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pi, than any other paper in ' t Florida. Put your Wants the paper that brings results. I THE yieTORY AT SEA . , ' .v, -V:;;f By ' ormulating Naval Policy Of the low Plan to Utilize Destroyers as Patrol Was Unfeasible Sime Worried Over U-Boat Sit uation Necessity of Protecting Shipping: Lanes East and South of Ireland. Germany attacked our hospital !ps In order to make us escort them Jj destroyers, and thereby divert destroyers from the antl-sub-ulne campaign. And, of course, gland had to do this. Had the An Saxon mind resembled the Ger in!o we should probably have ac pted the logic of the situation, and T8 refused to be diverted from the fat strategio purpose which meant .rating the war that Is. protecting reliant shipping; we should, there- r have left the hospital ships to sir fate. Justifying ourselves by the Inoiple of the larger good. But the -itish and American mind does not trie that way; It was Impossible for i to leave sick and wounded men as vt to submarines. Therefore, after wiving the German warning, backed its It was, by the actual destruc- i of unprotected hospital ships, we saa providing them with destroyer worts. This greatly embarrassed us the anti-submarine campaign, for at -es, especially during the big drives. : had & large number of hospital !ps to protect. As soon as we adopt - ''. this policy, Germany, having at- .ed her end. which was to keep the s'-royers out of the submarine area. pped attacking sick and wounded r .fliers. 'ot only "was the British navy at it time safeguarding the liberties of unkind at sea, but its army in France is doing its share in safeguarding em on land. And the fact that Brlt 3 had to support this mighty army i Its part In making British shipping times almost the free play of the firman submarines. For next in jortance to maintaining the Brit- si Grand Fleet Intact It was nec- w&ry to keep secure the channel "rowing. Over this little strip t water "went the men and the supplies -from England to France Satiept the, German army at bay; to v suspended this line of commu tation, even for a brief period would meant that the Germans would ire captured Paris, overrun the ff tVanA. flvtfl m-nAtkA 1A Hear least the war on land. In the 3crse of four years Great Britain -"Jasported about 20,000,000 troops iffoes the channel, without the loss a single man. She accomplished J only by constantly using fifty or it7 destroyers, and other light sur craft, based on Harwich, as es- Tts for the transports.' But this was the only responsibility of the kind rested on the already overbur el British shoulders. Thers was -other part of the seas In which, for practical and Dolltlcal reasons, the i'.iish destroyer fleet had to do pro- "':vo duty. This was the Medlterra a. Here lay not only the trade -tes to the east, but also the lines supply to Italy, to Egypt, to Pales ana to MesoDotamla. Cutting off Italy's food and materials ,3'J,a simply have meant that Italy have to withdraw from the war. 9 German and Austrian subma- escaolnar from Austria's Adriatic -S. wpr - n fo ntW jiasalllnc this amerce. Moreover, the success of German submarine campaign In -s waters would have meant that ' Ai.ies would have to abandon the onlki expedition, which would have 1 we Central Powers absolute mas of the Balkans and the (.Middle This created an additional ytln upon the anti-submarine craft British navy, "ot Enough Destroyers to Go Around. te British navy It was thus a l:'iinr.' choIce wht areas she would w &t y rrotect "with her destroyer '.j aes: the ono thing that was painful Pratent was that she could not --Mon.y safeguard all the dan tV With tho inadequate force ., f "'--Posal, certain aeras must be tit V? to the U-boats; and. to de v n r-1- ones was simply a matter mesne the several conflictine tre. SIS- Jn April, 191T, the Admiral THE States ty had decided to give the preference to the Grand Fleet, the hospital ships, the channel crossing and the Mediter ranean, practically in the order men tioned. It is evident from the figures given that all but about ten or a. dozen destroyers must have been used in the three areas. It was for this reason that the great zone of trans -Atlantic shipping, west and south of Ireland, vitally Important as It was, had to go almost unprotected. Sometimes only four or five destroyers were operating In this great stretch of waters; I do not think the number ever exceeded fifteen. Inasmuch as that represent ed about the number of German sub marines In this same area, the situ ation may strike the novice as not partlclarly desperate. But, of course, any such basis of comnarlspn is ab surd. The destroyers were operating on the surface in full view of the sub marines; the submarines could sub merge , at any time and make them selves Invisible; herein we have the reason why the contest was ridiculous ly unequal. . But, above all other con siderations, the method of warfare adopted by the Allies against the U boat was fundamentally wrong. The so-called submarine patrol, under the circumstances which prevailed at that time, could accomplish ' practically nothing. This pathetlo little, fleet of destroyers was based on Queenstown; from this port the ships put forth and patrolled In Ill-spent fashion around the-English Channel and the waters about Ireland in the hope that a Ger man submarine would stick us nose above the waves. The central iaea ot the destroyer patrol Is the one of hunt ing; the destroyer could sink the sub marine or drive it away from shipping if the submarine would only make itsj presence known, and the business of j the destroyer was to scury around in! the forlorn hope that it would do so.! Now this idea Is sound enough it you j can have enough destroyers. We fig- j ured that, to make the patrol system work with complete success, we should . have one destroyer for every J square mile. The area of thedestroy- er patrol off Queenstown comprised j about 25,000 square miles; in other i words the complete protection of the j trans-Atlantic trade routes would have . taken about 25,000 destroyers!; And the British, as I have said, had available anywhere from four to fif teen in this area! This destroyer flotilla being so small It is not surprising that the German submarines were making ducks and drakes of it. The map of April sink ings brings out art interesting fact: numerous as these sinkings were, very few merchantmen were torpedoed, In this month, at the entrance to the Irish Sea or In the English Channel. These were the narrow waters where shipping was massed, and where the little destroyer patrol was intended to operate. The German submarines apparently avoided these waters, and made their attacks but In the open sea. sometimes two and three hundred miles west and south of Ireland. Their purpose in doing this was to draw the destroyer patrol out into the open sea and In that way cause its dispersal. And these tactics succeeded. There were six separate steamship "lanes" by which the merchantmen approached the English Channel and the Irish Sea. One day the submarines would attack along one of these lines; then the little destroyer fleet would rush to this scene of operations. Immediately the German would depart and attack an other route two or three hundred miles away; then the destroyers would go pell mell for that location. Just as tKey arrived, however, the U-boats would begin operating elsewhere; - and so it went, a game of hide and seek in which the advantages lay all on the side of the submarines, which, pos sessed that insuperable quality of in visibility. It really was a case of blind man's buff; the destroyer can never see the enemy; the enemy could United PENS ACOLA JOURNAL, SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 19, 1919. always see' the destroyer. Sims. To show how serious the situation was, let me quote from my reports to Washington during this period. I find statements like these . scattered every where in my dispatches of the if " Sl spring of 1917: .' ."The military situation presented by the enemy submarine campaign is not only serious but critical." "The outstanding fact which cannot be escaped is that we are not succeed ing, or in other words, that the ene my's campaign is proving successful." "The consequences of failure or par tial failure of the Allied cause which we have joined are of such a far-reach- , ing character that I am deeply con cerned in insuring- that the part played by our country shall stand ev ery test of analysis before the bar of history. The situation at , present is. exceedingly grave. If sufficient United States naval forces' can be thrown iri--to the balance at the present critical time and place .there is little doubt ' that' early success will be assured." . "Briefly stated, I consider that, at the present moment we are losing the war." ' Deciding the American Naval Policy. And now came another important question: what should the American naval policy be in this crisis? - There were almost . as many, conflicting opin ions as there were minds. Certain authorities believed that our whole North Atlantic Fleet should' be moved. Such a manoeuvre ' was not only im possible, but it would have been strat egically very unwise; indeed such a disposition' would have been - playing" directly Into Germany's hands. What naval experts call the 'logistics" of the situation Immediately ruled this Idea out of consideration. The simple fact is that we could not have supplied our dreadnaughts in European waters at that time. The1 German U-boats were making a particularly successful drive at tankers, with the result that Eng-' land had the utmost difficulty in sup plying her fleet with fuel OIL It is impossible to exaggerate the serious ness of the oil situation at that time. "Orders have Just been given to use three-fifths speed, except in case of emergency." I reported to Washington on June -29, referring to the scarcity of oiL "This simply means that the enemy is winning the war." It was lucky for us that the Germans knew nothing about the scaricity of this in dispensable fuel. Had they been aware of it, they would have taken pains to see that the Grand Fleet was constant ly steaming at sea, and in this way they might so have exhausted its oil supplies as possibly to threaten . the actual command of the' surface. For tunately for the cause of civilization, there were certain important facts that the German secret service did not learn.- '. ' But this oil shortness made It lmpos- sibie that the American North At - kvVV s. &r I I e " ?4r . 1 II I " - 'i 'x"- 1 I L"-:- s 4 - II- II P1 f " r l ' -J rJ jc , II life ' r ' " , i I 1 1 ...-'- ' II - f ' , lantic Fleet should move Into Europe an waters, at least at that time. Since most oil supplies were brought from America, we could not have fueled our super-dreadnaughts In Europe in the spring and summer of 1917. Moreover, had we sent all our big 1 1 .1 ships to England we should have been obliged to keep our destroyers con stantly stationed with them ready for a great sea action; this would have completely fallen in with Germany's plans, for then these destroyers could not have been used against her subma- 9) r.r . r rines. The British did indeed request that we send five coal-burning ships to reinforce her fleet and give her that preponderance which made its ascen dency absolutely secure, and these England could not -have made provis ion for our greatest dreadnaughts, the oil burners.. Indeed, our big ships served the Allied cause better sta tioned on this side than the- would have served it had they been located at a European base. They provided a reserve, for the British fleet, precise . ly as our armies in France provided a reserve for the Allied armies; and meanwhile their destroyer escorts could be sent tof the submarine zone, to participate 'in the anti-submarine campaign. In American waters these big ships could be kept in prime con dition; here they had an open, free , sea" for-training", and here they could also "be used to " break in the thous ands of new men needed for the new ships constructed during the war. , : Our Fleet as Reinforcements. I early : took : the stand that our j forces should be considered chiefly In tthe light, of reinforcements to the Al lied navies, . and , that Ignoring all question of national pride and even what at first might superficially seem! to be national interest, we should ex- ert such offensive" power as we pos sessed in the way that would best aa-J sist the Allies in defeating the subma rine. England's naval resources were much greater than ours; in the nature of the case . we . could not expect to " maintain overseas anywhere near ,the number of ships which England had assembled; it should be our policy, therefore to use such available units as we . possessed to strengthen the weak spots in the Allied line. . There V were -those who believed that national . dignity required that , we should build ? up an independent navy in European waters, and operate It as' a distinct American unit. But that, I maintained, was" not the way to . win the war. Had we adopted this course, we should still have - been constructing naval bases and perfecting an organization ."when the armistice was signed; ' ln- - deed the Idea of. operating independent ly of the Allied fleet was not for a mo- tnent to" be considered.. There were others " in America who thought it was ' unwise to. put any part of our fleet In European waters, in view of the dan : gers that might asail us on our own coast. . : , . . v '-There was every expectation that - Germany would send submarines to the Western Atlantic, where they could prey upon our shipping and possibly . bombard our ports; she bad Read the Real Estate Advts. In today's JournaL To sell or rent Real Estate, advertise la The Jour naL The Journal has been the lead ing Real Estate , medium In West Florida for over 20 years. plenty of submarines which couli make this voyage, and the strateg) of the situation, in April and ' May, 1917. demanded that a move of thii kind be made. The predominant ele ment in the submarine defense, as 1 have pointed out, was the destroyer. The only way in which the United States could Immediately and effect ively help the British navy was by sending our whole destroyer flotilla and all our light surface craft at once. It was Germany's part, there fore, to resort to every manoeuvre that would keep our destroyer force on this side of the Atlantic. Such a performance might be expected to startle our peaceful American popu lation and start a public cry for pro tection that might force our govern ment to keep all anti-submarine' craft in our own waters. I expected Germa ny to do this immediately, and cau tioned our naval authorities at Wash ington not to be deceived. I pointed out that Germany could accomplish practically nothing by sporadic at tacks on American shipping in Amer ican waters; that, indeed, if we could induce the German admiralty to con centrate all its submarine efforts on the American coasts, and leave free the Irish Sea and the English Chan nel, the. war would be practically won for the Allies. Yet these facts were not apparent to the popular mind in 1917. and I shall always think that Germany made a great mistake in not fending submarines to the Ameri can coast Immediately on our decla ration of war, instead of waiting until 1918. Such attacks, at that time, would have started a public demand for protection which tho Washington authorities might have had great dif ficulty in resisting, and which might have actually kept our destroyer fleet In American waters, to the great det riment of the Allied cause. Germany evidently refrained from doing so for reasons which I have already indica ted a desire to play gently with tho United States, and In that way to de lay our. military preparations and win the war without coming into bloody conflict with the American people. There were others who thought it unwise to expose any part of our fleet to the dangers of. the European con test; their fear was that, if the Allies should be defeated, we would then need all our naval forces to protect the American coast. This point of view, of course, was short sighted and absurd. Clearly our national policy demanded that we should exert all the force we could assemble to make certain a German defeat. The best way to fight Germany was not to wait until she had vanquished the Allies, but to Join hands with them in a combined effort to beat her down. The thing to do was vigorously to take the offensive: to make certain that Germany could not attack us at h'ome by destroying her naval power In European waters. The Vital' Waters West and South Of Ireland. The fact Is that no nation was ever placed in so tragical a position as Great Britain In the spring and early summer of 1917. And I think that his tory records few spectacles more hero ic than that of the great British navy, fighting this hideous and cowardly form of warfare In half a dozen nlao with pitifully inadequate forces, but with an undaunted spirit that re mained firm even against the fearful odds which I have described. What an opportunity for America! And It was perfectly apparent what we should do. We should lmmedlatly place all available anti-submarine craft In those waters west and south of Ireland, the headquarters of the shipping which meant life or death to the Allied, cause the area which England, because of the almost end less demands on her navy in othtr fields, was unable to protect. I spent my first four days In Lon don collecting all possible data; I had no desire to alarm Washington unwarrantably, yet I also believed that I should be dereflct did I not present the facta precisely as they were. I. therefore, consulted praetically every one who could give me essential de tails and wrote a cable despatch, fill ing four fool's cap pages, which fur nished Washington its first detailed account of the cause on which we had emfoarked. In this work I had the full cooperation, of our Ambassador In London. Mr. Walter Hines Page. Mr. Page's whole heart and mind were bound up in the Allied cause; he was zealous that his country would play worthily Its part In this great crisis In history; and he worked unsparing ly with me to get the facts before the Washington Administration.