By Hugh Cowin, Hugh W. Cowin

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He would soon be proven wrong. Once the Kaiser authorized unrestricted submarine warfare, and the Uboat captains were turned loose, they proceeded to wreak havoc with Allied shipping. President Wilson recognized the U-boat threat and saw the 3-26 Admiral George Dewey. 3-27 Admiral William Sims. S. and British Navies. S. naval representative in Europe. S. had entered the war. Next day he met with British Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, who by that time had been named First Sea Lord. Jellicoe shocked 10277-America in WWI 11/12/03 3:29 PM Page 39 3-28 HMS Vindictive sunk off the coast of Belgium.

Being forced to improvise, he taught men to drive trucks, figuring they could later learn more easily to drive tanks. To teach tank gunnery, he had machine guns bolted to flatbed trucks and had men fire at targets as the trucks drove over bumpy ground. The junior officer problem would have been worse had it not been for the prewar Military Training Camps Association (MTCA), the so-called Plattsburgh training camps. These camps, organized by the far-sighted General Leonard Wood [2-8], gave a month-long military indoctrination to aspiring officers.

There were of course significant disadvantages to the system. For example, a convoy had to travel at the speed of its slowest ship. Eventually, however, this was countered by organizing 4-1 USS Shawmut (left) leading a convoy column, flying the division guide pennant and a submarine warning flag somewhere in the North Sea. Getting the Boys “Over There” 43 10277-America in WWI 11/12/03 3:30 PM Page 44 4-2 Destroyer guarding a transport in the North Sea. slow-, medium-, and fast-speed convoys for greater efficiency.

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