By early spring of 1945 Service Squadron Ten was well grown. It had been through enough campaigns to be considered in the veteran category, no longer an experiment but a considered and necessary part of the fleet. It could do almost anything a continental naval base could, and in many cases faster, with hardly any repair job it could not tackle and accomplish. The volume to be undertaken at any one time was the limiting factor. For example, to attack a major job of battle or storm damage on a few ships was all right, but to undertake many at the same time meant that some more routine maintenance and upkeep of active vessels suffered. A nice balance was generally tried for, and any big work seriously handicapping routine upkeep was sent back to continental yards. This usually meant that ServRon Ten had one or more big jobs on hand which could be accomplished at the same time as routine upkeep and minor repairs to all other vessels. Most other big jobs, excepting urgent salvage, coming at such times were passed back to the yards, even though within the ability of the service squadron to accomplish.
Service Squadron Ten Grows Up
The Guam Base--Seventh Fleet Logistic Vessels and Bases
The highest priority was given to voyage repair of the ships of the Third and Fifth Fleets. When they were at the anchorage it was the policy to defer most other work; when away, repairs were made to battle-damaged ships, mine craft, service vessels, and others within the area. Some vessels, though badly damaged, were repaired and returned to the fleet with speed equal to that of a shore repair facility. Such very large repairs were, however, limited to vessels urgently needed, for the assignment of men and material to such work prevented the accomplishment of many urgent smaller voyage repairs. The effectiveness of Service Squadron Ten was due no little to the excellent backing received from
the Fleet Maintenance Officer, Rear Admiral C.A. Dunn, on the staff of the Commander Service Force Pacific. Technical personnel and materials, especially repair parts, were made available with remarkable promptness.
Keeping the fleet mobile was not, however, entirely smooth sailing. In spite of excellent assistance and careful planning there were many instances of shortage; items such as radar antennas, gun mounts, and parts for some Diesel engines were invariably in short supply, not only with Service Squadron Ten, but at Pearl Harbor and at home. The service squadron was replenished as soon as they could be manufactured and shipped.
Repairs to small craft and small boats and the upkeep of the boat pool proved a most difficult problem. The protection afforded by the atolls was never all that was desired, and when a typhoon passed by, the damage to small craft was severe. The boat pool and most of the service craft available had been designed as landing craft; fortunately they were also satisfactory as personnel and cargo carriers, but they were difficult to maintain, and repairing the plywood hulls of the LCVP's required a disproportionate number of maintenance personnel. Despite the many men devoted entirely to small boats, and notwithstanding a daily overhaul of 16 small Diesel engines by the boat-pool repair unit, an average of 20 percent to 30 percent of the small boats were out of commission at a time. Usually only floating workshops, pontoon barges, and floating cranes repaired small craft and boats, thus relieving the repair ships and tenders of this work. At times it was necessary to use the 1,900-ton floating dock full time for hull repairs of LCT's, LCI's and LCM's.
Most of the repair man-hours were devoted to keeping the fleet mobile, and to making the many voyage repairs needed, but in many cases the work of this floating base made it possible to avoid returning a damaged ship to Pearl Harbor, or made her safe for return. No damaged ships were lost, no matter how badly hurt, if they were able to reach and anchorage at which a unit of Service Squadron Ten was located. The Bureau of Ships restricted publication "Structural Repairs in Forward Areas During World War II" includes some examples of ships which were lost in other areas because of improper or inadequate repairs, and some of the examples of adequate repairs made by Service Squadron Ten.
One of these badly damaged ships was the Houston, already mentioned. She received two torpedoes, one at starboard frame 79, about midway between the centerline keel and the bilge keel, the explosion flooding both engine and firerooms and extensive areas on the third
deck; the second, at frame 145 starboard, ripped a hole in her bottom and side from frame 138 to the stern. The ship would undoubtedly have been lost but for the exceptionally good damage control effected by the ship's force. Even so she would have been lost had she met rough weather, as her girder strength had been seriously lessened. Though there was no adequate drydock at Ulithi, the third deck, forward fireroom, and after engineroom were pumped out. A transverse bulkhead was erected in the hangar deck at frame 1381/2 and areas forward of it pumped dry. Extensive longitudinal stiffening was installed on the third, second, and main decks to compensate for the loss in girder strength, damaged plating left by the after hit was cut away, and temporary side plating reinforced by longitudinal and transverse stiffeners made the ship safe to towing to Manus. There under the direction of the Service Squadron Ten maintenance officer she was drydocked, completely pumped out, and shell plating and girder strength replaced to 100 percent of her original strength.
The Reno, also previously reported, was hit by a submarine torpedo at port frame 92. Shell plating and supporting structures were ruptured between frames 89 and 97, and from B to F strakes. The resulting flooding created a condition of negative stability at zero list. Damage-control efforts of the ship's force, assisted by the fleet tug Zuni, enabled her to be towed 700 miles to Ulithi. Unable to drydock the ship, divers were used for underwater repairs. Calculations indicated the necessity to remove 200 tons of topside weight, which was done, and about 75 percent of the original strength restored in the damaged area. She was then towed to Manus, drydocked, pumped dry, and completely restored.
When the cruiser Canberra received an aircraft torpedo at starboard frame 99 about 10 feet below the waterline, both enginerooms and firerooms 3 and 4 were flooded. The ship was towed 1,400 miles to Ulithi where after 138 diving hours a patch was fitted around No. 1 shaft in the forward engineroom, the compartment pumped out, and the ship towed to Manus, where she was drydocked, completely pumped out, and shell plating and strength restored 100 percent.
An interesting repair was made on the destroyer Renshaw, damaged by a torpedo at frame 115. The explosion damaged the area between frames 96 and 130, flooding the forward engineroom and after fireroom. The after engineroom was partially flooded. The ship was drydocked, pumped out, and found so badly damaged as to preclude repair in a forward area. Her after engineroom and forward fireroom were made operable, and temporary piping installed to enable her to seam on one shaft.
On 30 December 1944, the destroyer Gansevoort was hit by a Japanese suicide plane, the after firerooms and enginerooms were flooded, and the forward engineering plant was made inoperable because of misalignment of the shaft and wiped spring bearings. After temporary repairs the ship was towed to Ulithi. The patchwork included stiffening of the port stringer, which failed during the tow. At Ulithi extensive repairs were made in a floating drydock by tender personnel, and the ship's forward enginerooms and firerooms placed back in commission. She then went to Mare Island Navy Yard under her own power on one shaft. Had she been subjected to heavy weather prior to her arrival at Ulithi she undoubtedly would have been lost.
Not one but four successive Kamikaze planes hit the destroyer Newcomb: One at base of after stack; one exploding in the torpedoroom, which damaged both enginerooms; the third at the forward stack; and the fourth amidships, swerving off to crash on the fantail of the destroyer Leutze, which had come alongside to help fight fires. The keel was buckled, there were five holes in the bottom, yet the ship was towed to Kerama Retto and drydocked, the hull made watertight and strength restored.
After surviving a typhoon in which three destroyers were lost, the destroyer Dewey reached Ulithi with her No. 1 stack flattened and bent completely over. The maintenance department assigned the renewal job to the tender Prairie, which made a new stack. The work required very careful measurement in renewing the uptakes, commencing from a point on the main deck. It was a welding job. The repair party also salvaged and reinstalled the whistle and siren, built and installed the "Charlie Noble" (galley smokestack), and the atmospheric exhaust pipe.
The oiler Guadalupe, while steaming through Luzon Strait on January 10, had collided with the oiler Nantahala, badly damaging her bow, the extent of the damage--both anchors and hawsepipes being inoperative--she was put alongside the Ajax for repairs. Lacking the shears needed to cut away the mangled metal, the Ajax repairman burned it off, built a temporary scaffolding and constructed girders which served as the frame for a false bow built from keep to weatherdeck, and provided a jury rig for anchoring.
A contact mine struck by the net layer Viburnum tore a hole from starboard frame 6 to 17, keel to second deck. All spaces forward of frame 30 were flooded. ServRon Ten at Ulithi drydocked the ship, but since she was wood and no such material was available, the shell and supporting
Randolph damaged by suicide plane.
Franklin hard hit.
Close-up of the Franklin.
structure had to be repaired with steel--hull plating, decks, and hull strength, completely restored. While the repairs were intended only to permit return to a continental yard, they proved so successful that the ship remained on station in the forward area for the duration of the war. Collisions, bombing, mines, whatever the cause of damage, Service Squadron Ten met the emergency with ingenuity, persistence, and skill deserving the highest commendation.
The largest single job undertaken was repair of the flight deck of the carrier Randolph. While the fleet was at Ulithi preparing for another strike, on the evening of 11 March the Randolph was hit by a large suicide plane carrying bombs. The plane penetrated to the after hangar space, demolishing about 4,000 square feet of flight deck, all shops in the area, the oxygen and carbon dioxide charging stations, made a large hole in the main deck, and damaged the CPO quarters below. As soon as the fires were extinguished, repair personnel started work around the clock. Nest morning the heavy-hull repair ship Jason was ordered alongside. Admiral Spruance had requested that repairs be made at Ulithi because of the likelihood of the urgent need of the carrier. The magnitude of the job is indicated by the amount of materials used: 30 tons of steel plate, 20 tons of 12-inch I beams, 1,500 pounds of welding electrodes, 7,500 feet of flight deck lumber. Some of the steel beams were obtained from a Japanese sugar mill dismantled on Saipan. Nineteen days after the attack of the ship was ready for sea.
Another example of the type of repairs accomplished by Service Squadron Ten was the job on the carrier Enterprise. A bomb had hit the forward elevator, damaging the flight deck and flight-deck control station, starting a fire demolishing two 40-mm. quads, exploding the ammunition in that area, destroying all instruments in the control station and ruining 8,000 feet of multiconductor cable. To accomplish complete repairs it was necessary to remove two 40-mm. quads from the Santa Fe and fire-control instruments from the Franklin, both of which ships were returning to Pearl Harbor. Twelve days after repairs started, the Enterprise was ready for sea, 5 April. Again 12 days later, 17 April, she returned to Ulithi damaged again. One suicide plane had crashed near the starboard bow, injuring the forward pumproom, another in the 40-mm. sponsons at port frame 150. The bomb or bombs exploded in the water, damaging the propulsion machinery, throwing the port shafting out of alignment, and crippling the after generators. Turbine chocks and line shaft bearing feet were cracked, all reduction gear bearings on No. 3 shaft wiped, the hull punctured at frame 135, and numerous river leaks
caused. The hull was made tight. To do this it was necessary to list the ship 8 degrees. Turbines, reduction gear, and shafting were repaired and realigned, and by 3 May the ship was ready for sea. On the 14th she was hit again by a suicide plane crashing on the centerline, 15 feet abaft the forward elevator. The plane pierced the flight deck, exploded in the forward elevator well and seriously damaged elevator and machinery. Since no material was available to replace the elevator, the main longitudinal members were replaced as a temporary repair and the ship returned to a west coast navy yard. On departure her commanding officer sent the Commander Service Squadron Ten the message: "It would appear that the Enterprise has been one of the ComServRon Ten maintenance's steadiest customers. In addition thereto, it may be added, the best satisfied."
The success of Squadron Ten's maintenance efforts was due primarily to the willingness and desire on the part of men and officers on the repair ships and tenders to give the fleet all support possible. Objection to working hours or conditions was never voiced. In spite of typhoons, material shortages, and the heat, the morale of the personnel was always of the highest. The support of the main body of the Pacific Fleet during the last year of the war represents the most effective use of vessels of the train by naval commanders in the history of our Navy.
All the other classes of logistic services were attended to by the squadron, with continental ports forwarding materials as requested, largely through Ten's big brother, Service Squadron Eight, in Pearl. At this time the main base of Ten, with flagship and staff, was at Ulithi. Detachments commanded by officers known as representatives were at Guam, Saipan, Eniwetok, Kossol Roads (Palau), and Leyte, varying in size and services rendered according to the needs of current operations. By early spring of 1945 the Eniwetok detachment had dwindled to little more than a floating dock, an internal-combustion-engine repair ship, a tug, and water, oil, and gasoline barges. Saipan was very active and had equipment similar to Ulithi's, but on a much smaller scale. The Guam detachment was dwindling because the shore development as a naval base was growing daily. Kossol Roads was diminishing and Leyte increasing.
The specified duties of the squadron had not been changed since it started, but had increased in volume beyond anything foreseen. Its original organization, however, was sound and had permitted the growth and extension of services without necessitating radical reorganizational changes. Personnel changes had been considerable, with many of the
"old guard" replaced. These mutations generally followed rather closely the already going scheme, but often divided what had been done by one man into work for more than one as the volume increased, especially in the supply department. In some of the other departments where specialties were undertaken, these usually came under some already functioning activity or section and it was merely necessary to allot space and equipment for the specialists as they arrived.
For war, with its necessity for quick results, a simple, easily comprehended organization is best, especially when inexperienced young men must be used to accomplish the required rapid expansion. No claim is made that such an organization would be the most efficient and economical for peace. Doubtless, in several respects, efficiency experts would be horrified, especially if this organization were applied to an industrial establishment intended to bring the great possible return in dollars. This was for war, however, and in war, time is of such value that it must be given priority over many other considerations. In war the teams are made up of many young men mostly strange to the business at hand, whether it be a supply mission or combat. Therefore, the simpler the team organization, the less time lost in learning it and in executing the mission. War is never economical, but always wasteful of material and men. To be successful it must not be wasteful of time!
From its puny start of a year before, when the squadron was tackling something unusual and almost always biting off more than it could chew (in the minds of the skeptics, and a couple of times even in those of its supporters) but managing to chew it, and finding encouragement from the fleet commanders and from its force commander Vice Admiral Calhoun, it had now become a fleet in itself, like no other which had ever existed. It was composed of a conglomeration of vessels ranging from great 18-knot 20,000-ton auxiliaries down to lowly garbage barges built on pontoon lighters and requiring harbor tugs to move them. These squadron craft had been assembled to fulfill a mission--service to the fleet--in advanced areas where there were no permanent bases and could not be until months after the land had been captured. That mission was fulfilled. It was not glamorous, spectacular, glory-gaining work, but had it failed the war would have lasted much longer at much greater cost in blood and dollars. It was a job of routine-type service but done in unorthodox fashion, stepped up and multiplied many times by
The Vessels of Service Squadron Ten
the tempo of the drive plus the unusual demands great and small, often coming without warning because of changes in the situation, or the casualties and fortunes of war. It was a never-ending job, and the men and officers of Service Squadron Ten were as much a part of the fleet which defeated Japan as were the men and officers of any battleship, carrier, cruiser, or destroyer. Admiral Halsey's New Year dispatch to the squadron commander proves it--
A rousing well done to you and all your hard working gang for a magnificent job in taking care of all our needs. Beans, bullets, black oil, bulk stores, and even bulkheads have been promptly forthcoming on each request. Service Squadron Ten is a tried and proven member of our blue team!
Service Squadron Ten had grown up! By the middle of February 1945, its floating facilities, classified by functions, totaled 280 units: 26 repair ships, other repair facilities and tenders; 34 floating ammunition supply facilities; 48 floating supply and fleet freight units; 100 floating fuel and water supply storage vessels; 24 seagoing and salvage tugs; 42 fleet-service small craft and harbor tugs; 6 barracks ships and hotel barges.
This was quite a growth from the 50-odd units with which the squadron had started a year before. It was a growth beyond the 80-odd units the squadron commander had estimated to be needed at the time of organization--to be told he was dreaming or had his head in the clouds, and scoffed at about the big outfit he was trying to wangle. It is not becoming to say "I told you so!" because he was so far wrong himself that the difference between his underestimate and all the others did not alter the fact that no one in those earlier days was sufficiently posted on fleet logistics to make very good estimates of what the future would require. New calculations had to be made as the war went on, and some of these reestimated on sudden notice before having been fully met.
At the commencement of the Iwo Jima operation Guam had been in our hands more than 6 months. Considerable development had been accomplished and many fleet logistic services rendered. One big floating drydock was taking ships of the largest size, another being assembled was soon to be ready, and two smaller ones could handle almost any vessel up to 3,000 tons. These were in Apra Harbor, the nearest thing to a protected, sheltered harbor that Guam had which could accommodate large ships. Piers were constructed, some for repairs to vessels, some for supply, 10 for troop loadings and other services, 1 for submarines.
The Guam Base
Pittsburgh in a drydock, Guam.
Bow of Pittsburgh-towed in--cut up and restored to the ship.
A submarine base to handle 2 squadrons was being rapidly completed, and a tank farm built with a capacity of 448,000 barrels of fuel oil, 130,000 barrels of Diesel oil, and 328,000 gallons of aviation gasoline. This last was in addition to the airfield storage for landplanes.
The naval supply depot had 464 warehouses 40 × 100 feet each, some open storage areas and 68,000 cubic feet of refrigeration storage. The naval ammunition depot for fleet replenishment comprised 202 prefabricated steel magazines, 100 hard stands, and 20 fuze magazines, as well as quarters for depot personnel. There were several water systems, 1 of which furnished 2,000,000 gallons a day to Orote Peninsula and for the fleet. The latter received less than a quarter of this amount, which meant that a 5,000,000-gallon fleet water tanker required about 10 days to fill up.
Guam had three large naval hospitals, Naval Base No. 18, with 1,000 beds, Fleet Bases Nos. 103 and 115, with 1,000 and 2,000 beds, respectively. There was an amphibious boat pool and boat-repair base of large size. Besides all these there were Army and Marine Corps logistics facilities, and others necessary for the land-based aviation and garrison forces.
At Saipan in addition to the floating facilities of Squadron Ten there was a tank farm for 150,000 barrels of black oil, 30,000 of Diesel, and 900,000 gallons of aviation gasoline, a supply depot of 64 steel warehouses 40 × 100 feet each, plus 11 refrigerator units of 640 cubic feet each. The naval ammunition depot had 112 steel magazines, 4 torpedo magazines, and considerable open storage. An amphibious-vessel repair base comprised 5 shops 40 × 100 feet each in floor space, a 12-ton crane on a pontoon barge, a 6 × 18 pontoon drydock, and additional fuel storage of four 10,000-barrel Diesel tanks and two 1,000 barrel tanks for aviation gasoline. A small-boat repair unit with 4 × 15 pontoon drydock had a mobile machine shop. There was also a special small-boat pool and an LVT repair facility run by the amphibious force, two 75-ton cranes on 6 × 18 pontoon lighters, and a pier for handling ammunition between ship and shore. The naval medical facility was small; one hospital of 400 beds and some small dispensaries of the garrison units. There was also a large lay-out for troop logistics of all sorts.
It may be considered by some that the Seventh Fleet, which also had its logistic problems, has thus far been dealt with lightly. Perhaps that is a
Seventh Fleet Logistics
valid criticism, but with the Australian and New Guinea land bases available to it the logistics followed a more customary pattern and therefore in the interests of a shorter, more readily published volume, it seemed unnecessary to go into the Seventh Fleet logistics to the same extent as is done for the others. Some points of Southwest Pacific logistics have been touched upon already. However the subject may again be dealt with briefly here.
On 1 April 1945, fuel supplies on hand in the Seventh Fleet areas were: Black oil afloat, 571,000 barrels, ashore, 387,300, total, 958,300, or about half the available storage capacity; Diesel fuel ashore, 107,700 barrels, afloat, 181,500 barrels, total, 289,200, again about half of available capacity; aviation gasoline, 127,400 barrels ashore, 237,000 afloat, total, 363,400 barrels; motor gasoline, ashore 46,400 barrels; 119,500 barrels afloat. The estimated requirement for April were 960,000 barrels of black, 450,000 Diesel, 245,000 barrels of aviation gasoline, and 4,000 barrels of motor gas.
Water in gallons reached sizable totals. Available ashore and afloat were 191,355,000, with a monthly requirement of 75,000,000 and storage capacities ashore of 206,428,500 gallons; afloat, 84,000,000. The monthly requirement in short tons of provisions for 250,000 men ran to 7,500 fresh and 15,000 dry, with 11,672 tons of fresh and 50,166 of dry on hand. Of ships general stores (hardware, etc.) there were available 52,416 tons, supposed to be 90 days' supply, but not well balanced. The monthly requirement reached 17,472 short tons.
Ammunition was in great enough quantity, but by spring of 1945 was somewhat farther to the rear than desirable and not completely balanced. Principal stocks were at Brisbane, whose base facilities were rolled up and moved forward; at still active Fremantle; at Hollandia, still active but slated to be moved when opportunity permitted; and at Manus, then the principal supplying activity. One fleet issue load of 5,000 tons was received each month. Certain ordnance spares such as gun barrels, mounts, sights, etc., were ordered by Commander Service Force Seventh Fleet as seemed necessary or desirable to meet future requirements.
At the end of February 1945 the vessels of the Seventh Fleet to be serviced by its own service squadron numbered 949 of all classes from light cruisers to motor torpedo boats, with the largest numbers in landing ships and landing craft. Included were 66 submarines, 3 submarine tenders, and 2 submarine rescue vessels. All these were Americans. In addition the Australian contingent depended to a considerable extent upon Seventh Fleet logistics not furnished by its own auxiliaries
when port facilities were too far in the rear. Australia contributed to the effort 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 3 destroyers, 1 sloop, 4 frigates, 2 auxiliary antisubmarine ships, 35 mine sweepers, 9 survey vessels, 1 ammunition ship, 1 provision ship, 2 oilers, 2 fleet tugs and 3 LSI landing ships (infantry), a total of 66 vessels, bringing the Seventh Fleet's total to more than a thousand craft of all classifications use for the purpose.
Contrary to the belief held by some that Seventh Fleet had but little floating facility for logistic support, it had quite a force, large by prewar standards. Whether or not it was sufficient may be a somewhat controversial matter. It is only fair to say that the Seventh was a resourceful fleet and devised ways and means to carry out its operations in a manner deserving high praise. It was less given to "squawking" about shortages and hardships than others which generally had nothing serious to complain about, while the Seventh on several occasions did.
For services to Seventh Fleet in addition to those furnished by shore bases, there were available in its service force 353 vessels of all types, including patrol, escort, minesweeping, harbor netting, and guarding craft, with a floating dock of battleship capacity, 2 degaussing ships, hospitals, barracks, ammunition, water, freight, cargo, landing type, tank, repair, stores, and other ships capable of supplying any need.
Combatant and amphibious vessels assigned to the Seventh Fleet varied at times with the different operations. TO meet the logistics requirements, special temporary allocation of auxiliary vessels was frequently made. The responsibility for the logistic needs of CinCPac ships operating in the Southwest Pacific remained with Commander Service Force Pacific Fleet, while the Seventh Fleet was to a considerable extent serviced from shore bases, as already indicated, largely because land was available along the route of campaign on which to establish bases, and there were not sufficient floating auxiliaries during the early war years. In the Central Pacific there was not enough available land along the route, except in the Marianas, where a harbor had to be constructed. Therefore the American Pacific Fleet support had to be given by floating facilities in those areas.
Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, I.J.N., who was ambassador to the United States and conducting the negotiations in Washington at the very moment the Japanese planes were attacking Pearl Harbor, was closely interrogated after the war. His reply to a question by Rear Admiral Ofstie about recovery and capabilities showed he knew at least vaguely, about our shore bases. He said: "I didn't know exactly, but imagined it would take you quite a time (after Midway) to recover
your fleet strength; but you recovered more quickly than we expected. We were told by the Navy spokesman that you had repair facilities beyond our imaginations, that you had big floating docks for use in repairing ships which you brought from the United States. Your repair facilities were better than we calculated." And again: "Your repair facilities counted very much. I understand that in the Admiralty Islands there is a big repair base; also in the Marshalls there are repair facilities. Our Navy must have figured that when your ships were damaged they would have to go to Honolulu and not the islands where floating docks and other repair facilities were available. I have been told that in some docks you could repair even heavy ships."
In the spring of 1945 the Service Force Seventh Fleet listed 18 bases in the Southwest Pacific where some services were available. Most of them, except for Leyte, Manus, Hollandia, and Perth-Fremantle were either being stripped or were too far away to be of much use. Leyte and some other Philippine bases were building up, Brisbane being reduced, as was Milne Bay. Hollandia and Manus had large facilities but even these were farther back than desirable, and many of the facilities were already slated for "roll up."
At this time Hollandia had the equivalent of a repair ship in shops and ship maintenance facilities. Manus had two or three times that, plus a fleet of floating drydocks, big and little. A spare-parts distribution center at Manus made distribution and resupply by two barges, a small freighter and 4 LCI's. Radio-radar material and spares were carried at Hollandia, but the distribution center and the radio-radar were to be carried forward to Leyte-Samar as soon as practicable. All aviation materials and spares were at Manus except such as the seaplane tenders carried. There was no aviation-spare-parts supply vessel such as the Central Pacific fleets had.
Refrigerated storage at Manus was about 300,000 cubic feet, about 100,000 at Hollandia, with smaller capacities at many of the little and far-back bases. Leyte had only 46,000 cubic feet at this time, but expected soon to have 20 times that. Neither Manus nor Hollandia was never filled; most of the time each was nearer to being empty. Refrigerator ships unloaded directly to the tenders and other vessels about as expeditiously as to shore-based storage from which cargo had to be handled again to get it to combatant units.
Commander Service Force Pacific Fleet was responsible for delivery into the southwest area, after which issues were controlled by Commander Service Force Seventh Fleet. He had a large number of boats
and pontoon barges which could have been more profitably used elsewhere had means to transport them been available. At Cairns early in February there were 9 pontoon barges and 25 boats (23 landing craft); at Biak, 25 pontoon barges, 51 boats (38 landing craft); at New Georgia, 35 pontoon barges, 40 boats (30 landing craft); at Treasury Island, 1 March, 10 pontoon barges, 30 boats (23 landing craft); at Green Island, 4 pontoon barges, 46 boats (38 landing craft); at Milne Bay, 26 pontoon barges, 154 boats (145 landing craft); at Bougainville, 1 pontoon barge, 65 boats (61 landing craft); at Hollandia, 1 pontoon barge, 167 boats (165 landing craft); at Manus, 102 pontoon barges, 420 boats (301 landing craft). This total of 213 pontoon barges and 825 landing craft were far behind the Philippines, where operations were taking place and where future operations would do much of the mounting and basing. Doubtless some of them were needed in the rear, but by no means so many as were there. There was still a shortage of boats in the Philippines in June.
As it progressed in its drive, the Seventh Fleet established bases and section bases, setting up various shore facilities. It distributed its floating auxiliaries so as best to support its combatant units, which ranged from PT boats to large fighting ships.
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