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Fuel to the Troops:

A Memoir of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company 1943-1945

Hardcover (330 pages), paperback
Although more of a series of anecdotes, than a regular narrative, this book nevertheless manages to inform the reader about a side of war that no one ever seems to think about: supply and engineering.

Fuel to the Troops:

Merriam Press Military Monograph 88. Third Edition (February 2012).

This story is about a place in time and a military unit which had a profound impact on military operations in the European Theater during World War II. The movement of petroleum products was critical in keeping the war machine moving and operating thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland. Providing the necessary fuels for the vehicles involved in fighting their way into Germany in 1944-45 was accomplished by an organization within the U.S. Army established by Charles A. McCann, a petroleum engineering graduate of the University of Oklahoma. McCann was a patriot who felt he could contribute to the war effort in a very specific way. His exceptional management skills and leadership ability made for a highly motivated organization that overcame the most difficult challenges at that time and place. While many have never known war, this story is a tribute to those men of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution (EPD) Company. The EPD Company is their story and is told through the eyes of one of their comrades—John Sullivan. He recounts these individual sacrifices and lived though the many challenges every day for two years. It provides a behind the scenes look at daily operations and those untold stories from America’s “Greatest Generation.”

For those interested in the technical side of World War II, this makes for a good read. Although more of a series of anecdotes, than a regular narrative, it nevertheless manages to inform the reader about a side of war that no one ever seems to think about: supply and engineering. The author's unit, the 698th Petroleum Distribution Company, was one of several specialized engineering units that were created during the war. They started from scratch, and throughout the book, you get a sense that they had to make it up as they went along. It was far from a safe billet, and the company suffered many losses, especially at Antwerp. If you're looking for an unusual tale of World War II, I recommend Fuel to the Troops.

Contents

  • Introduction by Greg Slavonic, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
  • History of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company: Foreword
  • World War II Memoirs: Historical Framework
  • Induction and Reception Center
  • Basic Medical Training
  • Barkeley to Ft. Lewis
  • To Camp Claiborne
  • The Modern Army
  • History of the 698th Prior to September 1, 1943
  • Basic Engineer Pipeline Company TO&E
  • Early 698 History
  • All Work and No...
  • Roy E. “Lefty” Holder
  • Camp Claiborne to Camp Shanks, New York, to the United Kingdom
  • Ship to Shore and First Camp
  • Creature Comforts
  • Military Training Before the Invasion
  • Isle of Wight Social Life
  • Pre-Invasion Preparation and Portent
  • 698th Motor Pool Goes to the Invasion
  • Staging Area to Marshaling Area to Boat
  • On to the Beach
  • Cherbourg: Forward with the Pipeline
  • Finished at Cherbourg
  • At Alencon
  • September Song, 1944
  • Chateau de Barneau
  • Military Pipeline System
  • The Wages of Sin
  • Recovery From My Broken Arm
  • Going to Antwerp
  • Holiday Greetings to Antwerp
  • Introduction to Antwerp and its Facilities
  • Logistics and Planning
  • January 19, 1945: My Second Service Anniversary
  • Reality Check
  • Working with Civilians at Antwerp
  • Springtime in Germany
  • My Peace Experience
  • Other Chores in Germany
  • Returning to Antwerp from Germany
  • Soldiers Transactions
  • Mustering Out
  • A Last Wartime Trip to the Isle of Wight
  • Reflection on Accomplishments
  • Could an Earlier Antwerp Port Operation Have Ended the Second World War Sooner?

Post Script

  • Roster of 698 Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company
  • 74 photos
  • 6 documents
  • 2 drawings
  • 1 map

World War II and Oil...

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  • 01 Aug 41: US announces oil embargo against all aggressor nations
  • 12 Jan 42: Dutch POWs executed for destruction of oil installations
  • 25 Mar 42: Standard Oil pleads "no contest" over synthetic rubber
  • 01 May 42: PLUTO pipeline under English Channel is tested
  • 15 May 42: Gasoline rationing goes into effect in the eastern US
  • 28 Jan 44: US, UK place oil embargo on Spain for supplying Germany
  • 05 Mar 44: Gen Spaatz issues "Oil Plan" to bomb Germany's fuel
  • 05 May 44: Spain stops exporting Tungsten to Germany for American oil
  • 12 May 44: US 8th AF begins bombing oil production in Germany
  • 12 Aug 44: PLUTO pipeline is laid across English Channel
  • 16 Aug 45: Gasoline and fuel oil rationing comes to an end

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