One British brigade that engaged in about a dozen major tank actions in
Libya towards the end of last year appeared to follow a standard plan in keeping
its tanks supplied with gasoline and ammunition.
A convoy containing 100 percent fuel and 50 percent ammunition replenishment
always moved up in close contact with the battalion. This convoy was
commanded by an officer with a radio set tuned in on the regimental frequency.
When it was necessary to replenish ammunition during the course of an
action, as happened frequently, the convoy commander was ordered in code to
send up a specific number of ammunition trucks to a point as far forward as
possible. This was generally at a position a few hundred yards behind brigade
headquarters. Company commanders were then ordered to send back one tank
per platoon at a time to load up.
Before half of the gasoline supply of a tank had been used, the tank was
refilled, if possible before action appeared imminent. The quickest method of
refueling was as follows:
All gasoline trucks were sent forward even if only 20 percent refill was required. These
trucks then drove around to each individual tank--the company trucks having
previously been notified of the location of their company. On arrival at each
tank the crew of the gasoline truck would dump large gasoline cans. From these
the tank crew fills the fuel tank and also its own small, reinforced cans
which are carried as a reserve supply.
When refuelling a hot tank it was found necessary to have one of the crew
stand by with the fire extinguisher. There were several cases of fire while
refuelling under these conditions, but with the extinguisher ready for immediate
action no serious damage resulted.
ARMY GROUND FORCE COMMENT: In general, the method of refueling outlined is the
normal method employed by our QM Gasoline Supply Company which is an organic
part of, or attached to, motorized and mechanized units in combat.
The formation of a convoy under an officer for fuel and ammunition replenishment
and charged with maintaining close contact with a unit engaged in combat, would
be very desirable and should be employed, where the number of available vehicles
permit such employment.