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Closer tie in with Maritime Commission & War Shipping Administration needed
One of the great accomplishments of the U.S. in WW II—what we really did to "win the war"—was bury the Axis under war material. I've had RN officers who were young then, not the greatest fans of our Navy rah-rah, that readily admitted that what won the war was that we literally buried the enemy in stuff. The Sherman might have been less than ideal, not as good as the best German armor, and it may have taken five Shermans to kill a Tiger, but we had the Shermans (and the bodies to fight them). The thing was how to get all that stuff across hostile oceans, particularly when they were sinking more hulls than we were launching. Then we eventually buried them in ships, but even before came smart use of the hulls.
Early in the war ships sailed without full cargoes. Army or Navy or a commercial line packed what they needed and often inefficiently. In what I think was one of the brilliant strokes a Siamese twin was created. The sole head was Emory S. Land (His report is worth a read) and then you had two bodies joined along the torso: Maritime Commission and War Shipping Administration. The first built \all the commercial oceangoing type ships (they had before the war for most anyway). It had established the Maritime Service to train officers and men for our merchant marine and that came under WSA later if I recall. MC designed and constructed and did amazing things even in R&D for shipbuilding. WSA managed hulls and cargoes and allocated all commercial hulls to Army, Navy or "commercial" which meant the general war effort. It was the shipping line so to speak. It also did amazing things with R&D, designing ways to pack items for maximum effect; for example a boxed plane. In those vessel status cards one can find more than one Navy ship that was "LB" meaning on loan basis. WSA had the power of FDR if necessary, but it worked very closely with both the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the British Ministry of War Transport and our own Joint Chiefs of Staff on allocations so I think there were only one or two occasions where FDR had to be brought in to nail a dispute. MC with its hulls and WSA with its management was how all that stuff poured across oceans to give stories of absolutely astounded and deeply depressed German POWs, some still from horse based infantry and artillery and on short rations, seeing our people often laboring under almost too much stuff in rear areas. From that report:
"Under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, the United States Maritime Commission was established as an independent agency to direct and control all phases of overseas shipping and shipbuilding. It became apparent immediately when this Nation entered the war that a special agency to deal with the operational problems peculiar to war was necessary to supplement the Maritime Commission. That need brought about the creation of the War Shipping Administration on February 7, 1942, which took over from the Maritime Commission virtually all of the Commission's major statutory functions with the exception of shipbuilding. Thus WSA became the Government's ship operating agency and the Maritime Commission its shipbuilding agency."
"The result of the general order of April 18, 1942, was to make all ships subject to requisition by the War Shipping Administration. Qualified ship operators became operating agents for the Government. By the end of 1943 there were approximately 130 American ship operators serving War Shipping Administration in that capacity."
Those "ship operators" were the prewar lines that often operated their old ships as WSA agents. Maritime Commission and WSA articles and this need expansion and tightening. Palmeira (talk) 00:00, 10 June 2015 (UTC)