Military Logistics: A Brief History

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Historically, it was always easier to supply an army on the move, because the army “lived off land” — meaning it took what it wanted from the locals.

Military Logistics: A Brief History notes that that all changed with the Great War:

The First World War was a milestone for military logistics. It was no longer true to say that supply was easier when armies kept on the move due to the fact that when they stopped they consumed the food, fuel and fodder needed by the army. From 1914, the reverse applied, because of the huge expenditure of ammunition, and the consequent expansion of transport to lift it forward to the consumers. It was now far more difficult to resupply an army on the move, while the industrial nations could produce huge amounts of war matériel, the difficulty was in keeping the supplies moving forward to the consumer.

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