Chapter XIII
The Nature of the Solution

MOBILITY in an immovable object. Assembly VII demonstrated how largely that desideratum if advance bases had been achieved. Loading of the first echelon began in Pacific Coast ports precisely five weeks before the initial landings on Okinawa took place on 1 April 1945. Had the war not come to an early end, a fully equipped Naval Operating Base, including facilities for an Advance Headquarters and for all types of ship repair, would have been in full operation by 1 November while many of its elements would have been functioning long before that date. The contrast to the pre-war estimate that two to five years would be required to install lesser facilities on Truk is striking. Mobility is further emphasized by the fact that an important part of the matériel had been "rolled-up" from bases in the South Pacific. Motion was now an enduring, not merely an initial, characteristic.

No praise is too great for this logistic miracle. All contributing echelons deserve due credit. What is the just claim of CNO and in particular of Op-30? How well was their portion of the task carried out? May a junior reserve officer properly essay any judgment of the performance of the logistic mission of CNO?

An answer is more readily made to the last question than to the others. One of the purposes which inspired the preparation of the present study was an intention to assist the Navy of the future to benefit from the experience of the present. The project was started well before the end of the war in order that its participants might profit from direct observation of and, indeed, personal participation in


the development which they were instructed to analyze. Thereby, could they have access to much evidence, such as the unwritten impressions and memories of responsible officers, which would never again be available. Only in the present pages may a judgment incorporating such material be recorded. It is here submitted in the hope it is not wholly without merit.

The earlier questions are not capable of a facile answer. The Chief of Naval Operations presided over a vast and intricate mechanism which supervised the total Naval logistics organism within the Continental United States and coordinated its integration with its overseas counterparts. His was certainly the voice, but were the hands not those of the Bureau and field commands? Indubitably, the experience and specialized knowledge possessed by the latter were assets without which the mission of CNO could not have been fulfilled. However, without some central, coordinating guidance, chaotic conditions must have resulted. This sine qua non CNO provided. His was the composite brain, albeit imperfect, which animated the sprawling entity. Hence, generous, if immeasurable, credit for the logistic foundation of victory unquestionably accrues to CNO.

How efficiently did CNO and Op-30 carry out their responsibilities? Here again, a precise answer is impossible. In human history, perfection is seldom encountered and never in the emergency of major war. Within CNO, blunders made, many of them, some serious, more of them trivial. At its outset, the voyage was in uncharted seas with


a primitive compass and an untrained crew. Yet seldom was the course altered because of logistic deficiencies within the control of the Navy. It was a want of matériel derived from an unprepared civilian industry which postponed for many months the ringing up of flank speed. It 1944 and 1945, shortage of shipping was the primary logistic influence upon strategy. Almost all the other elements with which CNO was concerned were ready in ample degree. By that time also, CNO had relinquished almost all save its logistic concern with advance bases. The problem is the evaluation of the performance of a crew which had trained itself to operate equipment designed and redesigned largely by external agents. In its simplest terms, it is the question first whether CNO, particularly Op-30, made efficient use of its personnel and second, whether its responsible members displayed vigor, imagination, and resource.

These matters must be examined within the limits of the fundamental organization decreed for the Navy and for the Department in Washington. This is not an appropriate place for a critique of Bureau structure, imposed by ancient statute, or of CominCh mission, decreed by recent General Order. So circumscribed, the subject yet remains complex, for the advance base responsibility of CNO underwent significant alteration between 1942 and 1945.

In large measure, the functions of CNO increased after Pearl Harbor because the exigencies of war created an administrative vacuum which no existent Naval agency was prepared to fill. The creation of CominCh partially filled the unoccupied space while CNO expanded into


the remainder. The staffing of CominCh, however, robbed the War Plans Division of Operations of vital personnel.

It was under these circumstances that the Naval Districts Division came to enjoy a role in 1942 which was later and more appropriately played by segments of CominCh and the forces afloat. The chapter on BOBCAT has revealed both the good and the bad aspects of the task which Op-30 performed, under the guidance of the rump section of Op-12, in establishing bases in the South Pacific. Then Captain Thompson and Commander Slattery undertook in the GOLDRUSH project responsibilities far beyond the limits of Op-30's later logistic mission. Granted the conditions of 1942, these accomplishments deserve much praise.

After the reorganization of CNO in late 1942 and early 1943. Op-30 was relegated to the level of a project division responsible for the detailed staff work and extensive liaison activity outlined in several of the foregoing chapters. This was a vital function which it carried out successfully. It was, however,one which did not in itself permit the exercise of significant initiative. Its primary requirement was the prompt and accurate dispatch of vase routine business. The complexities of this task led Op-30 to invent, in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components and the Advanced Base Schedule, two of the finest logistic tools which the war produced. Again high praise is appropriate.

On paper, the schematic organization of CNO, in three echelons,


represented by Op-12, by Op-05-G and by the project divisions including Op-30, was clear and consonant with valid functional distinctions. In practice, it developed that no one of the echelons could work independently of the others. The decisions of Op-12 depended in important measure upon information which it was not staffed to amass. Often Op-30 possessed that data and the personnel to utilize it. Duplication within Op-12 or Op-05-G would have entailed a stupid waste of manpower. This was avoided. Conversely, effective compliance by Op-30 with the instructions of Op-05-G and Op-12 required in practice, though not in theory, information which it was officially denied. Resort ot unofficial channels circumvented legalistic obstacles. In short, the division of labor within CNO was not in fact as sharp as its diagram of organization indicated.

The interdependent separation of the various Divisions of Operations entailed two consequences of present concern. First, it resulted in encroachments by each on the territory of the others, which were at time resented and which jeopardized efficient operation. For example, Op-30-2B initiated studies designed to produce more efficacious estimates of maintenance requirements. This undertaking would seem to belong within the realm of Op-12. Second, the formal division of responsibility meant constant repetition of work in the several echelons with modification only in minor detail, if at all. Many participating officers easily came to believe that their work was and could only be clerical in nature. THey felt themselves to be enmeshed in so vast and


impersonal a machine that imagination and initiative were unnecessary and unwanted. It is beyond question that the organizational pattern increased red tape and paper work. All official communications between the Divisions, even the most routine, had to be given serial numbers and prepared in multi-colored copies for the signature of senior officers. Not infrequently, instructions originating i Op-12 were reproduced almost, or entirely, verbatim by both Op-05-G and Op-30 on their way to the Bureaus which were the effective action agencies. In such cases the latter Divisions appeared to be merely glorified mail and file rooms, while the officers who dictated, initialed and proof read the successive versions pondered the national and the Naval shortage of manpower. The attendant strictly clerical labor certainly delayed action.

It is only just to state that each of the Divisions approached a particular question from a different frame of reference and with a distinct responsibility. Likewise, senior officer,s wholly aware of the apparent and actual duplication of effort, sincerely believed that this repetition was an unfortunate by-product of a valid assignment of responsibility. Furthermore, the wheels of the machine could turn very rapidly when the matter was urgent.

But could the separate functions not have been handled within one formal organization? Could the several Divisions not have been merely sub-divisions or groups within one entity Admittedly, great size commonly militates against efficiency. So also does an artificial and elaborate segmentation of function. In the absence of such


distinctions, information, which is the very essence of administration, flows more fully and freely. It is easier to match the experienced personnel and full time loads of work on naturally related matters. There can certainly be a saving of clerical labor.

This, in essence, was the conclusion of a report on scheduling submitted to Op-30 by Op-30-2F in July 1944. Therein, it was stated that the 2F Section was, in fact, acting as a specialized staff for Op-12 and Op-05-G, and well as for Op-30. It was suggested that this impromptu arrangement be regularized and greater efficiency thus obtained. It is significant that, as supporting evidence, there was adduced the so-called Op-30 plan for the control of Pacific shipments. The plan is an example of the trespass of one Division upon the territory of another. IT is worthy of note that, although it was approved, with slight modification, by CinCPOA, it was never put into effect. The plan was the natural result of an effort by members of Op-30 to find a remedy for difficulties which lay within their proper sphere. So unified in fact, however, was the total logistics process, that their effort led them unavoidably far beyond their assigned responsibility. The plan itself had much merit. It might well have been conceived in Op-05-G or in Op-12. The logistics process was an entity. CNO was subdivided.1

The overly elaborate formal organization of CNO head it counterpart within Op-30. In 1942, a single section, B, had responsibility for all advance base matters. Subsequently, the section burgeoned.


Several of equal rank appeared, and later, a subdivision consisting of groups, each composed of numerous sections.

This artificiality of organization was most apparent in the Maintenance Group (2B) which comprised ten sections each enjoying cognizance over one major operating area or over liaison with one Bureau. In practice, few problems were as distinct or specialized as the sections. For the many desks received enough business to fill the hours of a working week. Moreover, segmentation indued formalistic methods of action. "Projects" were parcelled out for consideration by the appropriate action, each project having its separate folder, its own record in a "control" file. A great many of these assignments overlapped section lines. Hence, one addressee was designated coordinator. Not infrequently an impressive series of careful memoranda passed between men seated at adjacent desks in the same room. Junior officers often felt that they had little opportunity to employ whatever talent they might possess. May hours of duty were spent in keeping routine records, while not a little energy was devoted to devising means to remain busy. Only occasionally could they conceive a notion of serious merit, since their busy seniors along enjoyed access to broad problems. Much effort was expended on the maintenance of bases, but it is doubtful if the process of 1945 was materially improved over that of 1943.

The fate of the Op-30 plan for Pacific shipments symbolizes the weakness of the Division. So completely was it submerged under overlying echelons, both within and beyond CNO, that it could seldom


show more than a routine accomplishment. In short, it lacked authority safe in a circumscribed area. This situation it was powerless to alter.

Within its sphere, Op-30 fulfilled an important mission. Many of its responsible officers exhibited marked vigor, imagination, and resource. Their more substantial achievements have been detailed in the foregoing pages. Doubtless, the record would have been longer, had the general structure of the Navy been more propitious. There is also evidence, largely unwritten, that organizational formalities and office techniques, in and outside the Division, likewise impeded accomplishment. But military organizations do not enjoy a reputation for efficiency in business matters. That is not their mission. Op-30 was a military agency.

This chapter cannot be concluded without some mention of two matters for which it is the only medium. Little attention has been given to the war in the Atlantic. There too, the Navy established and maintained many advance bases. There it met and defeated an ominous submarine attack. There it engaged in tremendous, difficult and successful amphibious operations. There too, in the fact of great obstacles, it made complete victory possible. On a smaller scale, Atlantic problems were of the same nature as those of the Pacific. Distances were shorter. Pre-war installations were superior, both at seaboard and on the far shore. Climate was less formidable. The logistic techniques devised and employed by Op-30 were applicable, with few alterations even of detail, to both theaters of war. Illustrative examples have been selected


from the Pacific area simply because they better illuminate both problems and procedures. For the Navy, the Atlantic war, while vital, was less testing.

This study has concerned itself with administrative organization. It has been confined mainly to the COntinental Establishment since Op-30's authority stopped at seaboard. It had not the power to legislate the form of organization established at advance bases. Yet its task was complicated by the fact that for the Navy no such standard pattern existed. In Op-30, the conviction was held that a scheme comparable to the Army's tables of organization would have simplified both the administration of the bases and the logistic process which supported them. This thought is worthy fo record.

Op-30 was the largest logistics division of CNO. Its tasks were multifarious and extended into realms far removed from the advance base logistics which have been considered here. Even within this area, a desirable brevity has dictated the rigorous concentration on central problems. Thus, important contributions to victory have not received their just due. To their authors, as to the other members of the Base Maintenance Division, belongs a proper share in the Navy's "Well done!"



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