On the 6th of July, 1918, USS Stevens arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in reland. Queenstown was the centre for anti-submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland.
Initially there was uncertainty as to the most effective use of destroyers. At first they were given patrol areas which they would scout, singly or in pairs. Any stray incoming merchantmen seen, were to be escorted to near their destinations. This was a most ineffective use of the force, as the chances of coming across, and destroying a lone submarine in the vastness of the Western Approaches was virtually nil.
By Summer 1917, under the urging of commanders such as Admiral Sims, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe, the convoy system was initiated. Groups of merchantmen were escorted through the war zone by flanking destroyer screens. This had the dual effect of reducing the amount of targets for German u-boats, and allowing destroyers and sloops to attack the harassing submarines. The priorities of the destroyers were to:
Protect and escort Merchantmen.
Save the crews and passengers of torpedoed ships.
Anti-submarine patrols did continue also for the duration of the war, especially in the Irish Sea and close to the coast of France, where u-boats would try to sink merchantmen as the convoys dispersed. In 1918, any destroyer in the Irish Sea, which was not actively convoying, came under the orders of The Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla, under the command of Captain Gordon Campbell VC based in Holyhead, Wales. US destroyers were also used to patrol the west coast of Ireland to hunt suspected gun-running ships, for Irish Republicans.
The destroyers , initially, were ill-equipped to fight submerged submarines. When they arrived in Europe they were armed with guns and torpedoes. The only undersea weapons supplied were single hand-launched 50lb depth charges which were particularly ineffective. It was the later fitting of dual depth charge racks on the sterns of the ships, Thornycroft depth charge throwers, and Y shaped charge throwers that turned them into a dangerous force. These were capable of dropping and firing a continuous patterned barrage of 200lb, charges around a submarine's suspected position. Most of the retro-fitting of these armaments was done at Cammel Laird in Birkenhead, England.
On the 13th of July 1918, while escorting convoy HC8 USS Stevens was informed by one of the merchant vessels that a submarine was sighted. Stevens dropped eleven depth charges in position 50.43N,11.30W, but no result was observed.
On the 7th of August 1918, USS Stevens escorted SS War Cross from Berehaven, in Ireland to Barry Roads, in Wales.
On the 10th of August 1918, USS Stevens, Cassin, Sampson, Balch, and Beale, escorted HMS Aquitania from 15.00W to Liverpool.
On the 17th of August, 1918, in position 51.06N, 07.50W, HMS P66, USS Stevens, and USS Sampson, dropped depth charges on injured submarine. Large quantities of oil came to the surface together with air bubbles. Enemy claimed to be destroyed.
On the 3rd of October, 1918, SS Burutu was in collision with SS City of Calcutta in position 30 miles 65 deg from Tuskar Rock. The Burutu sank in seven minutes. Eight survivors were picked up by USS Stevens who was on submarine hunting patrol in the Irish Sea, and landed at Fishguard. The City of Calcutta arrived safely at Fishguard escorted by HMS Sir Bevis.
On the 22nd of October 1918, USS Stevens, Downes, Conyngham, Terry, and Duncan, escorted HMS Olympic from Westward to Southampton.
On the 16th of December, 1918, USS Stevens, Cummings, and McCall all departed from Queenstown, and returned to the USA. They arrived on the 3rd of January, 1919.
Commanding Officer, R.F. Zogbaum Jr,