Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Friday, 12 June 2015

The supply blueprint for D Day

In Detroit on Sunday 13 June 1943 UK Ordnance Chief, Bill Williams, met with his American opposite numbers and worked out what was to become the blueprint for D Day for the vital supply of spare parts for the thousands of vehicles that would cross the channel in June 1944.

A number of problems needed to be addressed.

Full sets of spare parts were being shipped, whereas experience showed that it was only 10% of items that fell regularly to be used in order to keep vehicles moving. This meant that the spares pipeline was full of items that may never or hardly ever be needed. A reduced list of frequently used spares would ease the flow.

Spares were being shipped in box sets of 100 and the receiving Ordnance staff were faced with the task of searching, 'mining', for the item they needed. Spares packed in multiples that reflected likely usage, and clearly marked would save the time spent in searching.

Different spares were needed at different periods in a campaign. A few common items would be needed for beach landings, a slightly larger number for field maintenance and a full set for Base Shop.

The spares had to be packed in clearly marked boxes for landings and these had to weigh 70lbs or less and have rope handles to facilitate handling on the beaches.

It was Bill's 42nd birthday and so an appropriate present that would make a big difference when the invasion took place.

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