United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services: The Ordnance Department

Procurement and Supply

by Harry C. Thomson and Lida Mayo


. . . to Those Who Served



Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Procurement Planning

Plans for New Facilities—Plans for Decentralized Procurement—Contract Forms and Legal Restrictions—Surveys of Industry—Educational Orders and Production Studies—Conclusion

Chapter 3: Launching the Defense Program, 1940–41

Procurement Objectives—Placing the First Orders—Activating the District Offices, August 1940—Successes and Failures—Plant Allocations—District-Arsenal-OCO Relations—Creating New Facilities—Criticisms, Delays, and Difficulties—Engineering Advisory Committees—Big Business vs. Small Business—Status of Rearmament, December 1941

Chapter 4: The Problem of Requirements

Elements of Requirements Computation—Requirements in the Defense Period, 1940-41—The Army Supply Program, 1942-1944—Introduction of Supply Control, 1944-45

Chapter 5: Artillery

Artillery on Hand in 1940—Production Preparedness—Launching the Program, 1940-41—The First Year of War—Production Techniques—Fire Control Instruments—Changing Requirements and Types, 1943-45—Heavy Artillery

Chapter 6: Artillery Ammunition: Preparation

A Government-Owned Ammunition Industry—The Anatomy of Ammunition Production—The Period of Plant Expansion, 1940-42—Metal Components

Chapter 7: Artillery Ammunition Production

Operations of FDAP—Safety—Technological Advances—Balancing Production, 1941-43—The Crisis of 1944-45—In Conclusion: Quality and Quantity

Chapter 8: Small Arms

Aid to Britain in 1940—Production Preparedness—Getting the Garand into Production—The Carbine Enters the Picture—Post-Pearl Harbor Requirements—Rifle Production—Carbines—The BAR—Machine Guns—Submachine Guns—The Bazooka Rocket Launcher—Recoilless Rifles—Miscellaneous Items

Chapter 9: Small Arms Ammunition

Dwindling Reserves—Prewar Plans and Operations—Building New Plants, 1940-42—Production Processes and Problems—Surpluses, Cutbacks, and Terminations

Chapter 10: Preparation for Tanks and Other Fighting Vehicles

Early Plans and Preparations—The Upswing in 1940—Doubling the Program in 1941—The All-Out Effort in 1942

Chapter 11: Production Of Tanks

Engines—Transmissions—Armor—Light Tanks: M2A4 to M24—The Shift From Grants to Shermans in 1942—Tank Depots—The 1943-45 Period—Shift to Heavy Tanks in 1944-45—The Balance Sheet

Chapter 12: Motor Transport Vehicles

The Struggle for Standardization—The Defense Period, 1939-41—The First Year of War—Crisis in Heavy-Heavy Trucks, 1943-45—Special Vehicle Types

Chapter 13: Spare Parts For Vehicles

Categories of Parts—Spare Parts in Ordnance, 1939-42—Spare Parts in the QMC, 1939-42—After the Merger, 1942-45

Chapter 14: Inspection and Statistical Quality Control

Inspection Manuals—Recruiting and Training Inspectors—General Somers’ Role—Inspection Gages—Proving Grounds—Statistical Quality Control—Commodity Groups

Chapter 15: Contract Termination and Settlement

The Walter Scott Case—The Guiberson Case—The International Harvester Case—Organization and Training—The Statutory Base—Action on V-J Day

Chapter 16: Field Service: Legacy of World War I

The Pattern for Depots and Maintenance Facilities—The Ordnance Provision System—The Lamp of Experience

Chapter 17: The New Depot System

Appropriations for Storage in 1940—The First Prewar Ammunition Depots—The Fiscal Year 1942 Program—Opening the New Depots

Chapter 18: Revisions in the Depot System

Storage of General Supplies—The Acquisition of Quartermaster Facilities—Reallocation of Space by ASF—The Changing Pattern of Distribution—The Master Depot System—Instability in Depot Missions

Chapter 19: The Language of Supply

A New Spare Parts Organization—The Use of IBM Machines—The Parts Control Division—Effects of the Motor Vehicle Transfer—The Crisis Early in 1943—Parts Numbering—Interchangeability of Parts—Implementation of the New Numbers Program—A Common Language of Supply

Chapter 20: Stock Control

Departures From the Ordnance Provision System—Decentralization of Stock Control—Special Problems of Automotive Parts Supply—The Influence of ASF—Redistribution and Disposal—Stock Control in Retrospect

Chapter 21: Ammunition Supply

Means of Identification—Improvements in the Pattern of Distribution

Chapter 22: Maintenance

Maintenance at the Arsenals—Reorganization of Men and Equipment—The Echelon System—Problems of Automotive Maintenance—The Preventive Maintenance Program—Maintenance Shops—Combined Shops—The Reclamation Program of 1944—Trends in Maintenance Engineering

Chapter 23: Conclusion

Appraising the Record—Looking to the Future

Bibliographical Note




1. Selected Items From Time Objective, August 1940

2. Selected Ordnance Items Procured, July 1940–December 1941

3. Examples of Ground Ammunition Day of Supply for Theater of Operations, 23 December 1941

4. Summary Tabulation of Ordnance Share of Expenditure Programs

5. Presidential Objectives: Ordnance Items, 3 January 1942

6. Decline in Tank Requirements During 1942

7. Selected Ordnance Items, 1942–1943

8. Artillery Available, 30 June 1940

9. Artillery Production, 1 July 1940–31 December 1941

10. Summary of Artillery Production, 1940–1945

11. Expenditures for Heavy Field Artillery Ammunition, January 1944–August 1945

12. Shipments of Selected Types of Artillery Ammunition to the European Theater, December 1944–March 1945

13. Heavy Artillery Ammunition Stocks on Hand in ETO, 31 May 1945

14. Major Types of Ammunition Procured, 1 July 1940–31 August 1945

15. Rifle Production, 1940–1945

16. Machine Gun Production, 1940–1945

17. Small Arms Ammunition Production, 1940–1945

18. Estimated Yearly Capacity of Frankford Arsenal

19. Tank Production by Facility, 1940–1945

20. U.S. Tank Production, 1944–1945

21. Comparative. Table of German, British, and American Tank Production, 1940–1945

22. Production of Heavy-Heavy Trucks by Month, 1943–1944–1945

23. Production of Motor Transport Vehicles, 1939–1945

24. Dollar Value of Ordnance Contract Terminations: As of 31 December 1945


1. ETO Authorized Levels and Theater Stocks: Ground Ammunition

2. Spare Parts Buying for Tank Combat and Motor Transport Vehicles, 1940–1945


Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Aboard Medium Tank M2—Maj. Gen. James K. Crain—Maj. Gen. Charles T. Harris, Jr—The Fourteen Ordnance Procurement Districts—Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson—Inspecting a 75-mm. Pack Howitzer—Major Caliber Gun Shop at Watervliet—Platform for 90-mm. AA Gun Carriage—M3 Medium Tank Mounting a 75-mm. Gun—The Priest, a 105-mm. Howitzer Motor Carriage M7—Night Construction Operations—A 500-pound Demolition Bomb—A 22,000-pound Semi-armor-piercing Bomb—Box of Bulk TNT—Inspector at Volunteer Ordnance Works—Workmen Pouring Molten TNT Into 155-mm. Shells—Saginaw Gun Plant—John C. Garand—Producing Carbine Barrels—Completed Carbines—John C. Browning, Gun Inventor—Officer Candidates at Fontainebleau—Loading a 57-mm. Recoilless Rifle—Small Arms Ammunition Industry—Lead Slugs for .45-caliber Bullets—Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Hayes—.50-caliber Machine Gun Ammunition in Fabric Belts—Detroit Tank Arsenal Under Construction—General Sherman M4A1 Medium Tank Assembly Line—General Grant M3 Medium Tank Assembly Line—Overhead Crane Lowering a General Stuart M3 Light Tank—Remanufacturing Light Tanks M3A3—Heavy Tank M6—Assembling 2½-ton Trucks—Jeep, ¼-ton 4x4 Truck—Dukw, 2½-ton Amphibian Truck—Half-track Cars M2—Cartoon by Bill Mauldin—Maj. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr.—Laboratory Foreman Loading 37-mm. Antitank Gun—Large-Caliber Ammunition in Storage—Igloos at Umatilla—San Jacinto Ordnance Depot Dock Area—Inside Storage of 155-mm. Shells—Outside Storage of 100-pound Bombs—Open-type Storage Sheds—Ordnance Storage Facilities—Brig. Gen. Julian S. Hatcher—Soldiers Looking up SNL Numbers—Convoy of Ordnance Maintenance Trucks—Trucks of Newly Formed Ordnance Battalion—“Joe Dope” Posters

All illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense except for the cartoon by Bill Mauldin on page 298 and the photographs from the American Ordnance Association on pages 82, 179, and 441.