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5. Arrange the names of all eligibles according to values of average percentages. In this list no evidence of number of votes received will appear, and the service opinion will

therefore be indicated in a qualitative form. The preceding description may sound complicated, but its actual application is very simple. An example is given below of a list of eleven names with three considered unfit for selection :

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There remains to suggest that the consideration of the Selection Board proper should be restricted to the fitness reports of the eligible in his present grade, and to his relative standing in service opinion, as determined above. It must be remembered that faults which caused unfavorable reports in the early grades will have been put to good use in building a character which will obtain for the individual a high place in service opinion when he is available for selection for leadership. Sea service should not be considered an essential qualification for selection, because in modern times the necessity for specialization in administrative work is as great as for specialization in operations at sea, and distinct types of men are required for each. Nor should this board consider physical records, which can obviously be most intelligently interpreted by medical officers, guided by a proper statement of policy. Physical matters should obviously be investigated prior to action by the Selection Board, and an officer found physically disqualified should, of course, be retired. He may then be employed, if he so desires, in the manner previously suggested for officers selected out. If this retirement take place prior to the submission of the lists, then there will be no doubt in the minds of the service that the reason was physical disability.

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The North Sea MINE BARRAGE. Showing also Foul Ground East of Dogger Bank due to Irregular Minefields.

The 1st tv 13th Minefields were American,



By Captain REGINALD R. BELKNAP, U. S. Navy

The Squadron Commander

PREFACE In writing of the “ biggest mine planting stunt' in the world's history”-to quote a Christmas greeting from Rear Admirai Clinton-Baker, head of the British minelaying force-I have endeavored to make an account that would be readable enough for general interest, largely for the reason that, compared to other operations, our undertaking received scant mention at the time. Its very nature required preparation in quiet and precluded discussion of its progress. Unnecessary technical detail has therefore been suppressed, although much could be written that would be welcomed by those versed in it.

The whole account is based on data obtained at first hand. The description of assembling the squadron for a mining excursion fits the third excursion rather than the first, but the difference is a minor one, affecting only the numbers present-six ships on the first excursion, ten on the third. All the rest is correct, in substance and details.

Besides influencing an early armistice, this great minelaying operation marks an epoch in the use of submarine mines in warfare. It was an event in military history, as well as a prominent operation, and the credit for it belongs not alone to the officers and men who were actually present but also to those of the old mine force, to whose services in developing, in our navy, the art of handling and laying mines in large numbers, the success of the great operation was so largely due.

Details of the mechanical development of the new mine itself have not been gone into, for obvious reasons. Justice to that part

This article will appear in three installments.

could be done only by those who were directly concerned in it, but I am glad of the opportunity to express appreciation of the valuable service which was rendered to our cause in the war by Commander S. P. Fullinwider, U. S. N., in seizing upon and developing the long-sought means for such an undertaking, and by Lieut. Commander T. S. Wilkinson, U. S. N., and the officers and designing engineers in the Bureau of Ordnance and at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R. I., by their skill and ingenuity in designing mechanical features, when normal experimenting was impossible.

As for the ships—the personal study which Captain J. D. Beuret (C. C.), U. S. N., made of the mine elevator problem was the foundation of its brilliant success, and the fact that, in the whole period of service, few alterations or improvements in the minelayers were found desirable, although suggestions were called for, is the best tribute to those who planned and carried out their conversion.

Only very inadequate expression can be given here to my appreciation of the services of my staff, in particular Captain H. V. Butler, U. S. N., whose excellent conduct of the flagship, supported by the indefatigable care of his navigator, Lieut. Commander J. C. Cunningham, U. S. N., made it possible to approach and navigate close to unmarked minefields in the open sea. And I was fortunate to have one so thoroughly loyal and capable as Commander B. L. Canaga, without whose unremitting attentiveness, and tactful management of countless details under difficulties, our performance would have been far less creditable.

Inseparable from our recollections will always be the excellent and friendly official and personal relations with the destroyer escort, especially when H. M. S. Vampire led. Captain H. R. Godfrey, C. B., D.S.O., writes, “It was the determination of every officer and man in the 14th Flotilla, who had the honor of being entrusted with the screening of the U. S. Minelaying Force, that no preventable attack by enemy submarine or surface vessel should inflict damage on any ship of the Force." It is but speaking for all of us to say, that is what we felt, from the first moment of that grey morning's meeting on the day of arrival.

NEWPORT, 15 June, 1919.

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