Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, third cable of the day.
Chronological Copy. File No. <49-8-3>
Cablegram Sent Sept 8th. 1918. CFB
To Opnav Washington Serial No. 4360
Prep. by R-2 SX D.R.
4360. In view of the largely increased Army program and consequent increase in demands on Naval forces on the coast of France, small craft for harbor use, in connection with both convoy vessels and vessels of Naval Overseas Transportation Service, will be urgently needed in the near future. It is requested that immediate steps be taken to obtain and send to France the following craft.
Seven harbor tugs, about 300 to 500 horsepower each.
Four self-propelled water barges; Two of 500 tons capacity, One of 400 tons; One of 200 tons.
Two self-propelled ash lighters.
Right flat covered towing lighters; Four of about 400 tons capacity, and four of about 50 tons capacity.
Twenty flat lighters; Six of 500 tons capacity; Two of 400 tons: Four of 200 tons: Five of 100 tons, and three of 50 tons.
One oil storage hulk, of 3,000 to 4,000 tons capacity with pumping equipment.
It is improbable that very few, if any, of the above craft could be obtained in England, as the demand for craft of this character for military and Naval purposes is already far in excess of the present and prospective supply. It is recommended that every effort be made to obtain existing craft for early dispatch to the French Coast before towing becomes difficult, due to winter weather. If this be found impossible, it is recommended that their construction be put in hand immediately, as the situation in respect to harbor craft will be far more serious six months from now, and if steps are not taken at once, our convoy arrangements will be seriously handicapped, and delays in turn-arounds of vessels under Naval control will be unavoidable. It is requested that I be kept informed in regard to action taken on this request. In connection with this request, attention is again invited to the tug and three oil barges offered for sale in Brazil, as reported in my 1130. 062208, 4360