A STUDY IN PRACTICAL LOGISTICS
I. The Bunkering Problem of the British Grand Fleet
PETROLEUM as a factor of vital importance in the further conduct of the World War loomed suddenly large upon the horizon during the summer of 1917 in connection with the question of fuel supply for the British Grand Fleet, which, due to the cumulative effect of tank steamer breakdowns in continued war service, the adoption of convoy sailings which had slowed up deliveries, and increasing consumptions by American destroyers in the war zone, then began to assume serious, even alarming, proportions. The intensive enemy submarine campaign, coupled with threatened raiding operations by German cruisers, served to increase the general anxiety.
In July, the Prime Minister himself represented by cable to the American Government that unless a shortage of 300,000 tons of fuel oil could be made good by September the immobilization of the Grand Fleet itself was threatened.
The following letter from Lord Northcliffe, quoted by Ambassador Page in his published Memoirs refers to this crisis: