1377th Engineer Petroleum
#21

The 705th petroleum Engineers arrived in North Africa on September 2nd 1943 and took extensive training in petroleum engineering. They were then shipped out to Italy and arrived in Naples in late November of 1943. Upon arrival they were attached to the 696th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. They then started to construct pipelines as far as the Volturno River. By January 1944 they were only 3 miles from Monte Cassino. Once the winter line was broken they made the drive to Rome setting up several installations along the way. They also receive credit for the Po Valley Campaign. My father had very fond memories of Rome and Naples. He hardly spoke about north Africa, it must have been an awful place. He also spoke about having to feed 200 plus people everyday and having to run patrols and guard duty at night because of all the pilfering of gasoline. I have a question did all the the people in the army run off the point system? On his discharge papers he had 69 points, didn't you need 85?

 

 

 

Gary

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#22

Yes, they all ran on the point system, but when the war ended, they kept some soldiers on for occupied work, but when the units were no longer needed, you got shipped home regardless of points.

 

Thanks for posted the info too! :armata_PDT_37:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#23

I wonder if the petroleum companies would be attached to a division. That might help me with more info.

 

 

 

Gary

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#24
Most of the engineering units were separate entities. They worked independently, but sometimes attached to various units for periods of time. Basically think of all of them as non-divisional.
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#25

What would weapon cooks have carried in WWII?

 

 

 

 

Gary

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#26

"What would weapon cooks have carried in WWII?"

 

Most of the men he fed probably would answer that as 'the meatballs' :pdt12:

 

Most likely they carried the standard M1 Garand or the smaller M1 Carbine.

 

"I wonder if the petroleum companies would be attached to a division."

The simple answer to that is no.

I`ll try to explain & clarify the Command & Control of such units in a lengthy post

i`m working on. I`ll post it as soon the coffee overcomes the writers blok.

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#27

Hi Gary, i`ll try to answer your question as best as i can explain it.

 

We must look at the US Army in WWII as having 2 separate parts, each part with their own command structure.

First is the Army Ground Force which are the fighting troops, with the basic field command structure of: Army Group> Army> Corps> Division.

The second part is the Army Service Force which supplied the fighting forces, conducted the advanced training of units, ran the replacement depots, handled the transfer of units to the front, ran the prisoner of war system and just about everything else in support of the fighting troops. It was a massive organization spanning from the factories in the US to the front lines.

To supply the front line troops, the Service Of Suppy established Base Sections as soon as invasion troops secured & expanded a beachead.

Under the Base Section Command were command sections for the various services as shown below.

Typical Base Section setup by the Service of Supply:

Command Section

G-1 Section G-3 Section

G-2 Section G-4 Section

 

Adjutant General Headquarters Command

Air Force Liaison Inspector General

Army Exchange Service Judge Advocate General

Base Censor Medical Section

Base Purchasing Agent Miscellaneous Supply section

Chaplain Ordnance Service

Chemical Warfare Service Passive Air Defense

Civil Affairs Provost Marshal

Claims Commission Quartermaster

Engineer Service Signal service

Finance Officer Special Service

Transportation Service

 

In North Africa, there were 3 Base Sections - Atlantic Base Section (ABS) at Casablanca, Mediteranean Base Section ( MBS) in Algeria covering Oran & Azrew, And Eastern Base Section in Tunisia covering the ports of Bizerte & Tunis.

In Sicily it was the was the Island Base Section.

In Italy it was the Peninsular Base Section (PBS) in Naples.

In Southern France there was the Delta Base Section and Continental Base Section.

 

Now taking the 705th as an example, We know they were in North Africa before moving to Italy.

( note: this is not to be taken as an actual history of the unit, it is only to show usual movements and assignments or attachment to different commands for similar units.)

The usual arrival port for new units was Oran, Algeria and MBS operated most of the training centers, so i`ll use this for the example.

 

If the 705th arrived at Oran, they would have been assigned/attached to the Engineer Service Section of MBS who would equip and supply the unit, provided housing area, assigned them to the training centers etc.

When they were ready they would be relieved of attachment, Engineer Service Section MBS, move to a staging area in Tunisa and assigned/attached to the Engineer Service Section, Eastern Base Section. Here they would be equiped with they would need when they got to Italy. & prepared for embarkation on their ship.

When they arrived in Naples, they were assigned/attached to the Engineer Service Section, Peninsular Base Section.

Engineer Service Section, PBS was the command that attached the 705th to the 696th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co.

If / when they were relieved of attachment the the 696th, they would revert to command & control of the Engineer Service Section, PBS. for their next assignment.

For all of their time in Italy, Engineer Service Section, PBS. was the higher

Command that ordered their assignments & attachments.

 

As you can see, such units were never under command of any Army Group> Army> Corps> Division. Almost every unit arriving in a theater of operation, even those going to fighting units always passed thru the Base Sections for attachment. Units such as an Engineer General Service Regiment would be attached to an Army corps for a period of time and when no longer needed in the corps area would be rel`vd & revert to command control of the base section.

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#28

Good stuff as usual Larry!

 

That should help quite a few people too.

 

It's often difficult for people to understand. Most would assume (and rightly so), that ALL engineers units would behave in the traditional manner, and be part of a division. That took me a while to understand too, back in 2004!

 

There were divisional engineers folks, but...

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#29

Thanks for the help. So before troops were sent to the front they would have refueled and picked up the necessary supplies before heading to the battle or would the pipelines deliver gas as it was necessary during the battle? I read an interview with a veteran from the unit and he said the Germans were constantly trying to pilfer the gasoline and that everyone had to help to defend the pipelines.

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