|The Atlantic Fleet at the Southern Drill Grounds as seen|
from the cage mast of USS Kansas (BB-21)
The operation was one of the largest Naval exercises to date. Navy planners plotted out a series of static target gun shoots and war games between ships in an area they designated as the "Southern Drill Grounds" in the Chesapeake Bay. Planners preferred the Chesapeake Bay due to the fact that it provided favorable weather conditions. They wanted the water to be somewhat rough to give gunners the chance to practice in choppy water, but not so rough as to cancel the exercise.
|USS Kansas unloads her 12-inch guns at a stationary target|
|12-inch shell explosions during live fire drills|
The fleet conducted several rounds of live fire shoots with their main guns in late March and early April. The torpedo boat divisions practiced torpedo attack runs on the battleships during the middle of the night. Several senior naval officers served as observers and kept score of hits and misses of the stationary targets and determined the success of the torpedo boats against the battleships. Witnessed by several U.S. Senators and Secretary of the Josephus Daniels, the exercises were by all accounts a success.
|With their round of shooting done, officers on board Kansas|
observe other battleships' firings.