PLUTO- Pipeline Under The Ocean

The Allies were reasonably confident that they would be successful in securing a foothold on the Normandy beachhead. The great concern was supplying the armies to advance across western Europe in a drive to Germany. Until great ports like Antwerp could be secured, the majority of the logistics would have to be delivered over the beaches. One of the most cumbersome commodities to deliver in war is fuel. The British, and most certainly the American armies were motorized and mechanized to a level never before seen in warfare, and every truck, tank, jeep and other impedimentia ran on gasoline, or as our British cousins called it, petrol.

The British gave much thought (and great effort) to the problems of logistics in the Normandy invasion, with many well known efforts, such as the famous Mulberry artificial harbors. One effort less well known was PLUTO, the Pipeline Under The Ocean, a series of pipelines laid across the English Channel to deliver bulk supplies of petrol ashore in France.

Mushdogs tipped me to this very interesting video showing just how complicated such a seemingly simple task was, involving fabricating a welded pipline 82 miles long, and then rolling it up like a spool of thread!


4 thoughts on “PLUTO- Pipeline Under The Ocean”

  1. I worked on a contract in Mexico a few years back with Heerema’s Balder, a massive Dutch oil industry construction/pipe laying platform and crane. After I watched this vid did it truly dawn on me what the big reel on one side was for. Duh.
    Amazing that 70 years on, the same basic technology invented in such a short period at a time of dire need is still in use today.

  2. Fascinating. I have read about PLUTO, but the video is great. While watching it I could not help but think of the time and effort l must spend winding new string on my weedwacker. I also could not help but think that if the EPA existed back then the whole project would not have been completed before 1950, if at all.

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