Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, first cable of the day

Chronological Copy.                          File No. <4-3-1>

Cablegram Sent September <7>8, 1918  JCM

To  Opnav, Washington                        Serial No. 4254

Prep. by       A-2                 D.R. SX

                                        31 ARD

CONFIDENTIAL

4254 Due to acute shortage of aeronautical motors, can exchange Liberty Engines for airplanes of the Handley-Page and DeHaviland type,1 of which about 3500 are ready without motors and are urgently need<ed> for use against enemy. Urge that every effort be made to ship as many Liberty motors as possible to exchange for bombing planes.2 Our Northern Squadrons now awaiting planes, delivery of Capronis up to date disappointing.3 034507  4254

Sims          

Source Note: Cy, DNA RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date in angle brackets is confirmed by the time/date notation at the end of the text.

Footnote 1: Handley Page and De Haviland were both British aircraft companies. Liberty engines, which had a high power-to-weight ratio, were produced by U.S. auto manufacturers. Rossano, Stalking the U-Boat: 33. For more on the shortage of engines, see: Walter A. Smead to Robert S. Griffin, 7 September 1918.

Footnote 2: An arrangement was worked out and the British allocated twenty bombers for American service, ten for the Army and ten for the Navy, in exchange for Liberty engines. Rossano, Striking the Hornet’s Nest: 174.

Footnote 3: Caproni bombers, which had been produced in Italy and ferried to northern France, were experiencing engine issues. Ibid., 173-74.

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