THE TRANS-PACIFIC PIPELINE
The second pipeline of the Korean War was mainly from the continental USA to Japan and Korea. It was normally called the Trans-Pacific pipeline. The main topic in this chapter is to show that the United States did not have serious problems filling this pipeline and providing the additional soldiers, weapons, vehicles, ships and aircraft, food and fuel, FEC needed to be sure they would win the war in Korea. The main issues to the practical logistics were operation of the ports, and the transportation across the Pacific Ocean, by sea and air.
The United States of America were one of two superpowers of the world as the Korean War started. This was not only because of the possession of atomic weapons, but also because of a modern society with a large population of generally well educated people, an enormous industrial output, and many natural resources available in the United States itself. The USA had, unlike most other states in the world, ended World War II in a much better state than they had entered it.
The National Security Act of 1947 had established machinery for coordination military policies of the government affecting national security. At the apex of the organization for national security was the National Security Council. For the first time, there was a kind of permanent war cabinet to coordinate matters affecting foreign policy, military policy, and national resources at the highest government level. The National Security Resources Board as an economic mobilization-planning agency was created.
The three military departments where made part of a "federation" in the establishment of the Department of Defense. A chairman was provided for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JCS wore now two hats; one as chiefs of their respective services, and a new second hat as members of the top military planning and coordinating body of the Department of Defense. Functioning at a policy-making level, it was not an operating agency in the ordinary sense. Whenever it did get into the field of operations, it designated one of the service chiefs to act as its executive agent. In the case of the Far East Command, the Chief of Staff of the Army acted as executive agent for the joint chiefs.
Under the director of the joint staff, who was executive officer of the JCS organization, the joint staff was divided into three groups Joint Strategic Plans Group, Joint Intelligence Group, and Joint Logistics Plans Group. Each served as the full-time working staff for a corresponding committee made up of representatives from the services and from the joint staff.
The Munitions Board, reporting to the Department of Defense, was the principal agency for coordinating logistic policies among the armed forces. It was concerned with supply distribution plans and policies as well as with military aspects of industrial mobilization, production, and procurement. Paralleling and supplementing this permanent organization was a system of dozens of advisory committees dealing with cataloging, stockpile storage, manpower, iron and steel, ordnance, fuel and others.
Sea and air transportation had been made joint. The Joint Logistics Plans Committee where at work trying to pull the three services closer to each other. The aim was also to develop the supply system so that combat efficiency of the Armed Services as a whole would become better. But in 1950 the development had not come so far as a unification of the supply services of the military departments. The Secretary of Defense was interested in promoting uniformity in procedures where possible and in improving cooperation between the services in their supply and service activities.
It was not before August 1950 that the Joint Logistics Plans Committee made a report to the JCS in order to promote common supply for the first major category or items of supply, subsistence. By this time the committee meant they had sufficient guidance from the JCS and the Secretary of Defense to permit the assignment of logistic responsibility for subsistence in joint operations. Subsistence was of course common to the three Services.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff had a "Joint Policies with Respect to Stock Levels in the Zone of Interior and Overseas Areas". This paper was approved on 7 February 1950 and included in the Joint Mobilization Plan. A chart showed the approved operating and safety level in days of supply for each area of the world in which U.S. forces were operating. It had levels by the five classes of supply and in addition, showed the anticipated average shipping time for dry cargo and bulk classes III and IIIA.
World War II gave the military forces of the USA a lot of lessons, also in the field of logistics. Some of these experiences were transformed into models and figures for flow and consumption of supplies. These again were part of the education at military schools, like the Command and General Staff College. But as World War II was a BIG war, so was the logistical thinking. The logistical planning were for theaters with division slices and two air wing slices per division slice.
All three military services had large reserves in addition to their standing forces. Reserves were not only pilots, technicians, doctors, truckdrivers, cooks, and all other kind of personnel, but also trucks, aircraft, ships, weapons and the classes of supplies. Each service had their program or programs to maintain and develop the personnel's knowledge and skills, and to maintain the fighting readiness of the equipment, weapons, and supplies stored throughout the country. Numerous bases were maintained to provide for training of personnel and storage facilities.
As with the standing forces, founding problems occurred over and over again. A large part of the reserve personnel did not get any training, and a lot of the equipment were not maintained. This can hardly be described as a big problem because many persons in the reserves got valuable training in the jobs they had with civilian companies. And most of the aircraft and other similar equipment not needed for training or other purposes, were stored in very dry places where they needed very limited maintenance.
Normally ammunition had to be maintained and renewed as the explosives in them deteriorated with time. But the time from the large productions of ammunition during Second World War to the Korean War must have been to short to have any serious effect on the explosives. There are at least no indication in any of the sources used in this study that deterioration of explosives were a problem.
To give a dimension of the reserve forces, I have chosen the personnel reserves of the Air Force. The Air Force had four different categories of might be called reserves. These were the Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Core, and Civil Air Patrol. By June 1950, the U.S. Air Force reserves, not including the Civil Air Patrol, was 232,613 officers and 108,563 enlisted, totaling 341,176 persons. The part of the U.S. Air Force Reserve that got most of the attention was the Organized Air Reserve. By the end of March 1950 they were 28,612 officers and 53,530 airmen, or an aggregate total of 79,142 individuals. This meant that the Department of the Air Force had a problem. They had some 8,000 individuals in excess of the FY 1950 budget ceiling. The majority of the Organized Air Reserve received two weeks active duty training annually.
The primary factor for establishing a Reserve Program in the USAF, was to augment the Regular Establishment in time of national emergency. In the first weeks after the North Korea attack, a great majority of the planning done for the Reserve Program contemplated a total mobilization would occur and that the Air Force would need immediate implementation to full war time strength. This changed in the first half of August 1950. The Air Force instead started to work out a carefully phased build-up to be accomplished over several years. The training at some of the schools of the Air University were suspended, while other schools of the Air University and of the Air Training Command increased the number of classes and the number of students to provide for the partial mobilization and build up requirement.
But the Korean War did provoke some reactions in the military establishment of the USA. General Omar N. Bradley's statement as Chief of Staff for the Senate Committee on Armed Services 22 August 1950 was a strong support of a National Security Training Act. Bradley wanted to show the committee there was a need for a reservoir of trained men and units to draw upon in the Korean War and what the United States might be faced with "for many years with tension in international affairs". Speaking before the committee he said that the veterans of World War II had taken their share of responsibility, that their fighting strength had dwindled rapidly in the five years of peace, and that the Selective Service system made them largely exempt from further service. The National Guard and Organized Reserve Corps included only those veterans who voluntarily wanted to join.
Not everything was in stock in the USA. In the beginning of August 1950 the naval forces taking part in the Korean War was in critical short supply of 6 inch projectiles plus fuses and 8 inch semi-fixed charges. These had to be procured and produced. Production was anticipated to be adequate within two to three months. Obviously there were at least one factory producing this kind of ammunition who had a production line running or easily could start it up. If anyone should have started complete new ammunition production, it would have taken far longer time to have this ammunition ready.
As previously mentioned, this paper is not about industrial mobilization, mainly due to that most of the new production in the USA came to late to win the first phase of the war. The reason that I nevertheless mention the L-19 Bird Dog and the F-86 Saber, is to show the time it took to get new models into actual combat.
Liaison aircraft were an important part of the Korean War flying reconnaissance missions and courier flights, directing close ground support fighter-bomber missions, adjusting artillery and Naval gun fire, and evacuating the wounded. Three World War II veterans performed this duty in the beginning of the war; the L-4, L-5 and the L-17. According to a "Good News" report 3 August production of the new aircraft was under way, and it would eventually replace all currently used liaison aircraft. The new aircraft was the Cessna O-1G "Bird Dog" or L-19A as the USAF called it. It had been developed in 1949 from the commercial Cessna Model 170. With complete blind flight instruments and navigational radio, the capability to operate from very short airfields, and with not much need of maintenance, the aircraft was perfect for the Korean War. The manufacturer of the L-19s, Cessna, was notified verbally 29 May 1950 that the contract had been granted for L-19s and that the initial order would be for 418 aircraft. As North Korea made their attack into South Korea, the Army immediately approached Cessna with an accelerated delivery schedule. The first 100 L-19s where delivered in December 1950. 97 were sent to Korea were they arrived in February 1951. Too late to take part in the first part of the war, but it did a good job for the rest of the war.
Another new aircraft that entered the Korean War after the first phase of the war, was the North American F-86 "Saber". This first USAF swept-wing jet fighter made its initial flight on 1 October 1947, setting a new world speed record in 1948. Almost three years after the initial flight, none of this new aircraft had reached FEC. Considering this aircraft originally was designed as a high-altitude day-fighter, and air defense were a high priority task for Far East Air Forces, it is a bit strange there were no such aircraft in Japan in June 1950. The Saber was not needed during the first part of the Korean War, but had an important part in the rest of the war when Russian-built MiG-15 joined the fighting. Before the end of hostilities, Sabers had shot down 792 MiGs at a loss of 76 Sabers.
One of the best indications that the war in Korea was no serious problem to the military machinery of the United States was the meetings in the Joint Logistics Plans Committee, a committee under the JCS with representatives from all three military services. The minutes from the meeting held 14 July 1950 is very interesting reading, not because of the weight they put on the Korean War, but because they did not seam very concerned with what was going on at the other side of the globe. "Business as usual" is probably the best description. All topics on the agenda seem to be well prepared and part of an ongoing discussion and development. Under agenda point 8. "Estimate of the Present Korean Situation", the conclusion was just: "The Joint Logistics Plans Committee was informed that the Joint Logisticians Plans Group was studying the logistic implications of this paper."
At the next meeting 18 July, and the following five meetings, Korea is not mentioned. It was not before the minutes 22 August Korea was mentioned again, and then almost in the same words as the meeting held 14 July; "A study has been initiated regarding logistic support of the UN forces (other than the United States) in Korea." The first time there were any serious concerns regarding the Korean War, was the meeting 19 September. It was the need to have a replacement system capable of providing adequate numbers of fillers and combat loss replacements to the units, that was drawing the attention of the committee.
Someone had to handle all the requisitions for materials Far East Command needed to fight North Korea and build up again their reserves. And someone had to get food, ordnance, vehicles, spare parts, fuel and other supplies ready for transportation, and get the aircraft and ships at the right place at the right time to pick it up. This someone was San Francisco Port with outports and subports.
As in World War II, each port of embarkation in the USA had specific responsibility for supplying forces in particular areas of the world. San Francisco Port was responsible for Japan, Korea, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. This did not mean that all supplies for Japan and Korea had to go out through San Francisco Port; outports and subports contributed substantially to this primary port. Shipments went from New York to the Far East with New York functioning as a subport to San Francisco. But primary responsibility for the shipments remained in San Francisco. No and then an other port shared the workload of a primary port. Such instructions were in effect even before the Korean War for Seattle Port. In addition to New York and Seattle ports, also New Orleans and commercial ports on the West Coast and on the Gulf of Mexico served as outports of San Francisco Port.
Prior to 1942, all requisitions from overseas had been forwarded directly to the supply services. In the system established throughout the U.S. in 1942, it became the Oversea Supply Division at each port that handled requisitions from overseas forces. Of the branches of this division in San Francisco Port, the supply branch was the largest. It had a representative from each of the technical services. The three operational divisions were Transport, Terminal and Troop Movements. The smooth operation of San Francisco Port meant close co-ordination between the various divisions and branches. A committee met daily to work out the details of cargo loading.
Requisitions came to the port in the form of teletypes, radiograms, standard prepared forms, and machine made records cards. The procedure was similar to that developed during World War II; After a technical service check for stock numbers, nomenclature and authorization, the requisition went to a designated supply depot were the items were selected, packed and shipped to the port of embarkation. When a depot found that a required date could not be met, it informed the Oversea Supply Division at San Francisco Port. The requisitions then went to another depot handling those supplies, via the respective technical services stock control point. As the USA became engaged in Korea, the Director of Logistics in the Department of the Army directed all technical services to give first priority to FEC in handling requisitions. Second priority were to be given to special requisitions from troops in the USA preparing for overseas movement to FEC.
Huston believes that San Francisco Port's reaction to emergency demands by forces in Korea was far swifter than had been possible in the weeks following the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. Now the Oversea Supply Division at San Francisco Port, even though at greatly reduced strength as many military units were, was an organization capable of rapid expansion. During the first few weeks after the attack, the staff of the Oversea Supply Division expanded from about 200 officers and civilians to approximately 500.
The number of requisition line items received one measure of the work load of a supply agency increased from an average of 46,000 a month during the first half of 1950, to an average of 96,000 during the second half of 1950. But the actual increase in workload was more than these figures suggest. More than half of the requisitions received was of an emergency nature. There were shortages in depot stocks in a number of items, and the delays who frequently developed due to the shortages, meant more detailed attention, personal contact and paperwork for those involved.
In August 1950 San Francisco Port of embarkation shipped just over 500.000 measurement tons approximately the same average monthly shipments as during World War II. But with shipped vehicles, a new record was set. More than 10.000 tanks, trucks, trailers and ambulances went out this month, more than doubling the largest number of shipped vehicles in any month during World War II. Oakland Army base handled most of the vehicles. Leasing five piers from the Port of Oakland doubled the army's facilities there. Other cargo left through terminal facilities operated or leased in San Francisco, Seattle, Stockton, Long Beach, Richmond and Port Chicago.
Total loading in support of Korean operations through San Francisco Port of embarkation between 1 July and 1 November 1950 amounted to 1,627,778 measurement tons.There can be no doubt that San Francisco Port with outports and subports were an effective logistical instrument. The organization had the experience and the ability to rapid expansion needed to meet the demands of Far East Command.
It was no easy task to transport personnel and cargo across the Pacific Ocean, the xxx miles from the West-Coast of continental United States, the xxx miles from Hawaii, or the xxx miles from Guam, to Japan and Korea. These long distances was the biggest challenge to the ships and aircraft transporting personnel, weapons, ammunition, food and different kind of fuel needed in the Korean War.
It was not something new to transport large quantities of personnel and cargo across the Pacific Ocean. World War II had had its enormous transportation challenges, not only during the war itself, but also when the war ended and millions of soldiers wanted to get home as soon as possible. In the peace between World War II and the Korean War the United States had to keep up a transportation system with aircraft and ships to supply their substantial forces in the Far East. The more than 100,000 soldiers of FEC needed constant resupply. To expedite and regulate the flow of cargo and personnel to the FEC, G-4 FEC maintained liaison sections in Tokyo, Guam, Hawaii, and in Fairfield and San Francisco, California.
The Munitions Board had primary responsibility as the claimant agency of the Department of Defense upon commercial shipping in time of war, with the Joint Chief of Staff as the primarily strategic planner. Both had an easy task when it came to ships.
A typical situation of priority was discussed 12 July 1950 between GHQ FEC and the Department of the Army, with representatives of Army, Navy, and Air Force present in Washington DC. In excess of the MATS lift during the period from 12 to 23 July 1950, the three services had a total of 438,5 tons of cargo, and the Army and the Air Force had a total of 3632 personnel they wanted airlifted across the Pacific. Contracts with commercial airlift would provide space for only 233 tons cargo and 832 persons. The decision was to divide the available cargo and personnel airlift equal between Air Force and Army. The rest of the cargo had to divert to MARINEX with estimated arrival 27 July in FEC. The rest of the personnel had to use surface transportation, departing from 17 July and after, with estimated arrival in FEC 31 July and after, approximately 13 days transportation time.
What was it they wanted to airlift? At the 12 July discussion, most of the cargo the Army had was 118 tons of rocket launchers and rockets, with some machine guns, radio equipment, and recoilless rifles as well. 88 tons of rocket launchers and rockets together with 12 tons of recoilless rifles and 5 tons of signals were airlifted. The Air Force had 200 tons of high priority spare parts and equipment. 103 tons of these, mainly aircraft engines and critical parts. The Navy had 48 tons of bombs and miscellaneous parts. 170 doctors, 268 tank and ordnance cadre, and 75 casual officers were among the Army personnel. The Air Force had 283 officers, 388 communication and radar enlisted, 577 Far East Air Forces enlisted, and 202 air weather enlisted, among others.
The big amounts of cargo went by sea The bulk of the cargo that where transported from USA to Japan and Korea had to be transported by sea. While the United States during World War II and until 1946 had a functional organization for shipping in its War Shipping Administration, it had in the spring of 1950 abolished the not so well functioning U.S. Maritime Commission and created two brand new bodies, the Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Board, as the Korean War broke out. This did not meet the demands of the Korean War, or at least not when the Chinese entered the war, and a new organization was established in February 1951, looking very much the same as the War Shipping Administration.
"It was sea power that brought the weight of our land power to Korea, and it was sea power that kept the ground forces supplied with the tremendous supply tonnage required for modern war. And it was sea power's aircraft carriers that delivered the urgently needed land based fighters - and this included those of the U.S. Air Force - to the Korean theatre."
NATO Planning Board for Ocean Shipping One of the first tings to be discussed after the forming of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in April 1949 was the establishment of a Planning Board for Ocean Shipping. The aim was to have a central pool of allied ships to draw from in case of emergency. The opinion of the Secretary of Defense by February 1950 was that the U.S. would have a shipping deficit during certain phases of an emergency. A pool of allied shipping was looked upon as "the best interests of our national defense because it would provide machinery for maximum utilization of all available shipping."
To meet the requirements for ships there where four different alternatives; Military Sea Transportation Service, National Defense Reserve Fleet, the merchant marine, and the U.S. Maritime Administration reserve fleet. Each of them seams to have been able to meet all the transport requirements themselves.
The origin of the Military Sea Transportation Service is dated back to the Army Transport Service of 1898. The Spanish-American War forced the Army for the first time to meet overseas commitments. To avoid a repetition of the embarrassing unpreparedness in shipping during that conflict, the Military Transportation Act of 1904 specified that 100 percent of military cargoes had to travel aboard U.S.-flag ships. The fact that the Army rather than the Navy took the lead in providing ocean transportation was easily understood; Over 90 percent of the cargo needed to support the military overseas was for the Army. The Army therefore quite rightly acquired and operated its own fleet of merchant vessels between 1898 and 1950. During this period the ships were handled by a bewildering variety of bureaus, divisions, and services, with such names as Water Transport Branch and Water Division. The creation of the Department of Defense led to attempts to unify common services in one agency. Under the decision that the Navy should handle all affairs on water, the Military Sea Transportation Service was created on 1 October 1949. 95 ships were transferred from the Navy Transportation Service. The Army was given until 1 March 1950 to hand over its 225 vessels to the new agency of the Navy Department. It should than be correct to say that it was a newborn organization with long roots that met the Korean War.
The Ship Sales Act of 1946 created the National Defense Reserve Fleet to keep a number of World War II surplus vessels in usable condition. With this fleet the United States Congress hoped to avoid the mistakes made after the First World War, selling off to many of the surplus vessels and leaving the government without any reserve stockpile of ships. In 1950 the number of ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet was no less than 2,227. A number of ships were taken out for use in the Korean War.
The merchant marine was often called the fourth arm of defense. The U.S. merchant marine of 1950 had a total of 27, 898,000 gross tons, totaling 32,7 percent of the world merchant marine. It was a well balanced fleet with half of it freighters, a quarter tankers, and the rest evenly bulk carriers and combined passenger and cargo vessels. In deadweight tons, the active fleet was 14,673,000. The U.S. Maritime Administration reserve fleet was 21,853,000 deadweight tons. It was a fairly new fleet with an average of less than 10 years built mainly during World War II. As of 30 June 1950 the active vessels in U.S. foreign trade were 632, domestic trade 434, foreign to foreign trade 79, temporarily inactive 86, and the U.S. Maritime Administration reserve fleet 2,177, totaling 3,408 ships/25,475,000 gross tons/ 36,526,000 DWT. Off the reserve fleet, 28 were combination ships, 2122 freighters, and 27 tankers.
(NB: One DWT is the joint weight of a ship's cargo, fuel, water, provisions etc. That is its total b‘reevne at its maximum allowed dypg†ende. Normally expressed in metric tons a 1000 kg.)
Perishable food were one of the most important supplies to cross the Pacific. These supplies went according to a ninety day order and shipping time. Refrigerated ships were taken into use to secure supplies of chilled and frozen foods. The ships left at ten-day intervals. B-ration supplies went trough balanced loading. This meant that various foodstuffs had to be scheduled carefully to arrive at the same port at the same time, creating more work and frequent difficulties at the outloading ports. The advantage was at the receiving end with efficient discharge and quick issue to the troops.
Ammunition were one of the other important supplies. Huge quantities were shipped from Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay. But ammunition supply for the Naval Forces, Far East generally did not come from the continental USA. This is documented in a letter from Commander Service Force, Pacific Fleet to Commander NAVFE, 9 August 1950. The Commander of the Pacific Fleet, with his headquarters in Pearl Harbor on Hawaii, had, as earlier mentioned, the logistical responsibility for all U.S. Naval forces used in the Korean War. He used both merchant ships and MSTS ships in his effort to supply FEC.
Of the 18 ships that either had completed their shipment (14), were enroute, or loading 9 August 1950, only two had the continental USA as their departure port. But these two ships, which had sailed from Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay using 13 days on their journey, carried almost half the 10,000 S/T of naval ammunition transported to Japan and Korea in this period. Six ships came from Guam, using an average of six days on their trips to Yokosuka, Sasebo and Okinawa. The ten ships from Oahu on Hawaii used from seven to 24 days to Yokosuka and Sasebo, with an average around 14 days.
The ships transported a variety of ammunition for all purposes. There were not only 3", 5" and 8" gun ammo, but also rockets, bombs, napalm, depth charges, and anti-air ammunition. Comparing what had been expended with what was resupplied, there is no problem understanding why NAVFE had storage problems. What had been resupplied up to 9 August 1950 was at least five times as much as had been expended. For 20-mm and 40-mm gun ammo, the resupplied amount was 25 and 50 times as much as had been spent. And if one looks at what was projected resupply from 9 August to 15 October, it seams like Commander Pacific Fleet anticipated the Chinese Communist Forces intervention in the war.
It was not enough to find the required supplies and put it onboard a ship. Those in the receiving end had to know what was coming and in which ship. Prior to 1 August 1950, cargo documents for ship cargoes were arriving in Japan as No. 1 priority air cargo. There were occasional, unaccountable delays in transmittal, and in a few cases it was observed that the documents had arrived after the arrival of the ship. In an attempt to reduce the transfer time, the Commander in Chief Far East requested documents for Japan and Korea shipments be carried by an air officer passenger courier and delivered to the headquarters of Japan Logistical Command. This was approved and the average time between the ship departure time and the arrival of the documents in Yokohama was reduced to 3 « days. HQ Japan Logistical Command acted as a central shipping document receipt and distribution point, distributing the documents to ports in Japan and Korea according to the destination of the vessel.
The more essential information about the ship cargoes were also sent by radio as a General and a Detailed Cargo Loading Radios. This information were not routed through a shipping records control unit due to the believe that the geographic spread of the ports of Far East Command "would not expedite the flow of information nor improve the service". It was also observed prior to 1 August that the General Cargo Loading Radios on Pacific Coast sailing consistently were subject to a lapse of several days before reports were actually transmitted.
"The commands in Japan and Korea actively engaged in the Korean operations, or in support thereof, experienced difficulties during the first phases of that campaign in gauging certain logistical developments and operations, particularly those where diversion of ships were involved, from the cargo systems prevailing at this time."
A memorandum from the Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of Transportation, to the Joint Military Transportation Committee, dated 14 December 1950, indicates more than sufficient transportation capacity in the first months of the Korean War. The memorandum was written due to indications of difference of opinion between the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force regarding limitations in "Movement of Household Goods and Dependents during Mobilization". It states that transportation facilities and equipment will be in critical short supply during mobilization, but does not imply that all movement of household goods and the travel of dependents shall stop during mobilization.
The need for speed - transport aircraft across the Pacific The Korean War developed rapidly into a disaster for Republic of Korea forces. U.S. military forces had to be brought in very fast to be able to hold on to a part of Korea. For the specially needed personnel and equipment not available in Japan, aircraft was the only solution to bring this in from the USA. With this urgency in the Korean War, it is natural to anticipate that a bigger portion than ever of the personnel and cargo went onboard aircraft. Could military transport aircraft manage this alone, or was also civilian aircraft needed?
Extensive use of air transport in support of military operations had been among the many "firsts" of World War II. After World War II, the Air Transport Command and the Naval Air Transport Service were unified under the name Military Air Transport Service (MATS). Its first test was the Berlin Airlift, successfully meeting the requirements. In the spring of 1950, another test of airlift capacity was conducted in Exercise Swarmer in North Carolina. For the first time an airhead, which had been established after encirclement by "hostile forces", was continuously resupplied over a long protracted period. It was not something new to think in the way of supplying a military force through an airlift. Both experience and training would show up to be important during the Korean War.
On the request of the Munitions Board and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a study on "Military Requirements for Air Transportation and Estimates of Military Air Transportation Capabilities" was carried out twice in 1949. Combined civil and military capabilities should satisfy air transportation requirements for the first two years of a war, as if it commenced 1 July 1949. The Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Staff, USAF, found the first study, with the conclusion that the USA had the needed capabilities, to optimistic and very unsound. The next study said "that the present capabilities will not meet the military needs as estimated from Joint Chiefs of Staff". The planned requirements were for 15.000 officers and men and 11,000 S/Tons of cargo as initial supplies and equipment, and resupply for a period of 60 to 120 days. Aircraft required for the lift should become available between three and eight days after initial notice that the lift was required.
The policy before the Korean War was that air transport, both military and civil, should be exploited as a primary means of transportation and communication. Those units and personnel whose immediate movements were essential to the implementation of approved strategic plans should be lifted by air where other transportation media would not assure success of the mission. A logistic lift was also defined. This included commodities where production, source, or storage was marginal or limited, or there were critical shortages. In addition all patients were to be transported by air both in war and peace. This meant a substantial increase in airlift requirements compared to its use in the Second World War.
Also the success of Strategic Air Command's atomic offensive was to a large degree dependent upon the ability to use MATS aircraft to move combat crews, flyaway kits and bombs to were they would deploy in an emergency. A test, called VITTLES, of this capability was planed to take part in January 1950 using 126 C-54 or four-engine transport equivalents. The test was postponed to 5-8 June 1950 due to an engine modernization program for B-29 aircraft. The effect of the test was a temporary reduction in MATS support to overseas theaters down to eighty percent of normal. How was it possible that the use of 126 C-54 or equivalents in four days only meant a reduction of 20 percent compared to normal support?
The Korean War called upon MATS for a job even greater in magnitude than was the Berlin Airlift. But Military Air Transport Service together with civilian companies were ready to meet the challenge. The "national inventory of strategic transport type aircraft" was in June 1949 a total of 1066 4-engine aircraft. Military operators, primarily MATS, controlled 561 of these which very mostly C-54's capable of carrying both cargo and passengers, while only one fifth of the civil fleet was capable of carrying both cargo and passengers.
Two commercial planes had been added to the MATS fleet and taken into use for the trans-oceanic flights before the Korean War. These were the DC-6 Douglas Globemaster, or C-74 as it was called in the military, and the Lockheed Constellation. Both of them were capable of transporting both passengers and bulky military material. Other aircraft employed by MATS did not the efficiency of the four engine aircraft on long hauls like the Pacific. They were two-engined aircraft like C-119 Fairchild Packet and the workhorse of World War II, Douglas Skytrain. Other aircraft had enough range, but had, like the four-engine XR-60/C-121 Lockheed Constitution, not been purchased in any number by MATS to play any role in the first part of the Korean War. It was used by civilian airlines, and purchased by the armed forces in increasing numbers during the Korean War. MATS could not rely on the C-54 Douglas Skymaster for anything else than inter-theatre transport. It had been the best four-engine transport that could be obtained in satisfactory quantity during World War II, and had been ideal for the Berlin Airlift. Now it was too small and slow, designed for trans-continental flights, rather than trans-oceanic flights.
Personnel were not only lifted from the USA to Japan and Korea, but also the other way back to the USA. In the first eighteen days of July, the combined effort of commercial airlift companies and Military Air Transport Service 2211 personnel were lifted from Japan to mainly the mainland of the USA. This airlift relieved the congested housing in Japan as well as evacuated ailing and tired Korean evacuees to their homes and loved ones in the USA.
On the direct question from Secretary of the Army Frank Pace if there was anything in terms of support from the Economic Cooperation Administration or more Army co-operation that might help, MacArthur answered: "No commander in the history of war has ever had more complete and adequate support from all agencies in Washington than I have." This was of course said in the theatrical way MacArthur was an expert in the use of. But it's nevertheless close to the truth.
|CHAPTER FOUR||CHAPTER SIX|
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