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Source: Historical Section. Bureau of Naval Personnel. "The Logistics of Advance Bases." (Washington, DC: 1947). [This manuscript, identified as United States Naval Administrative History of World War II #21, is located in the Navy Department Library's Rare Book Room.] 

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The Logistics of Advance Bases

The Base Maintenance Division
OP-30 [OP-415]

Chapter I
The Character of the Problem

Mobility in an immovable object. A logistic paradox epitomizes the brilliant achievement represented by the Advance Bases of the United States Navy in World War II. It was manifest at the outbreak of war that new bases were an imperative element in the expansion of the Naval Establishment. They were an indispensable foundation for attack, since the centers of German and Japanese power lay far beyond the range of effective operations based upon facilities in secure American control. Early victory required rapid construction. For bases, as for planes and ships, speed implied mass production. Methods must be devised for the manufacture of identical parts, for their integration by the techniques of an assembly line. If the dispersal, interchange and reassembly of component elements could also be attained, bases, hitherto anchored to the ground, would possess a high degree of mobility. This logistic miracle was not born fully grown.

The greater part of the interval between the two World Wars was a period of arrested development for the United States Navy. Its progressive evolution was severely circumscribed both by the prevailing temper of American opinion and by international agreement. The substantial triumph of isolationist sentiment in 1920 reinforced, in effect, a widespread wishful belief that for an indefinite future


time the prosperity and security of the nation could not be threatened by external danger. The Washington Treaties of 1922 decreed a holiday in the construction of capital ships and a perpetuation of the status quo with regard to military and naval bases in the Pacific. There was as little disposition in Congress, and in the general public, to question our agreement not to extend our base facilities in the Pacific as to regret the holiday in the building of battleships. Hence, the Navy was not granted and, indeed, made no great effort to secure the authority or the financial resources to extend still further the increase in power, in relation to other navies, which had been achieved since the beginning of the century.

Until 1936, the Congress was reluctant to appropriate the funds for even the establishment permitted by the Washington Treaties. The tonnage of underage ships fell below Treaty levels, Shore facilities were allowed to deteriorate. For example, storage buildings of temporary construction built in 1918 at the Norfolk Navy Yard were still in use twenty years later, although economy in upkeep and operation dictated replacement by permanent structures.1 Even estimates for proposed dredging at Pearl Harbor were annually subject to a most critical examination by a subcommittee of the House of Representatives. Thus, the conditions under which the Navy operated between 1920 and

1. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, First Session of the Seventy-fifth Congress, on the Naval Appropriation Bill 1938, pp. 602-3.


1935 dictated a methodical perpetuation of existing facilities and administrative methods. There was small opportunity for the discovery and elaboration of logistic techniques which, in consequence, had later to be improvised in the emergency of total war.

Yet some measure of experience, if not of well integrated organizational training, was gained in the expansion of the naval establishment which began in 1936. An account of the program of ship construction appears elsewhere. Of present concern is the increase of shore facilities, within and beyond the Continental United States, which necessarily paralleled it. The mounting responsibilities of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, which, as the Public Works Agency of the Navy Department, was ordinarily charged with the construction of new facilities is readily shown by the raid rise in its appropriations.

      $    7,189,000.

The growth of the work supervised by the Bureau of Yards and Docks, which is shown in the foregoing table of appropriations reflects in particular the recommendations made by a special board appointed by the Secretary of the Navy in June 1938, of which Rear Admiral Arthur J. Hepburn was the Senior Member. The precept of the Board, which included Rear Admiral Edward J. Marquart, Capts. James S. Woods, Arthur L. Bristol, Jr., Ralph Whitman, C.E.C. and Lt. Comdr. William E. Hilbert (recorder) as well as the Senior Member, directed it "to investigate and report upon the need, for the purpose of


national defense, for the establishment of additional submarine, destroyer, mine, and naval air bases on the Coasts of the United States, its Territories, and Possessions." It made the first comprehensive study of the base facilities of the Navy since that of the Rodman Board in 1923. Its report recommended an extensive increase in base facilities, particularly those for the operation of airplanes. The sites selected were scattered along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific Coasts of the United States, but included also the Canal Zone, the Caribbean, and the Pacific island possessions of the country. The report divided the increased facilities which it recommended into categories: A, for earliest completion; and B, for later completion, and then selected certain items in the Hawaiian Islands, on Wake, Guam, Johnston, and Palmyra Islands in the Pacific area, at Kodiak and Sitka in Alaska, at San Juan, in Puerto Rico, and at Pensacola in Florida, "because of their immediate strategic importance as being necessary of accomplishment at the earliest practicable date and without regard to (other) expansion...."2 The recommendations of the Hepburn Board were adopted by the Navy Department and, with some modifications, accepted by the Congress. In the spring of 1939, the Secretary of the Navy was authorized to begin the construction of most of the facilities in category A and some of those of category B. These authorizations largely explain the great increase in the

2. Report on need of additional Naval Bases to defend the coasts of the United States, its territories and possessions, 76th Congress, 1st session, House of Representatives, Document No. 65; quotations, pp. 37, 36.


appropriations for Public Works for the fiscal year 1940. In short, contemporaneously with the outbreak of war in Europe, the Bureau of Yards and Docks began the most rapid increase in base facilities in the history of the Navy. This was the first of several elements in the story of Advance Bases which, while not entirely fortuitous, turned out to possess more important and more fortunate consequences than could have been foreseen.

Several of the new bases were situated within the continental United States. In no sense may they be considered as advanced, and their construction was an essentially routine proceeding. The bases on the Pacific islands, however, were advance, from the point of view of both their geographic situation and the constructional problems which they presented.3 The lie of the land at Wake, Johnston, and Palmyra was very much like that which was later to be encountered on other Pacific atolls on which Advance Bases, in the full connotation of the term, were constructed in 1942 and 1943. Many important facilities were lacking - a well-developed harbor with a protected deep water anchorage, docks, roads, human habitation, local labor supply, potable water in quantity, fresh food, electric power; in brief, much of the physical basis of life in the United

3. It may be suggested in passing that the whole strategic picture in the Pacific, and perhaps the story of the war, might have been altered had the Congress accepted the recommendation of the Hepburn Board for "the establishment of a fully equipped fleet base at Guam, capable of maintaining at least the major part of the fleet in all types." It is now evident that there was not time "that a first-class naval base be prepared in Apra Harbor," (Report on need of additional Naval Bases... p. 28), but the story of the defense of Wake Island by the garrison of a relatively minor base invites an interesting speculation in the realm of might have been.


States was unavailable. These deficiencies greatly augmented the difficulties of constructing a naval shore activity of any sort. An exceptionally farsighted observer might have discerned the hazy outlines of problems which had later to be solved all over the Pacific, often in the face of the enemy.

The implementation of the Hepburn Report did, however, generate certain by-products of great importance for the logistics of Advance Bases. For example, the genesis of the Construction Battalion lay in the problems encountered in the employment of civilian labor in the construction of pre-war bases. Likewise, in order to carry out the prescribed program, the Navy made demands upon the nation's industrial plant which stimulated the production of some of the matériel necessary to equip any base, at home or abroad. Hence, initial steps had been taken ad some limited experience gained which later facilitated the design and the production in quantity of articles not yet part of the standard output of American industry. There can be little doubt that the difficulties of waging war against Japan would have been measurably greater had the construction of bases in outlying areas not begun before the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Chapter II
Galapagos Units

The Hepburn Report got the Navy "into production" on bases. This expansion, however, was almost entirely of facilities of conventional design, not of a mobile type adapted to the war which impended. The germ of mobility must be sought elsewhere, in the special problem of defending the Panama Canal on the Pacific side.

Toward the Atlantic, the Canal is shielded by a string of islands far to the East. The Hepburn Report allowed for the simple strategic fact, and its recommendation for the development of facilities at Guantanamo, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Coco Solo were explicitly influenced by it. The failure of the report to treat of the defense of the Canal from the West certainly reflects the different political and geographic situation. In the Pacific, not only did the United States not possess sites for air bases, either on American soil as at San Juan and St. Thomas, or on territory in which adequate rights were secured by treaty, as at Guantanamo Bay, but the very ground from which such bases could be built hardly existed. In lieu of the chain of islands which extends from Cuba to Trinidad, there are only the islets of Cocos and the Galapagos group; the one controlled by Costa Rica and the other by Ecuador. In neither had the United States any rights, and the acquisition of such privileges, at least in time of peace, was impeded by jealous Latin suspicion of Yankee imperialism. There was no apparent means to provide for the Canal on the Pacific


side protection equivalent to that on the Atlantic.

While this vital problem could not be examined in such a public analysis of the defense needs of the United States and the Hepburn Report, equally it could not be ignored in the war plans of the Army and Navy. For the planners, in CNO and ComFIFTEEN, for example, the question was not so much the selecting of the best adapted sites for air bases, as it was the development of a means of getting bases into operation in very short order. Mobility was the desideratum.

A solution to the problem of adequate defense of the Canal from the Pacific sprang from the principal roots. Early in 1940, at the request of President Roosevelt, who had just returned from a cruise in the Panama area, both the General Board of the Navy and the Army Navy Joint Board studied the subject and reached the conclusion that preparations must be made for the operation of constant air patrols over a wide area to the west of Panama. Specifically, they suggested that patrol squadrons of seaplanes, supported partly by tenders and partly by shore facilities, be based near Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean coast, in the Galapagos, and in the Gulf of Fonseca in Nicaragua, with minor facilities on Cocos Island for use in emergencies. The Galapagos, it was held, were the key to the situation. Every effort should be made to secure the necessary right and construct essential installations there. At the very least, their use by an enemy must be prevented.1

1. Gen Bd. conf ser 1939, 22 Mar 1940; Joint Bd. conf ser 652, approved by SecNav 23 May 1940.


Meanwhile, non-military agencies had become interested in the Galapagos. A proposed Pan-American convention for the preservation of wild life, which might develop strategic or military implications as a by-product, was under consideration by the State Department. A reserve officer on inactive duty, who was, however, a graduate of the Naval Academy, Lieutenant Commander Paul. F. Foster, secured, early in 1940 from the private owners, an option to lease Albermarle Island, the principal member of the Galapagos group, the purposes of commercial exploitation. Foster, whose chief, though concealed, interest was military, attempted to obtain a Federal subsidy for the dummy corporation which he established after approval of his ostensible project had been given by the government of Ecuador. In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy designed to enlist the support of the Department, Foster avowed his primary motivation, enclosed a detailed report on the islands, and explained his scheme for the conversion to military use, if expedient, of the radio station, landing field, and port facilities necessary for the commercial disguise worn by this United States penetration of the Galapagos. The War Plans Division prepared for the Chief of Naval Operations an endorsement to Foster's letter, in which it was recommended to the Secretary that the proposition be rejected, largely because the best site for a base in the Galapagos was not on Albermarle Island. Nevertheless, at President Roosevelt's wish, Foster was granted the assistance which he desired, although the Navy endeavored to keep to a minimum the installations which the government financed.2

2. Conf memo for apt. R.E. Schuirmann (Op-13) from Selden Chapin (State Dept), 17 Apr 1940; Lt Cdr Paul F. Foster to SecNav, 17 Mar 1941; 2nd End, CNO to SecNav, conf ser 033012, 7 Apr 1941; conf memo Op-12 to CNO, 7 May 1941; conf memo, Capt Schuirmann to Adm Stark, 18 June 1941.


Further explanation of the Navy's apparent lack of interest in Albermarle Island derives from the measure it had already taken to achieve Foster's and the President's basic purpose. On 1 June 1940, CNO, acting promptly on the recommendations of the General and Joint Boards for air patrols west of the Canal, requested BuAer to complete the necessary plans and to guide the other Bureaus in procuring equipment which would be assembled in the Canal Zone. In compliance, BuAer compiled a detailed list of the material which would be required at the Galapagos, Guayaquil, Fonseca and Cocos. The necessary funds were available from an appropriation of $10,000,000 for "Reserve Materials, Navy," included in the First Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act, 1941, as well as from other sources. Procurement got underway.3

"Reserve Materials, Navy" is thus a second root from which some measure of mobility grew. As a part of the precautionary measures which the planning officers of both the Army and the Navy initiated in the mid-1930's, the Navy Department obtained the inclusion in the Appropriation Act for fiscal 1938 of an item of $3,506,000 for the purchase of "strategic and critical materials." As first conceived, this action envisaged the creation of a stockpile of materials, chiefly metallic ores, which did not exist in substantial quantity in the United States, did not deteriorate in storage, and were essential in time of war. The purpose of the appropriation was to create the stockpile. The materials were not to be used in time of peace unless they

3. Conf ltr CNO to Bureaus, ser 05113, 1 June 1940; conf ltr BuAer to Bureaus and MarCorps, ser Aer-PL-2-VGM, 19 June 1940.


were immediately replaced. Later in 1937, there were formulated plans for the accumulation over a period of six years of a "reserve of Munitions" with a total value of $22,000,000, which included all materials difficult of procurement on short notice but essential to mobilization for a maximum effort. The Appropriation Act for fiscal 1939, however, allowed expenditure for three types of reserve material only: gun ammunition, chemical warfare items, and strategic raw materials, to a total value of approximately $1,750,000. The administration of this appropriation and responsibility for the storage of reserves required under it, was entrusted by the Congress and SecNav to BuS&A. In July 1938, this Bureau suggested the establishment of a revolving fund which it should administer under the supervision of CNO and SecNav. This proposal was endorsed by the Chief of the War Procurement Planning Section of Op-23 [Fleet Maintenance Division], and in the Spring of 1939, Congress adopted in the Appropriation Act for fiscal 1940 substantially the phraseology suggested by BuS&A. The Act provided that, in order to minimize depreciation and obsolescence, such material as were currently needed should be taken from the reserve, their value charged against the proper appropriation, the Reserve Account reimbursed and the reserve material or its equivalent replaced. Thus the principal that the Navy should accumulate ready reserves of material was established.4

4. Conf ltr, CNO to SecNav, ser 4229, 1 May 1938; conf ltrs, CNO to Bureaus, ser 4247, 18 May 1938, ser 4769, 4 May 1938; conf ltr, BuS&A to CNO, 6 July 1938; conf memo for CNO, Op-23-M-WS, 27 July 1938; conf ltr, SecNav to Bureaus and Offices, 19 June 1939.


The quantity and the handling of these reserves still presented difficulties. As part of well-considered six year program, the Navy had asked, for fiscal 1940, for $3,545,000. Congress appropriated approximately $750,000. For 1941, CNO proposed $6,379,000. In the Autumn of 1939, the budget officer and the Bureau of the Budget jointly eliminated the item altogether, both from the regular appropriation for 1941 and form the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act for 1940. This action was taken at a moment when Op0-23, which at that time had cognizance over much procurement, estimated that the total deficiency in Reserve Material, Navy was $66,715,000.5

Unlike the stockpiles of strategic minerals, the reserve materials now being procured required special storage. The provision of such warehousing introduced another phase of the developing history of Advance Bases. In estimating the total cost of the six year program, CNO included approximately $20,000,000 to be allocated to BuDocks for the construction fo storage facilities. Soon after the initial steps had been taken to assemble in the Canal Zone equipment for air bases, BuDocks proposed that a special Advance Base Depot be established there ,where the machinery would be kept in good working order, since in dead storage it would rapidly become inoperable. This significant suggestion was later put into effect as a part of a program of comparably greater scope which was just getting under way.6

5. Conf ltr, SecNav to BuS&A, ser 5143, 20 Dec 1038; conf memo, Dir Op-23 [Fleet Maintenance Division] to CNO, Op-23-M-VS, 26 Oct 1939; conf memo, Dir Op-23 to Navy Dept. Budget Officer, Op-23-M-1-VS, 28 Nov 1939; conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 6377, 20 Dec 1939.

6. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus and MarCorps, w3r4 5938, 2 Apr 1939; conf ltr, BuDocks to CNO, ser 1131, 30 July 1940; conf ltr, CNO to Com5, 6, 12, 15, ser 0102723, 26 Nov 1940; conf ltr, Com15 to CNO, ser 07-12,3, Oct 1940.


Once the procurement of equipment for the air bases in and near the Galapagos was started, plans for its use were pushed forward. Surveys of the proposed sites were made and detailed war plans compiled. This process was nearly complete, and much of the requisite gear assembled, at the time when Lieutenant Commander Foster's scheme was considered by the Secretary of the Navy. In essence, the Navy's lack of interest derived from the fact that it had already made preparations to move in and initiate independently immediate operations on a considerably greater scale than Foster's facilities would allow.7

In some degree, the program for air bases for the defense of the Canal was a consequence of the German successes in western Europe in the Spring of 1940. Certainly those triumphs explain the Supplemental Defense Appropriation Act which financed it. likewise the most obvious strategic peril of the United States lay to the East, not to the West. The report of the Joint Board which initiated the foregoing preparations for the defense of the Canal noted the uncovered gap between the coast of South America and the extreme range of patrol operations bed on Porto Rico and suggested the desirability of an air base in or near Trinidad. Additional bases for the protection of the Atlantic approaches to the United States were a matter of anxious study in the Summer of 1940. The "Destroyer-Bases" agreement with the United Kingdom provided their sites in generous measure. Immediately following

7. Conf ltr, CNO to BuShips, BuDocks, BuSandA, BuAer, Com15, ser 064723, 7 Aug 1940; sec ltr, Com15 to CNO, ser 241, 20 Aug 1940; sec ltr, Com15 to CNO, ser 0460-12, 5 Mar 1941; conf memo, Op-12 [War Plans Division] to Op-30 [Naval Districts Division], ser 028012, 15 Mar 1941; conf ltr, NO to Com15, ser 038912, 12 Apr 1941.


the conclusion of the agreement, Rear Admiral J.W. Greenslade, USN, President of the General Board, was appointed senior member of a board which was to confer with a British "Board of Experts" on the exact location of the new bases. Admiral Greenslade and his board, which included officers of the Army and Marine Corps as well as of the Navy, made prompt visits to the proposed sites. They submitted detailed reports on each and also participated in the preparation of a comprehensive survey of the defensive requirements of the country, comparable to the Report of the Hepburn Board. Of the many recommended new shore facilities, those at Newfoundland, at Argentia, in Bermuda, and in Trinidad, were deemed, for immediate strategic reasons, to deserve priority. All three actually became more important for the operation of ships than of planes.8

The procurement of some of the necessary shore facilities had already been initiated. On 9 August 1940, the Director of the War Plans Division, Captain R.S. Crenshaw, addressed to the Chief of Naval Operations a confidential memorandum which invited attention to the serious lack of equipment for advance bases for the Fleet. It recommended that immediate steps be taken to procure the materials required for the current war plans. Specifically suggested were light indicator nets, anti-submarine indicator buoys, anti-motorboat buoys, and equipment for patrol plane bases. This last, it was stated, was

8. Conf ltr, SecNav to Rear Adm J.K. Greenslade, 3 Sep 1940; conf ltr SecNav to Dist. List, (SC) NN/A1-1, 6 Jan 1941.


the most important. The memorandum assumed the establishment of five secondary air bases similar to that contemplated for the Galapagos and two main bases of double size. It enclosed a draft of the letter which was, in fact, sent to the Bureaus over Admiral Stark's signature on 15 August. The list of equipment compiled by BuAer for the proposed base in Galapagos, which has already been mentioned, indicated the amount and the character of the materials required.9

CNO's confidential letter of 16 August 1940 dealing with "Assembly of Material for Advanced Bases" was a significant document. It requested the Bureaus, using as guide the BuAer list for the Galapagos, to procure and to assemble the materials for similar bases. Thus it created "Galapagos Units" - the term soon had a recognized meaning - and provided for the accumulation of nine of them.10

The program of "Galapagos Units" inaugurated a new and important phase in the history of Advance Bases. Although the amount and the value of the equipment which it envisaged was small in comparison with the schedules of later years, the expenditure of at least $10,000,000 on advance base materials in some few months meant that the Navy was going :into production," perhaps not on a mass scale, but at least in wholesale quantities. Moreover, the procurement was a provision for future contingencies not for specific bases. Hence, the materials followed standard rather than individual specification; hence,

9. Conf memo for CNO, Dp-12B-2-McC, 9 Aug 1940.

10. Conf ltr, CNO to Burs less Med and Nav, ser 027112, 15 Aug 1940; conf ltr, BuDocks to CNO, ser 1161, 26 Aug 1940; conf ltr, BuAer to CNO, NA 10/FF 11-1/NP, 17 Jul 1940.


once procured, they were put into storage - this had also to be provided - rather than being installed. In essence, there were created ready units designed to perform a particular function wherever and whenever needed. This was the as yet unrecognized embryo of the functional component which was the backbone of the wartime advance bases.

Perhaps the dimensions of the "Galapagos Units" program are best illustrated by the amount of storage space required. Early in October, CNO requested the Shore Development Board to select sites for warehouses with approximately 1,000,000 square feet of space at Charleston, South Carolina and in the San Francisco Bay region. Approximately half the material was to be stored in each place. In late November, Advance Base Depots - the term is important - were established in the Sixth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Naval Districts. They were separate activities under the Commandants and were charged with keeping the materials in storage ready for instant use.11

Two further items complete the Galapagos phase of the Advance Base story. In March 1941, CNO enclosed a progress report on the "Galapagos Units" in a letter to CinCLant and CinCPac which outlined the steps taken and authorized the addressees to withdraw a limited amount of the material for test purposes and for training.

11. Conf ltr, CNO to Shore Development Bd, ser 088723, 8 Oct 1940; conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus less Med and Nav, Com 5, 6, 12, 12 Oct 1940; conf ltr, CNO to Com 5, 6, 12, 15, ser 0102723, 26 Nov 1940.


Most of it would be ready by 1 June. In May, CinCUS instructed the Commander, Base Force to carry out a practice exercise.12

In the Galapagos Program, there can be discerned from the vantage point of hindsight the origin of many of the important elements in the wartime Advance Base story - quantity procurement of standardized units, assembly in ready state at specialized depots, advance base training, a small measure of mobility. Some vital elements were lacking - special headquarters organization and special personnel, a high degree of mobility, techniques for the dissemination of necessary information and for the control of a complex machine. The development of the absent elements, recognition of fact and the value of those which had inadvertently been discovered, and the integration of the two proved to be protracted processes.

12. Conf ltr, CNO to CinCLant and CinCPac ser 091222, 15 Mar 1941; conf ltr, CinCUS to ComBaseFor, ser 0765m 12 Mat 1841.


Chapter III
United Kingdom Bases


Four bases constructed in the United Kingdom in 1941 proved to be the nuclear core of subsequent Advance Base development. In origin separate from the programs already discussed, those Trans-Atlantic bases seemingly possessed a magnetic quality which attracted both the earlier base preparations and many other elements of the Navy's total activity. From a natural amalgamation grew the organization which was destined to direct the procurement, distribution, and construction of several hundred shore facilities in all parts of the world.

By the early months of 1941, the need for the rapid provision of operating bases in the United Kingdom became apparent Both the state of the war in Europe and the temper of American opinion dictated action. Great Britain had survived the attack of the Luftwaffe, and a successful German invasion appeared to be unlikely. Nevertheless, the U-boat assault on British shipping was becoming steadily more serious. Meanwhile, in the United States, the election of 1940 had shown that the nation, which still anxious to escape outright hostilities, was not ready to accept a German victory. The enactment in March 1941, not without opposition, of the Lend-Lease Bill put an end to the pretense of neutrality. The United States was vitally interested in the Battle of the Atlantic. If the "Arsenal of Democracy" were to fulfill its acknowledged task, the delivery of munitions was as important as their production. In brief, increased American participation in


anti-submarine activities appeared to be necessary, and full entry into the war against Germany probable.

Under these circumstances, an Anglo-American conference of military staffs was a natural procedure. The conversations took place in January 1941. From them emerged an agreement on broad strategy and on allocation of tasks. One of the accepted plans assigned to the United States Navy joint responsibility for the protection of the North Atlantic supply line. Implementation of this decision got under way immediately.

Two basic elements necessary for the execution of the undertaking were the preparation of appropriate naval forces and the provision of bases for their operation. The creation in the Atlantic Fleet, at the end of February, of Support Force, under the command of Rear Admiral A.L. Bristol, put the former requirement in line of completion. This Task Force consisted initially of a destroyer flotilla of three squadrons and a patrol wing of four squadrons, plus auxiliaries. Its training and the drawing of its operating plans were essentially routine tasks.1

The second phase of the broad program, the erection of operating bases, was initially a more complicated matter. The first stop toward its solution was a visit to the United Kingdom in February by Captain Louis E. Denfeld, Chief of Staff of Commander, Support Force, Commander K.B. Bragg, C.E.C., and Lieutenant Commander S.H. Ingersoll. Captain Denfeld was instructed to inspect and to report upon


1. See memos, Op-12 to Op-16, ser 052212, 26 Dec 1940; Op-12 to CNO, Op-12-4-drc, 10 Feb 1941; see ltrs, CNO to BuNav, ser 02738, 21 Feb 1941; CNO to Bureaus and Offices, ser 016923, 24 Feb 1941.


likely sites for two destroyer and two seaplane bases. His comprehensive survey resulted in a recommendation that the destroyer bases be established at Londonderry in Northern Ireland and at Gareloch in the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow, Scotland and the air bases in Loch Erne, near Londonderry and in Loch Ryan at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde. After completing preliminary arrangements with the Admiralty and the British government, Captain Denfeld and his associates returned to the United States in March. Denfeld assumed his new duties with the Support Force, of which the establishment of its prospective operating facilities was a large part.2

The approval of the Lend-Lease Bill on 11 March had, meanwhile, given to the President and the Navy Department legal authority with which the proposed base facilities might be clothed. CNO sent to the Bureaus a series of directives which set in motion the establishment of the United Kingdom Bases.

The secret letter of 21 March on the subject of the preparation of Advance Patrol Plane Bases and Mobile Aviation Repair Units explained the urgency for the contemplated shore facilities under the assumption that the United States would enter the war. If the United States remained technically at peace the facilities would be turned over to the British under the terms of the Lend-Lease Act. As a consequence, it was desired that the Bureaus assemble in Atlantic Coast Ports the matériel needed for two operating bases for four patrol plane squadrons or forty-eight planes at each. It was to be assumed for purposes of planning that one base would be established on an inland


2. Conf ltrs, CNO to BuNav, ser 0128416, 18 Feb 1941, 0128216, 20 Feb 1941, 01461916, 18 Mar 1941; sec memo for CNO from ComSportFor, Op-12 - ALB/hjw, 9 Apr 1941; sec memos for Capt. Denfeld, 18, 20 Mar 1941; sec ltr, CNO to Specnavo, London, ser 01010, 5 April 1941; sec ltrs, Specnavo, London to CNO, ser 0043, 0045, 28, 30 Apr 1941.


lake (Loch Erne) and one on the seacoast (Loch Ryan). There followed a brief, general statement of the required facilities. The Bureaus were requested to assemble materials for overhauls and repairs, to organize and assign to the Support Forces a Mobile Aviation Repair Unit, roughly comparable to those on the repair ships, Medusa and Vestal, and to assign to the Staff of the Commander, Support Force, with additional duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, an officer to coordinate the work, who would be qualified to command one base. It was directed that so far as possible material be drawn from that on order, and that formal contracts for the remainder be deferred until the provisions of the Lend-Lease Bill became effective. Finally, it was stated that the strictest secrecy must be maintained.3

The urgency of the whole project was so great that the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations requested from the Priorities Committee of the Army-Navy Munitions Board the highest priority, AA. This request was denied chiefly because it was believed that a lower priority, A-1-A, which was assigned, would give to many, and perhaps all, items the highest priority as yet in effect. The Board indicated that AA priority would be accorded individual cases should it prove to be necessary.4

Subsequent letters augmented the program. On 2 April, a clarifying directive explained that there had been leased at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, a large tract of land on


3. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 030912, 21 Mar 1941.

4. Sec ltrs, CNO to Priorities Committee and Priorities Committee to CNO, ser 032123, 26 March 1941, 114.4-18-C-10 HGS/tmn, 2 Apr 1941.


which storehouses were being erected rapidly with easy access to rail and highway transportation and to extensive piers. A contract had been awarded by the Bureau of Yards and Docks to "George A. Fuller Company, Merrit-Chapman and Scott Corporation for the purchase, fabrication, crating, storing, and marking of material and equipment" The Bureaus were instructed to ship material to the Officer-in-Charge of Construction, Temporary Aviation Facilities, Quonset.5

Six days later, CNO informed all the Bureaus and Offices of the Navy Department that the Advance Destroyer and Air Bases had been designated and that materials for them were to be marked "A" or "B" for the air bases and "One" or "Two" for the destroyer bases. The newly established Naval Depot at Bayonne, N.J., was assigned as the assembly point for consumable supplies and maintenance materials destined for the British Isles. Commander E.W. Litch, USN, had been selected to command Base A and would act as coordinator for all work relating to the project. A parallel arrangement was contemplated for the destroyer bases. Both officers were to be attached to the special section of Op-12, which was already the Washington headquarters of Commander, Support Force.6

Also in April, CNO directed that destroyer and submarine repair units be formed. The Bureaus of Navigation and Ships got the projects started promptly. In early May, the overall program was modified in a summarizing directive. There were now to be two Destroyer Repair Units, each roughly equivalent to the repair personnel of two


5. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus ser 036612, 2 Apr 1941.

6. Sec ltr, CNO to All Bureaus & Offices, Op-12-D-ALB/hjw, 8 Apr 1941.


destroyer tenders (approximately 430 men); two Aviation Repair Units, each equivalent to the repair personnel of two seaplane tenders (approximately 175 men); and two Submarine Units, equivalent to the repair personnel of a submarine tender (approximately 300 men). The personnel, officers and men, were to be assembled without delay, the Destroyer Units at San Diego, the Aviation Units at Norfolk, and Submarine Units at New London. The Bureaus of Ships, Aeronautics and Ordnance were instructed to assemble at Quonset the machine tools and shop equipment normally installed on the equivalent tenders. if new tools and equipment could not be obtained promptly, second hand materials were to be used. Later, Base Units to operate the two destroyer bases were also formed.7

It is to be noted that two submarine bases had been added to the general scheme. One was planned for Gibraltar and was to consist of a minimum of shore facilities, its core being a tender. The other submarine base was to be combined physically, although not administratively, with the destroyer base at Gareloch. This addition of submarine facilities complicated the administrative task since it added SubsLant to the several other agencies already involved.8


7. Sec ltrs, CNO to BuShips and BuNav, ser 034723, 4 Apr 1941; CNO to BuNav, ser 045123, 19 Apr 1941; CNO to BuNav, BuShips, BuAer, BuOrd, ser 054523, 8 May 1941.; CO to All Bureaus & Offices, ser 049412, 28 Apr 1941, 060912, 26 May 1941.

8. Sec memo, ComSubsLant to Dir. Op-12, -EJM, 9 Apr 1941; sec ltrs, ComSubsLant to CNO, ser 0134, 17 Apr 1941, 0136, 18 Apr 1941; CNO to BuShips, BuOrd, BuDocks, ser 060612, 29 April 1941; CNO to BuShips, BuOrd, BuDocks, Dir SOSED, ser 0563323, 6 May 1941.


The dimensions of the program may be well gauged by a few figures. The estimated weight of materials for the destroyer and air bases was 200,000 tons, including 140,000 tons of construction material and 25,000 tons of construction equipment, and 35,000 tons of mechanical and electric equipment. It was expected that nearly 4,000 civilian construction personnel would be employed in the United Kingdom in addition to a large force at Quonset. The funds allocated from the Lend-Lease Appropriation totaled $50,000,000. Tentative complements of Naval personnel were estimated in June to total more than 9,000 officers and men, including Marines.9

Two aspects of the United Kingdom program merit emphasis. In size and in required rapidity of completion, it dwarfed all previous advance base undertakings. In consequence, established procedures would not suffice. This was particularly true of the task which devolved upon the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Its role in the recent accumulation of Reserve Materials and of Galapagos Units had consisted chiefly in the provision storage. Little BuDocks material had gone into the stockpiles. For the British bases, in contrast, Public Works overshadowed all else. Of the $50,000,000 total cost, more than $40,000,000 were allocated to BuDocks. This dominating position derived from the nature of the project, the establishment of specific rather than the preparation of contingent bases. Thus, at first glance, the undertaking appears to be a step away from mobility. Such, however, was not



9. Memo to British Supply Council from Capt. L.B. Denfeld, 25 April 1941; sec ltr, CNO to BuNav, ser 070612 26 June 1941; sec memo for Adm Sharp from Capt. F.A. Corn, Op-12D-WAC/hjw, 27 Oct 10941.


from materials exported from the United States, it was essential that they be composed, so far as possible, of prepared units capable of speedy erection. In this requirement, mobility was born.

Planning officers in the Bureau of Yards and Docks, particularly Commander J.M. Laycock, USN, and Lieutenant Commander E.S. Huntington, USNR, had derived from the German victories in Poland the conclusion that mobility was the key to military success. Translated into naval terms that sine qua non, they thought, required for shore facilities the development of prefabricated units capable of flexible combination of adaptation to highly varied uses. One example was a hollow steel cube, 4'×7'×4', so designed that it could be fastened to an indefinite number of identical parts to form a small floating dry dock, a sizeable raft, or some other piece of equally vital equipment. Other types of mobile gear were portable housing, portable stills, and portable generators.

During 1940, Commander Laycock endeavored without much success to secure from Operations general approval of his projected equipment and an allocation of funds for the procurement of experimental units. Such preliminary production was desirable for two reasons. It would allow a testing of the product and a consequent improvement of design. Of greater importance, it would be a means of preparing American industrial plants, as yet wholly untrained and untooled, for immediate mass production in the event of war. In the procurement of the Galapagos Units, a very small beginning was made. In 1941, however, Operations was eager to endorse any promising technique for establishing the British bases with minimum delay.


Commander Laycock and his associates were given free rein.10

The construction of the United Kingdom bases thus fostered a close partnership between certain sections of the bureau of Yards and Docks and the Washington headquarters of the Support Force. Responsibility for the military fitness of the bases lay upon Commander, Support Force and ComSubsLant. Their authority was commonly exercised, however, by the members of their staffs who had additional duty in CNO. These later were organized as a distinct section of the War Plans Division, which was the segment of Operations most directly concerned. The concrete satisfaction of military requirements, in contrast, rested primarily upon the War Plans Section of BuDocks, though appropriate portions of other Bureaus, particularly BuShips and BuAer, played a considerable role. Important decisions were the product of joint effort, and ordinarily were based upon consultations between the interested agencies, in Operations, the Bureaus, or elsewhere. In brief, both planning and execution were divided, though cooperative, functions. The military work was done by an ad hoc hybrid organization which represented both CNO and high echelons of command at sea or in the field. Directives sometimes bore the signature of CNO, sometimes that of a military commander. The detailed application of military specifications, on the other hand, was worked out by the Bureaus, particularly by BuDocks, under the supervising and coordinating eye of the special military organization. Procurement also was performed by the Bureaus, again particularly by BuDocks. A very large proportion of the actual supply was provided by the George A. Fuller Company and Merritt-Chapman and


10. Interview with Capt. J. N. Laycock by Lt. E. E. Morison, 11, 12 May 1944.


Scott Corporation. the contractors under the BuDocks Contract NOy 4175. Other materials came from appropriate sources, often standard agencies of BuShips, BuOrd, or BuAer. This was a cumbersome mechanism, but a highly significant one, for it was destined to become the backbone of the wartime Advance Base organism. It was to be modified in detail and in degree, but not in kind.

The special section of Op-12 requires further examination. It was headed by Rear Admiral Bristol, Commander, Support Forces, who was, however, commonly not in Washington. The other major members were the prospective commanding officers of the emergent bases. First among them to report was Commander E.W. Litch, USN, designated to command Base A. The others were Captains W.A. Corn and W.J. Larson for Destroyer Bases "One" and "Two", and Commander D.V. Gallery for Base "B". Other officers who staffed the Washington headquarters included Commander J.P. Compton, who handled most of the business of the Submarine Base, Commander L.T. Haugen, Commander G.M. O'Rear, Lieutenant Commander W.J. Slattery, Commander W.A. Buck, SC, and Lieutenant J.W. Boundry, SC. Incident to their planning and coordinating duties in Washington, were brief tours of extra duty at Norfolk, Quonset, New London, or elsewhere, to expedite the undertaking. A number of other officers, particularly members of Admiral Bristol's staff, visited Washington on occasion for the same purpose. In the field, the Officer-in-Charge of Construction at Quonset, Commander R.V. Miller, CEC, headed a staff of very active officers. Commander Bragg was in charge of construction in the United Kingdom, and had as associates a group


which by the autumn included Captain Larson and Commanders Litch and Gallery. It was [a] fluid organization over which Captain Corn presided after he reported in Washington in May, and to which he gave direction. The problems with which it was confronted were frequently without precedent, and the solutions devised were often guides followed in the future. It can hardly have been an accident that several of these officers, Corn, Compton, and Gallery, in particular, later played important roles in the wartime logistics organization of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

During the months of April and May, while this nuclear staff was being assembled, the basic directives already discussed had been issued. Their detailed implementation had begun. Although the major part of the overall task remained, only its outlines need consideration here.

The material bureaus, especially BuShips and BuDocks, compiled a great many lists drawn in general terms; others were extremely specific, indicating the exact quantities of myriad items, bolts, and nails, swabs, and pails, no less than large and intricate machine tools. The standard allowance lists of the destroyer and submarine tenders, which in CNO's directives were indicated as models, provided a ready foundation for many of the lists. If modifications to suit the different conditions of operation ashore were necessary, those allowance lists were a means of assurance that essential materials would not inadvertently be left out. In other cases, there existed no such ready-made guides. For Public Works material, BuDocks had the benefit of


experience gained in equipping the air facilities established in pursuance of the recommendations of the Hepburn Board and the still more recent bases envisaged in the destroyer deal. But in neither case were general conditions similar to those in the United Kingdom. Climate was different. The need for defense against air attack was much greater. Maintenance problems were affected by longer and more hazardous lines of supply. Hence, tentative lists of material requirements were carefully studied by the military organization in CNO.

The drafting and modification of those lists was a laborious and superficially a routine process. Yet from the viewpoint of naval logistics, it was of profound import. One primary key to base mobility was the development of techniques for the prompt determination in terms of ultimate detail of the material requirements for bases of highly divergent and rapidly changing specifications. Experience was the sole matrix in which such machinery could be formed, and the United Kingdom bases were the source of rich experience.

In addition to its supervision of the plans of the material bureaus, the base office in CNO exercised primary control over personnel. It submitted to BuNav schedules of complements and supervised the requisite training. The personnel letters have been considered already. In compliance with them, BuNav assembled at San Diego, Norfolk, and New London, the stipulated men. A nucleus were experienced rates, culled with difficulty from the already under-manned ships of the nascent two-ocean Navy. A majority were seamen fresh from boot camp. At the assembly points, the received special training under the direction


of officers detailed for duty on the staffs of the contemplated bases. In this fashion, there were forged the first specialized Advance Base Units. The process foreshadowed the wartime technical and tactical training which turned out personnel units qualified to start working simultaneously with the unloading of their material equipment. The present practice differed from that of the future chiefly in the fact that in this instance the prospective commanding officers were occupied in supervising the procurement and installation of operating materials, rather than in directing in person the shake-down of their units.

The special circumstance that the United Kingdom bases were ostensibly a Lend-Lease undertaking was an added complication. Because of the Neutrality Act material and personnel of American origin destined for American bases had to be transported in British shipping. This necessitated negotiations with British agencies. At first, planned weekly shipments from Quonset of twelve thousand tons, increasing later to twenty thousand, were to begin early in June and to continue through August. Actually, the first ship sailed from Quonset on 23 June and carried only 3750 tons of cargo. Succeeding shipments of roughly the same size took place at ten-day intervals until the middle of July and then became more frequent. From early September until the end of October, they were supplemented by other sailings from Providence. Almost the total life had been dispatched by the middle of November. Difficulties were also encountered in securing transportation both of the skilled construction personnel and for the supervisory Naval officers. Arrangements were made partly by Captain Corn's office and


partly by BuDocks. The former endeavored to obtain faster cargo ships and to shorten the time spent in loading. It also acted as coordinator between the contractors, the State Department, and naval agencies in the complicated procedure necessary for both civilian and uniformed personnel.11

In the field of material procurement, much the largest part of the United Kingdom program fell upon BuDocks. Although the Support Force staff determined general specifications, the details of BuDocks performance fell outside the limits of the present study. The techniques by which this procurement was accomplished, however, were important in the history of Advance Bases. On 1 July 1940, BuDocks Contract NOy 4175 with George A. Fuller Company and Merritt-Chapman and Scott Corporation was signed. It provided that the companies, two large and reputable construction concerns, build the new air base at Quonset on a cost plus fixed fee basis. Supplemental agreements extended the obligations of the contractors to include the supply of materials for the bases in Santa Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua, and for Advance Bases, both those contemplated when the Depots were established in the Sixth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Naval Districts and those in the United Kingdom. To carry out their responsibility, the contractors established at Quonset the industrial plants necessary to manufacture such specialized base equipment, a purchasing office to draw other items from appropriate sources, and a shipping organization for packing, marking, and


11. Memo from Capt L.E. Denfeld to British Supply Council, Sir Arthur Salter, 25 Apr 1941; ltr, O-in-C of Construction to BuDocks, 22 Oct 1941 enclosing a log of shipments; sec personal memos of Capts. Corn and Denfeld, Jun-Oct 1941.


moving highly diversified products. Under the supervision of BuDocks, particularly the Officer-in-Charge of Construction, the contractors became, in effect, a civilian agency for the supply of advance base matériel.

Particularly important among the articles assembled at Quonset were the hollow steel cubes which Commander Laycock had conceived, and the very well-known portable housing units. The Quonset hut was a modification of the British Nissen hut. By degrees, in part by accident, Quonset Point, which had been selected by the Hepburn Board as the site of a primary air station, became of at least equal importance for advance bases.

The role of George A. Fuller Company, Merritt-Chapman and Scott Corporation was magnified by the negotiation of BuDocks, Contract NOy 4850, which provided that the contractors construct the four British bases. Since the contractors supplied all the equipment, this was a logical arrangement. British personnel, partly Irish partly Scottish, could and did perform the unskilled labor, but only Americans possessed the knowledge of American machinery and methods to accomplish efficiently the jobs for which skill and experience were requisite. Construction could not be undertaken by the Navy, not only because of other Public Works programs already taxed the limited personnel of the Civil Engineer Corps and authority to recruit such enlisted construction personnel as the CB's did not yet exist. Since Lend-Lease funds could not be allocated for a project of this nature, and Navy appropriations were manifestly not available, the British government


assumed the financial burden of actual construction. The Navy's interests were safeguarded, however, since it let the contract on a cost plus fixed fee basis, and detailed officers, headed by Commander K.V. Bragg, to oversee and to direct the work in the capacity of special naval observers. Thus, did the fiction of neutrality cloak an American preparation for war.

Although progress was not as rapid as had been intended originally, the Quonset phase of the undertaking approached completion by the early autumn, Sine workmen were discharged as early as August and in October the material remaining to be shipped had diminished to the point that it was necessary to make careful calculation for the efficient handling of the remainder. At that time, the construction of Bases I and A in North Ireland was about 40% completed, and it was estimated that they would be ready for occupation by the United States by 1 December. Bases II and B in Scotland had a lower priority and would not be ready until 1 February 1942.12

Meanwhile, the program had developed valuable by-products. Base Facilities were being generally expanded to meet the needs of the projected "Two-Ocean Navy." A great deal of equipment was required on short notice. Quonset was the most convenient or the only source of supply. Often it was possible to divert an item and to order a replacement without prejudice to the United Kingdom schedule. Many of the diversions were small but essential items, some destined for points


12. Ltr, Contractors, Contract NOy 4175 to O-in-C of Construction, 17 Oct 1941; sec ltr, CNO to All Bureaus & Offices, ser 0120412 cancelled, typed but not signed, 14 Oct 1941.


as remote as Aleutian and Pacific islands. Between the middle of August and the end of October, six full shiploads were sent to bases in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Brazil. Other material was diverted to Iceland, where the Army and the Navy [&Marine Corps] were replacing the British forces. Like the British bases, the facilities at Halifax, Argentia, and in Iceland were designed chiefly for the use of the Support Force.

The United Kingdom bases were of great importance as the major, almost the sole, means through which the Navy made pre-war preparations for Advance Bases. From the point of view of the organization of the Navy Department, they also had high significance. The need for some coordinating agency had been understood from the beginning. Since it was then supposed that the situation would be temporary, an improvised arrangement was a natural expedient. The illogicality was well phrased by some officer who had a large part in the program. "... It seems to me to be a poor procedure to require an organization afloat to set up an establishment ashore in order to properly perform the functions that should be performed by the Bureaus ..." By the autumn, however, it was apparent that some reasonably permanent arrangement must be made. Among several possible locations for an Advance Base Desk, Op-12 [War Plans] or Op-23 [Fleet Maintenance] for instance, Op-30 [Naval Districts] was chosen. In a letter to all Bureaus and Offices, dated 14 October 1941, CNO designated the Director, Naval Districts Division, "as the coordinating agency of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations for all matters pertaining to the development, administration, and defense of all outlying and advanced naval bases except the civil government of Guam and Samoa...."


It may be argued that the Naval Districts Division was an inappropriate choice. As events turned out, the decision mattered little. The desk was fated to an elephantine growth and would either have swallowed up its foster organization or its growth would have forced a dissolution of a connection with an equally lusty agency, It was inevitable that there be a very large base division in CNO. The directive of 14 October is important because it gave Advance Bases a recognized and regular position, and because it determined the number, Op-30, which the division was to bear.13

The subsequent history of the United Kingdom bases was not that which had been anticipated. Although all four were put to good use and turned out to be the forerunners of many more American bases in the British Isles, only from Base One at Londonderry did United States forces undertake promptly after Pearl Harbor the protection of North Atlantic shipping. Much of the special personnel also had an unexpected fate. Most of the members of the two Destroyer Repair Units were ordered to Pearl Harbor in mid-December 1941 to fill a need far greater than that for which they had been trained.

Nonetheless, the British bases were the true origin of the tremendous Advance Base activity of the war. There were evolved and proven the organization, methods, and matériel without which they war against Germany and Japan could never have been won. The men who conceived and executed the United Kingdom programs built far better than they knew.


13. Personal ltr, Lt. J.W. Boundy to Comdr. W.A. Buck, 16 Apr 1941; ltr, CNO to Bureaus and Offices, ser 41312, 14 Oct 1941.



Chapter IV


The Small island of Borabora in the Society group was fated to become notorious in the Navy as BOBCAT. Here was established the first wartime Advance Base. On 7 December 1941, the need for an additional fueling station in the South Pacific was unrecognized. Yet on 27 January 1942, a convoy of six ships sailed from Charleston, South Carolina, for Borabora. It arrived on 17 February, but not until June were the fueling facilities capable of use. For rapidity in getting under way the movement was a creditable achievement. Even in the emergency conditions which then prevailed, the machinery of the Navy Department functioned successfully in that phase of the task. The next exacting trial in the field uncovered flagrant defects. Form an early stage in the planning, however, the officers concerned had anticipated shortcomings.1 As a recognized proving ground, the operation demands detailed consideration.

The sudden decision to establish a refueling base in the South Pacific was one consequence of the strategic situation produced by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Navy Base War Plan RAINBOW, No. 5, which came into force on 7 December 1941, set for the Navy as its chief offensive task "to capture the Azores, Cape Verde, Marshall, and Caroline Island [sic]."2 The task of the Pacific Fleet was to "Prepare to capture and establish control of the Caroline and Marshall


1. Memo for Col. Ostron, Op-3068-PDM, 16 Jan 1942.

2. W-16, para. 2202, a,5.


Area, and to establish an Advanced Fleet Base in Truk." It was assumed that these preparations would be completed six months after the outbreak of war.3 In fact, the war plan of the Pacific Fleet was drastically revised on 8 December. The foregoing assignment was eliminated altogether and the first task became the protection of the sea communications of the Associated Powers, and the second, the support of the Army in the defense of the Hawaiian Coastal Frontier. Johnston and Palmyra Islands were specifically added to Samoa as points which required defense.4

This emergency revision of the tasks assigned to the Pacific Fleet is symbolic of the conditions under which BOBCAT was established. Planning was done in extreme haste by a staff which changed and expanded daily at all levels; execution immediately followed decision; initial implementation proceeded the typing of even provisional plans.

On the morrow of Pearl Harbor, the protection of the sea communications of the Associated Powers meant, in the Pacific, the retention of control over a reasonably direct route from the United States and Panama to Australia-New Zealand. When RAINBOW No. 5 was drawn, it had been realized that a successful defense of Guam and the Philippines might not be feasible. It was specifically decided that Army reinforcements should not be sent to the Philippines, and Guam was placed in a still lower category of the defense. Midway, Johnston, and Palmyra, however, were grouped with Unalaska, Hawaii, Iceland, and the Panama Canal. The categories of defense reflect the estimated danger from


3. WPL-46, paras. 3213, b, 3125, a,2.

4. Sec dis, CNO to CinCPac, 090139, Dec 1941.


enemy attack as well as the strategic importance of the areas in question. In other words, it was expected that the Japanese offensive would be contained within the Western Pacific, and that the established base facilities in the Central and South Pacific areas would remain secure. When the attack on Pearl Harbor transformed the situation, it became imperative that Central and South American sites for bases be denied to the enemy and that new facilities be provided for fueling ships and planes. This is what prompted the decision to establish BOBCAT in the shortest possible time.

On Christmas Day, Admiral King, already in Washington, but not formally installed as CominCh, requested the War Plans Division of CNO to "proceed at once to study the matter of a fueling base in the central South Pacific area - the Marquesas, Society, or Cook Island [sic]."5 Five days later, a preliminary report summarized the merits and defects of the various possible site in the designated area and recommended that the base be established in Trevanui Harbor on Borabora. It outlined the steps necessary to secure from the Free French governmental authority permission to establish the base; Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles had already expressed the opinion that there would be no difficulty in this regard. It further recommended the general features of the base; defense by a Marine or an Army detachment of 3500 men equipped with suitable ordnance, including six 7" guns, a patrol squadron of six planes based on an AVP, storage facilities for 20,000 barrels of oil and 37,500 barrels of gasoline, suitable specified anti-submarine and torpedo defense, harbor facilities, housing and other


5. Sec memo, Adm King to Adm Stark, W-005, 25 Dec 1941.


necessary gear. Admiral King approved the recommendation.6 Nine days later there was issued a Joint Basic Plan for the occupation and defense of Borabora, which provided that a convoy set sail for that destination on 25 January, precisely one month from the initiation of the preliminary study.

Such extremely rapid execution of the complicated task of drawing detailed plans and procuring matériel for a naval base would hardly have been possible, had the bases in the United Kingdom not been constructed in the previous year. In the performance of that undertaking fundamental administrative machinery in the Navy Department had been elaborated, and a stock pile of Advance Base Materials accumulated at Davisville, Rhode Island. The training of certain specialized operating personnel had been accomplished, although their skills had been diverted in the emergency to fill other vastly more urgent needs. Thus, the embryo of the Advance base organization already existed. Operation BOBCAT was its first major wartime assignment.

The formal Joint Basic Plan for the occupation and defense of Borabora, of 8 January 1942, directed that a fueling base - code name and short title, "BOBCAT" - be established at Borabora by the Navy and defended by the Army. The specified joint task was to "hold Borabora as a fueling station for vessels and seaplanes of the United Nations." To the Navy was assigned responsibility for the primary mission of the base, to "construct, administer, and operate the Naval Fuel Depot, Seaplane Base and harbor facilities at Borabora." It was stated that


6. Sec memo, 30 Dec 1941, with attached note from Adm R.K. Turner to Adm King. This memo was made enc A of sec ltr, CNO to CominCh ser. 0153712, 1 Jan 1942.


"Raids on the base during and after its establishment (were) a distinct possibility, but ... a major attack (was) not anticipated in the near future." The appropriate Navy and Army personnel were assigned, the Army, by designated units totaling roughly 3,900 men, the Navy, only by approximate number, 500. Matériel, equipment, and supplies were ordered to be supplied, both initially and subsequently, by each of the services according to a specified schedule. in general, the Navy was to furnish transportation, to equip the base, except for Army ordnance and standard Army equipment, to provide subsistence en route, and to supply the 7" guns and their ammunition. The Army was to furnish standard equipment for its units, ordnance (except the 7"guns), and ammunition, and subsistence ashore for all personnel. Supplies and maintenance material, except ammunition, for which there was a special schedule, were to be provided initially by both the Army and Navy at 60 days supply, to be increased to and maintained at 90 days supply. Six ships were detailed by memo to load; for the Navy, at Quonset, Rhode Island, and at Norfolk, Virginia; for the Army, at Charleston, South Carolina. It was ordered that unity of command be exercised by the senior Naval officer of the escort forces while the convoy was under way and subsequently by the Army Commanding Officer, BOBCAT, under the command of the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department. Finally, provision was made that those elements in the planning, for which there had not been adequate time, should be completed; for the defense of BOBCAT, by the Commanding Officer, subject to the approval of the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department; for loading Army personnel and cargo, under the


direction of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4; for the construction of naval installations by BuDocks; for the procurement of material and the location of underwater defenses, harbor facilities, navigational aids, naval local defense forces, naval communications facilities, and the lending of naval cargo and personnel, by CNO (Op-30); for subsisting all personnel while afloat by BuSandA and BuNav. The plan,, to be executed upon receipt, was signed by Admiral King, Admiral Stark, and General Marshall.7

This plan has several noteworthy features. At a moment when the atmosphere resounded with indictments of their ability to cooperate, the Navy, which meant all the Bureaus and several of the Offices, the Army, the State Department, and the maritime Commission reached very prompt accord on the general features of a complicated undertaking. Their agreement assumed the resolution of problems of detail for the exploration of which time had been lacking. The success of the whole project rested upon future planning which might and, indeed, did lead to significant changes in the basic plan. For the Navy, this work was shared by two chief agencies, BuDocks and Op-30. And from the beginning almost to the end, the formulation and the execution of plans proceeded simultaneously.

The dispatch of the BOBCAT convoy was the product of the cooperative labor of the planning agencies of the Navy at a moment when other emergency problems demanded instant action. General direction was exercised by Rear Admiral R.K. Turner, Director of the War Plans Division of CNO. The more detailed work was supervised by


7. CominCh sec A16-390010), 8 Jan 1942.


Captain E.J. Gillam of the War Plans Section of the Naval Districts Division. Captain Hutchins and Major H.L. Litzenberg, USMC, effected liaison with the Army. Decisions were the upshot of many unrecorded telephonic and direct conversations. That they were made rapidly and were modified frequently is revealed by the informal, undated and unsigned memoranda and notes which stud the relevant files.8

The exact evolution of the process of planning cannot be determined and is of no consequence. These were the broad outlines. Directives covering the equipment under the cognizance of the Bureaus of Ordnance and Ships were prepared by Op-30 and issue by CNO on 3 January. The contributions of those bureaus were relatively small and easily determined. On the same day, Op-30 also requested BuNav to detail for duty with the expedition four officers and fifty-nine enlisted men in specified rates. This complement was increased by fifteen enlisted men in an amplifying directive on 5 January and later again raised. By 4 January, sufficient progress had been made in planning the general character of the operation for a memorandum outlining the salient feature form the Navy's point of view to be sent to the Assistant Chief of Staff, Army War Plans Division. On the next day, CominCh addressed to CNO (Director, NTS) a request for transportation which specified the cubic feet and weight of the cargo and the approximate number of personnel which would be lifted at each of three loading points. By the afternoon of 7 January, arrangements had become sufficiently firm for the actual drafting of the formal joint plan.


8. Lt. Comdr. H.M. Sylvester, C.O. of the Construction Battalion assigned to BOBCAT, made an oral statement that significant changes of plan occurred at first every twelve hours and later every three hours. Interview with Lt. E.E. Morison, 29 June 1944.


Simultaneously, many of the officers engaged in the preparations for BOBCAT met together "to pick up all the loose ends." An early example of what was to develop into the weekly "Friday conference" in Op-30, this meeting was attended by officers attached to Op-30, Op-12, Op-23, Op-24, Op-39, the Bureaus of Yards and Docks, Medicine and Surgery, Ships, and Ordnance, and by Colonel Ostrom (prospective Commanding Officer of BOBCAT) and another Army representative. It should be noticed that neither the prospective Commanding Officer of the Naval Unit, nor any member of his staff was present at this or a subsequent conference. The subjects discussed included the aviation unit and its planes, the ships which would transport the expedition, radio communication facilities, small boats and barges, messing, medical facilities and personnel, and ordnance equipment. The details of the discussion do not warrant present attention. They revealed a number of misunderstandings, such as BuMed's failure to realize that the Navy would rely upon the Army for most medical facilities and that there need be sent only enough Navy medical personnel to take care of Navy medical records. A principal purpose of the conference was to determine, "as accurately as possible the tonnage and cubage (to be loaded) at each ... of the three points involved ...". The purpose of the conference was fulfilled. Most of the problems were satisfactorily resolved and their solutions were incorporated in the Joint Basic Plan issued the next day.9

It is clear that the meeting on 7 January was essentially merely a more formal phase - a stenographic transcript of the discussion was made - of the many conversations which decided the main features of


9. Conf ltrs, CNO to BuOrd, ser 01930; CNO to BuShips, ser 02030; CNO to BuNav, ser 01830, 3 Jan 1942; CNO to BuNav, ser 02930, 5 Jan 1942; sec ltr, CominCh, to Dir, NTS, ser 01012, 5 Jan 1942; sec memo for General Gerow, Op-12B-2-dlm(aw), 4 Jan 1942; minutes of conference on base "Bobcat", 7 Jan 1942.


the plan. The directives and the Joint Plan itself were, not the orders in compliance with which action was actually taken, but a reduction to writing of oral understandings and directions already being executed.

With the promulgation of the Joint Basic Plan on 8 January, the fundamental planning for BOBCAT was completed; the general character of the operation had been determined. In this process a major part of the work had been done by the War Plans and Naval Districts Divisions of Operations. They had exercised liaison with the Army. They had given formal direction for the phase of the job carried out in detail by the Bureaus of Ships, Ordnance, and Navigation, and by the Naval Transportation Service. Yet no directive had been issued to the other Bureaus.

Since those other Bureaus had, nevertheless, been concerned with the expedition, explanation of the omission must be sought. The role of BuMed was minor, since the Army was charged with the medical care of the base. The inclusion of a nucleus of Hospital Corpsmen in the personnel directive to BuNav thus covered the responsibility of BuMed. Major Litzenberg in Op-12 seems to have undertaken general direction of the aviation phase of the planning. BuAer issued on BOBCAT directive, a request to BuNav for the detail of personnel.10 Since it lacked other specific written authority, this directive can be described only as compliance with the intent of the Joint Basic Plan. The task of BuSandA was routine in nature, its accomplishment directed by the Joint Plan, and the necessary plans were drawn by 9 January.11


10. Sec memo for Major Litzenberg from Capt Gordon Hutchins, F-12/A3-fhg, 6 Jan 9142; conf ltr BuAer to BuNav, Aer-Pe-14-DMN, 8 Jan 1942.

11. Sec memo for Capt Wallace, signed R.H. Love, 9 Jan 1942.


This accounts for all the Bureaus except Yards and Docks.

The task of BuDocks was much greater than that of any other Bureau. In the Joint Plan, it was assigned full responsibility for the general design and equipment of the base. Almost exactly half of the total cargo (Army and Navy) was scheduled to be lifted at Quonset, and of that half, the major part was BuDocks material. The Construction Battalion (under direct control of BuDocks) comprised well over half the personnel assigned to the operation. The planning officers in BuDocks worked in the closest touch with those in Operations. Yet its authority rested directly on the Joint Plan.

In the planning of BOBCAT, responsibility was thus distributed illogically. Two division of CNO and several, but not all, of the Bureaus worked on the highest plane. CNO directives to other Bureaus covered a middle level of business, those matters which were not merely routine, but were a minor feature of the operation. In short, CNO exercised responsibility so far as it was competent to do so, but relied on other agencies, notably BuDocks, for tasks for which it lacked the personnel, knowledge, and experience. The planning of operation BOBCAT demonstrates, in a specific situation, that the inherent confusion of authority and function, deriving from the ambiguous statutory description of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, still existed in January 1942.

During the nineteen days which intervened between the completion of the Joint Basic Plan and the sailing of the convoy from Charleston, the coordinating task of CNO continued to be heavy. The


complementary plans, the preparation of which had been assigned to Op-30, were issued on 12 January. They summarized the materials which were being assembled by the cognizant Bureaus at the three loading points. They specified the number of naval personnel and the materials for underwater defenses, harbor facilities, local defense, and communications. They included summary instructions for loading, indicating the tonnage assigned to each ship at port. They directed explicitly that "materials ... be so loaded that unloading will be in order of priority: (a) lighter-age, (b) shore defenses, (c) fuel tanks, (d) Army housing." "In loading both material and personnel, essential items (were to) be divided between two ships."12 More detailed loading plans of a less formal nature, were prepared in the Navy Department and entrusted to the officers in direct charge of loading.13 It is clear that the importance of proper loading was thoroughly appreciated in Washington. The conditions under which loading took place, however, made Op-30's plan incapable of accomplishment.

The ships which transported the men and materials to BOBCAT were procured by the Naval Transportation Service with difficulty. There follows a list of the ships selected on 6 January, with their status at that time:


12. Sec ltr, CNO to Distribution List, ser 07330, 12 Jan 1942.

13. Undated and unsigned memos in BOBCAT file in Op-30; ltr, BuDocks to OinC of Construction - Contract NOy-4175...., ser NOy 4175/A16-1 (1b), 26 Jan 1942.


President Fillmore (controlled by Maritime Commission)  
President Tyler (controlled by Maritime Commission) at Brooklyn
Irene Dupont (AK) (controlled by Maritime Commission) in Norfolk area
Alchiba (AK) (controlled by NTS) at New York
Hamul (AK) (controlled by NTS) at Boston
Mercury (AK) (controlled by NTS) en route Panama to New York


The President Fillmore had recently grounded, but it was believed that her damage was minor and that there would be ample time for her repair. By 8 January, however, it had been determined that the necessary repairs could not be accomplished within the allotted time. The S.S. African Comet (renamed Arthur Middleton prior to 10 January), than at New York under the control of ComTHREE, was substituted promptly enough for the change to be incorporated in the Joint Basic Plan. Thus, there was introduced the ship whose condition delayed the sailing of the convoy. Nevertheless, it seems likely that the substitution was fortunate. The President Fillmorewas a sister of the President Tyler, which was later described by Commander C.H. Sanders, C.C., U.S. Naval Unit, Base BOBCAT, as "a mess." The Middleton, moreover, had 2,000 tons greater cargo capacity. The ships were selected with due consideration for the time necessary for repairs, loading, and arming (except the Tyler and the Middleton, which were already armed).

The schedule was tight. The utmost speed was essential, since the growing activity of German submarines in American coastal waters meant that delay increased the danger which the operation had to run. In spite of loading difficulties, submarines, fog, and other hazards, all the ships reached Charleston by the afternoon of 23 January. Difficulties which were surmounted included, for example, the


arming of the Mercury. She departed for Quonset on her return to New York from Panama so promptly that Op-23 failed to get her armament loaded in New York. Her stay in Quonset was too brief for the guns to be sent to Quonset by rail. Hence, the armament was sent to Charleston and installed there. Another serious problem was lack of experienced labor for loading in Charleston. Most of this cargo was for the Army, and the loading took place at the Army Base, which in peace time had not handled heavy emergency jobs. "The stevedoring ... was very slow. All were negroes with a few white bosses - the bosses being the only ones who knew anything about loading ... All Navy personnel worked night and day ... They did it about twice as fast as the stevedores."14 Still another problem had its roots in a lack of clear definition of responsibility in the Joint Basic Plan for the loading of Army personnel. After protracted consultation, the Army undertook the job, although Commander Sanders thought that it clearly belonged to the Navy. Then the Army raised the question of responsibility for meeting emergencies while under way. In the absence from the joint Plan of specific provision for the problem, the Army officers found lo legal means of recognizing the authority of a naval officer over Army personnel. In practice, Commander Sanders worked out the essential details - general quarters bill, abandon ship bill, fire bill, etc.15

In spite of these obstacles, the convoy could have met its sailing date as originally planned, had the Middleton been seaworthy.


14. Conf ltr, Comdr C.H. Sanders to Capt B.J. Rodgers, 3 Feb 1942, in Op-30 BOBCAT file.

15. Conf ltr, Comdr C.H. Sanders to Capt B.J. Rodgers, 3 Feb 1941.


While she was in New York, her master recommended that 1,500 tons of ballast be installed to compensate for the weight of her armament. He was informed that such a precaution was unnecessary. Charleston, however, was instructed that special care should be taken in loading her.16 Nevertheless, it finally became apparent that she must be ballasted. That process delayed the sailing of the convoy until 27 January.17

The voyage to Borabora was uneventful, the only part of the early history of BOBCAT which lacked untoward incident. Immediately upon arrival, however, problems were encountered of Gargantuan proportions, which paled the difficulties of getting under way. The information about local conditions, for example, terrain and water supply, turned out [to] be deficient and erroneous. Cargo had been badly loaded and essential items either omitted from the outfitting lists or left on the dock on the Atlantic seaboard. Much equipment, particularly that required for unloading and transporting heavy and bulky gear, turned out to be inadequate in quantity or faulty in design. Relations with the French authorities were not wholly smooth. Cooperation between Army and Navy was not perfect. The story is long and sad, but certain elements only are germane to the present study. They can conveniently be considered in connection with the reports in which they were outlined.

Hardly had the convoy shoved off when the failure in the smooth performance of the operation began to receive attention in Washington. The reports all acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances


16. Ibid.; sec memo, Comdr W.E. Hall, Op-38S-T-VC, 21 Jan 1942.

17. Conf memo, Lt Comdr E.R. Morrissey to Adm W.S. Farber, Op-23N-EG, 28 Jan 1942.


which had prevailed. Their criticism and recommendations were explicitly motivated by a desire that parallel errors be avoided in the future. Three broad categories may be distinguished: 1, Delay in the sailing of the convoy; 2, Faulty loading; 3, Errors of omission and commission in planning.

The first of these failings - the delay of the convoy was superficially minor. The actually delay was of only two days and sprang from one chief source. When the timetable of the operation had been figured, no one had known that the Middleton would require ballast or that the process would take two days. An exculpating report drawn up in Op-23 purported to show that the task assigned to it - the repair and arming of the assigned ships - was fulfilled in all details. Except for the Middleton, all vessels were ready to sail on time. The report suggested that "no blame attaches to anyone connected with the enterprise excepting the people who set the date, and that those can be excused as one should be permitted to expect stability in a new ship of (her) size sufficient to carry the armament given her." The author of the report, nevertheless, made several suggestions for future movements. In substance, they amounted to a proposal that each of the functional divisions of CNO-CominCh be assigned its own specialized task, which it should be allowed to fulfill without interference. "Each phase to be handled by people who know what they are doing, all others to keep clear." Op-23 specifically stated that "the shipyards were subjected to considerable interruption and annoyance by telephone calls from all sorts of people." Another positive recommendation was that


"Fleet Maintenance check the condition of vessels and ascertain the earliest date of readiness for loading" before the sailing date of an operation be set. This suggestion, it may be inferred, arose from the fact that Op-23 had not really met the target dates for the completion of repairs and arming, and that this was a contributory cause of the delay in the sailing of the convoy. In the specific example of the Middleton, whose condition turned out to be the controlling factor, here orders were to sail from New York in time to reach Charleston "prior to 20 January if possible." She left New York at 2300 on 18 January, with expected arrival about 1200 on 20 January. She actually arrived at 1400 on 21 January. Thus, if she had reached Charleston "prior to 20 January" and had then been loaded as rapidly as in fact she was, there would have been time for installing ballast by 25 January. The Hamul and the Alchiba were given parallel orders but did not reach Charleston until 23 January.18 Finally Op-23 urged the "very early arming of all our merchant marine's desirable passenger and cargo vessels."19

A more comprehensive survey of the hitches which developed in the BOBCAT operation was prepared in Op-39, drawing upon a report forwarded by ComFIVE as well as that of Op-23. It summarized the causes of the delay as:


  1. Setting the departure date without a complete check on prospective readiness for loading ... 2. Inability to have the vessels armed and otherwise converted as expeditiously as was expected. 3. Delays in loading ... 4. Finding equipment in poor condition ... 5. That some of the delay



18. Conf ltr, CNO to Com3, ser 0150038, 10 Jan 1942; conf memo, Asst. Dir to dir NTS, Op-39-G-MG, 30 Jan 1942.

19. Conf memo, Lt Comdr F.R. Morrissey to Adm F.S. Farber, Op-23N-EG, 26 Jan 1942.




    attributed to the calling away from their converting, loading, and dispatching duties various officers to converse by long distance phone with offices in Washington which were not directly concerned."


It made a number of recommendations several of which were a repetition of those of Op-23. The principal remaining ones were:


    (c) That in future expeditions, the time of sailing be set after liaison with Op-39, Op-23, and Bureaus concerned. (d) Naval Transportation Service select vessels to fix mission as to armament, speeds, nature of cargo, desired departure date. (f) Higher command set departure date ... (i) N.T.S. issue orders of selected vessels to loading point with as much factor of safety as practicable. (j) Each office concerned keep clear of all arrangements which are not specifically its cognizance.20


Most of these criticisms and recommendations were, in substance, little more than a suggestion that established procedures be strictly adhered to. The several divisions of Operations and the Bureaus each already had its designated duties, which it was expected to execute fully and expeditiously. In due course, all suitable merchant vessels would be armed. This particular deficiency was temporary. N.T.S., in fact, received a directive for this operation and, in compliance, selected the vessels and ordered them to the designated loading points. Undoubtedly, some hands meddled in business not their own. But the operation was of a new species and had to be carried out at maximum speed under most difficult circumstances. Without the frequent use of the telephone, the job could not have been done within the required time; BuDocks transacted almost all its business with Quonset by telephone and reduced its many oral instructions to a written directive


20. Conf memo, Asst. Dir to Dir NTS, Op-39-G-MG, 30 Jan 1942.


only on 26 January.21 The excessive use of the telephone is a national characteristic. Had it not been commonly employed, a charge of failure to coordinate would indubitably have arisen. There remains the criticism that the date of departure was set without adequate consultation with Op-39 and Op-23. Yet in the judgment of the highest command, the convoy must sail at the earliest moment. Thus, the basic plan had to be made firm before detailed plans were completed. On all levels, several planning agencies were required to act simultaneously rather than in sequence. The date originally set was in some measure a wishful guess. Later it was advanced two days and then restored as at first. It is difficult to believe that a better target could have been set or an earlier sailing achieved had the process of planning followed the systematic course suggested by Op-23 and Op-39. In short, the reports of those two divisions indicated desirable administrative procedures but no significant reforms.

In Washington, no one seems to have realized yet how seriously the defective loading and equipping of BOBCAT would obstruct the fulfillment of its mission. This search for shortcomings had uncovered trivialities. The deficiencies revealed later may not be dismissed lightly. But fairness does require an acknowledgement that, under the conditions of January 1942 - the instructions for the Commanding Officer were issued unsigned because CominCh could not spare the time for signing them.22 - the dispatch of the convoy only a month after


21. NOy-4175 ... Quonset, R.I., ser NOy-4175/A16-1(1b).

22. Oral statement by Capt C.H. Sanders, 9 Jul 1945.


the site for the base had been selected as an achievement of considerable merit on the part of CNO.

Highly critical reports came in from the field. First to receive attention were errors in the second of the three categories already distinguished, errors in loading. Here there were two types of deficiency, those which delayed loading and those which made unloading almost impossible.

The loading of BOBCAT was the subject of a report made by the Officer-in-Charge, Naval Supply Depot, Norfolk, on the day the convoy sailed from Charleston. In substance, NSD, Norfolk, complained that it did not receive adequate information about materials sent to Norfolk and that efficient loading required the assembly and survey for weight and cube of all materials before any were actually loaded. With regard to information, the Supply Officer declared not only that often he was not informed that shipment had been made, but also that materials arrived with inaccurate, incomplete, or no identification of contents and ultimate destination. Much time was wasted, in consequence, either in telephoning to discover the essential facts, or in opening boxes to determine their contents. In one case, lack of information resulted in loading in the hold guns which were an intended part of the armament of the ship. "This necessitated the unloading of ... one carload of lumber and 60 tons of general stores which had been placed on top of these guns." The Supply Officer made a number of recommendations calculated to avoid a recurrence of these blunders. They dealt with matters of minor administrative procedure.


This report was submitted to BuSandA for comment and elicited a reply which maintained, in essence, that, had the established shipping instructions been observed by all parties and particularly by naval agencies not under its control, the mistakes would not have been made. BuSandA concurred fully with the recommendation that all material be assembled before loading began. "It is impossible to figure on paper how much or how nearly tonnage will fill in a ship. The cargo should be on hand, inspected and properly classified before loading is started. Only in this way can a reasonably satisfactory estimate of vessel space needed to arrived at and only in this way can proper loading and trim of ship be achieved." How inapplicable to operation BOBCAT, as it was conceived by CNO and CominCh, was BuSandA's recommendation is demonstrated by the next sentence. "It is apparent that cargo must be assembled, inspected, and estimated before a vessel is assigned to lift it ..." Had the procedure suggested by BuSandA been followed for BOBCAT, Op-39 could not have begun even to select the vessels for the movement until the day on which the convoy in fact sailed from Charleston.23

Far more serious than the delay of two days in the sailing of the convoy was the failure to load the ships properly. IT has been noted already that Op-30's ancillary plans had directed that material be loaded so that unloading would be "in order of priority, lighterage, shore defense, fuel tanks, Army housing." Compliance with the superficially simple instruction was not an easy matter. The total cargo assigned to BOBCAT taxed the capacity of the ships which lifted it and


23. Conf ltr, O-in-C, MSD, Norfolk to Com5, ser 03, 27 Jan 1942 with 1st end, Com5 to CNO, 27 Jan 1942; conf ltr, BuSandA to CNO and Bureaus, ser L21-3(7) (OLF), 6 Feb 1942.


utilize to the full the limited space available inevitably led to some disregard of the priority in unloading, when those two requirements were incompatible. The difficulty was increased by the fact that loading took place at three ports and that time was lacking for complete reloading at Charleston. It was further magnified because, to give a specific example, much of the material in the first priority for unloading - lighterage - came from the BuDocks stockpile at Quonset, while that in the fourth priority - Army housing, i.e.tentage - largely originated at Charleston. The problem was complicated still further by the fact that some of the equipment, the 7" guns for example, was extremely heavy ad cumbersome, while such other items as patrol planes, which were loaded at Quonset, were necessarily deck load, irrespective of priority. Yet another complicating factor was the lack of information about the identity of some shipments, of which NSD, Norfolk complained. Finally, vital equipment continued to arrive on the dock right up to the time of sailing and had to be stowed in any available space. In practice, the loading plan was inapplicable. Viewed in this light, BuSandA's contention that all cargo should be assembled, inspected, and classified prior to the assignment of the ship to lift it had great merit. Later, the Advance Base Depots and the forward staging points solved the problem of proper combat loading. In the case of BOBCAT, the necessity for speed and the lack of both facilities and experience resulted in deviations from Op-30's loading plan, which in turn produced chaotic conditions on Borabora.

The situation was well described in the reports of the officers


concerned. Commander Sanders wrote on 3 February: "As far as I can determine there was no orderly method of loading on this vessel. As equipment arrived, it was loaded aboard in available space regardless of sequence of unloading at the other end ... The Bureau of Ordnance was the only bureau ... who sent a representative to the Yard to see that .. equipment got on board."24 Rear Admiral J.F. Shafroth, Commander, South East Pacific Force, report on 21 March:


4. It is vitally important that ships for an overseas expedition be loaded with great thought given to their unloading. Too much emphasis cannot be laid upon this .... Military priorities must control and the failure to load properly ... may easily result in the failure or loss of an expedition ... At an advance base the material must be unloaded by the vessel's equipment where no wharf or handling facilities exist. Hence it is of primary importance that the floating equipment on which the materials are to be load be placed at the top of the holds or on deck so that they can be assembled, hoisted overboard or made ready to move the cargo from ship to shore.

5. Convoy BAKER CAST 100 was unfortunately not so loaded. The pontoon barges which were the principal means by which the cargo could be moved from ship to shore were stored in various holds and often deep in those holds. One fifty-tone barge became available three days after the arrival of the convoy, the second six days after the arrival and the third and fourth, eight days after the arrival. The two 10-ton barges had not become available on 10 March. The 30-ton lighters fortunately saved the day, as they were stored on deck and were placed in the water by the evening of the day the convoy arrived ...

6. Tractors and trucks necessary for unloading the tank lighters and barges at the beach were fortunately stowed near the top of the holds, but tools necessary for clearing a camp site, tentage for housing personnel, galley equipment for the subsistence of men ashore only became available gradually.25

Although the HAMUL had only 5- and 10-ton booms, heavy lifts of tank lighters ... were assigned ... for loading. The TYLER was expected to take heavy guns and large pieces of equipment which her cargo booms and hatches would not handle. In most cases, ships manifests were incomplete and inaccurate. Material that was supposed to have been shipped had never been located and some material has been received which did not



24. Ltr, Comdr C.H. Sanders to Capt B.J. Rodgers, 3 Feb 1942.

25. Sec ltr, ComSePacFor to CominCh, ser A16-1(0436), 21 Mar 1942.


appear on the manifests ... As a result of this situation, serious delays in receiving vital materials have occurred as steps could not be initiated to obtain missing items until all ships were unloaded and material checked.26


The effect of bad loading was succinctly stated by Commander Sanders, "I believe that we could have saved three to four weeks ... if the ships had been properly loaded ..."27

Productive of even greater delay in the fulfillment of the purpose for which BOBCAT was established were errors in planning. Faulty information about the nature of the terrain was a fundamental factor. To it may be attributed the selection of much ill-chosen equipment and the failure to foresee and to provide for certain necessary features in the plan of the base. Again, the reports of officers on the spot contain revealing descriptions of the situation.


The base at BOBCAT was established on an island volcanic in origin with lofty peaks in the center ... from which the land sloped down to the water. Between some of the ridges, there were valleys containing a few acres of level of gently sloping ground [sic] ... At no place were these areas extensive as the land generally rose rather steeply within 50 or 100 yards from the coast line. Around the island and close to the coast line was a single road composed largely of coral, shell, and lava sand. The ground in which this road was laid was soft and spongy.28


The soil for the most part is a very plastic clay containing much black humus and little or no sand ... An extraordinary portion of available forces, time and effort has been spent in attempts to place a keep a few miles of road connecting the installations in passable condition.29


Preliminary written instructions indicated that an ample supply of water would be found here. However, such was not the case, and it was evident immediately upon arrival that rapid steps were mandatory to insure an adequate storage of water before the beginning of the dry season, in order to protect the personnel of the expedition from a serious water shortage.30



26. Conf ltr, Prospective CO, Naval Station BOBCAT to CNO, ser 5, 4 Apr 1942.

27. Ltr, Comdr. C.H. Sanders to Capt B.J. Rodgers, 28 Feb 1942.

28. Sec ltr, ComSePacFor to CominCh, ser 0437, 21 Mar 1942.

29. Sec ltr, Senior Member (R. Adm. R.E. Byrd), S.E. Pacific Advance Base Inspection Board to VCNO, ser S-3/NB, 15 Aug 1945, enc I Report of Inspection of ... Borabora ... July 19-22-1942, p. IV-4.

30. Conf ltr, OinC, First CB to BuDocks, ser 1, 27 Apr 1942.


Responsibility for the information, the misinformation, and the lack of information about BOBCAT upon which Op-30 and BuDocks acted rested with O.N.I. Its sources, however, were scanty and its shortcoming easily explained. The only available map was a mid-nineteenth century French publication. Not yet did planners have the benefit of the aerial, photographic reconnaissance which became routine for most subsequent operations. Not yet had OSS, ONI, and MIS had the staffs and the time to compile jointly all discoverable information about all spots where operations might take place. Only after the convoy had sailed did the Army uncover among its Washington staff a Second Lieutenant who had visited Borabora. He was ordered to fly to Panama to join the expedition, but his knowledge of Borabora would have been very much more valuable to the planners in Op-30 and BuDocks than to the staff at the base.

The unforeseen necessity to provide a water supply immediately after disembarkation at Borabora delayed until 2 April the start of construction of the fuel tanks for which the base was primarily established. Neither personnel nor equipment had been provided in sufficient quantity to carry out both jobs simultaneously.31 The terrain itself complicate the building of the tanks. It was necessary that "Areas ... for the Fuel Oil Depot (be) blasted out of almost solid rock." "The fuel tank location is on a very steep rocky hillside ... The soil encountered with the rock is a very plastic clay and is difficult


31. Sec ltr, ComSePacFor to BuDocks, ser 0440, 22 Mar 1942; conf ltr, OinC, First Construction Battalion to BuDocks, ser 1, 27b Apr 1942.


to handle when wet. In order to reduce the amount of excavation required ... the first tanks ... were not countersunk in the side hill. Some tanks were even partially set on side hill fill. This is a bad practice since ... heavy rains or a cloudburst ... may wash out fill material ..."32

Lack of information and consequent bad planning resulted in ill-adapted as well as inadequate equipment. Blunders of this mature might be catalogued at great length. A few illustrative examples suffice.


The so-called "Prime Movers" of the Army were 3-axle, 10-wheel trucks, which unloaded weigh seven tons. When first put on the roads they broke down the small bridges and culverts and tore up the roads to such a degree that it (was) necessary to bar them from the roads ... For all general uses ... a lighter truck would be of far more value ... Road building machinery was badly needed and should have been included ... There were no graders provided and they would have been of much value not only in road work but in leveling the aviation base and camp sites.33


In the early stages of unloading all material except that on wheels had to be manhandled at the landing end ... It is recommended that for similar expeditions all heavy equipment, in so far as possible, be put on wheels. Three weeks were required before the first crane could be located and mounted ashore. Up to that time all heavy material or equipment except that on wheels, had to be dragged off the barges on tractors.34


Of the equipment sent, the Chevrolet flat body and dump trucks were too light for the heavy rough service demanded of them and the majority of them are now broken down and idle awaiting repair parts, chiefly rear springs.

The 20-ton per hour rock crusher ... was of insufficient capacity ..."



32. Sec ltr, Senior Member (Rear Adm R.E. Byrd), S.E. Pacific Advance Base Inspection Board to VCNO, ser 5-3/NB, 15 Aug 1945, enc I, Report of Inspection of ... Borabora ... July 19-22, 1942, p. IV-4.

33. Sec ltr, ComSePacFor to CominCh, ser 0437, 21 Mar 1942.

34. Conf ltr, Prospective CO, US Naval Station, BOBCAT to CNO, ser 5, 4 Apr 1942.


The station or beach wagon is unsuitable for use at advance bases.

The truck cranes ... were unsuited for this base.
The larger tractors ... were second-hand and had no winches.
The following were not furnished in sufficient quantity:


(1) Dump Trucks   (7) Mauls, picks, saws, axes, shovels, spades, rakes.
(2) Tractors   (8) Wheel barrow wheels
(3) Tank lighters   (9) Drift pins
(4) Jack hammers   (10) Spare parts
(5) Water pumps   (11) Large dimension lumber
(6) Blasting machines   (12) Nails


Blacksmith forges were provided but no coke or other fuel for the forges was supplied.35


Granted the difficulties of the terrain and the inadequacies of the equipment, progress in constructing the base would have been slow even with properly trained and highly skilled personnel, Actually, the men were green.


The first Construction Battalion, consisting of eight (8) officers and two hundred and fifty (250) men, was hastily formed just prior to departure, to construct this Base, with the assistance of Army personnel and transportation. Seven of the officers and most of the enlisted personnel had just been recently inducted into the Navy. Not only were they unfamiliar with Naval customs, procedure, administration, etc., but also to a large extent incompetent and insufficient in numbers to carry on and supervise the diversified projects which had to proceed simultaneously ... It has been a case of the blind trying to lead the blind ... A sufficient number of trained men should be available to operate all equipment furnished on a 24-hour basis. In addition and most important there should be a nucleus of highly trained men to supervise and direct each project contemplated.36


Finally, full identity of purpose did not exist between the Army and the Navy. Fundamentally, BOBCAT was a Naval Base defended by an Army unit. Because of the greater number of Army personnel and the


35. Byrd Report, pp. IV-5,6.

36. Conf ltr, Prospective CO, U.S. Naval Station, BOBCAT to CNO, ser 5, 4 Apr 1942.


superior rank of the senior Army officer, local unity of command was given to Brigadier General Ostrom. Naturally, he was sympathetic to the requirements and problems of the men whom he commanded directly and for whom he was wholly responsible. By the terms of the Joint Plan, he had very vague responsibility for the Naval station and inevitably its needs did not receive the primary regard which was their theoretic due. Actually, the tasks set for the Navy by the Plan was dependent upon the Army's furnishing much of the labor.


The construction of huts is last in priority on the schedule of work for this station. However, the construction of certain huts, for the storage of perishable Army supplies was started by order of the Commanding General, BOBCAT Force, on 10 March 1942 ... Approximately forty-seven per cent (47%) have been erected to date. This work has gained undesirable impetus, and is beginning to interfere with work on the Coast Defense Batteries and the Naval Air Station by placing demands upon men, tools, concrete mixers, and materials and on transportation facilities.

Limited numbers of Army personnel have been made available, and have been incorporated with the officers and enlisted men of the First Construction Battalion, U.S.N., into a combined engineering organization. However, quick and unannounced changes are made by the Commanding General in the assignment of Army officers, and non-commissioned officers and the other grades of enlisted men. This results in lack of continuity of work and great confusion ..."

Shortly after arrival at BOBCAT, written orders were issued by the Commanding General that Army work details would be varied daily to avoid placing heavy work on the same men. This policy worked havoc on the Engineer Force. It was impossible for the small number of Civil Engineer Corps officers and enlisted men to train a new crew of men on every job every day. This situation has been alleviated ... However, 65% to 85% of any work group may be found changed from day to day. This situation was not anticipated under the Joint Plans.37


Further narration of the difficulties which plagued BOBCAT is not necessary. Slowly they were all surmounted. The first fueling


37. Conf ltr, OinC, First CB, to BuDocks, ser 1, 27 Apr 1942.


was smoothly carried out in July. By chance, this event coincided with the visit of a special inspection board for the various advance bases now established in the South Pacific. Its findings, signed by the Senior Member, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, were not unduly severe.38 Beginning as of 1 July, monthly progress reports were submitted to CominCh.39 They show that b y the early autumn most of the facilities were complete. The job had been done. If its completion was far slower than had been desired and required the dispatch of much extra equipment and personnel, the task had turned out to be much greater than was expected.

In the late summer, the fuller potentialities of BOBCAT began to emerge. The Army requested the Navy's aid in the construction there of an air depot to which parts of fighter planes might be shipped for assembly. CominCh was reluctant to invest materials and labor in a facility which, it was already apparent, would be left progressively farther behind the zone of combat operations.40

What summary judgment does operation BOBCAT warrant? In December 1941, the Japanese threat to the life line to New Zealand appeared to be tremendous and defensive measures to be imperative. A base at Borabora might be a decisive asset. Its denial to the enemy was essential. If its construction had been as rapid as was the dispatch of the convoy from the United States, it would, in fact, have been in effective operation when the critical battles were fought at the Coral Sea and Midway. The considerations which inspired BOBCAT are not open to question.


38. Quotation is made above.


39. Sec ltr, VCNO to CominCh, ser 0256930, 5 Oct 1942.

40. Sec ltr, VCNO to Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, ser 0279430, 28 Oct 1942; sec memo for VCNO, CominCh file, 001251, 21 Oct 1942.


The implementation of the strategic decision is less easily justified. It is undeniable that there were very serious failures in planning in Washington and in execution in the field particularly in loading. They stemmed from deficient information, preparation, and experience. Yet the preliminary studies could hardly have drawn upon sources of intelligence still undeveloped. Just why the O.N.I. file on Borabora was so sadly deficient is a question which lies outside the limits of the present study but deserves serious attention. The costly failure to carry out the loading schedules which the plans prescribed has been explained if it cannot be excused. The faulty selection of equipment derived in part from ignorance of conditions on Borabora, in part from the fact that the only material available had been designed for use, not on a primitive South Pacific island but in such a settled area as the United Kingdom. Lack of information and experience resulted in a grave misconception of the dimensions of the task to be accomplished and this in turn to a wholly inadequate allowance of material and personnel. Lack of proper equipment led to the selection, for instance, of the 7" naval guns which were so little mobile that their installation was a major construction job in itself, which seriously delayed the completion of the fueling facilities. Likewise, trained Construction Battalions simply did not exist. Even slight experience would have shown the impossibility of operating an advance base with four officers and fifty-nine rated men assigned in the first personnel plan. Nevertheless, strategic consideration dictated the immediate dispatch of the expedition with the most nearly


competent personnel and equipment on hand. They explain also the decision to undertake a joint Army-Navy operation, a notoriously difficult task, and indeed, the first American operation of this type since the Spanish-America War. BOBCAT played its part in the development of easy and intimate coordination between the Army and the Navy. It also reflected the failure of the nation, much more than of the Army and the Navy, to prepare for the war.

In the fine operation, BOBCAT fell far short of fulfilling the desires of its planners. Yet it was an excellent training school for advance base movements and the enemy were not able to occupy Borabora. The smooth and efficient performance at Guam in 1944 owed much to the bungling of 1942. And BOBCAT was not a disaster. The really essential materials were supplied originally and maintained subsequently. If Spam appeared on the menu with distressing frequency, no one starved.


Chapter V
Bases in the South Pacific Area

Hardly had the Joint Basic Plan for BOBCAT been issued when the planning agencies in CNO started work on two programs for the augmentation of advance base facilities. The first was little more than a fulfillment of the implications of operation BOBCAT, while the second involved a voyage into virtually uncharted waters.

The occupation of Borabora was inspired by the purpose of maintaining the line of communications with New Zealand and Australia. If the purpose of the operation were to be achieved, additional bases were required both to take care of American operational needs and to forestall further Japanese advances.

In January 1942, the logistic resources of the Navy were not adequate to meet the requirements implicit in the broad strategic concept. However, studies were then initiated to determine the nature and location of additional facilities. From them emerged a decision to augment and to strengthen existing United States, New Zealand, and Australian forces and installations in the Samoan Group, the Fijis, New Caledonia, and New Zealand itself, and to establish new stations on Tongatabu in the Tonga Islands and at Efate in the New Hebrides. A much greater commitment than BOBCAT, involving many more personnel and correspondingly increased matériel, this undertaking was essentially a single program of several carefully integrated parts. Its general


scope was outlined formally to the interested agencies in a letter of 6 March 1942 from CNO to all the Bureaus and several of the Divisions of Operations and in a memorandum of 3 April 1942 from the Sub Chief of Naval Operations to the Assistant Chief (Maintenance).

The letter declared that CominCh had decided that "advanced operating position be established at the earliest date practicable" at BLEACHER (Tongatabu), ROSES (Efate), and STRAW (Samoa). The broad requirements of these bases were stated to be: for BLEACHER, "a protected anchorage and fueling base, and an advanced minor naval supply base" which would serve also as "a staging point for Army and Navy aircraft operations in the (Samoa-Fiji) area; for ROSES, "a protected anchorage and a strong outpost of land aircraft" which could serve also as "a staging point and supporting point for aircraft in the (Fiji-New Caledonia) area"; for STRAW, four "strong mutually supporting defensive positions." The letter continued with the statement that representatives of the addressees had already been informed of some details orally, that formal joint plans were being prepared and that, pending their receipt, the addressees would immediately initiate the drawing of appropriate plans and the procurement and assembly of matériel and personnel. It was further stated that convoys would sail from the East Coast in three, and form the West Coast in four weeks. In essence, the prescribed procedure was that followed in the case of BOBCAT, although there were several significant refinements. To Op-30 was specifically assigned responsibility for the coordination of plans, the compilation of information with regard to cargo and personnel, the


request of transportation from N.T.S. and of personnel from BuNav. Finally, it was requested that for BLEACHER and ROSES, the Commanding, Construction, Ordnance, Supply, Medical, and Underwater Defense Officers be ordered immediately to temporary duty in the Navy Department to assist in planning.1

The memorandum from the Sub to the Assistant Chief stated that the New Zealand and the Australian Naval Boards had requested material aid for the improvement of harbors at Auckland, N.Z., Nandi and Suva in the Fijis, and Noumea, New Caledonia. Since CominCh regarded those requests favorably, it was requested that materials on an enclosed schedule be assembled as soon as possible for prompt shipment after official requests had been received, under Lend-Lease, form the New Zealand and Australian Governments.2

The three formal plans foreshadowed in CNO's letter of 6 March were all promulgated between 12 March and 20 March. They bore the same general form as the plan for BOBCAT and, with the necessary modifications of detail, the same content. Like BOBCAT, BLEACHER and ROSES were joint operations. With STRAW, however, the Army was not directly concerned, the military force in this instance being composed of Marines. In all cases, naval planning was a function divided between several of

1. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus and Directors of Divisions of Operations, ser 014612, 6 Mar 1942.

2. Sec memo, Sub Chief of Naval Operations to Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Maintenance), ser 026512, 3 Apr 1942; sec memo from CominCh to VCNO, ser 00246, 31 Mar 1942.


the Bureaus and of the Divisions of Operations, with BuDocks and Op-30 having the principal roles. As in CNO's preliminary letter of 6 March, the BOBCAT pattern was refined by assigning to Op-30 specific authority and responsibility for overall coordination and for the determination of transportation and personnel requirements.3

The planning for the three bases was essentially one task. Not only were their requirements similar in many respects and their establishment simultaneous, but the ships which lifted the matériel and personnel coalesced into one convoy, despite the fact that some sailed from the East and some from the West Coast. The cognizant agencies in Washington carried out their allotted tasks of drawing plans, procuring, assembling, loading, and dispatching men and matériel. The process continued to be essentially that which had been pioneered in the case of BOBCAT. It is worthy of note that several of the ships which loaded on the West Coast for ROSES were ones which returned from BOBCAT just in time. N.T.S. again secured, assigned, and ordered the shipping. The various Bureaus assembled the matériel for which they were responsible and submitted lists detailing total weights and cubage and, in this case, specifying unusually heavy lifts. Op-30 issued directions to the loading authorities, Com12 (Port Director, San Francisco), O-in-C, NSD, Norfolk, and O-in-C, Navy Advance Base Depot, Davisville, R.I., (Quonset). This time it was stated that it was "of the utmost importance ... that unloading ... be in the order of priority of need and that collateral equipment, tools, fittings, etc., be

3. Sec ltrs, CominCh to List, ser 001278 (BLEACHER), 00101 (STRAW), 00209 (ROSES), 12, 17, 20 Mar 1942.


available for unloading at the same time as the equipment to which they belong. This applies particularly to the fittings for pontoons, barges and wharves, ... which must be available immediately on arrival ..." It was also directed that a list showing the location of materials in the various holds be given to C.O. of the Base, even if in rough form, to facilitate unloading. The letter then specified in considerable detail the order of unloading different items. Other details followed. There can be no doubt that this order reflected the experience of BOBCAT. It would be pleasant to record that this time well-designed equipment in adequate quantity was smoothly loaded in appropriate sequence. But, as in the case of BOBCAT, there were delays in the arrival of material on the dock and all ships did to become available as early as had been expected. Some important items were left behind and in the ROSES cargo, at least, there were "many non-essentials such as five carloads of beer ... (which were) loaded last."4

The similarity to BOBCAT appears also in the fact that BLEACHER, STRAW, and ROSES were established by a technique which was in nature essentially retail rather than wholesale. For purposes of planning, each base was an individual project. The matériel and personnel requirements were tailor-made. Extremely detailed individual lists were compiled by the several procurement agencies and submitted to assembly, transportation, and loading activities for execution and to Op-30 for information and audit. This process entailed clerical and accounting

4. Conf ltr, CNO to Com12, ser 075730, 24 Mar 1942; sec personal ltr to Brig Gen F.L. Gilbreath, 15 May 1942 in "ROSES" file in Op-30.


labors, with inevitable attendant delay and error, which would have become wholly unmanageable when, in the later stages of the war, the number of advance bases reached several hundred. Even with the ingenious procedures which were forged during 1942 and 1943, the presentation of data in comprehensible and significant form at headquarters, and the exercise from Washington of proper and necessary controls, were the major problems of 1944 and 1945.

On the other hand, those bases represented improvements over BOBCAT. Personnel allowances were more nearly adequate. The number of commissioned officers assigned to ROSES, for instance, exceeded fifty, including eleven in the Construction Department.5The selection of equipment was better, as to both quantity and quality. Loading was improved and unloading markedly more efficient. Although partial explanation of the greater rapidity lies in the fact that at several destinations, such as Pago Pago and Tongatabu, there were superior existing port facilities some credit should be attributed to the experience of BOBCAT. Furthermore, a highly important, if obvious, new procedure was adopted. Both men and material were divided into three waves or echelons, which were dispatched at approximately monthly intervals. Thus, although there were numerous blunders in assignment to echelon, material which would be useless during the first months neither tied up shipping nor hampered early operation. The report of Rear Admiral Byrd's inspection board showed that there was still room for much improvement, but it was also a record of considerable progress.

5. Ltr, BuNav to Com12, Nav-31-MSM, 26 Mar 1942.


In summary, it may be suggested that profit had been made of the lessons of BOBCAT, but that such conditions as the necessity for haste, the continuing shortage of appropriate material, and the greatly enlarged scale of the undertaking, once more dictated improvisation with similar unfortunate results.

The implementation of CominCh's decision to augment facilities at Auckland, the Fijis, and Noumea, which was announced in the memoranda of 31 March and 3 April outlined above, was undertaken by Op-30. On 6 April, a letter was sent [to] the Bureaus of Ordnance, Yards and Docks, Ships, Navigation, and to Director, Naval Vessels and Aircraft Division of Operations, which enclosed the memorandum of 3 April. It stated that the assembly point for the matériel and personnel would be designated later, but requested advice as to the earliest date the matériel could be available and data showing the weight, measured tons, deck space, and heavy lifts. Briefly summarized, the requirements were anti-submarine gear, tank farms, communication facilities, and small boats.6 This was followed by a letter to BuNav requesting that eleven commissioned and warrant officers and sixteen enlisted men be detailed to supervise the installation of the anti-submarine nets.7 From this modest beginning the plans for American reinforcement of those New Zealand bases burgeoned.8 Additions were made to both personnel and equipment at short intervals. The most significant letter, one set on 22 April to the

6. Sec ltr, CNO to BuOrd, BuDocks, BuShips, BuNav, Dir, Naval Vessels, ser 087730, 6 Apr 1942.

7. Sec ltr, CNO to BuNav, ser 089930, 8 Apr 1942.

8. Cf. sec memo, CominCh to VCNO, ser 00354, 7 May 1942.


Bureaus, less Air and Med, directed that the materials be shipped either immediately or as procured, by the first available transportation. Thus, it laid down a new procedure for the movement of men and material to newly established naval activities in the Pacific.9 CNO delegated responsibility to the Bureaus. Auckland and Noumea and, to a lesser degree, Suva and Nandi in the Fijis were localities in which United Nations forces were already established and which possessed port installations superior to those at Borabora or Tongatabu. Hence, the delivery of supplies or material did not require the previous preparation of comprehensive plans such as those outlined for the movements already discussed. This new practice was regarded as an experiment. By delegating responsibility to the Bureaus, it simplified administrative procedure. It was shortly discovered, however, to have disadvantages. BuSandA, which issued the shipment orders, directed that most of the material be shipped through San Francisco. Com12, however, did not get as much information as it needed and it became necessary for Op-30 to send to its representatives there, copies of the letters which ordered the material. This was the administrative machinery by which there were dispatched the first elements of what were destined, in the cases of Auckland and Noumea, to become major advance bases.10

The proportions of the bases at Auckland and Noumea grew rapidly, particularly after the location there of the headquarters of Vice

9. Res ltr, CNO to Bureaus (less Air & Med), ser 268730, 22 Apr 1942.

10. Transcript of a telephone conversation between Capt R.W. Cary (op-30) and Comdrs. B.O. Wills and L. Doughty in San Francisco, 11 May 1942.


Admiral Ghormley and the establishment of the South Pacific Amphibious Force. Nevertheless, only in the case of the Fijis was it found to be necessary to draw up a Basic Plan. The apparent necessity for this plan lay in a decision that the United States should relieve New Zealand in the defense of the Islands. This was a Joint Army-Navy operation, and, as such, required a specific overall plan. The Army played a much greater role, but again, Op-30 was given responsibility for the coordination of the appropriate subsidiary naval plans.11 These were chiefly an amplification of measures already in execution.

Likewise, essentially of the same class with earlier operations, was that which established the South Pacific Amphibious Force. Its general outlines were sketched in a formal Basic Plan, with provision made for the preparation of subsidiary plans. Since the forces employed were wholly Marine Corps, most of the responsibility for the operation fell upon the staff of the Commandant. N.T.S. was directed to arrange for transportation, but otherwise CNO was not involved. Op-30 was concerned only because the movement required an expansion of facilities in the South Pacific area over which it had cognizance.12 Nevertheless, the operation deserves mention here since it was the first stop in the change over to the offensive which began with the landings in the Solomon Islands in August. The offensive required and was made feasible by new logistics techniques which had been developed in the previous six months.

11. Sec ltr, CominCh and CNO to List, ser 00380, 13 May 1942.

12. Sec ltr, CominCh and CNO to List, ser 00322, 29 Apr 1942; of sec ltr, CominCh and CNO to List, ser 00435, 29 May 1942.


Chapter VI
Advance Base Units - LIONS, CUBS, ACORNS


The requirements of the new base facilities along the East Coast - New Zealand - Australia line exhausted [the] Navy's ready stock of many important base items. For example, as of 7 April, after provision had been made for BLEACHER, ROSES, and STRAW, BuDocks had "reduced to essential zero" its stock of pontoons, distillation units and water purifying units.1 The situation, in brief, was that the reserve base matériel on hand and in process of procurement on 7 December 1942 had fortunately sufficed, but only just sufficed, to fill the minimum needs for reinforcing the life-line to the Southwest Pacific. Even the firm consolidation of these positions had entailed the diversion of matériel from urgent programs, particularly from that for "LIONS and CUBS."

LIONS and CUBS was the name applied to the most important single concept in the history of wartime advance bases. The odd phrase may have had an accidental birth, unrecorded in the official records of CNO, but the development which it denominated began before Pearl Harbor and endured throughout the war. By the autumn of 1941, at the time when procurement for the United Kingdom bases was almost complete, the necessity for the continuing production of mobile base equipment became apparent to the responsible officers. The value of the new matériel and techniques which had been pioneered at Quonset had been amply


1. Memo from Lt Comdr C.P. Conrad to Comdr L. Doughty, 31 Mar 1942 (in Op-30-B files).


demonstrated not only in connection with the United Kingdom bases. Frequently, Quonset had been the source of supply for gear to fill urgent needs elsewhere, needs which promised to recur. The construction of the bases undertaken as a result of the Destroyer deal was not yet finished. The program of Galapagos Units was still active. Moreover, studies were underway to determine the logistic implications of War Plan RAINBOW NO. 5, which provided for the establishment of advanced bases in the Caroline Islands, the Azores, and elsewhere. All these commitments emphasize the value of the depot at Quonset. With the approval of Op-12, BuDocks kept the contractors under Contract NOy 4715 at work. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Navy was employing their whole staff and organization, both at Quonset and in New York, full time.2

Shortly after the major part of the work on BOBCAT had been completed in Washington, Op-12 took the initial step in a program for the procurement of immense quantities of advance base matériel. A letter addressed on 15 January to all the Bureaus and to Op-30, "desired that immediate steps be taken to assemble materials and equipment required for four main advanced bases and twelve secondary advanced bases." Its author directed that detailed lists of the necessary equipment be prepared and that representatives be designated for a conference on 23 January on these matters, which were declared to be


2. Sec ltrs, CNO to CinCPac, ser 038212, 0122712, 9 Apr, 27 Oct 1941; CO to Bureaus (less Nav and Med) and to Com12, ser 0165523, 27 Oct 41; sec memo, Op-12 to Op-30, Op-12A-aw, 1 Jul 1941; Ad Base Fri Conf, 1 May 1942; interview of Capt J.F. Laycock by Lt. E.E. Morison, 11-12 May 1944.


urgent. In enclosed tables of the broad requirements, which were modifications, apparently reflecting the experience gained at Quonset and in the United Kingdom, of the characteristics specified in a letter from CNO to CinCPac in the previous April. This letter discussed the problem of establishing bases in the Caroline Islands in the event of war with Japan. Eloquent evidence of the revolutionary change in attitude toward advance base problems which war induced is contained in one of its sentences. "As a practical matter, the installation (at Truk) of maintenance facilities, such as shops, wharves, and dry docks, is a laborious procedure taking, under the best of circumstances, two to five years." It is easy to understand why, in the absence of any significant experience such as that derived from the British bases, the planning officers in CNO estimated at two or more years the time necessary for the installation of facilities comparable to those at the Boston Navy Yard. Little more difficult is it to guess the duration of the war, had there not been a radical transformation of basic concepts and techniques.3

The letter of 15 January 1942 announced this revolution. It was consolidated in another letter addressed on 12 February to all the Bureaus and to Op-30. CNO now called for the assembly of materials for one major and three secondary bases not later than 1 July. It directed that "the Main Fleet Advanced Bases ... be hereafter referred to as 'LION 1 to 4' and the Fleet Secondary Bases as 'CUB 1 to 12'". This official baptism served the interests both of convenience and security.


3. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus and Op-30, ser 05012 15 Jan 1942.


The projected bases now had simple names enjoying a precise meaning with service and initially none at all outside.4 Assembly of materials for CUB No. 1 and LION No. 1 was directed to be accomplished at the depot in the Twelfth Naval District, of CUB No. 2 in the Sixth and CUB No. 3 in the Eighth. The remaining three LIONS and nine CUBS were to be procured at the rate of one LION and three CUBS each quarter. Points for their assembly would be designated in the early future. Assumed climatic conditions were specified, three CUBS being for cold, one LION, and three CUBS for temperate, and the remainder for tropical areas. The necessary operating personnel were estimated for LION bases at approximately 440 officers and 4450 men and for CUBS at about half those figures with aviation personnel comprising almost ninety percent of the totals. Repair facilities for LIONS were specified as the equivalent of an AR plus the special equipment of an AS and an AD. Finally, in order to expedite the project, authority was given for the withdrawal from Quonset of any materials except those still earmarked for the completion of the United Kingdom bases.5


4. There is some evidence that the terms had already been informally used since the previous autumn. At a conference on projected advance bases held in Septermber at a time when the United Kingdom procurement program was virtually complete, a representative from BuSandA is said to have declared that the Paymaster General wanted to know what to call those "lions and cubs" and that his phrase was immediately accepted. Interview of Capt. J.N. Laycock by Lieut E.E. Morison 11-12 May 1944.

5. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus and Op-30, ser 08612, 12 Feb 1942.


A useful index to the characteristics of LIONS and CUBS, as they were conceived early in 1942, is contained in a lengthy, descriptive memorandum prepared by Op-12 for Rear Admiral Turner in CominCh.


2. LION bases are of sufficient size to care for the logistic support of the major part of a fleet, with repair facilities equivalent to an AR plus special equipment provided in an AS and an AD. Aviation repair, operation and maintenance facilities for 210 planes are included. Sufficient material is provided to support personnel of 17,500 men.

3. CUB bases are of sufficient size to care for the logistic support of a small Task Group of Light Forces with no facilities ashore. Aviation repair, operation and maintenance facilities for 105 planes are included. Sufficient material is provided to support approximately 4,100 men ...

8(c). It is estimated that 8,000 enlisted men will be required from the U.S. Navy for each LION and 3,000 enlisted men for each CUB projected. Personnel for those bases will consist of specially trained repair groups for repair of aircraft, submarines, surface craft, and ordnance equipment.


The memorandum continued with a schedule of the major facilities of both types of base which was taken, with slight modification, from the CNO's letter of 15 January. It then outlined the equipment which was to be procured by each of the Bureaus and concluded with a statement that, in order to reduce the consumption of critical materials and the demands upon shipping, mechanical equipment should be limited to bare essentials, and construction be of a temporary nature, in minimum amount using local materials and labor so far as possible.6

Two additional directives filled in gaps in the administrative structure for the procurement of LIONS and CUBS. The first one dealt with financial and accounting procedures and provided that in general


6. Sec memo, VCNO to CominCh, ser 029512, 4 Apr 1942.


and aside from specialized items, BuDocks should finance and procure "the original construction and outfitting of advanced bases ... including (construction on the site and) collaterals of other Bureaus, but not including consumable supplies and materials, armament, military equipment ... (or) equipment for operations off-shore ..." These and other materials were to be procured and financed by the cognizant bureau. It was further directed that materials be consigned for assembly to the Advanced Base Sections of the appropriate Naval Supply Depots. This cumbersome procedure was an inevitable consequence of the basic organization of the Navy Department and the manner in which Congress made appropriations. The second directive abolished the Galapagos Units and released their material for inclusion in LION and CUB Units. It is further evidence of the connection between pre-war and wartime advance bases.7

The foregoing four directives laid the foundations for the procurement and assembly of advance base matériel on the incalculable scale required by global war. Much highly important detailed work remains to be done; many significant changes and improvements both in base equipment and in the techniques of its procurement and distribution were later made. These will be discussed in due course. Meanwhile, the arrangements for providing skilled operating personnel for projected LIONS and CUBS require consideration. If the bases were to fulfill their purpose, a well conceived training program was imperative.


7. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus (less Nav) and to Dir of Budgets and Reports, ser 014712, 6 Mar 1942; res ltr, VCNO to Bureaus (less Nav), ser 271530, 23 Apr 1942.


In the establishment of advance base training, the experience gained with the United Kingdom bases again proved to be of great worth. In compliance with instructions, recommendations were made by a special board, consisting of Commander J.V. Carney (Engineering Officer for Aircraft, Staff, Commander Support Forces; Commander Support Force's representative in Iceland during the construction of the Fleet Air Base), Commander P.R. Coffin (Support Force coordinator at Quonset for material for United Kingdom bases and O-in-C of the school at Quonset for training personnel in utilities operation), Lt. Comdr. M.B. Gurney (Maintenance Officer for Aircraft, Staff, Commander Support Force), Lt. Comdr. W.E. Gentner (O-in-C Advance Aviation Base "A"). Their exhaustive report, submitted in several parts during March, was approved by CNO and, except for one minor detail, its proposals were implemented. In brief, the report consisted of a plan for the organization of a base with detailed schedules of rated and no-rated enlisted personnel and of officers of various classifications, all with assignments to specific billets in the operating and aviation aspects of the bases, and of an outline of training program, including a syllabus, a timetable, and a statement of available equipment and facilities. Two important elements were not considered in detail, the ship repair and the construction departments of the bases. The former was one with which the Navy had had long experience culminating in the repair units for the United Kingdom bases. These latter were now operating at Pearl Harbor, where the merit of the concept was being proven. Few of their


officers were available to compile a report comparable to the one just outlined. The second element, the Construction Department, lay within the cognizance of BuDocks, and was being taken care of by the organization and training of Construction Battalions. The report paid equally little attention to other Staff Corps functions, such as the Medical and Disbursing Department, though provision was made for the inclusion of suitable Medical and Supply Corps personnel.8

The implementation of these proposals was initiated during the last weeks of March by the preparation in Op-12 of appropriate directives for the signature of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Formal approval of the general scheme was made in a letter to BuDocks, with a copy to BuNav, which was signed by the Sub Chief of Naval Operations on 27 March.9 The actual directives, of which there were six, were all promulgated on 30 March. One of them constituted a basic personnel directive for LIONS CUBS, much as CNO's letter of 12 February was the foundation for advance base matériel procurement. It was amplified by the pertinent details for specific situations in the other five.

The basic directive explained that air protection was contemplated for all types of advance bases, from major repair and operating bases down to minor ones having replenishment facilities only. To man these bases there were to be three types of units: (a) base units, (b) surface and subsurface repair units, (c) aircraft maintenance, repair and ground operational units. Because of restricted facilities for


8. Res ltr, ComTaskFor24 to CinCLant (copy to OpNav), ser 315, 20 Mar 1942 with enclosures; conf ltrs, ComTaskFor24 to CNO, CSF/F16-1, 9 Mar 1942, CTF24/P11-1/MM, 12, 16, Mar 1942 with enclosures.

9. Conf ltr, CNO to BuDocks, ser 022212, 27 Mar 1942.


training and the complexity of duties, the training would be divided between several stations: aviation units at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, surface ship repair units at the Destroyer Base, San Diego, and submarine repair units at San Diego and Pearl Harbor. These training units, it was explained, would exist for an indeterminate time with the withdrawal of personnel and its replacement, both that under instruction and that providing the instruction, as would be required to fill the needs of bases in the process of establishment.10

The detailed directives called for the establishment of the several types of units as indicated above. It was provided that the first group ordered under instruction should be the nuclear personnel of the first LION and the first three CUBS and that similar groups be trained each quarter. Detailed personnel allowances were enclosed and instructions given for the use in training of existing facilities at the respective stations, including aircraft and ships in actual operational need of repair. The personnel attached to the units planned for the United Kingdom were in general to be transferred to these new units and the old ones to be abolished. Together the directives provided for a comprehensive training program well designed to produce adequate skilled personnel. They were the foundation upon which was slowly built one part of the structure which enabled the Navy to play its part in victory over Germany and Japan.11


10. Conf ltr, CNO to BuNav, ser -022412, 30 Mar 1942.

11. Conf ltrs, all dated 30 Mar 1942: Advance Base Aviation Training Units: CNO to BuNav, ser 022812; Advance Base Aviation Personnel: CNO to BuNav, ser 023212; Base Units: CNO to BuNav, ser 023512; Ship Repair Training Unit: CNO to Bureaus, ser 022312; Submarine Repair Training Units: CNO to Bureaus, ser 022712; see also summary chart enclosed in CNO to List, ser 034812, 30 Apr 1942.


LIONS and CUBS were the backbone of advance bases. They did not, however, constitute a complete structure. Lighter and more flexible elements were wanting, the equivalent of arms and legs, eyes and ears, fingers and toes. By June 1942, plans were being made for the first limited offensive which was initiated in August by the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. The experience of the war had already demonstrated the prominent importance of air power both for purely naval and for amphibious operations. The value of PT squadrons had been shown in the defense of the Philippines. No one could doubt the significance of radar. Admirable as were LIONS and CUBS to perform the mission for which they were designed, they were not suitable for all the varied requirements of the war either in the Pacific or the Atlantic. Complementary smaller and more specialized units were a manifest necessity.

The largest and perhaps the most important of the new units were called ACORNS. As in the case of LIONS and CUBS, the initial planning for ACORNS was done by Op-12. The first directive, dated 4 July 1942, explained succinctly the concept and purpose.


1. The increasing importance and land-based air craft in operations in the Pacific area and the necessity for additional aviation operational facilities to provide for new airplanes being delivered at an increasing rate under the 27,000 plane program makes it mandatory that a large scale program of procurement and assembly at airfield materials and plane servicing facilities be undertaken. These assemblies will be designed to facilitate the rapid construction and operation of mutually supporting island air bases, or in conjunction with amphibious operations, the quick repair and operation of captured enemy airfields.

It is requested that immediate steps be taken to procure the following:

  1. Material:
    Seven group of airfield materials, each group to include one portable carrier deck





    (HE-1) and three airfield assemblies each consisting of two runway strips of metal mesh or perforated plate landing mat; airfield construction equipment, rearming, refueling, and light servicing equipment, and containers for aviation gasoline and lubricants.

  1. Personnel:
    For each of the above material groups:
    A commanding officer,
    Two construction battalions,
    Four communications groups of such size and composition as to be able to man communications facilities being supplied,
    A small Base Service Unit,
    Two groups of aviation ground personnel, each group to be of such size and composition as to enable it to service one carrier group and 12 VPB or transport airplanes.

3. Each airfield assembly will include the minimum amount of material and equipment consistent with rapid construction of airfields and efficient servicing of the operating planes under combat conditions. Due consideration should be given to the possibility that it may be desirable to transport an advance echelon of the subject assemblies by air.

4. Facilities of each airfield will be designed to service one carrier group.

5. Where procurement of this material conflicts with the requirement for LIONS and CUBS the first three groups (nine air fields and three portable carrier docks) will be assigned priority ahead of LION 2 and CUBS 4, 5, and 6, and the remaining four groups ahead of LION 3, and CUBS 7, 8, and 9.

6. The name OAK No. 1, 2 ... 7 will be used in correspondence to designate a group of four air field units and the name ACORN No. 1, 2, 3, ... 21 will be used to designate the component parts of each group. ... In each OAK the lowest numbered ACORN will be the carrier deck (HE-1) unit.

7. The first three OAKS will be assembled at the West Coast Advanced Base depots in Hueneme and Oakland, California. ...12


Implementation of this directive began immediately, most of


12. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus, MarCorps, Op-30, ser 052912, 4 Jul 1942.


the detailed work being done by the Bureaus, under the coordination of Op-30. Problems were frequently discussed in the Friday morning conferences during July and August.

Meanwhile, the course of the war in the South Pacific rendered the program even more urgent. ComSoPacFor and CinCPac desired that the first two OAKS be given priority over CUBS 2 and 3, for which shipment orders had already been issued. Sufficient planning had also been completed to permit the issue of more detailed specifications. The new situation was reviewed in a second basic directive on "Plans for ACORN Air Bases" issued by Op-30 on 18 August 1942.

This plan ordered the shipment if the first eight ACORNS as soon as possible and set a schedule of dates of readiness for shipment running from 25 August to 30 September. It distinguished between the two types of ACORN units by designating landing strip ACORNS as RED and carrier deck ones as BLUE. Since the latter would be delayed, the first eight were all RED. Their schedule required the earmarking of nearly the total landing field mat which could be secured. Diversion of both material and personnel from CUBS 2 and 3, but not from LION 1, was authorized. The Director, Naval Transportation Service, was requested to make the necessary shipping available, and the Bureaus were instructed to furnish the requisite data with regard to tonnage, cubage, and heavy lifts to the Loading Officer of the Twelfth Naval District. Finally, provision was made for the creation of pools of equipment in each area for the future augmentation of the facilities, should that step appear to be desirable. The directive had two appendices,


one giving considerable detail with regard to material and personnel, the other outlining a suggested division of the material into four "waves" which would grade a fighter field, surface it, surface a bomber field, and then another bomber field. The personnel totaled 38 officers and 1180 enlisted men in the base unit, most of them associated with the Construction Battalion. The tonnages of the first two waves approximated 2,000 and those of the third and fourth, 3,000 and 4,000 respectively. The directive also explained that, in order to secure mobility, ACORNS, rather than OAKS, were to be basic unit. Thus, while the ACORN concept was destined to a lusty life, that of the OAK13

At this point in their development, ACORNS became enmeshed in two other important programs, that for LIONS and CUBS, and that for amphibious warfare, which hid under the code name of GOLDRUSH. It has already been noted that the first eight ACORNS were given priority over LION 2 and all CUBS except nos. 1 and 13, which were then in transit. The addition of the ACORN concept also invited a reconsideration of LIONS and CUBS, since aviation facilities were a major part of their composition. Thus, there was issued on 25 August a revised plan for LION and CUB bases. It restated the general concepts, summarized development since January, and clarified relations with ACORNS. Appendices included a revised schedule for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS, a summary of personnel allowances for LIONS and CUBS, and an outline by Bureaus of their major material equipment. It is the most comprehensive single directive dealing with LIONS and CUBS. In general terms, it


13. Sec ltr, CNO to List, ser 021130, 18 Aug 1942.


made clear the considerable augmentation of assigned material and personnel which had been dictated by experience since the basic directive of 12 February. LION totals, exclusive of flying and defense personnel, were now 321 officers and 9,734 men, including 110 and 2,908 respectively, in five Construction Battalions. CUB figures were 138 officers and 3,200 men, including the 22 and 1,071 in one Construction Battalion. A comparison of material specifications is not possible, since the earlier directive contained none of the detail in the present one.14

These two plan for ACORNS and for LIONS and CUBS established, in effect, three different types of advance base. The three differed in size and in assigned facilities. All three plans might be and were modified when they were translated into men and material for specific situations. The units were supplemented by 9 other specialize types, such as PT boat bases, which will be discussed shortly. Since much of the matériel and many of the categories of personnel were common to more than one type, the logistics problem which they represented was complicated. Its satisfactory solution was to be found in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components which will be discussed in a later chapter.

The second program, that entitled GOLDRUSH, was a successful effort to devise the special techniques and matériel best adapted to amphibious landings in the face of the enemy. Although an amphibious command had existed for some months in the South Pacific, it was hardly



14. Sec ltr, VCNO to List, ser 0187530, 25 Aug 1942.


[an] accident that the GOLDRUSH program gained impetus just after the landings in the Solomons. The first GOLDRUSH directive was issued on 17 September, the product of work in Op-30. It explained that the special project was intended "to initiate and coordinate special ... measures for development of ACORNS for surprise use ... The ultimate goal of all such developments should be highly mobile ACORNS that can be established by surprise tactics between sunset and sunrise on enemy territory that is strategically important, but devoid of harbors and other resources taken for granted to be essential to advanced bases. If this goal should be reached or even approached, ACORNS would become offensive instruments possessing tactical surprise to a highly portentous degree." There followed an assignment of various aspects of the project to the different Bureaus and the Marine Corps. To Op-30 was allotted: coordinating the whole task, checking the development of the entire project and issuing supplementary directives, developing doctrine for the surprise use of ACORNS and the logistic support of ACORNS advanced into enemy waters, eliminating unessentials, preparing for the use of one ACORN as a test unit, maintaining liaison with the Marine Corps and the Army. A closing paragraph emphasized the highly secret nature of the project.15

Work on GOLDRUSH was carried on by the various interested agencies during the autumn. A special committee representing all the Bureaus met frequently under the guidance, for Op-30, of Commander W.J. Slattery, USN. Scale models of all equipment were made and tested.


15. Sec ltr, VCNO to List, ser 0238330, 17 Sept 1942.


Studies indicated that the specially trained ACORNS, designated ACORNS GOLD or SILVER, instead of RED or BLUE, should be designed to land in the shortest possible time the men and matériel to construct and operate a single runway field for use by a carrier group of 36 TF, 37 VSB, and 18 VTB aircraft together with fuel and ammunition for 30 CF missions and 20 other missions with supplies to sustain all personnel for 90 days. It was indicated that six LST's and six LCI's would be required. The initial landing was planned to be made in three waves. Between 1 and 8 December, an actual test was made near Norfolk with highly satisfactory results, which were described in a report issued on 17 December. On the same day, CominCh assigned to the Commander, Amphibious Force Pacific Fleet, responsibility for supervising the training of GOLD ACORNS. Three days later, Op-30 directed that personnel and equipment for all ACORNS subsequent to No. 6 conform to that developed in GOLDRUSH. On 1 January, ComPhibForPac submitted to CNO a general plan for the establishment of the training activity at Port Hueneme. Here were already located a BuDocks Advance Base Depot and an associated training method for Construction Battalions. Much useful advance base equipment and personnel was thus already established there. Training was expected to begin on 5 January. The recommendation was made and later approved that Commander M.B. Gurney, USN, be detailed as C.O., ACORN Training Detachment. Commander Gurney, it should be noted, had served on the Support Force in 1941, been a member of the board which drew the plans for the training of personnel for LIONS and CUBS and was not O-in-C, West Coast


Base Service Unit. With the establishment of the ACORN Training Detachment at Hueneme, GOLDRUSH was complete, although considerable refinement of detail still remained to be accomplished. The general supervision of Op-30 and of Commander Slattery, in particular, had been of great importance.16

Simultaneously with the initial planning for ACORNS, Op-30 formulated a program for PT Boat bases in the Pacific. The basic directive was promulgated on 3 July 1942. It implemented a CominCh decision that facilities for PT squadrons be established, one each in the Fijis, Noumea, Samoa, Tongatabu, Dutch Harbor, and Kodiak, for four squadrons in Australia and for three in Panama. CominCh had provided that, except for the boats destined for Alaska, all were to proceed to Panama under their own power, and there to be loaded on ships for further transfer. The present plan directed that the bases be of mobile character so far as possible, that all squadrons be shore based and equipped to operate with or without tender support. Two types of base were distinguished, ones equipped to provide operating support, major hull and minor engine overhaul, and ones equipped to perform major engine overhaul in addition to the services just summarized. The locations and types of base were then scheduled. The cognizant Bureaus were requested to assemble the necessary personnel and matériel, having the due regard for facilities already established, and to furnish to the Naval Transportation Service, BuSandA and the


16. Sec ltrs, VCNO to List, ser 0316230, 1 Dec 1942, ser 0327730, 17 Dec 1942, ser 0330330, 21 Dec 1942; ComPhibsPac to VCNO, ser 0063, 1 Jan 1943.


Commandants of the Fifth, Eighth, and Twelfth Naval Districts data with regard to tonnage, cubage, dimensions, heavy lifts, and housing equipment necessary for the movement. These appendices outlined the facilities necessary for a Major Engine Overhaul and Operating Base, the required personnel (11 officers and approximately 180 men), and the anticipated time table of the movement. Minor modifications of the plan, chiefly with regard to dates and the location of squadrons, were made in July, August, and October.17

By the end of 1942, Op-30 came to have overall responsibility for still another type of Unit associated with Advance Bases. These were Air Base Radar Units, called "ARGUS Units." Like so much else connected with the advance bade program, the first directive dealing with ARGUS Units was the work of Op-12. In this case, however, still earlier material procurement plans had been made by the Ship Maintenance Division of CNO and by BuShips. Likewise, BuAer, rather than Op-30, was at first assigned responsibility for determining proper matériel and personnel specifications. Only in November did Op-30 promulgate a directive which affirmed the earlier plans subject to certain minor modifications. It then laid down a procurement program for the calendar years 1943 and 1944 which totaled 200 units, forty-nine for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS, with two for each LION and one for each CUB and ACORN, and the remainder for special projects and reserves. The directive continued with an outline of a training


17. Sec ltrs, VCNO to List, ser 01738303 Jul 1942, ser 0189330, 25 Jul 1942, ser 0219630, 29 Aug 1942, ser 0269530, 17 Oct 1942.


program to be implemented by BuPers and directions for the assembly of men and matériel, mostly at Davisville, R.I., and Port Hueneme, California.18

This chapter has outlined the nature and development of the major types of Advance Base Units in 1942. It has paid attention to the roles played by Op-30 and Op-12 in this story. Much the same pattern existed in each case. In the first six months of 1942, Op-30 was engaged largely, but not exclusively, in the implementation of broad plans drawn up and initially promulgated by Op-12. In the latter half of the year, after the virtual demise of Op-12, Op-39 took over many of Op-12's functions. As will be shown in later chapters, this turned out to be a temporary arrangement. Nonetheless, Op-30 made a substantial contribution, particularly with the GOLDRUSH project to advance base planning on a high level. In addition to the units here discussed, there were a number of other comparable units, some of which, such as Fleet Post Office units, were of minor importance, while other such as GroPacs (Group of Pacific Units) were merely common assemblies of the smaller units included in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Component. Other examples are CASUS and PATSUS, which were chiefly units of personnel devised for aviation operations in the Pacific Because of their different nature, and because of the significantly different system adopted early in 1943, for the establishment of Advance Bases, they do not appear


18. Sec ltr, VCNO to BuPers, BuAer, BuShips, ser 040112, 5 Jun 1942; conf ltr, BuAer to VCNO, Aer-TR-33-NLH, F42-1/36(1), ltr, 20 Jul 1942; sec ltr, VCNO to Bureaus less Med and SandA, ser 0293430, 12 Nov 1942.


to be appropriate parts of the present discussion. Their planning was essentially a function of the staffs of area commanders rather than of CNO. While their importance in the whole history of Advance Bases may not be minimized, they were, as units, of relatively little concern to Op-30 and CNO. In large measure, this situation was a consequence of the logistic machinery which is discussed in later chapters and in other sections of this history.

In January 1943, the rejuvenated Op-12, the Logistics Plans Division of CNO demonstrated its authority in the new framework of logistics planning by issuing a directive to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations which prescribed the principles of advance base establishment. The value of the accomplishment of 1942 was recognized, and then the need was stressed for greater flexibility then LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS possessed, in order that the immobilization of personnel and material be avoided. The directive continued by stating that the use of code names, which had proved to be confusing, would be avoided.

    1. LION - the standard ready advance base unit, including all necessary components of a major all-purpose advance base.

    2. CUB - a minor advance base unit.

    3. ACORN - a minor advance air base unit.

would continue, however, to be used. It then sketched ideas shortly to be incorporated in the Catalogue of Functional Components. It confirmed the present procurement program and directed that:


To maintain a satisfactory state of readiness, components comprising not less that two fully ready LIONS, including material and personnel, will be required, one on each coast, and appropriate procurement and training measures will be instituted to insure the maintenance of such state of readiness. An additional reserve pool of material, the equivalent of a LION, should be maintained on or ready for withdrawal to, either coast.



Similarly, components comprising not less than three CUBS and four ACORNS will be maintained, one CUB on the Atlantic Coast and two CUBS [and] four ACORNS on, or available for withdrawal to the Pacific Coast.


The elimination of unessentials and the use of uniform types of gear, so far as possible, were directed in order, to conserve material, labor and shipping, and to simplify logistics problems. Finally, it was ordered that provision be made for transportation in self-contained echelons, for expeditious unloading and construction against enemy opposition, for the determination of permanent, as distinguished from temporary material and personnel, and for the orderly withdrawal of the latter.19

This directive established the broad pattern, shortly implemented by the Catalogue of Functional Components and the Advance Base Schedule, within which the advance base logistics program worked for the rest of the war. Perhaps the most important single feature of this pattern was a division of responsibility which had already existed for six months but was never explicitly stated.

During the first half of 1942, various agencies in Washington, some in CominCh, some in CNO, and some in the Bureaus, made arrangements for advance base movements. They determined the location and the content of new bases. They drew the formal plans for particular operations. This story was outlined in the previous chapter, and the roles of the several agencies were indicated. It was a retail process.


19. Sec ltr, VCNO to Asst. CNO (Op-11-H), ser 03312, 13 Jan 1943.


The present chapter has described the concepts and methods by which simultaneous preparations were made for wholesale business. in essence, the directive of January 1943 established a stock level of advance base matériel which was to be maintained within the United States. In a sense, this reserve was a deposit upon which area commanders were expected to make such drafts as the course of hostilities dictated. It was they who possessed the readiest and most accurate information for the determination of requirements. Theirs was properly the responsibility for planning advance base movements. This general allocation of authority was first exemplified in July 1942 in the "Basic Supporting Plan for Advanced Air Bases at SANTA CRUZ and TULAGI-GUADALCANAL." In character, the plan was similar to those for Borabora and the other South Pacific bases. Of the highest significance, however, is the fact that it was prepared, not by officers in Washington, but by the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet. It was promulgated from his flagship over the signature of Admiral Nimitz. Like earlier basic plans, it laid down an overall framework and provided that detailed supporting plans be compiled by sub ordinate agencies, by the Commander, Service Force Subordinate Command, by the Commandant, Twelfth Naval District. But this was a new set of planners, and the supporting plans, like the basic plan were not made in Washington.

Thus, the function of CNO was altered. Although Op-30 continued, on occasion, to arrange important advance base


movements, as for instance, the establishment of a Pontoon Assembly Depot at WHITE POPPY (Noumea), it cased to share primary responsibility for operations overseas and assumed its chief wartime mission, the creation of the logistic foundation for those operations. It is significant that the scheme for the Pontoon Depot at WHITE POPPY was approved in advance by ComSoPacFor.20

Fortunately, with the LION, CUB, and ACORN program well under way, CNO was prepared for its role as a wholesaler, one of constantly increasing complexity. At the risk of over-simplifying a complicated matter, it may be stated that the seaboard was the line which divided the responsibilities of CNO and the area commanders. CNO had the duty of delivering, at seaboard, trained personnel and prepared matériel. The area commanders called them forward. Much careful liaison was, of course, necessary and a constant interchange of ideas and information. It was no easy task to ensure that there should be at all times be available whatever within reason the area planning staffs might desire. These problems and the methods of their solution will be the burden of subsequent chapters.


20. Sec ltrs, ConCPac to List, ser 01994, 8 July 1942; VCNO to List, ser 0263130, 14 Oct 1942.



Chapter VII
Field Agencies of Op-30

ONE PRINCIPAL source of the difficulties which plagued the establishment of advance bases at Borabora, Samoa, the Fijis, and elsewhere in the South Pacific, was the improper assembly and loading of matériel at seaboard. This was probably the most striking conclusion which emerged from the informal investigation of Operation BOBCAT. The other major lesson, the necessity that improved equipment be made available, was also understood in Washington, and its implications were given effect in the programs for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS discussed in the previous chapter.

Responsibility for bad assembly and loading was divided. Many of the superficially sound directives of CNO were incapable of accomplishment within the time table and other circumstances which attended the sailing of the convoys. However, some of the failings might have been avoided had the personnel at seaboard been better acquainted with the special plans, policies and matériel involved in advance base movements.

In the Navy Department cognizance of advance base matters was shared by several agencies, but the primary mission of one of them, Op-30, was the making of overall policy and the coordination of the pertinent activity of the others. In the field, responsibility was similarly divided. The Bureaus directed the work of several


organizations, such as the Depots at Davisville, R.I., and Port Hueneme, Calif., which were controlled by BuDocks. Many other Naval and non-Naval agencies were also concerned. For most of them advance base work was only one element, even if an important one, in their over-loaded program. Hence, responsible officers did not have the time to master the special problems and policy, even if they possessed the requisite technical knowledge and information which, in fact, were often lacking. Often they were not able and did have the authority to make proper prompt decisions on questions to which an immediate answer was required. It became clear the Op-30 should have representatives in the field with primary responsibility for advance bases. Theirs would be a parallel mission of supervision and coordination.

This need was early recognized in Washington and resulted in the establishment of several field agencies. The first organizations were the Base Service Units, commonly abbreviated as BSU's. The directive which brought them into being was promulgated on 15 April 1942.

1. In order to coordinate properly the assembly of advance base material for shipment from loading ports, it is considered necessary to form units composed of personnel familiar with advanced base plans, and with expert knowledge of technical materials, for assignment to the depots. Each unit will be ... under a line officer and will be directed to report to the commandant of the district ... The function of the Base Service Unit will be to work with the Officer-in-Charge of the advanced base depot or naval supply depot ... in an advisory capacity in order that the proper assemblage of material may be assured. The custody of, and responsibility for, the material will be retained by the officer-in-charge of the depot. It will sometimes be necessary for the Office of the Chief of


Naval Operations to communicate directly with the officers-in-charge of the base service units.

2. The base service unit will assist the officer-in-charge of the depot in inspecting for completeness the material delivered to the depot, the assembly and the preparation of it for shipment, and will assist the port director, or other officer designated as loading officer, in determining the order of loading and in planning the cargoes consistent with the availability of key items and approved plans to meet the changing requirements of activities at specified advanced bases.

The directive further specified the personnel complements of the several BSU's. While they varied slightly, they initially included, in each case, thirteen officers and approximately fifty men. The officers ranged in rank from commander to warrant and were divided among the Line, the Supply, and the Civil Engineering Corps. The enlisted men included petty officers and seamen scattered among the Seamen, Artificers, Special and Aviation Branches. A small number of both officers and men were to be taken from the complement of the advance base unit being assembled and were to accompany the material they had prepared for shipment. The BSU's were designated East, Gulf, and West Coast. The East Coast unit had its main officer at NSD, Norfolk and a branch at ABD, Davisville. The Gulf and West Coast units were similarly divided between New Orleans and Gulfport, Oakland and Hueneme.1

In practice, the functions performed varied with the particular BSU, but approximated those described in the foregoing directive. The variations were the result of the differing work loads, the varied organizational arrangements in the several ports, the ingenuity and force of the individual officer-in-charge, and other partly fortuitous circumstances. Since the broad character and purpose of the

1. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus and Coms, 1, 5, 8, 11, 12, ser 026312, 15 apr 1942.


units is well described in the initial directive, and an account of their operation is included in the histories of the Naval Districts in which they were situated, little further detail is required here.

Certain general conditions are, however, worthy of mention. The somewhat anomalous position, as an adjunct to, but not a part of, the NSD's, might have led to difficulties had not thoroughly harmonious relations been established in each case. The problem of official custody of naval material and authority to execute custody and shipping papers was solved by an arrangement which gave some officers duty at both the BSU and the NSD through the device of additional duty. The amount and the character of the work performed varied among the units. The WCBSU had the greatest task and thus the greatest responsibility, since it was also the most remote from Washington. In particular, it did a great deal more testing of apparatus than the other units undertook. An excellent and thorough analysis of the procedures and the accomplishment of the several BSU's may be found in the memorandum reports of inspections made by officers attached to Op-30 in November and December 1942.2

The inspection of the BSU's left no doubt that they were ably fulfilling a vast and difficult mission. The increasing scope and complexity of advance base logistics dictated, however, a rearrangement in early 1943 of the field agencies of Op-30. By this time, there was need n the West Coast in particular that a

2. Sec memos: GCBSU, Lt (jg) C.S. Patterson to Op-30, Op-30-B12d-PDM, 5 Dec 1942; ECBSU, Lt Cdr J.H. Allen to Op-30, Op-30-B12-LH, 24 Nov 1942; WCBSU, Lt Cdr J.H. Allen to Op-30, Op-30-B12LH/db, 10 Nov 1942.


representative possess authority as well as responsibility. On 19 February, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations signed a directive establishing the Advance Base Officers Atlantic and Pacific, and reorganized the BSU's. The officers in charge were designated as Director, Advance Base Office, Atlantic (including the Gulf), and Pacific, and their titles officially shortened into DABOA and DABOP. Their duties were well explained in a directive of 8 June which slightly modified that of 19 February:

3. The Director of each of these offices is the coastal representative of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations for all advanced base matters and is authorized to act without reference to higher authority when immediate decisions are necessary or when established policies are controlling. These officers are, in effect, desks in the Office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, physically separated therefrom for administrative decentralization and to expedite handling within their cognizance. They will perform the following duties:

    (a) Through the District Commandants direct, control, and unify the effort of the various agencies dealing with advance base matters within the several districts, so as to effectuate the proper and speedy training of personnel and assembly, inspection, and preparation of material for shipment from the various coastal loading ports to the advance bases.

    (b) By means of frequent conferences and joint action unify the effort in advance base matters of all special coastal representatives whom the Bureaus ... may appoint to decentralize the control of the supply of material and personnel.

    (c) Confer with Naval District Commandants, Port Directors, Service Force Sub Commanders and others as may be appropriate and necessary to insure cooperative effort in the movement of material and personnel to the advance bases.

The directive further decreed that the directors should be line officers not below the rank of Captain, instructed the incumbents to make an immediate survey of the situation and needs on each coast and to make recommendations to VCNO in accord with the general principle that


a separate unit at each port where it was required should be an activity of its district subject to the guidance of the Director, A.B.O. DABOA and DABOP were to be situated in New York and San Francisco, respectively. Finally, it was directed that the Commanding Officer of each BSU should report to the Commandant of his district and to the Director, A.B.O. by letter and should perform such duties in connection with advance base matters as the Commandant desired, including:

  1. Familiarizing himself with the approved advance base program.

  2. Consulting with the heads of the Naval Supply and Advance Base Depots in his locality and assisting them to the extent permitted by his limited personnel in all matters pertaining to personnel and material for advance bases.

  3. Assisting, if requested, the Port Director, or the designated loading officer, in formulating plans for loading cargo and embarking personnel for the advance base.

  4. Keeping the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the Director Advance Base Office informed as to the progress of advance base assemblies and shipments.3

The differences between the directives of February and June represented a clarification of lines of authority, particularly in the relations between the Commandants and the Director, Advance Base Office and the Commanding Officers of BSU's.

The reorganization of advance base field agencies was completed by a series of directives which dealt with BSU's and their responsibilities. By letters signed in May and June, several new BSU's were established and some of the old ones were redesignated. There came to be units located at, and named after, Boston, New York, Norfolk, New Orleans, Oakland, Port Hueneme, and Seattle.4 Still later, Davisville, R.I.

3. Restr ltr, CNO to List, ser 714730, 8 Jun 1943; sec ltr, CNO to List, ser 07930, 19 Feb 1943.

4. Restr ltr, SecNav to All Ships and Stations, ser 106813, 1 Jun 1943; cf. conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 0518330, 6 May 1943.


was added and New Orleans was disestablished. The actual office of DABOA was also moved first to Washington and then, after the end of the war in Europe, to New York, where it was combined with BSU, New York.5 The specific responsibilities of the BSU's and of the Commandants of the Naval Districts were also more clearly defined.

  1. The commandant of the district in which the advance base components are being assembled and trained is the authority responsible for the overall efficiency with which all advance base personnel and matériel are assembled checked and embarked within his district....

  2. The supply officer in command of the Naval Supply Depot ... will be responsible to the commandant for an up-to-date inventory of the material, its identification and assembly, inspection for proper marking and packing and, when required, its inspection for completeness of assembly and test for satisfactory operating condition.

  3. The commanding officer of a base service unit is an assistant to the commandant in a position analogous to that of a port director. He is responsible to the commandant for the coordination of advance base activities within the district and the effective execution of the overall responsibilities assigned the commandant in paragraph 2. ...

  4. The responsibility for insuring that material arrives at ports for overseas shipment complete, in a good operating condition and properly marked and packed for overseas shipment rests with the procuring Bureau ...

This directive was somewhat clarified a year later by a letter which repeated its essence and added that the C.O. of a BSU should be attached to the Commandant's staff and "provided with all the necessary authority to give him access at all times to all depots ... for personal observation of advanced base activities therein and for consultation with the Commanding Officers thereof or their representatives. It is desired that visits of this nature ... be frequent and thorough to insure complete familiarity with the status ... of all advanced material and

5. Restr ltrs, CNO to List, ser 1004930, 2 May 1944, ser 109330, 2 Mar 1945.


personnel and to assist in the solution of problems that may arise ...6

In total, there was established by these directives machinery which was consistent with the overall organization of the Shore Establishment of the Navy, yet gave CNO, through Op-30, effective control of advance base operations on both coasts. DABOP and DABOA and the BSU's were, on paper, agencies of the Commandants. But since they were assigned to the staffs of the Commandants to carry out certain responsibilities not hitherto functions of those staffs, and since they were give specific authority to communicate directly with CNO, in practice they represented and owed allegiance much more to OP-30 than to the Commandants. Some of the tasks which they performed will appear in other connections in subsequent chapters. As has already been suggested, the West Coast units were more important than those in the East. After the establishment of Commander Western Sea Frontier as a major logistics agency in November 1944, both the West Coast BSU's and DABOP were all fitted into his organization. Their connections with Washington then became somewhat modified. Yet the basic missions of CNO and of ComWesSeaFron, who was also a Deputy CNO, were complementary and the system remained a means of ensuring in the field the fulfillment of the plans and policies of CominCh and CNO.

Field agencies of CNO, in nature different form the BSU's and Advance Base Offices, but similar to the ACORN Training Detachment at Hueneme, were the tactical training centers established at Lido Beach

6. Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 0531630, 14 May 1943; restr ltr, CNO to List, ser 1004930 2 May 1944.


on Long Island, at Camp Allen, near Norfolk, and San Bruno, near San Francisco. These activities, unlike the ACORN Detachment, were directly under the control of CNO. This training was designed to remedy a serious weakness in the program for LIONS, CUBS, and other advance base units. One element in that program, it will be remembered, was the training of personnel for their specialized duties. Prior to shipment overseas, the units were assembled and commissioned, much in the manner of ships. Upon the Commanding Officer fell the responsibility for organizing the component parts into an integrated and efficient whole. These officers and some of their staffs were ordinarily detailed for preliminary temporary duty in CNO to familiarize them with the plans, policies, equipment, and purposes o their units. The training of their units, as units, was then their own task, which was carried on under considerable handicaps. In some measure, the units were interlopers at the activities in which they were assigned living and messing quarters. Only such special equipment and training facilities as happened to exist in the neighborhood and were not already overburdened were available. because of lack of experience, no doctrine had been developed. It was to obviate these weaknesses that the new activities were created.

Camp Allen was designated as a "Red Line," later called Tactical Training activity, in the late spring of 1943 by the Commandant of the Fifth Naval District at the request of CNO. San Bruno was established in June as the U.S. Naval Advance Base Personnel Depot, San Bruno, California, by a circular letter from the Secretary of the Navy. The Advance Base Assembly and training Unit, Lido Beach, was created as a


part of the Naval Training Center there by the Bureau of Personnel at the request of CNO in the autumn.7 In November 1944, Camp Allen was decommissioned, after having well carried out its mission. San Bruno was redesignated Camp Terry B. Thompson in June 1945 as a well-earned, if scanty, recognition of Captain Thompson's work as head of the Base Development and Maintenance Section of Op-30. Working himself literally to death, he was responsible more than any other man for the accomplishment which is recorded in these pages.8

Even after the establishment of these units, tactical training remained, at first, rather hit or miss. Experience was necessary to eliminate deficiencies. Early in 1944, a small detachment of Marines, experienced in amphibious operations, was obtained as instructors. Later in January, a uniform syllabus was put into effect.

In June 1944, a carefully compiled and comprehensive Manual of Training for Advance Base Units and Training Activitieswas published by Op-30 for the guidance of all concerned. This supplemented the Manual of Advance Base Development and Maintenance, which had been published in the previous July. Together, they indicated as well as could any printed instructions the purpose and methods of advance base tactical training.9

Although the first few pages of the training manual indicate clearly its nature and scope, the best brief description is perhaps

7. Conf ltr, VCNO to Com5 and bureaus, ser 0545130, 22 May 1943; ltr, SecNav to All Ships qnd Stations, ser 107913, 15 June 1943; ltr, CNO to BuPers, ser 940730, 12 Oct 1943.

8. Restr ltr, CNO to Com5 and BuPers, ser 1428730, 27 Nov 1944; ltr, SecNav to All Ships and Stations.

9. Ltr, CNO to ComMarCorps, ser 1049930, 7 Jan 1944; ltr, CNO to C.O. Bruno, Lido, Allen, ARGUS, and ACORN, Hueneme, ser 832230, 26 Jan 1944; Publications, OpNav 30-11-A1m OpNav 30-11-43.


contained in a memorandum from DABOP in January 1945:

2. One of the present day requirements is that every person must undergo tactical training as soon as he comes under the cognizance of CNO at Advance Based assembly depots. This is the planned final phase of training prior to movement overseas, and supplements the basic and technical training provided by BuPers at training stations, trade schools and officer training centers. The CNO tactical training is intended to prepare the advanced base personnel individually, and as organized groups, for their mission at advanced bases overseas. It is concerned with the personal, morale, professional and tactical phases of the organizations and covers the following: military drills, combat instructions, guard duty and security watches, elementary seamanship ship and plane identification, experience in field conditions, first aid medical instructions, fire fighting, swimming, naval discipline, chemical warfare, air raid and bomb disposal, small arms and machine guns, bayonet drill, obstacle course, infantry pack, hand grenade, calisthenics, hand-to-hand combat, athletics, and organizational indoctrination. A landing problem, or simulated one, and a better problem and special training for officers are included.

3. Extra technical training in functional components is provided to supplement the technical training presumed to have been completed through BuPers training schedules. The amount of such extra training depends on the time available after the completion of the tactical program. In the case of radiomen, the training in their specialty is simultaneous with the tactical training in order to "keep the hand in all the time."

4. In the training of ACORNS, GroPacs, Amphibious groups, and Seabees, special training also is provided peculiar to their missions. This includes besides combat phases the rapid landing operations, handling and repair of amphibious craft, stevedoring, pontoons, and technical training in equipment; and is given to most of the personnel as additional to their own individual jobs.

5. For LIONS, CUBS, P.T. Bases, and a miscellany of small groups at San Bruno, the tactical training is supplemented. to the extent made possible by the time element, in specialty training. Parties of men have been sent on temporary duty to various other activities for training, such as Harbor Entrance Control Post, Radio Material School, Hunters Point (Repairs), NSA, Alameda (Repairs), NSD, Oakland, Camp Parks (Schools), Hueneme and Coronado (Boat Handling), Albany (Boat Repair), Degaussing School, and Water Distilling School at Oakland Airport. Some have taken a course in boat engines in Berkeley. Tiburon has been used for seamanship and pontoon work. Some men had worked on Greyhound bus engines. Training for gunners mates and torpedomen at Mare Island,


Alameda, and Key Port has been provided through SubOrdComServPac. The medical personnel have been farmed out to various hospitals.10

Not even by the end of the war was the training problem wholly solved. Even in the spring of 1945, CNO and ComWesSeaFron carried on an extensive discussion of the defects of San Bruno. Some of the difficulties were the result of the general shortage of naval personnel at that time and the consequent inability of BuPers and other personnel agencies to deliver on time the full personnel allowed. Training was seriously handicapped because units were never complete at the beginning. Generally overloaded conditions on the West Coast affected San Bruno and last minute changes in schedule, which continued to occur, always had a bad influence on training and morale.

The considerable success which was achieved was due in part to trips of inspection made by members of the Op-30 staff and to the replacement of ineffective commanding and staff officers by more qualified men. Proper personnel was as important here as elsewhere in the field service. Proper personnel was as important here as elsewhere in the naval service. And here again experience counted too. not only were some of the more effective staff officers men who had returned after advance base experience, but Commander Kenneth F. Horne, who in 1941 had been on the staff of one of the Destroyer Repair Units destined for the United Kingdom, served as executive Officer at Camp Allen and later as Officer-in-Charge of one of the subordinate units at San Bruno.

The proper use of qualified personnel was one secret of advance base success. At the outbreak of war, the only experienced officers were those who had taken part in the preparation of the United

10. Memo from Capt B. Perlman to Comdr P.E. Pihl, ser 114, 20 Jan 1945.


Kingdom bases. It has been noted that they devised the training program for the original LIONS and CUBS. It also deserves note that several of this small group were spotted at crucial points in the advance base system. Commander W. J. Slattery supervised the GOLDRUSH project in Washington. Commander J. V. Carney was O-in-C, East Coast Base Service Unit, as well as of the aviation training detachment at Norfolk, during most of 1942. Commander (later Captain) M. B. Gurney held the same position on the West Coast until his duties with the ACORN Training Detachment, Hueneme, became a full-time job. The investment in the United Kingdom base continued to earn dividends throughout the war.


Chapter VIII
Internal Organization of Op-30

The Time has come to consider explicitly the internal organization administrative procedures of the segment of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations which had direct charge of advance base matters. At first glance, this topic might appear to be the very heart of the advance base portion of the present history and to be the proper introduction to the entire discussion. Such a presentation was rendered inadvisable by the particular circumstances of the case. It has been seen that in their pre-war phase, Advance Bases were an eccentric aspect of the business of CNO. Almost by accident was the Naval Districts Division given cognizance over them, and during the first six months of 1942, the rump portion of the War Plans Division, which survived the reshuffling of personnel caused by the establishment of CominCh in Washington, continued to make long range plans for advance bases. Then early in 1943, the reorganization of the logistics organism presided over by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations subordinated the advance base unit in Op-30 to the superior, controlling authority of both the rejuvenated Op-12 and the newly created Op-11G. Advance Base planning turned out to be the largest element in the task of those agencies. All these matters are discussed in detail elsewhere. Furthermore, advance bases were only a part, and initially a small part, of the responsibility of Op-30. Thus at no time did there exist in CNO a distinct advance base segment. Hence, the suggested introductory discussion of advance base organization would have


approximated the history of CNO, which is the subject, not of this part, but of the whole of the present study. It has seemed wise, in consequence, to treat so far the substantive establishment of bases rather than the machinery which produced them. This approach has been further recommended by the fact that the concrete problems encountered largely influenced the development of the administrative machine which discovered their solutions. By the beginning of 1943, however, the broad lines were laid. It is time to analyze the maturing organization.

Like so much else in CNO, in the Navy, and in the nation, Op-30 was unprepared for the advent of war. Not only was it understaffed, but only recently, in October, had it been assigned responsibility for what became its major burden, advance bases. Near the end of November, its Director, Rear Admiral Alexander Sharp was detached. His billet was filled for some weeks by a retired Captain E. J. Gillen, until Commander R. W. Cary, on the active list, was promoted and succeeded to the position of Director, which he held for rather more than a year. He was then relieved by Rear Admiral C. H. Wright, who gave way in turn, after a few months, to Rear Admiral H. H. Good. The officer personnel in December 1941 numbered roughly fifteen. It grew during 1942 to rather more than one hundred and continued to increase more slowly thereafter, reaching a maximum of about 180 in the latter part of 1944.

The internal organization of Op-30 at the time of Pearl Harbor consisted, under the Director, of four sections dealing with (District) War Plans, Administration (of Naval districts, including local


defense), Underwater Defense (including nets and booms, mines and mine warfare), and the Shore Establishment. Cognizance of advance base matters was shared by several of these sections. While after 7 December 1941, the work of all desks increased greatly, and in some cases such as mine warfare, rapidly assumed critical importance the dominating stature of advance bases was soon recognized. After a protracted discussion in January and February, outlined elsewhere in the present history, during which representatives of Op-12 and Op-30 each proposed that their own Division swallow up the other, the basic pre-war organization of CNO was left substantially unchanged. The title of Op-30, however, was transformed from Naval Districts to Base Maintenance. Simultaneously, there was a reshuffling of responsibilities within the Division. Seven sections - Nets and Booms, Mine Warfare, Advance and Outlying Bases, Underwater Defense and Detection, Coastal and Harbor Defense, Vessels, and the Shore Establishment - were set up under the general control of the Director and an Assistant Director. Of these, the B-Section (Advance and Outlying Bases), headed briefly by Commander Leonard Doughty, Jr., USN (Ret) prior to the transfer from the Shore Establishment Section of Captain Terry B. Thompson, USN (Ret), is of chief present concern. During 1942 and the early part of 1943, its nucleus of regular officers, mostly on the retired list, was progressively augmented by newly commissioned reserves and a sprinkling of additional retired regulars. While all of them carried out great responsibilities under difficult circumstances, space permits that special mention be made only of Captain Thompson. Until his death in March 1945, his fertile imagination


untiring energy, driving enthusiasm and mature judgment pervaded the advance base section of Op-30. To him may justly be attributed credit for much of its success.

In February 1943, the expanded and still growing work of the Division dictated a revision of its internal organization. Under the Director and Deputy Director were established an administrative section and two main subdivisions, base Development and Maintenance, and Base Defense, each headed by an Assistant Director. Thus, advance bases were given a position of recognized equality with all the other varied responsibilities of the Division. Captain Thompson became one of the Assistant Directors. Within his subdivision were six sections:


      D   Base Liaison, Development and Plans
      A   Advance Bases Atlantic
      P   Advance Bases Pacific
      K   Advance Base Projects in the U.S. and Base Personnel
      X   Base Aviation Projects
      H   Home Bases

The functions of each of the sections are indicated by their titles. D Section had rather general cognizance. It devised overall policy and coordinated new development. A and P were concerned with the needs of and plans for specific bases within the two broad areas in which they Navy operated. They resolved the individual problems of the many bases within their territories. They decided just what equipment each should have. This was a vital matter, but one which does not lend itself to detailed treatment in the present study. K Section worked on personnel and training problems and also developed the highly important Catalogue of Advance Base Functional Components and the Advance Base Schedule,


both of which will be discussed in detail in subsequent chapters. It was also the segment of CNO which worked on general policy with regard to Construction Battalions and determined the assignments of particular units. Aviation required a section all its own because of its special problems and great importance at all bases. Like the A and P sections, its business was largely one of detail.

Still, a year later, in March 1944, the growing urgency and magnitude of maintenance problems induced a further rearrangement. The Base Development subdivision was itself partitioned into Development, Maintenance, and Scheduling groups. Captain E. B. Gibson, USN (Ret.), who had been on duty in Op-30 since the spring of 1942, was placed in charge of the Development group, Op-30-2C. Its sections were substantially those which already existed. Captain C. H. Sanders, USN, formerly Commanding Officer of the Naval Station at Borabora, who for several months had been head of the Local Defense Section, was given charge of the new Maintenance group, Op-30-2B. Within it there were established sections or desks having cognizance over matters involving Atlantic Bases, Pacific, Bases, Spare Parts, each of the Bureaus of the Navy Department, and Projects in the United States. There was also a West Coast Auxiliary attached to Director Advance Base Office, Pacific, who represented the Maintenance group in San Francisco. This division of labor proved to be unduly elaborate, and during the ensuing year and a half, there occurred minor readjustments which affected a progressive reduction in the number of sections by means of rearrangement and combination of duties. This reorganization of the Base subdivision of


of Op-30 was completed by the formation of the Scheduling and Expediting Group, Op-30-2F which comprised several units performing a variety of tasks, including Schedules, Reports, Expediting, and Traffic. The personnel were derived largely from the former K Section and were headed by Lieutenant Commander F. Thomas, USNR.1 Its activity paralleled that of both 2B and 2C.

The number of officers assigned to the various sections in the base subdivision of Op-30 varied with the current load of work. The efficiency and particularly the initiative demonstrated by the several sections reflected the imagination and force of the individual officers-in-charge and of their assistants. In general, standard administrative procedures were followed, since all action was taken in the name of the Chief of Naval Operations. Yet one of Op-30's most important functions was that of liaison and coordination. Thus, much of its most useful activity was transacted by means of informal telephone conversations and personal consultations between officers, very often junior officers in Op-30 and in the Bureaus, Supply Depots, personnel training activities and other agencies which contributed to the complex logistics pattern of advance bases. Even within the Division itself, personal contacts and relationships greatly assisted the smooth and expeditious transaction of business. There unquestionably was considerable duplication of effort not only with other agencies in the Navy Department, but even within the Division itself. At times, particularly in the latter months of the war, the base subdivision was overstaffed. Like all military organizations, its complement had to be large enough to handle any

1. Cf. sec memo, Op-30 to Op-13, ser 0988030, 12 Apr 1944 for a more detailed summary of the missions of these sections.


emergency situation. Its mission was extremely complex and there was a true need for a high degree of specialization. The various reorganizations were inspired by the purpose of achieving a greater competence and efficiency, though that goal was not always attained.

Liaison with other Naval agencies was for Op-30 a major mission. The Division came to be a chief intermediary between the planning agencies of CominCh and CNO and the Bureaus and field commands. Several special procedures which were developed to this end require brief consideration.

Primary among them was the Advance Base Conference. It originated in a series of small informal gatherings of officers attached to CNO and to the Bureaus which was initiated by Captain W. A. Corn while the United Kingdom bases were being constructed in 1941. These meetings for the discussion of advance base problems were continued at irregular intervals until in March 1942 they became established as a fixed engagement on Friday mornings for interested officers. At the same time, a formal record began to be kept, first as summary minutes and shortly in the guise of a mimeographed full stenographic transcript. At first, the record, classified secret, had a limited distribution in Washington only, the recipients being a small group of planning officers in Operations and in the Bureaus, most of them participants in the meeting. Later, the list waxed into the hundreds and comprehended appropriate officers in the field attached to Supply Depots, Base Service Units, Advance Base personnel training and distribution centers, overseas bases, fleet and area planning staffs and others. Likewise,


the number of participants increased. A considerable portion of the staff of Op-30 attended. Each of the Bureaus, each of the logistics divisions of Operations and each of the sections of Op-30 was formally represented either by its head or by a senior officer in the advance base segment. Until July 1942, informal direction came largely from Captains Corn and Gordon Hutchins in Op-12. Subsequently, Captain Thompson regularly presided until, after his death, his mantle was capably assumed by Captain H. H. Little, USN (Ret.). Several of the original participants were still playing a regular and important role at the time of the surrender of Japan. Until 1943, the Director of Op-30 attended regularly even though Captain Thompson presided. In the autumn of 1942, the Under Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Forrestal, visited on several occasions. While at no time were there many flag officers present, the record was available for their study.

The order of business and the uses to which the conference was put evolved with experience. In the hectic days of 1942, it had the status of an action agency. Appended to the record was a summary of items upon which a written report of action was required by Op-30. On several occasions, it was explicitly stated that the oral instructions given and agreements reached had the force of written directives.2 The standard order of business came to be an introduction by the presiding officer, who summarized such important developments, problems and pertinent information as had come to his attention, followed by a calling of the roll of participating Bureaus, Divisions, and Sections for their contributions of similar items. Frequently, a summary report of

2. E.g.., 7 Aug 1942.


observations was made by an officer who had returned from an inspection trip in the United States or overseas. Whenever possible, officers who were in Washington after duty at overseas bases were invited to attend and were called upon for an account of their experiences with emphasis being placed upon deficiencies which might be remedied. Such was the general character of the conference which never became unduly stereotyped.

The merits of this particular procedure were several. It made possible and easy the consideration of matters too intangible to be readily incorporated in written correspondence. Often, the observations of one member evoked complementary remarks from another. Thus, the true dimensions of a problem might more readily be ascertained, or the experience of one desk profitably made available to another, or the implications determined for other agencies of a proposed course of action by one. The relative informality of the proceedings invited the introduction of miscellaneous informative items which otherwise might have been disseminated only in some military equivalent of a gossip column, had one existed. The method of the conference likewise fostered the participation of junior officers. Thus, the wide distribution of the record was a fine means of broadcasting valuable, if rather unrelated, information through channels which would never have been reached otherwise. The record also gave publicity to the nature and dimensions of problems under study in Washington and permitted the field to know that many at least of their difficulties were appreciated and that efforts, albeit halting, were being made to find remedies. There exists no better means to plumb the changing intricacies of advance base logistics


between 1942 and 1945 than to read the record of the Friday Morning Conferences.

Another means of disseminating information and maintaining liaison with the field was the periodical entitle Base Maintenance Notes, which was first published in July 1944 and appeared at intervals of two or three months thereafter. A printed magazine of some thirty pages, classified Restricted, it was given very wide distribution among personnel interested in advance bases, both officer and enlisted. It was illustrated and included material from many sources, but particularly reports, formal and informal, from Pacific bases which promised to simplify maintenance problems.

The maintenance of liaison with the field was the primary mission of a Field Liaison section of Op-30 which was established in the B section in the autumn of 1942 and transferred to the Director's administrative office in the reorganization of February 1943. Its mission is indicated by its successive subsidiary titles: Readiness and Inspection, Progress, Records. When created, its special task was the inspection of Continental and Overseas activities. Members of its small staff visited at irregular intervals, sometimes in association with officers attached to other sections or agencies, a variety of naval stations. On several occasions, representatives of Op-30 were temporarily attached to selected initial movements and, on their return, were able to furnish first-hand information about the good and bad features of advance base logistics. The liaison work of Op-30-11 filled a great need.

The section also maintained comprehensive Advance Base records. Indeed, some of the liaison trips were inspired by the purpose of


improving the character of the reports from the field which Op-30 received. Many of the records were organized to suit a Kardex filing system. Different files, all kept as current and as accurate as the many sources of information - reports, letters, dispatches, O.N.I. monographs, and others - made possible were maintained for:

    1. Status of Advance Base projects.
    2. Condition and content of all Advance Base movements.
    3. Present position of movements.
    4. Location and facilities of established bases.
    5. General strategic and geographic information.

Perhaps the single most important sources of information was the monthly Logistics Reports which were received by Op-30-11 from all naval advance bases. The form, content, and other features of this report, which was initiated in December 1943, were revised as experience dictated. By the end of the war, it provided some data, in uniform style, with regard to most features of all overseas bases. The main headings were personnel, subdivided to show officers and men, CB's and other Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army, miscellaneous, in ground, aviation, and afloat categories; aircraft, aircraft facilities, base facilities, housing, storage, port facilities, functional components, and special units. Other forms showed the stock levels of many consumable supplies. The whole report came to about 350 pages, was highly secret and was reproduced by photographic process in only 14 copies.3 It suffered from the serious defect that Op-30 never succeeded in extracting from field commands full and complete data. Washington knew what equipment was dispatched in

3. Cf. sec ltrs, CNO to CinCPOA, ser 01230430, 29 Aug 1944, to Com7thFlt, ser 01364030, 6 Dec 1944, to ComNavEu, ComNavNAW, CinCLant, ComrthFlt, ser 01406239, 6 Dec 1944.


initial movements and what was its original destination. Seldom were subsequent movements or, indeed, changes in destination, reported to CNO. Likewise, CNO know little about maintenance shipments which were under Bureau cognizance. Full information could have been obtained only by instituting and maintaining a system of perpetual inventories. This was never done. Lack of such information seriously handicapped the work of Op-30 and not infrequently rendered its efforts futile.

The monthly Logistics Report, posted to the file for individual bases, was a major source of the confidential Directory of the U.S. Naval Advanced Bases, published at frequent intervals by Op-30-11, which showed the location and strictly major facilities of all naval advanced bases. Op-30-11 also prepared manuals for the ACORN Training Detachment, Advance Base tactical training, Advance Base Development and Maintenance.4 Still another responsibility was the posting of current data on a very large secret wall map which showed the establishment and the roll-up of facilities at all bases.

The liaison and coordinating function of Op-30 is shown, finally, by the special committees with which it was concerned. The Mobility Committee was set up in September 1944 with a representative of Op-30 as chairman and each of the technical Bureaus represented by an appropriate member. It was inspired by reports from the field that showed that advance bases did not possess as much mobility as might be achieved. Too often, the equipment was more suitable for a permanent base than for one whose major mission should be performed in the first few months after the initial landings. The committee met at monthly

4. Cf; OpNav 30-11-A1, 2, 3.


intervals and served as a stimulus to Bureau designers. Under its prodding, considerable progress was made during the final year of war along lines which should have been followed from the beginning. Thus, the E-22 component was redesigned so that its machines were mounted on trays and were thus capable of use almost immediately for the repair of small amphibious craft. they could likewise be moved readily to another location or to a more advanced base, should circumstances so direct. Similarly, plans were made for an E-2A to be mounted on six LST's so that it could begin operation within two or three weeks after the initial landing, instead of after some three months. Of all the various activities of Op-30, the Mobility Committee most nearly exemplified the fundamental character of advance bases.5

The second committee was the Joint Army-Navy Standardization Committee for Advance Base Construction and Motor Vehicles. Consisting of four members, it met from time to time from November 1943 onwards, with Admiral Ben Morrell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, as chairman, and Admiral H. H. Good as the other Navy representative. Several subcommittees worked on different phases of the broad problem, and their reports were adopted by the parent committee and promulgated in an overall directive on standardization in March 1944. Its primary goal was the elimination of unnecessary types of equipment. By limiting the number of makes of trucks, for instance, at any one base, the problem of maintaining sufficient spare parts was greatly facilitated. Here again, Op-30 played a useful coordinating role.6

5. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01256630, 9 Sept 1944.

6. Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 0947630, 31 Mar 1944.


Chapter IX
Catalogue of Functional Components

LIONS AND CUBS, as originally conceived, bore a significant resemblance to ships of the Fleet. Advance bases, like ships, were essentially self-contained, largely independent entities, created to perform an exact task and designed accordingly. They were laid down in terms of precise specifications set forth in detailed allowance lists of both matériel and personnel. Thus, as a logistics plan, the program of four LIONS and twelve CUBS differed in content but not in kind from the contemporaneous programs for carriers and cruisers. Each called for the procurement of specified men and gear for whatever operations an uncertain future might indicate.

In operation, however, bases were also unlike ships. In spite of a considerable success, the degree of mobility which had been imparted to bases was only relative. In contrast to ships, they could not be rapidly shifted to a new site to meet altered circumstances, nor could one be readily replaced by another of appropriately different design. To function effectively, each base had to possess peculiar characteristics dictated not only by its mission, but also by geographic conditions. Even more than a ship, it was necessarily tailored to its individual purpose. These facts were demonstrated by the first LIONS and CUBS.

Although one LION and three CUBS were ready in large measure on 1 July 1942, only CUB #1 moved forward shortly thereafter. LION #1


was detained on the West Coast for six months, with a consequent temporary waste of its material and human assets, while an unplanned CUB, #13, improvised chiefly from the appropriate equipment of LION #1, the readiest source of the requisite unobligated material, was sent out a full year before its number should have been reached. Simultaneously, several new types of unit were established to meet emergent needs. In short, the LION and CUB concept was inadequate. Useful as a procurement technique, it lacked a flexibility essential for distribution and establishment.

The manifest need for a more viable tool was filled by the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components, which was promulgated by Op-30 on 15 March 1943. It was comparable in many respects to the catalogue of Sears, Roebuck or Montgomery Ward. The key units were no longer bases of varying magnitude and mission, but the functional units of which any base, whether large or small, was composed. With the Catalogue as a guide, all bases could and would readily be tailored to their individual circumstances. A standard LION or CUB became merely a descriptive term, and henceforth, only by chance might one actually be established. Like its commercial counterparts, the Catalogue served the needs both of procurement and of distribution. In procurement, it provided a means of capitulating requirements in functional terms for later allocation as the needs of the moment might indicate. Such sterilization of ready assets as occurred in the case of LION #1, was less likely to recur. In terms of distribution and establishment, the Cataloguemade tailoring a normal and easy process, one readily undertaken


by the officers in the field responsible for the particular operation, who alone possessed the requisite knowledge, both of military plans and of conditions, climatic and topographic. Like a commercial catalogue, it was an essential link between producer and consumer.

The process by which the Catalogue was created can be described only in general terms, chiefly on the basis of oral evidence. It was the product of the collaboration of a number of officers in Operations and in the Bureaus. They worked in compliance with neither formal directive, nor even informal memorandum. No certain moment can be designated for the inception of the undertaking; primary credit for the idea can be assigned to no one man. Very much like Topsy, the concept just grew.

The gradual evolution of the broad notion can be discerned in the record of the Advance Base Friday Morning Conference. On 10 July [1942], at the time when CUB #1 was being loaded, the statement was made by Commander H. E. Eccles that "Once a CUB leaves U.S., we can expect that it will be very similar to CUB One, which means that it will be standard CUB minus certain items plus certain other items." While the remark shows an appreciation of the fact that an adjustment of advance base material allowances would normally be necessary, it also demonstrates an expectation that variations would usually be minor and that essentially standard assemblies would ordinarily satisfy the requirements of the operating forces. Early in November, the Commanding Officer of LION #2 noted that "all of any unit such as LION, CUB, and ACORN


might not be needed." He added that the policy of not splitting up units interfered with the filling of emergency needs and that the ordering out of full units resulted in a duplication of personnel and matériel and the waste of critical material. "On the other hand, (a) LION may be needed complete or CUBS and ACORNS may be needed complete." His discussion thus showed the need for flexibility, though his purpose was to argue the value for morale of retaining the identity of units.1

By early December, Captain R. W. Cary, Director of Op-30, had grasped the basic notion of the Catalogue. "I think those units should be organized along functional lines. Each unit to perform a certain function. My rough idea is to do away with LIONS and CUBS completely ... We could pull off many of those units as a whole or combination." By mid-February, the compilation of the Catalogue was well under way. "One of the most important projects ... on hand now is the breaking down of the LIONS and CUBS and ACORNS into their functional components. This is being handled by Commander Mooney's section. Ensign Libby is actually doing the detailed work and it involves considerable cooperation from the bureaus."2

The foregoing excerpts from the record of the Friday Conferences have been made in order to indicate how gradually the fundamental concept underlying the Catalogue of Functional Components emerged. They also explain in large measure the fact that most of the work was done by a Reserve Ensign who had rather recently reported for duty in Op-30 and

1. Fri Conf, 6 Nov 1942, p. 6.

2. Fri Conf, 4 Dec 1942, p. 2; 19 Feb 1943, p. 9.


had had no experience at an advance base. The Base Maintenance Division was deluged with urgent tasks and chronically understaffed. Important jobs had to be done by inexperienced officers if they were to be done at all. TheCatalogue, of which the full significance was not immediately realized, was no exception.

This was the process by which the compilation of the Catalogue took place so far as memory served those among the officers concerned who were still on duty in Op-30 in the autumn of 1945. During November 1942, Captain Cary orally requested that a breakdown be made of LIONS, CUBS and ACORNS. He seems to have been thinking at this time, or providing for bases of three sizes, large, medium, and small, adapted to a number of different functions, such as airplane, destroyer, or submarine repair, rather than of the development of units designed to fill specified needs at bases of any size or primary purpose. Commander E. B. Gibson outlined the procedure for this work and delegated its detailed accomplishment to Ensign H. W. Libby. It was Commander Gibson who seems to have conceived of a catalogue and who instructed the term. Simultaneously, preliminary detailed personnel breakdowns were prepared by Lieutenant J. B. Campbell (Bases Section - Projects in U.S.), and Ensign J. H. Callahan (in Base Section - Personnel). Through December and January, Ensign Libby worked out, at moments when other more pressing duties allowed, a material breakdown.

This process involved the determination, from inadequate evidence, of what were, in fact, the natural and viable divisions of an entity originally conceived to be a fully integrated organism. Sound


lines of demarcation were frequently not obvious. For example, only slowly did Libby conceive camp units, that is, for the housing and housekeeping equipment appropriate for varying numbers of men in several climatic conditions. To this matériel would then be added an allowance of personnel to perform housekeeping duties for all the men who occupied those facilities. This particular concept was highly significant, since it represented a bold departure from hitherto unchallenged assumptions. The creation of camp units meant the formation of components on a basis wholly distinct from the mission which either the base itself or most of its personnel were expected to fulfill. There was implied thus the principle that, in general, components should be built around the material equipment necessary for functional elements of the total activity of bases. With appropriate modifications of detail, this principle constituted a new means for computing all the allowances, both of matériel and of personnel, approved for any projected base. There was little difference in many cases - for example, the shore equivalent of the repair facilities of an AR - between the results obtained under the old and under the new method. With the new technique, however, there would be added to this central nucleus not, as in the past, functionally unrelated if essential gear and men for housekeeping, medical care, air raid warning and so on, but appropriate components designed immediately to discharge just those functions. With this principle as a guide, the tailoring of advance base assemblies was greatly simplified. One the primary component or components had been determined, such appropriate


secondary components as the specific conditions of the projected base indicated could readily be added. Similarly, to augment established bases, additional primary components, and appropriate secondary ones, could be dispatched with minimum delay, red tape, and duplication of facilities. No effort would be required, for instance, to delete from the equipment being assembled to augment an established base, gear designed to protect a harbor against submarine attack. In short, by the use of the Catalogue, efficient base assemblies would in future consist simply of the total of the appropriate functional components.

In the determination of components Ensign Libby enjoyed varying amounts of collaboration by officers engaged in advance base work in the Bureaus and in other divisions of CNO. He found that BuOrd had been working independently along the same general line and that satisfactory ordnance components had already been detailed. Little remained to be done except to adapt BuOrd's numbering system to that of the general catalogue. Similarly, medical units, which from the beginning had been essentially distinct because they were highly specialized, were largely worked out by officers in BuMed. Op-20 played an important role in the formulating of Communications components. Libby consulted extensively with officers in BuShips and BuDocks with regard to components with which they were concerned. BuAer took a considerable interest and part in the definition of aviation components. On the other hand, the participation of BuSandA and BuPers was negligible. In this general fashion, the Catalogue began to take form.

It has already been noted that by mid-February, the compilation


of the Catalogue was considered to be "one of the most important projects ... on hand" in Op-30. At the wish of Captain Cary and of his relief, Rear Admiral C. H. Wright, the job was completed with dispatch. By early March, sufficient progress had been made to warrant mimeographing. Simultaneously, an introductory preface was written by Commander Gibson, which explained the purpose of the Catalogue and the proper procedures for its use by area commanders and requested the Bureaus to prepare appropriate allowance lists. In the minds of the officers in lower echelons, who drew it up, the document was a preliminary draft to be submitted to the Bureaus for emendation. The question arose whether the covering letter should bear a serial number. The resolution of the uncertainty entailed an unexpected event. In spite of the fact that responsibility for decisions of broad policy,3 such as the Cataloguerepresented, lay apparently with Op-11-G (later 05-G) rather than Op-30, Admiral Wright decided to sign a formal letter of promulgation. Thus, on 15 March 1943, the preliminary draft of the Catalogue entitled at this time, Catalogue of Functional Units; a breakdown of the components of the LION, CUB, ACORN, motor torpedo boat, and smaller base assemblies, was officially promulgated without Bureau revision and made effective on receipt.4

Although the best - indeed almost the only - means of obtaining a sound appreciation is a rapid examination of theCatalogue itself

3. This would appear to be particularly the case, since the Catalogue appeared to be issued in compliance with a secret directive addressed on 13 Jan 1943 by VCNO to Asst CNO (Op-11-A), of which copies were sent to the Bureaus and to the divisions of CNO (Ser 03313), which directed that "Standard allowance tables ... be prepared, which catalogue functional components ... for LIONS, CUBS, ACORNS, PT bases and such other type units...."

4. Conf ltr, VCNO to List, ser 0464130, 15 Mar 1043.


and of its associated allowance lists, a very brief summary of its contents is desirable here. In addition to the promulgating letter and the introduction, there were a prefatory listing of the components in major groupings,5 a statement of the composition of standard LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS, and a summary by components, of the personnel and major material allowances.

The first edition of the Catalogue was frankly a trial balloon subject to early revision, and derived very largely from the existing schedules for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. This was inevitable, particularly since the Catalogue was published prior to its careful study by Bureau experts. Its full meaning and value can have been clear only to those who were already thoroughly acquainted with its antecedents. Yet its early promulgation undoubtedly hastened the composition of an efficacious Catalogue, for no matter how carefully a first edition might have been prepared, experience would quickly have disclosed errors of commission and omission which demanded prompt correction.


    No. in group
    I. A -  Administration Units       3      
    B -  Harbor Control and Defense Group   7  
      C -  Communications Units   14  
      D -  Fleet Supply Units and Tank Farms   4  
      E -  Ship Repair Units   7  
      F -  Construction Battalion, Special   1  
      G -  Medical Units   11  
      H -  Aviation Units   8  
      I -  Construction Units and Construction Battalions   4  
      J -  Ordnance Units   15  
      K -  Argus Units   1  
      L -  Motor Torpedo Boat Bases   2  
      M -  Landing Craft and Amphibious Training Group   1  
      N -  Camp Unit   1  


The second edition, printed rather than mimeographed, was promulgated on 15 July 1943, and made effective as of 15 August.6> It incorporated many new components - not a few on the order of the Camp Unit in the first edition - gave the weights in long tons and the cubes in measurement tons of the several components, and maps of a hypothetical LIONCatalogue. A third and, as events transpired, a final wartime edition designed to be effective on 15 October 1944, appeared on 1 November. Its most notable features were still more components, photographs of sample units, and a forthright statement of the principle enunciated but not emphasized in the second edition that each component was "dominated" by someone Bureau, which was responsible for collating the detailed allowance list. The increased maturity of the Catalogue is shown best perhaps by the fact that there were now listed nearly 250 components instead of the 79 of the first edition. The Camp group had grown from the single camp for 250 men of the first edition to 26 of varying nature. There were now included such diverse units as an oxygen generating plant, a typewriter repair unit, a malaria control unit, personal arms for officers, a bakery; a gardening component, and a lumber manufacturing unit, in addition to such primary components as ship and airplane repair units. Moreover, the material content of the components had also been constantly under scrutiny and frequently revised and improved. The changes had constantly aimed at greater mobility,

6. Conf ltr, VCNO to List, ser 0593930, 15 July 1945.


and by 1945, even heavy machinery was commonly tray or vehicle mounted. Through all this process, the editor, now Lieutenant Libby, had retained detailed responsibility. For the third edition, he was able to profit from the ideas and experience of many officers - really experts by this time - not only in CNO and the Bureaus, but also in the Fleet and overseas. The matériel and personnel for established bases had by now been assembled by means of the Catalogueand reports from their staffs, written and oral, had naturally been accorded healthy respect. Yet the general lines of the first edition remained. A summary of a standard LION, CUB, and ACORN was still included essentially unaltered; there were added outlines of other standard base assemblies - GroPacs, Aircraft Repair and Engine Overhaul Units, NATS Units, PT Base Units, Landing Craft and Fleet Supply Units. The Catalogue had proved to be the key tool in an extraordinarily complicated process. As the introduction to the third edition stated: "Advanced Base Units are strategical in conception, logistical in assembly, tactical when in movement and logistical when established at their ultimate destination. Functional Components, on the other hand, are for logistic purposes from inception to final establishment." The Catalogue was the essential link between logistics and operations.

The process by which there were made additions to and improvements of the components in the Catalogue deserves brief outline. Ideas for improvements occurred to many officers engage in all phases of the advance base activity - Op-30, the Bureaus, assembly depots, shipping activities, operational planning staffs, new and established bases.


Sometimes they were the subject of formal reports or memoranda. On occasion they were a natural result of deficiencies outlined in more or less routine reports of operations. Not infrequently, they grew out of efforts to find a remedy for difficulties described in the Advance Base Friday Conference by officers who visited Washington after duty at a base. Whatever the origin of the idea, once a problem was recognized, an effort was made to find a solution. Often this involved study in Op-30 and the Bureaus. Possible solutions were ordinarily analyzed by the technical staffs of Bureaus concerned and, when appropriate, by operational staffs. Recommended amendments were then submitted to Op-05G, and, if approved, incorporated in the Catalogue. In this process Op-30 was the coordinating agency.

In spite of its vary great merits, the Catalogue was an incomplete mechanism. Like its commercial counterpart, it was primarily a merchandising tool. Yet CNO, in contrast to mail order houses, was in its very nature a production as well as a distribution agency. The latter deal ordinarily with what is, for them, a finished article. They are interested directly in neither the fabrication nor the end employment of their product. Thus, the commercial simile is no longer useful. For the Navy, the items in the Catalogue represented merely one step in an integrated process. They were not an end in themselves, since the Navy was responsible both for their manufacture and for their incorporation into larger entities. The Catalogue needed supplementary documentation. For example, in the planning and establishing of bases, it might be necessary to know just what machines were included in an E-2 -


the shore equivalent of an AR. Likewise, in the assembling of a component, there was required a schedule of the exact quantities and specifications of the myriad items, even unto nuts and bolts, which entered into its composition. TheCatalogue provided details in neither degree. This want was filled by the Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists, prepared under the supervision of Lieut. L. A. Sheehan in Op-30.

The I.O.L.'s were the product of a development whose end was not foreseen. The first step was, in fact, merely a necessary adaptation, to suit the framework of the Catalogue of the Type Allowance Lists regularly compiled for LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. With Op-30 urging all possible speed, these revised Type allowance Lists were prepared by the cognizant Bureaus during the spring of 1943. They filled an important need, but were soon found to be unsatisfactory. In spite of Op-30's effort to secure uniformity, the pages supplied by the several Bureaus continued to differ in format and in degree of detail. They could not readily be bound, and their bulk was excessive. They were an inconvenient tool. Since none were printed, in spite of the vast labor which they represented, their quantity was limited and the reserve stock soon exhausted. Because improvements in components were a regular and frequent occurrence, it was not a practicable procedure to keep several hundred widely distributed copies continuously accurate. The Type Allowance Lists, in short, were not an appropriate complement of the Catalogue.

The need, now recognized, was met by the preparation of two parallel sets of material lists, abridged and detailed. During the


winter of 1943-44, the abridged lists were prepared by the Bureaus and printed by BuSandA under the guidance of Op-30, which determined question of policy and format. The first edition was distributed on 15 March 1944 and revisions appeared quarterly in 1944 and in April and August 1945, with a final edition planned for April 1946. A printed volume of some 750 good-sized pages, it listed the major material equipment of each component and indicated the quantity of each item together with identifying data. It was designed "for those staff planning officers who desire more detail information concerning major groups of personnel and equipment than is offered in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components." It proved to be wholly satisfactory.7

The Initial Outfitting Lists (detailed) were compiled simultaneously with the abridged Lists. Printing and distribution were arranged by BuSandA in a format which it prescribed in compliance with policies determined by Op-30. The technique of preparation was in itself a difficult and important matter. The assembly lists had already proved to be troublesome. They were necessarily extremely bulky and their revision, which was required for almost every shipment, was a laborious task. During the latter part of 1943, it had been determined that they could profitably be transmogrified to suit the punch cards used by International Business Machines. This was in itself a stupendous job - it alone kept the machines at the Census Bureau and at other agencies at work on a three shift bases for several months - but it rendered the future preparation of shipping and outfitting lists a comparatively simple process and undoubtedly justified its cost. The

7. Restr ltr, CNO to List, ser 916830, 15 Mar 1944; interview with Lt. H. W. Libby by Lt. J. H. Gleason in Oct 1945; Cf conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 089330, 12 Feb 1944; NAVSANDA Publication No. 28.


Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists (Detailed), which were issued during the spring of 1944, were printed from copy produced by the IBM punch cards. What they really were, in consequence, was a printing for considerably wider distribution of the assembly or shipping lists which happened to be current at that time. As a consequence of their origin in the punch cards, they were necessarily of uniform size. Their sheets were bound by components, the larger and more complex ones requiring several volumes. A complete set, for the components existing in June 1944, comprised 479 large volumes and weighed 250 pounds. "Designed specifically for procurement, assignment and assembly of materials," they contained complete detail and were also available to planning officers or other who desired more information that the abridged lists contained. They rounded out in fine fashion the tools requisite for procuring, assembling, shipping, and establishing advance bases in accordance with the concept of functional components.8

Originally, it was expected that revisions of the Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists would be published at intervals of perhaps a year. In practice, it developed that, except for the procurement and assembly of such particular components as the exigencies of combat required, the original lists were satisfactory for most purposes. Hence, the production of periodic revisions as such was abandoned. Mimeographed addenda were, however, distributed periodically. Never very distinct, the earlier allowance lists thus came to be identical with

8. Fri conf, 8 Oct 1943, pp. 10, 11, 5 Nov 1943 p. 22; interview with Lt. H. W. Libby by Lt. J. H. Gleason, Oct 1943; Base Maintenance Notes, No. 2044, Oct 1944, pp. 3, 4.


the assembly lists and the Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists were merely a printed example as of a particular date in 1944. Allowance lists, for actual or hypothetical use as the case might be, could be prepared, should occasion demand, from the IBM punch cards, but, in fact, they were seldom required. The master "deck" of punch cards was kept by the Advance Base Section of BuSandA, which ran off assembly schedules when requested. Duplicate decks of their own items were kept by the other Bureaus in Washington. A second complete deck existed on the West Coast, with the BuSandA cards at Oakland, the BuDocks ones at Port Hueneme and the rest at Clearfield. The other BuDocks depots also had decks of BuDocks items. When changes were made, BuSandA prepared and distributed new cards for each of the subsidiary decks. By the use of this system, lists incorporating all the latest revisions were readily available in sufficient quantity on each coast at short notice. They were used chiefly for actual assemblies. The printed lists continued to serve most planning purposes.

Those three tools, then, the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components, the Abridged Advanced Base Initial Outfitting Lists, and the Assembly Lists with the associated printed Detailed Initial Outfitting Lists, were one of Op-30's great contributions to naval logistics. Together, they constituted an extremely flexible instrument, adaptable to highly varied requirements, yet efficient in operation. By their use, the formulation of Advance Base requirements was a relatively simple matter. Thus, they helped to solve a great logistics problem. They also provided a key to the answer of an associated and likewise a difficult question, the proper scheduling of the same requirements.


Chapter X
The Advance Base Schedule

The original program for LIONS and CUBS laid down in February 1942, served the needs of that moment. It set a procurement target which taxed the manufacturing facilities at the command of the Navy, and thus fostered an expansion of industrial plants. Moreover, the schedule of one LION and three CUBS each quarter made certain necessary strategic planning possible. But in practice, it was tantamount to a policy of stimulating the greatest possible production, while hoping for the best and making do with whatever suitable equipment actually became available. Deficiencies in critical items were inevitable and some CUBS were shipped overseas in spite of shortages in significant gear.

By the spring of 1943, however, conditions were different. The substantial modification of the basic concept of LIONS and CUBS which was implicit in the Catalogue of Functional Components is evidence of the new situation. The fact that base assemblies should and could be varied in content was recognized. Ann improved system of logistics planning was now necessary, for a continuation of overall maximum procurement would have entailed surpluses in some items and a misuse of resources both of plant and of product. In short, the Catalogue announced the abandonment of hand to mouth techniques and testified to the creditable logistics achievement of the preceding year. It


transformed into a true procurement program what had been, in fact, a statement of a prescribed inventory level.

By its analytic capitulation of possible base components, the Catalogue also facilitated a reconciliation between what was logistically possible and what was operationally desirable. It lacked, however, one important element of the program which it superceded. It contained no answers to the questions how much and when. Hence, a new, a more careful, comprehensive, and formal method of planning assemblies was necessary, a schedule which would complement theCatalogue with specific data in regard to quantities and dates.

A brief survey of the directives which promulgated schedules of advance base units in 192 and in early 1943 demonstrates how considerable were the reforms adopted later in 1943. The basic directive on LIONS and CUBS, of 12 February 1942, ordered the procurement of one LION and three CUBS each quarter It was amplified in June when points for assembly were assigned. Half of the four LIONS were allotted to the East Coast, while the twelve CUBS were divided equally between the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. In August, a revised schedule integrated the recently initiated program for ACORNS into that for LIONS and CUBS. Under the terms its first eight ACORNS into that for LIONS and CUBS. Under the terms its first eight ACORNS were given priority over all LIONS and CUBS, and were ordered to be ready for shipment at intervals of five or six days beginning on 25 August. The readiness date of LION 1 was set back from 1 July to 1 November, that of LION 2 from 1 October to 1 December, and those of CUBS 2, 3, and 4 to 15 November, 1 and 15 December respectively. The remaining LIONS and CUBS were listed


with a statement that dates and points of assembly would be designated later. CUB 1 was not included because, along with CUB which had been created on short notice by robbing LION 1, it had already been shipped to the South Pacific. October saw a revision of the schedule for ACORNS which included a statement that LION 1, and CUBS 2, 3, and 4 were not likely to move out before 1 January 1943. In early December, a further modification of arrangements was significant chiefly for the fact that LIONS 3 to 6 and CUBS 5 to 12 were now first assigned specific readiness dates, ones which were, however, clearly hypothetical since the dates for LIONS 1 and 2 and CUBS 2 and 3 were left 8nchanged in spite of the fact that they had already been passed. Rather evidence of the highly provisional nature of all these schedules is apparent from the fact that the dates now ordered represented a marked delay over the original program. LION 1 and CUB 2 were already in transit when the next directive was issued in mid-February 1943. At that time, apparently firm, though somewhat arbitrary, dates were assigned to LIONS 2 and 3, to CUBS to 5, and to ACORNS 5 to 11. No times were indicated for subsequent assemblies.1

Superficially, this series of amendments, reamendments and counter amendments to presumably firm arrangements suggests very bad planning. Certainly it must often have been disconcerting to the officers in the Bureaus and elsewhere who were responsible for the execution of the extremely complex detailed implications of these directives. Actually, the changes often reflected modifications both in the logistics, that is the procurement and distribution, and in the strategic situation

1. Sec ltrs, CNO top List, ser 08612, 12 Feb 1942, ser 0139730, 1 Jun 1942, ser 0187530, 25 Aug 1942 ser 0263630, 20 Oct 1942, ser 031130, 8 Dec 1942, ser 0409030, 19 Feb 1943.


which could not have been foreseen. Nevertheless, they also made clear the urgent need for improved scheduling techniques. Doubtless, there would continue to be a necessity for adjustments, sometimes sudden and drastic, to suit altered circumstances. Nevertheless, effective administration of the constantly growing, and, after the promulgation of the Catalogue of Functional Components, the more complex, if more flexible, logistics machinery demanded the creation of a schedule which would contain in ready and convenient form, all current data, and would be regularly and frequently revised. This task was the mission of a new subsection of Op-30.

A small group of reserve officers who had had experience with industrial scheduling or with Navy procurement were ordered to duty in Op-30K beginning in the early spring of 1943. Their advent coincided roughly with the shakedown period of the new general organization of the logistics portion of CNO, which resulted from the experience of 1942 and the recommendations of the Booz study. This matter is discussed fully elsewhere in the present history. Briefly, it involved a rejuvenation of the Plans Division (Op-12) and the establishment of the Progress Division (Op-05G) to explore and determine broad requirements before they were handled in detail by such Project Divisions as Op-30. This meant, in effect, that Op-30 began to receive more carefully conceived and more thoroughly studied instructions than in the past. There was implied, thus, either a duplication of activity or a confusion of function and responsibility or both. This also is more fully discussed later in this chapter and in other sections of this history.


The framework within which the new scheduling subsection began its work was laid down by the recent overall reorganization of CNO and by two comprehensive scheduling directives which were promulgated by Op-30 in February and March. The earlier of these letters had as it subject the "Advance Base Program for Fiscal Year 1944." It began by summarizing the various advance base units which were already ordered to be procured,2 and then stated "Additional anticipated advance base requirements (which were thereby) authorized for progressive procurement to meet tentative readiness dates as listed...."2a The second directive announced readiness dates at the point of shipment for most of the units in the first part of the previous directive and tentative dates for planning purposes for the remaining LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. These directives dealt with many more units than had previous ones, but they retained the same relatively haphazard character.2b

The first directive of the new subsection established new readiness for shipment dates, divided as before into two categories, fixed and tentative. In general, these dates represented a retardation, in some cases very considerable. Thus, in form this directive was the same as previous ones. It included, however, more positive instructions for its execution and much fuller and more carefully considered definitions

2. LIONS 1-6; CUBS 1-21; ACORNS 1-28; PT Bases 1-10, 11a-d, 12-14; Escort Repair Facilities 1-12; Standard Landing Craft Units 1-10; Amphibious Trianing Group 1; ARGUS Units 1-200; Special Submarine repair equipment sets 1-7.

2a. LIONS 7-9; CUBS 14-16; ACORNS 29-40; PT Bases 15-30; Escort Repair Failities 13-16; Standard Landing Craft Units 11-14; Amphibious Trianing Group 2; Special Submarine repair equipment sets 8-10; Mobile Amphibious Vessel Repair Bases 1-4.

2b. Sec lrts, CNO to List, ser 0434430, 0473730, 22 Feb, 19 Mar 1943.


of "readiness." Readiness was stated to be "based upon a requirement that one month immediately preceding ... be used for training and assembly of the unit as a whole. It is essential that enlisted personnel be adequately trained in the duties of the specialty and as functional units where appropriate, before the final month and that, at the beginning of this month, assembly of material and personnel be sufficiently complete to permit the shipment of one component ... within ten days." It was added that, in practice, VCNO would issue instructions for shipment at least a month in advance of the readiness date and that, if such instructions were not then issued, the readiness date would automatically be deferred to a date one month after shipping instructions were issued. A further paragraph directed that inland depots be used so far as practicable for the storage of items which were available materially in advance of the specified readiness dates. Finally, it was ordered that no LION or CUB be stored on the Gulf Coast, and that no more than one LION and one CUB or one LION, two CUBS and two ACORNS be stored on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts respectively. These limits were set because of restricted storage space.3

The second scheduling directive of the subsection reflected the broad system of logistics organization rather than its own work. It merely transmitted a table drawn up in Op-12 of estimated procurement requirements for the calendar years 1944, 1945, and 1946, in terms of the types of units used in the Catalogue of Functional Components.4

3. Sec ltr, VCNO to List, ser 0512330, 21 Apr 1943.

4. Sec Ltr, VCNO to Dir, OP&M (cc to Bureaus and divisions of Operations), ser 0551230,, 21 Msy 1943.


The first of the advance base schedules, as the term came to be understood, was promulgated on 4 August 1943. While it was later greatly improved in form and content, it was already a marked change from its predecessors. Like theCatalogue, the Schedule can best be understood by a brief examination of it. Copies of the covering letter and of a typical schedule in 1945 are included in the appendices. The letter explained the schedule which was enclosed with it. It announced a policy of maintaining "at all times in a condition of readiness for shipment overseas; one LION, one CUB, two ACORNS, one E-6 component (Landing Craft Base Repair) and five E-10 components (Standard Landing Craft Unit - Maintenance) on the East Coast; one LION, two CUBS, four ACORNS, two PT Boat Bases (one major engine overhaul), two E-6 Components, five D-10 Components and one H-3 (Aviation Repair and Overhaul on the West Coast). This material was to be kept at the depots indicated in the Schedule except for special items. All personnel were to be available for assignment to Advance Base Personnel Depots with both technical and preliminary training completed. There followed a careful outline of the regulations for packing, assembly and storage. It further directed that the procurement of material and the training of personnel be arranged by the Bureaus to meet but not necessarily to anticipate the dates set in the Schedule. Further, the Bureaus were to maintain information on the current status of and progress of their programs. Finally, it was stated that the advance estimates were necessarily tentative and would be reviewed and revised periodically in the light of conditions which changed from day to day.


The Schedule was in three parts. The first part was a statement of required assembly of specific units at specific ports. It showed the units, including a list of the constituent components of each, and the miscellaneous components for which definite plans had already been made, together with certain useful remarks. Part II was a schedule of dates at which units and miscellaneous components (E-6, E-10, H-3) were to be available. The third part consisted of table of required availability of components on the East and the West Coasts, for each month of 1943 and 1944 showing the number of each component which would be required.5

In addition to giving a great deal more information than its predecessors and giving it in much more convenient form, the Schedule is also notable for the fact that the required dates were in most cases advanced over those previously announced. Since the tempo of the war was obviously stepping up and there might again be severe pressure on the productive resources of the nation, the best possible scheduling was of great importance.

The first Schedule was designed, in content and in format, to meet the apparent needs of the moment of its issue. It proved to be the embryo of an organism which developed rapidly at first and then more slowly, achieving relative maturity in some six months, but not degenerating into a stereotyped report. Like the format, the proper frequency of publication was not known when the Schedule first appeared. The second and third "editions" were issued as of 19 and 30 August and the fourth on 1 October. Although provision was made for extra numbers in case of need which in fact never arose, there was then announced an intention of regular publication on the first day of each month. Thus,

5. Sec ltr, CNO to List, ser 0640930, 4 Aug 1943.


the Schedule became in fact a monthly confidential periodical - it was downgraded from Secret on 1 October - differing from other Navy periodicals in that it always appeared as a printed enclosure to a characteristic mimeographed letter addressed by CNO to a wide distribution list.

The second through the fifth (1 November) "editions" were described as amendments to the first. Thereafter, each issue wholly superseded all predecessors and was complete in itself, as indeed all numbers had been except the second. The 1 October Schedule set the basic pattern which was subsequently followed through in constantly improved detail. Three distinct schedules were established. Schedule I, in two parts, "East" and "West", showed the "Required Assembly of Advance Base Units at - Coast Loading Ports." Like the first Schedule, it indicated specific units at specific depots on specific dates. Schedule II details by coasts the "Required Availability of Advance Base Units" (i.e. LIONS, CUBS, H3 components, etc.). Schedule III summarized by number and date for each component the "Required Availability of Functional Components" for each coast. Schedule II, while useful, never came to have an importance equal to the others because it was merely a grouping by more or less standard units of some of the components also included in Schedule III. In essence, Schedule I was the tabular summary of information dealing with the assembly, ready for shipment overseas, of advanced base material and personnel as directed by CNO. Schedule III, on the other hand, was a similar summary of the current directives for advance base procurement. Thus the two Schedules, while serving the same overall mission, represented wholly distinct phases of the logistic process.


Both facilitated the work of many agencies, particularly action agencies such as the Bureaus, other sections of Op-30, either divisions of Operations, and Navy Supply Depots. They were also useful to planning agencies. They filled an imperative need by assembling in convenient form, summary data, and complete reference for the otherwise unmanageable volume of advance base logistic instructions. Other significant elements in the Schedule were a series of succinct definitions of such terms as "available", a summary of major changes since the last issue, non-component requirements, and any other special section which particular circumstances seemed to indicate.5a

5a. The following are the dates and the serial numbers of all the issues of the Schedule through 1 August 1945:

  4 Aug
19 Aug
30 Aug
  1 Oct
  1 Nov
  1 Dec
  1 Jan
  1 Feb
  1 Mar
  1 Apr
  1 May
  1 Jun
  1 Jul
  1 Aug
  1 Sep
  1 Oct
  1 Nov
  1 Dec
  1 Jan
  1 Feb
  1 Mar
  1 Apr
  1 May
  1 Jun
  1 Jul
  1 Aug


While a close examination of several Schedules is the only means of achieving a full appreciation of the Schedule and its evolution, certain developments deserve mention. At first, only the designation of components was given. Later, the serial numbers were included, even those for components on Schedule III, as long as twelve months in advance of their availability. The column listing the pertinent directives dealing with the shipment of LION 4, as of 1 April 1944, totaling no less than forty. In 1945, the number of the personnel and the measurement tons of the material of each unit on Schedule I were shown. Reference numbers of ComWesSeaFron's Guide were given for West Coast loadings. The area commander at whose request each unit had been ordered for assembly was indicated. This was done actually as a means of inducing commanders, by jogging their memories, to countermand requests as early as possible should changed circumstances make the contemplated movement undesirable. in short, the Schedule came to be, in addition to its primary mission, a very handy compendium of up-to-date advance base logistics information.

Before taking up the supplementary activities with which the Scheduling Section came to be charged, it seems wise to consider two further aspects of the Schedule proper. In the first place, its data dealt solely with the establishment and augmentation of advance bases. It contained a specific statement that, in addition to the requirements there detailed, the Bureaus must estimate and provide for maintenance material. The Schedule was a logistics tool of limited application.

Second, the position occupied by the Scheduling Section was


anomalous. In theory, it acted primarily on information and instructions addressed to Op-30 via Op-05G. In these terms, it was little more than a forwarding agency. In practice, such was not the case partly because of the character of the information which it received. Specifically, procurement authorizations generally indicated merely the calendar or fiscal year during which the process was to be effected. At first, the Scheduling Section spaced the requirements evenly through the appropriate period. Such procedure was not satisfactory. In some cases, it caused an unnecessary pressure upon available storage space. In other cases, it increased the chance that, should the strategic situation induce a speeding up of advance base demands, the requirements of area commanders would exceed the ready supply. Since no logistics agency wished to risk responsibility for shortages which might have been avoided, much uncoordinated effort was made to prepare for all contingencies. Thus, the Bureaus and Op-30 itself naturally tried, by the use of extra channels of information to sharpen their estimates, seven though, in fact, the process approximated intelligent guessing. Thus, the Schedule became an added occasion for the very persistent wartime practice of gazing into a crystal ball. It is hardly too much to say that Op-12, Op-05G, Op-30 and the Bureaus were all forced to indulge in this vice, each on the basis of a different set of extraneous circumstantial data. It may be argued that the errors made at one point tended to be cancelled by compensating errors elsewhere. it may also be maintained that each echelon tended to incorporate a safety factor in its calculation and that the whole logistics mechanism worked in such fashion as to minimize the


chance of insufficient procurement. Each agency was inclined, moreover to magnify its demand when it suspected that, without special stimulus, there would be failure on an inferior level. The problem thus touched on the wisdom of the particular assignment of responsibility within CNO and the Navy Department which was made early in 1943.

The defects of that pattern of organization are nowhere better illustrated. While the allotted missions were supported by recognized principles of industrial management, and reenforced by considerations of Security, their fulfillment was possible in practice only if official liaison were reenforced by informal contacts. Neither Op-12 nor Op-05G had a staff adequate to draw detailed schedules. Op-30 enjoyed personnel but lacked necessary information. In July 1944, the head of the Scheduling Section suggested vainly that his group be recognized officially as a working staff for Op-12 and Op-05G as well as for Op-30. The suggestion was not adopted, but its purpose was achieved in considerable measure by the continuous exchange of information which developed from personal relations between officers in the several divisions. Thus, when the availability of particular components had to be assigned in the Schedule to a definite month, the officer sin Op-30 based their decisions, in part, on information obtained form Op-12 through unofficial channels. Similar liaison, partly unofficial, with the Bureaus not infrequently enabled officers in Op-30 to recognize incipient shortages or bottlenecks. They readily followed the natural and proper course of bringing the situation to the attention of the appropriate desk. Hence, some measure of expediting and progress control began to adhere to the process


of scheduling. Certainly Op-30 performed in practice functions not prescribed in its official mission. In short, as is inevitably the case in such circumstances, the possession of knowledge - in this instance, an aggregation of varied information derived from independent sources, and not entirely in the hands of any other one echelon - led to an exploration of its implications. The role which, in fact, Op-30 played in naval logistics extended into areas marked out for other agencies.6

The Schedule depended upon a rapid flow of accurate information. The process of its compilation required the arrangement of data in appropriate form. Thus, a sizeable set of active records was an inevitable adjunct, and the growth of a record unit was a natural consequence. During 1943 and 1944, this associated by distinct function was carried out within the same section. As a part of the reorganization of Op-30 in March 1944, a Scheduling group, Op-30-2F, was created and the records and report functions of the K section became the task of one of its sections, Op-30-2FT. Some of its work closely paralleled, or indeed duplicated, the labor of Op-30-11.

The creation of a records and reports desk in the K Section, as indeed the establishment of the Schedule itself, was a part of the improved method for the Interchange of Logistical Information within the whole Naval Establishment, which was one of the first accomplishments of Op-12 after its rejuvenation early in 1943. The whole matter of the interchange of logistical information is treated at length elsewhere in the present history. In the process of interchange, the reports desk of Op-30K became the principal action and coordinating agency with regard

6. Sec memo Op-30-2F to Op-30, subj: Advanced Base Scheduling, ser 01098530, 7 July 1944.


to the reports on the status of material for initial advance base movements.

As the product of a development dictated by the problems of wartime logistics, the major functions of the Reports Section came to be three in number, the maintenance of records with regard to material for united movements, the detection of incipient shortages and delays, and the presentation of information in such form, graphic or other, as would make it most easily comprehensible by other echelons.

Five principal types of records were maintained:

a. A Movement File, indicating insofar as possible each individual movement to each base. This was based upon a careful analysis of CNO and Bureau directives. It included full information with regard to components and non-component material.

b. A Shipment Record, showing, by serial number in the case of components, when and where material was required to be assembled and shipped.

c. A Current Status Record, based on activity reports and depot dispatches. This file contained the latest information (in 1945, much of it was based on daily dispatches from the West Coast) on the status of components and aggregations of non-component materials.

d. The Control Board. This large board, kept on the walls of the office of Op-30-2, showed in graphic form the information contained in c. above for units on Schedule I. It was photographed twice a month and prints were distributed to interested agencies.7

e. Files of all basic data used in maintaining the records.

Based upon the records, the Section published several periodic reports:

a. East Coast Status and Shipment Report. This report began on 22 December 1943 and included data as of the 7th, 15th, 22nd, and last days of each month.

b. Report of Unassigned Components - This appeared monthly and

7. E.g., Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 0107730, 5 Mar 1944.


was attached to the last of those listed above.

c. Interim Schedule. This report, which showed changes in the Schedule since the latest issue, began in October 1944 and was published as of the 7th, 15[th], 22nd and last days of the month.

d. Graphic Status Report. Semi-monthly. This began in November 1943 and was superseded in August 1944 by the distribution of photographs of the Control Board.

e. Excess Material Report. This was published only three times, in January, March, and May of 1945.

In order to perform its assigned task efficiently, the Reports Section required the receipt of information in such style as would make it readily usable. Thus, the fulfillment of the major mission led the Section to initiate changes in the form and the frequency of the reports which it received. This additional activity began in October 1943, shortly after the receipt from the Base Service Unit, San Francisco, on behalf of Com12, of its first report in compliance with the basic directive on the Interchange of Logistical Information. It was now requested that BSU submit reports four times a month rather than monthly.8 In November, BSU was directed to make another report showing the completeness, as of the last day of each month, of the components on Schedule III - West Coast. The information was to be supplied for components scheduled to be available during the succeeding month and to cover material at Clearfield, Oakland, Hueneme and other storage points.9 In May 1944, Op-30 provided assistance for the BSU by directing the Bureaus to instruction depots under their cognizance to comply with instructions from

8. Conf ltrs, CNO to List and to Com12 (BSU), ser 0710712, )744730, 7 Aug, 10 Oct 1943.

9. Conf tr, CNO to Com12 (BSU), ser 0821230, 23 Nov 1943.


the BSU. This gave that unit the authority necessary to require necessary reports from other activities.10 In December, Op-30-2FE initiated daily dispatch reports on the status and shipment of advance base material from West Coast reporting activities.11

By the foregoing directives, BSU, San Francisco, was made the responsible coordinating agency for reports from the West Coast. For comparable East Coast activities, the Advance Base Section of BuSandA performed a similar function.12 The whole process was made more efficient by the use of a form drafted in Op-30-2F and made applicable in June 1944.13 This form was one of the products of a conference with BSU and other shipping officers held in Washington in April 1944.

The work of Op-30-2FE resulted by the end of the war in the flow to Washington of reasonably full and accurate data with regard to the assembly and shipping of material for initial advance base movements. Little attention was paid to maintenance logistics, although by 1945 they had become a major logistics problem, which will be discussed in the next chapter. Had the war not come to a sudden end, the full value of the mature system would have been demonstrated when the West Coast ports were laboring under the load required for the invasion of Japan.

10. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01019630, 3 May 1944.

11. Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 01402630, 4 Dec 1944; restr dis, CNO to NSD, Oakland, ABD, Hueneme, 221930 Dec 1944, restr Dis, CNO to ABS, NSD, Oakland, ABD, Hueneme, ABG, NSD, Clearfield, 131950 Jan 1945; conf ltr, CNO to ABD Tacoma, ser 0288530, 7 Jul 1945.

12. Conf ltrs, CNO to BuS&A, ser 0850630, 11 Dec 1943, ser 0899430 1 Mar 1944.

13. Conf ltrs, CNO to List, ser 01094330, 15 Jun 1944, ser 011254230, 12 Sep 1944, ser 01274230, 19 Sep 1944, and instructions for use of Form OPNAV 30-2F-1 (Encl A of ser 01094330).


Chapter XI
The Maintenance of Bases

A great deal has been said, thus far, about the Base Maintenance Division but very little about the maintenance of bases. So far as its history until 1944 is concerned, the Division might more appropriately have been named the Base Establishment Division. Its preoccupation with establishment was natural. In the first place, bases had to be created before they could be maintained. Secondly, during the months when the efficacious techniques which have been discussed in the preceding chapters were being worked out by a necessarily inexperienced and an insufficient staff, there was a firm belief in Op-30 that maintenance was properly a bureau function. Indeed even as late as February 1944, Captain Thompson categorically declared that the Bureaus were responsible for maintenance.1 Still later, the creation of the Electronics Division of Operations stimulated a study in Op-30 of pertinent directives, General Orders, and Navy Regulations which disclosed that cognizance over base maintenance had been explicitly allocated to no agency whatever.

This vacuum had been filled by the Bureaus for the task appeared to be little more than an extension of peace time operations with which, in contrast to establishment, they were entirely familiar

1. Fri conf, 11 Feb 1944, p. 9.


while CNO was not. In fact, such was the nature of the Navy's supply system that the major portion of maintenance was accomplished by field activities without any reference to Washington. The standard procedure had two principal elements. Certain classes of consumables, such as foods, were forwarded under a system of automatic supply based upon well-established usage factors. Other materials were provided in compliance with requisitions submitted to the supply depot which was nearest the requisitioning activity or which seemed most likely to possess a stock of the desired items. It was only when the size of maintenance activity became so great that it was inextricably enmeshed in broader logistic problems or when non-Naval military agencies were involved that CNO entered directly into the maintenance picture.

Two examples will serve to illustrate the action of CNO. One was the plan worked out in June and July 1942 by Op-12, in conjunction with the Army, for the supply of the bases newly established along the line of communication with Australia. Here there were two main considerations. One was the conservation of shipping. It was manifest a greater economy in the use of the limited available cargo capacity would result from the much shorter haul implicit in a maximum utilization of local and of Australian and New Zealand sources of supply. Such was the purpose underlying the creation in June of a Joint (Army-Navy-Marine Corps) Purchasing Board in New Zealand under the Commander, South Pacific Area.3 The second example was CNO's action in the

2. [No number in text; no text in footnote.]

3. SecSec ltr, VCNO to CinCPac, ser 042312, 1 Jun 1942; sec dis, ComSoPacFor to CNO and CominCh, 100545 of June 1942.


elaboration of a clear, simple and standard system for the supply of the various bases and their constituent units. In this case, the primary problem derived from the joint Army-Navy nature of the bases and from the fact the formal plans for the establishment of the several bases were mutually inconsistent. Part of the difficulty had its origin in the independent and very different systems of supply of the two services. Agencies as varied in nature, authority, and situation as the Service Force of the Pacific Fleet, the Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, the Hawaiian Department, and the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, to mention only the more important, were all involved in the logistic process. The plans for the several bases assigned responsibility for the same classes of supplies to different authorities. Confusion was the inevitable result, particularly since the supply agencies in one service not only were not informed of the action of those in the other, but often did not even know what, if any, was their opposite member. After considerable study and negotiations with the Army, Op-12 formulated an overall plan for the supply of the bases in question which was promulgated on 15 July 1942 over the signature of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the Commanding General, Service of Supply.

This Joint Logistic Plan outlined the whole situation. It summarized the products which were available in New Zealand and Australia, announced the existence of the Joint Purchasing Board, assigned comprehensive responsibility, so far as the Navy was concerned, to the Service Force Subordinate Command, South Pacific Force, under the overall control of the Commander, South Pacific Area, and to the San


Francisco Port of Embarkation for the Army, under the supervision of the Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the South Pacific Area. It explained that the bulk of supplies would be dispatched from San Francisco and that the primary procurement and shipping authorities there were the commanding officers of the Port of Embarkation, the Service Fore Subordinate Command and the Twelfth Naval District. More detailed instructions for the performance of these general responsibilities followed, most useful of which was a table indicating for each base the channel of supply for each class of materials.4

This outline of the arrangements made for the logistic support of the bases in the South Pacific has been given in some detail because it supplements the discussion of the establishment of those bases in Chapter V and because it indicates the character of the role which CNO played in maintenance in the early part of the war. It should be noted that it was Op-12, not Op-30, which was concerned. Later most of this sort of planning was performed by area commanders. CNO again entered significantly into maintenance problems only after its own reorganization and the reconstitution of Op-12 as a logistics Plans Agency subsequently reenforced by the Logistics Plans Unit and the Overall Logistic Plan which are discussed in another section of this history. By that time, it was becoming manifest that maintenance was a part, indeed a very important part, of the Navy's logistics. In the earlier part of 1944, maintenance, as distinguished from establishment, matériel constituted four-fifths of the naval tonnage dispatched from Pacific Coast Ports. Nevertheless, it was only after the Under Secretary of the Navy

4. Sec Joint Logistic Plan, ser 053812 15 Jul 1942.


returned from an inspection trip of the Pacific Ocean Area with the verdict that bases were not being properly maintained that there was erected in CNO a unit of which base maintenance was a primary mission.

The creation within Op-30 in March 1944 of the 2-B subdivision has already been noted. It was itself divided into several sections, two having cognizance over Atlantic and Pacific bases and the others being charged with relations with the several Bureaus. This internal organization was modeled very largely on that which had already existed and which now continued as Op-30-2C.

Since the precept of the new subdivision was very general, the character and scope of its mission were matters which it largely determined for itself. Its rather more than general staff undertook such work as their varying abilities, energy, and imagination suggested.

A not very successful effort was made to send representatives on tours of inspection to discover at first hand just what were the conditions and the deficiencies at advance bases. Area commanders, busy with the problems of combat, showed a considerable disinclination toward entertaining a group of quasi-spies. Another means of securing information was also disappointing. Although an extensive questionnaire form was drawn up,5 it was found that the official and personal business of such officers who had just returned from advance bases as were available in Washington occupied all their time. Seldom, moreover, did they possess an adequately comprehensive knowledge of the full procedures and broad problems of base maintenance. Thus, Op-30-2B fell back upon

5. Sec memo, Op-30 to Op-13, ser 01380430, 15 Nov 1944, Op-30-2B section of enc A, pp 12-18.


the development of significant information from data available in the Continental United States.

The most ambitious and the most fruitful effort was a project designed to uncover what were the proportions, the nature, and the channels of existing maintenance activity. Since maintenance was being handled almost exclusively by the Bureaus, each working independently of the others and using its own accounting procedures, only the most unreliable estimate could be made. The uncertainty was magnified by the fact at seaboard no systematic distinction was drawn between initial and maintenance shipments. It was recognized that much functional component matériel was being diverted, more or less surreptitiously, to maintenance ends. Such practice was inevitable since no firm link could be drawn between augmentation and maintenance. Moreover, a great deal of matériel, component and other, was sent to "FRAY", that is, to Pearl Harbor. Washington received almost no information with regard to its later history. Since components were integrated in the general base establishment after their arrival at destination and thus lost their identity, and since an appreciable roll-up of facilities at rearward bases was taking place, no agency in Washington knew with certainty just what equipment any base had. Only a continuing careful inventory, which was not taking place, would have disclosed what needed to be maintained at what bases. In short, maintenance was a hit or miss function.

In an effort to shed some light on the problem, the 2BP section initiated a series of studies. The first stop was an effort to discover in the broadest terms what would have to be maintained.


Considerations of security here imposed a serious obstacle. Resort was made to informal contacts with officers attached to Op-12 and CominCh. By this method, albeit highly unsatisfactory because of uncertain validity, an estimate was compiled in Op-30 of the number, location, and types of ships, planes, components, and personnel to be maintained in the Pacific in June 1945. These tables were then submitted to the Bureaus as enclosures to a letter which requested of them data with regard to maintenance requirements in that month. The Bureaus were instructed to use the enclose data and any other which they deemed appropriate. The types of items and the units of measurement were indicated for each Bureau. Certain general principles and assumptions were stated in order to establish a basis for the estimates and not as an indication of change of policy. The more significant principles were: to resolve doubts as to whether items were for maintenance in favor of maintenance, to include items which flowed through the bases to maintain the fleet as well as items destined to maintain the facilities at the bases, and to assume intense activity in the forward area and low activity elsewhere. It was requested that the estimates be broken down into the following categories: the flow to bases in the Hawaiian Islands, the flow to other existing (as of 1 April 1944) bases, the flow to bases expected to be established. Finally, an explanatory statement was desired of how the estimates were reached.6

The replies to this letter included copious statistics. They revealed that the several Bureaus used the most highly varied methods of estimating future requirements. Many different sorts of information,

6. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01133530, 4 Jul 1944.


derived from numerous sources, mostly Naval and frequently field activities with which the Bureau had special connections, were the foundation of their guesses. Such they must be called, since the data from which they were constructed were compiled for other purposes and reflected divergent underlying assumptions. In some cases, special studies and conferences had been stimulated by CNO's request. If one single fact emerged as most significant, it was probably that few even moderately satisfactory war usage factors or data had been worked out.

Nevertheless, the investigation appeared to be profitable. With it as a foundation, an agenda was derived for a conference at CinCPOA's headquarters, at which CNO was represented by Captain C. H. Sanders and Lt. F. M. Bradley, who had played the major role in the estimate of maintenance requirements. It was there agreed that the work already done represented a step in the right direction and the "long-range predictions of requirements subject to periodic review and revision, as necessary, are essential for procurement planning and can be made only on the basis of the strategic concept for future operations. Interchange of logistical information between CNO and CinCPOA is essential for good planning and long-range estimates of requirements will be prepared by CinCPOA and submitted to CNO...." It was further agreed that, upon receipt of the new Overall Logistics Plan, which would forecast by quarters form 1 October 1944 to 1 October 1946, the "Naval ships, planes, personnel and functional components to be wanted in all theaters," CinCPOA and CNO would each prepare studies of CinCPOA's maintenance requirements for those periods. The results would then be exchanged for


the purpose of comparison in order to resolve major differences.7

The next step was the preparation by CNO of the estimates for the next two years. This process was initiated by a letter addressed to all Bureaus and several Divisions of Operations which paralleled the letter of 4 July. The scope of the forecast was extended to include the Atlantic and the time enlarged form one month to each quarter from 1 October 1944 to 1 July 1946. This latter change was possible because the fundamental data were now, not the guesses of Op-30-2B, but the official Overall Logistics Plan. This latter document, which is discussed at length in another section of this history, served as a foundation for the estimates which was sadly lacking in July. There is no evidence that Op-30-2B's effort to compile such data was responsible for the creation of the Overall Logistics Plan Committee. The two coincided in time, however. In broad terms, the letter was like that of July. BuPers and Op-32 were requested to furnish certain supplementary basic data, to all the Bureaus and the Marine Corps. The general principles were the same, the chief differences being a division by theaters of operations, the inclusion of items furnished by and to the Army, a segregation of Marine Corps maintenance from Naval, the addition of items which, while not maintenance, were also not component material, and a special schedule for petroleum products. Again, an explanatory statement of the subsidiary data used and the methods of computation was desired.8

The carefully compiled replies to this letter were forwarded to CinCPOA in January and February.9 Further study in Washington resulted

7. Sec memo, Op-30 to Op-13, ser 01380430, 15 Nov 1944, Op-30-2B section of enc A, pp. 1, 2.

8. Sec ltrs, CNO to List, ser 01335030, 2 Nov 1944.

9. Sec ltrs, CNO to CinCPac&POA, ser 0033130, 24 Jan 1945, ser 0058330, 8 Feb 1945.


in the translation of these statistics into graphic form. These latter were then distributed for the guidance of interested agencies.10

These materials were primarily guides, but they also represented first steps toward the development of reliable usage data. This latter desideratum was simultaneously sought in other quarters. All available sources were combed to determine the total actual Naval shipments, except petroleum products, from Continental Ports to the Pacific area between 1 January and 30 September 1944. The results were distributed to a wide list in both statistical and graphic form which showed the points of origin and destination.11 It was a handsome chart, but some elements represented merely the best guess of members of Op-30-2BP.

One of the decisions reached at the conference at Pearl Harbor was the necessity for usage data. Accordingly, Op-30 requested the Bureaus to furnish all usage data useful to estimating maintenance requirements, indicating the source, the experience period, the degree of reliability, and the method by which it should be applied. The answers were transmitted to CinCPOA in January. Six months later, Op-30 forwarded to the Bureaus and other interested agencies ComServPac's estimate of maintenance requirements for the period, 1 July 1945 to 31 December 1946, which showed the factors upon which they were based. In the process of establishing war usage factors, Op-30 did little more in the performance

10. Sec ltr, CNO to CinCPOA (cc to a wide list), ser 00103530, 8 Mar 1045.

11. Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 0129030, 26 Mar 1945.


of its liaison mission than act as a post office.12

Op-30-2B may also be credited with a number of somewhat less considerable accomplishments which ameliorated the problems of maintenance. It was recognized that the unsystematic flow of requisitions immeasurably complicated the supply of the Pacific Fleet. Not only were there many channels through which requisitions could flow, but frequently several requisitions for the same item were sent to different supply agencies in the hope of greater promptness. NSD Oakland along received more than a thousand each day. In short, retail techniques were employed for what was really wholesale business. It was clear that methods for the consolidation of maintenance demands must be elaborated.

Certain palliative procedures had already been put into operation. Early in the Pacific war, the USS Castor, and later other AKS's were loaded with cargoes of consumables, largely GSK items, to replenish directly the stocks of advance bases and of the fleet and thus to reduce the number of requisitions with their attendant delay and red tape. Later, similar cargoes, known as BBB, that is, Basic Boxed Base, loads were dispatched for total unloading at selected bases. Still other related techniques such as automatic supply were instituted by several Bureaus for their own commodities. With none of these developments was Op-30 directly concerned, since prior to 1944 it did not deal with maintenance. While they represented an improvement, within a limited field, over the system of individual requisitions, none of these

12. Sec ltrs, CNO to CinCPOA, ser 01448230, 3 Jan 1945, CNO to List, ser 00314630, 26 Jul 1945; conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01336630, 30 Oct 1944.


methods was wholly satisfactory or suitable for general use. They suffered from the hollow foundation of deficient and erroneous usage experience which exaggerated the accumulation of excess stocks, inherent in any wholesale method, because the varied circumstances of different areas and bases entailed seriously divergent rates for the consumption of the several classes of supplies. No system of block shipments could be wholly free from this weakness.13

Nevertheless, so greatly had the Catalogue of Functional Components simplified the complexities of initial movements that is adaptation to maintenance procedures was an inescapable notion, particularly since at least eighty percent of total Navy shipments were for maintenance purposes. This concept was explored by Op-30-2B and BuS&A in 1944. The preliminary work was then discussed in San Francisco and at Pearl Harbor with members of the staffs of ComWesSeaFron and CinCPOA. These conferences uncovered serious flaws in the broad concept and these two commands gave only a most qualified endorsement. Fundamentally, there were two types of criticisms. In the first place, it was felt that the Catalogue would inevitably run into the same difficulties outlined in the preceding paragraph. Second, it was believed that the same purpose could be achieved by the creation of control agencies, through which requisitions would be channeled and by means of which they could be consolidated. Nevertheless, the project was continued, partly because it was felt that the Catalogue would assist CinCPOA in estimating maintenance requirements, just as the first Catalogue aided establishment.14

13. Conf ltr, CNO to CinCPac via ComWesSeaFron, ser 045730, 31 Jan 1945.

14. Conf ltr, CNO to BuS&A, ser 0107830, 2 Jun 1944; ltr, CNO to BuS&A, ser 1327130, 7 Oct 1944; conf memo, Op-30-2BP to Op-30-2, 14 Feb 1945; conf ltr, CNO to ComServPac, ComAirPac, ser 0162030, 19 May 1945.


The end of the war found the maintenance catalogue still in process of birth. It was the opinion of the officer who had immediate supervision at that time that it would have miscarried in any event. The requisition control agency had already been established in ComWesSeaFron.

The Requisition Control Unit grew out of problems which far exceeded the cognizance of Op-30, although the uses of such an organization had been suggested by members of the Scheduling Section as early as June 1944. Its merits have already been indicated. Its establishment was one consequence of the acute Pacific shipping crisis, caused by the end of the war in Europe and the redeployment of a major part of the Army. The extended negotiations which that intricate problem entailed are discussed in the sections of the present study which deal with the Naval Transportation Service and with the Control of Naval Logistics. Op-30 played a minor part, chiefly one of securing information with regard to the actual number of requisitions submitted. Nevertheless, since it, rather than Op-05, maintained liaison with the field, CNO's letter which approved and promulgated the plan drawn by ComWesSeaFron bore its serial in July 1945.15

In this same general connection, Op-30 also endeavored to ensure the rapid filling of requisitions. Thus it requested BuSandA to arrange for other Supply Depots to institute the sort of follow-up procedure already introduced at Bayonne. Bureaus were invited to survey and to reduce so far as possible the classes and number of requisitions

15. Restr ltr, CNO to List, ser 415330, 9 Jul 1945; CNO to List, ser 137630, 15 Mar 1945.


which required Bureau approval. SubordComdServPac had its complement increased in order to expedite action on the many requisitions which it handled. Similarly, Op-30 received from CinCPOA reports with regard to critical shortages and then instructed the cognizant Bureaus to make investigations and to report remedial action. in this fashion, it contributed to the correction of significant logistic failures. A system was established to make regular studies of action reports in order to detect deficiencies. Many other examples might be cited of this some sort of coordinating and liaison activity.16

Finally, Op-30-2B was the Navy's primary agency in connection with storage control within the United States and the disposition of surplus material at advance bases. These two complicated problems had only tangential connection with the establishment or maintenance of advance bases and do not warrant detailed analysis here. The first was accomplished by the creation of a special committee representing each of the Bureaus and offices of the Navy Department under the chairmanship of Op-30-2B. This committee initiated studies of available storage space and anticipated requirements. It then formulated and Op-30 promulgated instructions for the utilization of such warehousing.17

Much more complex as the disposition of surplus property. All phases of the total logistics process from the conservation of civilian manpower to the optimum use of combat shipping and military

16. Conf ltrs, CNO to BuS&A, ser 01021030, 8 May 1944; CNO to Area Commanders and Bureaus, ser 0999430, 5 May 1944; CNO to Bureaus, restr, ser 1009930, 8 May 1944; CNO to List, ser 01122130, 22 Sept 1944; CNO to Bureaus, ser 00124830, 23 Mar 1945; CNO to CinCPacPOA, ser 00182530, 4 May 1945.

17. Conf ltrs, CNO to List, ser 01215430, 18 Aug 1944; memo for members of Storage Control Committee, Op-30-2BR-rwh, 29 Aug 1944; Outline of Procedures Governing Control and Procurement of Navy Storage, 20 Oct 10944


personnel were involved. The elements of its solution were laid down in a series of comprehensive directives promulgated by Op-30 on the basis of instructions received from Op-12 and Op-05G.18 In this regard, as in so many others, Op-30 played its regular part as liaison agency between CNO and other naval commands.

Undoubtedly, the maintenance work of Op-30 was useful. Yet it does not appear that its activity fundamentally influenced the pattern of base maintenance.

18. E.g., restr ltr, CNO to List, ser 29830 19 Jan 1945; CNO to CinCPac-CinCPOA, ser 0263130, 29 June 1945.


Chapter XII
Assembly VII

THE BOBCAT movement was analyzed in some detail in an earlier chapter, in order to demonstrate the conditions and the methods of the establishment of advance bases early in the war. Subsequent chapters have presented the development of revised techniques which transformed the process so far as CNO was concerned. From a comparable outline of a sample movement late in the war will emerge a clear picture of the mature working of the advance base machinery in CNO. No wholly characteristic operation can be selected for every one had its peculiar aspects. However what came to be known as Assembly VII serves the purpose well since it was the largest and almost the last major project. It was composed of the matériel and personnel which went to BIVE, the code name for Okinawa.

The component elements of Assembly VII may be traced back to the procurement plans for 1944 and 1945. In that guise its genesis is to be found the basic procurement authorization for the years 1843, 1844, and 1945, which was issued in the summer of 1942. Subject to such subsequent amendments as experience and the changing strategic situation dictated, this program constituted most of Schedule III of the Advance Base Schedule. There the elements of Assembly VII rested until May 1944. They were being procured for a destination as yet undetermined. As the month of their "Required 'Inland' Availability" approached, certain


informal indication may probably have been given to Op-30, through unofficial channels, of the likely climatic conditions under which the units would operate.

The formal birth of Assembly VII took place in a directive addressed to Op-30 by Op-05G on 24 May 1944, entitled "Summation of Advance Base Requirements, Remainder 1944". Therein, along with many other miscellaneous requirements, was a summary of the major units included in Assembly VII: one modified LION or built-up CUB, four CORNS, four GroPacs, four Communication Units, and a generous allotment of medical facilities.1 The directive cited no references, but, nevertheless, embodies the logistic plans conceived by Op-12 and the strategic plans formulated by CominCh, CinCPac-POA and other high echelons. Thus, the action of Op-05G was based upon information and instructions received from several sources.

Op-30 had already issued, on 13 May - although advance information was not infrequently available this action appears to have been a routine compliance with an established policy of maintaining at all times on the West Coast one LION in a ready condition - its first directive for the assembly of LION 8, which was the greatest single unit in the Assembly. Not later than 1 June, the personnel of echelon 1 were to be assembled at San Bruno "for processing and tactical training, and if time (was) available, for additional component training." The prospective Commanding and Executive Officers were "to report to CNO at the earliest practicable date for temporary duty prior to proceeding to San Bruno."

1. Sec ltr, Asst CNO (Material) to Op-30, ser 0125105-G, 24 May 1944.


The matériel of a complete standard LION was directed to be assembled at the Advanced Base Section, NSD, Clearfield, except for the BuDocks material, which would be handled at Hueneme, for the BuSandA consumables at Oakland, and for certain BuOrd items. The matériel was to be assembled complete not later than 15 June and prepared in all respects for shipment overseas. The Bureaus were instructed to give serial numbers to the components. There were a few further, minor provisions. All this was wholly routine.2

The skeletal information with regard to LION 8 was incorporated in the 1 June Advanced Base Schedule 1. Certain of the lesser units also appeared there and some had already indeed for several months in conformity with the established levels of reserves ready for shipment.

Two further directives were issued by Op-05G early in June. The first advanced from 15 December to 1 October the date of readiness for shipment. The second cancelled the provisions of 24 May and established a wholly new composition.

1 Headquarters, Commander, Forward Area
1 Joint Communications Center (350 Men)
3 Field Hospitals - 600 beds
4 Special augmented G-6 - 600 beds
4 Special Augment G-6 - 200 beds
3 Mobile Hospitals - 1500 beds
1 Malaria Control Unit
2 ACORNS (landplane) (less CB)
2 ACORNS (seaplane) (less CB)
1 GroPac
2 Standard PT Units
2 Material Recovery Units
3 Standard Landing Craft Units
8 Communications Units (approx. 180 men per unit)
1 CUB (less CB) with 1 P8
1 ACORN (less CB) with 1 P8

2. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01038030, 13 May 1944.


CB requirements were stated to be 28 CB's and 5 Special CB's, part of which would be provided in the area. It was added that additions and deletions were to be expected.3 These alterations were the consequence of the maturing of CinCPOA's plans.

Subsequent directives issued during June and July effected relatively minor modifications. One dealt with GroPacs and directed that material and personnel already assembled for GroPacs 12 and 13 be used to fill other demands and that the two units be reassembled, with 12 hold as a reserve. Two letters were concerned with hospital facilities, the second explaining the CinCPOA wanted 7500 hospital beds, 5600 of which would be supplied from the South Pacific. Another directive set the assembly date back to 1 November and added that the movement would be echeloned over a period of several months. Still another provided for the diversion of three E-10 components form Assembly VII to fill more immediate needs and their replacement by others on Schedule III. This more than exhausted the E-10's authorized for procurement in 1944 and four such components were set forward on Schedule III from 1945 into 1944. One memorandum forwarded to Op-30, not approved, the request of the Commanding Officer of LION 8 for an H-17B component and instructed that he be informed that requests for additional components must be sent via the area commander for approval. (Subsequently, an additional H-17B was ordered in compliance with ComServPac's request). Finally, in compliance with specifications laid down by CinCPOA, construction policy for

3. Sec ltrs, Op-05G, ser 0131605-G, 3 Jun ser 0134905-G, 9 Jun 1944.


Assembly VII was promulgated. Initial housing was to be tents, replaced by huts when shipping permitted at about D+60 days. Refrigeration was to be provided on the basis of one cubic foot per man and ice machines supplied, as soon as shipping was available, to furnish ice at the rate of three quarters of a pound per man per day. Distillation facilities were to be capable of producing five gallons per man per day for the LION, three ACORNS, fifteen Construction Battalions, and half of the personnel of the CUB, with purification equipment for the balance of the total personnel. This provision was modified in August by reducing the required distillation to two and one half gallons per day plus ten per bed per day for all hospital components and increasing the purification capacity by adding ten gallons per bed per day for the hospitals, all equipment working on a twenty-hour day.4 The construction policy here set forth represented a significant change of established practices. Its details have been outlined because they illustrate the standard of advance base construction.

Meanwhile, Op-30 was taking appropriate action on these directives. In some cases, its task was the elaboration in the requisite detail for Bureau action of the broad instructions which were received. In other cases, such as construction policy, Op-30 did little more than promulgate under its own serial the language of Op-05. It also issued numerous directives dealing with the details of assembly. They were so

4. Sec ltrs, Op-05G to Op-30, ser 0143905-G, 20 June 1944, ser 0155695-G, 6 Jul 1944, ser 169405-G, 28 Jul 1944, ser 0161005-G, 14 Jul 1944, ser 0173905-G, 31 Jul 1944; conf ltrs, ser 0167905-G, 21 Jul 1944, ser 0173905-G, 31 Jul 1944; conf ltr, CNO to BuPers and BuAer, ser 012880630, 23 Sep 1944.


numerous that it became expedient to issue summarizing letters in mid-June and again in early September.5 Op-30 also directed several significant changes in the composition of the Assembly.

In mid-September, work began on the tremendous task of arranging for shipment from the assembly points. Based upon studies of LIONS IV and VI and the comments of two experienced officers, one formerly at Manus and the other in the Advance Base section of BuDocks, suggestions were submitted to CinCPOA with regard to echeloning. It was recommended that Echelon I consist primarily of boats and propelling units for barges, construction materials, equipment and spare parts used for combat operations, storage construction, galley, housekeeping, and housing construction, mobile dispensaries, and temporary communications. Together with this material should go chiefly construction and top administrative personnel. For Echelons II and III were recommended materials for shops and tank farms, the most urgently needed consumables (BBB loads) and housing for the next echelons. The remaining personnel and equipment was to follow in succeeding echelons. It was further suggested that components be broken down by ordering the BuDocks, etc., portion of a component for a particular echelon rather than be making assignment to echelon by detailed items within the component. It was stated that CNO would require advanced knowledge with regard to echeloning, since the size of the Assembly was such that, together with the material for an NSD in Asiatic waters simultaneously being shipped, it exceeded the

5. Sec ltrs, CNO to Bureaus and MarCorps, ser 01159630, 17 Jul 1944; conf ltrs, CNO to bureaus (cc to a long List), ser 01099530, 14 Jun 1944, ser 01245630, 7 Sep 1944.


capacity of West Coast storage facilities. Echeloning would have to begin at inland points of assembly. Finally, DABOP was specifically authorized to make lesser modifications of echelon plans upon request from CinCPOA.6

Near the end of September, Op-30 forwarded to the Bureaus an authorized procurement of extensive additional construction materials and equipment requested by ComServPac.7 As the days and weeks went by, many further alterations, particularly additions, were directed by Op-30 on instructions received from CinCPOA or Op-05-G.

Simultaneously, shipping arrangements had become an immediate question. Some indication of echeloning was received from CinCPOA, which seemed to imply an acceleration. By dispatch on 8 September, Op-30 requested clarification which CinCPOA instructed ComServPac to supply direct not later than 20 September. In compliance, ComServPac on that day asked that certain personnel, numbering 530, be sent to Pearl Harbor during October for training and staging and requested the addition of several components to the assembly. Ten days later, after the detailed implications of this request had been studied, Op-30, in compliance with Op-05-G's instructions, requested the Bureaus to carry out its general terms.8 A week later, on 5 October ComServPac directed by dispatch that the shipment of this personnel be deferred until further

6. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01259430, 12 Sep 1944.

7. Sec ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01272330, 20 Sep 1944.

8. Sec dispatches, CNO to CinCPOA, 081835, CinCPOA to ComServPac, 122303, 130345, ComServPac to CinCPOA, 200245, all of Sep 1944; sec ltr Op-05 to Op-30 and Op-39, ser 022105-G, 27 Sep 1944; conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus, ser 01300630, 30 Sep 1944.


notice. Nevertheless, in a few days, a CinCPOA dispatch put some of these and other personnel from Assembly VII on the CominCh Joint Priority List for November shipment. Then on 15 November, again by dispatch, ComServPac reaffirmed to DABOP its instructions of 5 October. Subsequently, CinCPOA, by dispatch of 16 January 1945, finally requested shipment to FRAY not later than 1 February. Op-30 directed ComWesSeaFron to comply. And finally, ComServPac by dispatch requested the deletion of officer personnel for certain billets which would be filled form the area. Such were the complexities of the strategy and logistics of the war in the Pacific, which CNO's advance base machinery had to be equipped to handle. Since a great many Naval agencies were involved, the merits of the Advance Base Schedule, which included all pertinent references, and of the Interim Schedule, which gave the latest changes, are apparent9.

The foregoing set of communications has been outlined to indicate how complicated were the details of advance base movements on some occasions. While it was going on, there was also parallel correspondence which resulted in significant alterations in the component elements of the Assembly. All this, and all that had gone before, was summarized early in February in a comprehensive letter ot the Bureaus and to ComWesSeaFron which was issued by Op-30. This directive began by approving the composition of the Naval Base Facilities at BIVE suggested by ComServPac on 19 December 1944, as amended by a number of subsequent letters

9. Sec disps, ComServPac to CNO, 051945, CinCPOA to CNO 092354, both of Oct 1944. ComServPac to DABOP 150145 of Nov 1944, CinCPOA to CominCh, 161941 of Jan 1945; conf disp ComServPac to BuPers, 210025 of Jan 1945; conf ltr, CNO to ComWesSeaFron, ser 035330, 24 Jan 1945.


mostly from the same command. It was explained that, like any movement of equivalent size, there were many modifications of standard organizations. Hence, it was considered that "the units comprising Assembly VII (had) served their purpose as a medium for the assembly and training of personnel, and the assembly of material." They would not be used to fill the requirements of Assembly VII, including LION 8 and CUB 15, and would be supplemented as necessary. Anything not needed would be returned to availability status. Since the movement of Assembly VII was to be integrated with an Army movement, it had been decided to order it out in lettered sections, Section A of which would consist of six echelons as requested by ComServPac and CinCPOA in two letters in January. There followed certain detailed instructions and a lengthy enclosure which specified the exact composition of echelons three to six. One and two had already shipped out, in accordance with the arrangements discussed in the previous paragraph. Addressees were requested to have the components ready for loading at Hueneme, Tacoma, and Oakland on 25 February. ComWesSeaFron would then provide or arrange for sea transportation in accordance with the Joint Priority List and the plans made by CinCPOA and ComServPac. Thus were the basic arrangements for the shipment of Assembly VII finally made.10

Complementary to the foregoing basic directive was a letter signed on 2 February, which summarized the assignment and shipment of CB's. Like the main directive, it set forth the detailed arrangements within the United States which were necessary to fulfill CinCPOA's

10. Conf ltr, CNO to Bureaus and ComWesSeaFron, ser 054030, 6 Feb 1945.


wishes. The plan for CB's was carefully integrated with the general scheme.11

Subsequent directives, different only in detail, provided for the movement of Sections B to G. They appeared at intervals between 24 February and 3 August. Like all plans for Pacific movements, they did little more than implement CinCPac-POA's requests. Section B was scheduled to be ready for loading on 25 March, Section C on 25 April, Section D on 25 May, Section E on 25 June, Section F on 15 August, and Section G on 15 September. In this fashion provision was made for the movement of twenty-four echelons.12

During the ix months over which this vast aggregation of men and material was flowing through West Coast ports, with a new echelon departing approximately each week, Op-30 continued to provide for the modifications in personnel and matériel which field commanders desired. In general, these represented additions, frequently very considerable augmentations of earlier expectation. Seldom were such requests denied and then chiefly because the well of available Naval personnel was running dry. Perhaps the full proportions of the undertaking can best be shown by a few statistics. A total of 164 officers was allowed for the Industrial department alone at the nascent Naval Operating Base.13 The

11. Conf ltr, CNO to List, ser 048430, 2 Feb 1945.

12. Conf ltrs, CNO to Bureaus and ComWesSeaFron, ser 083230, 24 Feb 1945, ser 0114030, 14 Mar 1945, ser 0132530, 27 Mar 1945, ser 0174430, 27 Apr 1945, ser 0276430, 29 Jun 1945, ser 0329530, 3 Aug 1945.

13. Sec ltr, Op-05 to Op-30, ser 00135805-G, 27 Jun 1945.


personnel figures and measurement tons estimated in ComServPac's planning letter of 19 December were: officers, 2,663, enlisted, 16,413, measurement tons, 1,182,892.14

The general character of the whole logistic process as it took place in CNO, and particularly in Op-30, is well shown by the story of the ship repair unit. On 9 November, ComServPac's outline for planning purposes of the composition of Assembly VII was received by Op-30. It called for an E-1 component, augmented to approximately double size. This matter was immediately referred to Op-12. In mid-December, ComServPac confirmed its earlier letter, asking for an E-1 augmented to allow for 1,810 enlisted men. This request was approved by Op-05-G on 22 January, and the unit was incorporated by Op-30 in the basic directive of 6 February. Since the E-1 did not appear in ComServPac's plans for the first six echelons, its shipment was ordered only in the directive for Section C. Thus on 14 March, E-1 #4, augmented from E-1 #6 was directed to be ready for loading in part on 25 April. Another partial shipment was called for in Echelon 14 by a special directive dated 13 March, while the remainder was ordered for the 16th and 18th Echelons by the directive of 27 April. On 15 March, BuShips recommended a considerable increase in both equipment and personnel and on 21 March, a still further augmentation. Op-12 referred both these suggestions to ComServPac in a letter which was apparently lost. An approval on 31 May. Later endorsement was received for the substance of

14. Sec ltr, ComServPac to CNO, ser 001402, 19 Dec 1944.


the rest of the recommendations. Meanwhile, most of the men in the component were kept busy at West Coast ship repair yards, pending their assignment to Tactical Training at San Bruno. Since every effort continued to be made to meet the requirements which experience suggested, the history of the component was not yet complete when the surrender of Japan took place.15

Op-30's role was a central one. Over its desks passed most of the correspondence which dealt with Assembly VII. In large measure, its work was liaison in nature, the implementation of the plans of other agencies. This job little resembled the task which was performed on the South Pacific bases in the Spring of 1942. Yet so complex had the logistics process become that only by special tools could it have been controlled. The chief tools were the Catalogue of Functional Components and the Schedule. These Op-30 had devised and these it operated. They possessed little glamour and made no heroes. Yet without then, there could hardly have been established a Naval Operating Base on Okinawa.

15. Conf memo, Op-30-2 to Op-30, 19 Jun 1945.


Chapter XIII
The Nature of the Solution

MOBILITY in an immovable object. Assembly VII demonstrated how largely that desideratum if advance bases had been achieved. Loading of the first echelon began in Pacific Coast ports precisely five weeks before the initial landings on Okinawa took place on 1 April 1945. Had the war not come to an early end, a fully equipped Naval Operating Base, including facilities for an Advance Headquarters and for all types of ship repair, would have been in full operation by 1 November while many of its elements would have been functioning long before that date. The contrast to the pre-war estimate that two to five years would be required to install lesser facilities on Truk is striking. Mobility is further emphasized by the fact that an important part of the matériel had been "rolled-up" from bases in the South Pacific. Motion was now an enduring, not merely an initial, characteristic.


No praise is too great for this logistic miracle. All contributing echelons deserve due credit. What is the just claim of CNO and in particular of Op-30? How well was their portion of the task carried out? May a junior reserve officer properly essay any judgment of the performance of the logistic mission of CNO?

An answer is more readily made to the last question than to the others. One of the purposes which inspired the preparation of the present study was an intention to assist the Navy of the future to benefit from the experience of the present. The project was started well before the end of the war in order that its participants might profit from direct observation of and, indeed, personal participation in


the development which they were instructed to analyze. Thereby, could they have access to much evidence, such as the unwritten impressions and memories of responsible officers, which would never again be available. Only in the present pages may a judgment incorporating such material be recorded. It is here submitted in the hope it is not wholly without merit.

The earlier questions are not capable of a facile answer. The Chief of Naval Operations presided over a vast and intricate mechanism which supervised the total Naval logistics organism within the Continental United States and coordinated its integration with its overseas counterparts. His was certainly the voice, but were the hands not those of the Bureau and field commands? Indubitably, the experience and specialized knowledge possessed by the latter were assets without which the mission of CNO could not have been fulfilled. However, without some central, coordinating guidance, chaotic conditions must have resulted. This sine qua non CNO provided. His was the composite brain, albeit imperfect, which animated the sprawling entity. Hence, generous, if immeasurable, credit for the logistic foundation of victory unquestionably accrues to CNO.

How efficiently did CNO and Op-30 carry out their responsibilities? Here again, a precise answer is impossible. In human history, perfection is seldom encountered and never in the emergency of major war. Within CNO, blunders made, many of them, some serious, more of them trivial. At its outset, the voyage was in uncharted seas with


a primitive compass and an untrained crew. Yet seldom was the course altered because of logistic deficiencies within the control of the Navy. It was a want of matériel derived from an unprepared civilian industry which postponed for many months the ringing up of flank speed. It 1944 and 1945, shortage of shipping was the primary logistic influence upon strategy. Almost all the other elements with which CNO was concerned were ready in ample degree. By that time also, CNO had relinquished almost all save its logistic concern with advance bases. The problem is the evaluation of the performance of a crew which had trained itself to operate equipment designed and redesigned largely by external agents. In its simplest terms, it is the question first whether CNO, particularly Op-30, made efficient use of its personnel and second, whether its responsible members displayed vigor, imagination, and resource.

These matters must be examined within the limits of the fundamental organization decreed for the Navy and for the Department in Washington. This is not an appropriate place for a critique of Bureau structure, imposed by ancient statute, or of CominCh mission, decreed by recent General Order. So circumscribed, the subject yet remains complex, for the advance base responsibility of CNO underwent significant alteration between 1942 and 1945.

In large measure, the functions of CNO increased after Pearl Harbor because the exigencies of war created an administrative vacuum which no existent Naval agency was prepared to fill. The creation of CominCh partially filled the unoccupied space while CNO expanded into


the remainder. The staffing of CominCh, however, robbed the War Plans Division of Operations of vital personnel.

It was under these circumstances that the Naval Districts Division came to enjoy a role in 1942 which was later and more appropriately played by segments of CominCh and the forces afloat. The chapter on BOBCAT has revealed both the good and the bad aspects of the task which Op-30 performed, under the guidance of the rump section of Op-12, in establishing bases in the South Pacific. Then Captain Thompson and Commander Slattery undertook in the GOLDRUSH project responsibilities far beyond the limits of Op-30's later logistic mission. Granted the conditions of 1942, these accomplishments deserve much praise.

After the reorganization of CNO in late 1942 and early 1943. Op-30 was relegated to the level of a project division responsible for the detailed staff work and extensive liaison activity outlined in several of the foregoing chapters. This was a vital function which it carried out successfully. It was, however, one which did not in itself permit the exercise of significant initiative. Its primary requirement was the prompt and accurate dispatch of vase routine business. The complexities of this task led Op-30 to invent, in the Catalogue of Advanced Base Functional Components and the Advanced Base Schedule, two of the finest logistic tools which the war produced. Again high praise is appropriate.

On paper, the schematic organization of CNO, in three echelons,


represented by Op-12, by Op-05-G and by the project divisions including Op-30, was clear and consonant with valid functional distinctions. In practice, it developed that no one of the echelons could work independently of the others. The decisions of Op-12 depended in important measure upon information which it was not staffed to amass. Often Op-30 possessed that data and the personnel to utilize it. Duplication within Op-12 or Op-05-G would have entailed a stupid waste of manpower. This was avoided. Conversely, effective compliance by Op-30 with the instructions of Op-05-G and Op-12 required in practice, though not in theory, information which it was officially denied. Resort to unofficial channels circumvented legalistic obstacles. In short, the division of labor within CNO was not in fact as sharp as its diagram of organization indicated.

The interdependent separation of the various Divisions of Operations entailed two consequences of present concern. First, it resulted in encroachments by each on the territory of the others, which were at time resented and which jeopardized efficient operation. For example, Op-30-2B initiated studies designed to produce more efficacious estimates of maintenance requirements. This undertaking would seem to belong within the realm of Op-12. Second, the formal division of responsibility meant constant repetition of work in the several echelons with modification only in minor detail, if at all. Many participating officers easily came to believe that their work was and could only be clerical in nature. They felt themselves to be enmeshed in so vast and


impersonal a machine that imagination and initiative were unnecessary and unwanted. It is beyond question that the organizational pattern increased red tape and paper work. All official communications between the Divisions, even the most routine, had to be given serial numbers and prepared in multi-colored copies for the signature of senior officers. Not infrequently, instructions originating in Op-12 were reproduced almost, or entirely, verbatim by both Op-05-G and Op-30 on their way to the Bureaus which were the effective action agencies. In such cases the latter Divisions appeared to be merely glorified mail and file rooms, while the officers who dictated, initialed and proof read the successive versions pondered the national and the Naval shortage of manpower. The attendant strictly clerical labor certainly delayed action.

It is only just to state that each of the Divisions approached a particular question from a different frame of reference and with a distinct responsibility. Likewise, senior officers wholly aware of the apparent and actual duplication of effort, sincerely believed that this repetition was an unfortunate by-product of a valid assignment of responsibility. Furthermore, the wheels of the machine could turn very rapidly when the matter was urgent.

But could the separate functions not have been handled within one formal organization? Could the several Divisions not have been merely sub-divisions or groups within one entity Admittedly, great size commonly militates against efficiency. So also does an artificial and elaborate segmentation of function. In the absence of such


distinctions, information, which is the very essence of administration, flows more fully and freely. It is easier to match the experienced personnel and full time loads of work on naturally related matters. There can certainly be a saving of clerical labor.

This, in essence, was the conclusion of a report on scheduling submitted to Op-30 by Op-30-2F in July 1944. Therein, it was stated that the 2F Section was, in fact, acting as a specialized staff for Op-12 and Op-05-G, and well as for Op-30. It was suggested that this impromptu arrangement be regularized and greater efficiency thus obtained. It is significant that, as supporting evidence, there was adduced the so-called Op-30 plan for the control of Pacific shipments. The plan is an example of the trespass of one Division upon the territory of another. IT is worthy of note that, although it was approved, with slight modification, by CinCPOA, it was never put into effect. The plan was the natural result of an effort by members of Op-30 to find a remedy for difficulties which lay within their proper sphere. So unified in fact, however, was the total logistics process, that their effort led them unavoidably far beyond their assigned responsibility. The plan itself had much merit. It might well have been conceived in Op-05-G or in Op-12. The logistics process was an entity. CNO was subdivided.1

The overly elaborate formal organization of CNO head it counterpart within Op-30. In 1942, a single section, B, had responsibility for all advance base matters. Subsequently, the section burgeoned.


1. Sec memo, Op-30-2F to Op-30, ser 01098530, 7 Jul 1944; Top Sec Report of the Base Maintenance Division on the control of shipments to Pacific Areas (Revised 17 Jun 1944).


Several of equal rank appeared, and later, a subdivision consisting of groups, each composed of numerous sections.

This artificiality of organization was most apparent in the Maintenance Group (2B) which comprised ten sections each enjoying cognizance over one major operating area or over liaison with one Bureau. In practice, few problems were as distinct or specialized as the sections. For the many desks received enough business to fill the hours of a working week. Moreover, segmentation induced formalistic methods of action. "Projects" were parcelled out for consideration by the appropriate action, each project having its separate folder, its own record in a "control" file. A great many of these assignments overlapped section lines. Hence, one addressee was designated coordinator. Not infrequently an impressive series of careful memoranda passed between men seated at adjacent desks in the same room. Junior officers often felt that they had little opportunity to employ whatever talent they might possess. May hours of duty were spent in keeping routine records, while not a little energy was devoted to devising means to remain busy. Only occasionally could they conceive a notion of serious merit, since their busy seniors along enjoyed access to broad problems. Much effort was expended on the maintenance of bases, but it is doubtful if the process of 1945 was materially improved over that of 1943.

The fate of the Op-30 plan for Pacific shipments symbolizes the weakness of the Division. So completely was it submerged under overlying echelons, both within and beyond CNO, that it could seldom


show more than a routine accomplishment. In short, it lacked authority safe in a circumscribed area. This situation it was powerless to alter.

Within its sphere, Op-30 fulfilled an important mission. Many of its responsible officers exhibited marked vigor, imagination, and resource. Their more substantial achievements have been detailed in the foregoing pages. Doubtless, the record would have been longer, had the general structure of the Navy been more propitious. There is also evidence, largely unwritten, that organizational formalities and office techniques, in and outside the Division, likewise impeded accomplishment. But military organizations do not enjoy a reputation for efficiency in business matters. That is not their mission. Op-30 was a military agency.

This chapter cannot be concluded without some mention of two matters for which it is the only medium. Little attention has been given to the war in the Atlantic. There too, the Navy established and maintained many advance bases. There it met and defeated an ominous submarine attack. There it engaged in tremendous, difficult and successful amphibious operations. There too, in the fact of great obstacles, it made complete victory possible. On a smaller scale, Atlantic problems were of the same nature as those of the Pacific. Distances were shorter. Pre-war installations were superior, both at seaboard and on the far shore. Climate was less formidable. The logistic techniques devised and employed by Op-30 were applicable, with few alterations even of detail, to both theaters of war. Illustrative examples have been selected


from the Pacific area simply because they better illuminate both problems and procedures. For the Navy, the Atlantic war, while vital, was less testing.

This study has concerned itself with administrative organization. It has been confined mainly to the Continental Establishment since Op-30's authority stopped at seaboard. It had not the power to legislate the form of organization established at advance bases. Yet its task was complicated by the fact that for the Navy no such standard pattern existed. In Op-30, the conviction was held that a scheme comparable to the Army's tables of organization would have simplified both the administration of the bases and the logistic process which supported them. This thought is worthy of record.

Op-30 was the largest logistics division of CNO. Its tasks were multifarious and extended into realms far removed from the advance base logistics which have been considered here. Even within this area, a desirable brevity has dictated the rigorous concentration on central problems. Thus, important contributions to victory have not received their just due. To their authors, as to the other members of the Base Maintenance Division, belongs a proper share in the Navy's "Well done!"


Related source: Historical Section. Bureau of Naval Personnel. "Building the Navy's Bases in World War II." (Washington, DC: 1947). [This manuscript, identified as United States Naval Administrative History of World War II #108 is located in the Navy Department Library's Rare Book Room.]


Published: Tue Nov 07 09:30:39 EST 2017