The object of this volume is to increase the body of organized information easily available about Quartermaster support of the forces fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Anyone who writes on military supply ventures into almost virgin territory, especially in dealing with Quartermaster supply activities. Only a few professional officers -- and those mainly Quartermaster officers -- are familiar with the subject, and they have gained this knowledge chiefly through their own experience and the oral traditions of the offices in which they have worked. When Quartermaster activities in theaters of operations is the subject of a volume, as in this case, readers lacking even elementary information are likely to be more numerous than when the subject is Quartermaster activities in the United States. For that reason the needs of these readers have been constantly borne in mind. The writer hopes particularly that the volume may furnish Quartermaster officers with facts that will prove useful in planning future field operations and in training Quartermaster troops.
No attempt has been made except in a very general way to tell the story of strategic decisions and tactical actions. In a work comprising part of the historical series on the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, that story would have been redundant. A consistent effort has been made to analyze Quartermaster activities in the three major territorial commands in the Pacific, whether these activities were conducted at higher headquarters, in base sections, or by Quartermaster troop units in support of combat operations. As the area in which the U.S. Army played its most important role in the war against Japan, the Southwest Pacific Area has been treated at greater length than have the two other major territorial commands -- the South Pacific Area and the Central Pacific Area -- but these areas are by no means neglected and many of their activities are dealt with in detail. In order to clarify the perplexing production and transportation problems presented to quartermasters as they procured, stored, and distributed supplies and equipment, this volume gives considerable attention to economic matters. At times the account of the activities of the Corps may appear lacking in homogeneity, but this impression is unavoidable in view of the wide diversity of Quartermaster tasks.
It should not be concluded from a reading of those sections which contain detailed descriptions of some of the troubles encountered in distribution activities that these difficulties were typical. They are discussed at length only because they demanded so large a share of the time and energy of supply officers and presented knotty problems not susceptible of easy solution. If the reader is occasionally . . .