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

Sub-Area: <Serial IV-E>

Subject:   Exchange of Liberty Engines for British Planes.

Source:    Adm. Sims.

Date       1st September, 1918.

           <Cablegram, September 25, 1918.>     IL 5521

From: Sims

To:   Opnav.

     5521. An agreement has been reached between U. S. Army Air Service and Royal Air Service for exchange of Liberty engines1 for British planes.

United States Air Service agrees deliver one hundred and twenty liberty engines by September 1st, ninety in thirty days, sixty in thirty days thereafter and fifteen per month for three months thereafter, and to receive from the Royal Air Force six FE2B2 machines fully equipped, these two squadrons to be maintained up to a maximum waste of eighteen machines per month and ten engines per month in addition to full spares for planes and engines, the whole to cover a total period of six months, unserviceable engines to be returned to Royal Air Force, also 54 DH-9A3 machines complete without engines as soon as possible, delivery to be complete in 3 months from date. Also 20 Handley-Page4 machines complete without engines as soon as possible, delivery to be complete within 2 months from date, the DH9A machines and the Handley-Page machines to be delivered with initial airplane spares. Of the planes to be received the Navy is to get the ten Handley-Page. To carry out this agreement arrangements have already been made by the Navy to turn over 60 liberty engines to British now, and 90 additional by January 1.5 Certain modifications are embodied in agreement as to receiving ten Handley-Page with eagle eight engines. 162925-5521


455 am                   9-26-18

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation following the text.

Footnote 1: Liberty engines, which had a high power-to-weight ratio, were produced by U.S. auto manufacturers. Rossano, Stalking the U-Boat: 33.

Footnote 2: FE2B, which were produced by the British Royal Aircraft factory, were pusher biplanes that operated as night bombers. Rossano, Striking the Hornets’ Nest: 165.

Footnote 3: A British single-engine bi-plane bomber. Ibid.

Footnote 4: Probably the Handley Page O/400 aircraft, which was a heavy bomber. Rossano, Stalking the U-Boat: 58.

Footnote 5: For more on this exchange, see, Rossano, Striking the Hornets’ Nest: 163, 184.