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Author Topic: Fuelling the Wars - PLUTO and the Secret Pipeline Network 1936 - 1945  (Read 575 times)
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Tim of Aclea
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« on: February 23, 2017, 18:55:44 PM »

My book on the history of the GPSS is scheduled to finally come out at the end of April.

A couple of links concerning the book.  In the youtube video you can 'read' the book in 3 minutes

More details on the publisher's website at: http://www.bradford-on-avon.org.uk/pipelines.html

Tim


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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 08:02:29 AM »

There have been repeated delays on the book arriving in the UK, it is being printed in India.  However, I do have one of four copies airmailed in.  Photo of me celebrating  its arrival.

Tim


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Longpockets
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 08:44:21 AM »

Congratulations, I hope it is successful for you.
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PNK
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 11:38:48 AM »

Congratulation indeed. What's the betting some new information crops up in the next few months. 
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 11:20:22 AM »

Thank you Longpockets and PNK. 

New information, in that it was new to me, did turn up recently that during the war the pipelines were built only at night and that the North-South pipeline between Stanlow and Avonmouth was built in 1938.  However, in both cases the 'new information' was incorrect - in fact I have absolutely no idea where it originated from.

regards

Tim
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PNK
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 13:01:47 PM »

I remember that cropping up somewhere. It didn't make sense as you would have needed lights to see what you were doing defeating the object of using night for cover! I suspect by the time of the pipeline building enemy forays were not as frequent but still a worry.
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2017, 23:12:10 PM »

Is there a discount on the published price of your new book for members of this site, Tim? Grin
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2017, 07:35:39 AM »

I am afraid that I have not negotiated a group discount with the publisher, MoK, but you can always try mentioning it to Nick of Folly Books.

best wishes

Tim
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 07:51:24 AM »

PNK

when I edited the Wikipedia page on the GPSS removing the reference to the pipelines being constructed only at night, this is what I posted on the talk page to explain my reasons.

regards

Tim

Claimed Night-time Construction of Wartime Pipelines
In both this entry and the one for ‘Operation PLUTO’ it is claimed that the wartime GPSS pipelines were only constructed at night-time, although in neither case was any evidence provided.  I have removed this claim for the following reasons.
1.   There is no mention of this in the primary sources for the construction of the GPSS such as the Official History, A.L.Adams paper (Adams was involved as an engineer in the construction of the GPSS) and ‘Petroleum at War’.  There is also pictorial evidence in ‘Petroleum at War’ of pipelines being constructed in daylight.  Additionally there is no mention of wartime night-time construction of GPSS pipelines in the new book ’Fuelling the Wars’ on the history GPSS.  This book, already referenced is, as far as I am aware, the only book written on the history of the GPSS.
2.   Whether or not a pipeline was constructed during day or night, its path would be very obvious from the air.  However, given that the pipelines were buried with 1.2 to 1.5 metres of soil above them, they would have been extremely difficult to damage.  A rail line would be a far more inviting target and more oil was transported by rail than by pipeline during the war.
3.   The construction of the first pipeline was not started until 1941, after the Luftwaffe had lost the Battle of Britain.  Workmen constructing the pipeline would have made no more inviting target than thousands of others all over Britain during the War.
4.   As a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years experience of working on pipelines, trying to construct a pipeline at night would have been totally impracticable.  During the winter of 1938/39 construction of protected storage depots did continue at night but floodlighting was brought in to enable this to happen. 

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PNK
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 09:52:45 AM »

Tim, hopefully that will stop the myth spreading that it was only at night. Or is it already too late? I wonder where it originated?
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 11:38:30 AM »

I am not sure where it came from PNK.  It was not around when I actually wrote my book otherwise I would have included a direct comment.  The one I was aware of and did correct was that the GPSS supplied the AWE, which it does not.  It that case I did know the origin of the rumour.

regards

Tim
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Pete
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 14:31:32 PM »

 Quote " However, given that the pipelines were buried with 1.2 to 1.5 metres of soil above them, they would have been extremely difficult to damage."
   In the W.Fleischer's book "German Air Dropped Weapons 1919-1945" there are some pre-war data for SC bombs. Variables are obviously soil type (bearing in mind we are talking of backfill over the pipes) + altitude dropped from. Even if the crater itself didn't reach the pipe shockwaves could cause breakage
The crater sizes given are:

 for SC 50, instanteous fuze - diameter 2,4 m (6 ft), depth 0,8 m (2,7 ft)
 for SC 50, delayed fuze - diameter 5,4 m (18 ft), depth 2,4 m (6 ft)
 for SC 250, instanteous fuze - diameter 4,4 m (14,7 ft), depth 1,5 m (5 ft)
 for SC 250, delayed fuze - diameter 9 m (27 ft), depth 3,5 m (11,7 ft)
 for SC 500, instanteous fuze - diameter 5,6 m (18,4 ft), depth 2 m (6,6 ft)
 for SC 500, delayed fuze - diameter 10,5 m (34,5 ft), depth 4 m (13,1 ft)
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 15:25:16 PM »

But how close would the Luftwaffe had got given that the pipeline is only 8 or 10" across?  It would require precision low level bombing.  The first pipeline was not constructed until 1941 by which time a lot of the Luftwaffe had shifted to the east and most Luftwaffe bombing was at night.  I am not aware of any GPSS pipelines being damaged during the war and they could actually have been quite quickly repaired.  The RAF at this time seemed to find it a problem to hit a city let alone a pipeline.

Tim
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PNK
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 10:30:46 AM »

I suspect the AWE reference stems from the storage depot at Aldermaston and 2+2=5.

Trying to bomb a pipeline from the air would make no sense as it could be quickly repaired. Better to bomb the main storage areas or even pumping stations although the latter would be a small target as well. Pipelins and small pumping stations could only really be attacked by land forces and then by destroying multiple points to ensure a longer repair time.

I don't know if the Ministry of Home Security ever carried out tests on pipelines (water and gas prior to fuel) as that research may be relevant. In a similar vein tests were carried out on bombing railway embankments in Wales, on an active line. This showed that accurate bombing could destroy the track and damage the embankment but the GWR work party carried out a full repair and the line was back in use in a day or so. A pipeline would, I suspect, be repaired in much less time as the environmental issue would not require attention in wartime. Out of interest the same railway line was used for various trials including the Highball tunnel tests. That GWR permanent way crew must have been pretty busy!
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Tim of Aclea
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 10:26:48 AM »

'I suspect the AWE reference stems from the storage depot at Aldermaston and 2+2=5.'

Yes I agree.  The Aldermaston Storage Depot was the largest one on the GPSS but it was built before the AWE.  Those who put 2 and 2 together though did not consider what the AWE would need large amounts of petroleum fuel for?

Tim

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