Chapter XVIII
Naval Logistics

IN PREVIOUS CHAPTERS the administrative machinery of the Navy Department and its evolution during World War II was described. The reasons for the changes in organization and administrative practices found necessary have also been reviewed together with the main events of the war that had a bearing on naval administration. There remain, however, certain broad areas of Navy Department administration that require additional coverage. The areas are those having to do with the logistic aspects of the war effort, including material procurement and the impact of scientific research and development on logistics. The logistics of naval personnel have been covered in Chapter VII on the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

Definition of Logistics

The word "logistics" did not come into common usage in the English language until comparatively recent times, although it was employed in French and German military parlance long before it was used in English. In 1888, Alfred T. Mahan used the term in his address on "The Object of the United States Naval War College" but with a meaning much more limited than its later connotations. He said:

"Between strategy and grand tactics comes logically logistics. Strategy decides where to act; logistics is the art of moving armies; it brings the troop;s to the point of action and controls questions of supply; grand tactics decides the methods of giving battle. There are obvious differences of condition between armies and fleets that must modify the scope of the word logistics, which it yet may be convention to retain."

The use of the single word "logistics," to denote the very broad field of planning and implementation necessary to give effect to the strategy and tactics of naval warfare, seems first to have been accorded formal recognition by the Naval War College in a lecture by Commander C.T. Vogelgesang, U.S.N. during its 1911 Summer Conference.

In its broadest sense "logistics" signifies the total process by which a


nation's resources in men and materials are mobilized and employed to achieve military ends. Logistics ha been officially defined as:

"Design and development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation and disposition of matériel; induction, classification, training, assignment, separation, movement, evacuation and welfare of personnel; acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities; and acquisition or furnishing of services. It comprises both planning (including determination of requirements) and implementation."1

A simpler and in some respects a more satisfactory definition is the one given by Major Cyrus Thorpe, USMC, in his booklet, Pure Logistics, "Strategy and tactics provide the scheme for the conduct of military operation; logistics provides the means therefor."2

It is not hard to understand why, until modern times, this third element ion making war received less mention in military literature than strategy and tactics. It has its parallel in the theater. Strategy is to war what the plot is to the play; tactics is represented by the role of the players; logistics by the stage mechanisms, the properties, the lighting and the various stage effects that go toward giving the performance of a play the illusion of reality. The stage mechanisms were few in the early days and such as were used attracted little attention as compared to the players and their lines. Gradually, however, this element of the theater became of greater and greater importance so that in the modern motion picture, scenery, photography, lighting, costuming, background music, and other details receive as much prominence as the script and the performance of the actors.

In the early days of the theater, the onlookers had to be satisfied with the interpretative skill of the actors to create for them illusions of time and place. The logistics of the cinema now create these illusions so fully that the names of those responsible for that aspect of a production are given more prominence and usually outnumber the names of actors and playwright and are furthermore recognized with fully as many awards for merit.

Logistics is a late arrival to organized warfare in the same sense that stage appurtenances and their management are to the theater. Battles in earliest times were fought on the spur of provocations or opportunity with predetermined plan and without providing special weapons for the fighting men. Tactics only were involved. Then some intelligent savage suggested the advantage of planning the affair in advance and this led to


thinking in terms of stratagems; and that was the beginning of strategy. As soon as the contest became something more than a single battle fought out in one day it became necessary to make provision for feeding the warriors and for replacing weapons, stones, arrows and whatnot expended in the battle of the previous day. That marked the beginning of logistics.

It is, however, a far cry from the matériel needs of primitive warriors to the needs of even a Genghis Khan, simple as they were. It is recorded that he was less concerned about the fighting men he might encounter than with the problem of feeding his boards of warriors and their mounts and with keeping them supplied with their simple weapons. History is full of stories of campaigns and wars lost because of inadequate logistic support for the fighting forces and also of successes that were made possible only because of the foresight of a leader in anticipating such needs.

The Civil War provides a stroking example of the role that logistics plays in warfare. The industrialization of the Southern States had not progressed sufficiently during the first half of the 19th century to produce any large part of the manufactured articles needed by the civilian economy of the South, much less to produce the munitions for carrying on a war. To fill these needs, the South depended largely on imports. When her Northern sources of supply were cut off, the Confederacy had to look to imports from overseas for munitions, medical supplies, and many other articles needed by her armies. Cotton was the South's only resource to pay for the imports.

A blockade of Southern ports by the Federal Navy was started immediately after Fort Sumter, to prevent the exportation of cotton and the importation of manufactured goods. The blockade became effective slowly, so that it was still possible for the Southern States to export some 2,800,000 bales of cotton 1861, the first year of the war. In 1862, the exports dropped to 132,000 bales. In 1863, there was an increase to 168,000 bales, because blockade running had become so profitable that special types of ships were being built in England to meet the particular problem of evading the blockading ships. By th end of 1864, the Federal Navy again had the situation so well in hand that practically all exports and imports from and to the South had been stopped.3 Once the blockade had become even reasonably effective the failure of secession was only a matter of time, and of the resolution of the North to continue the war. Inadequate logistic support of the Confederate armies, fully as much as shortage of men, was the cause of their ultimate defeat.

Examples of the vital role that logistics has played in warfare both on


land and on the sea could be multiplied indefinitely. If it were not for the fact that nations, political leaders and even military leaders have so often gone astray in their logistics thinking it would, indeed, be an elaboration of the obvious to pursue the subject further. It requires no stretch of the imagination to say that in World War II Japan found logistics the most difficult of all of her problems. The bravery of her fighting men, the tactical skill of her naval commanders, and the willingness of her civilian population to make the sacrifices demanded by war cannot be questioned, but those who were responsible for starting the war made two fundamental errors in their logistics thinking; they failed to take into account that in modern warfare logistics may well become the crucial factor in deciding the outcome, and they failed to appraise correctly the logistic potential of the United States as compared to that of Japan.

Elements of Logistics

Logistics tasks, whether concerned with men materials, or services, have certain elements that are common to all. These are the planning and determining of requirements, procurement of matériel, and finally the distribution of men and things to the combat areas and Operating Forces. The elements of requirement, determination and distribution (the what, when, and where of logistics) may be viewed as the consumer segment of logistics; procurement n the other hand as the producer segment, sharp line of demarcation between the two elements cannot, however, be drawn, as they are interdependent, and must be closely integrated if logistic tasks are to be carried out efficiently and economically. Consumer logistics is essentially a command prerogative and responsibility; producer logistics a staff function The latter is concerned principally with the procurement aspects of logistics.

The Bureau System was adopted in 1842, mainly to implement the logistic process of the Navy Department, but the fact that logistics has two facets which can best be handled by differently trained and motivated personnel, was not clearly understood at the time. This lack of understanding was largely responsible for the friction between the Staff and the Line of the Navy, that marred the administrative efficiency of the Navy Department for many years.

The situation began to improve when the officers in the Engineer Corps of the Navy were amalgamated with the Line in 1899 and the education of all Line Officers was made to include the study of engineering subjects and the performance of engineering duties on ships. All Line Officers had thereafter to perform some engineering duty at sea as a qualification for promotion.


However, it took many years for these changes to affect deeply the attitude of the rank and file of Line Officers in matters of matériel. It must be admitted that much of the work in that field is sheer drudgery without glamour and with only the satisfaction of work well done to sustain those who make a specialty of it. For the industrious Line Officer with imagination, engineering duty was of course recognized as preparation for high command. Fleet Admirals King and Nimitz are examples of officers who, when they reached high command in World War II, profited greatly from having had considerable engtineeering duty early in their careers. In fact, practically all Flag Officers of the Line who reached positions of great responsibility during World War II had more than a passing acquaintance with engineering and the logistics of matériel.

Recognition of the importance of engineering and Logistics, implicit in the amalgamation of the engineer Corps with the Line, did not result immediately in changes in the organization and administration of the Navy Department, necessary to reap the full benefit of amalgamation. The Bureaus continued to plan and determine requirements for matériel under their cognizance, as well as procurement. For important programs this was done in consultatiton with the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary of the navy from the inception of a project The Secretary used the Board mechanism to advise him in such matters; sometimes as early as the initiation and determination of requirements. Some Boards were permanent, such as thy Construction Board in 1890's and the General Board created in 1900; others were temporary to handle specific assignments. The Secretary leaned heavily also on the advice of Bureau Chiefs, particularly on whichever Bureau Chief was closest to him at the time.

For example, in World War I, the idea of the North Sea Mine Barrage originated in the Bureau of Ordnance, and was planned in its entirety by that Bureau. The idea had to be sold by the Bureau to the naval and civilian hierarchy, including the British Admiralty. The 110-Foot Sub-chaser Program of that war originated in the Bureau of Construction and Repair. Its planning was carried by a single division of that Bureau through the stages of design and numbers that could be built before it was taken up with the General Board for approval of characteristics. The program, had, however, been discussed at length with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

It will be noted that under such procedures, the technical bureaus were assuming much of the responsibility for requirements and characteristics that properly belonged to the consumer, that is, to the command branch of the Navy, and that under this arrangement requirements might not receive the attention from the consumer that they merited.

As has been described in the chapter, "Chief of Naval Operations--


Commander-in-Chief", a Chief of Naval Operations was added to the administrative machinery of the Navy Department in 1915, "charged with the operations of the fleet and with the preparation and readiness of plans for its use in war." One of the segments of readiness vaguely visualized in the discussions leading up to the creation of the Office was the planning of matériel logistics; but qualified Line Officers were not available for some time in sufficient numbers to carry through the consumer logistic responsibilities of the new Office. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, as the instrument for planning and determining logistic requirements, did not reach maturity until the problems of World War II had to be solved. The organizational and procedural changes found necessary culminated finally in the creation of a Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Logistics, as has been described in the chapter on CNO-Cominch.

Actually, however, the DCNO (Logistics), even with his considerable staff, could not offhand determine the requirements of all logistical problems that arose. Such determination usually involved close collaboration with the Bureaus, and extensive study by their design divisions, as well as collaboration with strategic planners.

The story of "Research and Development" is covered in Chapter XIX, and that of Producer Logistics in Chapter XX, entitled "Industrial Mobilization and Material Procurement." There will be included in this chapter certain segments of the logistic sector of naval administration, which in a full-scale WOrld War II history of the Navy Department, would merit separate chapters; such subjects as Advance Bases, Mobile Support of the Operating Forces, and the handling of distribution during World War II.

[NOTE: Many of these topics are covered in

Advance Bases

United States sea power decided the war in the Pacific. Sea power has been likened to a three-legged stool, its three legs consisting of Navy, Merchant Marine and Advance Bases. If any one of the three is missing or is weak, the stool falls. It was not until all three of these elements were able to make their full contribution to American sea power that victory in the Pacific became a certainty. The role of Advance Bases was not quite so important in the Atlantic, because in that area many well established regular bases close to the combat zones were in existence.

The history of Naval Operations in World War II shows that most of the major offensives, especially in the Pacific, were undertaken for the purpose of seizing territory for the establishment of an Advance Base needed to mount the next offensive and to give logistic support to the current operation. In no case was a major offensive undertaken until


provision had been made for its support from a nearby base, ashore or afloat. The future will bring into warfare new weapons and techniques, but it is certain that the United States will always benefit from the possession of Advance Bases, and that, in fact, success in any future war may well depend on the availability of such bases.

The specific purpose served by the various advance bases established during World War II depended upon their geographical location and by the strategic situation of the moment. There were those that served as bases for direct offensive operations such as Noumea, Espiritu-Santo and Tinian. Others that were meant to hold threatened strategic areas such as Kodiak and Adak; those that were needed to protect lines of communication such as Samoa, Tonga-Tabu, the chain of bases in Brazil, the Caribbean and the Atlantic; those that were built by the United States to supplement the bases of her allies such as the amphibious and air bases in Great Britain; and those that combine several or all of these features such as Guam. Some bases were established to counter threats that later turned out to be non-existent such as the bases on the west coast of Central and South America.

Before taking up the history of the Advance Base Program, it is appropriate to review the advance base situation that existed before the outbreak of the war in Europe. When the outcome of the Spanish-American War in 1898 committed the United States to the guardianship of the Philippines, it also committed the Navy Department to maintaining a base in those islands for the logistic support of American naval forces in the Western Pacific.

The question of where to locate the base revised the old Spanish dilemma of whether to develop Cavite with its good labor market due to nearby Manila, but water too shallow to permit ships of even medium size to go alongside of docks for repairs, or to develop Olongapo on Subic Bay about sixty miles north of Manila with its large area of deep water but no labor market. In 1905, the matter was compromised by building a floating drydock in the United States and towing it to Olongapo where it did the drydocking for the Asiatic Fleet until the attack on the Philippines made it necessary to move the dock to Marivales, where it was finally destroyed to keep it from falling into the hands of the Japanese. The principal shops and repair facilities of Cavite were never moved to Olongapo.

Limitation of Armaments

In 1922, the Washington Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments and the companion Five-Power Treaty prevented any further expansion of


he facilities in the Philippines. It became necessary in fact to do much of the repair work on the fleet in dockyards on the Asian mainland. The avowed purpose of those Americans who were responsible for the treaties was twofold: first to prevent an armament race that might lead to war; and second, to reduce the cost to the United States of building and maintaining a navy as large as the one then authorized. In order to obtain Japan's agreement to a 5:5:3 capital ship ratio, Article XIX of the Five-Power Treaty provided that the United States was not to strengthen its bases and defenses in the Western Pacific and that Japan was to maintain the status quo in the islands assigned to her as mandates and in her outlying bases and defenses in the Pacific. But as Japan had no considerable outlying installations or commitments in the Pacific, this article represented no sacrifice but a gain of security for Japan. For the United States, however, with her commitment to defend the Philippines, the article was a major concession and one that made it impossible for the Navy Department to develop adeuqate advance base logistic support for American naval forces in the Orient. The Navy Department observed the letter and spirit of article XIX meticulously,4 which is more than can be said for Japan, as the facilities that were later installed by Japan in the Truk Atoll of the Carolines and elsewhere were in direct contravention of the treaty.

One is led to the conclusion that the interests of the United States in sea power were not adequately represented at the Washington Naval Conference. It must be said, however, that naval expenditures at the tine loomed so large in the eyes of the public that Congress would probably not in any case have authorized the considerable sums that would have been necessary to finish the naval shipbuilding program that had been started during World War I, to maintain the larger fleet, and to provide substantially larger advance base facilities in the Western Pacific. Even after Japan denounced the Limitation Treaties in 1936, the Navy Department was unable for four years to obtain funds to fortify and to provide advance base facilities for Guam. When funds were made available, it was too late. Thus, planning for a war in the Pacific had to be premised on the assumption that on the outbreak of war both the Philippines and Guam would fall to Japan at once, just as turned out to be the case, and that any land-base logistic support needed to fight such a war would have to be built up after the outbreak of war.

Would it have been a good investment for the United State to have built a strong Advance Base in the Western Pacific even if it had to be


assumed that the base would have to be surrendered on the outbreak of war? From what is now known it seems clear that such a base would at least have dampened the war ardor of the military party in Japan. The chauvinists in Japan interpreted the policy pursued by the United States as indicating that the American people would not fight an all-out war in the Pacific and that a bold attack on Pearl Harbor would quickly lead to a negotiated peace. They mistook the unrealistic thinking of certain political leaders and the prevailing American preoccupation with economy in naval expenditures as signs of weakness and a disinclination to carry out the avowed policies of the United States with respect to the Philippines and the open-door in China. The naval limitation treaties and the policy of the United States, with respect to bases in the Western Pacific, had much to do with blinding the Japanese leaders to the spirit of the American people. The limitation treaties were largely the work of pacifists, idealists, and seekers for economy who thought that such policies would prevent future wars. It is ironical that the methods used promoted, instead of prevented, the war with Japan.

The Navy Department tried to save hat it could out of the 1922 Naval Limitation Agreements. In 1923, a board, headed by Admiral Hugh Rodman, made a report to the Secretary on the development of the shore establishments of the Navy. It recommended that Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal Zone be given priority over the Continental Navy Yards in the matter of expansion and development. Shortly thereafter a second program for the expansion of Pearl Harbor, and what little else could be done in the development of facilities in the Pacific; but very little money was appropriated for such purposes during the next 15 years. American foreign policy and military policy in the Pacific were getting out of step more and more.

The deterioration of the international situation in Europe, as well as in the Orient, in the 1930 decade, led to a re-appraisal of the Advance Base situation in the Pacific. When Japan denounced the Naval Limitation Treaties in 1936, the hands of the United States were freed for the inauguration of Advance Base projects in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Under date of June 7, 1938, the Secretary of the Navy appointed RADM A.J. Hepburn the senior member of a Board, to report on the need for additional bases on the coasts of the United States, its territories and possessions, as called for by a section of the Act of Congress of May 17, 1938, authorizing a large increase in both the ships and aircraft of the Navy. The Board made a very comprehensive report under date of December 1, 1938, stressing particularly the need for new Advance Bases in the Pacific. In the long list of developments recommended, the Pacific Bases


Admiral Arthur J. Hepburn
Admiral Arthur J. Hepburn
President, Board for Development of Additional Bases, 1938-1941;
Chairman, General Board of the Navy, Aug. 1942-Dec. 1945.

were placed in Category A for earliest completion. Congress was requested to appropriate $65 million for the projects, to be spread over a three-year program. After the war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the program was stepped up immediately. By the end of the war in 1945, some $3.2 billion had been spent on Advance Bases.5

Overall planning for advance bases, determination of general characteristics, assignment of priorities, and other matters involving the


administration of the Navy Department, were handled by the Shore Station Development Board as for other shore establishments.

The Secretary's Office (Shore Establishments Division), the Chief of Naval Operations, and all Bureaus were represented on the Board. All had responsibilities for planning the bases and later for providing personnel and matériel for them. However, the coordination of the planning, the procurement, assembly, arrangements for transportation, and the actual construction of the bases devolved on the Bureau of Yards and Docks.

Broadly speaking, advance bases served the same purposes as continental navy yards, the emphasis in the matter of characteristics falling, however, on any specific purpose the base had to serve and on its geographical location. In the case of the advance bases in the Pacific, recreational facilities, housing and hospital care for personnel; storage facilities for supplies, especially for those of a perishable nature; staging room for future operations, but above all, they had to provide for the logistic support of the ships, and aircraft in the area in the way of fuel, fresh water, supplies of all kinds, drydocking, and repairs.

The eventual pattern for handling advanced base projects and problems began to emerge with the building, in the summer of 1940, by contract under the Bureau of Yards and Docks, of an air base at QUonset Point, R.I. The Argentia, Newfoundland, air base forming part of the Destroyer--Naval Base agreement with Great Britain was, in September 1940, added to this contract. The contractors, later known as the East Coast Contractors, used their field plant at Quonset Point for the production of quonset huts and other items of equipment and for assembling equipment, material, and personnel for the Argentia project. When Quonset Point became too crowded, the activity was transferred and expanded into what became known as Advance Base Depot, Davisville, R.I.

Upon the passage of the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, plans were made to build four bases for the British: two in Scotland and two in North Ireland, using Davisville as the assembly point for equipment and material and the services of the East Coast Contractors for the management of the project and the purchase of the things needed. The Bureau of Yards and Docks prepared schematic layouts for each base, indicating the number, relative position, and general characteristics of the facilities that were to be provided. From these layouts, the contractors developed detailed drawings, made up bills of the material and equipment needed, placed purchase orders, manufactured at Davisville some of the items, such


as quonset huts, and assembled everything for shipment, including crating, marking, and loading on board ship. Sailing schedules for the ships were arranged so as to facilitate systematic unloading at destination and orderly erection and construction. All of this was done under the supervision of a Resident Officer-in-Charge, representing the Bureau of Yards and Docks. The decentralization away from Washington of everything possible was an underlying principle in handling the projects.

Later, when an Advance Base Depot similar to Davisville was established by the Pacific Naval Air Base Contractors at Port Hueneme, California, the Chicago Procurement Office was set up to handle the engineering and purchasing for both. lose technical supervision over the contractors was maintained by the Bureau of Yards and Docks.6 To advanced base area offices were established to handle all matters under the cognizance of the Bureau. The director of the Atlantic Division had offices in the Navy Department, Washington, and in London and served on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. All field requisitions for material were submitted through these offices and all information for the field or changes in policy were issued through the directors' offices. Financial supervision over purchasing and cost accounting as well as traffic management were provided by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.

Another pre-war undertaking that proved rich in the experience it provided for future air base undertakings was the Galapagos project. Under date of June 1, 1940, the Chief of Naval Operations requested the Bureau of Aeronautics to draw up plans for the guidance of the Bureaus in the procurement of materials to be assembled in the Canal Zone for the possible establishment at some future time of an air base on the Galapagos Islands.7 The principal purpose visualized for such a base was to provide the ground facilities for establishing a defensive air patrol screen in the Pacific for the Panama Canal. The studies made were utilized in planning other air bases in forward areas. Galapagos units came to represent a standardized set of materials and facilities intended to fit generally the needs of similar projects without being custom designed for any particular location. The Bureau of Yards and Docks at the same time set up an Advance Base Depot in the Canal Zone. The function of the depot was to provide a place where machinery and other equipment needed for


building an advance base could be stored and kept in working condition. The Galapagos studies and procurement plans formed the basis for air base development in the Caribbean in 1940 and 1941, and later for building such bases in the Pacific.

In the foregoing pages, the practices followed during the immediate pre-Pearl Harbor years in building Lend-Lease bases, the air bases in the near Pacific and the Galapagos project were reviewed. However, the problems of planning, assembling, shipping and constructing advance bases in the Pacific after the outbreak of hostilities were much more difficult to solve.

In one respect, the United Kingdom program did not provide experience for the future. At that time the Neutrality Act still prevented the use of American ships for transporting to Great Britain the materials for the bases. The shipping had, therefore, to be furnished by the British. Thus, the Navy gained no experience in arranging for transportation nor in coordinating the assembly of advance base material with the assignment and operation of shipping. The lack of experience in the economical use of shipping so as to prevent delays and lost time in the turn around of ships was a particularly serious handicap.

It does not lie within the province of this work to enter into the details of advance base planning and construction, but it will be helpful to an understanding of the subject as a whole to sketch the history of the initial undertaking of this kind in the pacific, even at the risk of trespassing to some degree on the field of operations.

Operation BOBCAT

The first advance base to be established in the Pacific after the attack on Pearl Harbor was a fueling station on Bora-Bora in the Society Islands, a colony of France, southeast of Samoa. The project originated with a memorandum, dated December 25, 1941, from Admiral King to the Chief of Naval Operations, directing that a study be made of a site for a fueling base in the South Pacific.8 On December 30l Bora-Bora was selected. On January 4, 1942, Captain R.K. Turner, the head of the CNO Plans Division, sent a memorandum to his Army opposite number, Major General L.J. Gerow, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, outlining roughly the composition of the expedition being planned and the details for its assembly. Between that time and January 27, 142, when the expedition sailed, personnel and material had to be assembled and ships had to be selected and armed. Loading was carried on in three different ports, the


principal loading point being Charleston, S.C. As it was a joint undertaking, it required close coordination between the War and the Navy Departments.

The Navy's Construction Battalion (Seabees) had not yet reached the high state of indoctrination and training so characteristic of that organization later on. The Construction Battalion had to be made up of green and untrained personnel along new lines of organization and command. The purpose of the expedition as outlined in the original memorandum was to establish a fuel tank farm. The complement consisted of approximately 3900 Army personnel for the garrison of the base and 500 navy personnel to construct and operate its facilities. The base was not a large one as compared to later undertakings and it played only a minor role in the war, but it served the very important purpose of providing experience for later and much larger advance base projects.

Every imaginable difficulty was encountered not only in getting the expedition assembled and underway but also in establishing the fueling facilities on Bora-Bora. One thing stood out clearly: the joint plan for "BOBCAT, as it was called, could never have been carried out in so short a time if it had not been for the Lend-Lease projects that preceded it. Most of the equipment and much of the construction material was drawn from the stocks that had accumulated for the British bases at Quonset. Officers in the Navy Department and in the field who had worked on these projects were assigned to operation BOBCAT and used their experience to select and assemble the things needed. Although the expedition met no opposition from the enemy and was never attacked, it was conceived, put together, and carried out under the most trying circumstances. Obtaining ships for the expedition was one of the first problems. Of the six vessels needed the Navy could provide only three. The other three had to be furnished by the Maritime Commission. All were unarmed, one was damaged so that a substitute had to be found and one needed ballasting before sailing. All were lacking in the kind of slings and cargo nets needed for discharging cargo in a place like Bora-Bora. The importance of correct loading by those who planned and directed the expedition was well understood but the only ships available left much to be desired in the way of suitability to meet the loading plans. This together with the short time available for loading resulted in much confusion, in failures to follow the loading plan and in poor marking of packages.9

At that, the difficulties in getting the expedition started were minor compared with those encountered on arrival at Bora-Bora. The cargo had


to be discharged without reference to priority and had to be taken ashore on improvised pontoon lighters or in the few small boats that were available. Both Army and Navy personnel had to be taken off their primary duties in connection with building the base to assist in unloading. On February 28, 1942, eleven days after arrival, five of the six ships were less than one quarter unloaded; six weeks later, two of the ships were still not completely unloaded.10 Delay in turn around, one of the greatest evils of the shipping effort throughout the war thus made itself felt very early.

Perhaps the most exasperating difficulties were those which arose from mistakes made by the planners in Washington because of their lack of information as to the topographical and other features of the site selected. Charts and maps of most of the islands in the Pacific were inaccurate and were based on ancient surveys. In the case of Bora-Bora, the only map of the island was made in the middle of the 19th century. Information was particularly lacking as to the topography of the area on which the fuel tank farm was to be located, in the availability of fresh water, and on roads and bridges. Much of the earth handling and other construction machinery was found unsuited for the work to be done. However, the very fact that BOBCAT ran into so many difficulties brought into sharp focus the many problems inherent in the establishment of bases on islands in the Pacific and therefore provided at the very beginning of the war some tremendously valuable lessons for the future.

Even before the studies for operation BOBCAT had been completed, the War Plans Division of CNO began considering other advance bases in the South Pacific needed to hold the line to Australia and the containment of the Japanese within the Central Pacific. Bases were planned for Tonga-Tonga, Samoa, and Efate in the New Hebrides. Conferences, verbal instructions, and memorandums initiated the assembly of materials and arrangements for shipping. A formal directive was issued by CNO on March 6, to have the three expeditions ready to sail from the East Coast within three weeks and from the West Coast within four weeks of that date. The experience gained from the Bora-Bora undertaking was applied particularly to the assembly of materials at the loading points as far in advance as possible and to orderly stowage so as to insure discharge of cargos according to planned priorities. Each expedition was divided into three waves, to sail a month apart. The Seabees for these three expeditions were much more proficient and better organized than the Seabees which built the fueling base at Bora-Bora.

These expeditions had the characteristic of being tailor-made in an attempt to suit local conditions and the special requirements of their


missions. Experience with the early bases underlined the difficulty of that kind of planning because of the many unknown topographical and other factors involved. It was seen that with the exhaustion of the stockpiles of advance base materials that had been assembled at the Advance Base Depots in the United States, there would be delays in procurement and assembly if left dependent on plans made in this manner. All expeditions had, in any case, to be prepared to extemporize Strategic concepts themselves had to be kept in a state of flux which in turn were reflected in the logistic support requirements. In the ability to extemporize, no people are superior to Americans, and among Americans no group more so than sailormen. Therefore, in order to prevent delays in procurement and to facilitate meeting unforeseen situations by extemporization it was decided to develop type plans for advanced bases which could them be used by the implementing agencies such as the Bureau for carrying out their detailed responsibilities. From the type plans stockpiles could be assembled at the advance base depots on the East and West Coasts.

Type Bases

LION, CUB, and ACORN. Considerable thought had already been given to this approach to advanced base planning as indicated by a memorandum of January 15, 1942 from the War Plans Division of CNO to the Bureaus and to the Base Maintenance Division calling for the procurement and assembly of 4 main advance bases and 12 secondary bases.11 Plans, bills of material, specifications, and other data were prepared for three types of bases designated respectively as LION, CUB, and ACORN. The LION type was the largest and provided facilities equal to those of a medium size navy yard, such as Pearl Harbor before the war. A LION needed about 13,500 people for its operation. It included ship repair facilities and a number of floating drydocks of various sizes, one capable of docking the largest ships. The largest floating drydock provided for an advanced base before the end of the war had a lifting capacity of 100,000 tons and consisted of ten sections. The CUB type did not differ in principle from the LION type but the floating drydocks were smaller and the repair and personnel facilities were not so extensive. The third type was designated as the ACORN; it was designed and equipped as an air field and had all of the facilities needed for repairing and servicing aircraft. On February 12, a directive was issued calling for the assembly by July 1, 1942, on one of the major bases and three of the secondary bases at designated depots.12

The establishment of advance bases in the South Pacific in the first


half of 1942 did not, however, wait for the perfection fo type plans of this kind. Advance base facilities were urgently needed at Noumea and Auckland. These places had the advantage of already having some facilities that could be expanded, and there was no lack of information as to local conditions. Both grew naturally from the pressures that were being exerted for the staging of the Solomons offensive scheduled to be launched in August 1942. Auckland was destined to become the principal staging point for the Guadalcanal offensive. Noumea became the headquarters of the South Pacific Command and developed into the distributing center for the entire South Pacific area.

By July 1, 1942, one LION, and three CUBS were, in all essentials, ready to be shipped forward as called for by the directive of the CNO. CUB No. 1 began its movement to Espiritu-Santo in the New Hebrides early in July.13 LION No. 1, a much larger unit, was detained on the West Coast for almost six months while an unplanned CUB No. 13, not scheduled for assembly or shipment until many months later, was put together out of personnel and materials assembled for LION No. 1. Early in 1943, LION No. 1 also began its movement to Espiritu Santo, where it was used to meet the growing needs of that base. The experience of LION No. 1 illustrates the difficulty in adapting the advance base units as procured and assembled to the shifting and special requirements of the forward areas.

Few of the CUBS which were sent out followed exactly the lines upon which they had been assembled originally. Frequently, new units were formed either within a theater of operations or in the United States, designed for a special purpose which involved cutting across the functional components of LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. Even before the end of 1942, some bases had to be expanded far beyond the scope of a LION; for example, in October 1942, the establishment at Noumea was being planned for a base of 20,000 men, which was about twice the size of a LION.

The type plans served the purpose of setting goals for the implementing agencies and for arriving at decisions on the specifications to which equipment would have to conform in order to meet conditions in the Pacific. It was the aim to accumulate stockpiles of sufficient size and variety to meet any emergency that might arise. The system provided flexibility of a sort, and underlined the importance of coordinating the efforts of all of the agencies concerned. It was, however, becoming too costly and cumbersome in that unnecessarily large stocks were being accumulated


of some items. Frequently, also, items were included which were not necessary for the particular project in hand.

The practice was also growing of cannibalizing an assembled LION or CUB in order to meet some specific logistic need. This made it necessary for the CNO to direct that no personnel or materials be transferred from an assembled unit without authorization from CNO. Using the LION and CUB assemblies as stockpiles was to be considered justified only when there was real need of a component that was not available in stock elsewhere. In the creation of advance bases the necessity had been demonstrated of type planning, standardization of equipment so far as possible, wholesale procurement, stockpiling, and retail distribution. However, experience was also demonstrating that the system was not sufficiently flexible to meet the varied requirements of advance bases, whether during the planning and construction stages, or later, after the base was in operation.

Advance Base Functional Components. To meet these deficiencies the Base Maintenance Division of CNO under date of March 15, 1943, issued a "Catalogue of Advance Base Functional Components" for the guidance of the Bureaus and other implementing agencies in carrying out their responsibilities.14 The material and equipment needed for each kind of activity was designated as a functional component. Some 200 different field activities, defined as functional components, were included in the catalogue, each with a complete list of the materials and equipment needed for its operation. There was, for example, a road building unit, a communications unit, a hospital unit, a ship repair unit, etc. The Bureaus abstracted these from the material and equipment under their cognizance and adjusted their procurement procedures to fit functional component needs rather than the requirements of a base as a whole. The Bureau having prime cognizance of the component, for example, the Bureau of Ships for the ship repair component, had the responsibility for coordinating the work of other activities to insure completeness of the component. Each month the Bureaus received from CNO a schedule of the estimated functional components needed to establish new advance bases in the foreseeable future, and for the expansion of bases already established. The Bureaus of Yards and Docks, Aeronautics, and Ships reaped the greatest benefit from the catalogue; its compilation and subsequent improvement were in fact a joint effort of the Bureaus and of the Base Maintenance Division.

In developing the catalogue, a distinction was made between primary and secondary components. Units for such purposes as airplane maintenance and repair, fleet supply, tank farms, communications, and ship repairs are examples of primary components. To these could be added in the


proportion needed other components such as housekeeping, recreational, and medical units. GIven the primary mission of a base, it was possible to assign at once the collateral units needed to round out its facilities. As the missions for bases were generally visualized by strategic planners in terms of task assignments the system was well adapted to provide the butt strap between operational requirements and the necessary logistic support. For the implementing agencies it provided a much better mechanism than reliance on type plans only for procurement, for stock-control, and for planning assemblies suited to the individual needs of each base.

The complete story of the advance bases in World War II should include descriptions of the many novel features and components that were provided to meet operational needs and to extend normal living conditions to personnel in primitive places. The story of the quonset hut, the ubiquitous pontoon, the MULBERRY for creating artificial harbors and bridging the gap between ship and shore the special machinery for moving earth, the building of air fields and the solution of innumerable other problems form important and interesting chapters in the history of the war effort. More than 400 advance bases of one kind or another were built by the Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific areas. Some were small and served only a single purpose. On the other hand, 18 bases were built outside of the continental limits of the United States costing more than $10,000,000 each. The most elaborate and costly was the one on Guam where over $280,000,000 was spent, in effect converting the entire island into an advance base. Two volumes entitled "Building the Navy's Bases in World War II" forming part of the history of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer COrps from 1940 to 1946, contain the story of this facet of the war effort and make it unnecessary to go into more details in this place.15

Mobile Logistic Support

Mobile Logistic Support for the Operating Forces had its roots in the typically American striving for self-sufficiency. The amalgamation of the Engineer Corps with the Line of the Navy in 1809 and the requirement that all Line officers must perform some engineering duty at sea as a prerequisite for promotion stimulated the interest of the command branch of the Navy in logistics. Logistic awareness underlined the importance of self-maintenance as a factor in the matériel readiness of ships to carry out their missions. This led to the adoption of a policy requiring ships' forces


to do all repair work within their capacity instead of calling on Navy Yards to do such work. Ships might be assisted by tenders and repair ships, but even such assistance was not to be requested unless the work was beyond the capacity of the ship's force. The practice met with some opposition from the civilian employees of Navy Yards, but it was adopted as a policy by the Navy Department, and supported by Congress. No other Navy has ever carried the policy of self-maintenance quit so far as the United States Navy. It has been the invariable experience of United States naval missions to countries with backward navies that the principles of self-maintenance are the most difficult to inculcate in the personnel of such navies.

In the design, construction, and equipment of ships for the United States Navy, self-maintenance characteristics were tressed, such as adequate storage for fuel and supplies so as to lengthen the cruising radius of ships,, goo sea-going qualities, and habitability, and adequate shop facilities for making repairs. Just before the outbreak of the war, special stress was placed also on improving the equipment and techniques for fueling and replenishing stores and ammunition with the ships under way at sea.

Assistance in self-maintenance was provided by tenders and repair ships constituting the Base, Force, which, in the case of the Pacific Fleet, was located at San Pedro until the transfer of the Fleet to Pearl Harbor in the summer of 1940.

This force consisted of tankers, repair ships, tenders, hospital ships, supply ships, ammunition ships, and tugs. Broadly speaking, the theoretical function of the Base Force was to furnish front line logistic support to the combat forces. Such support was loosely classified as (a) furnishing supplies of all kinds to the operating forces and advance bases, and (b) assisting ships to maintain themselves without the help of Navy Yards. As, however, the operating forces in the Pacific had always had the shore establishments of the West Coast under their lee, and readily available for their support, the Base Force had accumulated no great amount of actual experience in performing these functions. The force was also entirely inadequate to render the contemplated services. This inadequacy was underlined when the Pacific Fleet was transferred to Hawaii in the summer of 1940.

Pearl Harbor was not a large or highly developed navy yard at that time. There had always been difficulty in obtaining competent mechanics in sufficient numbers for the shops as the labor market in Hawaii for such personnel was small. Special inducements had, therefore, to be offered to mechanics to bring them to Pearl Harbor from the mainland. Not until 1937 were complete overhauls of ships, as large even as heavy cruisers,


attempted at Pearl Harbor. The need for expansion of the Base Force to augment the facilities at Pearl Harbor, therefore, arose promptly. At that time even fueling at sea was still a training exercise instead of a routine replenishment procedure. This was due in part to the fact that there were only a few fast tankers available for fueling at sea.

The place of the Base Force, later called the Service Force, in the composition of the Fleet, was given in the chapter on "Fleet Organization" in this work. The story of Fleet Logistics Afloat during the war has been told in works dealing specifically with the subject,16 but it is nevertheless desirable even at the expense of some repetition to outline in this chapter the part that mobile logistics played in supporting the combat forces in the Pacific. This will led to a better understanding of the evolution in thinking that took place in this area of Navy Department administration during the war.

The Base Force of the Pacific Fleet was reorganized in july 1941 into four squadrons with primary functions as follows:

Squadron TWO   Harbor service, towing, salvage.
Squadron FOUR   Transportation of personnel, landing force equipment, etc.
Squadron SIX   Offensive and defensive mining, minesweeping and general service.
Squadron EIGHT   Transportation of bulk cargo.

In April 1942, the name of the Base Force was changed to Service Force. The growth in Service Force activities is indicated by the fact that the total number of ships in this command increased from less than 100 in 1941 to over 1,600 before the end of the war. The staff, needed to manage the activities of this force, increased from less than 50 officers and a few hundred enlisted personnel to over 400 officers and 2,000 enlisted personnel during the same period. When the war began, the headquarters of this force were on the USS Argonne. The staff moved ashore at Pearl Harbor in April 1942, when the force was renamed the Service Force. As the Commander Service Force was the logistics arm of CINCPAC, he reported to CINCPAC for additional duty as a member of his staff.17 The staffs of CINCPAC


and COMSERVPAC were housed in adjacent buildings, which ensured close cooperation.

The ships of Squadron EIGHT may be said to have bridged the gap between the West Coast and the forward areas. Its general functions were to supply transportation for fuel, provisions, materials, general stores, and ammunition for the fleet and the advance bases. When operations moved into the South Pacific, this Squadron became the principle tool of the Commander South Pacific for providing logistic support to his operating forces engaged in the Solomons campaign. For this purpose, it used Noumea as its advance base. It also became the mobile force for developing the new base at Espiritu Santo and for supporting the amphibious operations at Guadalcanal. The lines of supply did not necessarily pass through Pearl Harbor, but the administration of the squadron and its ships remained with the commander of the Squadron, who exercised his command from Pearl Harbor. Ships of this activity of the Service Force were assigned to the Squadron EIGHT Commander for administrative control and maintenance, but their operating schedules were usually determined by the particular assignment of the moment; for example, the operating schedules of fleet ammunition ships came under the CINCPAC Gunnery Officer, whereas the ships were actually under the control of the Commander of Squadron EIGHT. This Squadron became one of the largest units of the Service Force. It consisted of 365 commissioned ships and 388 barges before the end of the war.

Service Squadron TEN. Under date of March 17, 1944, Service Squadron TEN was created at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and took over certain of the duties of Squadron FOUR.18 It performed practically all of the functions of an advance base, such as port direction, operation of floating drydocks, and emergency repairs to ships. It furnished fuel, lubricants, provisions, general stores, fresh water, ammunition, spare parts, and all manner of logistic support to the fleet. Ships assigned to Squadron EIGHT brought their cargoes to Squadron TEN in the forward areas, where the vessels themselves were turned over to Squadron TEN for unloading and then went back to Squadron EIGHT for reloading.

Some novel types of ships, including concrete barges, were built to add to the floating equipment of this Squadron. The barges were of simple construction and were not self-propelled, which made it possible to build them very quickly, in less than a week. Such barges were used for both fuel and fresh water storage. The largest were 65 feet long. Squadron TEN moved progressively westward with the invasion forces, from the Marshalls to the Marianas, Ulithi in the Western Carolines, Leyte and Okinawa.


The question may well be asked why logistic support for the combatant forces could not, from the beginning, have been provided by mobile bases such as Squadron TEN, rather than by Advance Bases. This would have been impracticable for a number of reasons. For one thing, adequate numbers of auxiliaries and other floating facilities were not available early in the war. Furthermore, the combatant Fleet and the Service Forces were dependent on each other. Until the Fleet was in control of the sea in which it was operating and in position to protect its mobile Service Forces, the latter were very vulnerable to attack. For example, if enemy submarines and aircraft had been free to operate in the area that Squadron TEN had to cross in its movement westward from Kwajalein in 1944, its losses might have been severe. Advance Shore Bases and Mobile Bases were competitive to only a limited extent. Each had its own province of special usefulness, depending on strategic and geographical considerations, and on the kind of service that had to be rendered. There is no doubt however, that if at the outbreak of war, Squadron tEN had existed, both as to personnel and floating equipment, much of the cost of Advance Shore Bases could have been saved, and many of the headaches over the logistic support of the fighting forces in the Pacific would have been avoided.

The mobile logistic support given the Fleet as the war went on improved continuously. As a consequence, the Fleet was able to operate at an ever-increasing distance from the continental United States and from Pearl Harbor without risk of losing such support. Ships were able to remain at sea much longer than before because the Service Force and the ships themselves became highly proficient in fueling and in transferring ammunition and stores while underway. Freedom from fouling, due to an improved ship bottom paint developed by the Bureau of Ships, reduced fuel consumption and made it possible for ships to remain out of drydock almost indefinitely. Another measure of the value of the Service Force was the continuous improvement in the record of ship survival after suffering battle damage. During the first year of the war, 40 percent of all ships that were seriously damaged sank; during the fourth year of the war only 10 percent of those damaged sank. The actual number of ships that received serious damage increased from about 50 in 1942 to about 200 in the fourth year of the war. Many more were exposed to damage, yet a smaller number sank.19 Improvements in damage control and in fighting fires, due in part to better equipment and structural arrangements and in part to better-trained personnel, contributed also to the better survival record.


It is difficult to evaluate exactly the statistics to determine the reasons for the improvement in saving damaged ships, but it is clear that logistic support played an important role in keeping ships afloat. Advance bases and the mobile Service Force were able to make sufficiently good temporary repairs on many seriously damaged ships to permit them to return to home yards for complete repairs. In many cases the ships were able to remain at the front without further repairs.


The crucial phase of logistics in warfare is distribution of both men and things. It is of little use to produce the things needed by the fighting forces if the provisions for moving them to the front are inadequate. Unlike material, transportation cannot be stockpiled, even though the vehicles of transportation can be. The effect of any disruption in the processes of distribution is dire and immediate. This is true in times of peace as well as in war. The history of distribution in World War II is not only the story of the means that were provided for transporting the enormous quantities and variety fo articles needed in the combat areas, but even more importantly it is the story of the management and the coordinating of these means in order to avoid confusion, congestion, and unnecessary delays. The sector of distribution within the continental limits of the United States to make it possible for industry to step up the production of war munitions was of equal importance.

Most shipments in themselves involved no element of hazard; in the case of others, careless handling of a small part of the shipment would have wrecked a ship or a whole train. Some shipments could be addressed openly to their destination; in the case of others, a coded highly secret address had to be used. Urgency ranged from stock items that might remain unused in storerooms for six months to items so vital that on their delivery depended the readiness for battle of the most powerful ships.

Broadly speaking, the process of distribution consists of two elements: the carriers themselves, such as ships, railroads, airplanes, motor vehicles, etc., including their individual operation; and the management of the traffic itself. All transportation enterprises recognize this distinction in their organizations and operational procedures. In such enterprises there are, of course, many functional divisions and sub-divisions in addition to those mentioned, but the management of traffic is always considered a distinct function from the creation and maintenance of the facilities that are employed in transportation. The story of the carriers, how they were expanded and were operated, need not be recited here in any detail, as it has been told fully elsewhere, to the management of traffic, as an


element of logistics, forms an integral part of the history of the administration of the Navy Department.

Traffic moved by rail, by ship, by motor vehicles, by air, by hand, through pipe lines, and by various combinations of these means. The operation of these facilities ranged all the way from completely civilian in the case of the railroads to completely military in the case of the Navy's Service Forces. In between lay various combinations, such as the War Shipping Administration with its mixed civilian-military control. Then there were air carriers, such as the various air transport services operated in part by civilians and in part by men in uniform. The principal military air carriers were the ATC (Air Transport Command) and NATS (Naval Air Transport Service). Commercial air lines provided considerable airborne transportation, particularly in the early stages of the war before military air commands generally took over and filled air transport needs. Commercial air carriers and their personnel under contract with ATC and NATS provided much of the capacity for ATC and NATS operations. The Naval Transportation Service also became an important element of transportation by the end of the war.

People as well as things had to be transported, but the problems involved in the transportation of the two categories differed greatly. Human beings at least come in fairly uniform dimensions, however much they may differ in other respects. That is much more than can be said of things, and made the planning for the transportation of even a V.I.P. much simpler than for an urgently needed battleship propeller. But the greatest difference in transporting people and things lies in the fact that things are deaf and inarticulate. The thousands of items necessary for the support of the mighty naval forces in World War II could not, like people, speak out for themselves if they were sidetracked, delayed, or placed aboard the wrong carrier. They could not search and fight for taxis to make close connections. In the case of things, it was not enough for a procurement or a requisitioning agency, or a logistics planning staff simply to request that a vital item be moved from here to there in order to arrive at a certain time. Someone who knew transportation had to perform the function of a travel agency and had to arrange for the journeys of these hundreds of thousands of items.

Railroad Transportation. By long odds, the most important domestic carriers in World War II were the American railroads as they handled well over 90 percent of all continental military traffic. The remainder of such traffic moved by inland waterways, by coastwise shipping, by air, and by motor carriers. The job of the railroads and of the other inland carriers was to provide the inter-industrial transportation involved in the


production of war material and the movement of personnel, supplies, and all manner of material to tidewater for further transport by ship or air to the war zones and to our allies overseas. Ships were the indispensable link in the chain of distribution which provided logistic support for the fighting forces overseas. The problem of shipping was more troublesome than land transportation, because when the war broke out the ships needed were inadequate, both in numbers and in kind, to perform their mission, whereas the railroads required no expansion to do their part. There was, furthermore, a continuous attrition of ships from submarine attack.

The railroads take pride in comparing their World War II record under private management with the record under government control in World War I. They point out that, with only three-fourths as many cars, two-thirds as many locomotives, and three-fourths as many employees, they hauled 81 percent more tons of freight than at the peak of traffic in World War I,20 and that this was accomplished through improvements mady by the railroads themselves during the inter-war period. The most notable advances were the development of larger cars, faster and more powerful engines, heavier loading and generally greater efficiency in the operation of the railroads.

A great improvement in traffic management was compared to World War I was an equally important factor in making this achievement of the railroads possible. The Office of Defense Transportation, the War Department, and the Navy Department deserve much of the credit for bringing this about. The realization that better traffic management was essential had its roots in the bitter experience of World War I when loaded freight cars blocked every port on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and cars were backed up for hundreds of iles inland because consignees could not unload them. The railroads, the military services, and industry were all in agreement that this experience must not be repeated and that railroad cars must not be used for storage purposes. Stated in its barest outline, the method adopted for preventing a recurrence of the evil of congestion was to prohibit loading railroad cars unless and until there was assurance that they could be unloaded promptly on arrival at destination and, in the case of export shipments, to arrange to have ships available at the seaports to receive the material promptly on arrival. This is, of course, a very much over simplified statement, both of the problem and of its solution. It had, however, become clear that centralized control over military transportation would be necessary if the mistakes of World War I were to be avoided.

Within a week after Pearl Harbor, the War and Navy Departments had a practical demonstration of this need. Under date of 16 December


1941, Mr. J.J. Pelley, President, Association of American Railroads, wrote letters to General Marshall and to Admiral Stark requesting that the Army and the Navy each designate one office to receive all requests for special railway services. The railroads, he said, had received innumerable requests from various government officers for special service, special reports, and other information which were causing great confusion and many of which had no basis for being handled in other than the normal way. Under the Association of American Railroads, a Military Transportation Section had been established to deal with anything out of the ordinary. Thus, centralized control on the part of the railroads was being provided. As a result of this letter, the Secretary of the Navy designated the Transportation Division of BuSandA as the unit to which all requests involving Navy traffic were to be made. The transportation section of the Quartermaster Corps was designated by General Marshall to received such requests for the War Department. When the Transportation Corps was established later on, it inherited this function for the Army. To provide overall control and coordination of all domestic transportation, the President, under date of 17 December 1941, created the Office of Defense Transportation.

The prevention of congestion of inter-industry traffic within the United States was not great problem. The avoidance of difficulties in that area lay in rigid enforcement of demurrage charges, in placing in effect certain regulations of the Office of Defense Transportation, and in obtaining the cooperation of receivers as well as of shippers in keeping freight moving. However providing an even flow of cars into the seaports or into the temporary storage facilities serving the ports, and getting the cars unloaded promptly, was a different matter, particularly because of the shortage of shipping and the difficulty of fitting the movement of cargo carrying ships into rigid time schedules. Even the management of the inland traffic involved in an export shipment of it had to be predicated on the arrival of a particular car at a certain seaport at a stipulated time was no small matter.

Some 12,000 Navy shipments were, at the height of the war, offered to the railroads every day. At the peak from 5t0,000 to 75,000 railroad cars were constantly rolling hither and yon, carrying Navy shipments. It is not surprising that the ideal of managing inland traffic with such precision as to incur no car unloading delays was never reached, but at least there was never any freight congestion at the seaboard so prevalent in World War I. The mechanisms and procedures that were devised for the management of Navy traffic will be described after the war shipping situation, with which it had to mesh, has been reviewed briefly. Sea Transportation. The Joint Army-Navy War Plans assigned to the Navy the responsibility for sea transportation in the following words:


"Provide sea transportation for the initial movement and continued support of Army and Navy forces overseas. Man and operate the Army Transport Service."21 During World War I, the transportation of men and materials overseas together with their protection enroute had been the Navy's principal missions.22 This mission was performed with outstanding success by the Navy, but the transportation situation was not the same in World War II. The strategic responsibility of the United States, as well as its shipping position, differed greatly in the two wars. In World War I, the British merchant marine was the principal shipping resource of the allies. In 1941, however, the United States had to assume this role with a shipping capacity in tonnage that was in no way equal to that of the British merchant marine in the First World War. Broadly speaking, American shipping had to take care of five accounts in World War II" the logistic support of the overseas Armed Forces, Lend-Lease shipments to the Allied Nations, shipments required for the civilian population of the allies, imports of raw materials and other essentials to the United States, and normal Western Hemisphere seaborne trade.

December 1941 found the Navy wholly unprepared to assume the transportation task which had been assigned to it in the war plans. The Naval Transportation Service, the organization under the Chief of Naval Operations responsible for overseas shipping, was a small understaffed division existing almost entirely on paper. Its plans were incomplete and liaison with the Army had not been formalized.23 Moreover, the Navy at this time owned only a small number of cargo vessels, tankers and other auxiliaries, most of which were assigned not to the Naval Transportation Service but to the Fleet Base Force as ships of the train.24 It was difficult to man even the small number of ships in this category because of the shortage of naval personnel. The Naval Transportation Service had been looked upon as a service that would come into operation on the outbreak of war. The plans did not contemplate that all of the merchant shipping that would be needed by the Navy to carry out its assigned mission would be manned and commissioned by the Navy. It was assumed that most of the ships would be secured on a time charter basis, and after arming would be operated by their original civilian crews.

The agreement in the War Plan of 1941 called for the Army to transfer to the Navy the vessels of the Army Transportation Service and for their recommissioning in the naval service. But due to the shortage of


naval personnel, it was not possible for the Navy to carry out even this part of the agreement. The Navy was, furthermore, loath to use such trained personnel as was available to many Army cargo vessels, many of which were old and presented a considerable hazard if employed in dangerous waters. The time needed for converting and improving the survival characteristics of these ships could not be spared as there was immediate need for every ship. Compromises had to be made in the interests of taking care, in the best way possible, of the more urgent requirements of the moment; but until some time after the war, the Navy did not regain its position of being charged with the full responsibility for handling the seaborne traffic of the Armed Forces.

The Navy did, however, move promptly in taking control and providing efficient management fo distribution at tidewater. In September 1939, when the war broke out in Europe, steps were taken immediately to establish Port Directors in the principal ports of the United States. The Port Directors were the field agents of the Naval Transportation Service. Among their duties on the outbreak of war was the procuring of merchant ships to fill emergency Navy needs, securing terminal facilities, making provision for the berthing and safety of ships, establishing procedures to avoid delays in turn-around, laision with waterfront organizations, and in general using the prestige and the authority of the Federal Government to facilitate the loading, discharge, and movement of shipping in the port so as to avoid congestion and delays. The two major ports were New York on the east coast and San Francisco on the west coast.25

The duty of allocating merchant ships to meet Navy needs was to be performed in collaboration with the Maritime Commission. Captain Davis, the Port director in San Francisco, took immediate steps after December 7, 1941, to assist the naval authorities in Hawaii with their shipping problems without referring any of the details to Washington. After about six weeks of more or less independent action on his part, the Maritime Commission began to realize that allocations were being made without regard to other possibly equally urgent needs. This started a chain of organizational and procedural changes that resulted in the establishment of the War Shipping Administration. The action of Captain Davis illustrates not only the manner in which the Navy's decentralized system responded promptly to the exigencies of war, but also the disadvantages inherent in isolated action without centralized control and responsibility. Aside from personalities, it was logical for Captain Davis to dominate the San


Francisco shipping situation because the Navy's interests were paramount in the Pacific, whereas in New York, Army and British interests were paramount.

No effective steps had been taken to deal with the competition in the event of war for available shipping tonnage. In February 1941, the Maritime Commission had been directed by the President to assume responsibility for the overall shipping effort, and had set up a Division of Emergency Shipping, which had begun to allocate available shipping to various claimants. However, by the end of the year, the major portion of American tonnage was still in private hands, and the operations of the Division were still on a limited scale. In order to meet the pressing need for some central policy in shipping matters, the President directed on December 8, 1941, the formation of a Strategic Shipping Board, composed of the Chairman of the Maritime Commission (Rear Admiral E.S. Land), General Marshall, Admiral Stark, and Mr. Harry Hopkins, "to establish policies for and plan the allocation of merchant shipping to meet military and civilian requirements, and coordinate these activities of the War and Navy Departments and the Maritime Commission."26 As a result of this order, the provisions of the War Plan under which the Navy was to provide shipping for the Army were temporarily suspended.

War Shipping Administration. On February 7, 1942, the President singed Executive Order 9054, creating the War Shipping Administration, bringing under a single authority the control and operation of all United States merchant shipping. The most pressing task of the new agency was to mobiize all the shipping capacity of the country and to bring it under single control so that the allocation of ships could more readily be based on considerations of the overall shipping needs of the United States and her allies. Three categories of ships were included in the mobilization: (1) All ships to which the Maritime Commission held title and ships to be built in the future by the Commission; (2) all existing commercial ships under the American flag and future construction; (3) alien ships in the waters of the United States subject to seizure under powers granted the President by Congress. There were some exceptions of ships that were not placed under the WSA, such as auxiliaries owned by the Navy, Army and Navy transports and vessels engaged in lake, inland waterways and coastal transportation.

In order to preserve civilian control over the WSA, the Administrator, who was also the Chairman of the Maritime Commission, was required merely to comply with "Strategic Requirements," without being subject to the orders of either the Navy Department or the War Department. The


Administrator was, however, instructed to report directly to the President. Thus, both the construction and operation of merchant shipping was brought under a single authority, with direct responsibility only to the President. With the creation of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff, and under the military transportation committees, whose responsibility it was to keep the Administrator advised as to "Strategic Requirements," the Administrator was not likely to overlook the needs of the Armed Services. While the WSA was placed in control of the operation of shipping, responsibility for the loading and unloading of the vessel, carrying cargoes for the military services, remained with those services. The Navy was relieved of a vast range of responsibilities, such as manning, fueling, repairs and other details that are involved in shipping operations. The Navy was relieved also of procuring or building many of the ships that were regularly assigned to it. Construction of non-combatant vessels by or for the Navy was confined after the first few months to fleet auxiliaries and other special types.

The WSA adopted the pooling system as its policy for ship employment, as it was felt that drawing ships from a single pool offered the best solution for meeting the ever-growing military as well as non-military demands for shipping. The maximum constant employment of all ships was the aim. By the procedures that were set up, a ship that carried a military lift on an outward voyage could be diverted to the importation of critical materials or essential civilian commodities on the return voyage. Under this system, allocations to claimants were made on the basis of single voyages. It was held by the WSA that the permanent assignment of large blocks of tonnage to a single claimant would result in less tonnage available for all Neither the Navy nor the Army liked this policy, as planning in terms of single voyages increased the difficulty of making schedules and calculating future shipping needs. However, acceptance by the Navy of the pool system was given in an exchange of letters between the Secretary of the Navy and the WSA on April 7 and May 7, 1942, and by the Army on June 13, 1942. For the Navy, the shipping problem was concentrated largely in the Pacific, especially as the war went on. For example, 6,443,152 long tons of Navy cargo moved out of U.S. continental seaports to all areas in 1944. Of this tonnage, 91 percent moved to the Pacific area.27

Sea Traffic Management. Because of the growing logistic needs of the fighting forces and the loses sustained from enemy submarines, there were never enough ships to go around. The problem of shipping, therefore, had many disturbing facets. In spite of large additions to tonnage from


new construction, there were times, for example, early in 1944, when the shortage in shipping became so acute that it threatened the success of campaigns already underway and might even have forced the postponement of impending operations. This had led to modification in the original procedures that had been adopted. For one thing, separate pools of shipping were set up for the Atlantic and the Pacific, and a reduction in the number of accounts to which ships were allocated was made. The latter step was taken to more readily fix responsibility for lost time in turn-around and for unauthorized use of vessels. Most of the troubles had their roots in the problems of unloading the ships in the forward areas and in the management of inter-area distribution. Personnel qualified for traffic management with sufficient authority to exercise control was usually lacking in the forward areas. Furthermore, the difficulty of unloading ships in the Pacific theater was particularly great as there were few real harbors and not many modern unloading facilities in the makeshift harbors. Cargoes had often to be lightered ashore and piled up on the beaches. This encouraged the practice of retaining ships for storage purposes.

In June 1944, about 18 0perent of the total tonnage controlled by the WSA was tied up in retentions amounting to some 4,200,000 tons. The distribution of total tonnage to the various services at that time was: Army, 51 percent, Lend-Lease, 22 percent, WSA operated, 21 percent, Navy, 13 percent.28 To meet the shortage situation, a conference was called in Washington in April 1944, at which it was hoped to scale down the theater requirements. However, not much was found possible in that direction, but some readjustment of tonnage allocations was made to tide over the crisis and an agreement was reached on a method whereby area commanders were require to report the number of ships needed for retention and were to be held accountable for retentions in excess of the number authorized.

One result of this regulation was that it discouraged requests for shipments until the ships could be discharged. However, the conference recognized the need of area commanders to retain on their own responsibility a certain amount of shipping for local employment. By a general tightening up of all of the steps involved in distribution from the continental seaboard to the forward areas, no planned operation was delayed or postponed due to failure of the logistics involved, but the management of war shipping never reached the degree of systemized control achieved by traffic management on land. Shipping, viewed for start to finish, is a very complex operation involving may unpredictables, especially when one terminus is an undeveloped atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

Navy Department Transportation. The Bureau system provided the


machinery for the administration of transportation and the management of Navy traffic. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts received the major appropriation and had the main responsibility for the "Transportation of Things--Navy," the term used in naval appropriation acts. Transportation of personnel came under the cognizance of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, formerly the Bureau of Navigation. The Coast Guard and the Marine Corps had before the war exercised practically complete control over the transportation of their own personnel and material, but during the war in all matters of policy and in dealings with the War Department and the super-agencies, such as the Office of Defense Transportation, they were represented by the Transportation Division of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.

The technical Bureaus had been given considerable leeway in deciding on certain aspects of the transportation of the things under their cognizance. During the war, the Bureau of Supplies and accounts placed representatives of its Transportation Division in the Bureaus to expedite action on their shipment requests and to keep the management of their traffic integrated with the whole. Mention has already been made that the Naval Transportation Service had not reached a state of development before the war, such as to make it an important factor in handling overseas shipments. This was to come later.

The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts had long had a Division of Fuel and Transportation with an officer of the Supply Corps at its head. He was not necessarily a man who had much experience with transportation but he had a civilian assistant who was a railroad traffic management expert with long experience in routing Navy shipments so as to get the maximum benefit from land grant rates. In peacetime, one of the chores of that office was also to so distribute Navy freight among the various railroads as to satisfy them that they were getting their fair share of the Navy's transportation business. The Bureau had for several years carried on a campaign of enrolling in the Naval Reserve men with experience in its various activities, one being traffic management, with a view to bringing them into the Bureau for active duty, in case of emergency. This bore fruit when the head of the Division, in the summer of 1941, decided to increase his traffic management staff by calling in experienced traffic personnel from outside of the Navy.29


The smoothness with which the Navy Department was able to meet the new and varied administrative problems connected with transportation and traffic management is a good example of the flexibility of the Bureau system in going from a peacetime to a wartime basis. By a gradual expansion of the Transportation Division from 5 people in July 1941 to 165 at its peak these problems and the much increased routine work of the Division were successfully handled. On 15 December 1942, the Secretary of the Navy authorized the Bureau to establish under the Transportation Division, District Property Transportation offices, within the continental limits of the United States. There were eventually ten such offices employing altogether 125 people. Traffic management experts were also placed in all of the technical Bureaus, to assist them in meeting their transportation needs.

The Transportation Division and its branch offices had the unique distinction of being manned entirely by Naval Reserve officers and civilians, most of whom were recruited from transportation enterprises in civilian life. This not only facilitated expansion during the war but simplified tremendously the problems of demobilization and return to normal size at the end of the war, as very few of those who entered this service were interested in making the Navy a lifetime career. However, the transportation function of Supplies and Accounts like all of the activities under the Bureau system was in need of coordination and more effective meshing with the administration of the Navy Department as a whole. This, as already described, found expression for the Navy Department as a whole in the establishment of certain coordinating and control mechanisms under the Secretary of the Navy, such as the Office of Procurement and Material, and in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in more realistic logistics planning.

The War Department met the corresponding Army transportation situation by creating a new Corps, the Transportation Corps established in March 1942. This followed the usual War Department practice of creating new corps when confronted with emergency situations of this kind. Both the Navy Department and the War Department accomplished their transportation and traffic-management tasks very creditably during the war, but the advantages from the point of view of ultimate economy and simplicity in going from a peacetime to w wartime basis and vice versa, are in favor of the Navy Department's Bureau system, which permits expansion and contraction without the creation of new staff corps and bureaus.

An officer corps, such as the Transportation Corps of the Army, once established, becomes permanent with little possibility of reduction after the war emergency has passed, except by the slow process of attrition. Slow attrition involves stagnation in promotion, with impairment of the morale and efficiency of the organization.


The Navy Department method did not, of course, completely satisfy the specialists from civilian life who manned the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts Transportation Division. They felt that in order to do a good job they should have been given more authority. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts took much of the same view with respect to the balance between authority and responsibility. Mr. Walter S. Franklin, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was requested by the Under Secretary of the Navy, in the summer of 1942, to make a study of the general transportation and traffic management methods of the Navy Department. He recommended that the organization and procedures of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts be retained, but expanded and strengthened by setting up field offices in the principal seaports, and placing them under the Bureau's Transportation Division.

In order to exercise control over the funds appropriated by Congress for transportation, the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts required the various Bureaus the offices of the Navy Department, and their field activities to request authority to make shipments and to obtain the routing for the shipments from the Transportation Division of that Bureau. This resulted in economy, as it insured taking advantage of land grant rates and in keeping expensive express and air shipments to a minimum. Generally speaking, no routing was indicated on the orders authorizing shipment. Just before the shipment was ready to move, a definite routing was requested of the Transportation Division, which was then entered on the bill of lading.

When an avalanche of requests for routings descended on the Transportation Division right after Pearl Harbor, it emphasized the need for reducing the paper work involved in the shipment request procedure. Nevertheless, centralized control over military rail transportation was more than ever necessary, as indicated by the correspondence with the Association of American Railroads already mentioned. When the great flow of traffic to Pearl Harbor via San Francisco began to develop, it led to the adoption of the blanket route order procedure. A blanket route order authorized an activity to make repeated shipments to a specific destination by an agreed upon route without individual authorization of each routing by the Transportation Division. While at first used only for Dan Francisco shipments, it was soon adopted also for routine movements between Naval Supply Depots, between such depots and the navy yards, etc. Blanket route orders bore no specific expiration date and remained in effect until cancelled or modified by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Modifications in the procedure were made from time to time to meet special situations. The blanket route order became a valuable tool for cutting down paper work and for expediting the initiation of shipments.

The prevention of freight congestion at the seaports presented a


different problem. It is the universal experience of the shipping industry that the accumulation of a bank of freight at a seaport is necessary to insure economical and efficient stevedoring and quick turn around of ships. This bank must not, however, be permitted to grow to such proportions as to result in congestion of rail traffic, not of the temporary storage facilities of the port. A bank is thought of in terms of cars waiting to be unloaded. The number of cars likely to arrive each day at any port can be estimated from experience and current statistics. The optimum bank to insure expeditious and economical cargo handling without running the risk of congestion is a somewhat flexible figure and varied with the different ports during the war. In the case of San Francisco, through which passed most of the Pacific theater traffic, the aim was to keep the bank at four days of loaded car arrivals. From the daily record of freight on hand waiting to be loaded and of cars in transit and due to arrive at the various ports (statistics that were not too difficult to obtain and to keep up to date) the Transportation Division was always able to say for the Navy whether congestion at a port was imminent. In collaboration with the other control agencies in Washington timely steps could then be taken to prevent congestion. Steps to prevent congestion had to be taken from time to time by diverting Navy export traffic away from San Francisco through Atlantic and Gulf ports.

Office of Defense Transportation. The tool devised to control the flow of domestic traffic into the seaports was the Office of Defense Transportation (ODT) permit. This instrument was placed in effect in April 1942 after much discussion between the Office of Defense Transportation, the War Department, the Navy Department and the Association of American Railroads. Without an ODT permit, no railroad was allowed to accept a car for movement to a seaport. The original concept contemplated the release of individual carloads of export freight by either the Transportation Division of the Navy or the Transportation Corps of the Army, so timed as to arrive at the seaport in question on a particular date for loading on a specific vessel. The Navy held that such refinement in traffic control was both impracticable and unnecessary This view was finally accepted by the other interested parties. A second departure from the original plan was a certain degree of decentralization in the permit granting procedure. The Office of Defense Transportation authorized the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts for the Navy and the Transportation Corps for the Army to issue blocks of permits to shipping officers from which they drew the permits for individual shipments. This reduced paper work but militated against complete centralized control. When freight destined for any particular seaport, notably San Francisco, approached the congestion point, the Transportation Division resumed the issuing of individual permits so as to


restore centralized control. Congestion of the railroads themselves was prevented by what came to be known as Kirk Orders, named after Mr. William Kirk, a Missouri Pacific operating official. In 1945, he was appointed to the Office of Defense Transportation with supreme authority to divert traffic from any road threatened with congestion to others that had a margin of unused capacity.

There was no universal practice as to the actual arrangements for providing and scheduling the ships needed to carry the materials from the seaports to their destination in the forward areas. In the case of San Francisco, this function was assumed by the Port Director, who worked closely with the Commander Service Forces and with the representative of the WSA in San Francisco. This was the general pattern for the larger ports. In the case of cargoes moving out of Norfolk and the Gulf ports, the arrangements were made by the Transportation Division of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. This is another example of the flexibility of the Bureau system. No special organization had to be set up to perform this function for the smaller ports.

In order to insure consideration of the shipping needs of all of the allied nations, the Transportation Control Committee was established in March 1942. On it were represented the Office of Defense Transportation, the War Shipping Administration, the Transportation Corps of the Army, the Transportation Division of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, and most important of all the British Ministry of War Transport. The last named was represented at the same level as the WSA and the ODT in order to insure that the vital interests in the uninterrupted flow of traffic to the British Isles and to other parts of the British Empire were not overlooked. In case of dispute, the Transportation Control Committee had the last word in the allocation of shipping and other transportation facilities, in devising procedures for the prevention of congestion at the seaports, and in taking steps to relieve congestion should it occur.30

There was much preoccupation with schemes for forecasting prospective freight movements with greater accuracy and for exercising greater daily control over shipments for export offered to the railroads and other inland carriers. The object was to reduce the distribution process to a calculable and more nearly scientific basis. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, while it recognized the worthiness of the aim, believed that the procedures proposed were not only impractical, but were actually unnecessary if the existing machinery were used intelligently and with emphasis on the factor of cooperation. In taking this position, the Transportation Division was


governed largely by its policy of keeping its operations as simple and elastic as possible and keeping paper work down to the minimum. This is what might have been expected from a group of men who had been trained in the hard school of railroading with its striving for economy and its abhorrence of paper work.

It was felt that control through the Navy's shipment order system on the one hand and the ODT permit system on the other provided the means for effective traffic management and for sufficient advance knowledge at all times of any impending port congestion. The control provided buy these two tools, it was argued, was so elastic that any desired degree of refinement could be evoked on short notice. To make effective use of the mechanism did, however, involve centralized authority to make procedural changes at will and quickly. The liaison between the transportation activities of the War Department and the Navy Department on the one hand and the Office of Defense Transportation, the Association of American Railways, the War Shipping Administration, and the Transportation Control Committee on the other, provided the necessary centralized authority in Washington. Such authority was, however, threatened at various times and in various ways, as for example, when the Western Sea Frontier toward the end of the war proposed to control all shipments with export destinations originating in the 11th, 12th, and 13th Naval Districts. Orders to this effect were prepared, but were not issued because it was realized, on further consideration, that the plan would have rendered overall transportation control impossible.

Planning Developments

Although Admiral King had to devote most of his time to the strategic conduct of the war, logistics were never far from his mind, particularly the planning of its consumer aspects. As the war went on, examples of unrealistic, superficial, and even the complete absence of important facets of logistic planning in specific instances came to light. Early in 1944, the Bureau of the Budget, at the request of the Navy Department, undertook a survey of the logistic functions of the Chief of Naval Operations. A Summary Report was made by the Budget Bureau on March 11, 1944, pointing out, among other things, that more detailed planning of logistic requirements, and continuous review of programs by the Chief of Naval Operations, were indicated.

The Assistant Chief of Material, in a letter to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, expressed the opinion that the changes recommended would encroach on the responsibilities of the Bureaus, in fact could not be carried out within the framework of the existing Navy Department


organization.31 In his opinion, the weakness of the current procedures lay in the lack of sufficiently advanced and comprehensive planning by the Logistic Plans Division, and that this in turn was chargeable to the fact that strategic planners in COMINCH did not keep the logistic planners in CNO well informed of contemplated operations and of changes in current operations to make realistic logistic planning possible. Admiral King did not agree with this view and directed that a special group be set up to study the whole subject. He was the chief architect of the Navy's security doctrine and would tolerate no departure from its principles, but believed that means could always be found to solve administrative and logistics problems without taking security risks. In this he was not always right. Security considerations and excessive classification were often a serious handicap to logistic planning and research undertakings.

Logistic Organization Planning Unit (LOPU). In accordance with admiral King's directions, LOPU was set up on April 1, 1944, after he himself had selected its members.32 His instructions called on the unit to study and find solutions for three major problems "to strengthen the logistic (surface and air) planning organization of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations by adoption of an orderly step-by-step system of breakdown of overall logistic plans into ultimate bureau programs with provision for constant review of progress and degree of balance throughout." ... "to complete as a matter of urgency an overall logistics plan (surface and air) for the all-out phases of the war in the pacific based on the premises that maximum requirements will thereby be approximated and that subsequent requirements, especially for intervening phases, can be obtained by periodic adjustment," and "to establish strong decentralized administrative machinery under central planning and scheduling control for efficient distribution, to include inventory and replenishment control of stocks."33

LOPU recommended that the study of the organization of CNO by turned over to a group of civilian management experts.

After discussion between Secretary Knox and Messrs. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. and Benjamin F. Fairless, the respective heads of the General Motors Company and the United States Steel Corporation, it was agreed to have a group of experts, working in close cooperation with LOPU, make a study and submit recommendations on high level problems of logistic administration, but not to require them to enter into the implementation of the


recommendations made.34 An interim report was submitted by them on July 24 and a final report on October 3, 1944. The report became known as the Archer-Wolf report from the names of the two men who headed the group. The report went exhaustively into general principles of organization and procedure, but was not of great value in solving the immediate problems of logistics administration of the Navy Department. It did, however, help to clarify the consumer and producer logistic relationships between the organizational elements of the Navy Department, and made other recommendations that were helpful, such as suggestions for improvements in the current systems of establishing use factors and trends, and in nomenclature of parts and numbering systems. It also recommended the creation of a Comptroller for the Navy Department. Its recommendations were characterized more by the recognition of problems that by proposing "specific solutions for use within the naval organization" as requested by the Secretary.

The Archer-Wolf Report also recommended the appointment of an Organization Control Board and of an Organization Planning and Procedure Unit to make studies of subjects as indicated by the titles. The Secretary of the Navy acted on these recommendations by establishing an Organizational Policy Group and unit it an Organization Planning and Procedure Unit headed by Admiral C.P. Snyder, the Naval Inspector General.

The studies and recommendations of the latter Unit resulted in the creation, in February 10945, of the Requirements Review Board, consisting of the Assistant Secretary of the Nay, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and the Chief of the Office of Procurement and Material. The Secretary of the Navy's directive called on the Board "to assure that balance is maintained within and between Navy material and personnel procurement programs and to keep procurement levels consistent with actual needs. The Board shall maintain such balance and consistency by direct action of the individual members in these matters for which each is administratively responsible. In cases of differences of opinion, or where questions of major policy are to be settled, or where important changes in programs are contemplated, the Board shall make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy who will make the final decision.35

Thus, after consideration by many committees tghe concept of keeping under continuous review the requirement decisions of the various organizational elements in the Navy Department and the procurement programs


based thereon was finally implemented by the creation of a high-level board. On this board were represented civilian control in the person of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the consumer logistic interests of the Navy in the person of the VCNO, and the producer logistic interests of the Bureaus in the person of the Chief of OP&M.

Overall Logistic Plan. In the opinion of Admiral King the most important duty of LOPU was the preparation of an overall Logistic Plan. Such an ambitious plan had never been settled before. The manner in which requirements were initiated and determined for the major logistic items, such as ships, their armament, equipment and powering, aircraft, advanced bases, shore stations, etc., had been described in previous pages. The role played in this process by the President, Congress, the Secretary and his executive assistants, the Bureaus, the CNO, and the General Board, has also been told. The overall Logistic Plan which Admiral King had in mind was to cover, in addition, the innumerable components of major items and to sere as a guide to the maintenance and replenishment procurement of stock. It was recognized that tremendous difficulties lay in the path of preparing a meaningful, useful, and workable overall Logistic Plan of this kind. It was appreciated that such a plan should not attempt to go into all details, except possibly for critical items, for fear of slowing down the work that the Bureaus would still have to do in carrying out their functions as the producers of the items. It was realized that the plan must also be sufficiently elastic to be quickly adjustable to fluctuating strategic situations.

An Overall Logistic Plan Committee was set up in the Logistic Plans Division of Operations on May 30, 1944 to undertake the task. After four months work, the first Overall Logistic Plan was completed on September 27, 1944. Its primary purpose was to serve in conjunction with past experience as a guide to maintenance and replenishment procurement, and for this purpose it was considered by various officers in the Navy department, with whom it was discussed, to have been admirably conceived and suitable, so far as it went. The plan suffered, however, from security restrictions. In the first place the Committee had considerable difficulty in obtaining the strategic information essential to its making. In the second place, even with its limited content of classified strategic information, the plan was assigned a "TOP SECRET' classification which limited its distribution to the Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs of Bureaus. As a consequence, little use could be made of the plan. Almost all Bureaus concurred in the opinion of the Bureau of Ordnance "that limited distribution within the Bureaus is a handicap to its most effective use." Officers in two other agencies reported that the Overall Logistic Plan was locked in the Admiral's safe and was seen by no one outside his immediate office. In


January 1945 a "Secret" version of the plan was made, but it still suffered from security classification limitations, so that its possible full usefulness was never ascertained.

The Navy Department actually did pretty well without an Overall Logistic Plan in meeting its logistic responsibilities during World War II. There is no record that logistic failures delayed or caused the abandonment of any naval operation during the war once the build-up had reached the point, late in the summer of 1942, for taking the offensive in the Solomons. Whether an Overall Logistic Plan such as contemplated by LOPU could have been made during the peace period seems doubtful. Money would have been needed to make it, and money for the Navy was ;;hard to come by before the war started in Europe. The mobilization of industry was furthermore necessary before a realistic and helpful Overall Logistic Plan could have been made. These observations are not made in disparagement of the importance of advance planning in all fields, is universally accepted and needs no special pleading.

In the opinion of some civilian experts, decentralization of the logistic responsibilities of the Navy Department had been carried too far; an opinion due perhaps to lack of understanding of the inherent cohesiveness of the logistic thinking of all elements in the career Navy. The awareness of professional naval officers of the importance of logistics in all of its phases made decentralization not only possible but desirable after coordination of the logistic effort by CNO became more effective.

The lack of an Overall Logistic Plan was, furthermore, not too serious because of the cordial and intelligent personal relations that existed between the hierarchy in CNO, consisting of Admiral Horne, RAm Farber, his principal assistant, and others, and the hierarchy in the Bureaus. Such relationships made for a team of extraordinary effectiveness in keeping logistics in step with the ever changing strategic situation. Management of this kind was perhaps superior to following an Overall Logistic Plan; it was certainly more elastic.

Progress Review and Inventory Control. The three major objectives laid down by Admiral King in his original directive to LOPU were closely related, so that studies for improving the methods of progress review and inventory control were carried on simultaneously with the preparation of the Overall Logistic Plan. The need for keeping progress on programs under review was stressed in every management survey made of the Navy Department during the war. The principal difficulty at first in making such checkups lay in the inadequacy of information supplied to the Secretary of the Navy and CNO by the Bureaus. This was gradually corrected, as has been relate din former pages. The purpose of reviews was


to take action in advance to prevent bottlenecks, shortages, or unbalanced progress in procurement and delivery of the innumerable items and end products needed by the Operating Forces. But the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations should not have attempted to burden itself with either the gathering of detailed information on progress, or the management of logistic programs, but a synthesis of information built up systematically from detailed data, emanating from subordinate levels, was necessary for taking corrective measures promptly when difficulties arose.

In July 1944, a subcommittee of LOPU was set up to study this subject and, in September 1944, produced a document entitled, "The Navy Logistics Support Program." The document was a graphic and statistical summary of the current status of approximately 1000 items under procurement, arranged for comparison with scheduled requirements appearing in the Overall Logistic Plan. It listed the various items under major headings, such as ships, aircraft, ordnance, supplies, personnel, and advance base components. Renamed the "Summary Control Report," the document came to play an important part in the coordination of procurement. In its initial form, it suffered from many defects, many of which were corrected in later revisions. The Summary Control Report became the basic working text of the Requirements Review Board, mentioned above.

Concurrently with the development of the Summary Control Report, steps were being taken for improving naval inventory procedures. It is difficult to say just where the impetus for reform of inventory procedures originated. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts had been a pioneer in developing inventory methods and in cataloguing standard stocks carried in storehouses. In June 1942, the Office of Procurement and Material laid down certain requirements for inventory reporting, but satisfactory compliance was not forthcoming because, for one thing, the accent was still on building up inventories.

As long as the immediate demand for materials was greater than the supply, materials were drained off rapidly into the hands of consumers, but as reserves of raw materials began to accumulate and were stockpiled, the volume of flow began to press more closely on the limit of transport and storage capacity. Soon dead stock and shortages in storage capacity began to obstruct the flow of priority materials. There were other signs and criticisms that excessive inventories were accumulating. In March 1944, OP&M took up the problem and urged coordinated inventory and stock control throughout the Navy.

Acting on the recommendation of OP&M, the Secretary of the Navy appointed a committee of businessmen to advise him in the matter.36 The


upshot was the assignment, under date of May 23, 1944, of Rear Admiral J.M. Irish, then in charge of the Planning and Statistics Section in OP&M, to additional duty as Assistant CNO for Inventory Control. The purpose of the Inventory Control Office was not to deal with the actual inventorying of stock itself, as that would have to continue to be a responsibility of the Bureaus, particularly of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, but to define policies and procedures for inventory reporting, supervision of inventory-taking, and working out measures for the utilization or disposition of excess materials.

Plant facilities and production equipment were at first excluded from the responsibilities of the office, which was to concentrate upon materials intended for new construction, maintenance items, and replenishment of stocks in general. In November 1944, however, the Secretary extended the coverage to include all naval materials, whether in naval custody or in the hands of private contractors. The work of the Naval Inventory Control Office was infinitely complex and highly technical in many respects. One of its difficulties lay in the magnitude of the job. Before World War II, the Navy stocked some 250,000 items. This figure rose to some 3,000,000 items by the end of the war, many of which were, however, the same things carried under different names.


World War II has been called "the war of logistics." That may have been one of its outstanding characteristics as compared to some other wars in which the United States has been engaged, such as the Spanish-American War and World War I. In these wars, logistics certainly did not play so crucial a part as in World War II, largely because they were of shorter duration. However, in any future war, logistics must be expected again to play a role of major importance. Anything that can be learned form World War II experience in this broad field should therefore be recorded carefully. The bibliography on the subject is already extensive, but much remains to be done to analyze and evaluate recorded war experience. A brief summary of certain aspects of Navy Department logistics administration carrying lessons for the future is being set down in the following paragraphs.

An outstanding lesson of World War II was that logistic mistakes often do not become evident until some time after they are made, and that they cannot be corrected quickly. SUch was the failure to include, in naval shipbuilding programs after World War I, auxiliary ships sufficient in kind and numbers to provide logistic support for the operating forces in any war in the Pacific. There were those in the upper echelons of Navy Department planning, who unsuccessfully strove to prevent this mistake by


advocating better balanced building programs. Admittedly, money was hard to get for any kind of new construction during the peace period, but such funds as were obtainable could have been distributed to better advantage to make up the great deficiency in auxiliaries. This lay within the powers of the Navy Department. Another example is the slow start that was made in providing ships less costly and fully as well suited to antisubmarine warfare as destroyers.

There were, however, other long range deficiencies for which the Navy Department was not responsible and about which it could do little until the outbreak of the war in Europe, such as the failure to provide advance bases in the Pacific. The situation with respect to this deficiency has been described in some detail in the foregoing pages.

With respect to forecasting the needs of the future, logistic preparation for war made in peace times is always confronted by the dilemma whether to stockpile equipment that will probably be obsolescent when war comes, or to keep equipment up to date with the probability of shortages if war comes suddenly. Finished logistical matériel sufficient to meet fully a sudden attack would either saddle the fighting forces with much obsolete equipment or would make it necessary to incur very large continuous expenditures for defense that could probably not be supported indefinitely by the national economy. There is a direct analogy between the accumulation of matériel and logistic plans. Just as a stockpile of obsolete equipment may give the nation a false sense of security, so also will a stockpile of obsolete and unrealistic plans create a similar sense of security in the Navy Department.

The avoidance of unrealistic logistic planning requires close integration with strategic planning; and vice versa, the planners must in fact sit together at the same table, in order to keep the logistically possible in step with the strategically desirable. World War II demonstrated that the strategists often asked too little of the logistic planners, both as to kind and quantity, rather than too much, and that, as will be recounted in a later chapter, the scientists were able in some instances to provide solutions for logistic problems that would not have occurred to the strategic planners because they were unacquainted with the possibility of solutions through scientific research. Experience of this kind underlined the importance of greater collaboration between all planning and production elements in the Navy Department. There is always a tendency in bureaucracies to work in watertight compartments, and the Navy Department is no exception to the rule. DUring World War II, this tendency became more pronounced than ever, because security considerations made the untrammeled interchange of ideas impossible. The experience of World War II provided no satisfactory solution to the security problem.

The thinking on some of the experiences of World War II has not


yet crystallized. Such, for example, as the relative merits of Advance Bases versus the Service Forces in providing logistic support for the Operating Forces in the forward areas. In this chapter, the history of both shore and floating logistic support for the combat forces was briefly told, but no attempt was made to analyze and evaluate the relative merits of these two types of support. Evaluation is of the highest importance, but lies outside the province of the historian. A handicap to evaluation is the difficulty of reaching agreement as to the criteria on which to base evaluation. It is a study that needs to be made, so that the conclusions reached may be applied to future planning.

The most important logistics lesson to be learned form World War II is that sound logistic planning and effective implementation and execution of the plans depends primarily on the competence of the human element engaged in such activities. The human element must come largely from those who make a full-time profession of the Navy, but the availability of component individuals for such duty cannot be left to chance. This facet of the overall logistic task is a responsibility of the command branch of the Navy, not only because the most important sectors of the task must be performed by Lone Officers, but also because the command branch is in control of the machinery by which officers are recruited and grained for the technical services of the Navy. There are always among the junior officers those who would develop into highly competent engineers and logistic specialists if given the opportunity and if encouraged by incentives to enter this prosaic field. There has, however, been a notable falling off in recent years in talented young officers willing to dedicate themselves to such work, largely because there are now fewer incentives than formerly for gifted officers to go into the technical branches of the naval service. The variety of specialties recognized by the Navy has however increased.

A higher value than formerly must also be placed on the study of logistics in the War Colleges of the Armed Services The Naval War College took a step in that direction when it established a Department of Logistics in 1947, although the casual study of logistics had been included in its curriculum for many years.37


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1. Memorandum of the Secretary of Defense to Secretary of the Navy, 12 Oct. 1949.

2. Thorpe, Cyrus, Pure Logistics, Franklin Hudson Publishing Company, Kansas City, Missouri.

3. Commodore Dudley W. Knox, USN, A History of the United States Navy, Chapter XXV, Putnam, New York.

4. Personal statement of Rear Admiral J.A. Furer, USN, who from 1927 to 1930 was Manager of the Industrial Department of the Naval Station Cavite which included Olongapo. The Navy Department permitted no additional power=driven machine tools to be installed, for the construction of any additional shops either at Cavite or Olongapo. Worn out machine tools could be replaced by new tools only if no larger and of no greater capacity than the old tools.

5. Bureau of Yards and Docks, Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, Vol. I. Government Printing Office.

6. The Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks was RADM Ben Morrell, CEC, USN. The research, development, planning and management of advance base projects came under Captain (later Rear Admiral) John N. Laycock, CEC, USN.

7. CNO to Bureaus, Serial -05113, of 1 June 1940; BuAer to Bureaus and Marine Corps, Aer-PL-2, 19 June 1940 (CNO).

8. Admiral King to Admiral Stark, Ser W-005, 25 December 1941.

9. OinC NSD, NorVa to Com5ND, Ser 03 of 27 Jan 1942; BuSandA to CNO and Bureaus, L21-3(7) of 6 Feb 1942 (CNO).

10. Commander, Southeast Pacific Force to COMINCH, Ser 0436 of 21 Mar 1942 (CNO).

11. CNO to Bureaus and Base Maintenance Division, Ser 05012, 15 January 1942 (CNO).

12. Ibid., Ser 08612, 12 February 1942 (CNO).

13. This base was established as the result of a recommendation by RADM J.S. McCain, which was supported by RADM R.E. Byrd, who made a special study of logistic needs in the South Pacific area

14. VCNO to Distribution List, Serial -0464130, 15 March 1945.

15. See also, Ballantine, Duncan S., U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World War, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1947, for the details on advance base planning and other aspects of naval logistics.

16. Rear Admiral Worrall R. Carter, USN, Beans, Bullets, & Black Oil, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1953. The story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific during World War II.

Rear Admiral Worrall R. Carter, USN, and Rear Admiral Elmer E. Duvall, USN, Ships, Salvage, and Sinews of War, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1954. The story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters during World War II.

17. Vice Admiral W.L. Calhoun, USN, was the Commander of the Service Forces in the Pacific throughout the war. Under him these forces reached an extraordinary degree of proficiency in the performance of their functions.

18. Commodore W.R. Carter, USN, was the very efficient commander of Service Squadron TEN.

19. Captain Ralph K. James, USN, "The U.S. Fleet Maintenance and Battle Damage Repairs in the Pacific during World War II." Transactions N.E. Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders, 1950-51. Ralph K. James, in rank of RADM, became Ch. of Bu. Ships in 1959.

20. Reports of Association of American Railroads--Bureau of Railway Economics and Car Service Division.

21. WPL-46, May 1941, 44 (DNC).

22. L.P. Clephane "History of the Navy Overseas Transportation Service during the World War", 1920 (NA).

23. Joint Board No. 320, Ser 715, 17 Sep 1941 (c); Auxiliary Vessels Boards Report No. 19, 14 Nov 1941 (CNO).

24. CDR C.S. Alden, :Brief History of the Naval Transportation Service," 2 Jan 1943 (CNO).

25. The Navy Department was particularly fortunate in the selection of the Port Directors for these two harbors: Captain F.G. Reinicke, USN, for New York, and Captain M. Davis, USN, for Dan Francisco. With their long naval experience, they were able to anticipate many of the steps that had to be taken eventually by the Navy Department to control shipping in these ports Captain Davis had a particularly keen appreciation of the importance of shipping to the war effort.

26. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Chairman, Maritime Commission, 8 December 1941.

27. Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, First Draft Narrative--Transportation.

28. LCDR T.H. Ross to RADM W.W. Smith (Div. N.T.S.), 30 June 1944.

29. CDR D.W. Mitchell, SC, USN (later Rear Admiral) was the Head of this Division at the time. In August 1941, he was instrumental in getting Mr. F.C. Toal of the Traffic Department of the Southern Railway ordered to duty in the Division as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve. When the FUel and Transportation Division was split up into two divisions in February 1943, Toal was made the Head of the new Transportation Division. He served with distinction as such throughout the war, being promoted through the grades to Captain and early in 1946 returned to the Southern Railway.

30. F.C. Toal, "Transportation of Things--Navy," Traffic World, Issues of January 19 and 26, and February 2, 1946.

31. RADM W.R. Purnell to ADM Horne, serial 06205, 16 March 1944 (CNO).

32. The Unit consisted of Captain Paul Pihl, USN, Senior Member, Captain H.L. Challenger, USN, Captain J.D. Mooney, USNR (in civil life, Vice President of General Motors in charge of export), and Commander R.W. Yeomans, USNR, as the other members.

33. Fleet Admiral King to VCNO, March 24, 1944.

34. The group was headed by Mr. T.P. Archer, V.P. of the General Motors Corporation, and Mr. George Wolf, President of the U.S. Steel Export Company. Their report became known as "The Archer-Wolf Report."

35. Directive, Secretary of the Navy, Requirements Review Board, February 9, 1945.

36. Messrs. J.F. Creamer, A.C. Romer and C.W. Cederberg, from the leading mail order houses in the United States, constituted the Committee.

37. Captain Henry E. Eccles, USN, later Rear Admiral, became the first Head of the new Department of Logistics at the Naval War College in 1947.

His treatise on "Operational Naval Logistics" published by the Bureau of Naval Personnel in August 1949, revised in April 1950, is in the words of the President of the Naval War College, "a philosophical approach to the study of logistics as a command responsibility." See also, Logistics in the National Defense by RAdm. Henry E. Eccles, USN (Ret.), the Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa., 1959.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation