THE QUARTERMASTER CORPS: OPERATIONS IN THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN. By Alvin P. Stauffer. (1956,1978,1990; 358 pages, 3 maps, 29 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-14.)
This book is an analytical history of quartermaster activities in three great U.S. theater commands in the war against Japan: the Southwest Pacific, South Pacific, and Central Pacific Areas. Since Army elements were most numerous in General MacArthur's command, the Southwest Pacific is treated at greater length than the others. But the author, observing in general a chronological sequence, has linked the diverse developments in the three commands.
The narrative includes the efforts of quartermasters in 1941 to equip the Philippine Army for a hostile attack, an undertaking largely frustrated by lack of time and the initial American strategy of meeting invasion at the beach line. This strategy called for dispersion of stocks that had been painfully accumulated at depots that were thus soon overrun and had to be destroyed to avert capture. Complementing The Fall of the Philippines, the volume then recounts the ingenious efforts on Bataan to stave off starvation by fishing, harvesting local rice crops, and slaughtering carabao and the brave but tragic attempts to break through the strangling Japanese blockade and bring in food from the southern Philippines and from Australia and the Dutch East Indies.
The narrative then focuses on food-importing Hawaii. There the Army, fearing a Japanese invasion, gave the quartermaster of the Hawaiian Department an extraor-dinary role as controller of civilian food supplies. Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia were the only land masses in the Pacific that had been sufficiently developed to serve as major bases. Remoteness from the United States and shipping shortages put a premium on local procurement of military necessities in the two British commonwealths, especially Australia, which became major suppliers of subsistence and provided large quantities of other items.
The corps was also confronted with extraordinary difficulties of supply over the long lines running from depots in the United States to widely scattered island bases in territory that lacked the basic facilities for storage and distribution. The author describes how these difficulties were surmounted and troops on tiny atolls and jungleclad islands were supplied, giving close attention to interruptions of supply to bases and troops. The volume includes an evaluation of the utility of the various items of individual and organizational equipment under the exceptional conditions of island and tropical warfare and covers the whole gamut of quartermaster responsibilities in the field, from bakeries, baths, laundry, salvage, and graves registration, to the supply
of food and clothing.
1. The influence of logistical unpreparedness on capacity for defense (Luzon) (Ch. I).
2. Logistical planning for island campaigns (Ch. X).
3. Relationship of military command to the civilian population under conditions of martial law (Hawaii) (Ch. II).
4. Overseas supply mission and organization (Chs. II-VI).
5. Problems of local procurement in foreign lands (Ch. V).
6. Operations of island supply bases (Chs. IV, VI, VII, VIII).
7. Supply distribution problems in island warfare (Chs. VI, VII, VIII).
8. Theater relations with the zone of interior in supply matters (Ch. VI).
9. Automatic resupply of combat forces (Ch. VI).
10. Supply under operational conditions (Chs. VI, VIII, X, XI).
11. Evaluation of the provision of personal services and comforts (Ch. IX).
12. Evaluation of items of individual and organizational equipment in tropical combat (Ch. XI).
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