6.11.2004
ENLARGE THE PHOTO


Keeping An Army Fueled
U.S. Army Signal Corps photo, dated 1944

Part of the oil pipeline that stretched from the beaches of Normandy into the heart of France crosses rough terrain over a trestle bridge constructed by U.S. engineers organized especially for such tasks. Called the Petroleum Distribution Group, these engineers made sure gas and oil got to the front line troops after being off-loaded by tankers in Normandy. They also built pumping stations along the way, as well as distribution points. The pipelines were extended on a daily basis as the front line moved forward and the axis of the Allied advance changed. One of the unique and little known engineering feats of the war, all the work was carried out by soldiers who — in civilian life — worked in the stateside oil fields of California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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