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U.S. Marine Corps - Small Wars Manual (1940 Edition)


Section II

Influence of supply on a column					3-2	
Supply officers							3-3
Storage								3-4
Distribution							3-5
Supply steps							3-6
Local purchases							3-7
Requisitions							3-8
Depots, dumps, and distributing points				3-9
Chain of responsibility						3-10
Accountability							3-11
Public funds							3-12
Objective							3-13
Supervision of requisitions					3-14
Accumulation of stores						3-15
General								3-16
Importance of supply						3-17

3-2. Influence of Supply on a column.-The "big three" of supply are Ammunition, Food, and Water. Combat troops can operate in the field for a very limited time in actual combat with only AMMUNITION, but their continued existence requires the other two, FOOD and WATER. Therefore, in order to conduct the advance inland, one of the first considerations in such a movement must be the means of supply.
Supplies maybe obtained as follows:

(1) From the country en route, by requisition or other authorized method.
(2) By continuous resupply via convoys dispatched from the base.
(3) By taking sufficient supplies with the column for its maintenance from the base to its destination; resupply to begin after arrival at destination.
(4) By the establishment of fortified advanced bases along the route. These advanced bases are established by detachments from the column initially and supplies built up at them by convoys dispatched from the rear or main supply base; thereafter, the column draws.its supplies from these advanced bases direct.
(5) By airplane, either in plane drops or landing of transport planes on favorable terrain at the camp site of the column. (See Chapter IX, Aviation.)
(6) In most small wars operations, a combination of all these methods will be used.

3-3. Supply officers.-0fficers charged with supply have a dual mission. They must first get the supplies, then supply them to the troops. In order to carry out these duties it is essential that the officer responsible for supply has the following essential information at all times:

(1) The supplies and equipment required by the force.
(2) The supplies and equipment the force has on hand.
(3) Where the required items may be procured, from whom, and when.
(4) When, where, and in what quantities replacements will be needed.

3-4. Storage.-a.The matter of storage is very closely connected with the problem of supply and starts at the port of debarkation. Prior to or upon arrival of the expeditiontiry force at the port of debarkation, a decision must be made as to the location of the main supply depot. The following factors are of importance in reaching this decision:

(1) Mission of the intervening force.
(2) Docking or lighter facilities.
(3) Availability of suitable shelter for stores.
(4) Railroads, highways, water routes available for purposes and types of carriers.
(5) Availability of civilian labor.
(6) Security.
(7) Location of troops; distance from supply base.
(8) Location of possible landing fields.

b. It is always desirable to have the supply base near the point of debarkation in order to facilitate unloading and segregation of stores. However, for various reasons, this is not always practicable. It will then be necessary to establish at the debarkation point a forwarding depot, and place the main depot or base at an intermediate point, between the forwarding depot and the area to be supplied. From the main supply depot, the flow of supply would ordinarily be to and through advanced supply bases, and forward to organizations in combat zones. The usual route would be via railroad, where it exists, or highway, using motor transportation to advanced supply bases in to build organization areas. It will usually be found advantageous up small stocks of essential supplies, at these advanced bases, or even farther forward at the advanced distributing points, in order to insure a continuous supply. This is especially necessary when operating in a theater that has a rainy season.

c. The available transportation facilities will also be an important consideration in determining the location of distributing points, and the levels at which they are to be kept.

d. Quartermaster department personnel will be kept at the depots. These units will ordinarily be organized to handle the main subdivisions with warrant officers or staff noncommissioned officers of the department as assistants or section chiefs. At these points the enlisted force should be augmented by civilian labor if available.

e. Routine replacements of depot stocks will ordinarily be maintained by timely requisitions submitted by officers in charge to the proper supply depot in the United States or, in the case of articles not normally carried by these depots, by requisitions submitted direct to the Quartermaster, Headquarters Marine Corps.

f. The foregoing replenishment should be augmented by local purchases of items available locally at reasonable prices.

g. It will be necessary to inspect existing local facilities regarding shelter for depot stocks and service units in order that proper recommendations may be made to Force Headquarters relative to preparation of formal agreement for rental. Failing this, it would be proper, in the event a long stay is anticipated, to recommend construction of suitable buildings for this purpose. Ordinarily, in tropical countries, service units may be quartered in tents.

h. The location of transportation units employed in the depot supply plan will usually be controlled by the location of the depot or bases. Such units should be reasonably close to the depots and subject to depot control.

35. Distribution.-a. Ordinarily, depots with force transportation will supply as far forward as consistent with existing conditions. Organization transportation, whether motor or pack, will carry forward from this point either directly to troops or to positions from which troops may be supplied by carrying parties. Force Headquarters units and rear echelons of all organizations will normally be supplied directly by supply depots or bases.

b. If fortified advanced bases are to be established, the decision relative to their location will be influenced by the suitability of these sites as camps. The type of shelter utilized will depend on the availability of buildings or construction material in the vicinity or the feasibility of transporting shelter material to these sites from the main or intermediate base. In the latter case, the decision will be

influenced by the amount of transportation available at the time the bases are being established. If local shelter or transportation for such construction material is not available, the vicinity of the advanced bases should at least be cleared and developed as a camp site. An adequate water and fuel supply should be available.

c. The accompanying chart shows how procurement and supply will normally exist in small wars. of chart.

d. Description of chart.-Step (1)--Procurement here and (2) transportation to depot or forwarding depot is of course continuous, based on requisitions from the expeditionary force. Requisitions are varied , consisting of periodical requirements submitted on usual forms together with letter and, in emergencies, radio, telegraphic, or cable dispatches. Decisions as to quantities for, and places of, storage depend upon the particular situation and mission. In some instances the port of debarkation might be selected as the site of the force depot. If the operation necessitates the presence of the bulk of the force far inland, it is probable that only a forwarding depot or segregation point would be maintained at the port of debarkation, and the main depot established further inland along the line of communications. There can be no set rule regarding this arrangement. From the depot or main base, field distribution begins. Those nearest the main base would probably be supplied through the medium of advanced supply bases at which small stocks would be maintained. If possible, a daily distribution would be made to points beyond. Failing this, a periodical system of distribution would be made, carrying forward to combatant units sufficient supplies and ammunition to meet their needs for stated periods. This would entail the establishment of additional advanced dumps from which troops could be supplied either by means of their own transportation, or in some instances, by pack trains. Carrying parties might be employed at this point.

e. It is doctrine that supplies are echeloned in depth to the rear, and that some system be decided upon that results in a proper distribution forward. In most small wars situations almost every accepted principle of warfare on a large scale is subject to modification due to the irregularity of the operation. It is this characteristic that sets the "small war" in a class by itself. It is obvious then, that a successful supply plan in any small war theater must be ready to meet these irregular conditions. Here, the means offered by the specific local country and used extensively by it, should most certainly be exploited, modified, improved, where necessary, and adopted to the use of our forces. This is particularly true of methods of transport. Supply officers of a small war operation should never overlook the fact that it is always possible to learn something from observance of local facilities and customs. They may need modification and improvement in order to meet our requirements, but basically there will almost always be found something of value that can and should be used.

36. Supply steps.-From a study of the chart above, it will be apparent that some of these steps may, in certain situations, be eliminated, such as the Forwarding Depot and carrying parties where step No. 7 supplies directly to step No. 10.

3-7. Local purchases.- a. Local purchases may be made at any of the five places shown along the chain of supply, and sent to troops in combat areas.

b. Where local purchases are made by other than a regularly detailed purchasing officer, prior authorization for such practice must be secured from Force Headquarters.

38. Requisitions.- a. Requisitions for replacements of equipment, supplies, ammunition, etc., are submitted to the nearest accountable or supply officer by the officer responsible, usually company commanders, to and through Bn-4's. Sufficient forethought must be employed to permit procurement and distribution by the required time.

b. Close teamwork should exist between the Quartermaster Department and the field commanders. It is essential that the Quartermaster know what supplies can be procured by the field commander, and likewise the field commander should know what supplies can be furnished by the Quartermaster.

3-9. Depots, dumps, and distributing poits.-a. The Advanced Distributing Points may be at Area Headquarters or merely at a selected site close to combatant troops. In countries where the condition of roads in forward areas will not permit a daily delivery routine, and such occasions will be common, it will be necessary to maintain small stocks of essential supplies at these Advanced Distributing Points. In most systems of supply operating in the field, there exists the necessity for establishing permanent and temporary points of storage and points where distribution takes place. The terms commonly used to designate such points are "depot," "dump," and "distributing point."" The word "depot" is used to designate a place where supplies in bulk are stored permanently and from which the first step in field distribution takes place. Such a point requires shelter, security, and close proximity to some good means of transporting supplies This point is usually established . by the organization carrying the bulk of replacement supplies.

b. The word "distributing point" signifies a position or site selected for the transfer and distribution of supplies to consuming units. It is most often used in connection with the daily distribution of automatic supplies used by troops at a fairly uniform rate, such as rations, oil, fuel, forage, etc. It simply means a spot or area to which supplies are brought by one means and turned over to another for purpose of interorganizational distribution.

c. Advanced supply bases are in reality subsidiary depots established inland to facilitate the forwarding of supplies to the distributing points.

310. Chain of responsibility.-a. The usual chain of responsibility of individuals connected with procurement and distribution of equipment and supplies in the field is:

Force Headquarters			F-4.
					Force QM.
					Force Depot QM.
Brigades				B-4.
Regiments				R-4.
Battalions				Bn-4.
Companies				Company commander.
Platoons or detachments			Platoon or detachment commander.

b. In each company is a company supply sergeant, whose duties include the preparation of company requisitions and through whom requests for replacements of any kind emanating from squads, sections, and platoons should be sent to the company commander. When these requisitions are filled, the company supply sergeant is in charge of proper distribution of the new material to the lower units and individuals. This man holds the rank of sergeant and is entrusted with matters of company supply.

c. Company and detachment commanders should exercise close supervision over requisitions and the issuing of supplies. This is particularly true of rations.

3-11. Accountability.-a. Ordinarily, accountability, when it exists, extends down to the battalion in field organizations where the battalions are administrative units. From there on down to the individual, responsibility obtains.

b. There is no set rule by which decisions may be reached relative to recommending the discontinuance of all or part of accountability. In any event, such discontinuance will have to be authorized by the Quartermaster, Headquarters Marine Corps, and approved by the Major General Commandant.

c. There will be occasions when some modifications of this system will be desirable and necessary, but normally the administrative units of the force will be able to establish and conduct the routine of their rear echelons so as to permit and justify the continuance of accountability and proper records involving responsibility.

d. The absence of accountability promotes carelessness and waste and presents a serious obstacle to intelligent and economical supply. Loose handling in the responsibility for weapons and ammunition makes it easier for these articles to get into unauthorized hands and even into the hands of the opposing force.

e. The exigencies of field conditions are recognized by everyone connected with our service of supply and consideration is always given to such conditions. Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, is fully cognizant of hazards engendered by field conditions. Under justifiable circumstances, certificates of adjustment to accountable officers' accounts will be acceptable. The Quartermaster's Department recognizes this fact and acts accordingly but the point. is, that in continuing accountability, there must be a certified record of all such unusual occurrences.

f. It may be entirely impossible for an administrative unit to obtain proper receipts for its issues, but a record for such issues can and should be kept in order that requests for replacements within the unit can be intelligently supervised by the unit supply officer. If the entire administrative unit has taken the field actively, such record should be kept by the accountable officer in the last step of the supply chain before it reaches the unit. 312. Public funds.--a. Public funds for procurement of such material and services as the force may find desirable and economical are usually entrusted, through official channels, to an officer designated as a disbursing assistant quartermaster. b. These officers, when authorized by competent authority, may advance public funds to officers in outlying stations for certain purchases. When such purchases are made, standard forms of vouchers are either prepared by the officer making the purchase, or ordinary receipts are taken by him and furnished the disbursing assistant quartermaster concerned. In order that such transaction may have proper basic authentication it has been the usual practice to write in the orders for such officers, when detailed for duty at outlying points, a specific designation as agent for the disbursing assistant quartermaster concerned which becomes the authority for advancement of public funds.

c.An officer receiving such designation as agent should, before entering on his new duties, confer with the disbursing assistant quartermaster in order that there will be complete understanding of how the money in the possession of the agent is to be accounted for when expended. If such a procedure is impracticable, the matter should be made the subject of immediate correspondence between these two officers. There exists such a multitude of regulations and decisions governing the expenditure of Government funds that no one shoul-d undertake disbursing even to the extent of a very small sum, without first learning the proper method to pursue. Such procedure will avoid explanation and correspondence later, and may be the means of saving the one concerned the necessity of making good from personal funds an amount of public funds spent in error, solely because of lack of sufficient and proper advance information. It is desired to stress this point most emphatically.

3-13. Objective.-The objective is the one common to all military operations, i. e., success in battle. The well trained and supplied fighter needs but proper leadership to win; therefore the task of the supply officer becomes one of considerable importance from the commander's point of view.

314. Supervision of requisitions. -a. The most important function of a supply officer is the supervision of requisitions. To know what, when, where, and how to get what the command needs, and then get it and distribute it, is perhaps the whole story of supply insofar as it affects the one to be supplied. The remainder consists of proper recording of what has been done; this is known as accountability. b. The requisition is the starting point of the whole process. If it be wrong, everything else can't help but be wrong also. Never pad a requisition on the assumption that it will be cut down. Sooner or later this will become known and your requisitions will be worthless to the one who reviews them. If your real needs are cut by someone, find out why and, if you can, insist on what you ask for. But be sure you know what you want, and why. On the other hand, a requisition should never be cut without a thorough investigation.

c. Place explanations on the face of requisitions covering items that are exceptional from previous requests.

315. Accumulation of stores .-a. There is a delicate balance between overstocking and understocking. Overstocking means forced issues, while understocking means privation and possibly failure.

b. Do not permit the accumulation of slow-moving stores, particularly clothing in extreme sizes. If it fails to move, report its presence and ask for disposition. Someone, elsewhere, may want the very sizes that are in excess of your needs. Arrange to turn over subsistence stores of a staple nature at least once every 90 days. Report your excess quantities to your nearest senior supply officer through official channels.

316. General . -- a . The following general rules may be of assistance to persons responsible for the handling and storing of supplies: (1) As a rule, provide an air space under all stored articles. It prevents deterioration. (2) In the absence of buildings for storage, request that necessary security measures be taken to safeguard your stores. (3) Visit the units that you supply. (4) Find out how your system works and adjust it where necessary. (5) Watch your stock of subsistence stores. (6) Become familiar with the data. contained under "Minimum safekeeping period" for subsistence stores under article 14-54, Marine Corps Manual. (Note particularly the remarks in this table.) (7) Ask for an audience from time to time with your commander. Keep him appraised of the supply situation. Give him your picture, clearly and briefly, and then recommend desirable changes, if any. Above all, make your supply system fit into his plans. (8) Keep in close touch with your source of supply. Know what is there and how long it will take you to get it. (9) Get a receipt for everything that leaves your control. If field conditions are such that this is, in part, impracticable, then keep a record of all such transactions, and set down the reasons for not being able to obtain proper receipts. (10) Keep your own supply records up-to-date and render necessary reports regarding them. (11) When you need help, ask for it and state facts. Camouflage, or any attempt at it in the supply game, is fatal. If your best judgement has failed, admit it. It is a human characteristic and can rarely ment be cloaked by a garment of excuses.

317. Importance of supply.- The importance of the question of supply upon small wars is well set forth in the following extract taken from Small Wars by Callwell:

The fact that small wars are, generally speaking, campaigns rather against nature than against hostile armies has been already referred to. It constitutes one of the most distinctive characteristics of this class of warfare. It effects the course of operations to an extent varying greatly according to circumstances, but so vitally at times as to govern the whole course of the campaign from start to finish. It arises almost entirely out of the difficulties as regards supply which the theaters of small wars generally present. Climate effects the health of troops, absence of communication retards the movement of soldiers, the jungle and the bush embarrass a commander; but if it were not for the difficulty as regards food for man and beast which roadless and inhospitable tracts oppose to the operations of a regular army, good troops well led would make light of such obstacles in their path. It is not the question of pushing forward the man or the horse or the gun, that has to be taken into account so much as that of the provision of the necessities of life for the troops when they have been pushed forward.

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