forces in Europe.

3.  Liaison with Admiralty Signal Division in connection with Admiralty in preparing new codes and ciphers.

4.  Member of Inter-Allied Signal Conference held quarterly in Paris.

          TRANS-ATLANTIC RADIO RECEIVING STATION

1.  Intercepting official traffic between Department and Admiral Sims.

2.  Intercepting about 10,000 words of press weekly.

3.  Standing continuous watch on all trans-Atlantic Receiving Stations.

          RADIO

1.  All radio material for ships and bases under Force Commander.

2.  Administration of radio repair bases established at most advantageous points for U.S. vessels throughout Europe.

3.  Installation of direction finders on vessels and at shore stations under Force Commander.

4.  Installation of radio telephones on vessels and at bases under Force Commander.

5.  Aviation radio.

6.  Installation and calibration of radio sets in sea- planes and at air stations.

7.  Liaison with British Admiralty and Royal Air Force.

8.  Trans-Atlantic Radio communications.

9.  Administration of construction of High Power Radio Station at Bordeaux.

10. Member Inter-Allied Radio Commission.

11. Radio and Communication Personnel

          The total personnel of the Section now numbers 154 as follows:-

                   39 Officers

                    3 Warrant Officers

                   49 Yeomen

                   42 Telegraphers

                   11 Radio Operators

                    1 Female Stenographer

                    9 Messengers

          Even with the above personnel it is impossible to avoid delays in communications <d>uring rush hours it being impracticable to code any message for sending during the day except the most urgent ones. The greater part of the work has to be done at night. Further increase in staff is necessary.

          Reports are gradually being received regarding practical results obtained with the radio compass on destroyers and the prospect of its practical utility appears more favorable.

          The WILKES was recently able to locate the MOUNT VERNON some thirty miles distant and unofficial reports indicate that the TALBOT has successfully used her radio compass in locating a convoy.

          The present type of apparatus requires an operator with some experience to use it successfully. It is understood that the British Aviation service has developed a radio compass much simpler and more accurate that the U.S.N.type.

          Four radio telephones are being installed on the battleships with the Grand Fleet.

          Considerable difficulty has been experienced in using radio on submarine chasers owing to the frequent stoppage of the auxiliary engine during listening periods.

          Very extended enlargements and improvements of the Communications Service along the French Coast are being carried out which should improve the administration of operations.

          The Army has three Battalions of men engaged in this work for the Navy. Altogether a total of 500 Army men and 500 Navy men and 15 Navy trucks have been engaged on our lines of communication along the West Coast of France. This work has been found absolutely necessary owing to the material condition of French communications systems and the very unsatisfactory operation of such French systems as have been used.

          The coast will be divided into five districts with an officer in each district as a supervisor of maintenance.

A maintenance party of men will be employed in each district with motor cycles to patrol and repair the lines.

          This communication system is not only between our Naval Bases but also necessary to link up all Naval Air Stations.

     21.  MATERIEL

          Provisions on hand on board vessels and in storehouses at Base Six on 16th September were as follows:-

Provisions

  On Hand

Issued during week

No.of weeks supply.

Fresh

  537,460 lbs

 68,000 lbs

   9

Barrelled

  168,872

 10,993

  28

Bagged

1,950,273

176,471

  17

Tinned

2,146,728

178,322

  17

          . . . The rain clothes and heavy winter clothing required by the OLYMPIA is now en route,21 and it is hoped to effect delivery within the course of the next few weeks. . . .

     23.  REPAIRS

          There is attached hereto a statement regarding vessels of this force undergoing repairs or overhaul.22 With the exception of the MANLEY and the DUNCAN no casualty repairs are at present underway.

          Attempts are being made to obtain more tugs and lighters in England for use in French ports. There is a possibility of obtaining three harbor tugs, two self propelled lighters of about 100 tons capacity each and perhaps 8 or 10 additional self-propelled lighters as soon as their services can be dispensed with by the Mining Force.

          Attempt is also being made to obtain three Coal Hulks for use in the Gironde River.

          Representatives of the British Admiralty will soon proceed to the United States to discuss with the Department tentative designs for an offensive mine layer of 30 knots speed and about 4000 tons displacement and also tentative designs of an ocean escort vessel of 19 knot speed, 650 tons displacement and 2000 miles cruising radius at 15 knots.

          It is understood that the Admiralty representatives will also discuss with the Department the possibility of our undertaking the construction of vessels of this class for use in the present war.

     24.  INTELLIGENCE REPORTS FROM OTHER THAN NAVAL SOURCES

          With reference to a recent cablegram received from the Department giving enemy intelligence which had been obtained through the State Department,23 it is desired to point out the importance of all agents of the Government giving as much information as possible in their reports as to the degree of reliability of the information they obtain.

          Experience of the Allied Intelligence Service during the war in this connection is very impressive as well as interesting. Manifestly the criterion for determining the value of intelligence reports is the extent to which we are safe in modifying military plans in consequence of receiving such information. Unless some degree of reliability can be accorded to a report, it cannot be termed other than as being useless not to say dangerous.

          In the British Intelligence Service great pains are taken to ascertain and study the reliability and reputation of all agents and sources of information which are utilised. Agents’ records are followed with the greatest pains. All information obtained from them is kept on record for many months for the purpose of confirmation and they are all rated with a definite scale of marking according to the results of the above analysis.

          All new reports received from them are therefore given credibility according to the previous rating of their records as regards reliability.

          It seems apparent that we must give consideration with the greatest caution to individual reports obtained from agents whose past record is practically unknown.

     25.  DUTY OF LIEUT. CAMMANDER BAKER U.S.N.R.F.24

          Lieut.Commander Baker recently reported to the Forces Commander from the Department in connection with expediting the transmission of press war news from France to the United States. This officer proved to have a very wide acquaintance with prominent officials abroad, and as a result he was able to indicate to the Force Commander a tentative step which immediately resulted in the appointment of a British Government official to devote his entire time to the work. It was found that British Government methods as regards cable censorship, were very complicated and involved in various Government organizations. Also, that the appointment of an official for the above work from any one of the above organizations would probably do as much harm as good.

          At Lieut.Commander Baker’s recommendation, the Force Commander had an interview with Lord Reading,25 which resulted in the detail, by the British War Cabinet, of an official entirely outside of the above mentioned organizations.

          Lieut.Commander Baker is now in France on a similar mission.

          In view of the fact that the Navy in the United States is attempting to retain complete control of all telegraphic and cable communications and censorship thereof, it would seem to be very important to the reputation and record of the Service that every step possible be taken to improve the service of the United States press.

          In view of conditions which exist in England, which are in a very marked way different from those in the United States, the Force Commander has recommended by cable that Lieut. Commander Baker remain abroad on this particular duty.

          His wide acquaintance, his tact and his methods render him peculiarly well adapted for this duty.

     26.  ADMINISTRATIVE WORK OF FORCE COMMANDER’S STAFF

          There is forwarded hereunder a memorandum which sets forth in detail the number of dispatches and letters handled by the Force Commander’s staff since its inauguration. These statistics are of particular interest as indicating the amount of administrative work which is of necessity carried on by the staff.

          It will be noted that a total of 19274 papers were handled by the staff in July, a daily average of 625. On September 1st there were 1894728 <139,478> separate pieces of correspondence in the files.

          In the first six months of 1918 the total number of papers received into the files exceeded the entire contents of the previous year by 96412 original documents.

          During the month of August 1918 2188 individual requests were made on the files concerning contents thereof.

          The curve attached to these statistics shows the steady increase of administrative work since the Force Commander’s office in London was organized. . . .

WM. S. SIMS        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifier in top left of first page: “38621.”

Footnote 1: “UB” boats were coastal torpedo attack submarines; “UC” boats were coastal minelaying submarines.

Footnote 2: By “Flanders boat,” Sims was referring to a German submarine operating out of bases, such as Zeebrugge, Ostend, and Bruges, located on the coast of Belgium.

Footnote 3: “Annex A” is no longer with this report and has not been found.

Footnote 4: That is, the vice admiral commanding the Dover Barrage, Sir Roger J. B. Keyes.

Footnote 5: Probably, Royal Army Egypt, which was the British army force occupying and defending that territory.

Footnote 6: Contre-Amiral Maurice Ferdinand Albert de Grasset was the former commander of the French West Indies force.

Footnote 7: Usually spelled Kattegat, this is a strait forming part of the connection between the Baltic and North seas.

Footnote 8: A British shipyard based in Birkenhead, United Kingdom.

Footnote 9: The report is no longer with this document.

Footnote 10: For a map showing the area referred to here, see the maps page for April 1918.

Footnote 11: RAdm. Philip Andrews and Capt. George T. Pettengill. Shipments of coal to the American Expeditionary Forces in France originated in Cardiff, Wales.

Footnote 12: Cmdr. Bayard Bulmer.

Footnote 13: Chambers has not been further identified.

Footnote 14: Capt. Gilbert O. Stevenson, commander of the Otranto barrage mobile forces.

Footnote 15: Capt. Arthur J. Hepburn. HANNIBAL was the tender for the submarine chaser force.

Footnote 16: These were the Eagle class boats were built by the Ford Motor Co. For more information, see: William S. Benson to Sims, 31 January 1918. Very few of these vessels were completed and none shipped to Europe before the war ended.

Footnote 17: Base 25 was at Corfu, Greece.

Footnote 18: Base 27 was at Plymouth, England.

Footnote 19: Capt. Charles P. Plunkett.

Footnote 20: Cmdr. Nelson W. Pickering.

Footnote 21: OLYMPIA was part of an Allied flotilla at Murmansk, Russia.

Footnote 22: The statement is no longer with the report.

Footnote 23: For a fuller discussion of this intelligence, see: Sims to William S. Benson, 17 and 18 September 1918.

Footnote 24: For more on Baker, see ibid.

Footnote 25: British Ambassador to the United States Rufus Isaacs, Earl of Reading.

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