3749 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
so sure were we to get after him, that,
toward the end, he rarely ventured more
than a few miles from his base."
The American vessels were frequently
attacked by submarines and had several
narrow escapes. On one occasion, a submarine unintentionally rammed the flagship New York and dented her bottom
and demolished the starboard propeller.
It was thought that the blows from the
propeller sank the submarine. On the
way to dry-dock to make repairs three
torpedoes were fired at the New York
by hostile submarines, but she was not
hit. Once when some of the American
ships were guarding and supporting a
convoy of 30 or 40 vessels off the coast
of Norway, hostile ships fired six torpedoes
at the vessels but not one was struck.
Upon the whole, the duty of the fleet
was monotonous and it was subjected to
many hardships. The main base of the
Grand Fleet was in the bleak harbor of
Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. The weather
in that region, especially in winter, was
exceedingly bad, with cold, sleet, snow, ice,
and heavy seas.
The American ships formed, of course,
only a small part of the whole fleet. According to Rear Admiral Rodman, on
entering or leaving port the column of
ships of the Grand Fleet, excluding destroyers, was on an average 65 miles long.
On one occasion it was 76 miles long.
Three other battleships, the Utah, Arizona, and Oklahoma, were sent over in the
early summer of 1918, under command of
Rear Admiral T. S. Rodgers. These vessels
operated from a base at Berehaven, Ireland,
protecting convoys and keeping guard
against enemy raiders and other craft.
The work of transporting troops to
France was put in charge of Vice Admiral
Albert Gleaves. Up to the time of signing
the armistice 2,079,880 men were transported overseas, with a total loss of less
than three hundred. Men said with truth
that the crossing through the submarine
zone was made safer than going motoring
on Sunday afternoon.
By no means were all these men carried
on American ships. According to Admiral
Gleaves, 48-1/2 per cent were carried in
British ships, 46-1/4 per cent in American
ships, and the rest in French and Italian
vessels. The United States furnished,
however, 82-3/4 per cent of the convoys.
A very great many of the troops were
carried over on former German liners.
The giant Leviathan, formerly the Vaterland, alone made ten trips and transported
over 94,000 men.
In a speech in London in October, 1918,
Admiral Sims revealed some interesting