Chapter VII
Supplying the Armies: Rations, POL, and Coal

(1) Rations

Not all the supply shortages which hampered operations in the fall of 1944 can be attributed to the inadequacy of transportation. Some developed as the result of higher loss or expenditure rates than had been expected, and some reflected production difficulties at the very source--that is, the zone of interior. There were some items in which the shortages were never critical in the sense of jeopardizing the success of combat operations. Among the supplies in this category were rations.

Ration levels in the combat zone reached their lowest point in the second week of September, when First Army reported one and one-half days of supply on hand and the Third Army less than one.1 Both armies staved off total depletion of their reserves only by using captured supplies. In a few cases German rations were a welcome relief from the monotony of the operational rations on which the combat forces had subsisted during most of the pursuit. Third Army had already captured some enemy stocks, including flour for bread, at Châlons and near Reims in the last days of August. On 9 September it made another welcome addition to its diet by the seizure of 1,300 tons of frozen beef and 250 tons of canned beef in refrigerated storage at Homecourt, northwest of Metz. A few days later First Army made a smaller haul of fresh beef in a plant at Namur.2

Ration stocks in both the combat zone and the Advance Section remained far below authorized levels throughout September and early October. Stocks in the Communications Zone had been maintained at a fairly satisfactory level, although the bulk of them had remained in the port and beach areas. In mid-October the Communications Zone held 18.6 days of supply, but there was some concern as to whether it could maintain that level because of the emphasis which was then being given to the offloading of the more critically short ammunition.3 COMZ levels did recede somewhat in


the next few weeks, falling to about ten days of supply. Meanwhile advantage was taken of the general improvement in transportation to rebuild forward stocks. Reserves were rapidly rebuilt in all three armies of the 12th Army Group, and by the first week in November actually exceeded authorized levels, the First Army having built up its Class I stocks to the unprecedented level of nineteen days. At the start of the November offensive First Army had 13.4 days of supply, Third Army 5.9, Ninth Army 9.8, the Advance Section 4.8, and the Communications Zone 10.6.4

Ration levels were always rather volatile, but with the exception of the temporary interruption during the Ardennes counteroffensive, when First Army reduced its reserves by making large issues and then drawing its requirements directly from the Liège depot, the flow of rations to the combat zone was relatively smooth after transportation had become adequate in November. After the Ardennes battle the policy was adopted of moving the maximum allowable reserves well forward preparatory to the resumption of the offensive. By the first week of February, therefore, First Army had 5.9 days of supply, Third Army had 4.9, Ninth Army 7.9, and the Advance Section 15.03, the armies' stock totaling 15,700 tons and the Advance Section's 106,720 tons. The level in the Communications Zone at that time stood at 23 days and represented 289,135 tons.5

Aside from the tight situation in mid-September the main problem of Class I supply was one of quality rather than quantity. During the pursuit tactical conditions dictated that operational rations--that is, C's, K's, and 10-in-1's--would be the principal types of rations consumed, particularly in the combat zone. Consumption of operational rations in August and September was actually about double the rate originally expected. Consequently theater stocks were being rapidly depleted as the pursuit came to an end, and the issuance of operational types to certain groups, such as prisoners of war, had to be prohibited. Quartermaster plans from the beginning had called for an early shift to nonoperational, or bulk rations--that is, the B and eventually the A ration. The shortage of operational types thus constituted an additional compelling reason for the rapid shift which the chief quartermaster ordered upon the reversion to a more static type of warfare in mid-September.6


The large-scale swing to bulk rations highlighted a problem in distribution with which the theater had already had some experience. Delivering a balanced B ration, which consisted of approximately 110 separate components, called for careful handling along the entire supply line from New York Port to the using unit. Experience in July had already revealed how the loss of one or more components could disrupt the balance and create difficulties for cooks trying to follow published menus. This problem had been anticipated in the zone of interior by prestowing and commodity-loading ships with balanced blocks of rations. But the New York Port was not always consistent, and often made substitutions, particularly when the theater failed to submit requisitions in time to allow ninety days for delivery. Even when shipments were balanced at the point of origin, the effort might often be nullified by improper unloading or reloading at continental ports, by the breaking up of balanced trains, by pilferage, or by indiscriminate bulk shipments in the attempt to register large tonnage deliveries. Inderdepot shipments designed to marry up scattered components were impossible at the height of the transportation shortage in mid-September. At one point early in October an embargo actually had to be placed on deliveries out of Le Havre so that quartermaster units in Channel Base Section could sort ration components. By that time stocks had become so unbalanced and dispersed that it proved necessary to set up intermediate collecting points at Paris and Sommesous, where rations could be sorted and balanced loads again made up for delivery to the armies.7

Eventually the worst defects of the rations-handling problem were overcome by giving more attention to such matters as unloading and the make-up of trains, aided by the general improvement in transportation and the accompanying return of emphasis on selectivity rather than tonnage in forward movements. Subsequently intermediate depots, which were nonexistent for several months after the breakout, were also established, where large bulk receipts could be handled. For some time, however, the imbalance of subsistence stocks often threatened to present the Quartermaster Corps with the paradox of scarcity in the midst of plenty--that is, of having ample Class I supplies but few rations.

The manner in which this imbalance could affect the over-all ration level was well illustrated early in February 1945. At that time the theater's level of balanced rations was determined by the supply of coffee, of which there were only 7.6 days of supply on hand, although there were much higher levels of all other components. If coffee was disregarded sugar became the determining item, of which there were 19.7 days on hand. If both coffee and sugar were disregarded yeast became the determining factor, of which there were 20.7 days on hand, and so on. In other words, an additional 12.1 days supply of coffee would


have raised the over-all level of balanced rations to 19.7 days and the actual number of rations from 17,850,000 (represented by 7.6 days) to 46,200,000 (19.7 days); an additional day's supply each of coffee and sugar would have brought the theater level up to 20.7, representing 48,560,000 rations.8 At times this imbalance resulted in a drain on operational rations, which could be ill-spared. During the more fluid operations beginning in mid-December operational rations again were in great demand, and the shortage caused Third Army to conserve K rations for front-line troops, limiting issues to rear area units to 10 percent of the total number of operational rations requested. Third Army continued to restrict issues until late in January.9

Aside from the Ardennes interlude, steady progress was made during the fall and winter in providing bulk rations throughout the theater. By the end of January between 85 and 90 percent of all troops on the Continent were receiving either the B or A ration. The percentages were only slightly lower in the combat zone.10

As a part of the program to replace the operational ration with the bulk ration the Quartermaster Corps in the European theater also attempted to provide perishable items, including meat, dairy products, and fresh vegetables and fruits, with the intention of eventually converting the B ration into a type A ration. The chief quartermaster had approved plans to introduce perishables onto the Continent as soon as possible after the assault, beginning at approximately D plus 30 with issues to 40 percent of the troops, providing 50 percent of them with items in the third month, and 60 percent by D plus 90. Plans called for all troops to receive the A ration by D plus 240. Deliveries were to be made from the United Kingdom at first, but the chief quartermaster hoped to have ocean-going reefers discharge directly on the Continent by the end of the second month.

These plans proved far too ambitious. Planning for the introduction of perishables was dominated from the beginning by the problem of providing adequate cold storage. Providing perishables, like delivering POL via pipeline, required a co-operative effort. The Transportation Corps was to handle reefer shipments to the Continent and move stocks in the Communications Zone within the capabilities of the rail system, the Quartermaster Corps was to transport perishables in the Communications Zone and to the army areas in excess of rail capacities in refrigerated trucks, and receive, store, and issue them at refrigerated warehouses, and the Corps of Engineers was to construct or rehabilitate and maintain static cold-storage warehouses.


Before D Day neither the engineers, who had been requested to provide cold storage rising from 6,000 tons at D plus 90 to 44,000 tons at D plus 240, nor the Transportation Corps, which was asked to increase coastal reefer tonnage and to provide refrigerated rail cars, road vans, and barges for supplementary storage, could promise to meet the chief quartermaster's requirements. The only solution to the deficit appeared to be the use of ocean-going shipping for supplementary storage. But permission to use large reefers for that purpose, repeatedly urged by the chief quartermaster, was denied by the War Department.

In mid-July, a week after the first bulk rations were issued on the Continent, Maj. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, the theater chief quartermaster, announced plans to convert the B to an A ration. At that time less than 1,000 tons of cold storage were available in Normandy. In any event, the breakout only a few days later largely canceled these plans, at least so far as the combat elements were concerned, for the armies quickly reverted to operational rations for the period of mobile warfare which followed. Meanwhile, the tight supply situation forced plans for the construction and rehabilitation of static cold-storage plants to give way to more urgent needs, such as road, railway, and bridge reconstruction; and the desire to have reefer rail cars transferred from England to France likewise gave way to the need for items of greater tactical importance. Consequently the goal of providing fresh food items to 40 percent of the theater's troops by D plus 60, and 60 percent by D plus 90, was not realized.

Early in September refrigerated storage facilities on the Continent still totaled a mere 1,400 tons against the original requirement of 6,000. August requirements had been met only by using as a floating warehouse a 3,000-ton reefer loaned by the British. Despite the outlook during the pursuit, however, General Littlejohn had announced plans for providing the A ration to 85 percent of all troops on the Continent by 1 November, and expressed the hope of providing one pound of fresh meat and dairy products per man per day by February 1945. These objectives exceeded even the preinvasion plans, which had already failed to materialize. Haphazard distribution practices, in part the product of the serious reefer rail car shortage, continued to frustrate plans for realizing the perishables program. Again the chief quartermaster asked the War Department to permit large reefers to cross the Channel and discharge at continental ports rather than in the United Kingdom. This request was finally granted early in October.

By one expedient or another, and through the gradual accumulation of transport and storage facilities, the perishables program began to improve during the fall. Ocean-going reefer space was more economically used during the winter months by shipping cheese and meat products such as smoked ham, bacon, and salami in nonrefrigerated dry cargo space. In September cold storage was opened in Paris, and early in October storage captured earlier at Homecourt and Namur was turned over to the Advance Section.

While the cold storage capacity still


totaled only 23,600 tons at the end of January 1945, the deficit (amounting to 37,800 tons) was partially overcome by the better use of distribution facilities. Improved unloading techniques and more reliable transportation schedules shortened the turnaround time for rail cars. Local procurement of fresh vegetables and fruits helped relieve some of the burden on both transatlantic shipping and on continental storage. Finally, an unexpected development in the use of refrigerated vans helped mightily in offsetting the shortage of rail cars. Because the range of their efficiency was believed to be limited to about seventy-five miles, reefer vans were expected to be used only for short trips in delivering perishables from cold storage in forward areas to distribution points. Necessity eventually caused them to be pressed into service for long-distance hauls, however, and when their operational efficiency was proved through continued use on long hauls reaching all the way back to the ports, the decision was made to release all refrigerated vans for such hauling, and to use open, nonrefrigerated trucks for the shorter runs, such as those between Le Havre and Paris, and between Antwerp and Namur. But mid-December deliveries had improved to the point where 90 percent of all troops in the theater were receiving perishable items.

Unbalanced depot stocks continued to distort the Class I supply picture. The lack of only a few components, such as sugar, evaporated milk, or lard, often prevented the attainment of the desired levels. Nevertheless, by early 1945 distribution of fresh meats and vegetables was sufficiently good to warrant a change in the nomenclature of the bulk ration from B to A.11

Dehydrated foods--mostly in the form of powdered milk, eggs, and potatoes--were common components of both the A and B field ration, facilitating distribution and conserving shipping space for items which otherwise could not have been provided. In general, however, mess personnel were inadequately instructed in their use, and only cooks with imagination and an inclination to experiment discovered formulas to make them palatable.12

(2) POL

Motors as well as men had huge appetites in the type of war fought in 1944. The supply of POL, like that of rations, felt the effects of the pursuit for several weeks after the halt in mid-September. In general, improvement in the supply of POL had to await improvement in the means of distribution, which meant that recovery was postponed until November.

Deliveries of gasoline had risen slightly for a few days early in September, making it possible to restore unit reserves in some of the front-line formations.13 But the improvement was deceptive. By the third week of September the Third Army, struggling to enlarge its bridgeheads over the Moselle, reported that it had less than a half day of supply on hand and that it was reinstituting


rationing.14 First Army, having just breached the first line of the West Wall defenses south of Aachen, reported that it had no motor gasoline at all for issues and that its corps and divisions had no fuel other than that remaining in the tanks of their vehicles.15

First Army, taking advantage of its higher tonnage allocation, succeeded in rebuilding its reserve to about seven days by mid-October. But Third Army averaged less than two days of supply until the end of October. In mid-September it had rationed gasoline at the rate of 5,000 gallons per day for infantry divisions, and 25,000 gallons per day for armored divisions. But deliveries were highly unpredictable and continued to fall short of requirements. Late in October the ration was set at 6,500 gallons and 12,500 gallons respectively for infantry and armored divisions. Throughout these weeks issues within the army averaged only 235,000 gallons per day.16

The shortage of gasoline, unlike the situation in many other items of supply, had become more than a local matter and could not be attributed solely to the shortcomings of inland transportation. Stocks had also declined in the base areas. Reserves in the Communications Zone, which in mid-August had stood at fourteen days for all troops on the Continent, fell to about two and one-half days in the first week of October, causing grave apprehension in the 12th Army Group because of the potential threat to future operations.17

The alarming decline in continental stocks, first in the combat zone and then in the communizations zone, resulted from a combination of causes, including increased consumption, insufficient reception and storage capacity, and difficulties in distribution. In the first two months of continental operations the consumption of POL had been at a rate considerably below the preinvasion planning factor of 153 tons per division slice, and even in August rose to only 158.8 tons.18 In September, in spite of the slowing up of operations, consumption rose to an unprecedented 248.3 tons per slice, reflecting the maximum sustained demand on all line-of-communications transportation.19 Consumption dropped back to 197.2 tons in October, and to


164.2 by December.20 Before these figures were available, however, Col. Elmer E. Barnes, the chief petroleum officer of the theater, on the assumption that September conditions would prevail for several months, recommended a substantial upward revision of the planning factor.

Late in November the theater began requisitioning its future needs on the basis of a new factor of 217 tons per division slice.21 Revisions in the percentage breakdown of the various POL products were made at the same time. Preinvasion estimates had provided that 79 percent of the total POL tonnages should consist of MT80 gasoline (80-octane motor vehicle type). The experience of the first few months showed that motor transport gasoline accounted for fully 90 percent of all POL products consumed. The November revisions compromised with this statistic and raised the percentage of MT80 to 85.

While the consumption of gasoline in September, when it averaged 6,500 tons per day, proved abnormally high in terms of the number of divisions employed, there was not likely to be any reduction in the total tonnages required in succeeding months in view of the steady build-up. The fact that 90 rather than 79 percent of all POL would have to consist of MT80 gasoline alone made it certain that requirements would exceed the original estimates. In October the Communications Zone estimated that 8,600 tons of motor transport gasoline would be needed every day.22

Neither the distribution nor the reception facilities of late September offered any prospects of handling such tonnages. In mid-September the Major Pipeline System was still far from adequate to move bulk POL requirements forward. At that time the most advanced of the three pipelines was still twenty miles short of the Seine and was dispensing at Chartres; a second line was dispensing at Domfront; the third (for aviation gasoline) had reached Alençon. Further construction had been suspended temporarily, and the rail tonnage required for the movement of pipe and other construction materials was sacrificed to more urgent supply movements. This decision was almost immediately reconsidered, and two daily trains were allotted for the movement of construction materials so that the pipelines could be extended to Coubert, about ten miles beyond the Seine, where tank storage was available.

Progress thereafter was slow. One 6-inch line reached Coubert early in October, but the other two lines were not completed to that point until December. Plans to extend the Major System to Metz, and eventually to Mainz, did not begin to materialize until late in January 1945, when construction eastward toward Châlons-sur-Marne was finally


PORTION OF THE MAJOR PIPELINE passing over an improvised trestle bridge.

undertaken. Coubert consequently remained the easternmost terminus of the Major System through most of the winter. Completion of the three lines to that point gave the Major System a total of 850 miles of pipeline. The Major and Minor Systems combined consisted of 950 miles of pipeline and 850,500 barrels of storage.23

An important change had meanwhile been made in the operational control of the pipelines. As intended, the pipelines were constructed by engineer units of the Advance Section, the lines later being turned over to other COMZ sections wherever they assumed area control. The resulting divided responsibility for a service which, like the Red Ball Express, had become intersectional in its operations, had the usual defects, and it soon became evident that centralized control was imperative if maximum efficiency was to be achieved. On 23 September, therefore, all construction and operation of the pipelines were brought under the control of a single agency of the Office of the Chief Engineer, ETO, known as the Military Pipeline Service. Thereafter all pipeline troop units were attached to the Military Pipeline Service for operational control, and to the various COMZ sections in which they happened to be located only for supply and administration. The new organization permitted


CAMOUFLAGED PUMPING STATION along the pipeline from Cherbourg.

the chief engineer to exercise effective unified control over all planning, construction methods, and operation.24

The inadequacy of the Major and Minor Pipeline Systems,25 both as a means of inland transport and as an intake facility, became evident as the weather began to worsen toward the end of September. Port-en-Bessin, the terminus of the Minor System, was particularly vulnerable because of its dependence on the submarine TOMBOLAS for tanker discharge. The planners had foreseen this, and an additional overland pipeline had been constructed from Cherbourg to Port-en-Bessin to ensure the full use of the storage facilities of the Minor System, which served both U.S. and British forces. Port-en-Bessin possessed a maximum intake capacity of 6,000 tons per day, but its average performance could not be counted on to exceed 2,000 tons. Clearance difficulties at Cherbourg made it imperative that Port-en-Bessin be used to its maximum potential, and POL officials planned to keep the port in operation as long as possible. In mid-September U.S. and British officials allocated one third of the port's capacity to U.S. forces, which included continuing the transfer of up to 1,000 tons per day over the line from Cherbourg. In the first week of October,


however, bad weather gave a foretaste of future difficulties when it caused two TOMBOLA berths to be put out of action and necessitated the diversion of tankers to Cherbourg. Brigadier D. H. Bond, chief of the G-4 Petroleum Branch at SHAEF, foresaw that difficulties in discharge via ship-to-shore lines might very soon sharply reduce the amounts of gasoline that could be made available at Port-en-Bessin and warned that U.S. forces should no longer expect a large portion of the Minor System's reduced output.26

Although it handled 80 percent of all the gasoline brought to the Continent, Cherbourg itself was proving unsatisfactory as a POL port, for its operations were frequently affected by bad weather, and its capacity was limited by inadequate intake and storage facilities. On the night of 4 October a small storm destroyed eight of the ten intake lines at the Digue de Querqueville, stopping all discharge for eight hours and materially limiting it for another twenty-four. Storage facilities, which totaled about 250,000 barrels for MT80 and at first appeared ample, proved inadequate. Pipeline breaks farther inland, such as occurred when a flood washed out a section of the line between La Haye-du-Puits and St. Lô, slowed clearance of the port and forced tankers to wait offshore.27

Discharge had been rather limited all along by the fact that only one berth had been provided, which, located along the Digue de Querqueville in the exposed Grande Rade, was unavoidably vacant during the periods between tankers. But the Communications Zone refused to authorize the expenditure required to provide a second berth and additional offloading lines which Normandy Base Section requested in mid-October.28 By that time POL officials had taken steps


to develop additional bulk intake capacity elsewhere. The first relief was afforded at Ostend, a British-operated port, where U.S. forces were initially authorized to draw 500 tons, later 1,000 tons, of MT80 gasoline per day. Discharge at Ostend began in the second week of October and was uneven because of the vagaries of the weather. Nevertheless, deliveries there relieved to some extent pressure on Cherbourg.29

Reception and distribution facilities were also substantially augmented by the development of what was known as the Seine River System, based on Le Havre and, farther up the river, Port Jerome and a satellite of Rouen, Petit Couronne. Both offloading and storage facilities were found relatively undamaged at Le Havre, where tankers could discharge either into smaller tanker vessels for transshipment to Rouen, or into shore storage, whence bulk POL could either be delivered to Port Jerome through an existing 10-inch pipeline, or shipped out via rail or truck.

Plans were immediately made to develop Le Havre's discharge capacity to 5,000 tons per day, 3,000 of which were to be shipped to Port Jerome, via the pipeline. Engineers of the Military Pipeline Service began rehabilitating existing facilities in mid-October, starting with unloading lines and storage at Le Havre, and clearing the pipeline to Port Jerome. The pipeline was not placed in operation until December, but Le Havre received its first tanker on 31 October, and unloading into storage and decanting began immediately. Facilities at the other two ports were gradually brought into use, and work on the various installations continued until February.

By the end of January 1945 the Seine River System, combining tanker berths and storage, decanting, and loading facilities at Le Havre, Petit Couronne, and Port Jerome, was virtually complete. Included were two 6-inch pipelines from Petit Couronne to Darnetal, across the Seine, taken over from the British.30

While the development of the Seine River System had high priority, Allied planners counted even more heavily on Antwerp to bolster continental reception capacity. The great Belgian port was known to have POL facilities matching those for general cargo reception. Storage capacity alone totaled 2,600,000 barrels and was captured virtually undamaged. A survey of the port in September revealed that only minor alterations would be required to provide the necessary tank truck and tank car loading facilities. Antwerp's value was to be further enhanced by the construction of pipelines which were eventually to deliver bulk gasoline across the Rhine. Plans which the Military Pipeline Service submitted to the COMZ G-4 in September called for laying one 6-inch and four 4-inch lines from Antwerp to Koblenz.


POL STORAGE TANKS, used by the Americans, Petit Couronne, France, December 1944.

Subsequent alterations in the plan named Cologne as the eastern terminus, and finally Wesel, much farther north.

The COMZ G-4 approved the plans for the Antwerp, or Northern, System, as it was called, early in October and instructed the Military Pipeline Service to proceed with construction immediately, although there was as yet no prospect of receiving POL through Antwerp because the Schelde estuary had not yet been cleared. Construction was initially held up for lack of materials and equipment, but work finally got under way on loading facilities in Antwerp with the arrival of equipment via rail from Cherbourg and through the loan of additional equipment from 21 Army Group. The first tanker berthed at Antwerp on 3 December.

Work on the pipeline did not begin until 8 December, more than a week after the port opened. Construction then started simultaneously at several points along the route, and the lines were completed to Maastricht by the end of January, where dispensing of both MT80 and aviation gasoline began early the next month. Construction was suspended at that point, and Maastricht remained the eastern terminus of the Northern System until early in March, when the extension of the lines northeastward was undertaken. In a minor switch from original plans the 6-inch line was eventually used for MT80 and two of the 4-inch lines for aviation gasoline. POL facilities at Antwerp, like cargo-handling facilities, were used jointly by U.S. and British forces. The Communications


Zone had at first bid for 675,000 of the 2,600,000 barrels of storage. By January 1945 U.S. forces had been allocated a total of 950,000 barrels.31 Intake of the system eventually averaged more than 30,000 barrels per day, some of which was pumped forward for decanting at Maastricht, and later at Wesel.32

The need for additional intake and storage facilities was paralleled by a similar requirement for more adequate means of distribution, of which the pipelines were only a part. The ideal method of distribution, as contemplated in POL plans, called for the reception and forwarding of gasoline in bulk to storage facilities in the Communications Zone, and retail distribution, particularly to combat elements, in 5-gallon cans.33

All decanting from bulk and packaging was intended to be carried out by the Communications Zone. But the speed of the pursuit, the lag in pipeline construction, the condition of the railways, and the shortage of 5-gallon cans all combined to upset these intentions.34 In mid-September First and Third Armies were receiving gasoline mainly by trucks hauling from the pipeheads at Chartres and Alençon to Soissons and Sommesous. By the end of the month First Army was receiving a large portion of its requirements in bulk via tank trucks and tank cars and doing its own decanting into 5-gallon cans. Third Army for a while got most of its gasoline packaged and by rail, but eventually it also set up its own decanting points. Inadequate decanting facilities at the pipeheads and other shortcomings of the pipeline also made it necessary to ship gasoline, both in bulk and in cans, by rail from Cherbourg.35

The entire distribution problem was severely aggravated in October by a growing shortage of 5-gallon cans. The lowly "jerrican," so named by the British, who, followed by the Americans, had copied the German container after discovering its superior merits, had a role in gasoline supply hardly suggested by its size.36 Gasoline might be shipped from the port via pipeline, tank car, or tank truck; but it had to be delivered in packaged form to the ultimate consumer. In the last analysis, therefore, the retail distribution


THOUSANDS OF JERRICANS are filled from railroad tank cars at a decanting area, Belgium, December 1944.

of gasoline depended in large part on an adequate supply of 5-gallon cans.

U.S. forces had built up a stock of about 12,000,000 cans before the Normandy invasion. But this number was expected to suffice only for the initial stages of continental operations. Quartermaster planners subsequently concluded that about 800,000 new cans per month would be required to cover losses (estimated at 5 percent per month after D plus 60) and to maintain a can population commensurate with the troop build-up. The chief quartermaster accordingly placed an order with the British War Office for nearly 4,500,000 cans to be supplied from U.K. manufacture by the end of 1944. Nearly 2,000,000 of them were intended for the air forces with the understanding that they would be turned over to the ground forces after their first trip in accordance with the practice of using them only once for aviation fuel.37 A large portion of U.S. can requirements had already been met by British production, in part through the shipment of an American plant to England early in 1943.38

Tactical developments in the first three months were largely responsible for upsetting


the chief quartermaster's plans for supplying an adequate number of jerricans. The rapid advance, in addition to increasing the consumption of POL, had, by placing Allied forces far beyond planned phase lines, resulted in a much longer turnaround time--that is, the time required to fill, forward, and return cans--than that on which the required supply of cans had been based.39

The loss of cans had also been much higher than expected. Retail distribution of gasoline in the early phases had been based on the principle of exchanging a full can for an empty one. Units were permitted to draw 100 full cans only by turning in an equal number of empties. This simple but essentially sound SOP was widely disregarded in the heat of the pursuit, resulting in a trail of abandoned or discarded jerricans stretching from Normandy to the West Wall. Hundreds of thousands lay in abandoned dumps and bivouacs; thousands more had been used to build sidewalks in the mud, or as chairs, and for hundreds of other purposes not intended; others had found their way into French homes. By mid-October the chief quartermaster noted that 3,500,000 could not be accounted for.40

Meanwhile two of the sources of supply showed signs of drying up. The air forces had given notice that they could not ensure the return of their quota of cans, stating that they were needed for static reserves because of the depletion of current working stocks. As for procurement in the United Kingdom, which U.S. forces had counted on as their main source after D Day, the British War Office first advised that it could allocate only 221,000 cans per month to the Americans against the request for 500,000, and subsequently expressed a desire to retain the entire U.K. output for British forces.41 In mid-September the chief quartermaster therefore reluctantly turned to the War Department to meet the theater's needs, placing a requisition for 7,000,000 cans. The War Department offered to provide only 5,400,000 of this number. All but two can-producing plants in the United States had been closed down, it explained, and it did not favor reopening idle plants and drawing labor away from other urgent production. It would be much more economical, the War Department suggested, to increase going production in the United Kingdom.42

Can production was one of the several fields in which the United States and Britain eventually found it necessary to collaborate closely. Early in the fall, when it became apparent that requirements were outrunning production facilities, British and U.S. officials in Washington agreed to set up an Allied Container Advisory Committee to co-ordinate more closely the collection of information on requirements and potential sources of supply and to allocate production. Late in November, apparently as a result of the committee's initial


deliberations, the British agreed to provide about 550,000 cans per month to American forces.

Also the chief quartermaster had begun to explore the possibilities of meeting a portion of U.S. needs from another source--local procurement on the Continent. Negotiations during the fall produced agreements with the French for the manufacture of 9,000,000 cans and with the Belgians for 2,000,000. Both programs were dependent on imports of sheet steel from the United States. Production was scheduled to get under way in February in Belgium and in April in France.

Early in January the chief quartermaster re-estimated U.S. requirements and, on the basis of maintenance and turnaround factors developed during operations thus far, concluded that U.S. forces would need about 1,300,000 new cans per month in 1945 to maintain a workable can population for the gradually increasing troop strength. U.S. and British officials agreed then that approximately 550,000 of these should be provided from British production, and that the rest should come from U.S. and continental production, the zone of interior contribution depending on progress in getting French and Belgian production under way.

The local procurement programs failed to make a significant contribution to U.S. requirements before the end of hostilities, largely because of difficulties in getting sheet steel from the United States. As of V-E Day the French had manufactured only a token number of the original commitment. Shortly before the end of hostilities the chief quartermaster estimated that U.S. forces needed a can population of 19,000,000 to support the current troop strength. But the target was not met. What the actual count was in the last month is not known.43

The theater also had initiated a vigorous campaign to recover some of the lost cans. With the help of the Allied and U.S. Information Services, and employing The Stars and Stripes, the French and Belgian press, and the radio and newsreels, it widely publicized the importance of the jerrican's role in winning the war, and made an unprecedented appeal to civilians and soldiers alike to search for the wayward containers and return them to the supply stream. Through the French Ministry of Education a special appeal was made to French children to round up cans, offering prizes and certificates for the best efforts. In this way approximately 1,000,000 cans were recovered. At the end of November 2,500,000 were still "AWOL."44

The first improvement in POL distribution had been realized in October, when the minimum requirements of MT80 for U.S. forces east of the Seine rose to 5,900 tons (1,616,600 gallons) per


day.45 Early in the month the Communications Zone specified that 600 tons of this requirement were henceforth to be drawn from Ostend for delivery to First Army by tank car, thus relieving to a small extent the strain on the Cherbourg line of communications. U.S. and British forces were also constructing three 6-inch pipelines to Ghent in order to reduce the road and rail haul from that port.46 Large shipments, all packaged, still had to be made from Normandy Base Section, totaling 1,600 tons by truck and 800 tons by rail. The remainder, 2,900 tons, was scheduled to be decanted at the pipehead at Coubert.47

Rain and mud began to hinder operations at Coubert in October, and, in any case, only one line extended that far eastward. Fortunately the Military Pipeline Service had located an unused autodrome with fifteen miles of paved road at Linas, only a few miles east of the take-off point at Dourdan. Construction of storage tanks and eighty double risers at Linas, and the laying of two lines connecting it with the main pipeline turned this installation into the biggest decanting point on the Continent. The installation at Coubert, used mainly for rail shipments, was enlarged later, after an air attack on the pipehead during the Ardennes counteroffensive. Standby facilities, consisting of two storage tanks, the necessary rail-loading risers, and a connecting pipeline were constructed at Grisy Suisnes, on an alternate rail line a few miles to the north.48

First Army was the initial beneficiary of the slightly improved POL deliveries in October. By the middle of the month its reserve actually exceeded the authorized level, rising to 6.55 days of supply, and within another week it reached 10.4 days.49 Late in the month it became apparent that this rebuilding of First Army's reserve had been carried out at the expense of other formations. By contrast, Third Army's situation had actually deteriorated. Late in the month it reported that receipts of gasoline in the preceding three weeks had fallen short of requests by more than 2,000,000 gallons. Its reserves had receded despite strict rationing, and in the last week of October, as it prepared for resumption of the offensive, amounted to less than one and one-half days of supply.50

Third Army had reported its critical situation in POL directly to Supreme Headquarters, which took immediate measures to have the imbalance between the armies righted. By the time of the November offensive the reserves were fairly well equalized: First Army then


SIGN APPEALING FOR THE RETURN OF JERRICANS posted along a street in Charleroi, Belgium.

held 7.3 days of supply, Third Army 6.7, and Ninth Army 9.3.51 Levels in the Advance Section and Communications Zone had also been precariously low throughout October, and rebuilding them was deliberately postponed until those in the combat zone had been re-established. At the start of the November offensive the Advance Section held stocks amounting to only .27 days, and the Communications Zone 6.5 days.52

The experience of October had demonstrated once more how, in a period of unpredictable deliveries, a loosely supervised allocations system could create inequities. First Army had naturally taken advantage of its favored position in tonnage allocations to provide its own insurance against the insecurity which had become so characteristic of operations since early September. The army group, aware of the temporary imbalance which had resulted, saw as the only solution to the problem the recovery of the logistic structure to the point where it could be depended on to meet the armies' requests more promptly. Under current conditions, in which reserves were meager or nonexistent, the long reaction time between the submission of requisitions and the receipt of supplies--as much as nine or ten days--constantly threatened interruptions in the flow of supplies which could seriously handicap the armies. The army group agreed that a more rigid control over the accumulation of reserves in the combat zone should be imposed, but only after a substantial buildup of supplies in the Communications Zone and more adequate transportation reduced the time required to fill requisitions.53

These conditions were gradually met


in November. The improvement in POL supply generally paralleled the brightening of the entire supply picture occasioned by the opening of Le Havre and Rouen and the improvement in transportation. Le Havre possessed four tanker berths, but work was required on storage and rail clearance facilities before the port's full potential could be realized. Gasoline was at first shuttled up the Seine to Rouen, where tank trucks were used for clearance.

Early in the month the Communications Zone stopped shipping jerricans all the way back to Cherbourg, thus cutting down on their turnaround time and alleviating the can shortage. Except for movements through the pipelines all shipments out of Cherbourg henceforth were made in bulk via rail tank car.

At the same time the Advance Section took steps to provide bulk storage in the forward areas. The largest depots were established at Liège, which served First Army, Luetterode, which served the Ninth, and in the vicinity of Verdun, which served the Third. The Advance Section eventually took over decanting from the armies. The attempts by the armies to fill their own cans had not proved entirely successful. Dispensers were initially lacking and often operated inefficiently, and the arrival of bulk trains was highly unpredictable. As an example, Col. Andrew T. McNamara, the First Army quartermaster, reported that on a single day 109 tank cars had arrived at the First Army railhead without warning. In the absence of adequate dispensing facilities, tank cars, always in short supply, consequently were immobilized. Once more the desirability of getting advance notice of shipments was underscored. One 12th Army Group staff officer expressed the sentiment of all army quartermasters when he noted that "if ever Com Z desired to endear itself with the Armies," one means of doing so would be to give advance information of shipments.54

The opening of Antwerp at the end of November finally gave the desired flexibility to the POL distribution system by providing additional intake capacity on short lines of communication. Although the projected pipelines from that port to Maastricht had not yet been constructed, both intake and inland transportation were now quite adequate to meet all Allied needs in the near future. With the opening of Antwerp to POL tankers, distribution of MT80 gasoline was accomplished roughly as follows: most of the gasoline discharged at Antwerp found its way either to First or Ninth Army, or to the Advance Section for its own use, a large portion of it being sent in bulk via rail tank car, the remainder going by way of the Liège storage depot, where it was first packaged. The U.S. allocation at Ostend had the same destination, being piped to Ghent, then forwarded in bulk by rail to Liège, where it was also packaged before delivery to using units. Most of the gasoline entering the Continent at Cherbourg eventually went to Third Army or to the Advance Section, going forward via pipeline to Coubert, and the remaining distance either in bulk by rail or to


U.S. FIRST ARMY'S POL RESERVES, stored along the roadside near Spa, Belgium, 7 December 1944.

the Verdun complex, where it was packaged. A portion of the Major System's output was drawn off at Chartres or Linas for local use in the Seine Section or shipped via rail to Brittany, and a small amount was decanted in Normandy for use there. Le Havre's intake was consumed largely in Channel Base Section or in the Oise Section. The total deliveries arriving via tanker and disposed of in this way came to about 7,000 tons. Much smaller tonnages continued to arrive on the Continent in 5-gallon cans. Aviation gasoline arrived largely via Antwerp and Cherbourg, and from the latter was forwarded via pipeline to Chartres.55

The improvement in POL intake and distribution facilities brought with it a reassuring situation with regard to continental reserves. Reserve levels in the combat zone remained fairly stable after they had been rebuilt in November. In mid-December, at the start of the enemy counteroffensive, First Army had 7 days of supply on hand, Third had 8.8 days, and Ninth Army 12.8. Meanwhile reserves in the Communications Zone had staged a remarkable recovery, rising to 6 days in the Advance Section and to 12.03 days in the Communications Zone.56 The building of these levels removed much of the anxiety which the armies had felt only a few weeks earlier.

On 16 December the German counteroffensive suddenly threatened to destroy much of the work of the preceding month in the north. Attacks outside the immediate area of penetration took the form of air attacks on the pipehead at Coubert and on the Third Army decanting point at Mancieulles. But these proved to be only halfhearted attempts to disrupt POL supply and caused little serious damage. In much greater danger were those installations in the area of


First Army and the Advance Section which lay directly in the path of the offensive. Fortunately the First Army's two main POL dumps in the vicinity of Spa and Stavelot, containing 12,300 tons of gasoline, were successfully evacuated, and about half of all the POL products in the ADSEC depot at Liège, under attack from V-1's, was also loaded and moved back. The Advance Section lost about 900,000 gallons of gasoline as the result of fires started by German planes on two successive nights, and First Army destroyed a small quantity to prevent its capture. But on the whole losses were small.

In view of the close proximity of reserves from which the armies could draw, no attempt was made to maintain authorized levels. First Army, which had reserves of nearly 3,500,000 gallons on the eve of the attack, allowed its on-hand stocks to drop to less than 400,000 gallons at the end of December, both through issues and evacuation. Meanwhile all forward shipments were stopped, and most trains of bulk products were halted and decanted at Charleroi. First Army continued to maintain a reserve of only about one day of supply in January as it continued to reduce the "bulge." But POL again began to flow into Liège during the month, and decanting was resumed there. By early February the distribution of POL had returned to normal.57

(3) Coal

The supply of solid fuels was probably more consistently plagued with difficulties than that of any other item. Coal was needed for a variety of purely military purposes, including space heating, cooking, and hot water, for coffee roasting, static bakeries, bath units, and laundries, and above all for hospitals and for the railways. In addition, it was needed to provide minimum essential public utilities for the civilian population.

The supply of coal, like that of POL, was a responsibility of the Quartermaster Corps, which procured, stored, and issued the fuel to using forces on the basis of established priorities and allowances. Like POL, coal was a "common-user" item, but its supply was handled somewhat differently because of the source of procurement. All coal used by the Allied forces had to come from Britain or be procured locally on the Continent. Supreme Headquarters therefore exercised a closer control over the use of coal, screening both military and civilian requests, and allocating fuel to using agencies on the basis of priorities and availability. For this purpose a Solid Fuels Section had been set up within the Petrol and Fuel Branch, G-4, of SHAEF in March 1944. The G-4 of the Communications Zone eventually also organized a separate Coal Section within its Movements Branch to assemble all U.S. coal requirements, to co-ordinate procurement, shipment, unloading, storage, and distribution, and to maintain liaison with Supreme Headquarters on coal matters.58

Supreme Headquarters estimated that


the total Allied requirement for coal in the first three months on the Continent would be about 111,000 tons. Since the landings were to take place far from the French coal fields, this requirement had to be met entirely through imports from the United Kingdom. In fact, the pre-D-Day forecast of operations and the expectation that the Germans would destroy mine shafts as they had in World War I made it unlikely that the Allies would be able to draw on continental resources until much later. OVERLORD plans provided that until D plus 41 all coal (about 14,000 tons) would be shipped to the Continent in eighty-pound sacks. Thereafter shipments would be made in bulk, with Caen (in the British sector), Granville, and the minor Brittany ports handling most of the discharge.59

Receipts lagged from the very start. The first sacked coal was not unloaded at UTAH Beach until early in July, and Cherbourg did not begin to receive shipments until later in the month. Fortunately the need for coal was not great during the first months. By the end of August, however, three developments had made the supply of coal an increasingly urgent problem: a tremendous expansion in rail traffic had begun; Paris, captured earlier than planned, required coal for its utilities; and cold weather was approaching. By early September it became clear that Allied needs would not be met by shipments from the United Kingdom. Imports had already fallen far behind schedule, in part because of inadequate discharge capacity and a shortage of rail cars, but also as the result of bad weather. In the first five days of September Channel storms delayed shipping and no coal was available at all for discharge at Cherbourg. Shortly thereafter a shortage of rail cars became the bottleneck, holding discharge to a fraction of the 2,500 tons per day which Cherbourg was planned to handle. Port discharge capacity was generally unsatisfactory. Caen lacked adequate crane facilities; Granville, which was planned to serve almost exclusively as a coal port, was still not ready to receive shipping, and did not open until the end of the month; and the shortage of shallow-draft shipping limited the use of the smaller Brittany ports like St. Brieuc. The result was that only a fraction of the current import target of 6,000 tons was being achieved.60

The poor import prospects made it all the more imperative that local production of coal be restored as quickly as possible. Early in September members of the Solid Fuels Section of SHAEF made a reconnaissance of the recently uncovered Nord and Pas-de-Calais coal fields to survey the stock position of coal above ground and to determine the condition and the productive capacity of the mines, their supply requirements, and transportation factors in making coal available. They found approximately 1,000,000 metric tons of coal in ground stockpiles, another 15,000 tons in loaded cars, and about 100,000 tons on barges which were landlocked in various northern French canals as the result of destroyed bridges and other damage. Only about 100,000 tons of these stocks were


of the quality suitable for locomotives and gas plants, the types which were most urgently needed. Production, which before the war had achieved a maximum of 100,000 tons per day, had recently dropped to 30,000 tons owing to several causes, including a lack of pitwood, labor unrest, and inadequate transportation. But the condition of the mines was generally good, rail connections with Paris had been restored, there was an adequate supply of competent labor, and officials were optimistic about solving the labor difficulties. The big need was timber for pit props, of which there was only a ten-day supply on hand.61

At the conclusion of the survey SHAEF took immediate steps to promote the fullest possible exploitation of indigenous resources in the liberated countries and prepared to exercise complete control over the allocation of coal for both military and civilian needs. On 11 September General Eisenhower asked the SHAEF Mission to France to request the French Government to provide as much coal as necessary to meet the needs of the Allied forces in France on the basis of the recently negotiated reciprocal aid agreement, and to grant to the Supreme Commander full authority to establish priorities for the supply and transportation of coal during the period of military operations and for about three months after the cessation of hostilities. Similar requests were made to the Dutch and Belgian Missions within the next few days. In making the request the Supreme Commander noted that both port discharge capacity and shipping were urgently needed to handle other supplies. Moreover, U.K. production was already strained to the utmost, and, in any event, larger quantities of locomotive coal could not be made available from that source. Consequently the Allies were now forced to depend largely on continental resources. Coal and railway wagons had become munitions of war, and in view of their scarcity the provision and movement of coal for civilian purposes had to be kept to the barest minimum.62

The procurement and distribution of coal was rapidly assuming the proportions of a big business. To administer the program more adequately SHAEF reorganized and reinforced the staff dealing with the problem, combining G-5's coal section with the Solid Fuels Section of G-4 and thus adding qualified mining engineers to the staff. The headquarters was organized along functional lines to deal with production, requirements, shipping, internal transport, distribution, and statistics. Subsections were eventually created for each liberated country and for Germany. Within six months the section had a strength of over 400 British, American, French, Belgian, and Dutch officers and men. Its principal missions were to effect a centralized control over the procurement and distribution of solid fuels, both to military and civil agencies, to keep imports to a minimum, and to bring about the fullest possible exploitation of the


indigenous resources of the liberated and occupied areas. Fulfilling these missions required, among other things, that the section collect fuel requirements from all the military formations and national authorities, that it screen essential civil requirements for public utilities and essential industries, that it allocate fuels after evaluating these needs, and that it take whatever measures were necessary, such as requesting mine supplies and machinery, to increase the production of coal.63

Neither imports nor local production improved sufficiently to meet the rising requirements in the months which followed, and the entire coal picture therefore remained dark. In October unloadings came to only about one third of the required imports. Early in the month the primary cause was the lack of rail cars to clear the ports. A few weeks later bad weather was given as the main reason for discharge targets not being met, particularly at Granville and St. Brieuc.64 In southern France, where logistic support depended almost exclusively on the military railways over a line of communications more than 400 miles in length, the shortage of fuel was especially critical. Stocks dwindled to an eight-day supply in November. Locomotive coal had always been a problem there; it had been imported from abroad and from the northern French fields even in peace-time. Damaged rail bridges and the lack of rail cars now made overland movements difficult, and Marseille lacked the proper discharge facilities. As in the north, there were plenty of coaster berths but no coasters. Late in November the British War Office agreed to meet at least a part of southern France's critical need by shipping 25,000 tons from the United Kingdom.65

Continental coal production made some gains during the fall, but was plagued by endless difficulties. In southern France production rose to nearly 70 percent of normal in November, and in an effort to achieve a higher measure of self-sufficiency Allied authorities rushed repairs on the Tarascon-Beaucaire bridge across the Rhône so that coal from the southern fields could be used on the Rhône line of communications. The southern mines used prisoners of war with satisfactory results.66

In both the south and north the most persistent bottleneck in mining operations was the shortage of pitwood, of which approximately one ton was needed for every thirty tons of coal produced. Early in the fall SHAEF gave the Communications Zone the responsibility for arranging an adequate supply of mine timber, and the Communications Zone in turn dealt directly with French regional authorities. Transportation, as


usual, was one of the major stumbling blocks, and in many cases the Communications Zone had to make trucks, gasoline, or tires available to pitwood contractors.67

During the winter coal production and, in turn, transportation were adversely affected by both bad weather and labor unrest. Lack of adequate foods and clothing led to widespread strikes, particularly in the Belgian mines, where production fell off 40 percent in January 1945.68 Severe winter weather added to the difficulties that month. Coal deliveries to Paris, a large portion of which normally were made by water, fell to 12,000 tons per day against a minimum requirement of 20,000, in part because barge movements were blocked by ice, and in part because of the shortage of locomotives. In mid-January the director general of the French railways reported that 646 trains were delayed for lack of motive power.69

As early as the summer of 1944 the prospects of coal shortages had led General Littlejohn to urge the use of wood as fuel wherever it could be substituted for coal. Early in the fall the Procurement Division of the chief quartermaster's office made detailed arrangements with French, Belgian, and Luxembourg authorities for the production and delivery of fuel wood during the fall and winter months. Two logging camps began operating in the Foret de Cerisy in Normandy as early as September, employing prisoner of war labor, and additional camps were eventually established in the Brittany, Loire, and Oise Sections.

The project was not a spectacular success. The program was complicated by a lack of tools, equipment, and transportation, by the necessity to provide housing for prisoners, by the inaccessibility of many of the camps, and, in addition, by unsatisfactory co-operation from civilian authorities. At the end of January 1945 barely 36,000 cords of an original requirement of 1,000,000 had been produced. Considering the labor expended in the production of a cord of wood, its fuel value, and the transportation involved, as compared with the effort required in the production of coal, the endeavor was hardly economic. An attempt to supplement the meager supply of solid fuels by the production of peat was found to be even less worthwhile and was abandoned after a month of cutting in Normandy.70

Although coal imports more nearly equaled the targets in February 1945, combined imports and indigenous production never sufficed to meet the minimum essential civilian and military needs during the winter of 1944-45.71 SHAEF normally allocated only 65 to 70 percent of the amounts requested by U.S. forces, and deliveries rarely exceeded 50 percent of the total needs. Conservation measures adopted in the


fall of 1944 consequently had to be strictly enforced. Original allowances for space heating were cut in half, and the use of coal for utilities in cities such as Paris was rationed to permit only a few hours of gas and electricity each day.72


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (VI) * Next Chapter (VIII)


1. FUSA and TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for Period 10-16 Sep 44, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4 Reports.

2. TUSA AAR, II, QM, 6; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. IV, pp. 56-57.

3. See below, Ch. IX, Sec. 1.

4. FUSA's 13.4 days was based on a ration strength of 400,000 men and represented 11,316 tons; corresponding figures for TUSA were 320,000 men and 4,353 tons, for NUSA 234,000 men and 4,107 tons, for ADSEC 1,050,000 men and 16,556 tons, and for the Communications Zone 2,057,000 and 49,483 tons exclusive of about 13,000 tons of perishables. The ADSEC level was based on Advance Section's own strength plus that of the armies, and the Communications Zone's in turn on total theater strength, so that the combat forces were actually backed by additional stocks equal to the levels in those organizations, at this time fifteen days. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpts, with attached 12 A Gp QM Rpts, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4.

5. Army levels were based on ration strengths of 400,000 in First, 450,000 in Third, and 320,000 in Ninth. The ADSEC and COMZ levels were based on strengths of 1,290,000 and 2,354,000 respectively. Total theater stocks came to 411,570 tons. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpts, with attached 12 A Gp QM Rpts, 12 A Gp 319.1 G-4.

6. For the more detailed treatment of the subsistence story see Charles F. Romanus et al., The Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War Against Germany, a volume in preparation for this series.

7. Romanus et al., The Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War Against Germany, MS, Ch. VIII, pp. 10-11, 14-20; Quartermaster Supply in the European Theater of Operations in World War II, prep by QM School, Camp Lee, Va., II, Subsistence, 24-28, MS OCMH.

8. Daily QM Situation Rpt, 11 Feb 45, attached to Weekly Report on Status of Supply (COMZ), 10 Feb 45, 12 A Gp 400.291 Supply Information. Another typical example is afforded by the reduction of Advance Section's level of rations by four days at the beginning of December because of the lack of the salt component. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt 18, for Period 26 Nov-2 Dec 44.

9. TUSA AAR, II, QM, 13-14, 17.

10. TUSA reported 84.4 percent of its troops receiving the A or B ration in January. FUSA's consumption figures indicate that about 86 percent were getting the bulk ration. TUSA AAR, II, QM, 17; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. IV, pp. 112-13.

11. Romanus et al., Quartermaster Operations in the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, pp. 20-32; Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, II, Subsistence, 20-35. In January and February First Army reported that fresh meat issues averaged 1.08 meals per man per day. FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. IV, p. 69.

12. QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 76.

13. TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 6-7.

14. FUSA G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 17-23 Sep 44, with attached diary, and TUSA AAR, II, G-4, 7.

15. TWX, ADSEC to ETO G-4, 22 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 400.3/1 Supply Problems of Allied Advance; FUSA G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 17-23 Sep 44. Army and army group reports of stocks on hand varied somewhat, apparently because of different methods of computing levels. The reserve in days of supply varied, e.g., depending on whether assigned or ration strengths were used, whether requirements were computed on the basis of pounds per man per day or on the basis of miles per vehicle per day. Furthermore, levels might be expressed separately for each petroleum product or for Class III as a whole.

16. TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts; Cbl F-1503, TUSA to Crawford, 24 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I.

17. Daily QM Situation Rpt, COMZ, 8 Oct 44, Incl to COMZ G-4 Weekly Report on Status of Supply, 7 Oct 44, 12 A Gp 400.291, Supply Information, II; 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 8-14 Oct 44.

18. The figure was based on an average troop strength of 960,000 and twenty-four division slices. Daily consumption averaged 3,804 tons and totaled 117,923 tons for the entire month. Memo, Cummings for OCQM COMZ, 7 Nov 44, sub: Plng Estimates of POL Rqmts, U.K. and Continent, USFET 400.42 Petroleum, USFET Petroleum Office.

19. This was based on an average strength of 1,250,000 and 31.25 slices. Daily consumption averaged 7,758 tons and totaled 232,728 tons for the month. Memo, Cummings for OCQM COMZ, 7 Nov 44.

20. Romanus et al., Quartermaster Operations in the War Against Germany, p. 104; Min, Mtg, American Petroleum Products Comm, London, 30 Jan 45, dated 2 Feb 45, EUCOM 337 Confs General, III, 44.

21. This was later reduced to 192 tons on the basis of data which included the fall and winter months. QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 152; Memo, Barnes for OCQM, 26 Oct 44, sub: Supply of MT80 and Derivatives to Far Shore, and Memo, Cummings for OCQM, 7 Nov 44, sub: Plng Estimates of POL Rqmts, USFET 400.12 Petroleum.

22. Ltr, Hq COMZ to CGs Base Sec, 26 Oct 44, sub: Forward Shipments of MT80 Gasoline, ADSEC 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil.

23. Monthly Rpts Construction Div OCE ETO, ADSEC Files, 51-104; COMZ G-4 History, V, 14-15; TWX E-46157, COMZ to SHAEF, 11 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 800 Harbors, Opening, Use, Construction; COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 4 Oct 44, ETO Adm G-4 145C; Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, CE ETO, pp. 94-95.

24. Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 309; Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, CE ETO, pp. 84-85; COMZ G-4 History, V, 19; ADSEC G-4 Periodic Rpt for Quarter Ending 30 Sep 44, ADSEC 319.1 G-4 Periodic Rpts; Report on POL Plans and Construction to 8 May 45, n.d., ADSEC Engineer Completion Rpts Bulk POL Installations.

25. Beginning in January 1945 the combined facilities of the Major and Minor Systems were usually referred to as the Western System.

26. Min, Mtg, 21 A Gp, SHAEF, and ETO POL Officials at 21 A Gp Rear Hq, 12 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil (General) 1945; Memo, Bond for G-4 SHAEF, 22 Sep 44, sub: Protection of Port-en-Bessin for Winter Opns, Ltr, Col. H. Goodfellow, 21 A Gp, to G-4 Petrol SHAEF, 30 Sep 44, sub: Bulk Imports--MT80, Memo, Bond for G-4 POL COMZ, 8 Oct 44, sub: Bulk Imports MT80 Port-en-Bessin, and Memo, G-4 Petrol SHAEF for Bond, 8 Oct 44, sub: Gen Info Tanker Position Channel Ports, all in SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gas and Motor Oil.

27. Notes on Conf, Office of the G-4 12 A Gp, 5 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I; Min, CAO Mtg, 10 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 337-14; Memo, Maj J. M. D. Heald, Chief Plng and Rqmts Br ETO G-4 POL, for Brig Gen Weaver, 23 Oct 44, USFET Petrol Officer 400.42B Capacity for Bulk POL on Continent.

28. With two berths Cherbourg, according to Normandy Base, might have maintained an uninterrupted discharge at the maximum rate of 405 tons per hour. Another source states that the Cherbourg installation could handle 500 tons per hour. Ltr, Normandy Base Section to G-4 COMZ, 17 Oct 44, sub: POL Situation Normandy Base Sec, with Ind, 3 Nov 44, EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, 44, IIb, and Ltr, Lt Col H. C. Ferrell, Chief Stocks and Shipping Br G-4 Petrol Br COMZ, to ANPB, 30 Sep 44, sub: Shipping Facilities--Far Shore, USFET Petrol Office 400.42B Capacity for Bulk POL on Continent.

The PLUTO project, calling for underwater pipelines from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg, was largely a failure. Two flexible 3-inch cables were laid in August, but extreme difficulties were encountered because of leaks and breaks, and no gasoline was ever pumped through them. A third line began delivering gasoline in mid-September at the rate of about 140 tons per day, but the total deliveries were insignificant. In November Brigadier Bond reported all lines broken down and inoperative, and recommended the abandonment of the project. Memo, Bond for G-4 SHAEF, 23 Nov 44, sub: Abandonment of PLUTO Project--Isle of Wight to Cherbourg, SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gas and Motor Oil; Memo, Col Dan Gilmer for Gen Hull, 2 Nov 44, sub: Cross-Channel Pipelines, OPD Exec Office File 9; SHAEF G-4 Weekly Logistical Summaries for 10-16 Sep, 17-23 Sep, and 8-14 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl.

29. SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, Petrol Br, 8 Oct 44; COMZ G-4 History, 22; Quartermaster Supply in the European Theater of Operations, QM School, Camp Lee, Va., IV, Fuels and Lubricants, 46.

30. Monthly Reports Construction Div OCE ETO, Sep 44-Jan 45, ADSEC Records; Memo, Bond for G-4 SHAEF, 27 Oct 44, sub: Dev of Port of Le Havre, Seine River, and Rouen for Bulk POL, and Memo, Lord for Crawford, 29 Oct 44, sub: Dev of Bulk POL Import Facilities at Le Havre and Along the Seine River, EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, 1944, IIb; SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, 9, 17, and 27 Oct 44; History of the Channel Base Section, I, 148, ETO Adm 588.

31. Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, CE ETO, pp. 99-105; Monthly Rpts Construction Div OCE ETO, ADSEC Files.

32. Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, II, App. 33-C-4.

33. The 55-gallon drum was never considered satisfactory for retail distribution because of its weight and bulk, and its use was therefore kept to a minimum on the northern lines of communications. Many cases of hernia were attributed to the attempts to manhandle the awkward 55-gallon drum. QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 139.

34. QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, pp. 139-40.

35. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, Lubricants, 44-43; Study G-4 SHAEF, 28 Sep 44, sub: Mov of POL, SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gas and Motor Oil, III; History of G-4 POL, Normandy Base Section Hist Rpts, pp. 3-4, ETO Adm.

36. The US.-developed container, sometimes referred to as the "ameri-can" was also essentially a copy of the German can except for the closure. The jerrican had a simple locked-cap, cam-operated spout; the ameri-can had a larger opening with a screw cap, to which a flexible nozzle was supposed to be attached for pouring. Quartermaster officials designed the American container in the belief that the gas tank openings on U.S. vehicles, which were either countersunk or flush with the body, could be reached only with a nozzle attachment. But combat experience actually proved this to be its greatest defect. Nozzles were easily lost and were difficult to replace. Lacking them, or preferring not to bother with them, drivers often wasted gasoline through spilling. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 29.

37. Ltr, Cummings to Gen Peckham, 19 Sep 44, sub: Reqmts for 5-Gallon Blitz Cans, USFET 458.11 Cans 1945-45; Romanus et al., Quartermaster Operations in the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, 98-99.

38. The plant had been set up in Middlesex and was operated by the firm of Magnatex Limited under the control of the Ministry of Supply. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 30-31.

39. Original plans had been based on a seven-day turnaround. British planners had used a more realistic thirteen-day factor.

40. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 33.

41. Ltr, Cummings to Peckham, 19 Sep 44.

42. Cbl, ETO to AGWAR, 19 Sep 44 Cbls, ANPB to COMNAVEU, 19 and 23 Sep 44, Cbl, ETO to AGWAR, 30 Sep 44, and Cbl CR-1351, ANPB to ETO, 7 Oct 44, all in USFET 463.72 Ground Force Gasoline, II; Ltr, Barnes to War Office, 21 Oct 44, sub: Supply of Returnable Cans From U.S., USFET 458.1 Containers 1942-45.

43. Romanus et al., Quartermaster Operations in the War Against Germany, Ch. VIII, pp. 145-48; Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 32-35; Cbl, BAS (Washington) to War Office, 14 Nov 44, Ltr, Barnes to GPA, 2 Dec 44, sub: Availability of 5-Gallon Returnable Cans, Ltr, Lt. Col. J. R. Spencer to Chief G-4 Petroleum Br SHAEF, 24 Jan 45, with Min, Mtg, Allied Container Advisory Committee, Ltr, Col. J. B. Franks, DCQM ETO, to QM U.K. Base, 25 Jan 45, sub: Returnable Packages--Rqmts, Availability, and Procurement, and Ltr, Littlejohn to QMG, 2 Apr 45, sub: Jerrican Rqmts, all in USFET 458.11 Cans 1943-45.

44. Ltr, Lee to Sec Comdrs, 21 Nov 44, sub: Supply of Gasoline on the Continent, EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, IIb: Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 33.

45. The total MT80 requirements for U.S. forces on the Continent exceeded 2,000,000 gallons per day, and of aviation gasoline, 700,000 gallons. Ltr, Barnes to ANPB in Washington, 3 Oct 44, sub: Bulk Distribution on Continent to Forward Areas, USFET Petrol Office 400.42B Capacity for Bulk POL on Continent.

46. Ltr, Lord to 12 A Gp, 6 Oct 44, sub: Supply of POL on the Continent, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I.

47. Ltr, Hq COMZ to Sec Comdrs, 14 Oct 44, sub: Forward Shipments of MT80 Gasoline, ADSEC 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil.

48. Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants, Hist Rpt 13, CE ETO, pp. 93-94; Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 47.

49. FUSA and 12 A Gp G-4 Weekly Periodic Rpts for Oct 44.

50. TWX F-1503, TUSA to G-4 SHAEF, 24 Oct 44, and Memo, G-4 Petroleum for G-4 SHAEF, 23 Oct 44, sub: MT80 Status--12 A Gp, SHAEF G-4 463.7 Gas and Motor Oil, 1944; Rapport in ETO Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 25 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C; TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for Oct 44.

51. 12 A Gp Periodic Rpt for Period 5-11 Nov 44. The respective Army G-4 Periodics reported 6.2, 5.34, and 7.9 days of supply on hand at that time.

52. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 5-11 Nov 44; TWX S-63946, Crawford to TUSA, 25 Oct 44, and TWX E-58485, Lee to TUSA, 29 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 463.7-1 POL Tankers and Targets, 1944.

53. Cbl E-58380, COMZ to 12 A Gp, 28 Oct 44, and reply, Ltr, 5 Nov 44, sub: Distribution of Available Supplies of MT80, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I; Notes on POL Conf, Office of the G-4 12 A Gp, 5 Nov 44, dated 10 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I.

54. Memo, Col K. R. Bendetsen, 12 A Gp, to COMZ Ln Off, 8 Nov 44, sub: Advance TWX Notice of Rail Shipments, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I; TUSA G-4 Periodic Rpts for Nov; ADSEC Operations History, p. 121; Notes on POL Conf, Office of G-4 12 A Gp, 5 Nov 44, 12 A Gp 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil, I.

55. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 49-50, and Apps. X-A and X-B.

56. The levels represented tonnages as follows: FUSA, 14,220; TUSA, 14,351; NUSA, 15,474; ADSEC, 46,391; and COMZ, 68,771. As was explained in the case of rations, the ADSEC level represented reserves not only for its own units but for all the armies, and the Communications Zone's level in turn represented reserves for the entire theater, so that the combat forces were actually backed by additional stocks equal to the levels in those two organizations, at this date totaling eighteen days of supply. 12 A Gp G-4 Periodic Rpt for Period 10-16 Dec 44, with attached QM Rpts.

57. ADSEC Operations History, pp. 121-22; COMZ G-4 History, V, 24-25; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-28 Feb 45, Bk. IV, pp. 67, 72.

58. QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 163; COMZ G-4 History, V, 2; Col. W. R. Gordon, Deputy Chief, Solid Fuels Section, SHAEF, "Coal in War," The Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, XCI (November, 1946), 564.

59. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, Fuels and Lubricants, 70; COMZ E-4 History, V, 3.

60. Min, Coal Conf Held at the Hotel Crillon, Paris, 16 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conf, 1944; Gordon, op. cit., p. 564; COMZ G-4 History, V, 3.

61. Rpt of Reconnaissance of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais Coal fields by Members of the Solid Fuels Sec, Current Opns Br G-4 SHAEF, 7-11 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conf 1944, III.

62. Ltr, SAC to French Mission, 11 Sep 44, sub: French Coal Resources in Allied Expeditionary Force Zone, SHAEF G-4 Coal 137/10 GDP-1. The letters to the Belgian and Dutch Missions were dated 13 and 14 September respectively.

63. Gordon, op. cit., p. 565; SHAEF Stf Memo 119, 24 Oct 44, sub: Functions and Responsibilities of Solid Fuels Sec, SHAEF, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I.

64. TWX S-61191, SHAEF to COMZ, 6 Oct 44, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I; Rpt of Allied-French Working Party, 20 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 Coal 137/10 GDP-1; Min, 17th Mtg, Subcommittee at MOWT on Shipment of Bulk Coal to OVERLORD Area, 7 Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conferences, III.

65. Min, Mtg at Versailles on problem of transfer of solid fuels responsibility for southern France from AFHQ to SHAEF, 25 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conferences, III; Rpt on Survey of the Southern French Coal Situation, G-4 SHAEF, 2-10 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 463.3 Coal, Case A, I; Cbl S-66487, SHAEF to War Office, 12 Nov 44, TWX BWRT41, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 21 Nov 44, and Cbl 95956Q (Ops) 2, War Office to SHAEF, 22 Nov 44, all in SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I.

66. COMZ G-4 History, V, 6.

67. Ibid., p. 8; Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 76; TWX, SHAEF Mission to Belgium to SHAEF G-4, 6 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I; Rpt of Mtg of Allied-French Working Party, 11 Oct 44, dated 14 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Conferences 1944.

68. Cbl R-57441, ADSEC to G-4 COMZ, 31 Jan 45, ETO Adm 406, ETO Cbls; CAO Mtg, 2 Feb 45, SHAEF AG 337-2 CAO Mtgs, 1945.

69. Hist Rpt of TC ETO, VI (Jan-Mar 45), OCofT, 142A; TWX S-75146, SHAEF to COMZ et al., 15 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 463.3 Coal Supply, I.

70. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 73, 85-88; QM Supply Opns, Gen Bd Rpt 109, p. 162.

71. CAO Mtg, 9 Mar 45, SHAEF AG 337-2 CAO Mtgs, 1945.

72. The original cold-weather factor of eight pounds per man per day was reduced to four. Quartermaster Supply in the ETO, IV, 75; COMZ G-4 History, V, 7.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation