Captain William V. Pratt, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, to the Bureau of Ordnance
<September 13, 1918>
From: Chief of Naval Operations.
To : Bureau of Ordnance.
SUBJECT: Wooden Cargo Carrying Ships – Batteries for.
Enclosure: Bureau of Navigation 32786 (1-2) 9/18,
GR-3, September 10, 1918. SUBJECT: Wooden Cargo Carrying Ships – Batteries for.
1. It is the present policy of the Department to furnish at least one gun of not less than 4”50 caliber to a merchant vessel to which an Armed Guard is assigned and the same policy applies to the Navy manned merchant vessels operated in the Naval Overseas Transportation Service.
2. Provided the supply of guns will warrant and provided</>structural conditions of the vessels will permit, it is probable that such of these 3500 ton wooden vessels as are employed in submarine infested areas will be furnished with one 4”50 caliber gun to be mounted aft, or with one 4”50 aft and one 3”50 forward, depending on the nature of the service they engaged in and on other circumstances. To date none of these vessels have been assigned a battery.
3. The Department’s understanding is that 100 of these 3500 ton wooden vessels were to be prepared while building to take a 4”50 caliber gun aft.
4. Through some misunderstandings, it appears that emplacements for a 3”50 caliber gun have been practically completed on a certain number of these 3500 ton wooden vessels, but in view of the fact that it is very improbable that there will be guns available for these vessels for a very indefinite time in the future, the Department has advised the Emergency Fleet Corporation that it sees no advantage in delaying the completion of these vessels to effect changes in gun emplacements at the present time.
<Note: This is not an original.>
Source Note: CyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the “9/13” notation in the upper-left corner. The notation “28694-268:3” also appears on the left side of the page near the top.