Why didn't the allies go fully pallatised in WWII?

I've been working my way through a lot of the US National Archives YouTube channels recently and it is well worth a gander (https://www.youtube.com/c/USNationalArchives) and I've been enjoying a lot of the D Day and Operation Overloard footage, much of which is new to me. Then the other day I came across these newsreels:


At about 05:50 they start to show lots of stores and munition dumps. Now, I was well used to seeing WWII stores being manhandled, but I also note that there are more than a few stores types on pallets as well as the means to move them mechanically. If we already had those technologies then why didn't we simply go full-on with pallatisation?
Given our expertise with logistics surely it wouldn't have been to big a leap to realise its potential to speed up logistic efforts whilst freeing up a lot of manpower otherwise used to manhandle them?
I can appreciate that there may have been issues with a lack of suitable rough terrain MHE, but given the amount of new equipement and inventions coming into service it couldn't have taken that much to design and produce them.
Or was this down to the allies not wanting to complicate matters when they had a system that worked, albeit with a lot of muscle power being used?
Genuinely baffled by this and if anyone does know why we didn't pursue this please let me know.
 

9.414

War Hero
You are looking at this with 21st century eyes on events that were 75-80 years earlier. In 1945 that would be like looking at the Crimean War and wondering why they did not do X or Y at Sevastopol or Inkerman. ;)

Stores and freight and shipping were mainly loose loaded at that time. I have seen some of the D-Day practice films from 1943 where they were trying to sort out an admin area and load stores and they were all loose.


The concept of pallets and containers did not fully get accepted until a few wars later.

The US tried some containers in Korea, but it was not until Vietnam that even that was accepted and has now revolutionised shipping and freight worldwide.
 
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I know I'm looking at it through modern eyes, but my point is that they already had the technology there, and it wouldn't take the brightest spark to realise that pallatised stores were capable of moving far more stores much more quickly and making storage easier.
What I'm trying to establish is why we didn't.
 
I've been working my way through a lot of the US National Archives YouTube channels recently and it is well worth a gander (https://www.youtube.com/c/USNationalArchives) and I've been enjoying a lot of the D Day and Operation Overloard footage, much of which is new to me. Then the other day I came across these newsreels:


At about 05:50 they start to show lots of stores and munition dumps. Now, I was well used to seeing WWII stores being manhandled, but I also note that there are more than a few stores types on pallets as well as the means to move them mechanically. If we already had those technologies then why didn't we simply go full-on with pallatisation?
Given our expertise with logistics surely it wouldn't have been to big a leap to realise its potential to speed up logistic efforts whilst freeing up a lot of manpower otherwise used to manhandle them?
I can appreciate that there may have been issues with a lack of suitable rough terrain MHE, but given the amount of new equipement and inventions coming into service it couldn't have taken that much to design and produce them.
Or was this down to the allies not wanting to complicate matters when they had a system that worked, albeit with a lot of muscle power being used?
Genuinely baffled by this and if anyone does know why we didn't pursue this please let me know.
I suppose it’s a bit like saying that they had radios and telephones, why didn’t they develop a mobile phone .

It’s a great point you’ve made though.

Palletisation was driven by WW2. It was just never implemented fully. Not everybody had access to FLTs.

remember thy this was at a time when we were still using plough horses.

the same with containerisation. Both had a history before the war, but the war pushed their uses.

I guess it was probably more to do with lack of infrastructure .
 
That is a good point, especially when everything resource-wise, both here and in the US was being tightly controlled. You'd need factories allocated, materials assigned, and let's face it, that is a lot of wood suddenly side lined away from other more demanding areas needed by the war effort.
 

9.414

War Hero
When you have had a look at the four Exercise Jantzen films you will be surprised about how they loaded and moved stores! Things moved on rapidly. By 1944 they had Mulberry Harbours and PLUTO, so some things were moving at great pace.

Of course our opponents were no different. Their speed of advance in Blitzkreig was limited by the follow up supply chain which was in part horse drawn!

We nicked their idea of the "Jerry Can" though and are still using them today!
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Loose loading would have been more effective for mixed loads and easier to distribute. Have a look at some of the books looking at 'D-Day' onwards (particularly into the Netherlands - Antwep & Schelt estuary etc.), they highlight how supply demands changed and distribution was 'best effort' for a lot of the time. Bulk fuel for example was still mainly by tin can until Antwerp was rehabilitated and a BFI established.
 

QRK2

LE
When you have had a look at the four Exercise Jantzen films you will be surprised about how they loaded and moved stores! Things moved on rapidly. By 1944 they had Mulberry Harbours and PLUTO, so some things were moving at great pace.

Of course our opponents were no different. Their speed of advance in Blitzkreig was limited by the follow up supply chain which was in part horse drawn!

We nicked their idea of the "Jerry Can" though and are still using them today!

PLUTO, one of the great myths of logistics

 
The lack of standardisation probably meant the benefits of palletisation could not be fully realised at the time. Couple that with the massive amount of manual labour readily available and it’s easy to see why they didn’t bother.
 
Legend has it that modern, standard, 48x40 inch pallets were designed to fit a standard ww2 4 tonner, 2 abreast. That may be chicken and egg, though.
Post WW2, a lot of pallets and other handling equipment in the far east was collected together, in Australia, possibly for disposal, creating the Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool, hence CHEP, who still make all those blue 48x40s you see in use today.
 

slick

LE
I can remember wandering around a Devon haulage yard in 1968 as a 5 year old, where my dad was a lorry driver. It was all handballing loads at the time, nearest thing to machinery was a hand cranked crane which probably dated from the 1930s. No forklifts to be seen.
Only recently I watched an American movie from the 1950s featuring fork lifts, which is probably when they first came to the fore.
Whilst this sort of progress in the 20th century normally came from the USA, one thing which I think might`ve prevented the development of palletisation was union involvement, both there and in the UK.
A similar problem came about when containerisation started to get big in the UK docks in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
One bloke with a fork lift could put a helluva lot of handballers out of a job.
 
Whilst this sort of progress in the 20th century normally came from the USA, one thing which I think might`ve prevented the development of palletisation was union involvement, both there and in the UK. A similar problem came about when containerisation started to get big in the UK docks in the late 1960s/early 1970s,
Definitely the case in liverpool when the Seaforth container terminal was being built. Resisted on the grounds of loss of jobs (actually the loss of thieving opportunities) and resulted in the 'compromise' that was the dock labour scheme. I.e no redundancies and dockers turning up to do feck all and still get paid.
 
We nicked their idea of the "Jerry Can" though and are still using them today!

I suspect that being allotted to a fuel depot was earning your rations:

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EC479555-A519-43FE-A642-BDE283A9BD2E.jpeg
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
My father was RAOC, left in 1983. We moved to Crawley and he ended up, late 80s/early 90s, working in the tech stores for BA at Gatwick.

Even then, barcodes were just being introduced. The guys in the stores were flabbergasted at what a great thing they were. My father spent his time explaining that in the army he'd been using them for years.
 
Legend has it that modern, standard, 48x40 inch pallets were designed to fit a standard ww2 4 tonner, 2 abreast. That may be chicken and egg, though.
Post WW2, a lot of pallets and other handling equipment in the far east was collected together, in Australia, possibly for disposal, creating the Commonwealth Handling Equipment Pool, hence CHEP, who still make all those blue 48x40s you see in use today.

I’ve never seen a blue pallet used by the Army. Before I joined the Army. I saw them used in the supermarket though.

The NATO standard pallet is plain wood (1200mm x 1000mm). There was a period when they were green, having been treated with PCP, but someone realised this was bad and they were banned.
 
I’ve never seen a blue pallet used by the Army. Before I joined the Army. I saw them used in the supermarket though.

The NATO standard pallet is plain wood (1200mm x 1000mm). There was a period when they were green, having been treated with PCP, but someone realised this was bad and they were banned.
The blue CHEP ones are civvy, used throughout transport and storage, and all on hire from CHEP, not owned, so you'll see drivers binning or selling non CHEP pallets. Damaged ones are returned to CHEP depots and refurbished, then put back into the chain.
 

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