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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
D-Day secret photographs revealed
Secret D-Day pipeline under construction
The pipelines pumped a total of 172 million gallons of fuel
Images of secret pipelines that Allied forces used during D-Day to keep troops supplied with fuel have been released.

The supply route project, codenamed Pluto, involved two pipelines stretching across the English Channel.

They pumped 172 million gallons of fuel along 780 miles of pipe at the rate of one million gallons a day.

More than 1,000 photographs have been put on view at the UK National Archives at Kew, to mark the Normandy landings' 60th anniversary on 6 June.

'Dumbo and Bambi'

The black and white images show how the Pipeline Under the Ocean project was kept secret by disguising pumping stations as ice cream shops, garages and bungalows.

The whole success of Operation Overlord relied on the uninterrupted supply of fuel from the British mainland
Stephen Twigge, National Archives

Without its two pipe routes the successful Allied advance of 150,000 troops from the beaches of Normandy would have been impossible.

"Dumbo" ran from Dungeness to Ambleteuse near Boulogne, and "Bambi" went from Hampshire through the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg.

In total 172 million gallons of fuel were supplied during the landings, so that troops, tanks and ammunition could be moved further into occupied France and Europe.

'Utmost secrecy'

Stephen Twigge, head of research and planning at the National Archives said: "The whole success of Operation Overlord (as the D-day landings were officially called) relied on the uninterrupted supply of fuel from the British mainland.

Secret D-Day pipeline operation
The landings would have been impossible without the pipeline

"These photographs illustrate how the project was carried out with the utmost secrecy and inventive methods of disguise."

The photographs can be viewed free of charge at The National Archives in Kew, south-west London.

The archives hold more than 3,000 files on D-Day, and for the 60th anniversary the museum is holding a series of events using original documents illustrating the role of heroes, spies and traitors.

Ceremony marks D-Day anniversary
08 May 04  |  Scotland


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