Our Navy in the War
by Lawrence Perry
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America In The War





New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1919 Copyright, 1918, by Charles Scribner's Sons Published October, 1918






First Experience of Our Navy with the German U-Boat—Arrival of Captain Hans Rose and the U-53 at Newport—Experiences of the German Sailors in an American Port—Destruction of Merchantman by U-53 off Nantucket—Our Destroyers to the Rescue—Scenes in Newport—German Rejoicing—The Navy Prepares for War


Our Navy Arms American Merchant Vessels—Death of our First Bluejacket on Service in the War Zone—Vice-Admiral Sims—We Take Over Patrol of Waters of Western Hemisphere—The Naval Advisory Board of Inventions—Work of this Body—Our Battleships the Largest in the World—Widespread Operations


First Hostile Contact Between the Navy and the Germans—Armed Guards on Merchant Vessels—"Campana" First to Sail—Daniels Refuses Offer of Money Awards to Men Who Sink Submarines—"Mongolia" Shows Germany How the Yankee Sailorman Bites—Fight of the "Silvershell"—Heroism of Gunners on Merchant Ships—Sinking of the "Antilles"—Experiences of Voyagers


Destroyers on Guard—Preparations of Flotilla to Cross the Ocean—Meeting the "Adriatic"—-Flotilla Arrives in Queenstown— Reception by British Commander and Populace—"We are Ready Now, Sir"—Arrival of the Famous Captain Evans on the American Flag-Ship—Our Navy a Warm-Weather Navy—Loss of the "Vacuum"


British and American Destroyers Operating Hand in Hand—Arrival of Naval Collier "Jupiter"—Successful Trip of Transports Bearing United States Soldiers Convoyed by Naval Vessels—Attack on Transports Warded Off by Destroyers—Secretary Baker Thanks Secretary Daniels—Visit to our Destroyer Base—Attitude of Officers Toward Men—Genesis of the Submarine—The Confederate Submarine "Hunley"


On a German Submarine—Fight with a Destroyer—Periscope Hit—Record of the Submarine in this War—Dawning Failure of the Undersea Boat—Figures Issued by the British Admiralty—Proof of Decline—Our Navy's Part in this Achievement


How the Submarine is being Fought—Destroyers the Great Menace—But Nets, Too, Have Played Their Part—Many Other Devices—German Officers Tell of Experience on a Submarine Caught in a Net—Chasers Play Their Part—The Depth-Bomb—Trawler Tricks—A Camouflaged Schooner Which Turned Out To Be a Tartar—Airplanes—German Submarine Men in Playful Mood


Perils and Triumphs of Submarine-Hunting—The Loss of our First War-Ship, The Converted Gunboat "Alcedo"—Bravery of Crew—"Cassin" Struck by Torpedo, But Remains in the Fight—Loss of the "Jacob Jones"—Sinking of the "San Diego"—Destroyers "Nicholson" and "Fanning" Capture a Submarine, Which Sinks—Crew of Germans Brought Into Port—The Policy of Silence in Regard to Submarine-Sinkings


Our Battleship Fleet—Great Workshop of War—Preparations for Foreign Service—On a Battleship During a Submarine Attack—The Wireless That Went Wrong—The Torpedo That Missed—Attack on Submarine Bases of Doubtful Expediency—When the German Fleet Comes Out—Establishment of Station in the Azores


Great Atlantic Ferry Company, Incorporated, But Unlimited—Feat of the Navy in Repairing the Steamships Belonging to German Lines Which Were Interned at Beginning of War in 1914—Welding and Patching—Triumph of Our Navy With the "Vaterland"—Her Condition—Knots Added to Her Speed—Damage to Motive Power and How It Was Remedied—Famous German Liners Brought Under Our Flag


Camouflage—American System of Low Visibility and the British Dazzle System—Americans Worked Out Principles of Color in Light and Color in Pigment—British Sought Merely to Confuse the Eye—British System Applied to Some of Our Transports


The Naval Flying Corps—What The Navy Department Has Accomplished And Is Accomplishing in the Way of Air-Fighting—Experience of a Naval Ensign Adrift in the English Channel—Seaplanes and Flying Boats—Schools of Instruction—Instances of Heroism


Organization Of The Naval Reserve Classes—Taking Over of Yachts For Naval Service—Work Among The Reserves Stationed at Various Naval Centres—Walter Camp's Achievement


The United States Marine Corps—First Military Branch Of The National Service To Be Sanctioned By Congress—Leaving For The War—Service Of The Marines in Various Parts of the Globe—Details of Expansion of Corps—Their Present Service All Over The World


Scope Of The Navy's Work In Various Particulars—Food—Fuel—Naval Consulting Board—Projectile Factory—Expenditures—Increase Of Personnel


The beginning of the end—Reports in London that submarines were withdrawing to their bases to head a battle movement on the part of the German Fleet—How the plan was foiled—The surrender of the German Fleet to the combined British and American Squadrons—Departure of the American Squadron—What might have happened had the German vessels come out to fight


Lessons of the War—The Submarine Not Really a Submarine—French Term for Undersea Fighter—The Success of the Convoy Against Submersibles—U-Boats Not Successful Against Surface Fighters—Their Shortcomings—What the Submarine Needs to be a Vital Factor in Sea Power—Their Showing Against Convoyed Craft—Record of Our Navy in Convoying and Protecting Convoys

Secretary Daniels's Report


Atlantic Fleet steaming in line of bearing

Portraits of Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, Rear-Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Vice-Admiral William S. Sims, Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Rear-Admiral Albert Gleaves, Admiral William S. Benson

Position of ships in a convoy

A U.S. submarine at full speed on the surface of the water

A submarine-chaser

A torpedo-destroyer

Repairing a damaged cylinder of a German ship for federal service

Scene at an aviation station somewhere in America, showing fifteen seaplanes on beach departing and arriving

Captain's inspection at Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I.

American Marines who took part in the Marne offensive on parade in Paris, July 4, 1918



Gently rolling and heaving on the surge of a summer sea lay a mighty fleet of war-vessels. There were the capital ships of the Atlantic Fleet, grim dreadnoughts with their superimposed turrets, their bristling broadsides, their basket-masts—veritable islands of steel. There were colliers, hospital-ships, destroyers, patrol-vessels—in all, a tremendous demonstration of our sea power. Launches were dashing hither and thither across the restless blue waters, signal-flags were flashing from mast and stay and the wind, catching the sepia reek from many a funnel, whipped it across a league of sea.

On the deck of the largest battleship were gathered the officers of the fleet not only, but nearly every officer on active duty in home waters. All eyes were turned shoreward and presently as a sharp succession of shots rang out a sleek, narrow craft with gracefully turned bow came out from the horizon and advanced swiftly toward the flag-ship. It was the President's yacht, the Mayflower, with the President of the United States on board. As the yacht swung to a launch was dropped overside, the gangway lowered and Woodrow Wilson stepped down to the little craft, bobbing on the waves. There was no salute, no pomp, no official circumstance, nor anything in the way of ceremony. The President did not want that.

What he did want was to meet the officers of our navy and give them a heart-to-heart talk. He did just that. At the time it was early summer in 1917. In the preceding April a declaration that Germany had been waging war upon the United States had been made in Congress; war resolutions had been passed and signed by the President. This on April 6. On April 7 the Navy Department had put into effect plans that had already been formulated. Much had been done when the President boarded the flag-ship of the Atlantic Fleet that early summer afternoon. Some of our destroyers were already at work in foreign waters, but the bulk of our fighting force was at home, preparing for conflict. And it was this time that the President chose to meet those upon whom the nation relied to check the submarine and to protect our shores against the evil devices of the enemy.

"He went," wrote a narrator of this historic function, "directly to the business in hand. And the business in hand was telling the officers of the navy of the United States that the submarine had to be beaten and that they had to do it. He talked—well, it must still remain a secret, but if you have ever heard a football coach talk to his team between the halves; if you ever heard a captain tell his men what he expected of them as they stripped for action; if you ever knew what the fighting spirit of Woodrow Wilson really is when it is on fire—then you can visualize the whole scene. He wanted not merely as good a record from our navy as other navies had, he wanted a better record. He wanted action, not merely from the gold-braided admirals, but from the ensigns, too; and he wanted every mind turned to the solution of the submarine question, and regardless of rank and distinction he wanted all to work and fight for the common object—victory.

"Somebody suggested to the President later that the speech be published. He declined. Most of it wasn't said to be published. It was a direct talk from the Commander-in-chief of the navy to his men. It was inspiration itself. The officers cheered and went away across the seas. And there they have been in action ever since, giving an account of themselves that has already won the admiration of their allies and the involuntary respect of their foes."

It was under such auspices as these that the United States Navy went forth to war. No one ever doubted the spirit of our fighters of the sea. Through all the years, from the time when John Paul Jones bearded enemy ships in their own waters, when Old Ironsides belched forth her well-directed broadsides in many a victorious encounter; when Decatur showed the pirates of Tripoli that they had a new power with which to deal; when Farragut damned the torpedoes in Mobile Bay, and Dewey did likewise in Manila Bay; when Sampson and Schley triumphed at Santiago, and Hobson accepted the seemingly fatal chance under the guns of Morro Castle—through all the years, I say, and through all that they have brought in the way of armed strife, the nation never for one moment has ever doubted the United States Navy.

And neither did Woodrow Wilson doubt. He knew his men. But he wanted to look them all in the eye and tell them that he knew their mettle, knew what they could do, and held no thought of their failure. Every fighting man fights the better for an incident of this sort.

Week by week since that time there has come to us from out the grim North Sea, from the Mediterranean and the broad Atlantic abundant testimony, many a story of individual and collective heroism, of ships that have waged gallant fights, of Americans who have lived gallantly, who have died gloriously—and above all there has come to us the gratifying record of reduced submarine losses, as to which there is abundant testimony—notably from the great maritime and naval power of the world—Great Britain—that our navy has played a vital part in the diminution of the undersea terror.

Less than a year after President Wilson boarded the flag-ship of the Atlantic Fleet our navy had more than 150 naval vessels—battleships, cruisers, submarines and tenders, gunboats, coast-guard cutters, converted yachts, tugs, and numerous vessels of other types for special purposes—in European waters. Serving on these vessels were nearly 40,000 men, more than half the strength of our navy before we entered the war—and this number did not include the personnel of troop-ships, supply-vessels, armed guards for merchantmen, signal-men, wireless operators and the like, who go into the war zone on recurrent trips.

Submarines have been fought and sunk or captured—how many, a wise naval policy bids absolute silence. Our antisubmarine activities now cover in war areas alone over 1,000,000 square miles of sea. In a six-months period one detachment of destroyers steamed over 1,000,000 of miles in the war zone, attacked 81 submarines, escorted 717 single vessels, participated in 86 convoys, and spent one hundred and fifty days at sea.

There have been mistakes, of course; there have been delays which have tried the patience not only of the country, but of the Navy Department. But they were inevitable under the high pressure of affairs as they suddenly set in when we went to war. But in looking back over the year and a half of conflict, considering the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that our navy has conducted in safety across the infested Atlantic, and the feats which our fighters have performed in action, in stormy seas, in rescue work and in the long, weary grind of daily routine, no American has cause for aught but pride in the work our navy has done.

There has been more than a sixfold increase in naval man power and about a fourfold increase in the number of ships in service. When present plans have been carried out—and all projects are proceeding swiftly—the United States will probably rank second to Britain among naval Powers of the world. Training facilities have increased on a stupendous scale; we have now various specialized schools for seamen and officers; our industrial yards have grown beyond dreams and the production of ordnance and munitions proceeds on a vast scale, while in other directions things have been accomplished by the Navy Department which will not be known until the war is over and the records are open for all to read.

But in the meantime history has been making and facts have been marked which give every American pride. Praise from the source of all things maritime is praise indeed, and what greater commendation—better than anything that might be spoken or written—could be desired than the action of Admiral Sir David Beatty, commander-in-chief of the Grand Fleet, who, receiving a report not so many months ago that the German High Seas Fleet was out, awarded the post of honor in the consolidated fleet of British and American war-vessels which went forth to meet the Germans to a division of American battleships. This chivalrous compliment on the part of the British commander was no doubt designed as a signal act of courtesy, but more, it was born of the confidence of a man who has seen our navy, who had had the most complete opportunities for studying it and, as a consequence, knew what it could do.

There is nothing of chauvinism in the statement that, so far as the submarine is concerned, our navy has played a most helpful part in diminishing its ravages, that our fighting ships have aided very materially in the marked reduction in sinkings of merchantmen as compared to the number destroyed in the corresponding period before we entered the war, and in the no less notable increase in the number of submarines captured or sunk. These facts have not only been made clear by official Navy Department statements, but have been attested to by many British and French Admiralty and Government authorities and naval commanders.

"You doubtless know," wrote Admiral Sims to the Secretary of the Navy some time ago, "that all of the Allies here with whom I am associated are very much impressed by the efforts now being made by the United States Navy Department to oppose the submarine and protect merchant shipping. I am very glad to report that our forces are more than coming up to expectations."

Admiral Sims was modest. Let us quote the message sent by Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, commander-in-chief of the British naval forces on the Irish coast, on the anniversary of the arrival of our first destroyer flotilla at Queenstown:

"On the anniversary of the arrival of the first United States men-of-war at Queenstown I wish to express my deep gratitude to the United States officers and ratings for the skill, energy, and unfailing good nature which they all have consistently shown and which qualities have so materially assisted in the war by enabling ships of the Allied Powers to cross the ocean in comparative freedom. To command you is an honor, to work with you is a pleasure, to know you is to know the best traits of the Anglo-Saxon race."

And to Secretary Daniels, Sir Eric Geddes, first lord of the British Admiralty, wrote in part:

"As you know, we all of us here have great admiration for your officers and men and for the splendid help they are giving in European waters. Further, we find Admiral Sims invaluable in counsel and in co-operation."

American naval aid has been of the greatest help to the British Fleet, wrote Archibald Hurd, the naval expert, in the Daily Telegraph, London.

"When the war is over," he said, "the nation will form some conception of the extent of the debt which we owe the American Navy for the manner in which it has co-operated, not only in connection with the convoy system, but in fighting the submarines. If the naval position is improving to-day, as it is, it is due to the fact that the British and American fleets are working in closest accord, supported by an immense body of skilled workers on both sides of the Atlantic, who are turning out destroyers and other crafts for dealing with the submarines as well as mines and bombs. The Germans can have a battle whenever they want it. The strength of the Grand Fleet has been well maintained. Some of the finest battleships of the United States Navy are now associated with it. They are not only splendid fighting-ships, but they are well officered and manned."

Here is what Lord Reading, the British Ambassador to the United States said in the course of an address at the Yale 1918 Commencement:

"Let me say to you on behalf of the British people what a debt of gratitude we owe to your navy for its co-operation with us. There is no finer spectacle to be seen at present than that complete and cordial co-operation which is existing between your fleet and ours. They work as one. I always think to myself and hope that the co-operation of our fleets, of our navies, is the harbinger of what is to come in the future when the war is over, of that which will still continue then. Magnificent is their work, and I glory always in the thought that an American admiral has taken charge of the British Fleet and the British policy, and that when the plans are formed for an attack that American admiral is given the place of honor in our fleet, because we feel that it is his due at this moment."

And finally, there is the testimony of Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, first sea lord of the British, concerning our effective aid, testimony, by the way, which enlightens us to some extent upon British and American methods of co-operation.

"On the broad lines of strategic policy," he said, "complete unanimity exists. Admiral Benson and Admiral Mayo have both visited us and studied our naval plans. No officers could have exhibited keener appreciation of the naval situation. I find it difficult to express the gratitude of the British service to these officers and to Admiral Sims for the support they have given us. I am not exaggerating, or camouflaging, to borrow a word of the moment. Our relations could not be more cordial. The day-to-day procedure is of the simplest. Every morning I hold conference with the principal officers of the naval staff, and Admiral Sims is present as the representative of the United States Fleet, joining freely in the discussion of the various subjects which arise. I need not add that I keenly appreciate his help. At sea the same spirit of cordial co-operation exists—extremely cordial. I should like to say we have, fortunately, a common language and common traditions, which have done much to assist us in working together.

"The American officers and men are first-rate. It is impossible to pay too high a tribute to the manner in which they settled down to this job of submarine hunting, and to the intelligence, resource, and courage which they have exhibited. They came on the scene at the opportune moment. Our men had been in the mill for many weary months. Possibly the American people, so far removed from the main theatre of the war, can hardly appreciate what it meant when these American officers and men crossed the Atlantic. They have been splendid, simply splendid. I have seen a number of the destroyers and conversed with a large number of officers. I also have had many reports and am not speaking of the aid the United States has rendered without full knowledge.

"Not only are the vessels well constructed and the officers and men thoroughly competent, but the organization is admirable. It was no slight matter for so many ships to come 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to fight in European waters. The decision raised several complicated problems in connection with supplies, but those problems have been surmounted with success. There has never been anything like it before in the history of naval warfare, and the development of the steam-engine has rendered such co-operation more difficult than ever before, because the modern man-of-war is dependent on a constant stream of supplies of fuel, stores, food, and other things, and is need of frequent repairs."

In addition to doing signally effective work in hunting down the submarine, and in protecting ocean commerce, our war-ships have relieved England and France of the necessity of looking out for raiders and submarines in South Atlantic waters: we have sent to the Grand Fleet, among other craft, a squadron of dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts whose aggregate gun-power will tell whenever the German sea-fighters decide to risk battle in the North Sea; war-ships are convoying transports laden with thousands of men—more than a million and a half fighting men will be on French and English soil before these words are read—escorting ocean liners and convoying merchant vessels, while in divers other ways the navy of this country is playing its dominant part in the fight against German ruthlessness.

When the Emergency Fleet Corporation announced its programme of building ships the Navy Department at once began its preparations for providing armed guards for these vessels as soon as they were commissioned for transatlantic service. Thousands of men were placed in training for this purpose and detailed instructions were prepared and issued to the Shipping Board and to all ship-building companies to enable them to prepare their vessels while building with gun-emplacements, armed-guard quarters, and the like, so that when the vessels were completed there would be as little delay as possible in furnishing them. In all details relating to the protection of these merchant vessels the navy has played a most vital part and not least of the laurels accruing to this department of the government war service for work in the present struggle have been those won by naval gun crews on cargo-laden ships.

The administrative work in connecting many vessels of this class is a not inconsiderable of itself. The romance of the armed merchantmen affords material for many a vivid page, and when in its proper place in this volume it is set forth somewhat in detail the reader will grasp—if he has not already done so through perusal of the daily press—the fact that all the glory of naval service in this war has not resided within the turrets of the dreadnought nor on the deck of destroyer or patrol-vessel.

The navy organized and has operated the large transport service required to take our soldiers overseas. At this writing not a single transport has been lost on the way to France, and but three have been sunk returning. Transports bound for France have been attacked by submarines time and again, and, in fact, our first transport convoy was unsuccessfully assailed, as has been the case with other convoys throughout the past twelve months. In the case of the Tuscania, sunk by a torpedo while eastbound with American soldiers, that vessel was under British convoy, a fact which implies no discredit upon the British Navy, since it is beyond the powers of human ingenuity so to protect the ocean lanes as to warrant assurance that a vessel, however well convoyed, shall be totally immune from the lurking submarine. Again, it should be remembered, that the British have taken about sixty per cent of our expeditionary forces across the ocean.

In the line of expanding ship-building facilities the Navy Department has in the past year carried on vigorously a stupendous policy of increased shipyard capacity, which upon completion will see this country able to have in course of construction on the ways at one time sixteen war-vessels of which seven will be battleships.

In January, 1917, three months before we went to war, the Navy Department's facilities for ship-building were: Boston, one auxiliary vessel; New York, one battleship; Philadelphia, one auxiliary; Norfolk, one destroyer; Charleston, one gunboat; Mare Island, one battleship and one destroyer. At the present time the Brooklyn Navy Yard has a way for the building of dreadnoughts, and one for the building of battleships. At Philadelphia two ways are being built for large battleships and battle-cruisers. Norfolk, in addition to her one way for destroyers, will soon have a way for battleships. Charleston will have five ways for destroyers. The navy-yard at Puget Sound will soon have a way for one battleship.

The building plans include not only the construction of ways, but also machine, electrical, structural, forge, and pattern shops in addition to foundries, storehouses, railroad-tracks, and power-plants. This increase in building capacity will enable the government through enhanced repair facilities to handle all repair and building work for the fleet as well as such for the new merchant marine. Three naval docks which will be capable of handling the largest ships in the world are approaching completion while private companies are building similar docks under encouragement of the government in the shape of annual guarantees of dockage.

An idea of what has been accomplished with respect to ship-building is gained through the statement of Secretary Daniels, June 2, that his department had established a new world's record for rapid ship construction by the launching of the torpedo-boat destroyer Ward, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, seventeen and a half days after the keel was laid. The previous record was established shortly before that date at Camden, New Jersey, where the freighter Tuckahoe was launched twenty-seven days and three hours after the laying of the keel.

In 1898, twenty years ago, the first sixteen destroyers were authorized for the United States Navy. These were less than half the size of our present destroyers, and yet their average time from the laying of the keels to launching was almost exactly two years. During the ten years prior to our entrance into the present war Congress authorized an average of five or six destroyers a year. The records show that in the construction of these the average time on the ways was almost exactly eleven months, the total time of construction being about two years.

The average time on the ways of the numerous destroyers launched in 1917-18, is but little over five months, this being somewhat less than half the average time under peace conditions. As many as 400 men were employed in work on the Ward, and in preparing to establish the record as much structural work as possible was prepared in advance, ready for erection and assembling before the keel was laid. While this achievement will no doubt remain unmatched for some time, it will none the less stand significant as marking a condition that is general in naval construction throughout the country, this applying to battleships and other craft as well as to destroyers.

In short, under the constructive leadership of Josephus Daniels, the navy is doing its enormous bit in a convincing manner. It took the personnel of the navy—that is, the commissioned personnel—a long time to discover the real character and personality of Mr. Daniels. It is not too much to say that many of them were hostile to his administration. But the war proved him for what he was. With administrative capacity of his own, sound judgment, and a clear brain, he was big enough to know that there were many things that had better be left to the highly trained technicians under his command.

And so in large measure he delegated many actual tasks of administration to the most competent officers in the navy, officers selected for special tasks without fear or favor. Mr. Daniels will receive, as he is now receiving, credit for their work; but he in turn is earnest in his desire so to speak and act, that this credit will be duly and properly shared by those entitled thereto. He has disregarded seniority and other departmental, not to say political factors, in choosing the right men to head the various bureaus of the Navy Department and the various units of the fleet.

He has favored the young officer, and to-day it is not too much to say that youth holds the power in the navy; but, on the other hand, he has been quick to recognize and to employ in high places the qualities that reside in officers who with years of experience, combine enduring zest and broad points of view,

In all, Secretary Daniels exemplifies the spirit of the American Navy—and the spirit of our navy is altogether consonant with our national tradition—to get into the fight and keep fighting. He has been the sponsor for a naval increase which sees our active roster increased from 56,000 men in April, 1917, to more than 400,000 at the present time, and our fighting ships increased, as already pointed out, fourfold.

And while our vessels and our fighting men are playing their part on the high seas the counsel of our trained technical experts is eagerly sought and constantly employed by the admiralties of the Allied nations. When the naval history of this war is given to the world in freest detail we shall know just how much our officers have had to do with the strategy of operations adopted by all the Entente navies. It is not violating either ethics or confidence, however, to say that our influence in this respect has been very potent and that the names of Admiral William S. Benson, chief of operations, Vice-Admiral William S. Sims, Admiral Henry T. Mayo, and Rear-Admiral Albert Gleaves are already names that are to be reckoned with abroad as at home.

As for incidents reflecting gloriously upon the morale of our officers and men, the navy has already its growing share. There is the destroyer Cassin struck by a torpedo and seriously crippled, but refusing to return to port as long as there appeared to be a chance of engaging the submarine that had attacked her. There is Lieutenant Clarence C. Thomas, commander of the gun crew on the oil-ship Vacuum. When the ship was sunk he cheered his freezing men tossing on an icy sea in an open boat far from land, until he at length perished, his last words those of encouragement. There is Lieutenant S.F. Kalk, who swam from raft to raft encouraging and directing the survivors of the destroyer Jacob Jones after a torpedo had sent that vessel to the bottom. There are those two gunners on the transport Antilles who stood serving their gun until the ship sank and carried them down. There is the freighter Silver-Shell whose gun crew fought and sank the submarine that attacked the ship, and the gun crews of the Moreni, the Campana, and the J.L. Luckenback—indomitable heroes all. There is Osmond Kelly Ingram, who saved the Cassin and lost his life. There is the glorious page contributed to our naval annals, by the officers and crew of the San Diego. History indeed is in the making—history that Americans are proud to read.

In all that has been written in this foreword the design has been merely to sketch, to outline some of the larger achievements of the United States Navy in this war. In chapters to come our navy's course from peace into war will be followed as closely as the restrictions of a wise censorship will permit.


First Experience of Our Navy with the German U-Boat—Arrival of Captain Hans Rose and the U-53 at Newport—Experiences of the German Sailors in an American Port—Destruction of Merchantman by U-53 off Nantucket—Our Destroyers to the Rescue—Scenes in Newport—German Rejoicing—The Navy Prepares for War

How many of us who love the sea and have followed it to greater or less extent in the way of business or pleasure have in the past echoed those famous lines of Rudyard Kipling:

"'Good-bye Romance!' the skipper said. He vanished with the coal we burn."

And how often since the setting in of the grim years beginning with August of 1914 have we had occasion to appreciate the fact that of all the romance of the past ages the like to that which has been spread upon the pages of history in the past four years was never written nor imagined. Week after week there has come to us from out the veil of the maritime spaces incidents dramatic, mysterious, romantic, tragic, hideous.

Great transatlantic greyhounds whose names evoke so many memories of holiday jaunts across the great ocean slip out of port and are seen no more of men. Vessels arrive at the ports of the seven seas with tales of wanton murder, of hairbreadth escapes. Boat crews drift for days at the mercy of the seas and are finally rescued or perish man by man. The square-rigged ship once more rears its towering masts and yards above the funnels of merchant shipping; schooners brave the deep seas which never before dared leave the coastwise zones; and the sands of the West Indies have been robbed of abandoned hulks to the end that the diminishing craft of the seas be replaced. And with all there are stories of gallantry, of sea rescues, of moving incidents wherein there is nothing but good to tell of the human animal. Would that it were all so. But it is not. The ruthlessness of the German rears itself like a sordid shadow against the background of Anglo-Saxon and Latin gallantry and heroism—a diminishing shadow, thank God, and thank, also, the navy of Great Britain and of the United States.

For more than two years and a half of sea tragedy the men of our navy played the part of lookers-on. Closely following the sequence of events with the interest of men of science, there was a variety of opinion as to the desirability of our playing a part in the epic struggle on the salt water. There were officers who considered that we were well out of it; there were more who felt that our part in the struggle which the Allied nations were waging should be borne without delay. But whatever existed in the way of opinion there was no lack of unanimity in the minute study which our commissioned officers gave to the problems in naval warfare and related interests which were constantly arising in European waters.

It was not, however, until October of 1916 that the American Navy came into very close relationship with the submarine activities of the German Admiralty. The morning of October 7 of that year was one of those days for which Newport is famous—a tangy breeze sweeping over the gorse-clad cliffs and dunes that mark the environment of Bateman's Point the old yellow light-ship which keeps watch and ward over the Brenton reefs rising and falling on a cobalt sea. From out of the seaward mists there came shortly before ten o'clock a low-lying craft which was instantly picked out by the men of the light-ship as a submarine, an American submarine. There is a station for them in Newport Harbor, and submersible boats of our navy are to be found there at all times.

But as the men watched they picked up on the staff at the stern of the incoming craft the Royal German ensign. A German submarine! Be assured that enough interest in German craft of the sort had been aroused in the two years and eight months of war to insure the visitor that welcome which is born of intense interest. The submarine, the U-53, held over toward Beaver Tail and then swung into the narrow harbor entrance, finally coming to anchor off Goat Island. The commander, Captain Hans Rose, went ashore in a skiff and paid an official visit first to Rear-Admiral Austin M. Knight, commander of the Newport Naval District, and then to Rear-Admiral Albert Gleaves, chief of our destroyer flotilla.

Subsequent testimony of that German commander was that the American naval officers appeared somewhat embarrassed at the visit, suggesting men who were confronted by a situation which they were not certain how to handle. The statement of the German officer had a humorous sound and may have been humorously intended. In any event. Admiral Knight and Admiral Gleaves were very polite, and in due course paid the Germans the courtesy of a return visit, And while the submarine lay in the harbor the crew came ashore and were treated to beer by the American sailors, while crowds of curious were admitted aboard the submersible and shown about with the most open courtesy.

Captain Rose said he had come to deliver a letter to Count von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador, but such a mission seemed so trivial that rumor as to the real intentions of the craft was rife throughout the entire country. There were suspicions that she had put in for fuel, or ammunition, or supplies. But nothing to justify these thoughts occurred. The U-53 hung around through the daylight hours, and at sunset, with a farewell salute, put to sea.

Did our naval officers think this was the last of her? Possibly, but probably not. They knew enough of the Germans to realize, or to suspect, that their minds held little thought those days of social amenities and that such calls as were made upon neutrals contained motives which, while hidden, were none the less definite.

The night brought forth nothing, however, and the Navy Department was beginning to feel that perhaps after all the U-53 was well on her way to Germany, when early the following morning there came to the radio-station at Newport an indignant message from Captain Smith of the Hawaiian-American liner Kansan. He asked to know why he had been stopped and questioned by a German submarine which had halted him in the vicinity of the Nantucket light-ship at 5.30 o'clock that morning. He added that after he had convinced the submarine commander as to the nationality of his ship, he was permitted to proceed.

This looked like business, and Newport became certain of this when shortly after noon came a radio containing advices as to the sinking of the steamship West Point off Nantucket. Then at intervals up to midnight came other messages telling of the sinking of other vessels until the victims of the undersea craft numbered four British, a Dutch, and a Scandinavian vessel, one of them, the Halifax liner Stephana, a passenger-vessel, with Americans on board. Reports of vessels torpedoed, of open boats containing survivors afloat on the sea, followed one another swiftly until not only Newport but the entire country was aroused.

Admiral Knight and Admiral Gleaves, who had been keeping the Navy Department at Washington in touch with every phase of the situation, beginning with the arrival of the U-53 the preceding day, lost no time in sending destroyers forth to the rescue, while already there was the cheering word that the destroyer Batch was on the scene and engaged in rescue work.

The departure of the destroyers was a spectacle that brought thousands of men, women, and children of Newport to the points of vantage along the shore or to small craft of all sorts in which they kept as close to the destroyers, preparing for their seaward flight, as they could. It was Sunday, a day when crowds were at leisure, but it was also a day when many of the officers and crew of the flotilla were on shore-leave. They were summoned from all points, however, and within a short time after the first call for help had been received the Jarvis, with Lieutenant L. P. Davis in command, was speeding to sea at the rate ordered by Admiral Gleaves, thirty-one knots an hour.

Inside half an hour the other destroyers shot out to sea at the same speed as the Jarvis while the spectators cheered them, and such as were in small boats followed until the speeding craft had disappeared. There was the Drayton—Lieutenant Bagley, who later was to know the venom of the German submarine—the Ericson, Lieutenant-Commander W. S. Miller; the O'Brien, Lieutenant-Commander C. E. Courtney; the Benham, Lieutenant-Commander J. B. Gay; the Cassin, Lieutenant-Commander Vernon; the McCall, Lieutenant Stewart; the Porter, Lieutenant-Commander W. K. Wortman; the Fanning, Lieutenant Austin; the Paulding, Lieutenant Douglas Howard; the Winslow, Lieutenant-Commander Nichols; the Alwyn, Lieutenant-Commander John C. Fremont; the Cushing, Lieutenant Kettinger; the Cummings, Lieutenant-Commander G. F. Neal; the Conyngham, Lieutenant-Commander A. W. Johnson, and the-mother ship, Melville, Commander H. B. Price.

Soon after the destroyers had passed into the Atlantic there came a wireless message saying that twenty of the crew of the British steamship Strathdean had been taken on board the Nantucket light-ship. Admiral Gleaves directed the movement of his destroyers from the radio-room on the flag-ship. He figured that the run was about a hundred miles. There was a heavy sea running and a strong southwest wind. There was a mist on the ocean. It was explained by the naval authorities that the destroyers were sent out purely on a mission of rescue, and nothing was said as to any instructions regarding the enforcement of international law. None the less it was assumed, and may now be assumed, that something was said to the destroyer commanders with regard to the three-mile limit. But as to that we know no more to-day than at the time.

Suffice to say that the destroyers arrived in time not only to wander about the ocean seeking survivors in the light of a beautiful hunter's moon, but in time to witness the torpedoing of at least two merchantmen; the submarine commander, it is said, advising our war-ship commanders to move to certain locations so as not to be hit by his shells and torpedoes.

Eventually the destroyer flotilla returned with their loads of survivors and with complete details of the operations of the U-53 and, according to belief, of another submarine not designated. It appeared that the Germans were scrupulous in observing our neutrality, that their operations were conducted without the three-mile limit, and that opportunities were given crews and passengers to leave the doomed ships. There was nothing our destroyer commanders could do. Even the most hot-headed commander must have felt the steel withes of neutral obligation which held him inactive while the submarine plied its deadly work. There was, of course, nothing else to do—except to carry on the humanitarian work of rescuing victims of the U boat or boats, as the case might have been.

Later, it was given to many of the craft which set forth that October afternoon to engage in their service to humanity, to cross the seas and to meet the submarine where it lurked in the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean. One of them, the Cassin was later to be struck—but not sunk—by a torpedo off the coast of England, while the Fanning, in company with the Nicholson, had full opportunity of paying off the score which most naval officers felt had been incurred when the U-53 and her alleged companion invaded American waters and sullied them with the foul deeds that had so long stained the clean seas of Europe.

German diplomats were enthusiastic over the exploits of their craft. "The U-53 and other German submarines, if there are others," said a member of the German Embassy at Washington, "is engaged in doing to the commerce of the Allies just what the British tried to do to the Deutschland when she left America. (The submarine Deutschland, engaged in commercial enterprise, had visited the United States some time previously.) It is a plain case of what is sometimes known as commerce-raiding. It is being done by submarines, that is all. Warfare, such as that which has been conducted in the Mediterranean, has been brought across the Atlantic. It should be easy to destroy more of the overseas commerce of the Allies, which is principally with America, near where it originates."

Here was a veiled threat—not so veiled either—which was no doubt marked in Washington. President Wilson received the news of the sinkings in silence, but plainly government authorities were worried over the situation. New problems were erected and the future was filled with possibilities of a multifarious nature.

Thus, within twenty-four hours it was demonstrated that the war was not 3,000 miles away from us, but close to our shores. The implied threat that it would be a simple matter for submarines to cross the Atlantic and deal with us as they were dealing with France and England and other Entente nations—not to say harmless neutrals such as Holland and Scandinavia—was not lost upon the citizens of this country. But, as usual, German judgment in the matter of psychology was astray. The threat had no effect in the way of Schrecklichkeit, but rather it steeled us to a future which began to appear inevitable. And deep under the surface affairs began to move in the Navy Department.

No doubt, too, the conviction began to grow upon the government that the policy of dealing fairly by Germany was not appreciated, and that when the exigencies of the war situation seemed to require it, our ships would be sent to the bottom as cheerfully as those of other neutrals such as Holland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as other countries who unfortunately were not in the position to guard their neutrality with some show of dignity that we were in.

Subsequent events proved how true this feeling was. For not six months later the German policy of sea aggression had brought us to the point where it was not possible for us to remain out of the conflict against the pirate nation. It was in the following April that we went to war, and our first act was to send forth a destroyer flotilla to engage the U-boat in its hunting-ground, Among that flotilla, as said, were many of the craft which had rescued survivors of the Nantucket affair. They were ready and their officers were ready, nay, eager. They swept across a stormy Atlantic like unleashed hounds, and when the British commander received them at Queenstown, and asked the American commanders when they would be ready to take their places with the British destroyers, the answer came quickly:

"We are ready now."

And they were—allowing for the cleaning of a few hulls and the effecting of minor repairs to one or two of the vessels. Other destroyers remained here, of course, while a fringe of submarine-chasers and swift, armed yachts converted into government patrol-vessels were guarding our coast the day after the President signed the war resolution. But more than a year and a half was to elapse before our waters were again to know the submarine menace. Just why the Germans waited may not be known. Probably they had all they could attend to in foreign waters. In any event it was not until June, 1918, that a coastwise schooner captain was both surprised and indignant when a shot from a craft which he took to be an American submarine went across his bows. It was not an American submarine; it was a German submersible and that schooner was sent to the bottom, followed by other wind-jammers and the Porto Rico liner Carolina.

Thus, what in the original instance was a test journey in the interests of German submarine activity—the visit of the U-53 in October, 1916—as well as a threat to this country bore its fruit in the development of that test trip, and in the fulfilment of that threat. At this writing the coastwise marauder, or marauders, are still off our shores, and clouds of navy craft are seeking to destroy them. We are far better equipped for such service than we were when Captain Hans Rose came here in his submarine, and it is divulging no secret information to say that this and further invasions of our home waters will be dealt with bravely and rigorously without the necessity of subtracting from the number of war-vessels that are engaged with Allied fighters in maintaining commerce upon the waters of Europe.

But this is getting a bit further ahead than I intended to go at this juncture. The primary point is that with the visit of Captain Hans Rose in his undersea boat, with her depredations off our coast, the Navy Department, saying nothing to outsiders, came to accept the idea of war as something more than a possible contingency.

Debates in Congress were characterized by an increasing pointedness, and stories of sea murders increased rather than diminished. And not infrequently there were Americans on board those ships. At length came the sinking of American merchantmen and the final decision by our government to place armed guards on all merchant vessels carrying our flag. It was then that the Navy Department was called upon to take the first open steps against the German sea menace—steps rife with grim possibilities, since it operated to bring our seamen gunners into actual conflict with the German naval forces. There could be little doubt, therefore, that war would follow in inevitable course.


Our Navy Arms American Merchant Vessels—Death of our First Bluejacket on Service in the War Zone—Vice-Admiral Sims—We Take Over Patrol of Waters of Western Hemisphere—The Naval Advisory Board of Inventions—Work of this Body—Our Battleships the Largest in the World—Widespread Operations

Announcement was made on March 12, 1917, that American merchantmen would be armed for protection against submarine attacks, and hundreds of guns of proper calibers were required for the purpose. These were taken from the vessels of the fleet and, of course, had to be replaced as soon as possible. Work was expeditiously carried forward, and hardly had the order for armed guards been issued than the American freighter Campana was sent to Europe well-laden with cargo and prepared to make matters interesting for any submarine that saw fit to attack by the then prevailing method of shell-fire. Other vessels soon followed, and the country witnessed the anomalous condition of the navy in war service in the European war zone before war was declared.

The navy, in fact, had its first death in service before we went to war, when on April 1, John Espolucci, of Washington, D.C., one of the armed guard of the steamship Aztec, was killed in the course of events attending the destruction of that vessel by a submarine. By this time active hostilities had seemed inevitable and before the sinking of the Aztec the Navy Department had sent Admiral William S. Sims abroad to get in touch with the British and French Admiralties for the purpose of discussing the most effective participation of our war-ships in the conflict. Later, when war was actually declared, Sims was promoted to vice-admiral, and made commander of the United States naval forces operating in European waters.

No better man for this post could have been selected. A graduate of the Naval Academy in the class of 1880, his career in the navy had been one sequence of brilliant achievement. As naval attache at Paris and Petrograd, in the course of his distinguished service he had ample opportunities for the study of European naval conditions, and later he was intrusted with the important duty of developing gunnery practice and marksmanship in our battle-fleet. The immense value of his work in this respect is an open book. His instincts were wholly scientific, and with neither fear nor favor he carried forward our record for marksmanship until it was second to that of no navy in the world. The one mark upon his record is an indiscreet speech made in London, before the European War occurred, in which he stated that blood was thicker than water, and that at the necessary moment the navies of the United States and of Great Britain would be found joined in brotherly co-operation. England liked that speech a lot, but Germany did not, and Washington was rather embarrassed. Beginning, however, with April of 1917, that speech delivered several years previously was recalled as perfectly proper, pat, and apropos. There can be no doubt that his constructive advice, suggestion, and criticism were of enormous benefit to the British and the French, and by the same token exceedingly harmful to the murderous submarine campaign of Germany, As evidence of the regard in which the admiralty of Great Britain held this American officer, witness the fact that upon one occasion when the British commander-in-chief of naval operations on the Irish coast was compelled to leave his command for a period, Admiral Sims was nominated by the admiralty to serve as chief of the combined forces until the British commander returned.

But this mission of Admiral Sims, and the eventual despatch of submarine flotillas to the war zone, were but two phases of the enormous problem which confronted the Navy Department upon the outbreak of hostilities. There was first of all the task of organizing and operating the large transport system required to carry our share of troops overseas for foreign service. Within a month after the President had announced that troops would be sent to Europe the first contingent had been organized, and all its units were safely landed in France before the 4th of July. These included a force of marines under Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Charles A. Doyen, which is serving in the army under Major-General Pershing. Since that time a constant stream of troops and supplies has poured across the Atlantic under naval control and supervision, the presiding officer in charge of transport being Rear-Admiral Albert Gleaves.

Then, again, the United States took over control of most of the patrol of the western Atlantic. Our thousands of miles of coast had to be guarded against enemy attack and protected against German raiders. A squadron under command of Admiral William B. Caperton was sent to South America and received with the utmost enthusiasm at Rio de Janeiro, at Montevideo and Buenos Aires, which cities were visited on invitation from the governments of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. After Brazil's entrance into the war the Brazilian Navy co-operated with our vessels in the patrol of South American waters.

The taking over of some 800 craft of various kinds, and their conversion into types needed, provided the navy with the large number of vessels required for transports, patrol service, submarine-chasers, mine-sweepers, mine-layers, tugs, and other auxiliaries. The repair of the 109 German ships whose machinery had been damaged by their crews—details of which will be treated in a subsequent chapter—added more than 700,000 tons to our available naval and merchant tonnage, and provided for the navy a number of huge transports which have been in service for nearly a year. Hundreds of submarine-chasers have now been built, and a number of destroyers and other craft completed and placed in service. The first merchant ship to be armed was the oil-tanker Campana; guns manned by navy men were on board when she sailed for Europe, March 12, 1917. The big American passenger-liners St. Paul and New York were armed on March 16 of that year, and the Red Star liner Kroonland and the Mongolia on March 19. And continuously up to the present writing merchant ships as they have become available have been armed and provided with navy gun crews. Since the arming of the Campana more than 1,300 vessels have been furnished with batteries, ammunition, spare parts, and auxiliaries.

But of equal importance, greater importance history may decree it, was Secretary Daniels's action in 1915 of appointing the Naval Advisory Board of Inventions. That was looking ahead with a vengeance. The idea was to make available the latent inventive genius of the country to improve the navy. The plan adopted by Secretary Daniels for selecting this extraordinary board included a request to the eleven great engineering and scientific societies of the country to select by popular election two members to represent their society on the board. Results were immediately gratifying. Nominations were forthcoming at once, and in September of 1915 the board, which came popularly to be known as the Inventions Board, met in Washington for organization. Thomas A. Edison was selected by the Secretary of the Navy as chairman of the board, and the other members were elected as follows:

From the American Chemical Society: W. R. Whitney, director of Research Laboratory, General Electric Company, where he has been the moving spirit in the perfection of metallic electric-lamp filaments and the development of wrought tungsten. L. H. Baekeland, founder of the Nepera Chemical Company and inventor of photographic paper.

From the American Institute of Electrical Engineers: Frank Julian Sprague, consulting engineer for Sprague, Otis, and General Electric Companies and concerned in the establishment of the first electrical trolley systems in this country. B. G. Lamme, chief engineer of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company and a prolific inventor.

From the American Mathematical Society: Robert Simpson Woodward, president of the Carnegie Institution and an authority on astronomy, geography, and mathematical physics. Arthur Gordon Webster, professor of physics at Clark University and an authority on sound, its production and measurement.

From the American Society of Civil Engineers: Andrew Murray Hunt, consulting engineer, experienced in the development of hydro-electric, steam, and gas plants. Alfred Craven, chief engineer of Public Service Commission, New York, and formerly division engineer in charge of construction work on Croton aqueduct and reservoirs.

From the American Aeronautical Society: Mathew Bacon Sellers, director of Technical Board of the American Aeronautical Society and the first to determine dynamic wind-pressure on arched surfaces by means of "wind funnel." Hudson Maxim, ordnance and explosive expert, maker of the first smokeless powder adopted by the United States Government.

The Inventors' Guild: Peter Cooper Hewitt, inventor of electric lamp, appliances to enable direct-current apparatus to be used with alternating-current circuits, and devices for telephones and aircraft. Thomas Robbins, president of Robbins Conveying Belt Company and inventor of many devices for conveying coal and ore.

From American Society of Automobile Engineers: Andrew L. Riker, vice-president of Locomobile Company, electrical and mechanical engineer and inventor of many automobile devices. Howard E. Coffin, vice-president of Hudson Motor Car Company and active in the development of internal-combustion engines.

From the American Institute of Mining Engineers: William Laurence Saunders, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ingersoll-Rand Company and inventor of many devices for subaqueous and rock drilling. Benjamin Bowditch Thayer, president of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and an authority on explosives.

From the American Electro Chemical Society: Joseph William Richards, professor of Electro-Chemistry at Lehigh and author of numerous works on electrometallurgy. Lawrence Addicks, consulting engineer for Phelps, Dodge and Company and authority on the metallurgy of copper.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers: William Leroy Emmet, engineer with the General Electric Company. He designed and perfected the development of the Curtis Turbine and was the first serious promoter of electric propulsion for ships. Spencer Miller, inventor of ship-coaling apparatus and the breeches-buoy device used in rescues from shipwrecks.

From the American Society of Aeronautic Engineers: Henry Alexander Wise Wood, engineer and manufacturer of printing-machinery and student of naval aeronautics. Elmer Ambrose Sperry, founder of Sperry Electric Company, designer of electric appliances and gyroscope stabilizer for ships and airplanes.

Just what service this board has performed is in the keeping of the government. But that it has been a distinguished service we may not doubt. Seated in their headquarters at Washington, their minds centred upon the various problems of the sea which the war brought forth, they have unquestionably exerted a constructive influence no less vital than that played by the officers and men of the navy on the fighting front. Only one announcement ever came from this board, and that was when William L. Saunders gave forth the statement that a means of combating the submarine had been devised. This early in the war. Doubt as to the strict accuracy of the statement came from other members of the Inventions Board, and then the whole matter was hushed. Mr. Saunders said nothing more and neither did his colleagues.

But whether emanating from the lucubrations of Mr. Edison's board, or wherever devised, we know that the American Navy has applied many inventions to the work of combating the under-sea pirate. A type of depth-bomb was developed and applied. This is one of the most efficient methods of beating the submarine that has yet been found. Explosive charges are fitted with a mechanism designed to explode the charge at a predetermined depth below the surface of the sea. The force of the explosion of a depth charge dropped close to a submarine is sufficient to disable if not sink it, and American boats have been fitted with various interesting means of getting these bombs into the water.

Smoke-producing apparatus was developed to enable a vessel to conceal herself behind a smoke-screen when attacked by submarines and thus escape. Several types of screen have been invented and applied in accordance with the character of the vessel. After a study of the various types of mines in existence, there was produced an American mine believed to involve all the excellent points of mines of whatever nationality, while another extraordinary invention was the non-ricochet projectile. The ordinary pointed projectile striking the water almost horizontally is deflected and ricochets. A special type of shell which did not glance off the surface of the ocean was developed early in 1917 and supplied to all vessels sailing in the war zone.

The first year of the war saw also the development of the seaplane, with the adaption to this vehicle of the air a nonrecoil gun, which permits the use of comparatively large calibers, and of the Lewis gun. This year saw also the completion of the latest type of naval 16-inch gun, throwing a projectile weighing 2,100 pounds. Our newest battleships will mount them. In this connection it is interesting to note that broadside weights have tripled in the short space of twenty years; that the total weight of steel thrown by a single broadside of the Pennsylvania to-day is 17,508 pounds, while the total weight thrown from the broadside of the Oregon of Spanish-American War fame was 5,600 pounds.

The navy also went in vigorously for aviation and has done exceedingly well. After the expansion of private plants had been provided for, the navy decided to operate a factory of its own, and a great building 400 by 400 feet was erected in Philadelphia in 110 days at a cost of $700,000. Contracts involving approximately $1,600,000 have been made which will more than treble the capacity of this plant.

In addition to work of this sort and services including scores of specialized activities, such as medical development, ordnance and munitions manufacture, building of yards, docks, and all sorts of accessory facilities, the navy before the war had been a month under way had given contracts for the construction of several hundred submarine-chasers, having a length of 110 feet and driven by three 220-horse-power gasoline-engines, to thirty-one private firms and six navy-yards. All of these craft are now in service, and have done splendidly both in meeting stormy seas and in running down the submarines. While the British prefer a smaller type of submarine-chaser, they have no criticism of ours. Many of these 110-footers, built of wood, crossed the ocean in weather which did considerable damage to larger craft, and yet were practically unscathed. The French are using many of them.

Another larger type of chaser, corresponding to the destroyer, is the patrol-boat of the Eagle class built at the plant of Henry Ford in Detroit.

The most recent battleships laid down by the navy are the largest ever attempted. The biggest British battleship of which we have knowledge displaces 27,500 tons; the largest German, 28,448 metric tons (28,000 American tons), while the largest Japanese battleship displaces 30,600 tons. These may be compared with our Arizona and Pennsylvania, 31,400 tons; Idaho, Mississippi, and New Mexico, 32,000 tons; California and Tennessee 32,300 tons, Colorado, Washington, Maryland, and West Virginia, 32,600 tons, while six new battleships authorized early in the present year are designed to be 41,500 tons. Our new battle-cruisers of 35,000 tons and 35 knots speed will be the swiftest in the world, having a speed equal to the latest and fastest destroyers. They will also be the largest in the world with the exception of the four British battle-cruisers of the Hood class, which are 41,200 tons.

On April 1, 1917, the total number of civilian employees in the nine principal navy-yards was 29,708. On March 1, 1918, the total number of employees in the same yards was 58,026. The total number of mechanics now employed at all navy yards and stations throughout the country is more than 66,000.

The Navy Powder Factory at Indianapolis, Ind., manufactures powder of the highest grade for use in the big guns; it employs 1,000 men and covers a square mile. Additional buildings and machinery, together with a new generating-plant, are now being installed. The torpedo-station at Newport, a large plant where torpedoes are manufactured, has been greatly enlarged and its facilities in the way of production radically increased. Numerous ammunition-plants throughout the country prepare the powder charge, load and fuse the shell, handle high explosives, and ship the ammunition to vessels in the naval service. Among recent additions to facilities is an automatic mine-loading plant of great capacity and new design.

Schools of various sorts, ranging from those devoted to the teaching of wireless telegraphy to cooking, were established in various parts of the country, and from them a constant grist of highly specialized men are being sent to the ships and to stations.

In these, and in numerous ways not here mentioned, the Navy Department signalized its entrance into the war. While many new fields had to be entered—with sequential results in way of mistakes and delays—there were more fields, all important, wherein constructive preparation before we entered the war were revealed when the time came to look for practical results.


First Hostile Contact Between the Navy and the Germans—Armed Guards on Merchant Vessels—"Campana" First to Sail—Daniels Refuses Offer of Money Awards to Men Who Sink Submarines—"Mongolia" Shows Germany How the Yankee Sailorman Bites—Fight of the "Silvershell"—Heroism of Gunners on Merchant Ships—Sinking of the "Antilles"—Experiences of Voyagers

In the way of direct hostile contact between the Navy Department and Germany we find the first steps taken in the placing of armed naval-guards on American merchantmen. While this was authorized by the government before war was declared, it was recognized as a step that would almost inevitably lead to our taking our part in the European conflict and the nation, as a consequence, prepared its mind for such an outcome of our new sea policy. Germany had announced her policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in February, 1917, and on February 10 of that month two American steamships, the Orleans and the Rochester, left port for France in defiance of the German warning. Both vessels were unarmed and both arrived safely on the other side—the Rochester was subsequently sunk—but their sailing without any means of defense against attack aroused the nation and spurred Congress to action.

On March 12 the first armed American merchantman, the Campana, left port with a gun mounted astern, and a crew of qualified naval marksmen to man it. In the following October Secretary Daniels announced that his department had found guns and crews for every one of our merchant vessels designated for armament and that the guards consisted of from sixteen to thirty-two men under command of commissioned or chief petty officers of the navy. When the work of finding guns for vessels was begun the navy had few pieces that were available. While there were many fine gunners in the naval force, there were not a sufficient number of them to enable the quick arming of merchantmen without handicapping the war-ships.

So every battleship in the navy was converted into a school of fire to train men for the duty, and the naval ordnance plants entered upon the work of turning out guns qualified for service on merchant craft. There were guns in stock, as a matter of fact, but the number was insufficient for the purpose in hand because, before the submarine developed a new sort of sea warfare, it was not the policy of the nations to arm merchant vessels other than those used as naval auxiliaries. But, as already said, so expeditiously were affairs carried on that some six months after the decision to equip our freighters and passenger-liners with means of protection we had the sailors and the guns necessary to meet all demands.

The following telegraphic correspondence, between two St. Louis business men and the Secretary of the Navy, gives a very fair idea of the spirit in which the citizens of this country accepted the decision of the government to arm our merchant marine:

"St. Louis, Mo., April 11, 1917.

"Hon. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

"We will pay $500 to the captain and crew of the first American merchant ship to destroy a hostile submarine after this date. Money will be paid on award by your office."



To which Mr. Daniels replied as follows:

"I thank you for the spirit which prompted your offer. It is my distinct feeling that money rewards for such bravery is not in keeping with the spirit of our day."

And neither it was. The American naval men were intent upon duty and their duty was merely to protect the dignity as well as the safety of our sea-borne commerce. The mercenary element was absent and that Mr. Daniels did well to emphasize this fact was the conviction of the navy as well as of the entire country; while, at the same time, as the secretary said, the spirit underlying the offer was appreciated.

In the meantime the German Government—which no doubt had not expected such drastic action on the part of the United States—was profoundly disturbed, and it was stated that crews of American merchantmen who ventured to fire upon German submarines before a state of war existed between the two countries must expect to meet the fate of the British merchant captain, Charles Fryatt, who as will be recalled, was tried and executed in Germany for attempting to ram the German submarine 7-33 with his vessel, the Great Eastern Railway steamship, Brussels, in July of 1916. This warning set forth in the Neueste Nachrichten, of Munich, is so ingenious that the reader interested in Teutonic psychology will no doubt be interested in the perusal thereof.

"We assume," the newspaper said, "that President Wilson realizes the fate to which he is subjecting his artillerymen. According to the German prize laws it is unneutral support of the enemy if a neutral ship takes part in hostilities. If such a ship opposes the prize-court then it must be treated as an enemy ship. The prize rules specify as to the crews of such ships. If, without being attached to the forces of the enemy, they take part in hostilities or make forcible resistance, they may be treated according to the usages of war. If President Wilson, knowing these provisions of international law, proceeds to arm American merchantmen he must assume responsibility for the eventuality that American seamen will meet the fate of Captain Fryatt."

All of which did not appear to frighten our government one bit. We set ourselves to the task of equipping our merchant craft with seamen-gunners and guns, and it was not long—April 25, in fact—before an incident occurred that brought forth a chuckle from Colonel Roosevelt, a chuckle accompanied by the historic remark: "Thank heaven! Americans have at last begun to hit. We have been altogether too long at the receiving end of this war that Germany has been waging upon us."

This ebullition was occasioned by the report of the first real American blow of the war when, late in April, 1917, the crack American freighter Mongolia showed the German Navy that the time had arrived when the long, strong arm of Uncle Sam was reaching out a brawny fist over the troubled waters of the Atlantic.

The Mongolia had left an American port after war had been declared, and she was guarded by a 6-inch gun, with a crew of seamen-gunners under command of Lieutenant Bruce Ware. Captain Emery Rice commanded the freighter, and the voyage across the Atlantic had proceeded without incident until the port of destination, an English port, lay just twenty-four hours away. In other words, the Mongolia was in the war zone. The sea was untroubled, and the gun crew gathered at their stations and the lookouts on mast and deck were beginning to believe that the trip would end as uneventfully as it had begun. No doubt there was some disappointment in this thought; for, strange as it may seem, our armed freighters were rather inclined to hunt out the submarines than to dodge them. It has been the frequent testimony that our armed guards are always spoiling for fight, not seeking to avoid It.

At all events, the freighter steamed through the light mists of the April afternoon—it was the anniversary of the battle of Lexington—and Captain Rice, who had been five days in his clothes, and Lieutenant Ware of the navy and his nineteen men, serving the two 4-inch forward guns and the 6-inch stern piece, casting their eyes over the vast stretch of water when at 5.30 o'clock the gruff voice of the first mate, who had been peering over the dodger rail of the bridge rumbled over the vessel.

"Submarine. Two points off the port bow."

There it was, sure enough, a periscope at least, practically dead ahead, her position with relation to the Mongolia being such that the vessel offered a narrow target, a target hardly worth the wasting of a valuable torpedo. No, the submarine was either waiting for a broadside expanse or else was intent upon a gun-fight.

Lieutenant Ware and his seamen were ready. In compliance to a sharply spoken order the three guns were turned upon the periscope. But quick as the gunners were, the submarine was quicker, and as the guns were brought to bear the periscope sank gently out of sight. Captain Rice almost pulled the engine-room signal telegraph-lever out by its roots in bringing the ship to full speed toward the spot where the periscope had last been seen, his idea of course, being to ram the lurking craft.

For two minutes nothing was seen and then a shout from one of the lookouts heralded the reappearance of the submersible, this time a thousand yards to port, the Mongolia offering to the Germans a fair broadside expanse of hull. Lieutenant Ware's voice arose and the next instant the 6-inch piece spoke. That periscope went into splinters; a direct hit. Watchers on the freighter saw the shell strike its mark fairly. A great geyser arose from the sea, and when it died there were evidences of commotion beneath the surface. Then gradually foam and oil spread upon the gentle waves.

There was no doubt about the hit. Lieutenant Ware knew before the shell struck that the aim had been accurate. There was no guess-work about it. It was a case of pure mathematics. The whole affair was over in two minutes. The vessel did not stop to reconnoitre, but steamed away at full speed, sending ahead wireless reports of the fight against the undersea craft. The British naval officers who came bounding across the waters on their destroyers were extremely complimentary in their praise, and when the Mongolia returned to New York there was a dinner in honor of Lieutenant Ware, an expression of the lingering emotions which had fired the nation when word of the incident was cabled to this country. Since that fight the Germans, enraged, seem to have marked the Mongolia; for in succeeding months she was set upon repeatedly by the submarine flotilla, seeking revenge for her temerity in sending one of their number to the bottom. But she is still afloat and ready for anything that comes out of the sea.

None the less, the government began to feel that it would be wiser not to mention the names of ships engaged with submarines, and thus when the next good fight occurred the name of the vessel engaged was not given. Aside from hoping thus to keep a vessel from being marked it had been the experience of the British Government that when Germans had identified captured sailors as having belonged to vessels that had sunk or damaged submarines they subjected them to unusual severity. Our navy wished to avoid this in the case of our men.

However, the name of the vessel which engaged in a fight on May 30, was given out the day after the Washington report by the French Ministry of Marine. It was the Silvershell, commanded by Captain Tom Charlton with a gun crew commanded by William J. Clark, a warrant-officer from the battleship Arkansas. The battle occurred on May 30, in the Mediterranean and in addition to strength added by an efficient gun crew, whose commander, Clark, had been a turret captain on the Arkansas, the Silvershell was an extremely fast ship. As a consequence, when the submarine poked her nose out of the Mediterranean blue, expecting easy prey, she found confronting her a man's-size battle. In all sixty shots were exchanged, and the submarine not only beaten off, but sunk with the twenty-first shot fired from the Silvershell. It was a great fight, and Clark was recommended for promotion.

While the government jealously guarded details of this and subsequent fights, the country had adequate food for pride in such announcements from the Navy Department as that of July 26, when certain gun-crew officers were cited for promotion and an outline of reasons therefor set forth.

There was Andrew Copassaki, chief boatswain's mate, for instance, who was transferred from the battleship Arkansas to take charge of the gun crew of the steamship Moreni. He commanded this crew when the Moreni was sunk by a German submarine on the morning of June 12. This gun crew put up a fight on the deck of that sinking vessel which was so gallant as to elicit words of praise from the commander of the attacking submarine. Copassaki, when the ship was in flames, from shellfire, rushed through the fire to the forward gun and continued to serve it against the submarine until the gun was put completely out of commission. This gallant hero was born in Greece, and had been in the navy twenty years.

Then there was Harry Waterhouse, a chief turret captain, transferred from the dreadnought New York to command the armed crew of the Petrolite which was sunk by a U-boat on June 10. The vessel sank so rapidly after being torpedoed that the guns could not be used. The navy men, however, under the command of Waterhouse, assisted in getting out the boats and lowering them and getting the crew to safety, to a man—although the Petrolite went over on her beam ends in less than a minute. No member of the armed guard left the sinking vessel until ordered to do so by Waterhouse. These are but a few of the instances of signal gallantry which have filled the records of our navy since we entered the war.

And while our merchant crews were thus at work the navy was busy sending soldiers to the other side. Not a mishap had occurred on the eastbound traffic—and at this writing none has yet occurred—but on October 17, the transport Antilles, which had made several safe journeys with soldiers destined for General Pershing's expeditionary forces, was torpedoed and sunk when homeward bound with a loss of 70 lives out of 237 men on board. The transport was sunk while under the convoy of American naval patrol-vessels, and she had on board the usual armed gun crew.

Not only was the Antilles the first American Army transport to be lost in the present war, but she was the first vessel under American convoy to be successfully attacked. She was well out to sea at the time and the convoy of protecting vessels was smaller for this reason, and for the fact that she was westbound, carrying no troops. The submarine was never seen and neither was the torpedo. There has been rumor that the explosion that sank her came from the inside, but so far as any one knows this is merely port gossip of such nature as arises when vessels are lost. Our second transport to be lost was the President Lincoln, taken over from the Germans when war was declared. She, too, was eastbound, well out to sea, and the loss of life was small. The third was the Covington, formerly the German liner Cincinnati, which was torpedoed in the early summer of this year while on her way to an American port.

Life on merchantmen, freighters, liners, and the like, crossing the Atlantic, has been fraught with peril and with excitement ever since we went into the war. Even with armed guards there are of course all sorts of chances of disaster, chances frequently realized; but, on the other hand, in a great majority of cases the vessels of the transatlantic passenger service have crossed to and fro, giving their passengers all the thrills of an exciting situation without subjecting them to anything more serious.

Let me quote in part a letter from a Princeton man, Pleasants Pennington, who was a passenger on the French transatlantic liner Rochambeau, on one of its trips late in 1917.

"What about the submarines? They haven't put in an appearance yet. We haven't worried about them because we only got into the war zone last night; but I may have more to write about before we get into Bordeaux on Wednesday or Thursday. There are several people on board—especially ladies of the idle rich—who have been much concerned about the safety of the ship and incidentally their own skins.... The Frenchmen, the officers of the ship and especially the captain (his name is Joam) take a very philosophic view of the situation, and shrug their shoulders with Gallic fatalism. If they shall be torpedoed—tant pis! But why worry?... I had a talk with our captain the second day out, and he seemed to have made a pretty thorough study of tactics for avoiding submarines. He said they did not go more than 800 miles from land, and that the best protection is to go fast and keep one's eyes open. The Rochambeau had two beautiful new 6-inch guns mounted on the stern and a 3-inch gun in the bow.... As near as I can gather, our tactics seem to be to keep a lookout ahead and trust to getting a shot at any submarine that shows its head before it can launch a torpedo. I believe torpedoes are not accurate at over a mile, and the speed of a submarine is only nine knots while ours is nineteen.... I think the most distinctive feature of war-time travel is the fact that the boat must be perfectly dark at night to an outside observer. This rule is observed on the entire voyage, and results in heavy iron shutters being bolted on all port-holes and windows as soon as dusk falls so that the entire atmosphere of the cabins, smoking-room, reading-rooms, etc., becomes very vile in a surprisingly short time after dark.... We now sleep on deck and are very comfortable. The deck is crowded at night with people of different ages, sexes, and nationalities, sleeping in the most charming confusion and proximity."

Well, the Rochambeau arrived without untoward incident as she had done so often before and has done since. Another letter is that of a Yale senior, enlisted in the navy and one of the crew of a transport. "We looked very formidable as we steamed out of the harbor. An armored cruiser led the way and on either side a torpedo destroyer.... We proceed very cautiously. After sunset all lights go out. There is no smoking anywhere on board and not a light even in the stateroom. Then if we look out we see the other ships of the convoy—we hug one another closely—just stumbling through the water like phantom shapes—and that's the weirdest sight I have ever seen.... To-day we are having gun practice on board the transport—trial shots for the subs and the cruiser experimenting with balloon observers. Such are our interests.... Last night I had a wonderful experience. It was delightful—one of those that tickle my masculine pride. I was detailed in charge of a watch in the forward crow's-nest—a basket-like affair on the very top of the foremast about 150 feet from the water.... From the nest you get a wonderful view—a real bird's-eye view—for the men walking on the deck appear as pigmies, and the boats following in our trail look like dories. Our duty is to watch with powerful glasses for any traces of periscopes, and we are connected up with telephones to the gunners who are always ready for the 'call' and eager for action. This is only the first of the thrilling experiences which I expect, or, rather, hope to have." But that convoy arrived safely, too.

The convoy, by the way, was largely an American idea, a departure from the policy of protecting a single vessel. A group of craft about to cross, sometimes as many as a score or more, are sent forth together under adequate protection of destroyers and cruisers. At night towing-disks are dropped astern. These are white and enable the rearward vessels to keep their distance with relation to those steaming ahead. The destroyers circle in and about the convoyed craft, which, in the meantime, are describing zigzag courses in order that submarines may not be able to calculate their gun or torpedo fire with any degree of accuracy.

The destroyers shoot in front of bows and around sterns with impunity, leaving in their trail a phosphorescent wake. Sometimes in the case of a fast liner the destroyers, what with the high speed of the craft they are protecting and the uncertain course, narrowly escape disaster. As a matter of fact, one of them, the American destroyer Chauncey, was lost in this manner. But she is the only one.

Here is a letter from a Yale man, a sailor, which contains rather a tragic story, the loss of the transport Tuscania under British convoy:

"I could see a lighthouse here and there on the Irish and Scotch shores, and though I knew there were plenty of ships about not one was to be seen. (It was night, of course). All at once I saw a dull flare and a moment after a heavy boom. Then about half a mile away the Tuscania stood out in the glare of all the lights suddenly turned on. I could see her painted funnels and the sides clear and distinct against the dark. Another boom and the lights and the ship herself vanished. The next instant lights and rockets began to go up, red and white, and from their position I knew they must be from the Tuscania and that she was falling out of the convoy. Then came a crash of guns and a heavier shock that told of depth-bombs and the blaze of a destroyer's search-lights—gone again in an instant—and then absolute silence."

The sinking of the Antilles was followed—October 25, 1917—by an announcement that thereafter bluejackets would man and naval officers command all transports. Up to that time, while there had been naval guards on the transports, the crews and officers of ships had been civilians. It was believed that highly disciplined naval men would be more effective than the constantly shifting crews of civilians. So it has proved.


Destroyers on Guard—Preparations of Flotilla to Cross the Ocean—Meeting the "Adriatic"—-Flotilla Arrives in Queenstown— Reception by British Commander and Populace—"We are Ready Now, Sir"—Arrival of the Famous Captain Evans on the American Flag-Ship—Our Navy a Warm-Weather Navy—Loss of the "Vacuum"

When we entered the war the Navy Department had one definite idea concerning its duty with regard to the submarine. It was felt that it was more necessary to deal drastically with this situation than to meet it merely by building a large fleet of cargo-carrying vessels in the hope that a sufficient number of them would escape the U-boats to insure the carrying of adequate food and supplies to France and the British Isles. The view was taken that, while the ship-building programme was being carried out—there was of course no idea of not furthering the policy embodied in the plea of the British statesman for ships, ships and yet more ships—means should be taken of driving the submarine from the seas.

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