Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
Action Copy. File No. <28-11-2>
Cablegram Received <September 10, 1918.> Y-5
Origin Opnav, Washington. Ser. No. 1223
ACTION, NOTES and INITIALS.
53 ADR SECRET.
1223. Your 4391. Bureau of Ordnance believes that present mines would function in 500 fathom but this belief has not been confirmed by any experiment and such experiment cannot be made now because neither ships or material are available. Assuming the mines would be satisfactory in 500 fathoms it is believed impossible to obtain the very great quantity of wire required without serious detriment to the Aircraft ship and other war requirements. 5,000,000 feet monthly can be obtained however and on this basis 5,000 mine anchors for 500 fathoms or 10,000 for 250 fathom could be produced by January.
Department’s attitude is that for material reasons the Middle Adriatic Sea plus the Aegean projects are by far the most practicable and that the delay in arriving at decision render mining on extensive scale in 500 fathoms quite impracticable without serious delay in completion. It is assumed that United States mine Force will be required in North Sea next Spring and that any project in the Mediterranean Sea should be such as can be completed by March. For the Middle Adriatic Sea plus the Aegean project comparatively few miles with special long cable will be required in addition to the mines now on hand and in production. The Department has not 20,000 Marines available for this operation now and if it had is not in favor of handling the plan as a separate and eccentric operation, but jointly, and believe the Supreme War Council must put it’s approval first to the plan and second state the character of the troops to be employed in it. If their decision calls for United States Military Force including Marines those Forces can probably be found. The Department assents to the proposed barrage of the Dardanelles from Euboea to Cape Kanaptiza. If the Middle Adriatic Sea barrage could not be adopted the Department would assent to the lower Adriatic Sea barrage provided our mines could be made operative in deep water and will endeavor provide mines for 500 fathoms as rapidly as material conditions permit. 12010 1223.
9.24 AM Sept 11, 1918.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time-date stamp at the end of the document.