COS 7/71





Note by the Secretary

1. The Chiefs of Staff have approved (1) the paper (2), as amended, at Annex A.

2. In approving the paper, the Chiefs of Staff agreed:

  1. To forward it to the Secretary of State as an expression of their views.
  2. To authorise its use by the United Kingdom Representatives on the Australian/New Zealand/United Kingdom Planning Group as a basis for negotiation of our requirements in Singapore after 1971.

Chiefs of Staff Committee

  1. War Maintenance Reserve Stocks in Singapore After 1971 (7 pages).
  1. COS 4th Meeting/71, Minute 148.
  2. Annex A to COS 1019/12/1/71.

Ministry of Defence
Whitehall, SW1

25 Januiary 1971

COS 7/71



1. During the October 1970 Canberra talks between British, Australian and New Zealand representatives on support arrangements for the ANZUK forces in Singapore after 1971, it became clear that the planned UK holdings of ammunition for operations and training would require re-examination, because of a shortage of storage space. In his Report (1) the Chairman of the Directors of Administrative Planning explained that the combined ANZUK requirements for storage space in the Royal Naval Ammunition Depot (RNAD) would leave insufficient space of the Singaporeans' use. This would therefore affect the plan for Singapore to take over the management of the RNAD.

2. Furthermore, and more importantly, it became apparent during the talks that ourplanned holdings of 90 days War Maintenance Reserve at limited war scales would be on a higher scale than those of Australia and New Zealand. The Report (1) therefore recommended that the UK planned holdings of WMR should be re-exmained in the light of the ANZ holdings and against the possibility of quick replenishment of common user items from Austrlia with a view to saving manpower.


3. The aim of this paper is to re-examine the UK levels of war reserves and training ammunition to be held in Singapore after 1971 for the use of UK land forces.

Scales of WMR

4. The Defence and Oversea Policy Committee (DOPC) agreed (2) in principle that sufficient WMR should be stocked in Singapore to support the permanent UK force for 90 days at limited war rates of expenditure. Although the chances of the UK land forces becoming involved in limited war are probably small, the provision of WMR at counter-insurgency (IS/CI) scales would be of small military value in a limited war situation. The DOPC recognised the serious risk to our land forces in such a situation and appreciated that war reserves at a realistic level are also needed to establish the credibility of the UK land element.


  1. PPO 99/70 also PAO 66/70.
  2. DOP(70)26.

5. Nothing has occurred since the DOPC meeting (2) to cause us to question this decision. While there is even the smallest risk of our land forces becoming involved in a situation where WMR would be expended at the higher rate, WMR based on this rate should be provided. The Australians and New Zealanders do not agree with this and are only stocking WMR at IS/CI scales, but the problems of emergency re-supply from Australia are considerably less than ours from UK. We can therefore see no justification for altering our principle and recommend that our WMR stocks are held at limited war scales.

6. Because of the likelihood of an IS/CI situation is greater than that of a limited war situation ourWMR should also provide for IS/CI operations for the same period of time. The details of the additional items required are given in Appendix 1. These do not include the IS Pack itself which would be held by the infantry battalion.

Quantity of WMR

7. We have examined the various methods which might lead to a reduction of the previous estimate that 90 days worth of WMR would be required. These are:

  1. The shipping time from UK.
  2. Provision of stores from Australia.
  3. Re-supply by air.

8. Shipping time from UK. A detailed study (3) of the movement time from UK to Singapore has been carried out and the results are given in Appendix 2. From this it can be seen that a better estimate of the time it would take to establish a sea line of communication would be 60 days. Well within this time, 60 days of supplies can be shipped by LSL or 30 days by commercial shipping. We therefore blieve that the fiture of 60 days should be accepted as the time it would take to establish a satisfactory sea line of communication.

9. Provision of stores from Australia. It would take up to 30 days to establish a sea line of communication from Australia to Singapore. BDLS Canbera has asked the Australian Department of Defence to examine the proposal that we should rely on them for re-supply of some natures of ammunition and their first reaction (4) to it has been

  1. DOP(70)26.
  2. BR/400/1 (Q(Move)Plans) dated 8 December 1970.
  3. BDLS Canberra Tel No DO/KGA MELDO 01 of 5 Jan 71 (redistribution by COSSEC on TLM distribution).

received. It is possible that Australia will insist that we purchase the ammunition outright and pay storage and freight charges. We would be reluctant to pay the capital cost until the ammunition is used and it may therefore be possible to obtain only an agreement in principle that they would help us aas best they could at the time if we became involved in operations. In this event we could only regard such an agreement as a possible bonus to other methods of re-supply and could not rely on it. However, negotiations with the Australian Department of Defence on this subject should continue.

10. Re-supply by air. It appears from Appendix 2 that there would be ample time in the first 30 days of an operation to air re-supply from UK sufficient WMR to maintain the force for a second 30 days. Therefore, provided we stockpiled 30 days WMR in Singapore, we could rely on anr re-supply from UK to maintain the force until a satisfactory sea line of communication had been established. Any ammunition that the Australians could provide would reduce the size of the airlift required from UK.

Summary of WMR

11. We believe that WMR should be provided for the permanent UK presence as follows:

  1. 30 days stocks in Singapore of all items of WMR at limited war or IS/CI scales whichever is the higher for each item.
  2. We should rely on air re-supply from UK for the second 30 days worth of WMR. Re-supply after 60 days would be by sea.
  3. Negotiations with the Australian Department of Defence should continue to establish the conditions under which they would be prepared to provide a second 30 days worth of some natures of ammunition.


12. We estimate that the ammunition content of sub paragraph 11.a. would be about 550 tons.

13. Training Ammunition. It is considered that, taking movement criteria into account, the holding of training ammunition can be reduced from three years to one year.

This will include, initially, the requirement for both stationed and visiting units, although some alteration may be necessary later when the future location of the JWS is resolved. One years' training requirement amounts to 275 tons.

14. Working Margin. 100 tons of storage space should be allocated as a Working Margin.

15. Ammunition for reinforcements for SEATO operations. We have recommended (5) (6) to the Secretary of State that no specific additionl provision should be made for the logistic support of either reinforcements or for forces committed to SEATO operations. It should be clearly understood that we would require three months notice to establish our sea lines of communication before committing land forces.

16. Storage space required. The ammunition storage space to be retained should therefore be, in deadweight tons:

550 tons
275 tons
Working Margin
100 tons


Items Other Than Ammunition

17. Except for vehicles (which in themselves do not create a major manpower of storage problem) the variations in stock levels caused by either 30 days WMR at limited war, or IS/CI rates are insignificant. The requirement for vehicles is 20 B vehicles for an initial 30 days limited WMR plus 10 vehicles for each succeeding 30 days. IS/CI rates would be about half limited war rates.


18. We conclude that:

  1. 30 days worth of WMR for the permanent UK land force at limited war or IS/CI scales (whichever is higher for each item) should be stocked in Singapore.
  1. COS 67/70.
  2. E 125/1 dated 25 November 1970.

  1. We should rely on air re-supply from the UK of the second 30 days worth of WMR. However, negotiations with the Australians on the provision by them of some natures of ammunition for this second 30 days shoudl continue.
  2. A satisfactory sea line of communication can be established between UK and Singapore in 60 days.
  3. One year's level of training ammunition for the permanent land for the permanent land force contribution and for the visiting units should be held in Singapore. Additional storage space for use as w roking margin should also be retained.
  4. No addition storage space should be retained for the logistic support of any UK land forces committed to SEATO or of any reinforcements.
  1. Items which should be Stocked at IS/CI Scales. (1 page).
  2. Times for the Re-Supply of Singapore from the UK. (1 page).

COS 7/71


Qty for 30 days IS/CI for one battaltion group
Flares Recce 4"
6 tons
Grenade No 83
0.5 tons
Grenade Anti Riot
0.2 tons
Cartridge Anti Riot
0.1 tons

COS 7/71


1. Using Service Shipping. On the assumption that priority is given for the use of LSLs, the estimated movement times from receitp of the demand for movement are as follows:


30 days scalings
60 days scaling
LSL Notice

7 days
7 days
Prepataion of Stores (4 days)

Rail movement (2 days)

Loading time

2 days
3 days
Voyage time

33 days
33 days
Unloading time

2 days
3 days

44 days
46 days

2. Using Commercial Shipping. Due to the changes in the pattern of shipping on this route, 21 days might be needed to obtain the necessary shipping space. It is therefore a fair planning assumption to estimate movement times from the receipt of the demand for movement as follows:

  1. 30 days worth of stores - 60 days in one ship.
  2. 60 days worth of stores - 70 days in two ships.

3. Using Air Support Command. On the assumption that the normal contingency of 75% of ASC Hercules, Britannia and Belfast freight aircraft can be generated in 72 hours and the further assumption that priority for this movement is given, it is estimated that 30 days worth of Army stores could be moved to Singapore within a period of 7 days. However, RAF reinforcements may also need to be flown to Singapore and absolute priority to use the whole of the ASC fleet may not be given. The level of RAF reinforcement would depend upon the nature and extent of the operations proposed; but, using the same assumption of priority for air transport, the estimated complement of air support of required for the UK land force could also be moved to Singapore in a similar timescale of 7 days. Thus for planning purposes it is assumed that 30 days worth of Army stores plus appropriate reinforcement by the RAF could, given priority, be flown to Singapore within a period of 14 days.

The National Archives of the UK: Public Record Office DEFE 5/188/7.
© Crown copyright 1971.
Reproduced under the terms of the Crown copyright waiver on unpublished public records.