The Crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by the Subchasers Built in America

In 1917-1918, the U.S. built 100 submarine chasers for France. A French-language typescript contains a description of the process of moving the chasers overseas to join the French navy. The full typescript is about 55 pages plus maps and appendices. As segments of it are translated, the English version will be posted here.

Notes on the Translation:

Sincere thanks to Marc Terraillon for taking the time and care to translate this document into English. This is a project I have been hoping for years to see accomplished, helping to fill in the history of the chasers by telling the story of the boats that were sold to France.

In copy-editing the English version, I have made an effort to adopt some conventions such as date formatting and ship naming, and in places have re-formatted the page layout (deviating from a precise transliteration of the original French), for the purpose of readability.

Notes on the Presentation:

This document wil be split into multiple pages to organize it into chapters.


 

English translation of the French typescript,
La traversée de l’ Atlantique par les Chasseurs de Sous Marins contruits en Amérique.
Translation by Marc Terraillon. Copy editing by Todd Woofenden

School of Naval War
1922 – 1923

The Crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by the Subchasers Built in America
(August 1917 – November 1918)
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Lieutenant de Vaisseau BARBIER

 

INTRODUCTION

The purchase by the French Navy in 1917 of a first lot of 50 sub chasers built in America, then of a second lot of same number in 1918, created a problem for the General staff that was difficult to resolve.

In fact, we had to transfer these small units across Atlantic Ocean, a new type of ships the construction of which - for the first units - was unsatisfactory.

The necessity to act vigorously against the submarines in Europe and the insufficient means we had in 1917 required that the sub chasers reach France as soon as possible:

In consequence, were not allowed to complete the installation of equipment and the full training of crews before the sea crossing, and we had to confront bad weather in the ocean, during the winter, without knowing the nautical qualities of the ships.

In this work I have studied how the difficulties of this operation were resolved, and I have tried to show the successive improvements, obtained with the experience of previous journeys, in the organization of convoys, in the tow processes, and in resupplying at sea.

Details about the equipment (in particular about the engines) have been avoided as much as possible.

In accordance with guidance from Commandant Laurens, I widened the proposed subject to include ships manufactured in America, for the objective of building similar but more efficient ships for searching and destroying submarines; and I have noted also how the 100 subchasers sold to France were built, armed and trained.

A table at he end of this work indicates the order of delivery of the ships and the composition of the various groups that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The reader will refer to it during the study of crossings, to gain a general view of the subject.