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Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement, supply, and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with: * Design, development,
acquisition Acquisition may refer to: * Takeover, the purchase of one company by another * Mergers and acquisitions, transactions in which the ownership of companies or their operating units are transferred or consolidated with other entities * Procurement, fi ...
, storage, distribution, maintenance, evacuation, and disposition of
materiel Materiel or matériel (pronounced , from french: matériel, lit=equipment, hardware) refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment in a commercial supply chain context. In a ...
. * Transport of personnel. * Acquisition or construction, maintenance,
operation Operation or Operations may refer to: Science and technology * Surgical operation or surgery, in medicine * Operation (mathematics), a calculation from zero or more input values (called operands) to an output value ** Arity, number of arguments or ...
, and disposition of facilities. * Acquisition or furnishing of services. * Medical and health service support.


History

The word "logistics" is derived from the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
adjective ''logistikos'' meaning "skilled in calculating". The first administrative use of the word was in
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
and
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
times when there was a military administrative official with the title ''Logista''. At that time, the word apparently implied a skill involved in numerical computations. Historically supplies for an army were first acquired by foraging or looting, especially in the case of food and
fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, rabbits, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including ...
, although if traveling through a desolated region or staying in one place for too long resources could quickly be exhausted. A second method was for the army to bring along what was needed, whether by ships, pack animals, wagons or carried on the backs of the soldiers themselves. This allowed the army some measure of self-sufficiency, and up through to the 19th century most of the
ammunition Ammunition (informally ammo) is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or weapon system. Ammunition is both expendable weapons (e.g., bombs, missiles, grenades, land mines) and the component parts of other weapons ...
a soldier needed for an entire campaign could be carried on their person. However, this method led to an extensive
baggage train Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a traveller's personal articles while the traveler is in transit. A modern traveller can be expected to have packages containing clothing, toiletries, small possessions, trip ...
which could slow down the army's advance and the development of faster-firing weapons soon outpaced an army's ability to supply itself. Starting with the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machin ...
new technological, technical and administrative advances led to a third method, that of maintaining supplies in a rear area and transporting them to the
front Front may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''The Front'' (1943 film), a 1943 Soviet drama film * ''The Front'', 1976 film Music *The Front (band), an American rock band signed to Columbia Records and active in the 1980s and earl ...
. This led to a "logistical revolution" which began in the 20th century and drastically improved the capabilities of modern armies while making them highly dependent on this new system.


5th to 15th century

The
De re militari ''De re militari'' (Latin "Concerning Military Matters"), also ''Epitoma rei militaris'', is a treatise by the Late Latin writer Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus about Roman warfare and military principles as a presentation of the methods and pra ...
, written by
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, commonly referred to simply as Vegetius, was a writer of the Later Roman Empire (late 4th century). Nothing is known of his life or station beyond what is contained in his two surviving works: ''Epitoma rei militari ...
in the late 4th-century, is an authoritative text which Illuminates the logistics, strategies and tactics, as well as the training regimen for soldiers at the end of the Roman Empire, some of which was maintained and modified throughout the medieval period. It became used widely as a military guide during the medieval period and demonstrates the medieval inheritance and adaptation of the Roman military infrastructure. One of the most significant changes in military organization after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century was the shift from a centrally organized army to a combination of military forces made up of local troops. According to the
De ordine palatii ''De ordine palatii'' (''On the governance of the palace'') is a treatise written by Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, in 882 for Carloman II on the occasion of his accession to the throne of West Francia. It claims to be based on a treatise of the sa ...
—composed in the late 8th century as a reflection of the organization of courts under
Louis III of France Louis III (863/65—5 August 882) was King of West Francia (a precursor to the Kingdom of France) from 879 until his death in 882. He succeeded his father and ruled over West Francia in tandem with his brother Carloman II. Louis controlled the nor ...
and
Carloman II Carloman II ( 866 – 12 December 884) was the King of West Francia from 879 until his death. A member of the Carolingian dynasty, he and his elder brother, Louis III, divided the kingdom between themselves and ruled jointly until the latter's ...
—local troops often worked within the household during peace time and were provided food and drink from the high officials in the house. The magnates of the households drew upon their own resources for their men, and during
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
's reign and the reign of the
Ottonian dynasty The Ottonian dynasty (german: Ottonen) was a Saxon dynasty of German monarchs (919–1024), named after three of its kings and Holy Roman Emperors named Otto, especially its first Emperor Otto I. It is also known as the Saxon dynasty after the f ...
in Germany, some heads of house built permanent storages and dwellings to house men or supplies. While on campaign, soldiers through the medieval period (the 5th to 15th century in Europe) were responsible for supplying themselves, either through foraging, looting (more common during sieges), or purchases from markets along the campaign route. Even so, military commanders often provided their troops with food and supplies, but this would be provided in lieu of the soldiers' wages if they worked within the king's household, or soldiers would be expected to pay for it from their wages if they did not work in the king's household, either at cost or even with a profit. Some early governments, such as the Carolingians in 8th century, required soldiers to supply their own food for three months, but would feed soldiers thereafter for free if the campaign or siege was ongoing. Later, during the German civil war in the early 1070s, Saxon soldiers were required to bring supplies enough for the entire campaign. As for food transportation for soldiers and the beasts which accompanied the army on the campaigns, approximately 2,500 kilograms of food supplies were needed for the soldiers, roughly 9,000 kilograms of food for horses and 19,000 kilograms (nearly 1/2 of which was grain), and 19,000 kilograms was needed for other
beasts of burden Beast or Beasts may refer to: Computers and games * Beast (card game), English name of historical French game, the first card game to use bidding * BEAST (computer security), a computer security attack * BEAST (music composition), a music composi ...
(donkeys and oxen, for example) per day. Commanders could also bring along herds of cattle to provide their men with fresh meat while traveling. A herd of roughly 1,000 cattle could feed 14,000 or so men for roughly ten days.
Beasts of burden Beast or Beasts may refer to: Computers and games * Beast (card game), English name of historical French game, the first card game to use bidding * BEAST (computer security), a computer security attack * BEAST (music composition), a music composi ...
were used as vehicular transport for the food and supplies, either by carrying the supplies directly on their backs—the average medieval horse and mule could carry roughly 100 kilograms—or by pulling carts or wagons, depending on the weather conditions. Commanders also made use of water transport throughout the medieval period as it was often more efficient than ground transport. Prior to the crusading period, mid-scale sea vessels could carry several dozen tons of supplies. Cargo ships were also used, and were most commonly of the Nordic-type, the Utrecht-type, or the proto-cog crafts. Similar to the proto-cogs, river boats resembling simple log-boats were also used, as the larger crafts could carry up to 15 metric tons of supply and animal cargo. These ships made transporting supplies, and often soldiers, much easier and more reliable for the commander; but, the ability to use water transport was limited by geographic location, weather, and the availability of such ships. Outside of food and fodder, commanders and soldiers also carried with them their arms and armor. In a letter from Charlemagne to Abbot Fulrad, the king states that horsemen must come prepared with their own arms and gear: including, "a shield, lance, sword, dagger, bow, and quivers with arrows". Likewise, according the
Visigoth The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known ...
legal code (c.680), soldiers were required to come equipped for campaign with armor and shields. This practice was common throughout the pre-crusading period. Soldiers could often obtain the needed supplies from local craftsmen: smiths, carpenters, and leather workers often supplied the local militia troops with cooking utensils, bows and arrows, and horse shoes and saddles. Archaeologists have also found evidence of goods production in excavations of royal houses, suggesting that the Roman infrastructure of central arms and equipment factories was inherited, even if such factories were more decentralized. Further, all estates during
Charlemagne's
Charlemagne's
reign were required to have carpenters staffed to produce weapons and armor, according to the
Capitulare de villis The Capitulare de villis''Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii'' (Chapters on the manors or courts of the empire) is a text composed sometime in the late 7th or early 8th century that guided the governance of the royal estates during the later ye ...
. The construction of large-scale weapons systems, particularly those designed for
siege warfare A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by ...
, was also an important part of military logistics. In the pre-crusading period, Vikings and Saxons would often use lever-action stone-throwing technology; but, the torsion-powered spear-throwing ''
ballista The ballista (Latin, from Greek βαλλίστρα ''ballistra'' and that from βάλλω ''ballō'', "throw"), plural ballistae, sometimes called bolt thrower, was an ancient missile weapon that launched either bolts or stones at a distant tar ...

ballista
e'' was also common, though it required much more technological expertise to build. The most difficult of the large-scale weapons systems to construct was the siege tower, which was meant to provide besieging soldiers with the ability to shoot at the level of their opponents in the tower or allow them to roll up to the tower itself and climb over the wall, breaching the fortress. The first recorded construction of a siege tower is in 984 during King Lothair IV's siege of Verdun. These siege engines were often constructed on site, rather than being constructed before the campaign and transported with the soldiers. In the 11th century,
Emperor Otto III Otto III (June/July 980 – 23 January 1002) was Holy Roman Emperor from 996 until his early death in 1002. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto III was the only son of the Emperor Otto II and his wife Theophanu. Otto III was crowned as King ...

Emperor Otto III
ordered siege engines to be built only once he had arrived at the fortress of Tivoli to begin his siege, and
Emperor Henry II Henry II (german: Heinrich II; it, Enrico II) (6 May 973 – 13 July 1024), also known as Saint Henry the Exuberant, Obl. S. B., was Holy Roman Emperor ("Romanorum Imperator") from 1014. He died without an heir in 1024, and was the last ruler of ...
did the same upon arriving at Troia. It is generally assumed that the materials for the siege engines were transported along with the food, fodder, and arms and that specialized craftsmen from the military households travelled with the army to build the engines on site. In 1294, the same year
John II de Balliol of Scotland
John II de Balliol of Scotland
refused to support
Edward I of England Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The L ...
's planned invasion of France, Edward I implemented a system in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
where
sheriff A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated ...
s would acquire foodstuffs, horses and carts from merchants with compulsory sales at prices fixed below typical market prices under the Crown's rights of prise and purveyance. These goods would then be transported to Royal Magazines in southern Scotland and along the Scottish border where English
conscripts Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and it continues in some countries to the present day ...
under his command could purchase them. This continued during the
First War of Scottish Independence The First War of Scottish Independence was the first of a series of wars between English and Scottish forces. It lasted from the English invasion of Scotland in 1296 until the ''de jure'' restoration of Scottish independence with the Treaty of ...
which began in 1296, though the system was unpopular and was ended with Edward I's death in 1307. Starting under the rule of
Edward II Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327. The fourth son of Edward I, Edward became the heir apparent to the throne fol ...

Edward II
in 1307 and ending under the rule of
Edward III Edward III (13 November 131221 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death in 1377. He is noted for his military success and for restoring royal aut ...
in 1337, the English instead used a system where merchants would be asked to meet armies with supplies for the conscripts to purchase. This led to discontent as the merchants saw an opportunity to profiteer, forcing conscripts to pay well above normal market prices for food. As Edward III went to war with France in the
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts in Western Europe from 1337 to 1453, waged between the House of Plantagenet and its cadet House of Lancaster, rulers of the Kingdom of England, and the House of Valois over the right to rul ...
(starting in 1337), the English reintroduced the practise of foraging and raiding to meet their logistical needs. This practice lasted throughout the course of war, extending through the remainder of Edward III's reign into the reign of Henry VI.


16th century

Starting in the late sixteenth century, armies in
Europe Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlant ...
greatly increased in size, upwards of 100,000 or more in some cases. This increase in size came not just in the number of actual soldiers but also
camp followers Camp followers are civilians who follow armies. There are two common types of camp followers; first, the wives and children of soldiers, who follow their spouse or parent's army from place to place; the second type of camp followers have historic ...
— anywhere from half to one and a half the size of the army itself — and the size of the
baggage train Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a traveller's personal articles while the traveler is in transit. A modern traveller can be expected to have packages containing clothing, toiletries, small possessions, trip ...
— averaging one wagon for every fifteen men. However, very little state support was provided to these massive armies, the vast majority of which consisted of
mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for ...
. Beyond being paid for their service by the state (an act which bankrupted even the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, Imperium Hispanicum), historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Hispánica) and as the Catholic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Católica), was a colonial empire governed by Spain that exi ...
on several occasions), these soldiers and their commanders were forced to provide everything for themselves. If permanently assigned to a town or city with a working marketplace, or traveling along a well-established military route, supplies could be easily bought locally with
intendant An intendant (french: intendant , Portuguese and es, intendente) was and sometimes still is a usually public official, especially in France, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. The intendancy system was a centralizing administrative system develop ...
s overseeing the exchanges. In other cases an army traveling in friendly territory could expect to be followed by
sutler A sutler or victualer is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Sutlers sold wares from the back of a wagon or a temporary tent, traveling with an army or to remote military outposts. Sutler wagons ...
s, whose supply stocks were small and subject to
price gouging Price gouging occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. Usually, this event occurs after a demand or supply shock. Common examples include price increa ...
, or a
commissioner A commissioner is, in principle, a member of a commission or an individual who has been given a commission (official charge or authority to do something). In practice, the title of commissioner has evolved to include a variety of senior officials, ...
could be sent ahead to a town to make arraignments, including quartering if necessary.Creveld, pp. 8–10 When operating in enemy territory an army was forced to plunder the local countryside for supplies, a historical tradition meant to allow war to be conducted at the enemy's expense. However, with the increase in army sizes this reliance on plunder became a major problem, as many decisions regarding where an army could move or fight were made based not on strategic objectives but whether a given area was capable of supporting the soldiers' needs.
Sieges A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by ...
in particular were affected by this, both for any army attempting to lay siege to a location or coming to its relief. Unless a military commander was able to implement some sort of regular resupply, a fortress or town with a devastated countryside could be effectively immune to either operation. Conversely, armies of this time had little need to maintain
lines of communication A line of communication (or communications) is the route that connects an operating military unit with its supply base. Supplies and reinforcements are transported along the line of communication. Therefore, a secure and open line of communication ...
while on the move, except insofar as it was necessary to recruit more soldiers, and thus could not be cut off from non-existent supply bases. Although this theoretically granted armies freedom of movement, the need for plunder prevented any sort of sustained, purposeful advance. Many armies were further restricted to following
waterways A waterway is any navigable body of water. Broad distinctions are useful to avoid ambiguity, and disambiguation will be of varying importance depending on the nuance of the equivalent word in other languages. A first distinction is necessary bet ...
due to the fact that what supplies they were forced to carry could be more easily transported by boat.
Artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, a ...
in particular was reliant of this method of travel, since even a modest number of
cannons A cannon is a large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, and usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant. In the past, black gunpowder was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless powder during t ...
of the period required hundreds of
horses The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two extant subspecies of ''Equus ferus''. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years fr ...
to pull overland and traveled at half the speed of the rest of the army.


17th century

The first half of the seventeenth century saw the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War (, ) was a conflict fought primarily in modern Germany and Central Europe. It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history. Estimates of total military and civilian deaths range from 4.5 to ...
devastate large parts of Europe where waves of large invading armies repeatedly plundered the same locations for supplies. By the mid-seventeenth century, the French under
Secretary of State for War 150px, Edward Cardwell, later Viscount Cardwell, Secretary of State for War from 1868 to 1874; architect of the Cardwell Reforms The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position which ...
Michel Le Tellier#REDIRECT Michel Le Tellier {{R from other capitalisation ...
began a series of military reforms to address some of the issues which had plagued armies previously. Besides ensuring that soldiers were more regularly paid and combating the corruption and inefficiencies of private contractors, Le Tellier devised formulas to calculate the exact amount of supplies necessary for a given campaign, created standardized contracts for dealing with commercial suppliers, and formed a permanent vehicle-park manned by army specialists whose job was to carry a few days' worth of supplies while accompanying the army during campaigns. With these arrangements there was a gradual increase in the use of
magazines A magazine is a periodical publication which is printed in gloss-coated and matte paper. Magazines are generally published on a regular schedule and contain a variety of content. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, b ...
which could provide a more regular flow of supply via
convoys during World War II A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support. It may also be used in a non-military sense, ...
. While the concepts of magazines and convoys was not new at this time, prior to the increase in army sizes there had rarely been cause to implement them.Creveld, pp. 17–20 Despite these changes, French armies still relied on plunder for a majority of their needs while on the move. Magazines were created for specific campaigns and any surplus was immediately sold for both monetary gain and to lessen the tax burden. The vehicles used to form convoys were contracted out from commercial interests or requisitioned from local stockpiles. In addition, given warfare of this era's focus on fortified towns and an inability to establish
front lines A front line (alternative forms: front-line or frontline) in military terminology is the position(s) closest to the area of conflict of an armed force's personnel and equipment, usually referring to land forces. When a front (an intentional or un ...
or exert a stabilizing control over large areas, these convoys often needed armies of their own to provide wikt:escort, escort. The primary benefits of these reforms was to supply an army during a siege. This was borne out in the successful campaign of 1658 when the French army at no point was forced to end a siege on account of supplies, including the Siege of Dunkirk (1658), Siege of Dunkirk. Le Tellier's son François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois, Louvois would continue his father's reforms after assuming his position. The most important of these was to guarantee free daily rations for the soldiers, amounting to two pounds of bread or hardtack a day. These rations were supplemented as circumstances allowed by a source of protein such as meat or beans; soldiers were still responsible for purchasing these items out-of-pocket but they were often available at below-market prices or even free at the expense of the state. He also made permanent a system of magazines which were overseen by local governors to ensure they were fully stocked. Some of these magazines were dedicated to providing frontier towns and fortresses several months' worth of supplies in the event of a siege, while the rest were dedicated to supporting French armies operating in the field. With these reforms French armies enjoyed one of the best logistical systems in Europe, however there were still severe restrictions on its capabilities. Only a fraction of an army's supply needs could be met by the magazines, requiring that it continue to use plunder. In particular this was true for perishable goods or those too bulky to store and transport such as fodder. The administration and transportation of supplies remained inadequate and subject to the deprivations of private contractors. The primary aim of this system was still to keep an army supplied while conducting a siege, a task for which it succeeded, rather than increase its freedom of movement.


18th century

The British were seriously handicapped in the American Revolutionary War, American War of Independence by the need to ship all supplies across the Atlantic, since the Americans prevented most local purchases. The British found a solution after the war by creating the infrastructure and the experience needed to manage British Empire, an empire. London reorganized the management of the supply of military food and transport that was completed in 1793–94 when the naval Victualling and Transport Boards undertook those responsibilities. It built upon experience learned from the supply of the very-long-distance Falkland Islands, Falklands garrison (1767–72) to systematize needed shipments to distant places such as Australia, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone. This new infrastructure allowed Britain to launch large expeditions to the Continent during the French Revolutionary War, Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and to develop a global network of garrisons in the colonies.


19th century


Napoleon

Before the Napoleonic wars, military supply was based on contracts with private companies, looting and requisition (legal taking of whatever the army needed, with minimal compensation). Napoleon made logistical operations a major part of French strategy. During the Ulm Campaign in 1805, the French army of 200,000 men had no need for time-consuming efforts to scour the countryside for supplies and live off the land, as it was well provided for by France's German allies. France's ally, the Electorate of Bavaria, turned the city of Augsburg into a gigantic supply center, allowing the Grande Armée, generously replenished with food, shoes and ammunition, to quickly invade Austria after the decisive French victory at Ulm. Napoleon left nothing to chance, requesting the Bavarians to prepare in advance a specified amount of food at certain cities such as Würzburg and Ulm, for which the French reimbursed them. When French demands proved excessive for the German principalities, the French army used a system of vouchers to requisition supplies and keep the rapid French advance going. The agreements with French allies permitted the French to obtain huge quantities of supplies within a few days' notice. Napoleon built up a major supply magazine at Passau, with barges transporting supplies down the Danube to Vienna to maintain the French army prior to the Battle of Austerlitz in combat readiness. In 1807, Napoleon created the first ''Train (military), military train'' regiments—units entirely dedicated to the supply and the transport of equipment. The French system fared poorly in the face of Guerrilla warfare in the Peninsular War, guerrilla warfare by Spanish "guerillos" that targeted their supply lines during the Peninsular War, and the British blockade of French-occupied ports on the Iberian Peninsula. The need to supply a besieged Barcelona made it impossible to control the province and ended French plans to incorporate Catalonia into Napoleon's Empire. The first theoretical analysis of this was by the Swiss writer, Antoine-Henri Jomini, who studied the Napoleonic wars. In 1838, he devised a theory of war based on the trinity of ''strategy'', ''tactics'', and ''logistics''.


Railways

Railways and steamboats revolutionized logistics by the mid-19th century. In the American Civil War (1861–65), both armies used railways extensively, for transport of personnel, supplies, horses and mules, and heavy field pieces. Both tried to disrupt the enemy's logistics by destroying trackage and bridges. Military railways were built specifically for supporting armies in the field. During the Austro-Prussian War, Seven Weeks War of 1866, railways enabled the swift mobilization of the Prussian Army, but the problem of moving supplies from the end of rail lines to units at the front resulted in nearly 18,000 tons trapped on trains unable to be unloaded to ground transport. The Prussian use of railways during the Franco-Prussian War is often cited as a prime example of logistic modernizations, but the advantages of maneuver were often gained by abandoning supply lines that became hopelessly congested with rear-area traffic.


20th century


World War I

With the expansion of military conscription and Military reserve force, reserve systems in the decades leading up to the 20th century, the potential size of armies increased substantially, while the Industrial warfare, industrialization of firepower (bolt-action rifles with higher rate-of-fire, larger and more artillery, plus machine guns) was starting to multiply the potential amount munitions each required. Military logistical systems, however, continued to rely on 19th century technology. When World War I started, the capabilities of rail and horse-drawn supply were stretched to their limits. Where the stalemate of trench warfare took hold, special narrow gauge trench railways were built to extend the rail network to the front lines. The great size of the German Army proved too much for its railways to support except while immobile. Tactical successes like Operation Michael devolved into operational failures where logistics failed to keep up with the army's advance over shell-torn ground. On the seas, the British blockade of Germany kept a stranglehold on raw materials, goods, and food needed to support Germany's war efforts, and is considered one of the key elements in the eventual Allied victory in the war. At the same time, Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare showed the vulnerability of shipping lanes despite Allied naval superiority.


World War II

The Mechanized warfare, mechanization of warfare, starting at the tail end of World War I, added increasing ammo, fuel, and maintenance needs of tanks and other combat vehicles to the burden on military logistics. The growing needs of more powerful and numerous military ships and military aircraft, aircraft increased this burden even further. On the other hand, mechanization also brought Military vehicle#Military trucks, trucks to logistics; though they generally require better roads and bridges, trucks are much faster and far more efficient than
fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, rabbits, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including ...
-bound horse-drawn transport. While many nations, including Germany, continued to rely on wagons to some extent, the US and UK readily switched to trucks wherever possible. Military logistics played a significant role in many World War II operations, especially ones far from industrial centers, from the Winter War#Finnish Lapland, Finnish Lapland to the Burma Campaign, limiting the size and movement of any military forces. In the North African Campaign, with a lack of rail, few roads, and hot-dry climate, attacks and advances were timed as much by logistics as enemy actions. Poor logistics, in the form of Russia's vast distances and its state of road and rail networks, contributed to the fate of Operation Barbarossa, Germany's invasion of the USSR: despite many battlefield victories, the campaign lost momentum before the gates of Moscow. Breaking the logistics supply line became a major target for airpower; a single fighter aircraft could attack dozens of supply vehicles at a time by strafing down a road, many miles behind the front line. Air superiority became critical for almost any major offensive in good weather. Allied air forces took out German-controlled bridges and rail infrastructure throughout northern France to help ensure the success of the Normandy landings, but after the breakout from Normandy, this now limited the Allies' own logistics. In response, the Red Ball Express was organized—a massive truck convoy system to supply the advance towards Germany. During the Battle of Stalingrad, Supplying by air, called an Airbridge (logistics), airbridge, was attempted by Germany to keep its surrounded 6th Army (Wehrmacht), 6th Army supplied, but they lacked sufficient air transport. Allied airbridges were more successful, in the Burma Campaign, and in "The Hump" to resupply the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese war effort. (A few years after the war, the Berlin Air Lift was successful in supplying the whole non-Soviet half of the city.) At sea, the Battle of the Atlantic began in the first days of the war and continued to the end. Nazi Germany, German Commerce raiding, surface raiders and U-boats targeted vital Allied cargo ship convoys supplying British, American, and Russian forces, and became more effective than in World War I. Technological improvements in both U-boats and anti-submarine warfare raced to out-do each other for years, with the Allies eventually keeping losses to U-boats in check. Logistics was a major challenge for the American war effort, since wartime material had to be supplied across either the Atlantic or the even wider Pacific Ocean. Germany undertook an aggressive U-boat campaign against American logistics on the Atlantic, but the Japanese neglected to attack shipping in the Pacific, using their submarines to fight alongside the surface Navy in large-scale battles. Long logistical distances dominated the Pacific War. For the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Empire of Japan, Japanese required numerous Replenishment oiler, oiler ships to refuel the attacking fleet at sea on-route. Massive numbers of transports, including thousands of US Liberty ships, were required to sustain the Allied forces fighting back towards the Japanese homeland. As in the Atlantic, Pacific War#Submarine warfare, submarine warfare accounted for more losses than naval battles, with over 1,200 merchant ships sank.


Gulf War

During Operation Desert Storm, US forces faced the daunting task of keeping over 500,000 American military personnel supplied in a geographically remote harsh environment with no pre-existing presence or basing arraignment. This challenge was only further underscored by the logistical needs of the forces involved. A typical US armored division was composed of 350 tanks, 200 Bradley fighting vehicles and 16,000 soldiers. Together their daily supply requirement could amount to 5,000 tons of ammunition, 555,000 gallons of fuel, 300,000 gallons of water, and 80,000 meals. To meet these needs the division was equipped with nearly a thousand trucks carrying cargo, fuel and ammunition, and 3,500 of the division's soldiers had logistical responsibilities. Despite these resources though, the division could only sustain itself for three to five days before requiring resupply from an external source.The Logistics of War, p. 206-207 Likewise, a typical Squadron (aviation), squadron of 24 fighter aircraft would require the equivalent of 20 C-141 Starlifters carrying supplies to support its initial deployment and operational capability.The Logistics of War, p. 212


Modern developments

File:French military mobile workshop dsc06855.jpg, Mobile workshop of the French Army. Logistics, occasionally referred to as "combat service support", must address highly uncertain conditions. While perfect forecasts are rarely possible, forecast models can reduce uncertainty about what supplies or Service (economics), services will be needed, where and when they will be needed, or the best way to provide them. Ultimately, responsible officials must make judgments on these matters, sometimes using intuition and scientifically weighing alternatives as the situation requires and permits. Their judgments must be based not only upon professional knowledge of the numerous aspects of logistics itself but also upon an understanding of the interplay of closely related military considerations such as strategy, military tactics, tactics, intelligence (information gathering), intelligence, training, personnel, and finance. However, case studies have shown that more quantitative, statistical analysis are often a significant improvement on human judgment. One such recent example is the use of Applied Information Economics by the Office of Naval Research and the Marine Corps for forecasting bulk fuel requirements for the battlefield. In major military conflicts, logistics matters are often crucial in deciding the overall outcome of wars. For instance, tonnage war—the bulk sinking of cargo ships—was a crucial factor in World War II. The successful Allied anti-submarine campaign and the failure of the German Navy to sink enough cargo in the Battle of the Atlantic allowed Britain to stay in the war and the ability to maintain a Mediterranean supply chain allowed the maintenance of the second front against the Nazis in North Africa; by contrast, the successful U.S. Allied submarines in the Pacific War, submarine campaign against Japanese maritime shipping across Asian waters effectively crippled its economy and its military production capabilities and the Axis were unable to consistently maintain a supply chain to their North African forces with on average 25% fewer supplies than required being landed and critical fuel shortages dictating strategic decisions. In a tactical scale, in the Battle of Ilomantsi, the Soviets had an overwhelming numerical superiority in guns and men, but managed to fire only 10,000 shells against the Finnish 36,000 shells, eventually being forced to abandon their heavy equipment and flee the battlefield, resulting in a Finnish victory. One reason for this was the successful Finnish harassment of Soviet supply lines. More generally, protecting one's own supply lines and attacking those of an enemy is a fundamental military strategy; an example of this as a purely logistical campaign for the military means of implementing strategic policy was the Berlin Blockade#Berlin airlift, Berlin Airlift. Military logistics has pioneered a number of techniques that have since become widely deployed in the commercial world. Operations research grew out of WWII military logistics efforts. Likewise, military logistics borrows from methods first introduced to the commercial world. The Kargil Conflict in 1999 between India and Pakistan also referred to as Operation Vijay (1999), Operation Vijay (Victory in Hindi) is one of the most recent examples of high altitude warfare in mountainous terrain that posed significant logistical problems for the combating sides. The Ashok Leyland Stallion, Stallion which forms the bulk of the Indian Army's logistical vehicles proved its reliability and serviceability with 95% operational availability during the operation.


Loss of Strength Gradient

Geographic ''distance'' is a key factor in military affairs. The shorter the distance, the greater the ease with which force can be brought to bear upon an opponent. This is because it is easier to undertake the supply of logistics to a force on the ground as well as engage in bombardment. The importance of distance is demonstrated by the Loss of Strength Gradient devised by Kenneth Boulding. This shows the advantage of supply that is forward based.


U.S. Armed Forces classes of supply

The United States Military logistics support is grouped into 10 classes of supply: Supply chain management in military logistics often deals with a number of variables in predicting cost, deterioration, consumption, and future demand. The US Military's categorical supply classification was developed in such a way that categories of supply with similar consumption variables are grouped together for planning purposes. For instance peacetime consumption of ammunition and fuel will be considerably less than wartime consumption of these items, whereas other classes of supply such as subsistence and clothing have a relatively consistent consumption rate regardless of war or peace. Troops will always require uniform and food. More troops will require equally more uniforms and food. In the table above, each class of supply has a consumer. Some classes of supply have a linear demand relationship—as more troops are added more supply items are needed—as more equipment is used more fuel and ammo is consumed. Other classes of supply must consider a third variable besides usage and quantity: time. As equipment ages more and more repair parts are needed over time, even when usage and quantity stays consistent. By recording and analyzing these trends over time and applying to future scenarios, the US military can accurately supply troops with the items necessary at the precise moment they are needed.Joint Logistics Analysis Tool
History has shown that good logistical planning creates a lean and efficient fighting force. Lack thereof can lead to a clunky, slow, and ill-equipped force with too much or too little supply.


See also


Logistics-related

* Aerial refueling * Airlift * Army engineering maintenance * Expeditionary energy economics * Expeditionary maneuver warfare * Integrated logistics support * Line of communication or communications (LOC) * Logistician (see): Logistics Officer * Maréchal-des-logis * Materiel * Military Engineering * Military supply chain management * NATO Stock Number * Performance-based logistics * Principles of sustainment * Seabasing * Sealift * Train (military) * Tooth-to-tail ratio * Underway replenishment


Specific logistics operations

* Battle of Pusan Perimeter logistics * British logistics in the Falklands War * British logistics in the Second Boer War


References

Notes Bibliography *
online
* * * , Detailed overview
online free
* * Leighton, Richard M. and Robert W. Coakley. '' United States Army in World War II: War Department, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940–1943'' (1955), The highly detailed official history
online free
* McGee, William L. and Sandra McGee. ''Pacific Express: The Critical Role of Military Logistics in World War II'' (2009) *


Further reading

* For Early and Late Medieval Military Logistics: **Carroll Gillmor, ‘Naval Logistics of the Cross-Channel Operation, 1066’ in Anglo-Norman Studies 7 (1985), 221–243. **Richard Abels, ‘The Costs and Consequences of Anglo-Saxon Civil Defense, 878–1066’ in Landscapes of Defense in Early Medieval Europe , ed. John Baker, Stuart Brookes, and Andrew Reynolds (Turnhout, 2013), 195–222. **Bernard S. Bachrach, ‘Logistics in Pre-Crusade Europe’ in Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present , ed. John A. Lynn (Boulder, 1993), 57–78. **Bernard S. Bachrach, ‘Animals and Warfare in Early Medieval Europe’ in Set-timane di Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’alto Medioevo 31 (Spoleto, 1985), 707–764. **David S. Bachrach, ‘Military Logistics in the Reign of Edward I of England, 1272–1307’ in War and Society 13 (2006), 421–438. **Michael Prestwich, ‘Victualling Estimates for English Garrisons in Scotland during the Early Fourteenth Century’ in The English Historical Review 82 (1967), 536–543. **Yuval Noah Harari, ‘Strategy and Supply in Fourteenth-Century Western European Invasion Campaigns’ in The Journal of Military History 64 (2000), 297–333. *Huston, James A. (1966)
''The Sinews of War: Army Logistics, 1775–1953''
United States Army. 755 pages. * Biography of Brehon B. Somervell, head of the United States Army's Army Service Forces during World War II. * Prebilič, Vladimir. "Theoretical aspects of military logistics". ''Defense and Security Analysis'', June 2006, Vol. 22 Issue 2, pp. 159–77. * ** ** **


External links

* {{commons category-inline, Military logistics Military logistics, Military science Military