Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Various Bureaus and Fleet & Force Commanders

SECRET

NAVY DEPARTMENT

                           WASHINGTON.   September 5, 1918.

From:   Chief of Naval Operations.

To:     Bureau of Ordnance,

        Bureau of Construction and Repair,

        Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet,

        Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet

        Commander Cruiser Force,

        Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters,1

        Commandants, all Naval Districts.

SUBJECT: Policy regarding Depth Charge Installation

               for different type vessels.

Reference: Letter from special Planning Committee to Chief of Naval Operations, dated August 23, 1918.2

     1.  The following policy has been approved by the Department regarding depth charge installations for different type vessels.

     For destroyers engaged in transatlantic service, overloading that materially interferes with their radius of action should not be permitted. The installation of necessary equipment as laid down herein will be made and the question of weight, in case of destroyers, will be regulated by varying the number of charges carried.

     Vessels assigned to anti-submarine offensive operations, such as destroyers, submarine chasers and armed yachts shall be equipped with apparatus for dropping from the stern, and one or more projectors for projecting, 300-lb. depth charges. These vessels shall be supplied with liberal quantities of depth charges. (See table below).

     Vessels assigned to escort service, such as armored cruisers, gun-boats and yachts, whose mission is primarily the protection of vessels under convoy, but which vessels may, on occasion, find it desirable to act on the offensive, shall be provided with a moderate supply of depth charges (not to exceed 24) and with apparatus (local control only) for dropping charges from the stern. One Y-gun or a pair of depth charge projectors will be furnished such of these vessels as can efficiently mount them.

     Transports and vessels of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, which vessels operate on the defensive against submarines and which should not attempt offensive operations but which might utilize the depth charge as a weapon of opportunity, will be furnished not in excess of four charges and apparatus (local control only) for dropping charges from the stern.

     Small craft incapable of carrying depth charge projectors or withstanding the shock of explosion of heavy depth charges will be furnished MarkI (50 lb), charges without launching or projecting apparatus.

     The following table, based on the foregoing policy, defines more specifically the depth charge installation to be observed in fitting out the several classes of vessels:-3

N.M. Taylor,4

By direction. 

Source Note: D, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 678.

Footnote 1: Adm. Henry T. Mayo; Adm. William B. Caperton; RAdm. Albert Gleaves; VAdm. William S. Sims.

Footnote 2: This letter has not been found.

Footnote 3: For this table, see: Illustrations for August 1918.

Footnote 4: Capt. Montgomery M. Taylor, Staff, Office of Naval Operations.