THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT: PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY. By Harry C. Thomson and Lida Mayo. (1960, 1980, 1991; 504 pages, 24 tables, 2 charts, 52 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-10.)
This volume fits the activities of the Ordnance Department into the larger pictures of procurement and supply to be found in The Army and Economic Mobilization and the two volumes on Global Logistics and Strategy. The story focuses on the particular items that ordnance officers were tasked to procure and supply: artillery and small arms, and ammunition for both; fire-control instruments; combat vehicles, including the tank; the transport vehicles that put the Army and its supplies on motor-driven wheels; and spare parts and maintenance for all of these. How it provided and maintained such vital instruments of war is of interest to all who depended on them for effectiveness in combat, and not less so to employers and employees in the great American industries, such as the automotive, whose plants and skills the Army drew into its service to aid in producing these instruments.
This volume complements Planning Munitions for War, which describes the development of Ordnance Department weapons. The section on procurement in the present volume centers on the department's Industrial Division, the manufacturing arsenals, and the district offices; the section dealing with supply concentrates on the Field Service Division and the depots and changes in the depot system introduced to improve delivery all over the globe of the right kinds of munitions in the right quantities.
At the outset the authors describe the problems of the department in launching the munitions program of 1940 and in the basic task of computing requirements. They examine the need for new construction, both of depot and manufacturing facilities, as a factor in lengthening the gap between the decision to rearm and readiness to deploy adequately armed combat forces. They give full weight to the strong ties developed over the years between the Ordnance Department and industry through the procurement districts, the manufacturing arsenals, and the Army Ordnance Association and describe, in nontechnical language, wartime manufacturing methods and new techniques of production. In a succession of "commodity chapters" the volume explores the most serious problems that the department had to overcome in procuring or producing a class of equipment, such as artillery, tanks, ammunition of various types, and vehicles, repeatedly emphasizing the critical importance of machine tools for the production of fighting equipment. The rest of the volume tells how the department stored and distributed the enormous quantities and varieties of munitions produced and gives particular attention to problems of cataloging and stock control.
1. Requirements and the difficulties attending the establishment of firm, long-range production objectives (Ch. IV).
2. The Ordnance Department's experience with conflicting demands for mass production and for improvements in design (Chs. V-XI).
3. Arsenals: their role as repositories of production knowledge and as centers for overhaul and modification of materiel in storage (Chs. V-IX).
4. Ordnance experience with the problem of spare parts, especially for tanks and trucks (Ch. XIII).
5. Measures to regulate and speed up the movement of ordnance from factory to depot to troops (Chs. XVII, XVIII).
6. Devices, such as standardization of nomenclature and parts numbering
(especially important for spare parts), stock control, and use of electrical
accounting machines in reporting depot stocks, to bring about more efficient
stockage and distribution of ordnance materiel (Chs. XIX, XX).
7. The creation of ordnance troop units suitable for supply, repair, and preventive maintenance and the problem of working out effective management of maintenance shops in the zone of interior through the service command system set up by the Army Service Forces (Ch. XXII).
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