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U. S. Naval Logistics 
in the Second World War 

Naval War College 
Logistics Leadership Series 

Book Four 

This is the fourth book in the U.S. Naval War College Logistics 
Leadership Series. 

For additional research in this area, refer to the first three books 
in the series: Pure Logistics by George C. Thorpe; Logistics in the 
National Defence by Henry E. Eccles; and Beans, Bullets, and 
Black Oil by Rear Admiral Worrall Reed Carter, published by 
the Naval War College Press. 

Dust jacket illustration: Fueling an Elco 80-foot PT boat with 
"high octane" from a forward base on the Morobe River, New 
Guinea, during the early part of World War II. Painting by 
Andrew Small, Newport, Rhode Island. 






A Naval War College Press Edition 

in the 

Logistics Leadership Series 



Vice Admiral William J. Hancock, U.S. Navy 
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics) 



Captain John E. Jackson, SC, U.S. Navy 

Military Chair of Logistics 

U.S. Naval War College 

Naval War College Press 

Newport, Rhode Island 


Reprinted by permission of Princeton University 


(c) 1947 by Princeton University Press 

This edition published in 1998 by the Naval War 
College Press, Newport, R.I. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Ballantine, Duncan S., 1912- 

U.S. Naval logistics in the Second World War / Duncan 
S. Ballantine ; foreword by William J. Hancock ; 
introduction by John E. Jackson. 

p. cm. — (Logistics leadership series ; bk. 4) Originally 
published: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 

Includes bibliograpical references and index. 

1. United States. Navy. 2. World War, 
1939-1945 — Naval operations, American. 3. World 
War, 1939-1945 — Equipment and supplies. 4. 
Logistics, Naval. I. Title. II. Series. 
D773.B34 1998 

940.54'5973— dc21 98-27460 


Printed in the United States of America 


Foreword , vh 

by William J. Hancock, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy 

Introduction ix 

by John E.Jackson, Captain, SC, U.S. Navy 

Preface xxiii 

Chapter I. Logistics in Modern Naval Warfare . . 1 

The Meaning of Logistics 1 

Logistics Old and New .......... 8 

The First World War 20 

Between Two Wars 25 

r ) 

Chapter II. The Second World War: First Phase . . 38 

Outbreak of War 38 

Organization for War 45 

Plans and Programs 54 

Advance Bases 60 

Transportation 76 

Logistic Support in the Theaters 93 

Chapter III. The Beginnings of Method 101 

July 1942-March 1943 101 

Logistic Planning 104 

Assemblies and Advance Bases 110 

Transportation 117 

The Basic Logistic Plan 123 

Chapter IV. Build-up For The Offensive 132 

The Navy Department 135 

The Continental Establishment 144 


Logistic Development in the Theaters .... 151 

Summary of Two Years of Logistic Effort . 160 

Chapter V. Logistics in Total War 167 

Chapter VI. The Navy Department 181 

Basic Planning 181 

Progress Review and Inventory Control . . 194 

Chapter VII. Distribution 205 

The Nature of the Distribution Task . . . 205 

West Coast Logistic Organization 208 

Continental Distribution 215 

Shipping Control . 225 

Summary . 244 

Chapter VIII. The Conclusion of the War 248 

Setting the Stage 248 

The Material Distribution Committee . . . 255 
The Joint Army-Navy Shipping and 

Supply Conference 263 

The Requirements Review Board 273 

Distribution Control 275 

Shipping in the Pacific Theater 282 

Roll-Up . 285 

Chapter IX. Logistic Lessons of the War 287 


INDEX 302 


When Neil Armstrong left the first footprints on the 
moon, he personified the entire U.S. space program. While 
he alone stood on the Sea of Tranquillity, he symbolically 
represented the hundreds of thousands of employees in 
government and in private industry who had labored for 
decades to provide him with the opportunity to make this 
historic step. It took organization, administration, and 
(pardon the term) bureaucracy to accomplish a task that was 
clearly beyond the capabilities of any one individual. As 
important as these behind-the-scenes players may have been, 
rarely have they been adequately recognized for their efforts. 
Of course, failure to pay tribute to the less visible members 
of a team is not a new phenomenon. 

An even larger group of "back-stage players" accom- 
plished a myriad of critical support tasks during the Second 
World War. While certainly less inspiring than space travel, 
winning this war demanded far greater sacrifices and required 
far more extensive organizational and administrative skills. 
Duncan S. Ballantine's U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World 
War tells superbly the rarely heard tale of the "administrative 
warriors" who created and managed the largest logistical 
pipeline in military history. This book helped me to 
recognize the full measure of their contributions to the war 
effort, and I belatedly salute the dedicated men and women 
who carried the load so magnificently over five decades ago. 
This Foreword also allows me to salute the equally dedicated 
logisticians and administrators who shoulder a similar burden 
today. They labor not to win a war, but to preserve peace. 

This is the fourth volume in the Naval War College's 
Logistics Leadership Series. Like the earlier books in the series, 
it provides a strong historical foundation that can be helpful 
in putting our current problems and challenges into proper 
perspective. I recommend it to logisticians and warfighters 


alike, and believe it to be a worthy companion to the earlier 

Recalling the remarkable accomplishments of my 
predecessors always buoys my spirits as I tackle the next crisis 
that crosses my desk. I hope you find equal value in the lessons 
of the past and get an equal boost to your motivation to face 
the future! 

WiAliam J. Hancock 

e Admiral, U.S. Navy 
Deputy Chief of Naval 
perations (Logistics) 


In modern times it is a poorly qualified strategist 
or naval commander who is not equipped by 
training and experience to evaluate logistic factors 
or to superintend logistic operations. 

- Duncan S. Ballantine, 1947 

This statement, by noted historian and educator Duncan 
S. Ballantine, rather succinctly establishes his belief in the 
important role that logistical planning and execution play in 
virtually every military operation. Ballantine served on the 
historical staffof the Chief of Naval Operations during World 
War II, and from this position he was able to witness logistical 
successes as well as failures during the latter portions of the 
war. His scholarly work was performed as part of a 
government-wide project to document the administrative 
history of the war. It was later published as a doctoral 
dissertation and then as a commercial book. While most 
war-time histories focus on great battles and powerful 
weapons, Ballantine's work is valued for its chronicles of 
behind-the-scenes management which, while garnering no 

Captain John E.Jackson, Supply Corps, United States Navy, has 
served in a series of logistics assignments both afloat and ashore over 
the past 27 years. A Distinguished Naval Graduate of the Naval 
Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of New Mexico, he 
holds master's degrees in education and in management and is 
currently a doctoral candidate at Salve Regina University. He is also 
a graduate of the Management Development Program at Harvard 
University. In 1994 he was appointed by the Deputy Chief of Naval 
Operations (Logistics) to hold the Frederick J. Home Military 
Chair of Logistics at the U.S. Naval War College. An author, 
logistician, and educator, he is listed in Who's Who in America. 


headlines, contributed greatly to the ultimate success of the 

The U.S. Navy of the 1 930s was a fraction of what it would 
become only a decade later. The Washington Treaties of 
1922, which set limits on the size of naval forces that could 
be maintained by the major powers along the Pacific Rim, 
effectively hobbled the development of a strong American 
presence in this important region. Ballantine reports: ". . . 
the Navy was first reduced by treaty to what was in fact only 
a hemisphere force and then allowed by successive 
Congresses to fall even below treaty strength." The 
administrative and maintenance infrastructure that supported 
this small peace-time fleet would prove totally inadequate to 
manage the explosive growth that occurred once war was 
declared. Tremendous "growing pains" were experienced as 
a new (and global) command, control, and support system 
was created to meet the demands of the greatest war in human 
history. The heart of Ballantine's book is his analysis of the 
administrative side of the U.S. Navy's remarkable transition 
from an aging fleet left over from World War I to the most 
powerful blue-water navy ever assembled. 

About the Author 

Duncan Smith Ballantine was born in Garden City, New 
York, on 5 November 1912 to Raymond and Amy Smith 
Ballantine. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1930 
and Amherst College in 1934. He earned a master of arts 
degree in history from Harvard University in 1936 and began 
his teaching career at Gow School in South Wales, New 
York, later that year. During World War Two, he joined the 
U.S. Naval Reserve and spent a year in the South Pacific 
followed by two years in the historical section of the office 
of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Early in the war, 
at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 


federal government established a project (under the 
supervision of the Bureau of the Budget) to document for 
future generations the administrative aspects of the war effort. 
In February 1943, Professor Robert G. Albion was given 
charge of the Navy portion of this project. From May 1944 
to May 1946, Duncan S. Ballantine was assigned as one of 
the "principal historians" in the office of the CNO. During 
this period he worked closely with senior leaders, other 
historians, and the Director of Naval History, Rear Admiral 
V.J. Murphy, to document the administrative history of U.S. 
naval logistics during the war. The resulting manuscript 
formed the basis of his doctoral dissertation at Harvard 
University, where Ballantine earned a Ph.D. in history in 
1947. The work was later published by Princeton University 
Press as U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World War. 

His continuing scholarly interest in national security affairs 
was demonstrated in a lengthy letter to the editor of the New 
York Times, published in April 1950. Co-authored by such 
luminaries as McGeorge Bundy, John Kenneth Galbraith, 
and Arthur M. Schlesinger, the letter took issue with what 
they perceived as America's misplaced faith in the value of 
"atomic weapons" as the primary tool of national defense. 
They wrote, "The development of an adequate ground army, 
the strengthening of our tactical air wing, the supply and 
logistic components, including the provision for air transport, 
the development of anti-submarine and other specialized 
naval forces, the use of the draft — all these problems pose 
questions not easily answered." They went on to state: 
"United States strategy today is not well equipped to deal 
with problems of limited aggression . . . the United States 
may have no effective response except atomic war." The 
wisdom of these statements would be borne out in short order 
with the outbreak of the "limited aggression" which is 
normally referred to as the Korean War. This conflict, and 
later events around the globe, would demonstrate the limited 


utility of nuclear weapons and the need to maintain strong 
and flexible conventional forces. 

After leaving the Navy, Ballantine taught history at the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1947 until 1952. 
He then began a successful career in educational 
administration, serving as President of Reed College in 
Portland, Oregon, from 1952—1955. In February 1955, he 
was appointed President of Robert College (the oldest 
American school abroad) and the American College for Girls, 
both in Istanbul, Turkey. During his tenure as President, he 
directed the merger of the two schools, resulting in the 
creation of the first Western-style, co-educational college in 

In 1962, Dr. Ballantine made a major career change when 
he entered the field of international banking. He served for 
ten years as Director of Education Project Financing at the 
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
(better known as the World Bank). In this position he was 
responsible for evaluating and funding wide-ranging 
educational projects in developing nations. After his 
retirement in 1972, he continued to serve periodically as a 
consultant to the World Bank. He died at his home in 
Bethesda, Maryland, on 28 December 1993. 

The Essence of Naval Logistics in the Second World War 

The necessity of studying military administration and 
industrial readiness may not at first be obvious, but Ballantine 
quickly establishes the need when he states: "It is through 
organization that the potential resources of a nation are 
transmuted into instruments of force at the disposal of our 
military and naval leadership." He is quick to point out that 
many military officers have little interest in how civilian 
industry produces the tools of warfare. He believes, however, 
that they should understand the nature of industry and its 


limitations. He states: "The subject matter of this book deals 
therefore with that limbo between the factory and the 
beachhead in which economic and military considerations 
are inextricably woven together." 

In chapter I, his excellent treatment of "Logistics in 
Modern Warfare" is, in itself, worth the price of the book! 
He establishes the scope of the task when he states: 

Naval logistics during the Second World War embraced 
all the activities essential to build, support and maintain naval 
fighting forces. It comprised, therefore, a single, broad effort, 
rooted in the productive economy of the nation and 
extending through successive phases of planning, 
procurement and distribution of men and material to the 
theater of military operations. 

Early on he tackles the problem of the war-fighters' lack 
of knowledge and interest in logistics. He calls this "the line 
officer's traditional inclination to leave matters of 
'housekeeping' to the paymasters." He cites the military 
genius Karl von Clausewitz, who drew clear distinctions 
between strategy and tactics and that thing called "logistics." 
By contrast, Ballantine states: 

The sounder theory, which accords more closely with the 
facts of modern warfare, is that logistics is not something 
distinct from strategy and tactics, but rather an integral part 
of both; that an understanding of the problems inherent in 
creating and, even more important, in maintaining naval 
forces in fighting condition in the theater of operations is 
essential to high naval command. 

America's premier naval strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan, 
rarely used the term "logistics," but he clearly recognized in 
his writings the importance of logistics as the foundation of 
sustained maritime operations. At the Naval War College in 
1888, he identified as one of the neglected subjects of naval 
science "the secondary matters connected with the 


maintenance of warlike operations at sea." He went on to 
say, "It would be amusing, were it not painful, to see our 
eagerness to have fast ships, and our indifference to supplying 
them with coal." 

Ballantine's first chapter establishes a strong foundation of 
logistical fundamentals; details the sorry pre-war state of navy 
logistics in the Pacific; and sets the stage for the outbreak of 
the Second World War. Chapters II through VIII provide a 
very detailed analysis of the efforts taken within the War 
Department in general, and the Navy Department in 
particular, to administratively control the burgeoning 
logistics juggernaut that was attempting to meet the demands 
of fighting forces engaged in a global conflict. The book 
alternates between reviewing the activities taking place in the 
field (which many readers will find more interesting) and the 
headquarters activities happening in Washington. He is 
highly critical of the disorganization and lack of focus that 
existed during the early months of the conflict. He discusses 
in detail the in-fighting that took place between the various 
bureaus and government agencies. Many efforts would be 
made to remedy these problems, and some readers may be 
surprised by the large number of studies and reviews that were 
conducted (even while the bullets were flying) by 
commercial firms such as Booz, Allen and Hamilton and by 
panels of experts from industry and academia. The 
bureaucratic war, while less bloody than the battles 
conducted on foreign fields, appears to have been no less 

The purpose of this introduction is to provide a sense of 
the material contained in the book and to entice readers into 
investing some time in its study. Careful readers will learn 
much about such concepts as the "BBBs or Basic Boxed 
Bases"; about "Lions, Cubs, and Acorns"; and about 
"Galapagos Units." They will learn about instances when the 
services worked together for a common cause as well as 


instances when, as Pogo cleverly noted, "We have met the 
enemy . . . and they are us." Readers will also take away an 
increased appreciation for the impact of rarely considered 
limitations such as port capacity and shore-side storage within 
the United States. 

The book concludes with some overall observations. He 
notes that at its peak, 600,000 long tons per month were 
being shipped from the United States! He comments that: 
"The magnitude of this operation bears witness to the 
remarkable expansion and development of the Navy's logistic 
system. Physically this vast structure of support was as 
spectacular and impressive as the naval striking force which 
it so tirelessly maintained." 

His all-to-brief final chapter summarizes a number of the 
logistics lessons of the war, identifying, in some cases, issues 
that still remain to be fully addressed a half-century later! 
Most significant may be the continuing issue of the manner 
in which logistical expertise is developed within the service. 
Ballantine states: 

The problem of developing logisticians within the ranks 
of the regular Navy is part of the broader problem of all 
specialists within the naval organization, whether it be the 
engineer, the supply officer, the research scientist or the 
administrator. In this day of specialization the notion must 
be abandoned that every naval officer can be all things 
successfully. ... It will not suffice merely to make a specialist 
of the logistician, for logistics is part of the exercise of 
command . . . the record of the Second World War suggests 
that the naval commander must be indoctrinated in the 
problems of providing as well as making use of the means of 

A Classic Resurrected 

This reprint is the fourth volume in the Naval War 
College's Logistics Leadership Series. As with the first three 


volumes (Pure Logistics, Logistics in the National Defense, and 
Beans, Bullets and Black Oil), this book falls into the category 
of "lost treasures." By this we mean books that have 
significant historical value and interest, but have been largely 
unavailable to modern readers. The decision to bring this 
classic "back to life" and to make it available to current 
scholars and logisticians was made by Vice Admiral William 
J. Hancock, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations 
(Logistics). His generous support and encouragement made 
this project possible. The leadership of Naval War College 
President, Rear Admiral James R. Stark, and talents of editor 
Patricia Goodrich and other professionals at the Naval War 
College Press made it a reality. 

Each morning I report for duty in Luce Hall, the same 
building in which Alfred Thayer Mahan once taught, and I 
try valiantly to keep up with the job once held in the 
mid— 1930s by a young officer named Raymond Spruance. 
As a collateral duty, I hold the Frederick J. Home Military 
Chair of Logistics, named in honor of the Vice Chief of Naval 
Operations who was primarily responsible for logistical 
planning and execution during World War II. In such an 
environment, one can hardly avoid being moved by the 
profound sense of history that permeates the entire Naval 
War College. Since its founding in 1884, the college has 
existed for one purpose: to educate the men and women 
destined to lead our Navy and our nation in times of peace 
and in periods of conflict. 

The purpose of the Logistics Leadership Series is to 
augment the basic education received by all War College 
students and to extend this education throughout the officer 
corps and to senior civilian employees in the national security 
arena. As a professional logistician, I feel a particular calling 
to spread the "gospel of logistics" far and wide. I truly believe, 
as Mahan once said, that "Logistics is as vital to military 
success as daily bread is to daily work." It is hoped that by 



recalling the logistical lessons of history, our future leaders 
will be better prepared to meet the awesome challenges of 
preventing war whenever possible, and winning war 
whenever necessary. 


John Edward Jackson 
Captain, Supply Corps 
United States Navy 

U.S. Naval War College 
Newport, Rhode Island 
Summer 1998 

The pages that follow are reprints of the original 1947 
edition. This printing follows the original, and retains 
the style of the author. The only changes made are 
corrections of typographical errors and minor 
modifications of format. 



THE distinguishing feature of modern warfare is its 
inclusiveness. Two experiences of so-called total 
war within the first half of the present century 
have demonstrated conclusively that the military 
decision is not made upon the field of battle alone. 
Into that decision there enter now, as major factors, elements 
of political, economic, psychological, and scientific character 
which in an earlier age were of relatively minor importance. 
The capacity of a nation to wage war is the sum of many 
factors, among which its raw material resources, manufac- 
tures, transportation, network, merchant marine, laborato- 
ries, schools, and working population are but a few 
outstanding examples. Therefore, if we would understand 
the warfare of modern times, not simply as a phase in the 
social, political, or economic life of the nation but in the more 
precise sense of its military history, we must recognize that 
the interplay between civilian and military effort is more 
active and pervasive than ever before. 

These various resources of a nation do not in themselves 
represent military force. For all these constituent elements of 
military power organization is the catalytic agent. It is through 
organization that the potential resources of a nation are 
transmuted into instruments of force at the disposal of our 
military and naval leadership. It is organization in the last analysis 
that transforms a market economy into a war economy and 
through which the strategically desirable and the economically 
possible are brought into consonance with each other. 

In its civilian aspects the problem of wartime economic 
organization is immeasurably better understood than it was 
thirty years ago. But there are two serious dangers inherent 
in the great attention which has been justifiably focused upon 
that panoply of agencies for war production, manpower, 
prices, finance, and the mobilization of material resources 


which make up the civil side of wartime administration. The 
first danger is that in the study of this area of organization by 
civilian economists and historians, it may come to be regarded 
as the whole or at least the only significant portion of our 
economic life during war. The peculiar atmosphere of 
urgency, shortage, and haste which results from the 
dominance of military imperatives, and which conditions 
most of our judgments at the time, begins to evaporate as 
soon as the danger is past. It can be kept in mind only by 
referring constantly from the area of civil administration to 
the arena of military conflict in which all problems of wartime 
organization have their origin. 

The second danger is that military and naval officers may 
fall back once again into that comforting assumption that the 
economic aspects of war are not really part of their 
professional concern. No assumption could be more 
dangerous to the future of our military security, for while the 
greater portion of our economic organization for war is 
undoubtedly the responsibility of civilians, there is, 
nevertheless, a significant area of economic activity that falls 
within the province of military administration and is distinct 
from what is normally regarded as economic organization for 
v/ar. The tools of war are fabricated under civilian auspices, 
it is true, but to specifications and schedules, and in quantities 
fixed by military planners in response to the needs of a given 
military situation. Before these tools reach the point where 
they are consumed or utilized in fighting, they must pass, 
moreover, into the military support system for allocation and 

The subject matter of this book deals therefore with that 
limbo between the factory and the beachhead in which 
economic and military considerations are inextricably woven 
together. It is this link function between purely economic 
and purely military effort which in the past has been the 
greatest blind spot of both the civilian and the professional 


naval officer. If this book can shed some light on the nature 
and significance of the function, it will have served its 

The catalogue of my indebtedness is indeed a long one. I 
must first acknowledge my debt to all of my associates in the 
historical section of the Chief of Naval Operations. Their 
preliminary studies, listed in the bibliography, form the basis 
of this overall study of naval logistics. In particular I should 
like to mention Elting E. Morison, who brought to our group 
effort a wide acquaintance with naval affairs and an 
enlightened direction. To the open-mindedness of Admiral 
F. J. Home, this book owes more than can be told. His 
conviction that the Navy might be served by informed 
criticism opened to his historical section many doors that 
would otherwise have remained closed and provided an 
atmosphere for objective investigation as favorable as might 
be desired. Countless other officers in both the regular Navy 
and the Reserve have offered insight into the problems of 
naval logistics. In particular I am indebted to Rear Admiral 
V.J. Murphy, Director of Naval History, and his successor, 
Captain J. B. Heffernan, for many helpful suggestions. I must 
also thank Richard Leopold and David Owen of Harvard 
University who have read the manuscript and given me the 
benefit of their criticism. Similarly Robert G. Albion of 
Princeton University, Director of Naval Administrative 
History, has lent assistance in countless ways. If this book 
owes more than is customary, however, to the assistance of 
other people, its deficiencies are no less my own 



The Meaning of Logistics 

In its broadest definition the term logistics signifies the 
total process by which the resources of a nation— mate- 
rial and human— are mobilized and directed toward the 
accomplishment of military ends. Officially naval logis- 
tics has been defined as "the supply of material and 
personnel, including the procurement, storage, distribution 
and transportation of material, and the procurement, hous- 
ing, training, distribution and transportation of personnel, 
together with the rendering of services to Naval operating 
forces/' Comprehensive and suggestive though that defini- 
tion is, it tells little of the real factors and forces which 
determine the nature of the logistic process during war. 
For logistic support is an integral part of the function of 
making war. It can be understood only in its relation on the 
one hand to the end it serves and on the other to the sources 
from which it springs. 

Naval logistics during the Second World War embraced 
all the activities essential to build, support and maintain 
naval fighting forces. It comprised, therefore, a single, broad 
effort, rooted in the productive economy of the nation and 
extending through successive phases of planning, procure- 
ment and distribution of men and material to the theater 
of military operations. There the elements of naval power, 
fashioned, selected and distributed by the logistic process, 
were consumed or utilized in the direct act of making war. 
Broadly conceived, the logistic process is thus the means 
whereby the raw warmaking capacity of the nation is trans- 
lated into instruments of force ready to be employed in 
pursuit of strategical or tactical objectives. As such it is both 


an economic and a military undertaking. It is also both a 
military and a civilian task. At their sources the elements 
of logistic support are produced and procured through 
means which are economic, commercial and civilian in 
character. Progressively, as elements move through the 
logistic system from factory to beachhead or battleline, the 
process by which they are made available for consumption 
becomes more military. 

The whole of the process, it is obvious, is conditioned 
by a military end and takes its form, therefore, from the 
nature of the military task to be performed. In no sense is 
any phase of it a normal economic or commercial under- 
taking. It is carried on in the wholly unnatural environment 
of war which in modern times at least has tended to in- 
filtrate the total life of the nation. Yet with respect to the 
problems encountered and the assumptions, techniques and 
forms of organization required there is a wide gulf between 
the business of procuring and producing at one end of the 
process and planning and distributing for consumption at 
the other. 

Production, even for total war, must be carried on within 
the framework of the nation's whole economy, and under 
such conditions as Lend-Lease it may perhaps have to be 
governed by considerations even broader than the nation's 
own requirements. In any case it is the province of the 
government economist and the skilled producer, for despite 
its subservience to military ends, it is by nature a civil 
function. On the other hand, logistic planning, which is the 
determination of what is required to achieve strategic ob- 
jectives, and the allocation and distribution of munitions 
and supplies once they are procured are equally the 
responsibility of the professional naval or military officer, 
into whose hands is entrusted the conduct of the militarv 

On the basis of this distinction logistics may be divided 
into two main parts, the first being the logistics of produc- 


tion and the second the logistics of consumption. The 
former is that phase of logistic effort which is carried on 
under civilian auspices as a predominantly economic func- 
tion and within a set of conditions imposed by the nature 
of the nation's economy. The latter is the phase of logistics 
more intimately involved in military operations in which 
the determining conditions are those of the military situa- 
tion. It is with this latter phase of the logistic process that 
the present study is concerned. 

Yet it is important before passing to this more limited 
field to note that the division thus made is in many ways 
artificial. Useful though it has been as a basis for administra- 
tive organization and as a scheme of definition and discus- 
sion, it does some violence to the integral character of the lo- 
gistics function itself. However far apart they may be in the 
nature of their activities, there is between the theater of 
operations and the productive economy an intimate and re- 
ciprocal relation. What happens in one sphere has its effect 
upon the other, sometimes with startling impact and rapid- 
ity. The British munitions crisis of 1915 is an instance of 
what happens when production is not geared to meet mili- 
tary requirements. The near success of German U-boat war- 
fare in April 1917 illustrates in turn the impact of military 
reverses upon a nation's war economy. 

It is, therefore, the function of logistics to bridge the gap 
between two normally alien spheres of activity, to make in- 
telligible to the producer, for example, the needs of the mil- 
itary commander and conversely to infuse into the calcula- 
tions of the strategist an appreciation of the limits of the 
materially possible. As the link between the war front and the 
home front the logistic process is at once the military ele- 
ment in the nation's economy and the economic element 
in its military operations. And upon the coherence that ex- 
ists within the process itself depends the successful articula- 
tion of the productive and military efforts of a nation at war. 

The character of all logistic effort in war may be said to 


be determined by three primary factors. It depends first 
upon the campaign to be waged— the situation of the enemy, 
the geography of the theater, the objectives for which the 
war is being fought, in short, upon all those factors which 
enter into high-level strategy. Logistics depends secondly 
upon the character of the forces and weapons engaged. The 
logistics of land and sea forces contain certain fundamental 
differences which were of considerable importance during 
the recent war. Air logistics is in many respects a specialty 
in itself. The third primary factor is the limitations imposed 
by the national economy. Mahan in the famous first chapter 
of his The Influence oi Sea Power upon History dwelt at 
length upon the underlying natural conditions of maritime 
power. The First World War brought forth a wealth of 
commentary on the significance of industrial factors in mod- 
ern war. German archives, particularly, should some day re- 
veal the true significance in total war of the factor of eco- 
nomic limitation. The United States has felt only mildly in 
two great wars the effects of limited economic resources, 
but it is a factor which must be taken into account in the 
study of logistics. 

In its strictly military applications logistics has long played 
an important part in warfare, but historically students of the 
art of war have tended either to ignore it or to regard it as a 
subordinate and extraneous element. Clausewitz, who gen- 
eralized so successfully upon the career of Napoleon, pre- 
ferred to follow that commander's dictum that the moral is 
to the material as two to one, and built his study of the 
"Conduct of War" around the predominant role of moral 
factors. Allowing that certain "activities" stood in a recip- 
rocal relation to strategy and tactics and admitting that 
provision of the means of warfare might be admitted into 
the "Art of War" loosely defined, he still excluded logistics 
from the "Conduct of War," which he defined as "the art 
of making use of the given means in fighting." Lumping to- 
gether as "subservient services" everything that remained 


after strategy and tactics, Clausewitz asked, "Who would in- 
clude in the real 'conduct of war' the whole litany of sub- 
sistence and administration, because it is admitted to stand 
in constant reciprocal action with the use of troops, but is 
something essentially different from it? 

"If we have clearly understood the results of our reflec- 
tions, then the activities belonging to War divide themselves 
into two principal classes, into such as are only 'preparations 
for war' and into the 'war itself/ This division must there- 
fore also be made in theory/' 

Clausewitz's distinction between "preparations for war" 
and "war itself" has been carried over into naval theory in the 
assumption that a naval force is first prepared and then goes 
forth to do a battle with little to think about but the "use 
of the given means." It is an assumption which, as we shall 
see, has long colored naval thinking. It is apparent in the 
war plans and also in the line officer's traditional inclination 
to leave matters of "housekeeping" to the paymasters un- 
less, as in wartime, they are matters of critical importance. 
The persistence of this neglect of logistics bears witness to 
the long dominance exercised over naval minds by a too 
narrow definition of strategy and tactics. One speaks often 
of the strategic aspects of war as distinguished from the lo- 
gistic, but in point of fact no strategist can estimate the prob- 
able success or failure of a given course of action without 
weighing carefully the logistic factors involved. In modern 
times it is a poorly qualified strategist or naval commander 
who is not equipped by training and experience to evaluate 
logistic factors or to superintend logistic operations. 

Indifference on the part of the line officer does not wholly 
explain, however, the small part that has been played by 
logistics in the study of and preparation for war. Against this 
charge of indifference the line officer might well contend 
that through the peculiar workings of the Navy's bureau 
system he has often been excluded by the staff corps and 
entrenched bureau interests from a voice in the design, main- 


tenance and readiness of ships, guns, aircraft and other tools 
of war. The familiar charges of Admiral W. S. Sims, that 
naval ships and guns were designed in the bureaus with too 
little attention to the views of the officers who must use 
them, had a sound basis in fact. And the condition to which 
he pointed has persisted. Thus, if at times the line officer 
has appeared all too willing to "leave logistics to the pay- 
masters," it is perhaps equally true that paymasters and other 
bureau and staff officers have doggedly guarded the frontiers 
of their particular logistic provinces with appeals to the prin- 
ciple of decentralization and legal division of responsibility 
within the Department of the Navy. 

Clausewitz's distinction may be accepted in theory, but 
it is no longer applicable in practice. So much of the prepara- 
tion for war runs concurrently with the progress of the war 
that the two can not be dissociated. The strategic plan must 
be determined in the light of the combatant nation's state 
of preparedness. In modern times, moreover, the great em- 
phasis placed upon the mechanization of forces has tre- 
mendously increased the task of their maintenance in the 
field or at sea as distinguished from their initial recruiting 
or creation. The sounder theory, which accords more closely 
with the facts of modern warfare, is that logistics is not 
something distinct from strategy and tactics, but rather an 
integral part of both; that an understanding of the problems 
inherent in creating and, even more important, in maintain- 
ing naval forces in fighting condition in the theater of opera- 
tions is essential to high naval command. 

There can be no quarrel with the theory that logistics is 
a "subservient" service, for the raison d'etre of logistics is 
to subserve or make possible the attainment of strategic 
ends. That logistics takes its form, however, from what is 
strategically desirable does not alter the fact that in their 
turn logistic conditions determine in large measure what is 
strategically possible. Whether or not logistics is a part of 
or reciprocally related to strategy is in reality of little con- 


sequence as long as the dominance of logistic factors in mod- 
ern warfare is taken into account by professional naval and 
military officers. For, like any indispensable servant, it is fre- 
quently the master. 

The administration of logistics is not the least important 
aspect of naval organization and command. When it is con- 
sidered that an estimated one-quarter of the total industrial 
output of the nation went into the building and support of 
the wartime navy, the immensity of the task can be ap- 
preciated. In order that that tremendous effort of producing, 
assembling, shipping and distributing one million and a half 
separate items of material support might truly serve the 
needs of our naval operations, administration was necessary. 
Effective logistic support is not solely a matter of volume. 
It is even more a problem of efficiently planning, producing 
and regulating the flow of materials and services so as to en- 
sure that the right kind of support is available in the right 
quantity at the right place and at the right time. To meet 
all of these requirements for the support of highly mobile 
forces is a most demanding task. Complicated as it is by the 
uncertainties inherent in war and by the difficulty of draw- 
ing a clear line between civilian and military responsibilities, 
it offers one of the most complex problems in administra- 
tion to be encountered. 

The development of effective logistics administration is 
further hampered by the fact that logistics is essentially a 
function of war, quite distinct from what might pass as logis- 
tics in peace. No constructive exercise in peace can quite 
duplicate the urgency and stringency of logistic conditions 
in war. In peacetime, for example, fleet exercises may be ac- 
commodated to the fuel budget allowed by the Congress. 
Sea transport can generally be provided by existing com- 
mercial services. Storage is not a problem, nor is rail trans- 
port. Repairs and fleet maintenance can generally be carried 
on in established continental yards. Above all, the require- 
ments for logistic support are specific and calculable. 


In war, however, there are no budgetary limitations. The 
fleet must operate wherever the military situation requires. 
If it is to maintain command of the sea, it must remain as an 
effective force within the area of operations, and the ele- 
ments of support must be brought to it. The pattern of 
naval operations is then no longer determined in the com- 
mittee rooms on Capitol Hill but in the strategic outlines of 
the emerging campaign. The logistic process in total war 
must operate in an economy saturated by demand, in which 
the ordinary laws of the marketplace are in suspension, in 
which the factor of time supersedes price and the greatest 
evil is to have "too little, too late." 

From the strategic outlines of the campaign and from the 
constantly changing weapons and forces with which the 
campaign is pursued must be determined the character of 
logistic support required and the procedures and forms of 
administration necessary to ensure its delivery. If logistic 
support is to be provided effectively, logistics must be re- 
garded, therefore, first as an inseparable part of the making 
of war and second as a function which can be understood 
only within the environment of war. 

Logistics Old and New 

The distinguishing quality of the environment in which 
naval warfare is carried on is its lack of any of the resources 
required to sustain a naval force. Navies are the arms with 
which the blows of maritime strategy are struck, but the 
weight and force of the blow depends upon the solid footing 
which is maintained upon the nourishing earth. The war- 
ships of the eighteenth century and earlier, it is true, were 
more capable of casting off the shackles that bound them 
to land than are the warships of today. But the qualities of 
mobility and self-reliance they enjoyed were the result 
mainly of technical factors in their construction and opera- 
tion. Only the wind was provided them by the environment 
of the sea. For the rest they were capable of endurance at 


sea because they could carry with them a relatively higher 
ratio of essential subsistence than can the ships of modern 
times. Provisions could be stocked for a six-month voyage. 
Fresh water for three months could be taken aboard, and 
was easy to replenish. Ammunition was more slowly ex- 
pended. The needs of the ship, in short, were simple; its 
logistics was therefore of the simple and primary sort- 
namely the building into the ship itself of a maximum cruis- 
ing range. 

Even so it would be incorrect to assume that logistics 
played no part in the naval warfare of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Mahan comments upon the ill effects of St. Vincent's 
administration of the Admiralty and finds Nelson off Tou- 
lon complaining of the condition of his ships. Nelson's 
genius was founded upon the quality of "the great adminis- 
trator who never lost sight or forethought for the belly on 
which his fleet moved/' In all his pursuit of Villeneuve, 
across the Atlantic and back in 1805, Nelson maintained 
his forces in fighting condition, "never embarrassed about 
stores because always forehanded." "Compared to these its 
antecedents," says Mahan, "Trafalgar is relatively a small 

The plight of the French admiral, Suffren, and of his 
predecessor, D'Ache, in the contest for supremacy in In- 
dia is another noteworthy example. After two indecisive en- 
gagements with the British commander, Pocock, D'Ache 
had exhausted the supply of naval stores at Pondichery and 
had to withdraw to Mauritius. Even that remote base of- 
fered him little support. He was forced to cannibalize some 
of his ships in order to refit others and to send several good 
vessels on a voyage of two or three months to the Cape of 
Good Hope for provisions. As a result he did not return to 
the coast of India until the summer of 1759, almost a year 
after he had withdrawn. 

Suffren's situation was not much better. He carried some 
reserves of powder and ammunition in the troopships which 


accompanied him, and he received some help from his 
Dutch allies in Ceylon. But despite his superior forces and 
skill as a commander, he was at a constant disadvantage. 
Thus although the French originally had positions in India 
situated as advantageously as those of the British, they were 
not able to draw from them the resources required to sup- 
port their forces. What counted was not simply the posses- 
sion of bases strategically situated about the globe, but also 
the ability of the bases to render real support. 

The significance of logistic factors in the wars of the 
eighteenth century has perhaps been obscured by the great in- 
crease in their importance which followed the introduction 
of the ironclad, steam-propelled warship in the nineteenth 
century. For the United States that technical revolution, 
which got under way in the 1880's, was doubly significant, 
for it was accompanied by a revolution in strategic doc- 
trine which intensified the problem of naval logistics. The 
warship of the "New Navy" had lost even the few qualities 
of self-reliance of its predecessor. And since the United States 
had then no foreign establishments either colonial or mil- 
itary, its new warships were, as Mahan remarked, "like land 
birds, unable to fly far from their own shores." Without coal 
they were helpless; and in turn the necessity of providing 
space for bunkers cut down the space available for stores and 
ammunition. Wooden hulls could go several years without 
cleaning; iron hulls fouled rapidly and must be scraped and 
painted at least once a year. Larger crews increased the re- 
quirement for subsistence and reduced available storage 
space. Water for the boilers was as essential as coal. The 
greater firepower of modern guns raised the problem of re- 
plenishment of ammunition. Spare parts and machinery re- 
pairs beyond the power of the ship to perform for itself were 
now necessary. 

The increasing dependence of the warship upon external 
sources of support was accompanied by that revolution in 
strategic doctrine generally associated with the name of Ma- 


han. Paradoxically, "command of the sea" by modern war- 
ships demanded just that ability to keep the sea which the 
technical revolution was taking from them. The significance 
of the change was not lost upon Mahan. Speaking to the 
War College in 1888 he listed with strategy and tactics 
among the neglected subjects of naval science "the sec- 
ondary matters connected with the maintenance of warlike 
operations at sea/' "It would be amusing, were it not pain- 
ful/' he said, "to see our eagerness to have fast ships, and 
our indifference to supplying them with coal/' In 1890, 
"looking outward" Mahan found our Atlantic shores and 
the Caribbean dotted with British bases, while we had not 
on the Gulf of Mexico "even the beginning of a navy yard 
which could serve as the base of our operations/' In the 
Pacific it should be the "inviolable resolution of our national 
policy" that no European state should acquire a coaling sta- 
tion within three thousand miles of San Francisco. "For fuel 
is the life of modern naval war; it is the food of the ship; 
without it the modern monsters of the deep die of inanition. 
Around it, therefore, cluster some of the most important 
considerations of naval strategy." In 1890 The Influence oi 
Sea Power upon History set forth the rounded philosophy of 
Mahan, in which he emphasized the importance of naval 
bases as the link between the now dependent warship and 
the strategic doctrine of command of the sea. 

The world of practice moved somewhat more slowly than 
the mind of the philosopher. Yet in the Navy Department 
the significance of the new developments could not be 
missed. A quarter century before, during the Civil War, the 
Navy had experienced a foretaste of the problems of modern 
logistics. Maintenance of the blockade of the southern coast 
had required new bases such as at Port Royal, Beaufort, 
and Key West. Between the blockading squadrons and the 
northern ports colliers and refrigerated supply ships had 
shuttled in regular service. The repair load of the northern 
yards had increased greatly. Storage and wharf accommoda- 


tions in the navy yards proved insufficient for the increased 
flow of supplies. The delivery of coal and supplies to the 
naval forces at the mouth of the Mississippi had been a con- 
stant source of vexation to the Navy Department. The in- 
creased load of administrative work in the Navy Department 
had made necessary the temporary creation of an Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy and a reorganization of the bureaus. 

The post-war decline of the Navy, particularly its lack of 
funds to build new ships incorporating the technical ad- 
vances which had been made during the war, left logistic 
considerations also in abeyance. But when the work of naval 
construction was begun in 1881, interest in continental and 
overseas naval stations was also revived. In 1883 the United 
States had coaling stations at Honolulu, Samoa, and Picha- 
linqui in Lower California. In his report of that year Sec- 
retary Chandler recommended that Congress make provi- 
sion for an extensive development of overseas naval and 
coaling stations, among which he included Haiti, Curasao, 
Brazil, the Straits of Magellan, Liberia, Korea and both sides 
of the Isthmus of Panama. But the response was negative. 
In 1889, Congress did appropriate $100,000 for a permanent 
naval station at Pago Pago in the Samoan Islands. In 1892, 
a survey was made by the Navy Department of the "Coaling, 
Docking and Repairing Facilities of the World." Both the 
Navy and State Departments were constantly appealed to 
by various persons in the naval service and out of it with 
projects for coaling sites and stations. But the number of 
overseas naval stations was not increased, and until after the 
Spanish-American War our naval positions beyond the con- 
tinental limits were of little significance. 

Continental yards and stations fared somewhat better. 
Under the administration of Secretary Robeson the naval 
yards had been more than ever the pawn of politics. Begin- 
ning in 1883, Secretary Chandler and his successors insti- 
tuted a vigorous reform which did away with many of the 
abuses of the preceding years and partly modernized the 


equipment of the yards. Upon the recommendation of 
the Luce Commission Secretary Chandler had begun his re- 
forms by closing some of the superfluous yards. Under 
Secretaries Tracy and Herbert, several new stations were 
opened of which the most notable was the Puget Sound Na- 
val Station begun in 1891. The result was a somewhat better 
distribution of yard facilities throughout the United States. 
Still the progress of navy yard development did not keep 
pace with the construction of ships. It is significant that in 
1897, when the New York dock was out of commission the 
Indiana had to put into Halifax to have her bottom scraped. 

Until the Spanish-American War neither the technical 
revolution in naval construction nor the acceptance of the 
new strategic doctrine was complete. As a result the deriva- 
tive problem of maintaining the Navy both at home and 
overseas could scarcely claim serious attention. Secretary 
Long in 1897 renewed the appeal of Chandler for overseas 
naval stations, but the war intervened before any action 
could be taken. Until that time, although the United States 
was building a seagoing, fighting fleet, the accepted function 
of the Navy was the defense of our coasts. Even the tradi- 
tion of commerce raiding died hard. Through the 'eighties 
Admiral Porter, mindful like Mahan of the futility of steam 
cruisers without coal, but unlike Mahan no blue-water strate- 
gist, had cried repeatedly to the Secretary for more canvas. 
Not until the war itself had vindicated the doctrines of Ma- 
han and made the United States a recognized naval and 
colonial power was there a reason to ponder the problem of 
maintaining our naval forces overseas. 

Logistically the Spanish-American War created more prob- 
lems that it had to solve. Of the two major campaigns car- 
ried on during that brief conflict, Dewey's capture of Manila 
and the blockade of Cuba culminating in the engagement off 
Santiago, the latter offered by far the greater problems of 
logistics. Despite the remoteness of the Philippines from 
the United States, Dewey's logistics were relatively simple. 


Logistic planning may be said to have consisted of the few 
dispatches to Dewey at Hong Kong to fill his bunkers with 
coal, purchase a supply steamer, and hold himself in readi- 
ness for any eventuality. With these simple preparations 
completed Dewey was ready to proceed when instructions 

The dispatch and finality of Dewey's victory at Manila 
solved his most serious logistic problems. Had his victory 
been less complete or had the Spanish forces been able to 
withdraw from Manila and avoid contact for some time, 
Dewey's situation would have been precarious. The British 
had already denied him further use of Hong Kong. Facili- 
ties for repair in the Philippines were inadequate. His nearest 
source of coal outside Manila itself was the few thousand 
tons at Pago Pago and at Hawaii. It was some time before 
he could expect shipments of coal, and, even more impor- 
tant, of ammunition from the United States. Anything less 
than the resounding victory he achieved might have raised 
serious logistic complications. 

The support of the blockade of Cuba was a more difficult 
task because, as in the case of the blockade during the Civil 
War, it required the maintenance of a naval force constantly 
at sea. The pattern of logistic support developed during the 
Spanish-American War resembled in many ways that earlier 
experience. Coal was first supplied to the blockading ships 
by deliveries from colliers on the stations or else by with- 
drawing the ships to Key West for coaling and provisioning. 
Rotation of vessels between Key West and the coast of 
Cuba, however, raised the requirement from one-third to 
one-half over the number of ships considered necessary to 
maintain a complete blockade, and as a result the blockade 
was frequently not complete. In coaling at sea the colliers 
had to be brought alongside, with constant damage to both 
colliers and warships. Once a coaling station had been estab- 
lished at Guantanamo these difficulties were considerably 
lessened. It is significant that plans were going forward for 


another coaling and water station on the nearby Isle of 
Pines when the war ended. 

The lack of fresh water was another serious handicap. 
During the war two distilling ships, the his and the Rain- 
bow were fitted out and sent to the West Indies, but they 
were not enough to meet the demands of the many vessels 
constantly under steam. Machinery breakdowns, particularly 
of the electrical machinery in torpedo boats, were common. 
Early in July, the repair ship, Vulcan, plans for which had 
long been in existence in the Bureau of Steam Engineering, 
was fitted out and reported to the blockading force off San- 
tiago. There it proved of great assistance and demonstrated 
clearly that repair vessels were essential adjuncts of fighting 

Logistics does not loom large among the many "naval 
lessons" deduced by commentators on the Spanish-Ameri- 
can War. Yet it was generally agreed that repair ships, dis- 
tilling ships, colliers, and coaling stations were essential ele- 
ments of the naval force. During the years immediately 
following the war there was considerable activity in the de- 
velopment of yards, docks, coaling stations, and other logis- 
tic facilities. In 1900, for example, the proportion of the 
naval appropriation allocated to the Bureau of Yards and 
Docks, which since 1893 na< ^ run a ^>out 5 per cent, jumped 
suddenly to 12.7 per cent. In the 1903 budget it was 22.6 
per cent. Much of this activity may be explained by the 
fact that navy yard development had lagged about ten years 
behind naval construction during the preceding two decades, 
and it was now necessary to renovate continental yards and 
stations in order to accommodate the expanded fleet. But a 
considerable portion of the increased budgets for mainte- 
nance facilities was earmarked for the logistic development 
of our newly won positions overseas. 

In the Philippines the immediate aftermath of the war was 
an extensive investigation of possible sites for naval bases and 
coaling stations. In 1901, following the report of the Remey 


Commission, President Roosevelt set aside an extensive 
tract of land in the area of Subig Bay. The intention was to 
develop a new naval station at Olangapo and to continue the 
old one at Cavite. Shortly after the annexation of the Hawai- 
ian Islands lands had also been set aside around Pearl Harbor 
for naval purposes. Similar steps were taken at San Juan. By 

1904, the United States had made a good beginning, having 
established coaling stations of varying capacity at Pearl Har- 
bor, Sitka, Cavite, and San Juan and having plans afoot for 
large installations at Olangapo, Guantanamo, and Guam. In 

1905, a sectionalized floating dry dock was completed at the 
cost of one and a quarter million dollars and towed from Bal- 
timore to Cavite, a distance of 13,000 miles. In 1908, a large 
floating dry dock for Pearl Harbor was authorized by Con- 

The subject of logistics appears also to have awakened 
some interest among articulate naval officers. In 1904, Lt. 
H. C. Dinger gave a new, three-dimensional character to the 
discussion of bases by pointing out in the U.S. Naval Insti- 
tute Proceedings that the United States would be better off 
with a few, well-developed bases than a flock of barren sites. 
"The facilities," he declared, "are of more value than the 
position." Dinger desired that the Navy set up in peacetime 
a nuclear base establishment capable of expansion in war. 
"This," he pointed out, would require that "the manner 
and the means ... be planned beforehand." 

Perhaps the most interesting suggestion of this time was 
the concept advanced by Civil Engineer A. C. Cunningham 
of a movable base. Made up of sectionalized floating dry 
docks, colliers, ammunition, repair, supply and hospital 
ships, it would move with or behind the fleet, and would 
offer all the essential services required of a base. Its mobility 
would make it useful for either defense or offense. The range 
of its services and its organization as a definite unit of supply 
and service would make it more than the simple train hither- 
to attached to the fleet. In Cunningham's idea of a movable 


base can be seen the germ of Service Squadron Ten, so suc- 
cessfully developed in the Pacific during the recent war. But 
in 1904 it was too much to expect either of the resources 
available to the Navy or of the then nascent interest in mat- 
ters of support that such a plan could be brought to fruition. 

The cruise of the fleet around the world from 1907 to 
1909 illustrates how much logistic progress had been made 
during the first decade of the twentieth century. This fleet, 
composed of sixteen battleships, the Atlantic torpedo flotilla 
of six ships, two stores ships, a repair ship, a tender, and the 
torpedo flotilla parent ship, began its cruise from Hampton 
Roads on December 16, 1907. Dropping the torpedo flotilla 
and substituting two battleships at San Fransisco, it con- 
tinued around the world via the Pacific and the Suez Canal, 
arriving again at Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909. 

The purposes of the cruise have been variously described. 
Ostensibly it was a peaceful mission, and at its conclusion 
it proved not only to have fostered our good relations, but 
also to have enhanced the prestige of the United States as a 
naval power. Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, the original 
commander, was instructed by the President on his depar- 
ture to regard his mission as one of good will, but he was 
also advised to be prepared for whatever might come. Con- 
sidering the recent background of Japanese-American rela- 
tions and the initial agitation of the Japanese over the mere 
prospect of an American fleet in Western Pacific waters, the 
possibility of some untoward development could not be en- 
tirely dismissed. 

Whatever the political issues involved, the professional 
naval interest in the cruise was probably well described by 
Mahan, who professed to see in it merely a practice cruise in 
what would now be called "fleet logistics/' To Mahan ex- 
perience of "the huge administrative difficulties connected 
with so distant an expedition by a large body of vessels de- 
pendent upon their own resources/' should prove of in- 
estimable value. By "own resources" he hastened to add, he 


meant, "not that which each vessel carries in itself, but self 
dependence as distinguished from dependence on near navy 
yards . . . the great snare of peace times. The renewal of 
stores and coal on the voyage is a big problem ... a problem 
of combination, and of subsistence; a distinctly military prob- 
lem. To grapple with such a question is as really practical as 
is Fleet tactics or target practice." 

The event fully justified the expectations. The constant 
exercise in fleet operations had welded the various units of 
the fleet together into a working team. The mere fact of stay- 
ing at sea had made of the Navy a seagoing force. From deck 
officer to engineer the organization of each ship had gained 
what constructive exercises and drills could never give. Yet 
as Mahan pointed out when the fleet had completed the first 
leg of its voyage, the conditions under which it cruised were 
not those of war, for certainly in wartime no fleet of sixteen 
battleships could ever have passed from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific and thence around the world without a far greater 
force of auxiliary vessels. Our own naval colliers delivered 
coal to the fleet only at two ports, Trinidad, and Rio de Ja- 
neiro, early in the voyage. Thereafter the fleet was depend- 
ent upon chartered colliers, its own coaling stations and 
other foreign sources. Of the total of 434,906 tons of coal 
delivered to the cruising units 9 per cent was on board when 
the fleet left Hampton Roads, 8 per cent was furnished by 
naval colliers and 10 per cent by United States coaling sta- 
tions at Cavite and Honolulu. Seventy-three per cent, or 
318,334 tons were delivered, from foreign sources. Even in 
San Francisco the fleet received its coal from British and 
Norwegian ships and contractors. 

The cruise had been a valuable preliminary step toward 
the creation of a seagoing naval force, but it did little to de- 
velop those essential links of transport and supply between 
ship and shore by which alone the fleet could be maintained 
overseas as an effective force. The need for colliers and bases 
was obvious. What was equally essential, if not so obvious, 


was experience in arranging collier and transport schedules, 
replenishment tables and methods of estimating, allocating 
and distributing supplies. It was no longer sufficient, as it 
had been for Dewey, to destroy the enemy and then cable 
back to Washington for more ammunition. The manner and 
the means, as Lieutenant Dinger had pointed out, must be 
planned beforehand. Without this kind of planning and 
preparation for administration, as well as the physical facili- 
ties like colliers and dry docks, we had still for all practical 
purposes, in 1909, the fleet of "sea-going coastline battle- 
ships" stipulated by Congress in 1890. 

In 1909 the Joint Board, after taking into consideration 
the strategic factors involved, advised against any extensive 
outlays for insular fortifications in the Philippines. Finding 
that "no location presented had the necessary natural ad- 
vantages; that while a few could be made into suitable Naval 
bases at great expense, the changed conditions in the Pacific 
made such expense unnecessary and undesirable," the Joint 
Board suggested that facilities at Olangapo be limited to the 
floating dock and small repair shops. Under such a policy 
"its defense would not become one of serious moment." On 
the other hand, the board did recommend that Pearl Harbor 
be developed as the principal American naval base in the 

The recommendation of the Joint Board marks out in 
rough outline the policy toward Pacific bases which was to 
be pursued for three decades. Pearl Harbor profited con- 
siderably from the policy of concentration, for during the 
succeeding years much larger sums than heretofore were ap- 
propriated and spent on its development as a naval base. The 
development may be regarded as an attempt to widen the 
perimeter of America's defense. In theory at least it would 
support that kind of strategic operation that Mahan had 
long advocated by which an enemy fleet could be met and 
defeated before it ever reached our shores. But the base at 
Pearl Harbor could hardly be construed as offering the means 


for naval domination of the Western Pacific. On .the con- 
trary, the decision not to make installations in the Philip- 
pines which would commit us to their defense and the 
gradual abandonment of plans to develop and fortify Guam 
imply very clearly that American policy was shaking down 
once again into one of continental defense. 

The lack of bases in the Pacific provided a constant theme 
for lament by the professional naval officer. And indeed the 
policy of retrenchment that it implied was hardly consistent 
with our stated policy in the Philippines and the Far East. 
But it was obvious that Congress would not appropriate 
funds for the fortification of distant outposts in the Pacific. 
The development of Pearl Harbor was at least the first es- 
sential step for defense in the Pacific. 

The First World War 

The First World War gave to the development of naval lo- 
gistics the stimulus that only war can give. Even before 
America's involvement a renewed interest in the practical 
problems of fleet maintenance may be observed. In part it 
was the result of the material effort involved in putting into 
effect the naval building program of 1916; in part it was the 
natural concomitant of the war in Europe and the prepared- 
ness drive in America. But there was also an increasing tend- 
ency to assess the logistic implications of America's strategic 
position in the world. 

Beginning in 1911, a series of lectures on logistics was de- 
livered at the summer conference of the War College, which 
occasionally, as in the case, of Captain J. S. McKean's dis- 
cussion of naval logistics in 1913, revealed a remarkably com- 
prehensive grasp of the factors involved in building, mobiliz- 
ing and maintaining naval forces. In the professional journals 
as well, the subject of logistics received increasing attention. 

The most significant manifestation, however, of the new 
importance logistics was assuming in naval affairs was the 
establishment in 1915 of the Office of Chief of Naval Opera- 


tions. The creation in the Navy Department of some form 
of general staff organization had been urged for many 
years even prior to the time when a modern fleet created a 
problem of modern logistics. It should be observed as well 
that the cause of a general staff had been advocated by many 
line officers who were not primarily concerned with logis- 
tics. The problem was essentially one of reaching the proper 
balance between civilian and military influence in the ad- 
ministration of the Navy. To what extent, in short, should 
some agency of military direction intervene between the ulti- 
mate authority embodied in the Secretary and the working 
establishment of the bureaus? 

The growing importance of material matters in the ad- 
ministration of the Navy had crystallized the issue. As early 
as 1900, Admiral H. C. Taylor, Chief of the Bureau of 
Navigation, had made this point the basis of his proposal 
for a general staff. The creation of a General Board and re- 
liance upon the War College for advice upon military policy 
had not solved the situation. Through succeeding years the 
issue of a general staff had been brought to the fore on one 
occasion after another until in 1910, Secretary Meyer intro- 
duced his system of "aides." The system of aides was but a 
stopgap, however, and Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske, then 
aide for Operations, continued his advocacy of a general staff 
organization until, by his own confession, Secretary Daniels 
was "weary and bored with Fiske." Finally in 1915, a bill 
creating a Chief of Naval Operations was introduced into 
Congress and passed. 

The bill as enacted was not all that its military advocates 
had desired. Instead of being charged with the readiness and 
general direction of the Navy, as originally proposed, the 
Chief of Naval Operations was charged only with the opera- 
tions of the fleet and with the preparation and readiness of 
plans for its use in war. Even so the new system was a notable 
advance over that which had prevailed before, for, in theory 
at least, it created an agency which would concern itself not 


only with the operations of the fleet but also with material 
and logistic affairs. Weak though the new office was, it was 
to prove essential for the conduct of naval affairs during the 
First World War. 

That war was the first great example of "total war" as it 
is understood today. Behind masses of men in motion on 
the various fronts, the factories, farms, mines and railroads 
of the contending nations were no less engaged. Despite 
America's late entrance into the war, this experience of the 
"nation in arms" belonged to this country as well as to the 
various European powers. But while the war involved for 
the United States an unprecedented mobilization of her ma- 
terial and human resources, it was not primarily a naval war, 
and it did not, therefore, involve a commensurate effort in 
naval logistics. The Navy's experience in providing for the 
support of its forces was limited and on a relatively small 
scale as compared with that of the Army. 

In order to maintain its forces overseas during the war the 
Navy established all told fifteen naval bases and twenty- 
seven aviation bases and operating stations. Port organiza- 
tions were set up in twenty European ports. Supplementing 
these facilities ashore logistic support was provided to the 
operating forces by repair vessels and tenders at Queenstown, 
Brest, Gibraltar, Corfu and other strategic positions. The 
Cruiser and Transport Force carried over 900,000 troops to 
France and returned over 1,600,000, while in addition the 
Navy manned and operated a fleet of 378 cargo vessels total- 
ling 2,900,000 deadweight tons. These vessels, operated pri- 
marily for the account of the Army and the United States 
Shipping Board, delivered approximately 6,000,000 tons of 
cargo of all kinds to Europe during the war. 

Within the United States the naval building program be- 
gun in 1916, and the support of operating forces after our 
entrance into the war, presented logistic tasks of considerable 
magnitude. The Navy increased from a force of 58,000 per- 
sonnel in 1916, to almost half a million before the end of 


the war. The naval appropriation of 1919 was over two bil- 
lion dollars, thirteen times the sum required in 1916 and al- 
most equal to the total amount expended between 1883 and 
1916. The Navy was unquestionably a big business. 

Apart from shipping and the establishment of non-con- 
tinental bases, however, its overseas logistic effort was lim- 
ited. The Navy had begun the war under the assumption 
that except for aviation purposes no shore facilities would 
be established overseas. What support was required for op- 
erating forces would be rendered by repair vessels and tend- 
ers such as the Dixie and Melville at Queenstown. But 
before the war was over the Navy discovered that mobile sup- 
port was insufficient; more and more it depended upon 
shore-based facilities. 

In constructing naval bases overseas the United States re- 
ceived considerable assistance from its allies. At Queens- 
town, Plymouth and at the two Scottish bases at Inverness 
and Invergordon used for the North Sea Mine Barrage the 
labor and materials were almost wholly provided by the Ad- 
miralty. At Brest in addition to the facilities of the Bridge- 
port and Prometheus repairs were carried on at the French 
navy yard on the Penfeld River and by private contractors. 
In April 1918, when all these facilities began to be inade- 
quate, arrangements were made to fabricate and ship from 
the United States the buildings and tools required to erect 
and operate machine shops for Brest, Lorient and Pauillac. 
The first shipments did not arrive, however, until mid-Sep- 
tember, and the whole project was canceled ^fter the armi- 
stice before it was fairly under way. Materials for the tank 
farm constructed at Brest were prefabricated in America and 
shipped to France in knockdown condition by the Bureau 
of Yards and Docks. But apart from consumable supplies the 
greater portion of the materials going into American bases 
overseas were of foreign origin. 

It should be noted as well that American bases were es- 
tablished in British and French harbors which were already 


well developed. Piers, docks, buildings and warehouses were 
already available. In many cases they required alteration or 
renovation, but the labor and effort involved were by no 
means comparable to that of starting from the ground up. 

Another fact of supreme importance is that with few ex- 
ceptions only light naval forces were involved. The American 
battleship division at Scapa Flow, which was the principal 
exception, enjoyed all the comforts of a well established 
British base. Admiral Sims described the idea of moving the 
whole North Atlantic Fleet to European waters as strategi- 
cally poor and logistically impossible. "What Naval experts 
call 'logistics' of the situation," he said, "immediately ruled 
this idea out of consideration. The one fact that made it im- 
possible to base the Fleet in European waters at that time 
was that we could not have kept it supplied, particularly with 
oil." Even for the lighter forces many heavy repairs were 
done in the United States. When destroyer boilers needed 
replacement or retubing, the vessels returned to the United 
States despite the protests of the naval commanders in Eu- 
rope who desired to keep them in operational waters. 

The Navy's shipping effort during the war was an accom- 
plishment of the first magnitude. Manning, husbanding and 
operating the large fleet of cargo vessels of the Naval Over- 
seas Transportation Service, to say nothing of the forty-two 
transports of the Cruiser and Transport Force, was a huge 
task. But without belittling this achievement it is necessary 
to draw a distinction between the role of carrier which the 
Navy played and the broader logistic task of shipper and 
supplier. As a carrier its responsibility for the movement of 
materials was limited to picking up the cargo at one terminal 
port and delivering it at another. Responsibility for loading 
and unloading cargo, for warehousing, for scheduling ship- 
ments and for the orderly flow of materials to tidewater ports 
belonged to the shipper, which in this case was predomi- 
nantly the Army. During the twenty months of our active 
participation in the war the total of naval dry cargo ship- 


ments (excluding liquid and bulk fuels) was roughly 400,000 
tons. This represented about one-fifteenth of the total car- 
ried by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and only 
two-thirds of the amount of naval dry cargo shipped over- 
seas during a single month of 1944. The result was that the 
Navy was not faced with that problem, which is the essence 
of logistics, of integrating all the many factors involved in 
the mass movement of material support. 

Despite the tremendous increase in the fleet and in the 
naval establishment the First World War did little to shake 
loose the Navy as a whole from its continental dependency. 
Its participation in the war, though highly successful, was 
limited. As far as facilities for support are concerned, the At- 
lantic Ocean might be regarded as a friendly lake whose 
shores were lined with suitable havens. The true logistics test 
of the Navy was yet to come. 

Between Two Wars 

The United States emerged from the First World War with 
a navy already of unprecedented size. From a force of about 
350 vessels of all types fit for service prior to our entrance the 
Navy had increased to 795 vessels. The total tonnage built 
or building had doubled over that of 1910. Nor was this all. 
With the approval of the President, the Navy Department 
pushed forward with the authorizations of 1916 and 1918, 
determined to capitalize upon the moment for creating a 
"Navy second to none." Between 1919 and 1922, the United 
States laid keels for 9 battleships, 4 battle cruisers, 8 light 
cruisers, 2 aircraft carriers and 81 destroyers. The result was 
intended to be a navy capable of maintaining the freedom of 
the seas against any foreign naval power, if not the combined 
navies of the world. 

Even more significant from our point of view than the 
projected increase in the size of the Navy was the new fleet 
organization announced by the Secretary in 1919. For years 
the western coast of the United States had lain relatively ex- 


posed to Japan's growing naval might in the Pacific. The 
visit of the Atlantic Fleet in 1908 had been received with 
great satisfaction by the people of the Pacific states, and they 
hoped that with completion of the Panama Canal United 
States naval forces might be distributed more equitably 
about our coast. But the war in Europe had necessitated 
a postponement in the shift of forces to the Pacific. With 
the completion of the war and the destruction of German 
naval forces at Scapa Flow the moment had arrived, how- 
ever, and in the summer of 1919 half of the battleship force, 
including many newer and heavier units, was moved to the 
Pacific and constituted as the United States Pacific Fleet. 

Instructed by the experience of the war, the Navy De- 
partment meanwhile was pressing not only for the naval 
building program, but also for the development of the naval 
shore establishment. Taking as its starting point the recom- 
mendations of the Helm Commission of 1916, a new board 
in 1919, headed by Rear Admiral }. S. McKean, the acting 
Chief of Naval Operations, made an exhaustive survey of the 
West Coast shore establishment and of facilities at Pearl 
Harbor and in Alaska. The board recommended an expendi- 
ture of $157,000,000, of which $27,000,000 was earmarked 
for facilities at Pearl Harbor. Secretary Daniels in his report 
of 1920, asserted that shore establishment development 
would be carried "to the nth degree." 

These events of 1919 marked the beginning of a new era 
in our naval history. American naval forces were now facing 
westward; from our shores they could survey the vast reaches 
of the Pacific sparsely dotted with sites for naval bases which 
were as yet only potential. With the creation of the Pacific 
Fleet a new mission was marked out for the Navy. This in- 
cluded not only the defense of our Pacific shores but im- 
plied as well a closer union between our foreign policy in 
the Far East and our naval policy in the Pacific. The prob- 
lems of naval logistics thus posed were entirely different from 
anything we had before experienced. Unlike the case of the 


First World War, where American naval forces had operated 
along lines of communication and support anchored securely 
on both sides of the Atlantic, the measure of our effective 
operating range was now our ability to project supporting 
elements outward into an area which offered no resources 
but widely scattered fleet anchorages and unprepared posi- 

The Washington Treaties of 1922 brought to an end the 
immediate prospect of United States naval domination of 
the Pacific. The agreed ratio of 5:5:3 left our fleet to all out- 
ward appearances far superior to the Japanese. But in return 
for Japanese assurances that henceforth its continental policy 
would be conducted along lines acceptable to the United 
States the latter had assented to Article XIX of the Five- 
Power Treaty under which both powers agreed not to make 
any further fortification of certain specified islands in the 
Pacific. For the United States these included Guam, Mid- 
way, Wake, Samoa and the Philippines. For Japan the pro- 
hibition applied to the Kurile, Bonin, and Loochow Islands, 
Amami-Oshima, Formosa, the Pescadores and "any insular 
territories or possessions in the Pacific Ocean which Japan 
may hereafter acquire." 

In effect Article XIX marked out a neutral or intermediate 
zone in the Pacific which might contribute to the stability 
of relations between the two principal Pacific powers. Each 
power would henceforth be secure in its own home waters. 
For Japan to concede this security to the United States was 
no sacrifice, since in the Eastern Pacific she had no posses- 
sions which might have been fortified, and she had no an- 
nounced interests which would require to be defended. For 
the United States, however, still committed to the defense 
of the Philippines and possessing in Guam, the "Gibraltar 
of the Pacific/' the agreement represented a major conces- 
sion. More even than the scrapping of the American fleet 
this limitation upon the development of Pacific bases ran- 
kled in the minds of American naval officers. Indeed they 


could point with some justification to the fact that Ameri- 
can policy in the Far East made commitments which we 
were unable to carry out and that the various agreements 
which paralleled the naval treaty offered no sure guarantees 
of enforcement. On the other hand, it could also be argued 
that to expect Congress to appropriate the sums necessary 
to develop America's overseas positions was equally unrealis- 
tic. The Washington settlement was an attempt on the part 
of our government to reach a comprehensive settlement in 
the Pacific. It is possibly true, as Captain Dudley Knox main- 
tained, that naval interests were not properly represented, 
and it is certainly true that most of the concessions made by 
the United States were at the expense of our naval power, 
actual or potential. Of these by far, the most important, as 
astute officers then recognized, were the limitations im- 
posed on the development of Pacific naval bases. 

The Navy Department did not abandon its plans com- 
pletely. Early in 1923 a board headed by Admiral Rodman 
reported to the Secretary on the shore establishment of the 
Navy, recommending in particular that Pearl Harbor and 
the Canal Zone should have priority of development over 
our major continental yards. In June 1923 a second board 
headed by Captain A. L. Willard laid out in great detail 
a twenty-year program for the development of Pearl Harbor 
and other Pacific positions allowed by the treaty. But by 
now the initial impetus behind the naval program was fast 
dwindling. In subsequent years, just as our naval building 
programs fell below the parity allowed by treaty, so the de- 
velopment of our positions in the Pacific and the acquisition 
of other logistic facilities fell short of both the necessary 
and the allowable. The Washington Treaties, therefore, 
marked not only the end of America's greatest bid for naval 
supremacy in tonnage and capital ships; it marked also the 
beginning of that situation in the Pacific, which lasted legally 
until 1936 and in fact until the outbreak of the Second 
World War, in which our foreign policy and our military 


policy in the Pacific were almost divorced from each other. 
Whatever the actual strength in combatant ships of the 
American Navy, it was debarred by lack of prepared posi- 
tions from any serious bid for control of the Western 
Pacific. From that time forward naval planning for war in 
the Pacific had to be premised upon the assumption that 
both the Philippines and Guam would fall at once to the 
Japanese and that bases for support of our forces in the 
Western Pacific would have to be rewon against enemy 
opposition. Only with this essential preliminary could we 
hope to engage the Japanese anywhere west of the 180th 

The period from the Washington Treaty down almost to 
the outbreak of war was one of increasing torpor and 
frustration within the Navy. Caught between the United 
States' avowed policy of disarmament on the one hand 
and an economy-minded Congress on the other, the Navy 
was first reduced by treaty to what was in fact only a hemi- 
sphere force and then allowed by successive Congresses to 
fall even below treaty strength. Some of America's newest 
vessels had been scrapped, even before they were completed. 
In 1924 AINav No. 25 set up an effective bar to moderniza- 
tion by providing that since funds would seldom be avail- 
able for all purposes, the repair and maintenance of vessels 
in their existing condition should have priority over altera- 
tions. What was perhaps worst, niggardly appropriations for 
the operation and maintenance of the Navy put naval opera- 
tions into a veritable straitjacket. Limited fuel for cruising, 
the lack of auxiliary vessels and of suitably prepared advance 
positions from which a major force might operate continu- 
ously all served to constrict the range of fleet exercises and 
war games. Too frequently the criterion determining the 
Navy's annual operating plan was not our military or 
strategic situation but rather the fact of having to live 
within its meager budget. 

When a nation maintains only a nuclear military or naval 


force in time of peace, plans for the mobilization, expansion, 
and employment of wartime forces become doubly im- 
portant. It is equally important that its professional military 
and naval personnel be kept attuned to the conditions which 
will be confronted in wartime. During the years of peace the 
Navy could plan and study for the contingencies which might 
be expected to arise, but it seldom had the opportunity to 
test by such a practical exercise as the cruise of 1907 the 
adequacy of its plans and preparations. For practical lessons 
it could go back only to the limited experience of the First 
World War, an experience which could hardly be useful for 
a full-fledged war in the Pacific. The result was that plans 
were conceived and underlying concepts were rooted in a 
world of hypothesis diverging farther and farther from 

In such an atmosphere the science of providing the means 
of warfare must inevitably suffer more than the study of 
"the use of the given means/' It was possible to assume in 
the famous "war games" played upon the checkered board at 
the War College that the means were available. It was 
possible there to concentrate upon the enduring "principles 
of war" with little reference to the actualities with which 
our Navy might be confronted in real conflict. It was even 
possible in one admittedly extreme instance for a com- 
mander of the Orange Fleet to execute a smashing attack 
upon the flank of the Blue Fleet with four cruisers which 
had been accidentally obscured from the view of the Blue 
commander beneath a wooden table, and for that fortuitous 
circumstance to be ruled by the referee a legitimate hazard 
of war. 

Of greater moment was the failure to make a more serious 
study of logistics at the War College. In 1926, Captain R. E. 
Bakenhus succeeded in setting up a logistics section at the 
War College, and instituted a system of committee projects 
in which the logistic requirements of various naval situations 
and campaigns were analyzed. This excellent effort was short- 


lived, however. Captain Bakenhus's successor as head of the 
logistics section was unsympathetic to the study of logistics at 
the War College, believing as he said that such matters as 
"shovelling coal and combat loading" did not belong with 
the study of the principles of war. The result was the aboli- 
tion of the logistics section and the abandonment of logistic 

Logistic planning— or, more properly, war planning— in 
the Navy Department suffered also from that hypothetical 
quality which belonged to all naval activity during the inter- 
lude of peace. The problem of the war planner is admittedly 
difficult. He must project his estimate of the military situa- 
tion sufficiently far in advance to allow for the implementa- 
tion of his plans in the construction and readiness of military 
or naval forces. He must deduce from assumed situations the 
strategic implications and the logistic requirements of the 
operating forces. He is therefore compelled to plan broadly 
and in general terms in the hope that the detailed imple- 
mentation of his plan will bring it into accord with current 
and actual conditions. Secondly, the planner becomes aware 
as he compares the strategically desirable and the logistically 
possible that in peacetime the latter must always fall short 
of the former. He tends, therefore, to concentrate upon the 
strategic aspects of his plan, assuming for the purposes of 
planning that the logistic resources will be available when 
they are required. The list of his logistic assumptions grows 
longer, and the tendency is always toward assuming that all 
things strategically desirable are logistically possible. Only 
the stern realist of the naval profession can remain unaf- 
fected by this maladie de paix. 

The necessity of planning in general terms and leaving the 
detailed development and application of the plan to the sub- 
ordinate working agencies is also productive of many com- 
plications. The ideal in planning is to separate the planning 
function itself from responsibility for the administration or 
implementation of the plan. But since no plan of broad 


scope can comprehend all the minutiae of conditions to 
which it must be applied, such an ideal is seldom realizable 
in practice. The most that can be hoped for is that subordi- 
nate agencies, in working out the detail, will conform to the 
broad outlines of policy laid out in the overall plan and that 
the sum of their efforts will conform to the general ends in 

This problem of planning and administration had long 
beset the Navy and had been accentuated by the lack of 
proper departmental organization. The creation of the Gen- 
eral Board in 1900 with planning and advisory functions, 
"to ensure the efficient preparation of the Fleet in case of 
war," had provided a planning agency, but the General 
Board had been so divorced from the administrative and exec- 
utive functions in the Navy Department that its plans were 
largely vitiated in implementation. The need to establish a 
planning agency somewhere near the seat of executive au- 
thority had underlain much of the agitation for a general 
staff organization in the Navy. It had been the intention of 
Admiral Fiske that the assistants requested in his original 
bill for a Chief of Naval Operations should devote their 
time to planning, unencumbered by administrative responsi- 
bilities. The bill of 1915 had struck out the provision for as- 
sistants; and when, in the revised bill of 1916, fifteen assist- 
ants were provided, they were soon so involved in the 
administrative work of the office that they had little time 
for planning. 

The first step toward a genuine planning staff was taken in 
London during the First World War when a planning sec- 
tion was set up by Admiral Sims. This section was relieved 
of all other responsibilities and directed to carry on planning 
studies to be submitted to the Force Commander via the 
Chief of Staff. The studies ranged over a variety of subjects 
—strategical, tactical, and logistic— but by the conclusion of 
the war they had demonstrated the utility of a planning body 
properly situated in the command organization. When in 


1919 a War Plans Division was created under the Chief of 
Naval Operations, the experience of this London planning 
section was drawn upon. The War Plans Division was di- 
vided into specialized sections dealing with policy, strategy, 
tactics, logistics and education. Thus by the conclusion of 
the First World War an organized planning unit which in- 
cluded a section for logistics had been established under the 
Chief of Naval Operations. 

Since planning occupies an important place in peacetime 
preparation for war, the plans developed during succeeding 
years offer an excellent index to the Navy's logistic thinking. 
Beginning with the first War Portfolio of 1919, logistics ap- 
pears to have occupied at least nominally an important place 
in the war plans. In the Basic Readiness Plan of 1924, for 
example, the ''mobile base" idea first suggested in 1904 by 
Civil Engineer Cunningham was accepted as the principal 
means of fleet support at sea. In 1929 the concept of the 
mobile base was supplanted by that of a "western base," a 
major shore base which would presumably be established in 
Manila six months after the opening of hostilities. In this 
connection it is interesting to observe that plans were al- 
ready being laid for Naval Base Construction Battalions sim- 
ilar to the Sea Bees. Provisions were also made for the 
mobilization of personnel and merchant shipping, for the 
organization of rail transport, for securing piers, warehouses 
and other terminal facilities, for critical materials and for in- 
dustrial mobilization. These were to be carried into greater 
detail in the contributory logistic and material plans and 
in the war plans of the District Commandants. 

The War Plans and their various logistic and material an- 
nexes grew more elaborate as the years progressed. Yet in 
many ways as the actual logistic readiness of the Navy de- 
clined, they grew less and less realistic. One of the major 
premises of the strategic planning for an Orange (Japanese) 
war, for example, was an early offensive into the Marshall 
and Caroline Islands. Successive plans therefore called for 


the concentration at Hawaii of a force capable of seizing ob- 
jectives in the Marshalls only 60 days after the declaration 
of war. In 1929, the Joint Plan called for an Army expedi- 
tionary force of 55,000 troops ready to embark from Hawaii 
only 45 days after the declaration of war. Most certainly the 
Army could not have mounted such a force, and the Navy 
could not have transported it. 

Another feature of the War Plans to which hindsight 
calls attention was the absence of any provision for reporting 
or communicating logistic requirements from fleet com- 
mander to the continental shore establishment beyond the 
normal process of requisition by individual unit. Through- 
out the War Plans there appears a strong tendency to as- 
sume that fleet and force requirements were calculable, that 
they could be reduced to specific and unvarying tables of 
allowances, and that war usage tables would conform fairly 
closely to those which had been calculated in peacetime. 
This failure to weigh carefully the problem of replenish- 
ment planning and administration was to prove one of the 
most serious defects in logistic administration after the war 
had begun. 

Even more serious than the omissions and false assump- 
tions of the War Plans was the lack of follow-through in 
carrying out the policies and concepts outlined in the plans 
themselves. In the administration of the peacetime Navy 
there were many established procedures which could obvi- 
ously not be employed by an overseas force cut off from re- 
liance upon the continental shore establishment. Yet the 
habits of peacetime support persisted. The entire conti- 
nental shore establishment of the Navy was geared to the 
process of rendering support to a home-based fleet. As Ad- 
miral Coontz pointed out to the War College in 1926, "The 
volume of daily business with the shore establishment dur- 
ing the fiscal year 1925 averaged 1,000 items per day requisi- 
tioned. To provide means for meeting this volume of require- 
ments under circumstances in which the Fleet is separated 


from the continental United States is the major problem 
now confronting the Commander-in-Chief/' Yet as the 
Navy expanded during the years before the war until its 
volume of business was many times more than 1,000 items 
requisitioned per day, the lack of more suitable means of 
communicating requirements and delivering supplies re- 

Another very clear example of lack of follow-through was 
the case of the Naval Transportation Service. The Navy had 
assumed for many years, and the War Plans had provided, 
that in war the merchant marine would be mobilized and 
manned by the Navy. Yet as late as September 1939 no ar- 
rangement had been made with the Maritime Commission, 
the sole agency empowered during war to requisition mer- 
chant vessels, for the transfer of vessels to the Navy. Until 
that time, moreover, the Naval Transportation Service ex- 
isted as an administrative unit only on paper. In February 
1939 the whole task of planning and preparing for the mobil- 
ization, manning, and operation of the merchant marine in 
war was the collateral duty of a single officer in the Navy De- 

In many other ways this lack of follow-through is evident. 
Essentially it derived from the fact that, despite pious refer- 
ences to its importance, the subject of logistics offered little 
of interest to the average naval officer. The more obvious and 
tangible deficiencies in the Navy's logistic readiness were 
frequently remarked. The annual report of the Secretary 
continually called attention, for example, to the need for 
auxiliary vessels. After 1936, when the Washington and 
London Treaties had expired, the Navy resumed its advocacy 
of advance base development. Yet as long as the fleet itself 
could continue to rely upon home bases, the problems of 
wartime logistics remained fictitious. The established pro- 
cedures were adequate for the support of the Navy, and the 
lack of system and organization, as well as material facilities, 


for accomplishing the logistic tasks required by strategic war 
planning did not become apparent. 

In October 1939, when the Hawaiian Detachment of 
eight cruisers, one aircraft carrier, and sixteen destroyers was 
based on Pearl Harbor, the lack of provision for overseas sup- 
port suddenly became apparent. Admiral H. R. Stark, then 
Chief of Naval Operations, stated at the time that he was 
''hopeful [this move] will show up the weakness in the 
habitability of that yard to support even a moderate sized 
force," and in this his hope was realized. Unfortunately, little 
time remained to take the remedial measures Admiral Stark 
hoped would follow the demonstration. In the spring of 
1940, upon the completion of the spring maneuvers, the 
entire United States Fleet was ordered to Pearl Harbor, and 
from this time forward the Navy was compelled to grapple 
with a genuine logistic task. In March 1940, Admiral Rich- 
ardson, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet, wrote to 
Admiral Stark asking how long the fleet would remain at 
Pearl Harbor and stating that he did not consider the basing 
there of the United States Fleet or even a substantial portion 
of it "a remote possibility." To Admiral Richardson's protes- 
tations Admiral Stark replied, explaining the political rea- 
sons behind the decision to keep the fleet at Pearl Harbor 
and suggesting that among other incidental benefits which 
might result would be the solving of logistic problems. 

Subsequent events were to demonstrate that despite the 
inconvenience and the serious hindrance to fleet training in- 
volved, basing the fleet at Pearl Harbor was a logistic bless- 
ing in disguise. In July 1940, Admiral Richardson reported 
that ''the prolonged stay of the majority of the U.S. Fleet in 
Hawaiian waters has disclosed the many deficiencies of this 
area as a major outlying and training base." In June 1941, 
his successor, Admiral Kimmel, was able to state that "Many 
of the deficiencies of this base disclosed by the prolonged 
stay of the U.S. Pacific Fleet . . . either have been or are 
now in the process of correction." Certain deficiencies re- 


mained in the facilities of the base itself, and in addition 
the Base Force, which was responsible for the delivery of 
supplies from the mainland to the fleet, was hard pressed 
with the available vessels to keep the stocks of stores, re- 
frigerated provisions, ammunition and other expendables at 
the minimum required level. 

With all its failings, Pearl Harbor was immeasurably bet- 
ter prepared in 1941 to support our naval operations in the 
Pacific than it had been in the early months of 1940. What 
is most important is that for the first time in its history our 
Navy had been able to assume and maintain a position two 
thousand miles distant from our shores. In the sense of lo- 
gistics it had already begun that "Fleet Advance across the 
Pacific" which had long been the subject of study at the 
War College and in the War Plans. It had taken the first 
of the many steps by which we ultimately projected across 
the entire reaches of the Pacific ?. naval force capable of tak- 
ing and holding the command of the sea. 



Outbreak of the War 

THE military situation confronting the United 
States on the morning of December 8, 1941, was 
the result less of the Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor than of the failure of the United States 
during the years preceding that attack to prepare 
adequately its defenses in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor stands out 
in the minds of most Americans, not only as a date which 
will live in infamy, but as the most severe defeat ever suffered 
by an American fleet. It is true that the blow suffered was 
severe and crippling. Our naval forces in the Pacific had been 
materially depleted. We were left with but a remnant of the 
striking force with which we had expected to carry on war 
with Japan. But the extent of our losses did not modify, 
except in a small degree, the strategy we had intended to 
pursue in the Pacific during the opening phases of a war with 
the Axis powers. 

Nor did the success of the attack at Pearl Harbor seriously 
alter the immediate strategic situation in the Western Pacific 
as it affected the Japanese. The road to Manila and thence 
on, at least as far as the Netherlands East Indies, would have 
been open, whatever the condition of our forces in Pearl 
Harbor. The situation of Guam and Wake was not materially 
altered. There is no reason to believe that the original 
Japanese impetus could have been stopped much short of the 
important positions they assumed in New Guinea and New 
Britain during January 1942. The United States did not then 
have sufficient ready resources to halt such a campaign or to 
offer to it a serious counterthrust which might have drawn 
off the forces and attention of the enemy. 

Material and technical modernization of the United States 
Fleet was admittedly incomplete when war broke out. The 


antiaircraft defenses of our battleships and other surface 
craft were inadequate. We lacked sufficient modern aircraft, 
carriers, and escort vessels. Above all, we lacked adequately 
trained personnel in the fleet itself. Expansion of the naval 
establishment, both ashore and afloat, had resulted in the 
dispersion of seasoned ratings into key positions in the grow- 
ing Navy and the consequent dilution with green personnel 
of highly trained tactical units. So conscious was the Navy 
itself of its own unreadiness that some naval officers have 
since hazarded the informal opinion that our Navy was fortu- 
nate to have fought its first engagement in the shallow wa- 
ters of Pearl Harbor where losses could be redeemed. Such 
calculations are purely speculative, however, and in any 
event have little bearing upon the case. An engagement be- 
tween our Pacific Fleet and the Japanese forces in the waters 
adjacent to Pearl Harbor would not seriously have changed 
the strategic course of the early phases of the war in the 

The strength and weakness of the United States Navy to 
resist the Japanese offensive in the Western Pacific lay not 
in the condition of our combatant forces themselves. The 
true index of our power to repulse the Japanese lay in our 
logistic readiness or unreadiness to conduct continued opera- 
tions in the areas threatened. Pearl Harbor was then our only 
important naval base west of the Pacific Coast. A few air sta- 
tions, still improperly developed, formed its outer ring of 
defense. Guam offered nothing. Cavite and Olangapo, if not 
inaccessible, were already under attack and must be pre- 
sumed to be untenable. Our naval resources in the Pacific, 
exclusive of the fighting force, as a British observer had re- 
marked some years before, resembled a clearly marked high- 
way which gradually lost its way in the mid-reaches of the 
Pacific. And such is the character of modern naval power 
that it can move only on broad, clearly marked highways. 

It was the great good fortune of the United States and 
the cardinal error of the Japanese that the attack at Pearl 


Harbor was directed almost exclusively against ships, and not 
to a greater extent against the supporting installations. Had 
a comparable blow been dealt to the piers, repair shops, fuel 
tanks, warehouses, ammunition dumps, and dry docks, our 
own ability to operate in the Central and Western Pacific 
would have been still further reduced. Japanese freedom of 
action to penetrate into the South and Southwest Pacific 
would have been that much more enhanced. The major por- 
tion of the United States Fleet would have had to fall back 
two thousand miles to our Pacific Coast for a base of opera- 
tions. Given our current shortage of tankers and oilers, sup- 
ply vessels, repair ships, tenders, and other supporting craft, 
its effective operating range would have been severely cur- 
tailed. What the consequences would have been for our ad- 
vance outposts at Midway, Johnston, Palmyra, Canton, and 
Samoa during this temporary period can only be surmised. 
But in a war of advanced island positions, such as the Pacific 
campaign was to become, the importance of a major base at 
Pearl Harbor in operable condition is manifest. 

Nothing could illustrate more dramatically the complex 
of elements which make up modern naval power and which 
enter into naval strategy than the inability of our Navy in 
1941 to wrest from the Japanese Navy the control of the 
Western Pacific. Harassing operations against commerce or 
island positions were feasible as we soon demonstrated, even 
with the limited forces still operating. But the control of the 
Western Pacific in sufficient strength to bar the Japanese 
from their objectives to the south was impossible without 
other resources than a striking force. Without prepared posi- 
tions from which it might draw continued support, without 
adequate auxiliary vessels, repair facilities, skilled craftsmen, 
garrison forces, supply ships, tankers, and transports— to 
mention only the more obvious resources— our fleet was as 
unable to operate continuously in this area as a naked man 
to cross the Sahara. Without these essential elements of sup- 
port, our naval power could be brought to bear within only 


a limited radius of the islands of Hawaii. It was by these 
limitations, therefore, by the whole complex of conditions 
of geography, time, combat strength, and the elements of 
support, encompassing but far outweighing the immediate 
damage to our fleet, that the strategic pattern of the Pacific 
war was first determined. And it was determined long before 
the fateful morning of December 7. 

The military situation at the outbreak of the Pacific war 
and, in fact, the outline of our subsequent campaign had been 
so clearly described by a prescient British naval writer more 
than twelve years before, that it would be useful to quote at 
some length from his analysis. Expounding a thesis which he 
had put forward repeatedly, Hector Bywater wrote in Navies 
and Nations in 1929: 

''Problem (4), viz, the defence of outlying territories, par- 
ticularly the Philippines, Guam, and Samoa, opens up the 
whole question of Pacific strategy. . . . Here it suffices to re- 
peat that the American Navy would be powerless to prevent 
the conquest of the Philippines and Guam in the event of 
war with Japan. Once lost, they might possibly be recovered 
by an almost superhuman effort. This would involve an am- 
phibious campaign exceeding in magnitude and difficulty 
anything of the kind that has previously been attempted. It 
would necessitate the building of an entirely new fleet of 
warships and auxiliary craft; the conveyance of an army and 
its impedimenta across the Pacific, the greater part of the 
route lying within the sphere of enemy naval action; the 
seizure of intermediate and terminal bases, which would prob- 
ably be found in a state of defence; the holding of such bases 
against determined counter-attack; the guarding of communi- 
cations thousands of miles in length; and finally the develop- 
ment of offensive operations in the advanced war zone on a 
scale sufficient to force a decision. By no other form of mil- 
itary action could the lost islands be recovered." This was 
exactly what we were to accomplish; it was the prospect, 
dimly foreshadowed, which faced us at the end of 1941. 


More immediately, however, the United States was faced 
with the necessity of restoring its own defense around the 
North American continent and of setting limits to the prog- 
ress of the Japanese in the South and Southwest Pacific. 
Both of these undertakings were purely defensive. The for- 
mer task involved the immediate reinforcement of the three 
key points in our Pacific defense system— Alaska, Hawaii, 
and the Panama Canal. The latter task, upon which depend- 
ed the subsequent development of our campaign, required 
also immediate steps, but had to be carried out with an eye 
to the long-range prospect as well. 

The principal point of our long-range strategy was to hold 
the island positions necessary to maintaining a line of com- 
munications with Australia and containing the Japanese of- 
fensive within the Pacific theater. The positions we already 
had such as Palmyra, Midway, Johnston, and Samoa had to 
be strengthened and developed. Others, which would com- 
plete the link with the Southwest Pacific and which would 
serve as points of mutual support, must be established. The 
pattern of the Japanese advance into the Philippines, the 
Dutch East Indies, New Guinea, and New Britain had dem- 
onstrated a keen appreciation of the interplay between land 
positions and sea and air forces. It was well adapted to the 
island character of the area and could be successfully com- 
bated with our present forces only by a defense developed 
along the same basic lines. 

Apart from the need for rapid construction, our bases in 
the Pacific were required to possess a high degree of flexibil- 
ity and adaptability. Initially, they must be garrisoned, de- 
veloped as operating bases for air patrol and search, and 
equipped with harbor defense installations. These were the 
defensive and wholly operational qualities with which they 
must first be endowed. To support an offensive, however, 
and to make possible the operation of our forces in the areas 
to the north, the bases had also to assume logistic properties 
in ever increasing proportions as our operations and forces 


expanded. They were to be fueling stations, protected an- 
chorages, staging points for airplanes and subsequently for 
troops, and repair and supply points. It was to these pur- 
poses ultimately that the great weight of advance base de- 
velopment was directed. 

In these early months the ultimate size of the effort in- 
volved could only be dimly appreciated. Nor was it possible, 
then, if ever, to draw a clear line between the military or 
defensive features and the logistic properties of any single 
base. The ratio between logistic and military factors enter- 
ing into each base might vary with reference to its proximity 
to the zone of active operations, its peculiar topography, and 
its particular role in the broad scheme of our defense. The 
essential features, therefore, were imprecise— flexibility and 
versatility. What was apparent almost at once was that 
the campaign would center in the South Pacific, that it 
would be primarily defensive in its initial phases, and that 
it must be waged in terms of advance base positions possess- 
ing both defensive and offensive potentialities. The major 
decision of strategy was, therefore, to direct all our available 
resources to the establishment of advance base positions 
around which the campaign in the South Pacific would be 
carried on. 

As one studies the map of the South Pacific and notes the 
positions we originally assumed there, certain factors in our 
immediate situation can be discerned. The first condition we 
faced was that the initiative was almost entirely in the hands 
of the Japanese. Such slender resources as we might mobilize 
must be distributed in the Pacific with a view to their not 
being wasted in a vain effort to hold a position which was 
in fact untenable. Most of the advantages of geography lay 
with the enemy. Possessing interior lines, he might proceed 
in any one of various directions with concentrated force 
against our thinly guarded lines. The Japanese possessed also 
the immense advantage of prior preparation in the region 
of the Central Pacific. We knew little of what Japanese 


forces were actually concentrated in the Carolines and Mar- 
snails, but it was necessary to regard them, nevertheless, as 
a powerful salient. Around these factors, therefore, using 
such positions as we already had, the pattern of defense must 
be woven. Forces must be deployed far enough to the north 
to bear upon the probable zone of operations; far enough 
south to give reasonable security against invasion. 

The line of bases developed consisted essentially of a wide 
arc stretching from Hawaii southwest through Palmyra, Can- 
ton, Samoa, the Fiji Islands, and New Caledonia to the coast 
of Australia, with an important salient thrusting north into 
the New Hebrides. It proved to be on the whole a sound 
estimate of what we might conceivably defend and develop 
for future use in staging and supporting offensive operations. 

The naval situation in the Atlantic at the outbreak of war, 
while wholly different in character, was no less acute. The 
mission of our Atlantic forces was two-fold. It was first to 
assure the defenses of the Western Hemisphere and second 
to guard the vital flow of shipping across the Atlantic in or- 
der to maintain the war-making capacity of the British Isles, 
render assistance to Russia, and establish our own forces 
overseas. Of the two missions the former was more basic to 
our own security but in actuality involved a much less im- 
mediate threat. Upon the struggle with the German sub- 
marine, might depend the outcome of the war. 

The support of our naval forces in the Atlantic was rela- 
tively simpler than the logistic problem of the Pacific. Al- 
though the Germans derived immense advantage from the 
possession of submarine bases in France, our own strategic 
position reckoned in terms of bases was vastly superior to 
theirs. We had in the United States and Great Britain well 
developed naval bases and stations not far removed from 
the scene of conflict. We had some prepared positions in 
the Caribbean, to which had been added, in 1940, the Brit- 
ish bases leased in "exchange" for our over-age destroyers. 
Iceland had been occupied by the British in the summer of 


1940, and a year later, by United States forces. The war 
against the submarine, moreover, was not entirely new. We 
had in the First World War a pattern of experience which 
made it simpler to assess the tactical problem and to de- 
termine therefrom the probable logistic requirements. 

The critical need in the Atlantic was not for the means 
of supporting our forces, but for the forces themselves. Pa- 
trol craft, destroyers, aircraft, and small carriers— escort craft 
of all kinds— were in demand. The task in the Atlantic was 
thus primarily one of procurement, of building and equip- 
ping the necessary ships and aircraft, of training their crews, 
of developing and supplying the highly technical equipment 
by which the anti-submarine war was successfully waged. 
This is not to minimize the importance or the magnitude 
of the supporting task, to which must be added the deploy- 
ment of forces required for strengthening our hemisphere 
defense. But as compared with the situation in the Pacific at 
the outbreak of the war the physical structure of support in 
the Atlantic was already well defined. 

Organization ioi War 

The accomplishment of the logistic task imposed by these 
dictates of our naval strategy involved a multitude of efforts 
large and small, direct and indirect, stretching from the 
point where supplies were furnished and services rendered 
back through many stages and processes to the point where 
they received their original impetus in the determination 
of policy and the direction of action on a broad scale. It 
would be a mistake to concentrate attention entirely upon 
either end of this process. In theory it may be regarded as 
a single function performed in many specialized ways and 
by many different hands, high and low, but all contributing 
toward the accomplishment of a single end. We assume in 
theory that all action which conduces in detail to the fur- 
therance of an effort is comprehended at least in general 
terms in the broad policies at the center. The assumption 


upon which organization and action are predicated is thus 
one of centralized determination and decentralized execu- 
tion of policy. 

But in practice the natural pyramid of organization and 
effort, which springs to mind in explanation of the theory, 
does not always apply. Many of the most outstanding ac- 
complishments originate without reference to broad policy, 
sometimes in opposition to it. In some instances the power 
of decision in smaller matters may be delegated so habitually 
that the cumulative practical effect is to transfer authority 
for the determination of large matters. Policies conceived 
at the center may not always rest upon the best information 
as to the actual conditions to which they are to apply, or, 
on the other hand, a policy soundly conceived may be muti- 
lated progressively in transmission through subordinate eche- 
lons by the limited outlook of local agencies. Such incoher- 
ences are the natural concomitant of all large, organized 
human effort; they are inevitably multiplied by the atmos- 
phere of urgency and uncertainty in which war is carried on. 

Departure from the theoretical pattern of action and re- 
sponsibility was particularly common during the days suc- 
ceeding our entrance into the war. The immediate steps re- 
quired to activate our defenses were problems of local action, 
either foreseen or not foreseen in the formation of war plans. 
Such for example were the initial steps taken to repair the 
damaged ships at Pearl Harbor, the alerting and mobiliza- 
tion of local defense forces within the Naval Districts, the 
disposition of fleet forces still in operable condition. But 
decisions of this kind affected only the resources already 
available on the scene. Most of our war resources, on the 
other hand, were potential, in process, or undelivered. Deci- 
sions affecting these were the business of the central com- 

Naval organization at the outbreak of the war was unfor- 
tunately ill-suited to the demands which such a war were to 
impose upon it. In particular, the distribution of authority 


and responsibility among its principal agencies was poorly 
adapted to the prosecution of the logistic task presented. 
The task of logistics breaks down logically into three broad 
divisions— planning or the determination of requirements, 
procurement, and distribution. These broad divisions them- 
selves are but a grouping of many subordinate logistic tasks, 
some of which were, in fact, performed on a peacetime basis 
by the Navy. But the interrelation of elements within the 
broad task of logistics had never been clearly defined, and, 
it is not necessary to add, was not reflected in the form and 
structure of the naval organization itself. The result, in part 
deriving from inadequate organization, was that many im- 
portant functions of logistics were not performed at all, oth- 
ers were performed in part, but with inadequate resources, 
while almost all tasks of logistic administration were per- 
formed without adequate reference to each other or to the 
larger, ultimate end they served. 

The key to the system's inadequacy, insofar as it may be 
explained in terms of organization, lay primarily in the rela- 
tion of the Chief of Naval Operations to the technical and 
material bureaus, under whose auspices the actual work of 
provision was done and to whom the funds were allotted. 
A traditional fear that too much authority over material 
means in the hands of the Chief of Naval Operations would 
make the Secretary a ''figurehead" and would invade the 
rightful province of the bureaus had militated constantly 
against the creation of central military direction over ma- 
terial matters in the Navy Department. The result was com- 
promise, a system of checks and balances persisting until the 
outbreak of war, in which as "we have seen the Chief of Naval 
Operations was "charged with the operations of the Fleet, 
and with the preparation and readiness of plans for its use 
in war," but had no power to direct the bureaus toward the 
accomplishment of any action necessary to carry out plans. 
In peacetime the condition of bureau autonomy thus created 
was of no serious consequence. Maintenance of the fleet was 








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largely a routine matter; requirements were known, expendi- 
tures were carefully estimated well in advance, and supply 
flowed automatically. In short, the operations of the logistic 
part of the naval establishment were spelled out in detail in 
the terms of the naval budget. But then, as the well-worn 
anecdote goes, "war came and threw everything out of gear/' 

The outbreak of the war brought to the fore at once the 
problem of gearing the material efforts of the naval estab- 
lishment to the military direction of the war. Inevitably 
this task devolved upon the Chief of Naval Operations, for 
it was in his hands that the military plan was formed, to 
whose execution all material efforts were addressed. Lacking 
personnel, procedures adaptable to the tempo and urgency 
of the task, and above all, the habit and practice of direction, 
the Office of Naval Operations was ill-equipped to take up 
the task. 

The Office of Naval Operations was hampered, moreover, 
by the dual load of operational and administrative work for 
which it was responsible. The definition of strategic aims 
and plans and the direction of forces were constantly en- 
tangled with matters affecting material support to the detri- 
ment of both essential lines of activity. 

The first step, therefore, in the necessary reorganization 
was the creation on December 18, 1941, of the Office of 
Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, with head- 
quarters in the Navy Department. To him was given "su- 
preme command of the operating forces of the several fleets 
of the United States Navy and the operating forces of the 
naval coastal frontier commands" with responsibility "under 
the general direction of the Secretary of the Navy, to the 
President of the United States therefor." To the Com- 
mander in Chief was also assigned the preparation and ex- 
ecution of current war plans, while to the Chief of Naval 
Operations there remained "the preparation of war plans 
from the long range point of view." The Commander in 
Chief would keep the Chief of Naval Operations informed 


of "the logistic and other needs of the operating forces," 
and the latter would furnish information on the extent to 
which they could be met. 

The obvious intent of the Executive Order creating a 
Commander in Chief was to set up a supreme agency of 
military direction free to devote itself exclusively to the 
formation and execution of strategic plans, while the Chief 
of Naval Operations would similarly be enabled to concen- 
trate upon matters of material support. But the division as 
specified in the terms of the order was neither clear nor com- 
plete. The retention of war planning "from the long range 
point of view" suggested that the Chief of Naval Operations 
would still concern himself with certain aspects of strategy, 
which by their broader nature must ultimately exercise gov- 
ernance over the current war plans developed by the Com- 
mander in Chief. It may also be noted, that with respect 
to the direction and coordination of material efforts the legal 
status of the Chief of Naval Operations over the bureaus re- 
mained unchanged. 

The immediate effect of the separation was to precipitate 
an extended discussion as to what sections and divisions of 
the old Office of Naval Operations would be assigned to 
Admiral King, the new Commander in Chief, and what 
should remain with Admiral Stark, the Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions. Unfortunately no clear distinction between the purely 
operational and the administrative functions of the original 
office had ever been maintained, with the result that it was 
not always easy to distinguish exactly under which category 
a particular section might belong. Strategy and logistics are 
not in fact separable elements in the conduct of war. Nor 
are they, apart from importance, coequal. The establishment 
of two coequal offices in which the functions of one were 
contributory to the other and in which the Chief of Naval 
Operations had cognizance of major matters of strategy was 
bound to encounter serious difficulties. 

The result was to throw the supreme command of the 


Navy into a state of uncertainty and confusion. Early in 
February a tentative formula was developed by the General 
Board, which appeared to the Secretary to have "pretty well 
defined the whole operation so there will be no twilight 
zones" and to Admiral King as "entirely satisfactory." But 
if understanding had been reached upon the proper relation 
between the two offices, it was short-lived. On March 13, 
upon the recommendation of the Secretary, the President 
signed Executive Order 9076, authorizing the combining of 
the duties of Commander in Chief and Chief of Naval Op- 
erations under one officer who should hold the double title, 
with responsibility to the President for the "conduct of the 
war/' As Chief of Naval Operations he was charged under 
the direction of the Secretary with the "preparation, readi- 
ness, and logistic support of the operating forces ... of the 
United States Navy and with the coordination and direction 
of effort to this end of the bureaus and offices of the Navv 
Department. . . ." 

The most significant part of the order from the point of 
view of logistic organization was the creation of a Vice Chief 
of Naval Operations clothed with "all necessary authority" 
for executing the plans and policies of the Commander 
in Chief and Chief of Naval Operations so far as pertained 
to the duties of the latter office. The Commander in Chief 
was thus in principle left free to concentrate upon the stra- 
tegic direction of the war. At the same time it was presumed 
that major plans and policies determined at this highest 
level would comprehend both strategic and logistic matters 
as suggested in the dual office. The Vice Chief, whose office 
would, in fact, be the principal logistic agency, was therefore 
placed in a subordinate relationship to the organ of military 
direction, but at the same time he was given the power to 
direct the bureaus in their own separate and contributory 
tasks. The basic lines of organization and function were thus 
in theory brought into correspondence with each other. 

One other development in organization affecting respon- 


sibility for logistic matters was of paramount importance. 
The issue of what authority the Chief of Naval Operations 
should have over the task of procurement had long stood in 
doubt. Within his office a shadowy cognizance had always 
been exercised over material programs and procurement, but 
as the national mobilization expanded in the immediate 
prewar years and various "super agencies" burgeoned in the 
government, the small section in Naval Operations respon- 
sible for working with these agencies had failed to keep pace. 
The vast litany of materials allocation, priorities, production 
facilities, statistics, clearance, legal and other procurement 
problems grew rapidly beyond the capacity of the few naval 
officers assigned to master it. Under existing policy expert 
civilian assistants could not be brought into the military 
branch with rank commensurate with their abilities. The 
Materials Section reflected the general weakness of the Of- 
fice of Naval Operations in its important relation with the 
bureaus; it lacked information and had itself insufficient ad- 
ministrative status under the Chief of Naval Operations. 
Since the establishment in June 1940 of an Under Secretary 
of the Navy specifically charged with the procurement pro- 
gram, moreover, the actual work involved had passed more 
and more into the Secretary's own office. The Materials 
Section under the Chief of Naval Operations was little more 
than a vestigial appendix. 

In October, anticipating the outbreak of war by only a 
few weeks the section was enlarged into a division, but the 
real sources of its weakness were not removed. The division 
continued in existence, performing to the satisfaction of no 
one either in the Navy or in the Office of Production Man- 
agement, which was dependent upon it for necessary in- 
formation and cooperation. At the end of December, Mr. 
Ferdinand Eberstadt, then Deputy Director of Production 
Management, recommended to the Secretary a number of 
changes in the Navy's Materials Division which he believed 
necessary for the requirements of his own office. He laid par- 


ticular emphasis upon the need for drawing all the Navy's 
procurement managing agencies together and urged that 
they be placed in the Secretary's own office. One month 
later, on January 30, the Materials Division was abolished, 
and there was set up immediately under the Under Secretary 
a new Office of Procurement and Material to coordinate all 
material procurement activities and supervise programs for 
the procurement of ships and other materials. The function 
of procurement itself was thus removed from the Office of 
Naval Operations and from the sphere of what was to con- 
stitute military logistics. 

The removal of procurement from the province of military 
direction was perhaps necessary and inevitable under the 
conditions then prevailing. Involving as it did a close rela- 
tion with civilian agencies of government and private indus- 
try, concerned with matters of civil economy and business 
procedure for which few naval officers had either training 
or inclination, the management of wartime procurement 
unquestionably belonged under civilian auspices. But under 
such an arrangement, if actual procurement programs were 
to remain sensitive and responsive to military requirements, 
there was need of a strong liaison between the Office of the 
Secretary by which procurement would be managed and the 
Office of Naval Operations by which requirements were de- 
termined. There would be need also, as long-range programs 
developed, of an efficient instrument in the military organi- 
zation by which strategic requirements could be translated 
into firm and comprehensive logistic plans for the guidance 
of procuring agencies. 

The ultimate result of these various changes in organiza- 
tion was the emergence in light etching of a group of tasks 
and functions which were to comprise what may be called 
the logistic support system of the Navy. Of the three major 
tasks of logistics, procurement was excluded from immedi- 
ate military cognizance. Sequentially administration of the 
logistic task would begin and end under military auspices. 


A "plan" or requirement would be formulated by the logistic 
planners and passed to the bureaus for fulfillment. Coordina- 
tion of that phase of bureau activity would be the responsi- 
bility of the Office of Procurement and Material. As goods 
became available from industrial sources, however, they 
would pass once more into the logistic system for distribu- 
tion throughout the structure of naval support. 

As the new-found naval organization addressed itself to 
the actual logistic task in hand— the construction of bases; 
the movement by land, sea, and air of men and materials; 
and the selection, assembly, storage and organization of the 
multitude of elements required to develop the physical struc- 
ture of support, the organization which must breathe life 
into the system was only roughly sketched out. The broad 
concepts under which it must operate were at best only 
dimly perceived. The high-level reorganization described 
above was in process, moreover, over a period of several 
months during which it was necessary that plans be made 
and put into execution, however ill conceived the planning 
and however inadequate the means for executing them. 
Throughout the naval establishment the same process of re- 
adjustment to a war footing was going on at every echelon, 
accompanied by the substantive task of providing support 
and reinforcement. 

Plans and Programs 

The result of this dual process of reorganization and 
substantive effort was that initial steps in providing logistic 
support to operating forces were taken with little reference 
to ordinary lines of procedure and organization, either 
existing or proposed. Nor could the logical sequence of steps, 
beginning with a definition of strategic aims and passing 
through the determination of logistic requirements, pro- 
curement, and distribution be followed. The immediate 
response to the conditions presented by the outbreak of 
war was a spontaneous "turning to" at every point in the 


existing system. The centers of interest during this critical 
period were in most instances the operating agencies, both 
in the field and in the Navy Department, the points where 
resources existed or might be mobilized quickly. District 
organizations, supply depots, port directors, and field agen- 
cies of the bureaus shouldered the immediate responsibility. 
Within the Navy Department the burden fell mainly upon 
the bureaus, which were functioning entities possessing 
some experience in the actual procurement, assembly, and 
movement of supplies. Central direction both in outlining 
the strategic plan and in defining in rough form its logistic 
requirements came principally from the new office of the 
Commander in Chief. 

Under existing conditions logistic planning, in the sense 
of long-range determination of requirements, was impos- 
sible. Certain major programs of procurement and produc- 
tion needed, of course, to be set in motion at once. Require- 
ments for combatant ships and to a lesser extent aircraft 
had largely been fixed before the war in the programs for 
20 per cent increase and for a two-ocean Navy authorized 
by the Congress in 1938 and 1940. Additional vessels, 
particularly destroyers and other small categories suitable 
for anti-submarine warfare were required, but insofar as 
their numbers were not automatically determined by pro- 
grams for larger vessels, they were dependent upon the im- 
mediate strategic situation in the Atlantic, and the initial 
program goals were set therefore by the Commander in 
Chief himself. A beginning had also been made on the 
auxiliary vessel program in the bill of 1941 authorizing an 
increase of 500,000 tons and 400 smaller craft for local 
defense purposes. All of these programs were already in the 
design or production phases. The problem, therefore, was 
one of expediting delivery on contracts which were in most 
cases let, rather than of immediately laying on additional 
programs defined in terms of long range strategic require- 


In order to secure the most rapid delivery in desired 
sequence of all classes of vessels it was necessary to survey 
the construction program as a whole and to assign priorities 
to various much needed types. On December 17, 1941, the 
Bureau of Ships presented its first "Master Plan for Maxi- 
mum Ship Construction. " This was developed by the 
Office of Naval Operations, the General Board, the Com- 
mander in Chief, the Maritime Commission, Congress, and 
the President into the guiding document for the Navy's 
vessel construction program. The plan as approved by the 
President in February 1942 was subjected to many modifica- 
tions during succeeding months and in its original form it 
neglected many categories such as destroyer escorts and 
landing craft which had later to be greatly expanded. It was, 
however, a remarkable instance of rapid assessment of re- 
quirements and possibilities, and served as the principal 
guide to other bureaus in the procurement of necessary 
components and materials. 

The inception of the landing craft program is an excellent 
illustration of many of the difficulties which beset long-range 
planning in these early months. On the initiative of the 
Marine Corps, experiments in landing craft had been begun 
at least as early as 1936. After 1939, an added impetus was 
given by the interest of the British government in landing 
craft types. But at the outbreak of the war, although certain 
minimum requirements had been fixed for vehicle and 
personnel landing boats, no agreement upon design had 
yet been reached. Amphibious craft perhaps more than any 
other kind of naval vessel must be tailored to the exigencies 
of combat, and until we; had some experience of actual 
conditions of assault, discussions of design remained highly 
conjectural and academic. Requirements in terms of num- 
bers and types, moreover, were directly dependent upon the 
character of operations to be undertaken, a judgment im- 
possible to reach at this time. They were dependent as well 
upon the types of tanks and vehicles to be developed by the 


Army for use in assault operations, and it was impossible 
to stabilize either in design or in number at an early stage 
in the war planning, lest the Navy be committed to a pro- 
gram of craft which would soon be wholly obsolete. In 
larger types these various difficulties were not as serious an 
impediment, and it was possible almost at once to set up 
projects for the three larger types of craft (LST or Landing 
Ship-Tanks, LCI or Landing Craft-Infantry and LCT or 
Landing Craft-Tanks). These projects began to bear fruit 
about June 1, 1942. Not until almost the end of 1942, how- 
ever, was it possible to make any firm plans on landing boats 
and tank lighters, with the result that programs developed 
more tardily. 

One of the major items of logistic support, construction 
and other equipment necessary for the establishment of 
advance bases, fortunately received early attention. The 
development of the advance base program will be treated in 
some detail in subsequent pages. Under the head of plan- 
ning, however, we may note the initial steps taken to map 
out a long-range program. Picking up from the peacetime 
program to construct advance bases in the Atlantic and 
Pacific, the Office of Naval Operations began in mid- 
January 1942 to provide for base requirements once the 
initial effort in the Pacific had exhausted the Navy's reserves 
of equipment. On January 1 5, the War Plans Division under 
Rear Admiral Turner laid out a program calling for the pro- 
curement and assembly of material for four main advanced 
bases and twqlve secondary bases, the former to be capable of 
providing logistic support for a major part of the fleet, the 
latter for a small task group of light forces. Facilities were 
determined largely in terms of those already provided for 
repair ships and aircraft and destroyer tenders. On February 
12, the program was defined in more specific terms. 
Materials for one major base and three secondary bases 
were to be assembled at designated depots by July 1. The 
remainder were to follow at the rate of one major and three 


secondary bases per quarter. It was provided as well that 
certain bases should be for cold zones and others for 
temperate and tropical zones. 

Major and secondary base units were designated as 
"Lions" and "Cubs" respectively and to them shortly was 
added a third unit called "Acorn" which included the 
personnel and materials required to construct and operate 
an air base. Lions, Cubs, and Acorns became henceforth 
the standard units upon which the Navy was to develop 
its advance base system, the goals of procurement, and the 
origin of subsequent requirements. 

Requirements for ordnance and electronic equipment, 
fuel, aircraft, personnel, training facilities, and the great mass 
of detailed accessory equipment were fixed in most cases by 
the cognizant bureaus on the basis of overall plans for the 
expansion of the fleet. In this respect, however, the Master 
Plan for ship construction provided only a general and ap- 
proximate guide. It left considerable leeway in the formula- 
tion of detailed plans and requirements for independent 
judgment by the procuring agencies themselves, and since 
"lead time"— the time required to produce an item for use 
in a given project or operation— was an all-important factor, 
the ability of bureau planning agencies to estimate accurately 
the long-range requirements for essential components deter- 
mined the success or failure of major programs. Coordina- 
tion of various programs for ship components was supplied 
largely on a personal basis by Rear Admiral W. S. Farber, 
first as Director of Fleet Maintenance and later as Assistant 
Chief of Naval Operations for Maintenance. 

As Admiral King stated in his first report to the Secretary, 
it was evident at once that no matter how much material 
of all types was produced during 1942, it would not be 
enough. In practice, therefore, few limits were set upon 
forecast requirements; procurement agencies moved ahead 
into the actual task of procuring subject only to the limited 
availability of raw materials and plant capacity. The nearest 


approximation to logistic planning which could be applied 
at this time was to determine the specific requirements of 
each individual base expedition and each continental facility, 
and in the case of overseas movements to supply some co- 
ordination to the assembly, loading, and transportation of 
the component men and materials. 

The lack of suitable personnel also stood in the way of 
long-range logistic planning at this time. Qualified personnel 
were jn great demand both under the Commander in Chief 
and the Chief of Naval Operations. Almost all the officers 
originally assigned to War Planning under the Chief of 
Naval Operations were transferred to the Office of the 
Commander in Chief, where they became engaged either in 
strategic planning or in the day-to-day administration and 
expediting of current logistic plans. The small remnant of 
a planning staff which remained in the Office of Operations 
was entirely inadequate for the task of long-range planning. 
The alternatives were either to shift long-range logistic 
planning to the strategic planners under the Commander in 
Chief, to place it upon other officers under the Chief of 
Naval Operations primarily responsible for implementing 
plans, or to suspend the development of comprehensive 

One further obstacle may be noted. During this early 
phase, when most of our resources were still in this country, 
the detailed task of planning and execution which ordinarily 
would fall upon the Theater or Expeditionary Force Com- 
mander devolved now upon the central command and other 
continental agencies. Not until some reserves had been 
built up in the advanced areas could the burden of detailed 
planning and administration be delegated. Gradually, as 
reserves of material were accumulated and certain basic pro- 
cedures in the task of distribution were put in practice, 
logistic planning became possible. But during the early 
months the day-to-day task claimed almost the whole atten- 
tion of the Navy's administration. 


Advance Bases 

The establishment of advance bases in the Pacific during 
the early months of the war was primarily an effort to make 
up in a brief period for the failures of preparation stretch- 
ing back over many years. Within a few weeks or months it 
was necessary to create means of support which informed 
opinion of only a few years before had considered would 
require a period of years. Early in 1941, Admiral Stark had 
stated apropos of a war plan to capture and develop Truk 
as an American base for operations in the Western Pacific 
that 'As a practical matter, the installation of maintenance 
facilities, such as shops, wharves, and dry docks, is a laborious 
process, taking under the best circumstances two to five 
years." Admiral William D. Leahy in the hearings on the 
Hepburn report in 1938 had set a figure of five years for the 
establishment of a major fleet base at Guam. He had not 
believed it possible "even should we press our efforts, to 
provide a first-class, fully developed advanced naval base at 
Guam by 1946," the date set for Philippine Independence. 
An underlying assumption in much of the prewar agitation 
for better development of advance base positions had been 
that bases required time for development and must there- 
fore be begun before the outbreak of war. 

Unlike the positions of strategic importance in the 
Atlantic area and to a lesser extent in the Caribbean and 
South America, the important outposts of the Pacific were 
tiny atolls or small tropical islands entirely lacking in 
industrial resources and in many cases lacking also in such 
rudimentary elements as potable water, habitation, local 
labor, fresh food, and roads and docks. Almost everything 
required to support a working population of any dimensions 
would have to be brought in and established before work 
itself could begin. Climate, terrain, unhealthy environment, 
and distance offered positive obstacles as well to their in- 
vestiture in any strength. 



Fortunately the Navy was not entirely without advantages 
and experience as it undertook the difficult task in the be- 
ginning of 1942. The program of naval expansion begun in 
1936 had given impetus to the development of the shore 
establishment, as may be seen in the rise of appropriations 
for the Bureau of Yards and Docks from $7,000,000 in 1938 
to $454,000,000 in 1941. The major portion of these ap- 
propriations was destined, it is true, for the expansion of our 
continental shore establishment, but a part of it was for 
advance base construction. All contributed to the expansion 
and strengthening of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, upon 
which would rest the responsibility for the provision of 
construction and base materials. 

Some experience in the construction of advance bases 
undertaken before the war, moreover, was to prove invalu- 
able in suggesting the methods and concepts, and in pro- 
viding a small backlog of the materials, which would be 
employed in the wartime task. In 1939 Congress had ap- 
propriated $65,000,000 to begin the expansion of those air 
facilities most urgently recommended by the Hepburn 
Board, notably at Hawaii, Wake, Midway, Johnston, Pal- 
myra, Kodiak, Sitka, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Other 
appropriations were made for public works projects within 
the United States and its possessions, under which contracts 
were let in 1940, for example, for two additional dry docks 
at Pearl Harbor. 

Conditions at most of these outlying points approximated 
those which were later to be encountered in the South and 
Central Pacific. The Navy received, therefore, a small fore- 
taste of the task ahead. At the same time a beginning was 
made in securing from industry a few of the non-standard 
items of equipment necessary for advance base construction. 
In setting the Hepburn Board's program in motion the Navy 
had thus gone into production in the construction of ad- 
vanced bases. Yet the methods of construction and of organ- 
ization did not differ much, except in scale, from those 


which had been employed by Pan American Airways, for 
example, in building commercial aviation facilities on Wake 
and Midway. Most of the facilities employed were of con- 
ventional design. The pace of construction as compared with 
that of the war was leisurely, and there were, of course, no 
threats of attack and no large accompanying garrison force. 

A second significant development grew out of the need 
for an adequate defensive screen on the western side of the 
Panama Canal. Early in 1940, upon his return from a cruise 
in the Panama area, the President called the attention of the 
Navy Department to the need for air patrols west of the 
Canal, and both the General Board of the Navy and the 
Joint Army-Navy Board began studies of the problem. The 
solution offered was a constant seaplane patrol based partly 
on tenders and partly on shore facilities in the Galapagos and 
in other parts of Central America. Although the possibility 
of making military installations on foreign soil during peace- 
time was remote, the Navy Department began preparations 
for the investment of the Galapagos if and when the neces- 
sity arose. 

To provide against this contingency the Chief of Naval 
Operations on June 1, 1940, requested the Bureau of Aero- 
nautics to draw up plans and guide the other bureaus in the 
procurement of materials to be assembled in the Canal Zone. 
This the Bureau did, and ultimately the lists of materials 
drawn up for the Galapagos were utilized by the Chief of 
Naval Operations for the preparation of other air base units. 
''Galapagos units" came to represent a standardized set of 
materials and facilities intended to fit generally the needs 
of any similar project, but not custom-designed for any par- 
ticular base. After the lease of British bases in the summer 
of 1940 a board headed by Rear Admiral J. W. Greenslade, 
similar in composition and purpose to the Hepburn Board, 
had drawn up a program for air facilities development in the 
Caribbean in which the "Galapagos units" proved a useful 


tool for the rapid planning and assembly of material 

A second step of importance in the preparation of the 
Galapagos bases was the establishment at the suggestion of 
the Bureau of Yards and Docks of an Advance Base Depot 
in the Canal Zone. The function of the depot was to provide 
a place where \machinery and other equipment could not 
only be stored, but also kept in operable condition. The 
depot in the Canal Zone was shortly followed by others situ- 
ated in strategic assembly areas in the United States. 

The greatest impetus in the prewar preparation of ad- 
vance bases came, however, from the plan to establish four 
bases in the United Kingdom prior to the outbreak of the 
war. In January 1941, the United States agreed in staff 
conversations with the British to assume some of the re- 
sponsibility for the security of sea lanes in the North At- 
lantic. The creation of a Support Force in the Atlantic Fleet 
composed of destroyers and patrol planes to carry out the 
neutrality patrol posed the problem of their support at the 
eastern terminus of the sea lanes. In February, a mission 
headed by Captain Louis E. Denfeld visited England and 
reported in favor of the establishment of four bases in the 
British Isles— two for air support and two for destroyers- 
all to be undertaken with the greatest urgency. 

The establishment of these bases and the preparations 
for them were to be of great significance in our subsequent 
base-building efforts in the Pacific. The passage of the Lend- 
Lease Act in March 1941 opened the way to a much greater 
expenditure than had hitherto been possible. Materials for 
the bases could be assembled and shipped under Lend-Lease 
appropriations for British use, and in the event of our actual 
involvement in the war they would be available for Ameri- 
can occupation. In any event advance bases would be estab- 
lished on a scale hitherto unattempted. 

Bureaus were instructed to proceed at once with the 
procurement and assembly of materials. In particular the 


Bureau of Yards and Docks now moved into the procure- 
ment of advance base materials on a large scale. Con- 
tracts were awarded to the George A. Fuller Company and 
Merrit-Chapman and Scott Corporation for the purchase, 
fabrication, crating, storing, and marking of material and 
equipment with its main base of operations at Temporary 
Aviation Facilities at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, the 
forerunner of the Advance Base Depot, Davisville. The 
equipment of the new shore facilities was to be roughly the 
equivalent of that contained in destroyer and seaplane tend- 
ers, and the allowance lists for these vessels formed, there- 
fore, the basis for planning and procurement of materials. 
"Galapagos units" were also used as a guide, and in addition 
there was an extensive reworking of the various lists by the 
bureaus, which resulted in extensive modification and elabo- 
ration of the earlier allowances, particularly in a greater pro- 
portion of base construction materials furnished by the 
Bureau of Yards and Docks in addition to the technical 
equipment furnished by the other bureaus. 

The emphasis upon base construction equipment fur- 
nished also an opportunity for the large-scale development of 
items of special design which had hitherto been languishing 
for want of funds and support. Early in 1940, two planning 
officers in the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Commander }. 
N. Laycock and Lt. Commander E. S. Huntington, had 
taken up the problem of rapidly projecting supporting shore 
facilities into a broad area of naval operations such as the 
Pacific. The solution, they believed, lay in the design and 
development of highly specialized, prefabricated and port- 
able equipment capable of mass production and adaptable to 
varying conditions. During 1940 they undertook the ex- 
perimental design of certain units, among which were the 
Quonset Hut, an adaptation of a British model; portable 
stills and generators; and a prefabricated pontoon. This 
last was a hollow steel unit, 4'xy'x4' in dimensions, and 
capable of combination into an indefinite number of larger 


units such as rafts, small dry docks, landing stages, and 
bridges. Its widespread though unauthorized use as a shower 
tank in the Pacific Area helped to provide us with perhaps 
the best-washed army in the history of tropical warfare. 
Commander Laycock tried without much success during 
1940 to secure funds for further experimentation and for 
placing a few orders with industry which might pave the 
way for tooling for large-scale production. Funds were not 
available. The inception of the United Kingdom base pro- 
gram, however, opened the way to a larger effort, and Com- 
mander Laycock and his associates were given free rein. 

As it developed, the United Kingdom program proved 
useful in many ways not originally contemplated. Other base 
development programs were getting underway, and since 
shipments from Quonset to the British Isles did not proceed 
as rapidly as expected, the practice developed of drav/ing on 
Quonset for materials needed urgently in other quarters. 
Most of the diversions were small and were generally made 
without prejudice to the United Kingdom program. But 
between August and October, six shiploads of materials were 
sent to advance bases in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and 
Brazil, and smaller items of critical importance were made 
available for Iceland, the Aleutians and even the Pacific is- 
lands. Quonset became, as a result, an important depot for 
the assembly and shipment of advance base materials. 

Another by-product of the program was the formation of 
the first specialized advance base units of personnel. No 
authority existed in 1941 for the formation of Construction 
Battalions, and it was necessary to rely for the construction 
of the bases themselves upon Irish and British labor. For 
personnel to man the bases when completed the Navy drew 
sparingly from its more experienced rates and around these 
nuclei grouped seamen, mostly fresh from boot camp, who 
were given specialized training for the tasks they were to 
perform. Most of the personnel thus gathered and trained 
were to be rushed to Pearl Harbor for more urgent work 


there immediately after the beginning of war. In this role 
they were of great value; and at the same time their earlier 
assembly and training had provided a useful pattern of ex- 

In one respect, the United Kingdom program did not pro- 
vide a pattern of experience useful for the future. Since the 
project was carried out under the terms of Lend-Lease and 
since the Neutrality Act still forbade the employment of 
American ships for that purpose, shipping had to be pro- 
vided by the British. Thus the many lessons derived from 
the procurement, design, and assembly of advance base ma- 
terials did not extend into the field of providing transporta- 
tion or of coordinating advance base movements with the 
procurement and operation of shipping. But in matters per- 
taining directly to advance base construction the prepara- 
tions for the British bases were of incalculable importance. 
In them and in the earlier programs of smaller scale lay the 
seeds of method and the precious backlog of materials by 
which a much greater task was to be carried out, and without 
which our situation at the outbreak of war would have been 
profoundly more perilous than it was. 

The first of the naval bases to be established in the Pacific 
after the outbreak of war was a fueling station on the island 
of Bora-Bora in the Society Group. The expedition itself 
was not large, consisting in all, of approximately 3,900 Army 
troops as a garrison, and 500 naval personnel to construct 
and operate the tank farm, which was the principal object 
of the expedition. It met no resistance from the enemy and 
was never attacked. It was not destined for expansion into 
a major base, and its subsequent role in the history of the 
Pacific campaign was minor. Yet "Bobcat" as the expedi- 
tion was called in code, has a significance of its own, for it 
was conceived and dispatched under the most exacting con- 
ditions; it brought immediately into sharp focus the many 
difficulties inherent in the establishment of Pacific bases, and 


provided, therefore, a small but highly concentrated capsule 
of experience for the future. 

The expedition had its origin on Christmas Day, 1941, 
when Admiral King requested that a study be made of the 
site for a fueling base in the South Pacific. On December 30, 
the selection of Bora-Bora was recommended. On January 4, 
the first rough plan of the expedition was issued in the form 
of a memorandum from Admiral Turner to his Army coun- 
terpart, General Gerow, the Assistant Chief of Staff for 
Plans. Between that time and January 27, when the expedi- 
tion sailed, personnel and material were assembled, ships 
selected and armed, and loading carried on in three separate 
ports. It was a joint undertaking necessitating close coordina- 
tion between the two services. Moreover, the Navy's part of 
the expeditionary force was not at the time it was ordered, 
a unit in being; it was the immediate precursor of the first 
Construction Battalion and had to be organized out of green 
and untrained personnel on entirely new lines of command. 
Material had to be assembled from points all over the coun- 
try. That the expedition was able to sail from Charleston 
only two days behind schedule was, under the circumstances, 
a considerable achievement in itself. 

The Joint Plan for Operation Bobcat, issued on January 8, 
could never have been executed within such a brief space of 
time had it not been for the prior existence of the United 
Kingdom project. The major portion of the base and con- 
struction equipment was drawn from the reserves at Quon- 
set. Officers in the Navy Department who had gained ex- 
perience working on the British bases guided and directed 
the assembly for Bora-Bora. The concept of advance base 
units of personnel served also to provide a general frame- 
work for the organization of the naval unit. 

Participation in the preparation of the expedition followed 
the same general lines that had applied in the previous 
peacetime movements. Bureaus, the Office of Naval Opera- 
tions, and field agencies all joined in a loose and informal 


association whose cohesiveness was provided by the urgency 
of the task and determination to see it accomplished rather 
than by any formal lines of authority or organization. The 
principal agencies were the Bureau of Yards and Docks and 
the Base Maintenance Division of CNO, acting under the 
general guidance of Admiral Turner of the War Plans Di- 
vision. Plans, as prepared by Naval Operations, had sum- 
marized most of the materials to be procured and assembled 
by the bureaus and had stipulated also that materials would 
be loaded in the order of priority of their use at destination. 
More detailed loading plans were prepared by the Naval 
Transportation Service, whose responsibility it was to pro- 
vide shipping for the expedition. The importance of correct 
loading by those who planned and directed the expedition 
was clearly understood. But assembly of materials at the 
loading points, particularly at the Naval Supply Depot, 
Charleston, was so hurried and confused, the ships ultimate- 
ly made available so unsuited to the loading plans previ- 
ously drawn up, and shipments so poorly marked and un- 
identifiable, that it was impossible to accomplish an orderly 
loading in the desired manner. 

Selection of vessels for the expedition was also attended 
with difficulty. Of the six vessels required, the Navy itself 
could provide only three, and the remainder had to be fur- 
nished by the Maritime Commission on hurried notice. 
They were unarmed, one turned out to have been damaged 
and required a substitute, and all were lacking in the slings 
and cargo nets requisite for discharging, a fact discovered 
only upon arrival at Bora-Bora. Stevedore labor at Charleston 
was singularly inefficient, and there developed as well many 
details of arrangement between the Army and Navy com- 
manding officers, which, together with the work in progress 
in arming the civilian vessels, impeded the loading opera- 
tions. Even so, the convoy would have been able to meet 
its scheduled date of departure on January 25, had it not 
developed at the last moment that the substituted vessel, 


the Arthur Middleton, required ballasting to compensate for 
the weight of the armament installed. 

The difficulties and confusion encountered at Charleston 
were mild, however, compared to those experienced upon 
the arrival of the expedition at Bora-Bora. Discharging was 
carried on without reference to priority. All cargo had to be 
lightered ashore with hastily assembled pontoon lighters and 
a few small boats. Materials were so unidentifiable that crates 
and boxes had to be broken into indiscriminately in search 
of urgently needed items. Many of the personnel, both Ar- 
my and Navy, were drawn away from their primary duties 
in order to make up in stevedoring manpower for the dis- 
orderliness of the loading. On February 28, eleven days after 
arrival, five of the six ships were less than one quarter un- 
loaded; six weeks later two of the ships had still not com- 
pleted discharge. Delayed turnaround, the greatest evil of 
the shipping effort, had thus begun to take its toll of ship- 
ping. The effect of bad loading on the progress of the base 
itself was succinctly stated by Commander Sanders, the naval 
commander: "I believe that we could have saved three to 
four weeks ... if the ships had been properly loaded. . . ." 

Lack of information as to the exact nature of the terrain 
led to errors in planning which produced even greater delays. 
Naval sources of information were exceedingly scanty, the 
only map of the island being a French publication of the mid- 
nineteenth century. After the expedition had sailed, the Ar- 
my uncovered in its Washington staff, a second lieutenant 
who had visited Bora-Bora, and he was flown to join the 
expedition en route. His services during the planning stages 
would have been of far greater value than they were to prove 

Errors of particular importance concerned the water sup- 
ply, the condition of roads and bridges, and the topography 
of the area in which the tank farm was to be constructed. 
Distilling equipment was insufficient, and naval construc- 
tion forces were compelled to undertake an extensive water 


supply project before they could begin upon the fuel tanks. 
Vehicles drawn from the reserves assembled for the United 
Kingdom bases proved entirely too heavy for the undevel- 
oped roads of the islands, and bulldozers and graders had 
been inadequately provided. The land bordering Trevanui 
Harbor rose sharply from the sea without any intervening 
plateau so that fuel tanks had to be placed upon the hillside 
on small shelves blasted out of solid rock. 

Administrative difficulties also plagued the expedition al- 
most from its inception. The senior officer of Bobcat was 
the Army commander, and it was provided, therefore, that 
except for the period while troops were actually embarked, 
he should exercise unified command. The primary purpose 
of the expedition, however, was the establishment of a naval 
fueling base, and it followed that this purpose was not always 
clearly kept to the fore in the direction of activity on the 
island. The Joint Plan had provided, moreover, that sub- 
sistence for the total force once landed on the island would 
be provided by the Army commander, but some time passed 
before his relation to the Commanding General in the Cen- 
tral Pacific had been properly established and maintenance 
shipments provided. Meanwhile, although rations were ade- 
quate, the ubiquitous Spam of later fame became the prin- 
cipal item of diet. 

The difficulties, large and small, encountered in the es- 
tablishment of Bobcat could be recited at length. In sum, 
they represented in minuscule many of the problems which 
had to be surmounted in the construction of all advance 
bases in the Pacific. Bora-Bora illustrated clearly the impor- 
tance in planning advance bases of accurate and comprehen- 
sive information on the character of the task ahead. The in- 
adequacy of personnel and equipment so pointedly apparent 
in this case led to broader thinking in the planning of other 
expeditions. The importance of transport and of prior as- 
sembly of materials before loading was also made clear, and 
all difficulties served to bring out the necessity when possible 


for a longer period of preparation between the strategic con- 
ception of a task and its logistic accomplishment. It illus- 
trated, finally, the urgent necessity of greater cohesiveness in 
the administrative structure and procedure of the Navy's 
logistic organization. 

If the expedition to Bora-Bora was in many respects a 
''comedy of errors/' it was not a failure. The delays in un- 
loading the convoy and in erecting defense installations 
made it particularly susceptible to attack, but happily no 
such attack was made. Meanwhile, an advance base position 
had been assumed in the Pacific providing us not only with 
one link in the chain to Australia, but also with a practical 
lesson for application in the future. Bora-Bora was an in- 
valuable rehearsal for larger undertakings. The highly de- 
veloped technique of 1944, under which the installation of 
a huge establishment like Guam was smoothly carried out, 
had its origin in the bungling of Bora-Bora. 

The Joint Plan for the Bobcat expedition had scarcely 
been issued before studies were under way for the establish- 
ment of additional bases which would complete the link to 
Australia. The originating concept of these bases was two- 
fold. Certain of the bases such as those established at Tonga- 
tabu, Samoa, and Efate in the New Hebrides' involved new 
installations in areas where little prior preparation had been 
made. They had, therefore, to embody a whole initial es- 
tablishment of balanced forces. Others, such as Nandi and 
Suva in the Fijis, Noumea, New Caledonia, and Auckland, 
New Zealand, were intended to augment and strengthen 
the positions already in the hands of our Australian and 
New Zealand allies. In these cases, except for Fiji, the devel- 
opment was carried on not on the basis of a single plan con- 
ceived at the beginning, but gradually, as new requirements 
and conditions unfolded. All, however, were to be carried 
out on a scale considerably greater than that of Bobcat. 

Formal notification of the intent to establish bases at 
Efate, Samoa, and Tongatabu was issued by the Chief of 


Naval Operations on March 6, with instruction that convoys 
should be ready to sail from the East Coast in three weeks 
and from the West Coast in four. Actually, verbal instruc- 
tions had already been issued, and the formation and execu- 
tion of the plans were under way. 

All three of the bases were defined as "advanced operating 
positions" and were clearly parts of a larger pattern develop- 
ing. For Tongatabu there was required "a protected anchor- 
age and fueling base" to serve also as "a staging point for 
Army and Navy aircraft operations in the Samoa-Fiji area"; 
for Efate "a protected anchorage and a strong outpost of 
land aircraft/' serving also for aircraft staging and support in 
the Fiji-New Caledonia area. For Samoa the plan called for 
"four strong mutually supporting defensive positions." Ton- 
gatabu and Efate would be joint Army-Navy operations; in 
Samoa the garrison would be made up of Marines. 

The procedure for assembling and directing the new ex- 
peditions was substantially that which had been employed 
in the case of Bobcat, though it is notable that certain re- 
finements and improvements had been made. Planning and 
direction were more centrally concentrated under the Chief 
of Naval Operations. Particular emphasis was laid upon the 
necessity for assembly of materials at the loading points as 
much in advance as possible and for the observance of prior- 
ity in loading. A further refinement was the division of each 
movement into three separarate waves or echelons to sail 
at monthly intervals. Personnel complements and material 
allowances were considerably increased, and the organiza- 
tion of individual components was, needless to say, vastly 
improved. The first Construction Battalion, which was di- 
vided between Tongatabu and Efate, was a relatively ma- 
ture assembly compared to the motley little band which 
was bearing the brunt of labor at Bora-Bora. 

The preparation of these three base expeditions had one 
characteristic in common with Bora-Bora in that all were 
primarily retail undertakings. Although the projects were 


carried on concurrently and the convoys, when ready, actu- 
ally joined at sea, each base was planned as an individual 
unit. Outfitting lists were made up in minute detail— a proc- 
ess subject to error and entailing delays, which obviously 
would not serve when the development of advance base 
movements moved into high gear. 

The developments at Noumea, Auckland, and the Fijis 
began on a small scale at about the same time that the ex- 
peditions were formed for Efate and Tongatabu. Through- 
out the first six months plans were shifting constantly, and 
although most of the positions to be assumed were fixed in 
advance the size and character of each fluctuated constantly 
in the development of plans. By April, however, the decision 
had been reached to establish a major naval base at Auck- 
land, and to locate there the headquarters of Vice Admiral 
Ghormley, the South Pacific Commander. Orders were is- 
sued creating a Service Squadron Six for the South Pacific 
Force even before Admiral Ghormley had been designated 
as Area and Force Commander. The expansion of facilities 
at Auckland during the first half of 1942 was thus more 
rapid than at Noumea, but it was to be the latter upon which 
by the end of the year the greatest effort was concentrated. 

The rapid and unforeseen acceleration in the development 
of these bases was the result in part of increased United 
States participation in their defense, in part of increased 
naval activity as at Noumea, and finally of a growing recog- 
nition of the need for greatly augmented facilities to support 
the Solomons offensive launched in August. In the case of 
the Fijis a plan was drawn and a full expedition dispatched. 
In Noumea and Auckland, however, no basic plan was pro- 
vided, and these two bases which were to assume major pro- 
portions developed, therefore, without the benefit of an 
original definition of their purpose and scope. Auckland 
was destined to be the principal staging point for the Gua- 
dalcanal offensive. Noumea had in store an even greater role 
as the headquarters of the South Pacific Command, an im- 


portant staging area, and the distributing center for the en- 
tire South Pacific Area. 

In organizing and directing the shipments to Noumea and 
Auckland a new and experimental procedure was adopted 
by the Navy Department, which reversed in part the tend- 
ency toward concentrating control under the Chief of Naval 
Operations. In order to expedite deliveries to tidewater load- 
ing points and to provide a greater degree of flexibility, bu- 
reaus were authorized to direct shipments on their own re- 
sponsibility. The procedure did eliminate a certain amount 
of administrative delay, but it had several unfortunate con- 
sequences. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, whose re- 
sponsibility it was to route shipments within the United 
States concentrated too heavily upon the port of San Fran- 
cisco with the result that, as shipments increased, the facili- 
ties of the Twelfth District were hard put to keep up. Ad- 
vance notice to the Commandant of goods arriving for 
transshipment was not adequate, moreover, and it was there- 
fore necessary for the Office of Naval Operations itself to 
keep watch on prospective shipments by the bureaus and 
notify the District Commandant. Under this arrangement, 
however, information in the hands of Operations was neces- 
sarily more scanty than it would have been if the shipments 
had been kept under its surveillance and control from the 
beginning. The lack of information on cargo movements, to- 
gether with the constant addition to facilities destined for 
Noumea, had also a serious effect on the ability of the Naval 
Transportation Service to estimate accurately the merchant 
shipping requirements of the Navy. We shall shortly con- 
sider the problem of shipping in greater detail, but it may 
be noted in passing that this lack of information was to 
prove one of the greatest obstacles to effective coordination 
between shipping and supply. 

By the end of the first six months of war the initial steps 
had been taken in the assumption of positions and in the 
establishment of our advance base system in the South 


Pacific. The Battle of the Coral Sea had been fought, and 
although that engagement had not brought to an end the 
threat of further Japanese penetration to the south, it was 
possible for the high command to withdraw most of the 
fleet forces from the South Pacific for concentration against 
the anticipated thrust at Midway, relying principally for de- 
fense in the South Pacific upon the island defense installa- 
tions already provided. 

Certain characteristics inherent in the establishment of 
these first advance bases stand out in retrospect. Although 
they all responded directly to one obvious strategic impera- 
tive—the maintenance of our lines to Australia and the con- 
taining of Japanese forces within the Central Pacific— the 
working out in detail both of the strategic concept and the 
logistic support had been extemporized. The pattern as it 
emerged represented a sum of individual steps taken with 
only a hazy and incomplete notion of what was ultimately 
to emerge. That feature is reflected as well in the manner of 
assembly and preparation of the individual bases them- 
selves. The process as exemplified in the Bora-Bora expedi- 
tion was essentially retail; each individual base was tailor- 
made. If subsequent efforts proceeded more smoothly than 
the first, improvement was more the result of a constant ap- 
plication of experience than of a change in basic technique. 

Secondly, the construction of most of these bases had 
been made possible only by the reserves of material accumu- 
lated at Quonset before the war. By the time provision had 
been made for the bases at Efate, Tongatabu, Samoa, and 
Fiji, these reserves were exhausted. Whatever other advance 
bases might be established must be provided for out of new 
resources, procured after the beginning of the war. Upon 
the soundness and accuracy of advance planning, therefore, 
would depend the possibility of laying out new bases and 
augmenting the facilities of those already established. 

Finally, the direction of these efforts had been carried out 
largely in the Navy Department, in detailed planning and 


supervision of projects which would ordinarily be the duty 
of theater or field agencies. Much of the credit for success- 
ful execution of these plans belongs of course to field agen- 
cies such as the Advance Base Depot at Davisville, the Naval 
Supply Depot at Oakland, and the Port Director in San 
Francisco. Their work, carried on under the most difficult 
conditions, showed the wisdom of a system which gave con- 
siderable freedom of action to decentralized operating agen- 

In subsequent efforts this retail character of effort in the 
Navy Department was to give way to an operation which was 
wholesale, based more on long-range planning and upon the 
creation of stockpiles from which theater commanders might 
draw to meet their specific requirements. The development 
of methods and techniques for operating on a wholesale 
basis, however, was just beginning. 

This initial accomplishment had been characterized by 
many errors of planning, direction, and execution. Its faults 
derived principally from lack of experience and from the 
want of proper coordination of effort. Yet in the main the 
effort was successful. With inadequate resources, with lim- 
ited guidance in terms of strategic aims, and in great haste 
the foundations of the South Pacific campaign had been laid 
both for defense and for subsequent offense. 


On December 7, 1941, when the attack was delivered at 
Pearl Harbor, one of the Navy's principal logistic tasks as 
defined in Joint Army-Navy War Plans was to "Provide sea 
transportation for the initial movement and continued sup- 
port of Army and Navy forces overseas. Man and operate 
the Army Transport Service." By these two succinct sen- 
tences the Navy was committed to one of the major logistic 
responsibilities of our military effort. During the First World 
War the transportation of men and materials overseas, to- 
gether with their protection en route, had been the prin- 


cipal mission of the Navy. It had been performed with out- 
standing success. Under the present alignment, however, in 
which the Anglo-American alliance was pitted against Ger- 
man, Italian, and Japanese naval power, it could not be ex- 
pected that the American Navy would be as free as before 
to concentrate upon a logistic task. The assignment of this 
mission to the Navy in the War Plan of 1941, recognized, 
therefore, a principle of long standing in "J om t: Action" 
policy— that sea transport of military forces should be per- 
formed under naval auspices. But it had also to reckon with 
the likelihood that it would be regarded as a task of sec- 
ondary importance. 

The contrast between conditions in the First and Second 
World Wars applied not only to the strategic situation but 
also to the shipping position of the United States in the total 
allied war effort. In the first war, the British merchant ma- 
rine was the principal shipping resource of the Allies. Not 
only did it carry most of the burden of imports into the 
United Kingdom; it supplied as well many of the wants of 
the allied powers. Several million tons of British shipping 
were allocated to French services, and in the movement of 
American troops overseas slightly over 50 per cent of the 
load was borne by British tonnage. In 1941, however, the 
position of the United States was relatively that of Great 
Britain in the first war. We did not, in 1941, have a tonnage 
in any way comparable to the British merchant fleet. But 
there devolved upon the United States, nevertheless, the 
responsibility for supplementing the shipping resources of 
the United Nations. Out of American tonnage built or 
building was to come the surplus capacity by which United 
Nations deficiencies were made up. For Lend-Lease ship- 
ments to Great Britain and Russia; for the import of strate- 
gic materials and essential civilian commodities into the 
United States; and for various other legitimate war purposes, 
United States shipping resources were subject to a greater 
proportion of non-military demands than in the first war. In 


two basic respects, therefore, conditions in 1917, when the 
Navy had played a major role in the national shipping effort, 
and those of 1941 were in sharp contrast. 

The outbreak of war found the Navy wholly unprepared 
to assume the transportation task which had been assigned 
to it. The Naval Transportation Service, the organization 
under the Chief of Naval Operations responsible for over- 
seas shipping, was a small, under-staffed, and highly sub- 
ordinate agency, existing almost entirely on paper. It had no 
clear concept of its own mission and even less notion of the 
relation which must be established between the Navy's ship- 
ping organization and its other services of supply. Its plans 
were incomplete, and liaison with the Army, for whom it was 
to act as a carrier, was undeveloped. Certainly no channels 
or procedure existed between the Army and the Navy by 
which Army plans for overseas movements could be trans- 
lated into terms of a naval shipping program. The Navy had 
at this time, moreover, only a few cargo vessels and trans- 
ports, the major portion of which were assigned not to the 
Naval Transportation Service, but to the fleet's "Base 
Force" as ships of the train. So great was the shortage of 
naval personnel that the few vessels the Navy could secure 
either for the Naval Transportation Service or the Base 
Forces were manned only with the greatest difficulty. 

Prior to the war the Naval Transportation Service was 
also unable to acquire the practical operating experience 
necessary to establishment of its position in the eyes of 
either the Navy or Army as the responsible agency for ship- 
ping. Naval Regulations assigned responsibility for trans- 
portation of property to the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts and of personnel to the Bureau of Personnel. The 
Naval Transportation Service was described as an agency 
which would come into operation during wartime. In actual 
practice, overseas shipping for the Navy during the years im- 
mediately preceding the war was done, in most cases, either 
by commercial shippers or by vessels assigned to the Base 


Forces. Bureaus responsible for the shipment of material 
had little occasion to deal with the Naval Transportation 
Service. It is indicative of the prevailing condition that at a 
hearing of December 9, 1941, before the House Committee 
on Merchant Marine affairs, the Navy was represented by 
an officer from the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts who 
opened his testimony with the statement, "All Navy trans- 
portation is handled by the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts/' The statement was substantially correct. 

With the Army the relation of the Naval Transportation 
Service was even more tenuous. Immediately after the as- 
signment of shipping responsibility to the Navy in the War 
Plan of 1941, an agreement had been reached between the 
respective Secretaries under which vessels of the Army 
Transport Service would be taken over promptly and com- 
missioned in the naval service. Difficulties arose at once, 
however, in carrying out this agreement, particularly be- 
cause of the shortage of naval personnel available for man- 
ning the ships. Many of the Army cargo vessels were old, 
and since the Navy was loath to waste precious personnel 
upon vessels unsuitable for employment in dangerous wa- 
ters, only a few cargo vessels were transferred. In the case 
of transports a difficulty arose over the need for keeping the 
vessels in constant employment. Under current policy the 
Navy required combat loading transport vessels sufficient to 
lift several divisions of Army and Marine forces off each 
coast immediately after the United States became involved 
in war, and it was understood that certain of the Army 
transports would be converted to this use. During the au- 
tumn of 1941, however, since Army troop movement sched- 
ules required that every available vessel be kept in constant 
service, it could not spare the vessels for the period required 
for conversion. Ultimately the issue was settled by com- 
promise, but it may be said that the Navy's inability to fur- 
nish alternate vessels for Army use had fostered, on the 
part of the Army, a sense of the need for self-reliance. 


The agreement between the services had provided as well 
that the Army would continue to acquire vessels for cur- 
rent needs which would subsequently be turned over to the 
Navy for manning. This it continued to do, but since 
transfers could not be accomplished very easily during this 
period, the result in December 1941 was that the Army had 
on hand as large a block of tonnage as the Navy's. The re- 
sponsibility of the Navy for the movement of Army forces, 
moreover, was to become operative only after war had begun. 
Army needs in excess of its own shipping resources prior to 
the war were supplied almost entirely by the Maritime 
Commission. Between the Army and Navy no procedure 
had been worked out and refined in practice by which the 
terms of the War Plan could be implemented in wartime. 

In justice to the few officers then in the Naval Trans- 
portation Service it must be said that they labored strenu- 
ously and against great odds to bring the Naval Transporta- 
tion Service to a war footing. Recommendations were made 
repeatedly, for example, that it should take over from the 
Atlantic Fleet Base Force the transport service for bases 
then building in the Atlantic and Caribbean. But since this 
would have involved shifting vessels from the Base Force 
to the Naval Transportation Service, the recommendation 
was not approved. 

In other directions the efforts of these few officers bore 
greater fruit. In September 1939, when war began in Eu- 
rope, steps were immediately taken to establish in the prin- 
cipal ports of the United States a system of naval port direc- 
tors to act as field agencies of the Naval Transportation 
Service in all matters pertaining to the procurement and 
operation of merchant shipping. Detailed instructions were 
issued to them. In the two major ports, New York and 
San Francisco, the officers selected, Captains F. G. Reinicke 
and M. C. Davis, were well chosen. They made themselves 
familiar with the waterfront organization, secured terminal 
facilities, and developed their own plans and procedures. 


During the first two critical months of the Pacific war, it 
was Captain Davis's office in San Francisco that bore the 
brunt of the emergency shipping and logistic effort. 

In October 1939, a procedural agreement was worked out 
with the Maritime Commission under which requisitioned 
vessels could be transferred to the Navy. Since the Mari- 
time Commission was the only agency empowered by law 
to requisition vessels during an emergency, an understand- 
ing between it and the Navy was of first importance. The 
agreement, however, was purely procedural, and it did not 
immediately affect the Navy's efforts to acquire merchant 
vessels. The declaration of emergency under which the 
Commission's authority became operative was not made 
until more than a year later. Meanwhile, the Navy was com- 
pelled to purchase vessels from private owners in a rising 
market, in which the most suitable ships were frequently 
not for sale. Even after the proclamation of emergency the 
Maritime Commission adopted the practice of screening 
Navy requests for merchant vessels against the total needs 
of the national mobilization effort, and on several occasions 
refused to transfer vessels requested. 

It may be added, too, that the War Plans did not en- 
visage that all the merchant shipping employed by the 
Navy during the initial stages of the war would be manned 
and commissioned in the Navy. Most of the ships origi- 
nally put into military service would be secured on a time- 
charter basis and operated by the Navy, after arming, with 
their original civilian crews. Gradually, as personnel became 
available and conditions permitted, they would be manned 
by naval crews. This procedure was thoroughly understood 
by the port directors, and district war plans included in- 
structions for the rapid mobilization of merchant vessels in 
collaboration with the Maritime Commission. When war 
broke out, some of the port directors such as the able and 
energetic Captain Davis in San Francisco sprang rapidly 
into action and began procuring ships to meet the urgent 


needs of Hawaii and other beleaguered positions in the 
Pacific. As he later described the situation, "It was some- 
thing of a honeymoon and lasted about six weeks. Then 
the Maritime Commission woke up and started the alloca- 
tion of ships." "But by that time/' he added, "the immedi- 
ate needs of the Navy at Pearl Harbor had been fulfilled/' 
The statement illustrates not only the manner in which the 
Navy's decentralized system responded quickly to the emer- 
gency of war. It illustrates also the danger inherent in iso- 
lated actions of this kind and the failure of the central ad- 
ministration, both in the Navy and in the government at 
large to formulate a concrete program of action embracing 
the larger aspects of the shipping problem. 

In sum, the outbreak of war found the Navy assigned a 
responsibility which it had no adequate means to discharge. 
Lacking prestige, organization, experience, and facilities, 
the Naval Transportation Service was prepared only in its 
field agencies. At the center, upon which the whole pro- 
jected system depended, it was all too ill-prepared. 

The want of proper organization to administer shipping 
was not confined to the Navy. In the broader field of na- 
tional organization, no effective steps had yet been taken to 
deal with demands from many sources upon available mer- 
chant tonnage. In February, 1941, the Maritime Commis- 
sion had been directed by the President to assume respon- 
sibility for the national shipping effort, and had set up a 
Division of Emergency Shipping which had begun tenta- 
tively to allocate available shipping to various claimants. 
The major portion of American tonnage, however, was still 
in private hands, and the organization and operation of the 
division was on a limited scale. Both in the field of military 
shipping and on the higher level of national administration 
the outbreak of the war found, therefore, a vacuum into 
which various cross-currents of policy immediately began to 

In order to meet the pressing need for some central policy 


organization in shipping matters the President directed on 
December 8, 1941, the formation of a Strategic Shipping 
Board, composed of Chairman Land of the Maritime Com- 
mission, General Marshall, Admiral Stark, and Mr. Harry 
Hopkins, to "establish policies for and plan the allocation 
of merchant shipping to meet military and civilian require- 
ments, and coordinate these activities of the War and Navy 
Departments and the Maritime Commission/' But it rap- 
idly developed that the board as constituted lacked both the 
unity to conceive policy and the authority to enforce it. Be- 
fore a week had passed a movement was under way to substi- 
tute for it a single agency to direct the mobilization and 
control the allocation and operation of shipping. Meanwhile 
by verbal agreement between the Army and Navy the pro- 
visions of the War Plan under which the Navy was to pro- 
vide shipping for the Army had been temporarily suspended. 

On February 7, 1942, the President signed Executive Or- 
der 9054, creating the War Shipping Administration and 
bringing under a single authority the control and operation 
of all United States merchant shipping except for naval 
auxiliaries, transports owned by the Army and Navy, and 
vessels engaged in coastwise service. The origins of the Ex- 
ecutive Order are obscure, but it appears to have received 
its original impetus in the Navy in a suggestion of Admiral 
Turner that a ministry of shipping be established. General 
Marshall had regarded this proposal as extreme, but had 
agreed that "there must be some agency endowed with ab- 
solute powers over the allocation of shipping and the estab- 
lishment of priorities." Drafting of the order had been a 
joint effort in which the Army, the Navy, the Maritime Com- 
mission, and the Bureau of the Budget all participated. 

In the evolution of the order, several significant issues had 
arisen which later affected the pattern of shipping adminis- 
tration carried out by the War Shipping Administration. 
One of these issues turned upon the question of whether 
or not the War Shipping Administrator, who would obvi- 


ously be Admiral Land, should be responsible to a Board 
of Directors. The Navy had envisioned such a board of di- 
rectors as the real policy group with the Administrator act- 
ing as its executive agent. Both Admiral Land and Mr. Hop- 
kins objected to this limitation upon the authority of the 
Administrator, and it was therefore provided that while he 
should "collaborate with" and "maintain close liaison with" 
the military and civilian agencies, his "decisions shall be 
final with respect to the functions and authorities so vested 
in him. 

Secondly, the Executive Order provided that the War 
Shipping Administrator would "allocate vessels under the 
flag or control of the United States for use by the Army, 
Navy, other Federal Departments and agencies, and the 
governments of the United Nations." Tn order to safeguard 
the primacy of the military interest, the original draft had 
included a qualification that the Administrator should com- 
ply with the decisions of the Secretaries of War and Navy 
as regards their requirements. Once again, Admiral Land, 
supported by Mr. Hopkins, objected that this would un- 
duly subordinate the central civilian authority to the mil- 
itary services. The final draft of the order stated simply that 
the Administrator should comply with "strategic require- 

Within the defined area of his authority, namely, the 
operation, purchase, charter, requisition, and use of mer- 
chant vessels, the authority of the War Shipping Adminis- 
trator as stated in the Executive Order was not seriously 
qualified. Admiral Land was instructed to report directly 
to the President. He was to act both as War Shipping Ad- 
ministrator and as Chairman of the Maritime Commission, 
thus bringing under a single authority responsibility for 
both the construction and operation of merchant shipping. 

The authority of the Administrator over merchant ship- 
ping, however, was not in fact absolute. With the creation 
of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff, and under them 


of military transportation committees whose task it was to 
define "strategic requirements" in terms of merchant ton- 
nage, there was created a counterweight to the authority of 
the Administrator which in practice served to maintain a 
working balance between the civilian and the military in- 
terest. Secondly, while the War Shipping administration 
was to control the operation of shipping, responsibility for 
the loading and unloading of vessels remained with the mil- 
itary services. Finally, the Executive Order of February 7 
was no more than a grant of authority. Before it could be- 
come effective, there was necessary an extended period dur- 
ing which actual working procedures could be developed 
and understood. Within the interstices of this developing 
procedure there was room for compromise. 

The effects of the establishment of the War Shipping 
Administration upon the Navy's role in war shipping were 
considerable. Many tasks of considerable magnitude which 
would have fallen upon the Navy were thereby assumed by 
the civilian administration. The Navy was relieved, for ex- 
ample, of the vast range of activities such as manning, fuel- 
ing, and repair, which were corollaries to ship operation. It 
was relieved as well of the tremendous task of mobilizing 
and procuring vessels which would have been necessary had 
the Navy been required to create a merchant fleet on the 
scale hitherto contemplated. Procurement of merchant ves- 
sels by the Navy was confined after the first few months to 
meeting its needs for fleet auxiliary vessels, and that task 
itself was considerably simplified by the fact that the War 
Shipping Administration had already mobilized under gov- 
ernment control the vessels previously in private hands. 

On the other hand, civilian operation of merchant ship- 
ping for military purposes raised the problem of providing 
effective coordination between ship operation and its pro- 
tection by the Navy. The organization and training of naval 
armed guard units to be placed aboard merchant vessels 
became a major task. Port Directors were required as well 


to give careful indoctrination to merchant masters in com- 
munications, convoy organization and procedure, and rout- 
ing. As experience was gained in the organization of convoys 
and in the handling of merchant vessel traffic this liai- 
son between the civilian operators and the naval organiza- 
tion was developed; at the outset, however, the task pre- 
sented many complications. 

A more significant result of the establishment of the 
War Shipping Administration was the readjustment which 
followed in the relation between the Army and Navy. The 
Navy had subscribed to the creation of a civilian shipping 
authority under the assumption that the suspension of the 
Joint Action policy, under which it was responsible for 
Army overseas transportation, had been only temporary. 
Even though responsibility for vessel operation had been 
placed under civilian auspices, it had expected that the mil- 
itary requirements for tonnage allocations would be com- 
bined into a single program and presented to the War Ship- 
ping Administration by the Navy, as the responsible agency 
for military shipping. On February 26, 1942, therefore, Ad- 
miral Stark wrote to General Marshall suggesting that the 
principle of Joint Action be revived as of the first of May, 
when the Navy would assume responsibility for securing 
and directing the employment of shipping necessary to 
meet all military requirements. Admiral Stark enclosed a 
plan of organization drawn up by Admiral Taffinder, the 
Director of the Naval Transportation Service, under which 
the proposed procedure would operate. 

The reply of General Marshall left no doubt as to the 
Army's attitude toward a revival of the Joint Action prin- 
ciple. Stating that he could not concur in the plan of Ad- 
miral Taffinder, "in which the question of operating the 
overseas transportation of the Army by the Navy is re- 
opened," General Marshall affirmed that "this matter was 
disposed of by Executive Order No. 9054. . . . The solution 
offered by the Executive Order," he concluded, "is most 


satisfactory to the Army. It is believed that the creation of 
the Maritime Commission and now of the War Shipping 
Administration promises a much better use of our shipping 
in time of war than has ever obtained in the past. It is 
therefore felt that this question is settled." 

In assuming this position, it must be said, the Army was 
being neither arbitrary nor inconsistent. From the begin- 
ning, it appears, it had conceived of the Navy's responsibil- 
ity for overseas transportation as limited solely to the opera- 
tion of merchant vessels, i.e. to their manning, navigation, 
and husbanding, but not as extending to the scheduling and 
direction of their employment. The movement of ma- 
terials it regarded as an essentially indivisible process, gov- 
erned from point of origin to destination by the exigencies 
of the military situation. Navy operation of shipping except 
for considerations of protection should not in any way re- 
strict the Army's control over the flow of supplies, of which 
shipping itself was merely an instrument. The Army would 
perhaps have preferred to have the Navy operate shipping 
because of the greater degree of security which might be ex- 
pected from naval crews. But since the task had been shifted 
to the War Shipping Administration, it followed from the 
Army's point of view that its immediate relation was now 
with that agency rather than with the Navy. 

In wartime, when the determination of shipping routes 
and services is necessarily fluid, the distinction implied here 
between traffic management and carrier operation is ob- 
scured to a greater degree than in normal commercial prac- 
tice. Had army shipments prior to the war been carried out 
in the manner contemplated in the War Plan, Army and 
Navy together would have been exploring in practice the 
twilight zone between ship operation and supply control, 
not setting up separate and competing services. In any 
event, the establishment of the War Shipping Administra- 
tion removed from the Navy its responsibility under the 
War Plans for Army overseas transportation. 


The confusion over control of the employment of ship- 
ping derived also from a second assumption made by both 
services as to the manner in which allocations would be 
made by the War Shipping Administration for military use. 
In approving the allocation of merchant shipping by a cen- 
tral civilian authority, there can be no question, both serv- 
ices assumed that allocations would be made on a long-range 
basis, a minimum of six months, which would leave to the 
military agencies the scheduling of employment of the ves- 
sels allocated. Under broad allocations of tonnage, the 
movements of vessels would thus be controlled by military 
shipping agencies and would be governed by the exigencies 
of supply programs without active intervention by the War 
Shipping Administration. Original estimates of their mer- 
chant shipping requirements reflected this assumption. 

Almost from the beginning, however, the War Shipping 
Administration took a different line. The shortage of ton- 
nage available to meet the total requirements of the war 
effort was so great, it insisted, that no system could be ap- 
plied which did not guarantee the maximum constant em- 
ployment of all vessels. This it believed, could be achieved 
only by the establishment of a single pool of tonnage out of 
which all requirements—military and non-military— could 
be met with the greatest flexibility. Vessels which carried a 
military lift on the outward voyage might then be diverted 
to the import of critical materials or essential civilian com- 
modities on return. Only by a master schedule of employ- 
ment comprehending all legitimate needs could wasteful 
voyages in ballast be avoided. Under this schedule, alloca- 
tions to one claimant or another would be made upon the 
basis of a single voyage, and vessels would rotate from one 
service to another in order to secure the greatest number of 
sailing days for all vessels. The segregation of a large block 
of tonnage for permanent employment by one claimant, it 
maintained, could only result in less tonnage available for 


The issue between broad, long-term allocation and the 
assignment of vessels by single voyage dominated the early 
months during which the new system of shipping adminis- 
tration was being elaborated into working procedures. Both 
services felt themselves unduly restricted by the necessity 
of calculating in terms of single voyages, for if the system 
of pool shipping provided necessary flexibility in the over- 
all employment of shipping, its effect upon military supply 
and distribution procedures was exactly the opposite. Ac- 
ceptance by the Navy of the pool principle was given in an 
exchange of letters between the Secretary and the War 
Shipping Administrator on April 7 and May 7, 1942, in 
which it was agreed that the Navy would cancel all charter 
agreements entered into prior to the formation of the War 
Shipping Administration, return the vessels to the Adminis- 
tration, and henceforth, except for accretions to its auxil- 
iary fleet, rely upon the system as outlined for meeting its 
overseas shipping needs. The Army's adherence to the sys- 
tem was reached in a formal agreement of June 13, 1942, 
between Major General Somervell and Mr. Lewis Douglas, 
the Deputy War Shipping Administrator. 

Henceforth Navy requirements for merchant shipping to 
bases and staging areas would be met in large measure by 
the allocation to the Naval Transportation Service of civil- 
ian-manned vessels under the control of the War Shipping 
Administration. A very few commissioned vessels would 
remain under the employ of the Naval Transportation Serv- 
ice, but for the most part its operating role had been as- 
sumed by the War Shipping Administration. Commis- 
sioned vessels of all types, the "fleet auxiliaries," would 
generally be assigned to the Service Forces, where they 
would be employed in deliveries directly to the fleet, or, in 
the case of vessels designed for assault uses, would be as- 
signed to the Amphibious Forces. No hard-and-fast line 
could be maintained between these categories, but they 


represented in general the division of tasks upon which the 
assignment of vessels was premised. 

The necessity of calculating its requirements in terms of 
specific sailings, and of presenting its requirements to the 
War Shipping Administration sufficiently far in advance to 
enable it to make allocations, demanded of the Navy more 
refined planning than it was able to accomplish under the 
early conditions of the war. Estimating shipping require- 
ments meant, of course, the determination in volume and 
weight of all kinds of materials which would be available 
at tidewater within a given period of time. It meant also 
that the requirements by destination as well as by assembly 
and loading points must be known. Had the Navy had a 
broad, long-term allocation of tonnage, it would have been 
possible for it to operate to a greater degree "on the cuff," 
matching ship schedules to tonnage availabilities as they 
developed. Under the system set up by the War Shipping 
Administration, however, a higher degree of accountability 
was required, making it necessary for the Naval Transporta- 
tion Service as the Navy's shipping agency to forecast in 
considerable detail the periodic requirements for tonnage. 

The development of bases at Noumea and Auckland and 
subsequent unplanned accretions in strength at pre-estab- 
lished bases, however, raised serious difficulties in the esti- 
mation of merchant shipping requirements, which were 
greatly increased by the practice of leaving responsibility for 
the supply of materials almost entirely to the separate bu- 
reaus. As a result, the Naval Transportation Service had 
little or no information upon which to calculate the Navy's 
shipping requirements. This situation was further compli- 
cated by the fact that the Naval Transportation Service had 
no responsibility for or authority over the movement of na-~ 
val materials to tidewater by rail or other inland transporta- 
tion. These fell within the province of the Bureau of Sup- 
plies and Accounts. 

The organization of railroad and other forms of domestic 


transportation had been undertaken almost immediately 
after the outbreak of war with the establishment on De- 
cember 17, 1941, of the Office of Defense Transportation. 
In the case of the railroads, however, the issue of operating 
control was not seriously raised. Operation was wisely left 
in the hands of the private companies with necessary co- 
ordination supplied by the American Association of Rail- 
roads. In April 1942, the Office of Defense Transportation 
put into effect a system of apportioning available railroad 
capacity to meet the needs of the military services, Lend- 
Lease programs, and the civilian economy. Its original 
plan was to issue individual permits for the release of all 
shipments under specific programs, but this detailed control 
was quickly recognized as too cumbersome. Accordingly, it 
was agreed that each of the services would receive a ' "block" 
of permits to cover its own needs, which it would administer 
as it saw fit. 

Navy administration of railroad transport was assigned to 
the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts on the logical ground 
that having closest contact with the actual flow of Navy 
goods it could best route shipments, provide storage, and 
supervise the goods in transit. On the same principle the 
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in turn had delegated to 
other bureaus a fairly free hand over the movement from 
contractors to naval depots of the technical material under 
their individual cognizance. With the exception, therefore, 
of planned initial movements carried out under the im- 
mediate direction of the Chief of Naval Operations, knowl- 
edge of what materials would accumulate for shipment at 
tidewater points could be had only from the ports themselves 
on the basis of advance shipping notices or reports of ma- 
terial already on hand. This lack of central control or knowl- 
edge of the movement of materials within the country was 
to become one of the most significant features of the Navy's 
system of material distribution. 

Transportation was thus from the outset a divided and 


decentralized operation. Close articulation of its many inter- 
dependent phases and the close coordination of all trans- 
portation with supply programs depended upon an inter- 
change of essential information which did not yet exist. 

Throughout the first year of the war, the Navy experi- 
mented with methods of drawing together the necessary 
information, but generally with little success. In mid- 
January, the Naval Transportation Service made a prelimi- 
nary calculation of Navy shipping needs for the remainder of 
the year. At that time, however, little could be known of the 
prospective deployment of forces overseas throughout the 
coming year, and it is not surprising, therefore, that the orig- 
inal estimate was a grossly inadequate representation of 
the Navy's true needs. Again at the end of February, as the 
War Shipping Administration began its operations, the 
Navy was requested to estimate its needs for the remainder 
of the year. This time, its calculations were based presum- 
ably upon forecasts from the bureaus of the material they 
would be able to make available for shipment during the 
coming months. But it rapidly developed that not all 
bureaus had submitted estimates. Before a week had passed, 
urgent Navy requirements for the month of April alone had 
increased by 50,000 tons or 5 shiploads the estimated figure. 

The problem involved was by no means simple of solu- 
tion. Essentially, it derived from the fact that the pattern 
both of strategy and of logistic support was still unfolding. 
Most of the shipments in excess of forecasts were for base 
development projects in the South Pacific and for stock- 
piles at Pearl Harbor, the ultimate scale of which no one 
could then have foreseen. Materials were urgently required, 
however, and if they were to move forward rapidly, bureaus 
must be left free to act quickly, without waiting for detailed 
authorizations of shipments from a central office not yet 
organized to clear business rapidly. The Navy was faced, 
therefore, with a choice of two alternatives. It could institute 
a system of detailed movement control over shipments to 


tidewater, in which a central file of information would be 
constantly maintained, but in which shipments themselves 
would be delayed. Or it could rely principally upon the tide- 
water ports for reports as to the cargo on hand for shipment 
and develop its shipping requirements from these. For ad- 
vance planning purposes, the latter method was obviously 
inadequate, but during these critical early months the more 
loosely administered method offered the most immediate 
benefits. The decision was made, therefore, to base shipping 
estimates upon weekly cargo availability reports from each of 
the principal continental ports, and not to attempt a de- 
tailed, centralized control of domestic shipments and rout- 
ing. This lack of control or knowledge of the movement of 
materials within the country was to become one of the most 
significant features in the Navy's system of material distri- 

Logistic Support in the Theaters 

The conduct of logistic support within the theaters was no 
less critical a factor in the successful conduct of the war than 
the greater effort of mobilization, production, and distribu- 
tion within the United States. Theater logistics were neces- 
sarily on a smaller scale than the total economic effort of the 
nation. They represented only the distillation in terms of 
weapons and supporting military elements of the national 
effort. But as the link between our forces and the continental 
support system, bearing closely upon the employment of 
forces in combat, theater logistics were of the greatest im- 

In the Pacific, as everywhere, during these early days, the 
immediate problem was to provide something out of rela- 
tively nothing. Specifically, the organization of logistic sup- 
port within the theaters may be regarded as turning upon 
three principal problems. It was necessary first to organize 
the use of all supporting facilities, whether already in the 
theater or flowing into it from the United States, into a 


single, coherent pattern. This meant, of course, coordination 
between the various services and their forces already within 
the theater. It meant that supplies must be jointly ad- 
ministered, and that media of transport, whether under the 
control of the Army, the Navy, or the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration, must be utilized in support of a common effort. 
In short, the ideal of a common striking force, utilizing all 
arms in their most effective combination, must be realized 
as well in the furnishing of logistic support. 

The second major problem was to establish effective 
liaison with the supporting establishment in the United 
States through which logistic requirements, accurately re- 
flecting the military situation, could be transmitted rapidly 
to the ultimate sources of supply. So great was the inevitable 
dispersion of effort in the United States not only between 
the services and civilian agencies, but within each service 
itself, that to realize the first aim of unified theater logistics 
as well as to give military direction to the mobilization of 
resources, an effective liaison was essential. 

The third major problem, more important during the 
initial phases of the war, was to make efficient use of all local 
sources of support available in the islands or in the hands 
of our Australian and New Zealand allies. Their resources, 
needless to say, were limited, and it has already been pointed 
out that the islands themselves offered perilously little of 
the basic necessities of life. But the total of local resources, 
small though they were, could supply an important margin 
of support. 

The primary essential to the coordination of military and 
logistic effort within the theaters was provided early in 
April in the establishment of two unified theater commands 
under Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. Within an 
area broadly defined as the South, Central, and North 
Pacific areas Admiral Nimitz was directed to exercise unified 
command of all armed forces which might be assigned. 
Within the Southwest Pacific Area, roughly comprising 


Australia, New Guinea, part of the Solomons, and the Bis- 
marck Archipelago, General MacArthur assumed a similar 
command. Under Admiral Nimitz as Commander in Chief 
in the Pacific Ocean Area, it was also provided there should 
be established a Commander South Pacific Area who would 
bear responsibility for the conduct of operations in that area. 

The agreement upon unified command was in its terms 
and concept primarily military. No specific instructions 
were given as to the responsibility for logistic support of the 
united forces, but it was a natural implication that responsi- 
bility for logistic support in an operational area would be 
comprehended within the duties of command. The de- 
velopment of a unified system of support was to require 
many months of experiment and elaboration, and it did not 
follow immediately that unified command over the employ- 
ment of forces would lead to unified support either in the 
theaters or on the mainland, where shipping and supply 
agencies of the services still operated independently of each 
other. Conversely, however, no progress could have been 
made toward coordinating logistic support without overall 
unity of command. 

Turning for the moment from the broader aspects to the 
problem of naval logistic support, it is important to examine 
the condition of our naval supporting forces at the out- 
break of the war. Upon the Base Force, Pacific Fleet, de- 
volved the principal task of supporting the Pacific Fleet in 
war. Both in war and peace, however, so long as the fleet 
was based on Pearl Harbor this responsibility would be 
shared by the Navy Yard and other facilities of the Four- 
teenth Naval District. The concept upon which the Base 
Force was organized was that of a train providing a mobile 
floating base which could be moved forward progressively 
behind the operating forces as they extended their range of 
operations. In September 1941, when the Base Force was 
extensively reorganized, responsibility for the "establish- 
ment, support, and security of advance bases" was as- 


signed to one of its train squadrons, but for lack of base 
equipment and of emphasis upon construction of shore sup- 
port facilities this aspect of its task had never been actively 
prosecuted. When war broke out, there were in the Pacific 
Fleet neither reserves of materials nor responsible organiza- 
tion for the establishment of advance bases. 

The lack of facilities, however, was not limited to those 
necessary for the establishment of advance bases. Requests 
to Congress and reports of the Secretary, Chief of Naval 
Operations, and the Commander in Chief of the Pacific 
Fleet had reflected for many years a chronic insufficiency of 
auxiliary vessels necessary to enable the Base Force to carry 
out its mission of supporting the fleet at sea or of creating a 
mobile base. The total auxiliary force available in Decem- 
ber 1941 was 61 vessels of all types, of which the greater 
number were minecraft and fleet oilers. In cargo and pro- 
vision ships and in transports, the Base Force was notably 

The problem of liaison between the Base Forces and the 
continental shore establishment had been considered at 
length early in January 1941, and there had followed the 
gradual establishment of a Subordinate Command of the 
Base Force with headquarters in San Francisco. This com- 
mand was formally placed in commission in June. Its duties 
were both operational and logistic. It carried on liaison 
with the Pacific Coastal Frontier and the Naval District 
organization, for example, for the routing and protection of 
shipping, for the assembly and loading of advance base 
materials and other supplies in Base Force vessels, and for 
the care and administration of the vessels themselves while 
in coastal waters. Its general function was best described by 
Rear Admiral Calhoun, then Commander of the Base 
Force, as a "fountainhead of the service of supply for the 
entire Fleet." As an arm of the fleet itself, it would pre- 
sumably be best informed as to current needs and could 


speak with authority in expediting shipments and determin- 
ing priorities. 

The most important fact about the support of the Pacific 
campaign during the first year, however, was that both 
the Base Force headquarters at Pearl Harbor and to a 
lesser degree the Subordinate Command in San Francisco 
were by-passed by direct contact between the South Pacific 
Command and logistic agencies in the United States. Com- 
munication and the flow of supplies proceeded directly 
between the South Pacific on the one hand and coastal 
agencies and the Navy Department on the other. For this 
there were many reasons. Except for limited raids in the 
Central Pacific, based on Pearl Harbor itself, the main effort 
of the United States was concentrated in the South and 
Southwest Pacific. Out of our original defensive effort there 
were developed, moreover, the campaigns in the Solomons 
and New Guinea which until the Gilberts offensive in late 
1943 were our principal offensive undertakings in the 
Pacific. The South Pacific was remote from Pearl Harbor. 
To have routed communications and supplies via Pearl 
Harbor would have consumed time and effort; shipping 
would have been wasted. The early task, which was one of 
improvising support out of all existing sources could only 
be done on the spot. 

It must be kept in mind, moreover, that few resources 
existed in Pearl Harbor for the support of the South Pacific 
campaign. That fact we have noted in the concentration in 
the Navy Department of direction of the initial establish- 
ment of bases. Material had to be assembled, shipping 
mobilized, personnel organized, and plans laid all within 
the United States. The total task involved a far greater effort 
than could be supported by existing channels through the 
Base Force headquarters in the Central Pacific. The ex- 
panding volume of shipments soon overtaxed all adminis- 
trative agencies on the Pacific Coast, and though the Sub- 
ordinate Command expanded with the rest, its early growth 


was hardly commensurate with the size of the task. The 
organization and channels developed for the support of the 
South Pacific were therefore almost entirely new and ex- 

In April 1942, even before a South Pacific Area Com- 
mander had been designated, the South Pacific Service 
Squadron was formed with headquarters at Auckland. 
Captain M. C. Bowman was directed on the 14th of that 
month to proceed by air to Auckland and there make prep- 
arations for a major naval base, with headquarters for the 
Area Commander. Several days later, a "task force" con- 
sisting of one repair ship and a destroyer as a temporary 
escort was ordered to Auckland to serve as a nucleus of the 
base. Plans for the establishment of South Pacific advance 
bases had already set in motion the movement of harbor de- 
fense equipment and other base materials to Auckland, and 
meanwhile Captain Bowman began making arrangements 
for the use of docks, storage, and repair facilities already 
available in New Zealand. Supplies of fresh food in New 
Zealand were ample for all forces initially established in 
Auckland. A few converted tuna boats and several lumber 
steamers were made available to supply food from local 
sources to the outlying bases. 

On June 1, 1942, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations an- 
nounced the formation of a Joint Purchasing Board whose 
mission was to purchase from local sources in New Zealand 
all available provisions and other supplies in order to con- 
serve on shipping from the United States. Actually, purchase 
of local supplies had been going on for several months by 
various commands and services in the New Zealand area. 
The formation of the Purchasing Board was designed to 
centralize this procedure Under a single agency. It was in- 
tended also to complement the work of a similar agency, the 
General Purchasing Board, which had previously been estab- 
lished in Australia under General MacArthur. 

It was already obvious, however, that the main burden of 


supplying forces and establishing bases in the South Pacific 
would be borne by the United States. Original Joint Plans 
for base expeditions had made general and tentative ar- 
rangements for the continued support of both Army and 
Navy forces, and had provided in certain instances (such as 
petroleum products and provisions ) that one service should 
be responsible for the maintenance of all forces. The various 
joint plans did not, however, constitute a general supply 
procedure, nor did they stipulate in any detail the channels 
through which supply would be furnished. 

In April, the Army directed that its forces in New Zea- 
land and the South Pacific area should be supplied directly 
by the Port of Embarkation, San Francisco. Meanwhile, 
the Navy was also defining the procedures for supply. In 
April, the Commander of Service Forces Pacific which had 
replaced the old Base Force outlined a plan to the Service 
Squadron South Pacific, under which the latter would be- 
come the center for all requests from bases in the area. 
These it would screen and forward to the Subordinate Com- 
mand in San Francisco and the Commandant of the Twelfth 
District. Where possible, the movement of supplies would 
follow the same channels in reverse. Certain exceptions were 
made, however, in the case of bulk fuels and ammunition, 
where requests would be made upon the Service Force Head- 
quarters in Pearl Harbor. In May this procedure was formally 
instituted. It remained now for the supply of both services to 
be organized into a single plan following the lead taken in 
the establishment of joint purchasing agencies. 

The need for some general plan covering supply from the 
United States for joint forces in the South Pacific was felt 
increasingly as initial stocks began to run low and the prob- 
lem of replenishment increased. Accordingly, on July 15 
by agreement between Admiral Home, the Vice Chief of 
Naval Operations and General Somervell a "Joint Logistic 
Plan for the Support of United States Bases in the South 
Pacific Area" was issued. Listing all bases and codifying all 


supplies of common use under five general classes, it stipu- 
lated in each case the service which would be responsible 
for furnishing common items for both services. Provision 
was also made for the centralization of all requisitions and 
distribution of supplies through the headquarters of the 
Commander South Pacific Area, either under naval auspices 
or under the authority of the Commanding General. In 
either case, all requests submitted from bases, by either 
Army or Navy commanders, would be screened through the 
Joint Purchasing Board before they were forwarded to the 
United States to see if they could be satisfied from local 
sources. The control of shipping into the South Pacific 
Area was vested in the Area Commander. 

The Joint Logistic Plan for the South Pacific Area was a 
simple and rudimentary scheme for the coordination of 
requirements and supply of all services. With the beginning 
of the campaign in the Solomons and the increase in forces 
concentrated in the South Pacific Area which followed, it 
was to require further development. For the moment, how- 
ever, it served to eliminate much of the confusion which 
had arisen in the hurried establishment of joint bases during 
the first six months of the war. It provided at least a corner- 
stone in the development of joint maintenance and supply 
procedure in the Pacific. 


July 1942-March 1943 

During the second six months of 1942 and the 
i early months of 1943, the progress of the war on 
I all fronts greatly expanded the task of furnishing 
* balanced logistic support. Having blocked out 
our defensive position in the Pacific and having 
passed to an organized effort in the Atlantic submarine 
warfare, the Navy was preparing now to assume a limited of- 
fensive in the South Pacific and to assist in the beginnings 
of offensive action in the European theater. In August, with 
extremely limited resources, the campaign in the Solomons 
was launched. In November, the North African campaign, 
known as Operation Torch began. Coincident with these 
two specific operations there was a steady build-up of Amer- 
ican forces in the British Isles, an intensification of the anti- 
submarine warfare in the Atlantic, and an acceleration of 
the raiding activity of fleet task forces in the Central Pacific. 
This history will be concerned primarily with campaigns 
in the Pacific, in which the Navy was most concerned. But 
it was rapidly being demonstrated in many lines of activity 
that no single phase of the war could be divorced from any 
other. In determining requirements, in allocating materials 
and forces, in assigning shipping to the support of current 
operations and to the preparation for others, situations with- 
in one theater, which might seem to bear only upon local 
conditions, in fact bore heavily upon the whole. The as- 
sumption of the offensive and the acceleration of activity 
of all kinds made a maximum demand upon almost all ex- 
isting support facilities. The result was that imperfections 
in organization and procedure which obstructed the most 
economic utilization of resources could not be hidden. 


Although the operations undertaken during the latter half 
of 1942 were on a limited scale as compared with those 
which followed, they were sufficiently grand in relation to 
existing means to place the system under severe strain. 

In retrospect it is possible to discern during this period 
the emergence of the two primary problems of military 
logistic effort— the determination of logistic requirements 
in terms of strategic plans, to serve as a guide to procure- 
ment, and the distribution of materials once they had been 
procured and had passed into the logistic support system. 
At this time, however, such a simple and systematic sum- 
mary of the task was impossible to make. A multitude of 
other problems only slightly less general in their application 
to the total task were slowly developing out of the military 
and logistic situation into which we had been impelled. 
Within the Navy Department, the central organ of direc- 
tion, there was a growing need for more effective organiza- 
tion. Between the theaters and the continental supporting 
system stronger liaison was needed— more clearly defined 
channels by which both essential information and physical 
support could pass. Within the theaters themselves the 
problem of coordinating efforts between and within the 
services was emerging. 

These general conditions were reflected in many concrete 
problems which pressed for solution. The system of plan- 
ning logistic requirements required overhauling. No clear 
distinction had yet been drawn either in practice or theory 
between strategic and logistic planning. Nor was it yet pos- 
sible under existing organization to disentangle the planning 
of logistic programs from their execution. Confusion at the 
source was reflected, moreover, down through the entire 
system. The procurement and distribution of aircraft, ships, 
auxiliary vessels, construction equipment, ordnance, fuel, 
spare parts and all the other materials required depended 
directly upon the effectiveness of the planning system. 

The advance base program, which in its Lions, Cubs, and 


Acorns accounted for the major part of organized overseas 
shipment of all kinds of materials, required further elabora- 
tion of its planning and distribution procedures before the 
methods utilized within the United States for procurement 
and assembly could answer the specific needs of the theaters. 
The shipping situation, aggravated by urgent demands from 
many directions upon our limited resources of tonnage, was 
growing steadily more serious. Difficulties were arising in the 
system of allocation and control, and these pointed to the 
need for a more explicit understanding among the Army, 
the Navy, and the War Shipping Administration. These 
difficulties were increased by auxiliary problems both in the 
theaters and in the United States— the coordination of Army 
and Navy shipping programs to the theaters, the limited 
discharge capacities at Pacific destination, the need for a 
system of control over the movements of vessels once they 
had been dispatched to the theaters. Within the Navy there 
was a continuing need for better coordination between 
shipping and supply and between shipping and internal 

Finally, it was essential to build up within the theaters 
the means and organization for assuming some of the task 
of direction which had hitherto been borne by the central 
administration. Short-term requirements could best be 
determined by theater agencies themselves. Priorities for 
movement of materials must likewise be determined on the 
spot. In all phases of activity the character of the military 
task must be imparted to the supporting effort. 

The history of the first six months of war had shown a 
remarkable capacity to extemporize in our economic and 
military system. A system of defense, at first insecure, but 
subsequently strengthened, had been established in the 
Pacific. But we were now embarking upon an effort in which 
extemporizing would no longer suffice. To accomplish the 
tasks set forth, it was essential that the host of interdepend- 
ent and contributing elements— planning, assembly, trans- 


port, and^utilization— be brought into coherent relation with 
each other. Not only through formal organization, but also, 
and more importantly, through the development of sound 
methods and concepts within the organization, the energy 
being generated must be harnessed and directed toward the 
accomplishment of our military aims. 

Logistic Planning 

At the outbreak of war, partly because of external and 
substantive conditions and partly for want of suitable organ- 
ization, centralized, long-range logistic planning had been 
impossible. Certain initial goals for procurement had been 
set, but they had served almost exclusively for procurement 
purposes, had been very roughly calculated, and had over- 
looked or deferred many important categories of material. 
For the assembly and distribution of materials, particularly 
of advance base assemblies, there was almost no advance 
planning upon which implementing agencies could depend. 
Thus the original plan to procure and assemble materials 
and personnel for 4 Lions and 12 Cubs had served a useful 
purpose in setting a goal for production. Once the materials 
had been assembled, however, bureaus and other agencies 
had little to guide them in moving the units forward. 

In no small part this condition of affairs arose from the 
continued need for reorganization within the Office of Naval 
Operations. The Division of Plans under the Chief of 
Naval Operations had dwindled steadily, until shortly after 
the Executive Order of March it was composed of only a 
few officers, who were largely out of touch with the main 
current of events. Plans continued to be formed for the 
most part in the office of the Commander in Chief, or 
failing that, by bureaus and other agencies responsible for 
their execution. 

Between the Office of Naval Operations and that of the 
Commander in Chief there was, moreover, no clear distinc- 
tion even in theory as to the division of planning responsi- 


bilities. Most of the work of Naval Operations during the 
first few months had been the supervision of the execution 
of plans. 

The terms of the Executive Order of March assigning to 
the Vice Chief of Naval Operations "all necessary authority 
for executing the plans and policies" of the Commander-in- 
Chief and Chief of Naval Operations had suggested that a 
distinction would be drawn, not between strategy and 
logistics, but rather between planning and execution. It was, 
therefore, along these lines that the thinking of Admiral 
Home, the Vice Chief, and Rear Admiral Farber, the newly 
appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Mainte- 
nance, was directed. 

On June 17, Admiral Home recommended to Admiral 
King that the Vice Chief should concentrate on the execu- 
tion of plans and directives, leaving planning itself to the 
Commander in Chief. On June 29, this proposal was ampli- 
fied by a second recommendation which drew the distinction 
clearly on the basis of planning and execution and recom- 
mended the abolition of the Plans Division under the Chief 
of Naval Operations. Planning in Naval Operations should 
be limited to matters of execution and should be coordinated 
by the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Maintenance, 
Admiral Farber. 

This recommendation was not approved by Admiral King, 
who held that both of the higher offices had substantive 
functions requiring the maintenance of planning offices. A 
dividing line was drawn between the two by a directive of 
July 1 which defined the planning functions in each office. 
Under the Commander in Chief would be: plans for cur- 
rent operations and plans for future operations including 
the number and type of vessels, troops, merchant ships, and 
materials required. He would also fix "requirements as to 
location and facilities of advanced bases for the support of 
present and future operations. " The Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions was defined as "Chief of material practicability" and 


was held responsible for "Logistic and other necessary 
planning for Naval Districts and the Shore Establishment/' 
for the coordination of plans of material bureaus, and for 
the execution of all logistic plans. 

The basis of distinction in this division of responsibility 
could hardly be called that between strategy and logistics. 
It appeared rather to be between the shore establishment 
and the fleet. On this basis, it concentrated all kinds of 
planning pertaining to fleet activity under the Commander 
in Chief, while that pertaining to the continental shore 
establishment was assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations 
or in effect to the Vice Chief. 

The directive of July 1 did not, however, affect the actual 
distribution of tasks within the Navy Department. It is of 
interest primarily because it showed the impossibility at this 
early date of drawing a clear distinction between the plan- 
ning of operations and the planning of their material sup- 
port. In actual practice, logistic plans continued to be drawn 
within the Navy Department much as before; under the 
Commander in Chief, by the bureaus, and to a certain 
extent by the Office of Naval Operations. The distinction 
between the fleet and the shore establishment, although it 
is clearly indicated in theory, could not be maintained in 

In July and August, as the problem of supplying Pacific 
operations and of maintaining base installations grew, the 
strengthening of the plans agency under the Chief of Naval 
Operations became necessary. 

The whole situation of logistics planning was reviewed 
once more, beginning in September, when the management 
engineering firm of Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, which had 
previously made management studies of the Navy Depart- 
ment, was requested to make a survey of Naval Administra- 
tion and particularly of the Office of Naval Operations. 
Their final report was issued on March 1 5, 1943, but because 
of the urgency of the problem, they were asked to make 


interim reports and recommendations, which they did on 
November 5 and December 24. On the basis of these interim 
reports a number of changes were made in the administra- 
tion of the Navy Department, among the most important of 
which was the establishment of a Logistics Plans Division 
under the Chief of Naval Operations. 

The great virtue of the Booz investigations was that they 
approached the problem of organization on a purely func- 
tional basis, unencumbered by traditional notions of naval 
organization. From this functional approach the proper 
relation of logistics planning and strategic planning was 
drawn. Concentrating upon the weakness of the planning 
agency under the Chief of Naval Operations their first 
report of November 5 found three serious conditions re- 

" ( 1 ) . . . . Logistic situations and possibilities have not 
been fully or properly represented to Fi (the Cominch) 
Planning Section in their strategic planning and in their 
makeup of operational plans. (2) Under these circum- 
stances there has been no real integration and coordination 
of logistic plans with strategic plans. In such a situation 
strategic plans may be made that are not logistically feasible, 
or it may require so long to determine logistic feasibility 
that the value of strategic planning is seriously impaired. 
(3) Because Op-12 (the CNO Plans Division) has been 
unable effectively to plan logistic operations, the Division 
has been to a critical extent by-passed in the dissemination 
of logistic planning information which derives from Fi and 
from Operational plans. This has made it necessary for the 
project divisions in Naval Operations such as Base Mainte- 
nance to do individual project planning. Thus there has been 
no central control of logistic planning and good coordination 
of the efforts of logistic agencies all the way down to the 
material and service bureaus was next to impossible." 

Paradoxically, the Booz report demonstrated that if the 
aim was to secure the most effective correlation between 


logistic and strategic planning, the combination of these 
two functions within a single office was not desirable. 
Logistic planning, it suggested, must be established as a 
separate function, contributory to strategic planning, but 
not necessarily of it, before it could be performed properly 
under the necessary single control. 

Several other significant points were made by the Booz 
report. The effectiveness of logistic planning would depend 
upon two sources of information. First, it must have advice 
as to strategic plans and probable operations on which it 
could determine the character, volume, and timing of the 
material support required. Secondly, it must have adequate 
information as to the status of all material projects from 
which it could supply to strategic planners a well-informed 
judgment on logistic or material feasibility. Logistic plans 
should be the link, in short, between the definition of 
strategic aims and intentions and the execution of plans for 
the procurement, assembly, and delivery of material. To this 
end, it recommended that, in the reconstitution of a 
logistics plans division under the Chief of Naval Operations, 
it should be made up of officers directly representing the 
material bureaus, which alone had information as to the 
status of material programs. A much simplified presentation 
of this functional relation can be seen in the figure opposite. 

Another point, which followed very closely the idea of 
separating planning and execution recommended by Ad- 
mirals Home and Farber, was that the supervision of ma- 
terial programs, once they had been broken down by the 
Plans Division into separate projects, should be divorced 
from the planning function. For this purpose they recom- 
mended the establishment of a projects section under the 
Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Maintenance which 
should take the logistic plan as broken down by the Plans 
Division and supervise its execution by the project divisions 
of Naval Operations, such as Fleet Maintenance, Base 




















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Maintenance, and the Naval Transportation Service, and by 
the material bureaus. 

The Booz report laid great stress upon what it called 
an integrated logistic procedure, having as its focus and in- 
formation center the Logistics Plans Division. Strategic and 
logistic plans, it saw as being built up together with a 
constant interchange and adjustment between the two 
groups of planners. Upon the plans thus formed all sub- 
sidiary action would be predicated. 

The first report was made on November 5, and almost 
immediately steps were taken to put its principles into 
operation. Early in November, a progress section was organ- 
ized under Admiral Farber, the Assistant Chief of Naval 
Operations for Maintenance. In December officers from the 
Bureaus of Supplies and Accounts, Yards and Docks, 
Ordnance, and Ships were assigned to duty in the Plans 
Division under an able officer, Rear Admiral Oscar C. 
Badger, who took the title of Assistant Chief of Naval 
Operations for Logistic Plans. 

Much remained to be done in order to carry out the con- 
cept as envisioned in the Booz report. The establishment of 
the new division embodied little more at the beginning 
than the acceptance of a principle. Working that principle 
out in practice was to prove a difficult task, particularly in 
securing the necessary information, in placing the Logistic 
Plans Division in proper relation with strategic planners, 
and in divorcing its planning functions from the project 
supervision of the other Assistant Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions. For the moment, however, the creation of a Logistics 
Plans Division represented a step toward the development of 
an orderly process of logistic planning and execution. 

Assemblies and Advance Bases 

The most important single problem both in the establish- 
ment of logistic support within the theaters and in the or- 
ganization of supporting elements within the United States 


continued to be the development of advance base units. 
Within these major units as originally conceived— the 
Lions, Cubs, and Acorns— were most of the supporting 
elements that were to be provided for our combatant forces. 
The term major naval bases comprehended airfields, piers, 
supply and fuel depots, reserves of equipment, roads, dry 
docks, and construction facilities, to mention but a few of 
their components. In their organization and assembly, their 
delivery to destinations overseas, and in the use made within 
the theaters of the materials made available lay the key to 
logistic support during this early period of the war. 

As the program developed during the latter half of 1942, 
the problem was one of adjusting the existing advance base 
units as previously conceived, to the particular needs of the 
theaters. By July 1, 1942, according to schedule, one Lion 
and three Cubs were in large measure ready to be shipped 
forward. Shortly thereafter, Cub No. 1 began its movement 
to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, where Rear Admiral 
Byrd, after a special investigation of the South Pacific Area, 
had recommended the establishment of an additional ad- 
vance base. Lion No. 1, however, a much larger unit, was 
detained on the West Coast for almost six months, while 
an unplanned Cub No. 13, not scheduled for assembly or 
shipment until many months later, was improvised out of 
personnel and materials assembled for Lion No. 1. Early in 
1943, Lion No. 1 also began its movement to Espiritu Santo, 
where upon arrival it was extensively reformed to meet the 
peculiar needs of the base. 

The experience of Lion No. 1 illustrates clearly the diffi- 
culty in adapting the advance base units as procured and 
assembled to the shifting and special requirements of the 
forward areas. Few of the Cubs which were sent out followed 
exactly the lines on which they had originally been as- 
sembled. Units had been added, and some had been taken 
away. Repeated requests were received from area com- 
manders that Lions and Cubs be reshuffled in their composi- 


tion, emphasis generally being placed upon the formation of 
smaller and more flexible assemblies. A typical dispatch from 
the theater to the Navy Department was one of July 1942, 
"Requirements (specified in a previous message) involves 2 
Cubs split 3 ways." Frequently new units were being formed 
either within the theaters or in the United States designed 
for special purposes and cutting radically across the lines of 
Lions, Cubs, and Acorns. 

Not all advance bases in the South Pacific, moreover, 
were established as the result of planned expeditions. Auck- 
land's development proceeded rapidly by unplanned ac- 
cretions. The case of Noumea was even more outstanding. 
Instructions issued in May to Vice Admiral Ghormley as 
Commander South Pacific had indicated that no basic plan 
for the establishment of a base in Noumea would be pro- 
vided. The principal activity there, it was contemplated, 
would be under the Army, the Navy furnishing harbor de- 
fense and a port director and staff. In June 1942, when 
Admiral Byrd made his inspection, no great increase in the 
Navy's activities at Noumea was foreseen. In August, how- 
ever, with the beginning of the Solomons campaign, the 
importance of Noumea as a supporting base began to in- 
crease rapidly. In September, Admiral Ghormley called 
attention to the expanding activity in the harbor and in 
particular to the urgent need for personnel and equipment 
to unload ships and handle cargo on shore. The Chief of 
Naval Operations immediately took measures to provide 
essential equipment. Between the Commander South Pacific 
and the Chief of Naval Operations there then developed a 
rapid interchange, in which the Area Commander indicated 
by almost daily dispatch the increasing requirements of the 
base and the Chief of Naval Operations reported the meas- 
ures which had been taken. On October 17, Admiral Ghorm- 
ley recommended the establishment at Noumea of a base of 
20,000 men, more than double the size of a Lion. 

The same process of accretion was going on in some degree 


at all bases in the South Pacific. New airfields were laid out, 
supply depots expanded, boat pools, repair shops, hospitals, 
recreation centers, docks, power plants— the whole equipage 
of supporting shore establishments— were constantly added. 

Under these conditions it was impossible to contain the 
distribution of advance base units and materials within the 
limits of the Lion, Cub, and Acorn assemblies as originally 
conceived. The original concepts had served a useful 
purpose in fixing a goal for procurement and in stretching 
production facilities to the maximum. But in the task of 
distribution they were too large and cumbersome. Some 
more flexible system was required— one under which, with- 
out going back to a wholly retail procedure, the specific 
needs of the theaters could be met. 

In order to forestall the dissolution of assembled Lions 
and Cubs into completely dispersed and heterogeneous 
smaller units the Chief of Naval Operations had directed 
that no personnel or materials were to be transferred from 
previously assembled units without his authorization. In some 
cases, as in the formation of Cub No. 1 3 this authorization 
was given. But there is also reason to believe that to meet the 
requirements for the great volume of unplanned shipments, 
bureaus having custody of earmarked materials were com- 
pelled to draw upon the Lions and Cubs as reserves. In 
actual practice Lion and Cub assemblies were coming to 
be used as stockpiles out of which smaller units were 
formed for distribution purposes. Unless the concept of 
wholesale procedure was to go no farther than procure- 
ment and assembly of units, leaving their distribution to an 
ungoverned retail process, new units of distribution, adapt- 
able to the needs and conditions in the theaters had to be 

The manifest need for a viable tool for distribution of 
advance base materials was supplied by a "Catalogue of 
Advance Base Functional Components" promulgated by 
the Base Maintenance Division of Naval Operations on 


March 15, 1943. The catalogue was comparable in many 
respects to those issued by a mail order house such as Sears, 
Roebuck or Montgomery, Ward, yet it had one very impor- 
tant difference. The items listed were not the individual tools 
of support required to establish and operate an advance 
base; neither were they complete advance bases, large or 
small, representing all the tools already assembled. They 
were rather "tool chests" or components built up on func- 
tional lines, each designed to fulfill a necessary function at 
an advance base. Taken together, they represented the sum 
of individual units constituting a major base but they could 
be selected individually, combined, and regrouped with 
relative ease so that advance base assemblies could hence- 
forth be tailored fairly exactly to the varied and changing re- 
quirements of the theaters. 

Just how this remarkable tool of administration came into 
being can probably never be determined precisely. In part 
it derived from the repeated practice of theater commanders 
of asking for modifications in the larger base units. In part 
it developed out of the practice of bureaus and forwarding 
agencies of pilfering the larger units for special purposes. It 
was also a natural extension of the practice of forming 
specialized units to meet unexpected requirements. The 
Construction Battalion was a natural forerunner of the 
functional component, as were Carrier Aircraft Service 
Units (CASU's), Base Aircraft Service Units (BASU's), 
and other specialized combinations some of which had 
their genesis in peacetime maneuvers before the outbreak 
of war. Out of these suggestive prototypes, various officers 
in the Office of Naval Operations, with the assistance of 
certain of the bureaus, gradually conceived the notion of 
organizing all base components along functional lines and 
setting them forth in catalogue form. 

The origin of the concept for use in the establishment of 
advance bases may be traced back as far as the Rainbow 
War Plan of July 1940, which put forward the idea of "Base 


Units, designated and grouped along functional lines/' but 
that plan appears to have lain unheeded during this time 
while the functional component was being worked out in 
practice. Early in December 1942, Captain R. W. Gary, 
Director of Base Maintenance, urged the organization of 
units along purely functional lines with the end in view of 
abolishing Lions and Cubs altogether. From that time for- 
ward until the first publication of the catalogue in March 
the work was prosecuted vigorously. No formal authoriza- 
tion or directive sponsored it, but various bureaus, par- 
ticularly Ships, Aeronautics, and Yards and Docks, showed 
a keen interest in the project. 

In developing the catalogue a distinction was drawn 
between primary and secondary components. Thus units for 
such purposes as airplane maintenance or repair, fleet supply, 
tank farms, landing craft, communications, or ship repair 
formed generally the primary group. To these could be 
added in the proportion required for the primary com- 
ponents the housekeeping, medical, and to a certain extent 
the construction units. Given, therefore, the primary func- 
tions which a base unit was called upon to perform, it was 
possible to assign at once the essential units and their sub- 
sistence and service groups. Since requirements for bases 
were generally conceived by strategic planners in terms of 
their task assignments, the system was excellently adapted 
to bridging the gap between operational requirements and 
material programs of support. 

Many other advantages were inherent in the catalogue. 
The catalogue itself was a brief, concise description of 79 
functional components arranged under 14 major groupings. 
Supplementing it there was an abbreviated volume of 
advance base outfitting lists containing allowances trans- 
posed into terms of functional components from the original 
lists for Lions and Cubs. This in turn, was supplemented by 
a far more voluminous catalogue of allowances, which by 
the end of the war ran into 479 volumes, weighing 250 


pounds, and indicated the requirements of each component 
down to the last wrench and cotter pin. For assembling 
agencies this latter was a necessary instrument, but it was 
not essential to the purposes of the planner or the area 
commander, who could define their requirements briefly 
and accurately by reference to the catalogue and the ab- 
breviated outfitting list. 

The original catalogue published in March was a crude 
and experimental document, but during succeeding months 
many refinements were made. In the second edition, for ex- 
ample, certain of the bureaus totalled up the weight and 
cube of components for which they were responsible, and 
this great aid to shipping agencies was extended subsequently 
to all components. Gradually, all components were assigned 
to the bureau having principal interest in its materials so that 
their procurement and assembly was woven into the basic 
bureau structure of the Navy. The list of components de- 
veloped from the original 79 to nearly 250, including such 
diverse units as oxygen generating plants, typewriter repair, 
malaria control, sawmill, and gardening units in addition to 
the primary components such as ship and airplane repair. 
Needless to say, successive refinements were also made in the 
equipment, packaging, personnel training, and other ele- 
ments making up the individual components. 

The original Lions and Cubs were not entirely abolished 
as Captain Cary had anticipated in December. They con- 
tinued to be discussed as larger units and in a number of 
cases, where a major installation was required, they were as- 
sembled and shipped. But the essential factor of flexibility 
was supplied by the functional components. Henceforth, 
whether for establishing a new base or augmenting facilities 
already established, the functional component catalogue 
supplied a common language which could be understood 
and applied both in the theaters and the United States. It 
was one of the outstanding achievements of the war. 



Probably no phase of the logistic effort felt more strongly 
the impact of expanding operations than did the organiza- 
tion for overseas transport. As the year 1942 drew to a close, 
the shipping situation became increasingly tense. The prob- 
lem was essentially one of inventory— the growing dis- 
crepancy between the requirements for tonnage for all 
purposes and the amount available. Yet there were many 
contributing factors which conspired to aggravate the natural 
condition of shortage. Two factors in particular— the increas- 
ing proportion of tonnage under military employment and 
conditions in the military administration of shipping— acting 
together, placed severe strain upon the relations between the 
military services and the civilian shipping administration. 

By December 1, the shipping requirements for the South 
Pacific area and the Mediterranean alone were already twice 
the military requirement for all theaters of war only eight 
months before. The portion of total available United States 
tonnage allocated to or controlled by the Army and Navy, 
which in March had been 22 per cent had now risen to ap- 
proximately 50 per cent. Tonnage available under the War 
Shipping Administration had risen during the same period, 
it is true, from 5,865,000 deadweight tons to 10,725,000 
deadweight tons. Approximately half of this increment 
represented gains from new construction not cancelled out 
by losses; the remainder had come from the assumption of 
control over shipping still in private hands, a source which 
by this time had been completely exhausted. Moreover, it 
is noteworthy that the losses of United Nations tonnage 
during November, when the landings were made in North 
Africa, reached the highest figure of any month of the entire 
war. Totalling 1,202,000 deadweight tons, they exceeded 
the gain from new construction by 261,000 tons and marked 
the first month since June that a net loss had been suffered. 

These basic inventory facts do not explain entirely, how- 


ever, the extremity of our shipping position at the end of 
1942. The difficulties of meeting even the minimum re- 
quirements for shipping were greatly increased by the cir- 
cumstances under which shipping had to be operated. 
Evasive routing lengthened the voyage time, while the 
necessity of matching vessels of disparate speed in single 
convoys and the days lost by loaded vessels awaiting convoy 
sailings added also to the total turnaround time in almost all 

Still another factor which complicated the operation of 
military support shipping was the difficulty of securing a 
"full and down" loading of vessels, the maximum utiliza- 
tion of cubic and weight capacity. The character of military 
cargo and the many special circumstances governing its flow 
did not permit the standard of capacity utilization that 
would be considered necessary in a commercial operation. 
Capacity was, in fact, not being utilized, and in many cases 
this failure was one which might be remedied by better ad- 
ministration on the part of the military services. But at the 
same time the War Shipping Administration, thinking large- 
ly in terms of commercial standards and goaded by the neces- 
sity of meeting all the demands of the national effort, took 
perhaps too rigid a view of the problem. 

Finally, a good deal of difficulty was being experienced 
in matching the outloading capacity of United States ports 
with an equivalent discharging capacity on the other end. 
Military exigencies directed cargo to many new and outland- 
ish places where port capacity was either nonexistent or 
utterly inadequate. In December 1942 the consequences of 
this fact were beginning to be seriously felt. Ships were. bank- 
ing up in idleness at receiving ports such as Noumea and 
Murmansk, waiting their turn to be unloaded. Once un- 
loaded, because of the shortage of ships within the area, they 
frequently had to be retained for local shuttle service. 

All of these factors, coming acutely to a head at the con- 
clusion of the year, served simply to accentuate the basic 


issue which had underlain the administration of shipping 
since the beginning of the year. That issue, stated in es- 
sence, was the extent to which unity of control over shipping 
and its ancillary functions required the assumption by the 
civilian agency of responsibility over matters primarily of 
military concern. It is not necessary to review in detail the 
progress of relations revolving around this issue. The War 
Shipping Administration had insisted upon a rigid adherence 
to the rotating pool system which took too little account of 
the pressing needs of the theaters for local shipping. It had 
insisted upon a rigid definition of the term "fleet auxiliary" 
in transferring vessels to Navy control. It had even sought 
to bring the Joint Purchasing Board in New Zealand under 
the cognizance of the civilian Combined Shipping Adjust- 
ment Board as "essentially a shipping problem." 

For its part, the Navy, faced with the responsibility for 
protecting all shipping, had regarded the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration's operating control as more or less probationary 
and had toyed with various formulae which would have 
shifted operation of shipping in military services back to its 
control. In October the Secretary requested Mr. Walter 
Franklin, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, to 
review the Navy's transport organization and make recom- 
mendations for its improvement. The Franklin plan, de- 
livered to the Secretary on November 13, called for the as- 
sumption of operating control over all military shipping by 
the Navy. This plan was discussed at length between the 
Army and Navy. Whether or not the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration was informed of the Franklin recommendation 
it is impossible to say, but it is clear that the War Shipping 
Administration was highly suspicious of Navy policy during 
this period and that mutual confidence between the two 
agencies was breaking down. 

The issue came to a head in December, when the War 
Shipping Administration secured from the President a direc- 
tive authorizing it to control the loading of all military cargo 


except for assault purposes and to bring into its pool of ship- 
ping the combat loading and other assault vessels of the 
Navy when they were not employed in combat operations. 
Such an arrangement would have projected the War Ship- 
ping Administration deep into the province of military con- 
duct of the war on a level coequal with the Army and the 
Navy. Strong representations were made to the President by 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the directive was rescinded. No 
change was made in the basic alignment of responsibilities. 
The net effect of the controversy was a clearing of the at- 
mosphere and a more determined effort on the part of all 
agencies to work within the system as originally defined. In 
January 1943 an important step was taken in the establish- 
ment in San Francisco of a Joint Army, Navy, War Shipping 
Administration Committee for Ship Operation whose pur- 
pose was to work on a regional basis, exchanging cargo, as- 
signing ships and piers, simplifying vessel itineraries, and in 
general coordinating the shipping programs of Army and 
Navy in the interest of more economical utilization of ton- 
nage. It was to prove a useful instrument for logistic coordi- 
nation between the services. 

Meanwhile, during the autumn of 1942, the Navy was in- 
creasingly aware of defects in its own administration of ship- 
ping. The Booz report noted that "Naval Transportation 
Service Operations are curtailed by the fact that the division 
has to perform its functions within the limits imposed by an 
outside Government agency, the War Shipping Adminis- 
tration/' But beyond its comments on the lack of informa- 
tion in the Office of Naval Operations as a whole, its inves- 
tigation did not bear closely upon the problems of oyerseas 
transportation. Mr. Franklin's report covered the transporta- 
tion problem more fully, tracing the transport operation 
through most of its ramifications in the tidewater termi- 
nals and overseas. His recommendations, however, were tied 
closely to the proposal to assume operating control, which 
never came to fruition. Improvement in transport organiza- 


tion had to be made, therefore, in small and limited stages 
and not by a major reorganization of shipping control and 

The most persistent difficulty from the beginning had 
been the inability of the Naval Transportation Service to 
secure the information essential for estimating the Navy's 
requirements for merchant shipping. The first effective solu- 
tion to this dilemma was reached on October 5, 1942, when 
the Commander in Chief directed that an estimate should 
be prepared of Navy shipping requirements for all purposes 
during the period from December 1942, through June 1943. 
For the first time by this directive the disclosure to the bu- 
reaus of information on operational plans was authorized. 
For the first time, therefore, they were in a position to in- 
form the Chief of Naval Operations of the probable re- 
quirements by destination of naval cargo and personnel. By 
drawing a distinction between requirements for the estab- 
lishment of bases (which would be furnished by the bu- 
reaus) and requirements for the maintenance of bases and 
forces afloat (which would be furnished by the Commander 
in Chief Pacific Fleet) , Admiral Home was able, also for the 
first time, to draw theater agencies into participation in the 
determination of requirements. 

The estimate prepared under the directive of October 
was the most complete and exhaustive guide to shipping re- 
quirements that had yet been assembled. It comprised as 
well in all its parts a valuable schedule for all logistic activi- 
ties. But it had one serious defect, in that it was only a single 
estimate and did not initiate a continuing procedure of as- 
sembling information on logistic movements. It was inevita- 
ble that changes in either the logistic or strategic outlook 
would outmode the estimates for the latter months of the 

A second measure was directed toward the establishment 
within the theaters of a more efficient system of port direc- 
tors through which shipping could be controlled, discharge 


facilities developed, and the turnaround of vessels expedited. 
The port director system within the United States had been 
established well before the war and had proved generally 
adequate for its task. Little provision appears to have been 
made in War Plans, however, for the establishment of an 
overseas port director system either to direct the movements 
of vessels or to establish and operate stevedoring service. 

Port directors had been provided in the plans of early 
1942 for the establishment of bases, but in most cases their 
functions were limited to directing the movement of vessels 
within the harbor and to the issuance of routing and com- 
munications instructions. They were not staffed or organized 
to deal with stevedoring problems, nor had any system of re- 
porting been established between them and the Naval Trans- 
portation Service by which the latter could be kept informed 
of congestion in the harbors and regulate the movement of 
vessels from the United States accordingly. 

The deficiency in stevedore organization derived from the 
Navy's anticipation that its efforts in the Pacific would be 
primarily afloat and that shore installations would be largely 
under Army auspices. The Navy's extensive base establish- 
ment had clearly not been foreseen. The lack of an efficient 
system of ship movement control, which was a constant ir- 
ritant between the War Shipping Administration and the 
military services stemmed from a host of conditions. It was 
part of the price of decentralized organization. It reflected 
as well the failure to comprehend the great scale and critical 
importance of the shipping effort. 

The situation was summed up in the report of Mr. Frank- 
lin: "One of the most important parts of the Naval Trans- 
portation Service does not appear to exist today, i.e., rep- 
resentation ... at the ports of discharge. Great economies 
in the use of ocean tonnage can be accomplished by the es- 
tablishment of Naval Transportation Service offices, prop- 
erly coordinated with the staff of the commanding officer 
at the important ports of discharge. Where port directors 


have been assigned to foreign ports, they are not prop- 
erly tied into the headquarters of the Naval Transportation 
Service at Washington." In brief, once a vessel left the 
shores of the United States, the Naval Transportation Serv- 
ice had almost no knowledge of its subsequent location or 

This condition was amply demonstrated in the growing 
congestion at Noumea during September and October, 
which was duplicated on a smaller scale at all bases. On 
October 13, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations wrote to 
all theater commanders requesting that they establish port 
organizations under base and force commanders, whose prin- 
cipal task would be to expedite the turnaround of cargo ves- 
sels and transports. Port director units were added to the list 
of functional components then evolving, and on October 14, 
the Bureau of Yards and Docks, which was responsible for 
the administration of Construction Battalions, was directed 
to organize special battalions for stevedoring operations. 

The effects of these measures could not be felt immedi- 
ately. Congestion in Noumea, for example, continued to in- 
crease through December and January until at one time as 
many as one hundred vessels were awaiting discharge. More- 
over, the system of port directors was not, in fact, "tied into" 
the headquarters of the Naval Transportation Service. Port 
director units tended to be absorbed into the larger advance 
base units, and where a local commander found more urgent 
use for personnel, transfers were made and the unit lost its 
identity. Finally, it may be pointed out, these measures were 
palliative and could not seriously affect the larger issues of 
supply which governed the employment of shipping. The 
development of effective shipping control procedure de- 
pended upon the evolution of logistic machinery as a whole. 

The Basic Logistic Phn 

Congestion in the ports of advance bases was a natural and 
inevitable concomitant of the increasing tempo of the war. 


At the same time it was symptomatic of various weaknesses 
in the system of support, which must be remedied if the re- 
quirements of impending operations were to be met. Since 
tonnage was chronically short, shipping conditions were the 
first to reflect weaknesses in the system at large. For this 
reason, therefore, the effort to secure a general reform in 
logistic procedures had its historical origin in the problems 
of shipping. 

The Franklin plan, submitted to the Secretary on No- 
vember 13, contained a broad survey of transport organiza- 
tion broken down into its principal phases: movement of 
materials within the United States, loading at the tidewater 
terminals, and movement by sea including the operation of 
merchant vessels. These problems had been considered, 
moreover, not only in their relation to the logistic organiza- 
tion of the Navy, but also upon the broader basis of coordi- 
nation of logistic activity between the Army and Navy. Mr. 
Franklin recognized clearly that the heart of the problem 
lay in the coordination of activity in theaters of joint opera- 
tion. Whatever was done, therefore, in the organization of 
transport would depend upon coherent direction from the 
theaters based upon a clear concept of unified logistic effort. 

For transport, Mr. Franklin recommended that movement 
by rail continue to be controlled separately by each service; 
that materials for all overseas establishments of the Army 
and Navy be loaded by the Army through its ports of em- 
barkation with certain exceptions in the case of construc- 
tion materials then loaded through advance base assembly 
depots at Davisville and Port Hueneme. Supplies for the 
fleet would continue to be loaded aboard Service Force ves- 
sels at the Naval Supply Depots. All vessels would be oper- 
ated by the Navy. Within the theaters unloading of all cargo 
would be under Army supervision except in special instances. 
Most important of all, priorities of shipments would be de- 
termined on a joint basis by the theater commander. 

Shortly after its submission the basic recommendations of 


the Franklin plan were drawn up into a "Plan to Consolidate 
Supply and Transportation of Overseas Forces of Army and 
Navy/' and delivered to the Army for its consideration. Gen- 
eral Somervell's reply to Admiral Home was enthusiastic. "It 
is my opinion/' he stated, "that we must go even further 
than proposed in the Navy paper in the initial effort to con- 
solidate the two transportation services and to eliminate 
duplications and conflicts." General Somervell then pro- 
posed a completely unified transportation system under the 
command of the Army Services of Supply, in which the Ar- 
my would be primarily responsible for the movement of ma- 
terials to tidewater, loading, storage en route and at the 
ports, and the Navy for manning, repair and operation of 
merchant vessels as well as for their routing and escort. On 
December 30, an elaboration of the plan suggested by Gen- 
eral Somervell was presented to Admiral Badger by General 
W. D. Styer, Deputy Commander of the Service of Supply. 
General Styer's plan did not add much to the basic prin- 
ciples outlined by General Somervell, but there was one 
notable deletion in the scheme. Probably because of the 
crisis then pending in affairs with the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration, the suggestion that the Navy should take over 
and operate merchant shipping for military purposes was 
deleted. Discussion of joint logistic organization thus began 
to pass from the field of shipping in which it had originated 
to the broader field of over-all organization. 

General Styer's plan for unified supply and transportation 
services suggested a fairly complete consolidation of Army 
and Navy logistic organization both within the theaters and 
in the United States. On January 7, 1943, Admiral Badger, 
Director of the Logistics Plans Division, presented an alter- 
nate plan which suggested that coordination rather than con- 
solidation between the two services be attempted. Progress- 
ing from the theaters back to the sources of support within 
the United States, his remedy for the problem of joint effort 
moved in diminuendo. 


Having studied the general problems of joint logistic sup- 
port and the Franklin and Army proposals, Admiral Badger 
concluded that there was urgent need for "closely coordi- 
nated, possibly unified Logistic Planning and Supply sys- 
tems" within the overseas theaters of joint operations. There 
should also be "full and complete coordination of effort . . . 
through a suitable coordinating organization" between Army 
and Navy transportation agencies. Between the military 
services and the War Shipping Administration, he saw the 
need for "cooperation and mutual understanding." 

At the same time, Admiral Badger's studies indicated, he 
said, "(a) The inadvisability of effecting drastic changes in 
the internal organizations of the War and Navy Depart- 
ments, or in the duties and responsibilities of those agencies 
of the Army and Navy which handle the procurement, stor- 
age and transportation of personnel, material and equipment 
within the continental limits of the United States. . . ." 

Between the two services agreement had thus been 
reached on placing logistic planning and operation within 
the theaters upon a joint basis under the control of the single 
theater commander. Between the theaters and continental 
agencies there should also be a single priority list by which 
the latter would be guided in loading and shipping materials 
forward. The Navy did not desire, however, a thorough con- 
solidation of transport agencies which would place the con- 
trol of internal transport and storage upon a joint basis. It 
believed that tidewater agencies should be coordinated and 
that complete consolidation of logistic effort and organiza- 
tion should be confined to the theaters, where unity of com- 
mand was exercised. 

The distinction drawn here between coordination and 
consolidation was real, and it would be profitable to pause 
for a moment and consider its basis. The real roots of dif- 
ference between the Army and Navy rested in two funda- 
mentally different systems of distribution organized for the 
support of different kinds of fighting forces. Of all forces 


operating in the overseas theaters, Army ground forces were 
the least mobile both in their tactical deployment and in 
their composition. Tactical units of known size and char- 
acter remained over relatively long periods in known loca- 
tions. Their requirements for maintenance, therefore, could 
be determined fairly exactly on the b^sis of fixed tables of 
allowances and reckoned in tons per man per month. They 
were supported locally by established depots built up gradu- 
ally as increased forces were deployed, between which and 
the United States it was possible for supply to be carried 
on largely on a wholesale basis. Given these factors, it was 
possible for the Army Services of Supply to operate as a 
centralized organization, fully integrated in all the sequential 
phases of the movement of supplies. Supplies moved in a 
relatively unbroken flow from large depots in the continen- 
tal ' 'Zones of Interior" through ports of embarkation to es- 
tablished depots overseas. Over all the process a very real 
measure of control was exercised by its headquarters in 

Naval forces, on the other hand, had necessarily to be 
more mobile in their composition and deployment. Within 
certain limits task forces varied according to the require- 
ments of a particular operation; their area of operations was 
broad and uncertain. Support, therefore, had to be organized 
with the greatest possible degree of flexibility. If possible, 
the Navy would have preferred to render all its support to 
the fleet through the medium of floating and mobile base 
forces and train, capable of moving behind and with the 
striking forces, setting up and taking down its shop as occa- 
sion required. Forced to depend upon shore installations, it 
had still to aim at the widest and most flexible dispersion 
of supporting elements. The alternative would have been 
duplication of large facilities in various potential areas of 
operation. Naval forces, moreover, were reckoned in terms 
of ships rather than men. New types were constantly being 
added to the operating forces whose maintenance require- 


ments were at best uncertain and whose allowances had also 
to be flexible. In contrast to the Army's system, naval logis- 
tic organization was decentralized, less fully integrated, leav- 
ing maximum freedom to local agencies, combining, for ex- 
ample, storage and issuing facilities together at tidewater, 
where they would be in a position to meet the demands of 
the fleet with the greatest promptness. Until the Navy had 
sufficient freedom of action to determine the basic direction 
of its effort, sufficient control of the sea in forward areas, 
and sufficient reserves of material to establish major advance 
bases and depots, the argument could be supported that it 
was best served by a looser system of control. 

For purposes of joint effort, therefore, coordination alone 
was possible for the Navy without a wholesale reorganization 
of its system. At any level of operation— at loading points, for 
example— it was possible for naval agencies to adapt their 
methods to those of the Army. Had such agencies been con- 
solidated, however, they would have had to work upon the 
same basis, either centralized or decentralized. Conversely, in 
the case of the Army, to have adapted its operation at any 
single level would have required a sacrifice in the degree of 
centralization and integration under which it operated. 

Out of this basic incompatibility, from which sprang the 
Navy's unwillingness to consolidate continental agencies of 
distribution and the Army's unwillingness to delegate greater 
authority, for example, to the ports of embarkation, was 
hammered out a compromise solution, the "Basic Logistical 
Plan for Command Areas Involving Both Army and Navy 
Operations," issued on March 8, 1943, over the signatures 
of Admiral King and General Marshall. Its main provisions 
were directed toward coordinated logistic effort within the 
theaters from which, it was hoped, would stem coordinated 
direction for the guidance of logistic agencies within the 
United States. 

To each area commander the Basic Plan granted full con- 
trol and responsibility for all logistic services within the areas 


under his command. To exercise such control he was di- 
rected to establish either a joint logistic-supply staff or to ar- 
range for joint staff planning and logistic operation. Specifi- 
cally, each commander was charged with keeping Army and 
Navy agencies informed of future requirements and of the 
readiness and adequacy of all service facilities and personnel, 
determining levels of supplies to be maintained in the area, 
arranging for the supply of common items to both services by 
a single agency, and arranging for the interchange of emer- 
gency logistic support with other area commanders. Sys- 
tematic information would be supplied by the area com- 
mander on needs for all military forces, the priority of Army 
and Navy shipments arranged in a single list, on storage and 
discharge capacities, and on items obtainable locally which 
could be screened out of requisitions on mainland sources. 
Based upon this information and acting with identical prior- 
ity lists, Army and Navy seaboard shipping agencies were 
charged with necessary coordination to meet combined re- 
quirements of both services in the allocation of shipping and 
the loading and routing of ships. 

The broad importance of the Basic Logistical Plan was 
two-fold. In the first place, as it intended to do, it provided 
the means of coordination of theater logistics. Obviously, 
the degree to which that coordination would be effective de- 
pended upon the measures taken to establish joint logistic 
planning and operating agencies. In the South Pacific, con- 
siderable progress had already been made in that direction. 
In the Central Pacific, some tentative steps had been taken 
early in the war towards joint organization, but they had all 
been small. Implementation of the new plan, moreover, did 
not follow immediately in the Central Pacific area. Not until 
somewhat later in the year, when major operations were 
closely impending, was a suitable joint logistic staff devel- 
oped. In the Southwest Pacific, the degree of coordination 
between the services remained smaller throughout the war 
than in any of the theaters involved. In the Atlantic where 


no unified commands had been established, the fleet com- 
mander was at first unwilling to adapt his procedures to fit 
the concept of the Basic Plan; subsequently he acceded and 
an adaptation suitable to the widely dispersed effort in the 
Atlantic was applied. 

The key to the plan for joint logistic effort lay in the joint 
priority list. For planning and execution within the theater 
it was the central factor. To the extent, therefore, that the 
joint list reflected the relative needs of various units within 
the theater irrespective of service, continental agencies 
would be guided in procuring, assembling, and shipping the 
personnel and materials necessary for a joint military effort. 
Upon its accuracy and refinement would depend the re- 
sponsiveness to military exigencies of the continental sup- 
porting system. 

This fact brings out a second major factor in the develop- 
ment of logistic procedure introduced by the Basic Logistical 
Plan. By its terms the principal responsibility for determin- 
ing logistic requirements was shifted from the central com- 
mand to the field commands under which operations were 
to be carried out. The desirability of such a delegation of 
responsibility had long been recognized in principle, but in 
actual practice it had been the Naval Transportation Service, 
acting through the San Francisco port director, that had de- 
termined shipping priorities, the Base Maintenance Division 
of Naval Operations that had conceived and directed the 
establishment of bases, and various offices under the Com- 
mander in Chief and in the bureaus that had determined 
the forces required, the levels of supply to be maintained, 
and the schedules and deployment of various supporting 
troops and services. To a far greater extent than ever before, 
therefore, the theater commander was charged with provid- 
ing guidance and direction for the various logistic programs 
necessary for the accomplishment of his strategic directives. 

Within the framework of the Basic Logistical Plan, plan- 
ning responsibilities were more precisely defined and dis- 


tribution could be more efficiently managed. The ground- 
work was laid for a better control of shipping employment 
and for the extension of the advance base system onto a 
scale only dimly foreseen. These possibilities, it should be 
pointed out, were inherent in the Basic Plan, but they were 
potential rather than actual. Much required to be done be- 
fore the possibilities of the system were realized. Yet it 
brought both services abreast of the problems with which 
they were confronted. It moved them nearer the solution 
of their joint problems, and at the same time it opened the 
way for the Navy to the solution of its own problems of lo- 
gistic organization and procedure. The Basic Logistical Plan 
provided, therefore, the cornerstone of method and author- 
ity upon which the structure of Pacific logistic support was 
ultimately to be built. 


In the broad chronology of the war the summer and 
autumn of 1943 offer little of major interest to the oper- 
ational historian beyond the landings in Sicily and the 
beginnings of the campaign on the Italian mainland. In 
all other theaters of the war, although pressure was main- 
tained and minor advances in position were made, the tempo 
and scale of our operations remained upon the same plateau. 
The conclusion of the Guadalcanal campaign in February 
1943 was followed by slow, bitterly contested advances into 
New Georgia and the Central Solomons. In the Southwest 
Pacific, naval forces assisted in the advance to Lae and Sala- 
maua. In the North Pacific, Attu was regained and Kiska oc- 
cupied. Around these positions the activity of air and surface 
forces was steadily intensified. Yet the objectives of the Pacif- 
ic operations of 1943 were limited. Although carried out in 
pursuance of directives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they 
were supported in large part by resources already built up 
within the area or flowing to it without noticeable effect 
upon the widening channels of normal supply. Except for 
the Mediterranean landings, no major campaigns undertaken 
introduced large incalculables or committed logistic re- 
sources on a high priority basis. 

In contrast to the level plateau of operational history, the 
summer and autumn of 1943 was a time of mounting logis- 
tic effort. The fact that operations in the Pacific could be 
supported from local resources and through already estab- 
lished channels of supply bears witness in itself to the grow- 
ing capacity of the logistic support system. From the hand- 
to-mouth condition of 1942 we had progressed to a position 
of relative abundance. The Solomons offensive begun at 
Guadalcanal, for example, could now be extended while at 


the same time reserves were accumulating both in the thea- 
ters and in the United States for the support of the great 
operations to come. In this swelling volume of goods and 
services— surplus to the needs of the moment— lay the gene- 
sis of a new kind of logistic effort. 

The major problems of logistics during 1943 continued to 
be the production and procurement of goods and services. 
But in the progress in that direction already achieved and in 
the pattern of operations impending there was foreshadowed 
the need, particularly in the system of distribution, for some- 
thing more than the simple, direct action techniques which 
had served in the early phases of the war. During 1943, there- 
fore, the extension of physical means of support was accom- 
panied by a renewed interest in naval organization, in which 
once more the search was undertaken for a formula which 
would reconcile conflicting interests and jealousies of long 
standing and at the same time meet the requirements of the 
emerging problems of logistic support. 

The year 1943 witnessed a great increase in the physical 
structure of support in the Pacific. Geographically, the over- 
seas shore establishment remained substantially within the 
limits already under our control at the end of 1942. Noumea 
and Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific continued as the 
main foci of services and supply, at which support was ren- 
dered to the growing fleet forces and through which supplies 
were distributed in the area as a whole. Throughout the 
year their growth was phenomenal. 

Hawaii, too, began to assume an importance it had not 
enjoyed during the first year of war. As efforts were con- 
centrated upon preparations for 1944, stockpiles and mili- 
tary population grew, operational training was intensified, 
and supporting forces were assembled and put into readiness 
for the beginning of the Central Pacific offensive. Ware- 
houses and fuel and ammunition depots spread out in the 
areas surrounding Pearl Harbor and the new airfields at Bar- 
bers Point and Kaneohoe Bay. New piers and dry docks 


were installed. Between December 1942, and the end of 
1943 the number of vessels of all types actually on hand un- 
der the Service Forces in the Central Pacific increased almost 
five-fold from 77 to 358. Pearl Harbor was on the way to 
becoming the mighty base a complacent America had as- 
sumed it to be in 1941. The increase of vessels under the 
Service Forces was also preparing the way for a return in part 
to the concept of floating base support which might be ex- 
pected to give to the striking forces greater range and mobil- 

The build-up of forces overseas during 1943, great as it 
was, was still slight by comparison with the expansion of the 
naval establishment within the United States. Deliveries of 
war materials and the recruitment of personnel during 1943 
represented in most categories the greatest percentage in- 
crease of any period during the war and a substantial total 
in actual volume and numbers. During the year, for example, 
naval personnel, excluding the Marine Corps and Coast 
Guard, had increased by more than a million to a total of 
well over two million. Deliveries of vessels reckoned in num- 
bers were twice as great as in 1942. In tonnage they were 
three times the total of 1942 and only slightly behind the 
figure of 1944. In navy yards, training stations, ports and 
depots, the conclusion of the year found the material and 
logistic effort within the United States approaching its peak, 
bringing forth the fruit of the first two years of the nation's 
war effort. 

Under these conditions the systematization of the Navy's 
logistic procedure was imperative. Only by a more precise 
definition and elaboration in working procedures of the con- 
cepts outlined in the Basic Logistical Plan could the Navy 
hope to keep under satisfactory direction and control the 
flow of goods and resources now beginning to issue forth 
from the production machine. That effort had to be carried 
on simultaneously in the three principal areas of logistic re- 
sponsibility—the Navy Department, which supplied broad 


direction and guidance for the overall conduct of the logis- 
tics of war; the theaters, which supplied direction for specific 
operational and maintenance purposes; and the continental 
supporting establishment which performed the actual labors 
of procurement and distribution in response to the dictates 
of both long range and short range programs. 

The Navy Department 

The problem of systematizing the central direction of lo- 
gistic effort had its roots in the continued weakness of the 
Office of Naval Operations. Primarily this was a problem of 
organization, the full explanation of which must await a 
detailed study focused not upon logistics alone but upon all 
the problems of the relations among military commander, 
bureau chief, and civilian secretary which have run as a major 
theme through naval administrative history. Yet it is neces- 
sary and possible, even with the limited evidence presently 
available, to sketch the main outlines of organizational de- 
velopment within the Navy, for it was organization in its 
broad sense that set the limits within which effective coordi- 
nation of the logistics task could be achieved. 

The authority granted to the Chief of Naval Operations 
in the Executive Order of March 1942 over the "preparation, 
readiness, and logistic support of the operating forces" had 
marked the farthest point of advance in the long and subtle 
contest for control between the professional and civilian. 
Yet it was by no means a complete victory, for the Executive 
Order had been signed by the President only after the Office 
of Procurement and Material had been separated from the 
jurisdiction of the Chief of Naval Operations and established 
within the Secretary's office. Until the new authority had 
been implemented, moreover, by the development of staff 
and organization within the Office of Naval Operations itself, 
which was competent in fact to assume the burden of direc- 
tion, the Executive Order must remain a paper instrument. 

An attempt by Admiral King in May 1942 to strengthen 


the Office of Naval Operations by the creation of three As- 
sistant Chiefs— for Air, Personnel, and Material— who would 
also be respectively the Chiefs of the Bureaus of Aeronau- 
tics and Personnel and the newly created Chief of Procure- 
ment and Material had been frustrated by the President's re- 
fusal to go to such limits in the integration of material 
matters under professional control. Throughout succeeding 
months the Office of Naval Operations had limped along, 
as the Booz report indicated, lacking the personnel, informa- 
tion and prestige necessary to discharge its mission. Instead 
of making progress, it had lost ground, frequently losing its 
ablest personnel to the headquarters of the Commander in 
Chief and delegating functions it had not the means to per- 
form to the bureaus or to field agencies of the continental 
shore establishment. 

Much of that decentralization had been necessary and un- 
avoidable under the conditions of 1942, but by the begin- 
ning of 1943 it had been carried too far. The truism offered 
by Admiral Badger in March that "Decentralized effort is 
effective only when the various agencies are provided with 
guidance sufficient to promote intelligent use of initiative" 
had a very real application to the performance of the logis- 
tics task within the Navy Department. 

In May 1943 Admiral King renewed his efforts to effect 
a reorganization of the Navy Department which would pro- 
vide a strong Office of Naval Operations. This time he pro- 
ceeded with greater caution, avoiding, for example, the iden- 
tification of bureau chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of Naval Op- 
erations and paying homage to civilian authority in his plan 
by assigning to the Under Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, 
and the Assistant Secretary for Air respectively "all matters 
relating to Naval material, personnel, and naval aviation." 
At first glance, such a provision might appear to insinuate 
civilian influence more completely into the affairs of the 
Navy Department, but in proposing to place under the Vice 
Chief three Deputy Chiefs for Air, Personnel, and Material, 


over whom would be a fourth Deputy charged with plans 
and general supervision, he had provided a counterweight 
of military organization which would more than offset the 
concession to civilian influence. 

If Admiral King's intention in extending his reorganiza- 
tion scheme to the secretarial level had been to make it more 
palatable to the President, it did not succeed. Sources of op- 
position to the plan were not lacking in the Navy Depart- 
ment, bureau chiefs in particular offering a formidable pha- 
lanx of opposition reinforced by close associations with the 
Congress and in some instances with the White House. But 
the real opposition to the proposal was the President him- 
self, who knew too well the intricacies of Navy Department 
relationships not to perceive the true direction of the reform. 
Although the plan came to him with the endorsement of 
both Admiral King and Secretary Knox, he refused to ap- 
prove more than the establishment of a Deputy Chief for 

The ultimate outcome of Admiral King's attempt to 
strengthen the Office of Naval Operations was the establish- 
ment of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air) in a 
relation to the Vice Chief which can be described only as 
ambiguous. Asked by the House Appropriation Committee 
in March 1944, about his relation to Admiral McCain, the 
Deputy Chief for Air, Admiral Home remarked, "He has a 
peculiar situation. He is my deputy for Air. He works under 
me. But he is an excellent man and Admiral King also leans 
on him a good deal. . . ." 

The "peculiar situation" of Admiral McCain referred not 
only to his divided responsibility to Admirals Home and 
King. Part of Admiral King's intention in suggesting the 
creation of an office for air logistics under the Chief of Naval 
Operations was undoubtedly to bring air planning and pro- 
gram direction more closely under the control of central 
planning and directing agencies. In bringing the office into 
being he had responded to an insistent popular demand for 


elevating air matters and air men to a higher position in the 
counsels of the Navy Department. But the aim of integra- 
tion had not been achieved. 

Since the authority of the Deputy Chief for Air was dele- 
gated directly from the Secretary and was defined for air lo- 
gistics in terms identical with those which defined the pow- 
ers of the Chief of Naval Operations over all logistics, the 
Deputy Chief was within the Office of Naval Operations, 
but not essentially of it. In major matters, he must refer to 
Admiral Home, but within and between their respective 
offices the problem of integration still remained. In planning 
and executing logistic programs no real integration of air 
under the general divisions of the Office of Naval Operations 
was accomplished. 

The Logistics Plans Division of CNO, for example, did 
not determine aircraft requirements. The old confusion, only 
slightly mitigated, persisted in matters of materials for air 
bases, personnel requirements, carrier complements and oth- 
er matters which could not be isolated from overall pro- 
grams. Its responsibility for comprehensive advance plan- 
ning, therefore, could not be fully discharged. It did not 
have in its organization a real staff of air men capable of 
evaluating the needs of air programs. It did not have the 
genuine contact with the conditions from which air needs 
derived. The progress sections under the Assistant CNO for 
Maintenance were even less well equipped to deal with the 
execution of air programs. Out into the field organization for 
logistics and the channels of distribution the same schis- 
matic weakness was extended, complicating the performance 
of the logistic task. 

The lack of jurisdiction over planning and execution of 
programs was not limited, of course, to aviation logistics 
alone. Over many other categories of equipment entering 
into logistic support the Office of Naval Operations con- 
tinued to have little or no control. In fact, it may fairly be 
said that only in the realm of advance base materials, and 


that by virtue of the component system developed in 1942, 
did the planning and progress divisions of Operations exer- 
cise any real measure of direction. In ships, ordnance, per- 
sonnel, and general supply as well as inland transportation 
the control of the Chief of Naval Operations varied from a 
casual contact to almost no contact at all. 

In lieu of establishing a proper identity between lines of 
functional and administrative responsibility, the Navy had 
to resort to committee procedure in many cases to achieve 
the necessary coordination. Thus, for example, an Auxiliary 
Vessel Board established shortly before the war exercised 
cognizance over all auxiliary vessel programs, and a District 
Craft Development Board exercised cognizance over yard 
and harbor craft. Committee procedure, however, was cum- 
bersome. It represented coordination among several agen- 
cies as distinguished from central direction by a single au- 
thority. While committees and boards might reconcile dis- 
agreement and provide a forum for the interchange of in- 
formation, they were dependent for the execution of policy 
upon the agencies represented. They were stopgap remedies, 
which themselves multiplied confusingly within the loose- 
jointed naval organization. For the most part bureaus and 
field agencies remained autonomous, not only in the proper 
sphere of execution, but also in that higher level of planning 
and policy where a single direction should have been sup- 

With the failure of Admiral King's scheme of reorganiza- 
tion of May 1943, efforts to increase the power of military 
direction over logistic programs through organic reorganiza- 
tion came to an end. Early in the spring of 1944, Secretary 
Knox appears to have considered a proposal to abolish the 
Office of Naval Operations and substitute for it a Chief of 
Naval Logistics in the person of Admiral Home on a level 
coequal with the Commander in Chief. Such a plan would 
have had the merit of giving to the Chief of Naval Logistics 
the real control over material programs which had long been 




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recognized as necessary, without that subordination to the 
military chain of command which the civilian Secretary 
feared. It appears for that reason also to have had the ap- 
proval of the President. But its practical effect upon logistic 
administration would have been little more than a reversion 
under new nomenclature and with the benefit of experience 
to the schismatic condition prevailing in the early months of 
1942. Given the controlling position of logistics in the spring 
of 1944 as well as two years' experience of organization un- 
suited to its effective coordination, the arguments in favor 
of dual responsibility were more compelling at least than 
they could have been in 1942. But the project came to a 
halt with the sudden death of Secretary Knox in April. 
Neither the complete integration of aviation into the naval 
organization nor the reorganization of the Navy Depart- 
ment, with which it was so closely associated, was to be ac- 
complished during the progress of the war. Logistic ad- 
ministration had to be carried on and developed, therefore, 
within the framework of organization laid out in 1942. 
Minor changes in organizational structure might be accom- 
plished, but the basic alignment of responsibility and control 
was not to be altered. Progress toward better integration must 
be made through improved procedure, liaison and persua- 

That distinction, however, was not at all clear at the time. 
During succeeding months, Navy Department reform efforts 
centered in the Logistics Plans Division, but they were curi- 
ously divided between organizational planning and logistic 
planning. On March 30, Admiral Badger addressed to all 
members of the Logistics Plans Division a lengthy memo- 
randum entitled "Basic Logistic Plans" which was intended 
as a primer of the logistics task. The memorandum con- 
tained many perceptive comments upon the general charac- 
ter of logistic tasks and administration, but its language was 
obscure, and in itself it failed to draw a clear distinction be- 
tween task and organization. The aim it suggested was to 


set up a Basic Logistics Plan, but it did not make clear 
whether the "Plan" would be a substantive schedule of lo- 
gistic requirements or simply an outline of procedure under 
which a substantive plan would ultimately be formed. Es- 
chewing any intent to tamper with organization and pro- 
cedures within the bureaus and other procurement agencies 
and stating "that the approved Naval construction program 
is to be considered as requiring no change for the successful 
pursuit of the war as now foreseen/' Admiral Badger set as 
his goal simply "the development of clear and comprehen- 
sive instructions as to the interchange of information be- 
tween all logistic agencies." These instructions, developed in 
systematic form, would be published as Part I of the "Basic 
Logistics Plan." What would constitute subsequent "parts" 
was not indicated. 

The systematizing of logistic information was a necessary 
and preliminary step to the establishment of better coordi- 
nation. In August, on the basis of reports submitted by the 
various bureaus and offices of the Navy Department, Ad- 
miral Home promulgated a schedule of information and re- 
ports as a guide to all agencies in the dissemination of in- 
formation. The schedule made some additions and deletions 
in the reports already being made, but in the main it rep- 
resented a reworking and classification of existing informa- 
tion. All information was broken down into three general 
classes— Basic Logistics Information, or the sum of com- 
ponents derived from the established or planned strength of 
the fighting forces; Area Logistics Information, which indi- 
cated the status of supply and readiness within the area; and 
Shipping Information, which indicated the schedules and 
priority of area requirements as well as the availability of 
cargo for shipment from the United States. The first head- 
ing would constitute presumably that information dealing 
with the establishment of stockpiles and the creation of 
forces within the United States. The second would indicate 
the status of area reserves and serve as a source of usage fac- 


tors and rates of consumption. The third would supply the 
necessary link between the two, providing the guidance by 
which the rate of flow would be governed. 

The three-fold classification of information fitted that 
broad division of responsibility between the theaters, the 
Navy Department, and the continental establishment which 
was slowly emerging in practice. It also opened up several 
areas, among which the most important was shipping, where 
systematic advance planning had been frustrated by lack 
of information. It provided in general the basic pattern of 
interchange of information under which the Navy operated 
during the remainder of the war. 

Yet the Survey of Information had certain weaknesses and 
limitations. By concentrating simply upon the orderly ar- 
rangement of reports, many of which did not pass through 
CNO, it missed the opportunity to penetrate into the form 
and character of reports themselves and to set up in them 
certain uniform features which would make possible the 
synthesis of information from all sources for high level pur- 
poses. Without some such synthesis it was impossible for 
the Office of Naval Operations to become the true nerve 
center of logistic administration. 

Secondly, the survey was directed only toward the inter- 
change of information among agencies subordinate to Ad- 
miral Home. One of the major weaknesses in the system, 
however, was the sparsity of information on strategic plans 
and operations which was made available by the Commander 
in Chief. Within the Office of Naval Operations only Ad- 
mirals Home and Farber regularly had full knowledge of 
plans being formulated under the Commander in Chief. 
Admiral Badger, by virtue of former service under Admiral 
King enjoyed a favorable position, but the remainder of the 
Division Directors under the Vice Chief were forced to de- 
pend upon such information as they could secure informally. 
The situation of bureaus and field agencies was even worse. 
Until the close of 1943, despite two years of experience, the 


assumption was adhered to by the Commander in Chief that 
information need pass in only one direction— from logistic 
agencies to strategic planners. 

Finally, it must be repeated that the interchange of in- 
formation did not affect the distribution of administrative 
responsibility. The attempt was consciously directed toward 
tightening logistic administration through better informa- 
tion alone without disturbing the existing pattern of opera- 
tion or authority. Unless the Logistics Plans Division, which 
had assumed responsibility for defining the flow of informa- 
tion, was to enter the field of administrative direction and 
designate also the agencies responsible for action in various 
instances, there could be no guaranty that the flow of infor- 
mation would be brought in harmony with the pattern of 
action responsibility within the logistic system. 

The Continental Establishment 

In fairness, it must be pointed out that the limited objec- 
tives of the informational survey described above had been 
set at a time when two schemes of organic reorganization 
had been under consideration. The first was that effort to 
reorganize the machinery of the Navy Department which 
has already been described. The second was a plan to re- 
organize the Naval Districts, which were the basic adminis- 
trative divisions within which operated the continental sup- 
porting establishment. Both projects were of importance, for 
if within the Navy Department power and responsibility 
tended to flee from the central Office of Naval Operations 
to the bureaus, it must be remembered that each bureau in 
turn presided over an elaborate system of subordinate agen- 
cies in the field, within which the process of decentraliza- 
tion was carried even farther. 

Over all the activities of the continental shore establish- 
ment the District Commandant, responsible directly to the 
Chief of Naval Operations, was intended to supply regional 
coordination and a link between headquarters and the field. 


Since the outbreak of the war, however, the plight of the 
district organizations had become even more serious than 
that of the Office of Naval Operations. Organized primarily 
for local defense purposes, they had failed to keep pace with 
the growing pressures of the logistic task. Within the dis- 
tricts lines of command were steadily blurred by the weed- 
like growth of new activities for transporting, procuring, stor- 
ing, assembling and training which had been established 
either by the Navy Department or by theater commands. 
Between the districts there existed no effective means of 
cooperation in logistic matters, which continually overflowed 
their geographic limits. Hampered by the limited applica- 
tion of Naval Regulations and suspended between Washing- 
ton and the theaters, they were the step-children of the na- 
val organization. Suspended also between operational duties 
carried out under the control of the Sea Frontier Command- 
ers and the growing burden of logistic activity, carried out 
under no higher regional authority whatsoever, the districts 
were divided, confused and impotent. 

Far from being able to coordinate and direct activities 
within their districts, commandants were often hard put 
even to keep up-to-date catalogues of the agencies over which 
they supposedly presided. When, for example, the Com- 
mandant of the Third District in New York attempted in 
the summer of 1943 to list all the activities within his Dis- 
trict, he was forced to consult the New York Telephone 
Company for complete information. Seventy-seven agencies 
were discovered whose previous existence had not been 
known to the Commandant. 

On the West Coast, where the Navy's major effort was 
concentrated, the confusion of agency and responsibility was 
greatest. Activities of the Bureau of Yards and Docks were 
carried on largely through its Advance Base Assembly Depot 
at Port Hueneme and coordinated for the coast as a whole 
by a Director of Pacific Theater Yards and Docks set up in 
1942. Naval Supply Depots at Oakland, Seattle and San 


Diego looked to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts for 
their direction rather than to District Supply Officers. At 
Oakland in 1942, for example, the commanding officer had 
held out strenuously against the efforts of the District Com- 
mandant to place all loading under the supervision of the 
District Port Director. Only the superior aggressiveness of 
Captain Davis, the port director, had prevented a serious 
division of loading responsibility within the port of San 
Francisco. The Fleet Air Wing Command, West Coast, es- 
tablished in 1942 by the Fleet Air Commander with sub- 
ordinate commands in Alameda and Seattle exercised juris- 
diction over aviation personnel, maintenance, and supply. 
Service Forces Pacific, the principal agency of support with- 
in the theater, was represented by its subordinate command 
in San Francisco. 

Many of these agencies, it is true, supplied regional co- 
ordination for certain major categories of activity. In ship- 
ping, which occupied a focal position for all activities, the 
San Francisco Port Director had established a central book- 
ing office for all cargo and had assumed the role of regional 
shipping director for the West Coast. With the establish- 
ment of the Joint Ship Operations Committee early in 1943, 
that element of coordination was fortified and extended to 
include both Army and Navy shipments. But even the Port 
Director's Office, which was certainly the strongest of the 
regional agencies and operated with relative autonomy, was 
limited in its scope. 

In general the pattern of regional logistic activity was one 
of many separate autonomies over which district organiza- 
tion had almost ceased to exercise any influence. The re- 
sultant in terms of logistic effort was increased overhead, 
waste of personnel and material, and, worst of all, the im- 
possibility of carrying out the policies and programs of the 
central command, even to the limited extent that compre- 
hensive direction was supplied by the Navy Department. 

As early as September 1942 Admiral King had discussed 


with Admiral Hepburn the possibility of a study of district 
organization looking to its reform. In February 1943, when 
the problem was referred to the Vice Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions, Admiral Badger was charged with a study of the 
Twelfth District, whose headquarters were in San Fran- 
cisco, with a view to applying to all districts whatever scheme 
of reorganization could be developed there. In June still 
another commission headed by Rear Admiral Wright was 
assigned under a somewhat broader precept to investigate 
district and logistic administration in the Fourteenth Naval 
District in the Hawaiian Islands. Through the spring and 
summer of 1943, Admiral Badger's study was carried on, and 
in August a proposed General Order was prepared. 

The General Order embodied a broad scheme of district 
reorganization developed along functional lines and in- 
tended to create within the districts a full-scale logistic 
organization and staff with direct responsibility over all 
procurement, supply, distribution, training and other sup- 
porting activities within the District. Under a Vice Comman- 
dant, charged with logistic supervision and coordination, dis- 
trict organization was intended to duplicate in smaller scale 
that of the Office of Naval Operations. Certain of the larger 
districts would be charged with coordination of contiguous 
district activities on a regional basis. Between this organiza- 
tion and the OfEce of Naval Operations a direct contact was 
to be established. 

The proposal for a wholesale and drastic reorganization 
of the Naval Districts necessarily gave pause to many naval 
officers. Despite its obvious inability to meet the demands 
of war, the concept of the district was woven deep into the 
fabric of naval administrative thinking. Tradition regarded 
the district as inviolable. Caution militated against radical 
changes during the war. Fears were raised that the entire con- 
tinental establishment might cease to function while changes 
were being effected. Nevertheless, fully cognizant of the 
sweeping character of the changes proposed, Admiral Home 


endorsed the reforms, as did Admiral King and Secretary 
Knox. But once again the project of reorganization foun- 
dered upon the ancient issue between civilian and military 
authority. Considering that control of the bureaus by the 
Chief of Naval Operations was as dangerous within the dis- 
tricts as within the Navy Department, the President stead- 
fastly refused to sanction the proposed General Order. Sub- 
sequently upon the findings of the Wright Commission, a 
reform of the Fourteenth District very similar to this Gen- 
eral Order was carried out by direction of the Commander 
in Chief. But in the Continental District organization as in 
the Navy Department, the development of logistic proce- 
dures was constrained to move within existing organizational 

In November the Secretary returned once more to the 
problem of district logistic organization and directed the 
establishment within each district of an Assistant Com- 
mandant for Logistics. But the substance had fled from the 
earlier proposal of reform. Although the Commandant was 
charged with logistic responsibility in terms very similar to 
those of the General Order, the necessary machinery to de- 
velop effective logistics control was not provided. The pow- 
ers of the Assistant Commandant were defined as advisory 
and coordinative. The appointment of the Commandant of 
the Twelfth District as the Pacific Coast representative of 
the Vice Chief without providing him also with the means 
of control was a solution in name only. The situation of the 
Navy's continental supporting establishment remained sub- 
stantially what it had been. 

Just why the measures actually taken should have fallen 
so far short of the original effort is difficult to determine. 
The moral effects of the President's refusal may be imagined, 
but that alone does not explain the apathy and the paucity 
of accomplishment which followed. A more satisfactory ex- 
planation appears to lie in the limited resources in able per- 
sonnel then at the disposal of the Vice Chief of Naval Oper- 


ations. Organizational proposals had been generated in the 
newly formed Logistics Plans Division, which appears to 
have been the only agency under the Vice Chief in a posi- 
tion to develop such plans on a comprehensive basis. But 
organizational planning was not the true function of the 
Logistics Plans Division. Theoretically, at least, it had been 
established to formulate logistic plans, and it could enter 
into the field of administrative direction only at the expense 
of its primary planning function. In fact, neither in the de- 
velopment of a comprehensive plan of logistic requirements 
nor in the field of administrative reform did the organiza- 
tion under Admiral Badger make very great progress during 
this period. Distracted between two fields of endeavor, it 
was wholly successful in neither. 

Still a third explanation may be sought in the personality 
and leadership of Admiral Home and in the character of the 
office over which he presided. In experience, professional ac- 
complishments, and personal temperament Admiral Home 
was better suited to the difficult role in which he had been 
cast than perhaps any other naval officer could have been. 
Placed at the cross-roads of civilian-military pressures, he 
had a remarkable capacity for recognizing the many sides 
of the Navy's administrative problem and for reconciling its 
many contradictions in harmonious working relationships. 
Forced to persuade the Chiefs of Bureau, he persuaded suc- 
cessfully because of the confidence they reposed in him. In 
an atmosphere where personal temperaments frequently 
clashed Admiral Home managed to preserve an attitude of 
calm objectivity and realism. When, for example, the Secre- 
tary asked his opinion of the scheme to make him Chief of 
Naval Logistics, he replied that he could "make it work" 
either way. If placed under the Secretary on a level equal 
with Admiral King, he said, he would still receive his direc- 
tion in strategic matters from the Commander in Chief. If 
left in his present position, he could continue by persuasion 


rather than by formal authority to administer the logistic ac- 
tivities of the Navy Department. 

Aided by a photographic memory, rapid comprehension 
and broad understanding of the problems with which he 
dealt, Admiral Home was able to do his own work without 
the aid of elaborate staff organization. He had created amidst 
the confusion and contradiction of the Navy Department a 
personal system in which without reference to forms of or- 
ganization the unresolvable was resolved and direction was 
supplied. It is significant that in the spring of 1943 he chose 
as his principal subordinate Rear Admiral W. S. Farber, an 
officer thoroughly schooled in the incongruities of the Navy 
Department whose ruling purpose was similarly to "make it 

Those very qualities of tolerance, breadth and patience 
which fitted Admiral Home so admirably for his task de- 
fined also the limits to which reform of logistics administra- 
tion could be pursued. Not disposed to push issues a ou- 
trance, he worked always within the limits of the possible. 
He did not pursue reform for itself. Nor did he desire to 
jeopardize the confidence he enjoyed among the Chiefs of 
Bureau by reaching down into the bureaus even in search of 
functions which properly belonged in the Office of Naval 
Operations. Finally, he was limited by the magnitude of 
his task to considering problems only in their broad aspects. 
Detailed matters quite naturally had to be left to subordi- 

Unfortunately one of the significant areas of the possible 
was the quality of the personnel Admiral Home had to as- 
sist him. Subordinate echelons in the Office of Naval Opera- 
tions were ill-suited to carry forward without benefit of sys- 
tem and organization the direction supplied by Admiral 
Home. With a few exceptions the office was manned by 
men not chosen for their administrative abilities but because 
they could be spared from the "more important" duties of 
command. Industrious and well-intentioned, they lacked as 


a group that kindling quality of the mind upon which in 
subordinates a personal system must rely. They formed a 
lackluster environment in which all too frequently the rul- 
ing principle of "make it work" which guided policy at the 
higher levels emerged at the operating level as "let it work." 
To have altered this condition would have required qualities 
of ruthlessness and stubbornness which Admiral Home did 
not possess. 

Logistic Development in the Theaters 

The problem of logistic administration within the Pacific 
theater was at once simpler and more complex than that of 
the continental United States. It was simpler because in 
the Basic Logistical Plan of March 1943 the direction had 
already been marked out. Within the theaters, moreover, 
there was no need to resolve those persistent and insoluble 
problems of civilian and military responsibility which beset 
the continental establishment and the Navy Department. 
The theater was the undisputed province of the professional. 
Nor was it necessary after March 1943 to worry about the 
basic authority under which coordination of logistic activity 
between the two services could be accomplished. If a meth- 
od remained to be worked out, at least the general aim had 
been defined and authority provided. 

On the other hand, the very necessity of integrating all 
forces and their logistic support within the theater raised 
problems of detailed procedure and direction whose solution 
bore directly on the success or failure of operations. Theater 
logistics demanded both in planning and execution a degree 
of refinement far greater than was required in the United 
States. Working with limited resources in men and materi- 
als, compelled to operate in areas where few facilities for 
distribution existed and where physical limitations were se- 
vere, the theater logistician performed a difficult and exact- 
ing task. 

The major logistic problems confronting the Commander 


in Chief Pacific Ocean Areas during the remainder of 1943 
were substantially those already defined. Within the area 
he must provide the machinery for a maximum pooling of 
Army and Navy resources, eliminating duplicating services, 
emphasizing common stockpiles and the interchange where 
possible of other goods and services. He must, in short, pro- 
vide a single plan for the utilization of all resources made 
available to the area and provide under the plan the ma- 
chinery for assuring its execution. 

A second problem confronting the area commander was 
the development of machinery by which he could supply to 
logistic agencies within the United States the guidance nec- 
essary in moving forward men and materials in the proper 
quantities and at the proper time. The importance of a joint 
priority list had been emphasized in the Basic Logistical 
Plan, but it may be added that its importance was not lim- 
ited to joint priority. Within the Navy's logistic system 
itself no system of priority of shipment had been developed 
which took its direction from, or referred in more than a 
perfunctory way to, the status of need in the theaters. 

Finally, upon the theater commander there was devolving 
more and more the responsibility for planning not only spe- 
cific operations but also their logistic support. The obvious 
purpose of this build-up of forces in the Hawaiian area was 
to enable it to act as an advanced point of distribution. Once 
operations in the Central Pacific had begun, Pearl Harbor 
like Noumea in the South Pacific, would be a principal stag- 
ing and forwarding point. Between it and the target areas 
into which we proposed to move there must be created a re- 
tail distribution system suitable in the first instance for the 
support of assault operations and secondly, for the rapid de- 
velopment of operating and supporting facilities. 

Until the close of 1943 this phase of logistic support in 
the Central Pacific was minimized. Military operations in 
the South Pacific continued to occupy the center of the 
stage. Satellite bases immediately around Pearl Harbor such 


as Midway, Palmyra and Canton were of minor importance 
compared with active and growing establishments like Efate, 
Tulagi and Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific. Priorities on 
critical materials were higher in the South Pacific area, 
where equipment passed more quickly into operational use. 
Until the Central Pacific offensive had been launched, ship- 
ments to Pearl Harbor were absorbed by the base itself, 
either as reserves for coming operations or for the mainte- 
nance of its own base facilities.* 

Planning activity also was limited by the relative inactivity 
within the Central Pacific theater. Unlike planning in the 
Navy Department, where requirements were set in terms of 
long-range programs without close reference to specific op- 
erations, theater planning could not proceed until strategic 
objectives had been firmly defined by the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff. Navy Department planning, moreover, was directed 
primarily toward procurement, whereas theater plans were 
for purposes of distribution. Looking essentially toward the 
consumption of supplies in military operations, they repre- 
sented a draft upon the continental reserves already procured 
and assembled. They were short-range, concrete and neces- 
sarily more detailed and exact than the broad program plan- 
ning of continental logistics. 

Throughout the greater part of 1943 no specific opera- 
tions in the Central Pacific were approved by the Joint or 
Combined Chiefs of Staff. Although on the basis of dis- 
cussions in May 1943 the Combined Chiefs included the 

* During the first six months of 1943 shipments from West Coast 
ports were: to Central Pacific 707,5157 short tons; to South Pacific 
856,645 short tons. Of the Central Pacific total 500,647 or approxi- 
mately 70 per cent were construction materials. Shipments of con- 
struction materials to the South Pacific were only 281,000 tons or 
30 per cent. On the other hand, shipments of combat and ordnance 
materials and petroleum products, two categories which indicate a 
high degree of operational activity, were: Combat and ordnance ma- 
terials: Central Pacific 34,000 short tons; South Pacific 100,000 short 
tons: Petroleum products: Central Pacific 15,000 short tons, South 
Pacific 214,000 short tons. 


seizure of the Marshalls and Carolines among assumed 
undertakings for 1943 and 1944, they added that "no firm 
plan for this operation exists" and that "a firm estimate of 
requirements cannot be made at this time/' Until the con- 
clusion of the Quebec conference in August, campaign 
logistic planning hung in abeyance while attention was 
concentrated almost exclusively upon regulating the flow of 
shipments between the mainland and Pearl Harbor. 

Among the principal measures directed by the Basic 
Logistical Plan had been the establishment under the 
theater commander of either "unified logistical-supply staffs 
consisting of both Army and Navy officers" or of "joint 
staff planning and operations on the part of the respective 
Army and Navy staffs within his jurisdiction." The alterna- 
tive proposed here was between a single staff operating as 
an integrated planning unit and a committee procedure in 
which coordination of planning would be sought between 
separate Army and Navy staffs. So far as the Pacific Ocean 
Area was concerned, however, the alternative was only 
apparent. If the result of staff planning and direction was 
to be a single, joint priority list for the movement of 
personnel and materials from the United States, sooner or 
later the theater staff would have to devote itself to joint 

On April 6, immediately after receipt of the Basic 
Logistical Plan, Admiral Nimitz promulgated his own Basic 
Logistical Plan for the Central Pacific Area, and on May 20 
a similar plan for the South Pacific was published by Admiral 
Halsey. Both plans chose the less radical alternative and 
established Joint Logistical Boards composed in the Central 
Pacific of the Commander Service Forces, the Commanding 
General Hawaiian Department and the Commandant 14th 
Naval District; and in the South Pacific of the major type 
commanders under Admiral Halsey. Under each of these 
boards was established a Joint Working Board and a Joint 
Secretariat. But for all the apparent emphasis upon joint 


logistics, the establishment of joint boards did not alter 
substantially the composition of staffs and the methods of 
procedure already prevailing within each theater. 

Under Admiral Halsey actual practice in joint logistic 
planning and operation had already developed beyond the 
terms of the plan. Pursuing a campaign which was largely 
amphibious in nature and in which fleet forces played at 
best a sporadic role, and engaged constantly in the conduct 
of active operations which combined all services, he had 
already developed in practice a unified logistics staff. By 
grouping his various type commanders into a Joint Logistics 
Board he had done nothing more than give formal recogni- 
tion to what was already a fairly closely knit operation. 

In the Central Pacific, however, the problem was one of 
creating joint organization and working procedure where 
separate staff organization was already well established and 
where there was not as yet any combined operational activity 
which could serve as an impetus to unification. Unification 
was also hampered by the fact that members of the Joint 
Working Board and Secretariat continued their full-time 
duties on the separate staffs from which they came. The in- 
clusion of the commandant of the district moreover, gave to 
the Joint Board a hybrid quality which did not obtain in the 
South Pacific, for it threw into what should have been an 
evolving operating agency an organization whose character 
was derived largely from peacetime continental practice. 
The fact that it was included at all reflected simply general 
confusion in the working establishment at Pearl Harbor 
between the functions of the district and of the Fleet 
Service Force organization. 

Meanwhile, a joint priority procedure was being de- 
veloped. On May 26 a directive signed by Admiral King 
and General Marshall provided for the monthly promulga- 
tion of a joint priority list for the movement of personnel to 
the Central, South and Southwest Pacific Areas. On July 20 
Admiral Home provided a working procedure under which 


the personnel priority list was to be developed and applied. 
In doing so he extended the meaning of personnel to include 
"unit shipments predominantly cargo but including per- 
sonnel" so as to embrace the shipment of functional 
components which at this time at least constituted a fairly 
large proportion of overseas shipments. 

The system in its general outlines provided for the tab- 
ulation of units available for shipment two months hence 
for the information of the area commander. He would then 
indicate on the list of available units furnished him the 
relative order of priority in terms of his current requirements 
and consolidate these in a joint list for both services. When 
priority lists had been received from all Pacific area com- 
manders, they would be combined into a single master list 
which would be issued to shipping agencies for their guid- 
ance in making shipments. 

The joint priority list was limited only to organized as- 
semblies of personnel and material' sufficiently under the 
direction of the Chief of Naval Operations and the bureaus 
to permit of their tabulation two months in advance. To the 
increasing volume of unorganized shipments, flowing in 
response to requisitions from the theaters, it had no appli- 
cation. Nevertheless for component units, which formed at 
least the major elements entering into base expeditionary 
forces in their early and critical phases, the joint list pro- 
vided a method of orderly planning and distribution upon 
a joint basis. 

In Pearl Harbor itself, however, the growing abundance of 
new materials had given rise to unauthorized projects of 
construction and utilization which outran all efforts to con- 
trol them through the Joint Logistic Board, the workings 
of the Joint Priority List, or in the separate agencies under 
the District, the Commanding General, and other type com- 
manders. With many separate agencies able to requisition 
upon mainland sources without close scrutiny from com- 
mand headquarters, with confusion and duplication of 


responsibility persisting between the District and Fleet 
logistic agencies, and finally, with a growing number of 
Construction Battalions and other service units being held 
in reserve for future operations but available for the moment 
to carry out locally inspired projects, the build-up and 
utilization of resources threatened to get entirely out of 
hand. In June the Bureaus of Ships and Yards and Docks 
combined to issue a warning to the Vice Chief of Naval 
Operations that conditions in Pearl Harbor were rapidly 
approaching a state of critical disorder. With the endorse- 
ment of the Vice Chief, the Naval Inspector General, and 
the Assistant Secretary, Admiral King immediately author- 
ized the commission under Rear Admiral Carleton Wright, 
previously mentioned, to investigate logistic facilities in the 
Fourteenth District and to report upon current and pro- 
posed projects from the point of view of the logistic support 
of present and future fleet activities. 

In August, after an extended investigation, the Wright 
Board submitted its report. Having no better information 
on strategic prospects than did theater planners, the board 
did not find it feasible to determine the adequacy of logistic 
facilities beyond the end of 1943. Comments were con- 
fined, therefore, to an analysis of existing logistic organiza- 
tion and to projects approved for 1943. 

In general, the board found that a satisfactory beginning 
had been made in the interchange and pooling of facilities 
as prescribed by the Basic Logistical Plan, but that much 
remained to be done. "Conscientious efforts . . . should be 
made to achieve as nearly as possible a thoroughly unified 
supply service covering all comparable items of common use 
and all similar logistic services. Up-to-date lists of combined 
facilities should be compiled; and continued attention 
should be devoted to developing the interchange of serv- 

The Joint Logistical Board required the addition of more 
full-time officers to its secretariat before it could become "a 


potent executive agency of the area commander for the fur- 
therance of the joint war efforts." Investigation disclosed 
that the board had taken no steps to provide for additional 
hospital facilities for impending operations, had not antic- 
ipated the need for additional district craft, had been of no 
assistance to the area commander in preventing the back-up 
of naval personnel on the West Coast, and had neither 
originated nor processed any of the logistic reports which 
were customarily submitted from the area to the Vice Chief 
of Naval Operations. It might have added that many reports 
stipulated by the Basic Logistical Plan, such as information 
on the availability of storage by types and localities and data 
on discharging capacities at ports of destination, had not yet 
been furnished to mainland agencies. 

In its investigation of the Fourteenth District, the Wright 
Board found much the same conditions that had been dis- 
covered in the investigation of continental districts. "Within 
the Fourteenth Naval District/' it said, "there is no logistic 
office or agency per se. Its absence now and in the past has 
resulted in lack of long range planning and in faulty coor- 
dination of logistics. . . . Our Naval organization for the 
handling of logistical matters has not been developed to 
solve adequately the problems presented by all-out war." 

As already stated, the Wright Board recommended a plan 
of reorganization for the Fourteenth District very similar 
in form to the General Order which had been disapproved 
by the President. Their recommendations were immediately 
executed by a directive from the Commander in Chief. 
Similarly specific reforms for the improvement of inventory 
and the reduction of excess or unbalanced stocks in the 
district were carried out by the bureaus under the direction 
of Admiral Home. 

The investigation of the Wright Board served not only 
to point out many deficiencies in area and district logistic 
organization, but also to bring to the attention of the Area 


Commander himself the importance of logistic matters. It 
must certainly have contributed in part to the reorgani- 
zation of the area staff which followed in September. In 
fairness to the Area Commander, however, it must be 
pointed out that the Wright report coincided closely with 
the conclusion of the Quebec conferences in August, which 
provided Central Pacific forces for the first time with definite 
operational objectives and the impetus toward closer unifica- 
tion which had hitherto been lacking. 

On September 1 5, Admiral Nimitz announced the disso- 
lution of the Joint Logistical Board and the creation in its 
stead of a Logistics Division of the Pacific Ocean Area Joint 
Staff. The creation of the Logistics Division was, in fact, 
but a part of a general move to create a joint staff in all 
categories of activity within the theater. Under designations 
J-i to J-5, joint staff divisions containing Navy, Marine 
Corps, and Army members were established for Plans, In- 
telligence, Operations, Logistics and Analysis. Fleet staff 
divisions were not entirely abolished, and in some cases as 
in Operations and Plans they coincided in membership and 
function with the Joint Staff divisions. There was also in the 
Fleet staff a division for Aviation which had no exact coun- 
terpart in the joint organization. Even with these modifi- 
cations, however, the establishment of a joint staff organiza- 
tion represented a notable advance in the development of 
unified theater command. 

The joint staff benefited as well from the recrudescence 
of planning and preparatory activity for the operations 
which had been decided upon in Quebec. Early in October, 
it brought forth operational and logistic plans for the attack 
upon the Gilbert Islands scheduled for mid-November. The 
assault upon the Gilberts may be regarded as the starting 
point, for the development of joint operational effort in the 
Central Pacific. For the first time Central Pacific forces 
had now a focusing point for joint effort. 


Summary oi Two Years of Logistic Effort 

The history of naval logistics during the first two years of 
the war exhibits a curious schizophrenia. Seen in terms of 
administration and of adaptation of organization to an un- 
accustomed task it is by and large a story of frustration and 
stasis which contrasts markedly with the record of actual 
logistics accomplishment. On the one hand, efforts to lend 
substance to the nominal authority of the Chief of Naval 
Operations over the bureaus and working establishment of 
the Navy by the creation in effect of a General Staff organiza- 
tion had been successfully defeated. Throughout the Office 
of Naval Operations as a whole, cognizance of logistics func- 
tions was thinly distributed, and control over the working 
establishment was frequently vitiated by lack of informa- 
tion or understanding. 

Three examples chosen from many will serve to illustrate 
this point. In December 1942 a Logistics Plans Division had 
been established for the purpose of translating strategic 
aims into logistic programs, but thus far it had extended its 
planning function only into the province of advance base 
component materials and exercised little governance over 
personnel, landing craft, combatant ships, aircraft or aux- 
iliary vessels. No comprehensive plan or control procedure, 
holding all these subsidiary programs in balance with each 
other, had yet been developed. Limited energies and re- 
sources of talent had been drained off in the supervision, as 
well as planning, of the advance base program and in efforts 
to outline logistics procedure as a whole and to indoctrinate 
the naval organization in the essential elements of the 
logistic process. 

An Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Material had 
been established charged with the execution and implemen- 
tation of logistic plans, but with a few exceptions his cog- 
nizance over the execution of material programs was even 
less complete than that of the Plans Division over planning. 


A third illustration may be seen in the exercise of 
responsibility over transport. Rail transportation of material 
was the responsibility of the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts. Rail transportation of personnel was the responsibil- 
ity of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. Under the Secretary's 
office a Transportation Division supervised motor transport. 
The Coast Guard and Marine Corps exercised fairly com- 
plete autonomy over their own internal transport of person- 
nel and material. Loading of naval cargo in the ports was in 
some cases under the supervision of the Naval Transporta- 
tion Service port director; in other cases of the local Naval 
Supply Depot, responsible to the Bureau of Supplies and 
Accounts. Responsibility for overseas transportation was 
divided between the Naval Transportation Service and the 
Fleet Service Forces. 

Beyond the confines of the Navy Department the situa- 
tion was no better. District organization continued in its 
archaic form with little relation to the realities of the logistic 
task. Logistic effort accommodated itself naturally and nec- 
essarily to the nation's industrial geography, while district 
lines of command and administrative responsibility re- 
mained immutable, growing progressively more obscure and 
irrelevant. Throughout the naval establishment as a whole 
there was apparent a growing discrepancy between the forms 
of naval organization and the emerging character of the 
logistic task. 

On the other hand, for all the lack of suitable organiza- 
tion, logistic support was, in fact, being provided to the 
operating forces. By the close of 1943, the United States 
stood on the threshold of the greatest naval and military 
offensive in the history of warfare. Approximately 1,500,000 
Navy and Marine personnel were already deployed overseas, 
of whom slightly under 300,000 Navy personnel and 180,000 
Marines were shore based. Naval advance base establish- 
ments, large and small, in all theaters of the war had in- 
creased by the end of 1943 from the pitiful few dozen with 



which we had entered the war to a total of only slightly 
under 250. Numerical tabulation, moreover, does not indi- 
cate the teeming activity and spectacular expansion of some 
of the bases like Espiritu Santo, Noumea, Dutch Harbor 
and the Hawaiian Islands. In November, with more auxiliary 
vessels available, the Service Forces had reverted to the pre- 
war concept of floating support and established Service 
Squadron Four at Funafuti as a mobile base. During 1943, 
the first of the great sectionalized floating dry docks, capable 
of lifting 85,000 tons, was put in operation at Noumea, and 
a second was in the process of being assembled at Espiritu 
Santo. Naval floating dry dock capacity had increased from 
none at the outbreak of war to 108,000 tons at the close of 
1942, and 723,000 tons at the end of 1943. Issues of fuel oil 
in the Pacific theater alone rose from 17,000,000 barrels in 
1942, to 28 million barrels in 1943, almost twice the com- 
mercial export of gas and fuel oil in the United States in 
1941. Almost all vessels damaged at Pearl Harbor had been 
repaired and returned in improved and modernized con- 
dition to active service. In forces and in the capacity to 
maintain those forces in effective striking condition in the 
Atlantic and Pacific the condition of the Navy at the end 
of 1943 gave witness to two years of unprecedented ac- 

Between the striking evidence of logistic achievement 
and the apparent lack of effective direction and logistic 
organization there is an obvious discrepancy, in explanation 
of which four possible factors may be suggested. In the first 
place, it is obvious that a large measure of the successful 
provision of support was directly the product of the nation's 
tremendous industrial capacity. Without minimizing the 
accomplishments of the Navy in directing the design and 
production of material and the training of personnel, it is 
not too much to say that the real index to the country's 
capacity to wage war lay in the farms, factories, raw 
materials, railroads and schools of the nation. The achieve- 


ment of the first two years had been predominantly one of 
production. Whatever bad effects the lack of suitable mili- 
tary direction may have had upon procurement programs 
and activities of the Navy lie beyond the province of this 
study. But from the point of view of military logistics, which 
is concerned with the disposition of goods and services once 
they have entered the logistic support system, the "battle of 
production" was being successfully waged. 

Secondly, we must consider the traditional "bureau 
system" of the Navy. Administrative history tends often to 
concern itself with matters of "coordination, integration and 
direction" to the exclusion of substantive effort. In vast 
undertakings such as the Navy's logistic effort during the 
war, moreover, the only suitable point of view from which to 
observe and assess the effectiveness of an operation is at the 
top. No study in management and administration could 
hope to do otherwise. Unfortunately, when operation is 
decentralized, when direction and coordination are lacking, 
there is a tendency to assume the absence of all effort and 
accomplishment. The want of effective coordination, leading 
to excessive overhead and to duplication and conflict of 
function, induces very real evils into any working system, 
particularly when it is laboring under a narrow margin of 
surplus, but it does not imply the absence of all effort. On 
the contrary, majority opinion in the Navy has held tradi- 
tionally to the tenet that decentralization of effort conduces 
to greater accomplishment and economy as well as to the 
flexibility considered necessary for the support of naval 
forces. That assumption has been for many years the founda- 
tion of the bureau system. 

Over the course of many years bureau chiefs had consist- 
ently answered the argument for a General Staff by pointing 
to the record of successful bureau accomplishment, ringing 
the changes upon the "historical fact that the Bureau System 
has successfully fought the Mexican War, the Civil War, the 
Spanish War and the World War." In 1943 the Chief of the 


Bureau of Supplies and Accounts had added to the tradi- 
tional arguments a pertinent comment which undoubtedly 
reflected the view of most officers in the Navy: 'The erection 
of another barrier of control over the Bureau [by establishing 
a kind of General Staff] with undefined powers of super- 
vision and direction is merely setting up a control over these 
bureaus which is considered unnecessary and which will have 
the effect of establishing a slowing up process by abolishing 
direct action and contact." 

Lacking consistent military direction the bureaus had 
in fact carried on the business of the Navy; had designed, 
procured, assembled, and shipped the necessary materials 
for support. Possessing money, legal authority and concrete 
tasks to perform; having superior information, more compe- 
tent personnel, and within their separate provinces a more 
highly developed method and organization, the bureaus of 
the Navy Department contained in themselves all the 
elements necessary to create, expand and maintain the work- 
ing establishment of the Navy. Where sufficient impetus 
and direction from above were lacking, the bureaus could 
and did set their own goals for procurement, mark out the 
pattern of distribution, establish field agencies and maintain 
contact with theater commanders. Like water flowing be- 
neath the frozen surface of a stream, the workings of the 
bureau system were hidden, but not essentially impeded by 
the overlay of authority in the Office of Naval Operations. 
Thus far, if for no other reason than by default, the bureau 
system was on the way to adding one more war to its oft- 
cited record of achievement. If at times decentralization led 
to confusion and disarticulation within the logistic process 
as a whole, there are relatively few instances in which a 
charge of apathy could be maintained against the bureaus. 
Their sins were of commission rather than of omission, and 
the need for supervision and coordination derived in most 
cases from the surplus of energy and effort which poured 


through the bureaus from the nation as a whole into the 
support of naval forces. 

Thirdly, although the true sources of energy were the 
bureaus, one must not discount entirely the personal system 
of Admiral Home, for if it did not challenge the ultimate 
distribution of responsibility within the naval establish- 
ment, it did succeed in practice and through informal asso- 
ciation in providing the necessary minimum of cohesion in 
the logistic system and the necessary contact between civil 
and military functions of the Navy. Of his own position, 
Admiral Home has remarked. 'The Bureau Chiefs were 
good men; they trusted me, and they did what I asked them." 
That description is undoubtedly accurate. The evidences of 
Admiral Home's influence are not to be found in the study 
of formal organization nor in the exercise of directive author- 
ity. But there can be no question that within a system tra- 
ditionally dependent upon the spirit of cooperation among 
the Chief of Naval Operations, the Secretary and the 
Bureaus, he exercised through persuasion and mutual confi- 
dence a very real measure of influence. 

Finally, it should be observed, that despite the chronic 
and sometimes critical shortage of shipping, despite the lack 
of adequate interchange of information between the theaters 
and the continental establishment, despite evidences of 
confusion and waste within the districts and even in the 
theaters, the problem of the first two years had been pre- 
eminently one of production and procurement, in which the 
basic relation was between the civil part of the naval estab- 
lishment and the civilian economy. Under the established 
division of civil and military responsibility the principal 
field of action of the Chief of Naval Operations was to be the 
distribution of resources already procured for consumption 
in military operations. During the first two years of war that 
problem had gradually developed, but always within the 
shadow of the task of production. By the close of 1943, the 
first phase of our logistic effort had come to an end. Hence- 


forth, in the shifting emphasis from production to distribu- 
tion the military logistic system was to receive its major 
test. Taking its direction not from the industrial capacity of 
the nation, but from the military situation, logistic effort 
would be constrained to move more and more within the 
province of military imperatives in which effective military 
direction would assume paramount importance. 


Two events occurring in June 1944, only nine 
days apart but on opposite sides of the globe, 
signalled the inception of our major offensive 
against the Axis. On June 6 Allied invasion 
armies landed on the shores of Normandy, 
breaching the walls of "Festung Europa" and launching 
the drive which had as its objective the capture of Berlin 
and the destruction of the Nazi Third Reich. On June 15 
an American invasion fleet launched the assault upon the 
Marianas Islands on the threshold of the Western Pacific, 
from which fleet operations could be extended into the 
waters of the Japanese homeland and planes of the Army 
Air Forces could attack the homeland itself. 

The Marianas offensive was in fact only the high point of 
a series of thrusts begun in November 1943, with the in- 
vasion of the Gilberts and continued in February and March 
with the more rapid and expeditious occupation of Kwaja- 
lein and Eniwetok in the Marshalls. It was followed in 
September by the invasion of Palau, in October by the rapid 
succession of operations beginning at Leyte which led to the 
reconquest of the entire Philippine archipelago, and ul- 
timately by the Bonins, Okinawa and the preparations for 
attacks upon the coast of China and the Japanese mainland. 
This series of thrusts in the Central Pacific is our main 
interest, because it was within this unfolding strategic pat- 
tern that the naval logistic support system was developed in 
its most complete form. But it is important to note as well 
that Central Pacific operations were carried on in close 
relation to an equally accelerated schedule of advances in 
the South and Southwest Pacific. In February 1944 forces 
under General MacArthur invaded the Admiralty Islands, 
setting the stage for the development at Manus of one of 


the Navy's major bases in the Pacific. The Admiralties were 
followed by Hollandia and a succession of thrusts forward 
along the coast of New Guinea including Wakde, Biak, 
Noemfoor, Cape Sansapor and Morotai. 

The schedule of amphibious operations, moreover, gives 
no indication of the almost unceasing activity of fleet task 
forces throughout the Pacific area as a whole, which by the 
close of the year had brought Formosa and the Ryukyu, 
Bonin and Volcano Islands under the range of carrier aircraft 
guns and bombs. Between the close of August and the be- 
ginning of November, for example, Task Force 58 or 38 
was almost constantly at sea, much of the time engaged in 
active operations. At the end of that time it was still capable 
of engaging the Japanese fleet in the decisive battle for 
Leyte Gulf. During these two months planes of the fast 
carrier task forces had expended 6,000 tons of bombs, 331 
torpedoes, 7,752 rockets and immense quantities of fuel 
and provisions. During November, its third consecutive 
month away from base, the carrier force took up the air 
bombardment of Manila in preparation for the landings on 
Luzon. Having completed this task, it was able at the be- 
ginning of 1945, after one month's return to base, to begin 
the series of operations prior to Iwo Jima and Okinawa 
which ranged through the Western Pacific from Hong 
Kong to Tokyo. 

Between the series of movements toward the Philippines 
from the South and the Central Pacific thrust there was 
necessarily close correlation in strategic planning and timing. 
Both offensives were predominantly amphibious and relied 
upon covering support from both air and sea forces. The 
initial phases of each assault required large concentrations 
of amphibious craft, assault shipping and bombardment 
and carrier task forces. Time schedules of operations in both 
theaters had to be closely correlated to allow for the max- 
imum interchange of available amphibious and striking 
forces and for the allocation of shipping by the Joint Chiefs 


of Staff for the support of both theaters. Major task forces 
and especially fast carrier groups were thus in constant em- 
ployment in support of widely scattered landings, sup- 
plementing these covering activities with frequent strikes 
against enemy positions in advance of target areas. 

In many cases, moreover, operations in the Central 
Pacific were staged and supported in part in the South 
Pacific. Such was the case in the Gilberts, the Marshalls and 
the Marianas. The Marianas assault was staged in three 
principal areas— the South Pacific, Pearl Harbor and the 
United States. Thus from the start of 1944 offensive opera- 
tions in the Pacific fitted increasingly into a single pattern 
of attack. With the beginning of the Philippines campaign 
at Leyte the need for close correlation of activity in all 
areas, hitherto occasional, became normal. In many respects 
operational and logistic methods and organization varied 
greatly between the two principal commands in the Pacific. 
Each relied primarily upon its own resources and its own 
channels of support from the United States. But in the allo- 
cation of shipping and in the deployment of fleet and 
amphibious forces they bore a close relation to each other 
which must be observed in the strategic and logistic de- 
velopments of the Central Pacific. 

The launching of a full-scale offensive in all theaters 
of war in 1944 brought the accompanying logistic effort 
into its mature phase, a phase in which three dominant 
factors— distance, magnitude and uncertainty— conditioned 
the character of logistic effort. The constant lengthening of 
our lines of communication is the most obvious of the 
difficulties with which logistic support had to contend. Its 
effects were felt in the lengthening of voyage times and the 
consequently greater requirement for cargo tonnage, in the 
remoteness of established repair facilities from active opera- 
tions and in the distance, sometimes as great as 5,000 miles, 
between staging areas and objectives. 

The increased magnitude of operations and the expanding 


volume of shipments from the United States were no less 
important than the factor of distance. Total shipments of 
naval cargo to the Pacific alone increased during 1944 by 62 
per cent over those of the previous year to a grand total of 
5,522,000 long tons. The increased volume of shipments 
was directed more and more into undeveloped areas, where 
storage and discharging facilities were limited or non- 
existent, where land areas were small and where the pressure 
of combat operations obstructed the orderly distribution of 
materials. They continued to be shipped largely from the 
West Coast, where transshipment facilities were already 
hard pressed. In its relation to the capacity of channels of 
distribution the expanding volume of shipments was thus 
one of the outstanding factors in the logistic effort of this 
major phase. 

The third factor seriously affecting the character of logistic 
effort was the accelerated tempo and uncertainty of all 
activity, whether operational or logistic. As never before, 
the war had now become a war of movement. Its duration 
depended directly upon the mobility of operating forces and 
hence upon the rapid projection forward of base facilities, 
staging areas and airfields. Theoretically the schedule of 
operations was determined by logistic feasibility, and in 
practice this was substantially so. But with striking forces 
already available in superior strength, with troops, aircraft 
and other operational components now being produced in 
quantity, the tendency of strategic planners was to place 
the most optimistic construction upon estimated capacity 
to provide and transport logistic support in accordance with 
the schedule of operations. 

After beginning the Central Pacific campaign in late 

1943 in the traditional manner developed at the War Col- 
lege and in successive War Plans, operational planning in 

1944 took on a highly flexible and opportunistic character. 
Target dates were constantly advanced. Eniwetok was at- 
tacked one month, Palau one and one-half months, Leyte 


two months and the Marianas two and one-half months 
ahead of original plan. 

Frequent changes in strategic and tactical objectives like- 
wise affected logistic plans and schedules. The landings in 
the Admiralties, originally undertaken as a reconnaissance in 
force, developed rapidly into a full-scale effort and drew 
heavily and without prior notice upon the reserves of naval 
base materials and components. As late as March 12 the 
Joint Chiefs cancelled a projected assault upon Truk, 
preparations for which had already begun, and substituted 
an assault upon the Marianas with the target date set for 
barely three months later. The Palau operation was modified 
even after the assault had begun. For tactical reasons landings 
on Babelthuap and Yap were abandoned after some of the 
forces for Yap were already embarked and en route. The 
result was that more than half of the advance base materials 
planned and assembled for installation in the Palaus were 
diverted elsewhere. Landings on Leyte had originally been 
scheduled for December 20 following an assault upon 
Mindanao on November 15. On September 15, however, 
after air attacks by Task Force 38 and the 5th Air Force had 
exploited weaknesses in the Central Philippines, the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff authorized General MacArthur to carry out 
landings on Leyte on October 20, eliminating Mindanao 
from the strategic plan. Fortunately forces diverted from 
Yap could be added to those already available for the opera- 
tion. The effect upon logistic movements, however, par- 
ticularly upon later echelons, of these constant shifts in 
strategic and tactical plan was considerable. 

Production requirements for many advance base com- 
ponents were determined in some cases as much as two years 
in advance. The advance air base unit known as Acorn, for 
example, was over eighteen months in the process of pro- 
curement, training, assembly and shipment. Firm state- 
ments of merchant shipping requirements were required by 
the War Shipping Administration three months in advance 


so that requirements of one area or service could be fitted 
into the broad pattern of requirements for all phases of the 
total war effort. These are but a few examples of the intricate 
and extended preparations in all phases of logistic activity 
which were affected by constant fluctuations in operating 
plans and schedules. 

Of the justification for this policy of opportunism in the 
conduct of operations there can be no question. The develop- 
ment of the by-passing and attrition technique employed at 
Truk and Rabaul was a brilliant example of the utilization 
of superior air and sea power in hastening the conclusion of 
the war. But it would be less than justice not to point out 
that the execution of these tactical and strategic concepts 
depended entirely upon the resources and the resiliency of 
the logistic support system. Forced to adapt itself not only 
to the speed-up of operations but also to the constant flux 
of operational planning, which allowed little margin for 
advance logistic planning, the logistic system was kept under 
constant pressure. Any slack offered by the build-up of 
surplus resources was immediately taken up by further ac- 
celeration in the operational schedule, and generally the line 
was drawn a little tighter in the process. Operational plan- 
ners, quite properly, were determined to wring out the last 
possible drop from the logistically feasible. 

The three factors of distance, magnitude and uncertainty 
exercised a broad and constant governance over the character 
of logistic effort in its mature phase. Just what that effort 
comprehended in more concrete terms can best be under- 
stood by examining the requirements for logistic support of 
all kinds in the conduct of the Pacific war. Broadly speaking, 
logistic requirements could be divided into two main groups. 
The first group, "operational" requirements, included all 
those elements employed or expended in active operations 
against the enemy, whether for the support of fleet or task 
forces, landing operations, garrison forces, or for the de- 
velopment of operating and logistic base facilities in the 


forward areas. Operational requirements included a multi- 
tude of elements, and they retained the designation "opera- 
tional" during various successive phases in which the con- 
ditions by which they were determined varied widely. 

To carry out an assault upon an enemy-held island posi- 
tion there was required first a naval task force to prepare the 
way for assault by air and surface bombardment, to cover and 
screen the landings themselves and to secure the lines of 
communication between the objective and its base of sup- 
plies. Fleet forces operated in close concert with expedition- 
ary forces, but they did not constitute an integral part of 
the expeditionary force. Their requirements were not de- 
termined with close reference to it and only in part to the 
planned operation. Battleships, carriers, personnel afloat and 
lesser combatant types represented in a sense the capital 
plant of naval striking forces, whose maintenance require- 
ments were fairly stable and could be calculated without 
reference to particular operations. Aside from battle damage 
and collision repairs, certain critical accessory material such 
as electronic equipment, and varying fuel and ammunition 
requirements the maintenance of basic task force units 
could be predicated over a fairly long period on knowable 
and established usage factors. The variable factor in fleet 
maintenance was not so much what the forces would re- 
quire at a given time as where they would be when supplies 
or maintenance were necessary. 

Expeditionary forces, consisting of landing and am- 
phibious forces and all service and supporting units ac- 
companying the assault, constituted the most variable factor 
in the determination of operational requirements. The total 
operation of seizing, reducing and developing an enemy- 
held position fell broadly into two phases. In the first or 
"assault" phase logistic requirements derived directly from 
the size and character of the expeditionary force itself. Upon 
this basis were determined requirements for landing craft, 
assault shipping, ammunition, water, rations, gasoline, medi- 



cal supplies and other items of combat equipage which 
had to be landed with assault troops. Certain operations 
calculated on the rapid seizure and repair of airfields, and 
for this reason there were frequently included among assault 
echelons Construction Battalions and advance Acorn units. 
At Palau and in the Admiralties, for example, the speedy 
renovation of captured airfields exercised an important in- 
fluence on tactical developments. In all cases the speed with 
which land-based air operations could be begun determined 
the time when supporting carrier aircraft could be withdrawn 
for other operations. 

Beachmaster parties and stevedore troops were also in- 
cluded in early echelons. Initial assault waves, needless to 
say, were predominantly combat forces, but as amphibious 
technique developed and landing operations became more 
massive, there was an increasing admixture of service and 
supporting units in the early echelons of movement which 
made up the assault phase. 

Supply during the assault phase was entirely automatic. 
As defined by Cincpoa (Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean 
Areas) in November 1943, automatic supply was "a system 
of supply in which the entire impetus is from rear to front. 
Each element in the supply chain must push supplies for- 
ward, without requisitions, requests or reports from for- 
ward units to be served ... by periodic shipment of fixed 
quantities of supply." Determination of these fixed quanti- 
ties and the periods of shipment were the major items of 
theater logistic planning for the assault phases of operations. 

Upon the completion of combat operations, and frequent- 
ly while they were still under way, the assault phase began 
to give way to the garrison or "build-up" phase, whose ob- 
jective was the rapid conversion of the newly seized territory 
to two uses: first, an operating base for continued operations, 
predominantly air but also surface and submarine; and 
second, a logistic base serving as a supply and distribution 
center, repair base and staging and rehabilitation area. 


Between these two functions there was in the early stages no 
clear line of demarcation. The rapid movement forward of 
all forces required that each objective seized become quickly 
the point d'appui of further advances. Thus the governance 
upon logistic activity imposed first by the tactical situation 
gave way imperceptibly to the influence of strategic factors 
and the general pattern of logistic support. 

The garrison period was in reality one of rapid con- 
struction which followed generally the Base Development 
Plan laid out in advance by the Joint Staff Planners under 
Cincpoa and attached as a logistic annex to the operating 
plan. It was during this phase that most of the advance base 
functional components were delivered and established, that 
airfields were built and expanded, roads, storage warehouses 
and port facilities constructed. It was this phase, therefore, 
that constituted the most critical period in the logistic de- 
velopment of the new position. 

Once shipment of construction and component materials 
was largely completed there followed the shipment of supply 
materials such as provisions, general stores and spare parts 
required to bring stocks at the new base up to authorized 
levels. Shipments of components and materials stipulated in 
the Base Development Plan continued to be automatic, but 
during this garrison period the transition was begun toward 
non-automatic or requisitioned supply, which was the out- 
standing characteristic of the second broad class of require- 
ments generally defined as "maintenance/' 

One other feature of operational support deserves atten- 
tion before we pass to the maintenance phase of theater 
logistics. Up until the inauguration of the Central Pacific 
offensive the principal and frequently sole reliance for the 
support of fleet forces had been the development of shore- 
based facilities. Base development continued to be the chief 
reliance during the Central Pacific campaign, but because of 
the greater distances between objectives and staging areas, 
the smallness of land areas in the mid-Pacific, and the rapid- 


ity of forward motion, it was impossible to rely solely upon 
the development of shore facilities. Rapid prosecution of 
the Central Pacific campaign and the exploitation of Japa- 
nese weaknesses as they developed required some means of 
furnishing support to task forces more rapidly and more 
flexibly than was permitted by base development. Mobile 
base facilities, which could serve during the interim for the 
support of fleet operations and which were not rooted to an 
area once it had become remote from the scene of operations 
became, therefore, an important operational requirement. 

The concept of mobile base support had long since been 
worked out in naval planning, but until the close of 1943 
the facilities had not been available. In October 1943 a 
beginning was made, when Service Squadron 4 was set 
up at Funafuti in the Ellice Islands for the assault upon the 
Gilberts and Marshalls. Made up of barges, station tankers, 
repair vessels and various other units of service and supply, 
it constituted a miniature advance base for fleet support 
which could be moved from one strategic anchorage to an- 
other as required by the movements of the fleet. In March 
1944, Squadron 4 was moved to Kwajalein, where it was 
absorbed into the larger Squadron 10, newly established 
along similar lines. Throughout succeeding months Squad- 
ron 10 expanded until by the end of the year it consisted of 
five major sections located at various strategic points in the 
Pacific and comprising hundreds of vessels. To the few 
barges and ships of Squadron 4 there had now been added 
a vast array of dry docks, stores ships, tankers, hospital ships 
and salvage and repair vessels which could move or be towed 
forward with relative ease. 

By the close of 1944, however, the need was being felt 
for some link between the facilities offered by Squadron 
10 and the widely ranging task forces of the fleet. This need 
was met by the organization of Service Squadron 6. Oper- 
ating as a "Logistic Support Group" this unit formed part of 
the task force itself. It moved with the fleet, joining it at 


stated intervals and rendezvous points for refueling, re- 
arming and reprovisioning. To the limited services such as 
fueling at sea which had formerly comprised the duties of 
the train Service Squadron 6 added many others, among 
which the most important was rearming combat ships at sea. 
As the war drew to a close, it was making deliveries at sea 
not only of fuel and ammunition but also of provisions, 
small stores, mail, aircraft, motion pictures and personnel. 
The list of supplies and services might have been extended 
indefinitely had the war continued. As it was, the brief 
career of Service Squadron 6 had demonstrated clearly 
the practicability of servicing combatant forces at sea and 
thus of keeping them operating at sea for extended periods. 

Satisfaction of maintenance requirements was the crux 
of the logistic problem during its mature phase. For this 
there were two reasons. As more and more forces were de- 
ployed overseas, maintenance materials came to represent 
the bulk of all naval overseas shipments. Early in the war, 
when the primary task was the establishment of bases and 
the deployment of forces, initial movements constituted a 
larger percentage of shipments, and with this fact in mind 
the Office of Naval Operations had kept under close sur- 
veillance the programs for advance base functional compo- 
nents. As the total of ships, bases and personnel increased, 
however, the volume of consumption naturally increased. 
And as initial equipment began to wear out, the demand for 
spare parts and replacements rose even more rapidly. By the 
close of 1944 maintenance requirements constituted 80 per 
cent of the total shipments to naval forces overseas. 

The second reason, which goes to the heart of the Navy's 
logistic problem, was that of the two types of requirements 
it was maintenance that depended most upon the de- 
centralized system of planning, procurement, and distribu- 
tion. Most of the elements entering into operational re- 
quirements were subject to a certain amount of centralized 
control in one part of the naval organization or another. 


Planning and preparation of combat troops, ships and land- 
ing craft were fairly closely controlled in most phases by the 
Readiness Division of the Commander in Chief. Auxiliary 
vessel construction programs were under the supervision 
of the Auxiliary Vessels Board and received a certain amount 
of informal, overall supervision from Admiral Farber, the 
Sub Chief of Naval Operations. Advance base functional 
components, as indicated above, were planned and dis- 
tributed under the direction of the Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions. All of these elements, moreover, were included in the 
logistic annexes of operating plans and moved forward under 
comparatively orderly procedures, which, as we shall see, 
were continually refined during 1944. Administratively and 
geographically, however, the determination and satisfaction 
of maintenance requirements was a decentralized function 
lodged in the separate bureaus and in their widely dispersed 
and highly ramified field agencies. Maintenance support 
moved forward without benefit of centralized control and 
direction either from the Navy Department, the seaboard 
agencies or the theater commands. 

Until the development of detailed operational logistic 
planning, moreover, it was difficult to distinguish mainte- 
nance and operational requirements even in the theaters. The 
distinction between the two had certain approximate par- 
allels. Thus, for example, it followed the time sequence of 
any particular operation, early phases being operational and 
later phases maintenance. In the same manner it paralleled 
the geographical division between forward and rear areas. 
The most applicable distinguishing feature, and it too is only 
approximate, was the distinction between requisitioned and 
non-requisitioned items where the requisition was originated 
by the ultimate consignee. This fact is illustrated by the 
critical importance assumed by the requisition control 
problem as requirements for maintenance expanded. 

What was required by the beginning of 1944 was a logistic 
support system corresponding to the pattern of actual re- 


quirements for logistic support. The logistic task was 
governed primarily by the imperatives of the military situa- 
tion and secondarily by the factors of distance, magnitude 
and uncertainty. To support the tremendous undertaking 
of 1944 required that an ever-increasing mass of materials 
move in orderly flow through channels of distribution which 
were already approaching the limits of their elasticity. In 
port capacity, storage space, tonnage availability, and in the 
various physical and geographic limitations of land areas in 
the Pacific through which the process of distribution had 
to be carried on there was no longer a wide margin for 
greater volume of shipment. The Navy was now coming to 
the point where it must put a camel through the eye of a 

The solution to this dilemma lay in three basic principles, 
always inherent in the logistic process, but most clearly 
discernible when it has attained its mature phase. These are 
timing, motion and selection. Effective. logistic support is 
not so much a matter of the accumulation of material as of 
the correctly timed distribution of properly selected equip- 
ment and specially trained men. Motion is the decisive 
factor to which timing and selection contribute. Just as the 
New York City subway system, for example, can operate 
only so long as its millions of daily users are kept constantly 
in motion, so the structure of logistic support in the Pacific 
could bear the burden of mass support only so long as the 
great volume of shipments flowed steadily and systematically 
from source of production to point of consumption. 

Reduced to more concrete terms, motion was essential 
because no point in the supporting system, whether rail and 
shipping facilities, continental storage and terminals or area 
depots, provided an adequate platform for the accumulation 
of more than a fraction of the materials required and being 
made available. Timing was required to keep motion under 
control and to bring the furnishing of logistic support into 
synchronization with the necessary phasing of operational 


activity. Selection was required to give due recognition to 
the actual degrees of urgency and priority which existed in 
the requirements for support. Without selective techniques 
there was a serious danger that the flow of urgently required 
items of support would be impeded by, or lose its identity 
in, the congestion of low priority material. Throughout the 
remainder of the war the history of logistic effort may be 
interpreted as an intensified search for administrative tech- 
niques and procedures of control through which these three 
dynamic principles could be infused into the working logistic 


Basic Planning 

Increasing emphasis upon the provision of maintenance 
support (an emphasis which characterized the mature 
phase of naval logistics) called attention first to the 
methods of basic logistic planning by which require- 
ments were originally determined and the process of 
procurement set in motion. The need for improved pro- 
cedures for maintenance planning had been recognized by 
Admiral Badger as early as March 1943 in his memorandum 
on "Basic Logistic Plans." Among the principal weaknesses 
in the system as then operating he had noted that "largely 
because the Navy Department is decentralized . . . requi- 
sitions are not adequately screened"; that "At the present 
time there is no well-recognized replenishment program 
mapped out whereby the operating forces can control the 
flow"; that "There is no directive governing the assembly 
and analysis of the wealth of statistical data available after 
sixteen months of war"; and finally, that "present procedures 
result in unbalanced and excess shipments and in certain 
shortages of shipping because of the need of guesswork on 
the part of many agencies." "The critical shortage of ship- 
ping requires its most efficient use and requires more ac- 
curate forecasts of shipping needs than is now feasible under 
existing procedures." 

The survey of the interchange of logistic information and 
improved methods of forecasting shipping requirements had 
provided partial remedies for the most critical of the weak- 
nesses in the logistic system. But no real progress had been 
made against the underlying decentralization that affected 
the entire process of planning, procurement and distribution 
of maintenance materials and replacement personnel. Mean- 
while, procurement of personnel and material proceeded 


apace. By the beginning of 1944 there was a genuine need 
not only for more centralized planning, but also for some 
method of continuing review of projects in execution and an 
up-to-date inventory of materials already on hand against 
which the need for new procurement could be assessed. 

Early in 1944 the Bureau of the Budget was invited to un- 
dertake a survey of logistic functions under the Chief of 
Naval Operations with a view to suggesting improved pro- 
cedures which might be developed within existing lines of 
organization. The Summary Report of the Bureau of the 
Budget, submitted on March 11, 1944, contained a number 
of broad and certain specific recommendations having to do 
chiefly with more detailed planning of requirements and a 
more constant review of bureau procurement and distribu- 
tion schedules by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Re- 
action to these recommendations in the Office of Naval 
Operations, however, as expressed by Rear Admiral Purnell, 
the Assistant Chief for Material, and Admiral Home was 
generally lukewarm. Admiral Purnell believed that certain 
of the suggestions for more extensive control of bureau ac- 
tivities were of doubtful legality, particularly where they 
would involve intrusion into the fiscal responsibilities of 
the bureaus. In his mind there was already as much review 
of bureau programs as was compatible with the existing 
organization of the Navy Department. The weakness, he 
felt, lay in the lack of sufficiently advanced and comprehen- 
sive planning by the Logistic Plans Division, which was il- 
lustrated by the fact that advance base component materials 
then scheduled for delivery over the entire year of 1944 
would be exhausted by April. The underlying cause lay in 
the acceleration of operational schedules by strategic plan- 
ners without adequate forewarning to logistic planning 
agencies. This much was certainly so! 

As far as the weaknesses in the Office of Naval Operations 
were concerned, the view of Admirals Purnell and Home 
appears to imply two general assumptions: first, that machin- 


ery for close and constant supervision of bureau activities 
was not possible within the existing framework of organiza- 
tion, and second, although it was not stated, that to attempt 
to set up machinery for such a review would jeopardize the 
currently happy and cooperative relation between the Office 
of Naval Operations and the bureaus. Admiral King took a 
different view, however, holding that "the principal correc- 
tions indicated . . . can be achieved within the present basic 
organization framework." Stating that officers were presently 
available in the Department "competent in precept and ex- 
perience" to review the logistic organization, he specified 
four officers by name and directed the Vice Chief to acquire 
their services and establish a Logistics Organization Unit. 
The Logistics Organization Planning Unit (LOPU) es- 
tablished on April 1, 1944, was to play a very significant part 
in the future development of logistic organization both in 
the Navy Department and in the continental establishment. 
The unit was established with no other duties than to re- 
view logistic procedures and organization and to make recom- 
mendations for their improvement, an advantage which had 
not been possessed by the Logistic Plans Division in 1943, 
when Admiral Badger attempted his reforms. Even more im- 
portant, however, was the character of the officers designated 
by Admiral King to make up the unit. Captain Paul Pihl, 
the senior member, had had considerable experience in the 
Bureau of Aeronautics and later, under the Deputy Chief of 
Naval Operations for Air, in aviation procurement and dis- 
tribution. He possessed a keen and imaginative mind and an 
appreciation uncommon among regular naval officers of high- 
ly specialized techniques of business administration. Captain 
H. L. Challenger, perceptive and outspoken, had served un- 
der Admiral Badger in the Logistic Plans Division and later 
on the Joint Logistics Plans Committee of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff. Captain J. D. Mooney, a reserve officer, came to the 
unit, like Captain Pihl, after experience in aviation procure- 
ment and distribution. In civilian life, as vice president of 


General Motors in charge of export, he had exhibited re- 
markable ability and aggressiveness in developing that com- 
pany's overseas trade. He was the author as well of a stand- 
ard work on The Principles of Organization in which his 
fertile and imaginative qualities of mind are amply demon- 
strated. The fourth member, Commander R. W. Yeomans, 
also a reserve officer, had considerable experience of theater 
problems as supply officer at Espiritu Santo. Together these 
four officers formed a remarkably imaginative and energetic 

The mission of LOPU as defined by Admiral King covered 
most of the critical points in the existing logistics organiza- 
tion of the Navy Department and continental establishment. 
Specifically, three major objectives were set. First, LOPU 
was directed "to strengthen the logistic (surface and air) 
planning organization of the Office of the Chief of Naval 
Operations: By adoption of an orderly step-by-step system 
of breakdown of over-all logistic plans into ultimate bureau 
programs with provision for constant review of progress and 
degree of balance throughout. (Equivalent of Army Supply 
Program. )". 

Second, it was to "Complete as a matter of urgency an 
over-all logistics plan (surface and air) for the all-out phases 
of the war in the Pacific based on the premises that maxi- 
mum requirements will thereby be approximated and that 
subsequent requirements, especially for intervening phases, 
can be obtained by periodic adjustment." 

And third, "Establish strong decentralized administrative 
machinery under central planning and scheduling control 
for efficient distribution, to include inventory and replenish- 
ment control of stocks." 

On the whole, the charter of LOPU provided it with an 
opportunity to take under survey many of the most critical 
problems in naval logistic administration. From it there 
emerged in the unit's own work program a number of proj- 
ects, and four of these became significant developments in 


the logistic system and organization. These were: (1 ) Study 
of the organization of the Office of Naval Operations, (2) 
The development of an Overall Logistics Plan, ( 3 ) The de- 
velopment of instruments and organization for progress re- 
view and inventory control, and (4) Reorganization of West 
Coast logistic agencies with a view to better control of dis- 
tribution throughout the system as a whole. 

On the suggestion of Captain Mooney, the first of these 
projects, dealing with organization, was turned over to a 
group of civilian management experts headed by Mr. T. P. 
Archer, vice president of the General Motors Corporation, 
and Mr. George Wolf, president of the U.S. Steel Export 
Company. After preliminary correspondence between Sec- 
retary Knox and Messrs. Sloan and Fairless, the respective 
heads of General Motors and U. S. Steel, a meeting was held 
in the Navy Department on April 17. There it was agreed 
that the group of experts, working in close cooperation with 
members of LOPU, should make recommendations con- 
cerning high-level problems of logistic administration and 
would not be regarded as responsible for the implementation 
of any recommendations they might make. The two com- 
panies volunteered to assume the cost of the investigation 

The broad problem, as worked out in the preceding cor- 
respondence and in subsequent discussions was defined by 
the group itself as: 'The determination of requirements 
(forecasting) planning, scheduling, procuring, assembling 
(components), transporting and the distribution of all ma- 
terials and personnel in adequate quantities needed at the 
place and time required to support strategic plans." Studies 
of the group were carried on over a period of approximately 
six months, an interim report being issued on July 24, and 
a final report on October 3, 1944. 

Unfortunately there is a point which can be reached in 
the effort to achieve a broad and general point of view where 
conclusions, no matter how well informed they may be, 


lose contact with the concrete realities which they attempt 
to comprehend. The Archer- Wolf report was in many re- 
spects an example of this phenomenon. It contained an ex- 
cellent definition and analysis of the major steps in the logis- 
tic process. It suggested certain general principles of organi- 
zation which were certainly applicable to naval logistics. It 
undoubtedly rested upon a good understanding of the logis- 
tic problem as seen through the eyes of men experienced in 
the management of export industry. But if the Secretary had 
hoped for expert assistance in the solution of outstanding 
problems of a concrete nature as stated in the group's own 
definition of its task, the report could only be disappointing. 

The two major recommendations of the report suggested 
the establishment of an Organization Control Board and an 
Organization Planning and Procedure Unit. The first of 
these would be composed of "a small number of top ranking 
officials, headed by the Secretary of the Navy or his desig- 
nated representative" and would concern itself with "all 
matters of policy which relate to organization planning, de- 
velopment, procedure and functional assignment." The 
Organization Planning and Procedure Unit, headed by a 
rear admiral would act as the working and executive agent 
of the Control Board and would coordinate as well the work 
of various Organization Planning and Procedure Units to 
be established in each bureau. 

In justice to the Report it should be pointed out that sev- 
eral of its other recommendations— such as for standardiza- 
tion of parts nomenclature and numbering systems, the crea- 
tion of a Comptroller General of the Navy, clarification of 
procurement responsibilities among the bureaus, improve- 
ment of current systems of establishing "use factors" and 
trends, and less rotation of logistic officers between sea duty 
and the Navy Department— were more closely related to the 
specific problems at hand. But even those recommendations 
consisted more often of the recognition of problems than 
of the "specific solutions for use within the naval organiza- 


tion" originally requested by the Secretary. Thus the two 
principal recommendations and many of the subsidiary rec- 
ommendations made in the Archer- Wolf Report were at 
least once removed from concrete reality. They outlined a 
method and procedure for reorganization, but not for lo- 
gistic administration. 

The lack of immediate reference in the report to logistic 
problems themselves was best characterized by a story of 
Will Rogers told by one of the group's members in com- 
menting upon the report at their final luncheon in October. 
Discussing with the Secretary the problem of combating the 
German submarine menace during the First World War, 
Mr. Rogers was reported to have suggested that since sub- 
marines couldn't very well operate in boiling water, the solu- 
tion was simply to bring the Atlantic Ocean up to a steady, 
slow boil. 

"But," expostulated the Secretary, "how are we going to 
do that?" 

"That is a matter of detail/' replied Mr. Rogers. "I outline 
the policy. You take care of the details." 

Despite its lack of immediate application the Archer- Wolf 
Report did lead to constructive measures within the Navy 
Department. Following the two principal recommendations, 
the Secretary established an Organizational Policy Group 
and under it an Organization Planning and Procedure Unit, 
headed by Admiral Snyder, the Naval Inspector General. 
The suggestion that subordinate units be established at low- 
er levels was not adopted, with the result that discussions 
of the Policy Group seldom embraced very closely the real 
problems of logistic administration. For it was at the lower 
levels, in the interstices of decentralized organization, that 
the problems of logistic administration and the information 
relative to their solution resided. Perhaps the most impor- 
tant work of the Planning and Procedure Unit under Ad- 
miral Snyder was the creation in February 1945 of the Re- 
quirements Review Board, headed by Assistant Secretary 


Hensel, a board which sought for the first time to bridge 
with continuing procedure the gap between the determina- 
tion of requirements defined by military objectives and the 
programs of procurement which resulted therefrom. 

The Archer- Wolf Report offered to the Navy a fresh in- 
sight into its problems of organization and procedure seen in 
terms of a management problem. The methods of peacetime 
production and exporting, which were the yardstick of the 
civilian experts, cannot comprehend entirely either the mag- 
nitude or the complexity of logistic effort during war, but 
there are certain fundamental principles and methods in- 
herent in the former which have application to wartime lo- 
gistics, and in pointing these out the committee of experts 
rendered a notable service. Unfortunately it had been agreed 
that the Archer- Wolf group would study the problem in 
terms of organization within the Office of the Chief of Naval 
Operations. But the key to that problem of organization lay 
not within the Office, but outside— in that vital relation to 
the Bureaus, the Secretary, and the Commander in Chief, 
which was a matter for decision by the President and on 
which he had already taken a firm position. 

Various other attempts at internal organization within 
the Office of Naval Operations were made during 1944, 
among which the most outstanding was a renewed effort to 
integrate air planning and program implementation as per- 
formed under the Deputy Chief for Air with logistic plan- 
ning and implementation directly under the Vice Chief. 
The attempt was unsuccessful. Torn between the desire of 
Admiral King to see aviation logistics thoroughly integrated 
into the naval organization and the fear of air men headed 
by the Assistant Secretary for Air that integration would 
mean subordination, Admiral Home was forced to com- 
promise upon a liaison committee made up of members of 
the Logistic Plans and Aviation Logistic Plans Divisions. 
Without the introduction of leading air officers into the 
higher echelons of the naval organization as a whole the 


hope of air integration was destined to frustration. Only by 
bringing the air divisions bodily and in toto into the organ- 
ization immediately under the Vice Chief could Admiral 
King's directive have been accomplished. 

The development of an Overall Logistic Plan was in many 
ways the most critical need of the Navy's logistic system in 
1944. Between the time when nuts, bolts, aircraft engines, 
or landing craft were delivered into the hands of operating 
forces and the time when the requirement for them must 
first be determined, there was an extended period, frequently 
as much as two years, during which component elements 
were procured and assembled by countless steps into the 
major end items of support. The major portion of this activ- 
ity fell to the bureaus. But to plan and carry out the procure- 
ment of several million catalogue items in sufficient quantity 
and according to schedule, bureaus required sufficient guid- 
ance in sufficient time. 

As late as 1944, such guidance did not exist. Directives 
of the Commander in Chief, and occasionally of the Presi- 
dent, laid down the objectives for combatant ship and land- 
ing craft construction. The Office of Naval Operations pro- 
jected requirements for advance base components and the 
Deputy CNO (Air) for aircraft and aviation components. 
But such information as could be provided even in these lim- 
ited categories was incomplete and uncertain, fluctuating 
with changes in strategic plans. Forecast requirements for 
maintenance and replenishment procurement were particu- 
larly needed. Strategic and operational information was jeal- 
ously guarded, however, by the Commander in Chief, who 
permitted its dissemination, only to a very limited degree, 
within the Office of Naval Operations and to the bureaus 
not at all. 

Since bureaus alone possessed adequate information on 
the status of material programs and received through their 
operating agencies the requisitions from the field upon 
which issues and assignment of material were based, the di- 


vorce between two essentially related fields of information 
was almost complete. The Chief of Naval Operation's ig- 
norance of the status of procurement programs could be 
remedied by a more effective system of progress reporting 
as suggested in the Booz Report of 1943, the Bureau of the 
Budget Survey, and the Archer- Wolf Report. The lack of 
strategic guidance for procuring agencies could only be reme- 
died by the development of a comprehensive logistic plan, 
based upon the most up-to-date strategic estimates and re- 
vised step by step as changes in strategic plans developed. 

The development of an Overall Logistic Plan had been as- 
signed to LOPU as a matter of urgency in Admiral King's 
directive of March. On May 30, therefore, an Overall Lo- 
gistic Plan Committee was created under the Logistic Plans 
Division, headed by Captain A. O. Geiselman and includ- 
ing among its other three members Captain Challenger of 
LOPU. The form and purpose of the Overall Logistic Plan 
were laid out in detail in a memorandum from the Director 
of Logistic Plans. 

The Overall Logistic Plan, it was intended, should com- 
prehend the requirements for support for the entire naval 
establishment. Estimates in the plan would state, however, 
only the major components making up that support, going 
into detail only in the case of critical items such as spare 
parts, fuel and ammunition. Requirements would be tabu- 
lated by periods of not more than three months so that 
bureaus would have a guide to their own scheduling. State- 
ments of components already on hand would be set against 
the total requirement for a given period to indicate a net re- 
quirement for delivery during that period. 

Information in the plan was to be presented under four 
major categories. First, the plan would include the strategic 
and other assumptions upon which all requirements were to 
be based. These should either be obtained from strategic 
planners, or, in any case, approved by them. They need not 
be given as wide a distribution as other information in the 


plan. The second type of information would indicate the 
probable deployment by area of all combatant types of ships 
and aircraft, auxiliary vessels and advance base components. 
The third type of information would indicate the degree of 
activity expected in each area, stated in general terms, from 
which might be deduced the approximate requirements for 
expendable commodities such as fuel and ammunition. 
Fourth, the plan would suggest the supply levels to be main- 
tained in various classifications of supplies, although the 
quantities of material in transit in the "pipelines" necessary 
to maintain prescribed levels would be estimated by the 

The first Overall Logistic Plan was completed, after four 
months study, on September 27, 1944. Its primary purpose 
was to serve, in conjunction with past experience, as a guide 
to maintenance and replenishment procurement, and for 
this it was considered by various officers in the Navy Depart- 
ment to whom it was disclosed to have been admirably con- 
ceived and developed. Unfortunately, the plan suffered in 
two very important ways from the severe restrictions im- 
posed in the interest of security. In the first place, consider- 
able difficulty was experienced even by the members of the 
committee in securing the strategic information essential to 
their calculations. Despite its obvious necessity to logistic 
planning they were required to go "begging on hands and 
knees" for information, and even then they did not receive 

Secondly, even with its limited content of classified stra- 
tegic information, the plan, once completed, was assigned a 
"Top-Secret" classification and hence a very limited dis- 
tribution. The reason for this classification was revealed at 
a conference of officers in Naval Operations on Septem- 
ber 21, at which Admiral Home appears to have considered 
that the plan would be used only in the Office of Naval 
Operations as the basis for breakdown of requirements 
which would then be passed to the bureaus for procurement. 


Unfortunately, no machinery or personnel existed in the 
Office for that kind of detailed work. End-item planning had 
necessarily to be performed in the bureaus, and it was there 
that the guidance offered by the Overall Plan was essential. 
The classification of "Top-Secret/' however, restricted its dis- 
tribution to the Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs of bureaus and 
to one or two top planners in each bureau. As a consequence, 
the plan was little used. Almost all bureaus concurred in the 
verdict of the Bureau of Ordnance that "Limited distribu- 
tion within the bureaus is a handicap to its most effective 
use." Officers in two agencies reported that the Overall Lo- 
gistic Plan was locked in the Admiral's safe and seen by no 
one outside his immediate office. 

In January, 1945, the publication of a "Secret" version 
of the plan, minus the strategic assumptions, mitigated 
somewhat the severity of restrictions on its use. In addition, 
members of the Overall Logistic Plans Committee as often 
as possible made specific sections of lower classification 
available to responsible officers. On the whole, however, 
this excellent guide to balanced planning and procurement 
was circumscribed by the complex of security both in the 
information it could secure and incorporate in the plan 
itself and in the freedom with which the plan could be 
employed by those who depended upon it. As a conse- 
quence, as one commentator has observed, "planning agen- 
cies were forced to continue to rely on their own past 
experience, slightly salted by active imagination and specu- 
lation, while the Overall Logistic Plan, reposing unopened 
in thrice-locked safes, languished as an expensive repository 
for the dust of the ages." 

Security was an important, but not the sole factor limiting 
the effective use of the Overall Logistic Plan by the bureaus 
and other agencies. Maintenance and replenishment plans 
had necessarily to be worked out with reference to specific 
commodities and types of equipment and had to be based 
upon a knowledge of rates of consumption and other usage 


factors derived from past experience. In some instances, as 
in the case of LST's, it was impossible to estimate the normal 
expectancy of such features as hull structures or propulsion 
equipment because the type itself had not been in em- 
ployment for a sufficiently long period. In many other cases, 
where sufficient data did exist, they had never been analyzed, 
or developed to the point where they were applicable to plan- 
ning purposes. 

The Overall Logistic Plan was not intended to supply 
such data, but it was obvious that the guidance offered by it 
in general terms would not be useful for detailed planning 
and scheduling without some scale of usage factors and con- 
sumption rates by which bureaus could govern the rate of 
flow into and through the "pipelines" themselves. Such a 
scale could be developed only by the bureaus and went 
hand in hand with that delegated responsibility for detailed 
planning and execution upon which the decentralization of 
naval logistic effort was premised. The difficulties in the 
way of developing accurate tables of usage were great, 
particularly the difficulty of securing reliable and compre- 
hensive information from operating forces. Bureaus had for 
the most part relied, therefore, upon cargo tonnage figures, 
which indicated previous shipments to the area, but told 
only indirectly the rates of past consumption of specific 
items or the current distribution of area stocks. Commodity 
classifications in cargo tonnage reports were crude and not 
well standardized; in many instances they were not in accord 
with the commodity classifications employed in area reports 
and thus could not be correlated with them to indicate rates 
of expenditure. In sum, with certain exceptions, the essen- 
tial data listed by commodity which were necessary for the 
determination of maintenance requirements on the basis of 
past performance, were not in existence either in the hands 
of the bureaus or in the Office of Naval Operations. Without 
them the usefulness of the Overall Logistic Plan, when it 
could be employed, was limited. 


Progress Review and Inventory Control 

The Overall Logistic Plan provided the first of three essen- 
tials for the orderly intake of materials into the logistic 
support system for distribution. It defined the requirements, 
albeit in general terms, for substantially all materials re- 
quired for logistic support with particular emphasis laid 
upon maintenance and replenishment. Needless to say, how- 
ever, future requirements indicated in the Overall Logistic 
Plan would depend not only upon changes in strategic plan 
or operational schedules, but also upon the status of current 
procurement programs and upon the unobligated inven- 
tories of materials already on hand to meet the require- 
ments defined. The development of the Overall Logistic 
Plan was accompanied, therefore, by two other measures— 
the institution of improved methods of progress review and 
the establishment of a system of inventory control— in- 
tended to round out the methods of guidance and control 
over procurement activity and programming. 

The need in the Office of Naval Operations for better 
methods of progress review had been the subject of com- 
ment in every management survey of the naval organization 
from the Booz Report to the Archer- Wolf Report. The 
principal problem was the inadequacy of information sup- 
plied to CNO by the bureaus by which the former could 
keep under surveillance their many separate programs and 
take action in advance to prevent bottlenecks, shortages or 
unbalanced progress in procurement and delivery of main- 
tenance items. 

Basically the dispersion of information was the result 
of the traditional bureau system and the natural develop- 
ment during a period of highly intensified activity of various 
separate systems and methods of supply, each answering to 
the individual needs or situation of a particular bureau or 
supplying agency. The condition had been aggravated, how- 
ever, by the tendency of the Office of Naval Operations to 
avoid coming to grips with the problem of securing adequate 


information and to content itself instead with a vaguely 
defined 'policy control." Late in 1942, for example, shortly 
after assuming the new office of Assistant Chief of Naval 
Operations for Maintenance, Admiral Farber had issued a 
warning to divisions in the Office of Naval Operations not 
to interfere "too much with other people's business . . . 
it makes for better administration if we [in CNO] stick 
purely to policy, detailing only that which is necessary to 
stating policy." Thus also when early in 1943 the suggestion 
was made that a central information office be set up under 
the Chief of Naval Operations, it was turned down on the 
objection of the Director of Logistic Plans that since that 
division must plan "from the broad viewpoint of general 
strategic needs" and "avoid entering too much into details," 
it would have no need for an agency to collect and dis- 
semble detailed information and reports. Significantly, sev- 
eral months later when Admiral Badger was conducting his 
own survey on the interchange of logistic information, al- 
though at least two replies definitely suggested the estab- 
lishment of a central information office, his reforms were 
limited simply to the systematization of existing channels of 
information and avoided the suggestion that information 
should be routed through the Chief of Naval Operations. 

Admittedly the Office of Naval Operations should not 
have attempted to burden itself with either detailed infor- 
mation or detailed direction of programs. But it was neces- 
sary to recognize, nevertheless, that policy direction, if it was 
to have any reference to actuality, must be based upon a 
synthesis of information built up systematically out of the 
mass of detailed data passing through subordinate echelons. 
In its natural desire to delegate responsibility and thus 
expedite action, the Office of Naval Operations had leaned 
too far in the opposite direction. It had put itself in the 
position where continuous review of bureau programs was 
impossible for want of synthesized information and where 
directives to the bureaus when necessary often took on the 


character of arbitrary and uninformed intervention. It was 
for this reason that Admiral King's directive for the establish- 
ment of LOPU had called for "provision for constant review 
of progress (in bureau programs) and degree of balance 

This task was taken up in July by a subcommittee of 
LOPU, headed by Captain Mooney, which produced in 
September a document entitled, "The Navy Logistics 
Support Program/' and intended to provide a mechanism for 
review and control. The volume was a graphic and statistical 
summary of the current status of approximately 1,000 items 
of procurement set up for comparison with scheduled re- 
quirements as stipulated in the Overall Logistic Plan. Listing 
these various items under major headings, such as ships, air- 
craft, ordnance, supply materials, personnel and advance 
base components, it covered for the first time in a single 
summary all of the major items entering into the creation 
and maintenance of naval operating forces. It demonstrated, 
in short, that with proper definition of the kind of infor- 
mation desired from the bureaus, it was possible to put to- 
gether a comprehensive synthesis of essential information. 
Renamed the "Summary Control Report/' this document 
came to play an important part in the coordination of pro- 
curement. In its initial form it suffered from many de- 
ficiencies. Its graphics and its statistics were poorly presented 
and did not indicate as clearly as intended the potential 
trouble spots in the over-all program. It lacked clear defini- 
tions and uniform terminology as a result of the fact that 
bureau reports themselves, from which its information was 
derived, followed no standard form of assembly and presen- 
tation of data. 

Despite these defects, many of which were eliminated in 
subsequent revisions, the Summary Control Report marked 
an important advance toward better coordinated program- 
ming of procurement activity. In the first place, its scope was 
more comprehensive than either the planning or review 


functions as then performed in the Office of Naval Opera- 
tions. Thus, although as in the Overall Logistic Plan, in- 
formation had to come from the many separate sources 
other than in the Office of Naval Operations where planning 
or review was actually being done, there was gathered in a 
single document information on all programs of support 
for the naval establishment. The result was to enhance 
greatly the ability of the Office of Naval Operations to keep 
a check upon programs of which it had previously had only 
the most shadowy cognizance. The Summary Control Re- 
port became the basic working text of the Requirements 
Review Board after its establishment in February 1945. Un- 
fortunately its development into an effective instrument 
for control as well as a review of progress required time and 
experimentation. But by the end of the war it had more 
than demonstrated its usefulness as an essential link between 
planning and procurement, and must rank therefore as an 
important landmark in the development of effective logistic 

Concurrently with the development of the Summary 
Control Report, measures were being taken for the im- 
provement of naval inventory procedure. Here, too, the 
problem was largely one of centralized information, for 
though substantially accurate information existed in the 
hands of local agencies on the volume and location of naval 
stocks, no complete tabulation had been made which might 
serve as an aid to planners or to agencies responsible for 
governing the distribution of commodities on more than a 
local basis. Following the line of almost all other logistic 
activity during the war, inventory information had been de- 
veloped and processed through the same decentralized 
channels that constituted the basic structure of the logistic 
support system. Initially this produced no deleterious effects. 
As long as the immediate demand for materials was greater 
than the supply, materials were drained off fairly rapidly 
into the hands of consumers. But as the reserves of material 


were accumulated and stockpiled and the volume of flow 
began to press more closely against the limit of transport and 
storage capacity, the likelihood was greatly increased of 
stocks existing unreported in some backwater of the distri- 
bution system against which no requisitions were made by 
theater agencies, while duplicate orders were placed for 
procurement. During this period of increasing demand and 
narrowing margins of availability of raw materials, man- 
power, and shipping and terminal capacity, no factor bore 
more closely upon both planning and distribution than 
did knowledge of the size, character and distribution of 
existing Navy stocks. 

Just where the impetus for reform of inventory pro- 
cedure originated would be difficult to say. In June 1942 the 
Office of Procurement and Material had laid down certain 
specifications for inventory reporting, but compliance was 
poor. With the adoption of the Controlled Materials Plan 
in April 1943, improved reporting and controls became es- 
sential for materials included under that plan. The Office of 
Procurement and Material was designated therefore as the 
responsible agency for maintaining naval inventories, but 
while it made considerable progress with respect to new 
materials, little was accomplished in regard to finished 
commodities. By the beginning of 1944 as shortages devel- 
oped in storage capacity and dead stock began to obstruct 
the flow of priority materials, the bureaus themselves were 
turning attention to problems of inventory procedure and 
replenishment control within their separate domains. By 
this time, however, the need for centralization of inventory 
control was recognizable. 

Impetus for action came both from within and without 
the Navy Department. In reviewing the budget estimates for 
1945, for example, the House Appropriations Committee 
showed an increasing disposition to examine closely into 
duplicate facilities and naval stocks. In the Senate a resolu- 
tion requesting the President to initiate investigation into 


inventories and inventory procedures was introduced by 
Senator Murray in October 1943, and adopted without 
amendment on February 7, 1944. In March, the Office of 
Procurement and Material took up the problem once again 
and urged coordinated inventory and stock control action 
throughout the Navy. On March 27, Admiral King's direc- 
tive to LOPU contained the instruction "to include ap- 
propriate inventory control and replenishment of stocks." 

The recommendation of the Office of Procurement and 
Material led to the appointment by the Secretary of three 
businessmen, Messrs. J. F. Creamer, A. C. Romer, and 
C. W. Cederberg, from the Sears, Roebuck and Mont- 
gomery, Ward companies, to investigate the Navy's in- 
ventory and stock control methods. They recommended the 
establishment of a central inventory control office and on 
May 23, the Secretary assigned to Rear Admiral J. M. Irish, 
then in charge of Planning and Statistics in the Office of 
Procurement and Material, additional duty as Assistant 
Chief of Naval Operations for Inventory Control. 

The report of Creamer, Romer and Cederberg pointed 
clearly to the need for a closer relation between require- 
ments determination and inventory control. The time for 
placing maximum orders wherever possible was clearly past. 
Further accumulation of unbalanced, and in some cases un- 
needed stocks, would simply add to the congestion in the 
distribution system and make more difficult the segregation 
and rapid delivery of critical materials. It suggested that the 
system of horizontal procurement by model or item be sup- 
planted by functional procurement in order to avoid waste- 
ful and unidentifiable duplication. Like the subsequent 
report by Archer and Wolf, this report called attention to 
the need for a better method of parts numbering and identi- 
fication. Rapid disposal of surplus and obsolete materials 
was suggested in order to increase storage space and expedite 
the movement of materials. 

The purpose of the Naval Inventory Control Office under 


Admiral Irish was not to conduct and maintain inventory 
itself. That would have to be done by the bureaus, and in 
particular by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Its 
function was to define policies and procedures for inventory 
reporting, supervise the taking of inventory, and prescribe 
measures for utilization of the overall results. In developing 
the inventory program stipulated by the Secretary's directive 
of May, the Navy Inventory Control Office and the Bureau 
of Supplies and Accounts excluded all plant facilities and 
production equipment and concentrated upon supply ma- 
terials for new construction, maintenance and replenish- 
ment. In November, however, the Secretary extended the 
inventory coverage to include all naval materials, whether in 
naval custody or in the hands of private contractors. At the 
same time, since inventory reporting was obviously de- 
pendent upon standardizing stock nomenclature and cata- 
loguing, he directed that the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts undertake under the direction of the Inventory 
Control Office the development of a catalog of all naval 
materials to include the many items not previously covered 
in the Standard Stock Catalog maintained by that bureau. 
A third directive assigned to the Naval Inventory Control 
Office the responsibility for preparation of the Summary 
Control Report. 

The work of the Naval Inventory Control Office was 
infinitely complex and technical and so centrally situated 
in the pattern of all logistic activity that its progress can be 
discussed only in general terms. Initially it had to define 
the mechanics of securing and processing inventory informa- 
tion, a task which involved unremitting pressure upon 
bureaus and agencies to submit accurate and comprehensive 
reports. This effort continued in conjunction with the taking 
of actual inventory and culminated on June 1, 1945, in the 
publication of a "Manual of Standards," a bible of inventory 
control procedure. 

The first inventory of naval material, completed on 


December 31, 1944, covered approximately 2,000,000 items 
of supply materials located in more than 800 yards, depots 
and storehouses and encompassing all types of naval activities 
within the continental United States. During the following 
year plans were laid for the extension of this inventory to 
all naval materials in the United States including plant and 
industrial equipment and for a system of rotating inventories 
which would provide a periodic accounting for all activities 
at least every three months. 

The mere taking of inventory and processing of data, 
essential as a beginning, was not enough, however, to solve 
the "problem of inventory control" in its relation to the 
logistic process as a whole. That wider question involved the 
uses of inventory, particularly its application to planning and 
procurement on the one hand, and the distribution process 
on the other. Once inventories had been taken, in other 
words, it was necessary on the basis of assembled informa- 
tion to establish effective controls over intake into and dis- 
charge from the Navy supply system. 

One obvious intention of placing the Navy Inventory 
Control Office partly under the Chief of Naval Operations 
was to establish a closer relation between inventory control 
and requirements determination. But unfortunately no close 
liaison was ever established between the Naval Inventory 
Control Office and the Logistic Plans Division. The position 
of the new office in the organizational structure of the Navy 
Department had been a difficult problem at the time of its 
creation and remained for some time somewhat anomalous. 
Admiral Irish had one foot in the Office of the Secretary 
and the other in the Office of Naval Operations. No one was 
sure, perhaps not even Admiral Irish himself, just what his 
responsibilities were in the hyphenated structure of logistic 
administration within the Navy Department. On the one 
side his office was closely linked with the civil part of the 
naval establishment concerned primarily with matters of 
procurement and therefore with the relation of the Navy to 


the industrial structure of the nation. It was sponsored and 
to a certain extent governed by the civilian authority within 
the Navy. On the other side, as a division director within 
the Office of Naval Operations he was expected to work 
closely with that Office in its major task of determining 
and satisfying requirements which originated in the areas of 
operations and were governed by the military situation. 
Functionally and theoretically the process of furnishing 
material support to the operating forces was a continuous 
one. But in the pattern of organization within the Navy 
Department it was divided between the civil and military 
branches. The Naval Inventory Control Office was situated 
squarely upon that fissure in the organization of the Navy 
Department, and significantly the question of its proper 
location continued from the time of its creation as a subject 
for debate. 

Certain other factors contributed to the failure to es- 
tablish a close relation between inventory and planning 
functions. One very understandable reason is that since 
planning had to be carried on well in advance of the date 
of delivery, a large portion of the requirements determined 
by the Logistic Plans Division were already fixed before 
inventory information was available for use. Secondly, it 
must be remembered that the Logistic Plans Division was 
concerned primarily, and almost exclusively, with the de- 
termination of requirements and schedules for advance base 
components, and the initial stock levels required at each base. 
Inventory information was intended, on the other hand, to 
serve for replenishment planning, procurement and distri- 
bution. Its application was not to the initial establishment 
of stock levels but rather to the keeping of stocks at required 
levels. The use of inventory information in determining re- 
quirements, therefore, required more than a simple liaison 
between the Naval Inventory Control Office and the Lo- 
gistic Plans Division. It required the dissemination of in- 


formation through all the ramified system to agencies which 
actually determined requirements. 

A third reason is that the failure of the Naval Inventory 
Control Office to extend its inventory beyond the conti- 
nental limits of the United States restricted the utility of its 
information in the Office of Naval Operations. By the Sec- 
retary's directive Admiral Irish had received "complete 
authority over the development and operation of a com- 
prehensive system of inventory control throughout the 
Naval Establishment" But the inventory undertaken by the 
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts had been limited to the 
continental establishment. This limitation is difficult to 
understand because in May 1944 the Bureau of Supplies and 
Accounts itself had recommended the creation of an "Area 
Inventory Distribution Service." Within the Pacific Area 
itself no steps were taken until June 1945, to set up an over- 
all inventory procedure for materials already delivered into 
the theater, and it was just this sort of information, rather 
than inventory of raw materials and plant facilities, that was 
of chief concern to the Office of Naval Operations. Its 
primary concerns were that area stocks be kept at reasonable 
working levels, and that the flow of materials in response 
to area requirements be kept within the limits of transport 
and distribution capacity. To achieve these ends it required 
a basis of comparison of continental and overseas stocks. 

Although belated and limited in its coverage, the work of 
the Naval Inventory Control Office, like the Summary Con- 
trol Report and the Overall Logistic Plan, marked an im- 
portant step forward in the creation of a coherent and 
comprehensive system of central control. These measures, 
it is obvious, were intended to clarify and systematize the 
efforts of agencies within the Navy Department, and by do- 
ing so to provide a greater measure of coordination and initial 
direction to the logistic support system as a whole. It can 
be pointed out that every effort and recommendation, 
whether it emanated from civilian "experts" or sources in 


the naval organization, was only partially successful or 
complete. Yet placed in their proper perspective against 
the magnitude and complexity of the task itself and against 
the inherited incongruities of naval organization, these 
combined measures represent a considerable achievement 
in laying down the basic outlines of systematic logistics pro- 
cedure. Taken together with similar improvements in the 
continental establishment and area logistics they provided 
the rudiments of a working system. 


The Nature of the Distiihution Task 

Writing shortly after the close of the First 
World War, Mr. C. E. Fayle, a British 
historian, summed up British shipping ex- 
perience succinctly and pointedly: "There 
is indeed no lesson which stands out more 
prominently in the economic history of the war than the 
fundamental unity of the whole complex system of purchase, 
finance, transport, and distribution which connects the con- 
sumer and the producer/' 

The effort of the Navy to come to grips with that "funda- 
mental unity" is the essence of its logistic experience during 
1944. As we have seen in previous chapters dealing with 
planning and the control of procurement, the Navy had to 
deal with a vast complex of factors, no one of which could 
be isolated from another. The process of planning and 
procurement through which materials were fed into the 
logistic support system bore also a close relation to the 
process by which they were distributed and consumed with- 
in the system. Finally, distribution itself was a complex 
of interdependent operations which could be conducted at 
maximum efficiency only as governed elements within a 
single, coherent process. The factors of timing, motion, and 
selection so important in planning and procurement were 
even more closely the ruling principles of distribution. 

This fact can be seen more clearly by examining briefly 
the nature of the distribution function itself. The first factor 
to be considered is the capacity of the channels of distribu- 
tion—railroads, highways, pipelines, storage warehouses, 
terminals, shipping, and facilities for discharging and re- 
ceiving at points of destination. Capacity in each of these 
essential links in the movement chain was determined first 


by the physical inventory of facilities themselves, i.e. the 
number of railroad trunk lines and sidings, freight cars, 
ships, loading berths, stevedore gangs, and square feet of 
storage. But the capacity of channels of distribution was not 
a fixed thing. 

More than any other factor in the logistic system the 
capacity of transport and distribution facilities depended 
upon the efficiency with which all elements were employed 
and operated, and in particular upon their employment in 
relation to each other. Thus shipping capacity, for example, 
could not be reckoned in terms of vessel tonnage alone, but 
only as the sum of many variable factors such as distance, 
loading and discharging time, convoy schedules, repair 
schedules, and loss rates, which made up the sum of oper- 
ating conditions for shipping itself, and determined the total 
turnaround time of a ship on a given route. It was possible 
that a ship of 10,000 tons deadweight capacity, capable of 
making six trips per year to a base in the Pacific, could be 
subjected to so many delays that it would make in fact only 
three trips per year. Instead of lifting 60,000 deadweight tons 
of cargo during the year, it would lift 30,000 tons, and for 
all practical purposes would represent, therefore, only half 
a ship. Multiplied many times by the number of ships re- 
quired and in service, such possibilities of extended turn- 
around constituted one of the most important variables in 
the distribution system. 

Shipping capacity itself interacted with other elements in 
the channels of distribution. Efficient utilization of tonnage 
depended not only upon the conditions of ship operation, 
but also upon the availability of cargo properly distributed 
so as to give the shortest possible haul as well as the maxi- 
mum employment of loading facilities, railroad cars, line- 
haul capacity and available stevedore labor. Each of these 
essential elements might be viewed as the central factor in 
the channels of distribution, because, in fact, each might 
become the critical factor and a bottleneck in the total 


process. Distribution capacity was in sum, therefore, the 
least common denominator of efficiency of all the elements 
entering into it. 

These variable capacities in the channels of distribution 
were not, however, the sole factors affecting the distribution 
process. Transport and distribution of materials was in- 
fluenced by a number of associated conditions such as the 
location of sources of procurement or production of various 
commodities, a factor determined by procuring agencies 
with reference more often to the exigencies of procurement 
than of distribution. Thus, for example, when California oil 
resources were no longer adequate for the support of fleet 
operations in the Pacific, other resources in the United States 
and South America had to be utilized, and the problems 
of distribution were magnified. The character of com- 
modities had also to be taken into account. Lumber, pro- 
duced in the Northwest, must be shipped to the Pacific 
from Northwest ports, where a minimum of rail transporta- 
tion would be involved. Refrigerated cargo, oil, and am- 
munition all required special transport services and storage 
facilities. Certain commodities not generally refrigerated 
had, nevertheless, to be routed through temperate zones lest 
they deteriorate in transit. Some commodities could be bulk- 
shipped; others could not. Some were in short supply and 
required expedited handling from factory to consumer; 
others were available in ample reserve so that area stocks 
could be built up and drawn from over a period of time. 
Thus the conditions attaching to cargo itself were frequently 
as inflexible as transport capacity was variable. Around them 
the pattern of distribution had to be woven. 

Transport, moreover, was not an end in itself. It was the 
instrument of supply, which in turn existed only to make 
possible the conduct of naval operations or the maintenance 
of naval forces. The whole process of distribution, there- 
fore, was essentially one of articulating and coordinating a 
series of separate and variable factors in response to military 


demands so as to raise their common denominator to the 
highest possible level. This was a task in administration and 
constituted in fact the essence of military logistics during its 
mature phase. 

By the beginning of 1944 it had become the major problem 
of all logistics just as procurement and production had been 
during the previous two years. The fruits of that earlier effort 
were now available in ever-increasing quantity, in such 
abundance, in fact, as to put a critical strain upon the system 
of distribution as it had operated until that time. Operating 
forces were available and becoming available at a sufficient 
rate to push the campaign in the Pacific as rapidly as the 
troops could be transported and the means of supporting 
fleet forces could be brought up and established. The burden 
lay, therefore, upon the system of distribution. 

West Coast Logistic Organization 

By the beginning of 1944 the focal point in the growing 
problem of distribution was the logistic organization, or 
more properly the lack of logistic organization, on the West 
Coast. In a decentralized system such as the Navy employed 
this condition was, perhaps, inevitable. Materials originated 
in widely scattered sources and flowed to naval depots, most 
of which were located at tidewater without any centralized 
control. At the coast, however, these many separate streams 
of supply came together by necessity, for though the man- 
agement of internal traffic was decentralized, the substantial 
portion of naval overseas traffic had to be carried by ships 
allocated by the War Shipping Administration on the basis 
of a single estimate of requirements. The necessity, there- 
fore, of assigning cargo to a single pool of available tonnage 
(and also of being able to interchange Army and Navy cargo 
through the medium of the Joint Ship Operations Commit- 
tee) provided the first instance in the sequential phases of 
distribution, where naval shipments had to be dealt with as 
a whole. 


Under the decentralized system of internal traffic manage- 
ment the West Coast was also the first place where knowl- 
edge existed of what cargo would be made available for 
shipment during any given period of time. Significantly, the 
estimates of requirements prepared for the WSA by the 
Naval Transportation Service were based almost entirely 
upon the weekly cargo reports of local port directors, stating 
what cargo had been received and shipped during the week 
and what remained on hand. Because of the superiority of 
the port director's information, control of shipping opera- 
tions had been progressively decentralized from the Naval 
Transportation Service in Washington to the Port Director 
in San Francisco, where with cargo and ships actually on 
hand, he could match both together in the most effective 
manner. It was, in fact, the central booking office maintained 
by the San Francisco Port Director that provided the chief 
mechanism for coordinating the transshipment of naval 
cargo from the Coast. 

The West Coast was also the point to which theater 
requisitions were first directed, presumably either to the 
Subordinate Command, Pacific Service Force, or to the 
Commandant of the Twelfth Naval District. The great 
majority were filled from stocks in the West Coast depots 
and yards such as Oakland, San Diego, or Mare Island, and 
were passed on to sources of supply within the interior 
only when they could not be satisfied from coastal stocks. 
Thus the West Coast was the point of principal contact 
between the available supplies within the United States and 
the requirements which originated within the theaters. 

Finally, despite these important responsibilities, logistic 
organization on the West Coast was the most poorly co- 
ordinated and ill-adapted to effective prosecution of the 
logistics task of any part of the naval establishment. The 
Navy Department at Washington was a kind of gothic 
structure filled with incongruities, but it possessed a nucleus 
of men who understood its weaknesses and each other and 


could thus make it work with reasonable success. The theater 
commands were often distracted from logistic matters by 
more readily apparent operational problems and had hither- 
to lacked as well the means of dealing with logistic problems 
as effectively as desired. These defects were in the process 
of correction. Of these three major parts of the logistic 
system, therefore, it was the West Coast establishment that 
was most critically unrationalized. 

Conditions which had prompted the Navy to attempt a 
wholesale reorganization of the Naval Districts in the pro- 
posed General Order of 1943 had been improved not at all 
by the creation of Assistant Commandants for Logistics. On 
the contrary, as the Central Pacific campaign gained momen- 
tum the seriousness of the situation was intensified. A 
second, and more forceful, attempt to solve the problem of 
West Coast organization within the limits imposed by the 
President was made on February 12, 1944, when an office 
of Pacific Coast Coordinator of Naval Logistics (Pacorn- 
alog) was created. Vice Admiral J. W. Greenslade, who 
had been Commandant of the Twelfth District until his 
recent retirement, was appointed Pacornalog. 

Although designated as "the representative of the Secre- 
tary of the Navy and of the Heads of all offices and bureaus 
... of the Navy Department to effect coordination of pro- 
curement, distribution, staging and overseas supply of ma- 
terial and personnel" in all three districts of the Coast, 
the Coordinator was "not vested with command or ad- 
ministrative authority" His duties were advisory. He worked 
with a mere handful of assistants, and while he did make 
several useful surveys of facilities on the West Coast, 
Pacornalog was never equipped with sufficient authority and 
staff organization to make real progress against the confusion 
of logistics agencies and functions on the West Coast. In 
September, 1944, LOPU reported that "To date, the in- 
fluence of Pacornalog . . . has been very limited. ... It must 
be recognised that as a matter of practical application, it is 


probably very difficult for Pacornalog to go beyond this 
limited activity without clashing with the Bureaus in 
Washington, since the principal administrative control of 
the various logistic activities centers in Washington and not 
on the Coast." 

The major impetus for reform came from the investiga- 
tion into conditions on the West Coast undertaken by 
LOPU shortly after the establishment of Pacornalog. Its 
report of September 27, 1944, was an able summary of 
activities and administrative and command relationships, 
and was to prove one of the most fruitful of its many enter- 

In addition to its comments on the efficiency of Pacorn- 
alog, the LOPU investigation demonstrated once again 
that District Commandants exercised all too little control 
over logistic activities within their districts. The relation- 
ship between the Commandant and logistic activities was 
"confined largely to military matters," while certain of these 
agencies "centered within . . . but operating independently 
of the District" had arrogated unto themselves most of the 
important logistic responsibilities. Among these agencies 
certainly the most important was the Port Director of San 
Francisco, who, as Regional Shipping Director, administered 
also the activities of all other port directors on the Coast. 

"No Navy cargo or personnel moves from the Pacific 
Coast, westward, without his knowledge and direction . . . 
His office is the focal point to which Navy requests for 
shipping space on non-combatant ships . . . are sent and it 
is the agency on the West Coast which can make allocations 
of shipping in response to such requests." 

His operations were not administered by the Com- 
mandant and only nominally by the Naval Transportation 
Service in Washington. "The Port Director, San Fran- 
cisco," said the report, "to all practical purposes operates 
as an independent agency." 

What was true of the Port Director was true also in some 


measure of other agencies such as the Subordinate Com- 
mand, which took its direction from the Fleet and had "in- 
creased tremendously"; Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, ad- 
ministered by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts; Naval 
Supply Depot, Clearfield, Utah, "controlled insofar as the 
inflow and outgo of material is concerned" by three other 
depots and three separate bureaus; the Advance Base Office, 
Pacific, which was "primarily a policing agency for CNO in 
the flow of initial movements"; and District Property Trans- 
portation Offices, established in 1943 by the Bureau of Sup- 
plies and Accounts to control railroad traffic into the ports. 
All told, some dozen major agencies and a host of minor 
agencies operated logistic services on the West Coast, gov- 
erned largely by the necessities of the separate systems or 
services to which they belonged. 

The report concluded: "There is no overall coordinated 
supervision of the operation of logistic activities on the 
Pacific Coast. The logistic support of the Pacific Areas is 
being conducted on the West Coast by an organization 
which has evolved as the result of a series of developments 
to meet the changing and increasing demands of the Fleet 
as the war progressed. Coordination is sporadic and extra- 
curricular, and is the result largely of the informal under- 
standings which have grown up from time to time. This 
organization would not have been able to perform the neces- 
sary task, had it not been for certain individuals of out- 
standing ability, located in key positions, who cut across 
organizational lines in order to meet the requirements and 
emergencies as they arose." 

Noting also that "At the present time there is no indi- 
vidual or agency in the CNO organization who is solely 
responsible for the operation of the logistic agencies sup- 
porting the Fleets in the Pacific," LOPU recommended two 
steps: first, centralized "control" of logistic activities on the 
Coast, and second, the designation of the Assistant CNO 
for Material to develop "coordination" of logistic activities 


in the Navy Department between the bureaus and the di- 
visions of CNO. Under two such agencies, properly estab- 
lished and linked by close liaison, it believed the logistic 
organization problem would be satisfactorily solved. 

The report of LOPU was not the only recommendation 
for reform of logistic reorganization on the West Coast. 
During April the Base Maintenance Division in CNO sug- 
gested an elaborate plan of reorganization which had more 
merit in its procedural suggestions than in its plan of organ- 
ization, and will be referred to later. The Bureau of Supplies 
and Accounts suggested in May the creation of a "Com- 
mander Logistics Pacific," a plan which contained consider- 
able merit but would have achieved regional centralization 
on the West Coast at the expense of greater decentralization 
within the Navy Department. This plan was discussed in 
July at a conference in the Navy Department, but a feeling 
that it had not fully covered the ground, plus an inherent 
reluctance to impair the integrity of the district organization 
militated against it. It remained, therefore, for the fully 
documented survey of LOPU to prompt the Navy to at- 
tempt once more that centralization which it had sought in 

On November 8, 1944, Admiral R. E. Ingersoll, formerly 
Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet, was assigned to duty 
as Commander Western Sea Frontier, with the duties and 
authority of that command greatly expanded. Hitherto 
simply an operational command, Commander Western Sea 
Frontier, was now assigned "the control and coordination 
of all Naval activities and functions on the Pacific Coast, in- 
cluding the nth, 12th, and 13th Naval Districts/' Under 
his immediate command exercised as Deputy Commander 
in Chief, Deputy CNO, were placed District Comman- 
dants and "all agencies of the Navy Department . . . located 
and operated within . . . but not assigned to the districts." 

Close comparison of the orders issued to Admiral Ingersoll 
and the proposed General Order of 1943 indicates that in 


effect the Navy had achieved in the former the same purposes 
it had sought to realize in the reorganization of the Districts, 
Just why, then, was it possible to achieve a reorganization in 
1944 which had been impossible in 1943? The full explana- 
tion cannot be made at this time, but two factors may be 
suggested which certainly contributed. First, the situation 
and critical importance of logistic organization on the West 
Coast was certainly more apparent in 1944 than in the 
previous year. With the war in Europe coming to a close, 
the Pacific Coast was obviously destined to become shortly 
the platform for a mighty concentration of forces and ma- 
terial support for the final offensive against Japan. The pos- 
sibility of a breakdown in logistic support was simply too 
much to risk. Secondly, it may be observed that while in 
substance Admiral IngersolFs orders achieved the same 
purpose as the proposed General Order, they did not 
formally impair the integrity of district organization. Ad- 
miral Ingersoll himself was careful to make clear that he in- 
tended to carry out his instructions without violating the 
basic structure of district organization, and once he had 
assumed his duties, he proceeded very cautiously in this 

In setting up his headquarters in San Francisco, Admiral 
Ingersoll took with him from the Navy Department, 
Captain Pihl and several of the able junior officers of LOPU 
who had assisted in the survey of West Coast logistics organ- 
ization. Since LOPU had been engaged not only in the study 
of organization for logistics, but had been for some time at 
the center of discussion of logistics problems in general, the 
inclusion on his staff of certain of its members was a great 
asset for the new Commander Western Sea Frontier. Time 
was required before the various projects undertaken by these 
officers could bear fruit. But during the following year in 
the successful development of information and control 
mechanisms the wisdom of this action was borne out. 

One final point must be made regarding the authority 


vested in the Commander Western Sea Frontier as com- 
pared with that given to the Assistant Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions for Material. The recommendations of LOPU had 
envisioned these two offices as parallel agencies working 
closely together, but each in its proper sphere, for the co- 
ordination of logistic activity. Under such an arrangement 
it might be anticipated that the Navy Department agency, 
being the more centrally located, would assume a natural 
primacy in direction. But as a Deputy Cominch-Deputy 
CNO, the Commander Western Sea Frontier stood several 
echelons higher in the naval organization than did the As- 
sistant CNO for Material. A similar difference was reflected 
in the wordings of their respective directives. The Com- 
mander Western Sea Frontier was to exercise "control and 
coordination" over "all" naval activities in his area. The 
Assistant CNO was to provide only "coordination" among 
the Navy Department agencies interested in distribution. 
Given the existing condition of decentralization of logistic 
activity, these factors contributed to the subsequent tend- 
ency toward too great a concentration of control in the 
regional agency and too little in the central agency in the 
Navy Department. 

Continental Distribution 

For the sake of clarity, it has seemed advisable to pursue the 
study of West Coast logistic organization up to the point of 
the reorganization of the Western Sea Frontier Command 
without close reference to the actual conduct of logistic ac- 
tivity during 1944. Under existing conditions of departmen- 
tal organization the successful solution of the distribution 
problem obviously required such a regional authority as a 
first requisite. Meanwhile, however, early in 1944 the prob- 
lems of distribution broke in full force upon the existing sys- 
tem of support, and it is necessary to consider, therefore, just 
how the task was accomplished within that existing frame- 
work. Pending the necessary reform on the Coast, the fur- 


nishing of support had to be carried out within the system 
already operating. In effect this meant the bureau system, 
the personal system of Admiral Home, the assistance ren- 
dered by Admiral Greenslade as Pacornalog and by commit- 
tee procedure and informal liaison. Within this perhaps be- 
wildering and ill-defined "system" of logistic administra- 
tion the tremendous task emerging in 1944 was dealt with. 

Just what that task was to consist of in its more serious 
form is perhaps most succinctly described in the text of a 
dispatch which was prepared and circulated in the Navy De- 
partment in April 1944, but not sent: 

"Dry cargo for shipment to Pacific is reaching West 
Coast faster than total available shipping can remove it. 
Ports, warehouses and sidings as far east as Salt Lake City are 
full. Material which it is already known will be ready now 
exceeds available dry cargo lift by 50 sailings per month. 
Increasing congestion will soon curtail further shipments 
to coast by immobilizing rolling stock and will effectively 
block later urgent shipments. 

"This situation coupled with the fact that Operating 
forces are not complaining of shortages or delays indicates 
that excessive orders have been placed or that excessive 
stocks have been built up in the Operating Areas, or both. 
In any case immediate steps must be taken to relieve present 
congestion, and adjust the timing of future orders for our 
material to our total available cargo lift." 

The situation in April referred to in this draft dispatch 
was the direct result of the great increase in shipments pre- 
paratory to the launching of the Marianas operation. That 
operation was the largest attempted to date and required 
therefore an unprecedented build-up of forces, concentrated 
within a relatively brief period of time. But although the 
congestion in April was the most serious thus far, it was not 
the first time that such a crisis had developed during the 
period prior to a major operation. In October and Novem- 
ber, as shipments were increased in anticipation of the Kwa- 


jalein landings, a similar congestion had developed in the 
San Francisco Bay Area. It was clear, therefore, that if the 
tempo of operations scheduled for 1944 was to be main- 
tained, some method must be found of preventing the stop- 
page foreseen in the dispatch. 

Many of the remedies proposed and attempted were con- 
crete and specific, aiming at the improvement of one phase 
of this complex of operations either by the expansion of 
facilities or by the better utilization of facilities already ex- 
isting. Some expansion of facilities was always possible, but 
by the beginning of 1944 we were already approaching the 
limits of elasticity of basic facilities. The solution must come, 
therefore, largely through improved utilization and manage- 
ment of existing facilities, by better timing and selection. 

One of the approaches to the problem of West Coast con- 
gestion was an attempt to secure a better distribution of 
port load, not only upon the West Coast itself, but also as 
between the West Coast ports and the East and Gulf Coasts. 
It is indicative of the faulty control of port loads, for exam- 
ple, that early in 1944, when serious signs of congestion were 
appearing in San Francisco, the port of Seattle was complain- 
ing of a sharp falling off in the level of its activity. Sug- 
gestions had been made that Seattle assume part of the 
responsibility for shipments to the Central Pacific to com- 
pensate for the declining shipments to Alaska. But although 
such a step would ultimately be necessary, it was viewed 
unsympathetically by the Regional Shipping Director in 
San Francisco, who believed that congestion in the Bay Area 
was only temporary and preferred to utilize presently estab- 
lished channels to their maximum capacity. In this he was 
backed up by the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, which 
contended that "It is not a simple problem to divert a speci- 
fied tonnage of cargo from existing channels to another 
transshipment port." Ultimately, means were found to uti- 
lize facilities in Seattle, but temporarily it remained one of 


the examples on the West Coast of maldistribution of port 

As an alternative to the utilization of Seattle, the Bureau 
of Supplies and Accounts recommended that measures be 
taken from a long-range point of view to provide for greater 
shipments from the East and Gulf Coasts. To this end it 
suggested the establishment of a Naval Overseas Freight 
Terminal in New Orleans to supplement the terminals in 
San Francisco, which since the beginning of the war had 
borne the brunt of naval cargo shipments. At the same time 
it recommended that certain commodities susceptible of 
bulk shipment be stocked at Norfolk for shipment to Pearl 
Harbor. The Office of Naval Operations concurred in the 
suggestion of a terminal at New Orleans, and the Naval 
Transportation Service reported that vessels could be made 
available to lift shipments. Unfortunately the one condition 
essential to draining off any large portion of shipments 
through the Delta Area was not fulfilled. Lacking adequate 
control over the flow of requisitions for supplies, the Navy 
was unable to divert them to sources of supply in the lower 
Mississippi region from which materials normally moved to 
New Orleans for transshipment. The result was that no great 
volume of cargo was diverted from the West Coast for ship- 
ment through New Orleans. 

In May, Pacornalog completed a survey of West Coast 
port facilities in which he recommended that routine main- 
tenance shipments be shifted to East Coast ports as vessels 
became available. He also found that a greater dispersion of 
activity among the West Coast ports was feasible. In July 
the whole matter of the West Coast ports was brought for 
review before the Joint Military Transportation Committee 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the War Shipping Adminis- 
tration, seconded by the Army, sought the establishment of 
a Port Utilization Committee, which would have as its 
main objective the allocation of shipments to various ports 
in accordance with their current capacities, ship availability, 


and repair facilities. Captain Davis, the Navy's regional Ship- 
ping Director, appeared at these meetings and explained the 
West Coast situation as he saw it. Although there existed 
at that time no central allocating agency for the Coast as 
a whole, he believed that the work was done in effect through 
the Navy's central booking office and through the workings 
of the Joint Army, Navy, WSA Ship Operations Commit- 
tee which had been established early in 1943. 

The key to the problem, however, was indicated by Com- 
mander Toal, the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts trans- 
portation officer. As he explained it, 'part of the inflexibility 
of the Navy was due to the fact that supply installations are 
seaboard." Moreover, having no central control of the flow 
of requisitions and therefore of the flow-back of requisi- 
tioned material, the Navy, he said, "is not prepared to divert 
traffic in as large a block as is required.' 7 What Commander 
Toal had in mind was the diversion or rerouting of naval 
cargo on short notice, which was indeed impossible since 
the Navy did not maintain centralized control or accounting 
on goods while in transit, and since a large portion of naval 
shipments passed not through interior depots, from which 
they could be rerouted as occasion required, but "directly . . . 
in carload lots from contractor's plant to vessel at transship- 
ment activity." As Commander Toal had pointed out earlier 
in the case of Seattle, "There are important considerations 
other than transportation. Loadings in any appreciable vol- 
ume to the Central Pacific and supplying and filling requisi- 
tions for such an area involve as well substantial problems of 
procurement, stock and storage." 

In short, the problem of better utilization of port capacity 
could not be limited to the ports themselves, but extended 
rather into such related matters as the flow of requisitions, 
the assignment of missions to major supply depots, the es- 
tablishment of appropriate stock levels, and the total man- 
agement of distribution within the continental limits of the 
United States. Lacking an elaborate layout of physical facili- 


ties for distribution through which goods could be routed in 
various alternate ways subject to central traffic management 
control, the Navy must approach such problems as the di- 
version of shipments from West Coast to East Coast or from 
one port to another on a long term basis beginning with a re- 
definition of depot missions and the development of stock 
levels at various depots capable of supporting the new mis- 
sion assigned. 

In undertaking such a major redistribution of stocks, how- 
ever, the Navy was compelled to proceed cautiously. Be- 
cause of the need for conserving shipping it was essential to 
maintain West Coast shipments at a maximum, despite oc- 
casional periods when congestion occurred, and for this rea- 
son it hesitated to undertake any radical redistribution until 
the need for it was obvious. By October, however, this need 
could no longer be denied, and in a dispatch of October 14 
to theater commanders the Chief of Naval Operations di- 
rected that requisitions for maintenance materials, certain 
categories excepted, be forwarded to eastern sources. The 
procedure entailed by this directive was cumbersome and 
the process itself was slowed down somewhat by a qualify- 
ing condition that West Coast transshipment activity would 
continue to be maintained at the "maximum practicable" 
level. Some such major distribution of shipping load was es- 
sential, however. With the end of the war in Europe then 
viewed as imminent and with a far greater concentration of 
forces in the Pacific obviously impending, it was essential to 
give some relief to the hard-pressed rail and terminal facili- 
ties on the West Coast. Even though the war in Europe 
did not end as rapidly as had been expected, the action was 
taken none too soon. 

A second method of dealing with the congestion crisis 
was the institution of closer control over the movement of 
railroad freight cars. Up until the beginning of 1944 the Bu- 
reau of Supplies and Accounts Transportation Division had 
kept cursory watch over freight car movements through the 


medium of its District Property Transportation Officers, but 
for the most part had practiced a decentralization of control 
which left to individual bureaus and their inspectors the 
authority to release shipments of material under their cog- 
nizance. The most critical factor in the San Francisco con- 
gestion of April, however, was the rising rate of demurrage 
of freight cars at terminals and the danger of such a critical 
dislocation of rail traffic as might require months to readjust. 
Under a threat from the Office of Defense Transportation to 
withdraw the Navy's block permits for the release of ship- 
ments the Bureau decided in April 1944 to establish a more 
centralized control. Henceforth on the basis of daily reports 
submitted by its District Property Transportation Officers it 
kept close watch over banks of railroad cars at all points 
where congestion might arise. Such a method, it should be 
pointed out, was limited to the control of freight car move- 
ments, and did not refer to the materials within railroad 
cars. Its applicability to the control of material flow was 
therefore limited. The system established did, however, pre- 
vent further critical congestion of freight cars and enabled 
depots to keep as a rule the reasonable working level of not 
more than three days' bank of railroad cars. 

A third problem, in many respects the most critical factor 
in the Navy's distribution system, was the inadequacy and 
frequently the misuse of naval storage space. Between the 
outbreak of war and the beginning of 1944, for example, 
while naval shipments via commercial transportation facili- 
ties in the United States had increased nine-fold, the Navy's 
covered storage space at principal yards and depots had 
scarcely more than doubled. The greater portion of naval 
storage space, moreover, was located at tidewater points, 
approximately 42 per cent within the limits of the West 
Coast Naval Districts and the remainder distributed along 
the East and Gulf Coasts. This concentration of storage 
facilities in the coastal areas had served the purpose of com- 
bining in a single activity the storage of materials and issues 


of supplies to vessels at a time when most naval vessels were 
based on and supported by continental facilities. As the war 
progressed, however, and vessels returned less and less fre- 
quently to continental bases, the need for storing materials 
for direct issue to operating forces became less. At the same 
time as tidewater points were more and more involved in 
transshipping functions, storage facilities became more an 
integral part of the system of transport and distribution 
through which materials flowed. In this relation their loca- 
tion at tidewater served simply to introduce an element of 
inflexibility into the continental system of distribution. 

Early in the war the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts 
had developed a plan for four inland supply depots at Clear- 
field, Utah; Spokane, Washington; Barstow, California, and 
Scotia, New York, in addition to a depot at Mechanicsburg 
begun in 1941. These depots were intended originally to 
back up coastal facilities and to provide that flexibility in the 
distribution of stocks which could not be had from storage 
located directly on the Coast. The concept itself was sound. 
Unfortunately the projects were conceived somewhat be- 
latedly and on too small a scale. 

Part of the explanation for the Navy's inadequate storage 
space can be found also in too rigid adherence to the idea 
that efficient employment of storage required that it be uti- 
lized 100 per cent. In peacetime or under ordinary condi- 
tions when mobility is not essential, such a policy might 
have some justification. In wartime, however, when storage 
has become but one element in the channels of distribution, 
it is impossible to utilize storage effectively unless there is 
a sufficient margin of unemployed space to allow some 
mobility of materials within the depot. 

Even more responsible for the inadequacies of the storage 
program was the fact that the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts, which was charged with responsibility for storage of 
naval materials, did not in fact control much of the storage 
space the Navy possessed. At the inland depots in particular 


allotments of space were made to individual bureaus, which 
utilized it as their particular, needs dictated. Supplies and 
Accounts, moreover, had no means of checking upon the 
volume and schedules of procurement by other bureaus and 
thus of estimating accurately their prospective requirements 
for storage space. The result was not only a shortage of facili- 
ties, but also a lack of concerted policy on their utilization 
which contributed in no small measure to the difficulties 
of distribution. 

In July 1944 efforts were made to improve the Navy's 
storage position, first, by securing and constructing addi- 
tional facilities in the most critical areas, and second, by 
centralizing policy control over the utilization of existing 
space. A Navy Storage Control Committee was created with 
representatives from each of the bureaus and offices of CNO, 
under the chairmanship of an officer of CNO. The Bureau 
of Supplies and Accounts was made in effect the adminis- 
trative agent of the committee and of CNO for the execu- 
tion of a central storage policy. Through it programs for new 
facilities, for the improvement of records, for the removal 
of dead stock, and for improved distribution of stock to meet 
storage requirements were to be developed. These measures 
were a step in the right direction and did something to im- 
prove conditions in the storage situation. By 1945, however, 
it was found that the committee procedure was too un- 
wieldy, and in May control of storage was centralized even 
more in the hands of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts 
with the understanding that it would be exercised under 
policy direction by the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations 
for Material. 

The Navy's experience with storage facilities is an excel- 
lent illustration of the dangers inherent in too great de- 
centralization. Ideally storage policy control should have 
resided in the Office of Naval Operations from the begin- 
ning. It was too much to expect that with procurement and 
scheduling of material programs decentralized to the various 


bureaus, still another bureau could keep abreast of their vari- 
ous requirements for storage and could control their utiliza- 
tion of the space assigned. The tremendous expansion in the 
flow of material support beginning at the end of 1943 dem- 
onstrated only too clearly the necessity for a higher authority 
which would bring the essential phases of the distribution 
process together into a coherent operation. In this case the 
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts must be held responsible 
for clinging too tenaciously to a responsibility which it had 
neither the means nor the initiative to discharge. 

A fourth problem affecting the distribution of materials 
was the difficulty of controlling the flow of requisitions to 
supply sources so that stocks could be effectively planned 
and utilized. The establishment of a central requisition clear- 
ance agency had been recommended by LOPU and by the 
Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, and was to become one of 
the major projects of the Commander Western Sea Frontier 
during 1945. Meanwhile, however, another approach was 
possible which might reduce the excessive amount of detail 
work involved in the system of individual requisitions. Late 
in 1943 the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts developed the 
idea of a Basic Boxed Base (BBB) Load of replenishment 
and maintenance supplies for the use of advance base units. 
This BBB load (or AKS load in the case of a stores ship,) 
was an assembly of a single unit of maintenance materials 
and supplies including clothing, small stores, and other con- 
sumables required to support 10,000 men for a period of sixty 
days. It represented an attempt to reduce into wholesale 
terms many of the calculable items of supply which had 
hitherto had to be dealt with on the basis of individual req- 

Beginning late in 1943 the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts began to build up stocks in the Naval Supply Depot, 
Spokane for assembly into BBB and AKS loads. By the 
middle of 1944 this action was serving a dual purpose. It 
permitted the shipment of an increasing percentage of main- 


tenance materials to the Central Pacific on a wholesale, and 
therefore a simpler, basis; and it provided an excellent meth- 
od of utilizing available terminal facilities in the Puget 
Sound Area. BBB loads could not be expected to fit exactly 
the needs of all base units in all areas. Experience with this 
kind of shipment dictated certain changes in the composi- 
tion of the load. But while stocks shipped by BBB load 
tended at times to get out of balance at individual bases, 
the saving in time and detailed effort afforded by the sys- 
tem more than justified these minor disadvantages. 

Shipping Control 

Of all the many interdependent elements in the system of 
distribution, shipping was unquestionably the most impor- 
tant single factor. Physically it furnished the bridge between 
available supply within the United States and consumption 
within the theaters of operation. Once production programs 
were successfully under way, there would never be enough 
shipping. No matter how much tonnage space was available, 
the only constant in the shipping situation was the need 
for more. Yet at the same time shipping capacity itself was 
the most variable of the elements of the channels of distribu- 
tion, the most dependent upon the proper functioning of 
all the other phases of the process, the most susceptible to 
waste. Shipping availability was thus frequently the most 
critical link in the chain of distribution. 

In an amphibious war such as that of the Pacific the rela- 
tion of shipping to the actual conduct of operations was nat- 
urally close and immediate. The conduct of operations and 
the buildup of logistic support in the theaters depended di- 
rectly upon the current availability of shipping. But though 
shipping availability was thus tied directly to local operations 
it was also in a sense the circulatory system of the total war 
effort— for war production, Lend-Lease, civilian economies, 
and relief and rehabilitation as well as for the export of men 
and material for our naval and military forces. Allocations of 


shipping to any single claimant or command had to be made 
in relation to all the requirements for tonnage; and con- 
versely the efficiency of employment of shipping within any 
single command or for any single purpose determined the 
amount of tonnage available for all. 

One other general point deserves to be brought out in 
connection with the administration of shipping. As an in- 
strument or servant of supply, shipping employment was de- 
termined primarily by the demands for material. Ships 
moved in response to the need for material movement, and 
effective shipping control was therefore dependent to a large 
extent upon effective material control. This relation between 
shipping control and material control was to become in- 
creasingly important as the campaign in the Pacific was ex- 
tended and intensified. 

The problem of shipping control strictly speaking, i.e. 
control of the movements of vessels, including loading, dis- 
charge and return to the mainland, was one of the thorniest 
and most vexing issues of 1944. During that year shipping 
shortages became so acute that they threatened either to 
imperil the success of operations already under way or to 
force the postponement of operations which had been ap- 
proved and were impending. With all due consideration 
given to the tempo, magnitude, and uncertainty of opera- 
tions, much of the responsibility for acute shortages in ship- 
ping must be ascribed to the lack of effective shipping con- 
trol in the areas. 

The problem of shipping control had many facets, of 
which perhaps the most important was the primitive and 
poorly managed condition of the ports in the forward areas, 
a matter which had given serious concern to the Naval 
Transportation Service in Washington ever since congestion 
developed in the harbor of Noumea in the autumn of 1942. 
Faced with the necessity of justifying to the WSA the state- 
ments of vessel requirements submitted by Area Command- 
ers, when large numbers of vessels were immobilized in the 


areas awaiting discharge, it felt keenly its inability to exercise 
an effective control or even to secure adequate information 
on the movements of vessels and the condition of discharge 
points. Another factor which aggravated area port congestion 
and therefore contributed to deficits in available tonnage, 
was the tendency of Area Commanders to submit require- 
ments for shipping without sufficient reference to the pos- 
sibility of discharging material once it arrived at advanced 

For their part, Area Commanders were constantly ham- 
pered by the lack of sufficient shipping for local employment 
between bases and between staging areas and forward points. 
In 1942 a program had been laid out for the construction of 
small cargo vessels of about 5,000 deadweight tons capacity 
(C1-MAV-1 ) , similar to the Baltic Coaster type, which were 
intended to be assigned to Theater Commanders for these 
purposes. This construction program had lagged persistently, 
however, with the result that Theater Commanders had 
been compelled to retain larger and faster vessels for use in 
area shuttle services. The lack of smaller vessels had also re- 
sulted in more complicated itineraries for ships sailing from 
the United States, which added to the time of turnaround. 

Still another factor contributing to the lack of shipping 
control was the fact that allocations of shipping by the Joint 
Military Transportation Committee were made to too many 
different accounts within a given area. In the Pacific Ocean 
Area, for example, without counting the South Pacific Area, 
allocations of shipping were made by the committee to six 
different services or commands. While the worst effects of 
such a fragmentary system of allocation were mitigated by 
the work of the Joint Ship Operations Committee in San 
Francisco, which arranged for the exchange of vessels and 
cargo between services, and by joint logistic planning and 
control under CincPoa, the system of separate accounts 
made difficult the fixing of responsibility for misuse of ves- 


sels once they had moved forward or the establishment of 
any overall system of reporting on vessel movements. 

The effects of these various conditions were best illus- 
trated in the rising figures for ship retentions in the areas dur- 
ing the early months of 1944. By June, 18 per cent of the 
total tonnage controlled by the War Shipping Administra- 
tion was tied up in retentions, leaving only 72 per cent avail- 
able as a sailing fleet after a reduction for vessels under re- 
pair. During April, 3,423,700 tons of WSA shipping were 
tied up in retentions. In May this amount increased to 
4,247,800 tons— more than offsetting the gain from new 

In April 1944, as the congestion crisis on the West Coast 
developed, deficits in the available tonnage necessary to lift 
materials off the Coast were also increasing. The Joint Mil- 
itary Transportation Committee indicated in April that un- 
less stated requirements were scaled down or pending opera- 
tions were deferred, deficits for the Pacific would be approxi- 
mately 56 ships in May, 85 ships in June, and 35 ships in 
July. Since the deficits for May and June represented about 
one-third of the total shipping requirement, they must clear- 
ly be classed as "unmanageable." 

This alarming forecast indicated the necessity of immedi- 
ate and drastic action if operational schedules were to be 
maintained. Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff de- 
termined to convene a conference of all theater shipping 
representatives with the Joint Military Transportation Com- 
mittee at which the shipping situation might be reviewed in 
detail. The conference met in Washington from April 18 
to April 25. 

Three principal accomplishments emerged from the gen- 
eral shipping conference in April. Although theater repre- 
sentatives were unable to scale down their requirements to 
any appreciable degree, the impending deficits were reduced 
to manageable proportions by the transfer of certain vessels 
from the Atlantic pool to the Pacific. Thus the immediate 


crisis was tided over. From the long-range point of view it 
was necessary, however, to find a means to prevent further 
congestion and greater deficits in the future. For this purpose 
agreement was reached upon a method under which Area 
Commanders would henceforth report the number of ves- 
sels required for retention in the area and would be ac- 
countable for any retentions in excess of the number re- 
ported by the Area Commander and approved by the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. This system, it was hoped, would not only 
give a more direct indication of the nature of the require- 
ment for which ships were retained; it should also discourage 
Area Commanders from calling forward vessels in excess of 
area capacity to discharge them within a given period. At the 
same time, it recognized the obvious need of Area Com- 
manders to retain a certain amount of shipping for local em- 
ployment at their own discretion, and thus put the practice 
of retention upon a formal and official basis. 

It was also agreed to institute a system of priorities for 
maintenance shipments overseas based upon a three-fold 
classification of shipments as: (a) indispensable, (b) neces- 
sary, and (c) desirable cargoes. Within the limits of shipping 
allocated to them by the Joint Military Transportation Com- 
mittee, Theater Commanders would indicate on this basis 
the priority of movement of maintenance material available 
for shipment. Determination of the priority, it was stressed, 
would be the responsibility of the Theater Commander; ap- 
plication of the priority to specific cargo and ships would 
be carried out by continental shipping agencies. 

The system adopted at the April conference was, however, 
not a great deal more than a gesture in the direction of prior- 
ity control of maintenance shipments. The categories them- 
selves were so loosely defined as to be susceptible of almost 
any interpretation in application. No procedure was defined 
under which the definitions could be applied to actual ship- 
ments, even less indicate with reference to specific ships or 
sailings the schedules on which materials would move. 


Finally, the priorities would regulate movements only from 
the Coast into the theater and not from inland sources to 
the Coast. Such halfway measures could hardly be expected 
to solve a problem which had its origin in the chaotic and 
unregulated flow of materials within the country. 

This indivisibility of priority control was recognized in a 
plan for the ''Control of Shipments to the Pacific" first put 
forward in April by the Base Maintenance Division in CNO 
and revised in June. Pointing out that no genuine system 
of priority control had ever been developed for maintenance 
shipments, the plan suggested a system under which the 
relative priority of shipments would be indicated on req- 
uisitions for material submitted by Theater Commanders 
instead of indicating only the date when materials would 
be required, as heretofore done. Thus, for example, as be- 
tween a shipment of beer and a shipment of electronic spare 
parts, both requested for July, the former would have the 
lower priority number and would be deferred in case of a 
shipping deficit during that month. Under the existing sys- 
tem the continental Port Director, not the Area Com- 
mander, made the choice in such a case. The system would 
have carried priorities all the way through the process of 
continental distribution to sources of supply, or as the plan 
described it would "in effect serve as a guide to all procuring, 
storing, assembling, and shipping activities in the United 
States as to the relative urgency of the requirement." 

The significant thing about the priorities plan was that it 
was a plan primarily for materials control in which shipping 
control would come as a natural by-product. Its effect would 
have been to extend the system developed in the Joint Per- 
sonnel Priority List of 1943 for initial movements of or- 
ganized units to all material shipments overseas. The plan 
was discussed in San Francisco in May at a meeting of area 
representatives, West Coast shipping officers, and officers 
of the Navy Department, at which it appeared to have had 
the approval of all parties concerned, and in particular of 


officers from the theater. Meanwhile, however, objections 
were being raised within the Navy Department. The Naval 
Transportation Service had drawn up an alternative plan 
premised upon maintaining existing organization and pro- 
cedures without attempting to apply priorities except to 
ocean shipments. The Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, 
which was responsible for traffic management within the 
United States, believed the priorities plan unworkable. 
Pointing to the decentralized requisition system and the fact 
that many materials moved as automatic supply rather than 
on requisition, it said, "Neither requisitions nor automatic 
supply are assembled for movement as whole units. Ship 
shortages, varying times necessary for procurement, varying 
sources of supply, all contribute to a pattern of supply, 
which, possibly simple in theory, becomes exceedingly intri- 
cate in operation. The task of applying and integrating such 
priorities with actual shipments becoming available daily at 
hundreds of different points makes under present methods 
of supply a very complicated operation." In this the Bu- 
reau of Supplies and Accounts was on firm ground. Given 
the existing decentralization of procurement and continental 
distribution detailed priorities control was probably imprac- 
ticable. To have established priorities control for naval ship- 
ments from point of origin into the theater would have re- 
quired wholesale reorganization of the Navy's method of 
logistic operation. 

Meanwhile area representatives had returned to the Pacif- 
ic under the assumption that some such priorities plan as 
had been suggested would be put into effect. On June 3 
CincPoa signified by dispatch his acceptance of the plan 
as developed at the San Francisco conference. On June 9 
the Chief of Naval Operations replied that "Implementa- 
tion of the Op-30 (Base Maintenance Division) plan by 
U.S. supply and procurement agencies contains complica- 
tions requiring further detailed study/ 7 At a meeting of 
July 19 in the Navy Department at which Admiral Green- 


slade, the Pacific Coast Coordinator, and Captain Davis, the 
Regional Shipping Director, were present, the plan to estab- 
lish an over-all and integrated system of material movement 
control was finally abandoned. Opinion appears* to have 
been almost unanimous against an attempt to institute de- 
tailed priority control. The Chief of the Bureau of Supplies 
and Accounts contended that priorities were impracticable. 
Commander Toal of the Bureau's Transportation Division 
stated that there was no prospective rail shortage. Rear Ad- 
miral Smith, Director of the Naval Transportation Service, 
considered the shipping situation to be "in pretty good 
shape/' Members of LOPU, who had themselves been 
working on a plan for priorities control, had by now swung 
to the idea of establishing major overseas depots to which 
"bulk" shipments might be made, and considered this 
wholesale method preferable to a cargo priorities system for 
retail shipments. Captain Davis preferred to continue with 
the system of a Central Booking Office such as he was al- 
ready operating, and believed with the Bureau of Supplies 
and Accounts that freight priorities would be impossible 
to control. Rear Admiral McCormick, Director of the Logis- 
tic Plans Division, believed that cargo priorities were unnec- 
essary, a view in which Admiral Home concurred. 

The plan thus set aside was in many respects the most 
comprehensive suggestion for integrating naval distribution 
procedure that had been made. In focusing attention first 
upon the control of material it went to the heart of the 
problem of distribution. It offered as well in its system of 
project or priority numbers a single guiding index for each 
sequential phase in procurement and distribution. Yet, de- 
spite these obvious virtues, it had limitations. It was pre- 
mised upon the assumption that the Navy would continue to 
ship materials from the continent on a retail basis, an as- 
sumption which did not take account of the possibilities 
offered by the establishment of major overseas depots or of 
bulk maintenance shipments such as the BBB load. Even 


more important, however, was the question of practicability. 
The judgment of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts that 
under existing conditions priorities control was unworkable 
was probably correct. To have attempted to institute such a 
system at this critical juncture would have jeopardized per- 
haps all programs of distribution and possibly even led to a 
complete breakdown. 

The plan for priorities control offered by the Base Main- 
tenance Division did not pass entirely without result, how- 
ever, for though the Navy Department was unwilling to at- 
tempt detailed priority control of all materials both in con- 
tinental and overseas distribution, it could have no objection 
to new procedures governing the movement of materials 
within and into forward areas. The upshot, therefore, was 
the institution in the Pacific Ocean Areas Command of a 
system known as the Garrison Shipping Procedure, a meth- 
od of governing the shipment of materials and supporting 
forces to newly-won bases during the assault and garrison 

The Garrison Shipping Procedure was basically a develop- 
ment of procedure already operating within the Central 
Pacific for the conduct of landing operations and base devel- 
opment. It appears also to have borrowed certain features 
from the Base Development Plan for priorities control. It 
contained certain features not present in either which were 
worked out by officers from the theater and from the Naval 
Transportation Service early in 1944. 

The basic idea of echeloning movements, upon which the 
Garrison procedure rested, was not new. Echeloning exists 
in any planned military operation during the combat or as- 
sault phases at least. It had been applied to logistic move- 
ments since the establishment of bases in the South Pacific 
early in 1942 as a simple expedient to avoid unnecessary con- 
gestion in undeveloped harbors and as a means to the or- 
derly construction of bases. Late in 1943 the procedures 
which were to apply in the campaign in the Central Pacific 


began to receive definition by the Joint Staff under CincPoa. 
On November 3 a directive of CincPoa, "Planning and 
Preparation in connection with the establishment of facili- 
ties at Advance Bases, Central Pacific Area/' outlined the 
substructure of planning and assembly procedures under 
which type commanders would operate with the Joint Lo- 
gistic Staff in the preparation of advance base movements. 
On November 15 a supplementary directive marked out a 
period of sixty days after the beginning of assault operations 
during which "automatic supply" would govern the move- 
ment of materials, and defined the methods for planning 
and echeloning shipments. The directive stated, however, 
that supplies would move forward as "shipping is available" 
and provided, therefore, no close link between planning ship 
employment and planning the movement of materials. 

On December 19, 1943, a procedure was defined for de- 
termining equipment to accompany landing forces and gar- 
rison troops and for the loading of ships. Responsibility for 
ship loading was divided between the Commander of Am- 
phibious Forces for ships expected to arrive at the target 
within D plus 5, and, for subsequent shipments, the Joint 
Shipping Control Office (JOSCO), a forwarding agency 
which had been established in October along the lines of the 
central booking office in San Francisco. Significantly, how- 
ever, the procedure defined made "no change in the exist- 
ing procedure and arrangement for the transportation of per- 
sonnel and cargo to and from the mainland," and was based 
therefore on the assumption that the agencies and com- 
mands dealing with JOSCO would be located on Oahu and 
that materials to be shipped would be those already avail- 
able in the theater. 

Early in April 1944 CincPoa took one further step to- 
ward the Garrison procedure by organizing garrison troops 
into task groups under the prospective island commander. 
Garrison elements were to be organized into a single group 
sixty days in advance of their departure from the mounting 


area in order to provide for their final training, staging and 
loading under a single administrative command. Thus the 
garrison force received a more precise identity sufficiently far 
in advance to allow for suitable preparation for movement. 
It should be noted, however, that this measure did not af- 
fect the ultimate responsibility for loading and for assigning 
shipping to the particular garrison task force, which re- 
mained as before the joint responsibility of the Amphibious 
Commander and JOSCO. 

Garrison schedules could be made sufficiently inclusive 
to provide direction for mainland as well as theater agen- 
cies in the movement forward of garrison or base devel- 
opment forces and materials. Thus in larger operations such 
as the Marianas, where staging was carried on not only 
in Pearl Harbor but also in the South Pacific and the con- 
tinental United States, movements of garrison forces from 
all directions could be coordinated with each other and with 
the availability of shipping in a single advance schedule of 
movement. Most important of all, garrison echeloning was 
based on and governed by conditions in the forward areas. 
Thus it not only reduced the possibility of wasteful harbor 
congestion at advanced bases, it also ensured that during 
the critical phases of an operation, when our forces and ship- 
ping were most susceptible to enemy attack, ships would 
spend the least possible time in dangerous waters. 

The Marianas operation was the first in which this elabo- 
rated procedure was employed. It was experimental in its 
beginning, yet it is noteworthy that for the three islands of 
Saipan, Tinian, and Guam the garrison period continued 
for approximately one year through 32 different movement 
echelons before it gave way completely to the less closely 
regulated procedure for maintenance shipments. In all, of 
the 5,000,000 tons of materials shipped to the Marianas be- 
tween June 15, 1944, and the termination of the war, ap- 
proximately 2,831,000, or 57 per cent, were shipped under 
the Garrison procedure. 


In raising detailed ship movement scheduling to the level 
of a planned operation the Garrison shipping procedure 
added much to the work of the theater planning staff. Un- 
less echeloning was transmitted in advance to continental 
agencies, the process of assembly and continental distribu- 
tion was hampered by lack of information as to the sched- 
ules it must meet. Frequent changes in operational plans, 
or unforeseen developments in the forward areas necessitated 
frequent revisions of the Garrison schedules. Echeloning of 
movements in the Okinawa operation, for example, was in a 
constant state of flux. Yet with all its attendant difficulties, 
the Garrison shipping procedure was a notable achievement 
in the control of movements into and within the forward 
areas. It assured in principle, and to a large degree in prac- 
tice, that shipping would not move forward into advanced 
harbors until need existed for the materials and until the 
vessels could be discharged. For a not inconsiderable portion 
of naval overseas shipments to forward areas it thus pro- 
vided a mechanism for planned shipping and material con- 

While the Garrison procedure provided an efficient sys- 
tem for meeting operational requirements, it did not apply 
to the great bulk of maintenance shipments into the Pacific 
Ocean Areas, which by the close of 1944, it may be recalled, 
comprised 80 per cent of all shipments to the Pacific. The 
major portion of maintenance shipments were directed to 
rear area bases. Yet there existed an intermediate zone both 
in time and location in which both garrison and maintenance 
shipments were directed to a single base. As a base passed 
from operational to non-operational status it began to re- 
ceive in addition to the closely regulated garrison shipments 
the relatively unregulated maintenance shipments. The ef- 
fect of the latter, of course, was to defeat much of the pur- 
pose of the former. 

The basic difference between garrison and maintenance 
shipments was the fact that the former were simply the 


transport phase of a system of controlled material flow, while 
the latter were not. Shipping control in the former case was 
the natural corollary of material control. In the case of main- 
tenance shipments, however, shipping control must be ap- 
plied independently of and frequently in opposition to the 
considerations governing supply policy. Isolated from its 
natural relation with the logistic process as a whole, ship- 
ping control had necessarily to be approached as a shipping 
problem alone. Vessel employment must be regulated and 
subjected to overall control irrespective of the forces de- 
termining the movement of material. 

Under these conditions there were three basic requisites 
to effective shipping control. The first of these was an ade- 
quate Port Director system, projected into the theaters and 
responsible to the Theater Commander, but at the same 
time sufficiently "tied in" with central shipping agencies 
such as the Naval Transportation Service and the Joint Mil- 
itary Transportation Committee to ensure adherence to 
central policy. The second was timely information as to the 
movement and positions of all vessels operating within the 
theaters. The third requisite was accurate information re- 
garding the discharging capacity, current and prospective, 
of the harbors to which shipping was directed. 

Efforts of the Naval Transportation Service, begun in 
1942 and continued through 1943, to extend and improve 
the Port Director system, had borne some fruit, but they 
had never succeeded in providing a system through which 
central shipping control could be exercised from Washing- 
ton. To accomplish this the Naval Transportation Service 
believed it necessary to extend its own authority and identity 
into the theaters, creating an organization distinct from the 
remainder of the theater logistic organization, which would 
have as its primary concern the efficient employment of ship- 

In August 1944 this view was expounded by the Naval 
Transportation Service Planning officer, Commander T. H. 


Ross: "In order to operate effectively in shipping control 
consideration should be given to a plan whereby the Naval 
Transportation Service could install as a part of CincPoa's 
staff (not as a part of the Logistics Division of CincPoa) an 
organization . . . with authority and responsibility ... to 
be designed much along the same plan as the Pacific Re- 
gional Shipping Director's Office under Com. 12. This Na- 
val Transportation Service organization should have under 
its supervision not only the entire Pacific Ocean Port Direc- 
tors Organization, but should be CincPoa's shipping agency 
to handle inter and intra-area shipping problems which 
come under his jurisdiction." 

On September 2, 1944, these general views were formu- 
lated into a plan and suggested to CincPoa by the Chief of 
Naval Operations. The proposal was discussed briefly be- 
tween Admirals King and Nimitz at a conference in San 
Francisco during September and again a few weeks later by 
their respective Chiefs of Staff, Admirals McMorris and 
Cooke. On both these occasions CincPoa was agreeable to 
the designation of an officer with special duties for shipping 
control and agreed as well that closer coordination of ship- 
ping in the Pacific Ocean Areas was necessary. He did not 
agree, however, to the establishment of a separate office or 
shipping control agency distinct from the Logistic Division, 
J-4. In this position CincPoa showed the natural resistance 
of any theater commander to vertical lines of authority ex- 
tending into the theater, over which we would not have full 
control. Such a tendency would certainly result from the 
projection of the Naval Transportation Service organization 
into the theaters. In insisting upon placing the shipping con- 
trol agency within the Logistics Division, CincPoa stood 
upon solid ground. In Washington shipping officers were 
frequently prone to regard shipping as a specialty distinct 
from "logistics," with the result that the lack of coherence 
in distribution had been accentuated. CincPoa's insistence 
upon placing shipping control under the Logistics Division 


indicated a clear conception of that fundamental unity in 
the logistic process. 

On October 20 CincPoa submitted his own plan for the 
reorganization of shipping control in the Pacific Ocean 
Areas. The key to the plan was the reduction in the number 
of allocation accounts made to the area and their consolida- 
tion into one allocation made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
to the Area Commander, from which he would reallocate 
tonnage as the needs of his various type and area command- 
ers dictated. With certain other modifications the CincPoa 
plan became the basis for reorganization of shipping and 
allocation control within the Pacific Ocean Areas. Approved 
on December 20 as J.C.S. 762/10 ("Procedures Relating to 
the Allocation and Control of Cargo Shipping in the Pacific 
Ocean Areas") it became the cornerstone of shipping policy 
and procedure. The procedures for allocation defined by the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff provided that in addition to operational 
shipping, which was already under unified control, "to pro- 
vide flexibility, all the non-operational dry cargo ships made 
available on the Pacific Coast for the support of all forces 
in the Central and South Pacific Areas will be considered as 
one non-operational group of ships. CincPoa is authorized 
to assign vessels from this group for single outward voyages 
to best meet the non-operational requirements listed. . . ." 
The effect of the Joint Chiefs of Staff directive was thus to 
concentrate control over the employment of all assigned ton- 
nage in the hands of CincPoa. 

Meanwhile, however, the actual shipping situation had 
gone from bad to worse. On November 6 the deteriorating 
position of Pacific shipping was reviewed at length by the 
Naval Transportation Service planning officer. So far as the 
Navy was concerned, said Commander Ross, the Pacific 
situation was "unmanageable" because of lack of vessels to 

An excessive amount of tonnage was banked on the Eu- 
ropean continent, waiting to be unloaded or otherwise out 


of ocean service. Mediterranean requirements, which had 
been expected to drop as the year progressed, had in fact 
risen sharply as civilian relief programs claimed political at- 
tention and priority. High retentions in the Southwest Pa- 
cific particularly, and in the Pacific areas generally, had so 
reduced the number of "returners" that deficits had risen 
sharply and might be expected to continue rising. Since May 
the Retention Fleet had risen from approximately 4,000,000 
deadweight tons to over 7,000,000. The percentage of ships 
retained had risen from 18 per cent to almost 30 per cent of 
all available tonnage. 

In addition to authorized retentions a vast amount of 
tonnage was lying idle, waiting to be unloaded in Pacific 
ports. Surveys throughout the Pacific showed that there was 
no real lack of tonnage within the theaters themselves; 
rather the fact of a surplus of shipping in relation to capacity 
to employ it seemed to be demonstrated by the chronic con- 
gestion of the ports. Despite these facts, requirements stated 
by Area Commanders continued to reflect the most optimis- 
tic estimates of capacity to ship from the mainland. There 
was obvious need of drastic measures which would call the 
attention of Area Commanders to the dependency of con- 
tinental shipping agencies upon vessels returning from the 
theaters, some way of relating allocations to theaters to their 
actual capacity to receive, and some more systematic system 
of reporting on vessels and their use. 

On November 14, the matter was brought before the 
Joint Military Transportation Committee on the motion of 
the War Shipping Administration to institute a more ef- 
fective system of reporting and control of vessel movements. 
Pointing out in a well documented report that "The present 
critical shortage of ships is wholly due to the retention of 
large numbers of vessels in the four major theaters of war and 
the inability of theaters to discharge and release ships 
promptly," it recommended that "specific steps" be taken 
by the Army, Navy, and WSA in Washington which would 


enable "some degree of supervision to be exercised from 
Washington over the use of vessels . . . and a reduction in 
sailings from the U.S. to any theater which is failing to turn 
vessels around promptly." 

On November 18 acting on a proposal by General Somer- 
vell, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved and sent to the 
President a memorandum recommending steps to be taken 
to meet the current critical shipping shortage. Specifically 
it recommended reductions in vessels allocations to the 
United Kingdom Import Program, British Lend-Lease, Rus- 
sian Protocol, civilian relief programs, and other non-mili- 
tary programs in order that more vessels might be available 
to meet military requirements. Even with this drastic curtail- 
ment in non-military and Allied shipments, the JCS averred, 
United States military sailings to the Pacific would show se- 
rious deficits. 

The President replied with alacrity. Noting that as of the 
middle of November 300 ships were awaiting discharge 
berths in the several war theaters and that 400 others were 
retained for local operational use, he said: "With due al- 
lowance for the delays inevitable in wartime, it nevertheless 
seems to me that the most urgent representation should be 
made by the Chiefs of Staff to the theater commanders to 
improve this situation. Obviously the number of sailings 
from the U.S. into any operational area should be carefully 
geared to reception capacity." The President approved the 
reduction in allocations to the United Kingdom Import Pro- 
gram, but indicated that no other reductions in allocations 
would be approved until he was "convinced that we have 
done everything on our part to meet the needs of the ship- 
ping situation." 

The firm stand taken by the President turned the prob- 
lem directly back to the military shipping agencies. The 
growing requirements for civilian relief, justified on grounds 
of political necessity, could not be ignored, and if more 
tonnage was to be available for military programs, some at 


least must come from correction of abuses in the military 
administration of shipping. Both services, it must be stated, 
had been aware of abuses and had pressed for their correc- 
tion. On November 9 the Chief of Naval Operations had 
pointed out to CincPoa the growing acuteness of the ship- 
ping situation, and he in turn had instructed subordinate 
commanders "to insure that all possible measures are taken 
to eliminate delaying shipping." Whenever port capacities 
were exceeded deferment of further shipping was to be re- 
quested. The War Department, too, had issued repeated 
warnings to the Southwest Pacific, but seemingly to little 

On December 9, therefore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ap- 
proved a memorandum of policy defining specific abuses 
which must be stopped and directing that the policy be fol- 
lowed by all United States commanders of areas under execu- 
tive direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Henceforth the 
use of ocean shipping for storage purposes, a common prac- 
tice where storage or unloading facilities were inadequate, 
would be prohibited. Estimates of shipping requirements 
must be based upon a realistic appraisal of discharge capaci- 
ties, and supply levels would be scaled down until they were 
consistent with the imperatives of shipping economy. Selec- 
tive discharging of ships, resulting in the partial unloading of 
a number of vessels, would be discontinued save in the early 
stages of amphibious or other urgent operations. The use 
of large ocean vessels for local, small deliveries would also 
be discontinued. 

These prohibitory directives were followed by two posi- 
tive measures designed to provide the information essential 
for the exercise of a greater measure of shipping control 
from Washington. Carrying out a provision in the J.C.S. 
Policy Memorandum the Joint Military Transportation 
Committee approved on December 16 a system of detailed 
reporting of ship movements and positions by Area Com- 
manders. By dispatch that day CNO directed that a weekly 


activities report (Actrep) indicating the daily position of all 
vessels in all harbors be submitted for the use of the War 
Department, the Navy Department, and the War Shipping 
Administration. The purpose behind the report was to pro- 
vide a uniform system of information which would disclose 
flagrant cases of vessel idleness, would provide planners with 
more reliable indications of availability, would keep before 
Area Commanders the continuing problem of turnaround, 
and would, finally, provide the JMTC with sufficent infor- 
mation to compel adherence to the remedial measures di- 
rected in the Memorandum of Policy of December 9. 

In order to round out this system of reporting and to pro- 
vide a background of port information against which ship 
activity reports could be analyzed the JMTC recommended 
on January 6, 1945 the submission of an additional weekly 
report on port activity (Pacrep). Indicating the number of 
tons loaded and discharged each day and the estimated ca- 
pacity of the port for the ensuing thirty days, Pacrep provided 
a basis on which shipping control agencies could regulate 
the movement of ships into and within an area with some 
reference to the possibilities of discharge and turnaround. 

Taken together these various measures dealing with the 
organization and management of shipping control provided 
a vastly improved system of shipping administration. In their 
development they were not wholly related to each other, nor 
were they necessarily conceived and developed in close rela- 
tion to other measures taken in the field of distribution. The 
entire approach to logistic problems during 1944 na< ^ been 
essentially one of trial and error, of patching, and of taking 
those steps which conditions indicated were absolutely es- 
sential. In sum the various measures added up to a consider- 
able development in logistic organization and administrative 
machinery, but they were, for the most part, parochially in- 
spired and were directed toward the improvement of par- 
ticular conditions in separate segments of the logistic proc- 



In keeping abreast of the expanding logistic task Navy man- 
agement authorities had perforce to grapple with a multi- 
tude of disparate and frequently untractable elements in the 
logistic process. Even the cursory survey made thus far of 
the many related or sequent operations involved in planning, 
procuring, and distributing material support should indicate 
how far beyond the problems of ordinary business manage- 
ment the problems of logistic administration extended. Sur- 
veys made by business management experts and officials of 
the Bureau of the Budget had all pointed to the need for 
greater application of business techniques and principles in 
logistic administration, and it is certain that the Navy's lo- 
gistic system stood to gain much from improved business 
methods. But for all the many parallels between business 
and logistic administration, it is equally clear that methods 
employed successfully in business could not embrace all the 
factors involved in logistics. 

Naval logistic support in 1944 involved not only an opera- 
tion carried out on a scale hitherto unprecedented either in 
peace or war, over vast distances and amidst great uncer- 
tainty. It involved also constant operation under great ur- 
gency within an economic structure already saturated by 
demand. It has been estimated that 25 per cent of the 
nation's economic output was being devoted during 1944 to 
the support of the United States naval forces. Perhaps an- 
other third of our industrial output was being devoted to 
the support of Army and Air Forces. Still more goods were 
being allocated through Lend-Lease and civilian relief pro- 
grams to the large scale conduct of the war. What is most 
important about this vast effort in support of the war is that 
by 1944 it was no longer simply a production effort; it was 
by now an export effort, placing a tremendous strain upon 
the distributing facilities at our disposal both in this country 
and overseas. 


Progress made in 1944 in the development of the Navy's 
system of logistic administration and operation had been 
considerable. Its direction had been toward integration of 
the many separate operations making up the process as a 
whole, toward what in business would be called rationaliza- 
tion. No general reorganization had been possible; indeed it 
may fairly be said that, while by this time many officers per- 
ceived the integral character of the logistics function, few 
of them would have agreed that the Navy required a whole- 
sale reorganization of its logistic machinery to bring it into 
coincidence with the lines of the logistic task. Reforms and 
improvements had, therefore, been directed at specific de- 
fects in the system, such as storage, requisitions, rail and 
water transportation. These measures were taken with a 
growing understanding of their interdependence, prompted 
by the accumulating evidence that the process itself was one 
and inseparable. But, either because it was believed unneces- 
sary or because it was believed impossible, no effort had been 
made at an organic and wholesale revision of the Navy's 
logistic system. Judging from observable results the guiding 
policy had been one of moderation and gradualism, charac- 
terized by a high degree of practicality and caution. 

Perhaps the most outstanding achievement of 1944 had 
been the improvement of procedures of logistic control and 
operation within the theaters. The Garrison plan begun in 
the spring of 1944 marked certainly the farthest advance in 
administrative technique in any theater toward bringing the 
flow of logistic support into operational areas under orderly 
and managed control. It may best be described as an exten- 
sion backwards, into later operational phases, of the detailed 
planning and control mechanisms employed in assault and 
landing operations themselves. In logistic operating tech- 
niques the system of mobile base support offered in Service 
Squadron 10 and the even more mobile combat logistic 
support supplied by Service Squadron 6 was equally 
significant development. Thus the development of amphibi- 


ous assault tactics, which marked such a tremendous ad- 
vance in naval warfare, was accompanied by equally impor- 
tant, if less spectacular, progress in methods of logistic 
support. Together they made possible the strategy of our 
advance across the Pacific. 

The most important, and certainly the most continually 
vexatious, problem of logistic support in 1944 was the man- 
agement and control of that great bulk of shipments and 
services coming under the head of "maintenance." It was 
these which made up the great percentage of shipments of 
material, which absorbed the carrying capacity of ships and 
rail carriers, which clogged storage facilities and loading 
terminals and were responsible for the great bulk of paper 
work in administration. It was maintenance requirements 
which were so little susceptible of accurate estimate, and 
maintenance materials once procured that posed the most 
serious problems of material distribution control. 

The crux of the Navy's problem in distribution was the 
fact that the character of logistic support required was pass- 
ing through a profound change. Not until the basing of the 
fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1940, and more properly not until 
the war in the Pacific was well under way, had the Navy ever 
been compelled to furnish continued support for the fleet 
outside the continental limits of the United States. War 
Plans developed between 1920 and 1940 had toyed with the 
idea of mobile base support and of advance base develop- 
ment as a means of projecting fleet support over great dis- 
tances in the Pacific, and there had been implied in these 
plans the assumption that naval forces would cut loose, at 
least temporarily, from their continental base of support. But 
any student of naval war planning during these two decades 
of peace must be impressed not only with the lack of realism 
in the War Plans, but also with the lack of follow-through 
in setting up the means by which ideas in the plans could 
be implemented. Whether resulting from lack of congres- 
sional support or from the traditional inanition which in- 


fects a military organization in times of peace, the result 
had been the same. In all those detailed working procedures 
which extend down through its interstices and constitute its 
living tissue the Navy's logistic system had remained sub- 
stantially a system of continental support. 

As a consequence the Navy's organization for distribution 
was premised upon the assumption that supplies and serv- 
ices would be delivered to its forces at the major tidewater 
depots and yards which had been built up over many years. 
To ensure flexibility in delivering support at tidewater the 
Navy had practiced a decentralized and retail system of dis- 
tribution within the continental limits. When this premise 
was abandoned, the Navy was able as the result of an out- 
standing production effort to provide the physical facilities 
in the form of advance base materials, floating dry docks, 
stores ships and tankers, and the great mass of specialized 
paraphernalia of support, which were shipped out and set up 
in the theaters. But it continued to employ an administrative 
system geared to the needs of continental support. 

The fact of transition from continental to overseas logis- 
tic support without any basic change in the substructure of 
logistics administration does much to explain the piecemeal 
and patchwork character of logistic developments during the 
war. Men charged with such awesome responsibilities as were 
placed upon the military leaders of the war may be forgiven 
for leaning in the direction of cautious pragmatism. There 
was, in fact, no royal road to logistic organization and ad- 
ministration which could safely be embarked upon. Progress 
had to be achieved through the many by-ways of reform, in- 
vention, and development, and in sum those many particu- 
lars of progress added up to a considerable achievement. 


Setting the Stage 

The Battle of the Bulge, which culminated at 
the end of December in a temporary setback to 
American progress on the Western Front, threw 
its dark shadow briefly over the whole conduct 
of the war. It brought about a thorough re- 
appraisal of our global strategic position, a more sober 
estimate of the capacity of German resistance, and conse- 
quently a shift in the basic assumptions upon which strategic 
and logistic plans were being formulated. Yet the tide of 
pessimism which momentarily engulfed the public mind 
late in December was not as severe in the minds of military 
planners. It was apparent that the assumption of a speedy 
conclusion of the war in Europe must be modified. But a 
thorough review of the German strategic position indicated 
that, while the Germans might still be able to concentrate 
forces effectively for limited aims and while they were still 
capable of an intensified U-boat campaign against Atlantic 
shipping lanes, their long-range capacity to resist had been 
seriously impaired. For planning purposes it was possible 
with some assurance to fix the estimated date of German sur- 
render or defeat at July 1, 1945. 

One reason for the difference between the public and 
military reactions to the German counter-offensive was that 
it was possible for the military to measure more quickly the 
true proportions of the German success and its ultimate cost 
to the Germans themselves. But a more important factor in 
the military calculations was the fact that long before the 
German forces burst out of their ring of encirclement in the 
Ardennes certain of the assumptions of military planning 
had begun to disintegrate, particularly the assumption made 


for strategic and logistic planning purposes that German 
resistance would end in September or October of 1944. 
How that assumption was arrived at cannot be determined 
here, but it should be apparent that as the autumn progressed 
without the defeat of the Germans, the logistic consequences 
of this strategic miscalculation were being felt long before 
the Battle of the Bulge. The spectacular German action pro- 
vided a dramatic occasion for a recalculation which was al- 
ready necessary. 

The effects of the continuance of the war in Europe on 
a large scale were indicated most quickly in the increasing 
stringency of our shipping position, for upon the expanding 
programs in the Pacific there were now superimposed much 
larger European requirements than had been anticipated. 
Other factors added to the unfavorable shipping prospect. 
Requirements for civilian relief and rehabilitation, which 
had already risen sharply at the end of 1944 w ^ n ^ ne emer ~ 
gence of Italian and French programs, would certainly rise 
even more sharply with the liberation of the continent as a 
whole. Nor was there any appreciable cushion in shipping 
allocated to the United Kingdom Import Program from 
which benefit to military programs might be derived. 

The outlook was, in fact, so unpromising that early in 
December the British Chiefs of Staff recommended a 
thorough over-all review of the cargo shipping position. 
About mid-December they sent a mission under Mr. Rich- 
ard Law to the United States for this purpose and also to dis- 
cuss the possibility of admitting vessels to French ports for 
the French rehabilitation program. The over-all review, un- 
dertaken by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in collaboration 
with the Combined Shipping Adjustment Board, extended 
through the month of December and into the Malta con- 
ference of January. With respect to cargo shipping the report 
concluded that, whereas there might be slight improvement 
during the first quarter of 1945, deficits in the second 


quarter, particularly in the Pacific, would approach "un- 
manageable" proportions. 

The prospective shipping shortage provided one of the 
principal logistic issues at the Malta ("Argonaut") confer- 
ence in January. The United States Chiefs of Staff finally 
secured the adoption of the principle that approved military 
programs should take priority over all other claims upon 
shipping resources. Supplies to liberated countries, it was 
agreed, should be considered in the allocation of shipping 
only insofar as they contributed to the over-all war-making 
capacity of the United Nations. "In the event of a deficit in 
shipping resources, first priority should be given to the basic 
undertakings in support of over-all strategic concepts as 
agreed in Argonaut. So long as these first priority require- 
ments are not adequately covered, shipping for other re- 
quirements will not be allocated without prior consultation 
with the appropriate Chiefs of Staff." In principle, therefore, 
military requirements would be met in full, and deficits 
applied to all other programs. In practice, however, it was 
clearly understood that there were certain minima below 
which allocations to the United Kingdom Import Program, 
Lend-Lease, and relief programs could not go. The principle 
adopted at Malta would not in practice constitute an over- 
riding priority. This fact was borne out by the stipulation in 
the Malta paper that the Chiefs of Staff should give careful 
consideration to the shipping implications of proposed un- 
dertakings lest "urgent operational requirements" get out of 
hand, and that they should "require rigid compliance of 
Theater Commanders with their orders relative to the con- 
trol of shipping." This latter point obviously referred to the 
instructions for the correction of abuses in shipping control 
issued by the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff in 
December. It pointed up the fact that the adequacy of 
tonnage to meet military requirements would depend largely 
upon the ability of the military services themselves to em- 
ploy allocated shipping efficiently. 


With the exception of the shipping situation, however, 
the continuation of the war in Europe did not seriously or 
directly affect the Navy's own logistic or supply programs. 
The delay in transferring LST's and other self-discharging 
craft from the Atlantic to the Pacific was felt, and in- 
directly the tying up of Army Service and Engineer troops in 
the European theater aggravated the shortage of naval 
construction personnel required for base development in 
the Pacific. The Navy was involved in the immense task of 
redeploying troops from the European to the Pacific theater 
and had therefore to take into account the intensification 
of redeployment schedules which followed as a consequence 
of delayed victory in Europe. But by far the greater portion 
of naval material shipments and naval forces were for the 
Pacific, and it was there that the Navy's logistic problems 
had their roots. 

The Pacific campaign itself continued to be a compound 
of uncertainties. The sudden decision to attack Leyte and 
Samar in the Central Philippines had entailed many re- 
adjustments in schedules of logistic support. It was followed 
by a period of uncertainty in which the issue of whether to 
launch the next offensive against Luzon or Formosa was 
debated at length. This in turn had to be considered against 
the background of the wider issue whether the Pacific cam- 
paign might be carried directly to the home islands of Japan 
or whether it would be necessary to establish a firm foothold 
in China and there first come to grips with a major Japanese 
land force. Once the Okinawa operation had been de- 
termined upon, it was followed by great uncertainty as to 
what other offensives in the Ryukyus and on the coast of 
China might be necessary in order to establish a firm plat- 
form for further assaults. 

Meanwhile, as our position in the Philippines was being 
extended and consolidated and as the fleet extended its oper- 
ations deeper into the China Sea and the home waters of 
Japan, the requirements for fleet support and maintenance 


in the forward areas continued to mount. As soon as the de- 
cision had been taken to attack the Central Philippines, the 
Commander Seventh Fleet had laid plans for base facilities 
at Leyte. On November 18, he requested facilities to sup- 
port one-third of the Pacific Fleet at some major point in the 
Philippines. But the question whether the major Philip- 
pines base should be established on Luzon, at Leyte-Samar, 
or elsewhere continued undetermined, and as late as Decem- 
ber 23, no firm plan for a naval base in the Philippines had 
been submitted to the Chief of Naval Operations. When the 
decision was finally taken to develop facilities at Leyte- 
Samar, it was made in the face of adverse weather prospects 
at that site and largely because of the need to reach some 
decision without further delay. During the early months of 
1945, however, plans were gradually forming for the two 
climactic operations of the Pacific War— Olympic and Coro- 
net—to begin in November, and these slowly emerged as 
the nodes of all strategic and logistic planning. 

If uncertainty continued to be the chief characteristic of 
strategic planning there were, however, certain obvious 
certainties in the general outlines of the impending logistic 
task. The volume of shipments of both material and person- 
nel would continue to rise sharply. Operational requirements 
for Okinawa, for the Kyushu and Honshu operations, and for 
the continued operations of fleet striking forces would be 
considerably higher than for preceding operations and would 
be concentrated within a briefer period of time. Army ship- 
ments to the Pacific would show even greater percentage in- 
creases than those of the Navy and would utilize an increas- 
ing proportion of Pacific shipping allocations, continental 
transshipping facilities and area discharging capacity. The re- 
quirements of both services together, whatever might be the 
schedules of operations or the detailed composition of forces, 
would exceed the capacity of all facilities for distribution 
hitherto employed. The administrative problems posed by 
this impending logistic task were thus an intensification of 


those problems which had been building up during the pre- 
ceding year. There was obviously necessary a fuller and more 
efficient use of all continental transshipping facilities— of 
loading berths, long-term and in-transit storage, stevedore 
labor and railroad line-haul capacity. To achieve this ob- 
jective the Navy must first redistribute its work load along 
the West Coast itself, concentrating a smaller percentage 
upon the San Francisco Bay area, and secondly provide for 
the shipment of a much larger portion of its Pacific materials 
from the East and Gulf Coasts. 

Shipping must be more effectively controlled and must 
be made to serve more exactly the true requirements of 
supply programs. At the same time if shipping was not to 
be wasted, there must be an intensive development of area 
receiving and discharging capacities and a closer correlation 
in shipping schedules between unloading operations at ad- 
vance bases and programs of assembly and loading on the 

Still another necessity was an improved inventory of 
Pacific area stocks upon the basis of which Area Command- 
ers might avail themselves of usable materials within the 
area. Various programs for the roll-up of rear bases had 
been sketched out during 1944, but up to the close of that 
year little had been accomplished. Area Commanders had 
continued to rely largely upon shipments from the United 
States and had drawn only slightly upon rear base compo- 
nents, equipment and material stocks which were much 
nearer at hand. With most materials available in ample 
quantities in the United States even to the point of clogging 
established "pipelines" there had been little disposition to 
depart from existing channels of supply. 

Finally, there was need for continued effort along the 
lines laid down in the Overall Logistic Plan and the Sum- 
mary Control Report to develop systematic information and 
techniques for keeping procurement programs in balance 
with each other and for assuring that delivery schedules did 


not feed more material into the logistic support system from 
industrial sources than could be consumed, stored or de- 

In summary, these various factors in the logistic task 
could be considered as two general problems. In the first 
case, where the issues were of purely naval concern, they 
resolved into that problem, so persistent in the Navy's 
decentralized logistic system, of developing the mechanism 
of control and coordination of logistic operations on an over- 
all basis. It was necessary, in short, to draw all these separate 
but interrelated factors together into a single, manageable 

In those matters which were of common concern with the 
Army, where two logistic systems by no means similar had to 
operate harmoniously within a single theater, utilizing the 
same pool of economic resources and aiming toward a com- 
mon operation against the enemy, the problem was perhaps 
even more complex and difficult. Much of the mechanism 
for joint effort and cooperation had already been developed 
under the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their various subcom- 
mittees and in the arrangements made under unified theater 
commands. These were supplemented by a vast array of 
standing and ad hoc joint committees, whose mere catalogue 
might fill a volume. But just as there was within the Navy 
itself no single authority or controlling agency comprehend- 
ing all the elements in the logistic process, so between the 
two services the means of logistic cooperation and coordina- 
tion at the highest level were at best imperfect. 

The major logistic achievement of 1945 was that as plans 
were developed for operations Olympic and Coronet, both 
these needs were at least partially met. Toward this end the 
two major landmarks of administrative history in the field of 
logistics during the concluding phases of the war were the 
Material Distribution Committee and the Joint Army-Navy 
Shipping and Supply Conference during the spring of 1945. 


The Material Distribution Committee 

The Material Distribution Committee of April 1945 was 
the last, and in many respects the most successful, of the 
Navy's efforts during the war to coordinate the various 
elements of transport and supply involved in distribution. 
For the first time during the war all the factors entering 
into both requirements and capacities were reviewed together 
by a single body composed of all the major agencies partici- 
pating in the Navy's logistic task. 

It had its origin ostensibly in the necessity to prepare a 
naval agenda for the Army-Navy Shipping and Supply Con- 
ference convened on May 1. But there is evidence to suggest 
that even had no such conference with the Army been im- 
pending, the Navy itself was coming to the point where some 
such thorough and over-all review of its logistic position 
would have been made. The organization of the committee 
grew, in fact, out of discussions initiated by Rear Admiral 
Flanigan, Director of the Naval Transportation Service, to 
secure more naval cargo for loading on the East and Gulf 

The problem with which the Naval Transportation 
Service was faced was two-fold. In the first place, the strain 
upon West Coast facilities, which since early 1944 had been 
steadily increasing, was now coming to the breaking point. 
By January, for example, there was a backlog of advance 
base component and maintenance materials awaiting ship- 
ment at Port Hueneme of over 1,000,000 tons. Similar con- 
ditions existed in other West Coast ports. During the last 
week in January, moreover, the situation was further ag- 
gravated by a sharp cut-back in the number of ships allotted 
by General MacArthur for movement into the Southwest 
Pacific. The original allotment of 31 vessels, most of which 
were already loaded or loading, was cut suddenly to 12. 

The situation thus developed by the lack of receiving 
capacity in the forward areas was felt all the way back 


through the "pipeline." Suggestions were made that some 
of the backlog materials be pulled back from tidewater to 
inland depots like the Naval Supply Depot at Clearfield, 
Utah, but this was in fact impracticable. Inland depots were 
already jammed themselves, and were having difficulty in 
keeping abreast of the continual flow of east-to-west ship- 
ments for later assemblies. 

The second factor was the difficulty in making vessels 
available on the West Coast to meet the constantly rising 
shipping requirements of CincPoa. In February, for ex- 
ample, CincPoa's March shipping requirement was suddenly 
increased by twenty-five vessels. But no additional shipping 
was available on the West Coast to meet this requirement. 
On the East Coast, where the War Shipping Administration 
could make vessels available from the Atlantic pool, the 
Navy was unable on such short notice to provide sufficient 
cargo of the type desired. It was necessary therefore, to send 
the vessels in ballast through the Canal to the West Coast, 
a procedure to which both the Army and the War Shipping 
Administration vigorously objected. 

The incident of the March requirement, although a force- 
ful illustration, was not an isolated case. In the opinion of 
Admiral Flanigan the only source from which mounting 
Pacific requirements could be met in the future would be the 
Atlantic shipping pool. But regardless of what over-all 
monthly allocations might be made by the Joint Military 
Transportation Committee and the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration, unless the Navy could make cargo available on 
the East Coast, vessels would not actually be assigned to 
meet the allocations. Instead they would go to whatever 
other claimants, military or otherwise, could provide cargo, 
and in all likelihood would remain in service in the Atlantic. 

This realistic appraisal was undoubtedly correct. Yet the 
first efforts to secure greater diversions of cargo to the East 
Coast by consultation with representatives of the bureaus 
produced only meager results. The necessity for concerted 


action by bureaus responsible for internal routing of cargo 
was being increasingly recognized, but it was not until a 
meeting of March 15, in the Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts, at which a decision was reached to form the Material 
Distribution Committee, that the basis was laid for a whole- 
sale redistribution of the transshipment work load. 

The Material Distribution Committee held its first meet- 
ing on March 24. Under the chairmanship of Rear Admiral 
Purnell, the Assistant CNO for Material, it included as 
regular members representatives of all the bureaus, the 
Marine Corps, Coast Guard, the Office of Procurement and 
Material and most of the divisions in the Office of Naval 
Operations. Before the committee had completed its work 
representatives of CincPoa, the Commander Western Sea 
Frontier, and the Joint Logistic Plans Committee had also 
participated and lent assistance. 

The agenda of the committee was broken down into four 
major items which were intended to serve as the basis for a 
fifth item, the agenda for the Army-Navy Shipping and 
Supply Conference. The first matter to be determined was 
the total estimated quarterly requirement in personnel and 
material for shipment to the Pacific from July 1, 1945, to 
July 1, 1946. This period would include base development at 
Okinawa subsequent to the completion of that operation, 
whatever other operations in the Ryukyus or China might 
follow Okinawa, the assault upon Kyushu scheduled for 
November 1, 1945, and most of the assault phases of the 
Honshu operation scheduled for the early months of 1946. 
In addition to other base development projects in the 
Central Pacific and the Philippines the estimate must also 
include the much larger percentage of shipments required 
for maintenance. 

Secondly, the committee proposed to determine the 
maximum transshipment capacity of Navy West Coast 
facilities, taking into consideration Army, Marine Corps, 
and civilian requirements. Thirdly, by a comparison of 


figures in the first two items the committee would determine 
what volume of shipments would be required from the East 
and Gulf Coasts and what arrangements would be nec- 
essary to deliver at tidewater and load the cargo required. 
Lastly, the committee would look into the supply and 
requisitioning procedures of the Navy in order to determine 
what changes would be necessary in order to facilitate the 
control of logistic movements and to assure closer coordina- 
tion between area and continent shipping and supply pro- 

The major problems of a general nature which had affect- 
ed the Navy's task of distribution were those already 
described: lack of ships at the time and place needed, lack 
of Pacific discharging capacity, overloaded rail and port 
facilities, the difficulty of integrating shiploading on the 
various coasts into CincPoa's shipping procedure, the ab- 
sence of a central requisition control and the unbalanced 
distribution of stocks within the United States. The mere 
listing of these various problems should indicate that even 
in its broadest aspects the task was fraught with complexity. 
But no sooner had the committee begun its deliberations 
than it became apparent that each of these problems was 
in itself a matter of almost infinite ramifications. 

In the determination of requirements the committee was 
compelled to consider finally three different sets of figures, 
determined respectively by the Joint Logistic Plans Com- 
mittee, the Logistic Controls Section of the Western Sea 
Frontier, and by the individual bureaus of the Navy Depart- 
ment and the Marine Corps Headquarters. Between the 
highest and lowest of these estimates there was a difference 
of almost 800,000 tons per quarter, nearly one-sixth of the 
total of the lowest estimate. Ultimately the committee fixed 
upon an average figure of 1,815,000 tons per month, which 
was actually only a little below the highest estimate, sub- 
mitted by the Joint Logistic Plans Committee. 

In determining the capacity of West Coast transshipping 


facilities the committee had to proceed upon a broader and 
more realistic basis than had ever been done before. Since 
1943, the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts had carried on a 
periodic port capacity survey known as the "Navy Traffic 
Flow Study/' but the assumptions upon which it had been 
based were curiously unrealistic. Two major assumptions, 
for example, which underlay its report of January 2, 1945, 
were that "adequate labor [would be] available at the port 
for unloading cars and loading vessels" and that "sufficient 
ships [would be] always available to lift cargo." More 
recently the Commander Western Sea Frontier had under- 
taken a survey of Pacific Coast facilities in which the factor 
of stevedore labor was included, and this survey was rushed 
to completion for the use of the committee. 

The final report, based upon the combined studies of the 
Bureau and the Commander Western Sea Frontier, reflected 
the limiting factor of stevedore labor. Available loading 
berths were not taken into account, since it was soon dis- 
covered that under any circumstances berth capacity would 
exceed both railroad line-haul capacity and available steve- 
dore labor. Of the latter two, although rail capacity was fast 
approaching a critical state, labor was still considered to be 
the more serious. Even with this careful calculation, how- 
ever, it was still necessary to assume "not only the avail- 
ability of ships to meet the maximum requirements, but 
also the availability of a reserve of shipping in excess of re- 
quirements to meet the exigencies of the operations and 
permit a steady and even flow of cargo through the various 

The estimate submitted by the subcommittee set a maxi- 
mum figure for the Navy's West Coast facilities of 4,000,000 
measurement tons per quarter or one and one-third million 
tons per month. But in setting the estimate as high as this 
the sub-committee felt constrained to issue a warning: 

"This subcommittee wishes to reiterate the statement in 
its interim report that even the best port capacity estimates 


should be accepted with full understanding of their limita- 
tions and imperfections; that a shift or change in one of 
many variable factors controlling port capacity may alter 
such capacity considerably; that the Navy should as a mat- 
ter of safety assume a relatively low capacity and seek to 
find means to adjust and modify its supply and requisition 
procedure so as to achieve a degree of flexibility which will 
permit rapid shifts in the transshipment load to take ad- 
vantage of unused capacity or avoid congested port facilities 
as the case may be." 

The remainder of the work of the committee, the determi- 
nation of required shifts in loadings, stock levels, internal 
routing and the categories of materials to be shifted, was, if 
anything, more difficult than the question of port capacity. 
Starting with two basic principles set forth by CincPoa— 
that "inventories at major distribution centers in the for- 
ward area are to be kept at a reasonably low working level" 
and that "The continental United States sources of supply 
for these bases in the forward area should be as close to that 
area as possible"— the committee was compelled to take 
into account a host of other limiting conditions before it 
could arrive at a final plan. 

It began by analyzing the probable requirements of major 
bases and areas during the period under consideration. Thus, 
for example, since the initial construction phase at Manus 
had been completed and its stocks already brought to the re- 
quired level, it was assumed that its volume of shipments 
would remain relatively constant. Shipments to Pearl Har- 
bor would also remain on a level. Guam was in an ad- 
vanced stage of construction, but material required for the 
build-up of stocks and the augmentating of facilities would 
more than compensate for the decline in construction com- 
ponents. Okinawa, Leyte, Samar and other Philippine bases 
were still in their initial construction phases and would 
therefore absorb the greater portion of the increase in Navy 


In deciding what redistribution could be made in the load- 
ing task as between East and West Coasts it was necessary 
also to recognize certain categories of shipments which must 
move from the West Coast. First, material produced on the 
West Coast, such as lumber and canned fruits, should obvi- 
ously not be shipped across the country to be loaded in the 
East. Other materials which were in short supply must also 
be routed to the loading points nearest the theater. In a 
third group of cases special loading, assembly and storage 
facilities were largely concentrated on the West Coast, and 
no substitutes could be developed on the East Coast. Other 
special considerations such as the shortage of refrigerated 
shipping space and the necessity of having available an ade- 
quate amount of filler and deck cargo had also to be taken 
into account. Nor was it possible to overlook entirely the 
basic doctrine promulgated and reiterated throughout the 
war by West Coast shipping authorities that in order to hold 
stevedore labor at the ports West Coast facilities should be 
employed to the maximum before any redistribution of port 
load was considered. 

The final report of the committee indicated that of the 
average 1,815,000 measurement tons per month expected to 
be shipped a minimum of 1,167,000 tons would have to 
move from the West Coast. Since this represented a division 
between the two coasts of 68 per cent to 32 per cent which 
was already assumed to prevail, the committee's recom- 
mendations were not revolutionary. But since that ratio had 
in fact never prevailed, despite the directive of the previous 
October which sought to establish it, the careful examina- 
tion into the means and conditions of accomplishing it may 
be said to have served a useful purpose. 

This detailed review of the deliberations of the Material 
Distribution Committee has been intended to serve two 
purposes. In the first place, it should indicate something of 
the nature and scope of distribution problems at this critical 
phase of the war. And secondly, it should indicate just what 


the Material Distribution Committee was and what it was 
not. The committee may be distinguished clearly from other 
projects or groups such as LOPU and the Archer-Wolf 
Group in that it dealt with substantive problems of logistics 
rather than with matters of organization and procedure. This 
point is illustrated by the fact that subcommittee No. 4, 
which had intended to review the Navy's requisitioning and 
supply procedures in order to secure greater flexibility in con- 
tinental distribution dropped that subject completely and 
devoted itself instead to the analysis of probable trends in 
shipments by areas and bases. 

In essence, the committee came into being and operated 
as an ad hoc organization. It was able to perform its work 
successfully partly by virtue of the urgency of the problem 
and partly because, since this was the concluding phase of 
the war, the logistic task could be brought within limits and 
defined in substantive terms. For a given period and for defi- 
nite and scheduled operations it was possible to calculate and 
reduce into manageable terms the many elements involved. 

The Material Distribution Committee should not, there- 
fore, be regarded as the first step in the institution of a new 
and continuing procedure applicable to any set of circum- 
stances. It might ultimately have become so had the turn 
of circumstances been otherwise. Certainly there were many 
who recognized a new departure in the novel circumstance 
of all logistic agencies working in close concert under a 
single coordinating control. There were many, too, who 
hoped that the committee itself might evolve into a con- 
tinuing agency for over-all logistics coordination and con- 
trol. In fact, however, it remained an ad hoc agency prepar- 
ing what might be called a large-scale and general logistic 
operating plan. In most minds it was considered essentially 
as a preface to the Army-Navy Shipping and Supply Con- 
ference which was to follow. Yet as the first successful at- 
tempt to bring all logistic agencies and all logistic factors 
together under a single, coherent direction, however briefly, 


it was a landmark in the Navy's logistic history during this 

The Joint Army-Navy Shipping 
and Supply Conference 

The Army and Navy Shipping and Supply Conference of 
May 1945 was an attempt by both services to draw together 
the many threads of logistic support for the Pacific cam- 
paign and in particular to relate to the strategic plan and 
the logistic capacities of the area the many programs of 
movement and support which would converge in the Pacific 
from many directions. Its problem as stated in the final re- 
port of the conference was: 

"Review the forecasted logistic support required to con- 
duct the Pacific War as related to: 

(a) Continental U.S. supply and transshipping capabili- 

(b) Area capabilities; 

(c) Ship availability and allocations; and 

(d) Integration between requisitioning and shipping pro- 
cedures necessary to achieve the most effective utili- 
zation of the capabilities as developed through (a), 
(b),and (c) above." 

The conference was supplied amply with representation 
from all commands and agencies which would participate 
in the final phases of the Pacific war. For the Navy, the 
delegation headed by Admiral Ingersoll, Commander West- 
ern Sea Frontier, who acted as chairman of the conference, 
included full representation from the Navy Department, 
more or less identical with the membership of the Material 
Distribution Committee. The head of the Army delegation 
was Lieutenant General Styer, representing the Army Serv- 
ice Forces, who was about to assume the post of Commander 
Army Service Forces Pacific, under General MacArthur. 


With him were representatives of the War Department and 
various area commands paralleling those of the Navy. 

The accomplishments of the conference were many, and 
with one notable exception it may be said that both services 
emerged from the conference with a clearer conception of 
the problems involved in future Pacific support and in com- 
plete accord upon the methods to be pursued in meeting 
them. Beginning with total requirements for both services 
it was estimated that total shipments would increase from 
11,944,000 measurement tons in the third quarter of 1945, 
to 15,416,000 tons in the last quarter of 1946. Against this 
it was necessary to set an absolute ceiling of 1 1,000,000 meas- 
urement tons per quarter upon the transshipment capacity 
of the West Coast ports. Both services agreed to redistribute 
stock and storage activities in order to keep the shipments 
of each within the ceiling of West Coast facilities currently 
allotted to them and to divert any overflow to ports on the 
East Coast. For the Navy this meant a diversion to the 
East Coast of 700,000 measurement tons in addition to ship- 
ments already being made from that area. Implied, though 
not stated in the report, was the certainty that if the Navy 
was to accomplish its Pacific Coast loading program it would 
have to make a fuller use of potential West Coast facilities 
available to it outside the San Francisco Bay Area. 

As far as joint use of continental transport, terminal, and 
storage facilities was concerned, the conference concluded 
that present arrangements were entirely satisfactory. The 
Navy would continue to enjoy the use of Army Holding and 
Reconsignment Points with the strict understanding, how- 
ever, that their use would be limited to in-transit cargo and 
not extended to dead storage or to slow-moving materials. 

In the all-important issue of whether area receiving capaci- 
ties would be adequate to deal with required shipments as 
projected by the planning agencies the combined reports of 
theater representatives were encouraging. Although the con- 
ference reported that, "No current estimate for adequacy 


of Pacific overseas port capacities can be stipulated/' the 
over-all estimate of Pacific port capacity within active zones 
of operation was put at 17,000,000 measurement tons per 
quarter. Of this three-quarters, or 12,750,000 tons of capac- 
ity, could be utilized for discharging, the remainder being re- 
served for staging and outloading operations. The latter 
figure on capacity available for discharge fell several million 
tons below the estimated requirements at their highest 
point, but "giving consideration to the additional discharge 
capacity that it is assumed will be available during 1946, for 
discharge over beaches, ship-to-ship and through ports not 
covered [in the port estimate] . . ." the conference con- 
cluded that "the present and planned over-all receiving ca- 
pacity in the Pacific appears adequate to handle the pro- 
jected requirements." But as the report pointed out, no es- 
timate of port capacity in the abstract could be entirely 
satisfactory. The factor of "demand requirement by destina- 
tion" would itself depend upon a variety of factors such as 
the distribution of Army and Navy stocks within the area 
and the progress of the campaign. 

The major Army distribution points, it was planned, 
would be located in the Philippines with air depots at Guam, 
Manila and ultimately on Okinawa. Only the assault and 
initial movement phases of Army operations would be staged 
and supported from Pacific bases, however. All other support 
would be shipped direct from the Zone of the Interior in 
the United States. The Navy for its part would rely prin- 
cipally upon Guam, Samar, Okinawa and Pearl Harbor with 
a little less than half of its support being rendered directly 
from bases and a little more than half from floating support 
units such as Service Squadrons 6 and 10. Both services 
planned to integrate the roll-up of materials from the South 
and Southwest Pacific areas into the programs of support 
from the mainland in order to make use of nearby resources 
and to diminish as far as possible the pressures upon ex- 
tended lines of supply. 

The development of this structure of support as outlined 


would place various special demands upon shipping re- 
sources. Both services were in need of additional shipping 
for intra-area services in order to attain and maintain a better 
balanced distribution of their stocks within the area. The 
Navy would require an increase in mobile or floating storage, 
particularly in view of the prospect that planned facilities at 
Okinawa would be delayed in their construction. Accom- 
plishment of the Army's roll-up from the Southwest Pacific 
to the Philippines, where discharge facilities were very in- 
adequate, would also require the assistance of additional 
LST's, AKA's and other craft suitable for lightering. These 
the Navy agreed should be made available subject to the 
condition that crew training operations of assault craft would 
not be sacrificed and with the understanding that a number 
of these craft would be transferred from the European thea- 
ter to the Pacific. 

The requirement during the peak of our military opera- 
tions in the Pacific was estimated at 26,300,000 deadweight 
tons of shipping. Comparing this figure with the remaining 
7,000,000 deadweight tons then allocated for non-military 
purposes, one can see clearly that the operations planned in 
the Pacific were to demand the maximum of the nation's 
logistic resources. Since the requirements as tabulated by this 
conference were only a little above those for which Justice 
Byrnes and Judge Vinson had guaranteed that shipping 
would be available, the conference felt justified, however, 
in the assumption that shipping requirements would be met. 

The report of the conference represented a considerable 
measure of clarification and accord on the problems of lo- 
gistic support of the Pacific campaign. On one important 
point, however, the organization of shipping control and its 
integration into Army and Navy systems of supply and req- 
uisitioning, the conference was unable to reach an agree- 

During the major part of the war in the Pacific, it will be 
recalled, operations had been carried on under two separate 


and distinct theater commands. General MacArthur in the 
Southwest Pacific Area and Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific 
Ocean Area had each exercised a unified command over all 
services within their areas for which they had been respon- 
sible directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In each of these 
commands, needless to say, administrative and logistic pro- 
cedures had been developed during the course of the war 
which in each case had been tailored to the peculiar exigen- 
cies of the campaign and to the composition of forces within 
the theater. The result had been a system in the Southwest 
Pacific under which each service was primarily responsible 
for its own support subject to joint control during the initial 
phases of combat operations and at the top level. In the 
Pacific Ocean Areas, on the other hand, there had been a 
progressive integration of logistic and supply services, un- 
til in almost every phase of logistic operations CincPoa was 
a unified command. Through a joint staff, whose logistic 
section was, in fact, headed by an Army officer, CincPoa 
exercised a close coordinating control over every aspect of 
logistic operations for all services. 

The capture and investiture of the Philippines by Gen- 
eral MacArthur's forces and the seizure of Okinawa by those 
of Admiral Nimitz brought our campaign to the limit of 
the areas originally comprised in the separate theaters of 
command. Subsequent operations against the Japanese home- 
land would necessitate a merging of all forces in the Pacific 
in a single effort and in an area not originally within the 
purview of either of the theater commanders. Some new 
provision for command was therefore necessary. 

On April 6, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a direc- 
tive to all commanders concerned redefining the command 
relationship which was to obtain for the concluding phases 
of the war. The directive, however, lent confusion rather 
than clarity to the command picture in the Pacific. Without 
definitely abrogating the existing geographical division of 
command between General MacArthur and Admiral Nim- 


itz, it provided that, 'The Supreme Commander, South- 
west Pacific Area, is hereby also designated Commander in 
Chief, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific (CincAFPac) and ... all 
United States Army resources in the Pacific Theater ... are 
placed under his command." Similarly, Admiral Nimitz, 
while remaining as Commander Pacific Ocean Areas, was 
designated as commander of all naval forces in the Pacific. 
Each was charged respectively as "responsible for the pro- 
vision of [Army or Navy] resources to meet the require- 
ments for operations in the Pacific directed by the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff." 

Single command of all forces would be established for 
specific operations so that presumably either General Mac- 
Arthur or Admiral Nimitz would assume over-all command, 
depending upon whether the operation was predominantly a 
naval or land campaign. But it was not contemplated that 
such a single command would seriously affect command ar- 
rangements in the original areas since these would be pri- 
marily in a non-operational status. 

Meanwhile, the directive apparently envisaged not an im- 
mediate but a gradual rearrangement of logistic responsi- 
bilities and procedures in the Pacific. 

"Until passed to other command by mutual agreement 
or by direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the localities un- 
der command of CincSWPa and the Naval forces allocated 
to him will remain under his command and similarly, the 
areas under command of CincPoa and the Army forces 
allocated to him will remain under his command. Changes 
in command of forces or localities and changes made in 
existing Joint logistical procedures will be effected by pro- 
gressive rearrangements made by mutual agreement, or as 
may be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff." 

The results of this demarche were several. Clearly, with 
command relations now organized both on horizontal and 
vertical lines, by geographical area and by respective service 
cognizance, a large measure of confusion was to be expected 


before the progressive rearrangements contemplated had 
been successfully effected and lines of responsibility had set- 
tled once again into a clear and intelligible pattern. In respect 
to logistic procedures and responsibilities the effect of the 
directive was even more cataclysmic. If each service was to 
be separately responsible for the provision of its own re- 
sources, the result could only be to wipe the slate clean of 
almost every progressive step made during the war toward 
joint logistic services and to revert essentially to the condi- 
tion which existed in March 1943, before the Basic Logis- 
tical Plan for the Pacific was promulgated. Certainly no such 
radical intention was in the mind of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
but by the wording of the directive the way was opened for 
either service to seek such new arrangements or procedures as 
might be more congenial to its own particular interest. 

The most serious effect of the directive was that it left the 
structure of Pacific logistics suspended in uncertainty. Some 
changes were certain, but they were dependent upon future 
"mutual agreement" of the Theater Commanders or upon 
subsequent directives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Forced 
thus to plan in a vacuum, the conference did well to reach 
agreement upon as many points as it did. 

The sole point of disagreement in the conference con- 
cerned the issue of Pacific shipping control, which was re- 
opened as a result of the new command directive. The Army, 
contending that "supply and the control of its flow is a 
function of command/' desired to separate the shipping con- 
trol procedures so that each service might regulate the dis- 
tribution of its resources independently of the other and in 
direct line with command responsibility. "Separate Army 
and Navy commands having been set up," it said, "separate 
Army and Navy controls follow." The Navy, concerned pri- 
marily with the preservation of the carefully integrated 
CincPoa shipping procedure, took the position that "The 
procedures now in effect covering allocation and control of 


shipping in the Pacific Ocean Areas should be continued 
unless otherwise directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff." 

In justice to the position of the Army it must be said that 
the system as practiced in the Pacific Ocean Areas was in 
many respects not compatible with its general system of sup- 
ply and requisition and with its continental distribution pro- 
cedures. Quite naturally, and perhaps justifiably, it believed 
that its own system of distribution was a more satisfactory 
one than that of the Navy. In any case, it was better adapted 
to the nature of Army logistic problems. It had accepted the 
CincPoa system and had adapted its own methods to it be- 
cause the Pacific Ocean Area command was naval, and it had 
recognized a preponderant naval interest in that area. Be- 
lieving now, however, that the Pacific war would become in- 
creasingly a land campaign, and given the new vertical com- 
mand relationship, it desired to rewed its supply control pro- 
cedure to the command function wherever Army command 
was exercised. 

This view did not, however, assume a complete split be- 
tween the Army and Navy shipping systems throughout the 
entire Pacific. The Army believed that there was a "solid 
core of command functions embracing supply functions in 
the Pacific Theater almost wholly a matter of Army con- 
cern" and another solid core almost wholly a matter of Navy 
concern. But it also acknowledged that "inherent in the 
Pacific situation there are and will be localities and opera- 
tions where Army and Navy interests are so closely inter- 
woven that reconciliation by joint or unified control is and 
will be required by mutual agreement between the com- 
manders concerned or by direction of the J.C.S." 

On the Navy's side it appears incontestable that the ship- 
ping procedure worked out so painstakingly under CincPoa 
was the most efficient and most productive of economy in 
shipping space of any of the shipping control systems prac- 
ticed in various theaters of command during the war. It was 
the result of steady evolution and improvement, aiming al- 


ways at the development of a closely integrated system of 
joint operations. Certainly by comparison with either the 
European theater or the Southwest Pacific it cannot be de- 
nied that turnarounds in the Pacific Ocean Area were rapid 
and unauthorized retentions at a minimum. The Navy, 
moreover, did not argue for the extension of this system into 
the new areas not already under the command of CincPoa. 
It desired simply to maintain a unified and integrated con- 
trol of shipping within the Pacific Ocean Area. Wherever 
the supply system of one service was perfectly distinct from 
the other it recognized that each service would desire to con- 
trol its own shipping. It recognized also that at the assault 
objective the Army interest would be paramount, and that 
it should therefore control all unloading operations. 

In the discussions held upon this issue it became obvious 
that the problem was one of the extent to which each service 
would be dealing in a separate sphere as opposed to those 
situations and times when joint operations would be in force 
and joint control would be required. On such a hypothetical 
issue, however, it was impossible to reach any firm conclu- 
sion. The Navy pointed out that although geographically it 
might be possible to demarcate separate spheres of interest, 
and although for purposes of joint operations a joint system 
might be established temporarily under one command or the 
other, it would be impossible in practice to distinguish be- 
tween these two conditions. Operational shipping must pass 
through areas which were devoted entirely to maintenance. 
In other cases shipments to an operational area would origi- 
nate in non-operational areas. The use of shipping for one 
purpose impinged on its use for another purpose. In short, 
shipping control was a seamless garment; the problem must 
be dealt with as a whole. 

In summary, then, the desire of the Navy was twofold. 
First it desired to maintain intact the system of shipping 
control already in force within the geographical limits then 
defined as the Pacific Ocean Areas. Within the new area 


of operations it desired that shipping be controlled and regu- 
lated by a joint agency representing both the Army and 
Navy commands, with the condition that by virtue of para- 
mount interest unloading at the assault objective would be 
controlled by CincAFPac. 

The Army insisted, however, that it could no longer go 
along with a system under which its supply procedure was 
thrown out of gear with the exercise of the command func- 
tion. Were there to be a single command, it said, it would 
subscribe to a single system of shipping control. With sepa- 
rate command it insisted that the relation between the com- 
mand and supply functions must be the governing factor. 
Thus, in the end the two services were compelled to sub- 
mit separate reports and relegate the issue for decision to the 
theater commanders, or failing their agreement to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. 

The lack of decision on the form of shipping control was 
a serious deficiency in the achievements of the conference. 
Because of the chronic shipping shortage and its key posi- 
tion in relation to all other factors of supply, shipping was 
the keystone in the logistic arch of the Pacific. Failure to 
employ tonnage effectively or to coordinate properly the 
shipping activities of the two services could under certain 
circumstances spell the difference between the success or 
failure of the great operations impending. Certainly the 
record of past experience would seem to indicate only too 
clearly the necessity of the closest coordination in shipping 
matters between Army and Navy in the Pacific. 

Fortunately, although the factor of shipping control was 
closely related in fact to the other matters discussed at the 
conference, it was possible in the discussions to isolate it 
and to reach a firm agreement upon the other matters. In 
drawing together the best informed estimate of Pacific re- 
quirements and in reviewing these in relation to continental 
supply and transshipment capacities, area capacities and ship 
availability the conference performed a notable preparatory 


service for the concluding campaigns in the Pacific. Both 
services emerged from the conference with a clearer notion 
not only of the other's plans, but also of their own. They had 
canvassed existing procedures for logistic support in all its 
phases and were in agreement either on the continuation of 
existing methods and agencies or else on what modifications 
were necessary. The issue of shipping control was the sole 
exception to the general rule. 

The Requirements Review Board 

Just how successful the arrangements worked out during the 
early months of 1945 would have been during the conclud- 
ing phases of the war is difficult to determine. All the meas- 
ures of planning and implementation taken during this 
period were directed toward a single end— the invasion and 
conquest of Japan beginning on the first of November, 1945. 
Fortunately that invasion was never necessary. The surrender 
of the Japanese Empire in mid-August brought to a rapid 
conclusion the various logistic programs directed toward 
operations Olympic and Coronet before they were fairly on 
the way to implementation and set up new programs aiming 
at quite different objectives. We are unable therefore— 
happily— to apply the customary pragmatic yardstick in as- 
sessing the feasibility of the plans, methods and organization 
conceived during these months. 

Despite this truncated quality in the Navy's wartime lo- 
gistic history, it is possible to observe certain significant 
trends in logistic development through August 1945 which 
are attributable in part to the efforts of the Material Dis- 
tribution Committee and the Joint Army-Navy Conference. 
It is important also to observe developments in naval logis- 
tic organization and technique emanating from other sources 
which served to round out the naval logistic system as it de- 
veloped during the war. These developments were not con- 
fined to any part of the logistic organization. Steady progress 
in the creation of more systematic procedure and organiza- 


tion may be observed in the Navy Department, in the con- 
tinental shore establishment and finally within the Pacific 
theater itself. All contributed in some measure to the suc- 
cessful prosecution of the ever-growing task. 

In the field of planning the outstanding event was the es- 
tablishment of the Requirements Review Board. It was 
created on February 9, 1945, by direction of the Secretary to 
maintain balance "within and between Navy material and 
personnel procurement programs and to keep procurement 
levels consistent with actual needs." The Requirements Re- 
view Board was thus intended to follow along lines first laid 
down by the Summary Control Report, which it took as its 
working text. But, whereas the Summary Control Report in 
itself had been simply a repository of certain systematized 
information which could be either utilized or ignored, the 
membership of the new board now provided the channels for 
executive action through which problems raised by the re- 
port could be met. It was intended to bridge the gap between 
the stated military requirements of the Commander in Chief 
and Chief of Naval Operations and the sum of detailed plan- 
ning and procurement activity which made up the civil 
function of the Navy Department. 

The membership of the board indicates fairly clearly 
the purpose it was intended to achieve. Assistant Secretary 
Hensel, its chairman, represented the ultimate civilian au- 
thority in the Navy Department over all civil or material 
affairs, Admiral Home represented in turn the concern of 
the Chief of Naval Operations in the military aspects of 
material programs. Rear Admiral DeLany was the direct 
representative of the Commander in Chief, while Admiral 
Robinson, the Director of the Office of Procurement and 
Material, spoke for the office most directly concerned with 
the coordination of procurement activity itself. It may be 
added that together they represented the sum of authority 
in the Navy Department which was exercised over the bu- 


In seeking to maintain balance "within and between" 
procurement programs the Requirements Review Board 
achieved some success. Yet it was hampered constantly by 
doubts as to just how far it could extend the "requirements 
review" function, and specifically whether it could or should 
attempt to question the requirements set forth by the Com- 
mander in Chief. In its first meetings it was agreed that the 
board should not question the validity of stated require- 
ments, but should seek simply to determine whether cur- 
rent procurement programs would achieve the goals set 
forth. In short, the board would not review requirements, 
but would review instead the procurement programs in- 
tended to fulfill requirements. As its work progressed, how- 
ever, as the inventory program began to uncover accumu- 
lated reserves of unobligated materials, as impetus developed 
behind the roll-up of rear bases, as a review of shipping in- 
dicated that only a part of the materials being procured and 
assembled could be shipped and a study of the ammunition 
"pipeline" suggested more economical means of achieving 
the same delivery rates, there was an increasing disposition 
on the part of the board to guard not only against shortages 
and "lack of balance," but also against excessive or duplicate 
procurement which would clog the channels of distribution 
and ultimately leave the Navy with surpluses of unused and 
unusable stocks. In summary, although the Requirements 
Review Board began its work after most of the program 
goals were already fixed and procurement was well under 
way, it provided a much needed focus for over-all review and 
control within the hyphenated and atomistic structure of 
Navy Department organization. 

Distiibution Control 

In the field of distribution significant changes were also tak- 
ing place. The need for distribution control had been recog- 
nized in the assignment of this function in the Navy Depart- 
ment to the Assistant CNO for Material and in the re- 


organization of the Western Sea Frontier command. By a 
directive of November 14, 1944, the Assistant CNO had 
been charged with "authority and responsibility for the 
coordination of activities of existing Navy transportation 
agencies with those of agencies charged with the procure- 
ment, storage, assembly and distribution of material. . . ." 
The job of putting this coordination into effect fell largely 
to a small section headed by a Supply Corps officer, Com- 
mander C. Stein, acting under the direction of Captain W. 
A. Corn, the head of the Progress Section in CNO. 

It will be recalled that when this directive had been is- 
sued in November as the result of the recommendations of 
LOPU, the authority granted to the Commander Western 
Sea Frontier had been considerably broader than that given 
to the Assistant CNO for Material. To the former was given 
power to "control" logistic agencies, while the latter was 
only authorized to "coordinate." This limitation of authority 
played an important part, in the character of the work un- 
dertaken by Commander Stein and Captain Corn. They 
conceived their role as primarily that of a staff agency for 
the Chief of Naval Operations, collecting and disseminating 
information and seeking through the time-honoured meth- 
od of persuasion to achieve a better integrated effort. 

The development of synthesized information was begun 
early in 1945 as the "Material Distribution and Analysis 
Program." It sought to cover three fundamental points in 
the flow of Navy material: (1 ) "Distribution of storage and 
levels of supply within the Continental United States," (2) 
"Tidewater transshipment activities in the Continental 
United States," and (3) "Overseas bases receiving activities 
and distribution of levels of supply." Its objective was de- 
fined as "not only to gauge the efficiency of material flow 
but also to forecast the points of possible disruption and to 
supply the facts upon which the remedial action may be 
quickly taken." It thus paralleled in the field of distribution 


the work being attempted by the Requirements Review 
Board in planning and procurement. 

Beginning in January, a ''Weekly Progress Report" was 
published which attempted to give a birdseye view of all 
major distribution programs, but unfortunately it was dis- 
covered that only in the second field of study, tidewater 
transshipment activity, was the basic data sufficiently ac- 
curate, complete and susceptible to synthesis. In seeking to 
define the Navy's continental stock position, for example, 
the program was hampered first by the lack of a uniform 
system among the bureaus of cataloguing and classifying 
materials and second, by the impossibility of determining 
what portion of the Navy's continental stocks were available 
for export and what portion were obligated for continental 
use. In analyzing overseas distribution the problem was 
equally difficult. Until June 1945, when the Commander 
Service Forces Pacific, instituted a "Uniform Method of 
Monthly Stock replenishment and Stock Status Reporting," 
adequate inventories of area stocks were not available. 
Monthly logistic reports from the areas to CNO were found 
to be incomplete both in their geographical coverage and in 
the scope of their commodity classification. In many cases 
such as ammunition, where shipments were recorded in tons 
when they left the United States and in numbers of rounds 
when they arrived in the area, bureau data were found to 
offer no basis for analysis. 

Even with these limitations, however, the "Weekly Prog- 
ress Reports" on distribution provided a vastly improved 
instrument for forecasting trouble spots and for achieving 
better coordination. They more than justified the premise 
of the analysis program that the key to the problem of more 
efficient logistic administration was information. 

In many other respects this section under the Assistant 
CNO for Material played an important role. Once the deci- 
sion had been made to form the Material Distribution Com- 
mittee, it was Captain Corn and his junior officers who laid 


out its program, gathered much of the data, and painstak- 
ingly guided its deliberations. As the analysis program was 
developed, moreover, it was instrumental in securing the 
improvement of many of the basic reports which had previ- 
ously been deficient. It served also as an important point of 
liaison between the Office of Naval Operations and the 
Commander Western Sea Frontier, and finally it became 
gradually an important source of information and advice on 
matters of distribution for the Vice Chief of Naval Opera- 
tions and for the Navy Department as a whole. 

Despite the very real measure of progress made in the 
Navy Department during these months, it was overshad- 
owed by the reforms undertaken by the new Commander 
Western Sea Frontier. The West Coast was not only the 
major transshipment area for support of the Pacific; it was 
also strategically located with respect both to the flow of 
information from the theater and to the flow of cargo from 
various sources within the United States. With so great a 
preponderance of support being delivered through the Pa- 
cific Coast region it was inevitable that the regional authority 
should enjoy a controlling position in many ways paramount 
to that of the central command in the Office of Naval Opera- 
tions. This tendency was fortified by the terms of authority 
and the seniority of rank of Admiral Ingersoll. 

At a meeting in the Navy Department in November, just 
before he assumed his new duties, Admiral Ingersoll had 
summed up his mission as one of expediting the flow of sup- 
port through the West Coast to the Pacific. He viewed the 
coastal activity as primarily a transshipment or export task, 
but called attention also to the need for controlling the in- 
flow of requisitions if control of the flow-back of material was 
to be achieved. His organization was mainly concerned, 
therefore, with the collection of information on actual and 
possible levels of activity, with coordination of activity, and 
with the establishment of such over-all controls as had hither- 
to been lacking. 


During the early months of 1945, after his initial surveys 
had been completed, Admiral IngersolFs original concept 
was elaborated into a three-point logistic program. His first 
task was to formulate as accurate and detailed a picture of 
export requirements as possible in the form of a program of 
"Planned Employment of West Coast Ports." Secondly, he 
must govern the activities of supply depots and other logis- 
tic agencies backing up the ports so that they would in fact 
support the planned export activity of each port. Lastly, he 
must control the receipt of requisitions from various areas 
and fleet commands and forward them to the depot best 
suited to fill them in accordance with the planned employ- 
ment program. 

The planned employment was worked out largely on the 
basis of the survey of West Coast port capacity which had 
been furnished to the Material Distribution Committee. Its 
objective was two-fold; first, to raise the capacity of each in- 
dividual port to its highest possible level, and second, to in- 
crease the capacity of the Coast as a whole by a better dis- 
tribution of work load among the various ports. In particular, 
it was necessary to direct a greater portion of the flow of 
cargo to ports other than those in the San Francisco Bay 

Gearing the various supply and other back-up activities to 
the planned employment of ports proved to be a more com- 
plex and difficult job, for not only were the elements more 
numerous and diverse; the problem also involved coopera- 
tion with the bureaus and offices in the Navy Department as 
well as the coordination of the field agencies themselves. 
The task involved also a multitude of separate projects all 
carried forward within a single general framework. A survey 
of housing facilities was undertaken as the basis for a better 
distribution and utilization of available West Coast labor. 
Increased storage facilities were secured either from com- 
mercial sources or by the construction of large new naval 
facilities such as the Rough and Ready Island project in 


California. The increased flow of construction or functional 
component materials was handled through a new advance 
base depot at Tacoma and by diversion of shipments to Los 
Angeles from the older advance base depot at Port Hue- 
neme. New facilities for stocking and shipping refrigerated 
provisions were pressed into service in Seattle; general stores 
were shipped increasingly in the wholesale BBB lots from 
Astoria. In June, the Commander Western Sea Frontier took 
over from the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts the routing 
and control of all railroad traffic into and within the Western 
Sea Frontier. This step was protested vigorously by both the 
bureau and the Naval Transportation Service, but was up- 
held by Admiral Ingersoll on the grounds that it was es- 
sential to his planned employment program. 

The Requisition Control Unit was slower to go into opera- 
tion, partly because of doubt as to just how it should operate 
and partly because of the increasing stringency of personnel. 
By July 1, however, it had begun operation and by the first 
of August it was processing requisitions for general supply, 
ships spares, ordnance and medical materials. Its operations 
came too late to have any great effect upon the conduct of 
the war, but it was, nevertheless, an important step in the 
development of the Navy's logistic procedure. 

The success of the Western Sea Frontier logistic program 
may be seen in the increased levels of activity on the Coast 
up to the conclusion of the war. Total overseas shipments, 
excluding aircraft, rose from an average of 960,000 measure- 
ments tons per month, from October 1944 to April 1945, 
to an average of 1,230,000 tons per month during the period 
of May through July— a 25 per cent over-all increase. This 
rate was only 10 per cent below the maximum planned em- 
ployment of West Coast facilities expected to be reached 
during the last quarter of 1945 and the first quarter of 1946. 
San Francisco and Port Hueneme continued to bear the 
brunt of naval material shipments, but as over-all coastal 
shipments expanded, most of the increase was taken up by 


other ports. The San Francisco percentage of total shipments 
dropped from 65 per cent during the first quarter of 1945 
to approximately 45 per cent during the second quarter. 

The movement of personnel kept pace with the move- 
ment of material. During the second quarter of 1945 an 
average of 60,000 naval personnel per month were shipped 
to the Pacific, an increase of 10,000 per month over the pe- 
riod from October through April. During this same period 
an average of 44,000 persons per month returned to West 
Coast ports, 1 5 per cent of whom were casualties. Through- 
out the period from November 1944 to the end of the war 
the Western Sea Frontier contained some 15 per cent of 
the entire naval population, more than two-thirds of whom 
were in a transient status. 

On the whole, the success with which the West Coast 
handled its increased workload up until the end of the war 
would appear to justify the assumption that it would have 
continued to bear the load planned for it by the Material 
Distribution Committee and the Army-Navy Conference. 
It is noteworthy, however, that during this period the ratio 
between West Coast and East Coast shipments did not 
reach that of 68-32 prescribed by the Material Distribution 
Committee. From October 1944 through July 1945, 75 per 
cent of naval material shipments to the Pacific went from 
the West Coast. Until the West Coast ceiling was reached, 
it might be expected that increased shipments would be 
made from there. The "Weekly Progress Reports" of CNO 
indicate, moreover, that during this period adequate banks 
of cargo were being maintained at East and Gulf Coast ports 
to meet the availability of vessels. But it is impossible to 
say on the basis of present evidence that when the time came 
the necessary diversions tc the East Coast would have been 
achieved as successfully as was the planned capacity of the 
West Coast. 

The continued emphasis upon utilizing West Coast facili- 
ties was the result of more than the obvious logic of ship- 


ping from the point nearest the theater. Since the beginning 
of the war the tendency toward regional dominance over 
the central command had been noticeable. It had tended to 
perpetuate itself by the skillful manner in which delegated 
or assumed authority was exercised, first by such officers as 
the Regional Shipping Director, Captain Davis, and later on 
a much broader basis by Admiral Ingersoll. His assumption 
from the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts of control of rail- 
road traffic, a function which more than any other might ap- 
pear to require undivided and centralized administration, is 
illustrative of the ever-present tendency toward geographical 
decentralization in the Navy's logistic organization. 

Shipping in the Pacific Theater 

Within the Pacific theater problems of logistics were closely 
interwoven with the changes in command relationships an- 
nounced in April. In particular, the vital issue of shipping 
control, which had been left in abeyance by the Army-Navy 
Conference, was affected by the new arrangement. 

On June 5, Admiral King submitted a memorandum to 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff in which he recommended the 
creation of a joint agency for the coordination of shipping 
within the Pacific. A proposed draft of a message to the 
Theater Commanders accompanied his memorandum, but 
no action was ever taken by the Joint Chiefs of Staff upon 
this recommendation. 

Meanwhile, in the Pacific theater itself, staff conferences 
were being held at Guam from June 1-3, 1945, between rep- 
resentatives of General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz, 
which culminated in an agreement on the "Preparation, Ini- 
tiation and Coordination of Operation Olympic/' The ar- 
rangements were broad in scope, covering a variety of mat- 
ters of command responsibility, communications and logis- 
tics. From the point of view of logistics the most significant 
part of the agreement was the attempt to resolve the issue 
of shipping control which had thus far failed of solution 


either by the Army-Navy Conference or by the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff. 

While the agreement reached at Guam was limited to the 
control of shipping for Olympic, and while it contained no 
specific provisions abrogating the CincPoa system within 
the Pacific Ocean Areas, it did reflect substantially the Army 
views on Pacific shipping control. Each commander would 
be responsible for the procurement and operation of logistic 
support shipping for the forces under his control wherever 
the ports of destination were to be operated exclusively by 
one service or another. In common ports in the operational 
areas port operations and the movement of ships forward to 
the ports would be under varying degrees of control by the 
Army. Shipping movements would be regulated through the 
medium of two regulating stations, at Ulithi and Okinawa, 
from which vessels would be called forward as conditions 
within the ports permitted. 

The system of regulating stations, if properly adminis- 
tered, would provide insurance against congestion of ships 
in forward area harbors. It offered no guarantee, however, 
that the regulating station would not itself become con- 
gested and thus a point at which tonnage was wasted. Nor 
did it offer that close correlation between shipping move- 
ments and other factors such as supply levels, base construc- 
tion programs and garrison movements which had been de- 
veloped under the CincPoa Garrison shipping system. The 
system, in other words, resembled more the loosely con- 
structed procedure which had operated in the Southwest 
Pacific Command than the closely integrated system which 
had been worked out under CincPoa. The great virtue of 
the Garrison shipping procedure, however difficult it may 
have been to work, was that in a single schedule it supplied 
controls for both supply and shipping. That desirable fea- 
ture appears to have been lost in this arrangement. 

No final judgment should be passed upon this system, 
however, without a careful and detailed analysis of its rela- 


tion to the Army system of supply and logistic control. Such 
an analysis is impossible here. It must also be kept in mind 
that Army shipments to the Pacific projected in the report 
of the Army-Navy Conference were in an approximate ratio 
of 3-2 to projected Navy shipments. A large portion of naval 
shipments was destined for Guam, moreover, and would not 
be seriously affected by the system of regulating stations and 
unified control. While the plan may not have been entirely 
congenial to Navy procedures, and while it did contain cer- 
tain provisions which were potential sources of confusion, 
there can be no question but that the Army's interest in this 
issue, if not overriding, was at least paramount. 

Perhaps the most difficult problem experienced during 
this period was that of maintaining area receiving capacity at 
a level commensurate with the outloading capacity of estab- 
lished United States ports and with shipping and supply 
schedules. The most serious trouble spots during the con- 
cluding months of the war were the Philippines, Guam, and 
Okinawa. In the Philippines, Manila presented the greatest 
problem, largely because of the over-optimistic estimates of 
how soon the harbor might be cleared and piers restored, 
and also because of the impossibility of meeting all General 
MacArthur's requirements for self-discharging craft with 
which to roll up materials from the South and Southwest 
Pacific. The condition at Guam was inherited from the later 
months of 1944. Early in May, however, some improvement 
could be noted. Although shipments to Guam in April were 
150,000 long tons as compared with a monthly average of 
81,000 during the previous three months, discharging capac- 
ity jumped sharply from 50,000 to 70,000 long tons per 
week, and the situation began gradually to come under con- 
trol. At no time until the end of the war was the congestion 
in Guam completely abated, but it was gradually whittled 
down to more manageable proportions. 

Okinawa suffered from many of the difficulties which had 
characterized port congestion in the Pacific. The hope of 


employing even the meager port facilities at Naha was not 
immediately realized, and it was necessary to use points to 
the north, where coral heads seriously hampered port opera- 
tions. The decision to develop air facilities on Okinawa far 
beyond anything anticipated meant much heavier shipments 
of base construction units and other functional components. 
Garrison schedules were in a constant state of flux. Naval 
storage facilities on the island were slow in development, 
with the result that stock levels had to be kept lower and 
echelon intervals shortened in order to maintain the required 
rate of delivery. Correlation between United States ship- 
ments to Okinawa and movements from within the theater 
was difficult to achieve, particularly after April, when the 
command status of the Ryukyus became uncertain. During 
June, for example, shipments from the United States under 
approved garrison schedules monopolized 93 per cent of 
Okinawa's discharging capacity, leaving only a few thousand 
tons per day for material originating within the theater. 


The monopolizing of harbor capacity by United States ship- 
ments was one of the principal difficulties encountered in 
attempting to roll up base facilities from rear to forward 
areas. Both services had developed elaborate base facilities 
in the South and Southwest Pacific which were gradually 
falling into disuse as the combat area was pushed closer and 
closer toward Japan. Until the beginning of 1945 the un- 
certainty of strategic plans had retarded the development of 
roll-up plans, for logistic planners could not be certain of 
just how much support would be required for the operating 
forces from established bases like Espiritu Santo. As strategic 
plans became firmer during the early months of 1945, the 
necessity for rolling up rear bases became acute, particularly 
since the presence of base equipment in the rear areas tied 
down much needed personnel required to maintain it. 
In February, the Sub Chief of Naval Operations, Rear 


Admiral Farber, made an extended tour of Pacific bases in 
order to survey the possibilities of speeding up the roll-up 
program. He found that extensive roll-up had already been 
carried out from the South Pacific, comprising one hundred 
and forty components or organized units and including some 
56,000 personnel and 1,750,000 measurement tons of ma- 
terial. He found about 35,000 personnel and 2,000,000 meas- 
urement tons of material which he believed might profitably 
be moved forward or returned to the United States for fur- 
ther disposal. Despite the obvious savings in shipping space 
to be gained by shipping to the Central Pacific from this 
nearer point, there was considerable opposition both in the 
Navy Department and in the theater to a wholesale and un- 
selective roll-up. Area Commanders were sceptical of the 
quality of rolled-up components and equipment and pre- 
ferred as a ruleio allot scarce port capacity to new shipments 
from the United States. Officers concerned with problems of 
continental distribution were more interested in maintain- 
ing a constant flow of goods through normal "pipelines." 
The Naval Transportation Service favored the roll-up of ma- 
terials but opposed any return of goods to the United States 
on the grounds that unloading on the West Coast would 
hamper the export operations of its ports. Ultimately most 
of the personnel and about one-quarter of the materials ear- 
marked by Admiral Farber were rolled forward and a smaller 
portion was returned to the United States. The problem of 
the South Pacific roll-up illustrates very clearly, however, 
the nature of the logistic job in the Pacific. The logic of roll- 
ing forward rear bases was impeccable. In the case of per- 
sonnel its urgency could not be denied. But to set up a cross 
current against the normal flow of supply and support proved 
to be extremely difficult, if not impracticable. Much of the 
usable material was in fact moved forward. The rest re- 
mained in the South Pacific to be locally disposed of or to 
stand as a monument to the unsparing waste of war and the 
greater importance of time over cost. 


The concluding months of the war saw deploy- 
ment in the Pacific of the greatest naval force and 
the most extensive system of logistic support in 
the history of warfare. By mid-August 1945, 
ninety per cent of the United States naval forces 
of submarine size or larger were concentrated in the Pacific, 
totalling 1,137 com bat vessels, 14,847 combat aircraft, 2,783 
large landing craft and many thousands of smaller landing 
craft. To support this tremendous force over 400 advance 
bases, large and small, had been established. At advance bases 
and anchorages 152 floating dry docks of varying dimensions 
were in operation. Hundreds of vessels of the Pacific Fleet 
Service Squadrons plied between the United States and ad- 
vance bases and between bases and ships providing direct 
support to the fleet. Supplementing these vessels nearly a 
million deadweight tons of WSA-controlled shipping was 
allocated to the Navy to carry forward the necessary supplies 
and materials. Through all the "pipelines" of supply 600,000 
long tons per month were being shipped from the United 
States for the support of naval operating forces and for the 
preparation of coming operations. 

The magnitude of this operation bears witness to the re- 
markable expansion and development of the Navy's logistic 
system. Physically this vast structure of support was as spec- 
tacular and impressive as the naval striking forces which it 
so tirelessly maintained. Throughout the vast reaches of the 
Pacific, American forces had carried on unremitting war- 
fare on jungle island and coral atoll against distance, disease, 
time and the primitive emptiness of an ocean waste. The 
success of their labors was now manifest in the teeming ac- 
tivity, ashore and afloat, and in the din of industry that rose 
above the islands of the Pacific. Within the circle of the bay 


lay auxiliary vessels of a hundred descriptions from the lowly 
"honeybarge" to the mighty dry dock, floating uncon- 
cernedly with a battleship in its lap. Along the shores there 
sprawled the new cities of the Pacific. Long lines of trucks 
pounded the coral roads between pier and warehouse. Ma- 
chine shops hummed. Bulldozers beat back the tangled 
growth, plowed out revetments for aircraft, levelled the 
roads and landing fields. Above all, the Navy's skilled crafts- 
men, trained in every essential trade, brought to these out- 
posts the remarkable ingenuity and mechanical talent of 
America. Across thousands of miles there had been trans- 
ported these tools and working populations; across the same 
distances there continued to flow the supplies, spare parts 
and replacements required to maintain them. 

How many turns of the screw, how many strokes of the 
hammer, how many weary hours of separation from home 
this all entailed is not the business of this history to record. 
This product of sweat and toil, without which victory in the 
Pacific would have been impossible, was the result of the 
individual efforts of men, and there will be, we may hope, a 
literature to preserve and recall it. This study of naval ad- 
ministration, however, is the biography of a system. It seeks 
to explain how the separate actions of many men and the 
products of their toil were given direction toward the 
achievement of certain defined ends. For behind this vast 
structure of support, giving it form and direction, there was 
necessarily planning and purpose. 

Plans and systems are also the product of the separate ac- 
tions of individual men, and in the last analysis it is the per- 
sonalities and talents of men which determine the success or 
failure of any system. But an undertaking on such a scale 
as this transcends the bounds of any single mind; it must 
perforce be the product of many minds acting together and 
forming a kind of composite, directing intelligence. And it 
is in the manner in which that composite intelligence re- 
sponds to the problems at hand that the system is defined. 


The Navy's logistic system was a kind of palimpsest— the 
product of gradual, almost reluctant, accommodation to the 
most urgent dictates of the war. Anyone who observed its 
evolution during the war, comparing the things that needed 
to be done and the things that were done, must often have 
been discouraged by the perdurable nature of faulty adminis- 
trative practices. He must have wondered from day to day 
how any system of administration, apparently so deficient, 
could claim responsibility for the extraordinary accomplish- 
ment which unfolded before his eyes. In retrospect how- 
ever, he is compelled to acknowledge that progress in the 
administration of logistics during the war was considerable. 

The problem of administration with which we have been 
concerned was that of providing military direction to the 
variegated economic activity essential to the conduct of mod- 
ern war. As we have seen, logistics may be divided into three 
principal parts— planning or the definition of requirements, 
procurement, and distribution— each of which impinges 
closely upon the others. 

In theory it is the plan which provides the beginning and 
the pattern for all other activity, but in fact as the war dem- 
onstrated, there could be no fixed pattern of logistic activity. 
The plan itself was often the product of the circumstances 
to which it was intended to apply. 

Logistic requirements must be determined in the light 
of strategic aims, and for that purpose logistic planners must 
have firm guidance and accurate information as to strategic 
plans. Yet for almost half the war logistic planners lacked the 
information essential to their task. Not until late in 1943, 
for example, was the Director of the Logistic Plans Division 
in CNO given access to the "Top-Secret" dispatch board 
of the Commander in Chief. The Overall Logistic Plan first 
promulgated in the autumn of 1944 provided a partial rem- 
edy for this condition, but it, too, was circumscribed by the 
complex of security. 

Another persistent weakness of the logistic planning per- 


formed under the Chief of Naval Operations was its lack of 
comprehensiveness. The Navy entered the war with no clear 
understanding of the function of logistic planning and with 
even less organization to perform it. Strategic and logistic 
planning were for some time mixed together to the detri- 
ment of both. Much of the high-level planning passed by de- 
fault to the bureaus, the implementing agencies whose pro- 
grams, set in motion without adequate reference to each 
other, were ultimately to determine the character of the 
Navy's logistic effort. With the organization of a Logistic 
Plans Division in December 1942, the function of logistic 
planning received a certain identity of its own. But at no 
time during the war did the Logistic Plans Division assume 
responsibility for planning all major logistic programs. With- 
out a comprehensive plan including all the major elements 
entering into logistic support it was impossible for the Chief 
of Naval Operations to provide the pattern for balanced pro- 
grams of procurement and distribution. 

During the latter half of the war logistic planning was con- 
cerned primarily with the definition of requirements for re- 
plenishment or maintenance. Maintenance requirements are 
dependent upon a host of factors such as the material already 
on hand and in the "pipelines," the rates of consumption, 
the necessary margin of reserve and the distribution of 
stocks. For this kind of planning the central agency was de- 
pendent upon information which could be secured only 
from the bureaus and field agencies. Its efforts were directed, 
therefore, toward securing the necessary synthesis of infor- 
mation by which it could keep under review the bureau pro- 
grams of procurement and distribution and deduct from its 
estimated requirements the inventories already on hand. To- 
ward this end the Summary Control Report, the Inventory 
Control Program, and finally the Requirements Review 
Board contributed. But logistic planning was only to a cer- 
tain extent the controlling factor over material programs. 
Throughout the war it had to remain flexible enough not 


only to absorb the shock of changes in strategic plan, but 
also to adapt itself to the imperatives of the material pro- 
grams themselves. Apart from the advance base program, 
which from the beginning was the special responsibility of 
the Chief of Naval Operations, the most that could be 
accomplished in logistic planning during the war was gen- 
eral guidance by the Chief of Naval Operations over the pro- 
grams of the bureaus and a kind of crystal-gazing guesswork 
as to the prospective outline of the strategic situation. Given 
our surplus of resources and the remarkable productivity of 
our industrial system, this much planning proved to be ade- 
quate for the needs of the war. 

Even without comprehensive planning, procurement pro- 
grams could be set in motion. Bureaus had the necessary au- 
thority and funds to procure, and only in occasional cases 
could they be accused of setting their sights too low. When 
the logistic problem shifted, however, from one of procure- 
ment to one of distribution, the Navy's lack of centralized 
logistic control became a matter of greater importance. 

The problem of distribution may be summarized briefly. 
From the close of 1943 the volume of goods flowing to the 
Pacific tended to exceed the capacity of the established chan- 
nels of transport and distribution. With the exception, how- 
ever, of shipping and discharging capacity at the ports of des- 
tination there was unused capacity which could have been 
utilized had the Navy possessed greater flexibility in its con- 
tinental system of distribution. The reorganization of the 
Western Sea Frontier Command late in 1944 paved the way 
for a fuller utilization of West Coast export capacity, but 
the larger problem of distributing the work load more ef- 
ficiently throughout the United States as a whole persisted 
without a true solution. 

Early in 1945 the Material Distribution Committee pro- 
vided a stopgap, ad hoc solution. For the first time during 
the war all the agencies responsible for naval distribution 
were gathered together and all the elements involved in the 


task were reviewed as a single problem. The committee 
made no changes in the basic procedures of distribution. Its 
work was substantive rather than procedural. But because 
the end of the war was now in sight and the remaining logis- 
tic task could be brought within limits and defined in sub- 
stantive terms, the committee was able to draw up for the 
remainder of the war a general logistic operating plan based 
upon the approved strategic plan. 

Under the revised pattern of continental distribution the 
Commander Western Sea Frontier was able during the re- 
maining months to deal successfully with the planned in- 
creases in the West Coast's export load. Whether or not the 
Navy Department, lacking adequate central control and in- 
formation, could have successfully diverted the remaining in- 
crement to other continental outlets can be only a matter of 
conjecture. It is quite possible that once the final operations 
had got under way the West Coast would have been 
swamped once again by a flow of goods above its planned 
capacity which the Navy Department was powerless to con- 

The administration of shipping was one of the major lo- 
gistic tasks of the war. During the first year the principal 
problem was the development of a system of over-all alloca- 
tion and control which would satisfy military requirements 
and at the same time take into account the larger issues 
raised by non-military and Allied demands for tonnage. The 
working balance of authority which ultimately developed 
between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration was a cumbersome compromise, but it did re- 
sult on the whole in a fair and proper distribution of tonnage 
to meet all the essential demands of the war. 

Within this general system the principal difficulty in the 
military administration of shipping was that of maintaining 
control over the movements of vessels in order to secure ex- 
peditious turnaround and avoid idle and wasted tonnage. 
This, too, involved the question of central control. Since 


ships moved in response to the demands for material and 
supplies, the root of the problem lay in the need for material 
control. As we have seen, the Garrison shipping procedure 
developed under CincPoa established the necessary correla- 
tion between supply schedules and shipping schedules for 
initial movements into the Forward Areas. But in the larger 
volume of maintenance shipments the Navy had to rely 
upon techniques of shipping control which had too little 
reference to material control and, therefore, could be only 
partly satisfactory. 

Throughout the Navy's logistic system decentralization 
was the keynote. During the early stages of the war it allowed 
greater exercise of initiative, direct action and in some re- 
spects a higher degree of flexibility in the support of naval 
forces. After two years of war, however, decentralization had 
proceeded too far. The increased scale of the logistic effort 
in relation to the capacity of distribution facilities made it 
necessary to deal with the problem as a whole. The aims 
of timing, motion and selection, which were essential to an 
orderly flow of support, could be achieved only through an 
integrated operation. Detailed implementation of the many 
related programs must be made to correspond to a single 
policy defined at the center. 

Too frequently centralized control by the Chief of Naval 
Operations was assumed to imply centralized execution of 
policies or at least centralized approval of detailed execution. 
But in reality there was no necessity for the Navy Depart- 
ment to hobble the initiative of local commanders in order 
to achieve the degree of centralization required. Armed with 
adequate information— not the massive, detailed data of local 
agencies, but an up-to-date synthesis of all relevant infor- 
mation—the Navy Department would have been able to 
formulate realistic policy and to assure its execution. But an 
organization traditionally disinclined toward administrative 
matters, disposed to place a higher premium on deck jobs 
than on desk jobs, was understandably slow to perceive the 


necessity of a well-trained, well-staffed administrative or- 
ganization. Throughout the Navy's logistic system during 
the war there existed situations in which a few dozen desk 
workers, analyzing, synthesizing and organizing for high-level 
purposes the mass of available data, might have saved the 
labors of many times their number of deck workers. They 
would have provided the means for coherent and informed 
management control which were all too frequently lacking. 
With better information Navy Department policy could 
have been more often the mold of circumstance, rather than 
the victim, as it frequently was. 

The Navy's logistic system underwent during the war a 
number of important changes which on the whole kept it 
abreast of the task with which it was confronted. Certain 
phases of logistic support— notably the system of advance 
base development and the work of the "mobile base" Serv- 
ice Squadrons— represented outstanding achievements. The 
simple, amazingly versatile steel pontoon, the concept of the 
functional component and the remarkable organization of 
Sea Bees are examples of fertile imagination and organizing 
skill. Service Squadron 6, which provided the final link be- 
tween the operating force and the shore establishment, was 
similarly a product of bold imagination and enterprise. Many 
of these outstanding achievements were originally conceived 
in peacetime and carried forward during the war when funds 
and the impetus to action were provided. 

But in the basic lines of its logistic administration the in- 
heritance from peacetime practice and organization was a 
hindrance rather than a help to naval logistics. A system of 
supply and support geared to the maintenance of the fleet at 
the continental seaboard could not easily be tranformed 
into an organization for export through which the facilities 
for logistic support could be projected five thousand miles 
beyond the continental limits. A departmental organization 
traditionally dependent upon the cooperation of the bu- 
reaus could not at once be subjected to centralized military 


direction. Bureau "sovereignty" was too deeply entrenched, 
while CNO, the central agency, lacked the habit of authority 
and the organization required to exercise it. Nor could the 
rank and file of regular naval officers, traditionally disposed 
by training and temperament to avoid logistic and other ad- 
ministrative assignments, be expected to perceive at once the 
importance and nature of logistics. Logistics played a rela- 
tively small part in the operation and command of the peace- 
time Navy, and logistic assignments were quite naturally re- 
garded as the "kiss of death," the prelude to being passed 
over. Being human, the average naval officer, who stood 
ready to sacrifice his life for his country, was not willing to 
sacrifice his career. 

The problem of developing logisticians within the ranks 
of the regular Navy is part of the broader problem of all 
specialists within the naval organization, whether it be the 
engineer, the supply officer, the research scientist or the ad- 
ministrator. In this day of specialization the notion must be 
abandoned that every naval officer can be all things success- 
fully. No simple solution exists for the problem of the spe- 
cialist, but it must be obvious that a naval officer who is 
more than superficially acquainted with the problems of 
ocean transport, planning, railroad management or produc- 
tion engineering is an asset to the naval organization, and 
should be offered suitable inducements to pursue his spe- 
cialty. It will not suffice merely to make a specialist of the 
logistician, for logistics is part of the exercise of command. 
Within the present pattern of naval warfare at least the 
record of the Second World War suggests that the naval 
commander must be indoctrinated in the problems of pro- 
viding as well as of making use of the means of warfare. 

Since the conclusion of the war many steps have already 
been taken to capitalize on the logistic lessons of the war. 
The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations has been exten- 
sively revamped by executive order so as to give it in, effect 
the character of a general staff. The new organization re- 


quires only permanent statutory authority. A new naval sup- 
ply system built around major overseas supply depots, which 
seeks to resolve the problems of overseas distribution, is in 
the process of development. Cleaner lines of functional or- 
ganization should expedite the flow of essential information 
throughout the naval establishment. Logistics has also been 
included in the curriculum at various levels of naval officer 
training from the Naval Academy at Annapolis to the War 
College, and for academic purposes there is now a wealth of 
precept and experience. What is needed to make the lessons 
permanent is the most difficult thing to achieve in any 
peacetime military establishment— to realize by a constant 
exercise of the imagination that the logistic lessons of the 
last war will not suffice for the next. 


This study of naval logistics has been based almost entirely 
upon manuscript sources in the Navy Department, many of 
which were classified at the time they were used. Since much 
of this material will probably not be available to the general 
student for some time, footnote references have been 
omitted in this printed volume. A manuscript copy of this 
study containing complete documentation is deposited, 
however, in Widener Library, Cambridge, Mass. 


No published bibliography on naval logistics exists at the 
present time. Expansion of the United States Navy 1931- 
1939, Washington, 1939, a selected list of references com- 
piled by Grace H. Fuller, Library of Congress, provides a 
good index to Congressional Hearings and reports and other 
government documents on the Navy. During the war the 
Logistics Section of the Naval War College compiled a list 
of logistic references. The Naval Supply Officers Training 
Center at Bayonne, N.J., has developed a large library of 
logistic documents of the recent war. Appendix C to the 
Report oi the Committee to Study Post War Logistic 
Training, CNO, December 1945, also contains a useful list 
of logistic reference data. 


During the war "first draft" histories were prepared under 
the direction of the Director of Naval History for all the 
principal commands and activities of the Navy. From May 
1944 to May 1946 I was a member of the historical staff of 
the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and have made 
considerable use of the histories prepared in that office. 
The principal wartime historical studies of CNO were: 
Origins of the Office of Naval Operations, by E. E. Morison; 
Aspects of Logistic Planning, by M. P. Gilmore and J. 
Blum; The Logistics of Advance Bases, by }. Gleason; The 
Logistics of Fleet Maintenance, by W. Askew; The Control 
of Naval Logistics, by R. W. Paul; Aviation in the Office 


of Naval Operations, by L. Sorenson; and my own study of 
Shipping in Naval Logistics. These various studies deal with 
aspects of logistic administration as carried on under the 
Chief of Naval Operations and correspond to the principal 
divisions or "Op's" in that Office which had cognizance of 
logistic matters. They are based largely on the files of the 
divisions, on interviews and on personal observation by the 
respective authors. 

During the course of its work the CNO historical staff 
prepared for its own use a file of documents relating to 
logistics which is now deposited with the Office of Naval 
Records and Library (CNO). Other "first draft" histories 
prepared for the Director of Naval History which have been 
of assistance are: History oi Commander, Service Forces, 
U.S. Pacific Fleet and History of Commander, Western Sea 

departmental files and classified 


The major source of materials for this study has been the 
files of the Navy Department and in particular those of the 
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. These files include 
all the formal correspondence originated or received by 
CNO and in addition operational and logistic plans, studies 
of organization, unserialized memoranda and correspond- 
ence, minutes of meetings, conference reports, records of 
telephone conversations, dispatches, directives, routing slips, 
preliminary drafts and statistical data. Some use has also 
been made of the files of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, 
the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts (Transportation Di- 
vision), the General Board, the Headquarters of the Com- 
mander in Chief and the Joint Army-Navy Board, the 
precursor of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CNO files often con- 
tain copies of Fleet or Area Command and War Depart- 
ment plans and communications not formally routed to 

Another important source of information has been the 


files of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff and of their 
various sub-committees. In addition to certain of the JCS 
and CCS papers themselves, use has been made of the pa- 
pers of the Joint Military Transportation Committee 
(JMTC), the Joint Logistics Committee (JLC) and the 
strategic studies of the Joint Staff Planners (JSP). The 
most important source of statistical data on shipping is the 
Monthly Shipping Summary published by the War Ship- 
ping Administration. Some of the material on the origins 
of the War Shipping Administration was taken from the 
files of the Bureau of the Budget. For the first chapter the 
CNO files and the general files of the Secretary of the Navy 
in the National Archives and the Archives of the Naval 
War College, Newport, R.I., have been useful. 

As a general rule Navy Department files are retired 
periodically to the National Archives. Frequently, however, 
many important documents remain in the Navy Depart- 
ment in the working "desk" files of the various sections 
and divisions. 


As a member of the CNO historical staff I have had 
access not only to the department files but also to important 
meetings and to officers in the Navy Department. Material 
in the files has, therefore, been supplemented by personal 
interviews and direct observation. The historical section 
was attached to the immediate office of the Vice Chief of 
Naval Operations, where it performed various special, non- 
historical duties which gave to its members a better insight 
into the problems of CNO. 


Published and unclassified materials dealing with naval 
logistics are relatively few. The subject of logistics is re- 
ferred to sparsely in most of the historical literature on the 
Navy and then generally under such headings as "admin- 
istration," "material/' "bases," or "the shore establishment." 
Under the general heading of naval administration and 


organization the following have been consulted and are 
particularly useful: Selected Documents on Navy Depart- 
ment Organization 1915-1940, with prefaces by E. E. 
Morison, printed for the Navy Department, 1945. C. O. 
Paullin's series of articles on naval administration, printed 
in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (1906-1914) is an in- 
valuable source of information on naval administration and 
the shore establishment and deserves to be reprinted as a 
single volume. A. T. Mahan's two essays, "The Principles 
of Naval Administration" and "The United States Navy 
Department/' reprinted in Naval Administration and War- 
tare, Boston, 1908, are still pertinent. E. E. Morison, 
Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy, Boston, 
1942, deals at length with the history of the Moody-Mahan 
Commission of 1908. B. A. Fiske, From Midshipman to 
Rear Admiral, New York, 1919, and Josephus Daniels, The 
Wilson Era 7 Vol. I, Chapel Hill, 1944, give the pro's and 
con's on the issue of a general staff. 

On the general background of naval logistics in addition 
to the archival material mentioned above, the Annual 
Reports of the Secretary of the Navy have been consulted. 
Reports of the years 1883, 1901, 1909, 1917-1919, 1923 and 
1940 are particularly useful. Hearings before the Congres- 
sional Committees on Naval Affairs, Appropriations and 
occasionally Merchant Marine contain material on logistics. 
The hearings before the Senate Committee on Naval 
Affairs on the Hepburn Board Report of 1938, for example, 
deal with our need for advance bases. The testimony of 
Admirals Stark and Richardson before the special Pearl 
Harbor Investigating Committee throws light on the basing 
of the fleet at Pearl Harbor prior to the war. The Theodore 
Roosevelt Collection and the Allen Collection of periodical 
literature on the Navy, both in Widener Library, Cambridge, 
Mass., contain useful material on the early period. The U.S. 
Naval Institute Proceedings provide a good index to service 

Among other books consulted on the background of 


naval logistics the following have been found most useful: 
A. T. Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 
Boston, 1890; G. A. Ballard, Rulers of the Indian Ocean, 
London, 1927; Harold and Margaret Sprout, The Rise of 
American Naval Power 1776-1918, rev. ed. Princeton, 1942 
and Toward a New Order of Sea Power, Princeton, 1943; 
G. T. Davis, A Navy Second to None, New York, 1940; 
Bernard Brodie, Sea Power in the Machine Age, Princeton, 
1940; G. V. Fox, Confidential Correspondence, ed. by 
R. M. Thompson and R. Wainwright, New York, 1918- 
1919; F. M. Bennett, The Steam Navy of the United States, 
Pittsburgh, 1896; H. W. Wilson, The Downfall of Spain, 
London, 1900; F. T. Jane, Heresies of Sea Power, London, 
1906; C. C. Gill, Naval Power in the War, New York, 1918; 
H. B. Wilson, An Account of the Operations of the Ameri- 
can Navy in France during the War with Germany, 1919; 
W. D. Hines, War History of American Railroads, New 
York, 1928; Sir Arthur Salter, Allied Shipping Control, 
London: New York, 1921; C. E. Fayle, The War and the 
Shipping Industry, London, 1927, and Seaborne Trade, 
London, 1920-1924; Josephus Daniels, Our Navy at War, 
New York, 1922; The American Naval Planning Section; 
London, Navy Department, Washington, 1923; Dudley 
Knox, The Eclipse of American Sea Power, 1922; H. C. 
Bywater, Navies and Nations, London, 1927, and Sea Power 
in the Pacific, London, 1934; S. Denlinger and C. B. Gary, 
War in the Pacific, New York, 1936. 

For the period of the Second World War two invaluable 
sources of information have been U.S. Navy at War 1941- 
1945, Official Reports to the Secretary of the Navy by Fleet 
Admiral Ernest J. King, U.S.N., Navy Department, Wash- 
ington, 1946, and the report by Mr. Ferdinand Eberstadt to 
the Secretary of the Navy on unification of the services, 25 
September 1945, Senate Naval Affairs Committee Print, 
79th Congress, 1st Session. The Report of the Secretary 
(1945) contains an excellent statistical summary of logistic 
programs during the war. 


Acorn, development of, 58, 102- 

3, 111-13, 1 7 1 > 1 74- 
Admiralty Islands, invasion of, 

17 1 * 1 74- 
Advance Base Assembly Depot, 

Canal Zone, 63; Davisville, 64, 

76, 124; Port Hueneme, 124, 


Aeronautics, Bureau of, 62, 115. 

Archer, T. P., 185. 

Archer-Wolf Report, naval or- 
ganization, 185-8, 190, 194, 
199, 262. 

Army, 22, 24, 66-70, 112, 119, 
122, 124; distribution system 
in Pacific, 265; holding and re- 
consignment points, 264; in- 
creased Pacific shipments, 252; 
Services of Supply, 125-7; 
Transport Service, 76, 79. See 
also Joint Army-Navy Logis- 

Arthur Middleton, S.S., 69. 

Atlantic Theater, strategic out- 
look, 44-5. 

Automatic Supply, 174. 

Auxiliary Vessels Board, 139, 

Badger, O. C, Rear Admiral, 
no, 125-6, 136, 141-3, 147, 
149, 181, 183, 195. 

Bakenhus, R. E., Captain, 30-1. 

Base Aircraft Service Unit 
(BASU), 114. 

Base Force, 78, 80, 95-7, 99; 
Subordinate Command, 96-7. 
See also Service Forces. 

Bases, advance, 11-12, 35, 42-4, 

57-9, 60-76, 102-3, 1 i - 10 ^ 161- 

2, 265, 287; Admiralty Islands, 

171; Alaska, 26, 42, 61, 162; 

Atlantic, 44-5; Auckland, N.Z., 

71, 73-4, 98; Bora-Bora, 66- 
71, 75; British and French in 
India, 9-10; Canal Zone, 28, 
42; Canton, 40, 153; Cavite, 
16, 18, 39; Civil War, 11; 
comments of Mahan, 11; de- 
velopment, 174-5; Efate, 71- 
3> 7> 1 SV equipment, 64-5; 
Espiritu Santo, 111, 133, 153, 
162; Fiji Islands, 71, 75; func- 
tional component, 113-16; 
Guam, 19, 27, 29, 38-9, 60; 
Guantanamo, 14; Johnston, 
40, 42, 61; Key West, 14; 
Leyte-Samar, 252, 260; Manila, 
284; Manus, 167, 260; Mari- 
anas Islands, 260, 284; Mid- 
way, 27, 40, 42, 61, 153; 
mobile, 16, 33, see also Service 
Forces; Noumea, 71, 73-4, 
112, 118, 123, 133, 152, 162; 
Okinawa, 260, 284-5, as ship- 
ping regulating station, 283; 
Olangapo, 16, 19, 39; Pacific, 
19, 26-8, 40-4, 60-2, 66-76; 
Palmyra, 40, 42, 61, 153; 
Pearl Harbor, 16, 18-20, 26, 
28, 36-7, 39, 42, 61, 97, 133- 
4, 152, 156, 162, 260; plans 
and programs, 57-8; Samoa, 
12, 27, 40, 42, 71-3, 75; San 
Juan, P.R., 16, 61; South 
Pacific, 110-16; Tonga tabu, 71- 
3, 75; Tulagi, 153; Ulithi, as 
shipping regulating station, 
283; Wake, 27, 38, 61; World 
War I, 21, 23-4. 

Basic Boxed Base (BBB) Load, 
224-5, 2 3 2 > 2 &°- 

Basic Logistical Plan, 128-31, 

134^ 1 5 1 ' 2 > x 54> 1 57' 8 ^ 26 9; 
for Central and South Pacific, 

1 54- 

"Bobcat," see Bases; Bora-Bora. 

Bonin Islands, 167. 

Booz, Allen and Hamilton, Re- 
port on Naval Organization, 
106-10, 120, 136, 190, 194. 

Bowman, M. C, Captain, 98. 

Bridgeport, U.S.S., 23. 

Budget, Bureau of, 83; Survey of 
Logistic Administration, 182, 
190, 244. 

Building Programs (1916-1918), 
22-3, 25. 

Bulge, Battle of, 248. 

Bureau "system," 47-9, 163-5. 

Byrd, R. E., Rear Admiral, 111- 

Byrnes, J. F., Director of War 
Mobilization, 266. 

Bywater, Hector, Navies and Na- 
tions, 41. 

Calhoun, W. L., Vice Admiral, 


Carrier Aircraft Service Unit, 
(CASU), 114. 

Caroline Islands, 154. 

Cary, R. W., Captain, 115-16. 

Cederberg, C. W., Report on In- 
ventory Control, 199. 

Challenger, H. L., Captain, 183, 

Chandler, W. E., Secretary of 
Navy, 13; report of 1883, 12. 

Chief of Naval Logistics, pro- 
posal for, 139-41. 

Chief of Naval Operations, 32; 
Assistant CNO Maintenance, 
108-10, 138; Assistant CNO, 
Material, 160-1, 212-13, 21 5> 
223, 275-8; Base Maintenance 
Division, 68, 107, 113, 130, 
213, 230-3; creation of, 20-1, 
32; Deputy CNO, Air, 137-8, 
188-9; information, 74, 91, 
108-10, 141-4, 194-7, 2 93'4; 

INDEX 303 

Logistics Plans Division, 107- 
10, 138, 141-4, 149, 160, 182- 
3, 188, 201-3, 289-90; organi- 
zation, 104-10, 135-44, 1 6°" 
5, 182-9, see also Booz Report; 
relations to bureaus, 47-8, 74, 
137, 149-50, 165, 182-3; rela- 
tion to Cominch, 49-51, 59, 
104-8, 136; sources of weak- 
ness, 47-9; supply control, 74. 

Civil War, logistics, 11-12. 

Clausewitz, on conduct of war, 


Coaling stations, see Bases. 

Colliers, 18. 

Combined Chiefs of StaE, 84, 
153; Overall Shipping Review, 

Combined Shipping Adjustment 
Board, 119, 249. 

Command, Pacific, 94-5, 266-9. 

Commander in Chief, Pacific 
Ocean Areas (CincPoa), 151- 
2, 174; creation of, 94; logistic 
organization, 155-9, 2 ^7; sm P~ 
ping, 227, 233-9, 2 5 6 > 26 9'73- 

Commander in Chief, Southwest 
Pacific, 95. 

Commander in Chief, U.S. 
Fleet, 59, 1 30; combined with 
CNO, 51; creation, 49-50; 
relation to CNO, 49-51, 59, 
104-8, 136. 

Commander, South Pacific, 73, 


Commander, Western Sea Fron- 
tier, 213-15, 276, 291-2; 
planned employment program, 

Construction Battalions, 33, 65- 
7, 72, 114, 174. 

Cooke, C. M., Vice Admiral, 

Coontz, R. E., Admiral, 34. 

Corn, W. A., Captain, 276-7. 

304 INDEX 

Coronet, operation, 252, 273. 

Creamer, J. F., Report on In- 
ventory Control, 199. 

Cruiser and Transport Force, 22, 

Cubs, see Lions and Cubs. 

Cunningham, A. C, Civil Engi- 
neer, 13, 16. 

D'Ach6, Admiral, 9. 

Daniels, Josephus, Secretary of 

Navy, 21, 26. 
Davis, M. C, Commodore, 80- 

2, 146, 219, 232, 282. 
DeLany, W. S., Rear Admiral, 

Denfeld, L. E., Vice Admiral, 


Dewey, George, Admiral, 13-14. 
Dinger, H. C, Lieutenant, 16, 

. 1 9- 
Distribution, 102, 166, 205-8; 

continental, 217-25; control 

of, 74, 91, 133, 275-82, 291-2. 
District Craft Development 

Board, 139. 
Dixie, U.S.S., 23. 
Douglas, Lewis, Deputy War 

Shipping Administrator, 89. 
Dry docks, 16, 61, 162, 287. 

Eberstadt, Ferdinand, 52. 
Eniwetok, invasion of, 170. 
Evans, R. D., Rear Admiral, 17. 

Farber, W. S., Vice Admiral, 
58, 105, 108, 143, 150, 178, 
195, 285-6. 

Fayle, C. E., 205. 

Fiske, B. A., Rear Admiral, 21, 

3 2 - 
Flanigan, H. A., Rear Admiral, 


Forrestal, J. V., Secretary of 

Navy, 200. 

Franklin, W. S., Plan for ship- 
ping reorganization, 119-20, 

Functional Component, 113-16. 
See also Bases. 

"Galapagos units," 62, 64. 
Garrison shipping procedure, 

- i74-5> 2 337> 28 3> 2 93- See 
also Shipping. 

Geiselman, A. O., Captain, 190. 

General Board, 21, 32, 51, 62. 

Germany, 3, 248-9. 

Gerow, Lieutenant General, 67. 

Ghormley, R. L., Vice Admiral, 
73, 112. 

Gilbert Islands, invasion of, 1 59, 
167, 169. 

Great Britain, 44, 56; merchant 
marine, 77, munitions crisis 
(1915), 3; Overall Shipping 
Review, 249-50; United King- 
dom bases, 63-6, 74; United 
Kingdom Import Program, 

Greenslade, }. W., Vice Admiral, 
62, 210, 216, 231. 

Guam, see Bases, Marianas. 

Guam Conference, 282-4. 

Halsey, W. F., Fleet Admiral, 

Helm Commission, 26. 
Hensel, H. S., Assistant Secretary 

of Navy, 187-8, 274. 
Hepburn, A. J., Admiral, 147; 

board, 60-2. 
Herbert, H. A., Secretary of 

Navy, 13. 
Hopkins, Harry, 83, 84. 
Home, F. J., Admiral, 99-100, 

105, 108, 121, 125, 137-9, 

165, 182, 188, 191, 216, 232, 

Huntington, E. S., 64. 

Indiana, U.S.S., 13. 

Ingersoll, R. E., Admiral, 213-15, 

263, 278-82. 
Inventory, control of, 197-203, 

290; Pacific, 253. 
Iris, U.S.S., 15. 
Irish, }. M., Rear Admiral, 199- 

201, 203. 
Iwo Jima, attack on, 168. 

Japan, 17, 26-7; position at be- 
ginning of war, 38. 

"Joint Action," 77, 86. 

Joint Army-Navy Board, 19, 62, 

Joint Army-Navy Logistics, 66- 
72, 76-80, 86-7, 94-5, 152-6, 
254; Basic Logistical Plan, 
123-31; General Purchasing 
Board, 98; Joint Logistical 
Plan, 99-100, 123-31; Joint 
Purchasing Board, 98, 100; 
Shipping and Supply Confer- 
ence, 255, 262-73; Southwest 
Pacific, 267. 

Joint Army-Navy War Plans, 
76-7, 79. 

Joint Chiefs of Staff, 132, 153, 
168-9, 1 7 1 > 2 54> directive on 
Pacific command, 267-9; ship- 
ping, 84-5, 120, 228-30, 239- 
43, 282, 292. 

Joint Committee for Ship Opera- 
tion, 120, 146, 208, 219, 227. 

Joint Logistic Board, 1 54-9. 

Joint Military Transportation 
Committee, review of port fa- 
cilities, 218-19; shipping allo- 
cations, 227-8. 

Joint Purchasing Board, 119. 

Kimmel, H. E., Admiral, 36. 
King, E. J., Fleet Admiral, 50-1, 

INDEX 305 

58, 67, 105, 128, 135-7, 139, 
146, 148-9, 155, 157, 183-4, 
188-90, 196, 199, 238, 282. 

Knox, D. W., Commodore, 28. 

Knox, Frank, Secretary of Navy, 
137, 139, 141, 148-9, 185, 

Land, E. S., Vice Admiral, 83-4. 

Landing craft, 56-7. 

Law, Richard, mission to U.S., 

Laycock, J. N., Commander, 64-5. 
Leahy, W. D., Fleet Admiral, 

Lend-Lease, 2, 63, 66, 77, 91. 
Leyte, invasion of, 167, 170-1. 
Lions and Cubs, 58, 102-4, 111- 

13, 115-16. 
Logistic Planning, 2, 31-4, 54-9, 

76, 102, 104-10, 126, 138-9, 

153-4, 1 7 1 - 2 > ^T^y l8l '93> 
289-91; Overall Logistic Plan, 
185, 189-94, 196-7, 203, 253, 

Logistic requirements, mainte- 
nance, 177-80; operational, 

Logistics, administration of, 7; 
Civil War, 11-12; definition 
of, 1-7, 47; lessons of World 
War II, 287-96; Spanish- 
American War, 13-15; World 
War I, 20-5. 

Logistics Organization Planning 
Unit (LOPU), established, 
183; mission, 184; projects, 
185, 196, 199, 210-14, 22 4> 
232, 262; report on West 
Coast logistic organization, 

Luce Commission, 13. 

Luzon, landings on, 168. 

Long, J. D., Secretary of Navy, 


306 INDEX 

Mahan, Alfred Thayer, 13, 19; 
The Influence oi Sea Power 
upon History, 4; on Nelson's 
logistics, 9; on new warships, 
10; on World Cruise, 17-18; 
strategic doctrines, 11; speech 
to War College, 11. 

Malta Conference, 249-50. 

Manila, capture of, 13-14. 

Marianas Islands, invasion of, 
167, 169, 171, 235; effects on 
continental distribution, 216. 

Marshall, G. C, General, 83, 
86-7, 128, 155. 

Marshall Islands, 33-4; invasion 
of, 154, 167, 169; effects on 
continental distribution, 216- 

Master Plan for Maximum Ship 

Construction, 56, 58. 
Material Distribution Commit- 
tee, 255-63, 273, 281, 291-2; 

agenda, 257-8; report, 259-63. 
Melville, U.S.S., 23. 
Meyer, G. VonL., Secretary of 

Navy, 21. 
Mobile support, 127, 175-7; see 

also Bases. 
Mooney, J. D., Captain, 183, 

185, 196. 
MacArthur, Douglas, General, 

94-5, 98, 167, 171, 255, 267- 

8, 282, 284. 
McCain, J. S., Vice Admiral, 


McCormick, L. D., Rear Ad- 
miral, 232. 

McKean, J. S., Rear Admiral, 20, 

McMorris, C. H., Vice Admiral, 

Naval Districts, 95, 161; organ- 
ization, 144-8. 

Naval Overseas Transportation 
Service, World War I, 24-5. 

Naval Transportation Service, 74, 
78-80, 110, 120-3, 1 3°> 1 ^i, 
211, 218, 233, 238, 255, 280; 
at outbreak of war, 78-82; 
Bora-Bora, 68-9; functions, 89- 
90; planning, 74, 90, 92, 121, 
209; port directors, 237-9; P re " 
war, 35; priorities plan, 231; 
roll-up, 286; weakness, 74, 

Naval War College, 11, 20-1, 
30-1, 34, 37, 170. 

Navigation, Bureau of, 161. 

Navy Department, organization, 
12, 21, 32, 45-54, 102, 135- 
41, 160-5, !8i-8, 201-3, 2 45- 

Navy Inventory Control Office, 

Navy Storage Control Commit- 
tee, 223-4. 

Nelson, Horatio, Admiral, 9. 

"New Navy," 10. 

Nimitz, C. W., Fleet Admiral, 
94-5, 154, 159, 238, 267-8, 

Office of Defense Transporta- 
tion, 91, 221. 

Office of Procurement and Ma- 
terial, 53, 135-6, 198-9. 

Office of Production Manage- 
ment, 52. 

Okinawa, invasion of, 167-8. 

Olympic, operation, 252, 273; 
Guam agreement, 282-4. 

Ordnance, Bureau of, 110. 

Pacific Coast Coordinator of 
Naval Logistics (PACORN- 
ALOG), 210-11, 218. 

Pacific Theater, strategic out- 
look, 1941-42, 38, 44. 

Palau Islands, invasion of, 167, 

170-1, 174. 
Pearl Harbor, attack on, 38-40. 
Personnel, Bureau of, 78. 
Pichalinqui, 12. 
Pihl, P. E., Commodore, 183, 

Planning, 29-33, 49'5^ 54'9> 

104-10, 170-2; Requirements 

Review Board, 273-5; War 

Plans Division, 33. See also 

Logistic Planning, War Plans. 
Pocock, Admiral, 9. 
Port Activity, 118, 217-20, 226- 

7, 258-60, 284-5; West Coast, 

264-5, 2 79- 
Port Directors, 80-1, 121-3, T 4^ 

Pacific, 237-9; San Francisco, 

76, 209, 211, 217. 
Porter, David, Admiral, 13. 
Progress review, 194-7. 
Prometheus, U.S.S., 23. 
Purnell, W. R., Rear Admiral, 

182, 257. 

Quebec Conference, 154, 159. 

Rabaul, 172. 

Railroad transport, 91-3. See also 
Supplies and Accounts. 

Rainbow, U.S.S., 15. 

Reinicke, F. G., Commodore, 

Remey Commission, 15-16. 

Requirements Review Board, 
187-8,^ 197, 273-5, 2 9°- 

Requisitions, 224-5. 

Richardson, J. O., Admiral, 36. 

Robeson, G. M., Secretary of 
Navy, 12. 

Robinson, S. M., Admiral, 274. 

Rodman Board, 28. 

Roll-up, 265, 284-8; Army, 266. 

Romer, A. C, Report on In- 
ventory Control, 199. 

INDEX 307 

Roosevelt, F. D., President, on 
defense of Canal Zone, 62; on 
naval organization, 51, 135-7, 

141, 148, 158, 210; on ship- 
ping, 83-4, 119-20, 241. 

Roosevelt, T. R., President, 16- 

1 7- 
Ross, T. H., Commander, 237-9. 

Russia, 44. 

Service Forces, 90, 99, 129, 134, 
146, 161, 287; inventory, 277; 
Service Squadron 4, 162, 176; 
Service Squadron 6, 176-7, 
265, 294; Service Squadron 
10, 17, 176-7, 265; Subordi- 
nate Command, 99, 209, 
212; supply plan, 99. 

Shipping, 76-90, 103, 117-24, 

142, 161, 255; Activities Re- 
port, 243; administration, 82- 
90, 103, 118-23, 292; alloca- 
tions, 86, 88-90; as factor in 
distribution, 206; control, 100, 
225-43, 253, 292-3, coordina- 
tion in Pacific, 269-73, 2 & 2 ~ 
5; Port Activities Report, 243; 
position, 103, 117-18, 249-50; 
priorities, 229-33; require- 
ments, 77, 117, 170, 257-8, 
264, 266; retentions, 228-9, 
239-40; Strategic Shipping 
Board, 83; World War I, 

Ships, Bureau of, 56, no, 115, 

Sims, W. S., Admiral, 6, 24, 32. 

Smith, W. W., Vice Admiral, 

Snyder, C. P., Admiral, 187. 
Somervell, L. B., General, 89, 

99, 125. 
South Pacific, 42-4; by-passes 

Pearl Harbor, 97-8; joint lo- 

308 INDEX 

gistic plan, 99-100; Service 

Squadron, 98-9. 
Spanish American War, logistics, 

Stark, H. R., Admiral, 36, 50, 

60, 83, 86. 
Steam Engineering, Bureau of, 

Stein, Charles, Commander, 

Storage, 221-4. 
Strategy, at outbreak of war, 38- 


Styer, W. D., Lieutenant Gen- 
eral, 125, 263. 

Suffren, Admiral, 9. 

Summary Control Report, 196- 
7, 200, 203, 253, 290. 

Supplies and Accounts, Bureau 
of, 110, 146, 164, 212-13; con " 
tinental distribution, 74, 217- 
19, 257; inventory control, 200, 
203; plan for logistic coordina- 
tion, 213; priorities, 231; rail- 
roads, 91, 161, 212, 220-1, 
280; requisitions, 224-5; sm P" 
ping, 259; storage, 222-4; 
transportation, 78-9, 90-1. 

Supply control, 74, 91-3. 

Taffinder, S. A., Vice Admiral, 

Task Force 38 and 58, 168, 171. 
Taylor, H. C, Rear Admiral, 21. 
Toal, C, Captain, 219, 232. 
Tracy, B. F., Secretary of Navy, 

Transportation, 205-8; admin- 
istration, 161; rail, 91-2; ship- 
ping, 76-90. See also Rail- 
roads, Shipping, Distribution. 

Truk, 171-2. 

Turner, R. K., Vice Admiral, 57, 


Under Secretary of Navy, crea- 
tion of, 52. 

U.S. Maritime Commission, 35, 
68, 80-3. 

U.S. Shipping Board, 22. 

Vice Chief of Naval Operations, 

51, 105-6, 148-50. 
Vinson, Fred, Director of War 

Mobilization, 266. 
Vulcan, U.S.S., 15. 

War Plans, 33-4, 37, 76, 81, 
114-15, 246. 

War Shipping Administration, 
83-90, 92, 103, 117-20, 122, 
125-6, 171, 208-9, 21 ^> 2 4°> 
256, 292. 

Washington Treaties, 27-8. 

West Coast, logistic organiza- 
tion, 145-6, 185, 208-15, 2 SV 
reforms of Commander, West- 
ern Sea Frontier, 278-82. 
See also Naval Districts, 

Willard Board, 28. 

Wolf, George, 185. See also 
Archer-Wolf Report. 

World War I, logistics, 20-5. 

Wright, C. H., Rear Admiral, 
147-8, 157. 

Yards and Docks, Bureau of, 23, 

63-4, 68, 110, 115, 145, 157; 

advance base procurement, 64; 

appropriations for, 15, 61. 
Yeomans, R. W., Commander,