(a) Quartermaster officers in the 1930s, foresaw the future importance of petroleum and a rapid
distribution system for it advocated pipelines as a supplement to the truck and rail systems that were then being
(b) On 26 February 1942, the War Department, acting on a request by the Invasion Planning
group of the European Command, approved a new gasoline dispensing system submitted by the Quartermaster
Corps: A pipeline system in which all pipe, pumps, engines, hose, tools, and quick couplings were of standard
(5) With the advent of World War II, the importance of petroleum was further highlighted.
(a) Military experts are of the opinion that during the war, the Germans entered Romania and
southeastern Europe to obtain the oil required for their war machine, and may have attacked Russia to capture the
oil fields in the Caucasus.
(b) Japan, short of oil supplies, directed her initial attacks to obtain, among other vital
commodities, the rich oil fields of the East Indies.
(c) The Allied strategy sought to deprive both adversaries of petroleum supplies as quickly as
possible. Fuel depots and refineries were primary bomber targets and tankers were targets of choice for our
(d) Likewise, the German submarines concentrated on Allied tankers in the battle of the Atlantic,
creating a precarious situation in the early days of World War II. The volume of liquid fuel shipped overseas
during the war was nearly 16 times the amount of food.
(e) Petroleum distribution consisted of packaged fuels in 5-gallon cans and 55-gallon drums.
These drums were filled in fuel depots from bulk stocks, loaded into cargo trucks, and shipped to the combat
forces. This method-of distribution was obviously not the most efficient, but in the end, a high enough priority
was placed on fuel to meet the needs of the force.
(6) The importance of petroleum products in modern warfare continued to increase. In the Korean
War, 60 to 65 percent of all supply tonnage consisted of petroleum products. This higher consumption rate
exceeded all planning estimates and continued to grow throughout the conflict.
(a) Petroleum logistics was made even more difficult because of the great temperature
fluctuations from summer to winter on the peninsula. During the winter, diesel consumption increased 1300
percent over summer consumption.
(b) Distribution, as in World War II, was almost exclusively by packaged products with only
minor use of pipelines. The majority of the supplies were received in bulk by tanker, off-loaded to nearby depot,
and then packaged in 55-gallon drums for further movement forward. However, by 1953, a small system of 41
pipelines, approximately 320 miles long, assisted in petroleum distribution in Korea.
(7) During the Vietnam conflict, initial petroleum support was provided by commercial oil
(a) At the height of the Vietnam War, the Army operated and maintained seven separate
pipelines totaling over 271 miles.