Catalogue of Functional Components
LIONS AND CUBS, as originally conceived, bore a significant resemblance to ships of the Fleet. Advance bases, like ships, were essentially self-contained, largely independent entities, created to perform an exact task and designed accordingly. They were laid down in terms of precise specifications set forth in detailed allowance lists of both matériel and personnel. Thus, as a logistics plan, the program of four LIONS and twelve CUBS differed in content but not in kind from the contemporaneous programs for carriers and cruisers. Each called for the procurement of specified men and gear for whatever operations an uncertain future might indicate.
In operation, however, bases were also unlike ships. In spite of a considerable success, the degree of mobility which had been imparted to bases was only relative. In contrast to ships, they could not be rapidly shifted to a new site to meet altered circumstances, nor could one be readily replaced by another of appropriately different design. To function effectively, each base had to possess peculiar characteristics dictated not only by its mission, but also by geographic conditions. Even more than a ship, it was necessarily tailored to its individual purpose. These facts were demonstrated by the first LIONS and CUBS.
Although one LION and three CUBS were ready in large measure on 1 July 1942, only CUB #1 moved forward shortly thereafter. LION #1
was detained on the West Coast for six months, with a consequent temporary waste of its material and human assets, while an unplanned CUB, #13, improvised chiefly from the appropriate equipment of LION #1, the readiest source of the requisite unobligated material, was sent out a full year before its number should have been reached. Simultaneously, several new types of unit were established to meet emergent needs. In short, the LION and CUB concept was inadequate. Useful as a procurement technique, it lacked a flexibility essential for distribution and establishment.
The manifest need for a more viable tool was filled by the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components, which was promulgated by Op-30 on 15 March 1943. It was comparable in many respects to the catalogue of Sears, Roebuck or Montgomery Ward. The key units were no longer bases of varying magnitude and mission, but the functional units of which any base, whether large or small, was composed. With the Catalogue as a guide, all bases could and would readily be tailored to their individual circumstances. A standard LION or CUB became merely a descriptive term, and henceforth, only by hance might one actually be established. Like its commercial counterparts, the Catalogue served the needs both of procurement and of distribution. In procurement, it provided a means of capitulating requirements in functional terms for later allocation as the needs of the moment might indicate. Such sterilization of ready assets as occurred in the case of LION #1, was less likely to recur. In terms of distribution and establishment, the Catalogue made tailoring a normal and easy process, one readily undertaken
by the officers in the field responsible for the particular operation, who alone possessed the requisite knowledge, both of military plans and of conditions, climatic and topographic. Like a commercial catalogue, it was an essential link between producer and consumer.
The process by which the Catalogue was created can be described only in general terms, chiefly on the basis of oral evidence. It was the product of the collaboration of a number of officers in Operations and in the Bureaus. They worked in compliance with neither formal directive, nor even informal memorandum. No certain moment can be designated for the inception of the undertaking; primary credit for the idea can be assigned to no one man. Very much like Topsy, the concept just grew.
The gradual evolution of the broad notion can be discerned in the record of the Advance Base Friday Morning Conference. On 10 July , at the time when CUB #1 was being loaded, the statement was made by Commander H. E. Eccles that "Once a CUB leaves U.S., we can expect that it will be very similar to CUB One, which means that it will be standard CUB minus certain items plus certain other items." While the remark shows an appreciation of the fact that an adjustment of advance base material allowances would normally be necessary, it also demonstrates an expectation that variations would usually be minor and that essentially standard assemblies would ordinarily satisfy the requirements of the operating forces. Early in November, the Commanding Officer of LION #2 noted that "all of any unit such as LION, CUB, and ACORN
might not be needed." He added that the policy of not splitting up units interfered with the filling of emergency needs and that the ordering out of full units resulted in a duplication of personnel and matériel and the waste of critical material. "On the other hand, (a) LION may be needed complete or CUBS and ACORNS may be needed complete." His discussion thus showed the need for flexibility, though his purpose was to argue the value for morale of retaining the identity of units.1
By early December, Captain R. W. Cary, Director of Op-30, had grasped the basic notion of the Catalogue. "I think those units should be organized along functional lines. Each unit to perform a certain function. My rough idea is to do away with LIONS and CUBS completely ... We could pull off many of those units as a whole or combination." By mid-February, the compilation of the Catalogue was well under way. "One of the most important projects ... on hand now is the breaking down of the LIONS and CUBS and ACORNS into their functional components. This is being handled by Commander Mooney's section. Ensign Libby is actually doing the detailed work and it involves considerable cooperation from the bureaus."2
The foregoing excerpts from the record of the Friday Conferences have been made in order to indicate how gradually the fundamental concept underlying the Catalogue of Functional Components emerged. They also explain in large measure the fact that most of the work was done by a Reserve Ensign who had rather recently reported for duty in Op-30 and
had had no experience at an advance base. The Base Maintenance Division was deluged with urgent tasks and chronically understaffed. Important jobs had to be done by inexperienced officers if they were to be done at all. The Catalogue, of which the full significance was not immediately realized, was no exception.
This was the process by which the compilation of the Catalogue took place so far as memory served those among the officers concerned who were still on duty in Op-30 in the autumn of 1945. During November 1942, Captain Cary orally requested that a breakdown be made of LIONS, CUBS and ACORNS. He seems to have been thinking at this time, or providing for bases of three sizes, large, medium, and small, adapted to a number of different functions, such as airplane, destroyer, or submarine repair, rather than of the development of units designed to fill specified needs at bases of any size or primary purpose. Commander E. B. Gibson outlined the procedure for this work and delegated its detailed accomplishment to Ensign H. W. Libby. It was Commander Gibson who seems to have conceived of a catalogue and who instructed the term. Simultaneously, preliminary detailed personnel breakdowns were prepared by Lieutenant J. B. Campbell (Bases Section--Projects in U.S.), and Ensign J. H. Callahan (in Base Section--Personnel). Through December and January, Ensign Libby worked out, at moments when other more pressing duties allowed, a material breakdown.
This process involved the determination, from inadequate evidence, of what were, in fact, the natural and viable divisions of an entity originally conceived to be a fully integrated organism. Sound
lines of demarcation were frequently not obvious. For example, only slowly did Libby conceive camp units, that is, for the housing and housekeeping equipment appropriate for varying numbers of men in several climatic conditions. To this matériel would then be added an allowance of personnel to perform housekeeping duties for all the men who occupied those facilities. This particular concept was highly significant, since it represented a bold departure from hitherto unchallenged assumptions. The creation of camp units meant the formation of components on a basis wholly distinct from the mission which either the base itself or most of its personnel were expected ot fulfill. There was implied thus the principle that, in general, components should be built around the material equipment necessary for functional elements of the total activity of bases. With appropriate modifications of detail, this principle constituted a new means for computing all the allowances, both of matériel and of personnel, approved for any projected base. There was little difference in many cases--for example, the shore equivalent of the repair facilities of an AR--between the results obtained under the old and under the new method. With the new technique, however, there would be added to this central nucleus not, as in the past, functionally unrelated if essential gear and men for housekeeping, medical care, air raid warning and so on, but appropriate components designed immediately to discharge just those functions. With this principle as a guide, the tailoring of advance base assemblies was greatly simplified. One the primary component or components had been determined, such appropriate
secondary components as the specific conditions of the projected base indicated could readily be added. Similarly, to augment established bases, additional primary components, and appropriate secondary ones, could be dispatched with minimum delay, red tape, and duplication of facilities. No effort would be required, for instance, to delete from the equipment being assembled to augment an established base, gear designed to protect a harbor against submarine attack. In short, by the use of the Catalogue, efficient base assemblies would in future consist simply of the total of the appropriate functional components.
In the determination of components Ensign Libby enjoyed varying amounts of collaboration by officers engaged in advance base work in the Bureaus and in other divisions of CNO. He found that BuOrd had bee working independently along the same general line and that satisfactory ordnance components had already been detailed. Little remained to be done except to adapt BuOrd's numbering system to that of the general catalogue. Similarly, medical units, which from the beginning had been essentially distinct because they were highly specialized, were largely worked out by officers in BuMed. Op-20 played an important role in the formulating of Communications components. Libby consulted extensively with officers in BuSHips and BuDocks with regard to components with which they were concerned. BuAer took a considerable interest and part in the definition of aviation components. On the other hand, the participation of BuSandA and BuPers was negligible. In this general fashion, the Catalogue began to take form.
It has already been noted that by mid-February, the compilation
of the Catalogue was considered to be "one of the most important projects ... on hand" in Op-30. At the wish of Captain Cary and of his relief, Rear Admiral C. H. Wright, the job was completed with dispatch. By early March, sufficient progress had been made to warrant mimeographing. Simultaneously, an introductory preface was written by Commander Gibson, which explained the purpose of the Catalogue and the proper procedures for its use by area commanders and requested the Bureaus to prepare appropriate allowance lists. In the minds of the officers in lower echelons, who drew it up, the document was a preliminary draft to be submitted to the Bureaus for emendation. The question arose whether the covering letter should bear a serial number. The resolution of the uncertainty entailed an unexpected event. In spite of the fact that responsibility for decisions of broad policy,3 such as the Catalogue represented, lay apparently with Op-11-G (later 05-G) rather than Op-30, Admiral Wright decided to sign a formal letter of promulgation. Thus, on 15 March 1943, the preliminary draft of the Catalogue entitled at this time, Catalogue of Functional Units; a breakdown of the components of the LION, CUB, ACORN, motor torpedo boat, and smaller base assemblies, was officially promulgated without Bureau revision and made effective on receipt.4
Although the best--indeed almost the only--means of obtaining a sound appreciation is a rapid examination of the Catalogue itself
and of its associated allowance lists, a very brief summary of its contents is desirable here. In addition to the promulgating letter and the introduction, there ere a prefatory listing of the components in major groupings,5 a statement of the composition of standard LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS, and a summary by components, of the personnel and major material allowances.
The first edition of the
was frankly a trial balloon subject to early revision, and derived very largely from the existing schedules for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. This was inevitable, particularly since the Catalogue was published prior to its careful study by Bureau experts. Its full meaning and value can have been clear only to those who were already thoroughly acquainted with its antecedents. Yet its early promulgation undoubtedly hastened the composition of an efficacious Catalogue, for no matter how carefully a first edition might have been prepared, experience would quickly have disclosed errors of commission and omission which demanded prompt correction.
The second edition, printed rather than mimeographed, was promulgated on 15 July 1943, and made effective as of 15 August.6 It incorporated many new components--not a few on the order of the Camp Unit in the first edition--gave the weights in long tons and the cubes in measurement tons of the several components, and maps of a hypothetical LIONUB, and ACORN. Six Amendments were published between August 1943 and May 1944, each reflecting further experience and increasing the usefulness of the Catalogue. A third and, as events transpired, a final wartime edition designed to be effective on 15 October 1944, appeared on 1 November. Its most notable features were still more components, photographs of sample units, and a forthright statement of the principle enunciated but not emphasized in the second edition that each component was "dominated" by some one Bureau, which was responsible for collating the detailed allowance list. The increased maturity of the Catalogue is shown best perhaps by the fact that there were now listed nearly 250 components instead of the 79 of the first edition. The Camp group had grown from the single camp for 250 men of the first edition to 26 of varying nature. There were now included such diverse units as an oxygen generating plant, a typewriter repair unit, a malaria control unit, personal arms for officers, a bakery; a gardening component, and a lumber manufacturing unit, in addition to such primary components as ship and airplane repair units. Moreover, the material content of the components had also been constantly under scrutiny and frequently revised and improved. The changes had constantly aimed at greater mobility,
and by 1945, even heavy machinery was commonly tray or vehicle mounted. Through all this process, the editor, now Lieutenant Libby, had retained detailed responsibility. For the third edition, he was able to profit from the ideas and experience of many officers--really experts by this time--not only in CNO and the Bureaus, but also in the Fleet and overseas. The matériel and personnel for established bases had by now been assembled by means of the Catalogue and reports from their staffs, written and oral, had naturally been accorded healthy respect. Yet the general lines of the first edition remained. A summary of a standard LION, CUB, and ACORN was still included essentially unaltered; there were added outlines of other standard base assemblies--Gropacs, Aircraft Repair and Engine Overhaul Units, NATS Units, PT Base Units, Landing Craft and Fleet Supply Units. The Catalogue had proved to be the key tool in an extraordinarily complicated process. As the introduction to the third edition stated: "Advanced Base Units are strategical in conception, logistical in assembly, tactical when in movement and logistical when established at their ultimate destination. Functional Components, on the other hand, are for logistic purposes from inception to final establishment." The Catalogue was the essential link between logistics and operations.
The process buy which there were made additions to and improvements of the components in the Catalogue deserves brief outline. Ideas for improvements occurred to many officers engage in all phases of the advance base activity--Op-30, the Bureaus, assembly depots, shipping activities, operational planning staffs, new and established bases.
Sometimes they were the subject of formal reports or memoranda. On occasion they were a natural result of deficiencies outlined in more or less routine reports of operations. Not infrequently, they grew out of efforts to find a remedy for difficulties described in the Advance Base Friday Conference by officers who visited Washington after duty at a base. Whatever the origin of the idea, once a problem was recognized, an effort was made to find a solution. Often this involved study in Op-30 and the Bureaus. Possible solutions were ordinarily analyzed by the technical staffs of Bureaus concerned and, when appropriate, by operational staffs. Recommended amendments were then submitted to Op-05G, and, if approved, incorporated in the Catalogue. In this process Op-30 was the coordinating agency.
In spite of its vary great merits, the Catalogue was an incomplete mechanism. Like it commercial counterpart, it was primarily a merchandising tool. Yet CNO, in contrast to mail order houses, was in its very nature a production as well as a distribution agency. The latter deal ordinarily with what is, for them, a finished article. They are interested directly in neither the fabrication nor the end employment of their product. THus, the commercial simile is no longer useful. For the Navy, the items in the Catalogue represented merely one step in an integrated process. They were not an end in themselves, since the Navy was responsible both for their manufacture and for their incorporation into larger entities. The Catalogue needed supplementary documentation. For example, in the planning and establishing of bases, it might be necessary to know just what machines were included in an E-2--
The shore equivalent of an AR. Likewise, in the assembling of a component, there was required a schedule of the exact quantities and specifications of the myriad items, even unto nuts and bolts, which entered into its composition. The Catalogue provided details in neither degree. This want was filled by the Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists, prepared under the supervision of Lieut. L. A. Sheehan in Op-30.
The I.O.L.'s were the product of a development whose end was not foreseen. The first step was, in fact, merely a necessary adaptation, to suit the framework of the Catalogue of th Type Allowance Lists regularly compiled for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. With Op-30 urging all possible speed, these revised Type allowance Lists were prepared by the cognizant Bureaus during the spring of 1943. They filled an important need, but were soon found to be unsatisfactory. In spite of Op-30's effort to secure uniformity, the pages supplied by the several Bureaus continued to differ in format and in degree of detail. They could not readily be bound, and their bulk was excessive. They were an inconvenient tool. Since none were printed, in spite of the vast labor which they represented, their quantity was limited and the reserve stock soon exhausted. Because improvements in components were a regular and frequent occurrence, it was not a practicable procedure to keep several hundred widely distributed copies continuously accurate. The Type Allowance Lists, in short, were not an appropriate complement of the Catalogue.
The need, now recognized, was met by the preparation of two parallel sets of material lists, abridged and detailed. During the
winter of 1943-44, the abridged lists were prepared by the Bureaus and printed by BuSandA under the guidance of Op-30, which determined question of policy and format. The first edition was distributed on 15 March 1944 and revisions appeared quarterly in 1944 and in April and August 1945, with a final edition planned for April 1946. A printed volume of some 750 good-sized pages, it listed the major material equipment of each component and indicated the quantity of each item together with identifying data. It was designed "for those staff planning officers who desire more detail information concerning major groups of personnel and equipment than is offered in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components." It proved to be wholly satisfactory.7
The Initial Outfitting Lists (detailed) were compiled simultaneously with the abridged Lists. Printing and distribution were arranged by BuSandA in a format which it prescribed in compliance with policies determined by Op-30. The technique of preparation was in itself a difficult and important matter. The assembly lists had already proved to be troublesome. They were necessarily extremely bulky and their revision, which was required for almost every shipment, was a laborious task. During the latter part of 1943, it had been determined that they could profitably be transmogrified to suit the punch cards used by International Business Machines. This was in itself a stupendous job--it alone kept the machines at the Census Bureau and at other agencies at work on a three shift bases for several months--but it rendered the future preparation of shipping and outfitting lists a comparatively simple process and undoubtedly justified its cost. The
Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists (Detailed), which were issued during the spring of 1944, were printed from copy produced by the IBM punch cards. What they really were, in consequence, was a printing for considerably wider distribution of the assembly or shipping lists which happened to be current at that time. As a consequence of their origin in the punch cards, they were necessarily of uniform size. Their sheets were bound by components, the larger and more complex ones requiring several volumes. A complete set, for the components existing in June 1944, comprised 479 large volumes and weighed 250 pounds. "Designed specifically for procurement, assignment and assembly of materials," they contained complete detail and were also available to planning officers or other who desired more information that the abridged lists contained. They rounded out in fine fashion the tools requisite for procuring, assembling, shipping, and establishing advance bases in accordance with the concept of functional components.8
Originally, it was expected that revisions of the Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists would be published at intervals of perhaps a year. In practice, it developed that, except for the procurement and assembly of such particular components as the exigencies of combat required, the original lists were satisfactory for most purposes. Hence, the production of periodic revisions as such was abandoned. Mimeographed addenda were, however, distributed periodically. Never very distinct, the earlier allowance lists thus came to be identical with
the assembly lists and the Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists were merely a printed example as of a particular date in 1944. Allowance lists, for actual or hypothetical use as the case might be, could be prepared, should occasion demand, from the IBM punch cards, but, in fact, they were seldom required. The master "deck" of punch cards was kept by the Advance Base Section of BuSandA, which ran off assembly schedules when requested. Duplicate decks of their own items were kept by the other Bureaus in Washington. A second complete deck existed on the West Coast, with the BuSandA cards at Oakland, the BuDocks ones at Port Hueneme and the rest at Clearfield. The other BuDocks depots also had decks of BuDocks items. When changes were made, BuSandA prepared and distributed new cards for each of the subsidiary decks. By the use of this system, lists incorporating all the latest revisions were readily available in sufficient quantity on each coast at short notice. They were used chiefly for actual assemblies. The printed lists continued to serve most planning purposes.
Those three tools, then, the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components, the Abridged Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists, and the Assembly Lists with the associated printed Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists, were one of Op-30's great contributions to naval logistics. Together, they constituted an extremely flexible instrument, adaptable to highly varied requirements, yet efficient in operation. By their use, the formulation of Advance Base requirements was a relatively simple matter. Thus, they helped to solve a great logistics problem. They also provided a key to the answer of an associated and likewise a difficult question, the proper scheduling of the same requirements.
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