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D 114.7:Q2/V.4/2004 

The Quartermaster Corps: Operat 


The Technical Services 




Alvin P. Stauffer 


JUL 3 2004 





Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 56-60001 

First Printed 1956-CMH Pub 10-14 

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 

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Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor* 
Advisory Committee 

(As of 15 March 1955) 

James P. Baxter 
President, Williams College 

Samuel Flagg Bemis 
Yale University 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Elmer Ellis 
University of Missouri 

William T. Hutchinson 
University of Chicago 

Brig. Gen. Samuel G. Conley 
Continental Army Command 

Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Dunn 
Army War College 

Brig. Gen. Charles E. Beauchamp 
Command and General Staff College 

Brig. Gen. Urban Niblo 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 

Col. Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 

Charles H. Taylor 
Harvard University 

Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith, Chief 

Chief Historian 

Chief, War Histories Division 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division 

Chief, Editorial Branch 

Chief, Cartographic Branch 

Chief, Photographic Branch 

Kent Roberts Greenfield 
Col. Ridgway P. Smith, Jr. 
Col. William H. Francis 
Joseph R. Friedman 
Maj. James F. Holly 
Maj. Arthur T. Lawry 

♦General Editor of the Technical Service volumes, Lt. Col. Leo J. Meyer, Deputy 
Chief Historian. 

. . . to Those Who Served 


This is the fourth and concluding volume of a series which records the experi- 
ences of the Army's Quartermaster organization in World War II. The first two 
volumes of this group describe the problems and achievements of the Quarter- 
master Corps in the zone of interior and the third, still in preparation, will relate 
operations in the war against Germany. This volume tells the story of Quarter- 
master supply and service in the war against Japan in the Pacific. The principal 
Quartermaster function during World War II was to supply items commonly 
required by all Army troops — food, clothing, petroleum products, and other 
supplies of a general character — regardless of their duties. In the Pacific, as else- 
where, Quartermaster supply responsibilities included the determination of re- 
quirements, the procurement of the items needed both from the United States 
and from local producers, and the storage and distribution of items after they 
had been received. Quartermaster troops also furnished numerous services, in- 
cluding the collection and repair of worn-out and discarded articles, the provision 
of bath and laundry facilities, and the identification and burial of the dead. The 
author has concentrated in this volume on the many problems which were inevi- 
table in a distant and strange environment, and his narrative naturally reflects the 
viewpoint of the troops and the commanders in the field. 

Washington, D. C. Maj. Gen., U. S. A. 

15 February 1955 Chief of Military History 

The Author 

Alvin P. Stauffer holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Harvard Uni- 
versity. For seven years he taught history at Simmons College, Boston, and then 
joined the staff of the U.S. National Park Service in Washington, where he 
produced many studies of historic sites administered by that agency. In 1943 he 
became a member of the Historical Branch, Office of The Quartermaster General. 
Dr. Stauffer prepared several treatises dealing with the Quartermaster Corps in 
the United States in World War II. One of these, Quartermaster Depot Storage 
and Distribution Operations, has been published in the monographic series entitled 
QMC Historical Studies. Since 1952 Dr. Stauffer has been Chief of the Historical 
Branch, OQMG. 


The object of this volume is to increase the body of organized information 
easily available about Quartermaster support of the forces fighting the Japanese 
in the Pacific. Anyone who writes on military supply ventures into almost virgin 
territory, especially in dealing with Quartermaster supply activities. Only a few 
professional officers — and those mainly Quartermaster officers — are familiar with 
the subject, and they have gained this knowledge chiefly through their own 
experience and the oral traditions of the offices in which they have worked. When 
Quartermaster activities in theaters of operations is the subject of a volume, as 
in this case, readers lacking even elementary information are likely to be more 
numerous than when the subject is Quartermaster activities in the United States. 
For that reason the needs of these readers have been constantly borne in mind. 
The writer hopes particularly that the volume may furnish Quartermaster officers 
with facts that will prove useful in planning future field operations and in training 
Quartermaster troops. 

No attempt has been made except in a very general way to tell the story of 
strategic decisions and tactical actions. In a work comprising part of the historical 
series on the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, that story 
would have been redundant. A consistent effort has been made to analyze 
Quartermaster activities in the three major territorial commands in the Pacific, 
whether these activities were conducted at higher headquarters, in base sections, 
or by Quartermaster troop units in support of combat operations. As the area 
in which the U.S. Army played its most important role in the war against Japan, 
the Southwest Pacific Area has been treated at greater length than have the two 
other major territorial commands — the South Pacific Area and the Central Pacific 
Area — but these areas are by no means neglected and many of their activities are 
dealt with in detail. In order to clarify the perplexing production and trans- 
portation problems presented to quartermasters as they procured, stored, and 
distributed supplies and equipment, this volume gives considerable attention to 
economic matters. At times the account of the activities of the Corps may appear 
lacking in homogeneity, but this impression is unavoidable in view of the wide 
diversity of Quartermaster tasks. 

It should not be concluded from a reading of those sections which contain 
detailed descriptions of some of the troubles encountered in distribution activities 
that these difficulties were typical. They are discussed at length only because they 
demanded so large a share of the time and energy of supply officers and presented 
knotty problems not susceptible of easy solution. If the reader is occasionally 

tempted to think that distribution activities were usually marred by inadequate 
performance, he will be in error. Quite the contrary, Quartermaster supply was 
in general satisfactory, but since the tasks connected with fully satisfactory accom- 
plishment normally had few lessons to teach, the writer had no reason to consider 
such routine operations in as much detail as he did complicated operations that 
could not be completed either readily or quickly. Only through thorough knowl- 
edge of the bothersome supply problems that are likely to arise during the course 
of combat activities can future perplexities be anticipated and plans be made 
in time to cope with probable difficulties. 

The writer performed virtually all the research for this volume, using chiefly 
the records of overseas commands, pertinent sections of which were obtained on 
loan from the Records Administration Center, AGO, St. Louis, where they were 
stored before their removal to the Kansas City Records Center. Mr. William H. 
Peifer rendered invaluable help in searching operational plans, after action re- 
ports, and unit histories kept in the Department of Defense. The volume also 
profited tremendously from his comprehensive knowledge of Quartermaster troop 
units. Many people responded willingly to frequent requests for files in their 
custody. The author wishes especially to thank Mrs. Julia R. Ross and her as- 
sistants in the Mail and Records Branch of the Office of The Quartermaster 
General, Mr. Wilbur J. Nigh and his co-workers in the Departmental Records 
Branch, AGO, and Mr. Israel Wice and his highly competent staff in the General 
Reference Office, Office of the Chief of Military History. 

To Dr. Thomas M. Pitkin, Chief of the Historical Branch of the Office of The 
Quartermaster General until the spring of 1952, the author owes a special debt 
for constant and sympathetic encouragement. He is deeply obligated, too, to Dr. 
Louis Morton, Chief of the Pacific Section in the Office of the Chief of Military 
History, who made many suggestions for the improvement of the manuscript in 
its final revision. Without Dr. Morton's trenchant criticism, vast knowledge of 
Pacific problems, and keen sense of literary refinement, this volume would have 
been far less substantial than it is. The writer is also greatly indebted for sound 
advice and constructive criticism to Lt. Col. Leo J. Meyer, Deputy Chief Historian 
in the Office of the Chief of Military History during the writing of this manuscript, 
and to his successor, Dr. Stetson Conn. Some thirty officers, most of whom had 
participated in the activities of the Quartermaster Corps in the Pacific, read all 
or part of the manuscript. Of these officers, Col. James C. Longino, Assistant 
Quartermaster of the Sixth Army in the war against Japan, and Brig. Gen. Herbert 
A. Hall, formerly chief of the Management Division in the Office of The Quarter- 
master General and now commanding general of the Utah General Depot, made 
particularly valuable recommendations. 

Mrs. Charlesette Logan, Mr. Irvin R. Ramsey, Miss Helene M. Bell, and Mrs. 
Hadasel W. Hill of the Historical Branch, Office of The Quartermaster General, 
in addition to typing many drafts of the manuscript performed the arduous task 
of interpreting the countless deletions and interpolations made by the author. 

Special acknowledgments must be made to Mr. Joseph R. Friedman and 
his aides in the Editorial Branch, Office of the Chief of Military History, particu- 

larly Mr. David Jaffe, the editor, and Mr. Allen R. Clark and Dr. Vincent C. Jones, 
the copy editors, who painstakingly prepared the manuscript for the printers; to 
Maj. James F. Holly, who provided maps to guide the reader through the Pacific; 
to Maj. Arthur T. Lawry and Mr. Henry U. Milne, who searched in remote 
corners for the pictures with which to illustrate this volume; and to Mrs. Faye F. 
McDonald and Mrs. Anne Mewha, who typed the final copy. 

Washington, D. G. ALVIN P. STAUFFER 

14 February 1955 



Chapter P a g e 


Quartermaster Preparations for War in the Philippines 2 

Quartermaster Operations in Luzon, 8 December 1941-7 January 1942 . . 8 

Status of Quartermaster Supplies on Bataan 13 

Running the Blockade . 18 

Bataan: Last Phase 26 

Quartermaster Operations on Corregidor 32 


Hawaii, Mid-Pacific Supply Base 36 

Reaction to Japanese Victories, December 1941-May 1942 46 

Quartermaster Problems in Australia and New Zealand 47 


Quartermaster Mission 55 

Supply Organization in the Southwest Pacific 58 

Organization of Qiiartermaster Operations in the South Pacific 73 

The Central Pacific Qi/artermaster Organization 79 


Southwest Pacific 84 

South Pacific 91 

Central Pacific 95 


Rationing by the Australian Army 99 

Procurement of Subsistence in Australia 102 

Procurement of Clothing and General Supplies in Australia 121 

Procurement in New Zealand 125 

Local Procurement Outside Australia and New Zealand 1 27 

Army Farms 1 29 


Area Stock Levels and Requisitions 134 

Port-Depot System 140 

Automatic Supply 145 

Shipment of Organizational Equipment and Supplies 147 

Block Ships 150 

Chapter Page 


Quartermaster Storage 160 

Distribution Problems 169 

Packaging and Packing 177 


Class I Losses 191 

Supply of Subsistence in Advance Areas 193 

Class II and IV Supplies 200 

Class III Supply 212 


Bakery Operations 227 

Laundry Service 232 

Bath, Sterilization, and Fumigation Operations 237 

Salvage and Reclamation 241 

Graves Registration Service 248 


Development of Special Supply Requirements 261 

Logistical Planning for Operations Against Tap, Leyte, and Okinawa . . 262 

Quartermaster Units in Combat Operations 266 

Special Problems of Logistical Support 271 

Other Problems of Logistical Support 284 


Jungle Supplies and Equipment 291 

Operational Rations for Ground Combat Forces 302 

Other Special Rations 313 




INDEX 343 


No. Page 

1 . The Pacific Areas 47 

2. New Guinea Inside back cover 




Troop Formation on Bataan 16 

Quartermaster Corps Baker i g 

Surrender to the Japanese 33 

Storage Facilities in Australia 52 

Salvage and Reclamation Activities 68 

Quartermaster Truck Company Motor Pool 74 

Section of the Quartermaster Salvage Depot 79 

Clothing and Equipage Building 39 

Cannery Operations in Australia 109 

Storage of Meat 114 

Vegetable Market Center 119 

Quartermaster Farms 131 

Thatched Roof Warehouses 161 

Open Storage of Quartermaster Items 163 

Prefabricated Refrigerated Warehouses 167 

Damaged Subsistence 179 

Corrugated Fiber Cartons 181 

Open Storage of Canvas Items 205 

Bulk Petroleum Products Storage 216 

Field Bakeries in Operation 230 

Laundry Facilities in the Southwest Pacific 233 

Fumigation and Bath Company 238 

Salvage Operations 242 

Palletized Supplies 265 

Trucks Operating From the Beaches 269 

Small Boats Operating Close to Shore 272 

Quartermaster Pack Train 282 

Class III Supply Dump 285 

Camouflaged Jungle Suit 295 

All illustrations in this volume are from U.S. Department of Defense files. 




The Philippines— The Opening 


When Japan boldly opened war on the 
United States in December 1941, the Quar- 
termaster Corps (QMC) in the Philippines, 
like other U.S. Army components, was ill 
equipped to shoulder the heavy burdens 
suddenly thrust upon it. From the time the 
United States took possession of the archi- 
pelago after the Spanish-American War, 
two basic factors had constantly operated 
to preclude the maintenance of strong mili- 
tary forces in the islands and the develop- 
ment of a defensive system capable of pro- 
tracted resistance against vigorous attack. 
One factor was the persistent weakness of 
the Army; the other was use of the meager 
military resources of the Army mainly in 
Hawaii and Panama, protection of which 
was essential to the security of the conti- 
nental United States. Acquisition of the 
Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall Islands by 
Japan, as part of its reward for entering 
World War I on the Allied side, added a 
third factor, since these central Pacific is- 
lands stretched directly across American 
lines of communication with the Philippines 
and thereby discouraged any strengthening 
of the forces in that archipelago. The 
naval limitation treaty negotiated at the 
Washington disarmament conference in 
1922 constituted still another factor detri- 
mental to defensive preparations by forbid- 

ding further fortification of the Philippines 
and by calling for a reduction of naval arm- 
aments that would give Japan control of 
western Pacific waters. 1 

In December 1934 Japanese denuncia- 
tion of this treaty opened the way, after the 
lapse of the two years stipulated in the treaty, 
for renewed fortification of the Philippines, 
but the opportunity was not grasped. One 
reason may have been the passage in March 
1934 of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which 
provided for the recognition of Philippine 
independence after a ten-year interval. 
Army war planners as well as members of 
Congress felt that, since the archipelago 
would soon become independent, the 
United States should be relieved of heavy 
expenditures for its protection. More than 
ever the Army was now convinced of the 
futility of using its small resources in a costly 
attempt to defend the precarious American 
position in the Far East. Available mili- 
tary power, it was believed, was insufficient 
for protracted resistance against a foe that 
would operate not far from his home bases 
in Japan and that would probably possess 
naval superiority in the western Pacific. 
Until mid- 1941, Army plans for defense of 

1 A. Whitney Griswold, The Far Eastern Pol- 
icy of the United States (New York: Harcourt 
Brace, 1938), pp. 315-21. 


the Philippines thus called for only the pro- 
tection of the small area about Manila Bay 
and Subic Bay. 

By then, as a result of growing interna- 
tional tensions, the United States was con- 
fronted with the danger of an early Japanese 
attack in the Far East. But since American 
Army strength in that area was rapidly in- 
creasing, it was possible for the first time 
to envision a strong defense of the Philip- 
pines. The War Department accordingly 
began to alter its strategic concepts along the 
lines favored by General Douglas Mac- 
Arthur, U.S. Military Advisor to the Phil- 
ippine Commonwealth. Strategic planners 
now thought in terms of defending all Luzon 
and the Visayan Islands rather than merely 
Manila and Subic Bays. The new trend was 
manifested in the establishment late in 
July of a new command, the U.S. Army 
Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). It 
embraced all American military activities 
in the Far East and absorbed both the Phil- 
ippine Department, U.S. Army, and the 
Commonwealth Army, which was to be 
mobilized in force and integrated into the 
service of the United States. 

Implementation of this ambitious defen- 
sive program required huge quantities of 
American equipment and supplies, partic- 
ularly for the Philippine forces, which were 
designed to be the major source of military 
manpower. They were to furnish about 
150,000 men by 1 April 1942, when the 
combined strength of American ground and 
air forces and Philippine Scouts would at 
best be only about 50,000. But in the sum- 
mer of 1941 the Commonwealth Army was 
mostly a paper organization that needed at 
least the better part of a year to train the 
green Filipino soldiers. Time, too, was the 
element most needed to transport supplies 

and equipment from the United States to 
the remote archipelago. Yet little time re- 
mained. In four months Japan would 
strike. 2 

Quartermaster Preparations for War 
in the Philippines 

Working under heavy pressure, the Office 
of the Chief Quartermaster (OCQM) at 
Headquarters, USAFFE, in Manila, de- 
voted the late summer and the autumn of 
1941 mainly to the support of the greatly 
expanded military preparations. Its major 
task was requisitioning Quartermaster items 
for the Philippine Army, which was to start 
its mobilization on 1 September 1941 and 
receive its supplies from the U.S. Army 
after 1 December. For planning purposes 
the strength of this force was set at 75,000 
troops by 1 December 1941, at 90,000 by 1 
January 1942, and at 150,000 by 1 April 
1942. 3 

The Philippine Army itself had scarcely 
any supplies or equipment. For this lamen- 
table situation the Commonwealth Govern- 
ment as well as the United States was re- 
sponsible. That government had in fact 

2 ( 1 ) Louis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines, 
(Washington, 1953 ), pp. 8-30, 61-71. (2) Maurice 
Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for 
Coalition Warfare, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1953), pp. 2-3. 
(3) Mark Skinner Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar 
Plans and Preparations, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1950), pp. 

3 Brig Gen Charles C. Drake, Rpt of Opns of 
QMC USAFFE and USFIP, 27 Jul 41-6 May 42 
(Annex XIII to Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright, 
Rpt of Opns of USAFFE and USFIP in P. I., 1941- 
1942), pp. 1-4. DRB AGO. These reports will be 
cited hereafter as the Drake Rpt and the Wain- 
wright Rpt. (See Bibliographical Note.) 



made elaborate plans for the future defense 
of the islands as an independent state, but 
its implementation of these plans had pro- 
ceeded slowly and in early 1941 the regular 
military establishment included only a few 
thousand troops. There were somewhat 
more than 100,000 reservists, but as a whole 
they had received only inadequate training. 
Creation of a truly modern army would 
have put an almost unbearable strain on 
the limited financial resources of so poor a 
land as the Philippines. Throughout the 
1 930's the Commonwealth Government 
had consistently maintained that as long as 
the United States retained political control 
and with it power to determine whether the 
Filipinos were at peace or war, that country 
had the primary obligation for defense. Ac- 
tually, after the Tydings-McDuffie bill be- 
came law, the United States had not only 
done virtually nothing to strengthen the is- 
lands' defenses but had established the prin- 
ciple that American funds for equipping 
and supplying Filipino forces could be spent 
only in the archipelago and only under the 
supervision of the Commonwealth. Worst 
of all, it had appropriated no money for 
these forces even under these narrow con- 
ditions. In August 1940 and on several sub- 
sequent occasions President Manuel Quezon 
had appealed to the American government 
to make available the credits that for some 
years had been accumulating in the U.S. 
Treasury both from duties levied on Philip- 
pine sugar imported into the United States 
and through devaluation of the American 
dollar. He suggested that these funds, 
amounting to more than $50,000,000, be 
freed for defense preparations and spent 
under the direction of the United States. In 
September 1941 the War Department 
recommended that Congress authorize the 
expenditure of this money for these pur- 

poses, but that body did not take favorable 
action on this proposal until after Pearl 
Harbor. 4 

All this meant that in the summer of 1941 
USAFFE had no funds for expenditure in 
the United States in behalf of the Common- 
wealth forces. When it became necessary to 
obtain supplies from the United States for 
the hastily assembling Filipino soldiers, the 
Chief Quartermaster was thus unable to 
requisition supplies direct from the depot 
at San Francisco, as was the normal prac- 
tice. Instead he submitted his requisitions to 
the OQMG. Since this office also had no 
money for the Philippine Army, it sent them 
on to the Chief of Staff. Though he author- 
ized the needed purchases with special U.S. 
Army allocations from the President's 
Emergency Fund, the unusual procedure 
held up approval of the requisitions until 
after the Filipino forces had begun mobili- 
zation on 1 September. 5 Even within the 
islands the OCQM was hampered in its 
procurement of supplies for these forces by 
the requirement that the Commonwealth 
Government approve all contracts for "open 
market'' purchase or manufacture. Never- 
theless a considerable number of such con- 
tracts were made for articles of outer 
clothing. 6 

In addition to sending requisitions for 
Filipino requirements to the United States 
the OCQM submitted others covering the 

* ( 1 ) Joseph Ralston Hayden, The Philippines: 
A Study in National Development (New York: 
Macmillan, 1942), pp. 731-32. (2) Gen. George 
C. Marshall, "Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff 
of the United States Army, July 1, 1941, to June 
30, 1943, to the Secretary of War" in Walter Millis, 
ed., The War Reports of General of the Army 
George C. Marshall, et al. (Philadelphia and New 
York: J. P. Lippincott, 1947), pp. 67-68. 

8 Drake Rpt, App. E, Rpt, Col Richard G. Rogers, 
Traffic Control Opns, pp. 1-2. 

,; Drake Rpt, App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin Alexander, 
Sup Problems of USFIP, pp. 1-2. 


supply deficiencies, created in July by the 
increase from 31,000 to 50,000 men, in the 
basis of defense reserve stocks for U.S. Army 
troops and Philippine Scouts. It also sent 
in orders for the supplies required by the 
rise in the authorized strength of the Regu- 
lar Army and the Philippine Scouts from 
18,000 to 22,000 troops. Among the food 
items requisitioned were dehydrated vege- 
tables and boneless beef, both of which, re- 
cent tests in the archipelago showed, had 
special value in combat. 7 

Though low shipping priorities had been 
assigned to such Quartermaster supplies as 
food, clothing, and items of general utility, 
most of the articles requisitioned for the 
Regular Army and the Scouts arrived before 
the Japanese invasion. The situation was 
quite different with respect to defense re- 
serve and Philippine Army supplies. Early 
in October the War Department notified 
Brig. Gen. Charles C. Drake, the Chief 
Quartermaster, that the first shipment on 
his requisitions for these supplies would ar- 
rive in Manila late in the month and that 
shipments would continue until the follow- 
ing spring. General Drake obtained suffi- 
cient wharfage in the Manila Port Terminal 
Area to discharge the vessels, but the ship- 
ment did not arrive at the scheduled time. 
Nor did it come late in November when a 
convoy was again expected. At the begin- 
ning of hostilities, it was at sea, bound for 
the Philippines, and was then diverted to 
Australia to lessen the danger of capture by 
the Japanese. 8 No Quartermaster supplies 
requisitioned for the Commonwealth Army 
and the defense reserves ever reached the 
Philippines. When war came, the defense re- 

7 (1) Drake Rpt, p. 3. (2) Morton, Fall of 
Philippines, pp. 62-63. 

8 Typescript Monograph, James R. Masterson, 
U.S. Army Transportation in the Southwest Pacific 
Area, 1941-1947, p. 2. OCMH, 1949. 

serves were less than half filled, and the 
Filipino forces took the field with only the 
few Quartermaster items that the QMC 
could buy locally or borrow from U.S. Army 
stocks. 9 

In the spring of 1941, even before the 
start of accelerated defensive preparations, 
OCQM had investigated the availability in 
the Philippines of items that would be par- 
ticularly useful for support of combat troops 
in wartime. It found that no steel drums 
for distributing gasoline in the field could be 
obtained. Nor were there any individual 
rations for soldiers who might be cut off 
from their normal sources of supply. On 
learning this General Drake immediately 
requisitioned 500,000 C rations and enough 
55-gallon drums to handle 1,000,000 gal- 
lons of gasoline. Both drums and combat 
rations had high shipping priorities and ar- 
rived at Manila late in June. Gasoline had 
not been requisitioned. Nor was it included 
in the defense reserves since there were am- 
ple commercial stocks in the Philippines and 
the local oil companies had agreed to meet 
all emergency requirements. The War De- 
partment nevertheless filled the drums with 
gasoline before they were shipped. Its ac- 
tion proved very fortunate, for when the 
defenders of Luzon withdrew to Bataan in 
late December, they had little more gaso- 
line than was in the filled drums. 10 

When the drums reached Manila from 
the United States, the OCQM put them 
with the rations in defense reserve storage 
at Fort William McKinley on the eastern 
outskirts of Manila; at Fort Stotsenburg, 
sixty-five miles northwest of Manila; and 
at Camp Limay in Bataan on the shores 
of Manila Bay. The latter installation served 
as the principal depository for defense re- 

Drake Rpt, p. 3. 
Ibid., p. 4. 


serves. It stored approximately 300,000 gal- 
lons of gasoline in 55-gallon drums, 100,000 
C rations, and 1,145 tons of canned salmon. 
Fort McKinley and Fort Stotsenburg each 
had about 200,000 C rations and 300,000 
gallons of gasoline. In addition, Fort Mc- 
Kinley had sizable stocks of canned meat 
and fish. 11 The defense reserves, as a whole, 
lacked rice, the principal food of the Fil- 
ipinos; canned fruits and vegetables; and 
perishable provisions, for which, indeed, suf- 
ficient cold-storage warehouses could not be 
provided from either military or commercial 

Peacetime procedures for meeting current 
supply requirements did not permit the ac- 
cumulation of stocks in quantities large 
enough to fill gaps in the defense reserves. 
The main supply installation, the Philip- 
pine Quartermaster Depot in Manila, requi- 
sitioned items for current use only in the 
quantities necessary to maintain a sixty-day 
level of supply for U.S. troops and Philip- 
pine Scouts. Since rice, sugar, coffee, and 
perishable foods were abundant in the com- 
mercial markets, the depot did not buy the 
items as they were needed but delegated 
their procurement to posts and stations. 
These installations, able to secure these foods 
whenever they were wanted, filled their im- 
mediate requirements by frequent purchases 
from nearby merchants but built up, nor- 
mally, only a few days' reserve. This meant 
that when war came there were only small 
stocks of these essential supplies. 12 

The Manila Base Quartermaster Depot, 
hurriedly established in September 1941, 
was designed to perform for the Philippine 
Army the same functions that the Philip- 
pine Quartermaster Depot performed for 

11 Ibid., App. A, Rpt, Col Otto Harwood, Stor- 
age of Gasoline on Bataan, p. 1 ; App. E, Rpt, Col 
Richard G. Rogers, Traffic Control Opns, p. 7. 

12 Drake Rpt., p. 4. 

the Regular Army, but the early outbreak 
of war gave it too little time to obtain ade- 
quate stocks for either current or reserve 
use. 13 Accordingly the Philippine Quarter- 
master Depot was given responsibility for 
supplying the Commonwealth Army, with 
the result that its limited stocks were soon 
almost depleted. 

In the few months before the attack on 
Pearl Harbor, drastic -changes in the de- 
tailed plans for Philippine defense pro- 
foundly influenced Quartermaster prepara- 
tions. War Plan Orange 3 (WPO-3), 
which had been developed by the Philip- 
pine Department in 1940 and 1941 on the 
basis of Joint Plan Orange of 1938, still 
reflected the prewar skepticism regarding 
an effort to defend any part of the archi- 
pelago except Manila and Subic Bays. If 
a hostile landing could not be prevented 
or the enemy beaten back once he had 
landed, the defenders were to conduct a 
series of delaying actions while they with- 
drew to the Bataan Peninsula, the key to 
the defense of Manila Bay. Under WPO-3 
the Commonwealth Army was to be used 
chiefly to help the American forces in cen- 
tral Luzon. 

General MacArthur, who had become 
commanding general of USAFFE on its es- 
tablishment, considered WPO-3 with its 
restricted objectives, a defeatist plan. 14 As 
Military Advisor to the Commonwealth 
Government and Field Marshal of the 
Philippine Army, he had devoted himself 
since 1936 to the preparation of a complete 
program for protecting the whole archi- 
pelago. When the War Department Rain- 
bow Plan received formal approval in 

13 Memo, G-4 for DCofS USAFFE, 19 Sep 41. 
Phil Records AG 430.2 ( 1 1 Sep 41 ) . 

14 Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright, General Wain- 
wright's Story, Robert Considine, ed. (New York: 
Doubleday, 1946), pp. 8-10. 


August 1941, it, like the Orange Plan, as- 
signed the U.S. forces only the limited mis- 
sion of holding the land areas around Ma- 
nila and Subic Bays. MacArthur quickly 
pointed out that it gave no recognition to 
the wider view of defense implicit in the 
current mobilization of the Commonwealth 
Army and in the recent creation of an 
American high command for the Far East. 
He strongly urged that the plan be revised 
to provide for the protection of all the is- 
lands. As the War Department had already 
set the stage for a broader strategy, it con- 
curred in MacArthur's views, and early in 
November formally altered the Rainbow 
Plan in line with his tactical ideas. 15 

In contrast to WPO-3, which was now 
regarded as obsolete, the new Rainbow 
Plan visualized no hasty withdrawal from 
beach positions. On the contrary, they were 
to be held at all costs. MacArthur believed 
that the contemplated increase in air power 
and in the total strength of all defending 
forces to about 200,000 men could be 
achieved by 1 April 1942, which was, he 
thought, the earliest probable date of a Jap- 
anese attack. There would then be available 
forces sufficiently strong, he concluded, to 
execute the new strategy. 16 

The changed concept of defense radically 
altered the plans for storage of Quarter- 
master supplies. Under WPO-3 movement 
of these supplies into Bataan would have 
started on the outbreak of war and con- 
tinued until the depots in the peninsula had 
enough supplies to maintain 43,000 men 
for 180 days. In addition, that plan had 

,r " (1 ) Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and 
Preparations, pp. 413, 428-45. (2) Henry L. Stim- 
son and McGcorge Bundy, On Active Service in 
Peace and War (New York: Harper and Brothers 
1948), pp. 388-89. 

,n ( 1 ) Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, The Brereton 
Diaries (New York: William Morrow and Co., 
1946), p. 24. (2) Wainwright, Story, p. 13. 

provided for the storage of supplies on Cor- 
regidor for 7,000 men in the Harbor De- 
fenses of Manila and Subic Bays. During the 
summer MacArthur's staff communicated to 
the OCQM his objections to the limited aims 
of WPO-3. Drake learned that the general, 
having determined to defend all Luzon, had 
decided not to place large quantities of sup- 
plies on Bataan but "to fight it out on the 
beaches." This decision largely established 
the nature of the Quartermaster storage 
program. Since far-flung and, if possible, 
offensive operations were to be conducted, 
supplies would have to be dispersed rather 
widely to support the scattered forces con- 
templating the defeat of the enemy on his as 
yet unknown landing beaches. This fact 
determined the choice of sites for three ad- 
vance QMC depots that were to supply the 
Philippine Army in Luzon after 1 Decem- 
ber. 17 The largest depot, intended to supply- 
northern Luzon, was located at Tarlac, 
about seventy miles northwest of Manila 
and forty-five miles south of Lingayen Gulf. 
Another, charged with a similar function for 
southern Luzon, was at Los Banos, approxi- 
mately thirty-five miles southeast of the 
capital, and a third was at Guagua, Pam- 
panga Province, about thirty-five miles 
north of Manila and not far from Bataan 
Peninsula. A QMC advance depot for the 
Philippine Army was also established at 
Cebu City in the island bearing that name to 
supply forces in the southern and central 

To the QMC the most important part of 
the decision to "fight it out on the beaches" 
was abandonment of the WPO-3 plan for 
storing Quartermaster supplies on Bataan. 

"Drake Rpt, pp. 5, 21; App. A, Rpt, Col 
Irvin Alexander, Sup Problems of USFIP, p. 1 ; 
App. E, Rpt, Col Richard G. Rogers, Traffic Con- 
trol Opns, p. 4. 



As a result, when M Day arrived for the 
Philippines on 8 December, the Corps in- 
stead of beginning the movement of sup- 
plies to the peninsula as the discarded plan 
had directed, accelerated shipments to the 
advance depots and to the railheads and 
motorheads of the fighting forces. 18 Stocks 
originally designed largely for the defense of 
Bataan were now scattered over much of 
central and southern Luzon. For some days 
the only Quartermaster supplies on Bataan 
were those sent to Camp Limay several 
months before. 

From the very beginning of hostilities the 
activities of the Corps in Regular Army and 
Philippine Scout organizations were handi- 
capped by the small number of experienced 
Quartermaster officers and enlisted men. In 
July 1 94 1 , Quartermaster units serving these 
military groups consisted of the 12th Quar- 
termaster Regiment, with headquarters at 
Fort McKinley; the 65th and 66th Pack 
Troops at Fort Stotsenburg; the 34th Light 
Maintenance Company at the Army Port 
Area in Manila; and the 74th Field Bakery 
Company at Fort McKinley. In addition, 
each military station had separate American 
and Philippine Scout Quartermaster de- 
tachments. These detachments had about 
700 enlisted men all together but they had 
no assigned Quartermaster officers not serv- 
ing also in other administrative posts. At this 
lime Quartermaster troops of the Regular 
Army and the Philippine Scouts totaled ap- 
proximately 35 officers and 1,000 enlisted 
men. By 8 December the number of officers 
had been increased to 90 by calling local 
reservists and by detailing line officers. En- 
listed strength then amounted to about 1,200 
men, an increase of approximately 200. 

The manpower situation in the Common- 
wealth Army was much worse. No corps, 

army, or communications zone Quarter- 
master units were scheduled to be inducted 
as such into this force until the spring 
of 1942, and so none had been mobi- 
lized when hostilities started. A school was 
set up at Manila in November, primarily 
for the instruction of Philippine Army di- 
vision quartermasters in the handling of 
supplies, but this enterprise bore little fruit, 
for all division quartermasters were then at- 
tending a command and staff school at 
Baguio, and only subordinate officers were 
sent to Manila. 

Though the Far East Air Force of about 
8,000 men received from the United States 
during the summer and fall two truck com- 
panies and two light maintenance com- 
panies, these units did not come under the 
control of the USAFFE Quartermaster. 
General Drake, then, had less than 1,300 
experienced officers and men to carry out 
Quartermaster functions for almost 100,000 
men in the Regular Army, the Philippine 
Scouts, and the Philippine Army. 19 

Since a trained Quartermaster force 
amounting to at least 4 percent of the total 
troop strength was usually recognized as es- 
sential to efficient supply operations in the 
field, the force actually available, consti- 
tuting only slightly more than 1 percent, fell 
far below the desired quota. Quartermaster 
responsibilities, moreover, still included ex- 
tensive motor, rail, and water transportation 
functions that, within a few months, were to 
be transferred to the Ordnance Department 
and the newly organized Transportation 
Corps. Believing that if a large number of 
experienced officers and men were not 
secured before hostilities started, "we would 
be lost in the inevitable rush and confusion," 
Drake on several occasions during the sum- 
mer and fall had informed The Quarter- 

Drake Rpt, p. 21. 

,n Ibid., pp. 5-6, 8-9, 60-61. 



master General of his needs, but that officer 
had no jurisdiction over this problem and 
could do nothing to help him. Drake had 
also asked Philippine Department headquar- 
ters to make qualified civilians residing in 
the archipelago commissioned officers, but 
that headquarters likewise lacked authority 
to grant his request. When the Japanese in- 
vaded Luzon, Drake was consequently 
obliged to rely on civilian volunteers and im- 
provised units composed wholly of civilians. 
Among these units were labor battalions, 
repair detachments, graves registration, sal- 
vage, and truck companies, complete boat 
crews, and stevedore gangs. 20 

Quartermaster Operations in Luzon, 
8 December 1941-1 January 1942 

War came four months sooner than Gen- 
eral MacArthur had anticipated. The Phil- 
ippine Army was still scarcely more than 
half mobilized; only a fraction of the planes, 
supplies, and equipment necessary for the 
successful defense of the archipelago had 
arrived; and American tactical command- 
ers had been unable in the few weeks avail- 
able after the revision of Rainbow Plan to 
finish the preparation of new plans of their 
own. MacArthur nevertheless hoped that 
the increases already made in his military 
strength, inadequate though they were, 
might suffice to carry out his war plans. 

During the early fighting Quartermaster 
activities were centered chiefly on the task 
of assuring field forces enough supplies with- 
out drawing on the small defense reserves. 
Particular emphasis was placed on rations 
and petroleum products, for these were the 
items most sorely needed by the defending 
forces as they attempted vainly to check the 
advance of the enemy from his landing 

20 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 

beaches. No figures on shipments from the 
Manila Depot are available, but thirty-five 
trainloads of Quartermaster supplies are 
estimated to have been delivered to the 
depots at Tarlac, Los Banos, and Guagua. 21 
Shipments of rations to Tarlac, for example, 
comprised a five-day level of supply, and by 
15 December an eight-day stock of food had 
been accumulated. Generally speaking, the 
advance installations looked to the Manila 
Depot for practically all their supplies ex- 
cept perishable food, rice, sugar, and coffee, 
which were still locally procured as they 
were needed. Even in the field, divisions 
filled their requirements for fruits, vegeta- 
bles, meat, and fish partly by purchases from 
nearby markets. 

Because of the growing air and naval 
superiority of the Japanese, replenishment 
of stocks from the United States, the 
major prewar source of supply, proved in- 
possible; even procurement from neighbor- 
ing islands was hazardous. Thus outside 
sources furnished only a diminishing trickle 
of Quartermaster supplies. Only maximum 
exploitation of local sources could provide 
a significant replenishment of dwindling 

There were approximately 10,000,000 
gallons of gasoline in commercial storage on 
Luzon, mostly in Manila. Shortly after hos- 
tilities began, General Drake reached an 
agreement with the oil companies which 
allowed the Army to control the distribution 
of all commercial gasoline. Distributing 
centers, belonging to and operated by the 
oil companies, were available for military 
service at six strategic points in Luzon. 
These centers were each capable of han- 
dling from 75,000 to 100,000 gallons daily. 

21 Capt. Harold A. Arnold, "The Lesson of 
Bataan," The Quartermaster Review (hereafter 
cited as QMR), XXVI (November-December 
1946), 12-15, 60, 63. 


Rail tank cars from Manila supplied the 
centers, which in turn supplied some thirty 
issue points set up along the main traffic 
arteries out of Manila. Tank trucks, drums, 
and cans were all used in these operations. 22 

In Manila, the largest commercial stor- 
age center in the Philippines, the Quarter- 
master Depot exploited local supply sources 
to the maximum. It stressed particularly the 
procurement of subsistence, for from the be- 
ginning it realized that food might become 
critically scarce. Some polished rice was ob- 
tained from Chinese merchants, and large 
quantities of food and other scarce supplies 
from ships in Manila harbor. Arrangements 
were made with Armour and Company, 
Swift and Company, and Libby, McNeill, 
and Libby to take over their stocks of 
canned meats and other foods. 

When it became obvious shortly after the 
Japanese landings that Luzon might soon 
come completely under enemy control, the 
increasing objection of the Commonwealth 
Government to measures that might reduce 
the food available to the Philippine public 
under Japanese occupation handicapped 
further accumulation of food reserves. This 
objection was reflected in the frequent re- 
fusal of Headquarters, USAFFE, to approve 
the commandeering of food, even the seizure 
of stocks owned by Japanese nationals. 

An incident at the Tarlac Depot illus- 
trates this difficulty. The commanding of- 
ficer, Col. Charles S. Lawrence, planned 
the confiscation of 2,000 cases of canned 
fish and corned beef and sizable quantities 
of clothing, all of which were held in the 
warehouses of Japanese firms. But USAFFE 
disapproved the plan and informed Colonel 
Lawrence that he would be court-martialed 

if he took the goods. 23 Another incident of 
far-reaching importance involved the pro- 
curement of rice. Since there were only 
small military stocks of this vital commod- 
ity, both the Quartermaster Depot and the 
advance depots bought as much as they 
could from local sources. To their dismay 
they discovered that rice could not be re- 
moved from the province in which it had 
been purchased because of the opposition 
of the Commonwealth Government. Ten 
million pounds at the huge Cabanatuan 
Rice Central, enough to have fed the troops 
on Bataan for almost a year, and smaller 
amounts elsewhere in consequence never 
passed into military hands. A similar prohi- 
bition applied to sugar, large quantities of 
which were likewise held in storage. 24 

In mid-December military food stocks fell 
substantially short of the 180-day supply 
for 43,000 men on Bataan that was con- 
templated as a reserve in WPO-3. Yet the 
number of troops to be fed had increased 
to almost 80,000, and after the withdrawal 
to Bataan the number of persons to be sup- 
plied was further increased by about 25,000 
civilians who had fled to the peninsula be- 
fore the onrushing enemy. The QMC fully 
realized that transportation of food stocks, 
though relatively small, would entail se- 
rious difficulty in the event of a hurried re- 
treat into Bataan. Before Pearl Harbor a 
logistical study made by General Drake had 
shown that even under good transportation 
conditions at least 14 days would be re- 
quired to get into Bataan a 180-day supply 
for 43,000 men. Drake was alert to the 
danger of delay and after M Day unsuc- 
cessfully requested permission to start stock- 
ing of the peninsula. Despite this rebuff, Col. 

22 Drake Rpt, pp. 17-18; App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin 
Alexander, Sup Problems of USFIP, p. 3. 

23 Drake Rpt, App. A, Col Charles S. Lawrence, 
Tarlac QM Depot, pp. 4-5. 

24 Drake Rpt, pp. 19-20; App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin 
Alexander, Sup Problems of USFIP, p. 2 



Alva E. McConnell, Commanding Officer 
of the Philippine Quartermaster Depot, be- 
gan the movement of small quantities of 
food, gasoline, and oil to Bataan some days 
before the order for a general withdrawal 
was issued on 23 December. 25 

An equally important preparatory meas- 
ure was the dispatch of a Quartermaster 
officer, Col. Otto Harwood, to the penin- 
sula with the mission of dispersing and 
otherwise protecting from bombing the food 
and gasoline stored there the previous sum- 
mer as part of the defense reserve. After his 
arrival at Camp Limay on 14 December, 
Colonel Harwood and his Filipino laborers 
worked unflaggingly — chiefly at night in or- 
der not to be seen by the enemy. The Amer- 
ican commander selected storage points well 
hidden from hostile air observers yet con- 
venient for the supply of troops, locating 
them mostly under the cover of large trees 
along the Mariveles Road, which ran across 
the southern end of Bataan. Fifty-five- 
gallon drums, filled with gasoline, were 
camouflaged and placed in roadside ditches. 
Colonel Harwood's work materially facili- 
tated supply operations when the with- 
drawal to Bataan began, but a general 
movement of rations and gasoline to the 
peninsula would have been much more help- 
ful. Unfortunately, such a movement was 
not ordered until nine days after Harwood 
arrived. 26 

During this period the first and only ef- 
fort was made to forward Quartermaster 
items from Luzon to the new but still un- 
stocked depot at Cebu City. It ended in 
disaster on 16 December, when the motor 
ship Corregidor, carrying about 1,000 pas- 
sengers and a substantial cargo, including 

■ Drake Rpt, pp. 21-22; App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin 
Alexander, Sup Problems of USFIP, p. 2. 

"" Drake Rpt, App. A, Rpt, Col Otto Harwood, 
Storage of Gasoline on Bataan, pp. 1-3. 

over 1 ,000 tons of Quartermaster goods for 
Cebu City, struck a mine off Corregidor Is- 
land and sank within three minutes. All 
Quartermaster supplies were lost together 
with more than 700 persons. This shipping 
catastrophe, the worst suffered by Ameri- 
can forces during their defense of the Phil- 
ippines, left the Cebu Depot wholly depend- 
ent upon the Quartermaster supplies that 
it could procure in the industrially undevel- 
oped southern provinces. 27 

On 23 December WPO-3 was put into 
effect. This action meant that withdrawal 
to Bataan had been decided upon. Brig. Gen. 
Richard J. Marshall, Deputy Chief of Staff, 
immediately authorized the movement of 
Quartermaster supplies to the peninsula but 
at the same time told Drake that the basis 
of the 180-day Corregidor supply reserve 
had been lifted from 7,000 to 10,000 men 
and that shipments to Bataan were not to 
start until all shortages in the Corregidor re- 
serve had been filled. 28 Drake's first task, 
then, was the hurried transfer of additional 
stocks from Manila to the great harbor 
fortress. Within twenty-four hours this as- 
signment was completed, but a precious day 
had been lost in beginning shipments to the 

These shipments presented what was 
under the circumstances the almost impos- 
sible task of moving within one week 
enough food and other Quartermaster sup- 
plies from widely scattered depots, motor- 
heads, and railheads to keep nearly 80,000 
troops in prime fighting condition for six 
months. Even with unhindered movement, 
this would have been a hard task. It was 

27 Drake Rpt, p. 20; App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin 
Alexander, Sup Problems of USFIP, pp. 1-2. 

28 Brig Gen Charles C. Drake (Ret.), '"No 
Uncle Sam,' The Story of a Hopeless Effort to 
Supply the Starving Army of Bataan and Corregi- 
dor" (typescript), pp. 2-3. Hist Br OQMG. 



rendered much more difficult by inability 
to move a large quantity of supplies by 
land. In central Luzon there was almost 
everywhere confusion created by defeat — 
abandoned railways, highjacked trucks, de- 
stroyed bridges, and roads congested by 
hundreds of vehicles and thousands of flee- 
ing civilians and disorganized troops. 
Bataan itself was a mountainous region 
served only by primitive roads. For the 
movement of Quartermaster items there 
was only one fairly usable way into the pen- 
insula, and that was by water through Ma- 
nila Bay. Even that route was to be open 
for but a single week, and the Corps could 
not hope to accomplish in seven days what 
under much better conditions would prob- 
ably have taken double that time for the 
supply of half as many men. 

Loss of use of the Manila Railroad, run- 
ning north to Tarlac, was a particularly 
heavy blow, for that line constituted the 
chief artery for evacuating stocks from ad- 
vance depots and combat areas. As early as 
1 5 December train and engine crews started 
to desert their jobs because of increased 
strafing and bombing, and by Christmas not 
a single locomotive was in operation. 29 
WPO-3 had provided for a Department 
Motor Transport Service, and in the sum- 
mer of 1941 such a service was organized 
with Col. Michael A. Quinn, a Quarter- 
master officer, as Department transport of- 
ficer and commander of the service. In ad- 
dition to the operation and maintenance of 
motor vehicles not assigned to combat units 
WPO-3 had charged the Department Motor 
Transport Service with the local procure- 
ment and the assignment of commercial ve- 
hicles to field organizations in time of 
emergency. But when Colonel Quinn sub- 
mitted a plan for implementing this pro- 

'" Drake Rpt, p. 28. 

gram, Headquarters, Philippine Depart- 
ment, disapproved it and informed him that 
arrangements had been made with the Com- 
monwealth Government for the local pro- 
curement of vehicles by the Philippine 
Constabulary and for their distribution by 
that agency to units of the Philippine Army. 
This system proved an almost complete 
failure, for on the outbreak of war most of 
the Constabulary were withdrawn from the 
districts in which they operated, much like 
American state police, and were incorpo- 
rated into the Philippine 2d Division, a com- 
bat infantry unit, assembling at Camp 
Murphy near Manila. !u 

When hostilities started, Colonel Quinn 
tried to alleviate the shortage of trucks by 
procuring commercial vehicles. He re- 
quested all automobile dealers in Manila to 
freeze their stocks. The dealers willingly co- 
operated, and Colonel Quinn leased about 
1,000 cars, mostly trucks. Few trucks in the 
Philippines came with bodies; few even had 
cabs or windshields. But enough of these 
parts were improvised every day to equip 
thirty or forty vehicles. Yet in spite of 
Quinn's tireless efforts there were never 
enough trucks to meet military needs. The 
Philippine Army in particular suffered from 
the lack of these vehicles. When that army 
started mobilization in September, each of 
its divisions was assigned twenty trucks from 
Regular Army stocks. These trucks were 
still the only ones held by the Philippine 
Army when the fighting began. Both Ameri- 
can and Filipino field commanders, uncer- 
tain how or from whom they could secure 
motor transportation and fearful that they 
would not be able to move their men and 
materiel, permitted their units to seize Motor 

"'Ibid., App. C, Rpt, Col Michael A. Quinn, 
MTS Opns, pp. 1-3. 



Transport Service vehicles carrying supplies 
from Manila to motorheads in the combat 
zone. Unable to halt this practice. Head- 
quarters, USAFFE, finally sanctioned it by 
authorizing division commanders to requi- 
sition vehicles to meet their immediate 
needs. Removal of Quartermaster stocks to 
Bataan therefore depended mainly upon the 
willingness of combat officers to load their 
trucks with food, gasoline, and clothing. 31 
Unfortunately, while units took all they 
could, they did not always take what the 
QMC wanted. The commander of a Philip- 
pine Scout regiment, when asked to remove 
from Fort Stotsenburg whatever subsistence 
his unit could use, reportedly answered that 
he was "not even interested." 32 

Stocks in Manila and at Fort McKinley, 
which lay along the Pasig River, seven miles 
above Manila Bay, could be moved fairly 
easily by water, but elsewhere the loss of rail 
transportation and the shortage of trucks 
made shipments difficult. At Tarlac and Los 
Banos, division trucks moving through these 
points picked up some rations, but most of 
the food stocks had to be destroyed. At Fort 
Stotsenburg, only thirty miles north of Ba- 
taan, evacuation efforts achieved better re- 
sults, thirty to forty truckloads, consisting 
mostiy of subsistence, being removed. Some 
gasoline was also saved, but most of it had 
to be burned. Perceiving the impossibility of 
sending all food stores to Bataan, General 
Drake on 27 December advised field force 
commanders by radio to build up their 
stocks, especially of sugar and rice, by 
foraging. This expedient, he later estimated, 
added several days' supply to the ration 

31 Drake Rpt, pp. 20, 66-67; App. C, Rpt, Col 
Michael A. Quinn, MTS Opns, pp. 1, 3, 4, and 
Exhibit B. 

32 Drake Rpt, App. A, Col Irvin Alexander, QM 
Activities at Ft Stotsenburg, p. 2. 

hoards of those organizations that followed 
his advice. 33 

The Manila Port Terminal Area, with its 
ships and warehouses, was the main source 
of last-minute replenishment of Quarter- 
master stocks. Upon the declaration of war 
General MacArthur had directed Chief 
Quartermaster Drake to remove all militar- 
ily useful items from warehouses and freight- 
ers in the harbor. 34 The supplies thus ob- 
tained were ready for shipment several days 
before the withdrawal to Bataan com- 
menced. Though about fifty truckloads were 
evacuated from Manila by land, water 
transportation was the chief means of get- 
ting the supplies out of the capital. The 
Army Transport Service, headed by Col. 
Frederick A. Ward, collected all the tugs, 
barges, and launches it could find and on 
Christmas Day, as soon as Corregidor had 
been completely stocked, started supplies 
moving to the peninsula. 

Shipments, made mostly by barges, con- 
sumed considerable time, for this type of 
carrier could be towed at a speed of only 
three miles an hour and the round-trip dis- 
tance from Manila to Bataan was sixty 
miles. Few barges could make more than 
one trip in the seven or eight days available 
before capture of the capital. In spite of this 
drawback, these vessels had to be employed 
because, with only three small piers and 
little handling equipment available on Ba- 
taan, they could be unloaded more speedily 
than other craft. Even so, docking facilities 
were so limited that only five barges could 
discharge their cargoes at one time. 35 

33 (1) Drake, "No Uncle Sam," pp. 4-6. (2) 
Drake Rpt, pp. 22-23, 40-44; App. A, Rpt, Col 
Charles S. Lawrence, Tarlac QM Depot, p. 6 ; App. 
A, Rpt, Col Irvin Alexander, Sup Problems of 
USFIP, p. 3. 

34 Drake Rpt, App. B, Rpt, Col Frederick A. 
Ward, ATS Opns. 

35 Drake Rpt, p. 28. 



At Manila occasional bombings and air 
raid warnings hampered stowing operations. 
Many stevedores fled at the first sign of 
hostile airplanes over the port area, and 
some never returned. Radio appeals for vol- 
unteers were made, and about 200 Ameri- 
cans and Europeans responded. Most of 
them were unused to manual labor, but they 
worked by the side of faithful Filipinos 
through the last three nights of December 
until all possible shipments had been made. 
Colonel Ward estimated that 300 barges 
sent approximately 30,000 tons of supplies 
of all technical services to Corregidor and 
Bataan. From these shipments came the 
greater part of the Quartermaster stocks in 
the hands of the fighting forces. But time 
was too limited to permit the evacuation of 
more than a small fraction of the 10,000,000 
gallons of gasoline in commercial storage, 
and as the Japanese approached Manila, 
these stocks and the gasoline stores at Fort 
McKinley were set on fire. Substantial quan- 
tities of food that might have been shipped 
had more time been available were like- 
wise left behind. 30 

On Bataan, Colonel Harwood was re- 
sponsible for the storage of Quartermaster 
cargoes arriving from the capital between 
24 December and 1 January. Among these 
cargoes were approximately 750,000 pounds 
of canned milk, 20,000 pounds of vege- 
tables, 40,000 gallons of gasoline in 5-gallon 
cans, and 60,000 gallons of lubricating oils 
and greases as well as miscellaneous food- 
stuffs. Harwood also unloaded the Si- 
Kiang, an Indochina-bound ship captured 
at sea with its cargo of approximately 
5,000,000 pounds of flour, 420,000 gallons 
of gasoline, and 25,000 gallons of kerosene. 

* Ibid., App. B, Rpt, Col Frederick A. Ward, 
ATS Opns; App. C, Rpt, Col Michael A. Quinn, 
MTS Opns; App. E, Rpt, Col Richard G. Rogers, 
Traffic Control Opns. 

The petroleum products were removed, but 
unluckily for the food supply of Bataan, the 
Si-Kiang was bombed and sunk before the 
flour had been discharged. 37 

The Japanese occupation of Manila on 
2 January ended the shipment of supplies 
from the capital. Quartermaster items that 
reached the peninsula after that date were 
chiefly those stealthily brought ashore at 
night from some 100 loaded barges that lay 
in Manila Bay between Corregidor and Ba- 
taan. These barges contained sizable quan- 
tities of gasoline in 55-gallon drums. There 
were also a few oil-company river tankers 
filled with that fuel. 38 

Status of Quartermaster Supplies on Bataan 

The scarcity of food on Bataan was truly 
alarming. An inventory taken immediately 
after the defending forces had arrived there 
disclosed a dismayingly low supply of a very 
unbalanced ration. 39 There were at normal 
rates of consumption only a 50-day supply of 
canned meat and fish, a 40-day supply of 
canned milk, and a 30-day supply of flour 
and canned vegetables. Of rice, there was a 
mere 20-day supply. Stocks of such essential 
items as sugar, salt, and lard were extremely 
low; coffee, potatoes, onions, cereals, bever- 
ages, and fresh and canned fruits were al- 
most totally lacking. For emergency use the 
defense reserve of 500,000 C rations was 
available. On such slender stores as these 
the combined U.S. -Philippine forces hoped 
to make a six-month stand. 

Circumstances clearly demanded severe 
rationing. On 6 January half rations were 

" Drake Rpt, App. A, Rpt, Col Otto Harwood, 
Storage of Gasoline on Bataan, pp. 1-3. 

38 Drake Rpt, App. A, Rpt, Maj Thomas D. Pat- 
terson, Gasoline, Fuel Oil, etc. 

39 (1) Drake Rpt, pp. 31-32. (2) Wainwright 
Rpt, Annex VI ( Rpt of Opns of Luzon Force ) , App. 
2, pp. 1-2. 



prescribed for both troops and civilians. 40 
At best they provided less than 2,000 calories 
as compared with the nearly 4,000 calories 
needed by combat troops. A few fortunate 
units could supplement this scanty diet with 
the food taken along during the withdrawal 
and never turned in at ration dumps, but 
such supplies were limited and lasted only 
a short time. 41 As increasing difficulty was 
experienced in maintaining even a 2,000- 
calorie ration, quartermasters utilized to the 
maximum the few sources of supply in 
mountainous, jungle-bound Bataan. 

One of these sources was the peninsula's 
rice crop, grown in a narrow belt along Ma- 
nila Bay. It was the harvest season, and the 
grain stood in the open fields, stacked but 
still mostly unthreshed. Many fields were 
under artillery fire, and unopposed Japanese 
planes bombed and strafed laborers as they 
attempted to thresh the grain. Since there 
were no trees or other shelter, the constant 
danger made the Filipino farm hands re- 
luctant to work in the fields, and insufficient 
labor constantly plagued efforts to have the 
grain husked. The QMC accordingly 
brought the rice to two mills that had been 
removed from their original sites between 
the attacking and defending forces and re- 
assembled near the main ration dump. 42 
These mills began operations in mid-Janu- 
ary and continued to operate until the sup- 
ply of palay (unhusked rice) became ex- 
hausted a month later. One Quartermaster 
officer estimated that, if modern farm ma- 
chinery had been available, the amount of 
palay recovered could have been increased 

'" Ltr, USAFFE to CGs East Sector, etc., 6 Jan 42, 
sub: Conservation of Food. Phil Records AG 430 
(8 Dec 41). 

41 Memo, G-4 for Asst G-4 USAFFE, 5 Feb 42. 
Phil Records AG 430.2 (11 Sep 41 ) . 

42 ( 1 ) Drake Rpt, pp. 34-35. (2) Memo, Asst G-4 
for G-4 USAFFE, 11 Jan 42, sub: Visits of Insp, 
9-1 1 Jan 42. Phil Records AG 319.1 (8 Jan 42). 

several times. 43 Nevertheless the mills in four 
weeks of operations turned out every day 
about 30,000 pounds, only 20,000 pounds 
less than the amount consumed. 

Fresh meat was obtained principally by 
the slaughter of abandoned carabao, which, 
before the invasion of the peninsula, had 
been used as draft animals by Bataan 
farmers. 44 Cavalry horses, Army pack mules, 
and pigs and cattle from Cavite Province 
were also butchered. In conjunction with 
the Veterinary Corps the QMC established 
a large abattoir near Lamao on the lower 
east coast. Small slaughterhouses, consisting 
of little more than platforms, were built over 
rapidly flowing mountain streams whose 
fresh water permitted thorough cleansing of 
carcasses. More than 2,800 carabao and 
about 600 other animals were slaughtered. 
Carcasses were sent daily direct to Quarter- 
master dumps, where combat troops col- 
lected them. When forage and grazing 
areas ran out in February, the cara- 
bao remaining on Bataan were slaughtered 
and the beef so obtained was shipped to 
Corregidor for preservation in the cold- 
storage plant. From then on until the beef 
supply was exhausted, nightly shipments 
were made to Bataan for issue to troops. 
All together, approximately 2,000,000 
pounds of fresh meat were made available 
to soldiers and about 750,000 pounds of 
edible offal to civilian refugees. Field units 
also secured an undetermined amount of 
fresh meat from some 1,200 carabao they 
themselves captured and butchered. They 
even consumed dogs, monkeys, iguanas — 
large lizards, whose meat tasted something 
like chicken — and snakes, of which there 

43 ( 1 ) Arnold, "The Lesson of Bataan," QMR, 
XXVI (November-December 46), 14. (2) Rpt, 
Dept QM Field, 5 Feb 42, sub: Sup, Class I. Phil 
Records AG 319.1 (29 Jan 42). 

"Rpt cited n. 43(2). 



was a plentiful supply, especially of large 
pythons, whose eggs are considered a deli- 
cacy by some Filipinos. 45 

Before the war lucrative fishing had been 
carried on in Manila Bay, which teemed 
with aquatic life, and the QMC naturally 
tried to tap this rich source of food. It es- 
tablished a fishery at Lamao, the center of 
the industry, and sent local fishermen out on 
nightly expeditions. Daily catches finally 
reached about 12,000 pounds, and the 
QMC expected to increase this figure. But 
the fishermen dashed this hope by refusing 
to work any longer under growing dangers 
that emanated from friend and foe alike. 
Beach defense troops, uncertain of the 
identity of approaching boats, persistently 
shelled them as they neared shore. To this 
menace was added that of Japanese artillery 
fire. Reluctantly, quartermasters abandoned 
an enterprise that might have supplied 
much needed food in the days of semi- 
starvation that lay ahead. 48 

Procurement of salt from sea water was 
still another Quartermaster expedient. Only 
limited supplies of this vital item had been 
brought into Bataan, and there were no salt 
beds for replenishing the original stocks, 
which suffered rapid depletion because of 
extensive use in baking bread and in pre- 
serving meat. Quartermasters alleviated the 
shortage by boiling sea water in large iron 
cauldrons. Production averaged approxi- 
mately 400 pounds daily, about a quarter of 
the minimum requirement of 1,500 pounds. 
This was too small an amount to permit 

45 ( 1 ) Louis Morton, ed., "Bataan Diary of 
Major Achille C. Tisdelle," Millitary Affairs, XI 
(Fall 1947), 141. (2) Wainwright Rpt, Annex 
XIV (Med Rpt), pp. 98-99. 

4a ( 1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex XIV (Med Rpt), 
p. 99. (2) Drake Rpt, p. 36. (3) Memos, Asst G-4 
for G-4 USAFFE, 19, 24 Jan 42. Phil Records AG 
319.1 (8 Jan 42). 

issue of salt more often than once every few 
days. 47 

The value of local food sources on Bataan 
in prolonging the defense can hardly be 
overestimated. While they did not provide a 
wide variety of food, they did furnish con- 
siderable additions to Quartermaster stocks 
of meat and rice. 

The QMC had even smaller stocks of 
clothing than of food. These stocks, scarce at 
the beginning of the war, were almost de- 
pleted when the withdrawal to Bataan com- 
menced. There were approximately 80,000 
men to be clothed. Yet, according to a 
rough estimate that probably did not under- 
state the amounts, clothing stocks early in 
January contained only 10,000 trousers and 
an equal number of shirts, drawers, and blue 
denim suits. Larger but still insufficient 
stocks were available in other important 
items. There were estimated to be 50,000 
pairs of service shoes, 50,000 pairs of issue 
socks, 75,000 pairs of commercial socks, 
20,000 issue undershirts, 50,000 commer- 
cial undershirts, and 25,000 commercial 
drawers. Obviously, these stockages could 
not meet the requirements of 80,000 men 
during a siege destined to last almost four 
months and to be waged in mountainous, 
forested terrain that quickly wore out even 
the best footwear and clothing. Tangled 
vegetation tore shirts, trousers, and under- 
wear, and constant hard usage in rough 
country made the most substantial shoes un- 
serviceable within a month. The QMC ob- 
tained some clothing and footwear through 
reclamation of articles salvaged from the 
battlefield, but the quantity was too small to 
help materially. Practically speaking, there 

17 Frank Hewlett, "Quartermasters on Bataan 
Performed Heroic Feats," QMR, XXI (May- 
June 1942), 64. 




were almost no stocks that could be issued in 
place of worn-out garments. 48 

Whereas the U.S. Army and the Philip- 
pine Scouts were well clad and well 
equipped when they took the field in 
December the Philippine Army even then 
lacked many essential items. In general, its 
troops had no blankets, helmets, mosquito 
nets, or raincoats, all necessities in a malar- 
ial area like Bataan. Their shoes were con- 
ventional Filipino sneakers that the troops 
had nearly worn to pieces even by the time 
of arrival on the peninsula. As soon as the 
Commonwealth soldiers reached Bataan, 
they tried to buy footwear from the civilian 
population, but could obtain little in this 

way. The few available U.S. Army service 
shoes proved useless, for Filipinos, barefoot 
most of their lives, had feet far too broad for 
these narrow shoes. Commonwealth troops 
necessarily reverted to their custom of going 
barefoot. Even such military commonplaces 
as shelter halves and tentage were almost 
totally lacking, and their absence caused 
considerable hardship in the cool nights of 
mountainous Bataan. Indeed, the scarcity 
of clothing, footwear, and shelter in the 
Philippine Army played a prominent part 
in the large incidence of malaria, hookworm, 
and respiratory diseases. 49 

About 500,000 gallons of gasoline and a 
fairly satisfactory supply of kerosene and 

"Drake Rpt, App. A, Rpt, Col Irvin Alexander, " ( 1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex XIV (Med Rpt), 

Sup Problems of USFIP, p. 4. p. 24. (2) Wainwright, Story, p. 46. 



motor fuel oil were on hand at the beginning 
of January. Although these supplies did not 
include large stocks of the most appropri- 
ate gasolines and lubricants, they could be 
made to last several months with strict econ- 
omy and careful substitution. Accordingly, 
when mid-January reports revealed usage of 
gasoline at the alarming rate of 14,000 gal- 
lons a day, an amount sufficient to deplete 
stocks within a month, or almost two months 
before rations were expected to be ex- 
hausted, the QMC ordered gasoline and lu- 
bricants to be conserved so as to last as long 
as food. This objective was achieved by the 
severe curtailment of truck, ambulance, and 
road-machinery operations. Daily consump- 
tion of gasoline was cut, first to 4,000 gal- 
lons, and later to 3,000 gallons. Such drastic 
restrictions made it difficult for trucks to 
maintain regular supply deliveries. 50 

The Bataan Quartermaster Depot, with 
headquarters at Lamao, was charged with 
the supply of Quartermaster items and the 
establishment and management of all dumps 
and distribution points for rations, for cloth- 
ing and equipage, and for gasoline and oil. 
It also operated field bakeries and salvage 
and reclamation services. The Motor Trans- 
port Service set up and ran motor pools and 
motor maintenance and repair shops, and 
the Army Transport Service supervised 
movements by water, a responsibility that 
included the ferrying of supplies and troops 
between Corregidor and Bataan and the 
chartering of blockade-runners and other 

All these operations suffered from the 
shortage of officers and enlisted men and 
from the paucity of Quartermaster units. 

60 ( 1 ) Drake Rpt, pp. 32, 44, 54. (2 ) Wainwright 
Rpt, Annex VI (Rpt of Opns of Luzon Force), 
Annex 5 (G-4 Rpt), pp. 1-2. (3) Ltr, CofS to CG 
Ft Mills, 22 Mar 42, sub: Ration and Motor Fuel 
Status. Phil Records AG 430 (8 Dec 41). 

Units and labor pools both had to be im- 
provised. Hastily established organizations 
increased their limited manpower by the 
more or less regular utilization of nearly 
5,000 Filipino refugees. Some 1,500 civilian 
drivers were added to the enlisted men from 
the two truck companies of the 1 2th Quar- 
termaster Regiment and from the 19th 
Truck Company (Air Corps) to form 
twenty-four provisional truck companies 
and one provisional car battalion. Refugees 
constituted the bulk of three improvised 
graves registration companies and did most 
of the work required in the establish- 
ment of cemeteries and the burial of the 
dead. Civilians helped enlisted men repair 
and reclaim several hundred trucks and 
large quantities of clothing. They formed 
the bulk of the labor pools employed in load- 
ing and discharging operations at naviga- 
tion heads, dumps, distributing points, and 
salvage and reclamation centers. As many 
as 1 ,200 civilians were employed in discharg- 
ing barges during the early days of the fight- 
ing on Bataan. Labor pools and improvised 
units were commanded by some 200 Quar- 
termaster officers, half of whom had been 
commissioned in the Philippines under au- 
thority of a War'Department radiogram of 
10 December that gave General MacArthur 
the extraordinary power of making indi- 
viduals, civilian or military, temporary 
officers. 51 

The Quartermaster units assigned to the 
Regular Army and the Philippine Scouts at 
the outbreak of war were used largely for the 
supply of front-line troops. This was the 
major function of the 12th Quartermaster 
Regiment, less the two truck companies as- 

51 Drake Rpt, pp. 25-26, 47, 62-63, 70; App. B, 
Rpt, Col Frederick A. Ward, ATS Opns, p. 6; App. 
C, Rpt, Col. Michael A. Quinn, MTS Opns, pp. 
1-3; App. D, Rpt, Maj Albert L. Fullerton, Graves 
Registration Service, Bataan, pp. 1-3. 




4 February 1942. 

signed to the motor pools, and of the two 
pack troops. At Lamao and later at Cab- 
caben the 74th Field Bakery Company pro- 
vided about 25,000 pounds of bread a day 
as long as flour was available. It achieved 
this result by adding to its original meager 
equipment of six field ovens improvised 
Dutch ovens built of rice straw and mud. 52 

Running the Blockade 

As the defense of Bataan continued, the 
growing scarcity of rations more than ever 
constituted the major Quartermaster prob- 
lem. The only real hope of relief lay in help 
from the outside, but this hope waned as the 

12 Drake Rpt, pp. 26-28, 35. 

on Bataan baking biscuits for the defenders, 

hostile blockade around Luzon daily became 
tighter and more menacing and enemy air- 
craft and naval ships gained more effective 
mastery of the western Pacific. On land and 
sea and in the air the Japanese were a bar- 
rier between MacArthur's men and the re- 
plenishment of their swiftly dwindling food 
stocks. This barrier had to be pierced if 
starvation was not to cause the early sur- 
render of Bataan. The best chance was by 
sea. Such an effort would demand the strict- 
est secrecy and the utmost daring. Even if 
these requirements were met, loss of ships 
would be heavy and prospects of obtaining 
a significant volume of food far from bright. 
Assistance from the outside, it was hoped, 
might come from Australia, which had sur- 



pluses of most of the meats, fruits, and vege- 
tables familiar to American soldiers and 
which served as a receiving point for supplies 
coming from the United States; from the 
Netherlands Indies, producers of coffee and 
other tropical products; from Mindanao 
and the Visayan Islands in the central Phil- 
ippines, still almost entirely in American 
possession, where rice, sugar, tobacco, ba- 
nanas, and mangoes were available; or even 
from the fertile provinces of southern Luzon, 
which, though now in Japanese hands, pro- 
vided rice, sugar, bananas, coffee, citrus 
fruits, coconuts, cattle, pigs, and chickens in 

Early in January plans for sending ra- 
tions and other scarce supplies through the 
blockade were developed by the War De- 
partment and USAFFE headquarters. 
These plans visualized Australia as the pri- 
mary source of food, and the Netherlands 
Indies, the central and southern Philippines, 
and the provinces of Batangas and Cavite 
in southern Luzon as secondary sources. The 
Cebu Quartermaster Depot was to be re- 
sponsible not only for procurement of sup- 
plies in the central and southern islands but 
also for assemblage of supplies brought in 
from other outside sources and for their 
shipment to Corregidor. From that island 
fortress supplies would be taken under cover 
of darkness across the two miles of water to 
Bataan. 53 

Interisland Efforts 

Large ships were unsuitable for running 
the blockade between the southern islands 
and Luzon because they could be too easily 
sighted by hostile air and naval patrols and 
because Corregidor lacked the means of 
berthing and unloading them. Nor could 
coal- and oil-burning vessels be employed, 

M Ibid., pp. 37-39. 

for they emitted telltale smoke that would 
reveal their presence to the enemy. Small but 
fast interisland motor ships had to be used. 
Col. Manuel A. Roxas, detailed by President 
Quezon as liaison officer to General Mac- 
Arthur, helped Drake obtain such ships from 
the Philippine Government and Filipino 
citizens. All together forty-nine motor ships, 
each with a capacity of 300 to 1,000 cargo 
tons, were secured by the Army Transport 
Service at Corregidor and Cebu City. Of 
that number, a large majority were eventu- 
ally lost, destroyed, or captured while en- 
gaged in blockade-running. 

Two 400-ton motor ships, the Bohol II 
and the Kolambugan, were assigned to the 
dangerous run through the mine fields be- 
tween Corregidor and Looc Cove, the col- 
lecting point for food procured by Ameri- 
can agents in Cavite and Batangas. Looc 
Cove lay just south of Manila Bay and only 
fifteen miles from the island fortress. Since 
it was in enemy-held territory, these ships 
had to make the trip from Corregidor and 
back in one night to avoid detection. Ac- 
cordingly, one of them started out on its 
hazardous mission on practically every 
moonless evening during the three weeks fol- 
lowing 20 January. Japanese patrols were so 
active on shore, however, that American 
agents usually gave the vessels a warning 
signal to turn back. The ships actually made 
only two round trips apiece and in mid- 
February had to abandon their operations 
altogether. Though they completed few 
passages, the vessels did add about 1,600 
tons of food, chiefly rice, to the Bataan food 
stocks.' 4 

The other motor ships were stationed at 
Cebu City, Iloilo, or other ports that lay 
400 miles or more below Manila Bay. 55 Of 

51 (1) Ibid., p. 39. (2) Memo, G-4 for CofS, 18 
Jan 42. Phil Records AG 430.2 (11 Sep 41). 
55 Drake Rpt, pp. 39-40. 



these ports Cebu City was the most impor- 
tant. The Quartermaster depot at that place 
since the start of hostilities had been pro- 
curing supplies in the Visayan Islands and 
Mindanao for shipment north to Corregi- 
dor. Established in November 1941, this 
installation had originally been scheduled to 
receive from the Manila Depot all the stocks 
required to feed and clothe the troops in 
the central and southern provinces, troops 
organized as the Visayan-Mindanao Force 
under Brig. Gen. William F. Sharp. Now, 
instead of securing rations and clothing from 
the north, it had to canvass Mindanao and 
the Visayan Islands for the supplies needed 
not only by the troops in its distribution area 
but also by the 80,000 troops on Luzon. 
To carry out this huge new mission, it set 
up district procurement offices in the prov- 
inces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Negros Oc- 
cidental, Panay, Bohol, Leyte and Samar, 
and Mindanao. By 10 April 1942, when 
the Japanese captured Cebu City, it had 
acquired locally a twelve-month food supply 
for troops in Cebu and Panay, and at least 
a six-month supply for those on other cen- 
tral and southern islands. In addition, it had 
collected in the hills back of Cebu City and 
in warehouses in Cebu Province and in 
Panay and Mindanao some 12,000 tons 
of food, medicine, gasoline, and miscellane- 
ous supplies for shipment to Corregidor. In 
part these large stocks had come from Aus- 
tralia; in part, from the central and south- 
ern provinces. 56 

The Cebu Depot utilized the interisland 
motor ship fleet to start thousands of tons 
northward. The first ship to perform this 
feat was the 1,000-ton Legaspi. In accord- 
ance with arrangements previously worked 

"Ibid., App. A, Col John D. Cook, Cebu QM 
Depot, pp. 1-5; Wainwright Rpt, Annex XI, Col 
Melville S. Creusere (QM Sup — Visayan-Mindanao 
Force), pp. 1-6. 

out by the Governor of Panay and General 
Drake, the Legaspi on 20 January picked up 
a cargo of foods assembled by American 
agents at Capiz, a small but well-protected 
port in northern Panay, and two nights later 
delivered its load at Corregidor. It made one 
other successful run, but on its third trip the 
Legaspi, entering a small port in northern 
Mindoro for concealment during the day- 
time, was sighted and shelled by a Japanese 
gunboat. The crew ran the hapless ship 
ashore and scuttled it. 57 

Two other motor ships from the southern 
Philippines successfully penetrated the 
blockade. The Princessa, sailing from Cebu 
City with 700 tons of rice, flour, corn meal, 
sardines, dried meats, sugar, and pineapple 
juice, all of which had been procured in 
the southern islands, reached Corregidor in 
mid-February. Later in the same month 
El Cano, carrying 1,100 tons of balanced 
rations, which the 3,000-ton Army-char- 
tered freighter, Coast Farmer, had brought 
from Australia to Arrakan in northern 
Mindanao, arrived at the island fortress. 
But three other motor ships, also carrying 
balanced rations from the Coast Farmer, 
were shelled and sunk by Japanese naval 
vessels off Mindanao. Ten other motor 
ships, loaded in the southern islands with 
cargo for Corregidor, were sunk by the 
enemy or scuttled by their crews to avoid 
capture. General Drake estimated that 
7,000 tons of food, gasoline, and oil were 
lost on their way to Luzon. He ascribed this 
disaster not only to increased enemy activity 
but also to excessive use of radio communi- 
cation and to failure to observe the strictest 
secrecy. These losses ended blockade-run- 
ning by motor ships out of the central and 

57 (1) Memo, CQM for G-3, 21 Jan 42. (2) Ltr, 
USAFFE to CG Panay Force, 6 Feb 42. Both in 
Phil Records AG 430 (25 Dec, 18 Dec 41). 



southern Philippines. Unless American air 
and naval support was available to convoy 
ships attempting to pierce the apparently 
impenetrable screen of Japanese naval ves- 
sels, further blockade-running was almost 
certainly hopeless. To attempt it would 
probably sacrifice gallant crews in a futile 

Recognizing the realities of the situation, 
Maj. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, Mac- 
Arthur's chief of staff, instructed Drake 
about 1 March that no more vessels were to 
try to run the blockade either from Cor- 
regidor or from the southern islands unless 
he issued express orders for such efforts. 
When General MacArthur and his party 
left Corregidor for Australia on 12 March, 
General Sutherland repeated these orders 
to Drake. No instructions came to resume 
blockade-running, and the vessels remained 
at their moorings until they fell victim to 
Japanese bombs or naval gunfire or were 
destroyed to prevent seizure. No supplies 
reached Corregidor from the outside world 
during the five weeks before Bataan sur- 
rendered, except for very limited quantities 
brought in by plane and submarine. These 
deliveries almost surely helped prolong re- 
sistance on the peninsula. Yet in relation to 
Bataan's requirements, they were insignifi- 
cant. 58 


Meanwhile, U.S. forces in Australia had 
been attempting to carry out their part of 
the relief program. When they first reached 
that continent in December 1941, they were 
directed by the War Department to ship 
air equipment, ammunition, and weapons 

rs (l) Drake Rpt, pp. 37-40, 54, 65-66; App. 
A, Rpt, Col John C. Cook, Cebu QM Depot, pp. 
2-3. (2) Wainwright, Story, pp. 166-67. (3) Wain- 
wright Rpt, p. 21. 

to the Philippines; rations, significandy, 
were not mentioned. 59 But at the start Army 
supplies in Australia were limited, and part 
of them was needed to stock the Air Corps 
in the Netherlands Indies. Moreover, the 
U.S. forces had as yet no organization ca- 
pable of quickly making the long hazardous 
voyage to Luzon and no sense of urgency 
such as they later developed. Nevertheless 
"Most of the supply activities in the early 
weeks related to supplying the Philippines. 
Boats were chartered by the QMC. Crews 
were engaged and stevedoring gangs en- 
gaged to load boats with supplies." 6 " The 
Willard A. Holbrook, an Army transport, 
which had arrived in Australia in mid-De- 
cember, started from Brisbane for the Phil- 
ippines on 28 December with the 147th 
Field Artillery and the 148th Field Artillery 
(less one battalion) and their ammunition, 
supplies, and equipment but was diverted to 
Darwin in northern Australia because it was 
feared that no Philippine port would be open 
to receive it. <n This fear indeed prevented 
attempts to send any ships northward dur- 
ing the month and a half following the ar- 
rival of American troops in Australia. Yet 
December and early January were perhaps 
the best times for an attempt at running 
supplies through to MacArthur's men since 
the blockade was then far from airtight and 
the Visayan Islands were still in American 

When the defense of Bataan began, 
Drake immediately informed the U.S. forces 
in Australia, both by radio and by air mail, 
of his pressing need for food. He requested 
that balanced field rations be shipped to 

5! 'Rad, WD to CG USAFIA, 19 Dec 41. DRB 

,;o OCQM USASOS, History of Major Activities 
of the Quartermaster Section (hereafter cited as 
QM SWPA Hist), I, 3. Hist Br OQMG. 

61 Rpt of Organization and Activities of USAFIA, 
pp. 7-8. DRB AGO. 



Cebu and that they be sent in 1 ,000-ton lots 
to facilitate handling. He made a detailed 
breakdown of the required ration in pounds 
for each component so that the specific 
needs of the Luzon forces would be known. 
Having received no reply by the end of 
January, Drake sent a personal letter by 
special courier to Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, 
Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces 
in Australia (USAFIA), emphasizing the 
critical scarcity of food and urging haste in 
the dispatch of rations. 1 ' 2 Meanwhile, on 18 
January, following an insistent message 
from MacArthur, Gen. George C. Marshall, 
Chief of Staff, had radioed Brett that de- 
livery of rations was imperative. He ordered 
money to "be spent without stint," and 
suggested that "bold and resourceful men," 
well supplied with dollars, fly to islands not 
yet in Japanese hands to buy food, charter 
ships, and offer cash bonuses to crews for 
actual delivery of cargoes. 63 

The Joint Administrative Planning Com- 
mittee, operating under U.S. Army Forces 
in Australia, thereupon immediately for- 
mulated plans for blockade-running from 
both Australia and the Netherlands Indies. 
The latter islands were selected because sub- 
stantial amounts of rations and particularly 
of ammunition were already there in the 
hands of American air forces or were at 
sea en route to the Dutch archipelago, be- 
cause these islands lay closer to the Phil- 
ippines than did Australia, and because it 
was believed that small, fast coasters could 
be procured easily from local sources. The 
committee set the first objective of both 
Australia and the Netherlands Indies as the 

shipment of 3,000,000 rations, a 60-day 
supply for 50,000 men, and of large quan- 
tities of ammunition. Shipments would be 
made roughly in the proportion of six tons of 
rations to one ton of ammunition. 64 

The task thus undertaken was a formi- 
dable one. There were few small, fast ships 
capable of carrying enough fuel for the long 
voyage of 2,500 or more miles. Moreover, 
the few which could meet this requirement 
were usually unprocurable because all ves- 
sels were controlled by one of the Allied 
governments, and so widespread was the 
defeatist attitude toward blockade-running 
that these governments almost invariably 
withheld permission to use them. Finally, if 
a ship could be chartered, its crew was 
reluctant to embark on so perilous an 

In Australia suitable ships were not pro- 
curable in the early days of the program, 
and the Coast Farmer, which had recently 
arrived from the United States in convoy, 
was earmarked for blockade-running in 
spite of its inability to attain a speed of more 
than ten knots an hour. It departed from 
Brisbane on 4 February with a cargo that 
included 2,500 tons of balanced rations, and 
fifteen days later pulled into Arrakan, a port 
which, though inferior, had been selected 
because of fear that the slow speed of the 
Coast Farmer would prevent it from reach- 
ing the finer and better-protected harbor 
of Cebu. 

One other vessel, meanwhile, the small 
Filipino freighter Don Isidro, had been ob- 
tained. On the same day that the Coast 
Farmer left Brisbane the Don Isidro sailed 
from Fremantle in southwestern Australia 

ai ( 1 ) Memo, CQM USAFFE for G-4 USAFFE, 
5 Jan 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430. (2) Drake, 
"No Uncle Sam," pp. 11-12. 

' Rad, NR 134, CofS WDGS to CG USAFIA, 18 
Jan 42. DRB AGO Opns Rpts, Material Relating 
to USAFIA History. 

B4 ( 1 ) Min, Jt Adm Ping Com, USAFIA, 19 Jan 
42, sub: Australian-American Co-operation. (2) 
Hq USAFIA, Rpt of Organization of USAFIA, 
7 Dec 41-30 Jun 42. Both in DRB AGO Opns 
Rpts, F-17. 



and headed for Batavia, Java, to pick up a 
cargo of ammunition from Army stocks 
there.'"' Rations for both ships were ob- 
tained from stocks that the Australian Gov- 
ernment, in accordance with previous ar- 
rangements, had sent to Brisbane and 
Fremantle, the two ports chosen for use by 

Eventually, about ten or twelve vessels, 
mostly old and rather decrepit Filipino or 
Chinese coasters, were procured in Aus- 
tralia. Though they were few in number, 
their total tonnage was enough to furnish 
the Bataan forces with the supplies needed 
to prolong their resistance. But while arming 
of ships and use of dummy stacks and neu- 
tral or Axis flags — in fact, "all imaginable 
types of deceit" — were authorized to pro- 
tect boats from bombing, shelling, and 
capture, only two vessels, aside from the 
Coast Farmer, ever reached the Philip- 
pines.'* 1 These were the Dona Nati and the 
Anhui, both of which started from Brisbane 
in mid-February and arrived at Cebu early 
in March. The Dona Nati, it was estimated, 
carried 5,000 tons of rations, and the Anhui, 
2,500 tons. Two other ships, the Hanyang 
and the Yochow, started from Fremantle, 
but mutinies broke out when the dangerous 
waters north of Australia were reached, and 
the vessels made for Darwin, where they 
were discharged. 67 

85 (1) Rad, Brett to AGWAR, 25 Mar 42. DRB 
AGO Opns Rpts, F-17. (2) Rpt, Col William C. 
Hutt, QM Base 3, n. d., sub: Hist of QM Sec, 
22 Dec 41-31 Mar 44. ORB ABCOM AG 314.7. 

68 (1) Ltr, CG USAFIA to CO Base 3, 20 Jan 
42. DRB AGO Opns Rpts, Material Relating to 
USAFIA History. (2) Ltr, CofS USAFIA to CO 
Base Sec 1, 21 Jan 42, sub: Philippine Relief. 
DRB AGO Opns Rpts, History of Effort to Sup the 

,: Rads, CG USAFIA to AGWAR, 11 and 25 
Mar 42. DRB AGO Opns Rpts, Material Relating 
to USAFIA History. 

Netherlands Indies 

In the Netherlands Indies, Col. John A. 
Robenson, a cavalry officer who had com- 
manded some 5,000 troops at Darwin in 
northern Australia, was in charge of the 
blockade-running program. He had been 
ordered to Java for this purpose on 19 Jan- 
uary, the day after General Marshall's 
message stressing the need for intensive 
blockade-running efforts was received. On 
his departure from Australia ten million 
dollars had been placed at his disposal to 
be spent in any fashion he considered ad- 
visable, and he was empowered to request 
co-operation from all military and civilian 
authorities. 08 

Colonel Robenson had been informed 
that MacArthur had called the breaking of 
the blockade a matter of "transcendent im- 
portance," "the key to my salvation," and 
he acted in accordance with this conception 
of his mission. But soon after his arrival at 
Soerabaja, Java, he discovered that his ob- 
jectives were not to be easily achieved. The 
U.S. Navy at first would not release any 
ships, and requests for British and Dutch 
ships were likewise turned down. Even a re- 
quest for small coasters from Singapore met 
a similar fate, though it was made after the 
British, obviously about to take a final stand 
in Malaya, had retreated across the cause- 
way that joined Singapore Island to the 
mainland. Naval opinion in general plainly 
thought the release of ships tantamount to 
their destruction.' 19 

Better results attended Robenson's at- 
tempts to procure rations and ammunition 
as cargo for such ships as he might later be 
able to charter. Late in January the Presi- 

1,8 Bogart Rogers, "Help for the Heroes of 
Bataan," Cosmopolitan, CXIX (November 1945), 

n Ibid., pp. 49, 134-35. 



dent Polk, a medium-sized American 
freighter, arrived at Soerabaja with a full 
load of these supplies, and after several days 
of discussion Robenson obtained permission 
to use them. About this time a courier 
brought him the report that Drake had pre- 
pared for Brett on the plight of the 
Bataan Force. Robenson found it "pretty 
shocking." 70 

Early in February, Rear Adm. William A. 
Glassford permitted Colonel Robenson to 
use the Florence D, a Filipino freighter con- 
trolled by the U.S. Navy, though he re- 
garded the effort to break the blockade as 
a forlorn hope. At the same time the Don 
hidro arrived at Batavia from Fremantle. 
Thus, after nearly two weeks of unrewarded 
work, Robenson finally had supplies and at 
least two ships. But a crew had to be se- 
cured for the Florence D. To get it, Roben- 
son offered the ship's Filipino crew, anxious 
in any event to get home, handsome bonuses, 
ranging from more than $10,000 for its 
captain to lesser amounts for his subordi- 
nates, and life insurance of $5,000 to $500. 
All the Filipinos volunteered for the voyage, 
and on 14 February the Florence D set sail. 
About the same time the Don Isidro de- 
parted from Batavia. Both vessels proceeded 
through the Timor Sea until they reached 
Bathurst Island north of Darwin. Here they 
turned north and on 19 February Japanese 
planes, roaring overhead on their way to the 
Netherlands Indies, bombed the blockade- 
runners and left the Florence D a burning, 
sinking wreck and the Don Isidro a disabled 
hulk that had to be beached on Melville 
Island. 71 

The Japanese had meanwhile begun to 
bomb the chief centers in Java and plainly 
indicated that they would soon attempt a 

landing in force. On 14 February, therefore, 
the Dutch at last released four rusty old 
freighters, one of which, the Taiyuan, Rob- 
enson designated for immediate use. Its 
Chinese crew, however, refused to sail. 
Only by offering large bonuses and other 
financial inducements was it finally possible 
to obtain a crew. The Taiyuan sailed on 26 
February, the day the Battle of Java com- 
menced, with a cargo of 720,000 rations. 
It was never heard from again. 72 

Though disappointingly few ships ran the 
blockade to the Philippines, the three that 
did arrive there from Australia discharged 
about 10,000 tons of rations, or 2,000 more 
tons than had been set as a goal for that 
continent's initial contribution. In addition, 
they landed 4,000,000 rounds of small-arms 
ammunition, 8,000 rounds of 8 1 mm. ammu- 
nition, and miscellaneous medical, signal, 
and engineer supplies. Unfortunately, the 
arrival of these ships at Philippine transfer 
points did not materially alleviate the des- 
perate plight of the hungry forces on Luzon, 
for, of the supplies received from Australia, 
only the few miscellaneous items and the 
1,100 tons of rations that El Cano carried 
ever reached Corregidor. These rations nor- 
mally would have represented about a 4- 
day supply for about 100,000 soldiers and 
civilians, but the quantity actually avail- 
able was considerably reduced by the "heart- 
breaking condition" of the shipment. "Prac- 
tically all containers were broken and their 
contents piled together" in the holds. 73 
Onions and potatoes, transported on the 
deck of the ship, had become so rotten 
that they were inedible. All the food had to 
be carefully inspected, and much of it 
thrown out before issues could be made. 
Drake attributed these deplorable losses to 

70 Ibid., p. 135. 

71 Ibid., pp. 134-35. 

73 Ibid., (Dec 45), pp. 70-71, 151-54. 
71 Drake Rpt, pp. 69-70. 



the use of ordinary commercial packing con- 
tainers incapable of withstanding rough 
handling and numerous transfers. But for 
a few days Australian canned meat did give 
the troops on Bataan a little more than their 
usual meager fare. 

The Japanese invasion of the Netherlands 
Indies and the accompanying increase of 
hostile air and naval strength in that area 
served to make blockade-running from 
the south even more hazardous. Recognizing 
the difficulties under which the Army in 
Australia labored in its efforts to help him, 
MacArthur suggested on 22 February that 
the Philippines be supplied direct from Hon- 
olulu. He pointed out that the forces in the 
antipodes had many other responsibilities 
and could not concentrate on Philippine 
supply, to them merely "a subsidiary ef- 
fort. " ' 4 Shortly afterwards, Brig. Gen. Pat- 
rick J. Hurley, Minister to New Zealand and 
former Secretary of War, who was serving 
temporarily in USAFIA as Gen. George C. 
Marshall's personal representative in organ- 
izing blockade-running, radioed his chief 
that risking ships from Australia was "no 
longer justified." Routes that might be fol- 
lowed to avoid enemy-controlled areas were, 
he pointed out, as long as those from Hawaii 
to the Philippines, and not as safe. General 
Brett as well as Hurley concurred in Mac- 
Arthur's recommendation that supplies be 
sent from Honolulu. 75 

The War Department informed Brett that 
an effort to supply the Philippines from 
Honolulu was already under way. A con- 
verted 1,000-ton destroyer had left New 
Orleans for Hawaii and plans for using six 
other converted destroyers had been devel- 

74 Quoted in Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, 
pp. 28-31. 

75 Rad, GS-588, Hurley-Brett to AGWAR (Mar- 
shall), 4 Mar 42. DRB AGO Opns Rpts, History 
of Effort to Sup P.I. 

oped. In accordance with MacArthur's re- 
quest the destroyers would carry 2,375 tons 
of rations, 369 tons of ammunition and 
other ordnance supplies, 55 tons of medical 
supplies, and 6 1 tons of signal supplies. Un- 
happily for the men now starving on Bataan, 
there was not enough time to execute these 
plans, for within one month the peninsula 
fell. In any event prospects for success were 
dubious because of Japanese control of west- 
ern Pacific waters. 76 

The institution of this new phase of the 
effort to supply Bataan did not relieve USA- 
FIA of its role in the relief program, and 
late in March Marshall was still urging 
MacArthur, who had been ordered to Aus- 
tralia as commander of the U.S. Forces in 
the Far East, to intensify his efforts to re- 
lieve the Philippines by all available 
means — planes, submarines, or surface 
ships. 77 Submarines, in fact, had been used 
since mid-January to run the blockade from 
Australian or Netherlands Indies ports. All 
together, five reached the Philippines. One, 
carrying ammunition, arrived at Corregi- 
dor early in February. Later in the same 
month another, also loaded with ammuni- 
tion, reached Parang in Mindanao. Two 
others, carrying rations and medicines, ar- 
rived at Cebu City; one of them delivered 
a fifth of its cargo, about twenty tons of 
rations, at Corregidor on the day Bataan 
surrendered, but the other, arriving the fol- 
lowing day, jettisoned its cargo. A fifth sub- 
marine reached the island fortress with mail 
on 3 May, just before it fell. The carrying 
capacity of all these vessels was limited, for 
they were ordinary torpedo-carrying subma- 
rines, not cargo carriers.' 8 

7S Rad, TAG to CG USAFIA, 8 Mar 42. In same. 

77 Rad, XR 75, AGWAR (Marshall) to CG USA- 
FIA, 28 Mar 42. In same. 

78 ( 1 ) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 
27-28. (2) Wainwright, Story, pp. 72-73. 



The question naturally arises whether 
food shipments from Australia had been 
worth the risks involved. About 1,100 tons 
of balanced rations in poor condition did 
reach Bataan after transshipment from 
Mindanao, but in all probability the Luzon 
Force would have received an equal amount 
of food from the central and southern 
Philippines had these supplies from Aus- 
tralia been unavailable. One advantage of 
using rations from Australia was that they 
contained the elements prescribed by the 
Army and hence were better balanced and 
more acceptable to American troops than 
food from the Visayas and Mindanao would 
have been. But to the Filipinos, who com- 
posed the bulk of the Luzon Force, Philip- 
pine food would have been as acceptable as 
U.S. rations, and to American troops on the 
verge of starvation it surely made little dif- 
ference from what country their subsistence 
came. Another reason for transporting food 
from Australia was uncertainty concerning 
the ability of the Cebu Depot to provide 
enough rations from local sources for both 
the Luzon Force and the Visayan-Min- 
danao Force. Yet experience demonstrated 
that this installation could furnish sizable 
stocks of food, although probably not 
enough to have provisioned Bataan indefi- 
nitely. But the main justification for the 
decision to send rations from Australia is 
that strategists planning a protracted de- 
fense of Bataan could not be sure in January 
or even early February that the Japanese 
blockade would prove all but unbreakable. 
They had to assume that opportunities 
might develop to furnish the peninsula food 
in more substantial quantities than the Cebu 
Depot could conceivably supply, and they 
had to be ready, if possible, to benefit from 
such opportunities. 

As the situation in the western Pacific 
actually developed, the crux of the whole 
problem of food relief lay not in the inability 
of more ships to make the long voyage from 
Australia but in the inability of any ships 
after the end of February to proceed from 
Mindanao and the Visayas to Corregidor. 
As long as this part of the blockade could 
not be run, it made no difference how many 
tons of rations Australia — or even the 
United States and Hawaii — shipped or the 
Cebu Depot accumulated. 

Bataan: Last Phase 

Throughout January and February the 
men on Bataan subsisted on the meager half 
rations meted out at morning and late after- 
noon meals. The amount of food furnished 
at even these scanty meals gradually de- 
clined. When the half ration was inaugu- 
rated on 6 January, it theoretically supplied 
each U.S. Army soldier with 6 ounces of 
flour a day, but the stock was so restricted 
that the allowance had to be cut, first, to 4 
ounces, then to 2 ounces, and, finally, late 
in March, eliminated altogether. At the 
start of half rationing daily issues of 6 ounces 
of canned or fresh meat were prescribed. 
But by 23 March diminishing stocks had 
forced reduction of the allowance of canned 
meat, usually corned beef, to 1.22 ounces. 
Strenuous efforts were made all along to pro- 
vide 6 ounces of fresh carabao or other meat 
every third day. Like other stocks of food, 
canned vegetables, limited from the begin- 
ning in variety and quantity, shrank as the 
weeks passed and afforded only an increas- 
ingly monotonous diet. Within a month 
after the withdrawal to Bataan, butter, cof- 
fee, and tea had vanished from the menu. 
Stocks of sugar and evaporated milk had 
been almost exhausted and were issued only 
in inconsequential amounts. Little tobacco 



was available in any form. On 22 March the 
ration had fallen to 1 7 ounces, or only about 
a third of the 46.2 ounces provided in a full 
ration, and it was recommended that the 
issue be further reduced to 12.67 ounces. 79 

The Philippine ration underwent a simi- 
lar reduction. Daily issues of rice, which 
served the purpose of flour in the American 
ration, gradually dwindled from 10 ounces 
at the start of rationing to 3 ounces in mid- 
March. Stipulated issues of meat or of fish, 
which, under this ration, was frequently 
substituted for meat, declined in January to 
4 ounces, 2 ounces less than were prescribed 
under the U.S. ration. By 23 March Philip- 
pine, like U.S., troops were getting only 1.22 
ounces of meat or fish. Except for flour, 
which was not issued to Filipinos, other 
foods were prescribed in the same quanti- 
ties under the two rations. 

Normal wartime obstacles to equitable 
distribution of subsistence were intensified 
by the extraordinary conditions on Bataan. 
Front-line troops indeed received even less 
than the prescribed fare. 80 Transportation 
difficulties retarded deliveries and made it 
almost impossible to carry supplies in the 
stipulated quantities. After January the 
only passable road was the coastal route 
running from Orion on the Manila Bay 
side of the peninsula to Mariveles on the 
southern tip and then up the west coast on 
the China Sea side to Bagac. The jungles 
covering most of the peninsula were vir- 

79 (1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex VI (Rpt of Opns 
of Luzon Force), Annex 5 (G-4 Rpt), p. 3. (2) 
Drake Rpt, App. A, Col Charles S. Lawrence, Tar- 
lac QM Depot, p. 10. (3) Ltr, CofS Luzon Force 
to CG USAFFE, 22 Mar 42. Phil Records AG 430 
(8 Dec 41). 

60 ( 1 ) Memo, Asst G-4 for CG Bataan Force, 
12 Mar 42. Phil Records AG 430.2 (11 Sep 41). 
(2) Memo, CofS for CG USAFFE, 22 Mar 42, 
sub: Ration and Motor Fuel Status. Phil Records 
AG 430 (8 Dec 41). 

tually impenetrable; and the few foot and 
pack trails were rank with tropical vegeta- 
tion. From early February most of the de- 
fense line could be reached only by the 
arduous process "of clambering in and out" 
of densely overgrown ravines that "radiated 
like the ribs of a fan from the summit of 
Mariveles Mountain," six miles south of 
the front. 81 

Limitations on the use of vehicles, caused 
by the shortage of gasoline, added to the 
difficulty of delivering supplies on schedule. 
Equally serious was the highjacking of food, 
especially by Filipinos, most of whom had 
little training or discipline in supply mat- 
ters. Even Philippine Army military police, 
who had been placed along the roads and 
trails to guard against such practices, oc- 
casionally helped themselves to food from 
vehicles they had halted, ostensibly to in- 
spect the cargo. Food was always mysteri- 
ously vanishing from supply dumps and or- 
ganization kitchens. Pilferage of this sort 
normally would have passed unnoticed, but 
rations were so small that soldiers at once 
detected the slightest diminution and freely 
accused rear echelons of "living on the fat of 
the land" and division quartermasters of in- 
equitable distribution. 

The provision of fresh meat illustrates 
how hard it was to furnish front-line troops 
with the prescribed ration."" Fresh meat was 
scheduled to be issued every third day, yet 
men at the front seldom received any more 
often than once every week or ten days. 
Even when they received supposedly fresh 
meat, it was as frequently as not maggoty 
or otherwise spoiled. Such deterioration was 

81 Wainwright Rpt, Annex XIV (Med Rpt), 
pp. 24-26. 

83 ( 1 ) Memo, Asst G-4 for CG Bataan Force, 
12 Mar 42. Phil Records AG 430.2 (11 Sep 41). 
(2) Memo.-CQM for G-4 USFIP, 23 Mar 42. 
Phil Records AG 430 (8 Dec 41 ) . 



inescapable, for the meat had to be trans- 
ported in unrefrigerated open trucks on 
hauls that lasted ten or twelve hours during 
the heat of the tropical day. The long trip, 
moreover, afforded highjackers many op- 
portunities for plunder. 83 

By late March, with the blockade com- 
pletely shutting off all outside shipments, the 
subsistence stocks on Corregidor offered the 
only real hope of an increase in the Bataan 
ration. In the last half of December the 
Manila Quartermaster Depot had built up 
on the island fortress a defense reserve of 
Quartermaster supplies sufficient to last 
10,000 men for 180 days. Though there 
were then actually only about 9,000 men in 
the harbor forts, MacArthur on 24 January 
had directed that subsistence reserves be 
further increased to provide for 20,000 men 
until 1 July 1942. This meant that food 
had to be shifted from Bataan to Correg- 
idor. Of the substantial surplus thus created 
on the island, only a small part was ever 
returned to the peninsula. For a few days 
at the very end of the campaign some rations 
were belatedly shipped to the starving men 
on Bataan. 84 

Throughout the Bataan campaign the 
Harbor Defenses forces enjoyed more food 
and better balanced rations than did those 
on the peninsula. Rations at the harbor forts, 
it is true, were cut, nominally in half, early 
in January, when those on Bataan were re- 
duced, and only two meals a day were served 
thereafter. Various factors, however, com- 
bined to give troops on Corregidor and at 
the other forts more and better food than 
those on the peninsula. There were virtually 

" (1) Drake Rpt, pp. 67-68. (2) Lecture, Col 
Thomas W. Doyle, 25 Jul 42, sub: Recent Combat 
Conditions in Bataan and Matters of Interest to 
QMC. OQMG 319.25. 

84 Drake Rpt, pp. 33-34; App. F, Rpt, Col 
Chester H. Elmes, QM Opns, Ft Mills, pp. 2-3. 

no transportation difficulties, little pilferage, 
and practically no hoarding. These factors, 
together with the availability of compara- 
tively abundant food stores, rendered it in- 
evitable that the Corregidor garrison often 
actually received better meals than quarter- 
masters on Bataan could possibly give its 
hungry defenders. 

A comparison of the rations in effect on 
Corregidor and Bataan reveals the ine- 
quality. About the middle of March the 
Harbor Defenses ration was well-balanced 
and provided about 48 ounces for Filipinos, 
who were normally lighter eaters than U.S. 
troops. At that time rations on Bataan usu- 
ally totaled only 14 to 17 ounces. Even 
after the Corregidor rations were reduced on 
1 April, they still greatly exceeded those on 
Bataan, Americans receiving 30.49 ounces 
and Filipinos 25.85 ounces. These reduced 
rations provided vegetables, fruits, and ce- 
reals, 8 ounces of fresh or canned meat, and, 
for Americans, 7 ounces of flour. In contrast 
to this not insubstantial fare the Bataan ra- 
tions for weeks had provided no vegetables, 
fruits, or cereals, only 1.22 ounces of canned 
meat or, every third day, 6 ounces of fresh 
meat, and for Americans, 1.44 ounces of 
flour. 85 Rice was used largely as a substitute 
for flour, 8 ounces being issued to Americans 
and 10 ounces to Filipinos. Aside from these 
items, the Bataan rations provided only 
about 1 l /i ounces of canned milk, 1 x /% 
ounces of salt, and / 2 ounce of sugar. In the 
closing weeks of the peninsula campaign, 
as supplies were depleted, even these meager 
issues were cut or eliminated. 

The striking disparity between the Ba- 
taan and the Corregidor ration was plainly 

S5 (1) Memo, 13 Mar 42, and attachments. (2) 
Ltr, CofS to CG USFIP, 25 Mar 42, sub: Rations 
of Luzon Force. (3) Memo, CQM for CofS USFIP, 
1 Apr 42, sub: Reduced Ration, HD M&S Bays. 
All in Phil Records AG 430.2 (3 Jan 42). 



demonstrated to the defenders of the penin- 
sula by incidents like that of 18 March, 
when military police halted a truck laden 
with rations for a few Harbor Defenses anti- 
aircraft batteries, which drew their supplies 
direct from Corregidor, and discovered that 
it contained ham, bacon, sausage, raisins, 
canned peas, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and 
peaches, none of which were available to 
the other troops defending Bataan, as well 
as large quantities of cigarettes. 86 Such inci- 
dents could not be kept secret, and in exag- 
gerated form they were reported through- 
out the peninsula to the detriment of an al- 
ready sagging morale. 

The disparity between the issues of to- 
bacco on Bataan and Corregidor particu- 
larly stirred the resentment of the Luzon 
Force. In general only one cigarette a day 
was issued to soldiers on the peninsula. Oc- 
casional efforts were made to issue five to 
men in the front lines. 87 Corregidor, on the 
other hand, had a relatively large supply of 
tobacco, and officers going from Bataan to 
that island often purchased cigarettes and 
pipe tobacco in substantial quantities. 88 The 
shortage of cigarettes on Bataan was relieved 
temporarily early in March by the arrival 
of a million and a half cigarettes that had 
been run through the blockade, but this 
relief lasted for only a few days. 

Another cause for dissatisfaction was the 
fact that the 1,500 marines on Corregidor 
drew their rations from the Harbor De- 
fenses Quartermaster, although they had 
brought their own food supplies. On arriv- 
ing at the fortress the marines had offered 
their dry provisions to the Subsistence Offi- 

v; Memo, PM for G-4, 19 Mar 42. Phil Records 
AG 430.2 (11 Sep 42). 

ST Ltr, AG to CG I Corps, 3 Mar 42, sub: Issue 
of Cigarettes. Phil Records AG 435.8 (3 Mar 42). 

88 Ltr, CO Phil QM Depot to CQM, 17 Mar 42. 
In same. 

cer, but since these supplies did not consti- 
tute a balanced ration, they had been told 
to retain their stores intact. On 3 April Gen- 
eral Drake called attention to this situa- 
tion and suggested that the time had come 
for the marines to consume their own 
supplies. 89 

As the food situation on Bataan rapidly 
deteriorated during March, increasing con- 
sideration was given to the possibility of 
tapping the Corregidor reserves. But these 
reserves were based on plans to defend the 
island until 1 July. Unless this date was 
altered to at least 1 June, no relief could 
be sent to the peninsula. 90 The date was so 
altered, effective on 1 April, when the Har- 
bor Defenses ration was reduced to 30 
ounces and the daily shipment of small quan- 
tities of food from the Bataan reserve was 
started. These measures came too late to 
benefit the Bataan forces. 

By late March these forces, even under 
the prescribed ration that could not always 
be supplied, were receiving only about 1 ,000 
calories a day. Yet men fighting under 
highly adverse conditions in terrain as for- 
midable as that of Bataan required a min- 
imum of 3,500 calories, and medical author- 
ities generally agreed that 1,500 calories 
were necessary to perform the barest func- 
tions of life. The ration, furthermore, was 
deficient in vitamins A, B, and C, with the 
result that beriberi affected virtually all 
troops. As early as 16 February, there had 
been "many indications of accumulative 
malnutrition." In the morning men's legs 
felt "watery" and at intervals pumped "with 

su (l) Memo, CQM for G-4, 3 Apr 44. (2) 
Memo, S-4 HD M&S Bays for CG USFIP, 4 Apr 
42. Both in Phil Records AG 430 (8 Dec 41). 

80 ( 1 ) Memo, CG USAFFE for CG HD M&S 
Bays, 13 Mar 42, sub: Field Rations. Phil Records 
AG 430.2 (3 Jan 42). (2) Memo, CQM for G-4 
USFIP, 27 Mar 42, sub: Surplus Subs, Ft Mills. 
Phil Records AG 430 ( 8 Dec 4 1 ) . 



pains that swell and go away again." Break- 
fast restored a normal feeling for an hour 
or so, but lassitude then followed. 91 Be- 
tween mid-February and mid-March a tre- 
mendous increase occurred in the number 
of soldiers rendered ineffective because of 
malaria, malnutrition, and dysentery. 

The commander of the I Corps attributed 
these alarming developments to the steady 
reduction in the quantity and quality of ra- 
tions, to lack of quinine and other medicines, 
and to inadequate clothing and shelter. 
In some degree, he added, 75 percent of 
his command was incapacitated. Since rear 
establishments lacked rations to rehabilitate 
those suffering from malnutrition, he set up 
stations where food issued to his command 
was utilized to give patients slightly more 
than regular fare. But his efforts bore little 
fruit, and by mid-March large-scale offen- 
sive action by the I Corps had become im- 
possible. 92 Physicians estimated its combat 
efficiency to be less than 45 percent. At the 
same time the commander of the II Corps 
asserted that the combat efficiency of that 
organization had fallen to about 20 per- 
cent. 93 

The last days of March saw further de- 
terioration of the ration situation, and on 
the 28th Wainwright warned General Mar- 
shall that food stocks would last only until 
15 April. Unless they were replenished, he 
declared, Bataan would be starved into sur- 
render. Late in March MacArthur and 
Wainwright had agreed that a desperate at- 

1,1 ( 1 ) Allison Ind, Bataan, the Judgment Seat 
(New York: The Macmillan Company, 1944), p. 
296. (2) Memo, Adv Ech for Surg USAFFE, 27 
Feb 42, sub: Diet of American Soldiers. Phil Rec- 
ords AG 430.2 (11 Sep 41). 

w ( 1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex IV (Rpt of Opns 
of North Luzon Force), pp. 28-29. (2) Louis Mor- 
ton, ed., "Bataan Diary of Major Achille C. Tis- 
dclle," Military Affairs, XI (Fall 1947), 141. 

""Wainwright Rpt, Annex V (Rpt of Opns of 
South Luzon Force), p. 56. 

tempt must be made to run supplies tied 
up at Cebu and Iloilo through the blockade 
to Corregidor. According to their tentative 
plan, motor ships, lying idle in the central 
islands since late February, would again be- 
come blockade-runners. 94 As this daring 
venture would be foolhardy unless a convoy 
of planes was provided, MacArthur agreed 
to send aircraft from Australia. Wain- 
wright also planned to use the few remain- 
ing motor torpedo boats as a naval convoy. 
The Cebu Quartermaster Depot understood 
that American bombers would arrive about 
the night of 1-2 April, attack Japanese air- 
fields along the route to Corregidor, and 
then, basing themselves on American-held 
airfields in Mindanao, patrol the sea during 
the perilous northward movement of the 
blockade-runners. On 1 April eight ships, 
fully loaded with rations, medicines, am- 
munition, gasoline, and oil, waited at Cebu 
and Iloilo, ready to start for Corregidor 
when the planes should appear. Days 
passed, but no planes came because plans 
for the special air mission could not be com- 
pleted until 7 April at a conference in Mel- 
bourne after which several more days were 
needed to prepare for the flight from Dar- 
win in northern Australia. 95 On the morning 
of 10 April the enemy landed and captured 
Cebu, but not before the waiting ships and 
their cargoes had been destroyed to avoid 

On 11 April ten B-25's and three B-17's 
left Darwin and arrived safely at the Del 
Monte airfield on Mindanao. During the 
next two days attacks were made against 

94 (1) Drake Rpt, pp. 43, 50, 54; App. A, Rpt, 
Col John D. Cook, Cebu QM Depot, p. 3. (2) 
Wainwright, Story, p. 72. 

05 (1) Wainright, Story, p. 88. (2) Wesley Frank 
Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., Plans and Early 
Operations, January 1939 to August 1942, The 
Army Air Forces in World War II (Chicago: Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1948), 1,417-18. 



shipping and docks at Cebu, against enemy 
facilities at Davao, and against Nichols 
Field at Manila. While these attacks were 
fairly successful, the small number of bomb- 
ers and the meager protection afforded by 
the six battered pursuit planes available on 
Mindanao make it fairly obvious that, if the 
blockade-running enterprise had been un- 
dertaken, it would have ended in disaster. 91 ' 
Rations during the final two weeks on 
the peninsula provided less than 1 ,000 calo- 
ries a day. Rice, more plentiful than other 
foods, was now issued to all troops at a daily 
rate of about ten ounces and became the 
main food of Americans as well as Filipinos. 
It was indeed relatively so abundant that 
other available foods were rationed to last 
as long as it did. The extreme scarcity of 
other items at this time is illustrated by the 
headquarters mess of the 45th Infantry 
Regiment, Philippine Scouts. Besides rice, 
it received one can of salmon a day for 
fourteen officers and, occasionally, a small 
quantity of sugar, but never enough to be 
of real significance. Everywhere malnutri- 
tion, malaria, and dysentery demoralized 
the defenders. They were no longer capable 
of offensive action or even sustained resist- 
ance. The 31st Division, Philippine Army, 
which in early February had driven the 
Japanese from its immediate front, had "by 
lack of clothing, equipment, food, and 
medicine been reduced to a demoralized 
and uncontrollable mob. 11 ° 7 The surgeon of 
the Luzon Force reported that men were 
"becoming so weak from starvation that 
they could hardly carry" their packs. At 
the end of March, he noted, examination 

'"' Craven and Gate, The Army Air Forces, I, 

17 ( 1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex VI (Rpt of Opns 
of Luzon Force), Annex V (G-4 Rpt), p. 1. (2) 
Annex XIV (Med Rpt), p. 4. (3) Annex V (Rpt 
of Opns of South Luzon Force), p. 56. 

of the 45th Infantry Regiment, Philippine 
Scouts, revealed that 65 percent of the 
troops exhibited signs of malnutrition. 
More than half the troops were afflicted with 
edema, night blindness, or other symptoms 
of dietary deficiency. The "well men," the 
surgeon continued, were "thin and weak 
from starvation." 9S 

111 and undernourished, the Bataan forces 
could not effectively resist the final Jap- 
anese offensive, which was launched against 
the southern part of the American front on 
3 April. Units gradually disintegrated and 
by the 7th were abandoning arms and run- 
ning away. Still hoping against hope for 
some kind of relief, General Drake radioed 
The Quartermaster General, Maj. Gen. 
Edmund B. Gregory, describing the critical 
food shortage and urging that air shipments 
of food concentrates be forwarded immedi- 
ately from Cebu, Australia, and China. 1 '" 
The following day General Marshall radioed 
General Wainwright that the Chinese Gov- 
ernment had volunteered to supply planes 
for such shipments. But it was too late to 
relieve the desperate situation, for on this 
same day attacking forces outflanked their 
opponents' lines and rendered further re- 
sistance impossible. On the southern front 
Americans and Filipinos fled, pursued by 
enemy infantry, bombers, and tanks. Sur- 
render was imperative to avert wholesale 
massacre. On 9 April Maj. Gen. Edward 
P. King, Jr., commanding the Luzon Force, 
took this inevitable step, and the valiant re- 
sistance of the men of Bataan passed into 
history. 100 

w Ibid., Annex XIV (Med Rpt), pp. 44-45. 

99 (1) Rad, Drake to TQMG, 7 Apr 42. DRB 
AGO OPD Incoming and Outgoing Msgs. (2) 
Drake, "No Uncle Sam," pp. 23-24. 

100 (1) Ibid., p. 10. (2) Morton, Military Affairs, 
XI (Fall 1947), 133-35, 144-48. (3) Rad, Wain- 
wright to CG USAFFE, 9 Apr 42. ORB SWPA 
AG 319.1 (Opns). 



"The capitulation of Luzon Force," its 
surgeon declared, "represents in many re- 
spects a defeat due to disease and starvation 
rather than to military conditions." Physical 
deterioration, he continued, had progressed 
so far that it "became a determining factor 
in tactical operations." Even if the Jap- 
anese had not launched their final attack, 
surrender in all probability could have been 
postponed only a few days. So bad had 
health conditions become that during the 
three days preceding capitulation the last 
rations were used to feed the troops better 
than they had been fed for weeks. Flour, 
which had not been issued for some time, 
was dealt out at the rate of 2.88 ounces a 
day. The allotment of 1 .22 ounces of canned 
meat, in effect since 23 March, was doubled. 
So was the rice ration, 17 ounces being 
given to Americans and 20 ounces to Fil- 
ipinos. When King surrendered, all sub- 
sistence on Bataan, including 45,000 C 
rations, held to the end for emergency use, 
had been exhausted except for a single issue 
of a half ration. 101 

On the day of the capitulation, no other 
essential supply was as scarce as rations. It 
is true that there never had been sufficient 
mortars or .50-caliber machine guns and 
that heavy loss of firearms during the cam- 
paign had seriously reduced the number of 
automatic weapons, but these scarcities were 
not so severe as to demand capitulation. 
Ammunition stocks, too, though lacking 
antiaircraft shells and short of artillery shells, 
were still plentiful enough to last for an- 
other month at the existing rate of consump- 
tion. Supplies of engineer equipment and 
motor vehicles, while not large enough for 
the most efficient operations, were still ade- 
quate to meet minimum requirements. The 

101 (1 ) Wainwright Rpt, Annex XIV (Med Rpt), 
pp. 34-37, 44-45. (2) Annex VI (Rpt of Opns 
of Luzon Force) ; Annex V (G-4 Rpt), p. 3. 

shortage of gasoline was more serious, for 
it increasingly hampered all activities in- 
volving motor transportation. But on the 
night of 8 April, 50,000 gallons, sufficient to 
last twenty days, remained in Quartermaster 
dumps. In preparation for surrender on the 
following morning all this stock was de- 
stroyed except for 10,000 gallons which, 
the Americans hoped, the enemy would uti- 
lize to transport their weary, starving pris- 
oners of war. 102 

Quartermaster Operations on Corregidor 

After the capitulation the Japanese set 
up their artillery on the southern shores of 
Bataan, two miles from Corregidor, and 
began intensive shelling of that small but 
powerful fortress commanding the entrance 
to Manila Bay. The three harbor forts — 
Drum, Hughes, and Frank — were also sub- 
jected to bombardment. During this period 
Corregidor became the center of American 
efforts in the Philippines. Though a pro- 
tracted defense appeared hopeless, General 
Wainwright determined, if possible, to hold 
the island until at least the beginning of 

Even in the final weeks on Corregidor 
food never became as scarce as it had on 
Bataan at the end, in spite of the fact that 
soldiers and civilians evacuated from the 
peninsula immediately before and after the 
surrender of the Luzon Force had swelled 
the number of individuals to be fed to about 
1 1 ,000. Meals, though unbalanced in their 
constituents, were served at a half-ration 
rate. This comparatively high rate was pos- 
sible because Quartermaster supplies had 
sustained no significant damage. Since De- 
cember they had been stored in Malinta 
Tunnel, where they were safe from hostile 

102 (1) Ibid., p. 2. (2) Drake Rpt, p. 54; App. A, 
Col Charles S. Lawrence, Tarlac QM Depot, p. 11. 



SURRENDER TO THE JAPANESE. American prisoners sort supplies under the super- 
vision of Japanese soldiers, Bataan, 11 April 1942. 

bombing and shelling. This huge excavation 
ran from east to west for about 800 feet be- 
neath 500-foot-high Malinta Hill; it was ap- 
proximately 25 feet wide and 15 feet high 
and had lateral branches 150 feet deep, 15 
feet wide, and 15 feet high. When Corregi- 
dor surrendered on 6 May, this tunnel con- 
tained enough food to have provided half 
rations until about 20 June. In view of this 
relatively favorable situation, illness was 
much less common than it had been on Ba- 
taan. While diarrhea and minor respiratory 
diseases afflicted many soldiers, the more 
serious maladies, such as dysentery and beri- 
beri, rarely appeared. Most of the garrison, 
however, showed signs of exhaustion, and 
as enemy activity was intensified, these 

symptoms multiplied. But it was not physical 
exhaustion that brought about the surrender 
as much as it was overwhelming Japanese 
superiority in planes and equipment. 103 

Of the bitter disappointments associated 
with the fall of the Philippines the QMC 
had a full share. In no other campaign in 
the Pacific were men so ill fed and so ill 
clad, and in no other campaign was such 
bitter criticism directed at the Corps. Lack 
of food elicited the most vigorous denuncia- 
tion. During the siege of Bataan, according 
to Col. Irvin Alexander, an infantry officer 

103 ( 1 ) Drake Rpt, pp. 53-54; App. F, Col C. H. 
Elmes, QM Opns, Ft Mills, pp. 2, 4. (2) Wain- 
wright Rpt, Annex VIII (Harbor Defenses Rpt), 
Exhibit H, p. 1. (3) Ibid., Annex XIV (Med Rpt), 
p. 83. 



detailed to the QMC, "the Filipinos were 
uncomplaining, but as the American soldiers 
grew hungrier the more vocal they became. 
Looking for someone to blame and not 
knowing where to place the blame they 
picked on the QMC." According to Colonel 
Alexander, "this bitterness continued on into 
prison camp and no doubt many survivors 
believed they were starved on Bataan be- 
cause of the failure of the QMC to perform 
its duties properly. 1 ' 104 

This criticism was unjustified, for the fail- 
ure of the QMC sprang largely from condi- 
tions beyond its control, not from any neg- 
lect of duty. It had, in fact, taken every 
step demanded by long-laid plans for meet- 
ing a war emergency. In the summer of 1 94 1 
it had submitted requisitions to the War De- 
partment for defense reserve stocks large 
enough to last 50,000 men for six months. 
At the same time it had sent in requisitions 
covering the initial supply and equipment 
of the Philippine Army. Surely, it was not 
a Quartermaster fault that hostilities started 
before any of these supplies, except 1 ,000,- 
000 gallons of gasoline and 500,000 C ra- 
tions, arrived in Manila. Nor was it the fault 
of the QMC that it was suddenly forced to 
share nonperishable rations, clothing, and 
equipment, which had been accumulated 
for 20,000 Regular Army troops and Philip- 
pine Scouts, with the 60,000 men of the 
woefully undersupplied Philippine Army. 

Neither was the QMC responsible for the 
failure to store rations on Bataan immedi- 
ately after hostilities started, as had been 
directed by WPO-3. This failure was attrib- 
utable rather to the decision of higher mili- 
tary authority to discard WPO-3 and "fight 
it out on the beaches," a change of plan 
that compelled the QMC to disperse food 

101 Drake Rpt, App. A, Col Alexander, Sup Prob- 
lems of USFIP, p. 8. 

stocks among all the supply depots in Luzon. 
Higher authority perhaps also contributed 
to the shortage of rations on Bataan by its 
prohibition, in the opening days of the war, 
of the procurement of rice that the Philip- 
pine Government thought might be re- 
quired by Filipino citizens. Finally, the col- 
lapse of the defense against the invaders 
within two weeks and the consequent with- 
drawal to the fastnesses of Bataan within 
a single week placed an impossible task on 
the QMC. The retreat was hurried; railroad 
transportation was no longer available ; and 
a substantial number of trucks had been 
commandeered by combat organizations. 
These chaotic conditions forced the QMC to 
abandon or destroy an appreciable part of 
its subsistence stocks. 

Since the food stores of 8 December had 
not sufficed to furnish full rations for the 
contemplated six-month stand on Bataan, 
even before suffering heavy withdrawals 
prior to hasty retirement to the peninsula, 
nothing that the QMC could have done 
would have squeezed full rations out of the 
scanty supplies. Once on Bataan, the QMC 
had exploited to the maximum the limited 
local food sources. Moreover, in Mindanao 
and the Visayas it had conducted a heart- 
breaking attempt to send surface ships 
loaded with food through the ever tighten- 
ing blockade. 

The failure of outside efforts to replenish 
essential supplies raises the question whether 
this was an unavoidable consequence of the 
weakness of American military, naval, and 
air forces in the western Pacific. To a very 
great extent, of course, it was. Yet the suc- 
cessful runs made by the few available 
torpedo-carrying submarines — all of limited 
capacity — suggests that the best chance of 
bringing in supplies may have lain in cargo- 
carrying submarines built to handle at least 



500 tons as compared with the 1 50 or so tons 
transportable by the ordinary torpedo- 
carrying type. Unfortunately, no cargo- 
carrying submarines could be obtained 
either in the Pacific or elsewhere. Finally, 
American weakness in the air rendered sup- 
ply by plane impracticable. But had more 
airfields, bombers, fighters, and, above all, 
more transport planes been available, 
Bataan, as subsequent experience in Burma 
demonstrated, could have been provisioned 
at least in part by air. 

Generally speaking, supply operations on 
Luzon suggest that in making plans and in 
executing them too little attention was de- 
voted to the potential significance of rations 
in a position as exposed as the Philippines. 
Though the archipelago lay thousands of 
miles from its major base, the United States, 
and at the very end of a supply line that was 
highly vulnerable to attack, the War De- 
partment assigned it low shipping priori- 
ties until the summer of 1941. Even then 
rations still had low priorities, and essential 
provisions never arrived. In retrospect, 
planning may also be criticized for not rec- 
ognizing all the logistical implications of the 

protracted defense of such easily isolated 
positions as Bataan and Corregidor. Though 
it was anticipated that both positions would 
probably come under siege, in which event 
they were to be defended as long as was 
humanly possible, planners did not provide 
for unusually large supply reserves. Nor did 
they foresee that thousands of civilian refu- 
gees would have to be fed on both Bataan 
and Corregidor. In executing the plans for 
defending Luzon after hostilities had 
started, higher military authorities appear 
not to have fully realized at first the pressing 
importance of assuring rations for be- 
leaguered forces in a blockaded Philippines. 
Habits of thought, produced by the almost 
universal peacetime abundance of food and 
the ordinarily routine character of its pro- 
curement, doubtless account for this lack of 
vision. Few survivors of Bataan today would 
deny that generous subsistence reserves, high 
shipping priorities for food, and provision 
for unforeseen emergencies are imperative 
safeguards for positions that may be iso- 
lated under comparable circumstances in 
the future. 


Problems in Hawaii, Australia, 
and New Zealand 

In an industrial age an army operating 
far from its homeland is benefited greatly if 
it can tap the material resources of thickly 
populated and economically well-developed 
countries. It can then utilize already existing 
docks, warehouses, offices, and even resi- 
dences and employ thousands of civilians in 
rear areas as clerks, stevedores, and ware- 
house workers. Above all, it can procure a 
substantial part of its supplies and equip- 
ment from nearby industrial sources. 
Through the use of all these material and 
human resources an army can free its troops 
from building and supply tasks and make its 
own manpower more fully available for 
combat activities. But the vast Pacific con- 
tained few populous and industrialized 
areas. At the outset it indeed contained only 
three areas — Hawaii, Australia, and New 
Zealand — that could serve as great supply 
bases for defensive and offensive opera- 
tions. While these areas could furnish much 
food, their industrial development was too 
rudimentary to permit extensive local pro- 
curement of manufactured articles. Never- 
theless they constituted indispensable assets 
to the forces arrayed against Japan. 

Hawaii, Mid-Pacific Supply Base 

Of the three areas Hawaii since the turn 
of the century had been the major U.S. out- 

post in the central Pacific. With only about 
420,000 inhabitants, few industries, and a 
highly specialized agricultural system, it was 
the least serviceable of the areas as a source 
of supply. But it was advantageously located 
for use as a base for offensive operations 
and as a distribution center for forward 
areas, and this was the role prewar strate- 
gists had assigned to the archipelago in case 
of a war with Japan. On the eve of the at- 
tack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. Army activities 
in the islands were still conducted gen- 
erally in peacetime fashion. Consequently, 
troop strength and supply and service re- 
sources were far from sufficient to meet the 
requirements of a major wartime base for 
operations utilizing hundreds of thousands 
of men. 1 

To help the QMC in Hawaii in its task of 
supporting possible combat activities, plans 
had been formulated in 1940 and 1941 for 
the enlargement of its two main operat- 
ing centers — the Hawaiian Quartermaster 
Depot, located at Fort Armstrong near the 

1 History of Quartermaster Operations, U.S. 
Army Forces Middle Pacific, During the War with 
Japan (QM Appendix to Historical Subsection, G-2 
HUSAFMIDPAC, History of United States Army 
Forces Middle Pacific and Predecessor Commands), 
pp. 1-2, 9-27. OCMH. Hereafter these works will 
be cited respectively as QM Mid-Pac Hist and Mid- 
Pac Hist. (See Bibliographical Note.) 



entrance of Honolulu Harbor, and the 
Quartermaster warehouses at Schofield 
Barracks, the Army's largest garrison post, 
20 miles northwest of Honolulu. 2 But lack 
of funds and higher priorities given to 
building activities more directly related to 
combat operations prevented the execution 
of these plans, and no substantial additions 
had been made to Quartermaster installa- 
tions by the time hostilities began. Even the 
construction of underground storage tanks 
for gasoline was delayed until the War De- 
partment after considerable delay approved 
the project. 

On 7 December 1941 Quartermaster 
covered storage space totaled only 200,000 
square feet and open storage space only 
8,000 square feet, mere fractions of the 
square footage needed in the coming Pacific 
war. Modern mechanical aids in quick han- 
dling of supplies — fork-lift trucks, con- 
veyors, stackers, pallets, and cranes — were 
completely lacking. 3 Since peacetime requi- 
sitions had been submitted to the San 
Francisco General Depot sixty days before 
anticipated need and had been promptly 
filled, military stocks of food, clothing, and 
other Quartermaster supplies were large 
enough to meet the immediate needs of the 
42,000 soldiers then in the islands. But they 
were much too small to support the vastly 
increased number that was soon to be sta- 
tioned there or even to make possible a pro- 
tracted resistance if the enemy should block- 
ade or invade the archipelago. 4 

In the early months of 1942, when a large 
part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet lay sunk or 

2 Lt Col Franz J. Jonitz, "Quartermaster Corps 
Activities in the Hawaiian Department," QMR, 
XX (May-June 1941), 19-20. 

3 Mid-Pac Hist, p. 1291. 

4 Joint Committee on the Investigation of the 
Pearl Harbor Attack, 79th Cong., 2d Sess., Hear- 
ings, Pt. 28, p. 1041. These hearings will hereafter 
be cited as JC Pearl Harbor Hearings. 

disabled in Pearl Harbor, a Japanese attack 
in force on Hawaii was considered alto- 
gether likely. A cardinal objective of the 
Army was to make the islands a mighty 
bastion capable of withstanding a powerful 
attack. With the disastrous naval losses sus- 
tained by the foe in the decisive Battle of 
Midway early in June 1942 making a Jap- 
anese assault improbable, the Army's objec- 
tive in the following year became the speedy 
transformation of the archipelago into a 
vast training, rehabilitation, and supply 
area. The year and a half following Pearl 
Harbor was, then, a period of intensive 
preparations, defensive at first but offensive 
later, for the QMC as well as for other 
Army components. 

At the outset the basic peacetime organ- 
ization of the Office of the Department 
Quartermaster (ODQM) remained sub- 
stantially unaltered. The Hawaiian Depart- 
ment Quartermaster, Col. William R. 
White, continued to exercise personal 
supervision over the formulation of long- 
range plans and the establishment of policy, 
the Supply Division to. handle day-by-day 
routine matters, and the Hawaiian Quarter- 
master Depot to serve as the main operating 
agency of the ODQM. As in peacetime, post 
quartermasters consolidated the requisitions 
of units on their reservations and trans- 
mitted them to the Hawaiian Depot to be 
filled from its stocks. If requisitioned items 
were unavailable at the depot, it, in turn, 
sent requisitions for them to the San 
Francisco Port of Embarkation. 

Distribution Problems 

On 7 December 1941 the requisition- 
ing basis was a 60-day supply for 42,000 
men. In the following months this basis 
steadily rose and by July became a 90-day 

5 QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 9-32. 



supply for 139,000 men. Comparable in- 
creases in other overseas areas forced the 
War Department late in January 1942 to 
promulgate a modified system of supply for 
all theaters of operations. Food, gasoline, 
and oil would be shipped automatically 
without requisition by the ports of embarka- 
tion; clothing, equipage, and general sup- 
plies would, as in the past, be shipped only 
on requisition, but the requisitioning agency 
was now to recommend shipping priorities. 
During the greater part of 1942 the auto- 
matic supply of food, gasoline, and oil 
worked rather satisfactorily in the Hawaiian 
Department although shortages developed 
in some items and excesses in others. 6 

The sharp rise in the number of troops 
in the islands and the prospect of continuing 
increases for the next two or three years re- 
quired the abandonment of manual methods 
of warehousing at the Hawaiian Depot, the 
procurement of the latest materials-han- 
dling equipment, and the acquisition of ad- 
ditional storage space. Since materials-han- 
dling equipment was scarce in the United 
States, it was well into 1943 before depot 
requisitions could be filled. Meanwhile addi- 
tional storage space was obtained by leasing 
commercial warehouses in the Honolulu 
area and, as first-priority defense installa- 
tions were completed, by erection of tempo- 
rary structures. These structures were about 
100 feet wide and up to 550 feet long, con- 
siderably smaller than those in the zone of 
interior, that is, the United States, where 
standard warehouses averaged about 180 
feet in width and from 1,000 to 1,200 feet 
in length. Months elapsed before all the 
needed space was procured, and in the 

c (1) Ltr, AG 400 (1-17-42) MSC-D-M, 22 Jan 
42, sub: Sup of Overseas Theaters. (2) Ltr, CG 
HD to WD, 27 Jul 42, sub: Sup of Overseas Bases. 
ORB AFPAC AG 400.22. 

meantime open storage was employed for a 
good deal of the incoming flood of supplies. 
Despite the hazards to food and textiles 
from drenching rains, even the docks and 
paved streets of Honolulu were of necessity 
occasionally utilized as storage areas. 7 By 
the end of June 1943 covered storage space 
at the Hawaiian Depot had risen from 200,- 
000 to 500,000 square feet, or 150 percent, 
and open storage space from 8,000 to 395,- 
000 square feet, or 4,800 percent. Total 
space for all supplies except fresh food had 
leaped from 208,000 to 895,000 square feet, 
or 330 percent. Extensive though this in- 
crease was, it still did not equal the demand, 
for the QMC was then stocking a 105-day 
supply for 204,000 men, or an 8.5-fold in- 
crease over that on 7 December 1941. 

Storage at the Hawaiian Depot never be- 
came as efficient an operation as it did on 
the mainland. Not only were warehouses 
proportionately fewer in number; they 
were also widely scattered — partly because 
leased buildings were dispersed throughout 
the Honolulu area rather than concentrated 
in one place and partly because the danger 
of losing all supply of the same kind by 
bombing required storage of the same item 
in many different locations. This decentrali- 
zation of depot stocks inevitably caused 
longer hauls and more crosshauls. Though 
the relative closeness of Oahu to the main- 
land enabled the depot to obtain more ma- 
terials-handling equipment than did instal- 
lations at a greater distance, mechanical aids 
even here were never as numerous as in the 
zone of interior. But in spite of its deficien- 
cies the installation probably had better 
equipment and warehouses than did com- 

7 (1) QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 56-61. (2) Memo, 
QM for CofS HHD, 7 Jan 42. ORB AGF PAC AG 
463.7 (Jun 29-Apr 42) (Gasoline). 



parable Quartermaster establishments else- 
where in the Pacific. 8 

The Hawaiian Depot at first sent items 
requisitioned by field units to a few posts 
that distributed them to the proper units. 
Since these posts were concentrated about 
Honolulu, there was danger that a large 
part of the supplies directly earmarked for 
field organizations might be destroyed in air 
raids. Further complicating the distribution 
problem was the necessity of supplying 
troops at many small and scattered de- 
fensive works hastily built at a considerable 
distance from distributing agencies. Ob- 
viously, war conditions demanded greater 
dispersion of field stocks. 9 A zonal system 
of distribution was the answer to this prob- 
lem. Ten Quartermaster supply areas were 
established on Oahu, and within these areas 
centrally located supply points, each with 
its own zone of distribution, were set up. 
These points consolidated and submitted to 
the Hawaiian Depot requisitions of units 
within their boundaries and received and 
distributed the requisitioned supplies. The 
larger points served also as subdepots, which 
maintained reserve stocks of specifically as- 
signed items indispensable to field troops. 
In Area 9, for example, Schofield Barracks 
specialized in the reserve stockage of food, 
and Camp Malakole in that of clothing and 
general supplies. Points serving as subdepots 
for food stocks kept a 30-day store of non- 
perishable subsistence; those stocking cloth- 
ing and general supplies kept a 90-day store. 

S (1)QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 57-60. (2) Ltr, 
CG USAFICPA to CO Army Port and SvC, 25 Oct 
43, sub: Construction Policy. ORG AGF PAC AG 
600.1 (Projects, Jun 1 7-Feb 44). (3) Memo, 
TQMG for CG ASF, 14 Mar 45, sub: Tour of 
POA and SWPA. OQMG POA 319.25. 

"(1) HD Fwd Ech AdmO 1, 3 Jan 42, sub: 
Storage of Rations and Gasoline. (2) HD Fwd Ech 
AdmO 19, 19 Mar 42, sub: QM Sup Areas. ORB 
AGF PAC AG 400 (1942). 

There were also emergency distribution 
points. They differed from regular supply 
points in that they stocked reserves that 
could be issued only if the normal distribu- 
tion system broke down. Such reserves 
usually consisted of a 5-day supply of 
combat rations and a 5-day supply of 
gasoline. 10 

As troop strength outside Oahu rose in 
the late spring and early summer of 1942, 
the Hilo, Kauai, and Maui Depots were 
established. They served, respectively, the 
Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui Districts, which 
consisted mainly of the islands bearing these 
names. 11 The new installations furnished 
supplies within the limitations imposed by 
sharply curtailed interisland tranportation 
service. Some ships had been withdrawn 
from this service because of possible hostile 
attacks, and the remaining ships sailed only 
at irregular and unannounced dates. Lack 
of a fixed schedule caused an uneven flow of 
military supplies into the outlying islands, 
and the shortage of refrigerated vessels, or 
"reefers," made the supply of fresh food a 
particularly hard task so that rations were 
monotonous. Eventually, more frequent sail- 
ings, made possible by the lessening of se- 
rious danger from the Japanese, alleviated 
this problem. 12 

The Food Problem 

Since Hawaii was no more self-sustain- 
ing than England, the maintenance of an 
ample and varied food supply for both the 
military and the civilian population was the 

10 (1) AdmO 19, cited n. 9(2). (2) Memo, QM 
for CofS HHD, 7 Jan 42. ORB AGF PAC AG 463.7 
(Jun 29-Apr 42) (Gasoline). 

11 (1) HHD GO 92, 26 May 42, sub: Establish- 
ment of Kauai and Maui QM Depots. (2) HHD 
GO 129, Sec. II, 3 Aug 42, sub: Establishment of 
Hilo QM Depot. ORB AG GO. 

12 Rpt, IG Hq HSAC, 24 Sep 42, sub: The Ra- 
tion. ORB AGF AG 430.2. 



most important matter handled by the 
ODQM during the first six months of the 
war. For decades the Territory had pursued 
a specialized tropical economy that re- 
stricted agricultural production almost en- 
tirely to sugar and pineapples, the commod- 
ities with highest cash returns. Temperate- 
zcne products, the chief elements in the diet 
of the European and American segment of 
population; rice, the staple food of the 
Orientals; and feeds and forage for poultry 
and livestock — these were all grown in small 
quantities that failed by a wide margin to 
meet Hawaiian needs. 

The islands, as a whole, imported more 
than half their fresh fruits and vegetables, 
poultry, feeds, and cereals, a quarter of their 
meat, and a third of their dairy products. 
More than 90 percent of the rice, white 
potatoes, and canned vegetables, and 100 
percent of the flour consumed in the islands 
came from the United States and other out- 
side sources. Oahu, location of 60 percent of 
the Hawaiian population, heart of the pow- 
erful system of naval and military bases 
maintained by the United States, and the 
prime target of any foe attacking the islands, 
produced only about 20 percent of its food 
and depended more on imports than did 
the other islands. 11 Sugar and pineapples 
were the only commodities the peacetime 
Army obtained wholly from local produc- 
tion. Hawaii also furnished fairly large 
quantites of coffee and fish and small quan- 
tities of fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and 
meat. But the total value of imports from the 
United States was usually about six times 
that of food obtained from Hawaii. 14 

13 ( 1 ) DSCS Information Summary 1, 20 Mar 36, 
sub: Source of Food, HD. ORB AGF PAC AG 381. 
(2) Agricultural Outlook, VI (July 1941 ), 3-11. 

14 ( 1 ) Joint Defense Plan, HT, Estimate of the 
Situation, HD, 1937, pp. 27-33. (2) Hawaiian De- 
fense Project, Revision 1939, QM Annex, p 2. 
ORB AGF PAC AG Defense Plans. 

The development of diversified agricul- 
ture was handicapped in many ways. Since 
the turn of the century production of tem- 
perate-zone fruits and vegetables had been 
declining. Farmers were unable to make a 
profit commensurate with the time and labor 
expended, for cultivation of these commodi- 
ties required costly fertilizers and yielded 
smaller harvests than on the mainland. As 
large-scale, industrialized farming became 
more prevalent on the U.S. West Coast, 
Hawaiian producers were less and less 
able to compete successfully. The average 
grower of fruits and vegetables, usually Jap- 
anese, owned only about four acres and had 
an annual income of only about $500. Un- 
able to afford machinery, he was forced to 
use uneconomic hand methods. He was fur- 
ther hampered by the fact that the lands 
most suited to vegetables had passed into the 
possession of the large sugar and pineapple 
plantations, so that he was confined in the 
main to poor soil in regions of excessive rain- 
fall, where his crops were highly susceptible 
to insect infestation, plant diseases, and va- 
garies of the weather. 15 

The lopsided nature of Hawaiian agri- 
culture was a condition that the Army could 
not ignore, for it meant that the entire pop- 
ulation, military and civilian, might be 
starved by a complete or even partial block- 
ade. Though the armed forces under these 
circumstances for a time might be fed satis- 
factorily from their reserves, they could not 
maintain a protracted defense with a starv- 
ing people at their backs. Humanitarianism, 
if nothing else, would oblige them to share 
their stocks with the 420,000 civilians. Com- 

15 ( 1 ) Rpt, Ross H. Gast, A Suggested Plan for 
Sup Prod in Hawaii, 21 Nov 36, incl to ltr, Stanley 
C. Kennedy, Interisland Steam Navigation Co, 
to Maj Gen Hugh A. Drum, 27 Nov 36. (2) 
Ltr, Gen Drum to Stanley C. Kennedy, 1 Dec 36. 
Both in ORB AGF PAC AG 403. 



manding generals of the Hawaiian Depart- 
ment had therefore increasingly stressed the 
development of an emergency food program 
for application in a military crisis involving 

When the Department Service Command 
Section was established at Headquarters, 
Hawaiian Department (HHD), in August 
1935, with the responsibility of planning for 
civil mobilization in time of war, it was 
especially charged with the study of the food 
problem in the islands as a whole and on 
Oahu in particular. 10 The Service Com- 
mand collected facts pertinent to the pro- 
duction, conservation, and storage of food 
and conducted experiments showing that 
sweet potatoes, string beans, lima beans, 
Chinese cabbage, and peanuts could be 
grown satisfactorily. It determined that in 
a war crisis 25,000 acres constituted the 
minimum amount of land needed to make 
Oahu self-sufficient in food. 17 Even the 
availability of this acreage for cultivation, 
it warned, would not insure an adequate 
supply of provisions, for the islands ordinar- 
ily had on hand only small food stocks and 
several months would elapse before the 
emergency crops matured. This phase of the 
problem, the Service Command concluded, 
could best be handled by the creation of a 
large subsistence reserve. But this solution 
required more storage space than was pos- 
sessed by either the armed forces or the 
civilian economy. Cold-storage warehouses 
were particularly scarce, for the peacetime 
practice of sending perishable commodities 
direct from incoming ships to retail shops 
largely eliminated the need for such struc- 
tures. Even the Army had no space of its 

18 (1) HHD GO 9, 13 Jul 35, sub: HD SvC. 
(2) Supp to HHD GO 2, 1935, 2 Mar 36. ORB 

17 JC Pearl Harbor Hearings, Pt. 19, pp. 3107, 

own, relying almost wholly on the limited 
amount available commercially. 18 

As relations with Japan deteriorated in 

1940 and 1941, the Service Command fo- 
cused increasing attention on acquiring land 
and storage space in the event of war. Since 
land and the labor to till it would have to 
come from the domain of King Cane and 
Queen Pineapple, the Service Command 
encouraged planters to develop emergency 
programs based on its conception of future 
needs. Late in 1940 the Hawaiian Sugar 
Planters' Association, which often exercised 
a decisive voice in Territorial affairs, started 
intensive work on such a program. It en- 
listed the co-operation of the pineapple 
growers as well as the Army and in October 

1941 completed a plan that provided for the 
restriction of emergency crops in Oahu to 
four specified plantations, which, since the 
coastal areas might well be in a combat 
zone, were all located in the middle of the 
island. The plan also indicated the tentative 
acreage and the crops allotted to each 
plantation. 19 

To speed creation of food reserves was 
another matter of immediate interest to the 
Service Command. Speaking at an Army 
Day celebration on 6 April 1941, Lt. Gen. 
Walter C. Short, Commanding General, 
Hawaiian Department, warned the Hawai- 
ian people of the dangerous status of their 
food supply and recommended that women 
buy canned products for storage in their 
pantries. The press publicized this sugges- 
tion, the public responded, and retail sales 
of food rose about 20 percent during the 
following month. Notwithstanding that 
buying subsequently declined, the possible 
necessity of large-scale home storage had 

18 Ltr, CG HD to Oahu Ice and Cold Storage 
Co, 31 Jul 41. ORB AGF PAC 430. 

19 JC Pearl Harbor Hearings, Pt. 18, Exhibit 153. 


been firmly implanted in the public mind. 20 
General Short gave strong support to the 
Territorial Committee on Food Storage, 
which was trying to create a central reserve 
for the civilian population. 21 In the spring of 
1941 this committee asked the Office for 
Emergency Management in Washington to 
buy two million dollars' worth of rice, flour, 
canned milk, fats, and oil, the essential com- 
modities imported in the largest volume, but 
its request was rejected because there were 
not enough warehouses in Oahu to store 
such sizable purchases. In September the 
Bureau of the Budget disapproved a pro- 
posed federal appropriation that provided 
for the construction or lease of warehouses 
and the stocking of feed for poultry and 
livestock and of food for human beings. 22 
Efforts to secure funds for the purchase and 
storage of seeds likewise failed. Despite the 
fact the U.S. Senate in May 1940 passed a 
bill providing for such purchases and for the 
construction of warehouses to store them, 
Congress never took any further action. 23 

During 1941 the Hawaiian Department 
utilized its procuring authority to give "in- 
fant industry protection" to the cultivation 
of potatoes. Hawaiian potatoes cost almost 
40 percent more than the mainland variety 
but on General Short's request The Quar- 
termaster General approved their purchase. 
Short justified the payment of the higher 
price as a defense measure that would help 
make Hawaii self-sufficient. Even this price, 
he claimed, barely enabled the sugar plant- 

* Ibid, Exhibit 133. 

21 (1) JC Pearl Harbor Hearings, p. 3366. (2) 
Mid-Pac Hist, Pt. VII, p. 1264. 

" JC Pearl Harbor Hearings, Exhibit 133. 

- :! (1) S. Rpt 1694, 76th Cong., 3d Sess., Seed 
Supply for Production of Food for Hawaii. (2) 
Congressional Record, Vol. 86, Pt. 7, pp. 7099- 


ers, who raised most of the potatoes, to 
avoid monetary loss. 24 

The Office of Food Control 

Despite extensive planning, civilian food 
reserves on the day of Pearl Harbor were 
little larger than if there had been no plans 
at all. Limited production of a few vegeta- 
bles had been stimulated, and some sub- 
sistence had been stored in housewives' pan- 
tries. But on Oahu an island-wide inventory 
on 9 December showed only a meager 37- 
day food supply for the 255,000 civilians. 
Stocks of rice and potatoes would last for 
only fifteen days. There were, it is true, ap- 
proximately 113,000 cattle, equivalent to a 
1 52-day supply, but wholesale slaughter was 
undesirable because it would leave the 
island without means of replenishing the 
herds. 25 The expansion of civilian reserves 
was complicated by the priority given the 
accumulation of a 70-day supply for 150,- 
000 soldiers and by the withdrawal of the 
largest freighters from the Hawaiian run to 
supply the forces in Australia and the South 
Pacific. 20 Since civilian food would be scarce 
for at least some months, General Short, as 
Military Governor of the Territory, a posi- 
tion that he assumed on the proclamation of 
martial law on 7 December, created the 
Office of Food Control ( OFC ) to supervise 
the production, storage, price, and distribu- 
tion of foods, feeds, forage, and seeds. 
Only naval stocks were exempt from OFC 
supervision. 27 

Just before he was relieved from the com- 
mand of the Hawaiian Department in mid- 
December, Short also appointed an Ad- 

-' Ltr, CG HD to TAG, 4 Apr 41, sub: Authority 
to Buy Irish Potatoes. ORB AGF PAC AG 430. 
25 JC Pearl Harbor Hearings, Pt. 18, p. 3115. 
-"Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 1336, 1358. 
" QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 33-38. 



ministrator of Crop Production, who named 
four co-ordinators, one for each of the main 
islands — Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. 2 * 
These appointments were all made with a 
view to the possible implementation of the 
plan for emergency vegetable production. 
When Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons suc- 
ceeded Short, he decided that sugar and 
pineapple land would not be used for the 
cultivation of vegetables. He based his de- 
cision mainly upon faith in the continued 
even if limited availability of shipping and 
upon the build-up, already under way, of 
civilian reserves. He was influenced, too, bv 
the possibility of converting sugar into motor 
fuel in Hawaii in case of need. 29 

The burden of insuring an adequate food 
supply for civilians thus fell upon the newly 
established OFC. During December and 
January Colonel White acted as chief tech- 
nical adviser to this office. In addition he 
was charged specifically with the determina- 
tion of civilian requirements and the prepa- 
ration of a civilian rationing program. 30 
Though under martial law the OFC had un- 
limited authority over the distribution of 
food, it at first used this power sparingly. 
But it was deeply interested in the creation 
of an ample reserve. A few days after Pearl 
Harbor President Roosevelt allocated $10,- 
000,000 from his emergency funds for such 
a reserve, and late in the month Congress 
approved the establishment of a $35,000,- 
000 revolving fund. The reserve was to con- 
sist of a six-month supply of nonperishables 
and a thirty-day supply of perishables. The 
Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation 
(FSCC) acted as buying agent and, by 
mid-December, had already begun to as- 

'" Honolulu Advertiser, December 17, 1941, p. 1. 

■'Ibid., January 9, 1942, p. 7; March 19, 1942, 
p. 2. 

30 Ibid., January 28, 1942, p. 6 ; January 29, 1942, 
p. 3. 

semble stocks for movement to Hawaii. 
The OFC advised the FSCC concerning 
shipping priorities and arranged for stor- 
age of the reserve. 31 

On 26 January 1942 Colonel White be- 
came Director of OFC with full responsi- 
bility for the procurement and distribution 
of both Army and civilian subsistence stocks. 
Up to this time the OFC had set up neither 
a rationing nor a price control system. But 
the steadily growing cost of food confronted 
White with a thorny problem that could no 
longer be ignored. Prices had begun to rise 
with the buying panic of 9 December and 
in Honolulu by late January had increased 
by 10 to 40 percent. Rice was one of several 
staples that showed disturbingly large ad- 
vances. Early efforts to check profiteering 
had stipulated simply that retailers pub- 
licly display lists of their prices. The day 
after White became Director, OFC termed 
this system a failure and fixed top retail 
charges for rice, potatoes, fish, and cheese 
sold on Oahu. Shortly afterwards it began 
to publish in the Honolulu newspapers no- 
tices of permissible prices for a steadily 
lengthening list of foods. As OFC had no 
police staff, enforcement of the published 
charges hinged almost entirely upon the 
voluntary co-operation of merchants and 
the willingness of buyers to report viola- 
tions. 32 

Meanwhile inflationary forces were daily 
becoming more powerful on Oahu. As reef- 
ers departed from the West Coast of the 
United States only at irregular intervals, 
perishable commodities were alternately 

: " ( 1 ) Office of Price Administration in Region 
IX, Activities of the U.S. Office of Price Administra- 
tion in the Territory of Hawaii (Honolulu, 1944). 
In Library of Congress. (2) Honolulu Advertiser, 
January 29, 1942, pp. 2, 9; February 18, 1942, 
p. 10. 

32 Honolulu Advertiser, January 28, 1942, p. 1. 



plentiful and scarce. To eliminate these os- 
cillations, Colonel White set up shipping 
priorities, but shortages and surpluses con- 
tinued to prevail. Actually, Oahu suffered 
less from such fluctuations than did the out- 
lying islands that relied on very infrequent 
sailings from Honolulu for the bulk of their 
fresh food. Apart from the recurrent short- 
ages of fruit and vegetables, forces pushing 
prices upward were strongest on Oahu. 
Labor had been scarce in the Honolulu 
area, and the influx of highly paid workers 
that started a year before Pearl Harbor 
was now accelerated by the vastly expanded 
Army and Navy building program. More- 
over, since wages were not frozen, they rose 
constantly as the armed forces used every 
feasible incentive to obtain more and more 
workers from the other islands and from the 
mainland. The bulging bankrolls of these 
workers plus those of the tens of thousands 
of soldiers and sailors swarming into the is- 
land exerted a powerful inflationary pres- 
sure that made impossible the strict enforce- 
ment of maximum retail prices. 33 

By mid-February some retailers were al- 
ready asking more than permitted maxima. 
In justification of their action they pointed 
out that, though they were forbidden to ask 
more than ceiling prices, wholesalers were 
not regulated at all and increased their 
charges at will regardless of the effect on re- 
tail costs. 34 To curb continued profiteering, 
the OFC promulgated a new regulation on 
2 1 February that for the first time put teeth 
into its orders by making violators liable to 
suspension or revocation of their licenses, a 
$1,000 fine or one year in prison. 35 In mid- 
March, the soaring prices of fresh fruits and 

M OPA, OPA in Hawaii, pp. 3, 6-7, 14-17. 

34 Honolulu Advertiser, January 30, 1942, p. 1; 
February 8, 1942, p. 1 ; February 16, 1942, p. 1. 

33 Ibid.. February 21, 1942, p. 2; February 22, 
1942, p. 17. 

vegetables, currently in short supply, caused 
Colonel White to establish wholesale as well 
as retail ceilings for many perishable com- 
modities. To some extent at least he thus met 
retailers' demands for the control of whole- 
sale charges. 36 

Price regulation alone, no matter how 
fair, was a mere expedient. The best method 
of dealing with the recurrent scarcities was 
to increase the supply. Of this fact Colonel 
White was well aware. Insofar as the prob- 
lem resulted from the shortage of reefers, he 
could do little except point out the de- 
ficiency. But insofar as it sprang from re- 
stricted cold-storage space on Oahu, he 
could take action since he was Co-ordinator 
of Cold Storage as well as Director of Food 
Control. 37 As co-ordinator, he took over 
commercial ice plants and refrigerated ware- 
houses and administered them, along with 
Army space, as a unit. He regulated the im- 
portation of perishables in line with the 
availability of refrigerated space, and classi- 
fied and stored fresh foods according to pri- 
orities that gave the highest ratings to meat 
and other products that spoil easily, and the 
lowest rating to potatoes, onions, and other 
commodities less subject to rapid deteriora- 
tion. In order to end nonessential use of 
space, he stopped completely the storage of 
beer, syrup, and dried fish and forbade all 
speculative and long-term storage. Since the 
enforcement of these regulations freed more 
and more space for essential items, importa- 
tion of fresh food was increased. 38 

While perishable commodities became 
available in increasing quantities, the civil- 
ian supply fluctuated considerably and 
never quite equaled the prewar average. 
This development was attributable to sev- 

Ibid., March 20, 1942, p. 1. 
Ibid., December 28, 1941, p. 10. 
QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 35-36. 



eral factors. One, as already pointed out, 
was the absence of a large cold-storage build- 
ing program. Another was the higher pri- 
ority given to the stockage and withdrawal 
of Army supplies. A third, and the most im- 
portant of all, was the steady growth of mil- 
itary cold-storage requirements as the num- 
ber of troops in the archipelago and other 
mid-Pacific islands multiplied. The shortage 
of perishables in Hawaii would have been 
alleviated had it been possible to increase 
interisland shipping and make public an- 
nouncement of anticipated arrivals at and 
departures from the ports of outlying islands 
that at certain seasons had a surplus of some 
meats and vegetables. But the prior claims 
of other Pacific areas and the shortage of 
reefers made the allocation of enough ves- 
sels impossible, and sailing schedules could 
not be publicized because this information 
might be conveyed to the enemy. 39 Because 
adequate cold-storage resources were lack- 
ing on the islands, the limited number of 
ships meant that substantial quantities of 
exportable surplus spoiled; the unavaila- 
bility of sailing schedules meant that insuf- 
ficient time was afforded farmers to prepare 
commodities for shipment after a Honolulu- 
bound vessel was known to be in port. 40 

Despite sporadic shortages of meat, but- 
ter, and fresh fruits and vegetables, Hawaii 
did not suffer from lack of food, for nonper- 
ishable provisions were always supplied in 
ample quantities. By mid-February 1942, in 
fact, a six-month supply of many commodi- 
ties was already on hand. 41 Reserves con- 
tinued to grow, and by the end of the year 
danger of a grave scarcity had passed. As 

" Routing Slip, CG HSOS to P&TD HD, 25 Nov 
42, sub: Freight Trans from Outer Islands. ORB 
AGF PAC AG 080 (Hawaiian Shipping Co). 

40 Honolulu Advertiser, January 20, 1942, p. 1; 
January 22, 1942, p. 1 ; March 20, 1942, p. 12. 

41 Ibid., February 18, 1942, p. 10. 

the stock of a food item approached or ex- 
ceeded a six-month supply, part of it was 
distributed through wholesalers and re- 
placed by purchases from the mainland. A 
six-month supply was thus constantly in 
storage. 42 

After fear of a critical food shortage began 
to wane in the spring of 1942, the OFC be- 
came more and more an agency whose main 
function was price regulation, a responsi- 
bility that involved the enforcement, by mil- 
itary officers, of military regulations appli- 
cable to civilians. General Emmons felt that 
such authority was contrary to democratic 
concepts of the proper relationship between 
the Army and the civil population. It should, 
he thought, be reduced to a minimum, par- 
ticularly since the Territorial press and Ha- 
waiian merchants were already asking for 
less military control. Quite apart from these 
considerations, the Governor believed that 
sound administration demanded that offi- 
cers devote their attention to military rather 
than civil affairs. Aware that more rather 
than less price regulation was probably in- 
escapable under existing conditions, the 
Governor nonetheless hoped that it could 
be carried out under civilian supervision. 43 

His first step toward achieving this ob- 
jective was taken in late May, when, at his 
request, the Office of Price Administration 
(OPA) sent several representatives from 
the United States to set up an essentially 
civilian Price Control Section in the Office 
of the Military Governor. For the time 
being, however, the regulation of food prices 
remained a function of the OFC. 44 In Oc- 
tober this responsibility was shifted to the 

42 Ltr, CofT to CG SFPE, 14 Aug 43, sub: Ha- 
waiian Foodstuff Sup Level. ASF File, AGO. 

43 OPA, OPA in Hawaii, pp. 21-22. 

44 (1) Rad, CG HD to CG SOS, 16 May 42. 
(2) Memo, MG TH for all Sees, 2 Jun 42. ORB 
AGF PAC AG 104.12. 



Price Control Section. When this action was 
followed in March 1943 by the transfer of 
control over foods, feeds, and agricultural 
seeds to the Director of Civilian Defense, the 
role of the Hawaiian Department Quar- 
termaster in civilian food supply was termi- 
nated. 45 

The OFC never attained the importance 
it would have had if Hawaii had been block- 
aded by sea, but it nonetheless performed an 
essential task. Its operations, involving a 
far-reaching responsibility for the food sup- 
ply of a friendly population that was vir- 
tually without precedent in Army history, 
showed that under comparable circum- 
stances in the future it would be necessary 
to anticipate such problems as rationing 
and price control. Prewar planners had been 
so absorbed with schemes for shifting the 
basis of agricultural production from sugar 
and pineapples to fruits and vegetables that 
these matters had received little attention. 
In view of the difficulty of interisland com- 
munication, strategic planners should per- 
haps also have given more study to the food 
problems of the outlying islands. 

Reaction to Japanese Victories, 
December 1941-May 1942 

While the U.S. Army was strengthening 
its position in the great mid-Pacific outpost 
of Hawaii and making its brave but futile 
stand in the Philippines, the Japanese were 
fast transforming their grandiose scheme for 
a Nipponese-dominated "Greater East 
Asia" into a reality. At the time of Pearl 
Harbor they held in China the rich north- 
eastern provinces, the large coastal cities, 
and the fertile Yangtse Valley. In the next 
six months they added to these conquests 
southeast Asia, Java, Sumatra, the Ameri- 

" Honolulu Advertiser, March 10, 1943, p. 5. 

can bases at Wake Island and Guam, the 
strategically located Australian outpost of 
Rabaul in New Britain, and numerous small 
islands in the south and central Pacific that 
could serve as bases for the defense of their 
acquisitions and as springboards for further 

To halt the southward thrust of the Jap- 
anese the Allies had to create a safe supply 
line from the United States to Australia and 
New Zealand, the only important sources 
of supply below the equator. Such a line, in 
turn, required the establishment of bases 
on the larger and more strategically located 
island groups that studded the central Pa- 
cific from Hawaii south to the British do- 
minions. In the opening months of 1942, 
therefore, American ground and air forces, 
often in conjunction with Allied troops, oc- 
cupied and transformed New Caledonia, 
the Fijis, Samoa, and other islands into air 
and supply bases. In Australia and New 
Zealand they formed the nuclei of organi- 
zations intended to develop these countries 
into major centers of logistical support for 
offensive operations aimed at driving the 
Nipponese from their recent conquests. 

Organization of Areas 
in the Pacific Theater 

The wide geographical sweep of the war 
against Japan created so many tactical, ad- 
ministrative, and logistical problems that 
two major territorial commands, the South- 
west Pacific Area and the Pacific Ocean 
Areas, were established to handle them. The 
Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) embraced 
Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines, the 
Netherlands Indies except Sumatra, the 
South China Sea, and the Gulf of Siam, all 
of which were essential steppingstones on 
the southern road to Tokyo and all of 
which, except Australia and southern New 


R. i/ohnsione 

MAP 1 

Guinea, early fell into Japanese hands. The 
post of Supreme Commander, Southwest 
Pacific Area (CINCSWPA), was given to 
General MacArthur. The geographically 
vaster Pacific Ocean Areas (POA) included 
most of the Pacific. {Map 1) It embraced 
three subordinate areas — the South, Cen- 
tral, and North Pacific Areas. The South Pa- 
cific Area (SPA) extended below the equa- 
tor, east of the Southwest Pacific Area and 
west of longitude 110° west, and comprised 
New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the 
Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, and New Hebrides 
Islands — roughly Polynesia with the impor- 

tant exception of Hawaii. The Central Pa- 
cific Area ( CPA ) , stretching from the equa- 
tor to latitude 42° north, included the 
Gilberts, Marshalls, Carolines, and Mari- 
anas in addition to Hawaii and most of the 
Japanese home islands. The North Pacific 
Area (NPA) covered the whole Pacific 
above latitude 42° north. Admiral Chester 
W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pa- 
cific Fleet (CINCPAC), served as Com- 
mander in Chief of the Allied Forces in the 
Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA). He 
commanded the Central and North Pacific 
Areas directly from his Pearl Harbor head- 



quarters and the South Pacific Area 
through a subordinate. Both Admiral 
Nimitz and General Mac Arthur were re- 
sponsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 
Washington. 40 

Similar defensive and offensive missions 
were assigned to the Southwest Pacific Area 
and the Pacific Ocean Areas. Both com- 
mands were to hold those islands that were 
essential to sea and air communication with 
the United States, to the defense of North 
America, and to the launching of operations 
against the Japanese by sea, air, and land. 
They were both to prepare and conduct 
amphibious offensives. In these areas, as in 
all overseas theaters, the primary mission 
of the QMC was to support combat opera- 
tions by furnishing the supplies and services 
for which it was responsible. 

Quartermaster Problems in Australia 
and New Zealand 

In carrying out its mission in the South- 
west Pacific Area, the QMC, like other tech- 
nical services, used Australia as its first great 
supply base. On that continent from the 
beginning of 1942 to the close of 1943 were 
concentrated a major part of the supply ac- 
tivities of the command. Though New 
Guinea became the chief base in 1944 and 
was replaced in turn by the Philippines at 
the beginning of 1945, the southern conti- 
nent remained to the very end a substantial 
supplier and distributor of essential mili- 
tary items. To the QMC in particular Aus- 
tralia was important, for the Corps procured 
a larger proportion of its supplies in that 
country than did any other technical service. 
It indeed used that dominion as a zone of 
interior for the Southwest Pacific in much 

"John Miller, jr., Guadalcanal: The First Of- 
WAR II (Washington, 1949), pp. 2-3. 

the same fashion as it did the United States 
for overseas theaters in general. 47 

At the outset many problems had to be 
solved before Australian supply potential- 
ities could be utilized effectively. Internal 
distribution was impeded by long distances, 
inadequate railways and highways, and the 
shortage of coasters. Australian industry, 
moreover, was not highly developed. Many 
manufactured items were either not procur- 
able at all or procurable only after indus- 
trial plants had been converted to the pro- 
duction of new articles. Primarily, Australia 
was an agricultural and a grazing land, but 
even in the procurement of food there were 
bothersome problems. Meat and grain prod- 
ucts, and fruits and vegetables, while ob- 
tainable in considerable quantities, were not 
always obtainable in the quantity and the 
variety needed by the U.S. Army. 48 Vege- 
table production was conducted almost en- 
tirely on small, insufficiently mechanized 
truck farms and was concentrated near the 
populous southeastern cities, far from the 
areas where many American troops were 
first stationed and even farther from New 
Guinea. Fruit and vegetable canning and 
dehydration, essential to the feeding of large 
field forces, were both in a rudimentary 
stage of development. 

The widespread shortage of manpower 
hampered efforts to increase production. Of 
the 7,000,000 people living in Australia, ap- 
proximately 2,300,000 were in civilian occu- 
pations and 1,000,000 were in the armed 
services. The extent of the shortage of labor 

17 Rpt, Brig Gen Hugh B. Hester, 20 Jul 45, 
sub: Proc in Australia (hereafter cited as the 
Hester Report), 1942-30 Jun 45, Apps. OQMG 
SWPA 319.1. 

48 (1 ) Rpt, Lt Col Lea B. Reed, IGD, 19 Jul 42, 
sub: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Base Sees 1, 
2, and 3. ORB AFWESPAC QM 333.1. (2) E. 
Ronald Walker, The Australian Economy in War 
and Reconstruction (New York: Oxford Univer- 
sity Press, 1947), pp. 209-10. 



for new or expanding war industries is indi- 
cated by the fact that at the close of 1942, 
roughly 85 percent of the men, 26 percent 
of the women, and 30 percent of the farm 
population were either enlisted in the armed 
services or already engaged in war indus- 
tries. Available labor consisted almost wholly 
of men over military age, of the physically 
handicapped, and of women. Farmers and 
manufacturers alike had trouble in securing 
workers. As industry and agriculture ex- 
panded, some labor was redistributed in line 
with shifting wartime needs, and certain 
types of artisans were released from the 
Australian armed services. But labor none- 
theless remained scarce. 49 

Transportation, which also presented 
knotty problems, continued during the first 
four months of the war to be a responsi- 
bility of the QMC. That service alone was 
charged with the movement of troops, sup- 
plies, and equipment by land and by sea. 
In early March the War Department trans- 
ferred this responsibility to a Transportation 
Division in Headquarters, Services of Sup- 
ply, in Washington, and in mid-April USA- 
FIA General Order No. 40 implemented 
this decision in the Southwest Pacific Area 
by shifting transportation functions in that 
command to a new agency, the Transporta- 
tion Service. 5 " But until this directive was 
issued, and at a few bases and in some mili- 
tary organizations for weeks and even 

"(1) Walker, Australian Economy, pp. 68-70, 
74-77, 114, 283-320. (2) Mtg, Allied Sup Council, 
15 Jun 43. ORB AFPAC Allied Sup Council. 

r "' (1) WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: WD Reor- 
ganizations. (2) USAFIA GO 40, 15 Apr 42, sub: 
Trans Svc USAFIA. (3) USASOS Regulation 20- 
60, 14 Sep 42, sub: Trans of Sups. The QMC re- 
tained responsibility for the organization and train- 
ing of military truck drivers until after the close 
of the war. There were many Quartermaster truck 
companies, but whether these units operated under 
the direction of the QMC or of the Transportation 
Corps, which emerged in July 1942, was in practice 
a matter for theater and even organization decision. 

months afterwards, Quartermaster officers 
carried out regular transportation func- 
tions. 51 

During its period of exclusive responsi- 
bility for transportation activities, the QMC 
busied itself with plans for the military uti- 
lization of the Australian railway system. 
That system was in general incapable of 
swift distribution of supplies. It had origi- 
nally been built and developed by the six 
Australian states to serve state rather than 
national needs. This fact accounted for the 
system's most serious shortcoming — five dif- 
ferent gauges. These varying gauges made 
long-distance shipments impossible without 
unloading and reloading, occasionally three 
or four times. Traffic repeatedly became 
congested; in one instance nearly 20,000 
tons of freight were stalled on sidings be- 
tween Newcastle and Brisbane. Delays were 
caused also by the lack of motor vehicles for 
moving accumulated traffic, by the shortage 
of cranes and other materials-handling 
equipment, and by the difficulty of obtaining 
workers for prompt handling of freight by 
manual means. The delivery of fresh pro- 
visions in good condition was particularly 
difficult, for Australia had developed no na- 
tional system of distributing perishables and 
had few refrigerator cars. Fresh produce in 
consequence deteriorated rapidly. 52 

01 The Quartermaster, Sixth Army, handled all 
transportation activities except shipping movements 
until 1 August 1944, when the Transportation Sec- 
tion, Sixth Army, was activated. He co-ordinated 
loading and discharging operations involving Sixth 
Army shipping and supervised all motor transport 
activities. The G-3 Section worked out shipping 
requirements for each operation and requested the 
needed ships from General Headquarters, South- 
west Pacific Area. Brig Gen Charles R. Lehner, 
History of the Quartermaster Section, Sixth Army, 
p. 9. 

52 ( 1 ) Rpt, Capt Frank A. Vanderhp, Jr., n. d., 
sub: Trip to Darwin, 28 Mar-8 Apr 42. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 333.1. (2) Ltr, Dir of Proc to 
CG USASOS, 30 Sep 44, sub: Proc of Subs. ORB 



Apart from the absence of a single coun- 
try-wide gauge, the railway system had other 
weaknesses. Grading was poor; there were 
not enough sidings, yards, workshops, or 
water supply points; and signaling was done 
mostly by hand. Rolling stock was designed 
to carry loads far below the American 
standard. Boxcars carried only from about 
8 to 15 tons. Australian trains hauled only 
about 500 tons, as compared with the 4,000 
or more tons sometimes handled in the 
United States, and had an average speed of 
15 to 18 miles an hour. The lack of a re- 
serve pool of serviceable locomotives and 
freight cars further retarded movements. 53 
Finally, there were not enough lines to serve 
all militarily important areas. Northern Aus- 
tralia, strategically significant early in 1942 
as the probable initial objective of any at- 
tempted invasion, had but a single railroad, 
running south 300 miles from Darwin to 
Birdum, with a gap of 650 miles between it 
and the terminus of the central system start- 
ing at Port Augusta on the south coast. Dar- 
win was thus almost isolated from the rest 
of the country. 54 

So limited was the carrying capacity of 
the rail system that it could not deliver 
promptly all the supplies required by mili- 
tary installations. In April 1942 the main 
line of the Queensland system, running 
along the east coast from Brisbane to Cairns, 
had a daily capacity of only 1,000 tons and 
required twenty days to move a single di- 
vision of 15,000 men and their supplies. The 
maximum capacity of the Trans-Australian 
Railway, connecting Melbourne and Perth, 
was a mere 400 tons a day. Only in Victoria 
and New South Wales, the heart of indus- 
trial Australia, did freight-hauling capacity 

: * Rpt, Vandcrlip, cited n. 52 ( 1 ) . 
,4 Mtg, Allied Sup Council, 13 Jul 42. ORB 
AFPAC Allied Sup Council. 

approach military requirements. Here two 
lines, capable of carrying 5,200 tons a day, 
ran north to Brisbane, but they could not 
be devoted exclusively to military transpor- 
tation for more than a few days at a time 
without crippling the economic life of this 
rich region upon which the armed services 
depended for coal, steel, munitions, textiles, 
and food. 55 

Motor roads, though compensating in 
part for railway shortcomings, were neither 
good enough nor well enough distributed to 
handle military traffic satisfactorily. Only 
in heavily populated southern and south- 
eastern Australia, where railways were most 
efficient and improved highways least 
needed, could roads carry a dense traffic. 
Elsewhere they were mostly of a dirt type 
that swiftly disintegrated under the heavy 
loads that had to be hauled to American 
troops stationed at long distances — often 
several hundred miles — from railways. 56 
The shortage of suitable trucks further 
hampered motor transport. 

In line with its original mission, the QMC 
at the outset had responsibility for the pro- 
curement, distribution, and maintenance of 
motor vehicles and their parts and retained 
these functions until 1 August 1942, when 
they were shifted to the Chief Ordnance 
Officer. 57 At first the Corps could obtain 
few vehicles from the United States and 
could not use many Australian trucks, for 
they were in general small, few in number, 

58 Rpt, n. s., 17 Jul 42, sub: Australian Reserves, 
App. to Mtg, Allied Sup Council, 13 Jul 42. ORB 
AFPAC Sup Council. 

M Lecture, Lt Col George Sutton, Australian 
Mil Mission, 23 Aug 42, sub: Australian Conditions. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25 (Misc Data). 

" (1) WD Cir 245, 24 Jul 42, sub: Transfer of 
MT Activities. (2) Erna Risch, The Quartermas- 
ter Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services, 
(Washington, 1953), Vol. I, pp. 19-22. 



and usually more than five years old. Most 
of these trucks, moreover, had power on only 
one axle, making it impossible to use them 
in rough country where American two- and 
three-axle-drive trucks could move easily. 
Throughout 1942, however, the U.S. forces 
were obliged to depend to a considerable ex- 
tent on locally produced vehicles. 58 

During this period the Corps had prac- 
tically no means of storing motor vehicles 
and their parts or of assembling the vehicles 
that arrived from the United States unas- 
sembled or only partly assembled. Nor did 
it have more than a few trained men capa- 
ble of repairing trucks. It therefore nego- 
tiated contracts with the Australian 
branches of the American automobile com- 
panies for the performance of these essential 
tasks in the main cities of that country. An 
interesting feature of these arrangements 
was the handling of the problem of motor 
parts. Since these items were then very 
scarce, the QMC set up parts depots 
in conjunction with General Motors at 
Melbourne, Chrysler at Sydney, and 
Ford at Brisbane. Before these depots 
were established, it had often been neces- 
sary to dump parts in vacant lots at the port 
cities where, obviously, they could not be 
properly handled. Once the parts were con- 
centrated in the new depots, they were clas- 
sified and stored by item and forwarded to 
requisitioning units. In an effort to provide 
the means of quickly repairing broken-down 
vehicles at remote points, even commercial 
airlines were utilized to speed the delivery 
of the necessary spare parts. Generally 
speaking, the three parts depots pointed the 
way to a solution of the spare parts prob- 
blem — a problem that throughout the war 


58 Mastcrson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 688, 

plagued all technical services issuing me- 
chanical equipment. 59 

Because of the inadequacies of rail and 
highway transportation, the Army resorted 
to water transportation as much as possible. 
Only at the very outset, when sea lanes were 
still unsafe, did it ship most of its supplies 
by land. 60 Generally speaking, the eastern 
ports, despite the shortage of coasters, 
formed the main supply centers until the 
northward drive of the Allied forces gave 
them fairly satisfactory bases in New 
Guinea and the Philippines. The loading, 
discharge, and storage of cargoes at Aus- 
tralian ports became a hectic process early 
in the war because of the shortage of cranes, 
tractors, trailers, fork-lift trucks, and other 
materials-handling equipment, and the re- 
luctance of the Commonwealth to relax 
long-established regulations governing the 
hours, wages, and employment of port la- 
borers who clung to peacetime practices 
that slowed supply operations. Many of 
these laborers refused to work in the rain or 
handle refrigerated food and many other 
types of cargo. They objected, with some 
success, to the utilization of mechanical 
equipment. At times strikes obliged the 
Army to use service and even combat troops 
for discharging ships, a measure that stirred 
the resentment of the stevedoring companies 
and the longshoremen. Even if troops were 
not so employed, they sometimes had to be 
held in reserve for use if it rained during the 
loading or discharge of badly needed cargo. 

The speed and efficiency of handling op- 
erations also suffered from the large pro- 

5! '(1) QM SWPA History, I, 18-21. (2) 
USAFIA Memo 160, 14 Jul 42, sub: Distr of Motor 

"" Personal Ltr, Col Ross G. Hoyt, to Maj George 
M. Dietz, 7 Jan 42. DRB AGO Opns Rpts, Material 
Relating to USAFIA History. 

STORAGE FACILITIES IN AUSTRALIA were at a premium, and buildings such as 
the small warehouse (shown above) were utilized until temporary "igloo" type warehouses (below) 
could be constructed. 



portion of old and physically unfit men 
among port laborers and from the high rate 
of absenteeism, which averaged as much as 
1 8 percent at Townsville. Since double and 
triple rates of pay were given for week-end 
work, some longshoremen put in an ap- 
pearance only on Saturdays and Sundays. 
So common did this practice become that 
the Commonwealth, with the concurrence 
of the U.S. Army, finally stopped all week- 
end dock operations. Longshoremen, as a 
group, it was estimated, handled only 6 to 
10 tons per gang per hour in early 1943 in 
contrast to the 18 to 25 tons handled by 
gangs of American soldiers. In the follow- 
ing two years the dock workers' average de- 
clined by about a third. 61 The Quartermas- 
ter Corps was concerned with these 
unfavorable port conditions not only be- 
cause it had for a time direct responsibility 
for water transportation but also because its 
ability to maintain adequate stocks and to 
distribute supplies and equipment promptly 
and equitably, like that of other technical 
services, depended to a considerable degree 
upon speedy handling of cargoes. 

Like transportation operations, storage 
operations had many adverse conditions to 
contend with. When U.S. forces first ar- 
rived, private storage space was almost 
completely filled. Wool warehouses were 
almost the only type of commercial storage 
available for lease, and they were available 
only until the new wool season opened in 
August and September. In the port cities 
the Australian Army had taken over most 
of the storage places not needed for mer- 
cantile purposes. In the interior, especially 

01 (1) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 
497-504. (2) Rpt, Deputy Dir Storage Div ASF, 
29 Oct 44, sub: Sup Opns in SWPA. ORB ABCOM 
AG Supplies. 

at change-of-gauge points, space was even 
scarcer. From the outset, therefore, the 
problem of future storage for ever increas- 
ing military stocks had to be faced. Finally, 
in 1943 an extensive building program was 
undertaken to meet American storage re- 
quirements, and a substantial number of 
temporary structures were built. 62 Storage 
operations were much less mechanized than 
those in the United States, and modern 
materials-handling equipment was slow in 
arriving from the zone of interior. Quarter- 
master warehousing, though better than 
elsewhere in the Southwest Pacific Area, 
never attained as high a degree of efficiency 
as it did at home. 63 

In Australia the U.S. Army had to ad- 
just its operations to a new political as well 
as a new economic scene. While the Com- 
monwealth Government was eager to help 
supply the American forces, it quite natu- 
rally gave prior consideration to its own 
armed services and its own citizens. As a 
member state of the British Commonwealth 
of Nations, it exported substantial quantities 
of supplies to the United Kingdom. It of 
course hoped to continue as extensive an 
export trade as possible. Since all local 
procurement and much distribution of 
American supplies had to be carried out 
through Australian agencies and in con- 
formance with Australian policies, the U.S. 
Army set up special bodies and procedures 
to co-ordinate the relations between its own 

"(1) Memo, CQM for EngrO USASOS, 17 
Apr 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 633. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to CG Base Sec 3, 19 Jun 43, sub: Ware- 
house Construction. ORB ABCOM P&C 633. 

63 ( 1 ) Memo, Gen Svc Div (Warehousing Br) for 
Chief Gen Svc Br OCQM, 28 Sep 42, sub: 
Materials-Handling Equip. (2) Ltr, QM USASOS 
to QM Base Sec 3, 12 Jan 43, sub: Stacking 
Machines. Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 451.93. 



supply organizations and those of the fed- 
eral and state governments of Australia. 64 

In spite of the unprecedented problems 
that it posed, Australia was an invaluable 
asset to the QMC. For more than two years 
it furnished well over half the food con- 
sumed in the Southwest Pacific Area and 
a substantial part of that consumed in the 
South Pacific Area. Until the termination of 
hostilities it poured out rations for American 
use and supplied clothing, equipage, and 
general supplies in liberal quantities. With- 
out Australia, the shortage of ocean-going 
ships would almost certainly have prolonged 
the war against Japan. 

New Zealand, while a less valuable base 
than Australia, had a higher proportion of 
arable land, and relative to area and popu- 
lation, provided more food for the armed 
services. In New Zealand, as in Australia, 
there were shortages of labor, warehouses, 
and agricultural and industrial equipment. 60 
Since the smaller dominion consists almost 
wholly of two long narrow islands, North 
Island and South Island, each about 500 
miles long and seldom more than 1 20 miles 
wide, the chief means of assembling local 
products was by coasters. These vessels were 
at first scarce, but enough of them eventually 
were obtained to meet essential military de- 

01 ( 1 ) Memo, CG USAFIA for Heads of Gen and 
Special Staff Sees, 21 Feb 42, sub: Centraliz.ed 
Proc. ORB AFPAC GPA 400.1201. (2) USASOS 
Regs 25-5, 16 Dec 42, sub: GPA. ORB NUGSEC 

M (1) Rpt, U.S. Sup Mission, 12 May 42, sub: 
Conf with Controllers. (2) Rpt 165, Mil Attache, 
Wellington, 12 Apr 43, sub: Manpower, N. Z. 
Both in ORB USAFINC AG 319.1. 

mands. Like Australia, New Zealand proved 
of inestimable value to the U.S. Army. 

Australia and New Zealand not only pro- 
vided indispensable supplies and equipment. 
Under the principle of reverse lend-lease 
they also paid for them. The detailed ap- 
plication of this principle was first worked 
out in an informal agreement with the 
American forces in the spring of 1942. At 
London, several months later, the United 
States made a formal arrangement covering 
all British dominions and colonies in the 
Pacific. Under this arrangement Australia 
and New Zealand paid not only for locally 
procured supplies but also for such local 
services as the repair of shoes and type- 
writers, the dry cleaning and laundering of 
clothing, and the provision of water, gas, 
and electricity. In addition these countries 
bore the cost of building warehouses and 
other structures for the U.S. forces and paid 
the wages of civilians employed by Ameri- 
can installations. Eventually, reverse lend- 
lease was applied also in the French pos- 
session of New Caledonia, but, owing to 
local opposition, not until early 1944. 
Through the application of this system of 
local procurement the United States re- 
ceived partial compensation for the millions 
of dollars that it expended for American 
products needed by its Pacific allies. 06 

66 ( 1 ) Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Op- 
erations for the Period Ended April 30, 1943, pp. 
42-43. (2) Ltr, SPBC to CG USAFPOA, 25 Aug 
44. USAFINC AG 334. 


Mission and Organization 
in the Pacific 

The Quartermaster mission embraced so 
varied an assortment of supply and service 
functions that an extensive organization was 
required to carry it out. In the three princi- 
pal territorial commands in the Pacific the 
organization of Quartermaster activities, 
though it did differ slightly from command 
to command, everywhere retained a basic 
similarity. In all these areas there was a cen- 
tral office that supervised the activities of 
the Corps outside the combat zone. There 
were also storage and distribution centers 
and corps, army, and division quartermas- 
ters who supervised the operations of their 
service in these organizations. Everywhere, 
moreover, specialized Quartermaster troop 
units helped carry out Quartermaster 

Quartermaster Mission 

In general the mission of the Corps was 
to provide the supplies and services required 
by all troops, regardless of the branch of the 
Army to which they belonged. In World 
War II this meant that the Corps fed and 
clothed the Army; provided items of equip- 
ment and general utility, whether for per- 
sonal or organizational use, which were not 
so specialized as to lie within the province 

of another technical service; and carried out 
the final stage in the distribution of gasoline 
and other petroleum products — issuance to 
the ultimate consumers, the troops in the 

The feeding of troops involved the pro- 
vision to every soldier of a "ration," defined 
as the allowance of food for one day for one 
man. Rations were of two general types: 
field rations, which were issued to units in 
contact with normal sources of supply, and 
emergency rations, specially developed 
packaged rations for combat units cut off 
from their usual means of supply. There 
were two field rations, designated as A and 
B. The A type, corresponding as nearly as 
practicable to the regular peacetime ration 
of soldiers in the United States, contained a 
wide variety of both perishable and non- 
perishable foods. In the Pacific, outside 
heavily populated areas, storage and 
transportation conditions seldom permitted 
the use of the fresh fruits, vegetables, 
and meats that constituted the very heart 
of the A ration. The B ration, which 
utilized canned or dehydrated foodstuffs 
in place of perishables, was of necessity fre- 
quently substituted. Front-line fighting 
troops customarily ate emergency rations, 
such as C, D, or K, each of which had been 



developed for consumption during a partic- 
ular phase of combat. 1 

The provision of clothing for the Army 
meant supply not only of the regular service 
uniform of coat, jacket, trousers, shirt, neck- 
tie, cap, and shoes, but also of variations of 
these garments intended to meet the special 
conditions of climate and terrain encoun- 
tered in the Pacific. It meant, too, supply of 
scores of other articles, such as head nets, 
gloves, work suits, jungle suits, raincoats, 
and ponchos, which filled unusual needs. 
Personal equipment, other than clothing, 
supplied by the Corps embraced such essen- 
tial items as field packs, sleeping bags, and 
intrenching shovels. Organizational equip- 
ment included tents, stoves, field bakery 
equipment, refrigerators, salvage, laundry, 
and bath equipment, and hundreds of lesser 
items. 2 The numerous general-utility ar- 
ticles, known collectively as "general sup- 
plies," were employed mostly for the Army's 
housekeeping. They included common yet 
essential items like stationery, typewriters, 
furniture and other office equipment, soap, 
sanitary goods, chinaware, glassware, and 
mess equipment in general. The Corps also 
furnished cigarettes, toilet articles, candy, 
and scores of other things sold in post ex- 
changes (PX's). 3 Quartermaster responsi- 
bility for the distribution of petroleum 
products began at the pipeline termini or 
other bulk facilities constructed by the En- 
gineers for the reception of these products. 
At these facilities — sometimes even at ship- 
side — the QMC received gasoline and other 
fuels and transported them, often in 55-gal- 
lon drums or 5-gallon cans, to distributing 

1 Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, 
Supply, and Services, Vol. I, p. 192. 

'Ibid., pp. 123, 138-39. 

"(1) FM 10-10, 2 Mar 42, sub: QM Svc in 
TOPNS. (2) FM 10-5, 29 Apr 43, sub: QM Opns 

points for issue by Quartermaster gasoline 
supply units. 4 

Quartermaster items were divided into 
four classes. Class I comprised those that 
were consumed at an approximately equal 
daily rate. Food and forage were the prin- 
cipal supplies in this category. In ordinary 
overseas language "Class I" was the term 
applied to rations. Class II included cloth- 
ing, equipment, and other items for which 
the precise quantity of initial issue was set 
in Tables of Organization and Equipment 
or other War Department authorizations. 
Class III comprised coal and petroleum 
products; and Class IV, articles — chiefly 
general supplies — for which the quantity 
of initial issue was not prescribed. In the- 
aters of operations Class I and III items 
were the ones whose prompt distribution was 
most essential; without food troops could 
not live and without gasoline a modern army 
was stopped dead in its tracks. These were 
in consequence the items upon which quar- 
termasters focused their main attention. 5 

The procurement of supplies required 
much more than the mere filling of requi- 
sitions. It demanded accurate information 
regarding available stocks, anticipated de- 
liveries, normal replacement needs, tactical 
requirements, and expected changes in troop 
strength. Without this information require- 
ments could not be determined nor ade- 
quate stocks maintained. Local procurement 
demanded in addition knowledge of what 
farm and industrial products were available 
commercially, how production might be in- 
creased, and how local goods compared in 
quality with those obtained in the United 

* Quartermaster Handbook: Gasoline Supply 
Company, pp. 31-48. 

"• FM 10-10, 2 Mar 42, sub: QM Svc in TOPNS, 
Sec. II, par. 6. 



The QMC stored and distributed as well 
as procured supplies. When supplies 
reached their destination, whether it was a 
modern base in Australia or a forlorn dis- 
tributing point in a New Guinea jungle 
with vines and trees for cover and damp soil 
for flooring, quartermasters stored them 
and, when the stocks were wanted elsewhere, 
arranged for their distribution. Storage and 
distribution, like procurement, demanded a 
mass of detailed information. The QMC 
had to know what, if any, commercial ware- 
houses were available for lease; how far 
these warehouses conformed to military 
specifications; and how much square foot- 
age and materials-handling equipment were 
needed to meet the fluctuating storage re- 
quirements of different distribution areas. 
Finally, the Corps had to maintain close 
liaison with Army shipping agencies to in- 
sure prompt delivery of Quartermaster 

Besides procuring, storing, and distribut- 
ing thousands of items the Corps performed 
many services essential to troop health and 
morale. It baked bread and operated laun- 
dries and showers for men in the fight- 
ing line as well as in camps to the rear. It 
collected discarded clothing, shoes, personal 
equipment, drums, cans, and ordnance 
supplies — in fact, all discarded government 
property — classified these salvaged articles, 
and distributed them to the repair shops of 
the appropriate technical services. It 
cleaned, renovated, and reissued Quarter- 
master supplies and so made a substantial 
quantity of needed articles quickly available. 
In addition to caring for the living, it iden- 
tified the dead, buried them in Army ceme- 
teries, and saved their personal possessions. 
Quartermaster activities were, indeed, so 
varied that twenty types of Quartermaster 
units were employed in the war against 
Japan to carry them out. 

In overseas areas all Quartermaster ac- 
tivities were carried out under authority of 
theater commanders. Though the Army 
Service Forces (ASF) in the zone of in- 
terior was responsible for the support of com- 
bat forces, its jurisdiction extended no far- 
ther than the ports of embarkation. Out- 
side the United States every theater com- 
mander planned his logistical system in the 
manner he considered best, and all theaters 
in consequence had slightly different supply 
organizations. While Headquarters, ASF, 
and the technical services in the zone of 
interior could submit technical advice to 
overseas supply agencies, theaters were free 
to accept or reject their recommendations. 6 
In the QMC, particularly toward the end 
of the war, there was a good deal of direct 
interchange of technical data between the 
Office of The Quartermaster General 
(OQMG) and the central Quartermaster 
offices in the Pacific. The OQMG pro- 
vided these offices with copies of procure- 
ment regulations, training manuals, OQMG 
circulars, and specifications of standard sup- 
ply items, notified them of projects for new 
items, and provided them with samples of 
recently designed articles. The Pacific areas 
in turn submitted to the OQMG copies of 
their important directives. But OQMG ob- 
servers' reports, describing the actual utility 
of Quartermaster items in tropical, island- 
hopping warfare and suggesting how un- 
usual overseas needs might be met by bet- 
terment of old items and development of 
new ones, constituted perhaps the best source 
of information available in Washington 
concerning Quartermaster problems in the 
Pacific. Incomplete though these reports 
often were, they nevertheless provided a 
more comprehensive picture of Pacific sup- 

"FM 100-10, 15 Nov 43, sub: Field Svc Regu- 
lations Adm. Sec. II, par. 1 1 . 



ply operations than the OQMG could find 
elsewhere. While all this exchange of tech- 
nical information helped that office furnish 
more serviceable supplies and better trained 
units, it did not give the OQMG any con- 
trol over the operations of the Corps in the 
Pacific. Each area continued to have a 
Quartermaster organization independent of 
the Corps in the United States. 

Supply Organization 
in the Southwest Pacific 

Four major commands of the Southwest 
Pacific Area performed supply functions — 
General Headquarters (GHQ), the United 
States Army Services of Supply ( US ASOS ) , 
the Sixth Army, and the Fifth Air Force. 
The highest of these commands, GHQ, in 
line with its judgment of the urgency of 
requirements, assigned varying priorities to 
requisitions for supplies and to requests for 
technical service units from the United 
States. Occasionally, it even altered the 
number of units requested. On the basis of 
strategic plans and scheduled distribution 
of troops it issued logistical instructions and 
in general terms prescribed the quantity of 
stock to be held in different parts of the 
Southwest Pacific. Though all these respon- 
sibilities of GHQ were highly important to 
the Quartermaster Corps, GHQ, alone of 
the four commands, had no Quartermaster 
section. United States Army Services of 
Supply, the command most concerned with 
the details of getting supplies into the hands 
of troops, was responsible for items needed 
by ground troops and for commonly used 
supplies needed by the Fifth Air Force ex- 
cept technical air items. Headquarters, 
USASOS, planned and supervised procure- 
ment, storage, and distribution of all these 
supplies, and base sections and other 
USASOS field agencies actually carried out 

these functions. The Sixth Army and the 
Fifth Air Force, the major commands sup- 
ported by USASOS, picked up and issued to 
their troops the supplies that USASOS 
brought to distributing points. Both com- 
mands established sizable organizations to 
administer Quartermaster matters and em- 
ployed Quartermaster troop units to carry 
out the supply and service functions of the 
Corps. 7 

Headquarters, USASOS 

The development of USASOS started in 
Australia in late December 1941, when 
Task Force, South Pacific, landed at Bris- 
bane and set up Headquarters, United 
States Forces in Australia (USFIA), redes- 
ignated on 8 January 1942 as United States 
Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA). As 
the agency charged with administrative and 
logistical support of ground and air forces, 
it had responsibility for all activities of the 
technical services. At the outset it was re- 
garded chiefly as a rear area command that 
would build up a base for the support of 
operations in the Netherlands Indies and 
the Philippines. The fall of Java in early 
March caused a drastic revision of this con- 
ception. 8 Only with that momentous event 
did the Army fully realize that a huge sup- 
ply organization would have to be created 
in Australia for the exploitation of local re- 
sources and the reception and distribution of 
supplies to the large land and air forces that 
of necessity would use the Commonwealth 
as their main base. 

Territorially, the authority of USAFIA — 
or USASOS, as it became in July 1942— 

7 Ltr, Hq USAFFE to CG Sixth Army, 26 Feb 
43, sub: Allocation of Adm Functions. ORB AF- 
PAC AG 322.01. 

8 Ping Dk. Office of Director of Plans and Opns 
ASF, Hist of Ping Div ASF, I, 132-34. 



covered the "communications zone," which 
embraced the entire Southwest Pacific Area 
outside combat zones. 9 Within the com- 
munications zone, which was divided for 
administrative and operating purposes into 
base sections, USASOS controlled all sup- 
ply establishments, lines of communication, 
and other agencies needed for satisfactory 
support of troops. To carry out its mission, 
Headquarters, USASOS, established gen- 
eral and special staffs charged with the 
formulation of supply policies and the di- 
rection of their execution. In the Office of 
the Chief Quartermaster, often called the 
Quartermaster Section, was lodged respon- 
sibility for supervision of Quartermaster 
installations and units controlled by 
USASOS, for the procurement and storage 
of Quartermaster supplies, and for distribu- 
tion of these supplies to troops within the 
communications zone. It was also charged 
with distribution of items to the supply 
points of organizations in combat zones. 
These points might be warehouses, open- 
storage centers, truckheads, or navigation 
heads set up to receive shipments from 
USASOS. At the supply points Quarter- 
master units, operating under the direction 
of tactical commanders, handled and stored 
the items of their service and issued them 
to using units or else transported them to 
distributing points deeper in the combat 
area where using units received them. 10 

Office of the Chief Quartermaster 

The first task of the OCQM in Australia 
was the creation of an organization capable 
of performing under the unfamiliar condi- 
tions of an alien land in a command twice 

Quartermaster Emergency Handbook (Wash- 
ington: QMR, 1941), p. 265. 

10 FM 10-10, 2 Mar 42, sub: QM Svc in TOPNS. 

the size of the United States functions 
similar to those that long-established Quar- 
termaster agencies carried out in the United 
States. There the Office of The Quarter- 
master General and the Quartermaster de- 
pots had developed over the years agencies 
capable of dealing with highly specialized 
problems. The Philadelphia Depot had long 
concentrated on the development and pro- 
curement of clothing, the Boston Depot on 
footwear, and other depots on food and gen- 
eral supplies. All these installations as well 
as the OQMG could call upon marketing 
and technical experts in industry, com- 
merce, agriculture, and the universities for 
advice, and even before Pearl Harbor they 
had achieved a high degree of co-ordina- 
tion between Army requirements and 
American industrial and agricultural capa- 
bilities that materially facilitated their sup- 
ply activities when war came. 

The OCQM in Australia started with 
none of the operational advantages pos- 
sessed by the Quartermaster Corps in the 
United States. Yet it occupied in theory 
a position not unlike that of the OQMG in 
Washington. Though circumstances at first 
obliged it actually to carry out some Quar- 
termaster operations, it was not set up to 
procure, store, distribute, or reclaim sup- 
plies and equipment but rather, like the 
OQMG, to plan, co-ordinate, and control 
these activities in accordance with supply 
programs approved by higher echelons. 11 

As a planning agency in the procurement 
field, the Australian OCQM first of all de- 
termined theater requirements for Quarter- 
master items and ascertained what propor- 
tion of these requirements could be obtained 

11 Rpt, Maj Gen Julian F. Barnes, former CG 
USAFIA 6 Nov 42, sub: Organization and Ac- 
tivities, USAFIA, 7 Dec 41-30 Jun 42. OCMH. 
This report will be cited hereafter as the Barnes 



in Australia ■and what proportion would 
have to come from the United States; 
finally, it arranged for procurement from 
the indicated source. The OCQM also de- 
termined how many Quartermaster officers 
and men were needed and, subject to the 
approval of GHQ SWPA, requested them 
from the zone of interior. In addition it pro- 
vided for the establishment of bakeries, 
laundries, training schools, and storage and 
reclamation depots. 12 As a co-ordinating 
agency, it designated particular installations 
as storers of specific items. In line with logis- 
tical instructions issued to it by higher eche- 
lons it determined the size of stocks in differ- 
ent base sections and transferred supplies 
from one installation to another in order to 
maintain prescribed levels. To meet varying 
manpower requirements, it assigned and 
shifted men and units within the communi- 
cations zone. 13 As a supervising agency the 
OCQM issued operating procedures, tech- 
nical manuals, and special directives as 
guides for installations and units and 
through frequent inspections checked on the 
execution of its instructions. 14 

The establishment of the OCQM, like 
that of other technical service headquarters, 
was hampered for months by a far-reaching 
shortage of officers and by the confusion 
that accompanied hasty efforts to create al- 
most overnight sections for which no plans 
had been formulated. When U.S. Forces in 
Australia set up its headquarters in Lennon's 
Hotel in Brisbane on 24 December 1941, 
the Quartermaster Section consisted of only 

12 (1) Lecture, Col Hugh B. Hester, 16 Nov 42, 
sub: Organization of OCQM. ORB Base A QM 
400.291. (2) OCQM OO 116, 5 Dec 42, sub: Or- 
QM 400.1924. 

" Lecture, Lt Col W. H. Hamrick, 7 Dec 42, sub: 
Proc Control. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 

"Lecture, Lt Col Edward F. Shepherd, 18 Nov 
42, sub: Sup System. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 

the Quartermaster, Maj. Abraham G. Sil- 
verman, three other officers, and two en- 
listed men. Shortly afterwards Major 
Silverman hired six Australian clerks and 
obtained several additional officers on de- 
tached service from the Air Corps and the 
Chemical Warfare Service to help super- 
vise the loading and discharge of ships. For 
some weeks transportation matters indeed 
demanded as much or more attention from 
the newly formed section as did any other 
activity. Silverman had no assistant until 9 
January when Capt. Andy E. Toney arrived 
and became Assistant Quartermaster. With 
so few helpers, the Quartermaster could do 
little except care for immediate operating 
problems. 15 He centered his efforts mainly 
upon the discharge of incoming ships carry- 
ing Air Corps equipment and upon the stor- 
age of supplies in temporary warehouses 
near the Ascot racecourse. 

The arrival in Melbourne on 2 February 
of the RPH ("Remember Pearl Harbor") 
group of officers signalized the beginning of 
a new phase in OCQM development. 
Though the contingent included only eight 
quartermasters, they represented an impor- 
tant accession of strength. Among them was 
Col. Douglas C. Cordiner, who served as 
Chief Quartermaster until 15 May 1944, 
when Col. (later Brig. Gen.) William F. 
Campbell succeeded him. Another promi- 
nent officer in the RPH group was Lt. Col. 
Herbert A. Gardner, who, later, on 15 June 
1942, became General Purchasing Agent in 
Headquarters, USASOS. The OCQM was 
now moved to Melbourne, but the cramped 
quarters it occupied gave no room for ex- 
pansion. As few of the clerical employees 
accompanied the office in the move from 
Brisbane, operations were for a time fur- 
ther handicapped by the necessity of hiring 

15 QM SWPA Hist, I, 



and training a new civilian staff. Because of 
the shortage of officers and space a full- 
fledged organization with divisions and 
branches operating in much the same man- 
ner as the OQMG did in Washington could 
not be established. It was nevertheless pos- 
sible to designate a supply officer, a trans- 
port officer, and a purchasing and contract- 
ing officer. Not until 1 7 February could the 
OCQM submit to the zone of interior its 
first requisition — one requesting the clothing 
needed to make initial issues and provide 
maintenance supplies for troops in northern 
Australia.' 6 

In early March the OCQM moved to 
more commodious quarters in the Mel- 
bourne Grammar School where space suf- 
ficed to permit the establishment of a larger 
but still relatively small organization. Four 
divisions were set up — an Administrative, 
a Transportation, a Supply, and a Pur- 
chasing and Contracting Division. The Ad- 
ministrative Division performed the routine 
services needed by the whole OCQM for the 
conduct of business. It distributed mail, 
messages, and directives; maintained the 
general files of the entire office; and pro- 
vided and repaired typewriters, telephones, 
and other necessary business equipment. All 
these services were normal functions of an 
administrative unit, but in the OCQM the 
Administrative Division had in addition 
several responsibilities that in a more highly 
developed organization would have been 
vested in separate divisions. It formulated 
procedures for the care of military dead and 
for the handling of budget and fiscal affairs. 
Particularly important were its manpower 
and training functions. It estimated how 
many and what kind of Quartermaster 
units were needed to carry out the Quarter- 
master mission and upon these figures based 

1,1 Ibid., pp. 4-5. 

its requests for units from the zone of in- 
terior and its assignments of units to 
USAFIA installations. In addition it estab- 
lished schools for QMC officers, planned 
their courses of study, and developed stand- 
ards for training units and casuals. 1 ' 

The Transportation Division dealt with 
military movements of men and supplies. 
It aimed at the fullest utilization of both 
military and commercial shipping, but its 
staff was too small to permit much more 
than a survey of Australian conditions be- 
fore 15 April, when the OCQM was re- 
lieved of most of its transportation 
responsibilities and an independent Trans- 
portation Service was set up in USAFIA. 
During its short existence the division 
created the nuclei of several small sections. 
One of these sections dealt with the move- 
ment of cargo and troops by Australian rail- 
roads and airlines. Another, the Motor 
Supply Section, procured trucks and ar- 
ranged for the assembly, testing, and dis- 
tribution of vehicles. Late in March a Water 
Section began operations with a staff of 
about ten veteran shipping men headed by 
Col. Thomas G. Plant, who for many years 
had served as an executive of Pacific steam- 
ship lines. This section, as its name implied, 
provided for the handling of seaborne move- 
ments. In order to do this, it chartered 
coasters, lighters, cranes, and docks, and 
compiled information about the handling 
capacity of Australian ports. 18 

In April, when the Chief Quartermaster 
was relieved of all transportation functions 
but those relating to trucks, the Motor 
Transport Section became the Motor Trans- 
port Division until it in turn was shifted at 
the end of August to the Chief Ordnance 

17 Ibid., p. 6. 

,h Memo, Chief Trans Div for CQM, 11 Apr 42, 
sub: Organization and Status of Trans Div. ORB 



Officer. Before its transfer the division en- 
tered into agreements with local automobile 
firms for the assembly of imported Ameri- 
can trucks at cost-plus-fixed-fee of 5 percent. 
The division made comparable contracts for 
the repair and maintenance of these ve- 
hicles, but on the basis of a flat fee per 
man per hour for work actually performed. 19 
More important in the development of 
the OCQM was the Supply Division, which 
laid down the policies and procedures gov- 
erning the supply of Quartermaster items. 
It was organized on a commodity basis. 
That meant that it was split into sections, 
each of which handled but one general class 
of supply or a few closely related classes and 
decided upon the procedures to be followed 
in handling all the major supply functions — 
procurement, storage, and distribution — for 
the particular commodities it dealt with. In 
the Supply Division there were three com- 
modity branches — the Subsistence Branch, 
the Clothing, Equipage, and General Sup- 
plies Branch, and the Gasoline and Oil 
Branch. There was also a Planning Branch 
which collected statistics fundamental to the 
operations of the commodity units. From the 
recently established base sections it received 
rough estimates of the size of Quartermaster 
stocks within their distribution zones, lists 
of scarce items, the amount of orders out- 
standing, and statements of future supply 
requirements. Unfortunately, these figures 
were often wide of the mark, for through- 
out 1 942 it was usually impossible to obtain 
trustworthy inventories or other stock rec- 
ords from base sections, which were all in 
the confused state common to rapidly grow- 
ing organizations. The figures, though un- 
satisfactory, of necessity served as the basis 
on which the commodity branches deter- 

19 (1) OCQM OO 27, 14 Apr 42, sub: Motor 
Transport Div. (2) USAFIA Memo 160, 14 Jul 
42, sub: Distr of Motor Vehicles. 

mined theater supply requirements and the 
quantities to be bought locally and in the 
United States. The branches submitted req- 
uisitions for supplies from the United States 
to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation 
and forwarded local purchase requests to 
the Purchasing and Contracting Division of 
OCQM. 2 " The commodity branches were 
the agencies that actually controlled the 
stockage of Quartermaster items. They de- 
termined what base sections received incom- 
ing shipments, and it was they who shifted 
stocks from one base to another to meet 
fluctuating demands that rose in one place 
and fell in another. It was the commodity 
branches, too, that developed stock-account- 
ing methods intended to keep depots con- 
stantly informed of the quantity of individ- 
ual items on hand, due in, and due out. 21 
The Purchasing and Contracting Divi- 
sion was engaged chiefly in matters relating 
to the local buying of clothing, equipment, 
and general supplies. Since during most of 
1942 U.S. military organizations obtained 
their food, gasoline, and oil through the 
Australian Army, the division had little 
to do directly with the purchase of these 
supplies. In performing its functions it was 
guided by the local purchase requests sub- 
mitted by the commodity branches of the 
Supply Division. To care for the special 
problems involved in use of different meth- 
ods of buying, it set up three sections to 
handle, respectively, open market transac- 
tions, formal contracts, and "contract de- 
mands." These "demands," covering even- 
tually by far the greater part of local 
purchases, were simply requests that Com- 
monwealth agencies in accordance with the 
reverse lend-lease arrangements negotiate 
contracts with Australian nationals for 

30 QM SWPA Hist, I, 5. 

21 Lecture, Col Hester, 16 Nov 42, sub: Organi- 
zation of OCQM. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 



specified quantities of needed items. Until 
these arrangements were made late in 
March 1942, most of the supplies for the 
U.S. Army were obtained locally through 
formal contracts with producers or by pur- 
chases on the open market. As contract 
demands gradually became the ordinary 
means of local procurement, these two 
methods of buying fell into disuse and the 
sections handling them ultimately disap- 
peared. Another section, however, grew 
more important as local buying rose in 
volume. This was the Inspection Bureau, 
which accepted or rejected products offered 
in fulfillment of contract demands. 22 

The Purchasing and Contracting Divi- 
sion had close relations with the office of 
the General Purchasing Agent (GPA), a 
component of USAFIA that co-ordinated 
local procurement by the Army, the Navy, 
and the Air Forces, reviewing their contract 
demands and sending them in approved 
form to the appropriate Australian organi- 
zations. 23 If Commonwealth authorities in 
turn approved these demands, they made 
the necessary contracts with Australian pro- 
ducers. Generally speaking, U.S. agencies 
actually conducted necessary negotiations 
with the appropriate departments of the 
Commonwealth. In OCQM the Purchasing 
and Contracting Division formed a Liaison 
Section to work out terms mutually satis- 
factory to the Corps and to the Australians. 
With the help of other Quartermaster 
agencies this section located producers, as- 
certained their productive capacity, laid 
down specifications, and cared for con- 
tractual details. 

Of all the Australian procuring agencies 
the Food Council affected the operations of 
the Corps most deeply as it was given the 
task of increasing food production on both 
the agricultural and the industrial front. 24 
Another agency important to the Corps was 
the Allied Supply Council, composed of 
several Australian cabinet officers and a 
U.S. representative. It developed plans for 
stimulating the Australian economy as a 
whole. The OCQM also had extensive deal- 
ings with the Department of Supply and 
Shipping, which handled contract demands 
for nonmechanical items, and with the De- 
partment of Commerce, which handled con- 
tract demands for mechanical equipment. 20 
Ordinarily, it had only unimportant rela- 
tions with the Department of War Organi- 
zation of Industry, which had responsibility 
for making ample labor available to the 
most essential plants, but if this department 
directed that workers be shifted from in- 
dustries making Quartermaster supplies, the 
OCQM made known its concern and was 
sometimes able to stop the proposed action. 26 
In June the widening scope of U.S. Army 
activities required the establishment of two 
additional OCQM divisions. One of these 
was the Memorial Division, which took over 
the mortuary functions of the Administra- 
tive Division. This step was clearly advisable 
since these activities certainly would grow 
in magnitude as offensive operations were 
undertaken and casualties mounted. 27 The 

" QM SWPA Hist, II, 4-5. 

2J ( 1 ) Historical Record, General Purchasing 
Agent for Australia, 1942. ORB SWPA AG 400.13. 
(2) USASOS Regulations 25-5, 16 Dec 42, sub: 
GPA. ORB NUGSEC Regulations. 

21 Ltr, J. F. Murphy, Controller General of Food, 
Commonwealth of Australia, to Allied Sup Council, 
12 May 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430. 

25 (1) Lecture, Lt Col R. C. Kramer, 14 Dec 42, 
sub: Allied Sup Council. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 
(2) Rpt, Allied Sup Council, 15 Sep 43, sub: 
First Annual Rpt for Period Ending 30 Jun 43. 
ORB AFPAC Rear Ech Annual Rpt. 

26 Lecture, Col Herbert A. Gardner, 18 Nov 42, 
sub: Relationship of QMC with Other Agencies. 
ORB Base A QM 400.291. 

27 OCQM OO 60, 1 1 June 42, sub: Memorial Div. 



other new division, the General Service 
Division, constituted a rudimentary control 
agency, whose establishment was brought 
about by the desirability of reviewing and 
co-ordinating basic functions scattered 
through the commodity branches of the 
Supply Division. 28 Its establishment re- 
flected, too, the wartime trend toward a 
functional rather than a commodity organi- 
zation of the sort characteristic of the peace- 
time War Department. In a full-fledged 
functional organization the commodity 
branches were abolished, and administra- 
tive units were set up to handle the major 
responsibilities of procurement, storage, and 
distribution. In this type of establishment a 
procurement division would be concerned 
with supervising the buying of all classes of 
supplies assigned to a technical service. In 
the QMC this meant that such a division 
would deal with all matters relating to food, 
clothing, general supplies, gasoline, oil, and 
other Quartermaster items. 

The functional concept was embodied to 
a considerable extent in the General Service 
Division since this unit was given a large 
measure of authority over storage and dis- 
tribution activities and lesser authority over 
procurement matters. It was particularly 
concerned with operations at USAFIA field 
installations. Its Warehousing Branch was 
charged among other things with the mod- 
ernization of depot operations. To achieve 
this objective, it made frequent inspections 
of handling and storage methods and sug- 
gested how they might be bettered to en- 
hance the safety of supplies and to conserve 
time and manpower. The Warehousing 
Branch had as another objective the equi- 
table division of warehouse equipment. In 
carrying out this function it planned the 
distribution of equipment in line with the 

28 OCQM OO 59, 1 1 Jun 42, sub: Gen Svc Div. 

varying volume of supplies handled by the 
base sections. Another branch of the General 
Service Division, the Inspection Branch, 
performed practically all OCQM inspec- 
tions except those relating to storage and the 
acceptability of goods offered under local 
procurement contracts. It investigated such 
routine but important matters in the base 
sections as requisitioning procedures, inven- 
tory practices, compilation of lists of scarce 
items, and maintenance of employees' time 
records as well as special problems like pil- 
ferage of supplies on docks and in ware- 
houses. A third branch, the Planning and 
Statistical Branch, was the former Planning 
Branch of the Supply Division. It had been 
transferred because the statistical informa- 
tion it gathered came mostly from the field 
installations with which the new division was 
chiefly concerned. 29 

Since no suitable method of reviewing the 
purchase authorizations of the commodity 
branches in the Supply Division had been 
developed, that task, too, was assigned in 
August to the General Service Division, 
which set up a Procurement Control Branch 
to accomplish it. This branch analyzed the 
authority for proposed purchases to make 
sure that procurement regulations were be- 
ing observed ; determined whether prospec- 
tive costs had been calculated properly; and 
checked the desirability of local procure- 
ment as opposed to procurement in the 
United States. Thus responsibility for some 
procurement as well as storage and distribu- 
tion problems was lodged in the General 
Services Division. 10 

Although the activities of the OCQM 
increased rapidly during the first half of 
1942, that office was "comparatively much 
shorter of operating personnel than any 

29 (1) Ibid. (2) QM SWPA Hist, II, 6-8. 

30 P. 9 of n. 29 (2). 



other section." 31 In June it was functioning 
with only 33 officers as compared with an 
authorized 107. This substantial discrep- 
ancy stemmed in part from the establish- 
ment of the independent Transportation 
Service and the consequent loss of about half 
the Quartermaster officers and in part from 
the fact that the War Department for a 
time made no distinction between the old 
and the new service and often filled Quar- 
termaster requests for officers with men 
suited for Transportation rather than 
Quartermaster work. 32 

During the summer QMC operations, 
like those of other technical services, also 
suffered, briefly, from the transfer of 
OCQM, along with the rest of the former 
USAFIA, from Melbourne to the headquar- 
ters of the newly established United States 
Army Services of Supply in Sydney. This 
move, another of a series that eventually 
brought the OCQM to Manila, temporarily 
interfered with OCQM activities but did 
not halt them. 33 

In late 1942 the widening scope of mili- 
tary activities brought about an almost com- 
plete reorganization of the OCQM. As that 
office had become in some respects a coun- 
terpart on a small scale of the OQMG, the 
administrative changes were modeled upon 
those made in the Washington office during 
the previous spring. These changes wiped 
out the predominantly commodity organi- 
zation of the OCQM and substituted one 
based to a substantial degree upon function. 
The reorganization, begun in December 
1942 and completed in March 1943, elimi- 
nated the Supply Division, the heart of the 

31 Barnes Rpt, p. 36. 

" (1) Ibid., p. 19. (2) QM SWPA Hist, II, 91. 
(3) Personal Ltr, Col Douglas C. Cordiner to Gen 
Gregory, 16 Sep 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400. 

"USASOS GO 1, 20 Jul 42, sub: Establishment 

old office, and created several functional 

In the reorganization the desirability of 
co-ordinating and controlling basic operat- 
ing functions, an objective that had already 
won recognition in the establishment of the 
General Service Division, received still more 
recognition in the creation of a new staff 
agency, the Planning and Control Division, 
which exercised general supervision over all 
operations both in the OCQM and in the 
base sections. This division absorbed the 
storage and procurement control functions 
of the General Service Division and in addi- 
tion gained the right to review and make 
recommendations about all Quartermaster 
operations. OCQM "operating" divisions, 
which meant all divisions except the Ad- 
ministrative Division and the newly estab- 
lished Inspection Division and Food Pro- 
duction Advisory and Liaison Division — 
all three regarded as staff agencies— were 
now required to co-ordinate their activities 
with the policies of the Planning and Con- 
trol Division. Besides carrying out its con- 
trol functions that unit served as a statistical 
clearing house for the whole Corps in the 
Southwest Pacific. Its statistical information 
was employed to set up replacement supply 
factors on the basis of area experience and to 
compute total area requirements for Quar- 
termaster items. With its far-ranging func- 
tions the new division encroached exten- 
sively upon responsibilities traditionally in 
the province of commodity branches. 34 

Inspection activities, though essential to 
control operations, were not assigned to the 
Planning and Control Division. They were 
performed by the Budget, Accounting, and 
Inspection Division, commonly called the 

34 OCQM OO 116, 5 Dec 42, sub: Organization 



Inspection Division. This new division was 
formed by the consolidation of the Fiscal 
Branch of the Administrative Division and 
the Inspection Branch and the Field Service 
Branch of the discarded General Service Di- 
vision. As a fiscal agency, it prepared esti- 
mates of future expenditures for OCQM 
and Quartermaster base section activities; 
allocated funds; and maintained records of 
lend-lease transactions involving the Corps. 
As an inspection agency, it shouldered the 
tasks that had been performed in this field 
by the old General Service Division, ana- 
lyzed inspection reports made by OCQM 
representatives, and tried to see that action 
was taken on recommendations made in 
these reports. In the final analysis it was 
responsible for all inspection activities of the 
Corps except those relating to procure- 
ment. 35 

In the reorganization the Supply Division 
became the Storage and Distribution Di- 
vision. Though that division still had com- 
modity branches, they were shorn of most 
procurement functions. The preservation of 
these branches, even with narrowed respon- 
sibilities, represented a compromise between 
the functional and commodity principles, 
but there was no serious breach of function- 
alism since the commodity branches were 
concerned almost exclusively with the tech- 
nical direction of storage and distribution 
operations. The only significant procure- 
ment activity remaining in these branches — 
and it was one that stemmed directly from 
the distribution responsibility — was the 
requisitioning of supplies needed to maintain 
prescribed stock levels. 36 

In the Procurement Division were vested 
virtually all procurement responsibilities, in- 

36 QM SWPA Hist, II, 80-85. 

30 Ibid. 


eluding those of the former Purchasing and 
Contracting Division, except ones relating 
to subsistence. These were handled by an- 
other new division, the Food Production 
Advisory and Liaison Division. The Pro- 
curement Division established policies and 
procedures to govern the local purchase of 
the supplies for which it was responsible, 
followed up contract demands, and in- 
spected articles before they were accepted. 
In close co-operation with Commonwealth 
agencies it conducted a fairly extensive re- 
search and development program, which 
was directed at the development of speci- 
fications suitable to Australian industries 
rather than at the design of new items, the 
usual goal of this work. 37 

The Food Production and Advisory and 
Liaison Division was set up primarily to 
prepare for the end of the rationing of 
American troops by the Australian Army 
and for the beginning of large-scale re- 
verse lend-lease procurement of food. The 
division was headed by the Deputy Chief 
Quartermaster, Col. (later Brig. Gen.) 
Hugh B. Hester. It had as one of its prin- 
cipal functions rendering technical advice 
to the Australian Food Council. 38 This ad- 
vice was aimed chiefly at the inauguration 
of a large-scale canning and dehydration 
program and the increase of farm produc- 
tion. The division represented a reversion 
to the commodity type of organization, for 
it was charged with the storage and dis- 
tribution as well as the procurement of all 
subsistence except fresh provisions, which 
were to be bought by the base sections. 
With this important exception it was re- 

37 OCQM OO 112, 18 Nov 42, sub: Advisory 
and Liaison Staff". 

3s OCQM OO 116, 5 Dec 42, sub: OCQM 



sponsible for the entire U.S. Army food pro- 
gram in the Southwest Pacific. 39 

The Food Production Division did not 
remain long in the OCQM. On 27 Febru- 
ary 1943 its staff and functions were taken 
over by the newly created Subsistence De- 
pot, headed by Colonel Hester. This instal- 
lation, located at Sydney, operated under 
the direct supervision of the Chief Quarter- 
master and served as the central buying, 
storing, and distributing agency for all food 
except perishables, which continued to be 
procured by the base sections. To increase 
farm production, the Subsistence Depot set 
up an elaborate organization to offer tech- 
nical help to Australian agriculturists and 
food processors and through the American 
Lend-Lease Administration to import seeds, 
farm machinery, and processing equipment. 
Besides carrying out many of the details of 
local procurement, it requisitioned food 
from the United States in amounts adequate 
to make up any deficiencies in Australian 
production.*' The depot stored huge quan- 
tities of rations in branches at Melbourne, 
Sydney, and Brisbane. These stocks, nor- 
mally totaling about a ninety-day supply, 
formed a reserve constantly available to base 
sections for maintaining their food 
supplies. 41 

In addition to the divisions charged with 
the major responsibilities of control, pro- 
curement, storage, and distribution, two 

39 OCQM OO 122, 19 Dec 42, sub: Subs Pro- 

40 (1) USASOS GO 12, 27 Feb 43, sub: Estab- 
lishment of QM Subs Depot. ORB AFPAC Gen 
Purchg. (2) Hq USASOS Memo 37, 15 Mar 43, 
sub: Mission of QM Subs Depot. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 430. (3) Rpt, n. s., 5 May 43, sub: 
Organization of QM Subs Depot. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 320. 

41 (1) Rpt, Col Cordiner, n. d., sub: Trip to 
Sydney, et al., 7-26 Sep 43. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 
(2) Personal Ltr, Col Hester to Col Cordiner, 15 
Nov 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 312. 

others were set up to supervise reclamation 
and training functions. These activities had 
grown so much in magnitude and impor- 
tance that they could no longer be managed 
properly by small branches of divisions in- 
terested primarily in other matters. Gar- 
ments, shoes, tents, and other commonly 
used items in need of repair were accumulat- 
ing in larger and larger quantities, and more 
and more Quartermaster units and casuals 
requiring additional training were arriving 
in the area. To cope with these problems, 
the Salvage and Reclamation Branch of the 
Supply Division and the Training Branch 
of the Administrative Division were mate- 
rially enlarged and made divisions. 42 

The major reorganization of the OCQM 
in the winter of 1942-43 had hardly been 
completed before the reconstitution of 
USAFFE occasioned another reshuffle of 
OCQM functions. USAFFE had become 
inactive after the fall of the Philippines, but 
in February it was revived and made re- 
sponsible for the formulation of supply pol- 
icy. The Chief Quartermaster and the heads 
of other technical services were transferred 
to the restored command, and USASOS 
became in theory merely an agency for the 
execution of policies made by USAFFE. 
For several months the Office of the Chief 
Quartermaster was located in the revived 
command. At the same time there was also 
an Office of the Quartermaster, USASOS, 
headed by Col. Lewis Landes. Since Colonel 
Cordiner took his key planning assistants 
with him to USAFFE, the number of of- 
ficers available to Quartermaster staff di- 
visions in USASOS was greatly reduced, 
and it became necessary to consolidate these 
divisions into a single organization, the Ad- 
ministrative and Planning Division. Other- 

42 (1) OCQM OO 116, 5 Dec 42, sub: OCQM 
Orgn. (2) QM SWPA Hist, II, 85-100. 

SALVAGE AND RECLAMATION ACTIVITIES in Australia involved sorting, classi- 
fying, and repairing vast quantities of clothing and equipment. 



wise, the pattern set by the basic changes of 
the previous winter remained unaltered. 
In October, only six months after Colonel 
Cordiner left USASOS, he, along with the 
other technical service chiefs, was sent back 
there and given the same responsibilities he 
had formerly been charged with. Colonel 
Landes' office passed out of existence, the 
divisions eliminated in the spring were re- 
vived, and USAFFE became in the main an 
administrative agency, which affected Quar- 
termaster supply chiefly through the assign- 
ment of priorities to cargo movements. This 
difficult task, involving various shipping 
agencies and several armed services and ter- 
ritorial commands, was accomplished by a 
central priorities office in Headquarters, 
USAFFE, and by branch offices in Head- 
quarters, USASOS, and each USASOS 
port. 43 

There can be little doubt that the numer- 
ous and sometimes bewildering changes in 
OCQM organization exerted in general an 
unfavorable influence on Quartermaster ac- 
tivities. Hardly a division or branch re- 
mained unaltered long enough for its staffs, 
military and civilian, to become proficient in 
the duties given them. Almost constantly 
functions were being modified or shifted 
from one administrative unit to another. 
Similarly, officers were transferred from as- 
signment to assignment. 

To a considerable degree this state of flux 
was unavoidable. At the outset the few 
available officers of necessity shouldered a 
variety of tasks, often unrelated. Later, the 
partial shift from a commodity to a func- 
tional organization demanded a period of 

43 ( 1 ) Memo, QM USASOS for CQM USAFFE, 
19 Jul 43. (2) Memo, "F. W. G." for CQM 
USAFFE, 26 Sep 43. Both in ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 323.7. (3) Memo, TQMG for CG ASF, 14 
Mar 45, sub: Tour of POA and SWPA. OQMG 
POA 319.25. 

adjustment to unfamiliar procedures. This 
had barely begun when it was interrupted 
by the administrative modifications accom- 
panying the revival of USAFFE. After a few 
months these modifications were in turn re- 
scinded, and the organization of the previ- 
ous spring restored. But the shuffling and 
reshuffling of functions had not yet come 
to a conclusion. 

Centralization of 
Procurement Activities 

The most important administrative 
changes that subsequently affected the 
OCQM were those which removed most 
local procurement activities from the tech- 
nical services and centralized them in a 
single field agency. These changes origi- 
nated in the main as a result of the north- 
ward movement of combat activities. That 
movement obliged Headquarters, USA- 
SOS, with its technical service sections, 
to move north also in order to keep in close 
touch with the forces they supported. Yet 
since Australia carried on procurement ac- 
tivities of the highest importance to the area 
as a whole, it was almost mandatory to es- 
tablish in that country organizations capa- 
ble of making immediate on-the-spot 
decisions about the problems that arose 
there. A buying agency was particularly 
necessary in Sydney to continue close busi- 
ness relations with Commonwealth officials 
and local contractors after Headquarters, 
USASOS, departed from that city and fi- 
nally from Australia itself. That requirement 
in turn demanded the concentration of tech- 
nical service procurement activities in new 
agencies which would remain in Sydney or 
at least in Australia after the offices of the 
technical service chiefs had moved else- 
where. A second and less urgent reason for 
greater centralization of procurement ac- 



tivities was the growing belief in the desira- 
bility of consolidating these activities so as 
to help eliminate the confusion and the 
duplication of effort inherent in imperfect 
co-ordination of USASOS purchasing 
units. 44 

The transfer of Headquarters, USASOS, 
to Brisbane in August 1943 started the proc- 
ess of consolidating procurement operations. 
That event at once raised the question of 
whether the military buying agencies should 
participate in the move. It was answered by 
the establishment at Sydney of rear-echelon 
procurement units representing the techni- 
cal service staff sections. The Quartermaster 
unit was the Purchasing and Contracting 
Branch of the OCQM Procurement Divi- 
sion, which was still charged with local pro- 
curement of clothing, equipment, and 
general supplies. Within a few weeks all the 
rear-echelon units were combined with the 
Subsistence Depot and the Engineer Depot 
to form the USASOS General Depot, a field 
agency of G-4. The new installation, mod- 
eled on the Subsistence Depot and headed 
by Colonel Hester, was to procure all mili- 
tary supplies obtained in Australia except 
fresh provisions and other items bought by 
base sections. Like the Subsistence Depot, 
the General Depot was to receive and store 
supplies and deal directly with Common- 
wealth agencies. 48 

The establishment of the USASOS Gen- 
eral Depot meant that the OCQM, having 
lost most of its authority over subsistence, 
now lost effective participation in the buying 
of clothing, equipment, and general sup- 
plies. It retained only the responsibility of 
computing requirements and informing the 

41 G-4 Periodic Rpt USAFFE for Quarter End- 
ing 30 Sep 43. 

45 Rpt, Staff Conf, USASOS, 8 Oct 43. ORB 
ABSEC AG 337. 

General Depot through procurement and 
distribution directives how much of an item 
was wanted, when it was wanted, and where 
it was wanted. The OCQM and other tech- 
nical services objected to the new arrange- 
ment as it deprived them of important func- 
tions traditionally theirs. Chiefly because of 
their opposition the General Depot was 
abolished, even before centralized procure- 
ment actually became effective, and pur- 
chasing was decentralized once more to the 
individual services working through the 
rear-echelon units. 46 

The revival of something like the earlier 
procurement organization lasted only until 
late January 1944, when all U.S. Army pro- 
curement was again centralized — this time 
in a Procurement Division, which operated 
at Sydney, like the General Depot, as a field 
agency of G-4, USASOS. This division, 
which Colonel Hester served as Director of 
Procurement, had not only a mission compa- 
rable to that of the former General Depot 
but also shared with the new Distribution 
Division, another G-4 field agency in Syd- 
ney, the functions of computing supply re- 
quirements and issuing procurement direc- 
tives. Whereas the Quartermaster Branch of 
the Distribution Division determined SWPA 
requirements for Quartermaster supplies, 
submitted the directives for local purchases 
of all Quartermaster supplies except food to 
the Quartermaster Branch, Procurement Di- 
vision, and informed Headquarters, USA- 
SOS, of the quantities needed from the zone 
of interior, the Procurement Division itself 
initiated the contract demands for subsist- 
ence on the basis of area requirements as 
determined by its sister division and on the 
basis of quantities procurable in Australia 

46 Ltr, Col Hester to Col Cordiner, 2 Oct 43. 



as determined by its own staff. Finally, the 
Procurement Division had the important 
task of obtaining from local sources, not only 
nonperishable foods but also fresh fruits, 
vegetables, meat, fish, milk, bread, ice 
cream, and other perishables, a function 
previously performed by the base sections. 
For the first time all major aspects of the 
buying of food were thus concentrated in a 
single organization. 47 

In March 1944, the Procurement Di- 
vision ceased to be an agency of G-4, USA- 
SOS, and came directly under the Com- 
manding General, USASOS. It retained this 
status until August, when it became part 
of Headquarters, Base Section, USASOS, 
recently set up to control the only remaining 
active base sections in Australia — those at 
Sydney and Brisbane. Local buying indeed 
became the most important activity of this 
subordinate USASOS command. The Pro- 
curement Division was now given the new 
tasks of maintaining prescribed stock levels 
and supervising the distribution of supplies 
in the Commonwealth, tasks that the Dis- 
tribution Division, just transferred to New 
Guinea, had formerly carried out. The Pro- 
curement Division thus became a distribu- 
tion as well as a purchasing agency, but it 
retained its enlarged responsibilities only 
until February 1945, when, owing to the 
comparative decline of local procurement 
as a factor in area supply, the division was 
discontinued. Its distributing functions were 
then returned to OCQM in the Philippines, 
and its local purchasing activities were taken 
over by the Sydney base. This situation was 

47 (1) QM SWPA Hist, V, 15-24, 29. (2) Ltr, 
Dir of Proc to CG USASOS, 11 Mar 44, sub: Proc 
of Perishables. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. (3) 
Conf, 25 Mar 44, sub: Off Min, Base Comdrs Conf, 
24-26 Mar 44, pp. 57-60. DRB AGO PHIL- 

still in effect when the war against Japan 
ended. 48 

Looking back upon the emergence of pro- 
curement organization in USASOS, Col- 
onel Hester later maintained that the 
numerous administrative changes had in- 
creased the difficulty of maintaining con- 
sistent policies and caused so rapid a 
turnover of officers that operations could 
not always be accomplished effectively. In 
his opinion these changes had impaired re- 
lations with both government and business 
agencies, for they were often accompanied 
by cancellations of contracts and soon after- 
wards by their reinstatement. The Common- 
wealth Government, according to Hester, 
became convinced that "we did not know 
our requirements." 49 Industry, he added, 
was obliged to make so many alterations in 
its work schedules that production occasion- 
ally fell substantially below capacity. In his 
judgment all local procurement functions, 
including those of the General Purchasing 
Agent, should have been consolidated from 
the very outset in one office, as was done in 
the South Pacific, where the Joint Purchas- 
ing Board negotiated with the New Zealand 
Government, formulated procurement pol- 
icies, and received, stored, and shipped sup- 
plies — functions that in Australia were 
carried out by the General Purchasing 
Agent, the Procurement Division, and the 
technical services. 

Centralization of Distribution 
and Miscellaneous Activities 

At the same time that the procurement 
activities of the OCQM were being whittled 
down in order to concentrate control of these 


QM SWPA Hist, V, 22-24; VI, 24-25; VII, 
Hester Rpt, pp. 63-64. 



activities, distribution activities were under- 
going a comparable attrition for much the 
same reason. Early in 1944, when stocks in 
New Guinea had sunk to precariously low 
levels, the Distribution Division was estab- 
lished under G-4, USASOS, to attain a 
better balanced division of all military sup- 
plies throughout the Southwest Pacific. As 
an agency untied to any technical service, it 
would, presumably, be uninfluenced by the 
special interests of these services and hence 
would be better able to control distribution 
in line with the actual needs of the combat 
forces. As the agency charged with over-all 
control of distribution, the new division took 
over from the technical services the keep- 
ing of consolidated stock records for the en- 
tire area and the maintenance of all base sec- 
tion stores at prescribed quantities. In order 
to facilitate the prompt movement of sup- 
plies to the installations needing them most, 
the new division in accordance with priori- 
ties set by higher echelons co-ordinated and 
scheduled shipments between Australian 
bases, and shipments from Australia and the 
United States to advance bases or forward 
areas. Through a Distribution Branch at 
Milne Bay in New Guinea it also controlled 
shipments north of Australia. 50 

In March, only a few weeks after its es- 
tablishment, the Distribution Division was 
separated from G-4 and the Distribution 
Branch from the Distribution Division. Both 
organizations were put directly under the 
Commanding General, USASOS. The in- 
dependent status given the Distribution 
Branch was the first step toward moving the 
center of the distribution system north from 
Australia and placing it nearer to the com- 
bat areas. This action originated in the need 

50 (1) QM SWPA Hist, V, 16-18; VI, 19-22. 
(2) Personal Ltr, Lt Col Walter R. Ridlehuber, 
DISTDIV, to Lt Col Robert W. May DISTBRA 
25 Feb 44. ORB NUGSEC QM 400. 

for an agency free to decide on the spot 
what to do about the increasingly complex 
distribution problems of the advanced areas. 
These problems were becoming both numer- 
ous and difficult. Adequate stocks were ever 
harder to obtain as cargo movements were 
slowed by lengthening distances between 
bases and by the shortage of interisland 
shipping. Food stocks in New Guinea had 
indeed become so low that equitable di- 
vision of rations became a major task of 
the new branch. 51 

The second step in the northward shift 
of the distribution system came in June, 
when the Distribution Branch was moved 
to Oro Bay and made part of the Inter- 
mediate Section (INTERSEC), USASOS, 
which controlled all USASOS units and ac- 
tivities in the areas supported by the bases 
at Port Moresby, Milne Bay, and Oro Bay. 
The third step came two and a half months 
later when the Distribution Division itself 
was transferred from Australia, made part 
of INTERSEC, and given the functions of 
the formerly independent Distribution 
Branch. It was at this time that the division 
lost control over stock distribution in Aus- 
tralia to the Procurement Division. 52 

The same process that had taken procure- 
ment and distribution functions out of the 
OCQM affected its graves registration, cen- 
tral baggage, and reclamation and salvage 
activities, which demanded hundreds of 
civilian manual and clerical workers as well 
as fairly elaborate commercial repair shops. 
Such shops did not exist in New Guinea; 
nor would civilian employees accompany 

5 ' (1) USASOS GO 43, 23 Mar 44, sub: Distr 
of Sups. (2) Rpt, Lt Col Charles A. Ritchie, QM 
INTERSEC, 13 Apr 44, sub: Base QM Conf at 
Distr Br, 10 Apr 44. ORB NUGSEC QM 400. 

52 Rpt, Brig Gen William F. Campbell, CQM, 10 
Dec 44, sub: Activities of OCQM, Oct-Nov 44. 
DRB AGO TOPNS Folder 211. 



the OCQM when it was moved to Hol- 
landia. For these reasons the sections han- 
dling these activities remained in Australia 
until April 1945, when the removal of 
Headquarters, USASOS, to Manila made 
available both Filipino clerks and repair 
shops and made possible the return of the 
sections to the OCQM. At the same time 
Quartermaster distribution functions were 
again turned over to that office. Since Aus- 
tralia was fast declining as a supply source 
because of the thousands of miles that now 
separated it from the bulk of Southwest 
Pacific troops, the OCQM two months later 
also recovered most of its original procure- 
ment responsibilities. The lengthy process of 
turning over Quartermaster activities to 
field agencies and rear areas thus came to 
an end. 53 

Organization of Quartermaster Operations 
in the South Pacific 

The Army in the South Pacific at first 
had no central supply organization. Such an 
agency could not be set up till the full scope 
of Army air and ground operations became 
known and an agreement was reached with 
the Navy on the precise delimitation be- 
tween the supply functions of the two serv- 
ices. In the absence of a central supply 
agency the forces that occupied the main 
South Pacific islands operated as inde- 
pendent supply commands responsible only 
to the War Department. Task force G-4's 
exercised staff control over supply opera- 
tions, and the senior officer of each techni- 
cal service acted as special staff officer as 
well as commander of all elements of his 
service. On New Caledonia, for example, 
within a few hours after the first American 

53 ( 1 ) Mil Hist of Base Sec, USASOS, Jun-Dec 
44. (2) Hq Base Sec, USASOS, Hist of OQM, 
Jun 44. DRB AGO Opns Rpts (QM Sec USASOS) . 

troops landed in March 1942, a Quarter- 
master office was established to carry out 
these functions. 54 

Each task force quartermaster submitted 
requisitions on the zone of interior for items 
not furnished automatically. As no means 
of co-ordinating these requisitions existed, 
they were sent in without reference to the 
needs or the stocks of other forces. Despite 
the fact that the U.S. organizations were 
located only 1,000 miles or so from agri- 
culturally rich New Zealand, that country 
at first provided them comparatively little 
food. The task forces secured most of their 
rations as well as most of their other sup- 
plies from the West Coast, 4,000 miles or so 
away. To conserve shipping on this long 
run, USAFIA supplied the troops in the 
South Pacific to the extent of its capacity, 
and many Quartermaster articles were pro- 
cured in this manner. 55 

Shortages of men and units severely 
handicapped task force quartermasters in 
their efforts to carry out both their regular 
organizational responsibilities and those of 
a theater SOS. Quartermaster troops 
constituted less than 2 percent of task 
force strength and had little knowledge 
of the more specialized duties of the Corps. 56 
That service nevertheless employed its 
scanty manpower in every kind of Quarter- 
master operation. At Noumea the 130th 
QM Battalion, a truck organization, for five 
months ran the food dumps, the gasoline 

54 Personal Ltr, Col Joseph H. Burgheim to Gen 
Gregory, 24 Feb 43. OQMG POA 319.25. 

53 ( 1 ) G-2 Hist Sees USAFISPA & SOPACBA- 
COM, History of the United States Army Forces 
in the South Pacific During World War II, 30 
March 1942-1 August 1944 (4 parts), I, 62-67. 
Hereafter this work will be cited as Hist USA- 
FISPA. (2) Historical Record of Headquarters 
Service Command APO 502, 10 November 1942 to 
30 September 1943. ORB USAFINC AG 314.7. 

s " Ltr, CG USAFISPA to CofS, 27 Feb 43. ORB 




landing mat in the conversion of the semitrailer in the foreground. 

dumps, and the clothing warehouses and 
transported supplies to the limit of its 
capacity. It was directed to haul mate- 
rials, regardless of size, for all technical serv- 
ices, but its standard 2%-ton trucks were 
much too small to carry rails, lumber, land- 
ing mats, and other bulky materials. It 
solved this dilemma by trading small ve- 
hicles to the Navy for large ones and in- 
geniously converting trucks into tractors 
capable of pulling semitrailers constructed 
from salvaged 6-ton vehicles. The Corps at- 
tempted to make up for the scarcity of men 
by extensive utilization of both combat or- 
ganizations and native workers, but tactical 
troops were reluctant workers and native 
laborers were unaccustomed to steady appli- 
cation and had little mechanical skill. 57 

57 Personal Ltr cited n. 54. 

The acute shortage of junior officers pre- 
sented a perplexing problem that was finally 
solved by the establishment of an officer can- 
didate school in New Caledonia and by di- 
rect commissioning from the ranks. Officers 
thus acquired helped fill the needs of under- 
manned forces. On New Caledonia these 
officers staffed the clothing and equipment 
repair shops, the salvage collection service, 
and the graves registration service. They 
also assisted in procurement activities, which 
for several months included procurement for 
other technical services since the QMC 
alone among the technical services in the 
South Pacific had a fairly large body of 
officers experienced in such activities. 58 

All these makeshifts relieved personnel 
shortages somewhat, but the situation de- 

68 Ibid. 



manded more fundamental action. By July 
1942 there were about 60,000 Army ground 
and air troops in the South Pacific, and sub- 
stantial reinforcements were on their way. 
The Americal Division was then in New 
Caledonia, the 37th Division was in the 
Fijis, and smaller forces were in New Zea- 
land, Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tongatabu, 
Bora Bora, Wallis, Upolo, and Tutuila. An 
Army territorial command was obviously 
required to supervise and co-ordinate the 
supply of these scattered garrisons. This 
need was accentuated by the preparations 
for the Guadalcanal campaign. On 7 July 
Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, Chief of 
the Air Staff in the War Department, was 
therefore appointed commanding general 
(COMGENSOPAC) of the newly created 
U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area 
( USAFISPA ) . He served under Vice Adm. 
Robert L. Ghormley, commander of the 
South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force 
(COMSOPAC), and his responsibilities 
were limited to administration, supply, and 
training of Army ground and air troops. 59 
General Harmon's mission included the de- 
termination of Army logistical needs, the 
supply of Army bases, the procurement, 
through the Joint Purchasing Board ( JPB) , 
set up by Admiral Ghormley in June, of 
materials obtainable in New Zealand, and 
the requisitioning of other materials from 
the San Francisco Port of Embarkation. 60 
At the time it was difficult for General 
Harmon to develop a centralized supply sys- 
tem. Though he exercised no control over 
operational plans, Admiral Ghormley and 
his successor, Admiral William F. Halsey, 
Jr., constantly consulted him on tactical 
matters and the disposition of Army forces, 

59 Hist USAFISPA, 30-36. 

""Ltr, CofS USAFISPA, 7 Jul 42, sub: Instruc- 

and for some weeks following the establish- 
ment of USAFISPA headquarters at Nou- 
mea in late July, Harmon's still incomplete 
staff was immersed in these problems to the 
exclusion of almost everything else. In any 
event it was too limited in numbers and 
logistical experience to control supply effec- 
tively. The main body of Harmon's pro- 
jected staff was indeed still in California 
and arrived in New Caledonia only in late 
September. 61 

A plan for centralized supply control, pre- 
pared by Brig. Gen. Robert G. Breene, As- 
sistant Chief of Staff, G-4, was then put 
into force. General Breene had soon con- 
cluded that the ordinary G-4 section lacked 
sufficient power to handle the complex lo- 
gistics of island warfare and to integrate 
Army supply operations with those of the 
Navy, Marine Corps, and Allied forces. His 
plan called for a central command with 
more authority than a G-4 section normally 
possessed. This headquarters, commanded 
by Breene, was set up at Auckland in mid- 
October as the Service Command. Early in 
the following month it was redesignated the 
Services of Supply (SOS SPA) and moved 
to Noumea in order to be closer to the cen- 
ter of operations. 

The mission of SOS SPA was the logis- 
tical support of Army and other forces that 
might be assigned to it. This meant in gen- 
eral the supply of the island garrisons guard- 
ing the lines of communications between the 
United States and the Southwest Pacific and 
the support of tactical forces. These forces, 
under the direction of Admiral Halsey, ad- 
vanced up the Solomons ladder in a series 
of amphibious operations that began on 
Guadalcanal in August 1942 and ended in 

61 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, n. s. to Brig Gen Frederick 
Gilbreath, 19 Aug 42. ORB USAFINC AG 319.1. 
(2) Hist USAFISPA, 505-23. 



March 1 944 with the occupation of Emirau, 
ninety miles north of New Ireland. The lat- 
ter operation, in conjunction with that car- 
ried out at the same time by MacArthur 
in the Admiralties, gave the Allied forces 
control of the approaches to the Bismarck 
Sea and enabled them to flank the Japanese 
stronghold at Rabaul and protect their ad- 
vance into the waters leading to the Philip- 
pines. This operation marked the successful 
termination of the South Pacific Area tacti- 
cal mission. Most of the ground and air 
forces in the area, totaling about 150,000 
men, were then transferred to General Mac- 
Arthur's command, and the South Pacific 
became essentially a communications zone, 
supplying and mounting out Army and Ma- 
rine Corps forces sent there from the Cen- 
tral Pacific Area for rehabilitation, training, 
and re-equipment preparatory to the Mari- 
anas and Carolines operations. So extensive 
were these tasks that until late 1944 there 
was little diminution in the magnitude of 
SPA supply activities. 62 

As long as the South Pacific was an active 
operational command, it constituted an ex- 
panding area in which new SOS operating 
agencies were constantly being set up and 
old ones enlarged. The most important of 
these agencies were the service commands 
established on strategically located islands to 
support offensive operations and supply all 
troops in their areas. These agencies, like 
USASOS base sections, operated through 
technical service sections and controlled the 
organizations, men, and depots concerned 
with SOS tasks. Quartermaster activities at 
Headquarters, SOS SPA, were conducted 
through the Quartermaster Section of the 
Supply and Salvage Division. This section, 
headed by Lt. Col. Carmon A. Rogers, was 
the largest agency under SOS, and like the 

,= Miller, Guadalcanal, pp. 1-3, 10-12, 14-19. 

OCQM in USASOS, exercised centralized 
control over Quartermaster operations. 63 

The joint operations of the Army, Navy, 
and Marine Corps in the South Pacific 
called for close co-operation in order to re- 
duce confusing duplication of logistical ef- 
forts. The form of this co-operation was laid 
down in the Basic Logistical Plan for Com- 
mand Areas Involving Joint Operations. 
Approved by the War and Navy Depart- 
ments in March 1943, it directed the organi- 
zation of joint Army-Navy staffs in the 
Pacific Ocean Areas to co-ordinate the 
activities of all supply and service agencies. 
In the South Pacific Admiral Halsey set up 
a Joint Logistical Board (JLB) to fashion 
co-operative supply policies and a Joint 
Working Board (JWB) to carry out these 
policies. The decisions of these two boards 
determined the precise scope of Army re- 
sponsibility for supplying other services. 64 

The QMC was assigned a broader mis- 
sion than it had in Army-controlled areas. 
This was particularly true of the procure- 
ment and distribution of food. Before June 
1943 representatives of the Army, Navy, 
and Marine Corps had met at irregular in- 
tervals and made informal agreements 
roughly defining their respective missions in 
this field. After that date the JWB assigned 
definite functions to each service. It made 
the QMC responsible for the procurement, 
storage, and distribution of nonperishable 
subsistence and combat rations for Army, 
Navy, and Marine Corps units, whether 
ashore or afloat, and of perishable food for 
units ashore. The Navy procured perish- 
ables for units afloat and furnished ocean 
transportation for all such provisions, 

83 (1) Hist Record, cited n. 55(2). (2) Organi- 
zational Hist, SOS SPA, from Activation to 30 June 
1943, pp. 1-4. ORB USAFINC AG 314.7. 

84 Ltr, CNO to CINCPAC, 8 Mar 43, sub: Basic 
Logistical Plan. ORB USAFINC AG 400. 



whether for use at sea or on land. Only in 
the Samoan Islands and Funafuti Island 
was the Army excluded from any responsi- 
bility for food. 66 

The broad functions given to Quarter- 
master agencies for provisioning Navy and 
Marine Corps as well as Army units sharply 
increased the dimensions of the Quarter- 
master subsistence program. Though Army 
troop strength alone was usually smaller 
than in the Southwest Pacific, the QMC, 
owing to the large number of Navy and Ma- 
rine Corps units, at times procured and 
distributed rations for as many or more men 
than it did in the neighboring area. 

Whereas the Corps was charged in gen- 
eral with procurement of subsistence in the 
South Pacific, the Joint Purchasing Board, 
a body composed mostly of Navy represent- 
atives, remained responsible for the cen- 
tralized procurement of food as well as other 
supplies obtained locally in New Zealand. 
The Corps, believing it should control all 
local procurement of subsistence, was never 
wholly satisfied with this allocation of re- 
sponsibility. Increasingly, however, the 
naval representatives on the board devoted 
their major attention to negotiations with 
New Zealand government agencies, while 
the Quartermaster representatives more and 
more cared for the details arising in the pur- 
chase of the items with which they were 
charged. These officers functioned much 
like their counterparts in the Subsistence 
Depot in Australia, determining how pro- 
duction could be increased and what equip- 
ment and materials were needed to raise 
agricultural output. 66 The Quartermaster, 
SOS, provided the Joint Purchasing Board 

65 Ltr, COMSOPAC to SOPAC, 18 Jun 43, sub: 
Proc of Provisions, SPA. ORB USAFINC AG 400. 

66 (1) Hist USAFISPA, 376-95. (2) Rpt, 
TQMG, 14 Mar 45, sub: Tour of POA & SWPA. 
OQMG POA 319.25. 

with estimates of future requirements on an 
area basis, and the board then determined 
the amount of each item procurable locally. 
On receipt of these figures the Quarter- 
master, SOS, could readily ascertain the 
quantity of supplies that he must requisition 
from the United States to meet area needs. 67 

The South Pacific Area obtained food 
not only from New Zealand and the United 
States but also from Southwest Pacific stocks 
of subsistence produced in Australia. Dur- 
ing the early months supply from this 
source was conducted in a somewhat hap- 
hazard fashion satisfactory to neither com- 
mand. 68 In January 1943 this situation was 
materially improved by a comprehensive 
agreement between the two areas, which 
accepted 400,000 men as the number to be 
supplied in the combined commands dur- 
ing 1943 and which provided that each area 
would estimate its requirements on the basis 
of half that number and inform the other 
area of its deficiencies. These, if obtainable 
locally, would be added to that area's pro- 
curement schedule and submitted as sepa- 
rate contract demands on the Australian or 
the New Zealand Government. Practically 
speaking, the burden of making up deficien- 
cies fell almost entirely on the Southwest 
Pacific. 69 

Toward the end of 1943, the OCQM, 
USASOS, finding it increasingly difficult to 
send all needed food to the New Guinea 
bases and at the same time fill South Pacific 
demands, objected to the practice of requi- 

67 Ltr CG SOS to TQMG, 13 Aug 43, sub: Rpt 
of QM SOS SPA. OQMG POA 319.25 

* ( 1 ) Memo, QM USAFIA for Sup Div OQM, 
Anr 42 (2) Memo, Ping Br for Subs Br OQM 
USAFlX, ( 28 Apr 42. Both in ORB AFWESPAC 
OM 430 (3) Memo, Col Lacey Murrow for LO 
SOS SPA, 14 Jan 43, sub: SPA Liaison Activities 
in Australia. ORB USAFINC AG 320 

■ Rpt Maj Gen Richard J. Marshall, 28 Jan 43. 
ORB USAFINC G-4 Subs Gen File. 



sitioning and holding rations specifically for 
the neighboring command. It recommended 
that Southwest Pacific requirements be 
filled before any shipments were made else- 
where and that no stocks be earmarked for 
other areas. In a conference between the two 
areas in late 1943 these recommendations 
were substantially accepted. 70 

Quartermaster procurement for all three 
armed services in the South Pacific was not 
confined to food. It was applied also to the 
procurement and distribution of insecticides 
for the extermination of the anopheles mos- 
quito and other insect bearers of malaria, 
dengue fever, filariasis, and scrub typhus, 
diseases that caused more casualties than did 
the Japanese. 71 Post exchange items consti- 
tuted another group of supplies common to 
the three services that the J LB recom- 
mended be procured and distributed solely 
by the QMC. As in other overseas areas, 
each service in the beginning had procured 
its own sales items and sold them in its own 
stores. Every Army PX obtained its stock 
from the United States through individual 
purchase orders on the Army Exchange 
Service rather than from area warehouses. 
This method obliged each store to bear 
losses in transit. As a result exchanges some- 
times had few items to sell. From the close 
of 1942, therefore, the QMC in the South 
Pacific, as in other operational areas, had 
gradually been charged with the procure- 
ment of more and more articles for PX's. It 
tried to maintain large stocks of candy, soap, 
toothpaste, and other common items in 
South Pacific warehouses, but there were al- 

70 ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS to Liaison Office, SPA, 
1 1 Dec 43, sub: Subs Rqmts. ORB USAFINC Subs 
Gen File. (2) Ltr, CG USASOS to Dir of Proc 
USASOS, 18 Jan 44, sub: Proc of Sups Purchased 

" Ltr, COMSOPAC to SOPAC, 19 Sep 43, sub: 
Basic Logistical Plan for SPA. ORB USAFINC 
AG 400. 

most chronic shortages of cigarettes, beer, 
and soft drinks. Since articles unavailable 
in post exchanges were repeatedly found in 
the ship's service stores maintained by the 
Navy, soldiers became increasingly dissatis- 
fied with the Army stores. 

This disparity in the variety and quan- 
tity of articles for sale to the different serv- 
ices engendered a sense of discrimination 
among the men and hurt their morale. 
Toward the end of 1943 the JLB accord- 
ingly proposed that the Quartermaster Sec- 
tion, SOS, buy all post exchange supplies 
for all the services. This plan was approved 
by both the War and the Navy Depart- 
ments early in 1944, but Admiral Halsey 
never carried it out because he was uncer- 
tain concerning the future strength of his 
area. 72 

The principle of unification was applied 
also to the collection and repair of salvaged 
materials, matters of considerable impor- 
tance in the South Pacific owing to the 
rapid deterioration of footwear and textile 
items, replacement of which was difficult. 
Though the QMC never actually had 
enough salvage personnel, it had more than 
any other organization and therefore was 
charged with the collection, classification, 
and repair of typewriters, cots, tents, shoes, 
clothing, and other salvageable articles com- 
mon to the three services. 73 

On 1 August 1944, after conclusion of 
offensive operations in the South Pacific, 
the SOS SPA became the South Pacific 
Base Command (SPBC). As such, it was 
primarily responsible for the staging and 
rehabilitation of Central Pacific divisions in 
the South Pacific Area, the support of com- 
bat activities in the Central Pacific, and the 

"Hist USAFISPA, 351-52, 514-15, 565-75. 

" (1) Ltr cited n. 71. (2) SPBC Memo 195, 
14 Nov 44, sub: Repairable Property. OQMG 
POA 400.4. 



I ' *4 


New Guinea. 

supply of three Southwest Pacific infantry 
divisions in the northern Solomons. When 
at the end of the year offensive operations 
spread to the Philippines, which lay too far 
west to be readily supported by the SPBC, 
its major functions became the "roll-up" 
of the area and the transfer of its excess 
supplies to other commands. 74 

Quartermaster problems in the two areas 
below the equator were for the most part 
not dissimilar. In neither area were there 
at the outset any Quartermaster agencies; 
from top to bottom such organizations had 
to be established in a few short months. 
The chief differences between Quarter- 
master operations in the two areas sprang 

74 (1) Hist USAFISPA, 270-79. (2) Rpt, Maj. 
Harold A. Naisbitt, 1 Feb 45, sub: Info Obtained 
from QM SPBC. OQMG POA 319.25. 

almost entirely from the broader responsi- 
bilities placed upon SOS SPA for the sup- 
ply of rations and certain other items to 
Navy and Marine Corps organizations. 

The Central Pacific Quartermaster 

Unlike the South and the Southwest 
Pacific Areas, the Central Pacific Area 
started with an established peacetime or- 
ganization in the Hawaiian Department. 
Within that department there were already 
a Quartermaster Section at Department 
Headquarters and Quartermaster depots on 
Oahu. During the first eighteen months 
after the outbreak of hostilities, when the 
main functions of the Hawaiian Depart- 
ment were the training and staging of troops 
for amphibious operations in other areas 



rather than for offensive activities of its 
own, Quartermaster problems were less 
complex than those of the southern com- 
mands. No extensive organization was re- 
quired for distribution operations or local 
procurement as few indigenous items were 
obtained and there were no sizable bases 
outside Hawaii. 

The Quartermaster Section functioned 
much like similar sections elsewhere, ad- 
vising the commanding general of the area 
on policy matters and preparing estimates 
of the men and supplies required to carry 
out the Quartermaster mission. It also dealt 
with day-to-day operations, translating area 
requirements into requisitions, supervising 
unit training, and controlling the activities 
of subordinate organizations, such as the 
Quartermaster Depots at Fort Armstrong 
and Schofield Barracks, the School for 
Cooks and Bakers, the Quartermaster Sup- 
ply Areas on Oahu, the service units op- 
erating these and similar installations, and 
the Quartermaster units sent to Hawaii for 
training. The only units of this type not con- 
trolled by it were those which furnished 
Quartermaster services in the outer islands 
under the supervision of the Hawaiian De- 
partment Service Forces and those which 
were assigned or attached to ground or air 
forces. Until late 1943, Quartermaster op- 
erations were, then, in general of a routine 
nature. 75 

As in the South Pacific, a Joint Logistics 
Board and a Joint Working Board developed 
plans for joint supply. Each service in Ha- 
waii filled most of its own requirements, but 
the principle of joint supply was applied to 
the small advance bases. On Johnston and 
Palmyra Islands, where the Navy controlled 
all but a few facilities and had the larger 
forces, that service furnished all classes of 

QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 9-31. 

supply. On Fanning and Christmas Islands, 
where the Army had the larger interest, it 
provided Class I, II, and IV items. 

After large-scale offensive operations be- 
gan with the attack on the Gilberts, Quar- 
termaster responsibilities were substantially 
increased, for it was then agreed that during 
such operations the Army would furnish ra- 
tions to Navy and Marine forces and pro- 
vision these elements at the advance bases 
established as a result of combat activities. 
From this time onward, the QMC fed a 
steadily rising number of men, including 
eventually more than 1 00,000 marines. The 
principal effort of the Corps came, there- 
fore, during the last two years of the war, 
when it handled four to six times as many 
supplies as it did in the preceding period. 76 

Since the support of combat troops was 
taking up more and more of the time of 
technical service chiefs and since base oper- 
ations were becoming daily more important, 
the Central Pacific Area was reorganized 
in June 1944 to relieve these officers of 
routine duties. The functions of Headquar- 
ters, U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific 
Area (USAFICPA), as the Hawaiian De- 
partment had been redesignated in August 
1943, were divided between two new agen- 
cies — Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, Pa- 
cific Ocean Areas (HUSAFPOA), and the 
Central Pacific Base Command (CPBC). 
This reorganization divided the functions of 
the former Quartermaster Office, Central 
Pacific Area, between the two new estab- 
lishments, both of which had their head- 
quarters on Oahu. 77 

70 (1) Mid-Pac Hist, VI, 1038-44. (2) Msg W- 
6510, CG CPA to WD, 17 Oct 43. (3) Memo, Dir 
of Ping for Dir Stock Control ASF, 27 Oct 43, 
sub: Logistic Support of Naval and Marine Corps 
Pcrs in CPA. OQMG POA 400.302. 

"(1) Mid-Pac Hist, III, 479-484. (2) QM 
Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 85-94, 166-206. 



The Office- of the Quartermaster, HUS- 
AFPOA, headed by Brig. Gen. George E. 
Hartman, inherited the planning, policy- 
making, and supervisory responsibilities of 
the Office of the Quartermaster, Central 
Pacific Area. It determined area and base 
stock levels as well as unit and supply re- 
quirements for combat organizations, super- 
vised the building up of stockpiles by the 
base commands, and planned the logistical 
support of tactical forces and the develop- 
ment of Quartermaster base facilities on 
newly won islands. 78 As the CPBC was in 
essence a communications zone, the Office 
of the Quartermaster in that command 
looked after the countless details involved 
in the support of operational forces and in 
the development and supply of bases, old 
and new. Its responsibilities included the 
collection of statistics of stocks on hand and 
on order; the correlation of these figures 
with theater requirements as estimated by 
HUSAFPOA so as to ascertain what addi- 
tional supplies were needed; the storage and 
distribution of stocks in accordance with di- 
rectives from HUSAFPOA; and the es- 
tablishment and supervision of Quartermas- 
ter base installations and services. 79 

The Quartermaster mission of the CPBC 
was of signal importance from July to No- 
vember 1944. During that period the 
Marianas campaign was triumphantly ter- 
minated, and a substantial part of the forces 
that conquered Leyte was mounted. As 
the American forces moved toward Japan 
it became more difficult to control the sup- 
ply of Pacific Ocean Areas troops from now 
distant Oahu. When the Okinawa cam- 
paign started, Saipan was therefore made 
the headquarters of the new Western Pa- 
cific Base Command, set up to assume in its 

T "QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 324-36. 
79 QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 338-42. 

territory tasks similar to those of the Cen- 
tral Pacific Base Command. The new com- 
mand operated under the general supervi- 
sion of the Quartermaster, HUSAFPOA. 
It participated in the logistical support of 
the tactical forces operating in the western 
Pacific and supplied garrisons totaling about 
1 30,000 troops on Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, 
Angaur, and Ulithi. s " 

Meanwhile General MacArthur on 6 
April 1945 had been given command over 
all Army troops in the Pacific. This event 
had little influence on Pacific Ocean Areas 
supply activities. It merely meant that in 
the future HUSAFPOA would submit its 
reports to MacArthur as Commander in 
Chief, Army Forces, Pacific (CINCAF- 
PAC ) , rather than to the War Department. 
In July HUSAFPOA was redesignated as 
Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, Middle 
Pacific (HUSAFMIDPAC), and Brig. 
Gen. Henry R. McKenzie succeeded Gen- 
eral Hartman as Quartermaster. 81 

Though Quartermaster functions in the 
Central and the Western Pacific eventually 
embraced the logistical support of formida- 
ble task forces and the maintenance of large 
stocks at a long chain of growing bases, 
Quartermaster distribution operations were 
never as difficult as they had been earlier 
in these areas. This favorable situation was 
partly a result of the fact that supplies 
during the first two years had come to Hono- 
lulu almost wholly from San Francisco, only 
2,000 miles away, and had been distributed 
over relatively short distances within the 
Hawaiian group; partly of the fact that 
shipping in the last two years, when dis- 
tances became much greater, was never as 
scarce as elsewhere; and partly of the fact 

Mid-Pac Hist, VI, 1148-50. 

QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 324-26, 335. 



that a full-scale Quartermaster organiza- 
tion existed in the mid-Pacific from the 

The central Quartermaster organizations 
in the two areas below the equator probably 
never attained as high a degree of efficiency 
as those to the north. When American 
troops first came to the south, there was in 
all that enormous territory no central Quar- 
termaster organization to supervise the ac- 
tivities of the Corps and to inaugurate large- 
scale operations in support of combat troops. 
Such organizations had to be improvised 
without the benefit of carefully developed 
prewar plans and in the midst of uncertainty 
as to the precise role the U.S. Army would 
play in that part of the world. The confusion 
and doubts of the early months were quite 
naturally reflected in a dangerously under- 
manned Quartermaster organization. Fre- 

quent shifts in the location of SOS head- 
quarters, particularly in Australia, made it 
almost impossible to retain a fully trained 
civilian staff drawn from local inhabitants 
and thus intensified the difficulty of build- 
ing up an effective central office. Even more 
important hampering factors were the re- 
peated changes in the internal organization 
of central Quartermaster offices — again, 
most notably in Southwest Pacific Area. No 
one principle of administration was long 
followed in USASOS; changes were almost 
constantly being made, often accompanied 
by shifts of supervisory officers and a gen- 
eral shuffling of activities within divisions. 
Apparently, this unsettled state of affairs 
often lowered efficiency. It might have been 
better if a definite administrative principle 
had been early adopted and then consist- 
ently adhered to. 


Pacific Bases 

The OCQM in the Southwest Pacific and 
corresponding offices in the other areas 
planned, co-ordinated, and supervised 
Quartermaster activities, but base sections 
set up throughout the Pacific as need de- 
veloped actually carried out most of these 
activities. They were the agencies that re- 
ceived, stored, and distributed supplies, re- 
claimed discarded and worn-out articles, 
and cleaned and laundered clothing. 

Ordinarily, base sections covered specific 
geographical areas. According to their lo- 
cation in the communications zone, they 
were classified as rear, intermediate, and 
advance installations. Generally speaking, 
rear bases obtained their stocks direct from 
local industry and agriculture or from the 
United States. Since they supplied inter- 
mediate and sometimes advance bases as 
well, they normally maintained larger stores 
than the other bases. Intermediate bases, lo- 
cated nearer the combat zone, served in the 
main as suppliers for advance bases. The 
latter installations kept only limited stocks, 
which they employed to provide needed 
items to the truckheads and navigation 
heads of combat zones. All bases, regardless 
of classification, supplied the military units 
within their own geographical areas. 

The mission of the bases varied in detail 
with shifting strategic requirements, avail- 
ability of shipping, and changing locations 
of troops concentrations and combat zones. 

Until late 1943, for instance, each base in 
Australia was charged with buying perish- 
able foods and furnishing these items to the 
base in New Guinea for whose supply it 
was responsible, but the insufficiency of 
reefer shipping and the increased number of 
troops in New Guinea made it difficult for 
the mainland installations to carry out their 
assigned responsibilities. This system was ac- 
cordingly modified so as to permit ship- 
ments from any base that had reefers. 1 As 
fighting spread northwest along the New 
Guinea coast and finally reached the Philip- 
pines, more fundamental changes occurred. 
Rear bases in Australia were either aban- 
doned or operated on a much smaller scale, 
and advance bases in New Guinea became 
intermediate or even rear bases. A similar 
evolution occurred in the South and Cen- 
tral Pacific. 

Bases conducted their activities through 
technical service sections that handled the 
supplies and equipment furnished by their 
particular service. Quartermaster Sections 
operated mainly through storage and dis- 
tribution depots located at strategic points 
within the base area. Administratively, 
these installations might be either general 
depots handling supplies of all services or 

1 USASOS Logistic Instructions 38, 1 Nov 43, 
sub: Distr of Perishables. ORB AFWESPAC AG 




technical service depots handling the sup- 
plies of a single service. Functionally, they 
might be in-transit depots, receiving and 
classifying inbound and outbound ship- 
ments; issue depots, storing stocks for units 
within the base area; or reserve depots, serv- 
ing as sources of replacement supply for is- 
sue depots, other bases, and operational 

Southwest Pacific 

During most of the war the Australian 
bases functioned as semipermanent rear in- 
stallations supporting the New Guinea 
forces. They were indispensable to Quarter- 
master supply, for they handled not only the 
vast quantities of food, clothing, footwear, 
and general supplies procured in Australia 
but also all shipments made from the United 
States before August 1943. Despite the 
shortage of labor and materials-handling 
equipment the Australian bases were the 
most efficient ones in the Southwest Pacific, 
for they had the best ports and most ware- 

Since Australia at the start of hostilities 
had become the communications zone of the 
Southwest Pacific, the first bases in that area 
had been set up there. By April 1942 seven 
were in operation, five of which approxi- 
mately followed state boundaries. The lead- 
ing commercial center in each base area was 
designated as headquarters. Base Section 1 
(Darwin) comprised the Northern Terri- 
tory; Base Section 2 (Townsville), northern 
Queensland; Base Section 3 (Brisbane), 
southern Queensland; Base Section 4 (Mel- 
bourne), Victoria; Base Section 5 (Ade- 
laide), South Australia; Base Section 6, 

2 Hq USASOS, Min of Gen and Special Staff 
Conf, 19 Jan 44. DRB AGO PHILRYCOM. 

(Perth), Western Australia; and Base Sec- 
tion 7 (Sydney), New South Wales. 3 

Until late 1942 the danger of Japanese 
invasion was the major factor in determin- 
ing the location and mission of these bases. 
It forced the wide dispersion of supplies, 
which in turn for some months necessitated 
the continued operation of the seven origi- 
nal bases, even after available facilities in 
some of them proved unsatisfactory. De- 
fense against possible attack from New 
Guinea and the Netherlands Indies largely 
motivated the establishment of bases at Dar- 
win and Perth, and as that danger receded, 
these installations became less significant. 
Adelaide was set up chiefly because its lo- 
cation on the south-central coast presumably 
rendered it safe from attack. Its principal 
task was the supply of the 3 2d Division, 
staged from May to July 1942 at camps 
about 120 miles from Adelaide. After this 
mission had been completed, its importance 
rapidly diminished. Since Melbourne and 
Sydney were the leading industrial and 
commercial centers and were remote from 
probable enemy landing points, they became 
the largest receivers and forwarders of mili- 
tary shipments. In the early months Mel- 
bourne served as the main supplier of other 
base areas. Intermediate depots, stocking 
advance installations to the north and north- 
east, where danger of hostile landings was 
greatest, were established in the Sydney and 
Brisbane base areas, at relatively safe sites, 
100 to 150 miles from the coast. Advance 
depots were located mostly in the Townsville 
base section along highways running west 
from Rockhampton, Townsville, and Cairns 
and at change-of-gauge points in this region. 
The principal depots were set up at Chart- 

3 (1) USAFIA GO 1, 5 Jan 42, sub: Establish- 
ment of Base Sees. (2) USAFIA GO 38, 15 Apr 42, 
sub: Mission, Organization, and Opn of Base Sees. 



ers Towers, Cloncurry, Mount Isa, and Ten- 
nant Creek between Townsville and the 
Darwin Alice Springs railway. 4 

As danger of invasion waned and New 
Guinea emerged as the center of Allied 
offensive operations, base activities under- 
went substantial modification. Those bases 
which had satisfactory ports and lay com- 
paratively close both to New Guinea and to 
industrial and agricultural centers handled 
more and more supplies while other bases 
dwindled in importance. Perth and Ade- 
laide were discontinued in January 1943, 
and though Darwin functioned until July 
1944, its activities were increasingly con- 
fined to supply of the Air Forces. Despite 
excellent port and warehouse facilities at 
Melbourne, the distance of that base from 
the center of combat operations caused 
gradual curtailment of its activities, and it 
was finally abandoned in June 1944. As 
Melbourne declined, Brisbane and Towns- 
ville, 1,100 and 1,875 miles nearer New 
Guinea, expanded and, together with Syd- 
ney, emerged as the principal bases. From 
September 1943 to February 1944 Cairns in 
northeast Queensland, 225 miles nearer 
New Guinea than Townsville, served as 
headquarters of the temporarily reconsti- 
tuted Base Section 5, formerly at Adelaide, 
but owing to its inferior docks and ware- 
houses, it handled comparatively few New 
Guinea-bound supplies. 5 

Quartermaster sections of Southwest Pa- 
cific bases were organized in various ways, 

1 (1) Rpt, Lt Roy P. Smith, 28 May 42, sub: 
Sup System at Base Sec 1. ORB AFWESPAC AG 
371.43. (2) Ltr, ACofS G-4 to CofS USAFIA, 
4 Jul 42, sub: Sup Depot Installations. ORB AF- 
WESPAC QM 633. (3) Masterson, Transportation 
in SWPA, pp. 57-59, 77-80. 

' ( 1 ) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, App. 
56. (2) Hq USASOS, Min of Gen and Special Staff 
Conf, 19 Jan 44, pp. 4-5. DRB AGO PHILRY- 

the particular form being determined by 
their missions, but there was always a base 
quartermaster who exercised technical su- 
pervision over all the base activities of the 
Corps. He usually had certain assistants, of 
whom the Quartermaster depot officer was 
possibly the most important. This officer 
stored and distributed reserve stocks ear- 
marked for other bases and for advance 
areas. His work was supplemented by that 
of the base supply officer who issued items 
destined for military units stationed in the 
base area. There were also purchasing and 
contracting officers, whose primary function 
was the procurement of the few supplies that 
bases were allowed to buy locally for these 
units, and subsistence officers — actually, per- 
ishable subsistence officers — who stored and 
issued fresh provisions and controlled the 
refrigeration cars and trucks used for deliv- 
ery of perishables to units in outlying areas. 
Finally, there were service center officers, 
who looked after the miscellaneous activi- 
ties of the Corps. 6 

All Quartermaster operations were car- 
ried out under the general direction of the 
base commander. The OCQM could issue 
technical instructions and its representatives 
could discuss technical problems with base 
quartermasters, but neither the OCQM nor 
the base quartermasters could determine 
exactly where supplies for troops within a 
base would be stored or how they would be 
distributed. These questions involved com- 
mand functions, for which base commanders 
alone were responsible. To give them 
authority in these matters was a necessity if 
limited labor, transportation, and storage 

'• ( 1 ) Hq Base Sec 4, OQM, Methods and Pro- 
cedures of QM Activities, 31 Dec 42. AFWESPAC 
QM 400.24. (2) Memo, Base Sec 3 for CQM 
USASOS, 17 Nov 43, sub: Base QM Organization 
Chart. AFWESPAC QM 319.1. 



resources were to be pooled in the common 
interests of all services and all military units 
operating within the base area. 7 But base 
commanders had no power to determine just 
where, within their territorial jurisdiction, 
supplies reserved for other bases or for 
operational forces in other base areas would 
be stored or how they would be distributed. 
These operations were controlled by distri- 
bution instructions from the OCQM which, 
in turn, was governed by logistical instruc- 
tions from higher authority. 

The question of ultimate control over 
supplies held for distribution to other bases 
and operational forces was solved only after 
prolonged discussion between the base com- 
manders and the OCQM. Throughout 1942 
that office fought for Quartermaster reserve 
depots under its control rather than under 
that of the base commanders. Only by gain- 
ing this authority, the OCQM believed, 
could it really control Quartermaster re- 
serve stocks. Early experience supported its 
position, for, in the rush to supply troops 
from the scanty stores, materials that theo- 
retically constituted reserve stocks for other 
bases were not segregated from those held 
to fill the needs of the particular base in 
which they were located. Hence they 
could not be controlled effectively. To cor- 
rect this situation, Headquarters, USASOS, 
ordered the establishment of Quartermaster 
reserve depots in the Sydney, Melbourne, 
and Brisbane base sections. These installa- 
tions would be under the direction of the 
Chief Quartermaster, who would recom- 
mend the officers to be assigned by the Com- 
manding General, USASOS, as depot com- 
manders and who would determine where 
and in what quantities reserve stocks would 

' Lecture, Col Fred L. Hamilton, ACofS G-4 
USASOS, 14 Dec 42, sub: Base Sees, Relationships 
and Problems. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 

be held and when and where they would 
be delivered to other installations. 8 

In compliance with the directions of 
Headquarters, USASOS, Quartermaster re- 
serve depots were established at Brisbane 
and Melbourne, but the Sydney base com- 
mander, maintaining that he should control 
reserve installations within his territory, de- 
layed setting up the prescribed depot. This 
situation caused Headquarters, USASOS, 
to reconsider its policy. In November it 
adopted a compromise solution whereby 
base commanders were empowered to set up 
general rather than technical service depots 
for reserve stocks and to appoint the com- 
manding officers of these installations. The 
OCQM, however, was to issue distribution 
instructions indicating how Quartermaster 
reserve stocks would be distributed." 

Storage facilities at the Australian bases 
varied appreciably in serviceability. During 
1 942 commercial space of all sorts was em- 
ployed. Quartermaster requirements for 
storage space were then much smaller than 
they later became, but at this time suitable 
warehouses were so scarce that supplies were 
even kept in empty shops, garages, social 
centers — in fact, in almost any available 
space. During 1943 an extensive leasing and 
construction program provided substantial 
quantities of Quartermaster covered space 
in the Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane 
base areas. In January 1944, when stor- 
age operations in Australia were at their 
peak, the Corps utilized more warehouse 
space than any other branch of the Army, 
occupying 3,175,000 square feet, or 43.7 
percent of the 8,506,000 square feet em- 
ployed by the Air Forces and the technical 


"QM SWPA Hist, II, 34-41. 

9 Ibid. 

10 Engineers in the Southwest Pacific, 1941-1945, 
Vol. VII, Engineer Supply, p. 90. 



In mid- 1 944 the growing practice of ship- 
ping direct from San Francisco to advance 
installations brought about a rapid shrink- 
age in activities at all Australian bases, and 
the bases in the huge undeveloped island of 
New Guinea became increasingly important. 
In 1942 this island had not a single mile of 
railroad and only a few small stretches of 
surfaced roads. There were but three ports 
with any modern means for handling ship- 
ments. These ports were Milne Bay, at the 
eastern tip of the island, with a daily han- 
dling capacity of 2,500 tons; Port Moresby, 
on the south side of the narrow Papuan 
peninsula, with 1,500 tons; and Buna, on 
the north side, with 1,000 tons. Minor ports 
at Morobe, Salamaua, and Madang han- 
dled together only 450 tons. At most coastal 
points lighters provided the sole means of 
bringing supplies ashore. In the interior 
high mountains, steaming jungles, impass- 
able swamps, and kunai grass growing to a 
height of 6 or 7 feet covered the island and 
made transportation difficult except by na- 
tive porters. 

Because the means of moving materials 
on land were so inadequate, 95 percent of 
Army supply movements in New Guinea 
were made by ship. This dependence on 
water transportation brought about an ex- 
tensive development of ports and bases. 11 
Since construction of storage facilities could 
not start until the dense jungle had been 
cleared and airstrips, docks, and roads built, 
bases were seldom able to handle Quarter- 
master supplies efficiently in their early 
months. With suitable means of storage thus 
at a minimum, stocks were often held in the 
open or in tents, shacks, and other impro- 
vised structures. During this period logisti- 
cal support of tactical forces of necessity 

came principally from the older and more 
distant bases, although these installations 
could not satisfactorily support large bodies 
of advance troops. 12 

The first base in New Guinea was started 
at Port Moresby in April 1942 during the 
desperate Allied attempt to hold eastern 
New Guinea, the primary Japanese step- 
pingstone to Australia, whose Cape York 
Peninsula lay less than 100 miles across the 
Torres Strait. {Map 2 — inside back cover) 
In August the base was activated as U.S. Ad- 
vance Base, New Guinea. At this time an- 
other advance station, supervised from Port 
Moresby, was set up at Milne Bay and des- 
ignated Sub-Base A. On establishment both 
these bases already had several small 
wharves, but neither possessed warehouses, 
the matter of chief Quartermaster concern, 
and supplies were stored mostly in impro- 
vised shelters or open dumps. At Port Mores- 
by, because of the danger of air raids and 
flooding waters, the dumps were dispersed 
for greater safety in the hills, three to twen- 
ty-five miles inland. In the Milne Bay area 
they were several miles from the main 
port at Ahioma and the sub-ports at 
Waga Waga and Gili Gili. Throughout most 
of 1943 the Milne Bay area served as the 
major receiving and transshipment center 
in New Guinea. In August, with Allied pos- 
session of Papua apparently secure, it re- 
placed Port Moresby as Headquarters, U.S. 
Advance Base, New Guinea. 13 

In December 1942, meanwhile, Sub-Base 
B had been started along the still primitive 
shores of Oro Bay, about 18 miles south of 


Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 433- 

12 ( 1 ) USASOS Conf 23, 18 Jan 44, sub: Min of 
Conf of Gen and Special Staffs. (2) Rpt 6, Capt 
Robert D. Orr, 6 Jan 44, sub: Rpt on Large Ad- 
vance Base (F). OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

13 For a complete description of the New Guinea 
bases, see Harold Larson and Joseph Bykofsky, The 
Transportation Corps: Operations Overseas, a vol- 
ume under preparation in this series. 


Buna Village and 225 miles northwest of 
Milne Bay. Its initial mission was better 
support for the troops fighting in this area 
than could be furnished by the fishing boats 
and other small craft that made the long 
trip from Milne Bay and discharged their 
cargo on unsheltered beaches. Following the 
successful termination of the Buna-Gona 
campaign, Oro Bay developed into a stag- 
ing area and a supply base for advance 
forces and for the nearby airfields at Dobo- 
dura. As at Port Moresby, storage installa- 
tions were dispersed at points five to twenty 
miles inland. 

In April 1943 Sub-Base C was activated 
at Beli Beli Bay on Goodenough Island, off 
the north coast of southeastern New Guinea, 
midway between Milne Bay and Oro Bay, 
but it never attained much importance as 
a general distributing base. In May, Port 
Moresby, which had declined somewhat in 
relative importance, was redesignated Sub- 
Base D. Three months later all the sub-bases 
became full bases operating under the su- 
pervision of Advance Section (ADSEC), 
USASOS, as the U.S. Advance Base at 
Milne Bay was then designated. After the 
capture of Lae in September, this area, in 
spite of its small unsheltered harbor on Huon 
Gulf, was developed as Base E. Its major 
task was not the supply of forward forces 
but of the huge Army Air Forces installa- 
tions thirty miles inland at Nadzab, the west- 
ern terminus of the Air Transport Com- 
mand flights across the Pacific. 14 

" (1) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, 441- 
43. (2) Military History of United States Army 
Services of Supply, compiled by USASOS, SWPA, 
n. d., pp. 67-70. OCMH. (3) Ltr, Col. Charles R. 
Lehner, QM Alamo Force, to Col Lewis Landes, 
312. (4) Rpt, Maj Allan W. Johnson, 8 May 44, 
sub: Hist of Base E to 1 Mar 44. ORB Base E 
AG Mil Hist. 

Base F, situated at Finschhafen on the 
eastern end of Huon Peninsula, was begun 
in November 1943, shortly after the Jap- 
anese had been driven out. With a fairly 
good natural harbor, Finschhafen was de- 
veloped as the major base in New Guinea. 
It replaced Milne Bay as the largest handler 
of supplies in the Southwest Pacific just as 
shipments direct from the United States to 
New Guinea were beginning. From April 
1944 to February 1945, the period of maxi- 
mum activity at New Guinea bases, it loaded 
and discharged a third of the tonnage pass- 
ing through these installations. Between 
June and January, months that included the 
logistical build-up for the Leyte and the 
Luzon Campaigns, Finschhafen handled 25 
to 35 percent more tonnage than did all the 
Australian bases. Yet it never possessed 
buildings and equipment of the high quality 
demanded by the magnitude of its mis- 
sion. 15 

The difficulties besetting the development 
of Base F typified those generally encoun- 
tered at New Guinea supply centers. Near- 
impenetrable mountainous jungle rose ab- 
ruptly only a short distance from shore, and 
buildings and roads were necessarily strung 
out along the coast for miles. Because of 
the unfavorable hydrographic conditions 
dumps could not be placed just behind the 
docks, a location that would have made pos- 
sible the most economical handling of sup- 
plies. Instead these installations were usually 
situated at distances that required con- 
siderable hauling to and from the water- 
front. Storage conditions were rendered 
still less satisfactory by the lack of men and 
equipment, shortages that delayed building 
activities and made it almost impossible to 
put up sturdy storage places. 16 

15 ( 1 ) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, 
Apps. 42-43. (2) Rpt cited n. 12(2). 

16 P. 9 of Rpt cited n. 12(2). 



CLOTHING AND EQUIPAGE BUILDING of Base H Quartermaster Depot at Biak. 

The victorious conclusion of the Hol- 
landia campaign early in June 1944 opened 
the way for the establishment of Base G. 1 ' 
Originally designed to replace Finschhafen 
as the chief supply center in New Guinea, 
the new base had too shallow a harbor to 
permit realization of this plan. Neverthe- 
less, it was developed on a large scale and 
late in the year shipped a vast volume of 
supplies to the forces liberating the Philip- 
pines. During this period it ranked second 
only to Finschhafen in tonnage handled. 
Base H, activated in August 1944 after the 
successsful Biak Island operation, was lo- 
cated partly on that island, off the north- 
west coast of New Guinea, and partly on 

11 For an account of the Hollandia Operation, 
see Robert Ross Smith, The Approach to the Phil- 
WAR II (Washington, 1953). 

adjacent islets. Biak had a flat terrain that 
better fitted it for development as a supply 
and staging area than any other New Guinea 
base. As the USASOS installation closest 
to the Philippines, Biak shared with Hol- 
landia in the mounting and supply of the 
forces invading Leyte and Luzon, and until 
the spring of 1945 sent large quantities 
of replacement stocks to the Philippines. 
During March and April it handled more 
tonnage than any other New Guinea base 
since Finschhafen then lay too far to the 
rear to be utilized effectivelv. 18 

18 ( 1 ) Conf, Gen and Special Staff Sees Hq USA- 
SOS, 9 May 44, sub : Mins. DRB AGO. ( 2 ) Ltr, CG 
Sixth Army to CG USASOS, 21 Aug 44, sub: 
Construction Base G. ORB AFWESPAC AG 
600.1. (3) Hist, Lt Col Melvin M. Vuksich, 1 
Nov 44, sub: Hist Rpt Base H, 25 Sep-25 Oct 44. 
(4) Hist, WOIG Julian P. Barton, 2 June 43, sub: 
Hist Rpt, 25 Apr-25 May 45. Both in ORB Base 
H AG 314.7. 



During the first three years of the war 
bases in New Guinea in general were begun 
only after operations undertaken in part 
for the purpose of winning desirable base 
sites had been substantially concluded. 
This procedure had retarded the develop- 
ment of forward installations and rendered 
the supply of tactical forces dependent on 
bases located several hundred miles away. 
But it was a procedure necessitated by the 
lack of ships for accumulating stocks at for- 
ward bases, by the scarcity of building ma- 
terials, and by the existence of still formida- 
ble Japanese air and naval forces. After the 
reconquest of the Philippines got under way, 
greater resources were available. At the 
same time the employment of the largest 
U.S. forces yet seen in the Pacific demanded 
bases closer to the combat zones. The Army 
Service Command (ASCOM) was accord- 
ingly set up in July 1944 under the Com- 
manding General, Sixth Army, to plan the 
logistical support of tactical forces and pro- 
vide for the prompt construction of bases. 
Though chiefly Engineer in composition, it 
contained Quartermaster and other techni- 
cal service sections. It pooled building ma- 
terials, made plans for major bases to be 
started in the Philippines immediately after 
the landings scheduled for the fall and win- 
ter, and gathered men for the erection and 
operation of these bases. In the future, there- 
fore, bases were started as soon as possible 
after the landings and used initially as sup- 
ply installations for troops fighting in their 
vicinity. 19 

Since combat operations before late 1944 
had been carried out almost entirely within 
distinct areas by troops of each area, South- 
west, South, and Central Pacific Area bases 

10 (1) Engrs of SWPA, I, 200, 205-07. (2) Ltr, 
CG USASOS to CG ASCOM, 25 Jul 44, sub: 
Basic Organization Directive. DRB AGO TOPNS. 

up to that time had supplied mainly their 
own organizations. But the reconquest of 
the Philippines and the projected invasion 
of Japan called for the participation of 
Army, Marine Corps, and Navy forces from 
all areas and necessitated the development 
of bases capable of maintaining these forces. 
An interarea conference, assembled at Hol- 
landia in November 1944 to discuss this 
problem, agreed that the Philippine bases 
planned by ASCOM would help support all 
troops who participated in future opera- 
tions, regardless of the area from which they 
came. 20 As the Philippine bases would also 
have extensive responsibilities for the sup- 
ply of offensive movements against nearby 
objectives, for the rehabilitation of the 
archipelago itself, and for the logistical sup- 
port of the invasion of Japan, they would 
be set up by ASCOM as semipermanent 
installations. The establishment of such 
bases was now possible, for ships and build- 
ing materials were at last available in fairly 
large quantities. 

Base K, the first of the Philippine bases set 
up by ASCOM, was located on San Pedro 
Bay at Tacloban in northeastern Leyte, 
where its installations extended along the 
shore for some twenty-five miles. Established 
in October 1944, only two days after the 
first landings, it supported the Leyte cam- 
paign from the beginning. Until Base M 
was activated at San Fabian on Lingayen 
Gulf in January, it was the only sizable base 
in the Southwest Pacific Area north of 
Biak. Base M, whose activities were even- 
tually scattered for fifty miles along the 
shore, constituted a highly important source 
of supplies in the early Luzon operations 
despite its shallow port, which compelled 
the discharge of cargoes direct into landing 

20 Ping Div, Office of Dir of Plans and Opns ASF, 
Hist of Ping Div ASF, pp. 11-14. 



craft and lighters. As the Lingayen Gulf 
campaign progressed, sub-bases were set up. 
They supported operations until the region 
was cleared of hostile troops. San Fernando, 
La Union, 30 miles north of San Fabian, 
then became the permanent headquarters of 
Base M. 21 

Early in April 1945 another base, R, was 
established at Batangas, 60 miles south of 
Manila. A month later Base S was started 
at Cebu City, site of a Quartermaster depot 
in 1941-42, and became supply headquar- 
ters for the southern Philippines, where 
stubborn fighting was still in progress. De- 
spite the fact that engineers were obliged to 
remove great piles of wreckage to clear the 
way for these two new bases, supplies in the 
thousands of tons were flowing in by June 
and continued to arrive until the termina- 
tion of hostilities caused a sharp drop in 
receipts. In October, Batangas was redesig- 
nated Sub-Base R under Base X, the huge 
Manila installation. The following month 
Cebu became Sub-Base S. 22 

Base X, by far the largest supply instal- 
lation in the SWPA, served as principal sup- 
porting point for operations in the Philip- 
pines, Borneo, and other East Indies islands 
and for the planned assault against the 
Japanese home island of Kyushu. It was not 
formally activated until early April 1945, 
but rehabilitation and construction of docks, 
warehouses, and open storage areas had 
started soon after the recapture of Manila 
in January. From April 1945 to January 
1946 it handled more supplies than any 
other SWPA base ever had, receiving and 
discharging a monthly average of 380,000 

21 (1) Engrs of SWPA, I, 309. (2) Hist, Maj 
John F. Shelton, 29 Aug 45, sub: Mil Hist, Base 
M QM Sec. ORB Base M 314.7. 

22 (1) Ltr, CO Base R to CG Phil Base Sec, 29 
Apr 45, sub: Storage Construction. ORB Phil 
Base Sec 633. (2) Engrs of SWPA, I, 310. 

long tons. Of this tremendous tonnage 25 
to 30 percent was Quartermaster. 23 

During the Okinawa campaign the tasks 
of executing the base development plan and 
of supplying the Tenth Army were dele- 
gated to the Island Command, a joint or- 
ganization, which operated under that 
Army. Late in July 1945, following the 
completion of mopping-up activities, the Is- 
land Command, now redesignated Army 
Service Command I, was placed directly 
under General MacArthur and charged 
with the further development of the base, 
whose major function was to be the logisti- 
cal support of the assault on Kyushu. The 
heavy damage sustained by the harbor fa- 
cilities at the island's only developed port, 
Naha, on the southwest coast, required con- 
siderable repair work, which was still in- 
complete when V-J Day rendered unneces- 
sary the construction of a large base. 24 

South Pacific 

While the continental dimensions of Aus- 
tralia and the long coast lines of New 
Guinea and the Philippines allowed a good 
deal of freedom in selecting sites for supply 
bases in the Southwest Pacific, the land 
masses of the South Pacific outside New 
Zealand were so few, so small, and so unde- 
veloped that the choice of sites was con- 
fined to a handful of island groups for the 
most part without permanent structures of 
any sort. Supply bases had to be built hur- 
riedly under adverse conditions not unlike 
those in New Guinea. 

23 (1) Engrs of S WPA, I, 310-11. (2) Masterson, 
Transportation in SWPA, App. 44. 

24 (1) AFWESPAC, Semi-Annual Rpt, 1 Jun-31 
Dec 45, pp. 5-6. (2) Rpt, Maj Gen Frank A. 
Heileman, ACofS G-4 AFWESPAC, 21 Jul 45, 
sub: Weekly Rpt of Activities, G-4 Sec. ORB 



During the first half of 1942, when it was 
feared that Japanese forces would seize New 
Caledonia, the Fijis, and Samoa, the Army 
envisaged Auckland and Wellington, the 
principal distribution centers of New Zea- 
land, as major supply bases that would serve 
as rear depots in much the same way as the 
leading Australian ports did. But inability 
of the Japanese to carry offensive warfare 
into the South Pacific and the inauguration 
in August 1942 of the American attack on 
Guadalcanal, 2,000 miles from New Zea- 
land, altered the original conception of that 
country's role and brought about the de- 
velopment of New Caledonia, 1,000 miles 
nearer the combat zone, as the chief South 
Pacific base. Yet as far as local procure- 
ment of Quartermaster supplies and the dis- 
tribution of food were concerned, New Zea- 
land became the principal rear base. 

From the Quartermaster standpoint the 
ration storage centers, established in April 
1943 at Auckland and Wellington, consti- 
tuted the most important installations in 
New Zealand. Operating under the Joint 
Purchasing Board, they stored both locally 
procured foods and those received from 
Australia and San Francisco. They shipped 
perishable provisions to all South Pacific 
bases and nonperishables to all bases except 
Bora Bora, Aitutaki, and Tongareva. 25 Be- 
fore the establishment of these centers the 
provision of balanced rations had been a 
difficult task. Since the zone of interior and 
the Southwest Pacific Area had furnished 
only ration components unprocurable else- 
where and their deliveries, made direct to 
the scattered bases, had seldom synchro- 
nized with those from New Zealand, it had 
rarely been possible to combine the com- 
ponents from the three supply sources into 

85 Memo, CG SOS for CG SPA, 26 Apr 43, sub: 
Subs Depots. ORB USAFINC Subs. 

a varied menu. The absence of central food 
depots, furthermore, had caused an uneco- 
nomical utilization of limited shipping facil- 
ities, for vessels from both Australia and 
the West Coast were often obliged to stop 
at several bases in order to deliver their 
cargoes. Finally, the lack of such installa- 
tions had at times forced the Southwest Pa- 
cific Area to hold food bought in Australia 
for the South Pacific Area in ware- 
houses already strained to handle South- 
west Pacific Area stocks. The ration depots 
furnished, at least in part, a solution to all 
these problems. They relieved the Southwest 
Pacific Area of storing most purchases made 
for the South Pacific Area and both the 
Southwest Pacific Area and the San Fran- 
cisco Port of Embarkation of deliveries at 
widely scattered points. Above all, they fa- 
cilitated the assembly of ration components 
in one place as well as their shipment to 
advance bases as fully balanced rations. 

The choice of Auckland and Wellington 
as ration storage centers was almost inevi- 
table, for, though these ports were not cen- 
trally situated with respect to other bases, 
they had modern means of handling sizable 
cargoes. With few exceptions specially built 
temporary structures were used to hold non- 
perishables. Cold-storage space for perish- 
ables was leased from commercial firms. At 
the peak of their activities the ration depots 
stocked approximately a ninety-day supply 
of provisions. 26 

In addition to distributing subsistence to 
other South Pacific islands, New Zealand 
served till the end of 1943 as a mounting out 
and rehabilitation area for thousands of 
soldiers and marines. The 1st Marine Di- 

2a ( 1 ) Msg, QMSO SOS SPA to CofS, 5 May 43. 
(2) Ltr, Pros JPB to CG SOS SPA, 29 Apr 44, sub: 
Sup Level for Ration Depot. (3) Personal Ltr, Col 
Harry C. Snyder, JPB to "Dear General," 9 May 
44. All in ORB USAFINC QM 430. 



vision and part of the 37th Infantry Division 
stopped there in June and July 1942, and 
the 2d and 3d Marine Divisions were there 
for some months in the following year. On 
the termination of the New Georgia opera- 
tion, the 25th and 43d Infantry Divisions 
came to New Zealand for rehabilitation. 
The New Zealand Service Command sup- 
plied all these forces. 27 

The French dependency of New Cale- 
donia, rich in nickel mines, was developed 
as the main receiving, storage, and trans- 
shipment base in the South Pacific not only 
because it lay 1,000 miles nearer the combat 
zone in the Solomons than did New Zealand 
but also because, except for Auckland and 
for Suva and Lautoka in the Fijis, it had at 
the outset the only satisfactory docking fa- 
cilities in the entire area. Even these facili- 
ties, located at the capital, Noumea, were 
inadequate for wartime needs since they 
consisted of but two piers capable of han- 
dling together only four ocean-going ves- 
sels. Warehouses were similarly inadequate, 
and civilian labor was limited in quantity. 
An extensive construction program was 
undertaken to provide badly needed ware- 
houses, but shortages of workers and build- 
ing materials retarded its execution, and 
New Caledonia never acquired storage fa- 
cilities commensurate with its extensive sup- 
ply responsibilities. 28 

In the New Caledonia Service Command 
the South Pacific General Depot, organized 
in May 1943 under the supervision of the 
Quartermaster Section, was the installation 
that had the most to do with Quartermaster 
items. Set up as a major agency of the cen- 
tral supply system then being created to re- 

27 USAFISPA Hist, IV, 734-36. 

28 Ltr, COMSOPAC to Comdr U.S. Naval Forces 
in Europe, 2 May 43, sub: Construction of Bldgs ir 
New Caledonia. ORB USAFINC AG 600. 

place the chaotic system of autonomous 
bases, this depot maintained reserve stocks 
for the entire South Pacific Area as well as 
items for the current supply of troops in New 
Caledonia. Before its establishment few sup- 
plies had been readily available to fill opera- 
tional needs or even for ordinary replenish- 
ment needs. During this period many items 
could be obtained only by requisitioning 
them from the United States, a time-con- 
suming process that took three or four 
months. In emergencies bases and even com- 
bat units were combed for required articles. 
When located, these supplies often had to be 
shipped from several different points to meet 
requirements in full. After the President 
Coolidge sank off the New Hebrides in Oc- 
tober 1942, leaving a regimental combat 
team and a Coast Artillery unit without 
equipment, it took four months of scouring 
base and unit stocks to reoutfit these or- 
ganizations. 29 

The South Pacific General Depot at first 
tried to maintain a 30-day reserve of non- 
perishable food for 300,000 men, a 30-day 
reserve of other supplies for 150,000 men, 
and stocks sufficient for the complete re- 
equipment of selected types of combat units. 
Once the ration depot in New Zealand came 
into full operation, the General Depot was 
relieved of responsibility for storing large 
food reserves, and in October 1 943 its mis- 
sion underwent further modification. Three 
categories of stocks were then established — 
stocks, both current and reserve, for troops 
in New Caledonia; reserve supplies for other 
bases; and special stockpiles of organiza- 
tional equipment for the whole area. Stocks 
for other bases included a 30-day supply 
of clothing and equipage and stores of pe- 
troleum products and general supplies in 

28 USAFISPA Hist, pp. 686-87. 



quantities set from time to time by Head- 
quarters, SOS SPA. 30 The General Depot 
also furnished a substantial part of the sup- 
plies and equipment for combat operations 
and for the rehabilitation of combat units. 

Next to the base in New Caledonia, the 
one in Guadalcanal was the largest in the 
South Pacific. After the victorious termi- 
nation of the protracted campaign for 
Guadalcanal in February 1943 that island 
was fashioned into a vast mounting out, 
training, and rest area and the major sup- 
ply base in the Solomons. In October it 
became the headquarters of the newly es- 
tablished Forward Area, whose principal 
function was the logistical support of com- 
bat operations. Although the boundaries 
of the Forward Area varied with the shifting 
tactical situation, they always included the 
bases on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, the Russells, 
and, except at the very beginning, those in 
the New Georgia group. As the largest of 
these bases, Guadalcanal was the main sup- 
plier of the operations that won New 
Georgia, Vella Lavella, Arundel, Bougain- 
ville, the Green Islands, and Emirau. In 
January 1 944 at the height of the Bougain- 
ville offensive the Forward Area was sup- 
porting nearly 200,000 Army, Navy, and 
Marine Corps troops in the northern Solo- 
mons. 31 

After the combat mission of the South 
Pacific Area had been completed, the For- 
ward Area bases gave logistical support to 
the Central Pacific campaigns in the Mari- 

30 (1) Ibid., 686-91. (2) Organizational Hist Svc 
of Sup South Pacific Area, 1 Apr-30 Jun 43, pp. 

31 ( 1) Ltr, COMSOPAC to COMAMPHIB- 
FORSOPAC, 18 Jul 43, sub: Control of Sup, 
Guadalcanal. (2) Personal Ltr, Brig Gen A. J. 
Barnett to Maj Gen Maxwell Murray, 30 Nov 42. 
Both in ORB USAFINC AG 319.1. 

anas and the Palaus. These installations 
were assigned this role because Central 
Pacific Area bases were too few, too small, 
and too remote from the combat zones to 
shoulder the whole burden of supporting 
these offensives. In the operations against 
Saipan, Guam, and Tinian in the Mari- 
anas in the summer of 1944, the forward 
bases mounted approximately 40,000 ma- 
rines, provided them on their departure with 
supplies for 30 days, and maintained a 30- 
day reserve supply for emergency shipment. 
In the Palaus operation the Guadalcanal 
base, besides supporting Army units, fur- 
nished the 1st Marine Division with gaso- 
line and oil and maintained reserves of these 
products to meet any emergencies that might 
arise. 32 

Aside from New Caledonia, New Zea- 
land, and the Forward Area bases, the most 
active bases in the South Pacific were those 
in the New Hebrides. This archipelago lay 
550 to 750 miles southeast of Guadalcanal, 
directly astride the routes to Rabaul and 
Australia. For this reason Efate and Espi- 
ritu Santo, the southernmost and the north- 
ernmost of the larger islands, were fashioned 
into advance bases early in 1942. Both in- 
stallations attained considerable importance 
as stations for air groups that provided land- 
based support during the Guadalcanal 
offensive. Efate remained primarily an air 
station. Quartermaster operations there were 
confined chiefly to the supply of gasoline 
and the reconditioning of 55-gallon drums. 
In the last half of 1943, Espiritu Santo de- 
veloped into a major source of logistical sup- 

M (l) USAFISPA Hist, IV, 768-73. (2) Cpl 
Arthur P. Schulze, "Quartermaster Operations — 
Guadalcanal Style," QMR, XXIV (May-June 
1945), 24-25, 106-07. (3) Hist of the South Pacific 
Base Command, II, 262-74. 



port for operations to the north and north- 
west/ 13 

The Fijis constituted a sizable supply 
base only in the first year of the war. Be- 
cause of their strategical location on the air 
and shipping routes between the United 
States and Australia, American troops were 
sent there shortly after Pearl Harbor. Since 
the islands were too remote from the scene 
of fighting to become a transshipment point, 
the main function of the archipelago's Serv- 
ice Command became the supply of local 
forces. This task grew steadily less important 
as the number of troops dwindled from 
about 30,000 in 1942 to 7,000 in April 
1944. 34 

Central Pacific 

Except for Hawaii, land areas in the Cen- 
tral Pacific in general consisted of irregular 
formations of narrow coral reefs enclosing 
large lagoons. These formations, called 
atolls, were few in number, were separated 
from each other by formidable distances, 
and were too diminutive for development as 
large supply bases. At best most of them 
could support only a limited number of 
troops. Owing to these handicaps, few is- 
lands could be employed to supply forward 
forces. 3 ' 

Even Hawaii was not truly well fitted to 
serve as a supporting base for combat troops. 
Between it and the nearest areas of possible 
American offensive operations in the Gil- 
berts and Marshalls lay two thousand miles 

33 (1) USAFISPA Hist, IV, 74-75. (2) 1st Lt 
J. T. Holmes, "Quartermasters on Efate," QMR, 
XXV (July-August 1945), 30. (3) Rpt, Hq SvC 
APO 708, 7 Jan 44, sub: G-4 Periodic Rpt. ORB 
Espiritu Santo AG G-4 Pers Rpts. 

: "U) USAFISPA Hist, IV, 736-41. (2) Rpt, 
CofS Fantan (Fijis), 1 Oct 42, sub: G-4 Pers Rpt. 

■ (1) QM Mid-Pac Hist, App. I. (2) Mid-Pac 
Hist, VIII, 1684. 

of ocean. It was not only remote from opera- 
tional areas; it was also crowded with scores 
of thousands of troops in training for am- 
phibious warfare, and its depots had little 
space for operational supplies. Its chief port, 
Honolulu, was nearly always congested. 
These unfavorable conditions did not ma- 
terially hamper supply activities as long as 
the command was a staging and training 
rather than an operational area, and most 
Central Pacific troops were stationed in 
Hawaii. But the Gilberts offensive of the 
winter of 1943-44 disclosed the inadequa- 
cies of Hawaii as a supporting base. The 
strain placed upon its storage facilities at 
that time indeed forced the hurried comple- 
tion of a program for building additional 
warehouses. Even then the long distances 
that separated Hawaii from the Marianas 
and the Philippines precluded its employ- 
ment as the area's chief supporting installa- 
tion for operations against these objectives. 
For this reason its main function gradually 
became the transshipment of cargoes to 
more advantageously located bases. 36 

When the southern Marianas were occu- 
pied in mid- 1944, the Central Pacific Area 
came into possession of two islands, Saipan 
and Guam, well suited for development as 
major supply bases. Saipan, approximately 
3,500 miles west of Honolulu and 1,400 
miles east of Manila, measured only 12/ 2 
by 5/ 2 miles, but about two thirds of its 
area could be utilized for supply or staging 
purposes. Lying within bomber range of 
Japan, it became both an air and supply 
base. By September 1945 nearly 1,800,000 
square feet of warehouse space had been 
built, and Saipan had become one of the 
largest supporting bases in the western Pa- 
cific. From late 1944 until the Japanese sur- 

30 Ltr, Maj Harold A. Naisbitt to TQMG, 20 
Jan 45, sub: Info from QM CPBC. OQMG POA 



render it ranked not far behind Hawaii in 
the volume of Quartermaster tonnage. It 
stored a sizable proportion of the supplies 
for the Okinawa operation, and, after be- 
coming the headquarters of the Western Pa- 
cific Base Command in April 1945, it main- 
tained much of the reserve stockage built up 
for the Olympic operation. 37 In the year 
following the seizure of Guam, airstrips were 
built there; Apra Harbor was developed for 
medium-sized cargo ships; and extensive 
storage facilities were constructed. By V-J 
Day Guam, too, had developed into a major 

The development and operation of 
Southwest, South, and Central Pacific Area 
bases illustrate the differences between sup- 
ply in the Pacific and in Europe. In the 
Pacific there was always the problem in- 
herent in the vast distances that separated 
bases from one another — distances recorded 
not in scores or hundreds of miles, as in the 
European Theater of Operations, but in 
thousands of miles. In the Southwest Pacific 
Area 2,200 miles lay between Sydney and 
Finschhafen and 2,000 miles between Fins- 
chhafen and Manila. The two most distant 
bases in the South Pacific Area were sepa- 
rated by 3,000 miles, and 5,000 miles lay 
between Honolulu and Manila. Whereas 
New York, the chief port for the shipment 
of supplies to Europe, was only slightly more 
than 3,000 miles from the United Kingdom 
and France, San Francisco, occupying a 
similar position with reference to the Pacific 
areas, was 6,300 miles from Manila; 6,200 
miles from Brisbane, main Australian port 
for the receipt and shipment of Quarter- 

37 ( 1 ) Lt Gen Ralph C. Richardson, Jr., Partici- 
pation in Marianas Opn, Jun-Sep 44, I, 101-02, 
112, 115-16, 120; II, 503-10, 537. (2) Rpt, Brig 
Gen Henry R. McKenzie. 20 Jul 45, sub: Visit to 
Forward Areas. OQMG POA 319.1. 

master supplies; and 5,800 miles from Milne 
Bay, for many months the center of logisti- 
cal operations in New Guinea. Goods moved 
from San Francisco to Australia and thence 
to bases in the north were carried 8,000 
or more miles before they reached points of 
issue. In terms of shipping time a trip from 
San Francisco to Brisbane and return often 
required as much as four or five months. 
A trip from New York to Liverpool and re- 
turn, on the other hand, took only about 
fifty-five or sixty days. The time required 
to deliver goods in Australia was thus two 
or three times that for delivering the same 
quantity to the United Kingdom. 

Bases in a highly industrialized continen- 
tal theater like the European Theater of Op- 
erations could from the outset utilize already 
developed port, storage, railroad, highway, 
river, and communication systems and tap 
local sources of building materials and tech- 
nical equipment; Pacific bases on the other 
hand, if located outside Australia, New Zea- 
land, and Hawaii, had at the start virtually 
no man-made facilities. After first hewing 
sites out of the jungle, these bases had to 
construct such facilities from whatever ma- 
terials were at hand. All this meant pro- 
tracted delays in the receipt, storage, and 
distribution of supplies and in the end fa- 
cilities not fully adequate to the demands 
made upon them, inefficient handling of 
supplies, and excessive deterioration of in- 
sufficiently protected subsistence, textile, 
and leather items. 

In France, once the landings had been 
consolidated and the port of Antwerp had 
been put into full operation — and to some 
extent even before — new advances required 
only the extension of already available sup- 
ply lines. Across the relatively narrow ex- 
panse of the Atlantic, war materials were 
funneled onto the European mainland and 



moved forward over a pre-existing network 
of railroads, navigable rivers, and highways. 
Thus supply in Europe "was like a single 
rubber hose growing larger in diameter as 
the immensity of operations increased." But 
in the Pacific each major advance was an 
amphibious assault on a primitive shore and 
each fresh landing "a completely new sup- 
ply operation. " Pacific supply was "like a 
lawn sprayer with a new stream of supply 
for every new patch of land occupied." 3S 

3S Anon., "Ships Are the Workhorses of the Pa- 
cific," Quartermaster Training Service Journal 
(hereafter cited as QMTSJ), VII (22 June 1945), 
p. 4. 

Logistical activities in the American drive 
across France to the Rhine were confined 
almost entirely to the maintenance of com- 
bat troops, but similar activities in the Pa- 
cific were only intermittently carried out for 
this purpose. More frequently, they aimed at 
building up the materiel for another am- 
phibious landing. This meant that supplies 
were handled more frequently than in the 
European Theater of Operations, that their 
movement was less smooth, and that more 
man-hours were expended in getting them 
into the hands of fighting forces. 39 

3 " Ltr, Capt Orr to Capt Clinton Morrison, 
OQMG, 17 Oct 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 


Local Procurement in 
the Pacific 

In no other theater of operations did local 
procurement become quite as extensive as 
in the Southwest Pacific and South Pacific 
Areas. Even in Great Britain, local pur- 
chases did not compare in quantity with 
those in Australia and New Zealand. Dur- 
ing 1943 and 1944, for example, these two 
countries together furnished the major part 
of the meat consumed by the U.S. armed 
services below the equator. Australia alone 
provided about fifteen times and New Zea- 
land about nine times the amount procured 
in Great Britain. Acquisition of such locally 
produced meat represented a substantial 
saving in shipping space. Purchases made 
in Great Britain, on the contrary, had scant 
effect on the shipping shortage, for 80 per- 
cent of the meat obtained there in 1943 
and 1944, the years of peak procurement, 
came from Argentina, 7,100 miles away. 1 

During the first year of procurement 
from Australian sources subsistence, on the 
one hand, and clothing, equipment, and 
general supplies, on the other, were handled 
somewhat differently. When the first U.S. 
troops arrived in the dominion, the QMC 
hoped that it could provide them with 

'(1) Karl R. Cramp, Historian, Base Sec 7, 
USASOS, Food Production in Australia and 
American Co-operation in Wartime, Ch. XX, pp. 
29-32; Ch. XXII, Apps. A-C. (2) Ltr, TQMG to 
Dr. D. A. Fitzgerald, Special Adviser WFA, 2 Jun 
45. DRB AGO 400.12 (Overseas). 

American rations. But there were neither 
sufficient Quartermaster officers nor service 
units to handle procurement, storage, and 
distribution operations and no immediate 
prospect of securing adequate reinforce- 
ments from the United States. There were 
no American depots or railheads for storing 
and distributing subsistence, no prior ar- 
rangement with the Commonwealth for 
American purchases of local products, and, 
because of the policy of relying as far as 
possible upon Australian resources, little im- 
portation of food from the United States 
except for the comparatively small amounts 
brought in by newly arrived units. Even 
these shipments could be employed only 
sparingly, for they were needed to build up 
the indispensable ninety-day reserve for 
emergency and tactical use. For the time 
being the QMC thus necessarily relied upon 
the Australian Army for the procurement, 
storage, and distribution of most of the food 
required by American troops. But with re- 
gard to clothing, equipment, and general 
supplies, the specifications for which were 
too highly specialized to permit procure- 
ment by any organization not familiar with 
their use in the U.S. Army, QMC assumed 
responsibility from the outset. 

Although Australian agriculture and in- 
dustry furnished the bulk of locally ac- 



quired supplies during 1942, "distress" or 
"refugee" cargoes also provided a not unim- 
portant share. These cargoes, originally 
consigned to the Philippines, the Nether- 
lands Indies, Malaya, and other Asiatic 
areas, had, because of the Japanese occupa- 
tion of these regions, been diverted to Aus- 
tralia and seized by the Commonwealth 
Government. Some 195,000 tons of prod- 
ucts of various sorts were obtained in this 
way. The United States was given first pri- 
ority on American shipments and second 
priority on Dutch and British shipments. 
No complete figures are available on the 
tonnage or value of supplies received by the 
QMC, but there is no doubt that it secured 
substantial quantities of food and general 
supplies which proved valuable in the alle- 
viation of shortages and the build-up of re- 
serve stocks, particularly of general sup- 

Rationing by the Australian Army 

While true that distress cargoes provided 
an important amount of foodstuffs, most 
of the rations were furnished by the Aus- 
tralian Army. In carrying out this respon- 
sibility that army suffered from many handi- 
caps. It lacked firsthand knowledge of 
American food standards and naturally 
thought in terms of its own rationing sys- 
tem. Moreover, since most of its units were 
overseas, it was not organized for the pro- 
visioning of more than small bodies of men, 
and, though much better situated than the 
QMC, it still lacked enough service troops 

2 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Brig Gen Arthur R. Wilson 
to Gen Gregory, 2 Apr. 42. OQMG SWPA 319.1. 

(2) Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 28 Jun 42, 
sub: Distress Cargo. ORB AFWESPAC QM 435. 

(3) Memo, GPA for CofS USAFIA, 7 Jul 42, 
same sub. ORB AFWESPAC QM 435, Distress 
Cargo. (4) Conf, Base Sec QMs, 7-8 Mar 43, p. 

and means of distribution to carry out its 
new task easily. 

The regular Australian ration sporad- 
ically used by American troops in the open- 
ing days of the war elicited considerable 
criticism from them, and it became appar- 
ent that one of the perplexities to be con- 
sidered in making formal arrangements for 
Australian subsistence of the U.S. forces 
would be whether to employ this ration. 
Containing only twenty-four basic items, it 
lacked the variety and the balance furnished 
by the thirty-nine items of the United States 
ration. Moreover, as it was on a money 
rather than a commodity basis, it varied in 
both quantity and quality with fluctuations 
in market prices. Some common American 
favorites, such as coffee, rice, spaghetti, fruit 
juices, and fresh and canned fruits and vege- 
tables, were served only rarely while fre- 
quent servings of mutton as the main meat 
component proved monotonous. As long as 
U.S. military units remained near the ports 
of entry, they could occasionally supple- 
ment Australian fare with the food they 
had brought with them. But once they 
were dispersed to sections of the country re- 
mote from coastal storage points, this relief 
became impracticable. 3 

Early in February the U.S. Army entered 
into negotiations looking to formal Aus- 
tralian assumption of responsibility for the 
subsistence of American units. Both parties 
agreed that American food requirements 
would be submitted to the Quartermaster 
General of the Australian Army. That offi- 
cer would deliver rations for current con- 
sumption direct to units having their own 

3 ( 1 ) Ltr, Australian Minister, Washington D. C, 
to U.S. Dept of State, 11 Feb 42. ORB AFPAC 
Sup Council. (2) USAFIA Memo 17, 24 Feb 42, 
sub: Rationing Plan. (3) Memo, CG USAFIA 
for Gen Richardson, 5 Jul 42, sub: Rationing of 
U.S. Troops. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430.2. 



messes, help build up, maintain, and store 
a ninety-day food reserve for the combined 
forces, and present to the proper Common- 
wealth authorities American suggestions for 
increasing local food production. The ques- 
tion of the composition of the ration was not 
so easily solved. USAFIA was prepared to 
accept a money basis but it sought an im- 
proved ration that would cost 6d. more than 
the Australian ration and that would per- 
mit the selection of the menu for U.S. organ- 
izations to be made from a wider range of 
foods than was provided for Australian sol- 
diers. The Commonwealth immediately 
pointed out that this proposal envisioned a 
more generous fare than it furnished its own 
troops. Such a fare, it contended, would 
impair the morale of Australian soldiers, 
especially if they were stationed in the same 
camp with American units. 

Both sides finally approved a U.S. ration 
that contained four more components than 
did the Australian — eggs, macaroni or 
spaghetti, rice, and coffee — and substituted 
beef, pork, and ham for most of the mutton. 
It was also agreed that American organiza- 
tions might supplement this ration by the 
procurement of provisions either not fur- 
nished in the regular menu or furnished only 
in limited quantities. These purchases would 
be restricted to a daily expenditure of 6d. 
a ration. To prevent competitive bidding 
by U.S. Army quartermasters in commercial 
markets, it was stipulated that all supple- 
mentary provisions must be bought in Aus- 
tralian Army canteens, which would be 
stocked with the desired supplies. Among 
these supplies were fresh and canned fruits 
and vegetables, fruit juices, crackers, break- 
fast foods, cocoa, baking soda, cornstarch, 
and corn meal. To diminish the potential 
danger to Australian morale, it was agreed 
that U.S. troops attached to Common- 

wealth units would be fed the same ration 
the latter received and that Australian 
troops attached to American units would be 
served the U.S. ration. This compromise 
went into effect in most parts of the country 
in April 1942. 4 

The Australian-American ration was 
never truly popular among U.S. troops. 
Food issues occasionally fell below pre- 
scribed quantities, and substitute items were 
not always available. Frequently, there were 
shortages of milk, canned vegetables, and 
condiments. Too many pumpkins, onions, 
squashes, and turnips were offered, and too 
few greens, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, 
pears, oranges, and grapefruits. 5 To meet 
American objections the unsupplemented 
ration was twice modified to furnish more 
beef, lamb, and pork in place of the less 
popular foods and those already furnished 
in more than sufficient quantity. The first 
revision, made in May, increased issues of 
fresh beef and bacon and cut those of dried 
peas, potatoes, and onions. In August the 
allotments of pork and lamb were enlarged 
at the expense of fish issues. Actually, these 
changes could be carried out only to a lim- 
ited extent, for Australian Army stocks were 
seldom large enough to permit the stipu- 
lated substitutions. 6 

The American-Australian ration would 
have been better liked if it had been possi- 

4 (1) USAFIA Memo 27, 31 Mar 42, sub: 
Rationing of U.S. Troops. (2) Proc Div USASOS, 
Procurement in Australia — Historical Record, Jan 
42-45, II, Intro., Sec. 4. 

5 ( 1 ) Ltr, CO 147th FA to CG USAFIA, 1 May 
42, sub: Rations in N.T. ORB AFWESPAC AG 
430.2. (2) Rpt, Capt Harry Cullins, 1 Jul 42, sub: 
Investigation, Townsville. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
333.1. (3) Rpt, CO Base Sec 4, 3 Jul 42, sub: 
Bimonthly Rpt of Rations. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

8 (1) USAFIA Memo 55, 8 May 42, sub: Ra- 
tioning Plan. (2) USASOS Memo 24, 17 Aug 42, 
sub: Daily Ration Issue. 



ble to carry out in its entirety the arrange- 
ment respecting supplementary purchases. 
But there was protracted delay in the estab- 
lishment of the canteens from which these 
purchases were to be made, and even after 
the canteens were opened they did not 
always carry sufficient stocks to meet Ameri- 
can requirements. The partial failure of the 
attempt to obtain extra ration components 
was attributable to supply shortages and to 
the fact that Australians never regarded 
these items as an essential part of the daily 
ration and thus as something that had to be 
furnished. They treated the stocking of can- 
teens rather as Americans did the stocking 
of post exchanges, that is, as something to be 
done if procurement and distribution re- 
sources were not needed to handle more 
important supplies. 7 Perhaps it was too 
much to expect that any army would try 
energetically to feed the soldiers of another 
army better than its own, even if that army 
was a close ally. Moreover, even had the 
Australians redoubled their efforts they 
could hardly have met U.S. requirements 
in full, for important categories of subsist- 
ence, such as fresh and canned vegetables, 
were not yet produced in sufficient volume. 8 
To acquire supplementary foods, quarter- 
masters in some localities entered the open 
market, but their un-co-ordinated pur- 
chases raised prices, hampered procurement 
by the Commonwealth, and did little to 
better the American ration. 9 

7 Memo for Files, 9 Oct 42, sub: Statement by 
Lt Col R. C. Kramer. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430. 

8 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for Lt Col Edward F. 
Shepherd, 20 Mar 42. (2) Rpt, Col Cordiner, 9 
May 42, sub: Sup at Base Sec 2. Both in OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. (3) Ltr, QM Base Sec 4 to CQM, 
3 Jul 43, sub: Rations. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

"Memo, CG USAFIA for Maj Gen Robert C. 
Richardson, 5 Jul 42, sub: Rationing of U.S. 
Troops. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430.2. 

From time to time Colonel Cordiner, 
Chief Quartermaster in the Southwest Pa- 
cific Area, pointed out the need for ex- 
panded production of scarce foodstuffs and 
for better inspection of meat and dairy prod- 
ucts. His suggestions could not be put 
quickly into effect, however; months must 
elapse before production could be increased 
and improved inspection methods applied. 10 
The slow rate at which U.S. Army sub- 
sistence reserves were being accumulated 
also disturbed Colonel Cordiner. Some 
Quartermaster officers alleged that this con- 
dition resulted from the fact that the Com- 
monwealth Army, fearing that it might be 
accused of hoarding food, deferred the 
placement of requisitions involving substan- 
tial expenditures of money until supplies 
were actually needed. Because of this timid 
approach, these officers claimed, the small 
food-processing industry could not operate 
at full capacity, and vegetables, fruits, and 
meats were going to waste when they might 
be canned for future consumption. The 
QMC, it was contended, should take a more 
aggressive role in matters that affected the 
procurement of food, particularly in the 
analysis of production potentialities and the 
determination of the quantity of tin, agri- 
cultural machinery, and other lend-lease 
materials needed from the United States to 
expand canning and vegetable production. 11 
Increasingly, the OCQM felt that Ameri- 
can interests would be served best by the 
prompt establishment of depots for the stor- 
age and distribution of U.S. rations and by 
the submission of its food requirements di- 
rect to the purchasing agencies of the Com- 
monwealth Government rather than to the 

"Memo, GPA for CQM, 6 Oct 42. ORB 

u Rpt "R.G.J.," 30 Oct 42, sub: Proc of U.S. 
Reserve Rations. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430.2. 



Quartermaster General of the Australian 
Army. This method of procurement would 
relieve the Chief Quartermaster of the ne- 
cessity of acting through his Australian 
counterpart, himself an interested party, in 
presenting American claims for higher pri- 
orities, larger allocations, and increased pro- 
duction. 12 

The provision of food through Australian 
Army channels had never been more than 
a stopgap imposed by temporary conditions. 
OCQM was convinced that the sooner the 
U.S. Army set up its own rationing system 
the better, if for no other reason than the 
fact that, as American forces advanced 
northward toward Japan, they would no 
longer be in close proximity to Australian 
forces and would be entirely dependent 
upon their own resources. By early 1943 the 
time for the establishment of such a system 
was opportune since a considerable number 
of Quartermaster officers qualified to handle 
the varied operations connected with ra- 
tioning had at last reached Australia. On 15 
February, therefore, General MacArthur 
notified Prime Minister John Curtin that 
the U.S. Army would start the procurement, 
storage, and distribution of subsistence for its 
troops as soon as possible. By April the new 
system was in effect in most parts of the 
country. 13 

Procurement of Subsistence in Australia 

Early Problems 

The most noteworthy feature of the 
American rationing system was that, while 

12 Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 3 Jan 43. ORB 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS to CQM, 8 Feb 43, sub: 
Distr of Rations. (2) Memo, same for CINCSWPA, 
12 Feb 43. (3) Ltr, CINCSWPA to PM of Aus- 
tralia, 15 Feb 43. All in ORB AFWESPAC QM 

storage and distribution of subsistence were 
functions carried out by U.S. Army quar- 
termasters, most of the food, especially per- 
ishables, continued to be purchased locally 
through Commonwealth procuring agen- 
cies. Another striking feature was that all 
locally procured food was acquired under 
the reverse lend-lease agreement, and so cost 
the United States nothing. Though other 
supplies and many services obtained locally 
for the American forces were also paid for 
by the Australian Government, the procure- 
ment of food was the largest operation un- 
der reverse lend-lease and the most striking 
evidence that lend-lease brought financial 
benefits as well as financial loss to the 
United States. 

Because of the active participation of the 
Commonwealth, procurement procedures 
in the Southwest Pacific differed somewhat 
from those in the United States. The Gen- 
eral Purchasing Agent, acting as the official 
representative of all American procuring 
services in dealings with the Common- 
wealth, determined over-all policy and co- 
ordinated American supply requirements 
with Commonwealth and State purchasing 
bodies. The Quartermaster Corps actually 
conducted the "follow-up" of its contract 
demands. Only if its efforts were unavailing 
in hastening deliveries did it appeal to the 
General Purchasing Agent for official inter- 
vention with Australian procuring agencies. 
While as a general rule it carried out routine 
inspection of fruits and vegetables offered 
to the American forces, it might and often 
did call upon the Veterinary Corps to per- 
form this service. That corps had complete 
responsibility for the inspection of meats, 
dairy products, and all other products of ani- 
mal origin. 

Of the procurement tasks performed by 
the QMC none was more important than 



the encouragement of a large agricultural 
production. As early as February and March 
1942 Quartermaster officers had surveyed 
the producing potentialities of Australian 
farms and concluded that except for green 
coffee, cocoa, tobacco, and a few minor 
items, sufficient food could be obtained from 
Australian farms to meet the needs of 500,- 
000 troops. 14 But it soon became apparent 
that, though Australia could produce vir- 
tually all types of foodstuffs, it could not im- 
mediately furnish all of them in the quanti- 
ties desired by the QMC and still satisfy 
civilian requirements and those of the 
United Kingdom and other Allied coun- 
tries. Present crops would first have to be ex- 
panded and new types introduced. As the re- 
quired labor could not readily be diverted 
from war industry, the most promising solu- 
tion was the greatly increased mechaniza- 
tion of agriculture. In addition, corrective 
steps had to be taken to end the shortage of 
fertilizers, fungicides, weedicides, insecti- 
cides, and seeds, most of which were im- 
ported, and to disseminate information re- 
garding the cultivation of sweet corn and 
other crops little grown in Australia. Above 
all, failure to produce the varieties of 
vegetables best suited to canning had to be 
remedied. If these deficiencies were to be 
corrected, a drastic transformation of agri- 
culture was inescapable. 

Industrially, the principal obstacles to an 
increase in the food supply were the inade- 
quate number of vegetable canning and de- 
hydration plants and the lack of equipment 
needed to establish such plants. Yet canned 
and dehydrated vegetables were indispensa- 
ble to troops in forward and combat areas 
since the shortage of refrigeration on ships, 
at New Guinea bases, and in the hands of 

u Rad, USAFI A to WD, 1 9 Mar 42. 

units made the provision of fresh vegetables 
an almost impossible task. Even where can- 
ning plants were well established, as in the 
fruit, corned beef, jam, and jelly industries, 
they produced for small local rather than na- 
tional markets. Moreover, they often em- 
ployed faulty processing methods. Dehydra- 
tion was confined to the drying of a few 
fruits, such as raisins, peaches, and apricots. 
To meet Quartermaster requirements, it had 
to be extended to vegetables containing high 
percentages of water. Though dehydration 
sometimes made it hard to cook foods in a 
palatable form, it reduced weight and vol- 
ume and so conserved ship and storage 
space. The extent of this saving is indicated 
by the fact that vegetables had a shrinkage 
ratio of between 20 to 1 and 5 to 1 and 
fruits, of between 10 to 1 and 3 to 1. In ad- 
dition to saving space, dehydrated products 
had the notable virtue of needing little if 
any refrigeration or canning. 15 

To help solve the problems of food pro- 
duction, the QMC in mid- 1942 began the 
assembly of a staff of food technologists, 
headed by Maj. Maynard A. Joslyn, who 
was called from a teaching career at the Uni- 
versity of California to shoulder this respon- 
sibility. At the outset the Commonwealth 
Government perhaps did not fully appre- 
ciate the value of the young science of food 
technology. 16 Late in the year, however, the 
appearance among American troops at Iron 
Range in Queensland of one or two cases of 
botulism traced to unsanitary canneries 

15 ( 1 ) Rpt, Capt Maynard A. Joslyn, 25 Oct 42, 
sub: Vegetable Dehydration Plants. ORB ABCOM 
GP&C 400.9. (2) Ibid., 2 Nov 42, sub: Vegetable 
Dehydration. ORB AFWESPAC QM 432. (3) Rpt, 
Capt Theo J. Pozzy, 7 Nov 42, sub: Canning Con- 
ditions. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.252. 

19 Rpt, Robert S. Scull, 23 Jun 43, sub: Canning 
Program. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.252. 



strikingly demonstrated the potential use- 
fulness of the specialists. 17 

When the Subsistence Depot began op- 
erations in February 1943, these specialists 
were put in charge of the branches set up to 
handle production problems. The most im- 
portant branches were those in the Food 
Production Division, whose functions in- 
cluded collaboration with Australian official 
bodies, technical advice to farmers, canners, 
and dehydrators, and inspection of locally 
purchased food. 18 These branches survived 
the subsequent administrative changes af- 
fecting the procurement of subsistence and 
co-operated effectively with the Common- 
wealth and the states in innovations that 
transformed Australian agriculture and food 

Vegetable Production 

The Agricultural Branch, headed by 
Capt. (later Maj.) Milton D. Miller, an ex- 
pert on soil cultivation and farm machinery 
and for some years a teacher at the Uni- 
versity of California, had as its main task 
the better utilization of existing resources. 
At the very beginning it helped provide 
farmers with vegetable seeds, the major pre- 
requisite for larger crops. As many normal 
sources of seed imports were cut off, Aus- 
tralia looked to the United States for the 
filling of its requirements, but Common- 
wealth authorities knew little of the Ameri- 
can market and had scant experience in the 

17 (1) Memo, DCQM for CQM USASOS, 10 
Jan 43, sub: Insp of Canned Food. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to Controller Defence Foodstuffs, 12 Jan 
43. (3) Ltr, Controller Defence Foodstuffs to CG 
USASOS, 18 Jan 43. All in ORB ABCOM P&C 

,s ( 1 ) Subs Depot Memo 18, 13 Apr 43, sub: Or- 
ganization of Hq Subs Depot. (2) Rpt, n. s., 5 May 
43, sub: Organization of Subs Depot. ORB AF- 

growing of "mother seeds," upon which the 
development of an abundant local supply 
depended. In these matters the Agricultural 
Branch gave invaluable assistance. It helped 
the Commonwealth Vegetable Seeds Com- 
mittee order the proper varieties from the 
best American suppliers; it produced a type 
of hybridized sweet-corn seed fitted to Aus- 
tralian conditions; and, when necessary, it 
intervened with American lend-lease au- 
thorities to establish the Commonwealth's 
needs. Its help was perhaps most useful in 
the inauguration of large-scale cultivation 
of "mother seeds." During 1942 and early 

1 943 the United States filled about half the 
Commonwealth's requirements, but by mid- 

1944 local production sufficed to meet most 
requirements. 19 

For proper protection of seeds after 
they had been planted, weedicides were es- 
sential, but Australian farmers, having little 
knowledge of these preparations, custom- 
arily weeded their fields by hand. Carrot 
and onion crops were among those most 
damaged by obnoxious plant growths. Their 
cultivation had indeed been materially re- 
duced because sufficient labor could not be 
found to do the weeding manually. This sit- 
uation was not improved until the Agri- 
cultural Branch, in co-operation with the 
Australian Council of Scientific and Indus- 
trial Research, developed special weed-kill- 
ing sprays that substantially increased the 
yield of both carrots and onions. The United 
States also provided fungicides to prevent 
the rotting of seeds during the germination 
period, but farmers, unfamiliar with such 

19 ( 1 ) Memo, Capt Milton D. Miller for Maj Theo 
J. Pozzy, Subs Depot, 21 May 43, sub: Green Pea 
Seeds. ORB AFWESPAC QM 464.8. (2) Ltr, Veg- 
etable Seeds Com to Maj Cobb, Subs Depot, 2 Aug 
43, sub: Vegetable Seeds. (3) Memo, Vegetable 
Seeds Com for Maj Belford L. Seabrook, Subs De- 
pot, sub: Seed Rqmts. Both in ORB ABCOM P&C 



preparations, utilized them but slightly until 
a special effort was made in mid- 1943 to 
call attention to their value. 20 

Another major achievement of the food 
production program was a protracted and 
finally successful drive for the expansion of 
vegetable acreage, an effort carried out in 
the main by the Agricultural Engineering 
Section of the Subsistence Depot. The favor- 
able outcome of this drive was attributable 
almost wholly to mechanization, a process 
that, because of the greater stress at first 
placed by the Commonwealth on the pro- 
curement of canning and dehydrating equip- 
ment, did not start on a large scale until 
1943. Early in that year it became obvious 
that, if more mechanical aids were not speed- 
ily obtained, the higher agricultural pro- 
duction planned for the 1943-44 season 
could not possibly be attained. Unfortu- 
nately, the United States could supply only 
a fraction of Australian needs, for it was 
confronted by enormous demands not only 
from its own farmers but also from other 
Allied countries. 21 

Faced with a breakdown in the vegetable 
production program, the Agricultural Engi- 
neering Section began a concerted drive for 
greater mechanization. Its chief, Maj. Bel- 
ford L. Seabrook of the 20,000-acre Sea- 
brook Farm in southwestern New Jersey, 
one of the most intensely mechanized veg- 
etable-growing units in the United States, 
requested the immediate adoption by the 
Commonwealth of a program looking to in- 
creased manufacture of farm machines in 
Australia itself. Before 1939 the large agri- 
cultural machinery plants of that country 

20 Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XII. 

21 (1) Min, Australian Food Council, 31 Jul 42. 
(2) Rpt, Australian Food Council, n. d., sub: Natl 
Vegetable Production Plan. (3) Ltr, CQM to Base 
Sec QM's, 16 Mar 43, sub: Vegetable Crops. All 
in ORB AFPAC Sup Council. 

had turned out a sizable quantity of equip- 
ment, but in 1940 and 1941 most of them 
had been converted to armament produc- 
tion. Major Seabrook visited the plants and 
concluded that, if they were promptly re- 
converted to the manufacture of farm imple- 
ments and provided with models of the latest 
American equipment, they could furnish the 
bulk of Australian requirements. The chief 
stumbling block to higher local production, 
he believed, was the failure of the Common- 
wealth to recognize that food as well as guns, 
tanks, planes, and ships constituted a mu- 
nition of war — according to Seabrook, "the 
primary munition of war." Because of this 
failure, top priorities for the acquisition of 
plants, manpower, and materials went to 
the supplies and equipment recognized as 
munitions, and food production received 
only odds and ends. Major Seabrook fur- 
ther claimed that "endless delays, extreme 
caution and miserly approach" marked the 
handling of the "mechanization, develop- 
ment and expansion of the vegetable indus- 
try." 22 

The Commonwealth Government de- 
layed action on Seabrook's recommenda- 
tions for some weeks, but meanwhile it took 
a census of the country's farm machines and 
ascertained the total manufacturing capac- 
ity of the factories which had formerly made 
agricultural equipment. Finally, in July it 
ordered the reconversion of these plants and 
declared food a munition of war. 23 Once 
these decisions were made, the Australians 
determined to start the production of more 
than thirty different types of equipment. 
The Agricultural Engineering Section gave 
technical advice on retooling and other man- 

22 (1) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XIII, pp. 
12-15. (2) Memo, Maj Belford L. Seabrook for 
Col Hugh B. Hester, 20 May 43, sub: Farm Ma- 
chinery. ORB AFWESPAC QM 403.3. 

23 Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XIII, pp. 22-31. 



ufacturing problems that arose in duplicat- 
ing machines sent as models from the United 

Probably the most valuable machine was 
the Farmall H Tractor which, with its at- 
tachments, made possible the mechanization 
of practically every phase of vegetable cul- 
tivation from plowing to harvesting. With 
a single Farmall H Tractor, Seabrook esti- 
mated, only two men were required for 
every 75 or 100 acres. But extensive retool- 
ing was needed for its production, and plant 
managers hesitated to embark on so costly 
an enterprise. Eventually, Seabrook's per- 
sistent optimism induced them to undertake 
the difficult task. Whereas American firms 
in peacetime ordinarily took two to four 
years to begin production of an entirely new 
piece of equipment, the Australians, with 
some technical assistance from the Agricul- 
tural Engineering Section, started produc- 
tion within six months. 24 Local plants also 
turned out the Farmall A Tractor, which 
had fewer attachments. The Farmall H 
Tractor was employed most effectively on 
tracts of 500 or more acres, while the Farm- 
all A was employed mainly on smaller 
tracts. 25 

In addition to tractors, Australian plants 
turned out harrows, mowers, cultivators, 
plows, pea and bean harvesters, weeders, 
dusters, sprayers, and highly specialized 
equipment for fruit and vine crops. But 
time was needed to adapt plants to the pro- 
duction of these machines. At best Aus- 
tralia could not fill all its needs, and the 
United States finally had to furnish a num- 
ber of tractors, corn planters, and potato 

24 (1) Ibid., Ch. XIII, pp. 31-33; Ch. XIV. (2) 
Rpt, Capt Louis E. Kahn, 28 Nov 43, sub: Weekly 
Rpt, Hq SvC Base Sec 7. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

w Rpt, Maj Belford L. Seabrook, 16 Dec 44, sub: 
Farm Machinery Fid Day. ORB AFWESPAC 

graders. Sufficient machines indeed did not 
become available until shortly before the 
termination of hostilities. 2 ' 1 During 1943 
and part of 1944 the lengthy delay in com- 
mencing the manufacture of farm equip- 
ment combined with the scarcity of farm 
labor to make greater vegetable production 
a formidable task. To some extent the 
shortage of tractors was relieved by pooling 
those available and allocating them to the 
production of the most essential crops. But 
this could not be done without causing a 
comparative decline in the harvest of such 
commodities as sugar, production of which 
had previously been well mechanized. For 
that reason this expedient was used spar- 
ingly. 27 

Important though modern equipment 
was, it alone could not bring about mech- 
anized vegetable production. Its most effi- 
cient utilization required tracts of at least 
75 acres, and preferably 500 acres, yet the 
average vegetable farm contained only 
about 5 acres. Before the novel machines 
could be employed most advantageously, 
tracts of suitable size had to be secured. To 
some extent this objective was accomplished 
by bringing large farms under the produc- 
tion program and combining groups of 
small farms into projects that carried out 
machine operations without respect to indi- 
vidual holdings. 28 

In order to teach farmers how to derive 
the maximum benefit from the new equip- 
ment, the Subsistence Depot conducted an 
extensive educational program that directly 
or indirectly reached most of the rural 
population. Although mechanization was 
stressed, such problems as irrigation, har- 

26 Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XIII, pp. 33-37. 

17 ( 1 ) Min, Australian Food Council, 9 Feb 43. 
ORB AFPAC AG 334. (2) Walker, Australian 
Economy, p. 201. 

28 Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XIII, pp. 9-15. 



vesting, and the use of fertilizers and in- 
secticides were not neglected. Since the de- 
partments of agriculture in the Australian 
states had the closest contacts with farmers, 
the program aimed chiefly at the indoctri- 
nation of the key men in these agencies, but 
it also reached individual farmers through 
lectures, radio broadcasts, motion pictures, 
leaflets, and, above all, through field dem- 
onstrations carried out by American tech- 
nicians in the main vegetable-growing dis- 
tricts. The high degree of success attained 
by the educational program is attested by 
the doubling of the cultivated area. From 
1934 to 1939 an average of 254,000 acres 
was sown yearly in vegetables. By the 
1943-44 season more than 520,000 acres 
were under cultivation. The number of 
acres devoted to green peas, for example, 
rose from 13,353 to 66,440, or almost 400 
percent, and similar gains were made in the 
production of string beans, tomatoes, car- 
rots, and beets. 29 

Remarkable though these increases were, 
they did not provide adequate quantities of 
some of the most acceptable vegetables. 
This shortcoming was attributable to in- 
creased civilian demands, to the delays in 
the inauguration of the mechanization pro- 
gram, and to the natural reluctance of farm- 
ers to substitute unfamiliar for familiar 
crops. Perhaps there was also at first failure 
on the part of Americans and Australians 
alike fully to realize that a rise in total vege- 
table production did not in itself suffice to 
meet U.S. requirements; such a rise, to be 
most beneficial, had to include adequate 
quantities of acceptable varieties. By Oc- 
tober 1943 it had become obvious that vege- 
tables lacking in popularity were being ob- 
tained in too large quantities; acceptable 

vegetables, in too small quantities. In spite 
of considerable gains in acreage sown in 
peas, string beans, and tomatoes, shortages 
of these popular vegetables were particularly 
conspicuous; much of the increased produc- 
tion apparently had been absorbed by house- 
wives and other claimants. Yet the vastly 
increased availability of vegetables as a 
whole was a highly significant accomplish- 
ment brought about in the face of exas- 
perating perplexities. American soldiers 
might not always have peas and potatoes, 
corn and lima beans, but they did not go 
hungry ; normally, they were more than well 
fed. 30 


The canning program, obviously, was 
controlled to a considerable extent by the 
supply of vegetables, but at the outset the 
primary problem was an industrial one, 
how to get an adequate number of well- 
run canneries into operation. At first Com- 
monwealth authorities were often obliged to 
utilize plants that not only were remote from 
vegetable-growing districts but also were 
managed by former fruit canners who had 
scant knowledge of vegetable canning and 
frequently applied to it the less exacting 
techniques of their old occupation. 31 These 
techniques were particularly faulty in fail- 
ing to provide enough heat in the canning 
process. Since vegetables are nonacid foods 
and so less able than fruits to resist bacterial 

p. 8. 

(1) Ibid., Ch. X, pp. 18-27. (2) Hester Rpt, 

10 ( 1 ) Memo, Capt Albert E. Bester, Jr., for 
CQM, 26 Sep 43, sub: Analysis of Class I Sups. 
(2) Memo, Maj Hubert W. Marlow for CO 
USASOS Gen Depot, 14 Oct 43, sub: Analysis of 
Advance Base Inventories. ORB ABCOM GP&C 

31 (1) Rpt, J. F. Foote, n. d., sub: Function of 
Canning and Tinplate Board. ORB AFPAC Sup 
Council. (2) Rpt, Australian Food Council, n. d., 
sub: Equip for Canning. ORB AFWESPAC QM 



growths, more heat had to be applied to 
them in order to kill all harmful matter. 
The canning methods in use were further 
defective in that they did not insure the re- 
tention of vitamins and minerals indis- 
pensable to good health. Preservation of 
these essential substances depended upon an 
adequate supply of fresh vegetables of 
proper maturity, prompt canning after har- 
vesting, and exclusion of oxygen during the 
heating process to prevent destruction of 
vitamins, but these requirements could sel- 
dom be fully complied with. Recently picked 
vegetables were rarely available in the de- 
sired quantities since growing areas were 
not close enough to processing plants, and 
vegetables were of necessity hauled over 
long distances with a rapid decline in nu- 
tritive value. Finally, processors' lack of 
familiarity with the seaming, soldering, and 
closing of cans resulted in the production 
of easily damaged containers. 52 Proper in- 
spection might have corrected these weak- 
nesses, but inspectors, like canners, were 
for the most part former fruit men ill in- 
formed about vegetable processing. Speci- 
fications based on the best canning practices 
might have been set up to serve as sound 
guides, but such specifications were not at 
first available. 33 

Early in 1943 these difficulties led the 
Commonwealth to request the assignment of 
experienced Quartermaster and Veterinary 
officers to the enforcement of better operat- 
ing practices. The Subsistence Depot there- 
upon established the Laboratory and Inspec- 
tion Branch in the Food Production Division 
with Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Carl R. Fellers, a 

32 Min, Australian Food Council, 1 1 Oct 42, 
pp. 4-8. 

33 (1) Rpt, R. S. Scull, 23 Jan 43, sub: Canning 
Program. (2) Memo, "H. B. H." for Maj R. W. 
Hughes, 4 Feb 43, sub: Laboratory. ORB ABCOM 
P&C 632. 

prominent food technologist, as director. He 
set up a highly efficient organization that 
carried out its functions in canneries as well 
as laboratories, rejecting not only all food 
found unfit for consumption but also im- 
properly seamed cans. The effectiveness of 
the unit was demonstrated by the absence 
of any serious cases of food poisoning after 
its creation. 34 

In the meantime ambitious expansion 
plans were formulated, but it soon devel- 
oped that they could not be fully carried out 
as shortages of manpower and machinery 
delayed the completion of new plants and 
the re-equipment of old ones. Canneries, in 
fact, never became numerous enough to 
keep pace with fast rising military require- 
ments although by the close of the war sixty 
were in operation, several times the peace- 
time figure. 3 "' The frequent inability to util- 
ize existing plants to full capacity was as 
detrimental to production as was the lack of 
enough plants. Operations were repeatedly 
disrupted by shortages of cans, of machinery 
for closing containers, and of wood ship- 
ping cases. So acute was the world-wide 
scarcity of tinplate that Australia never had 
more than a few weeks' supply of cans, not 
enough to allow the uninterrupted flow of 
containers in a seasonal industry like vege- 
table canning. 36 

34 ( 1 ) Memo, DCQM for CQM, 10 Jan 43, sub : 
Insp of Canned Foods. ORB ABCOM P&C 400.252. 
(2) Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 18 Feb 43. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 323.71. (3) Subs Depot 
Memo, 8 Mar 42, sub: Insp of Canneries. 

83 (1) Cbl, U.S. Lend-Lease Mission to Secy of 
State, 13 Feb 43. ORB AFPAC Rear Ech Canning 
Equip. (2) Ltr, CQM USAFFE to QM USASOS, 
11 Mar 43, sub: Food Production. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 400.252. 

38 ( 1 ) Memo, Food Mfg Unit for CO Subs Depot, 
17 Sep 43, sub: Bottlenecks. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
430. (2) Rpt, L. G. Roth, Controller of Vegetable 
Sups, 1 Jul 44, sub: Vegetable Canning Program. 

CANNERY OPERATIONS IN AUSTRALIA were performed under the supervision of 
Qiiartei master inspectors. 



Nevertheless ever larger quantities of 
canned vegetables became available. Of the 
increased production the American services 
alone took 56,000,000 pounds, five and a 
half times the total amount turned out in 
the last prewar year. Even this substantial 
quantity did not quite match American re- 
quirements, but the most serious shortcom- 
ing was not that the amount furnished to 
the U.S. Army often fell below the amount 
ordered. It was rather that the varieties of 
vegetables were not provided in the desired 
proportions, a failure attributable not to the 
canning industry but, as noted above, to the 
fact that suitable varieties were not grown 
in the required quantities. 37 

To fill the gaps in its canned stocks, 
USASOS late in 1943 submitted several 
sizable requisitions on the zone of interior, 
but it still placed major reliance on reverse 
lend-lease procurement. In the following 
March it materially increased the quantities 
ordered from the United States and shortly 
afterwards completely revised its procure- 
ment schedule in line with ascertained 
American preferences. Of the procurement 
projected for 1944 from Australia and the 
United States together, 16 percent was al- 
lotted to tomatoes and lesser percentages, in 
descending scale, to peas, corn, string beans, 
asparagus, carrots, spinach, beets, sweet po- 
tatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, sauerkraut, 
parsnips, and pumpkins. 38 Actual procure- 
ment in Australia in that year reflected the 
inability of that country to make canned 
vegetables available in the contemplated 
proportions. Forty percent of the products 
obtained by the American services — double 
the planned amount — consisted of beets, 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, INTERSEC to USASOS, 5 Nov 44, 
sub: Subs Sup. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. (2) 
QM SWPA Hist, V, 34. 

3, OCQM Tech Memo 30, 16 Jun 44, sub: QM 
Class I, II, and IV Sups. 

cabbages, and carrots, none of which were 
truly acceptable as a steady diet. On the 
other hand, favored vegetables, such as to- 
matoes and corn, were procured only in 
much smaller percentages than the program 
called for. 39 As months necessarily elapsed 
before supplies arrived from the United 
States the vegetable components of the menu 
remained unbalanced throughout 1944. 

The operations of the fruit-canning in- 
dustry were also affected by shortages, but 
this well-established business nevertheless 
made a commendable record. In conform- 
ance with American desires it reduced the 
production of apricots, peaches, and pears, 
which had previously been turned out in 
fairly substantial quantities, in order to in- 
crease that of jams, jellies, applesauce, apple 
butter, and, particularly, fruit juices, which 
the QMC wished to obtain in large quanti- 
ties. The disappointing fact that the indus- 
try never produced fruit juices in the desired 
volume was not attributable to any indiffer- 
ence on the part of the canners but rather 
to the unavailability of the necessary fruits. 40 

Meat Canning 

Like fruit canning, meat canning was an 
old Australian industry, which concentrated 
on the production of corned beef, corned 
mutton, and minced beef loaf — all pre- 
pared according to British specifications. 
Packers were willing to prepare meats in the 
American manner, but their experimental 
efforts to do so failed because they lacked 
the proper equipment and were unac- 
quainted with American processing meth- 
ods. On its establishment the Subsistence 

39 Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XXII, App. B. 

40 (1) Ibid., Ch. XVII, pp. 52, 66. (2) Ltr, CO 
Subs Depot to Rear Ech Div, 2 Apr 43, sub: Fruit 
Juices. ORB ABCOM P&C 435. (3) Ltr, CO Subs 
Depot to Dir Gen of Food Sup, 25 Aug 43. ORB 



Depot therefore set up a Meat Section in 
its Food Production Division to help the 
packers. This section was headed by Maj. 
George V. Hallman, who for twenty years 
had worked in the packing industry in both 
North and South America. After surveying 
existing plants he concluded that with better 
equipment Australia could produce the 
canned meats known to Americans — chili 
con carne, corned beef hash, ham and eggs, 
luncheon meat, Vienna sausage, meat and 
beans, and vegetable stew and hash. The 
Commonwealth approved the production of 
these items and in 1944, at American re- 
quest, added pork sausage, pork and beans, 
and roast beef with gravy to the list. 41 

In trying to meet U.S. Army requirements 
packers were handicapped by seasonal vari- 
ations in the meat supply, which made it 
hard to maintain a smooth flow of canned 
products. Australia normally had an ex- 
portable surplus of beef, but there were times 
when for some weeks not enough beef could 
be obtained to fill Commonwealth commit- 
ments to Great Britain and the Australian 
Army and also provide for American troops. 
Hogs, moreover, were raised in such small 
numbers that only a scanty supply of pork 
ever reached the market. 42 In spite of these 
handicaps the meat-canning program 
achieved a remarkable production record. 
When it started in 1 942, only two firms were 
under contract. In the following year most 
of the major packers participated, and pro- 
duction for the American forces soared from 
a mere 1,300,000 pounds to 43,800,000 
pounds. Huge though this gain was^it still 

11 ( 1 ) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XX, pp. 
10-12. (2) Ltr, CQM USAFFE to QM USASOS, 
4 Jul 43, sub: Canned Meat Products. ORB 

42 Rpt, Maj George V. Hallman, 10 Nov 43, sub: 
Meat Canning Program. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

fell far short of the 77,400,000 pounds re- 
quired. In 1944 the packers, with both more 
experience and more equipment, better than 
doubled their contribution, furnishing 90,- 
000,000 pounds. 43 

Despite this decided spurt, the program, 
like that for canned vegetables, was unable 
to provide the variety desired by the QMC. 
Corned beef and corned beef hash, old Aus- 
tralian favorites, continued to be supplied in 
the largest quantities, in 1944 constituting 
over 36 percent of the canned meats turned 
over to the U.S. Army. This disappointing 
result stemmed in the main from the reluc- 
tance of packers to plunge into the large- 
scale production of unfamiliar items for 
which no substantial postwar demand was 
discernible. As in the case of canned vegeta- 
bles, USASOS eventually obtained some re- 
lief through procurement in the United 
States. 44 

Vegetable Dehydration Industry 

Apart from circumstances retarding the 
development of new industries in general, 
the lack of any foreseeable postwar need 
was the major factor that held up the de- 
velopment of a vegetable dehydration in- 
dustry and kept production during the first 
two years of the conflict at low levels. 45 

43 (1) Ltr, Controller Gen of Food to GPA, 18 
May 44. ORB AFPAC GPA Subs. (2) Hester Rpt, 
pp. 10-12. (3) Cramp, Fcod Production, Ch. XX, 
pp. 29-32. 

44 ( 1 ) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XX, pp. 
29-32. (2) Memo cited n. 38. (3) QM SWPA Hist, 
V, 34-36. 

45 ( 1 ) Rpt, Commonwealth Dehydration Com, 5 
Nov 42, sub: Vegetable Dehydration Program. 
ORB AFPAC Sup Council Vegetable. (2) Rpt, 
Capt Maynard A. Joslyn, 18 Dec 42, sub: Existing 
Dehydrators. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.252. 
(3) Memo, Joslyn for Maj Theo J. Pozzy, 12 Apr 
43, sub: Delay in Dehydration Program. ORB 
ABCOM P&C 400.254. (4) Ltr, Food Mfg Div 
to CO Subs Depot, 17 Sep 43, sub: Bottlenecks. 



In 1 942 there were in use only a few hastily 
converted and unsuitably located fruit-dry- 
ing plants, which turned out less than 2,- 
000,000 pounds of dehydrated vegetables, 
and those of inferior quality. With the es- 
tablishment in early 1943 of the Dehydra- 
tion Branch at the Subsistence Depot, tech- 
nical advice about the selection of vege- 
tables and the improvement of processing 
methods became available for the first time. 
New plants were built largely in accordance 
with plans submitted by the Dehydration 
Branch, and in 1944 production was six 
times that of two years before. Dehydrated 
potatoes formed about 70 percent of the 
total output. Cabbages and carrots were 
the other vegetables dehydrated in the larg- 
est quantities. 46 

The American services received only a 
comparatively small percentage of all this 
production. Of the 1943 output of 5,000,- 
000 pounds they secured a mere 620,185 
pounds. The remainder went principally 
to the Australian Army, which had sub- 
mitted its requisitions first. Believing its con- 
tribution to vegetable dehydration entitled 
it to an increased share, the Subsistence De- 
pot requested that the system of giving the 
earliest requisitions preference be replaced 
by one giving the U.S. forces a definite per- 
centage of each plant's production. The 
Commonwealth accepted this suggestion 
and at the beginning of 1945 allocated to 
the U.S. Army 25 percent of the dehy- 
drated potato production for the coming 

46 ( 1 ) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XVIII, p. 46. 
(2) Hester Rpt, p. 9. (3) Walker, Australian 
Economy, p. 210. (4) Rpt, Capt Joslyn, 2 Nov 42, 
sub: Vegetable Dehydration. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 432. (5) Memo, Joslyn for Maj Pozzy, 10 
Apr 43. (6) Ltr, Joslyn to CO Subs Depot, 21 
Jul 43, sub: Dehydration Program. (7) Rpt, Jos- 
lyn, 29 Feb 44, sub: Future Dehydration Policy. 
(8) Memo, Joslyn for Col Hugh B. Hester, 10 Jul 
44, sub: Major Joslyn's Accomplishments. All in 
ORB ABCOM P&C 400.254. 

year, 36 percent of the cabbage production, 
26 percent of the onion production, and 50 
percent of the beet production. Except for 
potatoes, allotment of which equaled Amer- 
ican requirements, even these relatively gen- 
erous allocations represented only about 43 
percent of what the QMC had requested. 47 
Owing to the difficulty of supplying per- 
ishables in the Southwest Pacific, Austral- 
ian canners and dehydrators were called 
upon to furnish meat, fruit, and vegetable 
components of the special rations prepared 
for advance, particularly combat, troops cut 
off from normal sources of supply. They 
even provided these components for stand- 
ard field rations, especially those issued 
north of Australia where only small quanti- 
ties of perishables could be handled. Ra- 
tions of the C type, composed in the main 
of canned and dehydrated elements, were 
the only ones assembled entirely from Aus- 
tralian products. 48 

Fresh Meat 

The quantity of fresh subsistence sup- 
plied to the U.S. services was even larger 
than that of canned subsistence, and among 
perishable foods none bulked larger than 
meat. Normally, about half the Australian 
production of fresh meat consisted of beef 
and about half of mutton and lamb. For 
many years large exports of these meats had 
figured conspicuously in the antipodean 
economy, but in 1940 the shortage of bot- 
toms led to sharp curtailment of shipments 

47 (1 ) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XVIII, pp. 
36-37. (2) Rpt, 1st Lt Harold D. Van Wagenen, 
13 Apr 43, sub: Dehydrated Vegetable Program. 
ABCOM P&C 400.254. 

,H ( 1 ) Ltr, CO Subs Depot to CG USASOS, 7 Jul 
43, sub: Subs Reqmts. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
333.1. (2) USASOS Regulations 30-16, 28 Feb 44, 
Sec. II, sub: Daily Ration Issues. 



to the United Kingdom, making it impos- 
sible to dispose of surpluses. Prices slumped, 
and producers cut their stocks. American 
entrance into the war completely altered 
this situation, compelling the Common- 
wealth to stimulate meat production in 
order to fill heavy American demands. Be- 
cause of the scarcity of pork, ham, and 
bacon and their popularity with American 
soldiers, the production of these meats was 
especially fostered. The Commonwealth 
furnished feeds to hog raisers at low prices 
and bought their animals at levels guaran- 
teeing substantial profits. 49 

In spite of the fact that total meat pro- 
duction rose from 900,000 tons in 1941 to 
1,030,000 tons in 1944 and shipments to 
the United Kingdom remained at relatively 
low levels, filling American requirements 
was not an easy assignment. One reason was 
that civilian consumption grew rapidly after 
1940, yet, except for pork and a few other 
food products, remained unregulated until 
January 1944, when rationing was at last 
started on the basis of 2 J/4 pounds a week 
for each person over nine years of age and 
half as much for persons under nine. The 
shortage of freezer space also complicated 
the supply problem. In peacetime, heavy 
exports had kept refrigerated space clear of 
old meat and enabled a few plants to fill all 
demands for cold storage. But with the ar- 
rival of strong American forces large stocks 
had to be held for weeks at a time in order 
to assure adequate military supplies during 
the months when animals were being fat- 
tened for slaughter. To satisfy this need the 
Commonwealth imposed rigid limitations 
on civilian storage and built additional 
warehouses in Queensland, the main beef- 
producing state. The U.S. Army itself con- 

4 " Walker, Australian Economy, pp. 199-201. 

structed freezer warehouses at Aitkenvale, 
near Townsville. 50 

The desirability of conserving freezer 
space on board cargo ships and in the 
hands of units necessitated the procurement 
not merely of canned meat but also of bone- 
less beef, a product developed by the U.S. 
Army for the express purpose of reducing 
cold-storage needs. Introduction of this 
commodity, unknown in Australia, became 
a primary responsibility of the Meat Section 
of the Subsistence Depot. Boneless beef 
eliminated not only bones but also fats and 
cuts of slight nutritive value. Whereas car- 
cass beef in storage or shipment was hung 
on hooks with considerable room between 
each carcass, boneless beef was packed in 
50-pound boxes, permitting compact utili- 
zation of space and reducing freezer-space 
requirements by about 60 percent and 
weight by about 25 percent. >: 

As in the United States, the principal 
stumbling block to the procurement of bone- 
less beef was the reluctance of meat packers 
to incur the cost of the new equipment re- 
quired to bring out a product for which 
there was no commercial demand. Boneless 
beef was at first so hard to procure that 
the Commonwealth had to prohibit its dis- 
tribution to troops in Australia in order to 
make enough available for deliveries to ad- 
vance bases. The supply problem was partly 
solved by Commonwealth guarantees of re- 
munerative prices, but sufficient boning fa- 

M ( 1 ) Memo, 2d Lt Louis E. Kahn for Lt Col 
Edward F. Shepherd, USAFIA, 15 May 42, sub: 
Meat Packing Conditions. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
333.1. (2) Memo, QMG Australian Army for Con- 
troller Defence Foodstuffs, 13 Jun 42, sub: Cold 
Storage Meat. (3) Ltr, Controller Defence Food- 
stuffs to CO Subs Depot, 5 Apr 43, sub: Meat 
Supplies. Both in ORB ABCOM P&C 341. 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, TQMG to QM at X, 27 Dec 41, sub: 
Boneless Beef. (2) Ltr, CQM USASOS to Base 
Sec 3, 26 Jan 43, same sub. Both in ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 431. 

,v7- •/# 


STORAGE OF MEAT forced the adoption of such expedients as the burlap cooler in which 
water dripping over burlap kept the temperature down (above) and the salting of fresh meat 
cuts (below). 



cilities never became available. This defi- 
ciency was worsened by the vast increase 
in demand during the last two years of hos- 
tilities, when the Australian Army, favor- 
ably impressed by the product, ordered siz- 
able amounts. 52 

There was also difficulty in procuring 
pork carcasses cut, according to Ameri- 
can custom, into hams, loins, shoulders, 
spareribs, and bacon ready for cooking 
by field organizations, and beef carcasses cut 
into steaks, roasts, and stews. Meat had 
never been prepared in this fashion in Aus- 
tralia. Wholesalers had always provided 
pork, for example, to retailers in the form of 
Wiltshire sides, that is, entire sides except 
for the heads, and they hesitated to make 
cuts in the American style because of the 
increased cost and the scarcity of qualified 
carvers. Yet mess butchers could not use 
Wiltshire sides economically, for they had 
few proper cutting implements and only lim- 
ited training in carving carcasses. Because 
of their inexperience they discarded bones 
that still held a good deal of edible meat. 53 

In the Melbourne base section, as else- 
where, there was very much wastage of 
meat. To correct this defect, the Quarter- 
master and the Veterinarian set up a so- 
called "boning room," which was really a 
"cutting room," for little deboning was done 
there. Its operations, carried out mostly by 
Australian civilians recently trained as cut- 
ters, relieved mess cooks and attendants in 
the Melbourne area of tasks for which they 
were ill fitted and made possible the pro- 
curement of about 10 percent more meat 

52 ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col John T. Taylor, IGD Base 
Sec 3, to Col C. H. Barnwell, Jr. Hq USASOS, 16 
Jan 43, sub: Boneless Beef. (2) Memo, QM for 
Exec Off for Sup USASOS, 15 Mar 43. (3) Rpt, 
Col Cordiner, 26 Apr 44, sub: Rpt of Inspection. 
All in ORB AFWESPAC QM 431. 

53 Memo, CQM for Capt Norman H. Myers, 25 
Aug 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430. 

from a carcass than had formerly been 
obtained. 54 

The Subsistence Depot hoped that simi- 
lar cutting rooms could be established in 
all the Australian base sections, but the 
packers opposed such action. They claimed 
that the Melbourne experiment competed 
directly with their products, aggravating 
the shortage of skilled cutters and making 
it hard for them to turn out cuts in the 
American style. Their objections, together 
with the danger of contamination because 
of the lack of refrigeration in the Melbourne 
boning room, led to its abandonment early 
in 1944. At that time the packers agreed to 
make cuts of the types wanted by the U.S. 
Army, but the Australian Treasury disap- 
proved as too high the prices set by the pack- 
ers and so delayed the venture for several 
months. 55 

The American forces did not always ob- 
tain the cuts they preferred, it is true, but 
Australia did furnish a large amount of 
beef. During 1942 and 1943 it provided 
16,700,000 pounds of the carcass variety 
and 7,440,000 pounds of the boneless va- 
riety. Whereas the supply of the latter prod- 
uct consistently fell below American needs, 
that of carcass beef approximated require- 
ments until late 1943 when Australian pro- 
duction, though increased, did not suffice to 
fill demands treble those of 1942. Civilian 
rationing, put into effect in January 1944, 
helped tide over the shortage in military 

54 (1) Ltr, 1st Lt Thomas J. Watson to Base 
Sec 4, 15 Apr 43, sub: Example of Waste. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 430. (2) Rpt, QM Base Sec 4, 
26 Apr 43, sub: QM Activities Base Sec 4. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 370.43. (3) Ltr, Base Vet Base 
Sec 4 to CG USASOS, 23 Jun 43, sub: Boning 
Room. ORB ABCOM P&C 431. 

55 ( 1 ) Rpt, Maj George V. Hallman, 4 Jan 44, 
sub: Base Sec 4 Boning Room. (2) Personal Ltr, 
Col Hugh B. Hester to Dir Gen of Food Sup, 17 
Apr 44. Both in ORB ABCOM P&C 431. 



stocks. As the number of American troops 
in forward areas steadily grew throughout 
1944. the acquisition of more freezer ship- 
ping space, rather than an inadequate sup- 
ply of beef, became the primary problem. 
In June lack of such space forced the stor- 
age in Australia of about 30,000,000 pounds 
of carcass beef. 56 

Next to beef, pork products constituted 
the largest group of meats supplied to the 
U.S. services, amounting in the peak pro- 
curement year of 1944 to about half the 
beef procurement. During those twelve 
months 11,980,000 pounds of bacon, 11,- 
790,000 pounds of ham and 9,460,000 
pounds of pork were supplied. Sizable 
though these amounts were, they were still 
considerably less than the American forces 
wanted. 57 

Australia, as a major producer of lamb 
and mutton, could easily have supplied 
these products, but American preference for 
other meats kept procurement at a low level, 
less than a million pounds having been se- 
cured during the first two years of reverse 
lend-lease operations. Not until well into 
1943, when hope of obtaining pork prod- 
ucts in desired quantities had almost van- 
ished, was much lamb and mutton taken. 
Yet even in the following years Americans 
got only slightly more than 10,000,000 
pounds, or less than 9 percent of all local 
meat purchases. 58 

Generally speaking, the poultry industry 
could provide few chickens and turkeys, for 
they were Australian luxuries ordinarily 
available only in the better hotels and res- 
taurants. Those sold commercially were un- 
bled, incompletely plucked specimens most 
soldiers found distasteful. Many rejected 

5H Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XXI, pp. 18-19 

"Ibid., pp. 21-23, 33. 
w Ibid., p. 33. 

the turkeys served at Thanksgiving and 
Christmas dinners in 1942. Later, the qual- 
ity of poultry offered U.S. services gradually 
improved, and in 1944 purchases climbed 
from only 240,000 pounds in the previous 
two years to about 2,000,000 pounds. 59 

Flour, Sugar, and Rice 

Flour was procured in greater volume 
than any other foodstuff. In 1944 alone the 
QMC obtained about 219,000,000 pounds. 
As one of the world's largest exporters of 
the commodity in prewar days Australia 
had no trouble in meeting even such huge 
demands. Yet U.S. Army bakers contended 
that the flour, because of its low gluten 
content, made smaller and less acceptable 
loaves than did the American variety. When 
the latter was available, they mixed it with 
equal quantities of local flour to obtain bet- 
ter bread. But this expedient was possible 
only to a limited degree, for until late 1 944 
about 90 percent of all flour used in the 
Southwest Pacific came from Australian 
mills. 60 

Sugar, too, was almost entirely Australian 
in origin. There were ample local supplies, 
and with the aid of civilian rationing at the 
restricted but still liberal scale of one pound 
per person a week, service requirements 
were met in full. Even the shortage of sea- 
sonal laborers for harvesting the crop in the 
principal growing areas in northern Queens- 
land and of freight cars for transporting the 
raw sugar to the refineries in the south inter- 
fered but little with production for the mili- 
tary forces. 61 

68 Ibid., Ch. XXII, pp. 21-23. 

60 (I) Ibid., pp. 42-43. (2) Ltr, Base Surg to CO 
Base Sec 3, 29 Nov 43, sub: Bakeries. ORB 

61 Memo, Philip Grassick for Col Herbert A. 
Gardner, CQM USASOS, 8 May 42, sub: Sugar 



Rice, grown in prewar days only in the 
publicly owned Murrumbidgee irrigation 
area of New South Wales, was not a major 
crop as were wheat and sugar. But shortages 
born of the war dictated that its cultivation 
be extended. India, Ceylon, and New Zea- 
land could not raise all the rice they con- 
sumed and, when the Japanese occupied 
rice-exporting Burma and southeastern 
Asia, found themselves cut off from their 
customary sources of supply. As an emer- 
gency measure the Commonwealth Govern- 
ment, assisted by that of New South Wales, 
greatly expanded rice cultivation, increas- 
ing the number of acres from 25,000 in 
1942-43 to 38,600 in 1943-44. The harvest 
of the latter season yielded 78,000 tons, 50 
percent more than the record prewar crop 
of 1938-39. Despite the fact that Australian 
citizens were permitted to buy only limited 
quantities of the cereal, service demands and 
sizable exports to Ceylon and New Zealand 
absorbed most of the crop. American sup- 
ply officers, looking forward to the liberation 
of the Philippines, expected that in the first 
year of reoccupation the Filipinos would re- 
quire 200,000 tons of rice, an amount so 
large that, in view of the world-wide scar- 
city, it could probably be secured only by 
extreme effort. They suggested that the Aus- 
tralian Government stockpile the cereal for 
future use, but heavy current demands 
made such action impossible. 62 

Dairy Products 

The Australian dairy industry produced 
milk primarily to make butter and cheese 
rather than to sell for liquid consumption. 
It was not a fully developed industry, and 
its operations were handicapped by the dis- 

" ( 1 ) Rpt, Col R. C. Kramer, Jt Sup Bd GHQ 
SWPA, 7 Oct 44, sub: Rice. ORB AFPAC AG 

430.2. (2) Walker, Australian Economy, p. 211. 

satisfaction of the labor force with the pre- 
vailing low wages and poor working condi- 
tions. During the first war years the indus- 
try steadily lost employees to the burgeoning 
suppliers of munitions. Because of these 
losses and the shortage of fertilizers for pas- 
ture lands, operations declined substantially. 
Even generous subsidies from the Common- 
wealth did not materially increase pro- 
duction. 63 

Despite rigid civilian rationing, fresh 
milk became very scarce, and only a small 
part of what was available met U.S. Army 
specifications. Cows were seldom tubercu- 
lin-tested, and 5 to 10 percent of dairy herds 
were estimated to be diseased. Milk was 
rarely pasteurized and bacterial counts were 
high. Since it, like other perishables, was at 
first procured mostly through the base sec- 
tions, the quartermasters and veterinarians 
of these sections requested contracts calling 
for pasteurization and tuberculosis-free 
herds, but dairy farmers would not accept 
these provisions unless they received com- 
pensation for diseased animals and substan- 
tially higher prices to cover the expense of 
pasteurization. Local and state milk offi- 
cials in the main supported the dairymen. 64 

The prolonged inability to iron out dif- 
ferences over tuberculin tests was the major 
obstacle to better sanitary conditions, but 
the suggested extension of pasteurization 
presented a scarcely less formidable barrier. 
Many farmers regarded pasteurization as 
merely a costly luxury to be used only in sup- 
plying American troops and discarded as 
soon as the war ended. Finding progress in 

"Ibid., p. 199. 

04 ( 1 ) Memo, ACofS G-4 for CQM USAFIA, 
12 May 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 433. (2) 
Memo, Proc Div USASOS for GPA, 6 Apr 43, 
sub: Milk in Cairns. ORB AFWESPAC QM 434. 
(3) Rpt, L. T. Maclnnes, Dept of Commerce and 
Agriculture, 2 Feb 44, sub: U.S. Milk Specifica- 
tions. ORB ABCOM P&C 434. 


ridding herds of tubercular animals slow, 
the QMC agreed to accept milk from ap- 
proved pasteurization plants even if it came 
from uninspected cattle. Even then it was 
hard to secure an adequate supply. Not until 
September 1942 did Townsville become the 
first base section to obtain satisfactory de- 
liveries, and not until some months later did 
similar deliveries become available in the 
Melbourne and Brisbane areas. 65 

Early in 1 944 fresh efforts to institute tu- 
berculin tests succeeded in every state ex- 
cept New South Wales. Both the lack of suc- 
cess in that populous state and the belated 
acceptance by the other states of the Ameri- 
can request can probably be ascribed to the 
scarcity of fluid milk, the strong demand 
for which, as to be expected, afforded 
dairymen little incentive to furnish a special 
product for the U.S. armed services. Even 
if those services had accepted no milk, civil- 
ians would still have taken all that was of- 
fered. Only by putting up the funds for mak- 
ing the required tests and for indemnifying 
the owners of destroyed cows, could the 
Army have won its objective in New South 
Wales. This step it refused to take, and in 
November 1 944 the Veterinary Corps began 
to reject all milk proffered in the Sydney 
area except about 75 gallons daily taken 
from excellent sources for hospital use. 66 Be- 
cause of the unsatisfactory sanitary stand- 
ards the U.S. forces in 1944, when the total 
production of fresh milk reached 200,000,- 
000 gallons, took only 2,866,000 gallons. 
Approximately one and a half times this 
amount — 4,270,000 gallons of dried milk, 

"•" ( 1 ) Ltr, Defence Foodstuffs Control to GPA, 
11 Feb 44. ORB AFPAC GPA 434. (2) USASOS 
Regulations 50-100, 29 Mar 44, sub: Milk. 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, Dir of Proc to CG USASOS, 24 Apr 
44, sub: Pasteurized Milk. ORB ABCOM P&C 
434. (2) Memo, Vet Sec for Subs Sec, 20 Oct 44, 
sub: Tuberculin Free Herds. Both in ORB ABCOM 
P&C 434. 

representing most of the Australian produc- 
tion — was obtained. 67 

Market Center Procurement 
of Perishables 

Like milk and most other perishables, 
fresh fruits and vegetables were at first pro- 
cured, not through the Subsistence Depot 
as were nonperishables, but by the Austral- 
ian base sections and by units stationed in 
Australia. Generally speaking, base sections 
purchased the fresh produce required in ad- 
vance areas, and units bought that required 
for their own use. This system, modeled 
upon Regular Army practices in times of 
peace, functioned unsatisfactorily when ap- 
plied to fresh fruits and vegetables. Procure- 
ment of these perishables by every base sec- 
tion and every Army unit in Australia, by 
the Allied services, and by the U.S. Navy 
introduced severe competition for limited 
local supplies and often caused inequitable 
distribution among the armed forces. The 
system was also defective in that it provided 
no means of holding fresh fruits and vege- 
tables in cold storage for more than a few 
days and established no regular schedules 
for the departure of refrigerated ships to ad- 
vance areas. These weaknesses made it im- 
possible for base sections to buy in anticipa- 
tion of future requirements and when 
produce was most plentiful on the market. 
Supplies were of necessity bought hastily just 
before refrigerated ships arrived, and this, 
in turn, obliged the base sections to accept 
whatever fruits and vegetables then hap- 
pened to be available commercially. Since 
these commodities were usually everywhere 
the same and were often obtainable only in 

1,7 (1) Cramp, Food Production, Ch. XXII, pp. 
25-27. (2) Ltr, Subs Depot to USASOS, 21 Aug 
43, sub: Milk Ingredients. ORB AFWESPAC QM 




VEGETABLE MARKET CENTER in Sydney, Australia. 

comparatively restricted quantities, small 
and monotonous issues of fresh vegetables 
were the frequent lot of troops in forward 
areas. 6 * 

A partial solution of the problem was 
found in the market center system, which 
started in the zone of interior in 1941. This 
system was set up in the Southwest Pacific 
in April 1944 and became the only market 
center system established in an overseas area. 
It introduced centralized procurement not 
only of fresh fruits and vegetables but also 
of the other perishables — meat, poultry, 
fish, butter, eggs, and other dairy products. 
Under this system the Procurement Divi- 

''" (1) Memo, S&D Div for CQM USASOS, 10 
Feb 43, sub: Mkt Cen. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
414.1. (2) Ltr, CG USASOS to CQM, 14 Dec 43, 
sub: Proc of Perishable Subs. ORB AFWESPAC AG 

sion, USASOS, acting through market cen- 
ters at Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and 
Townsville, carried out procurement on the 
basis of requisitions submitted by the Dis- 
tribution Division, USASOS, for supplies in 
forward areas and by the base sections for 
issues in Australia. Competition for pro- 
duce among U.S. Army elements was thus 
terminated. On 1 July competition with 
the U.S. Navy came to an end, when the 
responsibility for obtaining perishables for 
the sister service also passed to the new buy- 
ing system. Since the market centers ac- 
quired warehouses for long-term storage of 
perishables and established reasonably regu- 
lar schedules of reefer sailings, hurried pur- 
chases were less often necessary. Advance 
procurement in bulk and in wider variety 
became the customary practice, making pos- 



sible the creation of sizable reserve stock- 

At times lack of refrigeration afloat and 
ashore made it impracticable to take all the 
fresh fruits and vegetables offered commer- 
cially. In the first quarter of 1945, General 
Hester estimated, these deficiencies pre- 
vented the procurement of 35,000,000 
pounds of potatoes, 12,000,000 pounds of 
other vegetables, and 12,000,000 pounds of 
fruits. 7 " Nevertheless during the nine months 
the market centers operated in 1944, they 
obtained all together 32,000,000 pounds of 
fresh fruits and 107,000,000 pounds of 
fresh vegetables. Apples and oranges were 
purchased in greater volume than were 
other fruits, followed in descending scale by 
pears, bananas, pineapples, and lemons. 
Potatoes alone accounted for more than 70 
percent of the total procurement of fresh 
vegetables. 71 

Evaluation of Local 
Subsistence Procurement 

The procurement of subsistence, both 
perishable and nonperishable, was of prime 
importance in the reverse lend-lease pro- 
gram. Of the estimated 3,617,000 measure- 
ment tons of supplies acquired for the U.S. 
Army from the beginning of 1942 to 30 June 
1945, food accounted for 1,704,389 tons, or 

09 ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col R. W. Hughes for Col Hugh 
B. Hester, SvC Base Sec 7, 16 Dec 43. ORB 
ABCOM P&C 432. (2) Ltr, CO SvC Base Sec 7 
to CO Base Sec 4, 15 Jan 44, sub: Proc of Perisha- 
bles. ORB ABCOM AG 400.12. (3) USASOS 
Memo 32, 10 Apr 44, Sec. II, sub: Mkt Cens. (4) 
Ltr, OIC USASOS Mkt Cen to U.S. Navy, 26 Jun 
44, sub: Proc of Perishable Subs for U.S. Navy. 
Both in ORB ABCOM P&C 434. 

70 Ltr, Brig Gen Hugh B. Hester to CG ABSEC, 
11 May 45, sub: Loss of Proc of Perishable Subs. 
ORB ABCOM GP&C 430.291. 

71 Proc Div USASOS, Proc in Australia, II, Mkt 
Cen Sec, pp. 4-8. 

more than 47 percent. Indeed more ship- 
ping space was saved in procurement of sub- 
sistence than in procurement of any other 
group of supplies, Quartermaster or non- 
Quartermaster. Monetarily, too, it was of 
the highest significance, for the value of the 
food bought was estimated at $217,432,301, 
or 28.5 percent of the total purchases of 
$759,369,137 for the U.S. Army. 72 

Australia provided the Southwest Pacific 
Area with the bulk of its subsistence, fur- 
nishing 90 percent or more of some items. 
Its provision of fresh foods was particularly 
significant, for almost no perishables were 
received from the United States. Had not 
Australia filled this gap in military supplies, 
American soldiers would have been forced 
to live out of cans much more than they did. 
The most serious deficiency was the absence 
of a wider range of canned and fresh pro- 
visions. In a few instances, moreover, the 
food provided fell below desirable standards 
as considerable adjustment had to be made 
between the specifications worked out for 
purchases in the United States and the ac- 
tualities of Australian productive conditions. 
Had more ocean tonnage been available, 
quartermasters probably would have pre- 
ferred to import some items from the zone of 
interior in order to obtain ration compo- 
nents familiar to American soldiers. But 
this fact did not mean that the reverse lend- 
lease program failed. On the contrary, it 
constituted the major Quartermaster asset 
in the Southwest Pacific. Without it the 
QMC could not have carried out its mis- 
sion of feeding the U.S. Army. However 
exasperating the recurrent shortages of in- 
dividual items were, these were minor mat- 
ters in comparison with the all-important 
fact that Australia furnished more than 
ample means of feeding troops well. The 

72 Hester Rpt, pp. 4-5. 



procurement of subsistence through the re- 
verse lend-lease program was indeed per- 
haps the most arresting example of suc- 
cessful Australian-American co-operation. 
While true that the United States was the 
major beneficiary of this joint action, 
Australia also derived several lasting ad- 
vantages. Within a few years it obtained new 
food-processing industries, a more highly 
mechanized agricultural system, and more 
modern farming methods. In the normal 
course of events a dozen years or more would 
probably have been necessary to bring these 
developments to the stage they had reached 
by V-J Day. 

Procurement of Clothing and General 
Supplies in Australia 

The procurement of clothing and general 
supplies, like that of subsistence, entailed a 
concerted Australian-American effort. As in 
the case of rations it necessitated a major 
transformation of some existing industries. 
In the 1920's and 1930's Australia had de- 
veloped a number of new industries, but 
their production seldom met even domestic 
requirements in full. Many essential Quar- 
termaster items were made only in small 
quantities, if at all. Australia manufactured, 
for example, less than 10 percent of its cot- 
ton goods requirements; hence the QMC 
had to import cotton clothing, the chief 
tropical garb of American troops, from the 
United States. The outbreak of war in Sep- 
tember 1939 had caused the enlargement of 
manufacturing activities, and at the time of 
Pearl Harbor Australia was supplying most 
of its purely military requirements. "It ap- 
peared as though no more production could 
be obtained from an already over-extended 
economy." 7! Nevertheless, during the next 

73 Proc Div USASOS, Proc in Australia, I, Sec 
on Gen Sups, p. 1. 

few years many industries were expanded to 
fill American needs. 

At the outset Quartermaster procurement 
of clothing and general supplies was under- 
taken in an atmosphere of confusion. One 
officer succinctly described this period in the 
following words : 

In February, March and April troops were 
pouring in, inventories were definitely incom- 
plete, planning was in its infancy and require- 
ments were somewhat confusing. Most troops 
were shipped expecting a tropical destina- 
tion. Troops were also being evacuated from 
Java, nurses were arriving from the United 
States, Bataan and elsewhere without any 
uniforms. The situation was serious and 
winter was coming on. 74 

Further complications were injected by the 
continued lack of technicians capable of 
handling the matter of most immediate sig- 
nificance, the procurement of clothing for 
troops who had come clad in cotton and 
found that they needed wool. In these early 
days the QMC lacked even specifications for 
many important items; the few on hand for 
clothing and footwear were useless as they 
were based on patterns and lasts which did 
not arrive from the United States for several 
months. 75 

Meanwhile the Australian Army tem- 
porarily provided American troops with 
soap, toilet paper, chlorinated lime, kero- 
sene, and a few other daily necessities, but 
the Corps rejected proposals looking to Aus- 
tralian procurement and distribution of 
most general supplies on the grounds that 
this solution would make it difficult to main- 
tain American standards. From distress car- 
goes the Corps obtained typewriters, 
stationery, chinaware, glassware, cloth, 
canvas, shovels, electric fans, and hand 

74 Lecture, Lt E. W. Browne, 9 Dec 43, sub: Clo 
Proc. ORB Base A QM 400.291. 

75 (1) Ibid., p. 2. (2) Conf, Base Sec QM's, 7-8 
Mar 43, p. 7. ORB AFWESPAC QM 337. 


tools, but this means of relief soon dried up. 
General supplies, obviously, had to come 
from the industrial plants of Sydney and 
Melbourne and from the United States. 76 

Late in March the OCQM Purchasing 
and Contracting Officer presented his first 
contract demand, one for nurses' clothing, 
to the Australian Government. Among other 
items needed at that time were 480,000 
pairs of shoes, 740,000 pairs of woolen 
socks, 760,000 woolen garments, and 200,- 
000 mess kits. Only the opportune arrival 
in April of a set of Munson lasts made pos- 
sible the submission of a contract demand 
for shoes. Since few other lasts or patterns 
were available, the Purchasing and Con- 
tracting Officer relied upon Australian 
Army technicians to develop specifications 
for clothing similar in design and color to 
that provided for troops in the United 
States. Data required to make the thirty-five 
sizes of shirts and the various sizes of trous- 
ers, jackets, and overcoats had to be recon- 
structed from memory, for precise figures 
were not available and stock items were not 
manufactured with enough uniformity to 
furnish exact information. 77 

As the year progressed, this basic infor- 
mation finally arrived from the United 
States. In many instances, however, Ameri- 
can specifications were modified to fit the 
distinctive characteristics of local industry 
and the available materials; in a few in- 
stances manufacturing methods were al- 
tered. The rapid progress made in the pro- 
curement of Class II and IV supplies is in- 
dicated by the fact that the end of 1942 saw 

10 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for AcofS USAFIA, 25 Mar 
42, sub: Refugee Cargo. OQMG SWPA 319.1. 
(2) Memo, GPA for CofS USAFIA, 7 Jul 42, sub: 
Distress Cargo. ORB AFWESPAC Distress Cargo. 
( 1 ) Pp. 2-3 of Browne Lecture, cited n. 74. 
(2) Memo, CQM for Col Herbert A. Gardner, 18 
Apr 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 421. 


purchase of over 2,000 items, from pins to 
tractors. 78 

Yet there were still annoying problems, 
of which shoe production was perhaps the 
most pressing. The shoe industry had ample 
manufacturing capacity, but its footwear 
came in full sizes only and in but two widths, 
whereas American shoes were manufactured 
in half sizes and multiple widths. In order 
to turn out American types the whole in- 
dustry had to be re-equipped and reor- 
ganized. This feat was eventually accom- 
plished with technical help from the 
General Supplies Branch of the OCQM 
Supply Division and with extensive impor- 
tation of American machinery. 79 Another 
problem was the relatively low price level 
at first set for shoes by the Australian Con- 
tracts Board. Manufacturers considered the 
prices too low to compensate adequately for 
the heavier cost of producing American 
footwear; some even claimed that they were 
asked to operate at a loss. Not until prices 
satisfactory to the industry were finally es- 
tablished was full production attained. 80 

In addition to standard service shoes Aus- 
tralian plants provided hobnailed shoes and 
a special type distinguished by a rubber 
clump sole with a tread similar to that of 
an automobile tire. Production of Army 
footwear continued until late 1944, when 
large shipments of newly developed combat 
shoes arrived from the United States and 
made possible the release of the plants to 
the U.S. Navy. At that time about 60,000 
pairs of shoes a month were being turned 
out for Army use. In the previous two and a 
half years approximately 1,500,000 pairs of 

78 Hist Rpt of GPA, 11 Mar-14 Oct 42, pp. 25- 
44. OQMG SWPA 400.13. 

70 Proc in Australia, Sec on Gen Sups, pp. 17-19, 

80 QM SWPA Hist, II, 111. 



shoes had been produced, enough to fill a 
substantial part of military needs. 81 

The procurement of socks supplied 
another example of successful local procure- 
ment. Despite the fact that the Australian 
spinning capacity was limited, the mills pro- 
duced a total of nearly 8,000,000 pairs of 
standard lightweight Army socks. At its 
peak in 1944 production ran at the rate of 
350,000 pairs a month. This satisfactory 
figure was not attained without considerable 
reorganization of the hosiery industry, 
which had no previous experience in turn- 
ing out a light wool sock that differed 
markedly from the Australian Army heavy- 
ribbed type designed to fill an oversized 
shoe. At first each manufacturer had differ- 
ent shaping, sizing, and pressing boards. 
This lack of standardization caused socks 
nominally of the same size to vary somewhat 
as to fit and obliged the General Supplies 
Branch to prescribe standard sizing boards. 
Persistent shortages also affected hosiery 
operations unfavorably, the scarcity of good 
dyes forcing mills to produce socks in natu- 
ral colors of the yarn while the scarcity of 
chemicals to prevent shrinkage often kept 
hose from giving satisfactory service. 82 

When the procurement of woolen gar- 
ments began, there was — paradoxically, in 
the world's chief wool-exporting country — a 
bottleneck in the supply of wool. This ex- 
traordinary situation originated in the fact 
that the United Kingdom throughout the 
war took the entire wool clip except for the 
amount needed to produce cloth in Aus- 
tralia itself. Since estimates of Australian 

M (1) Ltr, 162d Inf to I Corps, 5 Feb 43, sub: 
Svc Shoes, Australian Manufacture. (2) Ltr, I 
Corps to USASOS, 25 Apr 43, sub: Rubber Clump 
Soles. (3) Ltr. I Corps to Hq SWPA. All in ORB 
I Corps AG 421. (4) Hester Rpt, p. 18. 

"USAFFE Bd Tent Rpt 97, May 45. OQMG 
SWPA 333.1. 

requirements were deliberately kept as low 
as possible, wool cloth had became so scarce 
by early 1943 that manufacturers, after sup- 
plying the Australian services, had hardly 
enough material to make one suit a year for 
each male civilian. Severe restrictions on 
public buying, however, enabled the U.S. 
Army to obtain 420,000 pairs of trousers for 
enlisted men. This was not a large total, but 
it reflected not so much an unavailability of 
cloth for more trousers as the Southwest 
Pacific Area restriction which confined the 
wearing of woolen uniforms to the winter 
season in Australia. Before production be- 
gan, a special cloth was developed to dif- 
ferentiate U.S. from other Allied soldiers, 
and tailors were taught to cut trousers in 
the American manner — not an easy task, for 
mass production of clothes was virtually un- 
known in Australia, where men usually wore 
custom-made suits. The task was, in fact, 
so hard that the fit of locally tailored trou- 
sers seldom complied with Army standards. 
In mid- 1943, therefore, contract demands 
were canceled and never renewed. 83 

Slightly more than 1,100,000 wool 
knitted shirts, a type new to Australia, were 
produced for U.S. Army use. Considered 
excellent for the tropics because they en- 
abled air to penetrate the garment, they 
were made along the lines of an ordinary 
cotton khaki shirt. But neither shirt nor 
outer knitwear firms could at first make the 
wool shirt to the satisfaction of American 
troops. Shirt manufacturers could not han- 
dle a knitted fabric properly as their opera- 
tives had no training in feeding a knitted 
fabric through an ordinary sewing machine, 
and knitwear firms, unused to making shirts, 
could not produce a well-fitting article. The 
problem was finally solved by the develop- 
ment of a new sort of knitted garment, 

QM SWPA Hist, III, pp. 103-04. 



which could be worn either inside the trou- 
sers as a shirt or outside as a sweater and 
which could be made with comparatively 
little trouble. 84 

Blanket production involved only minor 
difficulties, and more than 1,000,000 were 
procured at a cost of only about $2.50 each, 
a price much below that in the United 
States. Longer and narrower than Ameri- 
can-made blankets, they nonetheless were 
well liked. 85 

Both the shortages of materials needed to 
comply with U.S. specifications and the 
special requirements of American forces in 
the Southwest Pacific led to the introduc- 
tion of several new items. One of these was 
a semi-British battle jacket developed as a 
substitute for the American field jacket. 
Some 270,000 of the new type were pro- 
duced. A mess kit, using malleable steel 
hot-dipped with tin in place of aluminum, 
a very scarce metal in Australia, was also 
made. 8 '' 

Besides the general supply items discussed 
above, many others were acquired in sizable 
quantities. Soap, production of which rose 
400 percent during the war, was provided 
to the extent of 15,000,000 pounds. More 
than 33,000,000 feet of rope were also fur- 
nished. The production of so large a quan- 
tity demanded the complete reorganization 
of the cordage industry, which was suddenly 
called upon to increase its output several 
fold. Other products supplied in consider- 
able quantities were: 7,000,000 pairs of 
leather gloves; 6,000,000 tins of canned 
heat; 3,200,000 pounds of candles; 2,000,- 
000 knives, forks, and spoons; 1,100,000 

*' (1) Ltr, Col Herbert A. Gardner to Col 
Cordiner, 7 May 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 421. 
(2) Ltr, USASOS to Base Sees 2 and 3, 25 Jun 43, 
sub: Woolen Clo. ORB AFWESPAC QM 420. 

85 USAFFE Bd Tent Rpt 97, May 45. 

M QM SWPA Hist, III, 96. 

brooms and brushes; 6,500,000 feet of steel 
strapping; and several hundred million 
printed forms. In addition to furnishing 
the U.S. armed services with these general 
supplies, the Commonwealth provided laun- 
dry and dry cleaning services to American 
troops stationed in Australia. 87 This pro- 
curement was not accomplished without 
frequent delays, stemming from the unde- 
veloped state of Australian industries, nor 
without accentuating the already serious 
shortage of manpower. It involved, too, 
the shipment from the West Coast of mate- 
rials, component parts, and machines and so 
diminished the saving of cargo space that 
was the justification of local procurement. 
Despite these drawbacks general supplies 
were obtained from Australia in fairly large 
volume until the close of 1944. At that time 
the availability of these items in greater 
quantities from the United States, the con- 
tinued shortage of interisland shipping, and, 
most of all, the lengthening distance between 
the northward-moving U.S. forces and Aus- 
tralia, caused Headquarters, USASOS, to 
forbid the procurement of items that re- 
quired additional demands on Australian 
manpower, importation of unfinished ma- 
terials, parts, or processing machinery, or 
construction of new plants. 88 The new limi- 
tations had little effect on the procurement 
of food, daily becoming scarcer in the 
United States. But at the end of 1944 con- 
tract demands for general supplies were 
canceled if manufacturing delays had re- 
peatedly occurred. In the following June 
remaining orders for general supplies were 
nullified except those for burial boxes, a few 
constantly used housekeeping materials, and 
the printing, laundry, dry cleaning, and 

87 Proc Div USASOS, Proc in Australia, Sec on 
Gen Sups, pp. 39-40, 43-44, 45-47. 

* 8 USASOS Memo 100, 16 Oct 44, sub: Proc of 
Sups and Equip. 



clothing repair needs of American troops in 
Australia itself. 89 

The statistics of reverse lend-lease pro- 
curement in Australia demonstrate the im- 
portance of Quartermaster general supplies 
in this program. By 30 June 1945 nearly 
392,000 measurement tons of these items 
had been obtained. While this was only 23 
percent of the subsistence tonnage, it ex- 
ceeded the tonnage of all supplies acquired 
by either the Ordnance Department or the 
Transportation Corps and was more than 
seven times the combined tonnage of Signal, 
Chemical Warfare, Medical, and Special 
Services items. Quartermaster general sup- 
plies, moreover, were worth $154,774,635, 
or about 20 percent of the value placed on 
all locally procured Army supplies. 90 

Had the QMC been obliged to obtain 
all its general supplies from the zone of in- 
terior, it could scarcely have clothed and 
supplied the American forces in the South- 
west Pacific as well as it did. The frequently 
low priorities assigned to the movement of 
these items — at times even to footwear and 
clothing — would in all probability have held 
area stocks at levels somewhat below those 
actually established through local procure- 
ment supplemented by importations from 
the United States. A few items obtained in 
Australia, it is true, were inferior in quality 
to those brought in from the United States. 
Others were objectionable simply because 
they departed slightly from familiar U.S. 
models. Most articles were at least equal to 
the corresponding American products. But 
whatever their quality, they provided U.S. 
forces with essential wares. Without them, it 
should be emphasized again, American 
troops would not have been as well supplied 
as they actually were. 

w (l) USASOS Memo 116, 6 Dec 44, sub: Proc 
of Sups. (2) QM SWPA Hist, VI, 35-40. 
00 Hester Rpt, p. 3. 

Procurement in New Zealand 

Procurement of agricultural and indus- 
trial products in New Zealand was carried 
out under conditions not unlike those in Aus- 
tralia, but with one conspicuous difference : 
New Zealand had fewer surpluses after civil- 
ian requirements were met, particularly in 
its clothing, equipment, and general sup- 
plies industries, than did its neighbor. Even 
more than in Australia, reverse lend-lease 
procurement was primarily concerned with 
subsistence although some essential foods, 
such as sugar, flour, and fruits, were not 
produced on as large a scale as in the South- 
west Pacific. 91 

From the beginning of 1943 the Joint 
Purchasing Board, as the body charged with 
the procurement of all supplies bought in 
New Zealand for U.S. forces, obtained 
Quartermaster items in considerable quan- 
tities. 92 The conditions surrounding procure- 
ment activities were not quite as favorable 
as in Australia. New Zealanders never felt 
as much menaced by the Japanese as Aus- 
tralians did in mid- 1942, and purely domes- 
tic considerations therefore played a more 
prominent part in determining their atti- 
tude toward reverse lend-lease operations. 
Conscious that the further wartime eco- 
nomic dislocations went the harder would 
be the return to the pattern upon which 
peacetime prosperity had rested, they were 
reluctant to cut the traditionally large ex- 
ports to Great Britain, for that commerce 
guaranteed an outlet for New Zealand 
cheese, butter, meats, hides, and wool. The 
determination to keep this market unim- 
paired was so strong that no major decision 
affecting these exports was taken without 

" l Notes on Conf of USA Sup Mission with Con- 
trollers of Food et al., 12 May 42. ORB USAFINC 
AG 319.1. 

'' 2 Ltr, CG SOS SPA to TQMG, 6 Aug 43, sub: 
Svs of Sup in SPA. OQMG POA 319.25. 



British advice. The New Zealand Govern- 
ment also feared that a substantial increase 
of local food production might glut the post- 
war market and cause a disastrous slump in 
prices of exportable commodities. 93 

All these considerations were partly re- 
sponsible for the almost constant insistence 
that no locally procured supplies were to be 
used outside the South Pacific Area and for 
failure to carry out the food program quite 
as aggressively as the Australians did. The 
program fell especially behind in canned 
and dehydrated vegetables and fruits. 94 
Canned meats, on the other hand, were pro- 
cured in fairly large volume, around 37,- 
000,000 pounds having been acquired in 
1943. Efforts to introduce American types 
achieved less success than in the South- 
west Pacific. The comparatively small 
production of canned and dehydrated vege- 
tables made a more abundant supply of 
fresh vegetables doubly necessary, and long- 
term contracts were entered into early in 
the war for the purchase of all surplus fresh 
vegetables. After a season or two farmers 
discovered that they received proportion- 
ately more for their efforts if they grew cab- 
bages. The acreage sown in cabbages mul- 
tiplied and their flow to South Pacific troops 
increased to so great an extent that eventu- 
ally substantial quantities were dumped at 
sea because troops would no longer eat cab- 
bages and these vegetables could not be 
stored satisfactorily in unrefrigerated ware- 
houses. Though vegetable acreage eventu- 

93 ( 1 ) Ltr, JPB to COMSOPAC, 21 Aug 43, sub: 
Food from N.Z. during 1944. ORB USAFING AG 
430. (2) Personal Ltr, A. H. Honeyfield, Manager, 
Internal Marketing Division, New Zealand Govern- 
ment, to Dr. Lawrence V. Burton, 30 Jun 44, sub: 
Vegetable Sups. ORB ABCOM P&C 432. 

w Ltr, Maj Maynard A. Joslyn to CG Base Sec 7, 
26 Feb 45, sub: Food Proc in N.Z. ORB ABCOM 
P&C 400.12. 

ally increased by about 42 percent above 
that of 1941, U.S. forces obtained no more 
than 60 percent of their potato requirements 
and lesser amounts of other vegetables. To 
the very end, therefore, the supply of these 
perishables remained inadequate in the 
South Pacific. 95 Among other perishables 
butter, cheese, and fresh meats were pro- 
cured even in 1942, when few other food- 
stuffs were yet available. In the following 
year 95,000,000 pounds of fresh meats, con- 
stituting 30 percent of all local purchases, 
and 47,000,000 pounds of dairy products 
were obtained. These purchases, heavy 
though they were, still did not suffice to fill 
demands. 96 

Of all the food received by American 
troops in the South Pacific in 1944 about 
36 percent came from New Zealand. 97 As 
the distance between that country and the 
operational centers lengthened toward the 
close of the latter year, less and less cargo 
space was saved by local procurement, and 
the Joint Purchasing Board ceased to ship 
all the flour, sugar, and canned goods it 
bought. By the beginning of 1945 these 
products filled its warehouses, and the 
board made heavy cuts in its purchases of 
all nonperishables. But it continued to ob- 
tain fresh foods. 98 Visiting Auckland in Feb- 
ruary, Quartermaster General Gregory 
found that about 60,000 tons of nonperish- 
ables as well as some fresh meat were then 
stored there. He urged that these stocks be 
forwarded to New Guinea and the Philip- 
pines or else sent to the United States. 
Either method of shipment, he pointed out, 

05 Hester Rpt, p. 8. 

w Ltr, JPB to CG SOS SPA, 9 May 44. ORB 

" 7 Hist of USAFISPA, pp. 388 89. 

08 (1) Rpt, n. s., 5 Jan 45, sub: Redeployment 
in N. Z. ORB USAFINC AG 319.1. (2) Personal 
Ltr, Gen Gregory to Maj Gen Carl A. Hardigg, 4 
Feb 45. DRB AGO ASF File 2A. 



would relieve the shortage of fresh meat and 
canned vegetables that had developed in 
the United States because of heavy ship- 
ments to American troops overseas and to 
civilians in liberated territories." 

When Headquarters, ASF, transmitted 
these observations to the Assistant Chief of 
Transportation, that officer approved them 
because of the saving of shipping that would 
be accomplished. 10 " But in practice it proved 
difficult to carry out the recommendations 
in their entirety since equitable allocation 
of vessels between the active western Pa- 
cific and the inactive South Pacific was im- 
possible, and the New Zealand Government 
was reluctant to sanction large shipments 
to points outside the South Pacific Area. In 
spite of a few substantial movements to ac- 
tive operational centers in mid- 1945, much 
food remained in Auckland storage when 
hostilities ended. 101 

In spite of the fact that the full utilization 
of New Zealand resources was impossible 
after the closing months of 1944, supply 
movements from that country in 1943 and 
most of 1944 prevented the shortage of bot- 
toms from becoming worse. During the 
whole war the Joint Purchasing Board 
obtained food amounting to approximately 
600,000 measurement tons, or slightly more 
than a third of that obtained by USASOS. 
In monetary terms subsistence accounted 
for about 55 percent of the total American 

09 ( 1 ) Memo, ASF Hq for CofT, 22 Feb 45, sub: 
Cargoes for Returning Ships. DRB AGO ASF File 
2 A. (2) Memo, TQMG for CG ASF, 14 Mar 45, 
sub: Tour of POA. OQMG POA 319.25. 

100 Memo, Asst CofT for CofT, 23 Feb 45, sub: 
Cargoes for Returning Ships. DRB AGO ASF File 

101 ( 1 ) Memo, Dir of Plans and Opns ASF for 
TQMG, 3 Mar 45, sub: Proc of Subs in N. Z. 
OQMG POA 430. (2) Rpt, J. B. Harper, 13 May 
45, sub: Activities of OCQM USASOS, Apr 45. 
DRB AGO Opns Rpts. 

procurement. 102 Practically all the fresh 
meats and vegetables consumed in the South 
Pacific came from New Zealand, even 
though that country furnished less than half 
of all the subsistence consumed in that com- 
mand. 103 

Local Procurement 
Outside Australia and New Zealand 

Nowhere else in the Pacific could Quar- 
termaster supplies be procured in as wide 
a range as in Australia and New Zealand. 
The few items obtained locally outside these 
countries consisted almost entirely of food- 
stuffs. Only on Oahu was such procurement 
of any real significance; here sufficient fresh 
and canned pineapples, pineapple juice, 
granulated sugar, cane syrup, and other 
sugar products were obtained to fill mid- 
Pacific needs for these goods. When the lo- 
cal supply of meats and vegetables in Hawaii 
exceeded civilian requirements, as it did at 
certain seasons, those items were also ac- 
quired but never in quantities ample enough 
to form more than a small part of area re- 
quirements. More important was the pro- 
curement of coffee, which sufficed to supply 
the forces in the Hawaiian group. 104 

The abundant sugar resources of Hawaii 
led the QMC to encourage the local pro- 
duction of candy bars for sale in post ex- 
changes. Such an enterprise was a new ven- 
ture for the islands, but with help from 
American specialists it was successfully 
launched, and the Territory became the sole 
source of these confections in the mid-Pa- 
cific. It held this position until just before 

102 FEA, Bureau of Areas, Reverse Lend-Lease 
Bull 9, 1 Aug 45. 

103 Hq USAFPOA, G-4 Pers Rpt, 1 Jan-31 Mar 
45, pp. 10-11. 

104 Ltr QM to CG CPBC, 24 Jul 45, sub: Rqmts 
Ping Data. OQMG POA 319.25. 


V-J Day, when easier shipping conditions 
made possible the movement of candy from 
the West Coast. Since troops preferred the 
mainland product, local procurement was 
materially reduced until stabilized at 864,- 
000 nickel bars a month. 105 

In the South Pacific Area, New Cale- 
donia was the chief source of subsistence 
outside New Zealand. With only 60,000 in- 
habitants, most of whom were engaged in 
nickel mining, it normally had little surplus 
food. Coffee was abundant, however, and 
quartermasters set up a coffee-roasting plant 
that at times furnished as much as 75 per- 
cent of the daily issue. Since farmers had 
no modern means of cultivation, arrange- 
ments were made whereby the Foreign Eco- 
nomic Administration (FEA), the Ameri- 
can civilian agency responsible for the 
procurement of supplies from foreign 
sources, provided technical advice, seeds, 
fertilizers, and insecticides and maintained 
pools of tractors, plows, and seeders. In re- 
turn for these services approved farmers of- 
fered their surplus produce for sale to Quar- 
termaster collection points. 106 

The Fijis were the third most important 
source of supply in the South Pacific, pro- 
viding up to 30 June 1 945 about $6,382,000 
worth of food under reverse lend-lease agree- 
ments. 107 Procurement in other island groups 
was unimportant. In a few instances tropical 
products were obtained by barter with the 
local populations. Tobacco, pipes, twine, 
fishing equipment, pocket knives, soap, 

105 Ibid. 

,0 " ( 1 ) Ltr, I Island Comd to BEW, 4 Jul 43, 
sub: Vegetable Growing. ORB USAFINC AG 432' 
(2) Ltr, SOS SPA to SvC Noumea, 23 Jul 43, 
sub: Proc of Coffee. ORB USAFINC AG 435. (3)' 
Rpt, n. s., Dec 43 (?), sub: Vegetable Growing in 
New Caledonia. ORB USAFINC AG 432. 

107 G-4 Sec, SPBC, XII Bimonthly Lend-Lease 
Rpt, 1 Jul-31 Aug 45, Sec. III. ORB USAFINC 
AG 319.1. 


combs, mirrors, perfume, and bright-colored 
calicoes were exchanged for bananas, pine- 
apples, coconuts, lemons, and limes. The 
limited resources of the islanders, however, 
left them little to spare after satisfying their 
own wants, and barter never attained much 
signifiance as a means of procurement. 108 

The recovery of the Philippines in 1944 
and 1 945 once more gave the United States 
possession of territory that in peacetime had 
helped supply the American forces stationed 
there. But the Philippines of the war's clos- 
ing months were islands devastated by the 
contending armies. They were unable to pro- 
vide for themselves adequately, let alone 
give the United States much economic as- 
sistance. During the reconquest factories, 
mills, warehouses, ports, even crops, suffered 
immense damage from bombing, shellfire, 
looting, and willful destruction by with- 
drawing Japanese. To restore production, 
seeds and agricultural plants as well as in- 
dustrial equipment had to be imported, and 
mills and warehouses repaired and in some 
cases rebuilt. 109 

In spite of these hindrances to the quick 
acquisition of supplies, General MacAr- 
thur's headquarters in October 1944 au- 
thorized a procurement organization in the 
Philippines modeled on that in Australia. 
The General Purchasing Board operated 
pretty much as did the corresponding board 
in Brisbane and Sydney while the Philip- 
pine Commonwealth performed functions 
similar to those carried out by the Australian 
Government. The immediate task of the 
new organization was the purchase of com- 
modities, not so much for American soldiers 
as for destitute civilians and Filipino em- 

108 ( 1 ) Ltr, QM USASOS to CQM USAFFE, 25 
Mar 43, sub: Foraging Parties. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 403.3. (2) QM USASOS Tech Memo 44, Jul 
43, sub: Bartering in Pac Islands. 

109 Hist of Ping Div ASF, V, 73-104. 



ployees of the Army. Procurement of Quar- 
termaster supplies was rendered doubly dif- 
ficult by the stipulation that buying should 
not cause hardship to the Philippine people, 
a requirement that automatically precluded 
the purchase of such scarce items as beef, 
pork, fish, chickens, eggs, and dairy prod- 
ucts. Another hampering stipulation was 
the requirement that the Commonwealth 
schedule of permissible maximum prices be 
strictly adhered to. This policy effectively 
barred procurement of sugar, fruits, and 
vegetables, for these commodities were han- 
dled almost exclusively on the flourishing 
black market where they commanded exor- 
bitant prices far exceeding those officially 
allowed. Yet enough food and cigarettes 
were obtained to supply the wants of Fili- 
pino guerrillas and civilian employees of 
the United States. 110 

By July 1945 economic conditions had 
begun to improve, and it became possible 
to buy a few supplies for American troops. 
Two large breweries, whose equipment and 
raw materials were provided by the QMC, 
furnished beer to post exchanges, while re- 
cently repaired Manila plants supplied soap 
and those traditional Philippine products, 
rope and cordage. At this time the Pro- 
curement Division, operating in the Philip- 
pine Base Section, reported that it had ob- 
tained avocados, papayas, camotes, and 
pineapples but that black market prices in 
general still prevented the acquisition of 
enough fresh vegetables to feed even the 
relatively few hospital patients. It was also 
able to buy some sweet corn, which was 
grown in scattered districts of the central 

110 (1) Ltr, Hq SWPA to USAFFE, 28 Oct 44, 
sub: Proc in SWPA. ORB AFPAC GPA. (2) GPB 
Regulations 25-6, 10 Nov 44, sub: Proc in P. I. 
ORB ABCOM AG 400.12. (3) Rpt, J. B. Harper. 
8 Aug 45, sub: OCQM Activities, Jul 45, pp. 5-10! 
DRB AGO Opns Rpts. 

islands. Unfortunately, only a few ounces 
could be procured for each American 
soldier. 111 

Army Farms 

In addition to obtaining supplies in the 
commercial centers of the Pacific areas, the 
QMC attempted to increase the amount of 
local procurement by fostering wherever 
practicable the operation of Army vegetable 
farms. These projects would, it was hoped, 
furnish fresh provisions for local, particu- 
larly hospital, consumption. In the Central 
Pacific the coral soil did not lend itself to 
agricultural production, but below the 
equator more propitious conditions permit- 
ted the establishment of farms at some of 
the island bases. Smaller tracts, dubbed 
"gardens," were occasionally cultivated by 
Army units. 

A host of troubles plagued both base and 
unit enterprises. Limited in size, most of 
them produced hardly enough vegetables to 
supply nearby hospitals. 112 In some areas sat- 
isfactory cultivation hinged upon irrigation, 
yet few of the smaller islands had a depend- 
able water supply. The absence of approved 
tables of organization and equipment for 
agricultural projects further hampered cul- 
tivation by making it difficult to obtain agri- 
cultural machines and insecticides and by 
necessitating the employment of islanders 
having no knowledge of vegetable cultiva- 
tion. Even managers of farms often lacked 
complete information about the production 

1,1 (1) Rpt, J. B. Harper, 13 May 45, sub: 
OCQM Activities, Mar 45. ORB AFPAC GPA. 
(2) Ibid., 8 Aug 45, sub: OCQM Activities, Jul 
45. ORB AFPAC GPA. (3) Ltr, Proc Div to CG 
Phil Base Sec, 10 Aug 45, sub: Proc of Fresh Fruits 
and Vegetables. ORB Phil Base Sec AG 430. 

112 Ltr, Agricultural Off to CO Base D, 4 Aug 45, 
sub: Production Plans for New Guinea. ORB 



of temperate-zone vegetables in the tropics; 
some of them did not even know what varie- 
ties of seed were best adapted to tropical 
environments. 113 Inexperienced natives pre- 
pared the soil poorly and planted seeds be- 
fore the land was thoroughly weeded. Fre- 
quently, they could not operate the few 
available farm machines and knew so little 
about keeping records of vegetable produc- 
tion that these necessary guides to future 
plans were usually lacking. 114 

The South Pacific Area manifested more 
interest in agricultural projects than did 
either of the other areas. 115 The Quartermas- 
ter farm on Guadalcanal, the largest project 
of its kind in the South Pacific, typified many 
aspects of Army agriculture. The first plant- 
ings, begun on a small scale early in 1943, 
were designed to determine what fruits and 
vegetables grew best on the island. In Feb- 
ruary 1944, owing to the rapid rise in troop 
strength in the Solomons, the project was 
put on a mass-production basis. By Septem- 
ber, 3 officers and about 75 enlisted men and 
250 local laborers were cultivating 1,800 
acres, approximately half the total area 
then tilled by the armed forces in the entire 
South Pacific. The next six months consti- 
tuted the period of maximum production. 
Since a high yield in a short span of time was 
the main objective, no effort was made to 

11:1 Rpt, 1st Lt Joseph F. Kusek, 9 Sep 43, sub: 
Agricultural Survey. ORB AFWESPAC QM 403. 

1,4 ( 1) 1st Lt Curtis H. Dearborn, History of 
Quartermaster Farm, San Miguel, Tarlac, P. I., 20 
Apr 46. (2) Ltr, SvC Espiritu Santo to SOS SPA, 
18 Nov 43, sub: Vegetable Project. ORB USA- 
FINC 430. (3) Ltr, QM for Base Svc Comdr Base 
D, 9 Dec 43, sub: Native Labor. ORB Base D 
291.2. (4) Ltr, QM INTERSEC for CQM USA- 
SOS, 14 Dec 43, sub: Farming at Base D. ORB 

nr ' ( 1 ) Ltr, CNO to BEW, 12 Sep 42. ORB USA- 
FINC AG 334. (2) Ltr, JPB to COMSOPAC, 12 
Jan 43, sub: Exploitation of SPA Bases. DRB AGO 
Drawer 374 (A46-305). 

preserve the fertility of the soil. Crops were 
planted in rapid succession. In a single year 
as many as four were raised. This excessive 
utilization of the land, unaccompanied by 
protective measures, caused rapid erosion 
and leaching, and by early 1945 the yield 
per acre had dwindled to about half that of 
two years before. In spite of shrinking pro- 
ductivity and the loss of some crops by 
floods, 1 1 ,000,000 pounds of fresh fruits and 
vegetables were raised between 1 May 1944 
and 30 September 1945. 116 Included among 
the produce were cucumbers, corn, egg- 
plants, watermelons, cantaloupes, peppers, 
radishes, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, okra, 
and onions. 117 Hospitals had first priority on 
the production of the farm ; troops on Guad- 
alcanal, second; and those in the northern 
Solomons, third. 

As the number of troops throughout the 
Solomons area declined steadily after Feb- 
ruary 1945, the number of acres under cul- 
tivation on Guadalcanal correspondingly 
fell. By June it had shrunk to about 425. 
Other South Pacific farms located on Es- 
piritu Santo, Efate, Bougainville, New 
Georgia, and New Caledonia at their peak 
cultivated all together between 1,000 and 
1,200 acres. Unit gardens added still an- 
other 400 or 500 acres. 118 

Before the recovery of the Philippines the 
Southwest Pacific Area conducted only a 
1 10-acre farm at Port Moresby and small, 
ephemeral projects at Dobodura, Oro Bay, 
and other places in New Guinea. At the 

m (l) Hester Rpt, pp. 14-16. (2) Hq USAF 
Guadalcanal, Final Close-Out Rpt, pp. 16-17. 

117 Hq USAF Guadalcanal, Final Close-out Re- 
port, Exhibit 11. This exhibit lists the specific vari- 
eties of seeds used on the Guadalcanal farm and in- 
dicates the suitability of each type for use under 
climatic conditions similar to those on the island. 

118 ( 1 ) G-4 Periodic Rpt, 4 Nov 44, p. 7. ORB 
Espiritu Santo AG 319.1. (2) Hist of SOS SPA, 
1 Apr-30 Jun 44, pp. 25-26. 


QUARTERMASTER FARMS on Guadalcanal (above) and Espintu Santo (below) were 
among many such projects in the South Pacific furnishing fresh vegetables for the Army. 



height of its productivity in September and 
October 1944 the Port Moresby enterprise 
harvested in each month more than 1 00,000 
pounds of vegetables, mostly of the varieties 
grown on Guadalcanal. During this period 
lettuce was grown in amounts that permit- 
ted the issuance of one pound a week to each 
man at the base. With the shift of opera- 
tions to the Philippines the Port Moresby 
farm was abandoned, and most of its equip- 
ment transferred to the new and larger 
project at San Miguel in Luzon. 119 

Started in April 1945 and continued alter 
V-J Day, the San Miguel farm occupied 
part of a large sugar plantation. According 
to its historian the project was the first large- 
scale venture in vegetable production "ever 
carried out to any degree of success" on 
Luzon. 12 ' 1 Owing to the general absence of 
knowledge among Filipinos about the pro- 
duction of such vegetables, the farm was 
pretty much an experiment. From the out- 
set it was hampered by heavy labor turnover 
and by slow delivery of equipment, seeds, 
fertilizers, and insecticides. But its worst 
handicaps were partial depletion of the soil 
from a century of intensive sugar and rice 
culture and lack of water for irrigating more 
than 500 acres, a deficiency that made im- 
possible the realization of the original plan 
for a 2,000-acre farm. Only those vegetables 
were planted which deteriorated rapidly 
during shipment from the United States or 
which lost quality and palatability when 
canned. In the year ending on 31 March 
1946 a total of 1,414,000 pounds of prod- 
uce was gathered. Cultivation had just 
then reached a peak, 725,000 pounds hav- 

119 Personal Ltr, 1st Lt Michael H. Reagan to Col 
Charles A. Ritchie, 12 Sep 44. ORB Base D QM 

120 Dearborn, QM Farm, San Miguel, p. 16. 

ing been harvested in the previous four 
weeks. 121 

The reasonably satisfactory results 
achieved by the San Miguel venture dem- 
onstrated that even under relatively unfa- 
vorable conditions vegetable farming in the 
tropics could be moderately productive. 
The comparative success of this project, like 
that on Guadalcanal, was attributable to 
expert supervision, use of a sizable tract of 
land, and the employment of a large body 
of civilian laborers. Had similar conditions 
prevailed generally on military farms, they 
might have become significant sources of 
fresh food. Actually, they never attained 
more than local importance because they 
were hastily embarked upon in answer to 
temporary exigencies rather than in re- 
sponse to plans carefully prepared in ad- 
vance. What was probably needed most of 
all was area-wide programs, but the highest 
Quartermaster levels had few or no quali- 
fied officers who could be spared from more 
immediately pressing matters to formulate 
and supervise such programs. Agricultural 
projects thus became largely hit-and-miss 
affairs of individual bases and units and 
seldom produced worthwhile results. 

Despite the comparative unproductive- 
ness of its bartering activities, military 
farms, and other minor features, the Quar- 
termaster procurement program emerged 
as a conspicuous success that contributed 
materially to effective support of combat 
forces. The supply of perishable foods was 
its most significant accomplishment, a fact 
that ought not to be obscured by the fre- 
quent lack of refrigeration for these items. 
Troops below the equator would indeed 
have had scarcely any fresh provisions had 
not Australia and New Zealand furnished 

Ibid., Apps. 4-5. 



them to the limit permitted by their agricul- 
tural capacity and internal necessities. By 
wise abandonment of traditional methods of 
buying perishables and by bold substitution 
of the market center system in the midst of 
war, the QMC in the Southwest Pacific 
contributed heavily to satisfactory procure- 
ment operations. 

Though home sources provided the bulk 
of Quartermaster items issued in the Pacific, 
this circumstance should not detract from 
the major importance of local sources. At 
times in 1942 and 1943 they actually fur- 

nished more Quartermaster supplies in parts 
of that theater than did the United States. 
During the entire war local sources provided 
nearly 30 percent of Quartermaster items in 
the Southwest Pacific. 122 A procurement sys- 
tem that achieved so remarkable a result 
despite all the difficulties inseparable from 
dealing with suppliers unfamiliar with 
American requirements and ill equipped to 
meet vastly increased demands cannot but 
be considered of outstanding merit. 

122 ( 1 ) Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, App. 
21. (2) Hester Rpt, p. 3. 


Supply From the United States 

Despite the fact that the South Pacific 
and the Southwest Pacific Areas continued 
throughout the war to obtain as many 
Quartermaster supplies from local sources as 
military specifications and the number and 
distribution of troops permitted, both com- 
mands as time went by were obliged to ob- 
tain more and more supplies from the 
United States. In the South Pacific at the 
end of 1942 it was calculated that during 
the coming year New Zealand would fur- 
nish about 45 percent of nonperishable food 
requirements, Australia about 33 percent, 
and the United States only about 22 per- 
cent. 1 But the greatly increased number of 
soldiers in both areas prevented the degree 
of support anticipated from Australia, and 
at the close of 1943 it was estimated that 
in the following year the contribution of 
Australia would shrink to 10 percent while 
that of the United States would double and 
that of New Zealand remain unchanged. 
Actually, New Zealand did not provide 
more than slightly over 36 percent, and the 
United States made up the deficiency. 2 In 
the Southwest Pacific, too, the United States 
supplied a growing share of area needs. By 
the last half of 1944 it was probably the 
source of more than 75 percent of non- 
perishable foods eaten by soldiers at and 

1 Ltr, CG SvC and USAFISPA to JPB, 2 Nov 
42, sub: Subs for SPA. ORB USAFINC AG Subs 
Gen File. 

2 Ltr, CG SOS SPA to JPB, 24 Dec 43, sub: 
Subs Rqmts. ORB USAFINC AG 334. 

west of Hollandia, who then constituted 
about 30 percent of the theater troop 
strength. For the remaining 70 percent of 
the troops who were stationed east of Hol- 
landia, it provided about 30 percent of 
nonperishables. 3 

From the outset both theaters procured 
post exchange (PX) articles — cigarettes, 
cigars, matches, razors, shaving blades, 
shaving cream, toilet soap, tooth powder, 
toothbrushes, candy bars, and soft drinks — 
mainly from the United States, for that 
country alone could provide the familiar 
type of articles preferred by most soldiers. 4 
As the war progressed, the percentage so 
obtained rose steadily. This was true, too, 
of clothing, equipage, general supplies, and 
petroleum products. The Central Pacific, 
unlike the other two areas, from the very 
beginning looked to outside sources for prac- 
tically all its Quartermaster supplies. 

Area Stock Levels and Requisitions 

To prevent any one theater from securing 
a disproportionately large share of available 
supplies and at the same time give every 

:1 (1) Ltr, CQM to QM Base Sec 3, 19 Dec 43, 
sub: Subs Shpmts from U.S. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 400.226. (2) Ltr, QM DISTBRA to CQM, 27 
Jun 44, sub: Block Shpmts from U.S. ORB 

4 Ltr, CG USASOS to CG SFPOE, 11 Dec 43, 
sub: PX Consumption Factors. OQMG SWPA 



overseas area adequate stocks, the War De- 
partment determined for each theater the 
amount of reserve stores it needed to replace 
supplies that units brought overseas with 
them and to maintain a margin of safety. 
These reserves, varying from theater to 
theater with their diverse requirements, 
were expressed in terms of "days of supply," 
one day's supply being the amount needed 
to fill the replacement demands of a theater 
for one day. 

War Department directives of early 1942 
established a 90-day level for Quartermaster 
stocks in the Southwest Pacific. These in- 
structions did not make it clear whether 
supplies on order or in the hands of troops 
were to be included in the authorized re- 
serves. Headquarters, USAFIA, assuming 
that such supplies were to be included, 
found that under this interpretation the long 
delays in forwarding shipments of Quarter- 
master cargoes from the West Coast made 
Quartermaster supplies on order so large a 
part of the permissible stock level that stores 
actually in the Southwest Pacific were likely 
to be inadequate to furnish a suitable 
margin of safety. For that reason it rec- 
ommended that the total of allowable 
Quartermaster levels be doubled to a 180- 
day supply. The War Department not only 
did this; it went further and definitely ex- 
cluded from the reserves all supplies on 
order or in the hands of troops. It also di- 
vided the reserve into two parts: one, an 
"emergency or minimum reserve," and the 
other, an "operating reserve." The emer- 
gency reserve was composed mostly of sup- 
plies stored in ports and depots. In theory 
it was used to meet abnormally large re- 
placement needs stemming from tactical op- 
erations, transportation breakdowns, or the 
depletion of the "operating reserve." The 
latter reserve, stored in all echelons of sup- 
ply, contained the items needed to fill rou- 

tine replacement demands. 5 

In the Southwest Pacific each of these 
reserves consisted of a 90-day supply, and 
both together constituted what was called 
the "maximum reserve." As the South Pa- 
cific Area's greater proximity to the West 
Coast enabled it to obtain quicker deliveries 
than the Southwest Pacific Area, its operat- 
ing reserve was only a 60-day supply and its 
maximum reserve only a 150-day supply. 
In both areas the distinction between the 
emergency and the operating levels became 
blurred in practice. The tendency, particu- 
larly in regions with few well-established 
bases, was to treat all stores as available for 
either routine or emergency issue and to 
make the maximum reserve the actual op- 
erating reserve. Insofar as the concept of an 
emergency reserve had reality, it was in- 
creasingly as a stockage held for the use 
of task forces in combat operations. 

Until the last year and a half of the war, 
both emergency and operating reserves of 
Quartermaster items in the Southwest Pa- 
cific continued to be based generally on a 90- 
day level. Lower levels were set for items that 
were not issued regularly but only under un- 
usual conditions. Thus field rations, con- 
sumption of which depended upon the vary- 
ing conditions that governed the supply of 
regular A rations in the field, particularly in 
combat operations, were stocked in accord- 
ance with rough estimates of probable con- 
sumption during a 180-day period. The 
maximum reserve for B rations was a 144- 
day supply; for C rations, a 24-day supply; 
and for D rations, a 1 2-day supply. 6 Some- 

5 (1) Ltr, AG 400 (1-31-42) MSC-D-M to CG 
USAFIA, 2 Feb 42, sub: Sup of USAFIA. (2) 
Ltr, AG 400 (4-27-42) MC-SP-M to CG AGF et 
al., 26 Apr 42, sub: Sup of Overseas Depts, 
Theaters, and Separate Bases. (3) Ltr, AG 400 
(7-11-42) MS-SPOPS, 20 Jul 42, sub: Overseas 
Sup Levels. All in ORB AFWESPAC AG 400. 

6 QM SWPA Hist, II, 19, 22-23. 



times special circumstances required the es- 
tablishment of levels higher than those nor- 
mally authorized. The seasonal character of 
the canning industry and the impossibility of 
delivering canned foods at a uniform rate 
throughout the year, for example, made it 
necessary to permit stockage of more than 
formally authorized amounts of these foods 
at peak production periods. 7 

During 1944 two factors — the vastly in- 
creased requirements brought about by the 
invasion of the European Continent and the 
growing shortage of supplies of all sorts 
throughout the world — compelled the War 
Department to lower authorized operating 
reserves for Quartermaster items. In Janu- 
ary the build-up for the Normandy landings 
forced a reduction in the Quartermaster op- 
erating reserves in all Pacific areas to a 30- 
day level. In the Southwest Pacific and 
South Pacific Areas emergency reserves, 
which were becoming comparatively more 
important as the scope of tactical operations 
widened, were reduced only to a 75-day level 
for food and petroleum products, or two and 
a half times the operating reserves for these 
supplies. Emergency reserves for clothing, 
equipage, and general supplies were actually 
lifted to a 120-day level, this high figure 
being set because deliveries from the West 
Coast were often held up by low shipping 
priorities. In Hawaii the level for food and 
petroleum products was a 30-day supply and 
for clothing, equipage, and general supplies, 
a 60-day supply. For forward areas in the 
Central Pacific, the corresponding figures 
were a 60-day and a 90-day supply. 8 

7 Ltr, AG 400 (8 Jul 44) OB-S-SPOPI-M, 10 
Jul 44, sub: Overseas Sup Levels. ORB AFWES- 
PAC AG 400.23. 

s Ltr, AG 400 (11 Jan 44) OB-S-E-M, 20 Jan 
44, sub: Overseas Sup Levels. ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 400.23. 

The War Department at the same time 
formally redefined the emergency level as 
a reserve specifically designated for combat 
forces. Stockage of this reserve "in echelon," 
it declared, envisioned "the assembly of ade- 
quate supplies immediately behind combat 
operations to insure a constant flow." 9 
Under this definition the emergency reserve 
could no longer be considered available for 
any unforeseen needs that might arise except 
those connected with combat operations. 10 

As 1944 advanced, the procurement of 
supplies in the United States became more 
and more difficult, and in December the 
War Department again reduced Quarter- 
master stock levels. By this time Pacific quar- 
termasters themselves considered a reduction 
of authorized stocks necessary, for mate- 
rials consigned to advanced supply points 
could not always be stocked there and had 
to be diverted to rear bases where they were 
not needed and where storage space was al- 
ready at a premium. 11 In any event increased 
shipments direct from the West Coast to the 
island bases made further reductions of per- 
missible levels feasible as well as desirable. 
In the Southwest Pacific the total reserve, 
operating and emergency, for food, cloth- 
ing, and general supplies was set at a 90- 
day supplv. As compared with January fig- 
ures, this represented a 15-day reduction for 
subsistence and a drastic 60-day cut for 
clothing, equipage, and general supplies. 
The reserve for petroleum products was 
placed at an 85-day level, a decrease of only 
20 days. 12 

" Ibid. 

"'QM SWPA Hist, V, 9. 

11 Min, Conf of Gen and Sp Staff Sec USASOS, 
22 Aug 44, pp. 1-2. ORB AFWESPAC AG 334. 

u Ltr, AG 400 (12 Dec 44) OB-S-E-I, 29 Dec 
44, sub: Overseas Sup Levels. ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 400.23. 



Whether high or low, authorized area 
stock levels put a definite limit on the total 
quantity of supplies sought through local 
procurement and requisitions on the zone of 
interior. In establishing this quantity for a 
given period the initial step was to deter- 
mine over-all area supply requirements. 
This was done by first multiplying the prob- 
able troop strength by the maintenance 
factor that represented the average daily 
or monthly depletion of an item and then 
multiplying the resultant figure by the 
authorized days of supply plus "order and 
delivery" time — the period between the con- 
solidation of base inventories and the arrival 
of requisitioned materials. In the Southwest 
Pacific the order and delivery time was usu- 
ally 1 20 days; in the South Pacific, 90 days. 
Once the figure for total area requirements 
had been calculated, the next step was to 
determine how much of the required items 
would be on hand at the end of the requi- 
sitioning period if no additional supplies 
were ordered from the zone of interior. 
These amounts were ascertained by first es- 
timating how much would be available 
from local procurement, from base stocks, 
and from replacement supplies accompany- 
ing newly arrived units and by then adding 
these figures and subtracting the anticipated 
consumption and wastage during the order 
and delivery period. The difference between 
the total requirements and the quantity ex- 
pected to be on hand in the area at the end 
of the requisitioning period represented the 
amounts that had to be ordered from the 
United States. 13 

13 ( 1 ) Memo, S&D Div for CQM USASOS, 1 
Apr 43, sub: Maint Factors. (2) Ltr, CQM to QM 
Br DISTDIV USASOS, 30 Sep 44, sub: Com- 
puting Rqmts. Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 
400.312. (3) Rpt, Maj Harold A. Naisbitt, OQMG 
Observer, 1 1 Feb 45, sub : Data Obtained from 
QM CPBC. OQMG POA 319.25. 

The determination of requirements for 
Quartermaster items and the preparation of 
requisitions on the zone of interior were 
functions that, generally speaking, were 
carried out by the supply branches of the 
central Quartermaster organization in each 
theater. This arrangement was followed 
even in the Southwest Pacific during 1942 
and 1943. All requisitions on the zone of in- 
terior were checked by higher echelons be- 
fore they were submitted to the San Fran- 
cisco Port of Embarkation for completion. 
In the Southwest Pacific in 1943 the Plan- 
ning and Control Division of the OCQM 
checked all requisitions and then sent them 
for approval to the Supply and Transporta- 
tion Section, USASOS, which in this re- 
spect acted essentially as a G— 4 Section. 
Requisitions approved by that section were 
forwarded to GHQ SWPA, which in turn 
submitted them by air mail to San Fran- 
cisco. When the Distribution Division was 
set up in the Southwest Pacific at the begin- 
ning of 1 944, its Quartermaster Section took 
over the tasks of estimating requirements 
and preparing requisitions on the zone of 
interior. In the other Pacific areas these 
tasks remained functions of the central 
Quartermaster organization. 14 

The preparation of over-all area requi- 
sitions accurately mirroring Quartermaster 
needs required, above all, reasonably cor- 
rect consolidated inventories of all stocks. 
Such inventories in turn depended on the 
availability of accurate consolidated inven- 
tories from the bases, which were supposed 
to take stock every month or two and sub- 
mit the inventory figures to the requisition- 

14 ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col Roland G. Batchelder, OQMG 
Observer, to TQMG, 9 Aug 43, sub: Stock Levels 
and Maint Factor. OQMG SWPA 400. (2) Rpt, 
Maj Naisbitt, OQMG Observer, 8 Mar 45, sub: 
Info Obtained on QM Activities in SWPA. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25. 



ing agency. Unfortunately, bases seldom 
had sufficient qualified technicians to fur- 
nish this fundamental information. In the 
Southwest Pacific such personnel were lack- 
ing not only in new advance bases but to a 
considerable extent even in older and better 
organized bases. Writing to Quartermaster 
General Gregory in mid- 1943, Colonel 
Cordiner said that "Property officers too 
often place their weakest men on stock 
record accounts, personnel who know noth- 
ing of nomenclature and who often have 
no desire to know anything." 15 In the South 
Pacific lack of an effective system of keep- 
ing stock records at SOS bases prompted 
the Quartermaster Section of Headquar- 
ters, SOS SPA, in the spring of 1944 to 
revise the existing methods of stock control. 
At that time an inventory team visited all 
South Pacific bases and examined book- 
keeping methods and depot operations that 
affected accurate reporting. On the basis 
of the information obtained, the team 
helped each base prepare better inventories 
and better stock records. 16 This develop- 
ment, though desirable, came at a time 
when the South Pacific was already rapidly 
declining as an active combat area. It was 
too late to be of much value. 

Other computations used in estimating 
requirements were often as unreliable as in- 
ventory figures. Deliveries from Australian 
and New Zealand sources of supply could 
seldom be forecast correctly because 
droughts and other unpredictable natural 
hazards repeatedly lowered agricultural 
production and because labor and materials 
shortages in swiftly expanding industrial 
plants made adherence to production sched- 
ules almost impossible. Nor was it possible 

15 Ltr, 8 Jul 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 370.43. 
"SOS SPA Memo 173, 23 Oct 44, sub: Stock 
Control, QM Sup. 

to do more than make a shrewd guess as 
to combat, shipping, and storage losses. 17 

In practice the requisitioning system pro- 
voked many differences of opinion between 
the Pacific areas and the zone of interior. 
The War Department, believing that units 
going overseas would be amply cared for 
by the replacement supplies that accom- 
panied them and wanting the size of over- 
seas reserves limited as much as possible, 
favored a troop basis for requisitioning pur- 
poses founded on the number of men actu- 
ally in an area at the time requisitions were 
submitted. Since it often happened that 
freshly arrived troops were not actually ac- 
companied by their replacement supplies 
and had to be provided for out of mainte- 
nance reserves already in the theater, Pacific 
quartermasters wanted projected strength as 
of the end of the requisitioning period to 
determine the troop basis. 

G-4, USASOS, early in August 1942 di- 
rected that a troop basis of 100,000 men be 
used for requisitioning purposes. This figure 
represented approximately the number of 
troops then in the area, but new organiza- 
tions were pouring into Australia, "some- 
times without the knowledge of the supply 
branches," at a rate that would shortly bring 
the total strength to a substantially larger 
figure. 18 Because of the rapid rise in the 
number of soldiers Colonel Cordiner insisted 
that the authorized basis was too low to in- 
sure adequate reserves. Late in August, G-4 
appeared to accept this contention when it 
authorized a troop basis of 125,000 men 
until 1 October and of 150,000 men from 

17 (1) Memo, DCS GHQ SWPA for DCS 
USAFFE, 15 Jan 44, sub: Subs Demands on Aus- 
tralia. ORB AFPAC AG 430.2. (2) Ltr, Col R. C. 
Kramer, Jt Sup Survey Bd, to CINCSWPA. ORB 
AFPAC AG 400. 

18 (1) Barnes Rpt, p. 32. (2) Memo, CQM for 



that date to the end of the year. Scarcely 
had it taken this action when it lowered the 
basis to 1 1 0,000 men for requisitions on the 
zone of interior but, somewhat paradoxi- 
cally, retained the 150,000-man basis for 
procurement operations in Australia and for 
determining theater supply levels. Since 
these levels were based on a larger number 
of troops than were used for requisitions on 
the zone of interior, Quartermaster stocks 
often could not be built up to the authorized 
level and therefore appeared in "a rather 
bad light." 19 For this reason Cordiner sug- 
gested that the basis for procurement from 
the United States again be lifted to 150,000 
men, a figure that would soon represent the 
actual strength of the theater. This change 
was made, but at the same time the troop 
basis for theater supply levels was raised to 
200,000 men. While more supplies could 
thus be obtained from home sources, it was 
still frequently impossible to bring Quarter- 
master stocks up to authorized levels. 20 

In December the War Department di- 
rected that the ports of embarkation edit 
overseas requisitions on the basis of the num- 
ber of men actually in the theater. This 
development led USASOS to direct that the 
troop basis for requisitions be set at 135,000 
men, approximately the number then in 
the command, but 15,000 less than the fig- 
ure set just a month before. Until authority 
was finally granted in the summer of 1944 
for the inclusion in the troop basis of units 
ordered to proceed to the area, requisitions 
were based roughly on actual strength, but 
not without considerable discussion between 
the Pacific areas and the port of embarka- 
tion concerning what constituted "actual 
strength. " Whenever, as sometimes hap- 

19 Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 2 Nov 42, sub: 
TRB for Rqmts. ORG AFWESPAC AG 400. 

20 Memo, G-4 USASOS for CQM, 30 Nov 42, 
same sub. ORB AFWESPAC AG 400. 

pened, the zone of interior and the Pacific 
areas used different troop figures, the editing 
and filling of requisitions became a longer 
process. 21 

Troop strength, whether current or pro- 
jected, was only one element in the calcula- 
tion of requirements. An equally important 
element was accurate replacement factors. 
These factors were simply numbers ex- 
pressed in fractions or decimals, which rep- 
resented the replacement need for a single 
issued article during a specific period of 
time. If it was desired to ascertain the re- 
placements for the shirts of 100,000 troops, 
each of whom had been initially issued two 
shirts, and the replacement factor represent- 
ing a months requirement was .20, total 
requirements were calculated merely by 
multiplying the 200,000 shirts in the hands 
of the troops by .20. Accurate replacement 
factors were particularly needed for clothing 
and general supplies, which were not con- 
sumed with the regularity characteristic of 
rations and, to a lesser extent, of petroleum 
products. But factors that mirrored wartime 
replacement needs with reasonable accuracy 
could of course not be obtained before the 
theaters of operations had developed a body 
of issue experience. Until well into 1943 
both the Pacific areas and the San Francisco 
Port of Embarkation utilized OQMG fac- 
tors based mainly upon the peacetime issues 
of the Regular Army in the United States, 
which, obviously, did not reflect combat 
conditions in the tropics. 22 

Fully alive to the need for more accurate 
factors, the Pacific areas after mid- 1943 
used their accumulating issue experience as 
a check on published factors and as a basis 

21 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 22 Dec 
42, sub: TRB. ORB AFWESPAC AG 400. (2) 
QM SWPA Hist, II, 28-30. 

22 Ltr, Rqmts Br Mil Ping Div OQMG to TQMG, 
9 Aug 43. OQMG SWPA 400. 



for the compilation of experience tables. If 
these tables were to be accurate, a sharp dis- 
tinction had to be drawn between replace- 
ment and initial issues, but such a distinction 
was often impossible since initial issues fre- 
quently came from the same stocks as did 
replacement issues and supply installations 
seldom distinguished between the two types 
in their stock records. Yet if the War De- 
partment was to work out its supply plans 
intelligently, it had to differentiate between 
recurrent and nonrecurrent issues. It there- 
fore insisted that theaters of operations ex- 
clude initial issues from replacement statis- 
tics. But its efforts to apply this principle had 
slight success in the Pacific because the 
haste accompanying initial issues and the 
scarcity of qualified accountants did not per- 
mit careful bookkeeping. For this reason 
Quartermaster experience figures were 
never very accurate. 23 

Because of the many uncertain elements 
that entered into the preparation of requisi- 
tions — incorrect inventories, doubt as to the 
basis of troop strength, doubt as to the pre- 
cise quantities procurable from local sources, 
inability to forecast combat, shipping, and 
storage losses, and lack of wholly suitable 
replacement factors — requisitions mirrored 
Quartermaster requirements only approxi- 
mately. Yet, usually, they were not too far 
from the mark. Of more importance was the 
prompt shipment of requisitioned items 
from the United States. 

Port-Depot System 

The San Francisco Port of Embarkation, 
the agency charged with the task of filling 

21 ( 1 ) Rpt, Lt Col Roland C. Batchelder, 9 Aug 
43, sub: Stock Levels and Maint Factors. (2) Ltr, 
AG SPX (5 May 44) OB-P-SPDDX-MB-M to 
POE's, 9 May 44, sub: Editing Rqmts. Both in 

Pacific requisitions, was authorized to utilize 
not only its own resources but also those of 
its subports — Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, 
Port Rupert (British Columbia), and New 
Orleans — and of its supporting depots, 
which stocked supplies for movement to the 
Pacific on its call. 

In the Overseas Supply Division (OSD) 
at San Francisco, as at other ports of em- 
barkation, there was a Quartermaster 
Branch, which dealt directly on technical 
matters with the OQMG in Washington. 
That branch had functions analogous to 
those of a zone of interior depot, being re- 
sponsible for completing Quartermaster 
overseas requisitions and for storing and in- 
specting supplies handled in transit at the 
port. In addition to editing requisitions to 
see that the quantities ordered complied 
with prescribed stock levels and allowances 
of equipment and supplies and that they 
were not excessive in relation to the prospec- 
tive troop strength of the requesting area, 
the Quartermaster Branch ordered the 
needed items from the port's "initial" or 
"primary" supply sources, which were as- 
certained from OQMG charts showing the 
particular installations that served as pri- 
mary and secondary sources of supply for 
each major item required at San Francisco 
and its subports. These installations ordi- 
narily were interior storage depots, but the 
port itself might be a supply source since 
it stocked limited quantities of Quartermas- 
ter items in constant demand. If an item 
was scarce, the source might even be a pro- 
curing agency, possibly the OQMG itself. 24 

For San Francisco and its Pacific coast 
subports the Utah General Depot at Ogden 

21 (1) WDSB 10-12, 11 Feb 44, sub: Prep of 
Rqmts in Overseas Comds and Editing by POE's. 
(2) ASF Manual M-411, sub: Processing Over- 
seas Rqmts. 



or some other western installation usually 
served as the primary supply source. For 
New Orleans the sources were southern or 
middle western depots. The Quartermaster 
Branch instructed the supplying installation 
to forward the item to the port that it des- 
ignated as shipper; it also indicated the 
date by which the item had to arrive in 
order to meet sailing schedules. If the pri- 
mary source could not furnish the required 
item, it forwarded the order to a secondary 
source for completion. 25 

Throughout the war the Quartermaster 
Branch, like other technical service branches 
at the port, suffered from an organizational 
system that assigned to it not only too few 
officers in general but too few officers of 
field grade who could handle important 
problems with promptness and authority. 
In this respect the San Francisco branch 
was worse off than its sister branch at the 
New York Port of Embarkation. In June 
1945, when the volume of supplies moving 
to the Pacific was fast nearing the peak 
levels earlier handled at New York, Quar- 
termaster officers in the Overseas Supply 
Division at San Francisco consisted of only 
one major, three captains, and seven lieu- 
tenants. At a corresponding period in the 
activities of the New York Port the Quar- 
termaster Branch, Overseas Supply Divi- 
sion, had one lieutenant colonel, three ma- 
jors, six captains, and twelve lieutenants. 
Civilian employees at New York, too, were 
proportionately more numerous. 26 The 
branch at San Francisco also suffered from 
the fact that its functions were not confined, 
as were those of the branch at New York, 
to supply policy, editing requisitions, and co- 

26 WDSB 10-182, Apr 45, sub: QM Sup Sources. 
28 Control Div OCT ASF, 15 Jun 45, Survey of 
Pac Sup, pp. 24-25. OCT HB POA. 

ordinating overseas problems but included 
such purely local operations as storing Quar- 
termaster stocks kept at the port for overseas 
shipment, compiling stock records, and fol- 
lowing up orders on supporting installations 
to see that supplies were delivered as 
promptly as possible. 27 Owing to limited stor- 
age space, port stocks were confined to fast- 
moving items, of which a ninety-day work- 
ing supply, based on both past and prospec- 
tive shipments, was normally prescribed. 
The Quartermaster Branch submitted req- 
uisitions for the initial stocks of these items 
direct to the OQMG; once that office had 
filled these orders, it automatically replen- 
ished supplies on the basis of the port's pe- 
riodical stock status reports. 28 

Hampered by its small staff and nu- 
merous functions and the complications 
introduced by the receipt of requisitions 
from three major areas, the Quartermaster 
Branch in San Francisco could not always 
edit overseas orders promptly nor maintain 
as complete records of actions taken on req- 
uisitions as were needed for effective con- 
trol over the supplies flowing into the port. 
Its follow-up action was sporadic. Gener- 
ally speaking, it took no immediate action 
when a supplying depot indicated its in- 
ability to deliver items within the stipu- 
lated time; instead, the branch waited for 
thirty days after the deadline. Had a more 
aggressive follow-up system been feasible, it 
might have substantially diminished the 
number of tardy deliveries. 29 

The inadequate organization of the Quar- 
termaster Branch was only one of several 
causes for slow completion of requisitions. 

27 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 

w Ltr, CG ASF to TQMG et al., 29 Nov 43, sub: 
Stockage at SFPE. OQMG 400. 
29 Survey of Pac Sup, pp. 24-25. 



Railroad and storage deficiencies were also 
in part responsible. During 1942 most Quar- 
termaster stocks for shipment through San 
Francisco were held in the Utah General 
Depot at Ogden, nearly 1,000 miles to the 
east. Because of the distance between the 
two installations and the fact that shipments 
tc and from three other depots at Ogden 
congested the thin railway network leading 
to the West Coast, Quartermaster supplies 
could not always be delivered promptly. On 
several occasions this situation led to short- 
ages in the food stocks at the port. When 
tardy deliveries continued into 1943, the 
newly built warehouses of the California 
Quartermaster Depot at its substation in 
Tracy, about 45 miles southeast of Oakland, 
were utilized for overseas stocks in order 
to bring them closer to the port, and the 
responsibilities of the Ogden installation for 
storing such stocks were substantially re- 
duced. 30 

In the autumn of 1943 a special board 
of officers was appointed to study the prob- 
lem of "delinquent" requisitions, defined as 
those which, after ninety days, were still 
not ready for shipment from San Fran- 
cisco.' 1 It found that, in October 1943, 5.1 
percent of the Quartermaster requisitions 
submitted since the preceding March were 
delinquent — a much smaller percentage 
than was shown for requisitions of most 
other technical services but one that in- 
cluded several fairly sizable orders. The 
board attributed Quartermaster delinquen- 
cies to two causes. One was the fact that 

30 ( 1 ) Rpt, Maj Louis C Webster, 20 Apr 42, sub : 
Inspection of QM Activities at UTGD. OQMG 
319.1. (2) Memo for File, OQMG, n. d., sub: 
Functions of UTASFD — Filler or Non-Filler Depot. 
OQMG UTGD 323.7. 

" L Rpt, Bd of Officers, n. d., sub: Survey of Sup 
of Pac Theaters. OQMG SWPA 400. 

stocks at supporting depots, though generally 
meeting prescribed levels, were still too small 
to match demands, and the other was 
the slowness of the OQMG in handling req- 
uisitions that the port had forwarded for 
assignment to eastern and middle western 
supply points. That office took, on the aver- 
age, twenty-two days to assign such requisi- 
tions; it sometimes distributed an order for 
a single item among several depots. The 
board found that the completion of a spe- 
cially assigned requisition took, on the aver- 
age, 116 days, or 26 days more than the 
theoretical limit. 32 Partly on the basis of the 
board's findings the OQMG established a 
special organization for handling overseas 
requisitions and restricted as far as possible 
the dispersion of orders for single items 
among depots. 

The provision of more space for Quar- 
termaster overseas supplies posed serious dif- 
ficulties, for there was hardly any unallotted 
storage space in the western third of the 
country. Eventually, 900,000 square feet 
were assigned to the QMC in Umatilla 
Ordnance Depot at Hermiston, Oreg. ; 
250,000 square feet in Navajo Ordnance 
Depot at Flagstaff, Ariz. ; and a like amount 
in Pueblo Ordnance Depot in Colorado. 
To obtain still more space the missions of 
the western depots were modified. The ma- 
jor functions of the Mira Loma and the 
California Quartermaster Depots and the 
Quartermaster Section of the Seattle Gen- 
eral Depot had originally been the storage 
and distribution of supplies for troops being 
trained in the domestic distribution areas 
of these installations, but during 1944 most 
of these tasks were transferred to the Quar- 
termaster Section of the Utah General De- 

Ibid., pp. 16-17. 



pot, and the other depots increasingly be- 
came feeders for the port of embarkation. 33 
These changes, while they made for more 
efficient use of existing resources, left un- 
touched several factors that delayed the fill- 
ing of orders. Even after Quartermaster 
supplies arrived in port, thus theoretically 
completing a requisition, they, along with 
many other military items, were often held 
up by the need for special loadings for im- 
pending tactical operations and by the diffi- 
culty of equitably allotting the limited num- 
ber of bottoms to fifty or more receiving 
points located thousands of miles from the 
West Coast and at considerable distances 
from each other. Low priorities, assigned to 
Quartermaster items by Pacific area com- 
manders, constituted another important 
cause for delayed movements of supplies. 
This factor, Colonel Cordiner asserted, was 
responsible for the fact that Quartermaster 
supplies often could not be loaded even 
when they were on dock awaiting move- 
ment. "By the time the next sailing oc- 
curs," he added, "other high priority items 
roll in and Quartermaster supplies still re- 
main [unloaded]." M These unfavorable 
conditions affected clothing and general 
supplies in particular, and in November 
1942 large quantities of such supplies requi- 
sitioned in early May were undelivered 
though most of them had by then arrived 
in San Francisco. Colonel Cordiner esti- 
mated that four to six months were required 
for delivery. In August 1943 Lt. Col. 

M (1) OQMG S&D Order 51, 8 Jun 43, sub: 
Establishment at Umatilla Ord Depot of QMSS 
323.3. (2) Ltr, Brig Gen T. L. Holland, OQMG, to 
QMSO, UTASFD, 7 Aug 43, sub: Asgmt of Space 
at Pueblo Ord Depot. (3) Memo, TQMG for CG 
ASF, 18 Aug 44, sub: Pac Coast Missions. Both in 
OQMG 323.3. 

34 Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 1 1 Nov 42, 
sub: Sup Levels. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.291. 

Roland C. Batchelder, an OQMG observer 
then in the Southwest Pacific, estimated that 
it took "from 120 days to infinity" to get 
Quartermaster supplies to that area. He 
found that as a result some Quartermaster 
stocks had been depleted. 33 Deliveries to 
the South Pacific and Central Pacific Areas 
were slightly faster, taking on an average 
thirty to sixty days less than those to their 
sister area. 

Early in 1 944 several large Southwest Pa- 
cific Area requisitions were delinquent. In 
March only 5,000,000 of 12,000,000 rations 
ordered nine months before had been deliv- 
ered. The delay was caused mostly by the 
high shipping priorities held by the Euro- 
pean Theater of Operations, then busily pre- 
paring for the Normandy landings, and by 
the fact that the War Department, expect- 
ing Australia to fill most of the Southwest 
Pacific requirements for food, did not al- 
ways have enough rations stored on the West 
Coast to meet large demands promptly. In 
May 1944 an order for 10,000,000 rations 
led the War Department to request that it 
be told informally well in advance if large 
orders were about to be submitted officially. 
Such prior information, it pointed out, 
would enable it to begin early planning for 
the shipment of the necessary supplies. 36 

It was not merely requisitions involving 
large quantities that remained uncompleted 
for fairly lengthy periods. Requisitions for 
small quantities, too, often remained un- 
filled. All these delays held up the supply of 
food from the United States. In December 

. M ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col Roland C. Batchelder to 
TQMG, 9 Aug 43, sub: Stock Levels and Maint 
Factors. OQMG SWPA 400. (2) Memo, Dir of 
Opns ASF for TQMG, 5 Sep 43, sub: QM Sup 
Deficiencies. OQMG SWPA 400. 

36 ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS to TQMG, 1 Nov 43. 
to CG USASOS, 21 May 44, sub: Rations from U.S. 



1943, for example, expected shipments of 
fruit and tomato juice, dehydrated potatoes 
and onions, peanut butter, dried eggs, and 
lard had not arrived. Similarly, requisitions 
sent in November to San Francisco for a 
wide range of canned meats and vegetables 
had still not been received by the end of 
March. 37 

At this time there was probably an even 
larger number of tardy requisitions for cloth- 
ing than for food — chiefly because heavy 
shipments to the United Kingdom had al- 
most exhausted some clothing stocks. Col. 
Fred L. Hamilton, director of the Distribu- 
tion Division, USASOS, warned fellow of- 
ficers on his return from the United States 
in March 1944 that they must rely to an 
unusual degree upon the reclamation of dis- 
carded clothing to eke out their stocks. De- 
lays, even longer than in the case of clothing, 
were being encountered, he reported, on de- 
liveries of general supplies. Though the War 
Department was procuring a substantial vol- 
ume of such badly needed items as laundry 
soap, insecticides, and insect repellents, the 
shortage of labor and materials had obliged 
it to reduce or halt temporarily its purchases 
of less essential items. Colonel Hamilton in- 
deed reported that few general supplies were 
being procured that theater commanders 
had not certified as urgently required. 38 

Of all the factors retarding the delivery 
of supplies — long lines of communications, 
shipping shortages, the time consumed in 
editing requisitions, an overworked Quar- 
termaster Branch in the Overseas Supply 
Division at San Francisco, railroad and stor- 
age deficiencies, low shipping priorities, and 

37 (1) Ltr, CQM to QM Base Sec 3, 19 Dec 43, 
sub: Subs Shpmts from U.S. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 400.226. (2) Conf, Base Comdrs USASOS, 
24-26 Mar 44. DRB AGO. 

38 Conf, Staff Conf Hq USASOS, 15 Mar 44, 
pp. 9a-9c. ORB AFWESPAC QM 337. 

stock shortages — none was more important 
than the slow turnabout of vessels. This par- 
ticular problem, common to all theaters of 
operations, was made more acute in the Pa- 
cific by the inability of vessels to discharge 
cargoes quickly at island bases. At these in- 
stallations it was the shortage of floating 
equipment, modern unloading equipment, 
warehouses, dumps, trucks, and labor that 
in the main accounted for the inability to 
keep ships constantly moving to and from 
the United States. By mid- 1944 vessels de- 
tained at congested bases and beachheads 
had become so numerous that Quartermas- 
ter cargo awaiting movement from the 
United States to the Southwest Pacific Area 
began a disturbing rise. In October, 35 per- 
cent and, by March, 65 percent of such 
cargo could not be transported because of 
lack of bottoms. Large though these propor- 
tions seem, they were less startling than the 
53 and 85 percent shown at the same dates 
for supplies of the technical services as a 
whole. On several occasions the San Fran- 
cisco Port of Embarkation pointed out that 
it could utilize ships more efficiently if the 
technical services in the Southwest Pacific 
correlated their requisitions more closely 
with the discharging capabilities of the 
ports in that command, but these services, 
overly optimistic about future improve- 
ments of handling equipment, continued to 
submit requisitions for more supplies than 
the ports could readily receive. 39 The Pacific 
Ocean Areas balanced requisitions and 
shipping somewhat better than did the 
Southwest Pacific Area. During the period 
when half or more of the cargoes bound for 

39 For a fuller treatment of the shipping situation 
in late 1944 and early 1945, see Chester Wardlow, 
The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, Or- 
ganization, and Operations, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), 
pp. 291-98. 



the Southwest Pacific Area were being held 
in interior depots for future movement, 80 
percent or more of the Quartermaster sup- 
plies earmarked for the Pacific Ocean Areas 
were being loaded on schedule. 40 

On the whole, belated shipments re- 
sulted from causes beyond the control of 
either port or depots and often from causes 
originating in the Pacific commands them- 
selves. Such shipments, it is true, contrib- 
uted to the unbalanced stockages that 
characterized Quartermaster activities in 
the Pacific, but they constituted merely one 
of several factors that helped produce this 
troublesome unbalance. If food, clothing, 
equipment, and general supply stocks 
seldom attained more than a 120-day level 
and often fell below that figure, this state 
of affairs was attributable as much to fail- 
ure of local procurement to reach antici- 
pated figures, to unexpected issues of initial 
equipment to newly arrived units, and to the 
re-equipment of combat troops after an op- 
eration ended, as it was to tardy receipts of 
replacement supplies requisitioned from the 
United States. In most cases reserve stocks 
sufficed to meet urgent requirements before 
shortages reached a critical stage. 41 

Automatic Supply 

In order not to oblige overseas areas to 
try to draw up accurate requisitions in the 
opening months of their activities — when 
they were undermanned and had few means 
of accurately estimating either stocks on 
hand or supplies necessary to maintain es- 
tablished levels — War Department pro- 
cedures foi replenishing stocks were at first 

10 Survey of Pac Sup, pp. 3-5, 2 1 . 
"Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 9 Feb 44, 
sub: Overseas Sup Levels. DRB AGO F224. 

grounded on automatic supply as well as 
area requisitions. Automatic supply meant, 
simply, that ports of embarkation at regular 
intervals shipped selected items in quanti- 
ties derived from their own estimates of 
future overseas requirements. This system 
was confined in the main to articles con- 
sumed at a fairly constant rate. A reason- 
ably accurate estimate of future needs for 
these articles could, it was thought, be pre- 
pared merely on the basis of overseas troop 
strength and the amounts already shipped. 

Of all Quartermaster supplies food items 
were best fitted for automatic supply. Since 
menus were determined months in advance 
necessary shipments of subsistence could be 
easily ascertained by taking the components 
of the menus, calculating the amounts re- 
quired to feed one soldier during the chosen 
period of time, and multiplying this figure 
by the estimated troop strength. Though 
other Quartermaster items were not well 
suited to this method of supply, all of them 
were at first provided automatically to the 
forces in Australia in order to help build 
up stocks as quickly as possible to the ninety- 
day level prescribed for replacement stocks. 
In February 1942, however, the War De- 
partment directed that after 1 March auto- 
matic supply of Quartermaster items would 
be confined to rations and petroleum prod- 
ucts. 42 

Since the full directive did not reach 
Colonel Cordiner he was left in doubt 
whether clothing, equipment, and general 
supplies were to be shipped automatically. 
His efforts to clarify this question brought 

<- J (1) Ltr, AG 400 (1-31-42) MSC-D-M, to CG 
USAFIA, 2 Feb 42, sub: Sup of USAFIA. (2) 
Ltr, AG 400 (4-27-42) MC-SP-M, to AGF et al, 
28 Apr 42, sub: Sup of Overseas Depts, Theaters, 
and Separate Bases. Both in ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 400. 



conflicting information from Washington. 43 
A War Department radiogram of 28 April 
declared that automatic shipments of cloth- 
ing, equipage, and general supplies were 
being made on the basis of 78,000 men in 
Australia and 17,000 men in New Cale- 
donia. Finally, on 12 June, more than four 
months after the original directive had been 
issued, the War Department radioed that 
these supplies were being furnished only on 
requisition. 44 Meanwhile, to be certain of 
receiving such items, Colonel Cordiner 
early in May had submitted requisitions 
based on the requirements of 150,000 men. 
This confused situation contributed to a 
delay of some weeks in building up essential 
reserves. 45 

By the late spring of 1942 it was obvious 
that automatic supply was not working well 
in the Southwest Pacific. Excesses appeared 
in some stocks and shortages in others. In 
part these imbalances resulted from the diffi- 
culties encountered at the San Francisco 
Port of Embarkation in calculating replace- 
ment needs correctly. Marked variations 
in actual troop strength figures from those 
used by the port distorted its estimates, and 
further distortions were introduced by un- 
predictable day-by-day fluctuations in the 
consumption rate and by the impossibility 
of forecasting losses from ship sinkings, air 
attacks, inferior packing, unsuitable storage, 
and widespread pilferage. Most of all, stocks 
were unbalanced because of increased de- 
liveries of supplies bought in Australia and 
New Zealand. As the port of embarkation 
lacked complete information regarding such 

" (1) QM SWPA Hist, II, 18-19. (2) Control 
Div ASF, Development of the U.S. Supply Base in 
Australia, p. 44. 

"Rad, AGWAR (Somervell) to USAFIA, 28 
Apr 42. DRB AGO. 

,r 'Rad, AGWAR (Somervell) to USAFIA, 10 
June 42. DRB AGO. 

procurement, it could not adjust its ship- 
ments to reflect these purchases. 46 

By June the availability of more and 
more Australian food rendered the auto- 
matic system almost unworkable for that 
class of supply. The only ration components 
then needed in quantity from San Francisco 
were coffee, tea, cocoa, canned fish, tobacco, 
and a few other nonperishable elements of 
the B ration. 47 The position of clothing and 
general supply stocks was less satisfactory 
because of the prolonged uncertainty as to 
whether these items were being furnished 
automatically and because shipments made 
in January and February were based on 
78,000 men, whereas the area had actually 
supplied more than that number owing to 
its responsibility for furnishing many items 
to the South Pacific Area. For a time cloth- 
ing and general supplies became so scarce 
that issues were adequate only because some 
units arrived with replacement stocks and 
distress cargo furnished substantial quanti- 
ties of needed articles. 48 

In the South Pacific, as in the Southwest 
Pacific, automatic supply did not prove en- 
tirely satisfactory. The longer the system 
lasted the more unmanageable became the 
shortages and excesses. The fact that short- 
ages were the same at most supply centers 
precluded the better balancing of stocks by 
using excess accumulations of one center for 
filling the shortages of another. In January 
1943 the Quartermaster, SOS SPA, sub- 
mitted special requisitions on San Francisco 
to bring all his stocks up to prescribed levels, 

49 ( 1 ) Min, Jt Adm Ping Com USAFIA, Mar 42, 
pp. 2-3. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430.2. (2) Memo, 
Maj R. W. Hughes for Lt Col Edward F. Shepherd, 
QM 400. 

17 Memo cited n. 46(2). 

** ( 1 ) Questionnaire, HQ USASOS, 29 May 42, 
sub: Sup Spstem. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400. (2) 
QM SWPA Hist, II, 20. 



but several badly needed shipments did not 
arrive until July. 49 Not until the following 
month did requisitioning wholly supplant 
the automatic system. 50 

Shipment of Organizational 
Equipment and Supplies 

The movement of organizational items 
constituted a special form of automatic 
supply. According to established policy, 
units departing from the United States — or 
from Australia — were if possible to be ac- 
companied by the items needed for initial 
issues and by a sixty-day replacement stock 
of Quartermaster items. This method of 
supply was considered an indispensable 
safeguard against the unbalancing of stocks 
that would result if areas submitted requi- 
sitions covering the requirements of units 
under orders to proceed overseas and these 
units arrived in greater or less strength or 
earlier or later than expected. 

In practice this system did not always op- 
erate in the prescribed manner. Frequently, 
in the hectic months after Pearl Harbor, 
the shortage of ocean-going vessels and the 
numerically inadequate gangs of stevedores 
prevented the movement of organizational 
supplies in the same convoy with the out- 
going troops and forced the dispersion of 
such cargo among other convoys, some of 
which did not leave the West Coast for days 
or even weeks after the troops had sailed. 
The port was also often obliged to resort 
to "commercial loading" of organizational 
supplies — that is, the cargo was solidly 

4,1 ( 1 ) Memo, TQMG for ACofS for Opns SOS, 
27 Nov 42, sub: New Caledonia G-4 Rpt. OQMG 
POA 319.1. (2) Memo, QM SOS SPA for D/SS, 
21 Jun 43. ORB USAFINC G-4 430. 

''"Ltr, AG 430 (4-23-43) OB-S-SPOPI to CG 
SPA, 2 May 43, sub: Subs Sup, SPA. ORB 

stowed in order to secure maximum carry- 
ing capacity. Since solid stowing was the 
primary aim, items for different destinations 
and items of the various technical services 
were unavoidably intermingled. To make 
matters worse, overworked stevedores some- 
times had to move cargo directly from in- 
coming freight cars and hurriedly dump it 
into the holds of waiting vessels. 51 

These practices made the delivery of the 
proper organizational supplies to the proper 
overseas ports a hard task. Lt. Col. Joseph 
H. Burgheim, Task Force Quartermaster at 
Noumea, New Caledonia, reported in late 
April 1942 that shipments were so mixed 
that whole cargoes had to be discharged in 
order to locate the supplies consigned to 
New Caledonia. Supplies consigned to Aus- 
tralia and New Zealand of course had to be 
reloaded. Colonel Burgheim estimated that 
improper stowage of supplies had damaged 
about 25 percent of the total tonnage. Or- 
ganizational equipment, he added, seldom 
accompanied the troops. Truck companies 
lacked motor vehicles, bakery companies 
lacked ovens, and laundry companies lacked 
cleaning equipment. 52 Continued inability 
to match equipment and units in Australia 
led General MacArthur late in May 1943 to 
inform the San Francisco Port of Embarka- 
tion that for the time being all unit-marked 
supplies would be stored and, like other 
supplies, be issued only on requisition. 53 

To Pacific quartermasters the ideal solu- 
tion for this confused situation was "unit- 
loading," that is, the transportation of all 
organizational cargo on the ship that car- 

51 Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 270- 

51 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Lt Col Joseph H. Burgheim 
to Col Cordiner, 29 Apr 42. (2) Personal Ltr, Col 
Burgheim to Gen Gregory, 24 Feb 43. Both in 
OQMG POA 319.25. 

M Rad, CG SWPA to CG SFPOE, 27 May 43. 



ried the troops, or at least in the same con- 
voy, but this solution in general proved im- 
practicable. The Transportation Corps 
directed the port of embarkation to apply 
this method of loading as far as possible, but 
variations in the carrying capacity of troop 
transports and in the amount of unit sup- 
plies and equipment were too great to per- 
mit it as a standard practice. Since relatively 
more troops than supplies could be carried 
in a convoy, complete unit-loading was 
usually feasible only if some organizations 
were left behind. Later in the war port con- 
ditions in San Francisco at times allowed 
"selective loading," that is, the segregation 
of shipments by technical service and by 
general class of supply. Under this system 
of stowage, space was left in holds of vessels 
so that items could be taken off without 
moving the whole cargo. But the system was 
so time-consuming, tied up so many vessels, 
and so aggravated the shortage of bottoms 
that it could be used only sparingly. 54 

In many instances the large number of 
Pacific ports receiving supplies continued to 
force the shipment of consignments for two 
or more ports on the same vessel but with 
the whole cargo to be discharged at a single 
port. The latter procedure was particularly 
likely to be adopted if there was a large 
quantity of high-priority supplies for one 
port and a small quantity of low-priority 
supplies for another port. In that event all 
the cargo was likely to be discharged 
wherever the high-priority supplies were 
consigned. Quartermaster items destined for 
the Milne Bay base were repeatedly landed 
at Finschhafen; in this event, distribution of 
Quartermaster items from Milne Bay might 
be materially delayed. "The distribution sit- 
uation being what it is in this theater," de- 


Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 274- 

clared Capt. Robert D. Orr, OQMG 
observer, "it is almost an impossibility that 
the men and the equipment would show up 
at the same port at the same time unless they 
are together." 55 This state of affairs, though 
exasperating to quartermasters whose stocks 
might be unbalanced, was under the cir- 
cumstances unavoidable. 

In the last two years of hostilities delays in 
the arrival of organizational cargo grew 
shorter, but some divisions and other organi- 
zations — from Australia as well as from the 
United States — continued to reach New 
Guinea without essential equipment. 5 * 5 Fre- 
quently, even tents and cots, indispensable 
to the proper housing of troops, were not 
available for three weeks or more after units 
had arrived. In such cases, quartermasters 
in the base sections where the affected units 
landed issued these items from area replace- 
ment reserves. At times when many organ- 
izations were arriving in New Guinea, these 
reserves were indeed used mainly not for 
the replacement purposes for which they 
had been established but for initial issue to 
incoming units. 57 Yet cots and tentage were 
always in heavy replacement demand be- 
cause tropical mildewing hastened their de- 
terioration. They were needed in the first 
place because of the absence of permanent 
structures and the necessity of protection 
from the torrid sun, torrential downpours, 
deep mud, and disease-bearing insects. 
When large initial issues were added to these 
normal replacement requirements, acute 

M Ltr 32, Capt Orr to Gen Doriot, 13 Nov 44. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

H QM SWPA Hist, V, 44. 

57 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Col Cordiner to Col D. H. 
Cowles, OQMG, 12 May 43. OQMG SWPA 319.1. 
(2) Ltr, Sup Officer Sig Aircraft Warning Co to 
QM 36th Sv Gp, 29 Aug 43, sub: Lack of Tentage. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 422. (3) CG Fifth Air 
Force to CG USAFFE, 25 Sep 43, sub: Equipping 
Overseas Units. ORB USAFFE AG 475. 



shortages occasionally appeared. These 
would not have been particularly trouble- 
some if units had returned the tents and cots 
when their own equipment finally arrived, 
but they seldom made such returns. 58 

Late delivery of other types of organiza- 
tional equipment also inconvenienced units. 
Shortages of mess equipment, for example, 
impaired the ability of units to feed them- 
selves properly, but it did not make as deep 
inroads on area stocks as did belated receipt 
of textile materials. In June 1943 the Base 
Quartermaster at Port Moresby reported 
that his stocks were "being daily depleted 
by initial issues of cots, mosquito bars, and 
other critical items to troops arriving from 
the U.S. and the mainland." He added 
that "something drastic will have to be done 
to insure that troops either arrive here fully 
equipped or that our stocks be increased at 
once to meet their needs." 59 

Since ships could seldom be totally unit- 
loaded at San Francisco, General Mac- 
Arthur in October 1943 suggested that at 
least tentage and cots accompany troops de- 
parting from the United States. Maj. Gen. 
Charles P. Gross, Chief of Transportation, 
replied that converted passenger liners, 
which normally served as troop carriers, did 
not have enough cargo space to accommo- 
date these supplies but that small transports, 
which had served as freighters in peacetime, 
could often stow these items for discharge 
with organizations. MacArthur then re- 
quested that, if cots and tents could not ac- 
company a unit, they be forwarded before 
the troops embarked. Owing to the diver- 

" 8 ( 1 ) C. J. Magee et al., Scientific Liaison Bu- 
reau, Australian Army, Report on the Condition of 
Service Material Under Tropical Conditions in New 
Guinea (Melbourne, 1943), pp. 62-66. (2) Memo, 
CG U.S. Advance Base for QM et al., 27 Mar 43. 
ORB Base Sec 7 AG 424. 

,9 Ltr to QM Base Sec 3, 26 Jun 43. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 370.43. 

sion of most tents to the ETO for its pre- 
invasion supply build-up, even this arrange- 
ment could not always be followed. 60 

Throughout most of 1944 units in New 
Guinea were staged with inadequate tent- 
age or with tentage that would normally 
have been discarded as worthless. In the 
spring the arrival of a whole division and 
smaller organizations with but limited 
quantities of clothing and equipment mate- 
rially complicated supply conditions . At 
Finschhafen stocks of tents, cots, jungle 
clothing, trousers, jackets, and socks were 
wholly exhausted. In early April the Base 
Quartermaster reported that shortages of 
clothing, equipment, and general supplies 
had reached "alarming proportions." He 
added that it was "a physical impossibility 
to initially equip task forces or other units 
from maintenance stocks." 61 

From the standpoint of the QMC, the 
most unfortunate result of belated deliveries 
of organizational cargo was the arrival of 
Quartermaster units without their operat- 
ing equipment. This deficiency was espe- 
cially serious in late 1944, when the cam- 
paign for the recovery of the Philippines 
was beginning and the support of Quarter- 
master units was badly needed. In Decem- 
ber, for example, the 156th, 157th, and 
158th Bakery Companies landed at Hol- 
landia, but their baking equipment had been 
"shipped to an island in the Pacific Ocean 
areas and no equipment was available with- 
in the Theater for issue . . . inasmuch as 
the activation of four Quartermaster bakery 
companies had depleted" all oven stocks. 62 

60 (1) Rad, CINCSWPA to CG SFPOE, 12 Oct 

43. ORB AFWESPAC AG 400. (2) Masterson, 
Transportation in SWPA, pp. 280-82. 

01 (1) Ltr, Base QM to QM DISTBRA, 3 Apr 

44, sub: Status of Sups. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
424. (2) Rad, CINCSWPA to CG SFPOE, 26 Oct 

6 -QM SWPA Hist, VI, 56-57. 



The three newly arrived units had been des- 
ignated for early participation in the Philip- 
pine operations, but inability to carry out 
their assigned task obliged them to stay in 
New Guinea for several months.'" Another 
newly arrived bakery company proceeded 
to Leyte, but lack of standard ovens forced 
the employment of a discarded wood-burn- 
ing type in use of which it had no training/' 4 

Truck, like bakery, companies sometimes 
lacked essential organizational equipment. 
Only rarely could vehicleless units be 
equipped from area stocks, which were so 
small that few Quartermaster companies 
had even their full complement of 2/2 -ton 
trucks. The skilled services of these tech- 
nically experienced units were thus often lost 
for weeks, and their members were in the 
main employed as laborers on port jobs. De- 
spite their lack of training for such tasks, 
these troops carried out essential assign- 
ments that the Transportation Corps, suffer- 
ing, like the Quartermaster Corps, from a 
shortage of manpower, could not always 
accomplish with its own personnel. 65 

With comparatively few Quartermaster 
units in the Southwest Pacific, most of those 
arriving in 1 944 were assigned to direct sup- 
port of combat forces rather than to rear- 
area activities. But when these units landed 
without the tools for carrying out their mis- 
sion, it was taken over by organizations op- 
erating at busy supply bases. Quartermaster 

m ( 1 ) Rpt, Capt Philip F. Hurt, 22 Jan 45, sub: 
Hist Rpt, 156th QM Bakery Co. DRB AGO QMC- 
156-0.1. (2) Rpt, 1st Lt Mack Gilbert, 25 Apr 45, 
sub: Hist Summary, 26 Mar-25 Apr 45, 157th QM 
Bakery Co. DRB AGO QMC-157-0.2. (3) Rpt, 1st 
Lt Robert Summers, n. d., sub: Yearly Hist Sum- 
mary for 1945. 158th QM Bakery Co. DRB AGO 

'" Ltr cited n. 55. 

" 5 (1) Ltr, G-4 SWPA to CG USAFFE, 17 Sep 
44, sub: Svc Organizations. ORB USAFFE AG 
321.2. (2) Rpt, CO 169th QM Bn, Mbl, 25 Nov 44, 
sub: Hist, 26 Oct-25 Nov 44. DRB AGO. 

base functions were thus impaired just at 
the time rear installations were immersed in 
the important task of forwarding supplies 
to the troops fighting on Leyte and Luzon/' 6 
Meanwhile, in March 1944, the War De- 
partment took drastic action to solve the 
problem of organizational supplies and 
equipment. It recommended the discon- 
tinuance of the shipment of a 60-day con- 
signment of rations, clothing, equipment, 
and general supplies with troops going to 
the Southwest Pacific and the basing of area 
requisitions not only on actual troop 
strength, as was then the general practice, 
but also on the number of men under orders 
to proceed to the area. With these modifica- 
tions of established procedures there would 
be, the War Department maintained, no 
need for supplies to accompany units. In- 
sofar as the Quartermaster Corps was con- 
cerned, it concurred in these recommenda- 
tions with reservations as to the movement 
of food. Because of internal distribution 
problems, springing from the shortage of 
intra-area shipping, it proposed that organi- 
zations continue to be accompanied by a 60- 
day supply of B rations, a 2-day supply of C 
rations, and a 1-day supply of D rations. 
The new system went into effect on 1 Oc- 
tober. By making what were actually initial 
issue stocks of clothing, equipment, and 
general supplies part of the authorized re- 
placement reserves, it appreciably eased the 
pressure on Pacific stocks. 67 

Block Ships 

During the first half of the war, combat 
troops in operational areas received needed 
items, whether for initial or replenishment 
supply, chiefly from island bases. The Ad- 

" Rpt, Brig Gen William F. Campbell, 10 Jan 45, 
sub: Activities of OCQM, Dec 44, p. 9. DRB AGO. 
07 QM SWPA Hist, V, 9-10. 



miralties operation illustrated how costly in 
both time and labor this method of support 
could be. Supplies for that offensive were 
loaded in San Francisco, discharged and re- 
loaded at Brisbane and again at Oro Bay. 
Part of the cargo even underwent this waste- 
ful procedure a third time at Finschhafen. 
There were two major reasons for all this 
rehandling. For one thing, since regular 
cargoes from the United States and Aus- 
tralia usually contained items for base re- 
serve stocks as well as for combat operations, 
the two groups had to be separated. For 
another, the incessant pressure for prompt 
turnabout of freighters made some re- 
handling inevitable. Unloading could be 
averted only by keeping fully laden vessels 
in port for weeks and utilizing them in effect 
as floating warehouses — an unsatisfactory 
practice that intensified the scarcity of bot- 
toms on the West Coast. 68 In other respects, 
too, the system of supplying combat areas 
from Pacific bases was defective. Since 
bases did not have an adequate number of 
service troops, vessels departing for opera- 
tional areas were seldom loaded in a fashion 
that facilitated rapid discharge. Classes of 
supply were mixed, and individual items 
were hard to locate because of the frequent 
inaccuracy of manifests and stowage plans. 
Among Quartermaster items such essential 
supplies as ration components and replace- 
ment parts for warehouse, bakery, and cook- 
ing equipment were often among those 
which could not be found readily. Worst of 
all, undermanned and overworked bases 
were often obliged to leave unloaded low- 
priority items, such as clothing. 69 

In an effort to correct some of these 
weaknesses in the logistical support of op- 

c8 Min, Base Sec Comdrs Conf, 24-26 Mar 44, 
pp. 24-25. DRB AGO, ASF Files. 
69 Ibid., pp. 26-30. 

erational forces, the "block system of sup- 
ply" was developed to simplify and stand- 
ardize at least the provision of replenish- 
ment items needed by operational troops 
after the small stocks accompanying them 
on their first landings had been exhausted. 
This system was distinguished by use of West 
Coast ports, rather than inadequate Pacific 
bases, for shipments direct to combat areas 
without rehandling, and, above all, by the 
eventual development of various "blocks" 
of supplies. Each block consisted mainly or 
wholly of one general supply class, such as 
food or clothing. All types were based upon 
standardized lists of items prepared by the 
technical services, each service determining 
which of its items, if any, were to be in- 
cluded. The quantities of the individual 
items provided for each type were ordinarily 
expressed in terms of the requirements of 
1,000 men for a given period of time and 
could thus be raised or lowered in line with 
the particular requirements of an operation. 
Once established, the types could be requi- 
sitioned from the zone of interior in sup- 
port of one operation after another simply 
by submission of the numbers or code names 
assigned to the required types. The block 
system thus eliminated to a considerable ex- 
tent the tedious process of determining pre- 
cisely what items and how much of each was 
needed for the resupply of each new opera- 
tion and of then requisitioning them from 
the San Francisco Port of Embarkation. 
In some respects the new system was indeed 
analogous to automatic supply. It had the 
further advantage of making possible the 
adoption of standard plans for the stowage 
of each type of block. 

Block shipments enabled everyone "from 
the task force commander to the officer in 
charge of a warehouse or on duty at a dock" 



to ascertain readily from published lists and 
stowage plans "what was on each vessel and 
where it was loaded." This advantage, as- 
serted Lt. Col. Fred W. Greene, whose ac- 
tivities in the Southwest Pacific were con- 
cerned largely with block movements, "is 
one which, notwithstanding repeated efforts, 
was not attained throughout the war by any 
other method of supply, and is of the utmost 
importance if efficient logistical support is 
to be provided." Block shipments, he added, 
"assured new equipment and supplies to the 
combat troops, took the burden of loading 
hundreds of ships under adverse conditions 
and placed this task on United States ports 
and depots operating with expert personnel 
and the finest of equipment and facilities." 70 
The block system was first employed in 
the Central Pacific during the Gilberts op- 
eration of November 1943 and in the South- 
west Pacific during the Hollandia operation 
of April 1944. In the last year and a half 
of hostilities it served as a major means of 
replenishing combat supplies in the am- 
phibious campaigns of both these areas. The 
old system of making shipments from Pa- 
cific bases was still utilized for provision of 
the initial stocks that task forces took with 
them and even for provision of some replace- 
ment supplies. For the latter purposes, block 
ships increasingly were employed. They 
were, indeed, often termed "resupply ships." 
Some of these vessels were loaded in Hawaii 
and Australia, but most were loaded on the 
West Coast where the required items were 
obtainable in greater quantity and diversity. 
In June 1944 it was estimated that the new 
system had reduced transshipments in the 
Southwest Pacific by 70 percent and ton- 

70 Greene, QMR, XXVI (January-February 
1947), 36. 

nage handled at USASOS bases by 15 
percent. 71 

By then block ships had become so im- 
portant in the replenishment of Quarter- 
master items that they were described as 
"the backbone of Quartermaster supply of 
operations." They occasionally even sup- 
ported troops at points remote from ordi- 
nary sources of replenishment. 72 Since the 
QMC carried more items consumed at a 
predictable rate than any other technical 
service, it was the service most affected by 
the new system, which by the time plans 
were drawn for the proposed Olympic as- 
sault on Kyushu in November 1945 was ex- 
pected to furnish about 90 percent of 
Quartermaster replacement stocks.' 3 

In the Southwest Pacific similarly loaded 
"standard block ships," several of which 
were ordinarily utilized in an operation, 
constituted the major type of block ship. 
These vessels transported two "standard 
blocks, " based at first on those which had 
been employed in the Gilberts and Mar- 
shall operations but afterwards substan- 
tially modified in line with tactical experi- 
ence. Each block, set up to meet the 
requirements of 10,000 troops, embraced 
most of the articles that combat soldiers 
needed during the thirty days normally re- 
quired to consolidate their positions. Since 
Quartermaster items made up about 85 
percent of the cargo, standard block vessels 
were often termed "Quartermaster resup- 
ply ships." Their food cargo was usually 
broken down into 500,000 B rations and 
100,000 packaged combat rations, but exact 
quantities varied with time and place. The 

71 Ltr, QM Sec Distr Br INTERSEC to CQM 
USASOS, 27 Jun 44, sub: Standard Block Ships. 

72 QM SWPA Hist, VI, 15. 

71 Sixth Army AdminO 18, 16 Jul 45, Annex I, 
QM Plan, p. 2. ORB Sixth Army G-4 560 
(Olympic) . 



petroleum cargo consisted principally of oils, 
greases, kerosene, and range fuel. At first 
motor and diesel fuel oil were included, but 
as considerable amounts of these items were 
shipped with the initial assault troops and 
dispensed in bulk by shore installations, they 
were eventually eliminated. 

Sixth Army experience early revealed a 
need for larger quantities of some items 
than had been originally carried in standard 
blocks. At Leyte it was found that more 
petroleum products and more shoes and 
clothing should have been provided. There 
was even need for such prosaic articles as 
pencils, ink, typewriters, and writing paper. 
To meet these proven requirements, a thirty- 
day replacement stock of scarce items of 
clothing, footwear, and general supply items 
which helped promote individual morale 
or organizational efficiency was added to the 
cargo. 74 

In terms of bulk, petroleum products con- 
stituted from the outset more than half the 
standard block. Rations formed the next 
largest class of supply while clothing and 
general supply items made up a considerably 
smaller part. In June 1944 petroleum prod- 
ucts totaled about 4,800 measurement tons; 
rations, about 2,500 tons; and clothing and 
general supplies, only about 250 tons. By 
the following February the need for larger 
loadings of the latter category was more 
fully recognized, and it in general consti- 
tuted a substantially larger proportion of 
the cargo. Such variations were unavoidable 
in view of the experimental nature of block 
movements and the inability to develop im- 

7< (1) Ibid. (2) Min, Base Sec Comdrs Conf, 
3-5 Mar 44, pp. 57-59. ORB AFWESPAC AG 
334. (3) Ltr, CG USASOS to CG INTERSEC, 6 
Jul 44, sub: Sup of Alamo Task Forces. ORD 
ABCOM AG 420. 

mediately a wholly acceptable listing of the 
most essential supplies. 76 

The standard block vessels in any particu- 
lar operation carried the same items, an ar- 
rangement known as "spread or balanced 
loading." This method of shipment had the 
virtue of distributing risks, for if one vessel 
was sunk, all supplies of the same type were 
not lost. For this reason standard block ships 
were utilized mainly for resupply move- 
ments during the opening stages of an opera- 
tion, when danger from the enemy was 
greatest. Actually, they were "assault stage 
ships." Leaving the United States on a stag- 
gered schedule, they reached their destina- 
tion at more or less regular intervals during 
the first month or two of a campaign. If 
conditions were favorable, they landed their 
cargoes at once ; if unfavorable, they lay off- 
shore until called forward for discharge. 76 

After standard block ships provided ini- 
tial replacement stores of the most com- 
monly used items, "solid block ships," so 
called because they usually carried only one 
class of supply, brought in most of the items 
needed for resupply. Twelve types of these 
vessels were developed for Southwest Pacific 
Area participation in the planned Olympic 
operation. Type B, for example, was to 
carry B rations, combat rations, and PX 
articles; Type C, all kinds of petroleum 
products in drums, which would be landed 
early in the operation, when bulk-dispensing 
installations would not yet be functioning; 
Type D, discharging its cargo after the land- 
ing had been secured, was to carry petro- 
leum items not handled by bulk installa- 
tions; and Type E, clothing and general 
supplies. Altogether the Southwest Pacific 
Area developed more than 100 blocks, 

" Memo, CO Base M for ACofS G-4 Sixth 
Army, 28 Feb 45. ORB Sixth Army Journal, Vol. 

"Ltr cited n. 71. 



which, if properly distributed among the 
various sorts of resupply ships, would give 
almost any desired loading. 77 

The Pacific Ocean Areas also developed 
a large number of blocks, but they did not 
employ a standard block vessel under that 
name. They did obtain, however, the equiv- 
alent of this vessel by carrying on identically 
loaded freighters all classes of supply except 
petroleum products, which were handled by 
the Navy. Blocks were based at first on the 
requirements of 1,000 men for 20 days, but 
as the magnitude of operations grew, a 30- 
day period was applied. In Pacific Ocean 
Areas operations from the Gilberts to Iwo 
Jima the principal Quartermaster blocks 
were those designated A, AA, A-l, A-2, A-3, 
A-4, B, and C-l. Block A consisted of in- 
dividual and organizational equipment; 
block AA, of B rations, combat rations, and 
ration accessory packs; block A-l, of a wide 
selection of clothing and general utility ar- 
ticles; block A-2, of laundry supplies; block 
A-3, of shoe repair supplies; block A-4, of 
field range repair parts; block B, of B ra- 
tions; and block C-l, of PX items. 78 

On the basis of combat experience the 
Tenth Army and the Central Pacific Base 
Command thoroughly revised Pacific Ocean 
Areas blocks for the impending Okinawa 
campaign, which was expected to be a more 
formidable undertaking than any previous 
offensive against Japanese forces. Old blocks 
were combined to form new ones, and the 
listings of items and quantities were dras- 
tically modified. The new blocks included 
four for subsistence — a Q-l block, composed 

" 7 ( 1 ) Min, Base Sec Comdrs Conf, 3-5 Mar 44, 
p. 56. ORB AFWESPAC AG 334. (2) Ltr, CG 
USAFFE to CG USASOS, 14 Dec 44, sub: Sup of 
U.S. Forces in SWPA. ORB AFPAC GPB. ( 3 ) Sixth 
Army AdminO 18, QM Plan, 16 Jul 45. 

'* The components of these blocks are given in 
that section of the Appendix of the QM Mid-Pac 
History pertaining to Chapter II, Section 3. 

entirely of B rations, of which about 170,- 
000 were carried ; a Q-2 block, consisting of 
90,000 rations of the 10-in-l type, 54,000 C 
rations, and 36,000 K rations, or 180,000 
combat rations in all, enough to fill the de- 
mands of 6,000 men for 30-days; a Q-3 
block, made up of 100,000 special twenty- 
ounce rations, based on the customary 
Okinawan diet and intended for civilians 
made destitute by battle damage; and a Q-4 
block, composed of emergency supplies, such 
as D rations, flight rations, hospital rations, 
and salt tablets, and of a few items always 
in heavy demand, such as bread and coffee. 
Four blocks were set aside for clothing, foot- 
wear, and general supplies of all sorts — a 
Q-5 block, providing clothing, tentage, 
laundry supplies, and shoe repair equip- 
ment, all of which had formerly been fur- 
nished by A-l, A-2, and A-3 blocks; a Q-6 
block, devoted to field range repair parts; 
and two special blocks, consisting, respec- 
tively, of PX items and miscellaneous spare 
parts. 79 Enough supplies to last 30 days were 
to accompany the assault troops going to 
Okinawa, but in computing replenishment 
needs a 30-day safety factor, designed to 
compensate for combat and other unforsee- 
able losses, was provided by assuming the 
total loss of initial supplies and calculating 
replacement requirements from L Day, the 
date of the first landings, rather than from L 
plus 29. Block ships would thus carry enough 
materials to take care of emergency as well 
as ordinary replacement requirements. 80 

In previous operations resupply ships, 
coming from the United States at intervals 
of five to ten days, had arrived offshore 
shortly after an operation started. In the 

78 (1) QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 253-54, 259. (2) 
Ltr, CG Tenth Army to CG Army Garrison Force 
Okinawa, 12 Jun 45, sub: Loading of Resup Ships. 
ORB Tenth Army AG 400. 

80 Tenth Army Action Rpt, 11 -XVI- 14. 



Okinawan campaign it was planned to ob- 
tain greater flexibility of shipping move- 
ments by assembling the vessels at regulat- 
ing stations on Ulithi in the Carolines and 
at Eniwetok in the Marshalls and calling 
them forward as supplies were needed on 
shore. Because provision of normal field 
rations was expected to be difficult during 
the first few weeks of the operation, twice 
as many combat as B rations were to be 
brought in by the first set of resupply ves- 
sels. Twenty-three Q-2 blocks of C, K, and 
10-in-l rations, representing a 20-day sup- 
ply for 205,000 men, were to be shipped 
as compared with only twelve Q-l blocks of 
B rations, representing a 10-day supply. 
Eleven Q-4 blocks of specialized types of 
emergency rations were also included in 
the early shipments. Since it was assumed 
that tactical conditions would allow the pro- 
vision of more field rations after the lapse 
of 30 days, the second set of resupply ship- 
ments was to carry an equal number of Q-l 
and Q-2 blocks, each containing a 10-day 
supply. sl 

Troublesome operational conditions dur- 
ing the opening days of the Okinawa cam- 
paign precluded the execution of this plan 
in its original form. Interruption of un- 
loading activities by sharp air raids and 
heavy storms, the hurried opening of un- 
scheduled supply centers for immediate sup- 
port of the attack, and the cluttered state 
of the beaches caused shipping to pile up at 
discharge points and kept vessels from un- 
loading according to schedule. Food dumps 
on shore contained only scanty stores, and 
rations could not always be issued in desired 
quantities. These unfavorable developments 
were not attributable to want of block ships 
but resulted from unforeseen obstacles to 

QM Mid-Pac Hist, App. to Ch. II, Sec. 3. 

speedy discharge of cargoes and from poor 
transportation conditions on shore. 82 

The proper stowage of cargo, especially 
rations, was perhaps the most vexatious 
problem connected with the block system. 
The QMC was concerned primarily with 
easy accessibility of supplies for rapid dis- 
charge according to established unloading 
priorities. But the order of loading was not 
a mere matter of preference or convenience. 
An improperly loaded vessel might roll over 
or break in two in a storm, and the port of 
embarkation had to consider, first of all, the 
safety of the ship. Next it had to consider 
the maximum utilization of scarce cargo 
space by the stowage of supplies according 
to their intrinsic nature as bottom cargo, 
between-deck cargo, or top cargo. These 
considerations were often difficult to recon- 
cile with the desire of the QMC for easy 
accessibility to its supplies. The Corps par- 
ticularly objected to the stowage of low- 
priority items on top, for this arrangement 
made it necessary to discharge these items 
first in order to reach food and other sup- 
plies. From its standpoint the best method 
of loading rations was directly on top of ve- 
hicles and other heavy equipment in not 
more than two hatches, but such stowage 
was not consistent with quick loading or 
with the most efficient utilization of space, 
which demanded that rations be put on the 
bottom with heavy equipment on top in 
hatch squares directly under the ship's load- 
ing gear. Bottom loading of food was there- 
fore adopted for most block movements. If 
care was exercised, this type of stowage 
could be used without injury to rations, 
which were, in fact, seldom damaged. The 
problem of prompt discharge of food in op- 

82 Tenth Army Action Rpt, ll-IV-18, 20, 41, 55; 



erational areas remained, however, largely 
unsolved. 83 

In the Leyte operation standard block 
ships arrived with heavy deck cargoes and 
with miscellaneous equipment placed in the 
holds on top of Quartermaster supplies. 
This method of stowage, it was estimated, 
held up the discharge of rations by as 
much as five days. 84 Worse still, some of the 
ships arrived without the expected packaged 
rations. In large measure this omission was 
responsible for the shortage of emergency 
rations during the Leyte operation. 

During the drive on Manila in January 
and February 1945 the base at Lingayen 
Gulf reported that although standard block 
ships, just in from the United States with 
1,525 tons of rations, were "having deck 
loads and top loads discharged, they are 
not capable of producing any Class I sup- 
ply while once solid rations are reached it 
is possible to discharge 500 tons of rations 
per day from a single ship." 85 Though an 
average of 795 tons of rations a day was 
unloaded from all vessels between 19 Jan- 
uary and 24 February, or 95 tons more than 
the average daily requirements of 213,000 
men, the rate of issue fluctuated because of 
the irregular rate of daily discharge, and 
occasionally fell a good deal below the de- 
sired amount. In both the Southwest Pa- 
cific and the Central Pacific wider utiliza- 
tion of block ships loaded solidly with ra- 
tions was suggested as the proper solution. 86 

83 ( 1 ) Ltr, Vet to Surg INTERSEC, 25 Mar 44, 
sub: Shpmt of Food to New Guinea. ORB ABCOM 
P&C 430. (2) Memo, CTO for G-4 USASOS, 26 
Apr 44, same sub. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. 

"' (1) Sixth Army Leyte Rpt, p. 243. OCMH. 
(2) Rpt, Maj Robert E. Graham, 1 Dec 44, sub: 
King II Opn. ORB USAFINC AG 370.2. 

*" Memo cited n. 75. 

H " See, for example, Ltr, CG Tenth Army to CG 
Army Garrison Force Okinawa, 12 Jun 45, sub: 
Loading of Resup Ships. ORB Tenth Army AG 

In addition to the difficulty of discharg- 
ing specific kinds of supplies promptly, other 
problems were also involved in the use of 
block ships. Though helping to furnish items 
not obtainable from frequently unbalanced 
base stocks, they furthered the unbalancing 
of stocks in Pacific commands as a whole. 
Inclusion in the ration components loaded 
in block ships at San Francisco of those 
items obtainable in Australia and New Zea- 
land created on the area level excess sup- 
plies of flour, sugar, and other foods heavily 
procured in these countries. For a time in 
the summer of 1944 standard block ships 
therefore ceased to carry these components 
and filled the space thus left vacant with 
several hundred tons of cargo so stowed as 
to be easily discharged at bases in New 
Guinea. On arriving at these installations 
the general cargo was taken off and the 
missing components added. 87 

Some officers charged with the distribu- 
tion of food in the Southwest Pacific be- 
lieved that this attempt to solve the prob- 
lem of area stock levels did not go far 
enough. They even doubted the wisdom of 
block shipments direct to operational areas. 
Col. Fred L. Hamilton, director of the Dis- 
tribution Division, contended that these 
shipments gave his agency too little latitude 
in controlling the supply of food. He recom- 
mended that all rations from the United 
States be sent to Australia and placed in 
subsistence depots, which would assume full 
responsibility for providing complete rations 
to all consuming centers. This would mean 
that block cargoes leaving the West Coast 
for combat zones would contain no food. 

MT ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Col Cary B. Hutchinson to 
Col Fred L. Hamilton, 14 Jul 44. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to CG SFPOE, 5 Aug 44, sub: Class I 
Items for Resup Ships. Both in ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 430.2. 



Maj. Gen. James L. Frink, Commanding 
General, USASOS, maintained that this 
plan would cause delay and unnecessary re- 
handling in getting food to consuming 
troops. 88 Accordingly, it was never put into 
effect. Partial loading in New Guinea was 
itself feasible only so long as that island was 
the center of combat activity in the South- 
west Pacific. As operations shifted to the 
Philippines, where there were at first no fully 
functioning bases, it was abandoned and 
ships departed from the United States com- 
pletely loaded. 

There was still another objection to block 
movements. If used indefinitely for resup- 
plying operational areas, they created short- 
ages and excesses in these areas as well as in 
the theater as a whole. Colonel Greene esti- 
mated that three months — at the maximum, 
five months — constituted the longest period 
for which they could be profitably em- 
ployed. By the end of that period unpredict- 
able requirements and losses — the bane of 
all forms of automatic shipment — would 
throw stores out of balance. Normal requisi- 
tioning would then be necessary to adjust 
stock levels. 89 

Rations shipped direct to consuming cen- 
ters were naturally fresher than food stocks 
built up at established bases by the slow 
processes of ordinary requisitioning and 
held in warehouses for many months. Block 
shipments in consequence often created a 
divergence in the age of food eaten in for- 
ward and rear areas. As early as August 
1944, Captain Orr noted that stocks at and 
west of Finschhafen were fresher than those 
in areas east of that base. As operations 

S8 (l) Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 13 Jul 
44, sub: Resup Ships. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. 
( 2 ) Personal Ltr cited n. 87 ( 1 ) . 

89 Greene, QMR, XXVI (January-February 
1947), p. 70. 

moved northward, this contrast became 
more marked. 90 

Finally, block movements had the disad- 
vantage of increasing the workload of the 
already heavily burdened San Francisco 
Port of Embarkation. That installation had 
to handle alterations made in block compo- 
nents by the ordering areas and assemble the 
blocks as the supplies came in from the 
depots. Resupply movements, in fact, trans- 
ferred from Pacific bases to the West Coast 
ports much of the paper work required to 
get replenishment supplies into the hands of 
operational forces. 91 

Despite its disadvantages the block system 
materially alleviated the difficulties encoun- 
tered in the supply of combat troops and in 
the handling and storage of materials at in- 
adequately equipped bases. The value of 
block ships was attested by Col. James C. 
Longino, Deputy Quartermaster of the 
Sixth Army during its most active combat 
period. They were, he declared, far superior 
to the ordinary vessels from Australia that 
supplied operational forces before the ad- 
vent of the block system. As many Quarter- 
master items, unavailable at Australian 
bases, were supposedly stocked in New 
Guinea, these vessels had often been routed 
to advance bases in order to complete their 
cargoes. But the bases, according to Lon- 
gino, "either couldn't or didn't balance the 
cargo as contemplated." 92 Nor were mate- 
rials always unloaded at the designated 
points; sometimes, because most of the sup- 
plies were consigned to one service at a 
single point, the entire cargo was discharged 
there. This practice added to shortages and 

"°Rpt 18, Capt Orr, 30 Aug 44, sub: Misc QM 
Matters, p. 3. ORB NUGSEC QM 319. 

91 Ping Div, Office of Dir of Plans and Opns, ASF, 
Hist of Ping Div, ASF, II, 197-98. 

92 Personal Ltr, Col Longino to Gen Doriot, 23 
May 45. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 



excesses existing at advance installations, 
and meals became unbalanced. "Protests 
from long suffering troops," declared Colo- 
nel Longino, "brought replies that the bases 
had been supposed to do thus and so." But 
there was "little or no improvement," he 
continued, "until we began to receive bal- 
ance loaded resupply ships from the U.S. 
If credit can be given to any one individual 
for that, he should certainly have a DSM." 93 
Similar in some respects to automatic 
supply, block loading was superior to that 
system in that it "permitted theaters to con- 
trol quantities and the rate of flow by order- 
ing blocks forward as needed." 94 It thereby 
corrected in part the most flagrant weakness 
of the older system, the absence of overseas 
control over the incoming stream of ma- 
terials. Though block loading unbalanced 
theater stocks, it did not do so quite as 
rapidly as automatic supply. For several 
months it was a reasonably efficient tool. 
This fact led some observers to believe that 
it might solve the problem of supplying 
newly established overseas areas during the 
period when they were still too unorganized 
to secure stocks by normal requisitioning. 
Colonel Greene suggested that block loading 
might also be employed to stock isolated 
army or division supply points far from dis- 
tribution bases. "Unless," he added, "our 
concept of war is completely changed, sup- 
ply by the block-ship system will be among 
the first of our new developments to be 
utilized in the event of another conflict." 95 

In evaluating the work of the zone of in- 
terior in supplying Quartermaster items to 
the Pacific areas, the most important fact is 

m Ibid. 

"' Ping Div, Office of Dir of Plans and Opns, 
ASF, Hist of Ping Div, ASF, II, 200. 

05 Greene, QMR, XXVI (January-February 
1947), 36, 70. 

that despite the difficulties encountered in 
the movement of cargoes from the West 
Coast the Army in general had been satisfac- 
torily supported. However exasperating the 
delays met in completing requisitions and in 
handling automatic supply, organizational 
shipments, and block movements, supply ac- 
complishments compared favorably with 
those of the Civil War, the Spanish- Ameri- 
can War, and World War I. This was espe- 
cially true, once American industry had 
been fully geared to peak military produc- 
tion and more ships had become available. 
Logistical troubles in the Pacific resulted 
more from internal problems than they did 
from supply deficiencies at home. Insofar as 
weaknesses appeared in support from the 
zone of interior, they had been produced 
largely by incomplete preparedness for war 
waged simultaneously against two powerful 
and widely separated foes who had so 
strongly intrenched themselves in vast con- 
quered territories that their home citadels, 
the main sources of their military strength, 
could not be reduced without first liberating 
distant lands in protracted and difficult 
campaigns. In part, too, supply failures re- 
sulted from planning and organizational de- 
fects inevitable in an untried army just 
learning in the hard school of experience 
what the problems of amphibious warfare 
were and how they ought to be dealt with. 
The vast volume of supplies shipped to 
Pacific destinations attested to the vigorous 
support the zone of interior rendered the 
forces fighting Japan. From the beginning 
of 1942 to the close of that year, Quarter- 
master cargo shipped from the United States 
to the Southwest Pacific amounted to 353,- 
023 measurement tons, or 47 percent of total 
Army movements of 767,589 measurement 
tons. Quartermaster shipments in 1943 
came to 466,763 tons, representing only 



about 16 percent of the 2,802,877 tons of 
Army cargo — a marked decline in the Quar- 
termaster proportion, probably caused by 
increased reliance upon Australian produc- 
tion. In the following months, as troop 
strength soared and local procurement fell 
in importance, Quartermaster cargo 
reached much higher levels. In 1944 it 
amounted to 1,863,654 tons and in 1945 to 
the end of June to 1 ,354,658 tons, represent- 
ing nearly 30 percent of all Army cargo. 96 
From the standpoint of the QMC the most 
serious drawback in the movement of its 
cargo was that a large part of it had low 
shipment priorities and was consequently 

often held in port for days. But the most 
important consideration was that, whether 
speedily or slowly, Quartermaster supplies 
and equipment were made available to the 
Pacific areas. Valuable though local pro- 
curement became in the Southwest Pacific, 
it furnished from the outset of hostilities to 
the end of June 1945 only 1,704,389 meas- 
urement tons of Quartermaster supplies as 
compared with the 4,038,098 tons shipped 
from American ports during the same pe- 
riod. 97 Quite obviously, Quartermaster sup- 
port in the Pacific largely depended on sup- 
ply from the United States. Without it, the 
Corps could not have carried out its mission. 

Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, App. 21. 

(1) Ibid. (2) Hester Rpt, p. 3. 


Storage, Transportation, and 
Packing Problems 

The distribution of Quartermaster ma- 
teriel to forward bases and supply points was 
marked by unusual difficulties stemming 
partly from the perishable nature of many 
items and partly from the unfavorable con- 
ditions under which distribution activities 
were conducted. Nowhere in the forward 
areas were truly appropriate storage facili- 
ties available. Outside Oahu, New Zealand, 
and Australia what passed as "covered" 
storage seldom furnished adequate protec- 
tion. Actually, most supplies were kept more 
or less in the open, where they were exposed 
to the destructive effects of tropical heat, 
moisture, and insects. Poor packing, which 
did not adequately protect supplies from 
rough handling and the hazards of tropical 
storage, further intensified distribution 

Quartermaster Storage 

Plans for Quartermaster storage in for- 
ward areas usually called for nothing more 
than insubstantial, quickly built structures, 
which were assigned the lowest building pri- 
orities. By the time the Corps of Engineers 
had completed airfields, docks, roads, hos- 
pitals, and higher headquarters, months had 
often elapsed, and construction materials 

and equipment were needed for similar 
tasks at new bases. Frequently, Engineers 
could do no more than put up the frame- 
work of Quartermaster buildings; some- 
times they could not do even this. Quar- 
termaster units themselves, with the help 
of native laborers, were often obliged to 
complete what Engineers had started; occa- 
sionally, they even had to erect the structures 
from start to finish. Such emergency opera- 
tions seldom furnished storage suitable in 
either quality or quantity. 

For six months or more after the estab- 
lishment of a base, most Quartermaster sup- 
plies were placed in open dumps. The pri- 
mary consideration in choosing the location 
of these dumps was that they be situated as 
near as possible to landing points in order to 
facilitate prompt discharge of vessels and in- 
sure maximum utilization of available 
trucks. As areas surfaced with concrete, as- 
phalt, cinders, or crushed stones were sel- 
dom in existence during this period, supplies 
were simply dumped on the ground, where 
they were exposed to the full glare of the 
sun, soaked in the rain, and bogged down 
in the mud. Owing to the need for quick 
discharge of ships and the comparative 
scarcity of service troops, supplies were at 
times hurled into these dumps without seg- 



THATCHED ROOF WAREHOUSES provided some protection against the elements at 
Quartermaster depots. 

regation as to type. 1 In July 1943, the 
OCQM sent Maj. Carl R. Fellers, head of 
the laboratory in the Subsistence Depot, to 
New Guinea to observe supply conditions. 
He found large quantities of rations piled on 
low ground unsuitable for storage purposes. 
At Port Moresby rain from neighboring hills 
"flowed through the dump and actually 
covered several tiers of canned foods." At 
Milne Bay, too, open storage areas were "ex- 
tremely muddy." Major Fellers concluded 
that up to then it had been "physically im- 
possible to protect subsistence stocks from 
serious and rapid deterioration." 2 While 
the New Guinea bases at this time had just 

1 (1) Rpt, 1st Lt Robert A. Moody, 23 Jun 43, 
sub: Canned Food. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430. 
(2) Rpt, Maj Carl R. Fellers, 7 Aug 43, sub: Subs 
Condition of Advance Bases. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 333.1. 

- Pp. 2-3 of Rpt cited n. 1(2). 

selected sites for new dumps on well-located 
land, most of the proposed facilities would 
not be completed before the beginning of 
1944, a year or more after the installations 
had been established. 

In the meantime rude shacks, thatched 
with nipa leaves and other native materials, 
were as far as possible substituted for un- 
protected open storage. At first few of these 
makeshift structures were built as service 
troops could not be spared from the more 
immediately pressing tasks of loading and 
discharging supplies. With the help of native 
laborers many thatched structures were 
eventually constructed. 3 Modeled upon 
native huts and known as "bures" ware- 
houses, they varied in size, but all were 

'Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 28 Jan 43, 
sub: Rations in New Guinea. ORB ABCOM GP&C 




based upon a framework of coconut or bam- 
boo poles and cross bracings, with a gabled 
roof and with the sides and top covered with 
nipa strips. They had no floors and at best 
furnished imperfect shelter for food and 
clothing. 4 

When imported milled lumber became 
available, it was utilized instead of thatch 
and rude local poles to construct sturdier 
warehouses. The food warehouses, the best 
at Milne Bay, were somewhat larger than 
most of the other warehouses, measuring 
about 200 feet long and 30 feet wide. Unlike 
similar buildings elsewhere in the Pacific, 
they had concrete floors and corrugated 
roofs. They had, however, only the simplest 
wood frameworks. The middle sections of 
these narrow structures were sometimes uti- 
lized as runways, a practice that absorbed as 
much as 40 percent of the space. At Guadal- 
canal, Oro Bay, and Port Moresby the eaves 
were projected so as to render end and side 
walls unnecessary. This expedient enabled 
trucks to drive directly alongside stacked 
supplies and so eliminated wide central 
aisles. 5 

Some bases used quonset huts and pre- 
fabricated wood or steel warehouses, but 
these structures were never available in large 
numbers and on the whole were not very 
practicable. Generally measuring only about 
20 by 120 feet, they provided little space. 
They had, moreover, no floors. As the tin 
roofs generated too much heat to permit the 

4 ( 1 ) Ltr, COMSOPAC to Comdr U.S. Naval 
Forces in Europe, 2 May 43, sub: Construction of 
Bldgs in New Caledonia. ORB USAFINC AG 600. 
(2) Hq SOS SPA, Storage in Tropics, passim, 1 
Oct 43-31 Mar 44. DRB AGO Vault SPA (Or- 
ganizational Hist, SOS SPA). 

5 ( 1 ) Ltr, QM Base A to CQM USASOS, 9 Oct 
43. (2) Daily Diary, Capt Thomas J. Doyle, Field 
Inspection Team, 12 Jan 44. Both in ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 319.1. (3) Rpt, Lt Col D. B. 
Dill, n. d., sub: Observations in SWPA and POA, 
Oct-Dec 44. OQMG POA 319.25. 

storage of canned foods, the huts were 
utilized chiefly for other Quartermaster 
items. 6 

Since even prefabricated warehouses and 
rude shacks could not be provided for more 
than a fraction of the incoming supplies, 
proper protection of materials stored in the 
open became a major Quartermaster task. 
Yet as late as August 1943 half the food 
stocks at Port Moresby and Milne Bay had 
not even the protection afforded by tar- 
paulins. When available, these canvas 
covers, usually, were simply flung over the 
stacks, but this practice prevented the free 
circulation of air and trapped heat and 
moisture under the canvas. Two expedients 
were adopted in trying to provide better 
protection for supplies in open storage. One 
was the "portable paulin warehouse," 
built of ordinary tarpaulins and tent 
poles. Though this so-called warehouse 
was, essentially, no more than a tent, if 
properly arranged it permitted air to circu- 
late and dry out the stacks. The other ex- 
pedient was the "paulin oasis," formed by 
placing a canvas-covered, rooflike frame 
directly on top of the stack. Two men could 
easily move this frame from a depleted pile 
to a new pile. If lack of tarpaulins forbade 
these expedients, salvaged matting might 
be laid horizontally on the stacks as make- 
shift protection. 7 

At most bases, particularly in the first 
half of the Pacific war, shortages of mate- 
rials and manpower and widespread igno- 
rance of the principles of tropical storage 
resulted in poor stacking and hastened the 

6 ( 1 ) Anon., "Storage at Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, 
VI (22 December 1944), 12. (2) Pp. 13-17 of Rpt 
cited n. 4(2). 

7 ( 1 ) Rpt, Lt Col R. C. Kramer, 9 Sep 43, sub: 
Trip to New Guinea, 30 Aug-7 Sep 43. ORB 
AFWESPAC AG 430. (2) Anon., "Storage at 
Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, VI (22 December 1944), 

OPEN STORAGE OF QUARTERMASTER ITEMS caused rapid deterioration oj 
outer containers, (above) and lack of dunnage materials forced the use of coconut log ramps 




deterioration of supplies. Food containers 
in boxes, improperly piled solidly together, 
sweated and rusted, disintegrating canned 
meats and vegetables by releasing acids; 
these acids ate into the tin, seeped out, and 
contaminated other cans. Damage from this 
cause was appreciably increased when tar- 
paulins were thrown over the stacks in such 
a way as to cover the sides and prevent the 
piles from drying out. Another hindrance to 
good stacking was the scarcity of dunnage, a 
scarcity so great that stocks were often put 
directly on the ground, thus increasing the 
spoilage of food in the lower layers. In the 
South Pacific Area, ramps of coconut logs 
placed about a foot apart were often sub- 
stituted for ordinary dunnage. 8 

First priority on Quartermaster covered 
space was accorded to combat rations, 
sacked sugar, flour, salt, rice, condiments, 
and other foods especially liable to irrepa- 
rable damage. If sacked flour, for example, 
was not well protected, it became moldy 
and insect-infested within a few weeks. 
Drummed and canned petroleum products 
were stored on high ground in the open, as 
were general supplies not liable to rusting. 
Until covered space became available in 
large quantities, even tinned foods were cus- 
tomarily piled in the open. During his trip 
to New Guinea Major Fellers found that 
60 to 70 percent of the canned fruits, veg- 
etables, juices, meats, and evaporated milk 
was still outdoors. Though the Army called 
canned foods "nonperishable," they were 
actually in varying degrees perishable. Huge 
losses of these products occurred because of 
corrosion and rusting, puncturing of con- 
tainers during handling operations, and high 

8 (1) Anon., "Storage at Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, 
VI (22 December 1944), 12. (2) Rpt, Capt Her- 
man C. King, 4 Nov 43, sub: Packaging and Pack- 
ing of Subs in New Caledonia, pp. 2, 4-5. OQMG 
POA 400.162. 

temperatures, which accelerated food spoil- 
age. Subsistence, it was estimated, deterio- 
rated twice as fast at 90° F. as at 70°, and 
four times as fast as at 50° or 55°. For this 
reason it was sometimes recommended that 
shipments of rations to operational areas be 
limited to the smallest amounts consistent 
with the tactical situation. 9 

The disastrous effects of prolonged out- 
door storage on poorly protected subsistence 
were vividly described by an OQMG ob- 
server on his return to the United States 
from New Caledonia late in 1943: 

I saw two huge dumps in the open with no 
protection from the weather except for some 
untreated tarps placed on the piles very care- 
lessly. In many cases they had blown off. In 
others, they only partly covered the stacks; 
and in some instances they were open at the 
top. Most of them had been there for over a 
year, and some for eighteen months. I can't 
tell you how many cases, but for the sake of 
something to figure on as a basis, consider 
shiploads .... 

The condition of these stores is ten times 
worse than covered by any report we have 
seen. ... In the center of some of the stacks 
solid fiber cases were just like mush. Wooden 
cases were so rotten the wood could be mashed 
between one's fingers. Many cans were com- 
pletely covered by. rust. The center of the 
stacks looked like a big mold culture. One 
can breaks and spreads its contents over sur- 
rounding cans; and mixed with water and 
mold it multiplies until a huge area is af- 
fected. ... I saw one disposal dump that 
contained over 100,000 cans of spoiled prod- 
uct. 10 

Better means of storing nonperishable 
foods were provided toward the end of hos- 
tilities. In February 1945 General Gregory 
found such food supplies in New Guinea 

"P. 7 of Rpt cited n. 1(2). 

10 Rpt, Capt W. W. Bailey, n. d., sub: Containers 
in Open Storage, incl to Memo, Packaging and Crat- 
ing Sec to Chief Storage Br OQMG, 3 Nov 43. 
OQMG 457 (Containers). 



fairly well warehoused except at the Hol- 
landia base, which had been set up only in 
the previous June. 11 Here, five months after 
General Gregory's visit, 75 percent of the 
ration stocks, mostly canned subsistence, still 
remained in open storage. They all had, 
however, tarpaulin protection, which, in a 
similar stage of development at the earlier 
New Guinea bases, had been provided for 
only about half the stocks. Of the rations 
at Hollandia 23 percent were stored in ware- 
houses with corrugated roofing and 2 per- 
cent in structures with tarpaulin roofs. 12 At 
that time 90 percent of the subsistence area 
at Bougainville, which was fairly typical of 
storage conditions in the Solomons, consisted 
of wood ramps with tarpaulin-covered 
frames. 13 

As in the case of nonperishable food, in- 
adequate storage caused heavy losses of 
clothing, equipage, general supplies, and 
petroleum products. At Guadalcanal bull- 
dozers and other essential pieces of heavy 
equipment at first were not available for 
leveling the ground and installing drainage 
systems at the dumps set up for these sup- 
plies. By the time projects holding higher 
priorities were completed, many stores had 
become water-soaked and irretrievably dam- 
aged. To a lesser extent other bases experi- 
enced similar difficulties. 14 

Since textile and leather goods were par- 
ticularly liable to mildewing and other forms 
of tropical deterioration, they were, if at 
all possible, placed under cover. If nothing 
better could be found while a base was first 
being set up, they were put in storage tents. 

11 Rpt, Gen Gregory, 14 Mar 45, sub: Trip to 
Pacific. OQMG POA 319.1. 

12 Ltr, Off of Surg to QM Base G, 13 Jul 45, sub: 
Temperature of Stored Subs. ORB Base G QM 430. 

45, same sub. OQMG POA 430. 

14 "Army Supply Problems in the Southwest Pa- 
cific," QMR XXII (May-June 1943), 35. 

Later, they were kept in thatched shacks 
or in warehouses. At Guadalcanal 40 shacks, 
about 85 feet long and 28 feet wide, were 
employed. To protect clothing from damp- 
ness, floors were provided in all these build- 
ings. Ramps of coconut logs, on which in- 
coming supplies were placed before being 
tallied in, connected the buildings. 15 

Refrigeration Ashore 

The most persistent deficiency in Quar- 
termaster storage was the lack of refrigera- 
tion ashore for eggs, butter, and milk and 
for fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables. At 
no time during the war did advance bases, 
let alone forward areas, possess sufficient 
refrigeration. Improvisation was virtually 
out of the question because of the highly 
mechanized nature of cold-storage equip- 
ment. Such elaborate equipment had to be 
procured from the United States, for, while 
Australia furnished some portable models, 
it never became a major source of supply. 
As the agency mainly interested in refriger- 
ation, the QMC determined cold storage re- 
quirements and presented them to the Corps 
of Engineers for procurement. In the 
Southwest Pacific Area the QMC also allo- 
cated refrigeration among supply centers 
and Army units. In the Central and South 
Pacific Areas no agency was at first clearly 
responsible for this function, and distribu- 
tion became badly unbalanced. This prob- 
lem was finally solved by making the Island 
Commanders responsible for the allotment 
of available equipment. 

The scarcity of cold-storage space con- 
tinued throughout the war. In April 1944 
the Southwest Pacific Area set the refriger- 
ation needs of military organizations at 

15 Anon., "Storage at Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, VI 
(22 December 1944), 12. 



250,000 cubic feet, to be furnished by units 
with a capacity of 220 cubic feet or less; of 
distribution centers at 1,000,000 cubic feet, 
to be provided mostly by 660-cubic-foot 
units; and of ports at 2,000,000 cubic feet, 
to be supplied by units with a capacity of 
more than 660 cubic feet. Actually, at 
this time military organizations had less 
than 50,000 cubic feet, or only a fifth of 
their estimated requirements; distribution 
centers had about 260,000 cubic feet, or a 
fourth of what they needed; and ports had 
approximately 764,000 cubic feet, or some- 
what more than a third of their require- 
ments. 10 

The shortage of refrigeration in military 
organizations stemmed in the main from 
belated inauguration of a large-scale manu- 
facturing program in the United States. 
War Department figures of June 1945 il- 
lustrated how far deliveries fell below re- 
quirements even at that late date. These 
figures dealt with 26 / 2 - and 125-cubic-foot 
refrigerators, models utilized chiefly by small 
organizations and mess kitchens and hence 
of prime significance in maintaining a reg- 
ular flow of fresh provisions to consuming 
troops. They showed that Southwest Pa- 
cific Area requirements for 3,000 units of 
26 ]/ 2 -cubic-foot capacity and for 1,600 
units of 125-cubic-foot capacity had been 
approved months before, but that only 1 ,008 
units of the smaller refrigerator and 365 
units of the larger refrigerator had been 
delivered or were on the way to the area. 
The figures for the Central Pacific Area 
told a similar story insofar as the 26 1 / 2 - 
cubic-foot units were concerned. Requisi- 
tions for 1 ,835 refrigerators of this type had 
been approved, but only 345 had been de- 
livered or were on their way. For the 

'" Memo, G 4 for CQM, 4 Apr 44. ORB 

larger refrigerators Central Pacific Area de- 
mands for 863 units had been completely 
filled. South Pacific Area requisitions for 
177 small refrigerators and 400 large re- 
frigerators had been entirely met. The War 
Department promised that, starting in July, 
700 units of 2 6 J/ 2 -cubic-foot capacity would 
be allocated from production every month 
to fill uncompleted requisitions. This 
meant that demands for these refrigerators 
could not be wholly met before 1 Decem- 
ber. The War Department hoped to com- 
plete requisitions for 1,235 units of the 
larger refrigerators by 1 August, but actu- 
ally it was not able to do so. 17 

Shortages of refrigeration equipment 
ashore were not attributable solely to incom- 
plete requisitions but also resulted from the 
inability of the Pacific areas to transfer such 
equipment from old to new bases at a rate 
matching the growth of troop strength at 
the new bases. This fact is illustrated by 
the situation in New Guinea in March 1944. 
Port Moresby then had more refrigerated 
space and fewer troops than any other base 
in New Guinea. At the same time Milne 
Bay, possessor of the next largest amount 
of cold storage, was losing troops every day 
to the rapidly growing Base F at Finsch- 
hafen, which had 50,000 troops but only 
5,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space — ob- 
viously, too small a quantity to provide fresh 
food for so large a body of men. Inasmuch 
as sufficient refrigerated vessels were also un- 
available, the only way to obtain perishables 
at Finschhafen was to fly them in. The 
best means of increasing shore refrigera- 
tion at Base F would have been by the re- 
moval of unneeded equipment from the 
older bases to Finschhafen, but, as most 
of this equipment was of a semipermanent, 

17 QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 233^35. 



.assembly at Oro Bay, New Guinea. 

nonportable type, this solution proved im- 
possible. Alleviation of the cold-storage 
situation at Finschhafen thus depended 
mostly on shipments of portable refrigera- 
tors from sources outside New Guinea. lb 

Permanent cold-storage warehouses of 
the standard 80-by-200-foot type, capable 
of holding 100,000 cubic feet of provisions, 
were not built at bases outside Oahu. Nor 
were smaller permanent types employed 
except at Port Moresby and Milne Bay. Be- 
cause of their relatively large size these struc- 
tures could be run economically, but it took 
months to build them. By the time they were 
in full operation, supply activities were be- 

ls ( 1 ) Min, Conf on Refrigeration, 8 Mar 44. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 337. (2) Rpt, Col Cor- 
diner, 26 Apr 44, sub: Rpt of Inspection. OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. 

ing concentrated at more advanced instal- 
lations. 19 

Prefabricated warehouses with a capacity 
of 600 and 1,800 cubic feet provided most 
of the refrigeration at many bases. These 
units could be readily disassembled and 
moved, and for this reason were especially 
desirable in the Pacific. The base at Finsch- 
hafen eventually employed about fifty 
1,800-cubic-foot refrigerators and that at 
Oro Bay about thirty. At Saipan and Guam 
this type of refrigerator was also utilized but 
in lesser quantities. Though valuable be- 
cause of their portability, knockdown refrig- 
erators entailed the operation and mainte- 
nance of comparatively large numbers of 
engines for the limited amount of space they 

"Rpt, Col R. C. Kramer, 10 Mar 44, sub: Trip 
to Advance Bases. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. 



furnished and so wasted manpower. In mid- 
1944 the Southwest Pacific Area therefore 
began to procure in Australia larger port- 
able warehouses having a capacity of 4,300 
cubic feet, but not many of these new units 
had been delivered before hostilities ended. 20 

The American-built, 10-ton refrigerated 
semitrailer with a capacity of 600 cubic feet, 
enough to store a day's supply of meat for 
one division, was employed but rarely. De- 
signed primarily for extensive land areas 
supplied with modern highways, it could 
not be operated efficiently in the Pacific be- 
cause combat operations were carried out 
so largely on territory lacking fully devel- 
oped road systems. Even for the transporta- 
tion of perishables from bases to supply 
points only ten to twenty-five miles away 
these vans seldom proved satisfactory. On 
such trips their large size and heavy weight 
made them hard to drive over the rough 
terrain ordinarily encountered. One Quar- 
termaster observer suggested that for carry- 
ing fresh provisions portable equipment of a 
size fitted to 2 I /2 -ton trucks would be pref- 
erable. 21 

Quartermaster Refrigeration Companies, 
Mobile, which were established to operate 
the refrigerated semitrailers, were in fact 
utilized principally for storage of perishables 
received from shipside rather than for trans- 
portation of these products. In New Cale- 
donia a refrigeration platoon, serving in this 
fashion, proved essential to the operations 
of hospitals and medical units. It also set up 
and repaired fixed refrigeration equipment 
at South Pacific bases. Refrigeration units 
were used sparingly in combat operations. 

20 (1) QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 271-72. (2) Rpt, 
Capt Orr, 25 Jun 44, sub: Answers to Question- 
naire, 14 Jun 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

21 (1) Rpt cited in n. 20(2). (2) Rpt, 1st Lt I. F. 
Legrand, 11 Jan 43, sub: Refrigeration Survey. 

The platoon assigned to the Sixth Army was 
broken up into sections, which were assigned 
to task forces. These sections were of con- 
siderable value during the early stages of 
operations before fixed refrigeration became 
available. Unfortunately, such units could 
not be made available for every operation. 

Despite the fact that storage space of all 
kinds became larger in quantity and better 
in structure as the war continued, it never 
fully met Quartermaster demands. Accord- 
ing to Southwest Pacific Area logistical 
standards Quartermaster Class I, II, and IV 
supplies required twenty square feet of cov- 
ered space per ton, but island bases could 
never provide this much space. In May 1944 
Lt. Col. Charles A. Ritchie, Quarter- 
master of the Intermediate Section, USA- 
SOS, which allocated physical facilities in 
New Guinea, studied covered space require- 
ments and concluded that the Corps could 
get along with ten square feet per ton, or 
only half the prescribed amount. At this 
time Class I, II, and IV supplies at Milne 
Bay, "covered" in the flexible Southwest 
Pacific Area meaning of the word, were 
stored in 328,000 square feet of space, but 
1,350,000 square feet were demanded on 
the basis of standard requirements and 
675,000 square feet even under Colonel 
Ritchie's revised estimate. 22 Depending on 
which statement of requirements was taken, 
the QMC thus had only about one fourth 
or, at best, one half of the covered space it 
needed at Milne Bay. This condition typi- 
fied those prevailing at other island bases. 

The unavailability of sufficient service 
troops for manual operations necessitated 
fullest possible use of time- and labor-sav- 
ing equipment. Unfortunately, the proper 
conditions for employing this equipment did 

-Weekly Opns Rpt, QM INTERSEC, 19 May 
44. ORB NUGSEC QM 319.1. 



not exist in the forward areas. Standard 
solid-rubber-tired fork-lift trucks, the most 
serviceable equipment at zone of interior 
depots, required for efficient operation roads 
and floors with concrete or wood surfaces. 
But as Quartermaster storage areas in the 
Pacific were seldom so surfaced, these trucks 
could not be used extensively. Pneumatic- 
tired fork-lifts, which operated fairly well 
in soft areas, were, indeed, the only type 
suitable for the island bases, and they did 
not arrive until well into 1944, and then 
only in numbers too small to help appre- 
ciably. 23 The employment of tractors and 
trailers also presented difficulties. Only 
trailers with dual wheels and oversize tires 
could operate in muddy dumps, but this 
type of carrier, like fork-lift trucks, was hard 
to procure. So were roller conveyors, use of 
which materially reduced the manpower re- 
quired to handle supplies. 

Because of the scarcity of satisfactory 
storage places and modern materials-han- 
dling equipment on the north shore of New 
Guinea the "standard operating proce- 
dures," which were designed to teach the 
principles of good warehousing, frequently 
meant little even to storage officers. Lack- 
ing the mechanical equipment for applica- 
tion of these principles, they lost interest 
in them. At Oro Bay and Finschhafen an 
observer found no evidence 

... of any conception of the SOP or its prac- 
tical application as a stabilizing influence in 
such forward bases. There are no hard stand- 
ings worthy of mention capable of supporting 
mechanical handling, no cement requisitioned, 
no program planned and no apparent knowl- 
edge of efficient materials handling. No pal- 

23 (1) Memo, CQM for G-4, USASOS, 13 Oct 
43, sub: Whse Equip. ORB NUGSEC QM 451.93. 
(2) Rpt 18, Capt Orr, 30 Aug 44, sub: Misc QM 
Matters. OQMG SWPA 319.25. (3) Rpt, Maj 
Harold A. Naisbitt, 1 Feb 45, sub: Info Obtained 
From QM SPBC. OQMG POA 319.25. 

lets are available. Fork trucks and other 
equipment are mis-used in the mud and 
coral. . . , 24 

Once Southwest Pacific Area forces 
reached the Philippines, storage conditions 
rapidly improved. More building materials 
were procurable locally, and owing to the 
better shipping situation, more construction 
materials and warehouse equipment were 
obtained from the West Coast. Thousands 
of fairly skilled civilians, too, were avail- 
able both for the construction of covered 
storage facilities and for routine depot op- 
erations. Even at the early bases, particu- 
larly at San Fernando, La Union, in Luzon, 
some warehouses were built from imported 
materials soon after these installations were 
opened. Usually, some hard-surfaced roads 
and storage areas were available, making 
possible more effective utilization of fork- 
lift trucks, tractors, and trailers. Commer- 
cial space was also obtainable in fairly sub- 
stantial quantities for Quartermaster op- 
erations. 25 

Distribution Problems 

The difficult conditions found in the Pa- 
cific areas created vexatious problems in 
the distribution as well as the storage of 
supplies. During most of the war a large part 
of Quartermaster items at advance bases 
was furnished under an automatic system 
of supply which employed base inventories, 
taken at regularly designated periods, to de- 
termine base needs. This inventory system 
generally applied to subsistence below the 
equator. The practice as to petroleum prod- 

24 Ltr, Capt George N. Shaeffer to CG USASOS, 
12 May 44, sub: Mechanical Handling in Forward 
Bases. ORB Base B AG 633. 

25 (1) Ltr, Base M to USASOS, 6 May 45, sub: 
Covered Storage at San Fernando de La Union. 
(2) Ltr, Base K to PHIBSEC, 13 May 45, sub: 
Sup Installations. Both in ORB PHIBSEC 633. 



ucts, clothing, and general supplies varied 
from place to place, but the trend was 
strongly toward replenishment on the basis 
of requisitions prepared by the bases them- 
selves. 26 

Whether inventories or requisitions fur- 
nished the impetus for distribution, approx- 
imately correct stock records were essential 
to satisfactory supply. Yet, owing to the 
lack of qualified technicians this condition 
could not always be met. At Milne Bay in 
November 1 943 no records of clothing and 
general supply stocks could be maintained, 
and "little was known as to the actual goods 
on hand.'' 2T So extreme a condition was un- 
usual, but Colonel Cordiner believed that 
"inventories were generally never more than 
50% correct." "How," he wrote, "anyone 
can expect to maintain a proper level with- 
out inventories is beyond me." 28 By March 
1 944 more accurate records were being kept 
everywhere and from that time incorrect in- 
ventories became less significant as a factor 
in unbalancing stocks. 

In the Southwest Pacific the determina- 
tion of distribution routes was a more com- 
plex matter than in either the Central 
Pacific, where the installations in the Hono- 
lulu area constituted the main transship- 
ment centers, or in the South Pacific, where 
the ration depot in New Zealand and the 
general supply depot in New Caledonia 
served as the principal transshipment points. 
In Australia, Base Section 3 at Brisbane in 

26 ( 1 ) Ltr, Advance Base USASOS to CG Alamo 
Force, 12 Jul 43, sub: Sup of Advance Bases. ORB 
PHIBSEC 400. (2) Ltr, CQM USAFFE to QM 
USASOS, 21 Aug 43, sub: Sup Levels. ORB PHIB- 
SEC 400.23. (3) Rpt, Maj Hubert W. Marlow, 14 
Oct 43, sub: Inventories at Advance Bases. ORB 
ABCOM GP&C 400.291. 

27 Ltr, QM Alamo Force to CQM, 2 Nov 43. 

28 Ltr, to QM Base Sec 7, 9 Nov 43. ORB AF- 

the beginning supplied clothing and general 
supplies to all American forces in New 
Guinea, chiefly through Port Moresby. 29 In 
February 1943, following the establishment 
of bases at Milne Bay and Oro Bay, the sup- 
port of troops in the huge island was divided 
between the Brisbane and Sydney base sec- 
tions. While Brisbane supplied Port Moresby 
with all its Quartermaster needs, Sydney 
filled the comparable needs of the two new 
installations, which in turn supplied the 
north shore of New Guinea. 30 During the en- 
suing months insufficient stockages at Syd- 
ney and swift growth of troop strength in 
forward areas made it increasingly hard for 
that installation to support its large distribu- 
tion area. For this reason its responsibilities 
were lessened by charging other base sec- 
tions with direct support of the large supply 
points set up for ground and air troops near 
Oro Bay; Townsville provided rations while 
Brisbane provided clothing and general 
supplies. 31 

The principal weakness in this system of 
definitely charging designated Australian 
base sections with the supply of one or more 
advance base sections was the impossibility 
of keeping Australian installations con- 
stantly stocked with all the items needed by 
their distribution areas. When the arrange- 
ment was originally set up, USASOS rea- 
lized that this problem might develop but 
felt that the shipping shortage necessitated 
such a method of supply. It had at least the 

29 (1) USASOS Memo 43, 14 Sep 42, sub: Ra- 
tions for Port Moresby. (2) Memo, QM Advance 
Base for QM Base Sec 3, n. d. (3) Rpt, Maj Gor- 
don Phelps, 12 Dec 42, sub: Shpmts to New Guinea. 
Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 333.1. 

30 Ltr, USASOS to Advance Base el al., 15 Feb 
43, sub: Sup of New Guinea. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 400. 

"USASOS Logistic Instruction 33, 17 Jun 43, 
sub: Sup of Forward Areas. ORB AFWESPAC QM 



virtue of requiring vessels to call at only 
one port and of thus facilitating prompt and 
solid loading. The alternative method of 
making movements from whatever Austral- 
ian bases had the largest stocks of needed 
items was rejected, for it required that sup- 
plies be picked up at several ports, with loss 
of valuable shipping time. 32 

The method actually adopted likewise 
proved wasteful. Food, for example, was 
generally procured in southeastern Aus- 
tralia, but most of it was not shipped from 
there to the advance bases. Instead, it was 
sent north by rail or water to Brisbane and 
Townsville, where it was discharged, stored, 
reloaded, and shipped to the New Guinea 
bases supplied by these installations. This 
system, wrote Col. John P. Welch, Quarter- 
master, ADSEC, added to the burdens of 
the already overloaded railroads and need- 
lessly tied up water transportation.' 3 In Sep- 
tember 1943, the OCQM suggested that a 
more flexible method of distribution would 
be possible if it were given control over the 
movements of its supplies. Under this sys- 
tem the OCQM would direct that shipments 
be made from the Australian bases best 
equipped at the time to send supplies to New 
Guinea. In general, rations would be moved 
from Sydney, clothing and general supplies 
from Brisbane, and drummed petroleum 
products from both Brisbane and Sydney, 
but any of these supplies might be moved 
from any point chosen by the OCQM. 34 

This system was adopted in November 
1943, when each technical service at Head- 
quarters, USASOS, became for a short time 

32 Ltr, Subs Depot to QM ADSEC, 1 Sep 43. ORB 

M Personal Ltr to Col Hester, 8 Sep 43. ORB 

34 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 10 Sep 43, 
sub: Distr Responsibilities. (2) Personal Ltr, Col 
Cordiner to Col George Grimes, 9 Nov 43. ORB 

responsible for co-ordinating the movements 
of its own supplies. The OCQM, for exam- 
ple, received requisitions or inventory fig- 
ures from the New Guinea bases and issued 
directives to base quartermasters in Aus- 
tralia instructing them what to ship, when 
to ship, and where to ship. This system lasted 
only until the beginning of 1944, when the 
newly established Distribution Division un- 
dertook the task of controlling all supply 
movements from the United States and Aus- 
tralia to New Guinea, and the Distribution 
Branch, Milne Bay, that of controlling 
movements within New Guinea. 35 Central- 
ized control, whether by the Distribution 
Division or the OCQM, proved to be a vast 
improvement over the rigid system of sup- 
plying designated areas only through spe- 
cific bases. 

The question of administrative control 
was only one of those which demanded so- 
lution. In all the Pacific areas problems 
stemming from the shipping situation also 
demanded solution. Generally speaking, the 
offices of base and service command quarter- 
masters all had Quartermaster shipping sec- 
tions to look after the movement of Quar- 
termaster supplies to advance areas. Their 
major functions were to arrange for the 
scheduling of the necessary shipping, to as- 
semble and deliver Quartermaster cargoes 
at the designated ports, and to maintain 
item-by-item records of all water move- 
ments, supplemental to those of the Trans- 
portation Corps, in order that lost cargoes 
might be quickly duplicated. In Australia in 
the early days, as in San Francisco during 
the same period, Quartermaster supplies 
with low shipping priorities, though on dock, 
could not always be booked for movement 

35 ( 1 ) Ltr, USASOS to ADSEC et al., 24 Jan 44, 
sub: Distr of Sups. (2) USASOS Memo 27, 31 
Mar 44, same sub. Both in ORB AFWESPAC AG 



and even if booked, could not always be 
placed on board the available ships. For that 
reason alone the maintenance of adequate 
stocks at advance bases was occasionally 
very difficult. Quartermaster shipping sec- 
tions nevertheless tried to place as many of 
their supplies as possible on the scheduled 
vessels. 36 

When enough ships were not on hand for 
the transportation of all supplies awaiting 
movement, the whole chain of distribution 
might be disrupted. In that event shipments 
could not be spaced at the intervals required 
for the regular flow of supplies, and materi- 
als piled up at bases. Cargoes were either 
not delivered in the expected quantities or 
were delivered only after protracted delays. 
Shortages then appeared in stocks at ad- 
vance bases and were reflected in unbal- 
anced issues to troops. These weaknesses in 
the distribution system could not easily be 
elminated because of the world-wide ship- 
ping shortage. At no time did the Army in 
the Southwest Pacific Area control enough 
bottoms to meet its supply requirements 
without difficulty. 37 The situation was simi- 
lar in the South and Central Pacific Areas. 
In March 1944, for example, the Army in 
the latter area required 93 vessels yet had 
only 63. 38 

The tying up of ships for days or even 
weeks by making them await discharge at 
poorly equipped bases often aggravated the 
scarcity of cargo space. At the still unde- 
veloped port of Noumea in late 1942 and 

:, ° (1) QM SWPA Hist, IV, 9-10. (2) Ltr, QM 
USASOS to Base Sec QM's, 30 Jun 43, sub: Han- 
dling Shpmts to Advance Bases. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 400.2. 

'' Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 

" Weekly Min, Vessel Allocation and Cargo 
Subcom, 22 Mar 44. AG 304 (Jt Ship Opns). 

early 1943 scores of idle vessels awaiting 
discharge filled the harbor. 39 Comparable 
conditions existed at Guadalcanal, Espiritu 
Santo, and the Russells in their early days 
and even later during periods of active com- 
bat. The naval convoy system as well as 
congestion at base ports lengthened turn- 
about time. In the Southwest Pacific, for 
example, vessels from Australian ports as- 
sembled at Townsville and awaited con- 
voy to their destinations, a procedure that 
held up movements for several days or more. 
These delays were occasionally so prolonged 
that "entire shipments" of potatoes and 
onions carried as deck cargo deteriorated. 40 
Frequently, from 1,000 to 5,000 sacks of 
these vegetables were lost. After leaving 
Australian waters ships bound for the north 
shore of New Guinea or for neighboring 
islands were collected at Milne Bay, the 
naval control center for these areas; their 
dispatch from this point hinged on the tacti- 
cal situation and on the readiness of forward 
bases to handle their cargoes. Both these 
factors might force postponement of sail- 
ings. If, for example, there were two reefers 
bound for Lae, a port which could handle 
only a single reefer at a time, one vessel 
would be held until the other had proceeded 
to its destination and discharged its cargo. 
Between 24 May and 18 July 1943 hostile 
air and naval activities plus delays in com- 
pletion of port facilities at Oro Bay pre- 
vented any vessels carrying Quartermaster 
supplies from leaving Milne Bay for that 
base. A huge backlog of all sorts of Quar- 
termaster commodities accumulated at the 

39 Duncan S. Ballentine, U.S. Naval Logistics in 
the Second World War (Princeton, N. J.: Prince- 
ton University Press, 1947), pp. 118, 123-24. 

10 Personal Ltr, Brig Gen Edward B. McKinley to 
Gen Gregory, 11 Nov 44. OQMG POA 319.25. 



control center, and when ships bearing 
Quartermaster items were finally called for- 
ward, twenty sailed within three weeks. 41 

Refrigeration Afloat 

Just as lack of refrigerated space ashore 
hampered Quartermaster supply on land, 
so did the shortage of refrigeration afloat 
hamper the distribution of perishables by 
water. In prewar days the military forces 
in Hawaii and the Philippines had secured 
most of their fresh food from local commer- 
cial sources. The Army in consequence had 
no fully refrigerated vessels. It had indeed 
only the limited cold-storage space needed 
to keep food for passengers and crews of 
the troop transports that sailed to Honolulu 
and Manila. Shortly before Pearl Harbor 
the Maritime Commisssion had contracted 
for the building of refrigerated vessels under 
the emergency defense program. Deliveries 
on these contracts started in May 1942, but, 
since perishables for the South and the 
Southwest Pacific Areas came almost wholly 
from Australia and New Zealand, most of 
the new ships were assigned to the Atlantic 
service. 42 This allocation of reefers made pos- 
sible better utilization of available vessels 
because the short Atlantic runs permitted 
the delivery of fresh provisions to Great 
Britain and North Africa in larger quan- 
tities than could have been made to the 
southern Pacific areas within the same pe- 
riod of time. But it deprived troops below 

"(1) Pp. 1-2 of Rpt cited n. 1(1). (2) Rpt, 
Col Cordiner, 18 Aug 43, sub: Inspection Trip, 
3-17 Aug 43. OQMG SWPA 319.25. (3) Ltr, Vet 
to Surg INTERSEC, 25 Mar 44, sub: Shpmt of 
Food to New Guinea. ORB ABCOM P&C 430. 

42 Lt John D. Keser, "Perishables to the Pacific," 
Army Transportation Journal, V (March-April 
1949), pp. 17-18. 

the equator of much needed vessels for sup- 
plying perishables to distant installations and 
combat forces. 

The Central Pacific Area felt the reefer 
shortage less keenly. Its favorable position 
resulted principally from the relative prox- 
imity of Honolulu to the West Coast, a fac- 
tor that allowed the shipment of substantial 
amounts of perishable subsistence from San 
Francisco. The Cold-Storage Co-ordinating 
Committee, composed of representatives of 
the Navy, Army, War Shipping Adminis- 
tration, and Hawaiian civilians, periodically 
determined what proportion of cargo space 
on reefers in the Hawaiian-San Francisco 
pool was allocated to Army, to Navy, and 
to civilian requirements. When distribution 
of perishables among these three consuming 
elements became maladjusted, the commit- 
tee transferred space from one element to 
another in order to restore the proper bal- 
ance. 43 During the first two years this sys- 
tem usually provided Army troops in Hawaii 
with about two cubic feet of food per man 
per month. After the drive across the Cen- 
tral Pacific started, reefers were diverted 
from the Hawaiian-San Francisco run in 
order to care for the needs of the fleet, ad- 
vance bases, and combat forces, whose sup- 
ply became the paramount consideration, 
and the allowance of perishables for soldiers 
and sailors in Hawaii was slashed by 50 per- 
cent to one cubic foot per man per month. 
In spite of these restrictive measures a short- 
age of about 550,000 cubic feet in Central 
Pacific Area reefer requirements had de- 
veloped by March 1944. At this time top 
priority on deliveries of perishables was 
granted to hospitals, forward installations, 

"CINCPOA Ser 03201, 20 Dec 43, sub: Cold 
Storage Co-ordinating Com. ORB AGFPAC AG 




combat vessels, and ships carrying amphib- 
ious forces. 44 

The South Pacific Area depended mostly 
on the Navy reefer fleet, which was too small 
to maintain regular distribution of perish- 
ables out of New Zealand. Small refriger- 
ated vessels for transshipping fresh provi- 
sions to remote points in the northern Sol- 
omons were particularly scarce. Even the 
large and relatively accessible base in New 
Caledonia repeatedly went without fresh 
eggs and vegetables. 45 In January 1945 re- 
sponsibility for deliveries of fresh provisions 
in the South Pacific Area and the Central 
Pacific Area was divided between the Army 
and the Navy. The Army was charged with 
delivery of fresh and frozen provisions to 
all U.S. servicemen, whether ashore or 
afloat, in the Gilberts and the Marshalls. 
The Navy was charged with deliveries else- 
where in the two areas outside Hawaii and 
the Line Islands, where each service sup- 
plied its own men. 46 At this time standard 
allowances governing the distribution of per- 
ishables among the forward installations 
were established in order to foster more 
equitable distribution. For soldiers and 
sailors ashore outside Hawaii 1 .5 cubic feet 
per man per month were allowed ; for those 
afloat, 1.75 cubic feet. In general these al- 
lowances were met. 

The Southwest Pacific Area, as in many 
other matters, suffered more than the others 
from the shortage of reefers. Obliged to 

44 (1) Mid-Pac Hist, VI, 1095, 1099, 1103; 
VIII, 1738-39. (2) Weekly Min, Vessel Alloca- 
tion and Cargo Subcom, SFPOE, 22 Mar 44. AG 
334. (3) CINCPOA Ser 06818, 21 Nov 44, sub: 
Reefer Allocations. ORB AGFPAC AG 430. 

45 Rpt, Brig Gen Walter A. Wood, Jr., n. d., sub: 
Materiel and Equip Problems for Ping Div, ASF. 
DRB AGO Folder "Wood — Actions Resulting from 
Pacific Trip." 

"CINCPOA Ser 081, 3 Jan 45, sub: Responsi- 
bility for Sup of Perishables in SPA and CPA. ORB 
AGFPAC 430. 

rely chiefly on its own efforts, the area dur- 
ing 1942 converted some barges and other 
small vessels into reefers, but they could 
not fill even the requirements of the small 
forces then in New Guinea. During the 
following two years the reefer fleet was 
gradually reinforced by about thirty small 
craft from the United States, mainly "lak- 
ers," which averaged about 12,000 cubic 
feet in capacity. Though these vessels, 
called "X-ships," were indispensable to dis- 
tribution activities, they were slow, between 
twenty and thirty years old, and in poor con- 
dition. About a fifth of them were ordi- 
narily laid up for repairs. The normal 
turnabout time between Australia and New 
Guinea early in 1943 amounted to thirty- 
eight days, a period so long that part of 
the cargo usually spoiled before reaching 
its destination. 47 

Late in 1943, two relatively fast ships, 
which had been used to carry troops on 
leave between New Guinea and Australia, 
became available for transportation of fresh 
subsistence. These leave vessels each had 
about 45,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space 
that could be spared for base supplies. 
Since their turnabout time was approxi- 
mately 18 days, both ships together had a 
carrying capacity of about 160,000 cubic 
feet a month, only a little less than the 166,- 
000 cubic feet of all X-ships. 48 Owing to 
quick turnabouts, leave vessels had the ad- 
vantage of transporting perishables with 
little deterioration, but their rigid sailing 
schedule, permitting only three days for 
loading, did not allow enough time to fill 
all refrigerator space. This shortcoming was 

47 ( 1 ) Ltr, Chief Engr USASOS to CO's Base 
Sees, 18 Oct 43, sub: Reefers. ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 441.5. (2) Min, Base Sec Comds Conf, 3-5 
Mar 44, pp. 74-76. ORB AFWESPAC AG 334. 

48 Ltr, CG USASOS to CG USAFFE, 20 Oct 43, 
sub: Perishables to Advance Areas. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 312. 



especially serious at Sydney because of poor 
stevedoring. In March 1944 it was reported 
that leave vessels had never once left Aus- 
tralian ports fully loaded; every month they 
had run with 35,000 to 40,000 cubic feet 
of cold-storage space, or approximately 25 
percent, empty. Maj. Gen. James L. Frink, 
commander of USASOS, therefore ordered 
that loading time be extended to five days. 49 

A further measure of relief was obtained 
in August 1943, when the Navy made un- 
used refrigeration on the USS Mizar, a for- 
mer commercial reefer, available for trans- 
porting fresh provisions to Milne Bay. At the 
same time the Navy agreed to bring perish- 
ables to that base whenever its refrigerator 
vessels had vacant space. Advantageous 
though this arrangement was, its benefits 
could not be fully realized, for the Army did 
not have enough small reefers to transship 
all the fresh subsistence consigned to other 
New Guinea bases and Sixth Army supply 
points on Goodenough, Woodlark, and 
Kiriwina Islands. Navy reefers nevertheless 
furnished sizable quantities of food that 
otherwise would not have been secured. In 
March 1944 it was estimated that Quarter- 
master supplies occupied every month be- 
tween 80,000 and 100,000 cubic feet. One 
particularly favorable aspect of the arrange- 
ment was the virtual absence of spoiled food, 
an advantage attributable to the fast speed 
of the ships as well as to refrigeration. 50 

During most of 1944 the two Army leave 
vessels continued to make regular runs from 
Australia to Milne Bay and Oro Bay and the 

49 Min, Base Sec Comds Conf, 3-5, Mar 44, pp. 
74-75. ORB AFWESPAC AG 334. 

M ( 1 ) Ibid. ( 2 ) Ltr, CO Subs Depot to CG 
USASOS, 17 Jul 43, sub: Subs to Forward Areas. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.3. (3) Rpt, Col Hester, 
30 Jul 43, sub: Army-Navy Conf. (4) Memo, Capt 
Louis E. Kahn for Col Hester, Subs Depot, 1 Sep 
43, sub: Perishables on Mizar. Both in ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 400.22. 

X-ships to supply other bases. The point at 
which the leave ships were loaded was de- 
termined by the degree of congestion at 
Australian ports and by the cargo. Beef was 
taken on mainly at Townsville and Bris- 
bane; and potatoes and onions at Sydney. 
Melbourne, though a good source of all 
kinds of fresh provisions, lay too far from 
New Guinea to be employed extensively save 
by fast naval vessels. 51 

Lakers and leave and naval craft together 
could not supply perishables in the required 
quantities. Because of incessant demands for 
fresh meats their distribution of this item 
constituted perhaps the most acute problem. 
Five meat issues a week, or twenty-one is- 
sues a month, were prescribed in the forward 
areas. But General Frink reported in Febru- 
ary 1944 that, though every resource was 
being tapped to meet this standard, no more 
than six issues could be made. He calcu- 
lated that the provision of twenty-one issues 
for the 355,000 troops then in the forward 
areas demanded at least 219,250 cubic feet 
of reefer space. Yet after allowing for ships 
under repair and for turnabout time, there 
were available for meat only 97,500 cubic 
feet, or about 120,000 cubic feet less than 
requirements based on twenty-one issues a 
month. Of the remaining reefer space, 12,- 
400 cubic feet were used for fresh eggs; 
1 1,100 for fresh fruits; 88,700 for potatoes 
and onions; and 11,800 for other vege- 
tables. 52 

In New Guinea early in 1944 a special 
ADSOS (Advance Section, USASOS) fleet, 
composed of three small reefers, each with 
a capacity of about 5,000 cubic feet, 
was organized to transship fresh pro- 

1 Min, Base Comds Conf, 24-26 Mar 44, pp. 

"' 2 Ltr, CG USASOS to CG USAFFE, 18 Feb 44, 
sub: Distr of Fresh Meat. ORB AFWESPAC QM 




visions from Port Moresby and Oro Bay 
to Finschhafen and Hollandia, neither of 
which then had sufficient shore refrigeration 
to receive large movements direct from 
Australia. But while the ADSOS fleet 
proved useful, it never became large enough 
for truly effective operations. 53 For general 
transportation of perishables two additional 
leave ships and a number of smaller vessels 
were acquired late in the year; yet the 
growth of cold-storage space afloat still did 
not keep pace with the rise in troop strength 
and the lengthening of communication lines. 
In April 1944 it had been estimated that 
from then until June 1945 about 807,000 
cubic feet of fresh provisions would be 
moved north from Australia each month. 
Since part of the reefer fleet was normally 
under repair and turnabout time would be 
protracted to much more than a month after 
the Philippines were reached, the Southwest 
Pacific Area would actually have to control 
1,452,000 cubic feet of space in order to 
transport the needed perishables. But in July 
available reefers could move food at a rate 
of only 280,000 cubic feet a month, or only 
slightly more than a third of current require- 
ments and just enough to provide eight or 
nine issues of fresh subsistence a month. 
Late in the year the space problem was 
somewhat alleviated; nonetheless large-scale 
relief did not come until victory in Europe 
freed reefers for Pacific service. 54 

Air Transportation 

The shortages created by shipping troubles 
occasionally forced the use of air transporta- 

' 3 ( 1 ) Ltr, Surg to QM DISTBRA, 28 Apr 44, 
sub: Distr of Perishables. (2) Ltr, QM DISTBRA 
to CG INTERSEC, 5 May 44, same sub. Both in 

°* Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 397- 

tion in order to build up fast vanishing stores 
of fresh provisions in forward areas. Plane 
shipments indeed normally included more 
perishables than they did other Quarter- 
master items.' Air transportation in the 
Southwest Pacific was used not only during 
periods of severe shipping shortages as a sup- 
plement to inadequate deliveries by water 
but also as an emergency means of estab- 
lishing and replenishing stocks at times when 
consuming centers had no other means of 
communication with the outside world and 
when their undeveloped bases were still too 
poorly equipped to handle heavy demands. 
Movements by air presented many diffi- 
culties. Cargo planes were controlled by the 
Army Air Forces and were limited in num- 
ber. Moreover, they were designed primarily 
for the carriage of supplies belonging to the 
AAF; quite naturally, that organization fur- 
nished transports more freely for moving 
its own items than for carrying those of other 
armed services. Nevertheless it generally 
supplied planes for Quartermaster supplies 
in cases of urgent necessity. 56 Transport 
planes at best carried only a small cargo; 
5,000 pounds constituted a sizable load for 
a C-47, the basic type. Air movements, fur- 
thermore, were often improperly co-ordi- 
nated. For example, on shipments of Quar- 
termaster supplies from Brisbane and 
Townsville to Dobodura via Port Moresby 
in June and July 1 943, USAFFE established 
shipping priorities, but since it did not offi- 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, QM Sub-Base D to QM Advance Base, 
16 Jul 43, sub: Perishable Issues. (2) Memo, same 
for Col John P. Welch, 6 Sep 43, sub: Air Shpmts. 
Both in ORB NUGSEC QM 430. (3) Ltr, QM 
USASOS to CO Base Sec 2, 7 Sep 43, sub: Perish- 
ables Proc by AAF. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430. 

58 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for CG USASOS, 9 Oct 43, 
Sup of Advance Bases. ORB AFWESPAC QM 312. 

(2) Ltr, USASOS to USAFFE, 18 Feb 44, sub: 
Air Shpmts of Meat. ORB AFWESPAC QM 431. 

(3) Rpt 9, Capt Orr, 4 Jul 44, sub: Special Type 
QM Orgns, p. 14. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 



daily book these movements with the Fifth 
Air Force, which handled the transship- 
ments at Port Moresby, the supplies were 
left in open storage until all formally booked 
cargoes had been cared for. On 6 August 
1943 an observer at that base found 54,000 
pounds of Quartermaster supplies awaiting 
shipment; some of this accumulation had 
been there since 1 2 July. When the supplies 
were finally started on their way to Dobo- 
dura, no tallies or other shipping docu- 
ments accompanied them and no notifica- 
tion of their impending arrival was sent to 
the consignee. Accordingly, no trucks were 
on hand to receive them, and the items were 
simply unloaded and left unguarded on the 
field, where they became the easy prey of pil- 
ferers until trucks could be found to move 
them."' 7 

In spite of such difficulties, which were 
probably unavoidable accompaniments of 
unstandardized methods of shipments, air 
transportation was frequently a vital means 
of Quartermaster supply. From the estab- 
lishment of the airfield at Dobodura in Jan- 
uary 1943 until the following June, troops 
there received practically all Quartermaster 
items by plane, an expedient required by 
the lack of roads between the air base and 
Oro Bay, twenty miles away. K For the same 
reason nearly all newly established airfields 
in New Guinea, most of which were situ- 
ated inland at some distance from ports, 
and similarly located installations of the 
Sixth Army as well, were at first supported 
by planes. 59 Radar and other small outposts, 
in general placed at remote points almost 

"Rpt, Base Sec 2 Liaison Office, Sub-Base D, 
9 Aug 43, sub: Air Shpmts to Sub-Base B. ORB 

r * Memo, Capt R. T. Murphy for Col John P. 
Welch, Advance Base D, 6 Sep 43, sub: Air Shpmts. 

"'"P. 14 of Rpt cited n. 56(3). 

inaccessible by either land or water, were 
supplied about twice a week by parachute 
packs containing rations and equipment. 
Many weeks would have been required to 
deliver these items over rough jungle trails, 
but one plane sometimes supplied as many 
as twenty outposts on a single trip lasting 
only a few hours.'' 

Packaging and Packing 

The unusual danger of deterioration to 
which many supplies were exposed in the 
Pacific made proper packaging and packing 
of the utmost importance. 61 In some instan- 
ces better packaging and packing consti- 
tuted the most practicable method of cop- 
ing with storage and distribution hazards. 
Since there were too few research and de- 
velopment technicians to permit designing 
of improved packs in the Pacific, this task 
was primarily one for the OQMG in the 
zone of interior. Through its efforts supplies 
from the United States were eventually 
shipped in better containers and the stand- 
ards for packaging and packing materials 
bought below the equator were materially 


At the outset of hostilities neither Ameri- 
can industry nor the OQMG fully realized 
that packaging and packing specifications 
for food sent abroad must be substantially 
higher than those for food distributed with- 
in the United States. Most shipments for 
overseas destinations were at first packaged 

,; " Weekly Rpt, 6 Sep 44, sub: Perishable Shpmts 
to Forward Bases. ORB AFWESPAC QM 430.2. 

'" By official definition "packaging" referred to 
the means by which the product itself was contained ; 
"packing," to the exterior or shipping container. 
Harold W. Thatcher, The Packaging and Packing 
of Subsistence for the Army (QMC Historical 
Studies 10, April 1945), p. 14, n. 7. 



in the paper, fiber, and cloth containers of 
retail trade and packed in fiber cartons, 
usually without overpacking. Corrugated 
fiber containers, which were used mostly 
for packing canned goods, were strong 
enough to insure safe delivery in the zone 
of interior, where there were few handlings 
and plenty of covered storage space, mate- 
rials-handling equipment, and trained em- 
ployees, but they lacked the strength to 
withstand the hard usage of overseas areas 
and deteriorated rapidly in hot, humid 
climates. In the beginning no substitutes 
for fiber containers were available in ade- 
quate quantities. 

In March 1942 the OQMG authorized 
the use of a recently developed and sup- 
posedly weatherproof solid fiber container, 
which during the following summer pro- 
vided the principal shipping carton for sub- 
sistence going overseas. The new container 
made possible substantial savings in space, 
weight, and scarce materials, but unfavor- 
able reports from abroad soon belied its 
reputation for strength and resistance to 
moisture and caused a notable reduction 
in its use. In an effort to give more protec- 
tion to fiber containers of all sorts, the 
OQMG late in July directed that as a tem- 
porary expedient depots overpack them in 
wood.'" These installations opposed this 
innovation, claiming that it made heavy de- 
mands upon scarce labor and materials and 
required nearly 15 percent more warehouse 
and shipping space than was needed by sup- 
plies which were simply moved in fiber car- 
tons. In defense of their position the de- 
pots pointed out that the overpacking of the 
30,000,000 solid fiber containers then 
scheduled for movement overseas would in- 
crease the space occupied by each box to 

62 Tel, TQMG to QM Depots, 28 Jul 42, sub; 
Overpacking. OQMG 457 (Containers). 

such an extent that an additional 225,000 
displacement tons of shipping would be re- 
quired. It was also pointed out that huge 
quantities of lumber, which was daily be- 
coming more scarce, would be needed and 
that, in any event, neither canners nor de- 
pots had sufficient equipment for nailing 
wooden boxes. These cogent arguments 
compelled the OQMG to substitute metal- 
strapping for overpacking of fiber con- 
tainers. 63 

Temperature changes during the long 
voyage from the West Coast caused cans 
containing fruits and vegetables to sweat 
and rust. Once these supplies had arrived at 
their destination and had been placed in 
open storage, they were subject to three 
additional weather hazards : excessive heat, 
torrential rains, and high humidity, which 
rusted metal cans, broke fiberboard boxes, 
rotted wooden containers, and fostered the 
rapid growth of mold cultures on food, tex- 
tiles, and leather goods. The prolific insect 
life further endangered poorly packed 
supplies. 04 

Quartermaster supplies in the Pacific 
were handled at least three to five times if 
they were brought straight from the United 
States to a point of consumption; if trans- 
shipped from base to base, they might be 
handled ten or more times. Colonel Cord- 
iner estimated that food was commonly han- 
dled eighteen to twenty-six times en route 
from Australia to a point of consumption in 
New Guinea. Combat rations might go 
through several tactical operations without 
being issued and in consequence be handled 
as many as forty times.'' 5 Poorly packed food 

03 Thatcher, Packaging, pp. 61-62. 

"' Ibid., pp. 5-6. 

""'(1) Rpt, Cordiner, 2 May 43, sub: Trip to 
New Guinea, 13-24 Apr 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
463.7. (2) Rpt, Capt King, 24 Dec 43, sub: Pack- 
aging and Packing Subs in New Caledonia. OQMG 
SWPA 400.162. 

DAMAGED SUBSISTENCE in a storage shed at Milne Bay, New Guinea (above) and in 
the hold of a ship carrying rations (below). 



suffered heavy damage in being loaded and 
discharged by sling nets. This damage was 
particularly heavy if cargo vessels were dis- 
charged as swiftly as possible in order to 
reduce turnabout time. Containers were 
then tossed five or six feet from trucks into 
a net spread on the ground, often landing 
on corners or edges. When the net was lifted 
or dropped, it crushed and then pushed the 
boxes in all directions. Diagonal pressures 
threw the load on the weakest points of the 
cartons, frequently denting or puncturing 
inner containers. 

Time and again available mechanical 
equipment and service troops did not suffice 
to handle peak loading and discharging de- 
mands, and untrained islanders, who could 
not be expected to exercise much care, were 
necessarily employed to do the job by hand. 
During the first two years, moreover, dan- 
ger of bombing repeatedly forced the hasty 
discharge of vessels at night, with severe 
losses of supplies. In August 1943 one ob- 
server in New Guinea concluded that the 
greatest injury to poorly packed items oc- 
curred during operations of this sort. 66 The 
Guadalcanal offensive illustrated the rough 
usage to which Quartermaster items were 
subject under such circumstances. Owing 
to the presence of many enemy planes and 
ships, supply vessels might have to move 
at a moment's notice and consequently did 
not drop anchor. Lighters were brought 
alongside after nightfall, and cargo was 
simply flung overboard to waiting boats. In 
some instances makeshift piers were built 
to receive it, but usually only beaches were 
available. 67 

""Rpt, Maj Carl R. Fellers, 21 Aug 43, sub: 
Subs Spoilage in SWPA. ORB ABCOM GP&C 
400.33 (Lend-Lease). 

"' Min, Subcom of Container Co-ordinating Com 
on Fiber Boxes, Drums, and Cans, pp. 3-5. OQMG 

Throughout 1942 and most of 1943 
Pacific quartermasters commonly described 
the outer packing of subsistence items as 
"completely worthless." 68 A survey of bases 
between Hawaii and New Caledonia in the 
spring of 1942 disclosed that corrugated 
fiber cartons in outdoor storage fell apart as 
soon as a heavy downpour hit them. In the 
humid Fijis they disintegrated even in ware- 
houses. 69 On the docks at Wellington car- 
tons, awaiting transshipment to Guadalca- 
nal, became wet and broke open. Flour, 
sugar, rice, coffee, cereals, and baking pow- 
der, flimsily packaged for sale in grocery 
stores, fell out and covered the docks with a 
mushy deposit. Even wooden packing cases 
were not entirely adequate. 70 Tightly fas- 
tened with nails, they lacked resilience and 
broke up more quickly under rough han- 
dling than did less rigid boxes. Straps did not 
afford much protection ; they were too light 
in weight and too few in number, only one 
ordinarily being placed around the short 
circumference of a container, whereas a 
minimum of two was needed. 71 

Pacific quartermasters regarded the in- 
ner packagings, with the exception of tin 
cans, as no better than the outer packs. 
Col. Joseph H. Burgheim, Task Force 
Quartermaster in New Caledonia, scath- 
ingly described them as "a complete waste" 
of funds. 72 Salt and sugar, shipped in cloth 
bags, were often already half dissolved by 

'" Ltr, TFQM New Caledonia to CQM USAFIA, 
29 Apr 42. OQMG SWPA 319.1. 

Gn (1) Ltr, CG HHD to CG SFPOE, 2 May 42, 
sub: Shpmt of Subs in Pasteboard Containers. 
OQMG 430. (2) Ltr, CG USASOS to CG SOS, 
23 Sep 42, sub: Packaging Subs for SWPA. ORB 

70 Lecture, Col Robert C. Kilmartin, USMC, 19 
Nov 42, sub: Solomon Islands. OQMG POA 319.1. 

71 Memo, Maj William B. Harmon for Col John 
T. Harris, New Cumberland QM Depot, \i Oct 
42, sub: Packaging for SWPA. OQMG 400.162 

!2 Ltr cited n. 68. 

CORRUGATED FIBER CARTONS used for packing soon disintegrated in the rains of 
the South Pacific Area, and afforded little protection for their contents. 

' M 



moisture on arrival at advance points. Sim- 
ilarly packaged flour and rice frequently 
became moldy and full of weevils. Though 
fiber cans furnished more protection, they 
did not provide safeguards against exces- 
sive humidity for the salt, sugar, baking 
soda, and corn starch they usually held. 
Nor were they structurally strong enough to 
withstand hard usage and were therefore 
often dented and pierced. 73 

Composite cans — fiber containers with 
metal ends — were employed for packaging 
cocoa, gelatin, spices, condiments, baking 
powder, tea, and hard candy. These con- 
tainers, particularly the larger ones, proved 
unsatisfactory because of the weak joint be- 
tween the fiber sides and the metal tops and 
bottoms. In some shipments of large five- 
pound cocoa cans the metal bottoms came 
off practically all the containers. A 
stronger joint could not be developed with- 
out use of a side wall disproportionately 
thick in relation to the size of the contents. 
Even glass containers, used for syrup, 
pickles, vinegar, jams, jellies, and concen- 
trated butters, wefe not fully satisfactory, 
for a high percentage always broke in ship- 
ment. 74 

Despite the fact that tin cans were in gen- 
eral considered fairly reliable, they were 
easily punctured. As these containers were 
unlacquered, they were also liable to rust. 
If the labels, which covered the cans, be- 
came wet, rusting was accelerated. Fur- 
thermore, moist labels speedily disintegrated 
and once the label was gone, there re- 
mained no ready means of identifying the 
contents or learning the date of packing. 

"Rpt, Lt Col John T. Taylor, IGD USAFFE, 
14 Mar 43, sub: Packaging of Rations. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 400.16. 

71 Rpt, 1st Lt Robert L. Woodbury, 28 May 43, 
sub: Observations in SWPA, 1 Feb-15 May 43. 
OQMG SWPA 400.162. 

Frequently, cans had to be issued with no 
certainty as to the age or even the contents. 

Packing and packaging deficiencies, how- 
ever caused, obliged Quartermaster and 
Veterinary personnel to devote countless 
hours to the separation of unspoiled from 
spoiled food. Once this chore had been 
completed, more hours had to be spent in 
the repacking of usable cans earmarked for 
shipment to advance bases or combat areas. 
Sometimes the shortage of lumber made re- 
packing impossible. 75 

Because of the numerous hazards to which 
Quartermaster items were liable, better 
packaging and packing, obviously, had to be 
developed. Subsistence in general had to be 
packed to protect it an entire year or even 
longer, for reserve supplies accumulated at 
bases and, as operations advanced, were 
either left behind for protracted periods of 
time or else dragged through new cam- 
paigns. Combat rations in particular might 
be stored for many months; consequently, 
they needed protection for at least two 
years. 76 

In Washington the OQMG tried to de- 
velop more durable outer containers. It es- 
pecially sought a fiber box equaling nailed 
wooden boxes in packing performance. 
Corrugated fiberboard manufacturers, eager 
to become once more competitive in the mil- 
itary container market, undertook the de- 
velopment of the desired products. They 
created two new types — one, a super- 
strength, all-kraft solid fiber container with 
a sisal outer layer, and the other, a corru- 
gated container in which sisal was used in 
the construction of the kraft paper itself. 

75 ( 1 ) Memo, ACofS for Opns SOS for TQMG, 
24 Nov 43, sub: Packaging. OQMG 430. (2) 
Ltr, Capt King to TQMG, 15 Jun 44, sub: Pack- 
ing and Packaging of QM Sups in SPA. OQMG 
SWPA 400.162. 

K P. 6 of Rpt cited n. 65 (2). 



Both cartons, it was claimed, surpassed 
nailed wooden boxes in resisting rough 
usage. Dropped 50 times in a testing drum 
to simulate rough handling in a ship's hold, 
then immersed in water for twenty-four 
hours, and finally again tumbled in the drum 
until they broke, two all-kraft containers sus- 
tained 315 and 526 falls and a sisal-kraft 
container 569 falls before they failed. The 
weatherproof solid fiber container survived 
only 21 falls and the nailed wooden box 222 

Using "V" for "Victory," the OOMG 
termed the new materials "V-board" and 
at the close of 1942 issued specifications for 
three grades. VI grade, based on the super- 
strength, all-kraft, highly water-resistant 
fiber box used in the tests, furnished the best 
grade; it was made entirely of virgin fibers 
and had a bursting strength of 750 pounds 
per square inch when dry and 500 pounds 
when wet. The V2 grade, made from both 
virgin and used fibers, had a bursting 
strength of 500 pounds per square inch, 
either wet or dry. The V3 grade, with a 
strength of 400 pounds if dry but only 150 
pounds if wet, made merely a superior 
weatherproof solid fiber container. Sleeves, 
fitted over the V-containers from end to end, 
appreciably increased resistance to hard 
usage. Further protection was given by two 
metal straps tightly drawn at right angles to 
each other. Later a third strap was added for 
still more protection." 

Production of V-containers was at first 
severely circumscribed by the limited ca- 
pacity of box factories, the shortage of fiber 
pulp, labor troubles, and the inability of the 
OQMG to issue procurement directives in 
time to obtain delivery by the desired dates. 
For some months these handicapping fac- 
tors forced the continued use of weather- 

77 Thatcher, Packaging, pp. 65-68, 82-83. 

proof solid fiber boxes. Not until the summer 
of 1943 were V-boxes made in substantial 
volume, and even then the output was not 
commensurate with requirements. The 
QMC, indeed, never obtained all the V- 
boxes it would have had if production had 
not been curtailed by continued manufac- 
turing difficulties. V2- or V3-board often 
had to be used when the superior VI grade 
was preferable. 78 

V-containers did not reach Pacific bases 
in significant numbers until the close of 
1943. Employed principally for food items, 
they withstood handling hazards well, and 
most observers believed them superior in this 
respect to wooden boxes. If V2-boxes were 
provided with sleeves, they were suitable for 
packing canned goods, but the sturdier VI- 
boxes were preferred for emergency rations 
and other items stored over long periods of 
time. The less durable V3-containers proved 
most satisfactory for such fast-selling PX 
articles as beer, soft drinks, and fruit juices. 
Efforts were made to send V 1 - and V2-boxes 
as far as possible to forward areas and V3- 
boxes to rear areas; but the mixing of all 
three grades in shipment made this difficult. 
Since V-boxes lacked the rigidity of wooden 
cases, they did not stack as well and some- 
times collapsed if they bore the weight of 
a superimposed load or if not fully packed. 
They were most suitable when used for foods 
packaged in tin cans or other strong inner 
containers capable of helping boxes with- 
stand stacking pressures. V-containers were 
also inferior to wooden containers in that 
they were more easily damaged by mois- 
ture. The new boxes retained heat longer 
than did those made of wood, but ex- 
cessive spoilage was seldom observed. In 
spite of the inferiority of V-containers in 
some respects, their superiority in space- 

7S Ibid., pp. 70-73. 



saving qualities, ease of handling, and, above 
all, resistance to hard usage, more and more 
won them acceptance. 79 

During 1943 the OQMG developed the 
conception of "amphibious packing" to in- 
dicate packing that could be easily carried 
and that could withstand exceedingly rough 
usage and about ninety days of exposure to 
the elements. In practice the term implied 
a relatively low poundage and the employ- 
ment of superior outside packing materials. 
Amphibious packing, designed originally 
for tactical operations, was actually applied 
to most of the subsistence sent to the Pa- 
cific late in the war. As far as possible pack- 
ers employed the freshest food. They pre- 
ferred metal-strapped VI- or V2-containers 
with sleeves, but, if these cartons were un- 
available, they substituted nailed or wire- 
bound wooden cases. Because of the re- 
peated necessity for carrying combat rations 
by hand, packers restricted the weight of 
amphibious packs to about 40 pounds in 
contrast to the 50 to 60 pounds of other 
packs. s " 

While fiber and wooden boxes were the 
containers most commonly used for over- 
packing food items, the OQMG developed 
a special container for flour, salt, sugar, 
powdered milk, rice, and dry beans and 

'" ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS to CG Base Sec 7, 4 Jan 
44, sub: Subs Packed Amphibiously. ORB ABCOM 
AG 430. (2) Rpt, Capt Horace Richards, 26 May 
44, sub: Trip to New Caledonia. ORB ABCOM 
P&C 457. (3) Ltr, Dir of Proc USASOS to CG 
USAFFE, 20 Jun 44, sub: Packaging of Australian- 
Procured Sups. ORB AFPAC GPA 400.161. (4) 
Ltr, CG USASOS to CG ASF, 1 Jul 44, sub: Pack- 

"" ( 1 ) Memo, S&D Div for DQMG for Sup Ping, 
8 Jan 43, sub: Rpt on SPA. OQMG POA 319.1. 
(2) Ltr, TQMG to CG USASOS, 17 Jul 43, sub: 
Amphibiously Packed Rations. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 430.2. 

peas — a multiwall paper sack lined with 
asphalt moisture barriers. Originally, these 
products had been shipped in burlap or 
osnaburg, that is, coarse cotton, bags, which 
furnished only slight protection against han- 
dling hazards, moisture, and insects. Tin 
containers would have been more satisfac- 
tory, but the growing shortage of tin plate 
prohibited their extensive use. After the 
spring of 1942, five-ply multiwall sacks with 
two asphalt barriers were prescribed as the 
outer containers. The plies from inside to 
outside consisted of one layer of natural 
kraft; one layer of duplex, waterproof, as- 
phalt-laminated kraft; two layers identical 
with the first two; and, finally, a fifth layer 
of natural kraft. In February 1943 a sec- 
ond type of outer sack, the laminated paper- 
osnaburg-paper bag, which afforded more 
protection against moisture than the first, 
was authorized. It consisted of creped kraft 
paper laminated with asphalt to osnaburg 
cloth, which, in turn, was laminated with 
asphalt to creped, wet-strength-treated kraft 
paper. Both types of multiwall sack were 
sealed with wax and water-resistant ad- 
hesives. 81 

The contents of multiwall bags were 
packaged in sacks of cotton sheeting. In the 
60-pound sack there were usually 12 inner 
bags containing 5 pounds each, or 6 bags 
containing 10 pounds each, or one bag con- 
taining 50 pounds, the precise size of the 
bag depending upon the standard unit em- 
ployed in distribution of the product. Flour 
and sugar were shipped in 50-pound bags 
and salt, which was in less demand, in 
smaller bags." 2 

S1 OQMG Tentative Specification 103, 23 Feb 43. 

s2 ( 1 ) Memo, Subs Br for S&D Div OQMG, 5 
Nov 43, sub: Packaging QM Overseas Items. 
OQMG SWPA 400.162. (2) Rpt cited n. 79 (2). 



Special Packaging Problems 

While the OQMG in Washington grap- 
pled with packing difficulties, it also tried 
to solve packaging difficulties. The prin- 
cipal problem was the shortage of tin, which, 
though easily punctured and prone to rust, 
still provided the most generally satisfac- 
tory packaging material for subsistence. 
Even before Japanese conquests cut off the 
rich tin resources of southeastern Asia, the 
supply of this metal did not suffice to meet 
all essential military and civilian require- 
ments. In view of the fact that a suitable 
substitute for tin cans could not be devel- 
oped quickly, the OQMG focused its atten- 
tion on conservation measures that would 
increase the supply of tin cans without use 
of additional tin. In the late spring of 1942 
it substitued lightweight, electrolytic tin 
plate for the much heavier hot-dipped tin 
plate. Since even the latter type speedily 
rusted in the tropics, the lighter type mani- 
festly would rust even faster. Originally, 
the OOMG had thought that the lacquer- 
ing of cans was unnecessary, but it now rec- 
ognized that protective coating or, as it was 
commonly known, "procoating," was al- 
most mandatory. Such a program proved 
difficult to start, for manufacturers did not 
ordinarily lacquer cans and therefore kept 
no adequate equipment on hand for this 
purpose. Nor was it known what paints, 
enamels, and wax emulsions gave the maxi- 
mum security against rust. Not until the 
late summer of 1943 was this information 
available and equipment ready for coating 
the outsides of cans at some thirty con- 
tracting plants, two of them pineapple can- 
neries in Hawaii. si 

In the spring of 1944 millions of con- 
tainers, lacquered or enameled on the out- 

side, began to arrive in the Pacific. In open 
storage they were generally unrusted, 
whereas unlacquered cans stacked at the 
same time were already corroding. One ob- 
server in the South Pacific declared that in- 
side as well as outside surfaces of fruit juice 
cans should be lacquered. This precaution 
would, he believed, eliminate the pinholing 
of the can by acid juices. 84 Little was done, 
however, to implement this suggestion. Sum- 
ming up the procoating program in the Pa- 
cific, Col. Rohland A. Isker, wartime chief 
of the Subsistence Research Laboratory in 
Chicago, declared that it had prolonged the 
life of treated cans by at least three or four 
months and so saved huge quantities of 


In the spring of 1943 the OQMG took 
steps to dispense with some of the paper 
labels on tin cans. It required that the full 
name of the product or a five-letter abbrevi- 
ation be lithographed, stamped, or em- 
bossed on containers. SH Labels were still em- 
ployed to convey other information. A few 
months later the procoating program, 
which, for the best results, demanded the 
complete elimination of paper coverings, 
strengthened the argument for not applying 
any labels. Finally, in January 1944, the 
OQMG ordered their use discontinued and 
instructed the food-procuring depots to 
lithograph, stamp, or emboss on the can all 
the essential data still carried on labels, par- 

vl Thatcher, Packaging, pp. 41-45. 

M ( 1 ) Ltr cited n. 75(2). ( 2 ) Ltr, Col Doriot to 
Dr. Karl T. Compton, OSRD, 22 Aug 44, sub: 
Soiled Cans. OQMG 457. 

* 5 Lecture, Col Isker, Army Food Conf, 2 Apr 
46, sub: Field Svc is the Best Lab for Research and 
De'v. OQMG 334. 

"" Chicago QM Depot, QMC Tentative Specifi- 
cation 107, -20 Mar 43, sub: Marking Cans for 
Overseas Shpmt. OQMG 400.1141. 



ticularly the year in which the pack was 
made. 87 Embossing of cans for citrus com- 
modities created a fresh problem, for the 
embossing die occasionally fractured the 
container and permitted acid liquid to 
spread over and rust the can. A more seri- 
ous fault was the repeated failure of con- 
tracting plants to indicate the name of the 
product and the date of packing, omissions 
that rendered identification of contents and 
the consistent provision of fresh foods al- 
most impossible. 88 

Marking of outside containers for move- 
ment overseas, like that of tin cans, received 
considerable attention from the OQMG. 
Regulations governing this matter varied 
from time to time and from one class of sup- 
ply to another, but from 1 March 1943 to 
the termination of hostilities the marking of 
outside containers was in general governed 
by the Schenectady Plan, so named because 
it was tested at the Schenectady General 
Depot. Under this system markings on con- 
tainers were limited to those required in 
combat areas; data required in the zone of 
interior was placed by itself on a special 
label. Unfortunately, contracting firms re- 
mained lax in the execution of marking in- 
structions, and the Quartermaster inspection 
staff was too small to rectify more than a 
few errors. 89 

Some months elapsed before supplies 
marked, at least in theory, in accordance 
with the improved method reached the Pa- 
cific. Even then quartermasters were not 
wholly satisfied. Col. James C. Longino 
probably expressed the prevailing opinion 
when he claimed that markings were too 
complicated and too small to be "readily de- 
tected and understood by relatively unintel- 

" 7 OQMG Daily Activity Rpt, 1 1 Jan 44. 
**Ibid., 8 Dec 44; 20 Mar 45. 
""Thatcher, Packaging, pp. 87-89. 

ligent labor." m Owing to the failure to in- 
dicate clearly the contents of boxes, the 
wrong item or incorrect quantities of the 
right item were often issued. Fewer mark- 
ings — and these in larger letters — were what 
Pacific quartermasters wanted. They ob- 
jected in particular to the small I 4- to J/2- 
inch lettering of the name of the product 
and to its appearance on only one side and 
one end of the container. They wanted this 
identification placed on both sides and both 
ends in 3- or 4-inch letters and the number 
and weight of units in the container and the 
date of packing similarly indicated in 
slightly smaller letters. 91 Facts not required 
overseas merely confused handlers. Yet cases 
arrived, covered, in violation of instructions, 
with such irrelevant data as the name of the 
contractor, the purchase and specification 
numbers, the name and location of the man- 
ufacturing plant, the names of the procuring 
and receiving depots, and other informa- 
tion valuable only in the zone of interior. 92 
Despite the fact that marking, packaging, 
and packing problems arising in the supply 
of subsistence from the United States were 
never wholly solved, better marking and 
sturdier packages and packings reduced 
losses materially. That more was not 
achieved is attributable to lack of materials, 
deficiencies in contractors' equipment, and 
inability to anticipate in prewar days all the 
packaging and packing problems that arose 
in areas so widely different from the United 
States in climate, terrain, and social and eco- 
nomic development as were those of the 

5,0 OQMG, Rpt of Food Conf, 1-30 Apr 46, 
Vol. I, "Proceedings 1 Apr 46," pp. 4-7. 

91 (1) OQMG Packing and Crating Bull 51, 10 
Feb 43. (2) Personal Ltr, Capt Orr to Col Donot, 
22 Aug 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

"-Pp. 1-5 of Rpt cited n. 23(2). 



Packing of Clothing, Equipage, 
and General Supplies 

The provision of packing protection for 
clothing, equipage, and general supplies was 
a simpler matter than in the case of food, 
for they were all much less liable to deteri- 
oration. In packing these supplies, bales, 
wooden boxes and crates, plywood cases, 
and wood-cleated fiberboard containers, all 
served as packing containers and except for 
plywood and wood-cleated fiber boxes, 
which were easily broken, gave moderately 
satisfactory results. 

Baling was the common method of pack- 
ing compressible clothing and equipage in 
the zone of interior. It withstood rough 
usage well and reduced space requirements 
by about 30 percent. Bales even afforded 
protection against water damage as the 
tight compression of the contents diminished 
seepage of dampness into interior layers. 
Wrapping of baled goods in water-resistant 
paper gave extra protection. In spite of 
these precautions, clothing was occasionally 
mildewed, but on the whole the amount 
damaged was small. The major criticism 
centered about the difficulty of moving un- 
eared bales by hand because of their ex- 
cessive weight — often several hundred 
pounds, a load much too heavy for easy 
manipulation in areas with limited mechan- 
ical equipment. The introduction of 
lighter, eared bales late in 1943 eliminated 
this cause of complaint. On the long trip 
from depots in the United States to Pacific 
bases some bales always disintegrated be- 
cause of torn coverings, rusted metal straps, 
and crumbled waterproof paper. In spite 
of these mishaps advantages of baling far 
outbalanced disadvantages. 93 

" :t ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for CG USASOS, 1 Nov 43, 
ORB AFWESPAC AG 430. (2) Rpt, Capt King, 
14 Nov 43, sub: Packing of QM Sups at Noumea. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

The zone of interior never completely 
solved the problem of packing nonbalable 
clothing and equipage. These items were 
customarily placed in unwieldy plywood 
boxes or wood-cleated fiber cases, which 
carried loads too heavy for their frameworks 
and often fell apart, requiring many man- 
hours for recooperage. 94 In most instances 
packing of general supplies proved satisfac- 
tory, but experience revealed some defi- 
ciencies. Plywood boxes, used for field 
ranges and other bulky articles, frequently 
broke. The original method of shipping 
massive items composed of many parts also 
proved faulty. Stoves, for example, were 
shipped with six sets of bases, tops, and rings 
in one crate and all the other parts — shak- 
ers, pokers, grates, shovels, and pipe sec- 
tions — in separate boxes, each of which con- 
tained scores of parts of the same type. If a 
box containing grates, pipe sections, or some 
other vital part did not come with the rest 
of the shipment or was misplaced on ar- 
rival, the stoves could not be used until the 
missing parts had been received or located. 
To insure the delivery of complete units a 
crate containing all the parts for five com- 
plete stoves was developed. This improved 
method was applied also to other pieces of 
equipment consisting of many parts. An- 
other weakness in the shipment of general 
supplies was lack of precautions against 
rusting of fire-unit burners, pressing sur- 
faces of ironers, and typewriter springs. 
Eventually, employment of rust preventa- 
tives solved this problem. 

Many items of clothing and general util- 
ity were shipped in V-cases, usually of the 
V3 type. As some of these items could not 
be solidly packed, the comparatively weak 
containers often collapsed under pressure. 
Boxes containing shoes were especially sub- 

01 P. 10 of Rpt cited n. 65 (1). 



ject to this mishap. So were those which held 
helmets, for these articles, because of their 
irregular shape, could not be fitted snugly 
into a case and were so heavy they gradually 
broke down their containers. If cartons 
holding soap became wet, they disintegrated 
because the soap dissolved and weakened 
the interior of the boxes. In the Philippines 
in 1944 and 1945 rain damaged socks, uni- 
forms, stationery, and toilet paper, if they 
were not strongly packaged. 95 Such losses 
brought about various suggestions for deal- 
ing with the problem. One observer recom- 
mended that the sides of V3-boxes be 
strengthened sufficiently to prevent collapse 
under heavy loads. Another observer pro- 
posed that V-containers be utilized only for 
food and nailed or metal-strapped wooden 
cases for Class II and IV supplies. But the 
most common recommendation was that 
V3-boxes be utilized solely for articles so 
shaped as to strengthen resistance to stack- 
ing pressures. 96 

Packing and Packaging 
Locally Procured Supplies 

The new packaging and packing meth- 
ods were applied insofar as was feasible to 
commodities purchased in Australia and 
New Zealand. But technical inexperience 
and shortages of raw materials retarded the 
introduction of American innovations. At 
the start inner containers for subsistence 
were comparable to and as unsatisfactory as 
those employed in early shipments from the 
United States, but by the close of 1943 
better ones had been introduced. Lacquered 
tin cans were extensively employed. Square, 
four-gallon cans, employed for flour and 

10 7th Div Opns Rpt King II, G-4 Sec, p. 48. 

"" (1) Rpt 3, Capt Orr, 20 May 44, sub: Rpt on 
the Letterpress Opn. OQMG SWPA 319.25. (2) 
Ltr cited n. 79(3). (3) Rpt cited n. 23(2). 

dry cereals and occasionally for dehydrated 
vegetables, frequently admitted moisture. 
Since package sizes and shapes were not 
rigidly standardized, it was hard to pack 
containers snugly, and considerable uncer- 
tainty often prevailed as to the number of 
packages in a container. 97 

Outer packs proved even less satisfactory 
than inner containers, being larger and 
more unwieldy than those from the United 
States. Steel drums, weighing 250 pounds, 
were occasionally used for flour. As late as 
May 1945 an observer from the Chicago 
Quartermaster Depot found many New 
Zealand products packed in unmanageable 
1 50-pound containers or 1 00-pound wooden 
cases."* The wooden boxes, generally 
employed in the Southwest Pacific to pack 
supplies consigned to advance areas, proved 
unsuitable because the softwood required to 
make superior cases was unobtainable, and 
the brittle lumber employed as a substitute 
broke easily. Late in 1943 lumber for pack- 
ing purposes became so scarce in Queens- 
land that the crates necessary for the de- 
livery of fresh vegetables in edible condition 
could not be provided. In contrast to Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand had a relatively plenti- 
ful supply of softwoods appropriate for the 
production of wood containers. That coun- 
try indeed had a surplus for exportation to 
its large neighbor. 99 Both New Zealand and 
Australia suffered from recurrent shortages 

" T Rpt, Capt King, 23 Dec 43, sub: Packaging 
and Packing of Sups from Australia and New 
Zealand. ORB NUGSEC QM 400.162. 

"* Rpt, Capt Lyle M. Richardson, Jr., Aug 45, 
sub: Class I Sup in the Pacific, p. 14. OQMG Mil 
Ping Div. 

"" ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS Gen Depot to CG 
I'SASOS, 7 Oct 43, sub: Recasing of Subs. ORB 
NUGSEC QM 400.16. (2) Ltr, CG Base SvC Base 
Sec 7 to CQM USASOS, 2 Nov 43, sub: Amphibi- 
ous Shpmts. (3) Memo, Lt Col T. J. Pozzy for 
Col Hester, Proc Div USASOS, 3 Jun 44, sub: 
Wooden Shooks. Both in ORB NUGSEC QM 457. 



of wire, nails, and straps for bracing wooden 
boxes. USASOS and SOS SPA therefore 
imported these indispensable materials from 
the United States but never received all they 
wanted. From home sources, too, came 
"shooks,' , that is, sets of box parts, ready to 
be assembled, and small quantities of V- 
board. 1 "" The Southwest Pacific Area tried 
to interest Australian manufacturers in the 
production of V-containers; its efforts, how- 
ever, came to naught. 101 Considerable quan- 
tities of burlap and other baling materials 
were procurable below the equator, but 
lack of compression machines prevented 
their extensive use, and balable supplies 
were necessarily packed in three-ply wooden 
boxes. 102 

Since the new and better packaging and 
packing methods developed in the zone of 
interior could not be widely applied to items 
obtained in Australia and New Zealand, 
supplies from these countries in general 
could not resist rough handling as well as 
those from the United States. Furthermore, 
since they were less compactly packed, they 
occupied more cargo space. Despite these 
drawbacks Quartermaster packaging and 
packing constituted one of the brighter as- 
pects of QMC distribution activities. The 
improved methods appreciably alleviated 
handling problems, prolonged the storage 
life of most supplies, saved cargo space, and 
pointed the way for still further betterment. 

""' Memo, Capt Horace Richards for Lt Col R. W. 
Hughes, Proc Div USASOS, 12 Jul 44, sub: Pack- 
ing. ORB NUGSEC QM 457. 

"" ( 1 ) Ltr, Capt Horace Harding to Dir of Proc 
USASOS, 26 May 44, sub: Trip to New Caledonia. 
ORB ABCOM P&C 457. (2) Ltr cited n. 79(3). 
(3) Ltr, CO USASOS to Dir of Proc, 21 Sep 44, 
sub: V-cases. ORB ABCOM P&C 457. 

102 ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col W. R. Ridlehuber for P&C 
Office, QM Sec, USASOS Gen Depot, 29 Sep 
43, sub: Packaging of Sups. QM 400.16. (2) 
Memo, n. s., for Col Cordiner, 5 Nov 43. Both in 

Some tentative conclusions can be drawn 
with regard to the problems treated in this 
chapter. Few of them were susceptible of 
ready solution; indeed, under the unfavor- 
able conditions encountered in advance 
areas a large number were almost if not 
quite insoluble. Building materials and 
skilled labor for constructing storage facili- 
ties at island supply centers were almost 
totally absent, and Quartermaster construc- 
tion at best had only low priorities. Had 
more ocean-going vessels been available, 
more building materials could have been 
imported, and had procurement of refrig- 
erated facilities and small prefabricated 
warehouses been conducted with greater 
vigor, more of these desirable means of stor- 
age could have been obtained. But even if 
these conditions had all been met, they could 
have ended storage perplexities only in part. 
Manpower shortages and low priorities 
would have precluded immediate assem- 
bling of prefabricated buildings, and the 
normal necessity for prompt discharge of 
vessels would have forced resort to open 
storage. The possibility of relief was further 
complicated by the repeated shifting of the 
center of supply activity to the newer bases, 
whose undeveloped state made open storage 
virtually obligatory for many months. 

With the comparatively limited number 
of cargo vessels, supply troubles would have 
been considerably eased could air transpor- 
tation have been employed more freely. 
What was most needed was more cargo 
planes, more cargo parachutes, and better 
delivery technique. There was not enough 
time during the war to fill these require- 
ments in more than small part, but the 
QMC did learn how valuable planes might 
be as supply carriers when other means of 
transportation had become unavailable or 
unusable. That knowledge was to be ap- 



plied in the postwar years to the develop- 
ment of better air cargo methods. 

The potential packaging and packing 
problems of overseas areas had not been 
fully comprehended before Pearl Harbor, 
but early wartime experience quickly re- 
vealed the wastefulness of flimsy packaging 

and packing. Actions then taken to correct 
defects proved their value and served as 
guides to still greater improvements in the 
postwar era. The development of sturdier 
V-containers in particular pointed the way 
to much better fiberboard cartons. From its 
trials the QMC had indeed learned much. 


Class I, II, III, and IV 

Supply Problems 

Quartermaster items were ordinarily pro- 
vided in adequate quantities, in spite of 
manv handicaps. On but few occasions after 
the fall of the Philippines did troops suffer 
from hunger, and then only for short periods 
of time. There were frequent scarcities of 
some items of food, it is true, yet men did 
not starve for lack of them; they merely ate 
larger quantities of available items. Nor did 
they long go ill-clad or ill-shod though some 
articles of apparel and footwear might be 
temporarily unavailable. By improvising 
new items and substituting obtainable arti- 
cles for missing articles, the ill effects flow- 
ing from long-continued scarcities of a few 
of the so-called housekeeping items were 
mitigated. In the all-important matter of 
gasoline supply combat units were ade- 
quately provided for. They did not always 
receive all the gasoline they wanted, but 
lack of this vital fuel halted no operation 
and never more than temporarily incon- 
venienced fighting troops. Provision of 
Quartermaster items thus in general caused 
but slight trouble for supply officers. It was 
the problems associated with shortages — 
sporadic though they usually were — which 
demanded of quartermasters the greater 
part of their time, gave them the greatest 
anxiety, and brought down on their heads 
the most criticism. 

Class I Losses 

The most persistent Class I — that is, sub- 
sistence — problem facing the QMC was the 
heavy loss of food. In the absence of accu- 
rate stock records the extent of this loss 
cannot be determined precisely, but it was 
probably largest in 1942 and 1943, when 
storage and distribution conditions were at 
their worst. Articles packed in tin or fiber 
containers showed severest wastage. At Port 
Moresby in June 1943 more than 162,000 
of the 1,015,000 food cans then inspected 
by the Veterinary Service were pronounced 
unsuitable for issue. Twenty-two percent of 
the evaporated milk, 40 percent of the lima 
beans, and lesser percentages of tomatoes, 
cabbage, corned beef, and peaches were 
condemned. 1 A survey of the canned food 
held by the 41st Division in the Oro Bay 
area at this time revealed that 40 to 50 
percent of the evaporated milk, 20 to 40 
percent of canned fruits, and 20 to 25 per- 
cent of canned vegetables were unfit to eat. 
One observer concluded that at least 40 
percent of the rations in the Southwest Pa- 
cific were then "spoiled or unconsumable." 
In September it was estimated that losses 

1 Rpt, Base Vet Advance Base, 6 Jul 43, sub: 
Rpt, 21 May-30 Jun 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 




were running at the rate of 2 percent every 
month. 2 In the South Pacific, too, losses 
accumulated at a prodigious rate. In the 
first eight months of 1943 the Veterinary 
Service condemned about 3,500,000 pounds 
of evaporated milk and enormous quantities 
of canned fruits and vegetables. 3 Only 
Hawaii escaped wholesale condemnations 
of stored food. 

Heavy subsistence losses resulted not only 
from storage in the open and from inferior 
packaging and packing but also from such 
causes as shipping accidents and enemy at- 
tacks. Unit messes were notoriously waste- 
ful of food; their cooks often had neither 
training nor experience in the preparation 
of meals and were in general lax in the per- 
formance of their duties, neglecting to sepa- 
rate spoiled from unspoiled meats and vege- 
tables and by their ineptness ruining many 
a meal. 4 Pilferage further increased losses. 
This evil was particularly prevalent on 
board ship, on docks, and in open storage, 
where supplies were easily accessible to 
passers-by. The problem was an especially 
serious one for the QMC, for its food items 
were in greater demand than the supplies 
of other services. The generally small size 
of these items, which made them easy to 
hide, further encouraged petty thievery. 5 

2 (1) Rpt, Surg Subbase B, 23 Jun 43, sub: 
Survey of Canned Food. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
430. (2) Rpt, Lt Col R. C. Kramer, 9 Sep 43, sub: 
Trip to New Guinea, 30 Aug-7 Sep 43. ORB 

n (1) Rpt, Capt King, 24 Dec 43, sub: Pack- 
aging and Packing Subs in New Caledonia, pp. 10- 
11. OQMG SWPA 400.162. (2) Rpt, Capt King, 
4 Nov 43, same sub. OQMG POA 400.162. 

* Memo, Maj William H. Hall, Asst IG, for CO 
Base A, 9 May 44, sub: Subs Losses at Base A. 
OQMG 333.5. 

6 ( 1 ) Memo, QM for CG ADSEC, 9 Sep 43. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 370.43. (2) Ltr, QM 
Alamo Force to QM ADSEC, 12 Oct 43. AF- 

Though losses of nonperishables de- 
creased somewhat after mid- 1943, they re- 
mained high. In March 1944 the War 
Department estimated that 12 percent of 
such food moved in the previous year from 
the United States to the South Pacific and 
1 7 percent of that moved to the Southwest 
Pacific could not be accounted for. 6 In the 
twelve months between 1 May 1943 and 30 
April 1944 in the latter area, the Chief 
Quartermaster's record, covering food from 
Australia as well as the United States, 
agreed with the War Department figure. 
It ascribed losses to the following causes: 
spoilage, 5.44 percent; shipping accidents, 
5.44 percent; pilferage, 3.40 percent; ex- 
cess issues, 1.36 percent; and unknown 
causes, 1.36 percent. This estimate did 
not include losses in combat and in unit 
storerooms, kitchens, and messes. The Sub- 
sistence Division, OCQM, USASOS, listing 
slightly different causes of destruction, 
placed the total figure at 19 percent, or 2 
percent higher than that given in the other 
calculations. According to this estimate 
combat hazards and deterioration each 
caused a loss of 6 percent; pilferage, a loss 
of 5 percent; accidents in transit, 1 percent; 
and enemy action ashore, 1 percent. 7 

These estimates may all have been too 
low. This possibility is suggested by their 
failure to include wastage in units, by the 
declaration of the Chief Veterinarian, USA- 
SOS, who was responsible for most inspec- 
tion of nonperishables, that storage losses in 
New Guinea during 1943 amounted to 
about 13.6 percent, and by the continued 
condemnation in the following year of non- 
perishables in proportions somewhat higher 

6 Ltr, CofS to Overseas Areas, 22 Mar 44, sub: 
Subs Losses in TOPNS. ORB USAFINC 430. 

7 Personal Ltr, Brig Gen Edward B. McKinley to 
Gen Gregory, 11 Nov 44. OQMG POA 319.25. 



than were given in the estimates." In March 
1944 condemnations at Port Moresby, 
where storage conditions were compara- 
tively good, amounted to 2,143,000 pounds, 
or 16 percent of all the food examined. Yet 
wholesale condemnations had been made at 
this base only nine months before. All but 
10,000 pounds of the 541,000 pounds of 
canned corned beef and all but 8,000 of the 
410,000 pounds of canned beets were pro- 
nounced unfit to eat. All of the C and J ra- 
tions, all but a tiny fraction of the D ra- 
tions, all the hominy, dried apples, and 
assorted biscuits were condemned. Less than 
5 percent of the canned tomatoes and of the 
raisins were found edible, and 70 percent of 
the margarine and much of the canned 
orange juice and dehydrated vegetables 
were unusable. 9 Wholesale condemnations, 
like those at Port Moresby, lend weight to 
the belief that even in 1944 the total loss of 
nonperishables in the Southwest Pacific may 
have run as high as 25 percent. Because of 
slightly better storage and handling condi- 
tions, losses in the South Pacific may have 
been 5 to 10 percent lower. For comparable 
reasons the Central Pacific Area probably 
had an even smaller wastage. 

Supply of Subsistence in Advance Areas 

Heavy subsistence losses were one of the 
main causes for what was perhaps the major 
Quartermaster problem in the Pacific — re- 
current scarcities of some food items at ad- 
vance bases and in combat zones, particu- 
larly in New Guinea. But this problem was 
not produced by any single cause; it de- 
veloped out of the whole complex of condi- 
tions that hampered Quartermaster activi- 

8 Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 16 Feb 44, sub : 
Wastage Factor. ORB NUGSEC DISTDIV 430. 

" Memo, Dir of Distr for CG USASOS, 27 Mar 

ties in that part of the world. As General 
Frink pointed out, shortages developed in 
New Guinea not so much because items were 
scarce in the Southwest Pacific Area as a 
whole as because they could not be sent to 
the proper places in the proper quantities 
at the proper times. Area-wide stocks of such 
commodities as flour and sugar were in gen- 
eral more than ample to fill all requirements, 
yet they were repeatedly unavailable at ad- 
vance bases and to troops in the field. 10 More 
or less chronic scarcities indeed existed only 
in boneless beef and some of the more popu- 
lar vegetables, but such scarcities were made 
more acute by the tendency of island installa- 
tions to issue these favored items in sizable 
quantities as long as they were available. 
This failure to conserve limited stocks did 
much to promote the "feast-and-famine" 
cycle characteristic of many unit messes. A 
directive of February 1944 ordered base 
commanders in New Guinea to prepare 
monthly menus which would be based on 
actual stocks and expected receipts and 
which would list the amount of each item 
to be served at every meal. Because of the 
uncertainty of receipts, this method of con- 
trolling issues proved futile. Bases themselves 
usually ignored the menus and continued, 
much as in the past, to overissue popular 
items. 11 

Ration problems in New Guinea came to 
a climax in late 1943 and early 1944. Usable 
cargo space was then at a low level in rela- 
tion to the rapidly rising troop strength, and 
combat units were often stationed at unex- 
pected and widely scattered points for which 
no adequate supply plans had been formu- 
lated. Weeks sometimes passed before work- 

,0 Conf 15 Mar 44, sub: Min of Special Staff 

11 (1) USASOS Regulations 30-16, Sec. II, 28 
Feb 44, sub: Daily Ration Issue. (2) USASOS Ltr, 
GSQMT 430, 6 Jun 44, sub: Issue of Subs. 



able arrangements could be made to pro- 
vision these points. All bases on the island 
encountered great difficulties in maintain- 
ing enough stocks for troops in training, at 
rest camps, and in operational zones. These 
installations even found it hard to supply 
soldiers at the bases themselves. 

After August 1943 the movement of car- 
goes from the West Coast direct to New 
Guinea introduced a fresh obstacle to equi- 
table distribution, for distribution agencies 
in Australia then found it almost impossible 
to ascertain how many supplies from the 
United States were being landed at north- 
ern bases or even what bases were receiving 
the supplies. Consequently, these agencies 
could not determine what supply points were 
most in need of food. Late in 1943 the devel- 
opment of a new War Department shipping 
document, giving complete information 
concerning items and quantities shipped and 
discharge points, paved the way for at least 
a partial solution, for it gave distributing 
agencies a much better conception of the 
dispersion of supplies coming from the 
United States. 12 

Distribution of food supplies reached a 
critical phase in the opening months of 1 944, 
when many new supply points were estab- 
lished within a short time and the arrival of 
many operational cargoes from the United 
States held up the discharge of subsistence 
cargoes from Australia." On 15 March Maj. 
Gen. James L. Frink told representatives of 
USASOS distribution agencies called to- 
gether to contrive means of relieving food 
scarcities that he had received "frantic wires 
in the last 24 hours from bases in the forward 
area." Milne Bay needed 2,000 tons of flour 

''QMSWPAHist, IV, 15-16. 

" Memo, CQM for CofS USASOS, 26 Feb 44, 
sub: Subs for Base E. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

but had only 1.480 tons; Oro Bay needed 
1,300 tons but had on hand only 526 tons; 
Lae and Finschhafen were equally bad off. 
Declining Port Moresby was the only base 
that had enough flour, and it had double its 
requirements. The maintenance of regular 
bread issues in forward areas supplied by 
other bases depended on the receipt of flour 
by air. Sugar was even scarcer than flour. 
Milne Bay needed 900 tons but had a mere 
1 00 tons. Stocks stood at equally low levels 
at Oro Bay and Lae, which needed, respec- 
tively, 568 and 307 tons of sugar but actu- 
ally had only 103 and 35 tons. Finschhafen 
required 153 tons and possessed none. 
Again, Port Moresby alone had adequate 
stores. 14 

Stocks of nonperishables were unbalanced 
throughout New Guinea in March 1944, 
but those at Lae and Finschhafen were in 
the worst shape. Subsistence at Lae was un- 
balanced as between such fundamental 
components of the ration as canned meats 
and fruits, and there was also marked mal- 
distribution within these components 
Whereas this base had a 26-day supply of 
canned meats and vegetables, it had only a 
1-day supply of canned fruits, fruit juices, 
and salt, and a 2-day supply of milk. No to- 
bacco whatever was on hand. Of a 26-day 
supply of canned meat, 23 consisted of 
corned beef and corned beef hash ; of a com- 
parable supply of canned vegetables, 1 2 con- 
sisted of carrots, 8 of cabbage, and 4 of beets 
— all of limited acceptability. At Finsch- 
hafen fourteen basic elements of the ration 
were entirely lacking — canned fruits, rice, 
macaroni, rolled oats, jam, syrup, peanut 
butter, tea, cocoa, pickles, pepper, vinegar, 
tomato sauce, and flavoring. These were all 

11 Conf cited n. 10. 



essential in view of the variety they gave to 
the menu. 1 ' 

Nonperishables were not much better bal- 
anced at other bases, and there were notable 
examples of maldistribution as between 
bases. In early February Oro Bay had on 
hand a 7 1 -day supply of lard and butter but 
only a 15-day supply of salt. It had a 180- 
day supply of fruit juices whereas Lae had 
but a 1-day supply. At Milne Bay corned 
beef and C rations were "hopelessly in ex- 
cess" of any conceivable requirement, but 
more acceptable items, like coffee, canned 
fruits, sugar, cheese, and dehvdrated pota- 
toes and onions, had been almost exhausted, 
and the base Quartermaster was begging for 
their replenishment. 16 

The maldistribution of perishables was 
even worse than that of nonperishables. 
Acute shortages of fresh provisions prevailed 
everywhere in New Guinea. For days and 
even weeks early in 1944 lack of reefers at 
Milne Bay held up the transfer of perishables 
to forward installations. On 31 January 
neither Port Moresby nor Oro Bay had any 
fresh beef or poultry, yet these two bases to- 
gether were responsible for provisioning 
103,000 of the 232,000 men in New Guinea. 
Finschhafen then had only a 2-day supply 
of these provisions, and Lae only a 7-day 
supply. Even the 14-day supply at Milne 
Bay fell short of the amount needed for reg- 
ular supply. Bacon and ham were as scarce 
as beef and poultry. Finschhafen had a 
mere 1-day supply; Oro Bay, a 2-day sup- 
ply; Milne Bay, a 5-day supply; and Port 
Moresby, a 7-day supply. 17 New Guinea, in 

'Rpt, Col R. C. Kramer, 10 Mar 44, sub: Trip 
to Advance Bases. ORB AFWESPAC AG 430.2. 

5 Feb 44, sub: Subs. ORB NUGSEC QM 430. 

17 Memo, Dir of Distr for G-4 USASOS, 3 Feb 
44, sub: Perishable Subs Levels. ORB NUGSEC 
QM 430. 

short, was almost without fresh meat. Even 
more deplorable was the status of fruits, 
vegetables, and eggs. Not a single base had 
any fresh fruit. Only one had any fresh vege- 
tables, and it held but a single day's supply. 
Milne Bay and Lae possessed a 6-day and a 
2-day supply of fresh eggs, but the other 
bases had none. Butter was available in 
larger but still inadequate quantities. Port 
Moresby stocked a 12-day supply; Milne 
Bay, an 11 -day supply; and Lae, a 5-day 
supply. But at Oro Bay and Finschhafen 
butter stores were wholly depleted. 18 Ten 
days later levels of perishables in general 
showed only a slight rise. Whereas stocks of 
beef and butter at Port Moresby had passed 
the 30-day level, and enough beef had been 
received at Oro Bay to set up a 27-day level, 
other perishable stores at these bases and 
Milne Bay showed little if any change. At 
Lae and Finschhafen the status of stocks had 
so deteriorated that neither installation had 
any sort of fresh provisions. 19 

During the rest of 1 944 both perishables 
and nonperishables remained more or less 
unbalanced, but shortages were never so 
marked as in the opening months of the 
year. Some excess stockages appeared at 
Port Moresby and Milne Bay as these in- 
stallations were left farther and farther to 
the rear of combat operations. The new 
and growing bases at Finschhafen and Hol- 
landia, however, continued to encounter 
difficulty in matching supplies and require- 
ments. At Finschhafen on 15 May, there 
was only a 2- or 3-day supply of such staples 
as canned meat, canned and dehydrated 
fruits and vegetables, flour, coffee, evapo- 
rated milk, and sugar. No cigarettes and 
only a single day's supply of other tobacco 

,s Ibid. 

"' Memo, Dir of Distr for G-4 USASOS, 13 Feb 
44, sub: Perishable Subs Levels. ORB NUGSEC 
QM 430. 



products were on hand. 20 Though such low 
stock levels occurred but rarely, food was 
seldom obtainable in the variety needed for 
satisfying meals. 

Unbalanced stockages were reflected in 
subsistence issues at bases, but to a slighter 
extent than at the supply points of the com- 
bat forces dispersed along the north shore 
and on the outlying islands. This disparity, 
while in the main a consequence of dis- 
tribution difficulties, resulted in part from 
the natural tendency of bases to take for 
their own troops a disproportionately large 
share of what was available. Higher eche- 
lons and other organizations that controlled 
airplanes employed them to bring coveted 
food and tobacco direct from Australia. 
The "silent blessing" given to this practice 
by the commanding officers of these organ- 
izations stimulated the discriminatory 
traffic. 21 

Troops at or near bases were in general 
fed somewhat better than those in advance 
units, but even they usually received only 
a monotonous fare. This fact is illustrated 
by the slim issue of perishables at Finsch- 
hafen in December 1943. During the whole 
month there were but five servings of bone- 
less beef, one of turkey, especially made at 
Christmas, six of eggs, three of potatoes, and 
three of butter. For several weeks in Feb- 
ruary and March 1944 the base was obliged 
to confine its meat issues to canned corned 
beef hash and meat and vegetable hash and 
stew and its vegetable issues to canned cab- 
bage, beets, carrots, and tomatoes. 22 Of 

20 Rpt, QM INTERSEC USASOS, 20 May 44, 
sub: Weekly Opns Rpt. ORB NUGSEC QM 430. 

21 XIII AFSC, War Critique Study, I, 73. Li- 
brary of Congress. 

22 ( 1 ) Ltr, QM Base F to CQM USASOS, 30 
Dec 43, sub: Perishable Subs. ORB NUGSEC QM 
430. (2) Memo, Col Cordiner for Lt Col J. D. Ja- 
cobs, 29 Feb 44, sub: Subs Problems. OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. 

these items there was an abundance. Con- 
sequently, troops did not suffer from hun- 
ger but only from lack of the varied diet to 
which they were accustomed. 

When bases received deliveries of fresh 
provisions in excess of their refrigerator ca- 
pacity, they were obliged to issue the sur- 
plus quickly in order to keep it from spoil- 
ing. For this reason troops at Oro Bay, be- 
tween 22 and 24 November 1943, were daily 
served nineteen eggs and bountiful portions 
of beef and butter. Such fortunate soldiers 
were said to be on a "prince and pauper" 
fare, for they gorged themselves for several 
days and then went back to a dreary fare of 
canned goods. 23 

As the Sixth Army moved westward to 
Aitape and Hollandia in April, tn Wakde 
and Biak Islands in May, and to Noemfoor 
Island and Sansapor in July, stringing new 
supply points along the far-flung north 
shore, distribution difficulties were intensi- 
fied. Biak lay 815 miles west of Finschhafen 
and 345 miles west of Hollandia. Noemfoor 
Island and Sansapor, respectively, 435 and 
645 miles west of Hollandia, were still more 
remote. From May to July troops beyond 
Finschhafen had to be supplied with fresh 
provisions largely by air. But heavy tactical 
demands on available planes made impos- 
sible any substantial abatement of the scar- 
city of perishables. The few air shipments 
gave only scattered and temporary relief to 
ground troops. Lt. Col. Clarence E. Reid, 
quartermaster of the U.S. forces at Biak, 
commenting on shipments to his area, as- 
serted that they were nearly always brought 
to the air base on nearby Owi Island and 
that several days elapsed before he learned 

23 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Col Elmer F. Wallender to 
Col Cordiner, 1 Dec 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 
312. (2) Ltr, CQM to INTERSEC, 22 Dec 43, 
sub: Distr of Perishables. ORB NUGSEC QM 430. 



that they had come in. 24 Even air organiza- 
tions, if actively supporting combat opera- 
tions, were not much better provisioned than 
ground organizations. Early in August, for 
instance, Maj. Gen. St. Clair Streett, com- 
manding the Thirteenth Air Force at Noem- 
foor Island, reported that his troops had 
received no perishables by sea for two 
months and only sporadic shipments by 
plane. His men, he declared, had "to forage 
perishables almost entirely" from relatively 
well-stocked Navy shore organizations. 25 

Only when air units were not actively en- 
gaged in operational missions could they 
utilize their transport craft to obtain perish- 
ables. They might then bring fresh provi- 
sions not only from Australia but also from 
New Guinea bases, which lacked reefers to 
supply all the forward points in their dis- 
tribution areas. Air units with the necessary 
means of transportation often asked these 
bases for the unshipped provisions, and 
some of the bases acceded to these requests. 
Ground troops considered such action un- 
fair because it diminished the already small 
stocks available for their supply, and bases 
were finally instructed not to comply with 
these requests unless authorized to do so by 
higher authority. 26 

In mid-August the Fifth Air Force allo- 
cated six planes to the regular transporta- 
tion of fresh provisions for ground and air 
troops alike. These planes flew from Finsch- 
hafen or Hollandia to forward areas and 
carried on each trip about 5,000 pounds of 
boneless beef, salted ham, or butter. Their 

21 Memo, QM USF Biak for QM Alamo Force, 
15 Jul 44. ORB Sixth Army AG 333 (Investiga- 
tion 41 ). 

L "'Ltr, CG Thirteenth AF to CG FEAF, 10 Aug 
44, sub: Army-Navy Perishables. ORB AFWES- 
PAC AG 430.2. 

2,1 See, for example, QM NUGSEC to QM Base A 
et al., 19 May 45, sub: Unauthorized Issues of QM 
Sups. ORB Base F QM 400. 

flights resulted in a slight betterment of ra- 
tions, but Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, com- 
mander of the Sixth Army, maintained that 
at least fourteen planes were needed to in- 
sure an ample supply of perishables for for- 
ward elements. He suggested that four 
planes be run regularly to Aitape, an equal 
number to Biak, and two each to Wakde 
Island, Noemfoor Island, and Sansapor. 
Tactical requirements precluded such an 
allotment of aircraft. 27 

Even the limited quantities of perishables 
in forward areas could not always be dis- 
tributed equally among units. In May, for 
example, three small shipments consigned 
to the Humboldt Bay-Tanahmerah Bay 
region arrived by water and were all issued 
to the 41st Division at Humboldt Bay. The 
24th Division and other organizations at 
neighboring Tanahmerah Bay received 
none; even the hospital there had no fresh 
food. The explanation of this inequity was 
the presence of better landing places at 
Humboldt Bay, the absence of roads be- 
tween that point and Tanahmerah Bay, 
the inadequate dump and cold-storage 
equipment in the latter area, and the na- 
tural tendency to provide first for the forces 
most easily reached. But whatever the 
causes, the surgeon of I Corps declared that 
the result was a ration incapable of main- 
taining good health. 28 Early in August Maj. 
Gen. Frederick A. Irving, commander of 
the 24th Division, reported that poor sup- 

27 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Gen Krueger to Maj Gen 
Ennis C. Whitehead, 22 Aug 44. ORB Sixth Army 
AG -430. (2) Rpt, QM Base G, 6 Sep 44, sub: 
Perishables Shipped to Forward Areas. ORB Base 
G QM 430.2. 

* (1) Rpt, Capt J. J. Sullivan to CG USF APO 
24, 26 May 44, sub: Rpt of Investigation APO 24. 
ORB Sixth Army AG 333 (Investigation 47). (2) 
24th Inf Div G-4 Journal, 1 Jun 44. ORB Base G 
QM 319.1. (3) Smith, Approach to the Philip- 
pines, pp. 77-83. 



ply during the previous four months had 
"made the use of prepared rations, rather 
than the balanced field ration, necessary for 
extended periods/' Some units, he declared, 
were forced to eat packaged rations "exclu- 
sively for extended periods." Not until the 
end of June, he added, had conditions mate- 
rially improved. 29 

At that very time, however, the surgeon 
of the 1881st Engineer Aviation Battalion, 
which was performing heavy manual work 
on a 24-hour-a-day schedule seven days a 
week, reported that the unit's rations were 
still unsatisfactory. During the previous 
four weeks, he declared, the ration had 
been constantly deficient in quantity by 30 
to 40 percent. This considerable deficit bore 
with particular severity on organizations, 
which, like the battalion, operated on a 24- 
hour schedule and daily served five meals. 
To compensate for the vitamin deficiency 
caused by the total absence of fresh foods, 
the surgeon issued each man two vitamin 
tablets a day. According to Maj. W. G. 
Caples, who commanded the battalion, hun- 
ger was undermining the health of his men, 
some of whom had already been hospital- 
ized. Yet the battalion was no worse off 
insofar as the quantity of its rations was 
concerned than were many other units sup- 
plied by the 24th Division at Tanahmerah 
Bay. That division had only a 7-day supply 
of unbalanced rations ashore and afloat and 
only five trucks to distribute this limited 
supply to units widely scattered along 
the coast. 30 

Early in July an officer investigating the 
exceptionally bad ration supply of the 34th 
Infantry Regiment bivouacked at Hollan- 

'"' Ltr, Gen Irving to CG I Corps, 6 Aug 44. ORB 
Base G QM 333 (Investigations 52). 

" (1) Rpt, Capt Walter S. Hunt, 23 Jan 44. (2) 
Rpt, Maj. W. G. Caples, 23 Jun 43. ORB Base G 
QM 333 (Investigations 52). 

dia concluded that "technically all units are 
getting ample food" but that "actually they 
are not, as the ration issued has been mainly 
'C ration and after several days the troops 
can not eat it." 31 Some companies had been 
for days entirely without flour, sugar, coffee, 
milk, butter, salt, and types of canned vege- 
tables that their men would eat. Mess ser- 
geants had even been obliged to request food 
from air, service, and other favorably sit- 
uated organizations outside the regiment. 
Some of these noncommissioned officers re- 
fused to beg rations, for they regarded such 
action as degrading to combat units. Offi- 
cers and men alike felt "highly incensed by 
what they consider to be a grossly unfair 
distribution of rations," and their anger was 
intensified when food-seeking sergeants re- 
turned with reports of organizations eating 
roast beef and maintaining "their own PX 
where ice cream and other delicacies are sold 
to the troops of the unit only." 32 

The sense of being discriminated against 
was especially aggravated by the disparity 
between Army and Navy rations. Through 
naval supply channels construction bat- 
talions and other Navy units on shore ob- 
tained fairly well-balanced and appetizing 
meals even when nearby Army units were 
eating an unpalatable fare. This fact is not 
surprising, for logisticians have long recog- 
nized that organizations having the readiest 
access to superior means of transportation 
are better supplied than are those less for- 
tunately situated, and there is no doubt that 
the Navy possessed more and better means 
of shipping rations than did the Army. The 
larger naval vessels all had ample refriger- 
ation capacity from which perishable pro- 
visions were taken for sailors on shore. 

31 Rpt, 2d Lt Harry T. Grube, 8 Jul 44, sub: 
Result of Investigation. ORB Sixth Army AG 333 
(Investigations 41). 

32 Ibid. 



Naval units occasionally had so much fresh 
food they bartered their surplus stores with 
Army organizations. Such marked contrasts 
between the subsistence of the two services 
aroused bitter criticism and angry discon- 
tent among hungry soldiers. To some ex- 
tent similar reactions, varying in intensity 
with the quality of Army rations, were en- 
countered among troops nearly everywhere 
in the Pacific. 33 

Few forward organizations were ever as 
bad off as those in the Hollandia-Tanah- 
merah region from May to August 1944. 
Most combat troops received enough food 
to provide a full ration if bulk alone was 
considered. The experience of the 1st 
Cavalry Division typified that of the ma- 
jority of combat organizations in New 
Guinea. Though this division had ample 
food, it proposed in February 1944 the de- 
letion of canned beets and parsnips from 
the menu and recommended in place of 
canned cabbage, carrots, and beets more 
beans, peas, corn, asparagus, and sweet po- 
tatoes. Instead of so much corned beef it 
wanted more Vienna sausage. It also desired 
more yeast and baking powder and more 
macaroni and chili powder. 34 USASOS 
headquarters was unable to act favorably 
on these proposals. Australian vegetable 
production was so lacking in variety 
that beets and parsnips could not be 
eliminated. To prevent waste, it asserted, 
"these stocks must be consumed." 35 Low 
Australian production of the other items 
wanted by the 1st Cavalry also precluded 
their delivery in larger quantities. 3 ' 5 

53 (1 ) Ltr, CG 1st Cav Div to CG Alamo Force, 
3 May 44. ORB Base F QM 430.2. (2) Ltr cited 
n. 25. (3) Ltr, TQMG to Senator Robert A. Taft, 
2 Apr 45. OQMG POA 430. 

" Rpt, Conf on Rations 1st Cav Div, 9 Feb 44. 

35 Ibid., 3d Ind. 

36 Ibid., 4th Ind. 

Meanwhile the rations served to the 1st 
Cavalry declined in quality. In May that or- 
ganization, still in the Admiralties several 
weeks after having finished its tactical op- 
erations there, complained that during the 
previous sixty days it had received fresh beef 
at only three meals. "Every man," Maj. Gen. 
Innis P. Swift, commander of the division, 
asserted, "is sick and tired of corned beef 
and corned beef hash." There was no bak- 
ing powder whatever, and only enough flour 
for one issue of bread a day. 37 There was no 
flour at all for rolls, biscuits, pancakes, 
dumplings, pie crust, or cake, nor was there 
any lard or lard substitute. Scarcely any 
sugar, milk, salt, or fresh fruits and vege- 
tables were available. The men, General 
Swift added, "say that dehydrated foods 
are all right for about a week, but after that 
they are nauseating." "The only way," he 
concluded, "to get a square meal is to get 
some Jap souvenirs and trade them to the 
CB's." 3b 

During 1 944 report after report from the 
Sixth Army stressed the continued prepon- 
derance of canned corned beef, corned beef 
hash, carrots, cabbages, and beets in ship- 
ments from Australia. The monotony of 
meals was intensified by extensive use of 
wholly packaged rations, usually C rations, 
which contained too many unattractive 
components and less than stipulated 
amounts of some acceptable items. In one 
shipment of 600,000 C rations to Biak two- 
thirds of the meat components consisted of 
corned beef hash. 39 

As the year closed, startling disparities 
still existed in perishable stocks. In Novem- 

37 Ltr, Gen Swift to Maj Gen Edwin D. Patrick, 
Alamo Force, 3 May 44. ORB Base F QM 430.2. 

38 Ibid. 

3,1 See, for example, TWX, CG USASOS to CO 



ber, Thirteenth Air Force groups at Sansa- 
por received only l/ 2 pounds per man of 
perishables, nearly all fresh meats, whereas 
groups on Guadalcanal in October received 
115 pounds per man, of which about 27 
pounds were fresh meats, 69 pounds were 
fresh vegetables, and 9 pounds were butter. 
Throughout their stay at Sansapor, Thir- 
teenth Air Force groups received only small 
and fluctuating quantities of perishables. In 
September they were issued 2/2 pounds per 
man of fresh meat, in October 8 pounds, 
in November IV5 pounds, in December 12 
pounds, and in January 6 pounds. The 
groups on Guadalcanal fared much better, 
obtaining in three successive months 29, 17, 
and 37 pounds of fresh meat. Apart from 
the chronic distribution difficulties, these re- 
markable inequalities sprang from the ne- 
cessity of supplying air units at Sansapor 
through the Quartermaster section of an 
infantry division already burdened with 
countless routine duties, from the fact 
that New Guinea bases were called upon to 
give heavy logistical support to offensive op- 
erations in the Philippines at a time when 
there were still many troops to be supplied 
in New Guinea itself, and from the rapid 
decline of Guadalcanal as a supporter of 
forward and combat elements and the con- 
sequent availability of more rations for 
troops on Guadalcanal itself. 40 Around 
Sansapor the scarcity of perishables and the 
dearth of variety in canned foods meant that 
both air and ground forces had for a time 
almost nothing to eat but C rations, dehy- 
drated vegetables, and spam. Not until the 
Philippines were reached, did rations be- 
come much better. In June 1945 members 
of the Thirteenth Air Force on Leyte each 
received 25 pounds of fresh meats, in July 

40 XIII AFSC, War Study Critique, I, 73, 77. 
Library of Congress. 

41 pounds, and in August 18 pounds. But 
stocks of butter and fresh vegetables re- 
mained low. 41 

Class II and IV Supplies 

The distribution of Class II items (cloth- 
ing and equipage) and Class IV items (gen- 
eral supplies, that is, articles of general util- 
ity) was ordinarily a less important matter 
than that of food and Class III items (pe- 
troleum products), for troops could operate 
over lengthy periods of time with limited 
quantities of clothing and general supplies 
but could not long survive without food nor 
conduct modern warfare without gasoline. 
To the procurement and distribution diffi- 
culties that made Class II and IV supply a 
hard task was added, then, the lack of a 
sense of urgency. 


From the outset recurrent and sometimes 
acute scarcities appeared in these classes. 
By October 1 942 they were almost depleted 
in New Guinea. Stocks in Australia were 
then limited and unbalanced, but the quar- 
termaster at the Brisbane base assembled 
2,500 tons of supplies to meet the needs of 
the advance bases. Unfortunately, he could 
obtain neither vessels nor planes for their 
movement, and meanwhile the advance 
bases clamored for replenishment. At the 
end of three weeks, space for part of the 
cargo was finally allotted on northbound 
vessels, but until well into the following 
year similar instances of shipping delays oc- 
curred — much more often than for other 
Quartermaster items. 42 

41 Ibid. 

42 Ltr, QM Base Sec 3 to CQM USASOS, 3 Dec 
42, sub: QM Critical Items. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 400. 



Chiefly because of procurement difficul- 
ties in the United States, there were chronic 
scarcities of some items of jungle clothing 
and equipment, which had been specially 
developed to meet the extraordinary re- 
quirements of tropical warfare. For that rea- 
son the issue of these supplies was confined 
to units assigned or attached to the Sixth 
Army and to a few designated organizations 
in operational areas. As combat activity in- 
creased, shortages at times became so severe 
that issues were restricted to Sixth Army 
units actually operating in combat zones. 
By this means damaging shortages in tacti- 
cal forces were averted. 43 

Early in 1943 many other Class II and 
IV items in the Southwest Pacific were also 
being issued only to designated combat units 
in New Guinea and to organizations being 
equipped in Australia for coming offensives. 
The shortages that led to the adoption of 
this procedure were reflected at the advance 
bases, many of which then had almost no 
stocks of warehouse, laundry, bakery, and 
salvage equipment, field ranges, mess out- 
fits, portable typewriters, and duplicating 
and stencil-cutting machines. Without these 
supplies administrative, storage, cooking, 
laundry, and salvage activities were gravely 
handicapped. At some bases it was indeed 
impossible to provide all Quartermaster 
services. Even such indispensable items 
as trousers, jackets, work suits, bedding, and 
dinnerware were scarce. Inevitably, these 
shortages increased tremendously the per- 
sonal discomforts of troops in New Guinea.* 4 

While it was true that such widespread 
shortages of essential items were usually 

a (1) USASOS Regulations 30-12, 16 Mar 44, 
sub: QM Clo and Individual Equip. (2) Ibid., 21 
Jul 44. 

" Rpt, Ping and Control Br OCQM USASOS, 
30 Mar 43, sub: QM Stocks. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

short-lived, local scarcities, especially of "ex- 
pendable" items, that is, those consumed in 
use, such as napkins, tooth paste, and insec- 
ticides, were often particularly severe. Of 
sixty-five expendable items requisitioned 
from the Oro Bay base by the Fifth Air 
Force in November 1943, only thirteen were 
on hand in the necessary quantities. Thirty- 
one were not obtainable at all and twenty- 
one only in quantities less than required. 
To replenish exhausted supplies, stopgap 
shipments of the most urgently needed stores 
were made by air from Port Moresby, the 
sole base in New Guinea with adequate 
stocks of the scarce items. Among the articles 
forwarded were insect repellents, toilet pa- 
per, brooms, scrub brushes, and spoons. Ex- 
treme necessity alone brought about such 
use of planes. A more permanent solution 
for shortages like those at Oro Bay was 
eventually found in higher priorities for the 
movement of badly needed expendable 
items. 45 

Early in 1 944 the base at Lae completely 
lacked socks and other articles of clothing, 
and troops supplied by it could obtain none 
of these vital items. Fifth Air Force units 
solved the problem for themselves by send- 
ing one of their crash boats — high-speed 
motorboats used to rescue survivors of forced 
landings of aircraft at sea — to Port Mores- 
by in order to obtain the missing articles. 
USASOS, supposedly in possession of ves- 
sels for transferring materials by water, was 
thus placed in the anomalous position of 
seeing the air force supply the shipping for 
this purpose. Late in April Class II and IV 
stocks at Lae were still generally far below 
authorized levels. The Intermediate Section, 
USASOS, attributed this unfavorable situ- 

45 Ltr, CG Fifth Air Force to CG ADSEC 
USASOS, n. d., sub: Shortages of Expendables. 



ation to the unusually heavy demands made 
by the Fifth Air Force on the base's limited 

Even after the return to the Philippines, 
stocks of Class II and IV items, unlike those 
of other Quartermaster classes in the South- 
west Pacific, remained inadequate. This sit- 
uation was usually ascribed to the unex- 
pectedly heavy requirements of Filipino ci- 
vilians and the continued slowness of de- 
liveries from San Francisco. 47 

Like the New Guinea bases, those in the 
South Pacific experienced frequent short- 
ages of clothing, equipage, and general sup- 
plies, but they were less severe than in the 
Southwest Pacific and occurred mainly at 
new installations. For several months after 
the establishment of the base at Guadalca- 
nal, its inability to handle ships arriving di- 
rect from the West Coast caused temporary 
distress, but with a few exceptions scarcities 
disappeared once the base was fully 
operative. 48 

In the Central Pacific Area, shortages 
presented even less of a problem. Soldiers' 
complaints sprang more from allegedly in- 
adequate allowances of socks, underwear, 
work suits, and towels than from actual 
scarcities. The survey of the Pacific Ocean 
Areas, conducted by the OQMG late in 
1944, revealed a general demand among 
troops for larger issues of these items. Com- 
menting on this finding, one officer main- 
tained that allowances had proved ample 
for normal needs but that lack of laundry 
facilities and the consequent delay in the 

40 ( 1 ) Memo, QM AD VON Fifth AF for DIST- 
312. (2) Ltr, CG INTERSEC USASOS to DIST- 
BRA, 29 Apr 44, sub: Class II and IV Sups. ORB 

47 QM SWPA Hist, VII, 63-64. 

"Memo, QM SOS SPA for D/SS, 21 Tun 43 

return of clothing had produced the ap- 
pearance of scarcity. 49 

Though the supply of Class II and IV 
items was not fully satisfactory anywhere in 
the Pacific, the most annoying problems 
sprang from the storage difficulties encoun- 
tered with such specialized items as "pro- 
tective clothing," from the "tropical de- 
terioration" affecting textile and leather 
goods, and from the chronic scarcity of 
tents, sized items in the correct proportions, 
and spare parts for mechanical equipment. 

Storage of Protective Clothing 

The QMC stored "impregnated cloth- 
ing," which had been treated by the Chem- 
ical Warfare Service to safeguard wearers 
from gas attacks, and distributed such cloth- 
ing in accordance with plans made by that 
service. If there seemed to be any possi- 
bility of gas warfare by the enemy during 
a coming operation, protective clothing was 
shipped with the troops. Since impregna- 
tion lessened the resistance of textiles to de- 
terioration, the better types of storage were 
at first used for clothing so treated. But as 
it became increasingly improbable that the 
Japanese would embark upon gas warfare, 
such storage was devoted more and more to 
ordinary clothing in heavy demand, and 
protective clothing was often simply placed 
in the open, with all the hazards this pre- 
sented. Even under good conditions the 
serviceability of impregnated garments sel- 
dom exceeded twelve months. Better 
methods of impregnation, adopted in the 
zone of interior late in 1944, lengthened 
the useful life of such garments, but few 

49 ( 1 ) Rpt, Field Progress Br OP&C Div OQMC, 
Nov 44, sub: POA QM Opns. (2) Rpt, Lt Wil- 
liam B. Seininger OP&C Div OQMG, 9 Dec 44, 
sub: Trip to POA. (3) Rpt, QM CPBC, n. d., sub: 
Questions on QM Opns from OQMG. All in 
OQMG POA 319.25. 



garments impregnated after that date ar- 
rived in the Pacific. The apparel handled 
by the QMC was therefore particularly 
susceptible to deterioration. The storage 
problem was worsened as a result of the 
fact that many garments issued to indi- 
vidual troops on their departure from the 
United States or later in the Pacific areas 
were turned in to the bases. This addi- 
tional burden on the bases was necessitated 
by inability of units to furnish adequate 
safeguards for apparel that soldiers indif- 
ferently cast aside because of the unlikeli- 
hood of gas warfare. Even a well-inten- 
tioned soldier found it hard to take good 
care of his protective garments, for if he 
put them in a clothing bag, they imparted 
a sickening odor to his other garments. 50 

The process of turning in impregnated 
apparel was a troublesome task that de- 
manded the collection of hundreds of arti- 
cles from individual soldiers. After transfer 
to Quartermaster salvage warehouses, "im- 
pregnated clothing of all types, sizes, and 
colors" was likely to be "jumbled in wild 
disorder, and interspersed with gas masks, 
shoe impregnite, and protective covers." 51 
Months sometimes elapsed before sufficient 
men could be spared to sort the mess, clean 
dirty garments, and store the whole lot. At 
Port Moresby in April 1943 protective cloth- 
ing was piled in the open and protected by 
tarpaulins that left six feet of the side walls 
exposed to the weather. Many garments, 
particularly shirts and gloves, were already 
so badly rotted as to be worthless. Stitched 
seams had generally distintegrated, and ap- 
parel dyed green for camouflage in the jun- 
gle was turning yellow — next to red, the 

most conspicuous color. In the South Pacific, 
protective clothing was stored in sheet metal 
warehouses, but these structures were little 
better than open storage for they furnished 
no ventilation except through the doors. 52 

Even after protective garments were no 
longer issued to individual soldiers, such ap- 
parel continued to be kept at bases, ready 
for issue if chemical warfare broke out or 
there was strong evidence of its imminence. 
If operational commanders approved, im- 
pregnated clothing was also carried as unit 
equipment in combat. As a further protec- 
tive measure, chemical processing com- 
panies, which began to arrive in the South- 
west Pacific in June 1943, accompanied 
large operational forces to impregnate cloth- 
ing in case of need. When American troops 
landed on Leyte, however, most of the pro- 
tective apparel in the Southwest Pacific 
Area was still stored at Hollandia. A consid- 
erable period of time would of necessity have 
elapsed before these stocks could have been 
delivered in the distant Philippines, where 
American troops had only the impregnated 
garments carried as unit equipment. In the 
Pacific, fortunately, the general conviction 
that the Japanese were unable to start gas 
warfare proved correct. The disturbing po- 
tentialities of unpreparedness nonetheless 
suggest the need for a method of handling 
protective clothing that will maintain large 
stocks in close proximity to operational 
areas. 53 

M (1) Hawaiian Dept Cir 104, 12 Aug 43, sub: 
Prot Clo. (2) Ltr, CMLO Base Sec 3 to CCMLO 
USASOS, 7 Nov 43, same sub. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 420. 

M Ltr cited n. 50(2). 

52 ( 1 ) Ltr, CMLO to G-4 Advance Base, 16 Apr 
43, sub: Prot Clo. ORB AFWESPAC QM 420. (2) 
Ltr, Capt John S. Renard SPBC to Mil Ping Div 
OQMG, 28 Mar 45, sub: Prot Clo in SPA. OQMG 
POA 422.3. 

53 ( 1 ) Ltr, CINCSWPA to ALF et al., 7 Nov 44, 
sub: Issue of Prot Clo. (2) Memo, Lt Col Jasper 
L. Cummings for Col R. C. Kramer, Jt Sup Bd 
SWPA, 8 Feb 45, sub: Impregnated Clo. Both in 



Tentage and Tarpaulins 

Several factors combined to make tentage 
chronically scarce. In addition to the sizable 
inroads made on base stocks by issues of 
tents to organizations coming from the 
United States without those supposed to ac- 
company them, 54 tents lost through the wear 
and tear of combat operations had to be re- 
placed. Whole divisions sometimes had to be 
re-equipped. This need arose after the 1st 
Marine Division arrived in Australia, fresh 
from the savage fighting on Guadalcanal, 
and after the 3 2d Division lost the bulk of 
its tentage during the early operations in 
New Guinea. 55 Another serious drain on the 
available supply was produced by the efforts 
of units, "through hook or crook," as one 
officer expressed it, to "obtain tentage in 
excess of their true needs." 56 

During 1942 and 1943 assembly and hos- 
pital tents were virtually unprocurable in 
the Southwest Pacific because of their un- 
authorized employment for mess and stor- 
age purposes. Hospital tents were so scarce 
early in 1943 that shelter could not be pro- 
vided for all the sick and wounded. 57 Tents 
for housing troops were hard to obtain, 
partly because the established allowances 
employed by ports of embarkation in edit- 
ing requisitions were based on the require- 
ments of settled areas with permanent 
dwellings available for the use of soldiers 
rather than on the requirements of areas 
destitute of such dwellings. In New Guinea 

M See above, pp. 148-49. 

'"' Personal Ltr, Col Cordiner to Maj Gen Greg- 
ory, 9 Jun 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 370.43. 

"Memo, n. s., for Sup Div OCQM USASOS. 26 
Feb 43, sub: Class II and IV Problems. ORB 

"Memo, Chief Surg for G-4 USASOS, 14 Nov 

staging and replacement camps had to be 
maintained at each base for casuals, for units 
coming to the island for assignment, and for 
units during their staging and rest periods. 
At these camps tents, whether occupied or 
not, had to remain standing, ready to ac- 
commodate any troops which might arrive. 
Encampments had to be kept also for men 
on leave or on their way to or from Australia. 
Finally, although not authorized by prevail- 
ing allowances, tents had to be furnished for 
offices and administrative and supervisory 
staffs at new bases and even at some old 
ones. 58 

The rapid deterioration of canvas was as 
important a reason for shortages as unau- 
thorized issues. In mid- 1943 an Australian 
scientific mission investigating the condition 
of military supplies and equipment found 
that almost all tents in New Guinea 
leaked. 59 It concluded that the main ex- 
planation for this defect was "the prevalent 
and continual high humidity, which pre- 
vents any effective drying of stores which 
become damp, and causes frequent and un- 
avoidable condensation even on stores well 
protected from the rain." 60 Moisture satu- 
rating tentage over prolonged periods facili- 
tated the growth of molds, which, in turn, 
produced holes in the fabric. Canvas in 
storage was often so badly riddled that, 
when erected, it was wholly unserviceable. 
Lack of rotproofing in the United States un- 
til mid- 1944 heightened the damage, par- 
ticularly in poorly packed, stored, and ven- 
tilated stocks. Most tents leaked within six 
months and in another six months were use- 

^Rpt 18, Capt Orr, 30 Aug 44, sub: Misc QM 
Matters, pp. 22-28. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

s " Magee, Service Materiel Under Tropical Con- 
ditions, p. 62. 

90 Ibid., p. 5. 



OPEN STORAGE OF CANVAS ITEMS for prolonged periods in the South Pacific Area 
frequently rendered them unserviceable. 

less. Had not sizable numbers of thatched 
huts been utilized as offices, warehouses, and 
living quarters, a truly critical housing prob- 
lem might have developed. 61 

Tropical deterioration affected tarpau- 
lins — in fact, all canvas items and duck and 
webbing equipment as well — in the same 
way it did tentage. In the United States 
the OQMG early in the war recognized 
the seriousness of the fungus problem and 
conducted extensive experimentation in 
mildewproofing, but though much was 
learned about the problem, it was not pos- 
sible before the end of hostilities to apply 
satisfactory protection to materials sent to 

61 William Lawrence White, "Deterioration of 
Quartermaster Fabrics in the Tropics," QMR, 
XXVI (November-December 1946), 16-17,63-65. 

the tropics. Early in 1944, therefore, the 
OQMG urged the Pacific areas to take spe- 
cial storage precautions, but even before this 
advice had been received, both the South 
and Southwest Pacific Areas had begun to 
stress the need for better warehousing and 
packaging of canvas goods and had required 
local manufacturers to utilize existing 
though inadequate methods of "tropicproof- 
ing." Quartermasters in the field them- 
selves waterproofed many tents to reduce 
mildewing. These remedial measures al- 
leviated but did not solve the problem, for 
complete tropicproofing could not be un- 
dertaken with the limited means available. 
In any event no known methods offered 
complete protection against fungi. At the 
close of the war it was still reported that 



"even under the best storage conditions" all 
types of canvas swiftly deteriorated. 02 

Clothing, Towels, 
Blankets, and Footwear 

In unventilated storage places cotton 
clothing and towels, like canvas supplies, 
became moldy and developed an unpleasant 
odor, but extensive deterioration was almost 
unknown, except in case of extreme neglect. 
For example, cotton materials in use were 
not subject to unusual decomposition, but 
dirty garments, lying about in heaps for 
some time awaiting laundering, quickly de- 
teriorated. Blankets made of wool, a protein 
substance fairly resistant to molds and other 
fungi, were less likely to deteriorate than 
were cotton goods, but, when wet, they 
quickly rotted if not promptly laundered. 63 

Footwear and leather goods in general 
were subject to fairly rapid deterioration, 
chiefly because of the fats and oils employed 
in tanning the leather. These components 
furnished the main elements on which molds 
lived, for leather itself was a rather stable 
protein not very susceptible to attack. Fun- 
gus growths were most likely to develop on 
shoes lying in poorly aired structures, but 
moldy footwear never became quite as much 
of a problem for the U.S. Army as for the 

62 (1) Rpts, 1, 2, and 3, R. S. Penniman, Wesco 
(Australia) Proprietary Ltd., 15 May, 30 Jun, 30 
Aug 43, sub: Tentage Coloration and Preservation. 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 424. (2) Conf, 13 Oct 

43, sub: Tropicproofing and Packaging. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 400.16. (3) Ltr, TQMG to 
QM Depots et al., 20 Jun 44, sub: Storage of 
Tentage. ORB AFWESPAC QM 424. (4) Memo, 
G-4 43d Inf Div for Dr. Mann, WD Obsr, 15 Mar 

44, sub: QM Sups. OQMG POA 319.25. (5) 
Ltr, CG 7th Inf Div to CG USAFPOA, 19 May 45, 
sub: Tropical Deterioration. ORB Tenth Army 
AG 400. 

03 Magee, Service Materiel Under Tropical Con- 
ditions, pp. 74-75. 

Australian Army, whose storage huts in gen- 
eral were not as well ventilated as those of 
its ally. Molds were particularly liable to 
grow on the cotton stitching, and most of the 
work of shoe repair depots resulted from 
failure of the seams in uppers and soles. The 
Australian mission that investigated tropical 
deterioration suggested the substitution of 
waxed linen stitchings as a corrective. De- 
composition of leather in American shoes 
was caused principally by rust of metal parts. 
Leather developed a high moisture content, 
which, together with excessive humidity, 
caused such parts to corrode. Rust, in turn, 
weakened the resistance of leather to wear 
and shortened the life of shoes. 64 

Size Tariffs 

As in other overseas areas, there were in- 
sufficient sizes of clothing and footwear 
available for the troops. Various causes 
some originating in the procurement proc- 
ess and others in the distribution pipeline 
between the manufacturer and the ultimate 
consumer in the Pacific, combined to pro- 
duce this result. 

Incorrect size tariffs, that is, national 
schedules listing the proportions in which 
the various sizes of clothing and shoes were 
to be procured, was perhaps the major 
cause. The inaccuracy of tariffs is not sur- 
prising in view of the issue of almost 6,000 
sizes of shoes and garments of all sorts to 
men of varying ages and physiques. At best 
the published tariffs were no more than 
rough approximations of the number of 
sizes required by an army whose average 
age and weight were constantly changing 
and whose component organizations had 
widely differing needs. The tariffs were use- 
ful as guides in the procurement of sized 
items for depot stocks but had small value 

** Ibid., pp. 70-74. 



to organizations requisitioning supplies. 
Units, indeed, were directed to base requisi- 
tions not on published schedules but on the 
sizes their actual experience showed to be 
needed. Sometimes, however, tariffs neces- 
sarily served as the standard of distribution. 
They were so employed in the early days of 
the Pacific areas before supply officers had 
gained knowledge of the sizes normally in 
demand among their troops and when the 
zone of interior had no more reliable basis 
for making the automatic shipments pre- 
scribed during this period than the national 
size tariffs. Such use of tariffs was also made 
when a base simply requisitioned clothing 
and footwear in bulk without specifying the 
desired percentages of different sizes. As 
late as August 1944, some Pacific bases still 
had such inadequate data on the require- 
ments of the organizations drawing supplies 
from them that 40 percent of their requisi- 
tions merely requested bulk shipments. 
Since organizations seldom required sized 
goods in the proportions stipulated in the 
tariffs, they received an assortment of sup- 
plies that did not fully meet their needs. 
Worst of all, these shipments had a cumula- 
tive effect, for, as they continued, the initial 
discrepancies were compounded and ex- 
cesses and shortages accentuated.' 15 

Several other causes contributed to the 
unbalancing of stocks of sized items. Limited 
time for loading cargoes and unavailability 
of shipping space occasionally resulted in 
movements from the West Coast that con- 
sisted of only a few sizes. Once cargoes ar- 
rived in the Pacific, distribution among the 
widely scattered supply points in line with 
local requirements was often impossible, for 
area shortages might force the substitution 

15 ( 1 ) Memo, CQM for Col Herbert A. Gardner, 
18 Apr 42. ORB AFWESPAC QM 421. (2) Memo, 
C&E Br for S&D Div OQMG, 15 Aug 44, sub: 
Shortage of Clo in SWPA. OQMG 420. 

of unrequisitioned sizes. Even if clothing 
and footwear were delivered in conform- 
ance with estimated requirements, rapid 
loss of weight by troops serving in tropical 
regions and the broadening of soldiers' feet 
as a result of protracted wearing of ill-fitting 
shoes might invalidate previous calculations 
of requirements by increasing the demand 
for small trousers and jackets and wide 
shoes. The procurement of footwear in Aus- 
tralia further complicated the distribution 
of shoes in the proper sizes since that 
dominion for nearly two years provided 
shoes in but three widths. 66 

The disproportion between the sizes of 
clothing received by issuing organizations 
and those which they actually needed is il- 
lustrated by a delivery of trousers and jack- 
ets made by the John Foster to the 6th In- 
fantry Division at Wakde Island, a ship- 
ment described by the division's com- 
mander, Maj. Gen. Edwin D. Patrick, as 
"fairly representative" of prior movements 
of clothing received at that place. 67 Despite 
the fact that only 23 percent of the com- 
mand required jackets of sizes 38 or larger, 
6,861 of the 7,891 jackets delivered by the 
John Foster, or 87 percent, were of these 
sizes. The contrast between requirements 
and deliveries of trousers was equally 
marked. Only 5 percent of the division 
needed large sizes, but 3,802 or 49 percent 
of the 7,482 trousers delivered fell into this 
category. 68 

Similar reports of shortages in small sizes 
and excesses in large sizes came from all 
parts of the Pacific. Surveys conducted in 
the Sixth Army, in the seven largest bases of 

""(1) Memo cited n. 62(4). (2) Personal Ltr, 
Brig Gen James L. Frink to Brig Gen Alexander M. 
Owens, OQMG. OQMG SWPA 420. 

" 7 Ltr to CG Sixth Army, 8 Oct 44, sub: Clo on 
John Foster. ORB Sixth Army AG 420. 

'"• Ibid. 



the South Pacific Area, and in the divisions 
passing through Hawaii revealed that no- 
where did stocks of clothing and footwear 
accurately reflect actual needs. In Hawaii 
local conditions intensified the shortage of 
small sizes, for native inductees were pre- 
dominantly Japanese, Filipinos, Hawaiians, 
and mixed breeds, who were all of slight 
physique and required small sizes in much 
larger quantities than did troops from the 
United States. 69 

Lacking enough of the small sizes, the 
QMC was of course obliged to issue the 
larger sizes. Had units possessed the means 
of altering poorly fitted garments, the result- 
ing discomfort of many soldiers could have 
been remedied, but few units were equipped 
to do this work. Freedom of movement and 
combat efficiency, General Patrick noted, 
were in consequence often impaired. 70 Capt. 
Robert L. Woodbury, who observed tacti- 
cal operations on Leyte for the OQMG, 
reported that even at the front he had seen 
infantrymen "without shoes because not 
enough small sizes are included in the 
tariff." 71 Such extreme incidents, fortu- 
nately, were exceptional; most soldiers got 
along as best they could with what was 
available. But when they were garbed in un- 
comfortable clothing, morale was percepti- 
bly lowered. 

Though size difficulties were never cor- 
rected, they were alleviated by the establish- 
ment of local size tariffs. In October 1944 
Brig. Gen. Charles R. Lehner, Sixth Army 
Quartermaster, prepared a tariff table based 

"" ( 1 ) Ltr, CG SOS SPA to CG SFPOE, 1 Apr 
44, sub: Tariff Sizes. USAFINC AG 420. (2) Per- 
sonal Ltr, Col James C. Longino to Col Doriot, 9 
Oct 44. OQMG SWPA 420. (3) Rpt, QM CPBC, 
n. d., sub: Questions on QM Opns from OQMG- 
OQMG POA 319.25. 

70 Ltr cited n. 67. 

71 Rpt, 1 1 Jan 45, sub: Rpt of 10 Jan 45. OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. 

on the experience of that organization and 
requested that it be used in the assembling 
of future shipments. The OQMG in Wash- 
ington asked the San Francisco Port of Em- 
barkation to make the downward or upward 
adjustments in stock levels required by the 
new schedule. But even then the size prob- 
lem was not solved, for requirements fluctu- 
ated as new troops arrived and old ones 
departed and always varied somewhat from 
division to division. 72 

Spare Parts 

Throughout the war technical services 
were harassed by inability to obtain suffi- 
cient spare parts to keep intricate mechani- 
cal equipment in operation. The major 
Quartermaster items involved in this prob- 
lem were materials-handling, bakery, cook- 
ing, shore refrigeration, laundry, salvage, 
and reclamation equipment, typewriters, 
comptometers, and adding and other office 
machines. In varying degrees all these types 
of equipment were rendered unusable by the 
wearing out or loss of essential parts. "Every 
unit," Captain Orr reported in June 1944, 
"which has a piece of Quartermaster equip- 
ment has a parts problem." He then pointed 
out that since every unit had typewriters and 
other office equipment and an Ml 937 
field range for cooking, the problem existed 
"for every unit, be it large or small." 73 

The more complex, the newer, and the 
less standardized a machine, the greater was 
the difficulty of securing replacement parts, 
particularly for fork-lift trucks and ware- 
house tractors. Within the Pacific areas the 
storage and distribution of parts for these 
and other materials-handling machines 

72 Rpt, QM Sixth Army, 8 Oct 44, sub: Size 
Tariffs for Sixth Army. OQMG SWPA 420. 

73 Personal Ltr to Maj William H. McLean, 
OQMG, 25 Jun 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 



formed a major segment of the Quarter- 
master mission until January 1944, when 
these duties were shifted to the Ordnance 
Department. The Corps, however, con- 
tinued to obtain parts in the United States 
and distribute them to theaters of opera- 
tions. 74 The importance of materials-han- 
dling equipment, at times called "the 
keystone of the entire supply structure," can 
hardly be overstated. 75 Every technical 
service used such equipment for warehous- 
ing supplies and loading and unloading 
shipments. Unless replacement parts were 
available, the whole supply process might be 
delayed. Col. Henry W. Bobrink, chief of 
the Stock Control Branch in the OQMG, 
exaggerated only slightly when he declared 
that "the greatest problem facing the Quar- 
termaster Corps is of spare parts for 
materials-handling equipment." 76 

Overseas areas encountered difficulty 
from the very outset in obtaining parts for 
such equipment from the zone of interior. 
Parts manufacturers simply did not possess 
the means of meeting quickly the fifteenfold 
increase in demand that stemmed from huge 
military purchases; moreover, for some 
months early in the war the OQMG wanted 
machines rather than replacement parts. 
The problem was further magnified by the 
absence of a centralized parts procurement 
program until one was established in May 
1943 under the administration of the 
OQMG. Before that date depots had tried 
with scant success to buy parts as they were 
needed. Distribution, too, was at first decen- 
tralized, parts being stored at all supply in- 

74 WD Cir 35, 28 Jan 44, sub: Maint of Ma- 
terials-Handling Equip. 

75 Ltr, CG CPBC to CG SFPOE, 9 Sep 44, sub: 
Parts for Materials-Handling Equip. OQMG POA 

70 Memo for CG ASF, 17 Jan 44, sub: Stock 
Control. OQMG 400.291. 

stallations. A similar system operated in the 
Pacific areas. 77 

Centralized procurement had the advan- 
tage of facilitating the concentration of the 
thousands of materials-handling parts in a 
few depots, but it still left many troubles un- 
solved. There were no official lists of re- 
placement parts, for the War Department 
had not developed its own specifications for 
most types of materials-handling equipment 
and had simply procured commercial 
models, the complete cataloguing of whose 
parts required months. Manufacturers' lists, 
which were used in the meantime, were in- 
complete and inaccurate and did not cover 
all models, and even these lists were not 
always available at Pacific bases. At best it 
was not easy for requisitioning agencies 
either overseas or in the zone of interior to 
order the proper parts; sometimes it was 
impossible. Manufacturers added to pro- 
curement troubles by arbitrary substitution 
of new parts not interchangeable with old 
ones. Not until June 1 945 — too late to help 
overseas areas — could the OQMG provide 
the chief means for adequate requisitioning, 
fairly complete and accurate manuals that 
catalogued materials-handling parts, sup- 
plied the nomenclature and stock numbers 
indispensable for proper ordering, and indi- 
cated what parts were interchangeable. 
Since detailed information regarding these 
matters was lacking during most of the war, 
requisitioning was everywhere pretty much 
"a shot in the dark proposition." 

Several additional factors accentuated 
the unreliability of requisitions. One was 

77 ( 1 ) Ltr, ACofS for Opns ASF to TQMG, 20 
Feb 43, sub: Spare Parts. OQMG SWPA 451.93. 
(2) AG Memos 35-82-43, 1 May 43, and W5-9-43, 
15 May 43. 

78 (1) P. 14 of Rpt cited n. 58. (2) Ltr, CG 
INTERSEC to CG ASF, 6 Oct 44, sub: QM 
Opns in SWPA. OQMG SWPA 400. 



the absence of figures from overseas experi- 
ence showing probable future requirements. 
Another was the inaccurate inventorying of 
stocks both in the United States and in the 
Pacific. Because of the large number of 
parts, estimated in the thousands, and the 
lack of an accepted nomenclature applica- 
ble for identification purposes, these defi- 
ciencies were almost insoluble. Reliable 
inventories were particularly difficult to 
make in the Pacific because the similar ap- 
pearance of many different parts led men, 
untrained in their handling, to store them 
with the wrong items. Proper marking of 
parts, especially as to identification, on their 
shipment from the United States would 
have alleviated this problem, but such 
marking was applied to only about 75 per- 
cent of movements. Still another factor ren- 
dering requisitioning difficult was the broad 
fluctuation in demand brought about by 
the wide variations in age of equipment in 
use. The consequent uncertainty about 
future requirements made the submission 
of accurate requisitions an almost impossi- 
ble task. Actually, there was no normal rate 
of issue for most items. 79 

An equally serious cause of shortages, 
along with these inaccurate requisitions, was 
the slowness and inadequacy of deliveries 
of materials-handling parts from the United 
States. These deficiencies are illustrated by 
the high proportion of requisitions from the 
Central Pacific Base Command that re- 
mained largely or wholly unfilled. At the 
beginning of September 1944 no deliveries 
whatever had been made on eleven of the 
thirty-one requisitions submitted between 1 
January and 31 May. Not a single one of 
the other twenty requisitions had been com- 

79 Ltr, CG CPBC to TQMG, 6 Aug 45, sub: 
Improvement of Spare Parts Sup in POA. OQMG 
POA 400.4. 

pletely filled ; only eight had been more than 
half filled. On the twenty requisitions sub- 
mitted between the beginning of June and 
the end of August nothing had been re- 
ceived on nineteen and only 1 percent on 
the other. A survey of materials-handling 
parts overseas, conducted in February 1944 
by ASF headquarters, revealed that tardy 
deliveries in the Central Pacific had delayed 
the loading and discharge of interarea car- 
goes. A year and a half later incomplete 
requisitions were still causing marked 
shortages. 80 

Difficulties, similar to those encountered 
in obtaining materials-handling parts, were 
encountered with other Quartermaster 
parts. Some bases possessed no catalogues 
whatever for commercial types of refriger- 
ators and typewriters, for mimeograph, 
ditto, and adding machines, or for baking, 
and sewing and other reclamation equip- 
ment. These installations found it hard to 
requisition needed parts. At least one base 
was obliged as late as the beginning of 1945 
to compile its own catalogues for all type- 
writers and bakery equipment and for sev- 
eral kinds of office machines. 81 

During 1942 and 1943 deliveries of parts 
for the Ml 93 7 field range were confined 
almost entirely to the sets of essential parts 
that accompanied shipments of ranges from 
the United States. These sets, which pro- 
vided an initial stock, were made up in the 
erroneous expectation of a roughly equal de- 
mand for all parts and were "most wasteful 
of parts with little turnover and totally in- 

s0 ( 1 ) Memo, Rqmts Div ASF for TQMG, 22 
Feb 44, sub: Parts for Materials-Handling. OQMG 
POA 451.93. (2) Ltr, CPBC to SFPOE, 9 Sep 

44, same sub. OQMG POA 451.93. (3) Ltr cited 
n. 79. 

81 Ltr, Maj Harold A. Naisbitt to TQMG, 8 Mar 

45, sub: Observations on Gen Sups. OQMG SWPA 



adequate for parts with high turnover." 82 
In mid- 1944 maintenance stocks began to 
arrive in slightly larger quantities. Never- 
theless the Sixth Army reported in Septem- 
ber that many units still had no field range 
parts and were encountering trouble in pre- 
paring meals.* 3 Shortages in this field in- 
deed continued to plague troops until the 
very end of hostilities. 

Refrigeration parts, too, were decidedly 
scarce. In January 1944 more than fifty 
refrigerators at Oro Bay were inoperative. 
Requisitions submitted by this base three 
months before remained totally uncom- 
pleted. Later in the year Finschhafen re- 
ported that its requisitions for laundry as 
well as refrigerator parts — requisitions 
which had been forwarded to San Fran- 
cisco six to twelve months before — were still 
unfilled and that much equipment in con- 
sequence could not be used. Officers at this 
base, according to Captain Orr, had aban- 
doned hope that these requisitions would 
ever be completed. Some relief was af- 
forded by makeshift parts fabricated by 
local Ordnance troops, but many indis- 
pensable items could not be manufactured 
on the spot. "Cannibalization," that is, the 
tearing apart of damaged equipment to ob- 
tain vital parts, was frowned upon but in 
emergencies was extensively practiced. 
From time to time conditions similar to 
those at Finschhafen prevailed at other Pa- 
cific bases. In October USASOS noted 
that small motors for electrically driven 
refrigerators and sealed motor units for 
household refrigerators were acutely scarce 
everywhere in New Guinea. Commercial 
refrigerators, brought in by the Air Forces, 

h: P. 23 of Rpt cited n. 58. 

8:1 Ltr, Sixth Army to Base H, 27 Sep 44, sub: 
QM Shortages. ORB AFWESPAC Sixth Army 
AG 400. 

introduced another perplexing problem, for 
USASOS possessed no information about 
their parts and hence could not requisition 
them properly. Because of all these per- 
plexities shore refrigeration, never avail- 
able in adequate quantities, became still 
scarcer. 84 

Poor packing led to considerable corro- 
sion of parts, but by early 1945 packing by 
Quartermaster depots in the zone of inte- 
rior had improved tremendously, and parts 
were arriving in better condition. Those 
packed by manufacturers, however, were 
sometimes so badly corroded as to be un- 
serviceable. This was notably true of type- 
writer, sewing machine, and shoe machinery 
parts shipped in cheap paper envelopes that 
went to pieces after one or two handlings. 85 

The problem of fairly distributing all the 
many parts that made up an assembled type- 
writer among the countless issuing and using 
agencies was never solved. The absence of 
manufacturing sources in the Pacific areas 
and the broad dispersion and huge numbers 
of typewriters mainly accounted for this fail- 
ure, which at times kept hundreds of ma- 
chines out of use and even interfered with 
the transaction of administrative business. 
By mid- 1944 the number of unserviceable 
typewriters in the Southwest Pacific had 
grown so large and so few using agencies had 
means of repairing them that a spare parts 
depot was set up at Brisbane to rebuild 
worn-out machines. The protracted delays 
incurred in shipments to a point as distant 
from advance bases as Brisbane led in Au- 
gust to the establishment of a comparable 
depot at Finschhafen. Early in 1945 still 

M (1) P. 21 of Rpt cited n. 58. (2) Ltr, CO 
Base B to CG INTERSEC, 30 Oct 44. ORB 

85 Ltr, CG USAFPOA to TQMG, 6 Aug 45, sub: 
Spare Parts. OQMG POA 400.4. 



another installation was established, this 
time at Manila. 86 

In the middle of that year the concept 
of centralized storage was adopted for all 
Quartermaster spare parts, and a depot for 
issuing parts to the forces in the Philippines 
was being set up in Manila when hostilities 
ceased. An installation specializing in In- 
ternational Business Machines parts was also 
being established there. The QMC had thus 
rightly concluded that well-stocked central 
depots furnished a better method of 
promptly locating and issuing replacement 
parts than did scattered base installations, 
none of which could possibly possess suffi- 
cient stocks of all parts." 

During 1945 the scarcity of Quarter- 
master replacement parts was also allevi- 
ated by extending to virtually all items the 
practice of shipping a six-month initial sup- 
ply of parts with the equipment. In July 
Captain Orr nonetheless pessimistically re- 
ported from Okinawa that the problem still 
awaited solution. Spare parts depot com- 
panies, modeled on similar units in other 
technical services, he thought, might at least 
provide the trained men needed for proper 
storage and identification. 88 Captain Orr's 
gloomy report was supported by surveys con- 
ducted by the Southwest Pacific Area and 
the Central, South, and Western Pacific 
Base Commands in May and June. These 
surveys showed that stocks of parts, espe- 
cially for materials-handling equipment, 
remained far below requirements. Only in 
the South Pacific, where shrinking troop 
strength made stores, originally too small, 

8 " ( 1 ) Sec I USASOS Memo 49, 28 May 44, sub: 
Repair of Typewriters. (2) Sec IV USASOS Memo 
85, 29 Aug 44, same sub. Both in ORB AFWESPAC 
AG 400. 

s: QM SWPA Hist, VII, 69-72. 

88 Rpt 4 (Okinawa series), Capt Orr, 15 Jul 45, 
sub: QM Opns on Okinawa. OQMG POA 319.25. 

generally ample, was the supply situation 
satisfactory, and even there the stock of 
materials-handling parts did not yet match 
demands. 89 

All the surveys urged the preparation of 
more up-to-date, profusely illustrated cata- 
logues and the provision of initial stocks 
through the shipment of a larger number 
of complete sets with the equipment. 
One report suggested that these sets con- 
tain a one-year supply rather than the six- 
month supply currently furnished. The most 
serious objection to sets was that in the past 
they had included too many items seldom 
called for and too few items in heavy de- 
mand. The surveys agreed on the value of 
higher replacement factors and a working 
force better trained in the identification of 
stocks. The Southwest Pacific Area urged 
the creation of spare parts supply and serv- 
ice platoons, the establishment of centralized 
control and storage of parts in each area, 
and the employment of technical teams to 
proffer advice on better handling methods. 
Had V-J Day not come before these sugges- 
tions could be applied, they would almost 
certainly have mitigated the parts prob- 
lems. 90 

Class III Supply 

Petroleum products, like rations, were 
key supplies vital to the conduct of modern 
war. Without these fuels, bombers and fight- 
ers could not accomplish theii tactical and 
strategic missions, planes could not carry 
emergency cargoes, ships and trucks could 
not transport the rations, ammunition, and 
weapons that changed mere groups of men 
into fighting forces, tanks and mechanized 

sft (1) QM SWPA Hist, VII, 71-72. (2) Ltr, CG 

"° Ltr cited n. 89(2). 



artillery could not be operated, generators 
could not furnish power for communications 
equipment, field ranges could not bake 
bread, and combat troops could not be pro- 
vided with hot food or electric light. 

Petroleum products consisted of various 
categories — kerosene, fuel oil, diesel oil, 
lubricants, aviation gasoline, motor gasoline, 
and unleaded gasoline for field ranges and 
radar equipment — divided in turn into dif- 
ferent grades, which were ail covered by 
Army specifications. Because of their indis- 
pensability petroleum products generally 
commanded somewhat higher shipping and 
handling priorities than did clothing, equip- 
age, and general supplies. Since Class III 
products embraced a small number of items, 
subject to only minor storage hazards, they 
presented fewer problems than did the 
numerous items, often fragile and suscep- 
tible to quick deterioration, which composed 
other classes. 

Supply in the Southwest Pacific 

In the Southwest Pacific Area the U.S. 
Army at first drew its petroleum products 
from the Australian Army, for supply condi- 
tions made the pooling of these items virtu- 
ally mandatory. After the fall of the Neth- 
erlands Indies, the source of most of Aus- 
tralia's gasoline and oil in peacetime, these 
products were imported from Iran and on 
lend-lease from the United States and South 
America. Since there were few military in- 
stallations for handling these large ship- 
ments, they were received, stored, and 
drummed at commercial terminals in Aus- 
tralian ports. Owing to the impractica- 
bility of establishing separate stocks for both 
the American and the Australian fighting 
forces, United States organizations filled 

their requirements from oil company re- 
serves and from the military supply centers 
of its ally. Even imports consigned to the 
American forces were turned over to the 
Australian Army. This was true not only 
of tanker shipments but also of U.S. Army 
55-gallon steel drums, widely used for trans- 
porting and storing petroleum products. 
These were usually called 44-gallon drums 
since the imperial gallon, used in Australia, 
contained roughly 5 U.S. quarts, instead of 
4, as did the American gallon. 01 

To simplify supply operations, U.S. 
forces at first used chiefly the same products 
the Australians did. As with rations, this 
was an unsatisfactory arrangement, for 
these products were poorer in quality than 
those furnished by the zone of interior and 
were available in too few grades. At times 
the only motor gasoline in stock contained 
between 12 and 15 percent of locally pro- 
duced power alcohol. Though mixing gas- 
oline and alcohol in this way relieved the 
shipping shortage by diminishing the impor- 
tation of gasoline, it increased unduly the 
vapor pressure of the fuel, particularly in 
tropical areas, and hastened the formation 
of objectionable gum deposits. For these 
reasons blended gasoline furnished less 
power than did standard grades. Alcohol, 
moreover, because of its affinity for water, 
separated from gasoline if water entered 
fuel tanks, necessitating removal of the re- 
sultant mixture. Less but still substantial 
difficulty was experienced with other fuels. 
A partial solution of these problems was 
ultimately found when Australia adopted 
many American specifications and when the 

1,1 ( 1 ) USAFIA Memo, 24 Apr 42, sub: Class III 
Sup in Australia. (2) Ltr, CINCSWPA to CG 
USASOS, 14 Oct 43, sub: Handling Class III 
Sups. ORB AFPAC G-4 463.7. 



U.S. Army reduced to a minimum the num- 
ber of petroleum items it employed." 2 

Whereas in Australia, with its excellent 
commercial facilities, the storage and han- 
dling of petroleum supplies by the Common- 
wealth Army offered few difficulties, so that 
the pooling of petroleum products was ap- 
plied there during the entire war period, in 
New Cuinea U.S. forces from the beginning 
thought that the system worked poorly. In 
September 1 942 a Quartermaster officer re- 
ported that at Port Moresby "no proper 
routine" had been set up for the issue of gas- 
oline. Petroleum stocks in the main Austra- 
lian dumps, this officer declared, were badly 
classified, and frequently drums bore no 
marks identifying the contents or indicating 
the date of filling. Some products, used 
solely by the U.S. Army, could be located 
and identified only by having Americans 
search the dumps. Moreover, no adequate 
means existed for determining future or even 
current requirements. 93 

In mid- 1943 an especially unfavorable 
situation developed at Milne Bay and Oro 
Bay. Increasing numbers of American 
troops were then being scattered through 
these areas, but the Australian stations did 
not possess adequate means of transporta- 
tion to deliver oil and gasoline promptly to 
U.S. organizations. USASOS therefore en- 
tered into an agreement with the Common- 
wealth Army by which the QMC assumed 
the entire responsibility of arranging for the 
handling of petroleum products for these 
particular organizations from the time they 
were shipped from Australian ports until 

02 (1) Ltr, CQM to G-4 USAFIA, 13 Jun 42, 
sub: Gasoline-Alcohol Blends. (2) Ltr, QM USA- 
SOS to CQM USAFFE, 4 Apr 43, sub: Alcohol- 
Blended Gasoline. Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 

03 Rpt, Maj H. W. McCobb, 8 Sep 42, sub: Class 

they reached the ultimate military con- 
sumer." 4 The new system applied only to lim- 
ited areas around Milne Bay and Oro Bay, 
but a telling argument for its expansion to 
all New Guinea was the growing realization 
that supply through Australian channels 
gave U.S. forces no adequate control over 
the reserves it needed to insure constant 
availability of Class III products. These 
reserves, in fact, frequently fell below a de- 
sirable margin of safety. Mainly for this 
reason the two armies agreed late in the year 
that the QMC would distribute petroleum 
supplies to all American troops outside the 
Australian mainland."" 

Under the new system the OCQM calcu- 
lated all the petroleum requirements of the 
Southwest Pacific Area except those for the 
Air Forces and submitted requisitions cover- 
ing these requirements to Australian sources. 
Base section quartermasters received the 
supplies from the Australian Army in main- 
land ports and arranged with cargo control 
officers for their transportation northward. 
In New Guinea the base quartermasters 
kept records of consumption and stocks on 
hand and each month submitted to the 
OCQM requisitions covering their needs 
during the next thirty days." 6 Until Decem- 

"* ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col J. D. Jacobs for Col Cor- 
diner, 9 Jul 43, sub: Class III Sup to Advance 
Bases. (2) Memo, QM for Trans USASOS, 29 Sep 
43, sub: Class III Shpmts to Oro Bay. Both in ORB 

"(1) Ltr cited n. 91(2). (2) Memo for the 
Records, 1 Nov 43, sub: Handling Class III Sups. 
ORB AFPAC G-4 463.7. (3) OCQM Tech Memo 
85, 28 Nov 43, sub: QM Class III Sups to Advance 

"" ( 1 ) Ltr, CG USASOS to CINCSWPA, 26 Aug 
43, sub: Sup of Class III Products. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to Sec and Base Comdrs, 27 Nov 43, same 
sub. ORB AFPAC QM 463.7. (3) Memo 85 cited 



ber 1943 these officers also controlled the 
filling, cleaning, and repair of drums, but 
after that date these duties were assigned to 
the Corps of Engineers. In New Guinea that 
service was already responsible for the in- 
stallation, maintenance, and operation both 
of bulk storage tanks receiving liquid fuels 
from tankers and of pipelines carrying these 
supplies from rear to advance establish- 
ments. The Ordnance Department pro- 
cured and maintained tank trucks and other 
vehicles for distributing gasoline, but QMC 
troops operated all such equipment. The 
Corps also obtained and distributed drums, 
cans, and other dispensing equipment re- 
quired in moving gasoline and oil from bulk 
storage to using elements. The QMC 
brought petroleum products to Air Forces 
as well as other supply depots, but airmen 
unloaded, stored, and issued these supplies. 97 
In carrying out its responsibility for de- 
termining petroleum requirements, the 
OCQM used consumption factors based on 
previous use, logistical instructions, kind of 
operation, conditions under which future 
consumption would probably occur, and ex- 
pected losses from enemy action. Since the 
elements that went into the establishment of 
factors varied constantly with operational 
plans and geographical shifts of troops, the 
factors themselves underwent frequent 
changes. The consumption factors, issued 
by the Chief Quartermaster in September 
1944, expressed the requirements in U.S. 
gallons per man per day for the principal 
petroleum items as follows: 98 

" T (1 ) Ltr, CG USAFFE to CG USASOS, 5 Jul 
43, sub: Handling Avn Gas. (2^ Ltr cited n. 

5,8 OCQM Tech Memo 45, 6 Sep 44, sub: QM 
Class III Sups. 

Class III Supplies U.S. Gallons 

Total 1.483 

Motor gasoline 0. 900 

Range fuel for powered equipment 0. 090 

Range fuel for cooking 0. 090 

Automotive diesel fuel 0. 300 

Lighting kerosene 0. 020 

Power kerosene 0. 018 

Engine oil 0.046 

Gear oil 0.016 

Grease 0.003 

When the Philippines were reached, each 
of these factors was automatically increased 
by 25 percent. Later, as experience accumu- 
lated in this new area of active combat, fur- 
ther modifications were introduced to re- 
flect the changed operational conditions. 
The revised factors, published in February 
1945, were as follows: " 

Class III Supplies U.S. Gallons 

Total 1.38841 


Motor (all purposes) 0. 830 

Unleaded gasoline 0. 150 

Diesel oil 0. 320 

Kerosene 0. 028 

Engine oils: 

OE-10 0.0015 

OE-30 ... 0.0360 

OE-50 0. 0075 

Lubricant, GO 90 0.0120 

Greases : 

General purpose CG- 1 0. 00208 

Wheel bearing WB-2 0. 001 14 

Water pump . 0.00019 

The QMC found the fair distribution of 
petroleum products among using elements 
less baffling than that of rations but a diffi- 
cult task nonetheless. The most bothersome 
problems stemmed from the complete lack 
of means for bulk storage in New Guinea 
during the first year and a half of hostilities; 

"' OCQM Tech Memo 9, 22 Feb 45, sub: Rqmts 
for Class III Sups. 

BULK PETROLEUM PRODUCTS STORAGE facilities included tanks, shown under 
construction (above) in New Guinea, and the drumming plant at Espintu Santo (below). 



occasional scarcities of coastal tankers for 
service between the northern bases; the 
shortage of drums; inadequate drum-filling 
plants; and insufficiency of cargo space for 
55-gallon drums from Australia. 

The unsatisfactory means of bulk distri- 
bution outside the populated regions of the 
Southwest Pacific forced sea-going tankers 
to discharge most of their cargoes at large 
Australian commercial terminals, which al- 
ways had capacity available for military use. 
Normally, they could handle between 10,- 
000,000 and 12,000,000 U.S. barrels. At 
the end of March 1945, their capacity to- 
taled 1 1 ,962,839 barrels, five times the num- 
ber available even then in the rest of the 
Southwest Pacific Area. Of this huge 
amount, about 4,158,922 barrels were al- 
lotted to motor gasoline, 2,746,770 to fuel 
oil, 2,432,774 to diesel oil, 1,598,613 to 
aviation gasoline, and 1,026,769 to kero- 
sene. 100 

Not until mid- 1943 did the construction 
of bulk storage tanks start at the New Guinea 
bases, and then only on a limited scale. Since 
these bases were to be used but slightly after 
the campaign for recovery of the Philippines 
had started, large, permanent facilities were 
not wanted. Instead the Army built small or 
medium-sized tanks, capable of handling 
100-octane aviation gasoline, a few addi- 
tional grades of gasoline, and two or more 
kinds of fuel and diesel oil. Where airfields 
were located within a radius of about twenty 
miles of bulk storage centers, pipelines were 
laid to supply aviation gasoline. At the fields 
themselves small bolted tanks were built for 
dispensing gasoline to trucks, which deliv- 
ered the fuel to planes. In the islands out- 
side Australia and the Philippines, bulk stor- 
age at the end of March 1945 amounted to 

100 Rpt, 31 Mar 45, sub: Bulk POL Storage Facili- 
ties, SWPA. ORB AFPAC G-4 463.7. 

but 2,068,900 barrels, less than 17.5 per- 
cent of that in Australia. Of this total 763,- 
900 barrels were devoted to fuel oil, 760,- 
900 to aviation gasoline, 290,850 to diesel 
oil, and 253,250 to motor gasoline. 101 

Even this restricted capacity could not 
always be utilized efficiently. At some ports 
the water was so shallow that large vessels 
could not approach the storage tanks; at 
others the tanks were so small that vessels 
could unload only part of their liquid car- 
goes. In such cases, vessels had to put in at 
another port. What was needed was more 
small tankers for movement between bases 
and between bases and forward supply 
points, and more oil barges which could be 
towed from Australia for delivery of cargoes 
in shallow harbors to tanks of limited ca- 
pacity. But these requirements could seldom 
be wholly met. 102 

When the U.S. forces returned to the 
Philippines, the means of transshipping pe- 
troleum products from New Guinea to the 
new area of operations and of storing them 
proved unequal to the vastly increased de- 
mands. In this emergency Base K on Leyte 
could supply only purely local requirements. 
Conditions in the Philippines, in fact, bore 
a marked similarity to those encountered in 
New Guinea in the early days. In March 
1945, six months after the invasion of Leyte 
started, only 399,500 barrels, or less than a 
fifth of even New Guinea's low capacity, 
could be stored, and stock levels had fallen 
below a proper margin of safety. Extensive 
construction, much of it permanent and 
aimed at providing storage for 2,029,000 
barrels, was begun in and about Manila on 
its reoccupation, but until the very end of 

,nt (1) Ltr, CINCSWPA to CG USASOS, 24 
Aug 43, sub: Bulk POL Storage Facilities, SWPA. 
(2) Rpt cited n. 100. ORB AFPAC G-4 463.7. 

102 Masterson, Transportation in SWPA, pp. 



the war bulk deliveries at most outlying 
points had to be made by oil barge. 103 

The shortage of bulk storage and pipe- 
lines everywhere in the Southwest Pacific 
forced the transportation and storage of 
most petroleum products in containers, 
which occupied about 75 percent more 
space than did an equal quantity of fuels 
carried by tankers. In October 1943 
drummed motor gasoline was being issued 
at Oro Bay alone at the rate of 26,000 gal- 
lons a day, or 780,000 a month. If this huge 
amount could have been moved by tankers, 
about 5,000 ship tons would have become 
available for other supplies. 1 " 4 A year later, 
after storage tanks and pipelines had been 
built at Milne Bay, Oro Bay, Lae, and 
Finschhafen, the Chief Quartermaster esti- 
mated that the new distribution system had 
cut requirements for motor gasoline drums 
from 286,000 to 133,000. In terms of ship- 
ping the saving represented 44,000 measure- 
ment tons. 1 " 5 In addition to using more 
cargo space, drumming of petroleum prod- 
ucts had the disadvantage of requiring the 
services of many more men than did the 
system of bulk storage and transportation. 

The high priorities assigned to petroleum 
products normally meant that drums could 
be shipped promptly from Australia to ad- 
vance bases. Occasionally, cargo space was 
indeed available in more than necessary 
quantities. Yet at times there were not 
enough vessels even for Class III supplies. 
In September and October 1943, for exam- 
ple, about 80,000 filled drums were tied up 
at Sydney alone. So badly crowded was the 
base section there that it temporarily sus- 

"» (1 ) QM SWPA Hist, VI, 45-49; VII, 74-84. 
(2) Rpt cited n. 100. 

""Ltr, QM ADSEC to CQM, 23 Oct 43, sub: 
Bulk Storage at Base B. ORB AFWESPAC QM 

105 Memo, CQM for G-4, 4 Sep 44, sub: Class III 
Sup Levels. ORB AFWESPAC QM 463.7. 

pended drum-filling activities. This emer- 
gency, according to the Chief Quartermas- 
ter, originated in the "congestion at unload- 
ing ports and the accumulation of vessels 
both at Advance Base ports and at Towns- 
ville," where they awaited naval convoy. 106 
In order to save shipping and facilitate a 
more even distribution of oil supplies in fu- 
ture exigencies, the QMC recommended 
that units entering advance areas no longer 
take along the standard 60-day supply but 
only a 15-day supply if they were going to 
points with bulk storage and only a 30-day 
supply if going to points using drummed 
products. This suggestion led late in 1943 
to the adoption of the principle that only 
troops bound for regions without established 
bases would be accompanied by Class III 
items; the exact amount would be deter- 
mined by the special conditions surrounding 
each movement. 107 

Proper supply of petroleum products 
hinged more on the availability of 55-gallon 
drums than of cargo space. Unfortunately, 
these containers were in poor supply on ac- 
count of the inadequate equipment for re- 
pairing them, the belated inauguration of 
large-scale shipments from the West Coast, 
and the small amount of Australian produc- 
tion. The shortage was intensified by the loss 
of 20 to 30 percent through rough handling 
and failure to replace bungs — a particularly 
serious omission, for it permitted the en- 
trance of dirt and water, which rusted con- 
tainers and rendered fuel unusable. Even if 
drums exposed to the weather were not 
rusted, thorough cleaning with special 
equipment was necesary before they could 
be safely used. Nevertheless this indispensa- 
ble task was often neglected. As a conse- 

"" Memo, CQM for G-4 USASOS, 28 Oct 43, 
sub: Class III Sups at Advance Bases. ORB AF- 
WESPAC QM 463.7. 

""QM SWPA Hist, IV, 50. 



quence many old containers were in unsatis- 
factory condition. At Lae early in 1945 
Quartermaster inspectors found that most 
of the 21,000 drums held enough sediment, 
water, and other injurious substances to pre- 
clude issue to combat units. ins 

Because of these circumstances drums at 
times became so hard to obtain that pre- 
scribed replacement levels could not be 
maintained in advance areas. In August 
1943 these areas needed more than 330,000 
containers yet could obtain only 164,000, 
leaving a deficit of 166,000. By December 
the shortage had increased to 240,000. 
Building of more storage tanks would have 
reduced such deficiencies but not wholly 
eliminated them, for a growing proportion 
of available gasoline and oil had to be 
drummed and kept as a reserve stock for 
new bases and tactical organizations lack- 
ing bulk equipment. 1 " 1 ' 

Not only were containers in tropical re- 
gions scarce but they had the further disad- 
vantage of hastening the deterioration of 
stored gasoline, particularly high octane 
motor fuel, which was extremely susceptible 
to the formation of gum deposits. For this 
reason rotation of stocks was strictly enjoined 
in order to insure the issue of usable supplies. 
Some stocks nonetheless became too old for 
safe utilization, and in May 1944 USAFFE 
directed that stores six months old could not 
be issued until representative samples had 
been tested and found satisfactory. 11 " 

"* ( 1 ) Ltr, Maj Gen John A. Chapman ALF 
to CQM USASOS, 15 Aug 43, sub: Class III Stock 
Levels. ORB AFWESPAC QM 463.7. (2) Ltr, Col 
Cordiner to Col J. D. Jacobs, 1 1 Dec 43. ( 3 ) Memo, 
n. s., for the Records, 3 May 44, sub: POL Han- 
dling Policy. Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 463.7. 
(4) Rpt, CG Base E, 8 Mar 45, sub: Hist Sum- 
mary, Feb 45. ORB Base E AG Mil Hist File. 

"'" Ltr cited n. 108(1). 

, '" Ltr, CG USAFFE to CG Sixth Army, 24 Mar 
44, sub: Rotation of Gasoline. ORB AFWESPAC 
QM 463.7. 

As petroleum needs rose late in 1943, the 
number of available drums, though still in- 
adequate, also rose. At the same time cargo 
space was allotted on a more liberal scale. 
But the full benefits of these favorable de- 
velopments could not be realized because of 
the lack of drum-filling plants. This de- 
ficiency indeed threatened to become a seri- 
ous handicap to smooth supply. For some 
weeks it was impossible to fill all drums or 
utilize all assigned shipping space. Addi- 
tional filling plants were hastily built at bulk 
terminals in Australia, and for the first time 
such plants were constructed in New 
Guinea. It was nearly a year, however, be- 
fore these measures solved the drum-filling 
problem. 111 

The shortage of containers remained to 
the end a major difficulty despite constant 
efforts to increase their availability. Direc- 
tives dealing with the care and inspection of 
drums were issued, yet heavy wastage con- 
tinued. Other instructions stressed the 
speedy return of empty containers to filling 
points and, if necessary, repair points, but 
manpower shortages and more urgent tasks 
often prevented compliance. Attempts to in- 
crease the number of serviceable drums by 
reclamation of damaged containers were 
mostly nullified by want of adequate equip- 
ment.' 1 "' The construction of additional 
drum-manufacturing plants in Australia 
produced better results but still not enough 
containers. In this contingency requisition- 

111 (1) Memo, CQM for G -4, 6 Dec 43, sub: 
Class III Sup in New Guinea. (2) Rpt, CQM, 3 
Apr 44, sub: Activities of OCQM, 1 Jan 31Mar 44. 
Both in ORB AFWESPAC QM 314.7. 

1,2 ( 1 ) Ltr, CQM to QM ADSEC USASOS, 6 
Nov 43, sub: Handling of Class III Sups. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 314.7. (2) Memo, POL Office 
for POL Pers Base B, 29 Mar 44, sub: SOP. (3) 
Memo, same for Tank Wagon Drivers, 31 Mar 44, 
sub: Instructions. Both in ORB AFPAC G-4 463.7. 
(4) OCQM Tech Memo 10, 28 Feb 45, sub: Class 
III Sups. 



ing on the San Francisco Port of Embarka- 
tion was plainly advisable, but the policy of 
exhausting local resources before tapping 
those of the zone of interior led to postpone- 
ment of this action until the close of 1943, 
when 250,000 drums were ordered. 113 

Of the two principal types of 55-gallon 
drums — 14-gauge, galvanized heavy drums 
and light ungalvanized drums — the heavy 
drums were much better. If these con- 
tainers received good care, they withstood 
many trips and an indefinite number of re- 
fillings. Even in exceptionally rugged coun- 
try they went through about fifteen trips be- 
fore needing repairs. Light drums, on the 
other hand, could not endure much rough 
handling. They were particularly unsuitable 
in forward areas where most of them re- 
quired general repair after three or four 
trips. 114 

Despite the scarcity and other disadvan- 
tages of 55-gallon containers, they served a 
greater variety of purposes in the Pacific 
than anywhere else. In most overseas the- 
aters they were used simply for storage at 
bases, but below the equator they were also 
used for the much different task of supply- 
ing gasoline to motor vehicles in the field. 
Such employment of drums was contrary to 
U.S. Army policy, which prescribed 5-gal- 
lon cans for this operation. It was a prac- 
tice that constantly surprised men from the 
European Theater of Operations, where 5- 
gallon cans were looked upon as the most 
desirable means of fueling vehicles in com- 
bat zones. This departure from ordinary 
procedure stemmed mainly from the lack of 

1,3 (1) Rpt, Col Cordiner, 2 May 43, sub: Trip 
to New Guinea. ORB AFWESPAC QM 463.7. (2) 
Ltr cited n. 101(1). (3) Ltr, QM Base B to CQM, 
28 Oct 43, sub: Svc Station Tankage. ORB AF- 

114 Rpt, n. s., 23 Feb 44, sub: 55-Gal Survey. 

bulk transportation facilities. In the Pacific 
there were no long pipelines and no railroad 
tank cars, such as were used in France to 
bring gasoline close to the front, where it 
was placed in storage tanks and decanted 
into 5-gallon cans for issue to consumers. 
Service troops found that 55-gallon drums 
afforded the most practicable means of 
transporting fuels in forward areas and 
often in advance areas. This practice was 
particularly widespread in the opening 
months of hostilities when practically all pe- 
troleum products were received in drums. 
The extreme scarcity of men who could be 
spared for decanting fuels into 5-gallon cans 
at this time was still another reason why 
it proved expedient to use the large con- 
tainers under the same conditions in which 
the ETO utilized the smaller ones. Com- 
paratively unfamiliar with the handling of 
cans, most quartermasters came to prefer 
drums to cans on the ground that they 
quickened handling and refueling opera- 
tions. 115 

Another reason for extensive use of the 
larger containers was the difficulty of pro- 
curing 5-gallon cans locally. Delivery of 
300,000 cans from Australian sources was 
expected by 1 October 1942, but few were 
received on that date. Gasoline supply com- 
panies in consequence often had no contain- 
ers other than 55-gallon drums and of neces- 
sity adjusted their activities to these recep- 
tacles, which they equipped with hand- or 
motor-operated pumps. But a special effort 
was made to provide vehicles outside 
Australia with at least eight filled 5-gallon 
cans as an emergency reserve. Continued 
employment of drums as the standard unit of 
supply became unavoidable when USASOS 
headquarters late in 1943 decided not to 

1,5 USAFFE Bd Rpt 197, 2 Feb 45, sub: QM 



order from the United States the machine 
tools needed to increase Australian can pro- 
duction — a decision based upon the already 
established preference for drums and the 
vital need of conserving local tin resources 
for the canning of food. 116 

The problem of handling bulky 55-gallon 
drums was solved in various ways. If winches 
and fork-lift trucks were available, they were 
used to load the containers on cargo trucks; 
if they were not available, drums were man- 
ually rolled onto trucks with the help of 
planks. Pipes, attached to the drums, drew 
fuel into vehicular tanks and, when neces- 
sary, into 5-gallon containers. When used 
for the latter purpose, each pipe was fitted 
with several nozzles to facilitate simul- 
taneous fillings of more than one can. 117 

Early in 1945 the I Corps asked many in- 
fantry officers whether they desired the gen- 
eral substitution of 5-gallon cans for 55-gal- 
lon drums. All these officers, the corps re- 
ported, said no, arguing that drums were 
much the better containers. On a 2/ 2 -ton 
truck with a 1-ton trailer cans could carry 
only 875 gallons whereas drums could carry 
1,375 gallons, or 500 gallons more, thus ma- 
terially reducing the number of trucks 
needed in transporting gasoline. Drums also 
made possible comparable savings in labor, 
for eleven times as many small as large con- 
tainers were required to load, unload, and 
store the 1 1 ,000 gallons daily issued to an 
infantry division. Use of these containers, it 
was claimed, cut the time for loading trucks 

m (1) USAFIA Memo 124, 18 Jun 42, sub: 
4-Gal. Cans. (2) QM SWPA Hist, I, 45. (3) Rpt, 
n. s., 25 Oct 44, sub: QM Class III Monthly Rpt. 
ORB AFPAC G-4 457. 

117 ( 1 ) Transmittal Sheet, R&D Br to Opns Br 
Mil Ping Div OQMG, 16 Oct 44, sub: Capt Orr's 
Rpt 19, 10 Aug 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. (2) Ltr, 
1st Lt Russell J. Terpenny, OQMG Obsr, to 
OQMG, 8 Aug 45, sub: T/O&E's. OQMG POA 

by as much as 90 percent. Vehicular tanks, 
the I Corps also reported, were filled faster 
from drums equipped with hand-operated 
or motor-driven pumps than from cans to 
which a nozzle tube was attached to avoid 
an excessive and dangerous waste of gaso- 
line. Filling the tank of a 2/2 -ton truck 
from cans took, according to the I Corps, 
about thirty minutes. When a drum 
equipped with a hand pump was used, only 
five minutes were necessary. The corps 
further pointed out that the cleaning and 
care of cans consumed much more time than 
did that of drums. Tops, for example, had 
to be screwed tightly on eleven times as 
many small as large containers in order to 
prevent water from mixing with gasoline. 118 
Because of the advantages claimed for 
55-gallon drums they remained the stand- 
ard containers for unit supply until hostili- 
ties ended. On Okinawa gasoline supply 
companies indeed "had considerable diffi- 
culty in getting units to take motor gasoline" 
in the 5-gallon cans included in assault 
shipping to meet unexpected emergencies. 
"Only by forcing" their issue "could stocks 
be reduced." 119 Except during the first few 
days, there was, actually, no demand for 
small containers. This fact was attested by 
the turning in of 35,000 cans at one sal- 
vage dump and 20,000 at another. 

Supply in the South 
and Central Pacific 

The distribution of petroleum products in 
the South Pacific did not differ essentially 
from that in MacArthur's command. In 
New Zealand, as in Australia, local sources 
supplied American troops. Army forces else- 

118 Ltr, CG I Corps to CG Sixth Army, 28 Mar 45, 
sub: 5-Gal. Cans. ORB Sixth Army AG 463. 
1,9 Rpt cited n. 88. 



where depended upon products shipped in 
by the U.S. Navy for the use of all armed 
services. At the island bases the QMC per- 
formed much the same functions as it did in 
New Guinea, receiving the products from 
tankers or supply depots and issuing them to 
consumers. The most notable difference was 
the responsibility of the Corps for supply- 
ing not only Army troops but also shore- 
based Marine and Navy units and New 
Zealand ground forces. At each base petro- 
leum products were pooled for the benefit 
of everyone. For this purpose Marine as well 
as Army storage depots were utilized. 120 

The Navy seldom had enough tankers or 
freighters for the delivery of all necessary 
petroleum, but the chief handicap to effec- 
tive supply proved to be the shortage of 
discharge facilities. Throughout 1943 there 
were still too few storage tanks ashore to re- 
ceive all the bulk gasoline delivered by 
water, and as in the Southwest Pacific, 
this deficiency was met by large move- 
ments of drummed fuels. But this expedient, 
too, ran into difficulties. On Guadalcanal 
even the means of unloading drums 
promptly were still lacking in October, and 
at Noumea 2,500,000 gallons of packaged 
gasoline were being held in the harbor until 
the jam at Guadalcanal broke. Not until 
early in the following year did deliveries be- 
come easier. 121 

At that time a drumming plant, with a 
monthly capacity of 4,000,000 gallons, was 
built at Espiritu Santo to supply forward 
areas. By working three shifts a day, this 
installation made possible substantial sav- 
ings in both delivery time and cargo space. 
In general, however, drum-handling ca- 

120 COMSOPAC to CG SPA, 2328 of 6 Jul 43, 
sub: Sup of POL SPA. OQMG POA 319.25. 

121 Memo, Dep Dir Control Div ASF for TQMG, 
13 Oct 43, sub: Rpt of CG ASF on SPA. OQMG 
POA 319.25. 

pacity remained rather limited. The Guadal- 
canal base could unload only 1,000 drums 
a day and Green Island only 800. Yet the 
South Pacific Area, like MacArthur's com- 
mand and for much the same reasons, never 
experienced a truly serious shortage. 

In the Central Pacific the petroleum sup- 
ply situation was similar to that in its sister 
area to the south. Perhaps the most note- 
worthy difference was the continued de- 
pendence of the Army in Hawaii upon local 
commercial firms, which distributed gaso- 
line to military storage tanks in the Hono- 
lulu region. Elsewhere the Navy carried out 
this task. 

Quartermaster Units 
in Class III Supply 

Everywhere overseas, three types of Quar- 
termaster units were concerned largely or 
wholly with Class III distribution. Gasoline 
supply companies, trained in the zone of in- 
terior as units for filling cans and for long 
distance transport, were intended to receive 
fuels from bulk facilities maintained by the 
Engineers, put gasoline into 5-gallon cans, 
transport them to distribution points, and 
exchange filled for empty cans. Truck com- 
panies provided transportation from distri- 
bution points to forward areas where troops 
assigned to operational forces picked up the 
supplies. Finally, salvage repair companies 
reclaimed damaged or deteriorated con- 
tainers. 122 

Gasoline supply companies, by far the 
most important of the three types of units, 
performed duties quite different from those 
prescribed in their tables of organization. 
In the absence of roads and of a regular 
incoming flow of gasoline and oil, storage 

122 Ltr, Actg Dir of Plans and Opns ASF to CINC- 
SWPA, 15 Aug 44, sub: Class III Sup. ORB 
AFPAC G-4 322 (Drums). 



became an activity of tremendous signifi- 
cance, and these companies usually operated 
as depot agencies rather than as carriers 
and distributors. 123 The 834th Quartermas- 
ter Gasoline Supply Company, stationed at 
Hollandia from December 1944 to the end 
of hostilities, reported that its actual opera- 
tions differed so widely from those for which 
it had been prepared that much of its train- 
ing proved valueless. It stored as many as 
200,000 drums of gasoline, oils, and greases 
at one time and supplied both local issues 
on the base and shipments to forward areas. 
Yet the "company had no training whatso- 
ever" in the receipt, loading, unloading, 
drumming, storage, and inventory of ship- 
ments. 124 Men had to be trained for all these 
tasks, and a special stock record section, 
composed of checkers and record clerks, set 
up. Not all the work of the company was 
completely unrelated to its training. It trans- 
ported gasoline and oils to outlying filling 
stations by 2,000-gallon tank trucks and 
hauled gasoline by tanker to points 20 miles 
from the bulk distribution center. During 
a 9-month period the company filled 75,000 
drums at a specially built plant. 

In early combat operations one or two 
gasoline supply platoons were attached to 
each task force; later, one or two companies 
were used. Even in tactical operations the 
units served more as depot than transport- 
ing agencies, usually stocking a 30-day sup- 
ply for ground forces. Hauls from beaches 
or docks were generally short, and trailers, 
gasoline dispensers, and 5-gallon cans were 
in consequence seldom used. Not until they 
reached Luzon, with its fairly good road net, 

123 Rpt, Col Charles R. Lehner, Sixth Army QM, 
13 June 44, sub: QM Questionnaire for AGF Obsrs. 
24 Ltr, CO 834th QM Gasoline Sup Co to 
QM Base G, 24 Sep 54, sub: T/O for Gasoline 
Sup Co. ORB AFWESPAC Base G 322.3 (Unit 

could gasoline supply companies be em- 
ployed in their originally designated capac- 
ity of long-distance haulers. 12 ' In practically 
all campaigns the companies served chiefly 
as operators of Class III dumps, of which 
two were normally maintained — one for 
routine distribution and another for reserve 
stocks. The units also issued gasoline at fill- 
ing points and in 55-gallon drums, supplied 
all other kinds of fuels and lubricants, and 
often helped the Engineers operate bulk in- 
stallations. In short, nearly all the major 
Quartermaster Class III operations were 
centralized in the gasoline supply companies. 
During 1944 a novel Quartermaster unit, 
the petroleum products laboratory, ap- 
peared in the Southwest Pacific. Staffed by 
about three officers and fifteen enlisted men, 
it conducted its main operations at a semi- 
permanent base laboratory but carried a 
three-ton chemical trailer, which served, 
when necessary, as a mobile laboratory on 
beachheads or at supply points. 126 Before 
the war ended, units of this kind had been 
employed by the Southwest Pacific Area at 
several bases and in the Philippine offensives 
and by mid-Pacific combat forces on Oki- 
nawa. The laboratories had been created by 
the War Department to insure that only 
products of the proper quality were issued. 
Such units were especially needed in the 
Pacific. Drummed Class III supplies re- 
peatedly arrived with identifying marks 
obliterated, making it impossible to know 
the age of the product or its octane number. 
Fuels and lubricants, long in storage, might 
contain water, rust, or gum that rendered 
them unserviceable. Products captured from 
the Japanese might have been deliberately 
contaminated before abandonment. Only 

,2r 'USAFFE Bd Rpt 197, 2 Feb 45, sub: QM 

120 T/O&E 10-547, 25 May 43, sub: QM Petro- 
leum Products Laboratory. 



laboratory tests could resolve the doubts 
raised by these possibilities. 

At bases petroleum products laboratories 
inspected samples of all shipments brought 
in by tanker, checked the accuracy of mark- 
ings on incoming containers, and periodi- 
cally examined stored items for signs of 
deterioration and departures from sound 
storage practices. The laboratories even 
examined containers at filling stations. Cap- 
tured supplies were inspected not only for 
contamination but also for evidence of geo- 
graphical origin. Insofar as their equipment 
permitted, mobile laboratories operated in 
much the same manner as base laboratories, 
but their more limited resources occasion- 
ally forced them to seek help from the bases 
in determining octane numbers. 127 

Some of the problems discussed in this 
chapter would have caused less trouble if 
they had been better understood at the out- 
set of hostilities. The shortage of spare parts 
could almost certainly have been remedied 
had the Corps realized sooner how scarce 
they would become. If parts had been pro- 
cured more aggressively in the zone of in- 
terior in 1942 and if at the same time 
storage of these articles had been centralized 
in fewer installations both in the United 
States and overseas, much of the trouble 
later encountered might have been averted. 
Heavy losses of supplies, too, might have 
been materially reduced had the principles 
of tropical storage been more generally dis- 
seminated and had stocks been more closely 
guarded in order to diminish pilferage. If 
more and better tropicproofing had been ap- 
plied to textile and leather goods, they 
would have deteriorated less rapidly, but 

I27 AFWESPAC OCQM Tech Memo 28, 9 Jul 
45, sub: SOP for QM Petroleum Products Labora- 

Pacific quartermasters knew little of this 
method of preservation and the method it- 
self was not fully developed. Whether sized 
articles could have been furnished in pro- 
portions more accurately reflecting troops' 
needs is doubtful. Because of their diverse 
national origins, U.S. troops represented 
nearly all the world's peoples, and no 
country-wide table of sizes was likely to 
mirror very exactly those actually required 
in any one unit. The main reliance should 
have been put, not on country-wide, but on 
organization, tables. Yet even had such a 
shift been made, many organizations could 
not have compiled size tariffs in time for 
their special needs to be reflected in pur- 
chases in the United States. Nor would this 
shift have settled the distribution problems 
that often forced the issue of ill-fitting 

Most of the more complicated supply 
problems dealt with in this chapter could 
not be easily solved. Some of those posed by 
recurrent shortages in forward areas were 
indeed so difficult that it is hard to see how 
the QMC could have done much more than 
it did to alleviate them. The roots of these 
problems mostly lay in causes that tran- 
scended the capacity of a single technical 
service to produce a solution. They were 
found in the world-wide character of the 
conflict that made it impossible for even so 
highly industrialized a country as the United 
States to furnish everywhere enough distri- 
bution facilities; in the concentration of 
military preparations in pre-Pearl Harbor 
days on the requirements of a war against 
Germany, with the result that full compre- 
hension of the logistical needs of a Pacific 
war was achieved only belatedly; in the 
early decision to assign troops fighting Ger- 
many a higher supply priority than those 



fighting Japan; in the extraordinary physi- 
cal conditions under which the Pacific war 
was waged ; and in the tendency, inevitable 
when tactical operations were carried out 
on a "shoestring,' 1 to cut the number of 
service troops and facilities to a minimum. 
General circumstances, much more than the 
shortcomings of any military element, ex- 
plain most of the supply shortages. 

It is a noteworthy fact that the items 
quartermasters had the most trouble in dis- 
tributing promptly were those which bore 
little or no direct relationship to combat 
activities and which in consequence received 
low handling and delivery priorities. Items 

recognized as vital to the successful outcome 
of a tactical operation offered much less 
difficulty. A notable illustration of this is 
the comparative ease with which the QMC 
furnished petroleum products. While the 
higher echelons responsible for determining 
priorities and providing personnel tended 
to neglect clothing, general supplies, and at 
times even food, they exerted every effort 
to smooth the flow of petroleum products. 
Chiefly for that reason, these products were 
usually supplied in adequate quantities. If 
all articles handled by quartermasters had 
been similarly favored, the Corps would 
have had fewer shortages to contend with. 


Morale-Building Services 

Besides procuring, storing, and distrib- 
uting supplies and equipment, the QMC 
also performed other services that were im- 
portant to the combat forces it supported. 
It baked bread, fumigated and laundered 
clothing, provided baths, assembled, classi- 
fied, and repaired worn-out and discarded 
items, and performed all duties connected 
with the care of the dead except one, col- 
lection of bodies on the battlefield. Of these 
services only two — baking bread and re- 
pairing salvaged items — had supply con- 
notations. 1 The others were significant 
chiefly because they promoted sound morale 
and good health. Care of the dead had in 
addition a sentimental value, for it repre- 
sented a determined effort even under battle 
conditions to carry out time-honored 
funerary customs. 

In the peacetime Regular Army the 
Quartermaster services were mainly fur- 
nished under contract by commercial bak- 
ers, launderers, repairers, and morticians. 
But in wartime, civilian contractors were be- 
yond the reach of combat forces, and Quar- 
termaster companies were formed to supply 
these services. In December 1941 the crea- 
tion of these units had just started, and for 
more than a year few were ready for over- 
seas use. The first fully trained units went 
to North Africa. For more than two years 
the War Department sent scarcely any bak- 

1 WD Conf on Theater Adm, 7-12 Feb 44, sub: 
QM Functions in TOPNS. Hist Br OQMG. 

ery, laundry, bath, salvage, or graves regis- 
tration companies to the Pacific. If field 
forces operating there obtained these serv- 
ices during this period, it was only through 
improvisation. When appropriate units did 
arrive, they were too few in number. They 
had been set up in expectation of utilizing 
large numbers of civilian helpers, but since 
there was an almost complete lack of suitable 
workers outside the British dominions and 
the Philippines, they could not operate in 
the contemplated manner. 

Equipment not always well adapted to 
Pacific conditions proved another hamper- 
ing factor. With the exception of bakery 
and graves registration outfits, these serv- 
ices depended mostly on large, heavy equip- 
ment carried in trailer-vans. This equip- 
ment was often so cumbersome that it could 
not be transported over difficult terrain and 
of necessity remained in one place, regard- 
less of the location of the troops it was 
meant to support. Much of this equipment, 
moreover, could not be adapted for use by 
operating units that were necessarily small 
because of the wide dispersion of troops and 
because of the tactical exigencies of jungle 
and island-hopping warfare. In amphibi- 
ous fighting, when assault forces of varying 
sizes sometimes landed on separate beaches 
and fought more or less independently of 
each other, inability to break up equipment 
for operation at several points was particu- 
larly embarrassing. For all these reasons 



units employing heavy trailer-carried ma- 
chines could seldom function with maxi- 
mum efficiency even when they were lo- 
cated not far from the battle area. The prac- 
tice of keeping that area as free as possible 
of noncombat elements naturally forbade 
the operation of service units there. If ac- 
tivities pertinent to a service had to be con- 
ducted in the battle zone, they were dele- 
gated to infantrymen who were assigned 
such tasks as the collection and the trans- 
portation of abandoned articles and human 
remains to assembly points where salvage 
and graves registration detachments picked 
them up. 

Bakery Operations 

Of the special Quartermaster services 
none was more useful than provision of 
fresh bread. Fresh bread, many field com- 
manders maintained, was the most impor- 
tant component of the ration. It represented 
about 10 percent of the food consumed by 
U.S. troops and was the only major element 
of the ration normally served three times 
every day. Soldiers probably resented its ab- 
sence from a meal more than that of any 
other food. But the frequent servings ex- 
pected by them required processing in the 
field, something not necessary for other ra- 
tion components, which came already pre- 
pared for cooking or heating in mess kitch- 
ens. Processing, in turn, demanded a spe- 
cialized organization and elaborate equip- 
ment. Bakery companies met both these 
needs. One company was capable, mechan- 
ically, of supplying about 40,000 troops at 
a daily rate of 8 ounces per man. It em- 
ployed sixteen dough-mixing machines and 
thirty-two gasoline-burning ovens, called 
Ml 942 field bake ovens, which repre- 
sented a vast improvement over the wood- 
burning type of 1917. The 1942 version was 

a readily portable model that permitted a 
company to be broken up into sixteen sec- 
tions. Each section had two ovens, and each 
operated independently of the others. This 
flexibility, so much greater than in most 
other service units, was perhaps the out- 
standing feature of the bakery company. 2 

Disadvantages as well as advantages were 
involved in the use of the Ml 942 ovens. 
They were hard to clean and keep in repair. 
They broke down repeatedly because of lack 
of spare parts, and, like other pieces of bak- 
ing equipment, were difficult to ship. 3 Be- 
fore an island jump was made, a company 
had to stop production, crate its thirty-two 
ovens, sixteen dough-mixers, and other uten- 
sils for forward movement, and obtain 
thirty-six 2/ 2 -ton trucks or their equiva- 
lent for transporting this cargo to the docks. 
Sometimes low shipping and landing pri- 
orities delayed its departure. On arriving 
at the combat area bakers had to locate, 
unpack, and reassemble the equipment and 
once more obtain trucks and set up an op- 
erating center. During this whole period, 
lasting for weeks, no bakery bread was pro- 
duced. If combat units wanted bread, they 
had to bake it themselves. 4 

Quartermasters in the European theater, 
where British mobile baking equipment 
rather than Ml 942 ovens was generally 
used, contended — probably correctly — that 

- ( 1 ) Mil Tng Div OQMG, QM Handbook, 
Bakery Co, Mar 43. (2) Rpt of Food Conf Con- 
ducted by OQMG, 1-30 Apr 46, II, Exhibits A, 
B, and C. OQMG 337. 

:1 ( 1 ) Exhibit D, pp. 16-17, of Rpt cited n. 2 (2 ) . 
(2) Ltr, QM to CG 41st Div, 17 Jun 43, sub: 
Field Range Parts. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.312 
(Rqmts). (3) Rpt, Capt Orr, 25 May 44, sub: Rpt 
3 (Letterpress), pp. 28-32. OQMG SWPA 

4 Rpt, Lt Col John MacManus, Jul 45, sub: Bread 
and Related Opns in PTO. Gen. Robert M. Little- 
john Collection, Ft Lee, Va. 



employment of the British unit would 
shorten such costly interruptions. This unit 
was a heavy, self-contained, machine-oper- 
ated bakery, with three 2-deck ovens, capa- 
ble of a maximum output of 30,000 pounds 
a day. It required no crating for shipment, 
was moved easily by trailer, and was loaded 
and discharged quickly. Its operation took 
fewer men and less gasoline than did that of 
the Ml 942 oven. 5 Though it could be 
shipped in less time than the U.S. oven, it 
could not be broken down for operation by 
independent sections. To Pacific quarter- 
masters this was an overriding objection. 
While conceding that British-equipped bak- 
eries were probably superior for use with 
mass armies fighting in continental areas, 
they maintained that only American- 
equipped bakeries could furnish the large 
number of small sections essential in island 
warfare. 6 

Until mid- 1943 there were no bakery 
companies whatever in the South and South- 
west Pacific. In Australia their absence did 
not deprive soldiers of bread, for adequate 
quantities were obtained from commercial 
bakeries under reverse lend-lease contracts 
or from civilian bakeries used as Quarter- 
master establishments. 7 In areas to the 
north the situation was far different. The 
provision of bread there became chiefly a 
responsibility of the regular mess cooks who, 

5 ( 1 ) Bakery Sec, OCQM SOS ETO, A Mobile 
Field Bakery, British Equip, 1943, p. 1. DRB AGO 
Adm 276 (QMSubs). (2) Pp. 14-16 of Conf cited 
n. 2(2). 

" ( 1 ) Rpt, Capt Orr, 10 Apr 44, sub: Rpt 2 (Let- 
terpress). OQMG SWPA 319.25. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to TQMG, 8 May 45, sub: Redeployment 
of Bakery Cos. (3) Ltr, TQMG to CG POA, 17 
Apr 45, same sub. Both in ORB AFPAC QM 321 

' ( 1 ) Memo, QM Base Sec 3 for Base Svc Comd, 
13 Nov 43, sub: U.S. Army Bakery. (2) Rpt, Base 
Sec 3, n. d., sub: Major QM Activities, 22 Dec 41- 
31 Mar 44, p. 9. ORB ABCOM AG 314.7. 

though they lacked standard baking equip- 
ment, used field ranges to turn out at least 
limited quantities of a reasonably palatable 
product. Advance areas, particularly those 
of the Fifth Air Force, occasionally received 
bread flown in from rear bases. 8 When bak- 
ery companies did begin to arrive, the prob- 
lem of providing bread was appreciably al- 
leviated, but it was still impossible to supply 
the prescribed quantities in advance and 
forward areas. A few companies, which 
came without equipment, were obliged to 
delay the start of their operations or resort 
to time-consuming and inefficient improvisa- 
tions. 9 

There were in addition other hampering 
factors. The low gluten content of Austral- 
ian flour and particularly the severe short- 
age of milk, yeast, and baking powder in 
New Guinea made it difficult to produce 
loaves of the proper size and flavor. In July 
1944 the Sixth Army reported that scarcity 
of yeast and baking powder had reduced its 
average bread issue to five ounces per man 
per day in contrast to the prescribed eight 
ounces. While inadequate issues caused by 
these shortages were not entirely typical, 
they occurred rather often, especially in ad- 
vance areas. 10 Tropical conditions also di- 
minished production. In hot, humid weather 
yeast was overly active and, if not cooled, 
swiftly deteriorated; with refrigerators al- 
most unobtainable, losses reached substan- 
tial figures. Proper storage for flour was like- 
wise seldom available, and at times naif 

8 Ltr, Deputy AF Com to CG ADSEC USASOS, 
20 Sep 43, sub: Bakeries for Advance Areas. ORB 

"See above, pp. 149-50. 

,0 ( 1 ) Ltr, Base Surgeon to CO Base Sec 3, 29 
Nov 43, sub: Bakeries. ORB AFWESPAC QM 633. 
(2) Ltr, CG Sixth Army to CO Base F, 31 Jul 44, 
sub: Yeast and Baking Powder. ORB Sixth Army 
AG 433. 



or more of this indispensable ingredient 
spoiled. 11 

Still another hindrance to full production 
was the absence of an abundant supply of 
pure water. Many streams were contam- 
inated, and there was no piped water, such 
as forces operating in thickly populated 
countries found almost everywhere. Cans 
were at first virtually the only water-carry- 
ing equipment authorized by the War De- 
partment, but they were too small to pro- 
vide a satisfactory method of delivery. Late 
in the war large collapsible tanks and a 
250-gallon trailer were added to company 
equipment, but some observers thought that 
three more trailers were needed in order to 
give one to each platoon. 12 

Operational plans usually assigned baker- 
ies higher shipping and landing priorities 
than they gave to laundry, bath, and sal- 
vage companies. They also tried to provide 
an adequate number of bakeries but the 
constant shortage of appropriate units gen- 
erally prevented this. Nevertheless combat 
forces on the whole fared rather well. In 
the fighting on New Guinea bakeries were 
at work within a few days after the initial 
assaults had been launched. On Leyte the 
first one arrived on A plus 4, but it had no 
baking equipment and was obliged to use 
the most readily obtainable substitutes, old 
1917 wood-burning ovens, ordinarily con- 
sidered archaic. Wood for these ovens was 
hard to secure, not because timber was 
scarce but because the extra men required to 

11 ( 1 ) Anon., "Flour 4- Water + Ingenuity — GI 
Bread," QMTSJ, III (24 December 1943), 5. (2) 
Anon., "Chow Talk," Infantry Journal, LVI (April 
1945), 53. 

12 (1) Rpt, Sixth Army QM, 13 Jun 44, sub: 
QM Questionnaire, 30 Mar 44. ORB AFPAC Pa- 
cific Warfare Bd File. (2) Rpt, Capt H. F. Stewart, 
30 Nov 44, sub: QM Obsvr's Rpt 2 to USAFFE 
Bd. (3) Rpt, 1st Lt Russell J. Terpenny, 25 Sep 45, 
sub: Review of T/O&E's. Both in OQMG POA 
400.34 (T/O&E's). 

cut and haul it could not be spared from 
other duties. Despite this problem and roads 
so poor as to be at times completely im- 
passable, hospital patients and combat sol- 
diers were each provided with 7 ounces of 
fresh bread daily and other troops with 5.6 
ounces. Elsewhere, chiefly because of late 
landings, operational experience was occa- 
sionally less favorable. In Mindanao no bak- 
ery bread was issued for more than a month. 
Most troops on Okinawa waited for six to 
ten weeks before they received any. As late 
as L plus 45 the daily issue even to combat 
soldiers and to the ill and wounded averaged 
only about 4.8 ounces a day; not until L 
plus 100 did all troops receive the standard 
quantity. 13 

When comparatively large issues were 
made, whether in combat areas or at rear 
bases, the explanation was usually the con- 
tinuous operation of all available equip- 
ment. Hard-pressed bakeries did not confine 
their activities to the eight to sixteen-hour 
daily range normally found outside the Pa- 
cific but made bread twenty-four hours a 
day. 14 Constant operation was almost cus- 
tomary in the Southwest Pacific where a unit 
often supplied double the number of men it 
was supposed to. At Biak seven bakery sec- 
tions, set up to care for 17,500 men, landed 
on D plus one and immediately began 
round-the-clock operations. Four months 
later, they had lost only four days' produc- 
tion — one day for welding equipment pep- 

13 ( 1 ) Ltr 30, Capt Orr to Col Doriot, 26 Oct 44. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25. (2) USAFFE Bd Draft 
Rpt, 19 Jan 45, sub: Answers to QM Questionnaire. 
ORB AFPAC AG 333.1. (3) Rpt, A A Rep USA- 
FFE Bd, 18 Jan 45, sub: QM Questionnaire. ORB 
AFPAC Pac Warfare Bd File. (4) Rpt 4 (Okinawa 
series), Capt Orr, 15 Jul 45, sub: QM Opns on 
Okinawa. OQMG POA 319.25. (5) Island Comd 
Rpt Actn Rpt Okinawa, 8-XV-16. 

" Pacific Warfare Bd Rpt 34, 17 Aug 45, sub: 
QM Questionnaire. ORB Pacific Warfare Bd File. 

FIELD BAKERIES IN OPERATION at Port Moresby (above) and at Milne Bay 




pered with Japanese shot and three days be- 
cause they had no flour. At that time 56,000 
troops, or more than three times rated ca- 
pacity, were being supplied. 15 Almost 
equally remarkable records were achieved 
at rear bases. In July 1944, for instance, 
baking was being done at Finschhafen for 
94,000 soldiers by a unit supposed to supply 
only 40,000. 16 

Overtime work did not in itself provide an 
adequate supply. If enough equipment was 
not available, units had to improvise sub- 
stitutes to prevent a complete halt of pro- 
duction. Even lack of ovens did not 
necessarily mean that bakers did not bake. 
This fact is illustrated by three detach- 
ments, each of fifteen men, which were sent 
to the New Hebrides to supply 16,000 
troops but found that they had no ovens or 
dough mixers and few other utensils. They 
employed scrap lumber to fashion mixers 
and clean clothing to proof loaves. They 
scoured the islands for ovens and finally lo- 
cated several old Dutch ones imported at 
some long-forgotten date. Since there were 
too few of these valuable finds to fill all de- 
mands, they devised substitutes from 55- 
gallon oil drums, an expedient occasionally 
used elsewhere. The front of a drum was cut 
out and a steel plate welded into it as a 
shelf on which bread could be baked. In the 
absence of pans the dough was put directly 
on the plate. The stopgap ovens each held 
about eight 2-pound loaves. They burned 
out in two or three weeks, but new ones were 
speedily made. 17 

Bakers were almost equally proficient in 
the improvisation of substitutes for scarce 

,r, Ltr cited n. 13(1). 

'" ( 1 ) Ibid. (2) Min of Conf of Gen and Sp Staff 
Sees Hq USASOS, 4 Jul 44, p. 8. 

'' Anon., "Flour+Water-f Ingenuity = GI Bread," 
QMTSJ, III (24 December 1943), 3-5. 

ingredients. On Kiriwina Island, off north- 
eastern New Guinea, they used fermented 
coconut milk in place of yeast. When there 
was not enough flour at the Guadalcanal 
base, they used either 60 pounds of raisins to 
100 pounds of flour or half flour and half 
wheat cereal. Under similar conditions cooks 
of the 41st Division found ground up hard 
biscuits suitable. At Saidor and elsewhere 
in New Guinea bakers, lacking water, drilled 
wells. 18 

By ingenuity and almost constant utiliza- 
tion of available ovens, then, bread was pro- 
vided. It is difficult to see how a greater 
production could have been obtained from 
such limited resources. Under conditions 
like those in the Pacific the only way to in- 
crease the supply quickly would probably 
have been through the issue to field forces 
of bread baked and canned by commercial 
contractors in the United States. After the 
war there were, indeed, some who favored 
this idea. They argued that the canning of 
bread was, obviously, the modern way to 
supply that product. It would, they con- 
tended, save manpower and shipping space 
and insure a smooth flow of supply at less 
cost. The Army would have to give up 
baking just as the American family had. But 
opponents of the plan maintained that there 
was no substitute for freshly baked bread 
as a builder of morale. The canned variety, 
they pointed out, became moldy and was 
inferior in taste and flavor and so less ac- 
ceptable to soldiers. Moreover, there would 
actually be no saving in shipping space, for, 
excluding water, unbaked bread ingredi- 
ents occupied considerably less space than 
they did when baked and enlarged by fer- 

,8 (1) Anon., "Baker— Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, V 
(1 September 1944), 5. (2) Anon., "Island Hop- 
ping Bakers Supply Sixth Army," QMTSJ, VIII 
(3 August 1945), 18. 



mentation and by the addition of air and 
water. 19 In the end it was determined to 
make no basic change in the system of sup- 
plying bread in the field. The best solution 
to the problem of inadequate issues seemed 
to be more and better baking equipment — 
equipment that would be made available 
more promptly than it had been in World 
War II. 

Laundry Service 

Laundry units, which carried and oper- 
ated their essential equipment, such as wash- 
ers, tumblers, and water heaters, on heavy 
trailers, supposedly furnished the services 
required by hospitals and by individuals 
in the field. In the Pacific they actually did 
this for hospitals, which had priority, but 
there were too few of them to do much work 
for individual soldiers. The number of pieces 
handled for troops, though greatly exceed- 
ing that handled for hospitals, nevertheless 
represented only a small percentage of the 
total number in need of cleaning. If the 
ordinary unit of two trailers worked sixteen 
hours a day, seven days a week, each trailer 
still served only 3,000 soldiers a week at 
the normal rate of about twenty-five pieces 
a man. In many places, moreover, no trail- 
ers were available. Even if they were, the 
difficulty of hauling them over rough terrain 
often prevented their location at sites that 
permitted maximum service. It is not 
strange therefore that in most parts of the 
Pacific laundries accepted individual wash 
only at the low weekly rate of six to eight 
pieces a man. 20 

"'Rpt of OQMG Food Conf, Subcom Rpt on 
Bakery Activities, pp. 12-13. 

x (1) USASOS Regulations No. 30-21, 16 Sep 
42, sub: QMC Svc Ldries. (2) USAFFE Bd Rpt 
No. 96, 2 Feb 45, sub: QM Mobile Ldry Equip. 
ORB AFPAC Pacific Warfare Bd File. (3) Ltr, 
Lt Col C. E. Richards to CG USAFMIDPAC, 6 
Jul 45, sub: POA QM Opns. OQMG POA 319.25. 

Once a tactical organization had been 
alerted for combat activity, laundry service, 
like bakery service, ceased — frequently for 
six to eight weeks while laundrymen pre- 
pared for and made the trip and set up a 
new installation. Trailers ordinarily arrived 
some days after the initial assault had been 
delivered, but even then they could not be 
landed if trails had not been developed on 
shore. They were, in fact, immobilized un- 
til engineers had built a passable road to a 
point with sufficient water for cleaning pur- 
poses. 21 The extent to which some organiza- 
tions lacked service is illustrated by the 37th 
Division, which participated in the cam- 
paigns for New Georgia, Bougainville, and 
Luzon. In July 1945 its quartermaster re- 
ported that during his three years overseas 
the division "had no laundry service at all 
in the field." It enjoyed, he added, "only 
one two months' period during which laun- 
dry facilities were available for about 10 out 
of 100 officers of Field Grade. Our blankets 
were laundered once in three years." 22 

While not many organizations fared as 
badly as did the 37th Division, infantry 
troops in general were obliged to devote 
much time to washing their own garments. 
In the Southwest Pacific between Febru- 
ary and June 1945 it was estimated that 
such activity consumed about 3,000,000 
man-hours a week. Had eighteen additional 
laundry companies been furnished, the same 
work could have been done in about 205,- 
000 man-hours. 23 Whenever portable laun- 
dry machines were obtainable, they pro- 

-' ( 1 ) Ltr, Ldry Off to Base QM Sub-Base D, 
4 Jun 43, sub: Mechanical Difficulties of Mobile 
Ldry Unit. ORB NUGSEC QM 414.4 (Laundries). 
(2) Ltr, 1st Lt Russell J. Terpenny, Obsvr, to Gen 
Doriot OQMG, 7 Aug 45. OQMG POA 319.25. 

"Rpt, DQM 37th Div, 7 Jul 45, quoted in Rpt, 
Opns Br Mil Ping Div OQMG, 27 Aug 45, sub: 
QM Ldry Svc in Field. OQMG SWPA 414.4. 

23 QM SWPA Hist, VII, 92. 

partially solved by unit equipment (above) and Qiiartermaster laundry trailers (below). 



vided a reasonably satisfactory means of 
self-service, but in zones of active fighting 
they could not be widely utilized. A few 
organizations employed unit funds to buy 
household washing machines in the United 
States, and some ingenious soldiers even 
improvised washers out of oil drums by rig- 
ging jeep motors to revolve them. But most 
troops simply used soap and a scrub brush."' 4 
Troops stationed at bases below the equa- 
tor were not much better off than those in 
operational areas. Commercial laundries 
were available in the two British domin- 
ions, but even in these countries not all 
military requirements could be filled." 5 The 
New Guinea bases were much worse off. 
Here there were no laundry units at all until 
well into 1943. At the end of June 1944 
the platoons of three recently arrived com- 
panies were divided between the bases and 
the Sixth Army, but their manpower and 
equipment were so inadequate that even at 
the bases, except for Milne Bay, they could 
do washing only for hospitals.' 6 About this 
time seventeen laundry platoons, specially 
designed for hospital service, arrived. They 
provided welcome manpower but did not 
mitigate the shortage of equipment, for, be- 
ing set up to employ washers regularly fur- 
nished with prefabricated hospitals made in 
the zone of interior, they brought no wash- 
ers of their own. This was a serious over- 

-' ( 1 ) Ltr, S Sgt Rudolph F. Gerisch to Chief 
Salvage and Reclamation Div OCQM USASOS, 
28 Mar 43, sub: Portable Ldry. (2) Memo, Maj 
Stevens Manning for QM INTERSEC, 29 Apr 44, 
sub: Laundries Advanced Areas. Both in ORB 
NUGSEC QM 414.4. 

-' (1) Rpt, Capt R. P. Nelson, 23 Jan 43, sub: 
Inspection Trip to Brisbane and Townsville. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 333.1. (2) Ltr, CG Base Sec 3 
to CG USASOS, 1 May 44, sub: Ldry Svc. ORB 
NUGSEC QM 486.3. (3) Rpt, CQM USASOS, 
5 May 44, sub: Inspection of Base Sec 3. ORB 
NUGSEC QM 331.5. 

J "QM SWPA Hist, V, 67. 

sight as Australian sources were unable to 
supply the missing equipment. Not until 
washers hastily requisitioned from the 
United States arrived late in the year did the 
hospital platoons prove of much value. 

Large "fixed laundries," capable of car- 
ing for 5,000 troops at the peacetime rate 
of twenty-five garments a soldier, were 
rarely set up at SWPA island bases, for these 
bases were looked upon as merely tempo- 
rary establishments. In all New Guinea the 
only sizable installation of this type was the 
one at Milne Bay. It turned out about 
2,400 pounds of dry wash an hour, a pro- 
duction so substantial that in the first half 
of 1944 Milne Bay alone among New 
Guinea bases laundered clothing for indi- 
viduals. 27 

At the outset the South Pacific, like New 
Guinea, had no laundry units. In early 1943 
a few mobile types arrived, and toward the 
close of that year three fixed installations 
were built — a 10,000-man-capacity unit in 
New Caledonia and two 5,000-man-capac- 
ity units, one in the Fijis and another in 
Espiritu Santo." 8 In the Central Pacific, 
mobile laundries were employed almost en- 
tirely for hospitals. Five fixed installations, 
three of which had been built after Pearl 
Harbor, served individuals. Operating only 
one eight-hour shift a day, they could do 
laundering for about 50,000 troops." 9 Their 
labor force was drawn from local civilians 
who were paid at rates somewhat below the 

L ' 7 ( 1 ) Memo, OCQM for G-4 USASOS, 8 Dec 
43, sub: Ldry Facilities Advanced Areas. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 486.3. (2) Ltr, QM Base F to 
QM 400.93. 

- N (1) Rpt, QM SOS SPA, 28 Jul 44, sub: Ldry 
Activities in SPA. ORB USAFINC AG 331.5. (2) 
Ltr, CG SOS SPA to TQMG, 13 Aug 44, sub: Rpt 
of QM SOS SPA. OQMG POA 319.25. 

29 Rpt, Lt Col Joseph E. McMullen and Maj 
Philip H. Foote, 24 Sep 45, sub: QM Ldry Facilities 
in WPBC. OQMG SWPA 333.1. 



wartime Hawaiian average for comparable 
work. Because of this discrepancy there was 
a heavy labor turnover, which caused a con- 
stant shortage of experienced operatives. 
"Special assignments," such as assistance in 
outfitting entire divisions, further delayed 
laundering for individuals. Usually, soldiers' 
wash was not returned for about two weeks. 
Most troops preferred commercial firms, 
which charged more than Quartermaster 
laundries, but which lost fewer articles and 
returned bundles sooner and in cleaner and 
more wearable condition. In December 
1944 it was estimated that such firms did 
more than half the washing for troops in 
Honolulu. 1 " A comparable situation existed 
in other localities where troops could find 
civilians to clean their clothing. In the lib- 
erated Philippines outside Manila in July 
1945, when military laundries were still 
scarce, 90 percent of the soldiers had their 
soiled garments cleaned by Filipino 

Army service in general provoked criti- 
cism similar to that in Hawaii and the 
Philippines. Late in 1944 a survey of six 
Pacific Ocean Areas bases, which on the 
whole were better supplied with Quarter- 
master laundries than most parts of the Pa- 
cific, showed that, while these units served 
about 78 percent of the troops, there were 
many complaints about the inferior work. 
The most common objection was the fre- 
quent failure to return all pieces. Forty- 
five percent of the soldiers questioned de- 
clared that items were missing the last time 
their bundles were returned. Oahu had the 

'" ( 1 ) Rpt, Lt William B. Seininger OP&C Div 
OQMG, 9 Dec 44, sub: Trip to POA. OQMG POA 
319.25. (2) Ltr, Capt H. W. Taylor to Gen Doriot 
OQMG, 21 Jul 45. OQMG MIDPAC 331.5. 

■ l (1) Ltr cited n. 30(2). (2) Rpt, Lt Col C. E. 
Richards to CG USAFMIDPAC, 6 Jul 45, sub: 
POA QM Opns. OQMG POA 319.25. 

highest proportion of men with this griev- 
ance, 65 percent, and Guadalcanal the 
lowest, 20 percent. Authors of the survey 
pointed out as a possible explanation of the 
relatively slight loss on Guadalcanal that 
this base did not employ the standard pin 
method of individual identification. Instead, 
six to eight men put their dirty clothes in 
a single bundle, which made one washer 
load; when the bundle was returned, each 
man picked out his own belongings. In gen- 
eral the pin method was not a suitable 
means of identification. The reason, the 
surveyors suggested, may have been that 
the shortage of manpower made it impos- 
sible to form a group of specialists with no 
duties other than the sorting and marking 
of clothing. They noted that men who per- 
formed these tasks usually also operated 
washers and dryers and had too little time 
to carry out any of their duties efficiently. 3 * 
Seventy percent of the soldiers who were 
asked if some other kind of laundry had 
proved superior to Quartermaster service 
gave affirmative answers. They endorsed at 
least one of these alternatives — -civilian or 
Navy establishments, washerwomen, or 
"myself." 33 

Though some of the criticism leveled at 
Quartermaster laundries reflected mainly 
the time-honored propensity of soldiers to 
find fault with their lot, there was ample 
justification for many of the complaints. 
After inspecting the Pacific bases in the 
spring of 1945, Quartermaster General 
Gregory declared that "the poorest job 
being done by the Quartermaster Corps" 
was its laundry service. Noting that troops 
"after a comparatively short period of fight- 
ing" particularly needed the boost given to 

'-'Rpt, Field Progress Br OP&C Div OQMG, 
Nov 44, sub: POA QM Opns. OQMG POA 319.25. 
n: ' Ibid. 



morale by clean apparel, he urged the in- 
creased utilization of fixed laundries as a 
remedy. 14 During the following summer an 
installation of this type, able to care for 
15,000 men, was completed at Saipan, but 
the poor water supply prevented its opera- 
tion. 5 " At this time several other isolated 
bases had authorized fixed laundries, but the 
higher priorities given to more urgent proj- 
ects prevented the construction of these 
establishments. 30 

Even had a larger number of fixed laun- 
dries been built, they would have benefited 
chiefly only the troops at rear bases. Combat 
soldiers would have derived no advantage. 
As it was, individual service remained at 
the end of the war, as it had been at the 
outset, the most conspicuous weakness of 
the laundry service. In the South Pacific 
between 1 July 1943 and 30 June 1944, the 
longest period covered by adequate figures, 
only 66,000 troops were cared for even at 
the low rate of six pieces a week." Statistics 
for the last eight months of hostilities in 
the Southwest Pacific reveal that in Jan- 
uary 1945 some 775,000 pieces were washed 
every week for hospitals, which had about 
38,000 beds, but only about 125,000 pieces 
for troops. This very low figure stemmed 
principally from the complete or partial 
stoppage of laundry activities in combat 
areas. Between February and May more 
units came into operation, and the number 
of pieces handled more than doubled to 

11 Memo, TQMG for CG ASF, 14 Mar 45, sub: 
Tour of POA and SWPA. OQMG POA 319.25. 

*' Ltr, QM HUSAFMIDPAC to TQMG, 20 Jul 
45, sub: Visit to Forward Areas. OQMG POA 

:,H Rpt cited n. 29. 

"Rpt, QM SOS SPA, n. d., sub: Ldry Pro- 
duction FY 1944, Exhibits A, B, C, D, E. ORB 
USAFINC QM 414.4. 

an average of 1,900,000 a week. Even then 
full service was supplied to only about 
40,000 men, a bare 6 percent of the total 
number in the tneater, and of these men 
few were combat soldiers. 38 

Progress toward better service for infan- 
trymen was nevertheless being made as the 
war drew to a close. An OQMG observer 
wrote that at Okinawa "for the first time" 
in a Pacific offensive fairly satisfactory 
laundering was done for individuals. But 
even there minimum service could not be 
started until about L plus 50 when the first 
laundry unit arrived. It adopted the Guadal- 
canal system of having small groups turn in 
their soiled garments in a single bundle and 
so materially simplified its task. Shortly be- 
fore fighting ceased, a second unit came into 
operation and made it possible to furnish a 
certain amount of service to 70 percent of 
the troops. 3 " 

Had the war in the Pacific lasted longer, 
the arrival of units from Europe would 
doubtless have led to vastly improved in- 
dividual service. The fact that on the whole 
this service remained unsatisfactory until 
the very end suggests that the QMC may 
have made a mistake in giving the few avail- 
able laundries cumbersome equipment that 
could not be transported readily and that 
required operatives with considerable skill 
and experience. Perhaps it should have 
given more thought to the large-scale issue, 
particularly to combat organizations, of an 
easily portable washer that any soldier could 
have operated. Such a machine would al- 
most surely have produced better results 

38 QM SWPA Hist, VII, 92-94. 

™ ( 1 ) Rpt 4 (Okinawa series), Capt Orr, 15 Jul 
1-5, sub: QM Opns on Okinawa. OQMG POA 
319.25. (2) Island Comd Actn Rpt Okinawa, 8- 



than did the expedients actually employed 
in the field. Certainly, the frequent utiliza- 
tion of household washers implied that sim- 
ilar machines, better fitted to field condi- 
tions, might have been at least a partial 

Bath, Sterilization, 
and Fumigation Operations 

In War Department theory, if not always 
in Army practice, bath, sterilization, and 
fumigation units worked in conjunction with 
nearby laundries, which washed and reissued 
clothes turned in for sterilization or fumi- 
gation. Their major function, again in War 
Department theory, was ceaseless war on 
head and body lice. Wherever these insects 
were prevalent, bath units were responsible 
for their eradication. In France during 
World War I, lice, facetiously dubbed 
"cooties," had infested crowded trenches 
and barracks. They were not merely a nui- 
sance; they were a never-ending menace to 
health. The body louse, for example, trans- 
mitted trench fever, a common World War 
I ailment characterized by muscular pains 
and sudden, recurrent fevers. Elimination 
of infestation hinged upon the ability of 
soldiers to keep themselves and their clothes 
clean. In 1917 and 1918, soiled garments 
were "deloused" by exposure for about 15 
minutes to steam that had been heated to 
a temperature of about 40 degrees above 
the Fahrenheit boiling point. To carry out 
this task, sterilization centers were set up 
in France and operated by division quar- 
termasters wherever large bodies of troops 
were stationed. While clothing was being 
cleaned, the soldiers themselves were bath- 
ing in neighboring showers. As they emerged 
from their baths, they were issued clothes 

freshly sterilized and cleaned by neighbor- 
ing laundries. 4 " 

Between the two world wars no need ex- 
isted for an agency that would carry out 
military sterilization of the 1918 type. Not 
until the hectic days of 1941 and 1942 
brought the prospect of renewed battle on 
lice was such an organization — the Quar- 
termaster sterilization and bath company — 
created. Equipped along World War I lines, 
it was designed to operate with laundry com- 
panies in combat zones and with salvage re- 
pair companies in rear areas. Its most im- 
portant piece of equipment was a heavy 
trailer-van, which carried water-heat- 
ing machinery, a dozen showers, and a large 
sterilization chamber. In early tests this ve- 
hicle proved much too ponderous for easy 
movement on poor or congested roads. The 
ensuing demand for greater mobility and 
the decision reached in late 1 942 that methyl 
bromide was a better disinfesting agent than 
steam led to the establishment of a new and 
more mobile unit, the fumigation and bath 
company. This development did not mean 
the complete abandonment of the old com- 
panies; some of them continued to be em- 
ployed so that benefit might be derived from 
the vans and sterilizers that had already been 
bought. 41 

The fumigation and bath outfit had the 
same functions as the sterilization company, 
but it differed from the older unit in its 
use not only of methyl bromide but also of 

10 ( 1 ) QMC School, Schuylkill Arsenal, Phila- 
delphia, Pa., Operations of the Quartermaster 
Corps, U.S. Army, During the World War, Mono- 
graph No. 9, Notes of Army, Corps, and Division 
Quartermaster Activities in the American Expedi- 
tionary Forces — France, pp. 60-61. (2) Historical 
Div, Dept of the Army, United States Army in 
World War, 1917-1919, 17 vols. (Washington, 
1948), XV, 375. 

11 Rpt, Capt Keith K. Eggers QM School, 3 Jun 
43, sub: Fumigation and Bath Co. OQMG 322 

FUMIGATION AND BATH COMPANY providing services for combat troops in tropical 



a collapsible fumigation chamber trans- 
ported on a comparatively small truck in- 
stead of a bulky sterilization chamber trans- 
ported on a heavy trailer-van. The fumiga- 
tion chamber was intended, primarily, for 
employment in combat areas. In rear areas 
a specially developed rubber bag, about 
twenty-five by sixty inches, was used for de- 
lousing. The clothes of six to eight soldiers, 
together with an ampul of methyl bromide, 
were placed inside the bag, which was then 
sealed. The ampul was broken from the out- 
side, and in about forty-five minutes the re- 
leased gas fumigated the garments. 42 

World War II actualities soon dispelled 
the belief that large-scale delousing opera- 
tions would be required. Conditions over- 
seas were unfavorable to infestation by lice. 
These insects became most prevalent in static 
warfare in which large bodies of men lived 
together for months in dirty, congested quar- 
ters; the danger from them was at its height 
in cold winter weather when soldiers, espe- 
cially in northern countries, were likely to 
live in ill-ventilated surroundings. But none 
of these conditions were common in the open 
warfare of 1941-45, with its almost constant 
movement of troops, and there was in conse- 
quence slight need for sterilization or fumi- 
gation equipment. This was particularly true 
in the tropical Pacific areas — a fortunate 
circumstance because they had no bath com- 
panies until late 1944. 43 

It was rather the lack of the bath units 
carried by these companies that soldiers in 
the Pacific felt most keenly. Each unit con- 
tained twelve to twenty-four showers, and 
since showers enjoyed tremendous popular- 

'-OQMG Tng Cir No. 14, 17 Jun 43, sub: QM 
Fumigation and Bath Co (Mobile). 

1:1 ( 1 ) Risch, QMC: Organization, Supply, and 
Services, I, 164-66. (2) Rpt, Capt Orr, 25 Jun 
44, sub: Answers to Questionnaire, 14 Jun 44. 
OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

ity among soldiers, many requests for bath 
units without fumigation chambers were 
submitted to the zone of interior. But few 
arrived, and troops were often obliged to 
wash themselves in streams, often unsani- 
tary, carry water in buckets to their tents, 
or even bathe out of a helmet. 44 Occasion- 
ally, enterprising soldiers improvised hot 
showers, based on the ever valuable 55-gal- 
lon drum. Such improvisation also required 
a portable air compressor or tire hand pump, 
steel pipe, valves, nipples, hose, and, finally, 
ration cans for the shower heads, usually 
three in number. The first step in the con- 
struction of this novel device was to make a 
rock base open on one side so that a fire 
could be built under the drum. Next, the 
shower heads and steel pipe were put to- 
gether and suspended from a tree or other 
overhead support. The valve stem and hose 
connection were then installed. Care was 
taken to insure that the air pressure in the 
drum never exceeded twenty pounds; other- 
wise the container would burst. If an air 
pump could not be found, a gravity instead 
of a pressure device might be used. Though 
highly ingenious, these improvisations were 
too inconvenient and complicated to be 
undertaken often. They accordingly offered 
no real solution for the lack of showers. 45 
The Leyte campaign saw a fumigation 
and bath company functioning for the first 
time in a Pacific offensive. With little need 
for fumigation activities, this unit operated 
almost solely as a provider of baths. Since 

44 (1) Rpt 2, Col Rohland A. Isker, 10 Apr 44, 
sub: Observations in SWPA. (2) Ltr, Capt Orr 
to Col Doriot, 17 Oct 44. (3) Rpt 18, Capt Orr, 
30 Aug 44, sub: Misc QM Matters. All in OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. 

4 "' ( 1 ) Ltr, CO 49th Fighter Gp to CG Fifth Air 
Force, 9 Dec 42, sub: T/BA Equip. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 370.43. (2) Anon., "Beat Your Drum 
(Oil) Into an Improvised Shower," QMTSJ, VII 
(12 January 1945), 10-11. 



the Medical Corps found many streams con- 
taminated, the company depended upon a 
single well dug by the Engineers in a rear 
area. Even then there was water enough for 
only half the bath equipment. Never was 
the company able to operate all its showers 
at one time. Its activities, moreover, were 
confined to the area immediately about the 
well. This situation emphasized the need 
for the inclusion of a water purifier in the 
equipment of the unit — a consideration ap- 
parently overlooked in the United States 
where the company was developed, possibly 
because an ample supply of good water was 
always available. 40 

On Okinawa a sterilization as well as a 
fumigation company was utilized. Neither 
unit could function according to its stated 
mission. The eleven-ton trailer-vans of the 
sterilization outfit could not be hauled over 
the poor roads and were employed mostly 
in rear areas and rest camps. One trailer 
assigned to the 77th Division bogged down 
in mire three times on its way to an advance 
position and finally had to be moved by a 
bulldozer. No effort was made to haul it 
forward again, and it remained in the same 
location throughout the campaign although 
the division progressed far beyond that 
point. The vans in any event were of little 
help because they provided troops with only 
twelve showers. Instead of these units, 
twenty-four head units, fabricated from dis- 
carded materials by the company on Oahu, 
were set up in squad tents. 47 The fumiga- 
tion company improvised comparable units. 
In order to serve more soldiers this outfit 

48 (1) Rpt cited n. 12(2). (2) USAFFE Bd Rpt 
118, 19 Feb 45, sub: QM Equip and Sups. ORB 
Pacific Warfare Bd File. 

47 Ltr, Maj Charles E. Foster, Hq USAFMID- 
PAC, to OQMG Intel Officer, 1 Aug 45, sub: Ob- 
servations of QM Activities on Okinawa. OQMG 
MIDPAC 319.25. 

was divided into four sections rather than 
the prescribed two platoons. These sections 
furnished baths for parts of three Army di- 
visions and for thousands of marines, serv- 
ice troops, and Seabees. From late May, 
when the sections began operations, until 
the end of June they cared for about 600 
men a day. As word spread that showers 
were available, more and more soldiers took 
advantage of them. One section served 2,300 
troops in a single day in early July. Since 
men fresh from the front had not enjoyed 
any opportunity for normal bathing, no 
limit was imposed on the time that bathers 
could spend under a shower. Usually, they 
spent about ten minutes. Enthusiastic bath- 
ers gave high praise to the unaccustomed 
privilege. 48 

Experience in the Pacific as a whole 
strongly confirmed, then, the conclusion 
reached elsewhere that modern warfare de- 
manded, not so much a fumigation company 
as a bath outfit equipped with mobile show- 
er units that could be set up wherever troops 
were assembled in substantial numbers. In 
mid- 1944 the numerous complaints regard- 
ing the unavailability of showers overseas 
stimulated the OQMG to start the develop- 
"ment of small bath units that could be car- 
ried on a 2*/ 2 -ton truck and operated by 
only six men, but no unit of this sort was 
actually created. The project nevertheless 
probably indicated the direction in which 
attempts at innovation would move. Bath 
companies had proved too large and too 
inflexible for effective utilization; smaller, 
more mobile outfits seemed the obvious an- 
swer to the insistent call for better bath 
facilities. 49 

48 (1) Rpt cited n. 13(4). (2) Rpt 1 (Okinawa), 
Maj Charles E. Foster, 1 Aug 45, sub: QM Ac- 
tivities on Okinawa. OQMG POA 319.25. 

49 Risch, QMC: Organization, Supply, and Serv- 
ices, I, 166. 



Salvage and Reclamation 

Quartermaster salvage and reclamation 
operations in the Pacific constituted a help- 
ful means of replenishing stocks of supplies 
and equipment, particularly in advance 
areas. Footwear, clothing, and tents were 
the chief Quartermaster items handled by 
salvage and reclamation units; foodstuffs 
were handled, if at all, by the Veterinary 
Corps. "Salvage" was concerned not only 
with partly or wholly unserviceable articles; 
it was concerned also with new or usable 
articles that had been lost or abandoned in 
battle zones or elsewhere by U.S. or enemy 
troops. Since prompt delivery of new sup- 
plies and equipment to the Pacific theaters 
often was not possible, the main purpose of 
salvage activities was the speedy return of 
recovered items to American soldiers. 50 An- 
other important objective was the shipment 
to the United States of unserviceable items 
that would provide raw materials required 
by American industrial plants to maintain 
peak production. 51 Among these items were 
scrap iron, including such articles as stove 
plates and grates; scrap aluminum; nonre- 
payable rubber tires, tubes, and life pre- 
servers; mismated shoes and other leather 
articles; lead and lead battery plates; and 
nickel electrodes of discarded spark plugs. 
Financial savings, if, indeed, any were to be 
achieved, constituted a minor consideration. 
Three types of units — salvage collecting 
companies, salvage repair companies, and 
salvage depots — were used in theaters of 
operations. Collecting and repair companies 
were semimobile units that were usually as- 

50 TM 10-260, 15 Mar 43, sub: QM Salvage— 

51 (1) WD Ltr AG 400.74 OB-S-SPUPT-M, 19 
Aug 43, sub: Return of Overseas Salvage. (2) WD 
Memo 30-44, 28 Jul 44, sub: Salvage and Scrap to 
be Returned From Overseas. 

signed to corps or to geographical areas and 
split into sections, each of which operated 
as an independent organization. Salvage de- 
pots were sizable, fixed installations, which 
alone had the intricate equipment needed 
for major repairs. They were administered 
by specially trained repair units and in the 
Pacific were usually located at base ports. 
Collecting companies had as their main op- 
erating equipment twenty-eight small trucks 
and trailers for transporting recovered arti- 
cles. Repair companies depended princi- 
pally upon two shoe repair, two clothing 
repair, two textile, and two metal repair 
trailers; since their equipment was of the 
simplest sort, they were confined largely to 
minor repair jobs. Salvage depots carried 
out the more complicated operations. They 
rebuilt shoes and replaced component parts 
of garments and machines. They reclaimed 
not only Quartermaster items but also prop- 
erty not repaired by other technical services. 
Though manufacturing was not one of their 
regular functions, they occasionally made 
work suits from rejected clothing, and bunks, 
bins, shelves, and pallets from discarded 
lumber. Ordinarily, depots were organized 
into various divisions, some of which spe- 
cialized in the reclamation of particular 
items — textile, leather, rubber, canvas, and 
metal goods — and others in the disposal of 
irrepairable supplies. 52 

All salvage activities hinged on the abil- 
ity of collecting units to gather worn-out 
and discarded articles. In quiet areas these 
units assembled supplies and equipment 
turned in by troops at weekly or other des- 
ignated intervals. In combat areas they 
picked up articles, non-Quartermaster as 
well as Quartermaster, that infantrymen in a 
necessarily unsystematic fashion had gar- 

C2 TM 10-260, 15 Mar 43, sub: QM Salvage— 

SALVAGE OPERATIONS included the use of shoe repair trailers capable of operation in 
forward areas (above) and rear area clothing repair shops at salvage depots (below). 



nered on the battlefield and transported to 
assembly points. When fighting ceased, col- 
lecting troops entered the combat area and 
with the assistance of labor troops conducted 
the first careful search for supplies lost or dis- 
carded in the heat of battle. As salvage ac- 
cumulated at the assembly points, collecting 
teams separated it into the main general 
classes of supply and removed it to salvage 
dumps. Here, aided by troops from other 
technical services, they further divided it 
into four classes determined by degree of 
usability. Class "A" comprised new supplies 
and equipment; Class "B," serviceable arti- 
cles in need of minor restoration. These two 
classes were if possible handled by repair 
units operating in the field and sent back 
to the organization from which they had 
come. Unserviceable materials, which could 
be made usable by major repairs, formed 
Class "C." Class "D" consisted of unre- 
claimable items — items which could not be 
restored but which might contain badly 
needed spare parts or scarce materials. 
Classes "C" and "D" were both handled 
by salvage depots. 53 

In the South and Southwest Pacific lack 
of sufficient units, qualified technicians, and 
essential equipment as well as trying physi- 
cal conditions prevented the performance of 
salvage activities precisely in accordance 
with this procedure. It was mid- 1943 before 
the first salvage organizations arrived, and 
then they came only in small numbers. In 
the Central Pacific the presence on Oahu 
of qualified troops, fairly elaborate equip- 
ment, and commercial service firms enabled 
the QMC to carry out routine salvage and 
reclamation activities pretty much along 
prescribed lines. Even here there were short- 

M ( 1 ) USASOS Regulation 30-10, 15 Sep 42, sub: 
QMC Salvage Activities. (2) Ibid., Feb 43. (3) 
USAFFE Bd Rpt 190, 15 May 45, sub: QM Sal- 
vage Collecting Co, T/O&E 10-187. 

ages of special equipment for some tasks. 
A notable example was the almost complete 
absence of magnet cranes and other ma- 
chines needed for the salvage of accumula- 
tions of scrap metals, estimated in the sum- 
mer of 1942 to total 50,000 tons, which 
were badly required for steel and other metal 
plants in the United States. 54 

The South Pacific Area, hard pressed for 
manpower, placed salvage and reclamation 
among its most dispensable services, and 
these activities were at first virtually un- 
known even in improvised form. During 
the Guadalcanal campaign few items were 
recovered from the battlefield, for not many 
combat soldiers could be spared for this task. 
Some clothes in need of major renovation, 
it is true, were collected in anticipation of 
the early arrival of repair units that never 
came, but no sustained effort was made to 
gather such articles despite the danger of a 
severe clothing shortage among troops none 
too well clad at the start of the campaign. 55 
Four months after fighting on Guadalcanal 
had ceased, salvage operations in the South 
Pacific were described as "practically non- 
existent." 56 There were still no collecting 
units and but one repair platoon and 
two repair detachments. Though scantily 
equipped, these small units furnished the 
nucleus for the Quartermaster-operated 
base salvage services that were set up in 
September 1 943 for the benefit of the Army, 
Navy, and Marine Corps. The opportune 
arrival of two collecting companies and ad- 
ditional repair organizations greatly facili- 

54 ( 1 ) Memo, QM for CG Hawaiian Dept, 28 
Jul 42, sub: Scrap Metal. (2) Ltr, CG Hawaiian 
Dept to CG SOS, 11 Aug 42, sub: Salvage of 
Scrap Steel. Both in ORB AGF PAC AG 400.93 

"Anon., "Salvage Saga: Guadalcanal," QMTSJ, 
V (27 October 1944), p. 24. 

56 Ltr cited n. 28(2). 



tated the inauguration of these new activ- 
ities. One collecting company was assigned 
to the Guadalcanal base, and notwithstand- 
ing that it had few trucks and scarcely any 
equipment for obtaining scrap metals, it 
"gave the island a clean sweep from one end 
to the other," and assembled a huge mass 
of materials from the former battlefield. 57 

The only advantage the Southwest Pa- 
cific had over its neighbor was that a ma- 
jor segment of its forces was stationed in 
Australia where the Commonwealth Army 
for many months collected, stored, and dis- 
tributed salvage items for the U.S. forces 
and where commercial firms did much of 
the repair work on shoes and tents. The em- 
ployment of civilians for sewing and other 
reclamation jobs further eased the situation 
by making possible the establishment of siz- 
able salvage depots. Because of these favor- 
able circumstances the QMC in Australia 
was able to carry out reclamation activities 
on a rather substantial scale. °* 

Until late 1943 the position of the Corps 
in New Guinea was no better than in the 
South Pacific. At the advance bases, details 
composed of both combat and service troops 
working under the direction of a Quarter- 
master sergeant collected repairable items 
from military units at designated times, clas- 
sified them, and then, since there were no 
means for making even minor repairs, 
shipped them to Australia — a wasteful but 
unavoidable procedure. Weeks ordinarily 
passed before vessels could be found in New 

17 Memo, Control Div ASF Hq for TQMG, 13 
Oct 43, sub: Rpt on SPA Opns. OQMG POA 

08 (1) Rpt, Base QM Base Sec 4, 31 Jul 42, sub: 
Shoe Repair. (2) Rpt, Salvage Office to Base QM 
Base Sec 3, 18 Oct 42, same sub. Both in ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 486.3. (3) Rpt, QM Salvage Of- 
fice USASOS, 31 May 43, sub: Reclamation and 
Salvage Opns in SWPA to 30 Apr 43. OQMG 
SWPA 319.1. (4) QM SWPA Hist, II, 97-100; 
III. 66 76. 

Guinea to transport the recovered supplies. 
After the Australian bases had received the 
items, additional weeks elapsed before re- 
pair work could be started. These delays 
postponed for months the reissue of badly 
needed articles and at times obliged advance 
bases to distribute so much new equipment 
in place of that turned in for repair that 
total issues of some items increased by 50 
percent. 5 " 

The establishment of repair centers in 
New Guinea would have made costly rec- 
lamation in Australia unnecessary, but dur- 
ing the first half of the war this manifestly 
desirable step could not be taken. Machines 
for reclaiming such important items as shoes 
and tents were almost unobtainable. Even 
if they had been procurable, there were few 
technicians qualified to operate them. Pend- 
ing the arrival of salvage outfits, the QMC 
therefore set up footwear and clothing re- 
pair schools in Australia to train troops and 
civilians who were to be sent north.''" In 
June 1943 New Guinea's first repair shop, 
which handled footwear, began operations, 
but the establishment of reclamation centers 
in general proceeded slowly. 01 In October 
the Fifth Air Force quartermaster reported 
that 26,000 troops in the Port Moresby re- 
gion still had no way of having shoes 
mended. Men who wore out soles of their 
shoes, he wrote, "must draw a new pair 
which is of course a big waste." 62 

From late 1943 on, the amount of sal- 
vage and reclamation work performed in 

™ Rpt, QM Salvage Office USASOS, 29 Apr 43, 
sub: Salvage Activities Mar 43. ORB NUGSEC 
QM 400.93. 

"" Off of QM USASOS, Shoe Repair Lectures, 
May 1943. ORB AFWESPAC QM 421.3. 

,: ' Ltr, QM USASOS to CQM USAFFE, 16 Apr 
43, sub: Salvage in New Guinea. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 400.93. 

1,2 Memo, QM Fifth Air Force for CQM USA- 
SOS, 18 Oct 43. ORB AFWESPAC QM 333.1. 



both the South Pacific and the Southwest 
Pacific steadily rose as experienced techni- 
cians and appropriate equipment finally ar- 
rived, but even then available resources did 
not match the magnitude of the task. The 
problem of how to maintain minimum sal- 
vage services with limited means remained a 
constant source of trouble. At the end of 
April 1944 there were in the whole South- 
west Pacific only four repair companies and 
one collecting company, whereas current 
troop strength demanded at least six collect- 
ing and nine repair companies. Even the 
lone collecting company had come only in 
the preceding February. 03 

The newly arrived units, all semimobile, 
were divided among the bases and troop 
concentration points outside Australia. Re- 
pair units could not operate trailer-mounted 
equipment in forward areas and in conse- 
quence could not function as the mobile 
organizations they were meant to be. 64 
Usually, these units removed their equip- 
ment from the trailers and put it in thatched 
huts or temporary buildings at advance 
bases. This action facilitated operations by 
providing workers with better ventilation 
and more space. These advantages, in turn, 
made possible the elimination of the pro- 
tracted rest periods needed in the tropics by 
men who labored in poorly ventilated 
trailers.' 15 

'" ( 1 ) Memo, Reclamation and Salvage Div for 
Ping and Control Div OCQM USASOS, 26 Feb 
43, sub: Reclamation and Salvage Problems. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 337. (2) Rpt, Reclamation and 
Salvage Div OCQM USASOS, 23 May 44, sub: 
Salvage and Reclamation Activities, Apr 44. ORB 

" 4 Ltr, CG USASOS to CG ASF, 18 Jul 44, sub: 
QM Repair Installations. OQMG SWPA 331.5. 

,ir ' ( 1 ) Ltr, QM USASOS to CQM USAFFE, 22 
Mar 43, sub: Destinations of Salvage Repair Com- 
panies. ORB AFWESPAC QM 431. (2) Ltr, CG 
USASOS to CG ASF, 29 Nov 43, sub: Salvage 
Activities. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.93. 

Despite the inadequacy of facilities for 
minor repair jobs, some sort of repair sec- 
tion was available to most units in New 
Guinea by mid- 1944. Unfortunately, these 
shops were often located many miles from 
troop concentrations. This drawback, to- 
gether with other supply problems, usually 
made it impracticable to return to original 
wearers any apparel except shoes; other 
items were commonly turned over to bases 
for redistribution in bulk. 66 

Meanwhile facilities for making major 
repairs in the island had been provided. At 
Milne Bay in November 1943 the 28th Sal- 
vage Depot Headquarters Company started 
the first fixed installation in New Guinea 
for major repairs on material shipped from 
forward bases. This company had enough 
skilled operatives to supervise a thousand 
or more civilian employees, but since there 
were few candidates for jobs, its members 
served as artisans rather than as foremen. 
Because of its small labor force, the depot 
turned out only about 30 percent of the work 
that a fully manned establishment would 
have normally produced.' 17 A large part of 
the clothing sent to it was in very poor con- 
dition, much of it beyond reclamation. The 
added repair and disposition burdens thus 
laid on the depot were attributed to the 
"hard service" that apparel received in the 
field, to "failure of unit commanders to 
turn in" unusable garments before they 
were "completely beyond repair," and to 
the protracted storage of material awaiting 

m Ltr, Col Walter T. O'Reilly, USAFFE Bd, to 
CG AGF, 20 Aug 44, sub: QM Information. ORB 
AFPAC Pacific Warfare Bd File. 

" T (1) Ltr, QM USASOS to QM U.S. Advance 
Base, 7 Jul 43. ( 2 ) Ltr, CO Base A to CG USASOS, 
29 Nov 43, sub: Salvage Depot. Both in ORB 
AFPAC Pacific Warfare Bd File. 



movement, often under circumstances that 
hastened deterioration. 68 

In August 1944 Base F at Finschhafen, 
which had just recently become the site of 
another major repair installation, reported 
that it operated under conditions similar to 
those at Milne Bay. At that time it was re- 
ceiving a monthly average of 500,000 
pounds of Quartermaster supplies and 
equipment. "A great portion of this ma- 
terial," it declared, consisted of "non- 
repairable canvas, cots damaged beyond 
repair and damaged metal containers which 
are too light to be classed as scrap metal." 
Because of "lack of proper segregation and 
packaging" of clothes and web equipment, 
it added, "less than five percent" of these 
items had proved reclaimable. 69 

Of the reasons cited by the two salvage 
depots as responsible for the large amount of 
irrepairable material, two were of primary 
significance. One was the remissness of 
troops in turning in badly worn articles, a 
negligence that stemmed in some measure 
from fear that replacements would not be 
issued. The other was the frequent refusal of 
supply sergeants to accept proffered ma- 
terial on the ground that it was not yet in 
sufficiently poor condition. The survey of 
Quartermaster activities in the Pacific 
Ocean Areas late in 1944 demonstrated the 
importance of these two factors. It showed 
that in the previous thirty days a high pro- 
portion of clothing had been found to need 
repair; at that time, in fact, 50 percent of 
shoes required mending, 31 percent of 
work suits, 26 percent of trousers, 18 per- 
cent of shirts, 17 percent of socks, and 

^Ltr, CO 28th QM Salvage Depot to CO 
QM 400.9. 

3 Aug 44, sub: Salvage from Forward Areas. ORB 
NUGSEC QM 400.93. 

4 percent of underwear. Yet only half the 
articles in need of renovation had actually 
been turned in for either major or minor 
repairs. 70 

Before late 1944 salvage collection in di- 
rect support of combat forces fared much 
worse than did repair activities in rear areas, 
being, as in Guadalcanal days, a poorly 
performed function of provisional groups 
composed of infantry as well as service 
troops. After that date, however, it was done 
to a considerable extent by a few recently 
arrived collecting units. Infantrymen in par- 
ticular had felt the absence of regular col- 
lecting troops, for they could take with them 
into operational zones no more than small 
quantities of replenishment supplies. They 
accordingly had special need for quick re- 
pair in the field of unserviceable items and 
for retrieval of lost or abandoned items. 
Unless such equipment was properly col- 
lected, this requirement could not be met. 
While provisional groups could bring a good 
deal of battlefield salvage to collecting 
points, they lacked the time and training 
for accurate classification and the means of 
prompt transportation to repair shops. 71 
Even after standard collecting units became 
available, repair activities in combat areas 
generally remained on a provisional basis 
because trailer-carried equipment could not 
be moved readily. Full advantage could not, 
therefore, be derived from collecting units, 
and a main objective of salvage and recla- 
mation operations, the speedy reissue to field 
organizations of repaired articles, could be 
achieved only in part. 

Collecting units nevertheless carried on 
their regular activities in the Leyte cam- 
paign. A platoon landed on A plus 9 and 

70 Field Progress Br OPC Div OQMG, Survey 
of POA QM Opns, Nov 1944, SR 3-4, 7. OQMG 
POA 319.25. 

71 QM SWPA Hist, V, 63-66; VII, 86-87. 



attached a squad to each of the division 
Quartermaster companies. These squads 
employed Filipino helpers and set up as- 
sembly stations on the routes followed by 
the trucks that carried salvage back from the 
battlefield. The platoon also sent out road- 
side teams to scour bivouacs, dumps, and 
trails. Supplies that could not be put to im- 
mediate use went to a base salvage dump. 72 
Procedures like those on Leyte were fol- 
lowed in Luzon where a collecting outfit 
also went ashore soon after the initial 
landings. 73 

At Okinawa low shipping priorities pre- 
vented the early support of tactical elements. 
Not until L plus 30 did a collecting com- 
pany begin to function. With the help of 
borrowed trucks it cleared abandoned beach 
dumps, picked up discarded materials 
wherever they could be found, and classi- 
fied large accumulations of supplies gath- 
ered by combat units. 74 The 27th Division 
employed a large provisional unit, called 
the 27th Combat Salvage Collecting Com- 
pany. This outfit, made up of troops who 
had battle experience but were medically 
certified as unsuitable for further infantry 
duty, was assigned not only the normal 
functions of a collecting unit but also the 
gruesome chore of gathering the dead on the 
battlefield, a duty normally given to combat 
soldiers but one they seldom carried out sys- 
tematically. The company was divided into 
three platoons, and each platoon was in turn 
divided into three squads for support of 
battalions. 75 Though these squads sometimes 
worked under enemy artillery and sniper 
fire, they recovered a large variety of im- 

ra (l) QMTSJ, VIII (21 September 1945), 9. 
(2) Pac Warfare Bd Rpt No. 34, 17 Aug 45, sub: 
QM Questionnaire. 

"QMTSJ, VIII (10 August 1945), 11. 

'' Island Comd Actn Rpt Okinawa, 8-XV-25. 

"• 27th Div Actn Rpt Nansei Shoto, pp. 89-90. 

mediately valuable articles. Among the 
Quartermaster articles were 1,838 canteens, 
1,353 haversacks, 1,420 jungle kits, 350 
cases of field rations, and substantial quan- 
tities of shoes, mess and web equipment, 
helmets, entrenching tools, and gasoline 
cans and drums. Among non-Quartermas- 
ter articles were 634 rifles, 47 Browning 
automatic rifles, 26 bazookas, 796 bayonets, 
15,000 rounds of .30-calber ammunition, 
1,000 rifle grenades, 5,000 hand grenades, 
3,330 rounds of 60-mm. mortar ammuni- 
tion, 1,000 rounds of 81 -mm. mortar am- 
munition, 1,000 rounds of 37- mm. antitank 
ammunition, 5 flame throwers, 76 grenade 
launchers, and a miscellaneous collection of 
explosives, radios, and telephones. 76 In addi- 
tion the company recovered 608 American 
dead, buried over 1,000 Japanese, estab- 
lished two cemeteries, and in emergencies 
served as litter bearers, ammunition carriers, 
and perimeter guards for infantry battalion 
command posts. 

The two provisional repair units on Oki- 
nawa were typical of those employed in 
the closing phases of the Pacific war. One 
was a small shoe repair shop, manned by 
troops from a collecting company and a 
service unit. Set up on L plus 35, it renewed 
about 250 pairs of shoes a day. Even earlier, 
on L plus 10, a typewriter and office-equip- 
ment repair shop, which utilized seven en- 
listed men from a Quartermaster depot 
company, had begun to renovate machines 
at the rate of 450 a month. 77 Valuable 
though these units were, they were too few in 
number and too small in size to perform 
more than a minor part of the necessary 

Throughout the Pacific both air and 
ground forces deplored the dearth of stand- 

78 Ibid. 

71 Island Comd Actn Rpt Okinawa, 8-XV-25. 



ard repair services in combat areas. They 
particularly lamented the poor means pro- 
vided for the renewal of shoes, perhaps 
the item of apparel that could least easily be 
dispensed with. Task forces could not carry 
with them sufficient stocks of footwear. Nor 
could they provide for the shipment of ade- 
quate replacement stocks during the opera- 
tion. Repair shops, which might have 
alleviated the inevitable shortages, were not 
ordinarily set up until the fighting had 
ceased. In the interim, the deputy com- 
mander of the Fifth Air Force noted in 
July 1944, there were occasions when not 
enough usable footwear was on hand to 
supply all troops. He urged as a corrective 
the early arrival of standard shoe repair 
outfits in operational zones. About this time 
the Sixth Army quartermaster submitted 
similar recommendations. But it was never 
possible to carry out these proposals. 78 

Though collection and repair activities 
were often disappointing to the combat 
forces, a considerable mass of scarce ma- 
terials was shipped to the United States for 
industrial use. In the South Pacific such 
movements up to the close of March 1944 
totaled 24,000,000 pounds of heavy and 
light ferrous scrap, nonferrous scrap, fired 
cartridge cases, tires, tubes, scrap rubber, 
and airplane parts. 7 " The Southwest Pa- 
cific Area calculated that between March 
1942 and December 1944 it forwarded 
34,000 ship tons of salvage. 8 " It also esti- 

TK ( 1 ) Ltr, Deputy Comdr Fifth Air Force to CG 
INTERSEC USASOS, 21 Jul 44, sub: Salvage 
Units for Forward Areas. ORB NUGSEC QM 
322.3. (2) Ltr, Sixth Army QM to Pacific Warfare 
Bd, 13 Jun 44. ORB AFPAC Pacific Warfare Bd 

7u Rpt, QM SOS SPA, May 44, sub: Salvage 
Shipped to U.S. OQMG POA 319.25. 

*'Rpt, CQM USASOS, Jan 45, sub: Summary 
of Salvage Opns, 1 Mar 42-31 Dec 44. ORB 
AFWESPAC QM 319.25. 

mated that reclamation work during these 
thirty-four months resulted in the reissue 
of enough articles to save the cargo space 
occupied by 72,000 ship tons. This work, 
it further reckoned, had saved $19,150,000 
which otherwise would have been spent on 
new supplies. The theater estimated that 
as of 30 September 1944 reclaimed articles 
of clothing and equipage numbered, respec- 
tively, 6,880,000 and 4,610,000. K1 By far 
the greater part of these articles had been 
reclaimed in Australia. Salvage depots in 
the South Pacific manufactured as well as 
reclaimed articles. Among the unusual arti- 
cles that they fabricated were special-pur- 
pose and odd-size uniforms for the QMC 
and trusses and braces for the Medical 
Corps. For some months collecting units in 
this theater also carried out graves regis- 
tration functions. 82 

Graves Registration Service 

Graves registration units were concerned 
with every activity relating to the care of 
the dead except the collection of bodies un- 
der battle conditions. Standard procedures 
required that they enter the combat zone 
as soon as it was free of danger, pick up 
the bodies that infantrymen had brought 
to collecting stations, and make the first 
systematic search for remains. Sometimes, 
for reasons of morale and sanitation, hasty 
burials in isolated spots might be necessary, 
but this practice was discouraged and, if it 
proved unavoidable, sketches of the physi- 
cal surroundings were to be made to fa- 
cilitate the future location of scattered in- 

"' Rpt, CQM USASOS, Nov 44, sub: QM Items 
Reclaimed and Returned to Stock. ORB AFWES- 
PAC QM 319.25. 

S2 Maj Maurice B. Sinsheimer, Jr., and Capt 
George F. Hallman, "Laundry and Salvage Opera- 
tions in the South Pacific," QMR, XXIV (Sep- 
tember-October 1944), p. 35. 



terments. Generally, the dead were moved 
as soon as possible to cemeteries designated 
by division commanders. Since graves reg- 
istration units were primarily administra- 
tive outfits, they merely supervised burials; 
the actual digging of graves and the trans- 
portation of remains were functions nor- 
mally performed by service troops. Every 
effort was made to identify bodies at least 
tentatively. This was a simple matter if 
identification tags were attached; other- 
wise identity had to be determined from 
letters, dental work, and fingerprints. If 
remains were badly mutilated, identification 
might prove impossible. The units also reg- 
istered graves, collected personal property 
of the dead, and arranged for its shipment 
to next of kin. Though only one of these 
activities was, strictly speaking, "graves reg- 
istration," that term was used to embrace 
all mortuary responsibilities.* ! Graves reg- 
istration units, set up primarily for support 
of troops in combat areas, were composed 
of specialists in these responsibilities. The 
peacetime U.S. Army had no organizations 
of this sort, for commercial morticians were 
always available to care for its dead. Not 
until the spring of 1942 did the formation 
of these units even start. 84 

In the Southwest Pacific the want of 
trained troops handicapped graves regis- 
tration throughout the war, particularly 
during the first two years. The organization 
of this service took place piecemeal "under 
pressure of unforeseen circumstances and 
without strict regard to the dictates of high 
level policy. " It was "an indigenous 

** (1) TM 10-630, 23 Sep 41. (2) T/O&E 10- 
297, 6 Nov 43. 

84 ( 1 ) Memo, War Plans Br P&C Div for Mem 
Div OQMG, 31 Jul 41, sub: QM GR Co OQMG 
293. (2) "List of Quartermaster Graves Registra- 
tion Units in Army of United States," compiled 
by Organization Sec, Opns Br AGO, 23 Mar 46. 

growth, improvised for the express purpose 
of meeting a series of local emergencies." R5 
The first of these emergencies arose in Aus- 
tralia early in 1942 when bodies began to 
accumulate and require suitable disposition. 
In the haste of arranging for the feeding, 
quartering, and training of the troops who 
poured into Australia, little attention had 
been given to care of the dead. But once 
that problem became urgent a program 
was improvised. It was based on interment 
in Australia because shipment to the home- 
land was barred by the wide dispersion of 
troops and by the absence of supplies for 
preserving bodies on a long voyage. Iso- 
lated burials were to cease, and all the de- 
ceased were to be concentrated in U.S. 
Army cemeteries, one of which would be 
set up in each base section in Australia. The 
program was to be carried out at Head- 
quarters, USAFIA, and at base sections by 
officers who would arrange with Common- 
wealth authorities for the exclusive use of 
designated burial plots and with local mor- 
ticians for the embalmment and transpor- 
tation of bodies. These procedures, based 
on those employed in the United States, 
were suitable to the roughly similar condi- 
ditions prevailing in Australia. But no pro- 
vision was made for the formation of graves 
registration units to support tactical ele- 
ments. Nor was any provision made for 
training in the identification of remains, per- 
haps the main problem posed by battle 
dead. The improvised program thus did not 
answer the growing need for a policy suit- 
able to combat areas. s6 

ss Edward Steere, The Graves Registration Serv- 
ice in World War II (QMC Historical Studies, 
21), p. 33. 

86 (1) QM SWPA Hist, IV, 80-82. (2) Rpt, 
GRO to CQM USAFIA, 21 May 42, sub: Ceme- 
teries and GR. ORB AFWESPAC QM 333.1 
(Insps) . 



Even its proper application in Australia 
was made difficult by the inadequate mor- 
tuary standards of commercial undertakers 
and by the inability of local manufacturers 
to supply satisfactory caskets. These prob- 
lems were in one sense a blessing, for they 
obliged USAFIA to create a small provi- 
sional organization composed of thirty- 
seven men, most of whom had been 
morticians in civilian life. This group was 
instructed in the techniques of Army graves 
registration and then used to supplement 
Australian services. While not designed 
specifically for battle duty, the organization 
gave its members sufficient experience to 
enable them to perform many of the mor- 
tuary tasks demanded in combat. When the 
Papuan campaign started, it was fortunate 
that this unit existed, for the War Depart- 
ment had rejected a theater request for a 
single graves registration company, and no 
trained noncommissioned officers would 
have been available for service in New 
Guinea had the theater itself not already 
created the nucleus of a mortuary organi- 
zation, however small. 87 

Useful though this nucleus was, tech- 
nicians were still far too few in number to 
furnish fully satisfactory service for the 
forces fighting around Buna. Until early 
January 1943, when a second lieutenant ar- 
rived, the only specialists were six technical 
sergeants, two of whom were assigned to 
each of the three U.S. regiments. They 
served with details of infantry troops and 
supervised the collection, identification, and 
burial of the dead, with virtually no direc- 
tion from combat officers. Their activities 
were somewhat simplified because the Buna 
campaign, like most of the Pacific opera- 
tions before Leyte, was a battle of position 

87 ( 1 ) QM SWPA Hist, II, 86-87. ( 2 ) Rpt, CQM 
USASOS to G-4, 27 Aug 42, sub: Weekly Rpt 
of Activities. ORB AFWESPAC QM 400.1024. 

rather than a campaign of maneuver. The 
combat zone in consequence covered a rela- 
tively small area, and it was easier to es- 
tablish temporary cemeteries than it would 
have been in a campaign that involved con- 
stant troop movements. In the Urbana 
Force the graves registration sergeant 
"braved the dangers of the Front with a 
squad of men to bring the dead back so 
that they would not be buried" in isolated 
spots but concentrated in three small ceme- 
teries. 88 On the Warren Front, however, al- 
most continual firing by snipers forced the 
burial of many dead "where they lay." Not 
until early January could these isolated re- 
mains be disinterred and a search begun for 
the missing. Three details, each made up of 
a technical sergeant and five enlisted men, 
performed these tasks. Frequent consulta- 
tion with combatants about the disappear- 
ance of soldiers in action materially facili- 
tated the recovery of bodies, but many of 
the dead remained unlocated. 89 

The initial step toward a better graves 
registration establishment was taken in Jan- 
uary 1943, when the 1st Platoon, 48th 
Quartermaster Graves Registration Com- 
pany, was activated at Port Moresby. It 
consisted of nineteen technical sergeants 
who had received specialized training in 
Melbourne. The creation of this unit was 
accompanied by a division of mortuary 
functions outside Australia. Base com- 
mands were to maintain cemeteries, and 
platoon headquarters were to distribute 
mortuary supplies and select men for tem- 
porary assignment to infantry organiza- 
tions. 90 But specialists were still too scarce 

88 Hist of 1st Plat 48th QM GR Co, Jan 43- 
Jan 44. DRB AGO. 

8 " QM SWPA Hist, IV, 90. 

"°Rpt, Lt Col C. E. Butterworth, 24 Aug 43, 
sub: Rpt of Insp Trip. ORB AFWESPAC QM 



to furnish combat elements with an ade- 
quate number of technicians. Throughout 
1943 they continued to be assigned to tac- 
tical units only in pairs or small detach- 
ments. Working under officers designated 
by task force commanders, they directed the 
collection and identification of the dead, 
chose sites for temporary cemeteries and iso- 
lated burials, and supervised interments. In 
the Morobe-Salamaua operation of June- 
September 1943 four enlisted men were the 
only theater graves registration troops that 
could be spared for attachment to the 162d 
Regiment. One of them was assigned to 
each of the four columns into which this 
widely scattered organization was divided. 
Other organizations were even worse off, 
being wholly dependent for supervision 
upon inexperienced chaplains and noncom- 
missioned tactical officers. 91 In all combat 
forces perhaps the worst feature was the 
extensive employment of front-line soldiers 
in the demoralizing task of handling their 
own fatalities. 

All this contrasted sharply with the con- 
temporary situation in North Africa, where 
graves registration, initially on a provisional 
basis, became more and more an activity 
carried out by specialists. As technically 
trained troops in increasing numbers ar- 
rived from the United States in the spring 
and summer of 1943, this trend became 
particularly marked. In the Southwest Pa- 
cific, on the other hand, not a single graves 
registration unit came until the following 
November. Its arrival facilitated the division 
of labor among those who cared for the 
dead, but there were still too few technicians 
and too many gaps in mortuary supplies." - ' 

91 Opn Rpt 162d Inf Regt — Morobe-Salamaua, 
29 Jun-12 Sep 43. DRB AGO 341-70.2 (21585). 

92 Steere, Craves Registration Service, pp. 43, 

In the assault on Los Negros in the Ad- 
miralty Islands early in 1944, graves regis- 
tration troops were so scarce that only one 
sergeant and five privates could be assigned 
to the attacking force, which aggregated 
more than a division. Normally, a force of 
this size would be entitled to an entire pla- 
toon. The graves registration section did 
not land until D plus 9. Its late arrival as 
well as its small size accounted in consid- 
erable measure for the numerous deficien- 
cies in the care of the dead. For some days 
this service was carried on wholly by organic 
troops, and throughout the operation these 
troops furnished the bulk of the needed de- 
tails. Faults in routine handling of burials 
were common. Many grave markers bore 
no information whatever; identification 
tags were attached to markers by strings 
rather than by screws; and Japanese bodies 
were not separated from American remains. 
Frequently, no effort was made to identify 
the unknown dead. As recording clerks 
were generally unavailable, facts needed to 
verify an identification were seldom indi- 
cated. Finally, because temporary burial 
sites were not mapped, concentration of re- 
mains in cemeteries was delayed. It is sig- 
nificant that where a larger number of 
qualified men was available, as at the ceme- 
tery set up on neighboring Manus Island, 
much less reason existed for criticism. But 
on Manus, as on Los Negros, some burial 
reports contained no information about the 
cause of death and neither listed nor noted 
the disposition of personal effects though 
they might have given valuable clues to 
identity. 93 

" 3 (1) Ibid., pp. 144-46. (2) 1st Plat 604th GR 
Co Hist Rpt, 9 Mar-28 May 44. DRB AGO QM 
Co-604-Pl-(1)-0.3 (11525) M. (3) Rpt, Capt 
James C. MacFarland, QM Sec Sixth Army, 8 
May 44, sub: GR Activities in Admiralty Islands. 
ORB 1st Cav Div 293. 



On both islands the widest departure 
from prescribed practices was found in the 
disposal of enemy dead. The small mortuary 
details, barely able to care for American 
bodies, could not give Japanese bodies the 
same attention they gave their own. Strict 
adherence to the Geneva Convention pre- 
scribing equal treatment of the dead, 
whether friend or foe, was impossible. 

Due to the tactical situation at the outset 
of the operation it was impossible to bury each 
enemy dead separately, and to make Reports 
of Interment. Enemy dead were in front of 
allied forward elements and it would have 
been impracticable to risk lives in order to 
bury enemy dead. When the initial objec- 
tives were taken it was necessary to bury the 
enemy dead immediately in a number of com- 
mon graves as the bodies had begun to decom- 
pose and were a serious menace to the health 
of the Allied Forces. 94 

Owing to the uniformly heavy Japanese 
casualties and the swift deterioration of re- 
mains in the hot, insect-laden atmosphere, 
the disposal of enemy dead came to be re- 
garded throughout the Pacific as a matter 
of field sanitation rather than of graves reg- 
istration. The customary practice was to 
bury remains as speedily as possible, at times 
in huge graves that contained several hun- 
dred bodies. 95 Under the prevailing condi- 
tions there was no feasible alternative. Only 
theaters, like the European, which had large 
pools of civilian labor as well as a relatively 
plentiful supply of graves registration units 
could follow the pattern prescribed at 
Geneva. 96 

In the thrust at Hollandia in April 1944 
graves registration support was provided on 
the largest scale yet seen in the Southwest 

" 4 Rpt cited n. 93(3). 

05 (1) 37th Div After Actn Rpt Bougainville, 8 
Nov 43-30 Apr 44. (2) Steere, Graves Registration, 
pp. 137-40. 

9 * Steere, Graves Registration, pp. 111-12, 115. 

Pacific. An entire company was available, 
and one platoon from this unit was attached 
to each division. These platoons accom- 
panied assault troops during the critical 
phases of the attack and so avoided the mis- 
take made at Los Negros. The comparative 
abundance of technicians did not mean, 
however, that they were always utilized to 
the best advantage. The G-l after action 
report of the 41st Division noted that liaison 
between combat commanders and attached 
graves registration elements had been in- 
effective. 97 Probably because of this fact, 
landing force commanders did not estab- 
lish any cemeteries during the assault phase. 
To obviate such lapses in the future, the re- 
port recommended that some specialists ac- 
company the headquarters of the division 
to which their units were assigned. It also 
recommended that before an operation 
started a short graves registration course 
be given to chaplains and at least one officer 
or noncommissioned officer in each unit 
down to and including companies. A course 
of that sort, the report noted, had been 
given before the Hollandia offensive and 
had proved its value. 

The South Pacific Area had meanwhile 
been coping with much the same problems 
as had the Southwest Pacific. Like its neigh- 
boring area, it had established at the outset 
small burial plots at the island bases, but 
it had made no provision, as had been done 
in Australia, for a trained group capable 
of caring for combat dead. When the first 
U.S. Army units went ashore on Guadal- 
canal late in 1942 to relieve the exhausted 
1st Marine Division, there existed not even 
a small nucleus of technicians such as had 
carried out graves registration at Buna. 98 

1,7 24th Inf Div Hist Rpt Hollandia Opn, Annex 4. 
DRB AGO 342-0.3. 

08 Personal Ltr, Col Joseph H. Burgheim to Gen 
Gregory, 24 Feb 43. OQMG POA 319.25. 



A provisional graves registration unit had 
to be hastily created on the island itself. 
Search for technically fitted men unearthed 
a field artillery corporal who had been a 
mortician and he was promptly put in 
charge of the cemetery that had been set 
up by the Marine Corps. With the help of 
six enlisted men and a crew of native la- 
borers, he corrected the haphazard plot lay- 
out in accordance with standard specifica- 
tions. But he could not always follow basic 
procedures. The "battered condition' 1 and 
rapid decomposition of bodies interred in 
emergency burial places forced the post- 
ponement of concentration activities for 
some weeks. :,!1 Troops who could be spared 
for noncombat duties were so scarce that too 
much concern for the dead might have en- 
dangered the living. Maj. Gen. J. Lawton 
Collins, who commanded the 25th Division, 
saw corpses laboriously borne over "terrible 
trails" under a scorching sun, while 
wounded men lay unattended on the battle- 
field. This, he maintained, was false senti- 
mentality wholly out of place in war. For 
this reason troops were directed to bury the 
dead quickly in graves "far enough off the 
trail so that,'' when it "is extended, a bull- 
dozer does not carry away the cross erected 
to mark the grave." 10 ° 

Not until six months after Japanese re- 
sistance had been crushed on Guadalcanal, 
did the first graves registration company 
trained in the zone of interior, the 49th, land 
in the South Pacific. Its members were im- 
mediately attached to provisional units and 
helped care for those who died in desperately 
fought battles in the jungles of New 
Georgia. Insofar as tactical conditions per- 
mitted, remains were evacuated to central 

"•' (1 ) Ibid. (2) Steere, Graves Registration Serv- 
ice, p. 45. 

,nfl 25th Div Opn Rpt Guadalcanal, 17 Dec 42-5 
Feb 43, Sec. V, p. 120. DRB AGO 325-33.4. 

burial points, but shortages of men and 
trucks still necessitated emergency burials 
on the battleground. 1 " 1 

The opening of offensive activities in the 
Central Pacific with the attack on the Gil- 
berts found that area not much better pre- 
pared to handle mortuary work than its 
two sister areas had been earlier. It had no 
units trained for this work, and even the de- 
tachment of 164 Quartermaster officers and 
men formed to handle Quartermaster serv- 
ices in the Gilberts had no plans for graves 
registration. This responsibility was to be 
accomplished by a provisional detachment 
of fifty-nine officers and forty enlisted men 
of the 27th Division who had taken a two- 
week course at the Army morgue in Hono- 
lulu. Scanty though this instruction was, it 
at least constituted a better preparation 
than had been made for Guadalcanal. 102 

In the Gilberts, as well as on other Cen- 
tral Pacific atolls, graves registration was 
influenced strongly by the terrain. Instead 
of the rugged topography of New Guinea 
and Melanesia, there was firm open ground 
that presented few of the barriers to move- 
ment that were encountered in the jungles 
and mountains below the equator. But 
there were also tactical conditions unfavor- 
able to care of the dead. The Gilberts cam- 
paign was planned as a short, all-out offen- 
sive rather than a prolonged operation like 
that around Buna, and the final death toll 
was expected after only a few days of hard 
fighting. This fact meant that "Any indif- 
ference toward prompt removal of the dead, 
friend or foe alike would be hazardous to 
health. Where formerly the price of victory 
had precluded adequate provision for care 

101 ( 1 ) 25th Inf Div Opns Rpt Central Solomons, 
16 Aug-12 Oct 43, p. 124. (2) Rpt, 25th Div QM, 
n. d., sub: QM Opns in Central Solomons and 
New Georgia. ORB USAFINC QM 370.2. 

102 QM MIDPAC Hist, pp. 105-06, 109-10. 



of the dead, now the menace of disease to 
a victorious force determined the sort of 
graves registration program which should 
be addressed to this situation." 103 

With quick recovery of the dead thus 
imperative, careful plans were made before 
the Gilberts assault to achieve this objec- 
tive. Combat troops and the 105th Infan- 
try Band would move remains from the 
front to a nearby trail, where labor or re- 
serve troops would transfer the bodies to 
collecting points. Details, directed by pro- 
visional graves registration troops, would 
then carry the bodies to the island ceme- 
tery. If evacuation of the deceased proved 
impractical, combat soldiers could make 
emergency battlefield burials of known re- 
mains, but only graves registration special- 
ists could inter unidentified bodies. Thus 
one important lesson taught by earlier op- 
erations was to be applied. 104 

This mortuary plan could not be exe- 
cuted as planned. Evacuation even of U.S. 
dead could not be completed during the 
period of active fighting, for enough troops 
were not available to finish the task within 
the short time permitted by swift tactical 
developments. Of equal urgency was the 
disposal of thousands of decomposing Jap- 
anese bodies — a problem intensified by the 
presence of American soldiers "in the same 
area which several hours before was a bat- 
tlefield." 105 Prompt burial of these remains 
was essential, yet in only a few instances 
could this task be carried out without con- 
siderable delay. 

Mortuary operations in the Marshalls fol- 
lowed much the same pattern as in the Gil- 
berts. The main difference stemmed from 

Jm Steere, Graves Registration Service, p. 134. 

101 27th Div AdmO 11, 26 Oct 43. DRB AGO 
P&O File Drawer 1235.30. 

105 Rpt, Hq USAFICPA, 17 Jun 44, sub: Par- 
ticipation of USAFICPA in Galvanic Opn, p. 95. 

the opportune arrival of the first regularly 
constituted graves registration company in 
the Central Pacific, an event which made 
possible the attachment of about fifty well- 
trained men to the task force. Because of 
this development the bodies of most Amer- 
ican combat dead were collected and re- 
moved to island cemeteries with little delay. 
But once again the problem of enemy re- 
mains arose. After the assault troops had 
departed from Kwajalein on D plus 6, the 
chief task was in fact the burial of some 
4,000 dead Japanese. Even then the vast 
accumulation of debris and the stench of 
decomposition held up this grisly work for 
some days. Bodies were sprayed liberally 
with sodium arsenite to arrest nauseous 
odors and the germination of insects, but 
actual removal of the dead took so long that 
the establishment of defense installations by 
the garrison force was dangerously re- 
tarded. 106 Unless larger and better trained 
detachments were employed, a careful after 
action analysis warned, the same problem 
would arise in future campaigns. 107 

In the plan for the Saipan operation, ac- 
cordingly, somewhat more generous provi- 
sion was made for graves registration sup- 
port. One platoon was allotted to the assault 
force and two platoons to the garrison force. 
A notable innovation was the assignment of 
responsibility for the actual spraying of Jap- 
anese remains to a small sanitary detail com- 
posed of troops from medical collecting 
units specially trained in this technique. 
The most serious defect in the execution 
of the Saipan plan was the shortage of 
trucks that prevented quick evacuation of 

106 ( 1 ) Rpt, HUSAFPOA, Participation in Kwa- 
jalein and Eniwetok Opns, Annex I. (2) QM 
MIDPAC Hist, pp. 133-39. 

101 Rpt, Lt Gen Robert C. Richardson, 9 Feb 44, 
sub: Visit to Marshalls. ORB USAFPOA Flint- 
lock Opn. 



the dead to collecting points. In a pro- 
tracted battle the number of vehicles would 
probably have been ample, but the rapid 
advances and heavy casualties put too much 
strain on the slender transportation re- 
sources allotted to mortuary units. 108 

The evacuation system broke down en- 
tirely on 7 July when a reckless enemy at- 
tack left 406 Americans and thousands of 
Japanese dead within a single square mile 
of the 105th RCT area. 

In this situation a company from a bat- 
talion of the attached engineer group was 
assigned the mission. Ten trucks shuttled be- 
tween the battlefield and an LVT landing 
point, where the bodies were transferred to 
30 amphibious tractors and carried by water 
to Yellow Beach 3, where the tractors came 
ashore and went directly to the cemetery. The 
difficulties of locating bodies among the thou- 
sands of Japanese dead, of recovering bodies 
from shell holes which had filled with water, 
and the collection of bodies which had been 
badly shattered by mortar fire made it im- 
possible to complete collection of these dead 
in less than 4j/2 days, notwithstanding the 
amount of personnel and transportation in- 
volved. This delay in evacuating our dead is 
believed to have had a depressing effect on 
the morale of troops in the area, and was the 
subject of adverse comment by individual 
Marines. 1 " 8 

An estimate, described as "undoubtedly 
conservative," placed at more than 7,000 
the number of Japanese interred in mass 
graves. More than 200 civilian internees 
helped carry out this grim task. Generally 
speaking, a deep trench was dug with a 
bulldozer, and Japanese bodies were laid 
in it, counted, and sprayed with sodium 
arsenite. The bulldozer then filled the exca- 
vation. Finally, a marker indicating the 

approximate number of enemy dead was 
erected. 110 

At this time the entire problem of recov- 
ering human remains was under study in 
the Central Pacific. Here, as in every the- 
ater of operations, the traditional depend- 
ence upon infantrymen for locating the 
bodies of those who fell in battle had yielded 
poor results. USAFICPA Circular 93, 5 
June 1944, attempted a fundamental solu- 
tion of this problem. It authorized the es- 
tablishment of provisional field salvage units 
whose major function would be, not the re- 
covery of mere equipment but of human 
remains. These units would evacuate and 
bury Americans during the assault phase 
and later spray and dispose of enemy dead. 
They would thus relieve combat troops of 
an unwelcome task "at a time when the 
tumult of battle" incited "an urge to pur- 
sue and kill." m The policy laid down in 
Circular 93 was followed as closely as pos- 
sible in subsequent Central Pacific opera- 
tions. 112 

On Leyte, for example, the provisional 
graves registration company assigned to the 
XXIV Corps was assisted by an attached 
field salvage unit that carried out no sal- 
vage work until its mortuary chores had 
been completed. The Southwest Pacific 
forces on Leyte attempted no such basic 
innovation. Though two graves registration 
platoons — one for each infantry division — 
were provided, no reserve whatever was 
available at corps or army headquarters, 
and supervision over the care of the dead 
became a responsibility of division quar- 
termasters. 113 

108 (1) 27th Div G-4 Saipan Rpt, Annex 2 to 
AdmO 2, 9 May 44. (2) Ibid., QM Annex. 

109 27th Div G-l Forager Opn Rpt, p. 7. 

1,0 Ibid., p. 4. 

111 Steere, Graves Registration Service, p. 141. 

112 7th Div Opn Order, 28 Aug 44, sub: Stale- 
mate II, par. 2, Evacuation. DRB AGO P&O 
Drawer 1230:35. 

113 X Corps FO 1, 30 Sep 44, sub: Leyte-Samar 
Opn. DRB AGO P&O 1244:123. 



The campaign for the recovery of the 
Philippines introduced new strategic and 
tactical factors that profoundly modified 
graves registration procedures. Lengthy 
campaigns of maneuver now replaced the 
battles of position which had characterized 
most of the previous Pacific operations. 
On Leyte the combat zone was limited, not 
by the area of a tiny atoll, but by that of a 
comparatively large island and the battle 
raged without interruption for nine weeks, 
making it necessary to establish many tem- 
porary cemeteries and bury many soldiers 
in isolated plots. Because of the large area 
over which combat troops advanced and 
the inability of Southwest Pacific Area di- 
vision quartermasters to give close super- 
vision to mortuary activities, Southwest Pa- 
cific divisions could not complete their 
graves registration work before they de- 
parted from the island. After the Eighth 
Army took over the occupation of Leyte, it 
found many dead still unburied and many 
isolated graves either unreported or incor- 
rectly reported. These unfavorable condi- 
tions materially strengthened the conten- 
tion that a larger number of graves regis- 
tration units was needed and that these 
units should accompany the assault 



Despite increasing recognition of the need 
for better care of battle dead, graves regis- 
tration troops were available in the Luzon 
campaign at a rate only about half that of 
the concurrent campaign in Europe. 115 
While one platoon was provided for each 
division, there were few troops that could 
be allotted to the corps or to army reserve. 
As combat troops moved forward from the 
beaches, the rapid pace of their advance 
governed the selection of cemeterial sites, 

111 Eighth Army Rpt Leyte-Samar Opn, 26 Dec 
44-8 May 45, p. 68. 

1,5 Steere, Graves Registration Service, p. 156. 

which, for convenience, were set up at di- 
vision collection points. So swift did the 
thrust through Luzon become that the dead 
had to be transported twenty-five or more 
miles for burial even in temporary ceme- 
teries. Accordingly, divisional functions 
were limited to evacuation of remains and 
responsibility for burial was shifted to a 
rear-echelon organization, the Army Serv- 
ice Command, which employed its labor 
troops for the interment of remains brought 
to collecting points. 116 In the final stages of 
the operation the greatest possible number 
of dead was exhumed and concentrated in 
two semipermanent cemeteries. 

Preparations for the seizure of Okinawa, 
main island of the Ryukyus, involved the 
XXIV Corps, a large part of which was on 
Leyte. For this offensive, the climactic bat- 
tle of the war against Japan, the allotment 
of graves registration units, as of virtually 
all other Quartermaster organizations, was 
the most liberal yet made in the Pacific. 
Eight platoons were furnished, two of which 
were attached to the Corps, and one to each 
of the five Army divisions. One division 
eventually received a second platoon. The 
Pacific Ocean Areas system of associating 
provisional field salvage units with mortu- 
ary units was another feature of the Oki- 
nawa plan, which specifically provided that 
divisions would organize salvage units 
"from organic or attached service person- 
nel." As soon as the tactical situation war- 
ranted, preferably on L or L plus 1, these 
units would gather bodies from local col- 
lecting points, supervise the excavation and 
filling of graves, and guard against looters. 
Combat commanders would provide labor 
troops for moving the dead to local collect- 
ing points. Infantrymen remained respon- 
sible for the disposition of enemy dead but 

Sixth Army After Actn Rpt Luzon, QM Sec. 



were to be assisted as much as possible by 
field salvage units. 117 

The 96th Division plan for evacuating 
remains on Okinawa is noteworthy, for it 
provided graves registration technicians in 
zones of action. In all tactical units of this 
division a "burial and graves registration 
officer" was to be appointed. In battalions 
and higher echelons he would be helped by 
a "burial and graves registration section." 
While battalion sections were to be made 
up wholly of combat personnel, regimental 
sections would include three enlisted men 
from the graves registration platoon serving 
the division and twelve laborers from the 
attached Quartermaster service company. 
The division Burial and Graves Registra- 
tion Section would include the attached 
platoon less individuals on detached duty 
and have as its major function the super- 
vision of all mortuary activities. 118 

Graves registration on Okinawa in gen- 
eral proceeded according to pre-landing 
plans. Eight temporary cemeteries, includ- 
ing two of the Marine Corps, were estab- 
lished. They contained altogether 9,227 
graves, the largest number for any Pacific 
operation. Of this number only 328 were 
unidentified. The 96th Division made more 
burials than any other Army organization — 
1,643, of which 1,601 were Army dead. 119 
At no time were bodies transported more 
than twenty miles, a distance too short to re- 
quire a shift in the control of evacuation and 
burial from the division to a rear echelon, as 
had been done on Luzon. At the end, the 
27th and 96th Divisions were evacuating 
dead to the Island Command Cemetery, an 

1,7 XXIV Corps AdmO 10, 10 Feb 45, sub: Opn 
Iceberg, Annex Love, par. 2. DRB AGO P&O 
Drawer 1238:33. 

m 96th Div FO No. 12, 5 Mar 45, sub: Opn 
Iceberg, Annex 11, App. 6. DRB AGO P&O 
Drawer A1237:25. 

119 Tenth Army Actn Rpt Okinawa, p. 11-1-38. 

action that perhaps indicated a trend to- 
ward early consolidation of burials in a 
corps or army plot. That a general develop- 
ment of this sort would have saved consider- 
able time and labor in handling bodies was 
the final judgment of Island Command 
headquarters. "Terrain and tactical condi- 
tions on Okinawa," it maintained, "war- 
ranted a larger consolidation of burials than 
occurred." Under comparable circum- 
stances in the future, it concluded, "burials 
should be consolidated." 120 

At Okinawa graves registration, which 
had been steadily improving since the days 
of Buna and Guadalcanal, reached perhaps 
the peak of its accomplishments in the Pa- 
cific. Three years before, few quartermas- 
ters, let alone combat commanders, had 
known much about graves registration, for 
it was a wartime service, the practice of 
which had become an almost forgotten art 
between 1918 and 1 94 1 . But experience was 
a first-rate teacher, and with it came knowl- 
edge and comprehension. Gradually, too, 
fairly well-trained units arrived, but there 
were never enough of them. In the Pacific 
war as a whole, the persistent shortage of 
these units, the rapid deterioration of bod- 
ies, and the frequent failure to provide 
graves registration troops early in an opera- 
tion, caused a high percentage of isolated 
burials, inadequately marked graves, and 
incorrect recording of facts regarding the 
dead. Most important of all, there was a 
larger proportion of unrecovered bodies and 
unidentified bodies than in better manned 
theaters. All these shortcomings rendered 
more difficult the postwar tasks of searching 
for and recovering the unlocated dead, of 
identifying the unidentified, of verifying old 
identifications, and, finally, of disposing of 
remains in accordance with relatives' wishes 

120 Island Comd Actn Rpt Okinawa, p. 8-XV-30. 



either in permanent overseas military ceme- 
teries or in sites selected by the family in 
the United States. These tasks might have 
been less formidable had graves registration 
units been trained before Pearl Harbor and 
shipped promptly to overseas areas and had 
the prewar doctrine that made combat 
troops responsible for recovery of their own 
dead been modified to permit the use of tech- 
nicians in areas of actual combat. Certainly, 
the application of similar measures in a new 
emergency would obviate at least some of 
the mistakes of World War II. 

Weaknesses, comparable to those which 
characterized graves registration, also 
marred the performance of other Quarter- 
master services. All these services were 
hampered by inadequate manpower and by 
the tendency to assign units, once they be- 
came available in the zone of interior, to the 
forces in Europe rather than to those in the 
Pacific. When trained companies did arrive 
in the latter theater, they often proved ill- 
fitted for use by the relatively small, dis- 
persed forces that normally conducted 
island warfare. These forces found it par- 
ticularly difficult to employ the bulky and 

inflexible trailer-carried equipment of 
laundry, repair, and bath companies. In the 
few instances in which combat organizations 
improvised more suitable units for opera- 
tional use, the results proved reasonably 
gratifying, but in general tactical troops 
simply went without the services. The care- 
lessness with which infantrymen collected 
salvageable materials and combat dead in 
battle areas made clear the need for a gen- 
eral reconsideration of the wisdom of assign- 
ing these duties to front-line soldiers. 

In the Pacific, then, the QMC found pro- 
vision of its miscellaneous services a harder 
task than that posed by its supply responsi- 
bilities, and one it accomplished less satis- 
factorily. Some of the difficulties could have 
been avoided had more service units been 
available earlier and had equipment been 
adjustable to the peculiarities of Pacific 
warfare. If these requisites had been met, 
graves registration would have suffered from 
fewer shortcomings, troops would have ob- 
tained more bread, more baths, and better 
shoes, and their clothing would have been 
laundered more satisfactorily and more fre- 


Logistical Support of Combat 

The QMC was established and continued 
in existence for a single reason — to help in- 
sure victory in battle by providing American 
fighting men with essential supplies. If the 
Corps failed to achieve this objective, it 
failed in its basic mission. Logistical support 
thus became the overriding consideration 
to which all else was sacrificed. Formulation 
of supply plans for each new operation as 
it came along was the first step toward pro- 
viding such support. As soon as the highest 
headquarters of the armed services in the 
United States and the Pacific had decided 
upon the seizure of a Japanese-held area 
and set the approximate size of the naval, 
air, and ground forces required for such an 
enterprise, Pacific headquarters, in co- 
operation with the combat organizations 
assigned to the operation, worked out sup- 
ply plans in general terms. 

In the Central Pacific, the J-4 Section of 
CINCPOA had responsibility for supervis- 
ing and integrating logistical plans. It main- 
tained direct contact with G-4, Headquar- 
ters, U.S. Army Forces in the Central Pa- 
cific Area (HUSAFICPA), which, in turn, 
kept in close touch with technical service 
officers of its own headquarters and of par- 
ticipating tactical organizations. A similar 

system prevailed in the South Pacific. 1 In 
the Southwest Pacific, MacArthur's head- 
quarters, an inter-Allied, interservice com- 
mand, had much the same role as did 
CINCPOA. It co-ordinated the logistical 
planning of USASOS and of the operational 
headquarters — the Allied Air Forces, the 
Allied Naval Forces, the Allied Land Forces, 
and the Alamo Force (U.S. Sixth Army), 
which, until it was discontinued in Septem- 
ber 1944, organized special task forces for 
ground offensives carried out chiefly by U.S. 
Army troops. 2 

In the earliest Pacific campaigns, before 
the higher headquarters had become well 
organized, logistical planning was pretty 
much a hit-and-miss affair, but as experi- 
ence accumulated it became more and more 
systematized. At best it was a complex mat- 
ter involving the onerous task of adjusting 

'(1) Mid-Pac Hist, VII, 47-50. (2) Logistics 
Support for the Unified Command and Overseas 
Theater, an Address by Maj Gen Herman Feldman, 
The Quartermaster General, at Army War College, 
Ft Leavenworth, 6 Feb 51. OQMG 352.12. 

2 The staff of the Alamo Force and of the Sixth 
Army was identical. As Sixth Army, it was subor- 
dinate to the Allied Land Forces, commanded by 
Australian General Sir Thomas Blarney; as Alamo 
Force, it directed operations of ground organizations 
composed mostly of U.S. Army troops and was sub- 
ordinate only to MacArthur's headquarters. 



the supporting capabilities of the technical 
services to the precise needs of future cam- 
paigns. Its difficulty was increased by the 
strategic necessity for offensive operations 
that followed one another so swiftly as to 
afford little opportunity for careful prep- 
arations or for the assembly of supplies in the 
desired quantities. Realistic planning was 
rendered still harder by the practice of not 
immediately revealing to participating or- 
ganizations what specific area would be the 
objective, a procedure that obliged units to 
carry out their planning with a typical 
rather than an exact objective in view. Even 
after the area of attack was identified, logis- 
tical planning usually had to be conducted 
without complete information regarding 
Japanese strength and the beaches, roads, 
trails, and other physical features that would 
be encountered. Absence of definite informa- 
tion about the exact quantity of certain 
types of equipment to accompany an opera- 
tional force was still another complication. 
For example, data as to the quantity and 
type of vehicles that would have to be sup- 
plied with petroleum products seldom be- 
came available in early planning stages, and 
requirements for Class III supplies were of 
necessity roughly estimated on a gallon 
"per-man-per-day" basis rather than on the 
more accurate vehicular factors. 3 

In Quartermaster planning the first mat- 
ter studied was the number and types of 
units necessary to carry out Quartermaster 
functions. These requirements were based 
not only upon total troop strength but also 
upon climatic conditions, the size of the ter- 
ritory to be occupied, and the availability of 
water and other public utilities. Whatever 
estimates were submitted, higher headquar- 
ters nearly always scaled them down in order 

3 OQMG, QM Gasoline Supply Opns, WW II, 
15 Apr 48, pp. 46-49. 

to provide as large a proportion of tactical 
troops as possible. In explanation of its re- 
ductions in the estimates of the Quarter- 
master Section, Sixth Army, General Head- 
quarters, Southwest Pacific Area, pointed 
out that the War Department assigned a 
certain number of troops to the area, out of 
which allotment the area commander was 
obliged to select the units he considered most 
vital to the execution of his mission. As Brig. 
Gen. Charles R. Lehner, Quartermaster of 
the Sixth Army, noted, this procedure cre- 
ated an unbalanced ratio between combat 
and supporting units. 4 Wherever, according 
to Col. James C. Longino, assistant quar- 
termaster of this army, the Corps rendered 
inadequate service, the shortage of support- 
ing units was largely responsible. 5 

In the Southwest Pacific Area, after the 
troop basis had been determined, the Quar- 
termaster Section of the Sixth Army selected 
specific supporting units from Quartermas- 
ter organizations assigned to USASOS. 
Until U.S. troops returned to the Philip- 
pines, task forces ordinarily included only 
from 4,000 to 45,000 men, and the smaller 
Quartermaster units — squads, sections, and 
platoons — were often the only ones available 
for provision of Quartermaster services. In 
the larger task forces companies furnishing 
the more important services were at times 
augmented by one of these smaller units. 
Units chosen for operational duty continued 
to engage in base activities until about ten 
days before the task force was scheduled to 
sail. They were then officially assigned to 
the force for the duration of its mission. In 
the Sixth Army, Quartermaster officers fre- 
quently found that USASOS units needed 

* Ltr, Lehner to Chief of Military History, 31 
Mar 53. OCMH. 

5 Ltr, Col James C. Longino, USA (Ret) to Maj 
Gen Albert C. Smith, Chief of Military History, 1 1 
Apr 53. OCMH. 



to be more fully equipped and trained in 
order to carry out combat duties efficiently. 
As far as possible in the limited time avail- 
able, these requisites were provided. When, 
as often happened, regularly established and 
trained units were unavailable, provisional 
units were organized to the extent permitted 
by the total allotment of troops. If such units 
could not be formed, task forces were of ne- 
cessity deprived of some services. 

In the Central Pacific, composite detach- 
ments often filled the gaps left by the short- 
age of Quartermaster units. Some of these 
detachments were made up of men trained 
for almost every sort of Quartermaster oper- 
ation; others contained men qualified for 
only two or three specialties. The composite 
Quartermaster unit formed by the 7th Gar- 
rison Force to serve as part of the base estab- 
lishment in the Gilberts consisted of 5 officers 
and 159 enlisted men from service, truck, 
bakery, laundry, and salvage companies, 
and it handled all Quartermaster responsi- 
bilities except those involving care of the 
dead. Since there were no available graves 
registration companies, men from the 27th 
Division were selected to form a provisional 

In calculating its requirements for food, 
gasoline, and utility items, the Quarter- 
master Section, Sixth Army, refused to ac- 
cept published War Department tables of 
maintenance requirements as fully appli- 
cable to the Southwest Pacific and even 
questioned War Department estimates of 
shipping space requirements per man per 
day for the four classes of supply. On the 
basis of its own experience the Quarter- 
master Section developed charts showing 
the weights and cubes of the different ra- 
tions, the maintenance needs per man per 
day for the principal kinds of gasoline, fuel, 

6 QM Mid-Pac Hist, pp. 105-06. 

and grease, the petroleum requirements of 
tanks, trucks, diesel equipment, field ranges, 
landing craft, and radar equipment, and the 
daily demand, expressed in pounds, for each 
class of supply. 7 All these charts underwent 
constant revision to reflect changing tactical 
and geographical conditions and the grow- 
ing accuracy of issue figures. 

Development of Special Supply 

Amphibious and island warfare required 
special as well as standard equipment and 
forced radical departures from War De- 
partment Tables of Equipment. Quarter- 
master planners indeed found that one of 
their most important problems was the de- 
termination of what articles should accom- 
pany assault forces. For example, in August 
1943, when plans were being laid for the 
Gilberts operation, a showdown inspection 
of the 27th Division, then in Hawaii, re- 
vealed grave shortages in equipment which 
could not be filled from stocks on hand, and 
much equipment so old and badly worn it 
could not undergo further usage. Close 
study of conditions likely to be encountered 
in the Gilberts disclosed a need for Quarter- 
master items normally issued only in small 
quantities or not at all. The scarcity of 
drinking water caused the hasty requisi- 
tioning of 3,000 canvas water buckets, 
15,000 5-gallon water cans, and 11,000 
additional canteens from San Francisco, 
and the necessity for some means of quickly 
cutting paths through tangled undergrowth 
led to the ordering of 10,000 machetes. 
Since some soldiers would be out of touch 
with organization kitchens, the division also 

7 OQMG, Group and Battalion Operations, 
World War II (hereafter cited as OQMG, QM Gp 
and Bn Opns), 15 Jul 48, pp. 21-24. Four of the 
charts are published in this document. 



submitted requisitions for 750 cooking out- 
fits, each sufficiently large to provide hot 
food for 20 men. To furnish troops with a 
convenient means of washing their mess 
gear, the Corps of Engineers in Oahu manu- 
factured 300 hot water heaters. From sal- 
vaged cots, tents, and tarpaulins the Hawai- 
ian Quartermaster Depot fabricated 2,000 
grenade carriers, each capable of holding 
four missiles. Finally, it bought locally 7,000 
half-ounce metal containers to enable troops 
to carry salt tablets with the least possible 
danger of deterioration. 8 

Vital equipment and supplies were not 
always obtained with as little trouble as the 
27th Division encountered, for local manu- 
facture and purchase could rarely be ac- 
complished as satisfactorily as in- Hawaii 
during preparations for the Gilberts offen- 
sive. Nor, in general, was there much time 
for procurement of supplies from the United 
States. Even when the period of preparation 
was fairly lengthy, scarcities at home often 
delayed or prevented shipments. New items 
in particular were likely to be in poor sup- 
ply, for several months were necessary to 
start production and the ETO and MTO 
usually had first call on available stocks. 

Logistical Planning for Operations 
Against Yap, Leyte, and Okinawa 

The manner in which supply require- 
ments and other aspects of detailed Quar- 
termaster logistical planning were ordinarily 
developed in the last two years of the war is 
illustrated by the preparations made by the 
7th Division for the operation which was 
first planned against the island of Yap, one 
of the Caroline group, but which finally 
emerged as the assault on Leyte, the open- 

" Rpt of Participation of USAFICPA in Galvanic 
Operation, 6 Aug 43-Feb 44, Sec. XVIII, pp. 


ing phase of the reconquest of the Philip- 
pines. In getting ready for this enterprise, 
the division, then on Oahu, worked under 
the general direction of Headquarters, 
USAFICPA. Its technical service sections 
began determining their logistical require- 
ments in April 1944. The G-4 Section co- 
ordinated this project. To ascertain his 
needs, the division quartermaster estab- 
lished a special planning section, composed 
of a captain, a second lieutenant, and a 
sergeant, which acted under his direct super- 
vision. As these, like other divisional plan- 
ners were uninformed as to the precise ob- 
jective, they assumed an amphibious land- 
ing on a medium-sized island. They deter- 
mined the requirements for such an attack 
partly by studying shortages and partly by 
analyzing supply operations on Kwajalein 
two months before, paying particular atten- 
tion to what items had proved satisfactory, 
what could be eliminated, and what new 
items were needed. Though higher head- 
quarters set the total quantity of each gen- 
eral class of Quartermaster supply that 
could be transported, the 7th Division 
quartermaster planning group had consid- 
erable leeway in selecting the items and de- 
termining the quantities of each it wanted.'* 
Its recommendations, along with those of 
other technical services, were cleared 
through the 7th Division G—$ Section, 
which submitted them to Headquarters, 
XXIV Corps, for approval and consolida- 
tion with recommendations of the 96th 
Division, the other major combat unit of 
the corps, and for submission to still higher 
headquarters. Much discussion ensued be- 
tween the various bodies of planners, but 
by late June tentative decisions had been 
reached. During the next few weeks changes 

" 7th Div King II G-4 Rpt, App. E (QM Rpt), 
pp. 1-2. OCMH. 



in tactical plans necessitated minor revisions 
of supply lists, but in early August, when 
Yap was finally announced as the opera- 
tional objective, clothing and equipment 
lists were ready for publication. Shipping 
shortages obliged the task force to limit 
trucks to half the number authorized in 
tables of equipment. Once this decision had 
been made, the office of the division quar- 
termaster easily calculated gasoline and 
other petroleum requirements by simply 
taking the estimated average consumption 
of each type of vehicle under combat con- 
ditions and multiplying that figure by the 
number of vehicles. 1 " 

Meanwhile practically all Quartermas- 
ter elements in the 7th Division had become 
engaged in logistical preparations. The Op- 
erations Section in the office of the division 
quartermaster made preliminary plans for 
storing items sent direct to Hawaii from the 
United States, and other sections of the 
office attended to procurement of supplies 
and formulation of loading plans. The ar- 
rival of large cargoes from the United States 
inaugurated a period of intense activity for 
the 7th Quartermaster Company, the divi- 
sional Quartermaster unit, at Fort Kame- 
hameha. Besides performing normal garri- 
son duties, it issued equipment to bring 
stocks up to authorized levels, received, 
stored, and recorded incoming Quartermas- 
ter cargoes, and attended to the "palletized 
unit loading" of part of these shipments. 
For several weeks the latter task, carried out 
on the parade ground of the fort, almost 
monopolized its energies. 11 

Palletized unit loading, virtually un- 
known even in commercial circles before 
the war, was a novel method of speeding up 
the handling of cargo by assault forces. 

Unitized loads, commonly termed "sleds" 
in the Central Pacific, consisted of a number 
of containers strapped to pallets, that is, 
wooden floorings resting on stringers so as 
to permit the entry of the fork of a lift 
truck. Such loads made it possible to handle 
scores of containers as a unit and to utilize 
ship's gear, cranes, fork-lift trucks, and 
other mechanical aids in raising, lowering, 
moving, and stacking supplies. 12 Use of sleds 
did away with time-consuming manual 
loading of thousands of containers one by 
one. Palletized cargoes were quickly dis- 
charged into landing craft, dragged off on 
shore, and towed, two or three at a time, by 
tractors over the beach and, if necessary, 
some distance inland. Palletization, in the 
words of one observer, eliminated the 
"bucket brigade practices" inseparable 
from hand-carrying. The saving in man- 
power reached large proportions. It was 
claimed, for instance, that unitization 
made unnecessary the employment of the 
36 men required to deliver the 432 K rations 
that constituted a single sled load. 13 

All this did not mean that the new 
method of shipment had no drawbacks. The 
process of palletization itself demanded con- 
siderable time and labor, and the loaded 
sleds occupied more cargo and storage space 
than did supplies shipped in the ordinary 
way. In being towed to dumps, sleds dam- 
aged uncompleted roads. Moreover, their 
handling demanded much mechanical 
equipment — a factor that, in view of the 
scarcity of this equipment, confined their 
use to amphibious landings where the sav- 
ings they effected were most marked. Even 
in such operations they diverted so many 
tractors from other essential activities that 

"' Ibid., G-4 Rpt, p. 2. 
" Ibid, Ap P . E, p. 2. 

12 Alvin P. Stauffer, Quartermaster Depot Storage 
and Distribution Operations (QMC Historical 
Studies No. 18), pp. 121-35. 

,r! OQMG, QM Gp and Bn Opns, pp. 38, 42. 



their value was materially diminished. 14 
Nonetheless they were widely utilized by 
Central Pacific forces from the Gilberts to 
Okinawa. In the Southwest Pacific they 
found no favor until 1944 and then were 
employed but slightly. Palletization, ac- 
cording to the quartermaster of the Central 
Pacific Area, "should be limited to highly 
emergency supplies associated with the as- 
sault operation." Loss of shipping space, he 
added, barred use of the novel method after 
an area had been fully occupied and the 
saving of time had become less significant. 15 
When the 7th Quartermaster Company, 
along with other technical service units, 
participated in palletization of assault cargo 
for the projected attack on Yap, it became 
part of an enterprise in whose development 
the QMC had played an important role. 
In collaboration with Central Pacific Engi- 
neers that service had designed the sled and 
the method of loading applied in the Kwa- 
jalein and subsequent Central Pacific Area 
operations. This sled had proved the most 
suitable kind of pallet, for it had runners 
that slid easily over the coral of Pacific 
atolls and required less lumber and less time 
for construction than did the toboggan type 
of pallet. These were both important 
features since supplies coming from the 
United States were not unitized, and sleds 
for each new operation had to be hurriedly 
built in Hawaii. 16 

14 ( 1 ) Ltr, CINCSWPA to Alamo Force et al., 
28 Jul 44, sub: Palletized Cargo. (2) Ltr, CG 
Alamo Force to CINCSWPA, 8 Sep 44, sub: Pal- 
lets in Amphibious Opns. Both in ORB Sixth Army 
AG 451.9. (3) Rpt, Maj Robert E. Graham, Jr., 1 
Dec 44, sub: King II Opn, p. 18. ORB USAFINC 
AG 370.2. 

15 ( 1 ) OQMG, QM Gp and Bn Opns, p. 40. 
(2) OPD Info Bull, Vol. I, No. 1 (20 Jan 44), pp. 

'" Memo, Maj Maynard C. Raney for ACofS G-3 
HUSAFICPA, 16 Feb 44, sub: Test of Palletized 
Sups. ORB AGF PAC AG 400. 

Petroleum products, combat rations, and 
other items packed in strong containers of 
uniform size and shape, were the Quarter- 
master supplies most successfully palletized. 
They were strapped together in the rectan- 
gular, flat-topped loads essential to solid 
stacking and efficient handling by mechani- 
cal equipment. No effort was made to pal- 
letize clothing and general supplies. Quar- 
termaster loads, each weighing about 1,500 
pounds, generally constituted from 20 to 25 
percent of all unit loads. 17 In preparation for 
the projected Yap campaign the 7th Quar- 
termaster Company palletized about half 
the combat rations and 5-gallon cans sched- 
uled for shipment with the landing force. 18 

While the company was performing this 
task, the office of the division quarter- 
master drew up elaborate loading plans in- 
dicating the kind and amount of assault 
supplies, whether palletized or not, to be car- 
ried on landing craft. To prevent total loss of 
an item through the sinking of a single 
vessel, all ships in the same group were to 
carry the same items in the same propor- 
tions. In addition to combat rations, gaso- 
line, and lubricants, cargoes would include 
bread components, salt tablets, atabrine, 
and one extra work suit for each man. Ex- 
cept for small replacement stocks of the 
most needed garments, no maintenance 
stores were to be carried; they would be 
provided by block vessels coming direct 
from the West Coast. As the date for the 
departure of the 7th Division approached, 
assault supplies were taken to the piers 
where the Quartermaster company made 

17 Annex B, Pt. C, 7th Div GO 63, 27 Nov 43, 
sub: Sled-Pallet Rpt, pp. 24, 25, 39. OQMG POA 

18 (1) 7th Div King II G-4 Rpt, Table II. (2) 
Memo, Dir of Plans and Opns ASF for ACofS G-4, 
11 May 45, sub: G-4 Rpt USAFPOA. OQMG 
POA 319.25. 



PALLETIZED SUPPLIES at a supply dump on Kwajalein. 

sure that they came in the prescribed quan- 
tities and were then placed aboard ship in 
line with the loading plan. Quartermaster 
troops also participated in simulated land- 
ings and distribution of items to troops on 
shore. 19 

In mid-September 1944, after the divi- 
sion was at sea, word suddenly came that 
its objective had been shifted from Yap to 
Leyte. This change intensified logistical dif- 
ficulties. Supplies and equipment, ample for 
a short operation on a small island like Yap, 
were inadequate for a prolonged battle on 
sizable, stoutly held Leyte. In particular, 
more rations, insect repellents, salt tablets, 
and atabrine were needed, not to mention 
such items as PX supplies and laundry soap 
for individual washing, stocks of all of 

which, because of the additional time re- 
quired to reach the new and more remote 
objective, were quickly depleted. On ar- 
riving at Eniwetok, the assistant division 
quartermaster flew to Finschhafen to ob- 
tain more of these items — -a venture that 
achieved partial success. The additional 
supplies were moved to Manus Island in the 
Admiralties, where the division put them 
on whatever vessels could be made available. 
Troops on Leyte nevertheless were not sup- 
ported as well as they would have been had 
that island been the announced objective 
from the beginning. 20 

The battle for Leyte had not yet reached 
its final stage when the 7th Division quar- 
termaster began preparation of supply plans 
for the coming Okinawa campaign. Not- 

7th Div King II Rpt, App. E, p. 3. 

Ibid., -p. 2, Incl. 1. 



withstanding that the 7th Quartermaster 
Company was still busily supporting com- 
bat activities, part of its members were di- 
verted from this task to help man huge 
Quartermaster dumps being established on 
Leyte to supply the division in the new of- 
fensive. More than 7,000 tons of materials 
had been assembled by the beginning of 
March 1945. On the 4th, shipments to 
"loading out" points started, and by the 
25th all supplies for the opening phases of 
the new operation had been placed aboard 
ship. Meanwhile the troops and trucks of 
the company had been loaded on twenty- 
two vessels. During the voyage the elements 
of the unit were assigned to larger groups to 
hear lectures about what might be expected 
on Okinawa. These lectures, supplemented 
by maps, plaster reliefs, and photographs, 
conveyed information that was later to 
prove helpful in truck operations and in the 
establishment of dumps. On L Day, 1 April, 
most of the company landed and began to 
carry out the combat aspects of its logistical 
plan. 21 

Quartermaster Units in Combat Operations 

Preliminary preparations for operational 
supply were only a single phase of logistical 
activities. Much more important was the 
adequacy of the support actually rendered 
to tactical soldiers in battle. This was a mat- 
ter that depended upon the number of 
Quartermaster troops, the terrain of the 
combat zone, the availability of roads, trails, 
trucks, and human carriers, and the amount 
of Quartermaster cargo actually discharged 
on the beaches. These conditions, which 
varied from operation to operation, largely 

21 Opn Rpt, 7th QM Co, Ryukyus Opn, 1 Apr- 
30 Jun 45, pp. 3-5. DRB AGO 307-QM-0.3 
(25373) M (1 Apr-30 Jun 45). 

determined how well Quartermaster troop 
units carried out their duties. 

Division Quartermaster Company 

These units were the agencies through 
which the QMC gave direct support to tac- 
tical organizations. In general the most im- 
portant supporting unit was the Quarter- 
master company that formed an organic 
part of the infantry division and had as its 
primary mission the supply of Quartermas- 
ter items. In many Pacific operations this 
company indeed provided all or nearly all 
the Quartermaster troops. Composed of a 
small administrative staff, one service pla- 
toon, and three truck platoons, it had about 
10 officers and 183 enlisted men. The serv- 
ice platoon was set up to furnish the labor 
for receiving and checking incoming food 
shipments and for breaking them down, 
that is, dividing a score or more of items into 
lots proportionate to the strength of the fif- 
teen or so divisional units. This platoon also 
had responsibility for handling clothing and 
equipment and for checking gasoline and 
oil receipts to determine if they met the 
needs of the 1,000 to 2,000 vehicles belong- 
ing to divisional units. The three truck pla- 
toons had as their chief function the trans- 
portation of troops, ammunition, rations, 
water cans, captured materials, and enemy 
dead — indeed, almost anything that had to 
be transported. The Quartermaster com- 
pany was charged with guarding Quarter- 
master installations, particularly supply 
dumps, and was therefore designated a com- 
batant unit and provided with rifles, ma- 
chine guns, grenade launchers, and in- 
trenching tools. The division quartermas- 
ter, operating under the supervision of G-4, 
co-ordinated company operations. His office 
received and processed requisitions for QM 



items from divisional units, arranged for the 
time and place of deliveries, and in close 
collaboration with G-4 allocated trucks 
among divisional activities. Normally, G— 4 
controlled all vehicles used for tactical 
purposes. 22 

The tasks actually performed by a di- 
visional Quartermaster company in the Pa- 
cific varied markedly from those prescribed 
when this type of unit was established, pri- 
marily with continental warfare in mind. 
In that sort of warfare the service platoon 
would have received supplies at distribution 
dumps maintained by army or corps 
troops, but in island warfare — before the 
Philippines were reached — a division, or a 
reinforced division, usually operated alone, 
and the company itself had to set up and 
maintain distribution centers. 23 Another 
difference between island and continental 
warfare was the persistently amphibious 
character of supply even when conventional 
land fighting followed the seizure of a 
beachhead. Supply depended upon ships 
which arrived only at irregular intervals. To 
insure the availability of ample stocks, the 
company had to store if possible a 10- to 
30-day supply of vital articles instead of the 
1- or 2-day supply common in continental 
areas with good railroad and highway sys- 
tems capable of delivering freight daily. 24 
Maintenance of such high stock levels 
placed a heavier burden on troops and 
equipment than the War Department had 
foreseen when it set up the divisional com- 

" (1) T/O&E 10-17, 15 Jul 43, sub: QM Co, 
Inf Div. (2) OQMG Quartermaster Operations in 
Divisions, World War II (hereafter cited as 
OQMG, QM Opns in Div), 15 Jul 48, pp. 2-9, 

23 Ltr 2, Capt Robert L. Woodbury, OQMG 
Obsvr, to Dir Mil Ping Div OQMG, 5 Sep 44. 
OQMG POA 319.25. 

24 Pacific Warfare Board Rpt 34, 17 Aug 45, 
sub: QM Questionnaire. ORB Pacific Warfare Bd 

pany. The difficulty of attaching extra units 
to a division for protracted periods of time 
to help the Quartermaster company per- 
form these added tasks further complicated 
the problem. While such units could be and 
indeed often were attached to divisions, the 
general shortage of service troops ordinarily 
forced their quick detachment and assign- 
ment to base installations. Had Pacific oper- 
ational forces been able to follow the ETO 
practice of shifting attached service units 
about from division to division as need 
arose, the problem would have been consid- 
erably less serious, but the necessity of us- 
ing separate beaches normally prevented 
employment of such units for supply of sev- 
eral organizations. 25 

Truck platoons, too, performed functions 
somewhat different from those envisioned 
when the divisional company was estab- 
lished. A platoon leader, for example, was 
supposed to accompany his unit on convoy 
and supervise the maintenance of vehicles. 
Actually, the dangers encountered in the 
early stages of combat operations usually 
prevented the convoying of trucks. It was 
faster and safer to dispatch them singly or 
in groups of two at more or less regular in- 
tervals. Platoon leaders were in consequence 
utilized largely for other activities. During 
the operations of the 7th Division, for exam- 
ple, these leaders usually supervised Class I, 
II, and III supply dumps. 26 Summing up his 
wartime impressions of the transportation 
requirements of a division in the Pacific, an 
Army Ground Forces observer declared: 

Normal transportation assigned a Division 
is inadequate in quantity and type. Age of 
vehicles is a positive factor of reduction. No 
cargo vehicle (2/2 ton 6x6) should be retained 

25 Rpt 1 (Okinawa series), Capt Robert D. Orr, 
6 May 45, sub: QM Activities on Okinawa, pp. 
25-27. OQMG POA 319.25. 

26 P. 2 of Rpt cited n. 21. 



by a unit when the mileage thereon exceeds 
25,000 miles as the combat performance there- 
after normally expected must be reduced by 
half. The present fifty-one 2/2 ton cargo 
trucks authorized a Division Quartermaster 
should be increased to ninety-nine, providing 
six truck platoons of sixteen vehicles each, 
with provisions for army or corps replacement 
of a portion thereof, during combat at least, 
by DUKW's, Amtracks, I/2 ton cargo or 
34 ton vehicles as the terrain may demand. 27 

Owing to the operating problems encoun- 
tered by divisional Quartermaster com- 
panies, numerous recommendations were 
made for increasing their equipment and 
troop strength. In May 1945 Lt. Gen. Wal- 
ter Krueger, commanding general of the 
Sixth Army, requested USAFFE to author- 
ize the addition of eighteen men to the truck 
platoon "to provide sufficient drivers for 
24-hour operation." The service platoon, he 
continued, needed twelve more men "to in- 
crease the labor personnel." 28 After the New 
Georgia operation the XIV Corps sug- 
gested that an entire service company be 
assigned to the division quartermaster. In 
fact, since divisions often operated alone, 
without benefit of the laundry, salvage re- 
pair, bakery, bath, and graves registration 
elements, normally available from units at- 
tached to army or corps, Pacific quarter- 
masters and OQMG observers often recom- 
mended that a full Quartermaster battalion, 
capable of providing not only more laborers 
and truck drivers but also other Quarter- 
master services, be substituted for the Quar- 
termaster company. 29 Headquarters, Army 
Ground Forces, in Washington refused to 
consider these suggestions on the ground 

27 Ltr, CG AGF to CG ASF, 21 Dec 45, sub: 
Obsvr Rpt. OQMG POA 319.25. 

28 Quoted in Rpt cited n. 24. 

39 ( 1 ) Memo, QM CPBC for Col Rohland Isker, 
4 Jul 44, sub: Augmentation of Div QM Co. 
OQMG POA 319.25. (2) Ltr cited n. 23. (3) Rpt 
cited n. 25. 

they lacked theater approval and did not 
"originate in a theater where the bulk of the 
Quartermaster Companies, Infantry Divi- 
sion . . . are operating." In any event, that 
headquarters added, "tables of organization 
must be applicable to all theaters." 30 

Unable to obtain an increase in their 
regular allotment of troops and equipment, 
divisional Quartermaster companies tried 
to carry out their combat functions by work- 
ing on a 24-hour schedule. At times they 
supplemented their normal strength by the 
formation of provisional units. At Bougain- 
ville, for example, the Quartermaster com- 
pany of the Americal Division used vehicles 
assigned to artillery battalions and troops 
assigned to infantry regiments to make up a 
provisional truck company. This special unit 
employed altogether ninety-six 2 T / 2 -ton 
cargo trucks. For weeks these vehicles 
worked on the beaches in volcanic sand and 
salt water. The combination of these two 
elements wore out brake shoes in less than 
ten days, and wheels had to be changed 
about once a week. The shortage of me- 
chanics and spare parts hampered repair 
work, and about a fifth of the trucks were 
usually unserviceable. 31 If troops could have 
been made available, Quartermaster com- 
panies might have formed all sorts of pro- 
visional units, but in actuality they were 
normally able to organize only salvage and 
graves registration units. After landing at 
Cape Sansapor in Dutch New Guinea, the 
6th Quartermaster Company established a 
provisional salvage platoon, which included 
twenty-eight men by the end of the cam- 
paign. This platoon was divided into four 
teams, each composed of five men, who col- 

M 1st Ind to Memo, TQMG for CG AGF, 2 Oct 
44, sub: Augmentation of Div QM Co. OQMG 
POA 319.25. 

81 OQMG, QM Motor Opns WW II, 15 Jun 48, 
pp. 68-69. 



TRUCKS OPERATING FROM THE BEACHES rapidly became unserviceable owing 
to the action of salt water and sand on the moving parts. 

lected salvaged supplies from battalion and 
regimental collecting points, and a group 
of eight men, who assembled all supplies by 
item. Graves registration provisional units 
were usually considerably smaller. 32 

Division Quartermaster Company 
in Combat in New Guinea 

The operations of the 41st Quartermaster 
Company in the Hollandia region of Dutch 
New Guinea illustrate the sort of tasks per- 
formed by Quartermaster troops in support- 
ing combat operations in New Guinea. The 
Hollandia campaign, beset by serious logis- 
tical problems stemming from rain, mud, 
coastal mangrove swamps, steep rugged 
hills, long narrow passes, jungle terrain, and 

32 Ibid., p. 83. 

roads little better than foot trails, repre- 
sented fairly well the conditions under which 
the QMC carried out its activities. The 
operations of the 41st Division began on D 
Day, 22 April 1944, when it landed on 
White Beaches 1-4 along the shores of Hum- 
boldt Bay. As soon as the first assault waves 
had gone ashore on White Beach 1 , a recon- 
naissance party, including two Quartermas- 
ter officers and two Quartermaster enlisted 
men examined dump sites and bivouac areas 
near Pancake Hill, about 600 feet from the 
narrow, sandy beach. The party selected 
sites for the ration dumps, the first Quar- 
termaster dumps to be set up, but found that 
burning Japanese supplies and the swampi- 
ness of the area prevented quick construction 
of a road and made necessary the reten- 
tion of most trucks and rations on White 



Beaches 1 and 2. On D plus 1 a Quarter- 
master detachment of one officer and sev- 
enteen enlisted men went to Pirn, a village 
just south of White Beach 4 and at the 
terminus of the road running inland. This 
unit was to receive supplies shipped in small 
boats from the other beaches and issue them 
to the 186th Infantry fighting its way toward 
the main objectives, the three Japanese air- 
fields along the shores of Lake Sentani. 
Other Quartermaster troops on the beaches 
to the north supplied the 162nd Infantry 
at and about Hollandia by water until engi- 
neers could build a road to Pancake Hill, 
more than 3 miles south of the town. 33 

As in most of the amphibious operations 
of the 41st Quartermaster Company, lack 
of sufficient labor to handle cargo delivered 
to its beach dumps complicated supply 
activities. This difficulty arose because no 
assault troops could be spared from tactical 
operations and all service troops were turned 
over to the beachmaster unloading cargo in 
the limited time available for this essential 
task. Normally, landing craft were dis- 
charged only between 0900 and 1 700, when 
naval safety regulations required such ves- 
sels to pull away from shore. Under these 
circumstances supplies of all sorts were jum- 
bled together and hastily shoved on 
DUKW's or roller conveyors. This meant 
that Quartermaster dumps received large 
quantities of non-Quartermaster cargo that 
held up the issue of rations and other items. 34 

At Pirn the narrow beach and steep ter- 
rain forced the Quartermaster detachment 

33 (1) Hist Rpt 41st QM Co for 1944, pp. 1-2. 
DRB AGO 341-QM-0.1 (28061) M 1944. (2) For 
a full discussion of the Hollandia operation see 
Robert Ross Smith, The Approach to the Philip- 
WAR II (Washington, 1953). 

34 Anon., " 'Mission Unexpected' was the Watch- 
word of the 41st DQM Company in the Pacific," 
QMTSJ, VIII (7 September 1945), 7. 

for two or three days to maintain dumps on 
hillsides, where heavy rains soaked sup- 
plies and equipment. As soon as the beach- 
head was widened sufficiently, the detach- 
ment moved the Class I and III dumps to 
much better locations in a coconut grove 
two miles from the village. By this time the 
arrival of more Quartermaster troops per- 
mitted the assignment of three officers and 
thirty-seven enlisted men to the new 
dumps. 35 During the following days most of 
the Quartermaster company was concen- 
trated in the Pirn area, for there was located 
the 41st Division's chief supply line — the 
road to Lake Sentani. Arrival of these rein- 
forcements and of service units from the or- 
ganizations that had landed on Tanah- 
merah Bay furnished an abundance of 
manual labor for Quartermaster operations. 
Transportation problems were not so 
easily solved. As was generally true in Pacific 
operations, the principal sources of trouble 
were the shortage of trucks and the inade- 
quacy of the road system. The Quartermas- 
ter detachment temporarily met the first dif- 
ficulty by repairing and using five captured 
Japanese vehicles, but the poor trail to the 
Lake Sentani plain continued to retard 
deliveries. Moreover, gauged by jungle 
standards, this eighteen-mile trail was a 
long one. 36 Washouts occurred frequently. 
On one occasion trucks bound for the lake 
region with rations for the 186th Infantry 
were stalled from early morning to late af- 
ternoon. Not until vehicles were brought to 
the other side of the impassable section and 
the rations carried across it by hand and re- 
loaded could the food move forward again. 
Worst of all, the road deteriorated rapidly 
under heavy trucking and frequent rains, 

33 Opn Rpt 41st QM Co Hollandia Campaign, 15 
Apr-19 May 44, p. 3. DRB AGO 341-QM-0.1. 

38 Smith, Approach to the Philippines, pp. 17, 



and from time to time stretches of this vital 
supply link had to be closed for repairs. 
Transportation difficulties indeed delayed 
for some days the removal of the dumps 
from Pirn to the Lake Sentani region, where 
they could have more easily supplied tacti- 
cal elements. Finally, the I Corps intensified 
the transportation woes of the Quartermas- 
ter detachment by taking over the captured 
vehicles, leaving it again short of vital 
trucks. 37 

On White Beach 1 there meanwhile oc- 
curred a conspicuous example of how com- 
pletely battle hazards might disrupt logis- 
tical plans. On the second evening after the 
landing a Japanese plane scored a direct hit 
on an ammunition dump, setting off a series 
of violent explosions that ignited gasoline 
stores. For two days the conflagration raged 
virtually unchecked among supplies and 
equipment massed on White Beaches 1 and 
2, destroying 60 percent of the rations, es- 
timated at more than 400,000 in number. 
The 41st Division was left with scarcely any 
food except that on White Beach 3. This 
disaster made it necessary to put the ad- 
vancing 186th Infantry on half rations, em- 
ploy captured Japanese subsistence, and 
transfer subsistence from the forces that had 
landed at Tanahmerah Bay. 38 Even when 
ration cargoes could be assembled at Pirn, 
they could not always be moved over the 
inadequate roads. In this emergency air 
supply, too, was ineffective. While the Jap- 
anese airfields at Lake Sentani fell into 
American hands on 26 April, they were so 
heavily damaged as to be temporarily al- 
most valueless for supply of inland forces. 
The combination of ration scarcities and 
transportation difficulties indeed compelled 

37 Rpt cited n. 35. 

38 (1) Opn Rpt Reckless Task Force, Hol- 
landia, p. 19. (2) Rpt, Capt Orr, 20 May 44, sub: 
Letterpress Opn, p. 1. 

the 186th Infantry to live for three or four 
days mainly on rice and canned fish from 
seized Japanese stores. 39 At Pirn the ration 
stock steadily dwindled and by 1 May was 
down to 300 cases. Luckily for hungry 
troops, large quantities of subsistence ar- 
rived in Humboldt Bay two days later. 

Except for a few odds and ends of cloth- 
ing and general supplies, the only Class II 
and IV items available for issue during the 
Hollandia operation were those brought in 
with the assault force. The Quartermaster 
company on 30 April received a small ship- 
ment of blankets and hammocks from 
Finschhafen and on 10 May an emergency 
air shipment of some urgently needed arti- 
cles of clothing and general utility, but aside 
from these relatively unimportant receipts 
the troops at Hollandia had to get along 
with what they had brought with them. A 
sizable cargo of these classes of supply did 
arrive in Humboldt Bay on 15 May, it is 
true, but it was intended for use by the 41st 
Division in its next operation — that against 
Biak Island, for which Z Day was 27 May. 40 

Special Problems of Logistical Support 

It is not too much to say that in the Pa- 
cific there were no really typical Quarter- 
master operations in combat. Though these 
operations were all similar in that they in- 
volved amphibious campaigns, each new 
campaign presented details that distin- 
guished it from others. These differences as 
well as the similarities deserve considera- 

Remote Supply Bases 

The campaign for the recovery of Buna, 
Gona, and Sanananda, which began with 

39 Smith, Approach to the Philippines, p. 81. 

40 Pp. 4-5 of Rpt cited n. 33(1). 



SMALL BOATS OPERATING CLOSE TO SHORE were invaluable in the shallow 
coastal waters surrounding New Guinea. 

a combined Australian-United States as- 
sault on 19 November 1942, presented seri- 
ous logistical problems. These problems 
sprang largely from lack of complete tactical 
and logistical preparedness for the cam- 
paign which the still weak American forces 
hastily undertook in order to regain points 
that in hostile hands would be standing 
threats to the safety of the Australian main- 
land. Throughout the operation the main 
supply bases, Port Moresby and Milne Bay, 
were remote from the scene of fighting — 
respectively, more than 300 and 200 miles 
by water. Not until almost the very end 
of the campaign could a reasonably satis- 
factory intermediate base be set up at Oro 
Bay, and even then the new establishment 
could not be stocked adequately. In the be- 

ginning, moreover, supply over the long 
water route was a perilous undertaking. 
Few planes could be spared to protect the 
landing of cargo, and naval support, too, 
was limited. Shallow coastal water, coral 
reefs extending out from shore as much as 
20 miles, and lack of docking facilities for 
nearly 200 miles south of Buna, further 
handicapped sea-borne traffic. Because of 
these difficulties only small boats— unhap- 
pily, few in number — could be employed. 41 
Cargo, brought in freighters from Port 
Moresby to the newly established base at 
Milne Bay, was unloaded onto smaller ves- 

41 For a detailed discussion of the logistical prob- 
lems of the Papuan operation, see Samuel Milner, 
Victory in Papua, a forthcoming volume in the 



sels with a capacity of 50 to 500 tons and 
shipped to the intermediate bases at Pon- 
gani or Oro Bay, respectively, about 35 and 
15 miles below Buna. Here supplies were 
again transshipped, this time to still smaller 
vessels, usually fishing trawlers, carrying 
only 10 to 30 tons. These boats then sailed 
for one of the receiving points set up at 
coastal villages close to the combat zone. 42 

As these boats sneaked up the coast, high 
waves occasionally broke over them, dam- 
aging or carrying overboard considerable 
amounts of cargo. But the most ominous 
peril in the opening phases of the cam- 
paign came from hostile planes, which often 
came and went at will, compelling boats 
to travel under cover of darkness. When the 
vessels arrived at their destination, they 
anchored several hundred yards offshore. 
Since Transportation Corps troops were not 
available, Quartermaster troops became 
mainly responsible for discharging cargoes. 
"Stark naked, with waves pounding over 
their heads, they pushed rowboats and na- 
tive canoes out through the breakers, trans- 
ferred them back to the beach, making 
dozens of exhausting trips without rest in 
order to get the vulnerable trawlers on their 
way again before daylight." 43 

The Papuan campaign demonstrated 
that, while remote bases might serve satis- 
factorily as sources of supply for forces op- 
erating in continental areas with suitable 
means of transportation, in amphibious 
warfare such bases resulted in supply lines 
that were too long and tenuous. This was 
true not only of operations on small islands 
but also in New Guinea. Though that island 

42 Rpt, Col Horace Harding et al., 11 Nov 42, 
sub: Visit to New Guinea, 2-9 Nov 42. ORB I 
Corps AG 384. 

(1) E. J. Kahn, G. I. Jungle: An American 
Soldier in Australia and New Guinea (New York: 
Simon and Schuster, 1943), p. 88. (2) Opn Rpt 
107th QM Det, pp. 1-10. 

was large in area, its transportation prob- 
lems somewhat resembled those of the 
smaller islands. Few military groups — and 
those usually small ones supplied by air — 
operated deep in the pervasive New Guinea 
jungle. Areas under attack, which were al- 
ways located along the coast, became, in 
effect, islands. In the Papuan campaign 
reliance upon distant Port Moresby and 
Milne Bay for currently needed supplies, 
though unavoidable under prevailing con- 
ditions, had thus put the assaulting forces 
too much at the mercy of disrupted trans- 
portation channels. 

In subsequent offensives, therefore, the 
increasing number of specially constructed 
landing vessels, a new type of small craft 
capable of discharging supplies directly onto 
beaches, became a major determinant of the 
pattern of logistical support. In accordance 
with this pattern, supplies for the opening 
stages of an offensive were shipped with the 
task force and landed during the first few 
days. Unless these supplies were destroyed in 
combat or otherwise lost, the assault waves 
were thus freed of dependence on far-off 
installations during the opening phases of 
an operation. The pattern for landing craft 
in the Biak operation of May-June 1944 
was typical of those generally employed. 
Landing schedules, covering the first few 
days of the attack and listing the kind and 
number of vessels and the supplies each 
would carry, were prepared well ahead of 
the assault and carried out to the extent 
that unloading and tactical conditions al- 
lowed. In the last year and a half of the 
conflict block vessels achieved a comparable 
result insofar as replacement supplies needed 
in the latter stages of an offensive were 
concerned. 44 

" Maj Herbert E. Gerfen, "Task Force Opera- 
tion," QMR, XXV (September-October 1945), 



Use of Landing Craft 
in Assault Supply 

Ordinarily, tactical successes permitted 
landing craft to beach and start unloading 
their cargoes within a few hours after the 
assault waves went ashore. But even such 
swift discharge of supplies and equipment 
did not always insure the availability of 
items needed by combat troops. The better 
part of a day — usually longer — elapsed be- 
fore all cargoes could be discharged and 
prepared for issue. Meanwhile tactical units 
had often exhausted the stocks of ammuni- 
tion, gasoline, rations, or other indispen- 
sable items they had taken with them. To 
hasten the provision of such articles during 
the assault phase of an operation, an LST- 
DUKW system of supply was developed in 
the Central Pacific and employed, appar- 
ently for the first time in the Pacific, by the 
7th Division at Kwajalein. 45 As this system 
operated in the initial resupply of this di- 
vision's infantry regiments at Leyte, it fur- 
nished what was in effect a motor pool 
on water. It was based upon 40 DUKW's, 
or 2*/^ -ton amphibian trucks, each of which 
was variously loaded with items recorded as 
to kind and quantity by an Army control 
officer stationed on a naval ship. The 
DUKW's were brought to the assault area 
by LST's (landing ships, tank). As infan- 
try regiments on land required supplies, 
they radioed their requests to the control 
officer, who had kept track of their loca- 
tion as they progressed inland. He ordered 
the appropriate DUKW to proceed to a 
specified beach, where a regimental officer 
met and directed it to the proper location, 
always as near as possible to the front. 
After delivering the items, the empty 
DUKW reported back to the control offi- 

45 OQMG, QM Opns in Div, pp. 62-63. 

cer, who ordered it either to await instruc- 
tions or to pick up specific items from one 
of eight LST's loaded in "drug store" 
fashion with a mixed cargo of supplies likely 
to be in demand. If a DUKW was assigned 
the latter task, it discharged its load at the 
beach designated by the control officer. Op- 
erations of this sort caused the LST-DUKW 
system of initial supply to be called the "drug 
store" system. 46 

Distribution Points 

This system was utilized for supply of 
the 7th Division only during the first six 
hours after the assault waves had swarmed 
ashore at Leyte. Quick tactical success there- 
after permitted LST's to begin discharging 
their cargoes in bulk on the beach, and the 
job was rushed to swift completion in order 
to permit prompt withdrawal of naval ships 
from their exposed position. Dumps were, 
in fact, established so rapidly that they could 
not be properly dispersed and revetted. 
Within sixty-five hours — substantially ahead 
of schedule — unloading operations had been 
completed. By that time Quartermaster 
distribution points had large stores of Class 
I and III items, but the incessant inflow of 
supplies had congested the dumps so much 
that segregation of stocks by item became a 
time-consuming task. 47 Trucks of the 7th 
Quartermaster nevertheless began delivery 
of combat rations to supply points of the 
forward regiments the day after the landing. 

In order to handle better the huge ac- 
cumulation of materials, troops of the 7th 
Quartermaster Company had to bivouac in 
the dump area. At nightfall on A plus 5 — 
October 25 — a Japanese plane dropped in- 

46 USAFFE Bd Rpt 126, 15 Feb 45, sub: Initial 
Sup of 7th Div by DUKW's. ORB AFPAC Pacific 
Warfare Bd File. 

47 7th Div King II G-4 Rpt, App. E, pp. "i-A. 



cendiary bombs. One fell in the 7th Quar- 
termaster Company motor pool, a second 
near the office of the division quartermas- 
ter, and a third in an ammunition dump, 
which "exploded continually for 9 hours and 
intermittently after that until about 1430 
on the 26th." An OQMG observer, who 
stood only about 200 feet from the ammuni- 
tion dump, reported that he "jumped into 
a Jap foxhole which was deeper than my 
own and dug into the bank with my hands 
for about 4 hours." Though his foxhole had 
five large shell fragments in it, he escaped 
with only a blister on a finger "from a piece 
of hot shrapnel" which missed his hand "by 
a hair, a few shrapnel holes" in his coat, and 
"minor scratches." 48 Many members of the 
7th Quartermaster Company were not so 
fortunate. Thirteen lost their lives, and fifty 
were wounded. 49 

This disaster interrupted but did not stop 
Quartermaster activities. As the task force 
widened the beachhead, the distribution 
points of the company were advanced in 
order to keep as close as possible to forward 
elements. By A plus 6 the unit had set up 
two advance points near San Pablo airstrip 
to maintain a 5-day supply of food and gaso- 
line. Soon afterward it established a simi- 
lar distribution point, maintaining a 2-day 
supply, at Dulag airstrip, still nearer the 
front. These three installations drew food 
and gasoline from Quartermaster beach 
dumps, which, after A plus 7, were turned 
over to the XXIV Corps Quartermaster. 
That officer then assumed the responsibility 
of keeping forward distribution points well 
stocked. Units submitted requisitions for 
clothing and general supplies to the divi- 
sion quartermaster. To prevent creation of 

,M Ltr, Capt Robert L. Woodbury to Col Doriot, 
12 Nov 44. OQMG SWPA 319.25. 

4U Hist Rpt 7th QM Co for 1 944, pp. 3-4. 

immobile stocks of these items, sparingly is- 
sued in combat, he approved for presenta- 
tion to the corps quartermaster only such 
requisitions as were vital to continued sup- 
port of tactical forces. Throughout the Leyte 
operation the division quartermaster fol- 
lowed a basic pattern of setting up Class 

I and III distribution points in the wake 
of advancing troops. When an established 
point was no longer needed, its stocks were 
promptly issued. After USASOS Base K be- 
gan operations, unit requisitions for Class 

II items were submitted to it every ten days 
and filled from its stocks. 50 

The X Corps had the rare advantage of 
being able to store many of its supplies in 
warehouses at Tacloban, but the XXIV 
Corps, of which the 7th Division was part, 
was obliged to follow the normal Pacific pat- 
tern of setting up dumps in the open. All 
the disadvantages associated with such ex- 
posed storage areas were intensified by their 
hasty establishment under circumstances 
that allowed little choice of location. The 
principal considerations governing the se- 
lection of sites were accessibility to roads, 
if any existed, and proximity to the elements 
to be supplied. Even firm, dry areas, usable 
in all sorts of weather, could not be picked 
unless they met these requisites. If the di- 
vision advanced rapidly, supply dumps kept 
pace with it. The nearer a dump was to the 
front, the smaller its stockage. Ordinarily, 
a forward distribution point contained a 2- 
day supply of Class I and III items, while a 
rear one contained a 5-day supply. Stocks 
were replenished from army or corps sup- 
ply points set up at comparatively safe sites 
some distance behind the divisional dumps. 

In mid-November, after elements of the 
7 th Division had moved rapidly down the 
east coast from Dulag, seized the important 

50 Ibid., pp. 5-6. 



town of Abuyog a dozen miles directly south, 
and struck across the waistline of Leyte to 
Baybay on the west coast, most of the di- 
vision was concentrated in that region. Rear 
dumps were maintained at Dulag and inter- 
mediate installations at Abuyog; meanwhile 
large stocks were built up at Class I and 
III dumps on the west coast in preparation 
for a powerful movement northward against 
the stronghold of Ormoc, where the Jap- 
anese were gathering reinforcements from 
the whole northern part of the island for a 
determined stand. Ten days after the offen- 
sive was launched, these dumps were closed 
and new ones established seven miles up the 
coast. On 7 December, the 77th Division 
landed just south of the Japanese citadel 
and joined in the attack. Ormoc fell on the 
10th. For some days the distribution points, 
carrying a 1- to 6-day supply level, cared for 
77th as well as 7th Division troops. 51 

Land Transportation 

The 7th Division used all sorts of trans- 
portation methods to keep front-line troops 
on the west coast of Leyte adequately sup- 
plied. The G-4 operations report noted 
that it had been necessary to employ trucks, 
large and small landing craft, DUKW's, 
amphibious trailers, caterpillar tractors, 
planes, and even carabaos, native canoes, 
and hand carriage. All these methods had 
to be used not only because of the normal 
obstacles to smooth transportation — heavy 
rainfall, almost impassable terrain, poor 
roads and trails, lack of bridges, and truck 
shortages stemming from insufficient ship- 
ping space — but also because of the exten- 
sive territory that had to be covered. From 
the rear dumps at Dulag to Ormoc the sup- 

ply line traversed more than eighty miles. 
Landing craft ferried supplies down the east 
coast to Abuyog, where they were trans- 
ferred to trucks and hauled over mountain- 
ous roads to Baybay. Here they were trans- 
ferred to DUKW's or LCM's (landing craft, 
mechanized ) and carried to truckheads lo- 
cated at various points along the west coast 
north to Ormoc. 52 

Throughout the northward drive of the 
7 th Division all trucks of the Quartermas- 
ter company and most of its trailers oper- 
ated continuously as part of the motor pool 
controlled by the divisional G-4. So treach- 
erous was the road leading from Abuyog 
to Baybay that the single Quartermaster 
truck platoon had to be strengthened by the 
addition of two truck companies from the 
Fifth Air Force. On one occasion when the 
road became impassable, the division called 
for an airdrop of motor gasoline. In answer 
to this request planes successfully dropped 
thirty-seven 55-gallon drums on the beach 
at Baybay. Two truck platoons of the Quar- 
termaster Company received supplies 
brought to truckheads south of Ormoc and 
transported them to divisional distributing 
points or, if conditions permitted, to using 
units. When the 7th Division shouldered the 
added burden of supplying the 77th Divi- 
sion, it became obvious that there were not 
enough trucks to haul the supplies of both 
organizations. The system of distribution 
was therefore modified by utilizing LSM's 
for moving part of the supplies from Dulag 
around the island to Ormoc, where six ves- 
sels were scheduled to arrive every three 
days. The direct shipment by water reduced 
the pressure on trucks along the west coast, 
but supplies meanwhile continued to pour 
into Abuyog for overland movement. All 
three truck platoons of the Quartermaster 

7th Div King II Opn G-4 Rpt, p. 14. 

Ibid., pp. 14-16. 



company were therefore concentrated on 
this run." 

Air Transportation 

From the very beginning of combat op- 
erations in 1942, air transportation had been 
used as an emergency supplement to other 
methods of moving supplies during combat 
operations. Since this practice was new to 
both airmen and infantrymen, satisfactory 
equipment was not at first available. Cargo 
parachutes were so scarce that they could 
be employed only for the most essential or 
most fragile items — small arms, ammuni- 
tion, medical supplies, and bottled liquids. 
Rations, clothing, and personal equipment 
other than arms were merely rolled in 
bags or blankets, wired, and "free dropped," 
that is, dropped without parachute. During 
the Papuan operations Quartermaster 
troops, aided at times by men from other 
services, wrapped the supplies of all Army 
components and, when parachutes were 
used, attached the packages to these con- 
trivances. Several Quartermaster troops ac- 
companied the planes and at the proper 
moment expelled the cargo. Receiving areas 
on the ground were indicated by panels, 
smoke signals, and white streamers, but com- 
plete accuracy in identifying and hitting 
these areas from a fast-moving plane proved 
an almost impossible feat. More than half 
the cargo dropped without parachute was 
irrevocably lost, smashing to bits on strik- 
ing the ground or else falling not on desig- 
nated targets but deep in the jungle or on 
inaccessible mountain slopes. Owing to these 
mishaps, the troops struggling along on land 
repeatedly went hungry and ill-clad. 54 

53 Ibid., App. E, pp. 6-7. 

51 32d Div Actn Rpt, Papuan Campaign, Sep 42- 
Mar43, pp. 2-8, 16-1 7. DRB AGO 332-0.3 (3365). 

During the fighting in the Nassau Bay- 
Salamaua region of northern New Guinea 
in the summer of 1943, cargo parachutes 
of good quality were still scarce, and meth- 
ods of bundling rations and attaching the 
packages to the rim of a parachute clearly 
needed substantial improvement. In moun- 
tainous and heavily forested regions, accord- 
ing to Col. Archibald R. MacKechnie, com- 
mander of the 162d Regiment, air dropping 
without parachutes proved "costly, unde- 
pendable and wasteful of both supplies and 
manpower," only 40 to 75 percent of the 
cargoes ever being recovered. 55 

In the New Georgia campaign, conducted 
at approximately the same period as the 
Nassau Bay-Salamaua operations, rugged 
mountains and rain forests at times halted 
transportation by land and forced resort to 
paradrops. Of the 118 tons of supplies 
dropped to field units, more than 59 tons 
consisted of rations; of 18 air supply mis- 
sions, 16 involved the delivery of food. On 
only one mission were Quartermaster items 
other than subsistence carried. The methods 
of air supply represented a marked advance 
over those employed in the Salamaua opera- 
tions. Three kinds of containers were uti- 
lized. The most common type held 192 ra- 
tions and loose cigarettes. A smaller type 
carried 80 rations, and a third, still smaller, 
held three 50-pound bags of rice. 50 C-47 
transport planes — usually four to a mis- 
sion — carried the rations. Occasionally, 
flights could not start for some hours after 
the scheduled time. In such cases, cargoes 
were often dropped after infantry units had 
moved out of the target areas. As in Papua, 

55 Rept, Col Archibald R. MacKechnie, n. d., sub: 
Campaign of 162d Regt in New Guinea, p. 10. 
ORB AFPAC AG 370.22. 

56 Ltr, CG USAFISPA to CG AAF et al., 13 
Nov 43, sub: Sup by Parachute in New Georgia. 



pilots found it hard to locate these areas. 
In densely wooded terrain supplies fell more 
frequently in towering trees, 100 to 150 feet 
high, than they did on the indicated tar- 
gets, making "discovery of the parachutes 
hard and their recovery harder." 57 Re- 
trieval of cargoes was further complicated 
by lack of troops for protracted searches 
and by heavy losses incurred in detaching 
packs from parachutes caught in tall trees. 
Such packs could be recovered only by shoot- 
ing in two the shroud lines, which ran 
from the rim of the parachute to the main 
cord supporting the pack, thus permitting 
it to fall. The long drop often split food 
containers and scattered their contents over 
the ground. In mountainous and heavy 
jungle areas of New Georgia, as in the Sala- 
maua region, only about 50 percent of ra- 
tions were recovered in usable form, but in 
fairly open country, such as coconut plan- 
tations, where parachutes rarely became en- 
snared in tall trees, losses ran much lower, 
averaging, it was reported, only about 10 
percent. 58 

Meanwhile the significance of air trans- 
portation as a vital supplement to slower 
or temporarily unusable means of opera- 
tional supply became better recognized, and 
higher headquarters tried to organize the 
new method of logistical support in a sys- 
tematic fashion. General Headquarters, 
Southwest Pacific Area, at intervals desig- 
nated certain USASOS bases as stocking 
points for items that were to be released 
solely for aerial movement to combat areas, 
and the Alamo Force formed an air supply 
company, whose members were trained in 
the specialized methods of packing cargo 

and handling it aboard planes. 59 In the Cen- 
tral Pacific Area the Army Air Forces set 
up similar organizations. 60 

Air supply equipment and handling pro- 
cedures, though still crude, were neverthe- 
less steadily improved as the war progressed. 
Cargo parachutes were better made and ob- 
tainable in larger numbers, and identifica- 
tion of dropping areas was rendered easier 
by aerial photography and radar beams. 
"Free dropping" gradually declined as more 
parachutes became available, and losses of 
supplies, though still heavy, decreased corre- 
spondingly. If a limited quantity of para- 
chutes necessitated "free dropping," rations 
packed in cartons were employed in prefer- 
ence to those packed in metal, for the latter 
broke open much more frequently. 61 

During the Luzon campaign USASOS 
bases on Leyte kept constantly on hand for 
air shipment a ten-day reserve of combat 
rations for 20,000 men. Actually, no calls 
for any of this emergency reserve came, for 
stocks on Luzon met all requirements. But 
this did not mean that air supply was not 
extensively utilized. On the contrary, para- 
drops of regular supplies alone kept many 
guerrillas in active operation against the 
Japanese. The Sixth Army reported that 
1,319 planeloads, totaling 5,020,000 
pounds, were dropped to isolated units be- 
tween 19 January and 30 June 1945. Of this 
amount, perhaps 40 percent was Quarter- 
master in origin. Recoveries varied from 
65 to 90 percent, depending upon the ter- 
rain and the proximity of the Japanese. The 

57 Opns of 25th Inf Div in Central Solomons, 16 
Aug-12 Oct 43, p. 23. ORB USAFINC AG 370.2. 
68 Ltr cited n. 56. 

59 (1) Ltr, Hq Alamo Force, 14 Feb 44, sub: 
SOP for Air Sup. OQMG SWPA 319.25. (2) Ltr, 
GHQ SWPA to CG Sixth Army et al., 8 Sep 44, 
sub: Emergency Air Sup. ORB Sixth Army AG 
400 (Equip). 

"°Lt Col Robert Genny, "Air QM Operations 
in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands," QMTSJ 
VII (30 March 1945), 14-15. 

61 8th Army Mindanao Opn Rpt, G-4 Sec, p. 137. 



over-all proportion of recoveries amounted 
to about 87 percent, a figure that indicated 
a notable advance in retrieval techniques. 
Supplies were not only dropped but were 
also landed in substantial quantities on air- 
strips. 02 

Although the emergency food reserve set 
up on Leyte for the Luzon campaign went 
untapped, a similar ten-day reserve for 5,000 
men served as a main source of replenish- 
ment for the forces fighting on Mindanao. 
Withdrawals were indeed so heavy that pre- 
scribed levels could scarcely be maintained. 
The heavy demand originated partly in the 
inability of Base K at Tacloban to make 
timely deliveries by the long water route to 
Parang, but an even more important factor 
was the lack of roads in the rugged interior 
of Mindanao, an island nearly as large as 
Luzon. Rations were flown to coastal air- 
fields in the southern island and then flown 
inland and dropped to forward units. Dur- 
ing one period of eight days, 1 79,000 pounds 
of rations and 55,000 pounds of other Quar- 
termaster items, chiefly Class II and IV 
supplies, were brought in from Leyte. 63 

Another unusual feature of logistical sup- 
port in the southern Philippines was the 
large-scale utilization of air movements for 
interisland distribution of perishable food, a 
development that reflected the swiftly in- 
creasing number of planes and the still acute 
shortage of refrigerated vessels. For several 
weeks reefers could not be obtained for trans- 
portation of fresh foods to Panay, Palawan, 
and parts of Mindanao, and perishables 
were delivered to these areas by air. Be- 
tween 13 and 27 April plane shipments 
reached the substantial total of 390,000 

B2 Sixth Army Luzon Rpt, G-4 Sec, pp. 53-57. 
63 Eighth Army Mindanao Opn Rpt, G-4 Sec, 
pp. 189-91. 

pounds, not much below normal require- 
ments of 510,000 pounds. 04 

Supply Operations on Luzon 

After the return to the Philippines, con- 
ditions governing Quartermaster support of 
combat operations became in many ways 
better than in earlier campaigns. Service 
units had become more experienced, and 
hostile interference with supply activities 
less significant. These favorable factors, to- 
gether with the greater quantity of replace- 
ment items provided by increased employ- 
ment of block ships, all made logistical sup- 
port in some respects an easier task than it 
had been in New Guinea and the Sol- 
omons. But a shortage of service units con- 
tinued to plague such support. When, for 
instance, the troop basis for the invasion of 
Luzon was established, the Sixth Army 
Quartermaster received 40 to 50 percent 
fewer units than he had requested. He was 
denied some kinds of units altogether and 
was further handicapped by severe reduc- 
tions in the equipment of others. Under 
these circumstances the amount and qual- 
ity of Quartermaster service inevitably 

In populous and fairly well-developed Lu- 
zon, Quartermaster activities took on some 
characteristics of operations in continental 
areas. Roads, though rarely good by Amer- 
ican standards, were at least usable; in some 
districts there was even limited railway 
service on hastily repaired lines. Transpor- 
tation by land thus proved moderately sat- 
isfactory, but as was the case during tactical 
operations on extensive land masses, rapid 
advances often suddenly lengthened supply 
routes. Food and gasoline dumps had to be 

64 ( 1 ) Rad, CO Base K to CG USASOS, 2 May 
45. (2) Rad, COMFEAF to COM Fifth AF, 8 May 
45. Both in ORB PHIBSEC AG 430.2. 



moved quickly in order to keep pace with 
combat divisions swiftly pursuing retreating 
Japanese. In the twenty-two days after 
the landing at Lingayen Gulf the Class I 
and III dumps of the 6th Division were 
pushed ahead three times; the last shift 
moved them forward about sixty miles from 
their first location. In the next eighteen days 
four moves, covering about 100 miles, were 
carried out. The fourth shift required a 
fifty-mile haul of a ten-day store of food and 
gasoline. To supply his dumps, the 6th Di- 
vision Quartermaster drew needed items 
from Base M or Sixth Army supply instal- 
lations, which, though not fully stocked and 
occasionally situated far to the rear, pro- 
vided the only sources of large-scale replen- 
ishment. The Quartermaster Section of the 
Sixth Army tried to place its supply points 
within twenty-five miles of the divisional 
dumps, but because of transportation diffi- 
culties and the wide area over which troops 
were scattered, this was not always feasible. 
In a few instances 6th Division quarter- 
masters made round trips of 150 miles or 
more to replenish their Class I and III stores 
and obtain Class II and IV items requi- 
sitioned by combat elements. 65 During the 
rapid advance across the central Luzon 
plain to Manila, army and corps as well as 
divisional quartermasters met difficulties 
similar to the 6th Division's. For example, 
the 37th Quartermaster Company, which 
cared for 32,000 troops, not only maintained 
regular day-by-day supply but also several 
times moved up a 30-day reserve stock. "No 
sooner," declared its commander, "would 
the dumps be established than the QM's 
would be far behind the lines." M 

M 6th QM Co. Hist Rpt. 31 Jul 44-30 Jun 45, 
Sec. II. DRB AGO 306 QM 0.3. 

86 Col Charles M. Odenwalder, "Lingayen to 
Manila with the 37th QM Company," QMTSJ, 
VIII (27 July 1945), 22. 

During the precipitate dash of the 37th 
Division through the Cagayan Valley of 
northern Luzon in June 1945 the QMC 
pushed its dumps ahead almost daily, occa- 
sionally "as far as the front lines, only to be 
fifteen or twenty miles behind in twenty- 
four hours." 67 The chief obstacle to ade- 
quate supply, however, was not the distance 
of divisional distribution points from the 
front but their remoteness from the main 
supply depots. The route from these installa- 
tions, moreover, crossed mountains so rug- 
ged in places that deliveries were sometimes 
considerably delayed. Scarcities at the front 
could not be alleviated until air transporta- 
tion came into use on a large scale during 
the last six days of June. In that short period 
planes landed 1,070,000 pounds of cargo at 
the airfield in Tuguegarao, a Japanese 
stronghold captured on the 24th. 68 Airdrops 
supplied scattered tactical units in the north- 
ern Cagayan Valley until mid-July, when 
the port of Aparri at the mouth of the Caga- 
yan River was opened to shipping, and pro- 
visions, ammunition, clothing, and equip- 
ment that had been assembled at nearby 
Abulug were brought in to meet American 
needs. 69 

Long-distance hauling in Luzon put a 
severe strain on truck transportation, which 
was relieved but not wholly solved by Engi- 
neers' prompt rehabilitation of railways and 
by utilization of vehicles for twenty-four 
hours every day. Unluckily, there were too 
few wheeled conveyances, for shipping 
shortages, as previously noted, allowed truck 
units coming to Luzon only half the vehicles 
called for by their Tables of Equipment. 
Some Quartermaster truck companies had 

"The Regimental Staff, The 129th Infantry in 
World War II (Washington, 1947), pp. vi-vii. 

a8 Sixth Army Luzon Rpt, III, 55. 

69 Eighth Army Luzon Mop-up Opn Rpt, pp. 



indeed arrived with less than twenty cargo 
vehicles. Far-flung supply lines forced the 
employment of all available trucks for pro- 
tracted periods without needed repairs and 
maintenance, a practice that in the long run 
seriously reduced the number of usable 
vehicles. In mid-February the demand for 
more conveyances became so insistent that 
combat units loaned some of theirs to Base 
M so that it could carry out its logistical 
responsibilities. In referring to the scarcity 
of equipment in truck companies, the Sixth 
Army Quartermaster recommended that, if 
shipping shortages in future operations 
forced reductions in the number of vehicles, 
whole units be eliminated rather than most 
of the vehicles in each of several com- 
panies. 70 

Fighting in the mountainous terrain of 
Luzon at times involved slow progress that 
posed logistical problems quite different 
from those of rapid advances. Frequently, 
Quartermaster units resorted to hand carry- 
ing, an expedient earlier employed in the 
Papuan, Hollandia, and Leyte campaigns. 71 
When infantrymen of the 32d Division in 
north-central Luzon were conducting a bit- 
ter struggle against Japanese powerfully en- 
trenched in steep ranges above San Jose, 
rations could be carried forward only on 
fifteen-mile-long Villa Verde Trail, a nar- 
row, winding track just wide enough for 
small vehicles. Owing to the negligible 
amount of wheeled traffic that could be 
accommodated, Quartermaster dumps were 
established at several points along its treach- 
erous course. Since fighting was conducted 
largely by small groups of men, transporta- 
tion of supplies presented unusual difficul- 

ties, which were met by the employment of 
about 1 ,000 natives as hand carriers — many 
of them Igorot inhabitants of this wild re- 
gion. Teams, composed of thirty to seventy 
men, each bearing seventy-five pounds on 
specially designed packboards, were formed, 
and for some days these men bore on their 
backs ammunition, rations, and other vital 
supplies for the front. The teams made 
such tortuous progress that Lt. Col. Law- 
rence E. Swope of the Sixth Armv Quar- 
termaster Section asserted that a single car- 
rier could normally supply only three sol- 
diers. 72 In the stubbornly contested advance 
from Lingayen Gulf over mountainous 
country to Baguio, formerly the summer 
capitol of the Philippines, supply units also 
relied heavily upon human carriers. The 
service company of the 129th Infantry alone 
employed approximately 1,000 Filipinos. 

Among other unusual logistical expedi- 
ents of the Luzon campaign was the use of 
pack animals, once indispensable compo- 
nents of every army and still on the out- 
break of war part of the U.S. military or- 
ganization in the Philippines. In anticipa- 
tion of future calls for animals from the 
field forces, the QMC in Australia had early 
procured hundreds of horses and mules 
and established a remount depot for break- 
ing them in. Actually, combat organizations, 
intent on the utmost mechanization, 
put in no requests for these beasts of 
burden, procurement ceased, and the depot 
closed. 73 On rare occasions when pack ani- 
mals were employed in the Pacific, it was 
only to meet exceptional needs. The few 

70 Sixth Army Luzon Rpt, III, 58. 

71 For a description of hand-carrying activities in 
the Hollandia campaign, see Smith, Approach to 
the Philippines, pp. 58, 62-67, 81, 126-28, 149, 322. 

72 Anon., "Luzon," QMR, XXV (July-August 
1945), 24. 

73 ( 1 ) Memo, S&D Div for Proc Div, OCQM 
USASOS, 18 Jan 43, sub: Proc of Horses. (2) Ltr, 
CG USAFFE to CG USASOS, 21 Nov 43, sub: Dis- 
posal of Surplus Horses and Pack Equip. Both in 
ORB AFWESPAC QM 454.1 (Horses). 



QUARTERMASTER PACK TRAIN moving toward the front on Luzon. 

beasts required in these emergencies were 
obtained from local sources and used on a 
purely provisional basis. 

This sort of improvisation was resorted 
to during the protracted fighting for 
Baguio in the spring of 1945. The moun- 
tainous terrain of that region could be trav- 
ersed only over steep trails generally im- 
passable to vehicles. Since the 33d Division 
could obtain few Filipino carriers, searchers 
scoured the countryside for horses and 
finally collected a group of forty-eight ani- 
mals, which they divided into four sections, 
each composed of twelve beasts. Captured 
Japanese horseshoes, pack saddles, and 
halters furnished the means of shoeing and 
equipping the animals. To each pack section 
were assigned three soldiers experienced in 
handling horses. Igorots, familiar with the 

dangerous trails, served as guides. 74 On mis- 
sions during April and May 1945 each 
horse carried a load of about 200 pounds, 
consisting in the main of ammunition, 
water, food, and other supplies front-line 
troops needed most. 

Filipino Labor 

Throughout the operations in the Philip- 
pines infantry divisions employed Filipinos 
as laborers as well as hand carriers. On 
Leyte the 24th Division began to hire them 
as early as A plus 3, when its Civil Affairs 
Officer and Commonwealth officials set up 
an employment office in Palo. During the 
following week they hired an average of 
450 civilians a day. The division quarter- 

74 Col Frank J. Sackton, "QM Pack Train on 
Luzon," QMTSJ, VIII (20 July 1945), 8-9. 



master used about 300 of these workers in 
handling supplies on the beach and the re- 
maining 150 in burying battle casualties. 
As the division advanced inland, the em- 
ployment office moved with it, but in the 
interior fewer Filipinos could be hired. 
Luckily, need for them temporarily slack- 
ened. From A plus 10 to A plus 23 the divi- 
sion obtained a daily average of only 125 
laborers, who were employed mainly in the 
construction of roads. During a rapid ad- 
vance between A plus 24 and A plus 31, 
about 300 Filipinos carried rations and am- 
munition to forward units.' 5 To a greater 
or smaller extent most divisions in the Philip- 
pines shared the experience of the 24th. 
After the 7th Division reached the west 
coast of Leyte, it employed women to wash 
and mend salvaged garments. These work- 
ers made considerable quantities of cloth- 
ing and equipment available for reissue. 
The women received no monetary wages 
but accepted in payment bits of unre- 
claimed cloth. 78 

With the reconquest of the Philippines 
the QMC shouldered a fresh responsibility, 
that of outfitting from head to foot Filipino 
guerrillas, who for almost three years had 
resisted the Japanese invaders and were now 
attached to the U.S. forces. In early May 
1945 there were nearly 51,000 guerrillas 
on Luzon alone. The task of clothing and 
equipping these new soldiers entailed the 
filling of heavy demands, which exceeded 
by a large margin prelanding estimates of 
probable needs. Protracted delays in the 
arrival of shipments scheduled against these 
inadequate estimates made the task espe- 
cially hard. Replacement stocks and cap- 
tured enemy equipment of necessity largely 

75 24th Div Hist Rpt, 20 Oct-25 Dec 44, Annex 
4, p. 96. 

76 7th Div King II G-4 Opn Rpt, App. E, pp. 

served as the source of initial issues. Since 
Filipinos were mostly of slight physique, 
small-sized shoes and work suits were in 
particularly big demand. On Leyte such 
items of issue were completely exhausted for 
several weeks, and everywhere in the archi- 
pelago the chronic size problem was 
intensified. 77 

Supply Operations on Okinawa 

The Okinawa offensive illustrated the 
logistical problems encountered by unex- 
pected failure to capture promptly modern 
ports vital to speedy discharge of cargoes. 
For nearly a month after it had been hoped 
that the docks of Naha, Yonabaru, and 
Baten would be receiving incoming cargoes, 
these ports remained in Japanese hands or 
under fire, forcing service and combat 
troops to carry out unloading activities over 
reefs and beaches. Logistical difficulties 
were worsened by torrential rains, violent 
wind storms, destructive air raids, and a 
demand for supplies — ammunition in par- 
ticular — substantially higher than had been 
foreseen. Adherence to preinvasion resup- 
ply schedules became impossible, and ships 
were called up for discharge, not according 
to plan, but in response to the most urgent 
needs of combat elements at the moment. 78 

In the very beginning, failure of tactical 
units to take ashore the prescribed quantity 
of supplies necessitated hurried issues from 
partly discharged B rations. These issues 
unbalanced subsistence stocks, disrupted 
other Quartermaster activities, and retarded 

77 (1) Sixth Army Luzon Rpt, III, 56. (2) 1st Lt 
Ashley W. Hancock, "Depot Company at Taclo- 
ban," QMTSJ, VII (20 April 1945), 6. 

7H Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. 
Gugeler, and John Stevens, Okinawa: The Last 
WAR II (Washington, 1948), pp. 403-06. 



the establishment of efficient supporting op- 
erations. Frequent interruptions in the un- 
loading of rations further unbalanced food 
stores. Such stoppages were caused mostly 
by the higher priority assigned to ammuni- 
tion, which was consumed in prodigious 
quantities. The discharge of a single ship 
with a cargo consisting mostly of rations 
occasionally took days. The subsistence sup- 
ply on shore became so limited for a time 
that quartermasters could establish no re- 
serve and had to issue food on a day-by-day 
basis. Class I dumps in general contained 
few B ration components; the remaining 
components lay aboard ship. In some sectors 
the QMC had few even of the incomplete 
B rations. For several weeks Headquarters, 
Tenth Army, and Island Command lived 
on emergency rations so that front-line 
troops could have B rations. 79 

Within a few weeks discharge conditions 
improved, and a fifteen-day stock of field 
rations became available. But at the same 
time American penetration to the southern 
end of Okinawa put several divisions 
twenty-five to thirty miles from Class I 
dumps. Since tactical units in this area em- 
ployed their organic trucks exclusively for 
carrying ammunition, Quartermaster ve- 
hicles hauled all the food they could direct 
to fighting troops; occasionally, rains and 
inpassable roads necessitated distribution by 
air. Emergency dumps, established close to 
the front and supplied by boat, eventually 
eased the situation. 80 

Class III items, which in general had a 
higher unloading priority than did rations, 
flowed smoothly to using organizations. By 
L plus 15 ample stocks had been landed; 
beach dumps were operating satisfactorily; 

70 Okinawa Island Com Actn Rpt, 13 Dec 44- 
30 Jun 45, 8-XV-5. 
"Ibid., 8-XV-6 to 8. 

and forward supply points had been set up 
to support both Marine Corps operations 
in the north and Army operations in the 
south. Because of expected delays in con- 
structing bulk storage tanks, the first three 
block shipments of petroleum products as 
well as the initial 30-day supply brought 
in by newly arriving units consisted wholly 
of packaged items, 65 percent of which 
came in 55-gallon drums. The remaining 
35 percent had been placed in 5-gallon cans 
to facilitate handling if trucks should be 
unavailable. Scarcity of service troops was 
the major Class III problem. The QMC 
had requested four gasoline supply com- 
panies, but only two were furnished. They 
worked on a twenty-four hour schedule and 
eventually employed forty-eight more tank 
trucks than were normally provided. Deep 
mud occasionally prevented the trucks from 
entering Class III dumps, and drivers at 
times came under fire. Petroleum issues 
nevertheless usually matched require- 
ments. 81 

Other Problems of Logistical Support 

Consumption Rates 

In all combat operations the amount of 
Quartermaster supplies actually received by 
tactical troops hinged upon the quantity 
transported by assault units and resupply 
vessels and upon discharge, storage, and 
distribution conditions. These determinants 
never proved to be the same for any two 
offensives. Even had they been, a precise 
statement of consumption rates under op- 
erational conditions could not ordinarily be 
made, for such a statement depended on 
complete records of stocks received and is- 
sued, and the necessarily incomplete organi- 
zation of Quartermaster activities in com- 

S1 Ibid., 8-XV-14 to 23. 



CLASS III SUPPLY DUMP at Red Beach, Leyte, P. I. 

bat zones seldom permitted such recording. 
In December 1943 the XIV Corps tried 
to determine what had been the consump- 
tion of the four classes of Quartermaster 
supply in the New Georgia campaign. The 
table below shows the estimated number of 
pounds in each class consumed daily by 
corps troops alone and by two divisions 
composing part of the corps: 

25 th 43d XIV 

Q_M Supply Class Division Division Corps 

Class 1 4.0 5.7 6.98 

Class II 0.3 0.5 4.86 

Class III 3.8 4.0 5.70 

Class IV 0.0 0.0 0. 14 

The larger figures for the XIV Corps prob- 
ably reflected the greater ease of supplying 

a2 Ltr, CG XIV Corps to CG USAFISPA, 15 
Dec 43, sub: Sup in Jungle Warfare. ORB 1'SA- 
FINC AG 422 (Jungle). 

corps troops who, much more than divi- 
sional troops, were likely to be stationed in 
rear areas where distribution ran into the 
fewest difficulties. Corps soldiers in general 
received ordinary field rations at an earlier 
date than did divisional units, which, for 
days, often had nothing better to eat than 
packaged combat rations. The dispropor- 
tionate consumption of Class II items by 
troops attached to the XIV Corps, ten- to 
sixteenfold greater than that of other units, 
reflected the differing availability of these 
articles. In rear areas stocks of this class 
were kept at about normal levels, whereas 
units going into combat carried only scanty 
quantities. Most startling of all was the ab- 
sence of any issue of Class IV supplies to 
front-line soldiers. The table indeed gives 
much justification for the constant com- 



plaint that "Them bastards in the back 
areas get all the good stuff." 

Class II and IV Problems 

Extremely restricted issues of Class II 
items — and even more of Class IV items — 
generally characterized operational supply. 
This situation was caused partly by the ship- 
ping shortage, which limited both initial 
and maintenance provision of articles hav- 
ing little direct relation to tactical activities 
and partly by low priorities assigned to 
delivery of clothing, equipment, and gen- 
eral supplies in combat zones. On Leyte, 
belated receipt of these items created so 
tight a supply condition on A plus 4 that 
their issue was completely halted in a few 
rear areas in order to provide supplies at the 
front. Only the opportune arrival of the first 
block ship carrying Quartermaster cloth- 
ing and equipment prevented an acute 
shortage. 83 During active fighting the higher 
priorities given to other items often reduced 
the flow of most Quartermaster Class II and 
IV supplies to forward units to a mere 
trickle or stopped it entirely. At such times 
only articles directly related to tactical ac- 
tivities or to the soldier's health, such as 
canteens, intrenching shovels, and ammuni- 
tion bags, were delivered promptly. 

Another cause of unsatisfactory Class II 
and IV distribution was the inadequacy of 
the replacement factors applied in deter- 
mining resupply needs. Often they were too 
low to match combat losses. Partly because 
of this deficiency, Class II and IV stock 
levels during the three months of fighting 
on Leyte "gradually dropped farther and 

'"Rpt, Maj Pasquale P. Maiorano, 22 Nov 44, 
sub: Obsvr's Rpt (Leyte). OQMG POA 319.25. 

farther" behind requirements. 84 The com- 
manding general of the XXIV Corps de- 
clared that the resultant scarcities ham- 
pered both combat efficiency and post- 
operational replenishment. Among the 
replacement factors enumerated by him as 
most markedly too low was that for the 
BAR (Browning automatic rifle) maga- 
zine belt, issued and resupplied in accord- 
ance with War Department T/O and E's 
at a rate only half that of the rifle itself. 
As this efficient firearm was being utilized 
more and more, the disparity in issues was 
swiftly reflected in a disturbing shortage 
of belts. In July 1 945 an OQMG observer's 
report from Okinawa revealed that BAR 
belts were almost as scarce there as they had 
been on Leyte. 85 Other important items for 
which existing factors proved inadequate 
were rubber boots, tarpaulins, tents, port- 
able typewriters, field ranges, and cooking 
outfits for small groups. 

In amphibious operations the heavier, 
less used items of individual equipment, 
such as blankets, ponchos, and shelter 
halves, were packed in interchangeable 
pouches, which base installations did not 
ship for some days after initial supply ves- 
sels had departed. Lighter personal equip- 
ment, such as extra garments, shoes, and 
toilet articles carried into combat, was nor- 
mally packed in soldiers' individual duffel 
bags before departure for the assault area, 
taken aboard ship, and left there tempo- 
rarily when the troops landed. Neither time 
nor men could be spared to separate these 

84 Ltr, CG XXIV Corps to CG POA, 19 Mar 45, 
sub: Replacement Factors on QM C&E. ORB 
Tenth Army AG 475 (QM). 

85 Rpt 2 (Okinawa series), Capt Orr, 12 Jul 45, 
sub: Sup of C and E and Rations on Okinawa. 
OQMG POA 319.25. 



bags by unit, and in an unsegregated state 
they were dumped on the beaches. 86 

During the New Georgia operation, the 
after action report of the 43d Division de- 
clared, so many bags were discharged not 
long after the assault waves had landed that 
the beaches became badly congested and the 
handling of other supplies was slowed. In 
practically all campaigns substantial losses 
of luggage occurred on the beaches because 
there was no covered storage to protect it 
from pilferers and unfavorable weather, too 
few men to handle the bags, and there were 
too few trucks to forward them to the appro- 
priate units. As days — perhaps weeks — 
elapsed before the interchangeable pouches 
left at rear basqs were forwarded, they, too, 
were often rifled. 87 

Other areas had similar difficulties. Col. 
Archibald R. MacKechnie, commander of 
the 162d Infantry in New Guinea, declared 
that the storage of clothing and equipment 
in duffel bags and interchangeable pouches 
generally meant "the complete loss" of these 
materials. 88 The 7th Division noted that on 
Leyte its regiments were "utterly incapable 
of removing all their baggage, and the Divi- 
sion Quartermaster lacked transportation 
and personnel to accomplish the task." For 
days the bags remained in open storage, and 
in consequence "losses by mildew and rot- 
ting amounted to as much as 75%." 89 The 
96th Division had a similarly disheartening 
experience in this offensive. Its 1st and 2d 
Battalions did not receive any substantial 
part of their duffel bags for four weeks, and 
even then only half of them were forwarded 

se Anon., "Class II in the Assault," QMTSJ, VIII 
(20 July 1945), 4-5. 

87 CG XIV Corps, n. d., Informal Rpt on Opns 
in New Georgia, p. 46. ORB AFWESPAC AG 

** Rpt, n. d., sub: Notes of the Campaign of the 
1 62d Inf Regt in New Guinea, p. 7. 

88 7th Div King II Opn Rpt, pp. 23-24. 

to the units at the front. Generally, even the 
bags that were delivered had previously 
been "pilfered by troops on the shore" who 
ripped open padlocked pouches with a knife 
and removed scarce articles. 90 Losses did not 
always cease with the receipt of luggage by 
the appropriate units. Soldiers engaging the 
enemy of necessity left their bags in unit 
dumps where they underwent further pil- 
ferage. Lacking adequate means of trans- 
porting and guarding such impedimenta, 
tactical units sometimes simply discarded 

All these losses combined with combat 
wear and tear to create large shortages in 
clothing and individual equipment. On 
Leyte, though 75 percent of the men in the 
383d Infantry had received their duffel bags 
and interchangeable pouches by the end of 
the first month, lost and stolen articles were 
so numerous that the regiment encountered 
considerable trouble in supplying shoes, 400 
men lacked ponchos, and a quarter of the 
unit had no socks. Yet it was regarded as 
better off than units which had received a 
smaller proportion of their bags. 91 

In the belief that a ready supply of cloth- 
ing could be secured only by moving extra 
garments in bulk lots, several divisions in 
the Okinawa campaign abandoned the use 
of individual duffel bags for each man. The 
7th Division was one of those which adopted 
the new method. When it embarked, each 
man took with him only clothing that he 
might need aboard ship. On landing he 
put these garments and a few other personal 
possessions in a small bag. These bags were 
then collected from each squad and stuffed 
into two larger bags. Sufficient duffel bags 
to carry extra clothing required in the post- 

90 Rpt, Lt Col Glenn J. Jacoby, n. d., sub: QM 
Activities 96th Inf Div, pp. 5-6. OQMG POA 

01 Ibid., p. 6. 



operational period were also placed in the 
squad bags. By doing away with the use of 
interchangeable pouches and individual 
duffel bags, the number of bags needed by a 
division of 20,000 men was reduced to 
3,000, a quantity that obviously could be 
handled and guarded more easily than 
could 20,000. Yet even this compromise did 
not correct all faults of the older system. 92 
Pilferage and unexplained losses, though on 
a smaller scale, continued. While the new 
method did not completely fulfill the hopes 
of its originators, Captain Orr, Quartermas- 
ter observer, thought that it had proved suc- 
cessful enough to justify employment in 
future operations. Actually, the problem of 
the disappearing bags was probably not 
much nearer a fully satisfactory solution 
than it had been in France in 1918 or in 
Europe in 1945. 

In other respects, also, the Okinawa op- 
eration reflected an improvement in Quar- 
termaster Class II and IV supply. New 
types of articles, some of which had been 
standardized as long as two years before, 
were for the first time available in the 
Pacific in reasonably adequate quantities. 
Moreover, the replacement factors used in 
determining the thirty-day maintenance al- 
lowances were somewhat more realistic than 
those previously employed. 93 Though the 
quantities of many items carried on block 
vessels still proved insufficient, unloading 
difficulties handicapped distribution activi- 
ties much more than did inadequate car- 
goes. As in the case of rations, hard fighting 
ashore precluded prompt discharge of Class 
II and IV items. Supply vessels, carrying 
all kinds of maintenance shipments, instead 
of being discharged simultaneously, as had 
been planned, were discharged selectively 

K Pp. 32-34 of Rpt cited n. 25. 
m Ibid. 

according to priorities that held up the de- 
livery of clothing and equipment. The de- 
lays, together with pilferage, caused acute 
shortages in some essentials like cots and 
tents. These, scarcities imperiled the proper 
care of the ill and wounded, but prompt 
establishment of priorities favoring medical 
installations alleviated this disturbing situ- 
ation. 94 

Class I Supply 

Special problems arose in the supply of 
Class I as well as Class II and IV items. 
Probably the most exasperating problem 
was the failure of many assault organiza- 
tions to take with them the prescribed num- 
ber of rations. As has already been noted, 
this failure caused much difficulty at the 
beginning of the Okinawa operation, and it 
was also a common source of trouble in 
other offensives. Nondivisional units in 
particular often neglected to take the stipu- 
lated rations with them. Commenting on 
this deficiency, Colonel Longino wrote: 

. . . More rigorous inspection of task forces 
before embarkation, closer supervision of the 
staging and loading of units, and more effec- 
tive safeguarding of stocks by commanders 
while en route would eliminate this trouble 
and greatly improve the fare of combat troops 
during the early stages of an operation. It 
would also greatly reduce the problems of 
resupply. 95 

Pilferage also contributed importantly to 
Class I scarcities. In referring to this wide- 
spread evil, Colonel Longino made the fol- 
lowing sharp observations: 

. . . While perhaps only a small fox nibbling 
at the edges of supplies as they left the United 
States, after depredations by ships' crews, 
leakages at intermediate bases, predatory in- 
cursions by the black marketeer, and the reck- 

94 Tenth Army Actn Rpt, 8-XV-9 to 12. 
nr ' Incl 2, Comment 13, of Ltr cited n. 5. 



less prodigality of combat troops themselves, 
pilferage assumed the proportions of a de- 
vouring wolf pack in the wake of which ran 
the spectre of insufficiency at the front. It 
seems incredible that commanders, usually so 
watchful against waste of food in mess kits, 
were not more concerned about the far more 
serious losses elsewhere. This applies to Class 
II supplies as well. Austerity at the front could 
be accounted for partially, at least, by over- 
stocked foot lockers of personnel at every 
stopping point along the pipe line of supply. 1 " 1 

Combatant Activities 
of Quartermaster Units 

While Quartermaster troops suffered far 
fewer casualties than did infantrymen, they 
were not entirely immune from the dangers 
of combat. Like other troops landed during 
early phases of amphibious operations, they 
normally underwent some artillery fire and 
bombing and strafing attacks, and during 
the course of an operation they underwent 
further air raids and artillery fire. Nor was 
their equipment safe. At Hollandia ovens 
of the 109th Quartermaster Bakery Com- 
pany sustained serious damage. Even after 
bakers had patched up this equipment, raid- 
ing bombers often interrupted bread- 
making and forced the unit to set up .50- 
caliber machine guns in order to protect 
their ovens. During the Hollandia opera- 
tion part of the 41st Quartermaster Com- 
pany, as has already been mentioned, went 
through a destructive Japanese air raid on 
White Beach 1, which caused several cas- 
ualties among unit members. This company 
encountered other hazards at Hollandia. 
Artillery fire imperiled its truck drivers and 
strafing attacks its service troops. When the 
campaign ended, ten members of the units, 
including the assistant division quarter- 
master, had suffered wounds. During the 

Biak operation, which followed immediately 
after the Hollandia operation, wounds were 
inflicted on five more enlisted men. The 
sixty-three casualties sustained by the 7th 
Quartermaster Company at Leyte was even 
more telling testimony of the perils that oc- 
casionally befell quartermasters. 97 

At times the possibility of Japanese at- 
tack forced units to set up perimeter de- 
fenses for their installations. In February 
1944, when intelligence officers at Bougain- 
ville warned that desperately hungry Japa- 
nese, seeking an honorable death, might at- 
tempt a headlong attack, Quartermaster 
troops of the Americal Division protected 
their entire area by building pillboxes and 
machine gun positions and putting up a 
barbed wire fence on which were hung noise 
devices made of Ml clips with a .30-caliber 
shell as a pendulum. All machine gun posi- 
tions and entrances to the area were kept 
under constant guard, and men from five 
truck platoons were assigned the defense of 
specific sectors of the perimeter line. De- 
tailed plans were made for the destruction 
of dumps and vehicles if that should prove 
necessary. While the expected Japanese at- 
tack did not materialize, the Quartermaster 
area underwent heavy artillery fire, and the 
first-aid station in the center of the perim- 
eter at one time was filled to capacity. 98 

Incidents that compelled QMC troops to 
engage in combat activities scarcely ever 
arose, but they occurred often enough to 
render almost pointless the venerable wit- 
ticism that "The only quartermasters killed 
in the last war were one who was hit in the 


07 (1) Hist Narrative of 41st QM Co for 1944, 
pp. 13-14. DRB AGO 341-QM-0.1 (28061) M 
1944. (2) See above, pp. 274-75. 

88 Anon., "Bougainville QM's Set Up Perimeter 
Defense for Their Installations," QMTSJ, V (29 
September 1944), 5-6. 



head by a case of beans and another who 
was killed in a rush to a chow line." :)9 

Emergency digressions into tactical tasks 
may have made the Corps seem a bit less 
"safe" than tradition pictured it, but only 
by satisfactory performance of the logistical 
responsibilities that ordinarily took up all its 
time and energy could the Corps truly fulfill 
its mission. The effective manner in which 
its supporting activities were usually con- 
ducted shows that it admirably met that 
test. The Corps provided in sufficient — often 
in more than sufficient — quantities the ma- 

99 William H. Peifer, "Quartermaster Troop Units 
in World War II," QMR, XXIX (May-June 
1950), 32. 

terials and services individual soldiers most 
needed to meet everyday necessities. Despite 
supply and manpower shortages, low pri- 
orities, mud, rain, rough terrain, and a 
general lack of the buildings, highways, 
railroads, and other commercial facilities 
available in economically well-developed 
lands, the Corps surmounted all obstacles. 
After the fall of the Philippines, the Amer- 
ican advance nowhere wavered be- 
cause Quartermaster supplies were not on 
hand. Though forward elements at times 
suffered temporary discomfort, enough 
food, clothing, gasoline, and equipment 
were always furnished to sustain American 
operations. The QMC could be justly proud 
of its achievements. 


Supplies and Equipment in 
Combat Use 

World War II brought in its train in- 
sistent demands for the development of new 
items of supply and equipment and for the 
betterment of old items. Military planners 
realized that unless these demands were met, 
at least in part, troops could not properly 
cope with the novel and unexpected exigen- 
cies of fighting that extended into every 
quarter of the globe. In an effort to keep 
Quartermaster items abreast of wartime re- 
quirements, the OQMG in Washington 
vastly enlarged its research and development 
program. Brig. Gen. Georges F. Doriot, 
who, as director of the Military Planning 
Division, headed this program, from the 
outset relied heavily upon the advice of tech- 
nically trained observers he sent overseas to 
obtain firsthand information about the 
capabilities of Quartermaster items and the 
needs of field forces. 1 From their recommen- 
dations and those of overseas quartermasters 
emanated many desirable changes and im- 
provements. Pacific theater experience and 
suggestions guided the course of much of the 
research and development work undertaken 
in the zone of interior. 

Jungle Supplies and Equipment 

Fighting had barely broken out on Bataan 
before it was demonstrated that the white 
color of clothing and equipment imperiled 
the lives of the hard-pressed defenders. Men, 
clad in white garments, made glaring tar- 
gets for enemy bombers and strafers. Troops 
bathing in streams might disclose their posi- 
tions if they did not conceal towels and un- 
derwear. Neglect of this essential precaution, 
Col. Thomas W. Doyle, veteran of Bataan, 
informed the OQMG on his return to the 
United States in July 1942, caused the death 
of one of his supply officers. Soldiers wash- 
ing underwear and handkerchiefs, he added, 
would ordinarily throw these telltale articles 
to the ground or dry them on a rock, but this 
practice, too, endangered their lives. In day- 
time anything white "had to be pulled in 
and covered up." 2 Attempts, not altogether 
unsuccessful, were made to color white ma- 
terials with the juice of berries and the tan- 
nin of tree bark. Experience on Guadalcanal 
confirmed the necessity of camouflage, but 
since coffee was more plentiful there than 
it had been in the Philippines, it constituted 

1 Risch, QMC: Organization, Supply, and Serv- 
ices, I, 76-77. 

a Lecture, Col Thomas W. Doyle, 25 Jul 42, sub: 
Recent Combat Conditions in Bataan and Matters 
of Interest to QMC. OQMG 319.25. 



the main coloring agent. 3 In the United 
States the OQMG, aware of the problems 
presented by bleached supplies and equip- 
ment in an age of air warfare, began to 
procure olive-drab rather than white under- 
wear, socks, handkerchiefs, and towels. Pro- 
duction bottlenecks for some months re- 
tarded the delivery of these new materials, 
but as 1943 progressed, larger and larger 
shipments of the colored items arrived in 
overseas areas. 4 

Meanwhile in the Southwest Pacific there 
had arisen the problem of what changes in 
Quartermaster supplies and equipment, 
particularly in the soldier's uniform, might 
be required by the extraordinary physical 
conditions found in such places as New 
Guinea. This problem was complicated by 
the marked variation in that island's ter- 
rain, which ranged from low-lying, insect- 
infested coastal areas through mountains 
and valleys covered with lush jungle 
growths and rain forests to high peaks with 
low night temperatures. Most of all, the 
problem was complicated by the lack of any 
special jungle clothing and equipment ex- 
cept for the bolo, which had been adapted 
from the long knife used by Filipinos for 
cutting their way through tangled under- 

Shortly after the catastrophic collapse of 
the Allied forces in Malaya, MacArthur's 
headquarters began to study the whole 
question of jungle equipment. The disas- 
trous Malayan campaign had convinced 
many U.S. Army officers that the smashing 
tactical success of the Japanese was ascrib- 
able mostly to their light, compact, and 

3 Memo, n. s., for Files, 17 Nov 42, sub: Interv 
on Jungle C and E in Solomons. Jungle Unit Read- 
ing File, R&D Br, Mil Ping Div OQMG. 

1 Memo, Mil Ping Div for Proc Div OQMG, 28 
Nov 42, sub: Colored Underwear. In same. 

easily portable equipment and their skillful 
utilization of camouflage. Japanese troops, 
it was claimed, moved swiftly and noiselessly 
through the most tangled vegetation, con- 
stantly infiltrating the lines of their over- 
loaded opponents, who were handicapped 
by unsuitable and inadequately camou- 
flaged garments and encumbered by heavy 
equipment that could not be moved with- 
out disclosing their presence. To determine 
what new items might be needed by Amer- 
ican troops, representatives of GHQ inter- 
viewed Dutch and British veterans of the 
war's opening campaigns and Americans 
who had lived for years in Pacific islands. 
On the basis of the jungle lore of these men 
a series of recommendations was submitted 

That agency was advised that the khaki 
cotton uniform and the papier-mache hel- 
met would both probably be suitable if 
they were well camouflaged by mottled 
patches of light green dye or by solid light- 
green coloring. Footwear presented the 
main problem. A boot that would last longer 
than the U.S. Army leather shoe in wet ter- 
rain, afford better protection against the 
entrance of mud and insects, and give a 
firmer footing on slippery grass slopes, was 
the basic requirement. Such a shoe might 
be "of the basketball type, with a strong 
canvas top, allowing water to drain out, and 
a thick corded rubber sole," and with the 
sides of the tongue sewed up to the top to 
prevent the entrance of leeches. 6 If a boot 
of this type could not be furnished, one mod- 
eled upon the hobnailed shoe worn by sol- 
diers of the Netherlands Indies was desired. 
That shoe was canvas-topped and leather- 

5 Memo, n. s., for CQM USAFI A, 1 3 Jun 42, sub : 
Changes in U.S. Uniform for Jungle Opns. ORB 




heeled and soled. Both this shoe and the 
proposed jungle boot, it was believed, would 
render leggings unnecessary. Leggings at 
best were unsatisfactory, for, being laced, 
they required eyeholes and so permitted the 
entrance of insects. Tightly rolled puttees, 
smeared with soap or tobacco juice, were 
thought to afford better protection. 

Finally, GHQ informed the Chief Quar- 
termaster that in tropical jungles soldiers 
could not carry as much individual equip- 
ment as they did in temperate climates and 
that it would therefore be necessary to 
lighten the weight of loaded packs. This 
goal, it was suggested, might be achieved by 
the issue of thinner blankets and by the elim- 
ination of gas masks and shelter halves. 
Instead of shelter halves troops might carry 
canvas sheets, each large enough to make a 
lean-to tent for one squad. Bolos, mosquito 
bars, matches in waterproof containers, 
emergency rations, and small cooking kits 
could not, it was thought, be discarded. 

Immediate need for jungle supplies and 
equipment developed in late July and early 
August, when the enemy landed in the Buna 
area of northern Papua and advanced south 
over the mountains toward Port Moresby, a 
development that obviously demanded re- 
taliatory action by U.S. and Common- 
wealth forces in order to protect the ap- 
proaches to Australia. MacArthur, hoping 
that the War Department could quickly fill 
his requirements for special items in the 
coming offensive, sent urgent requests to 
Washington for 150,000 jungle kits. Among 
the Quartermaster items that he especially 
wanted, aside from those previously rec- 
ommended to the Chief Quartermaster, 
were gloves, fitted with long gauntlets to 
protect the wrists from insects, and man- 

or animal-drawn vehicles especially de- 
signed for jungle transportation.' 

MacArthur's messages arrived in Wash- 
ington at a time when the OQMG was 
just starting work on experimental jungle 
items with the help of Capt. Cresson H. 
Kearny, a former oil geologist, who had 
worked for years in South American jungles 
and since the summer of 1941 had been 
designing and testing jungle equipment in 
Panama for the Caribbean Defense Area. 
Kearny had developed many special items 
of the sort asked for by the Southwest Pa- 
cific Area and some others as well, but few 
had been fully tested and none were being 
manufactured. Despite the lack of complete 
testing, the OQMG on receipt of Mac- 
Arthur's messages quickly placed produc- 
tion orders and late in August shipped 
model sets of the equipment by air to the 
Southwest Pacific Area for field study by 
tactical units. During the next few months 
this area submitted additional requisitions 
and by November had ordered more than 
250,000 sets. Shipments could not be started 
from San Francisco until late November 
and then only in partial completion of the 
requisitions. This long delay meant that 
MacArthur could not obtain the equipment 
in time for the Buna-Sanananda counter- 
offensive. That operation was accordingly 
carried out with items already on hand or 
items improvised and produced in Aus- 

The QMC in that country for a time 
considered the adoption of the Japanese, 

7 (1) Rad, MacArthur to CG SOS, 20 Jul 42. 
AFPAC AG 420. (2) Thomas M. Pitkin, Quar- 
termaster Equipment for Special Forces (QMC 
Historical Studies 5, February 1944), p. 206. 

8 (1) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Spe- 
cial Forces, pp. 200-206. (2) Ltr, TQMG to CG 
USAFIA, 24 Aug 42, sub: Jungle Equip. ORB 
SWPA AG 381. (3) Rad, CofS to CINCSWPA, 14 
Nov 42. ORB AFPAC AG 381. 



British, and Australian practice of wearing 
only shorts and open-necked, short-sleeved 
shirts. Though Australian officers insisted 
that this custom kept their men cooler and 
more comfortable, the idea of adopting it 
for American use was abandoned when re- 
ports were received that 30 percent of the 
Australian troops in New Guinea were suf- 
fering from malaria or from body scratches 
and infections that could have been pre- 
vented had they been better covered. De- 
spite GHQ's initial preference for the cotton 
khaki uniform, the OCQM concluded that 
the herringbone twill Army work suit was 
the best garment immediately available for 
jungle warfare. It stood up better than did 
the cotton khaki uniform under the rough 
usage of combat areas where soldiers often 
had to crawl over the ground and force their 
way through tangled vegetation, and its 
gray-green color could be more easily cam- 
ouflaged to blend with green foliage than 
could the yellowish-brown of khaki apparel. 
The two-piece work suit was chosen in pref- 
erence to the one-piece coverall because it 
afforded more ventilation and did not re- 
quire soldiers using latrines virtually to un- 
dress themselves. Work suits of troops bound 
for forward areas were camouflaged as a 
matter of course. In conjunction with the 
Corps of Engineers, which normally did the 
camouflaging, the QMC determined what 
shades and color designs were most appro- 
priate, but the haste that necessarily accom- 
panied the preparations for an early offen- 
sive precluded extensive use of pattern 
designs. Work suits in general were simply 
dyed a darker color. There was at first un- 
certainty as to what shade of green was best, 
but though many suits were at first dyed a 
darker green, No. 7 olive drab was the shade 
finally selected. Unfortunately, much of the 

locally procured dye, the main source of 
camouflaging material, speedily faded. 9 

Since enemy snipers had much success in 
picking off soldiers who wore distinctive 
clothing and insignia or carried visible weap- 
ons, camouflage was applied not only to 
work suits but also to mosquito nets, tents, 
and other canvas equipment, and to per- 
sonal equipment of light color or shiny ap- 
pearance which might reveal the presence 
of Americans. Even helmets were covered 
with camouflaged burlap tucked around the 
bottom between the liner and the steel shell. 
Before the 3 2d Division moved against the 
Japanese, it developed a mass-production 
system for the rapid spraying of materials to 
be dyed. In accordance with a prearranged 
schedule units brought both their organiza- 
tional and individual equipment to the cam- 
ouflaging plant, which immediately applied 
the necessary coloring; the units then car- 
ried away the wet items and dried them. The 
41st Division followed the same general pro- 
cedure but colored equipment by dipping it 
into the dye-filled vats of an Australian 
brewery. 10 

Neither the work suit nor its camouflaging 
proved fully satisfactory in the Buna-Sana- 
nanda offensive. Unit reports convinced 
most Southwest Pacific quartermasters that 
herringbone twill was not sufficiently porous 
for prolonged wearing in the tropics. It ab- 
sorbed more moisture and dried out more 
slowly than did other cotton materials and 
made the wearer almost unbearably hot 
within a few hours. 11 Even the desirability of 

9 (I) Memo, CQM for G-4, 1 Dec 42, sub: 
Sniper Suits. ORB AFWESPAC QM 420. (2) QM 
SWPA Hist, III, 111-12. 

10 (1) Memo, CQM for G-3, 22 Jun 42, sub: 
Camouflaging Tents. ORB AFWESPAC QM 424. 
(2) Memo, Col Horace Harding for CofS I Corps, 
1 1 Nov 42, sub: Visit to New Guinea. ORB I Corps 
AG 384. 

"QM SWPA Hist, III, 112. 



CAMOUFLAGED JUNGLE SUIT. Note the jungle boots worn by the soldier, and the 
camouflaged helmet. 

dyeing the work suit was challenged. Ac- 
cording to Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, 
commander of the I Corps at Buna, the col- 
oring "closed the 'breathing spaces' in the 
cloth." 12 The dye used to impart a darker 
green to the gray-green shade ran and even- 
tually "got a grayish-green anyway after 
having been in the mud for some time."' 13 
In many instances "during the recent ac- 
tion," Eichelberger asserted, "the undyed 
uniform was less conspicuous than the 
dyed." In other instances "the dyed uni- 
form seemed slightly the better." The mar- 

° Robert L. Eichelberger, Our Jungle Road to 
Tokyo (New York, N. Y. : Viking Press, 1950), 
p. 39. 

"Rpt, Brig Gen Jens A. Doe, n. d., sub: Ob- 
servations in Sanananda Area, 1-25 Jan 43. OQMG 
SWPA 319.25. 

gin of preference, he declared, was "so 
slight" that the decisive elements in the final 
conclusion that camouflaging of work suits 
ought to be abandoned were the delay and 
the cost of coloring uniforms plus the fact 
that unfixed dyes faded and ran. 14 

Besides making a jungle combat uniform 
out of work suits, the QMC in August had 
arranged for Australian manufacture of 
about 2,500 pairs of green sniper shoes, 
which were inspired by the apparent value 
of comparable footwear to Japanese troops. 
These shoes, similar to gymnasium or tennis 
shoes, were to be used by scouting patrols 
since they made less noise than did service 

14 Ltr, CG I Corps to CG Sixth Army, 22 May 43, 
sub: Dyeing Herringbone Twill Uniforms. ORB I 
Corps AG 421. 



shoes. 1 ' 5 Service shoes, converted into hob- 
nailed footwear for the sake of firmer footing 
on slippery, stony, and mountainous terrain 
and provided with heel plates and rawhide 
laces, were a common foot covering. After 
troops of the 3 2d Division had their regular 
shoes hobnailed, they discovered that the 
hobs quickly fell out of old leather soles. 
As far as practicable new shoes were accord- 
ingly issued to soldiers about to go into the 
combat zone. Late in the year small quanti- 
ties of footwear procured in Australia and 
hobbed in manufacture became available 
and gave less trouble than did the converted 
type, but both varieties disintegrated rapidly 
in the mud around Buna. Constant soak- 
ing, with no opportunity for complete dry- 
ing, quickly rotted the leather, and some 
shoes wore out in only ten days. In early 
1943 a small quantity of American-made 
service shoes with composition soles arrived 
in New Guinea. They proved much more 
satisfactory than leather-soled footwear and 
did not disintegrate so swiftly. 16 

The canvas-topped jungle boot, devel- 
oped in the United States as part of the spe- 
cial equipment for the Pacific, did not 
arrive in New Guinea soon enough to be 
utilized widely in MacArthur's initial of-