Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Report

COPY.

NAVY DEPARTMENT

Office of Naval Operations

WASHINGTON.

CONFIDENTIAL.

DISTRIBUTION OF U.S.NAVAL FORCES EMPLOYED AGAINST

ENEMY SUBMARINES IN WEST ATLANTIC WATERS, 1 Sept. 1918.

The forces are being employed in two categories :-

     Convoy and Escort duty and in anti-submarine patrol – the latter including also some short range escort work, rescue work and mine sweeping.

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OCEAN ESCORT OF CONVOYS.

Detailed to this duty are :-

          Seven armoured cruisers

          Three 1st class  do

          Two 2nd class    "

          Eight 3rd Class   "

          Two large auxiliary cruisers and

          Thirty ocean going destroyers.

Escort work of large ships is usual. Present plan is to send two destroyers with each troop convoy; they are to go all the way to port of destination and perform similar serve for Westbound convoys.

-   - - - - - - -

NAVAL DISTRICT CRAFT.

     The Atlantic coast of United States is divided into Districts as shown by accompanying charts. These Districts extend seawards along the parallels of their boundaries. They have for hunting, patrol, rescue and mine sweeping the craft shown below. Each District cares for all activities within its area under general direction of Navy Department and co-operated with deep-sea and special forces working into or from it.

 

1st District

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th1

Destroyers

 

 

 4

 

 4

 

 

 

Torpedo Boats

   1

 2

 4

 

 2

 1

 

 

C.G.Cutters

   2

 2

 5

 3

 4

 2

 1

 4

Mine Sweepers

  10

 8

21

11

12

 2

 

 4

S/m Chasers

(110 ft. M, Ls)

L, M, Tenders

  12

 

   5

 6

 

 2

23

 

 7

10

 

 2

21

 

 7

10

 

 4

12

 

 2

11

 

 4

Small section

patrol boats

miscellaneous

and harbour craft

  34

 

72

79

27

22

20

30

18

          There are the following special hunting Flotillas which are employed where most needed and at this date operating from the ports shown.

     One destroyer and nine chasers, Boston,

      "     "       " eleven   "     Delaware Bay,

      "  light cruiser and twelve chasers, Key West.

*   There is a detachment based mainly at Key West stationed to patrol West Indian and Gulf of Mexico waters; two are kept permanently in Mexican waters, usually Tampico. Detachment consists of:-

          Two Third Class Cruisers

          One Monitor

          Eight Gunboats

          One Torpedo Boat

          Three Patrol Yachts

          Two tugs.

   *  Plans are completed for this force, working in conjunction with forces of 7th and 8th Naval Districts, to operate a convoy system in the Gulf of Mexico in case the necessity arises.

              COAST OF CUBA.

     The coast of Cuba is patrolled by several small Cuban gunboats working in conjunction with our special detachment based at Key West.

              CARIBBEAN SEA.

     The Caribbean Sea Patrol is under the French (Admiral Grout). We have two Gunboats in that area working with the French.

-   - - - - - - -

On other outlying stations are :-

At Bermuda – one gun-boat (being relieved by a monitor).

At Halifax – two gun-boats, two torpedo boats and three chasers

At Sidney – three chasers.

-   - - - - - -

                SUBMARINES.

Submarines available for anti-submarine patrol are based upon and operating from the following ports :-

     Cape Cod. . . . . . . 2

     New London . . . . .  8

     Delaware Bay . . . .  7

     Charleston . . . . .  4 (Destined to relieve U.S.                                     submarines now at Azores.)

     Key West . . . . . .  2

     Galveston . . . . . . 2

                 AIR CRAFT.

Employed on coastal patrol and to a slight extent in escort duty.

          BASE               SEAPLANES      DIRIGIBLES

     Chatham (Mass)              12             1

     Montauk (Long Id).          13             1

     Rockaway    do              22             2

    Cape May (N.J.)              13             1

     Hampton Roads               18

     Miami (Fla).                13

     Key West (Fla)              13             1

     Canal Zone                   4

    

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/959. There is a page attached to this report with remarks by Capt. William W. Fisher, director of the Admiralty’s Anti-Submarine Division, dated 12 December 1918: “Remarks re submarine patrols are of interest.

     The situation apparently is very much the same as when our submarines & submarine patrols were first started.

     These difficulties were met by central control.

     Our submarines always had orders to avoid being sighted by ships or convoys and were in fact able to follow up ships within the limits of their patrol without themselves being seen.” Below that is a notation “Sean –“ then presumably the initials of this unidentified Sean and the date “14.12.18.” Below that is a handwritten note in another hand by a person whose initials could not be deciphered. He writes: “Sean. From personal experience of Submarine patrols on the other side of the Atlantic I think DASD does some injustice to our Early Efforts! [unreadable initials] 17.12.”

Footnote 1: The headquarters of the Naval Districts listed here were: First, Boston; Second, Narragansett Bay; Third, New York; Fourth, Philadelphia; Fifth, Norfolk; Sixth, Charleston; Seventh, Key West; Eighth, New Orleans.