The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air

The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air

The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air

The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air


When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the clamoring in the press for a strong army largely overshadowed the need for considerable naval contributions to the war effort. Although it was small at the time, the U.S. Navy transported thousands of doughboys to France, all the while battling the predatory German U-Boats. Henry Ford tried to put his mass-production techniques to work to produce hundreds of submarine chasers to patrol American coastlines. The fledgling Naval Air Service was assigned the daunting task of dealing with enemy aircraft over France and in the Adriatic Sea. This is the personal account of men who served on the sea and in the air, as well as the captains of industry who made victory possible.


Dwight R. Messimer

Bud Feuer has done a fine job of presenting a comprehensive view of America's war at sea during World War I that will provide fresh information to the general reader and the specialist. I have spent several years researching and writing about the war, both at sea and in the air, yet I found an enormous amount of new and interesting material in Feuer's book. Of particular interest is the chapter dealing with America's shipbuilding program. Many people incorrectly assume that America's enormous industrial capacity went immediately into high gear, turning out war material in vast numbers. That simply wasn't true. U.S. industry was in fact slow to respond, and more than a year passed before production goals were met. In some cases the production goals were not met before the armistice was signed.

The logistical problems faced by U.S. industry were many, and the solutions adopted to overcome those problems were often innovative. Prefabrication of ship sections, welded joints, floating ship sections through locks on their sides, and constructing large tankers from ferro-cement are among the most interesting solutions that are described in this book. An example of one of those solutions, the hulk of the ferro-cement tanker SS Palo Alto, lies on the beach at Seacliff State Park, south of Santa Cruz, California. The Palo Alto typifies a wartime effort that came too late.

Much of my research has been in the area of submarine warfare and its response, antisubmarine warfare. In chapter 2, "Battleships to Scapa Flow and the North Sea Barrage," Feuer touches on one of the most significant antisubmarine warfare developments of World War I: the British development of the H-2 mine, which was patterned on the German E mine. From the H-2 followed the Mark VI with its K-1 firing mechanism. Prior to the . . .

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