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"Gasoline and Ammunition Supply--Libya" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on British supply of armored units was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 7, Sept. 10, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


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.


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