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P.l.u.t.o.

Discussion in 'The War In Normandy' started by brianw, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Along with the engineering achievements of the Mulberry Harbours allowing for the disembarkation of men, materials and vehicles in Normandy following D-Day, one other major problem had been addressed by the allies in time for the onward push into occupied Europe, that of providing the fuel for the mechanised armies.

    The use of oil tanker ships had been considered but it was thought that they would still be vulnerable to attack even from a much depleted Luftwaffe and also mines, submarines and surface warships, apart from which there wouldn’t have been enough room at the Mulberry harbours for fuel tankers as well as all the other stores that needed to be offloaded.

    The ingenious solution was to lay a pipeline across the channel; codenamed “Operation Pluto” or Pipe Line Under The Ocean.

    The flexible pipe used was similar to the outer sheath of a well known submarine telegraph cable called HAIS cable and about two inches diameter on the inside. It was made in a complete single 70 mile length enough to cross from the English coastal pumping stations to the beaches of Normandy and wound onto giant floating drums called “HMS Conundrums” which were towed by a tug while paying it out and laying it on the seabed.

    On the British end pipelines were also laid from Liverpool down to the south coast to feed the pump stations so that petrol could be landed by tankers from America and pumped directly to France. The land based pipe was laid mainly at night so that it wouldn’t be detected by possible aerial surveillance. The pumping stations on the south coast were ingeniously camouflaged, some as garages, some as cottages and even one as an ice cream parlour.

    Altogether some 17 undersea pipelines were laid, providing over 172 million gallons of fuel to the Allied armies in Europe by VE-Day.
    Along with the Mulberry harbours, PLUTO was yet another engineering marvel to come out of the war.

    Further information can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pluto
     
  2. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    This would be a great achievement today, so back in 1942 this must have ranked one of the top achievements of the war? :fag:
     

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