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

Subject Copy.                                File No. <27-5-5D>

Cablegram Sent September 17 <16>, 1918. Y-3

To Opnav Washington.                         Serial No. 4879

Prep. by M-4                  SX D.R.

                                   53 ADR


4879 Your 13831 I concur in Navy Department’s desire to assist Army wherever possible, particularly with regard to major caliber guns. I consider however that we should not go beyond the point that would impair the preparedness of the Navy. We should at all times be in position to re-gun at least one ship with following calibers, 14”/50,14”/45,12”/50,12”/45 and have a reasonable additional percentage for replacements due to unforeseen accidents. Any assistance which can be given to Army by furnishing major caliber naval guns which would place us in position where we would not be able to meet requirements as outlined above would, in my opinion, be unsound. I have not at hand the information which is available to the Bureau of Ordnance, as to number of rounds fired by major caliber guns of our first line dreadnaughts, but I desire to invite attention to the necessity for frequent target practices to maintain battle efficiency, particularly in view of continually shifting personnel.2 162216.    4879.


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

Footnote 2: Sims relented shortly after this and recommended giving the Army all the Navy’s surplus guns. See: Sims to Bureau of Ordnance, 17 September 1918.

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