The War at Sea:
American in World War I
Through the eyes of an experienced captain

Captain Harry Kennedy’s Log May 16th, 1917

After a long training I received from the Navy Base in Seattle, I finally arrived at my ship which I will stay on for the rest of this war, USS Pocahontas. She was in fact a German ocean liner, but luckily we seized it when the war finally breaks out. Our navy is small compare to those old timers in Europe, but we are hard-working. In my opinion, our intervention is going to help the entente regain control of Atlantic Ocean from German U-boat and ultimately, change the course of war. I am extremely confident about my prediction, for we already developed a convoy system to vanguard our troops, we are also manufacturing a large quantity of warships and submarines at an incredible short time frame. The U-boat patrolling in Atlantic used to frighten me, I certainly did not want my ship to end up like Lusitania (Rosenberg); but now I feel never safer than before when there are destroyers and torpedo boats escorting us through the vicious ocean. Although I am an experienced captain, I have to admit that the convoy system is an innovative and effective tactic. It merges merchant boats and troop boats together so we can both send our soldiers to the front while supplying our allies with ammunition and foods. In next few hours, after checking current, I will head north to Halifax, Canada to pick up munitions and foods to transport.

Captain Harry Kennedy’s Log May 17th, 1917

The temperature is decreasing dramatically as we heading towards the open sea. Our friends from Italy, Britain, and Canada are also going to join us in this maneuver. I noticed most of their ships were made around late 1900s with some exception from 1910s (Bruton); they are undoubtedly powerful but their armada are dated compares to our navy. Most of our ships were manufactured after the war broke out. Perhaps we still need to learn more advanced tactics and strategy from our European counterpart, but in terms of production, we are far more superior to them. The speed was slow since all of the ships need to course at a unvaried speed. When the night falls, we turned off all of our lights to avoid any unwanted attention. The first night into Atlantic Ocean seems never safer than before.

Captain Harry Kennedy’s Log May 18th, 1917

The weather is foggy on the Atlantic, not perfect for aerial balloon on the torpedo boat to observe the water but we still deployed those balloons in case of a U-boat attack. The torpedo boat at the end of the convoy reported there is an unknown object moving across the ocean just south of us; it disappeared after about 15 minutes. We are paying special attention to this unusual activity and all other destroyers are on high alert, they are following a zigzag pattern instead of a straight, typical movement. Nothing happened for the next two hours, but we are more nervous than before because it might means the U-boat are in the deep water. Suddenly a torpedo boat reported he saw periscope north of our fleet. The destroyers opened fire at that area for about 5 minutes. Then everything went quiet for a moment but we saw a trail of water coming towards us, it is a torpedo! We managed to escape that but it hit one of our crawlers. Thankfully it wasn't enough for the ship to sink. The U-boat then disappeared like a wind; we did not want to pursue it, for there might be a trap.

Captain Harry Kennedy’s Log May 19th, 1917

We will be arriving at Portsmouth tomorrow if nothing goes wrong. Yesterday’s encounter was surely frightening. Those German acts exactly like the poster I saw in my hometown, Seattle. I particularly do not understand their culture or Kultur in their own language. Especially when I heard their chancellor Bismarck in 19th century said they will not use speech and majority decisions to solve problem, but by blood and iron. I am shocked at the fact they managed to make their citizens believe in this nonsense. Right before I went to sleep, I had liberty cabbage with my crews, it’s actually sauerkraut but we are in a total war right now, so even the name of food cannot be Germanic.

Captain Harry Kennedy’s Log May 20th, 1917

I heard many British sailors think we did not contribute enough to the war. I simply smiled and ignored them. Without President Wilson’s idea of convoy system, they cannot even feed themselves. Maybe I should not slander them in the captain’s log but I cannot keep down my anger at them. I will rest for few days and get some local British technician to check and maintain my ship while in Portsmouth. After that, I shall head back to my country and bring more munitions and supplies to Europe. After all, I think our intervention will change the course of the war and the new century forever. May this be the last war of mankind and let this be the war that ends the war.

Other pages about the War at Sea

Bibliography (MLA Format)

1. "The War at Sea." Veterans Affairs Canada. Government of Canada, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <Veterans Affairs Canada>.

2. Bruton, Louise. "The War at Sea." World War 1. British Library. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <>.

3. "The Great War Society: Relevance Archive." The Great War Society: Relevance Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

4. Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Sinking of the Lusitania." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

5. Taylor, Alan. "World War I in Photos: The War at Sea." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 08 June 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.

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