Military logistics

Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with:[1]

  • Design, development, acquisition, storage, distribution, maintenance, evacuation, and disposition of materiel.
  • Transport of personnel.
  • Acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities.
  • Acquisition or furnishing of services.
  • Medical and health service support.
Red Ball Express Regulating Point
Red Ball Express - Trucks moving through a Regulating Point - 1944


Baggage mules in Roman army c. 100 BC, depicted on Trajan's Column

The word "logistics" is derived from the Greek adjective logistikos meaning "skilled in calculating". The first administrative use of the word was in Roman and Byzantine 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, 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 a soldier needed for an entire campaign could be carried on their person. However, this method led to an extensive baggage train 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 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. 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.[2][3]

13th to 15th century

Plundering van Aalst, fantasie voorstelling - Aalst - 20318282 - RCE
Depiction of soldiers pillaging a town, carrying away their loot by the barrow-load, 14th century

Through the medieval period (the 5th to 15th century in Europe), soldiers were responsible for supplying themselves, either through foraging, looting, or purchases. Even so, military commanders often provided their troops with food and supplies, but this would be provided in lieu of the soldiers' wages, or soldiers would be expected to pay for it from their wages, either at cost or even with a profit.[4]

In 1294, the same year John II de Balliol of Scotland refused to support Edward I of England's planned invasion of France, Edward I implemented a system in Wales and Scotland where sheriffs 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 under his command could purchase them. This continued during the First War of Scottish Independence which began in 1296, though the system was unpopular and was ended with Edward I's death in 1307.[4]

Starting under the rule of Edward II in 1307 and ending under the rule of Edward III 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.[4]

As Edward III went to war with France in the Hundred Years' War (starting in 1337), the English returned to a practice of foraging and looting 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.[4]

16th century

Starting in the late sixteenth century armies in Europe 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—anywhere from half to one and a half the size of the army itself—and the size of the baggage train—averaging one wagon for every fifteen men.[5] However, very little state support was provided to these massive armies, the vast majority of which consisted of mercenaries. Beyond being paid for their service by the state—an act which bankrupted even the Spanish Empire 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 intendants overseeing the exchanges. In other cases an army traveling in friendly territory could expect to be followed by sutlers—although their supply stocks were small and subject to price gouging—or a commissioner could be sent ahead to a town to make arraignments, including quartering if necessary.[6]

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 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.[6]

Conversely, armies of this time had little need to maintain lines 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 due to the fact that what supplies they were forced to carry could be more easily transported by boat. Artillery in particular was reliant of this method of travel, since even a modest number of cannons of the period required hundreds of horses to pull overland and traveled at half the speed of the rest of the army.[7]

17th century

By the seventeenth century, the French under Secretary of State for War Michel Le Tellier began a series of military reforms to address some of the issues which had plagued armies in the previous century. 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 which could provide a more regular flow of supply via convoys. 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.[8]

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 or exert a stabilizing control over large areas, these convoys often needed armies of their own to provide 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.[8]

Le Tellier's son 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.[9]

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.[10]

18th century

The British were seriously handicapped in the American Revolutionary War 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 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 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 and to develop a global network of colonial garrisons.[11]

19th century


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.[12] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] The agreements with French allies permitted the French to obtain huge quantities of supplies within a few days' notice.[16] 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.[13] In 1807, Napoleon created the first military train regiments — units entirely dedicated to the supply and the transport of equipment.

The French system fared poorly in the face of a guerrilla warfare that targeted supply lines during the Peninsular War in Spain, and the British blockade of Spanish ports. 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.[17]

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.


Firefly train
US Military Railroad engineers monitor the first use of a wooden trestle they have hastily built to replace the masonry bridge destroyed by Confederates, O&A railroad, Northern Virginia, c. 1863

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.[18] Military railways were built specifically for supporting armies in the field.

During the 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.[19] 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.[20]

World War I

Bundesarchiv Bild 104-0984A, Bei Etricourt, Truppen auf Landstraße
German horse-drawn supply bottleneck in front of two provisional bridges near Étricourt, France, during Operation Michael, 24 March 1918

With the expansion of military conscription and reserve systems in the decades leading up to the 20th century, the potential size of armies increased substantially, while the 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.[21] 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.[22] At the same time, Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare showed the vulnerability of shipping lanes despite Allied naval superiority.

World War II

Red Ball Express - Truck in the mud
A "Deuce-and-a-half" truck of the Red Ball Express stuck in mud, 1944
Allied cargo ship convoy crosses the Atlantic, c. 1944

The 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 aircraft increased this burden even further. On the other hand, mechanization also brought trucks to logistics; though they generally require better roads and bridges, trucks are much faster and far more efficient than fodder-bound horse-drawn transport. While many nations, including Germany, continued to rely on wagons to some extent,[23] 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 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 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, was attempted by Germany to keep its surrounded 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 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. German surface raiders and U-boats targeted vital Allied cargo ship convoys supplying English, US, 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.[24][25][26]

Long logistical distances dominated the Pacific War. For the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese required numerous 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, submarine warfare accounted for more losses than naval battles, with over 1,200 merchant ships sank.[27]

Modern developments

French military mobile workshop dsc06855
Mobile workshop of the French Army.
Roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Pililaau during Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) exercise.

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 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, tactics, 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.[28]

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. 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 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 (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 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.[29]

U.S. Armed Forces classes of supply

The United States Military logistics support is grouped into 10 classes of supply:[30]

Class Description Consumer Class
Class I Subsistence (food), gratuitous (free) health and comfort items. Troops
Class II Clothing, individual equipment, tent-age, organizational tool sets and kits, hand tools, unclassified maps, administrative and housekeeping supplies and equipment. Troops
Class III Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) (package and bulk): Petroleum, fuels, lubricants, hydraulic and insulating oils, preservatives, liquids and gases, bulk chemical products, coolants, deicer and antifreeze compounds, components, and additives of petroleum and chemical products, and coal. Equipment
Class IV Construction materials, including installed equipment and all fortification and barrier materials. Troops
Class V Ammunition of all types, bombs, explosives, mines, fuzes, detonators, pyrotechnics, missiles, rockets, propellants, and associated items. Equipment
Class VI Personal demand items (such as health and hygiene products, soaps and toothpaste, writing material, snack food, beverages, cigarettes, batteries, alcohol, and cameras—nonmilitary sales items) and paperclips. Troops
Class VII Major end items such as launchers, tanks, mobile machine shops, and vehicles. Equipment
Class VIII Medical material (equipment and consumables) including repair parts peculiar to medical equipment. (Class VIIIa – Medical consumable supplies not including blood & blood products; Class VIIIb – Blood & blood components (whole blood, platelets, plasma, packed red cells, etc.). Troops
Class IX Repair parts and components to include kits, assemblies, and sub-assemblies (repairable or non-repairable) required for maintenance support of all equipment. Equipment
Class X Material to support nonmilitary programs such as agriculture and economic development (not included in Classes I through IX). Civilians
Miscellaneous Water, salvage, and captured material. Troops

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.[31] 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


Specific logistics operations



  1. ^ AAP-6 2009, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions.
  2. ^ Kress, pp. 10–11
  3. ^ For a concise global history see Earl J. Hess, Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation (2017) ch 1
  4. ^ a b c d Abels, Richard. "War in the Middle Ages: Medieval Logistics - English Experience". United States Naval Academy. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ Creveld, pp. 5-7
  6. ^ a b Creveld, pp. 8–10
  7. ^ Creveld, pp.10-12
  8. ^ a b Creveld, pp. 17–20
  9. ^ Creveld, pp. 21-22
  10. ^ Creveld, pp.23-26
  11. ^ Morriss, Roger. "Colonization, Conquest, and the Supply of Food and Transport: The Reorganization of Logistics Management, 1780–1795," War in History, (July 2007), 14#3 pp 310–324,
  12. ^ a b Schneid 2005, p. 106.
  13. ^ a b Schneid 2005, p. 129.
  14. ^ Schneid 2005, p. 107.
  15. ^ Schneid 2005, p. 108.
  16. ^ Schneid 2005, p. 167.
  17. ^ Morgan, John. "War Feeding War? The Impact of Logistics on the Napoleonic Occupation of Catalonia", Journal of Military History, January 2009, 73#1 pp 83–116
  18. ^ Huston, James A. online The Sinews of War: Army Logistics, 1775–1953 U.S. Army, 1966
  19. ^ Creveld, p.84
  20. ^ Creveld, pp. 92–108.
  21. ^ Creveld, pp. 138–141.
  22. ^ Vincent, C. Paul (1985). The Politics of Hunger: The Allied Blockade of Germany, 1915–1919. Athens (Ohio) and London: Ohio University Press.
  23. ^ Schilling. "Weapons, Strategy, and War, The Organization of Armies". Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved 30 October 2017. For transport, the [standard 1944 German Infantry] division had 615 motor vehicles and 1,450 horse-drawn vehicles.
  24. ^ Alan Gropman, ed. (1997). The big 'L' : American logistics in World War II. National Defense University Press. pp. 265–92.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link), Detailed overview. online free
  25. ^ William L. McGee and Sandra McGee, Pacific Express: The Critical Role of Military Logistics in World War II (2009)
  26. ^ Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, United States Army in World War II: War Department, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943 (1955).
  27. ^ Blair, Clay, Jr. (1976). Silent Victory. New York: Bantam. pp. 359–360, 551–552, 816. ISBN 9780553010503.
  28. ^ Hubbard, Douglas. How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business, John Wiley & Sons, 2007
  29. ^ Boulding, Kenneth E. Conflict and Defence: A General Theory, Harper & Bros., 1962, p.262
  30. ^ U.S. Army Field Manual 4-0 Combat Service Support
  31. ^ Joint Logistics Analysis Tool)


  • Creveld, Martin van (1977). Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21730-X. online
  • Dupuy, R. Ernest; Trevor N. Dupuy (1970). The Encyclopedia of Military History (revised ed.). New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-011139-9.
  • Eccles, Henry E. (1959). Logistics in the National Defense. Harrisburg, Penn.: Stackpole Company. ISBN 0-313-22716-0.
  • Gropman, Alan, ed. (1997). The big 'L' : American logistics in World War II. National Defense University Press. pp. 265–92.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link), Detailed overview. online free
  • Kress, Moshe (2002). Operational Logistics: The Art and Science of Sustaining Military Operations. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 1-4020-7084-5.
  • 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)
  • Schneid, Frederick (2005). Napoleon's Conquest of Europe: The War of the Third Coalition. Westport: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-98096-0.

Further reading

External links

Ammunition dump

An ammunition dump, ammunition supply point (ASP), ammunition handling area (AHA) or ammunition depot is a military storage facility for live ammunition and explosives.

The storage of live ammunition and explosives is inherently hazardous. There is the potential for accidents in the unloading, packing, and transfer of ammunition. Great care is taken in handling these dangerous explosives so as not to harm personnel or nearby ammunition.

Despite the intensive preventive measures they get, ammunition depots around the world suffer from non-combat fires and explosions. Although this is a rare occurrence, there are devastating consequences when it does happen. Usually, an ammunition depot experiencing even minor explosions in one of its sites/buildings is immediately evacuated together with surrounding civilian areas. Thus, all of the stored ammunition is left to detonate itself completely for days or weeks, with very limited attempts at firefighting from a safe distance. If the ammunitions are artillery shells and other heavy types, the whole depot site affected is typically leveled.

Canadian Joint Operations Command

The Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC; French: Commandement des opérations interarmées du Canada or COIC) is one of the two unified commands of the Canadian Armed Forces, the other one being the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. CJOC was announced in May 2012 as the result of the cost-cutting measures in the 2012 federal budget through the merger of Canada Command, the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command and the Canadian Operational Support Command under an integrated command-and-control structure. The command was stood up on 5 October 2012 to officially replace the three former organizations.The command team is composed of a three-star commander, assisted by three two-star deputy commanders, one for each of the three main components (Continental, Expeditionary, and Support). The team is rounded out by a one-star chief of staff and four senior non-commissioned members, an overall command chief warrant/petty officer, and a command chief warrant/petty officer for each component.CJOC's role is to "anticipate and conduct Canadian Forces operations, and develop, generate and integrate joint force capabilities for operations."The continental component consists of six regional joint task forces. In five of these JTFs, the commander also commands an army division or a maritime force. The five southern JTFs have no permanent operational units: units and detachments are temporarily assigned to them from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force according to operational requirements.

On 1 April 2015, 1st Canadian Division was transferred from the Canadian Army to CJOC.

Choke point

In military strategy, a choke point (or chokepoint) is a geographical feature on land such as a valley, defile or a bridge or at sea such as a strait, which an armed force is forced to pass, sometimes on a substantially narrower front and therefore greatly decreasing its combat power, to reach its objective. A choke point can allow a numerically inferior defending force to thwart a larger opponent if the attacker cannot bring superior numbers to bear.

Epi tou eidikou

The epi tou eidikou (Greek: ἐπὶ τοῦ εἰδικοῦ [λόγου], "in charge of the special [department]"), also known simply as the [e]idikos, meaning "Special Secretary", or, from the 11th century on, as the logothetes tou eidikou, was an official of the Byzantine Empire who controlled the department known as eidikon, a special treasury and storehouse.


Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations. The resources managed in logistics can include physical items such as food, materials, animals, equipment, and liquids; as well as intangible items, such as time and information. The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, materials handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security.

In military science, logistics is concerned with maintaining army supply lines while disrupting those of the enemy, since an armed force without resources and transportation is defenseless. Military logistics was already practiced in the ancient world and as modern military have a significant need for logistics solutions, advanced implementations have been developed. In military logistics, logistics officers manage how and when to move resources to the places they are needed.

Logistics management is the part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward, and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer's requirements. The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized, and optimized by dedicated simulation software. The minimization of the use of resources is a common motivation in all logistics fields. A professional working in the field of logistics management is called a logistician.

Logistics Corps

The Israeli Logistics Corps is a support corps in the IDF Technological and Logistics Directorate, which centralizes the logistical activity in the IDF, including the transporting of supplies, shipments of fuel, construction, and transport. Its training base, Bahad 6, is located in Tzrifin and is intended to be moved to the Training Base City in the Negev, whose construction is expected to be complete by 2009. As of July 2005, the Chief Logistics Officer is Brigadier-General Itzik Ben-Tov.


Materiel (more commonly matériel in American English and also listed as the only spelling in some UK dictionaries, both pronounced , from French: matériel, lit. 'equipment, hardware'), refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply chain management, and typically supplies and equipment only in a commercial supply chain context.

In a military context, the term "materiel" refers either to the specific needs (excluding manpower) of a force to complete a specific mission, or the general sense of the needs (excluding manpower) of a functioning army.

Materiel management consists of continuing actions relating to planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, controlling, and evaluating the application of resources to ensure the effective and economical support of military forces. It includes provisioning, cataloging, requirements determination, acquisition, distribution, maintenance, and disposal. The terms "materiel management", "materiel control", "inventory control", "inventory management", and "supply management" are synonymous.Military materiel is often shipped to and used in severe climates without controlled warehouses or fixed material handling equipment. Packaging and labeling often need to meet stringent technical specifications to help ensure proper delivery and final use.Materiel in the commercial distribution context refers to the products of the business, as distinct from those involved in operating the business itself.

Military Unit Number

A Military Unit Number is a numeric alternate designation for military units in the armed forces and internal troops of post-Soviet states, originally used by those of the Soviet Union.

For Ground Forces the Military Unit Number is assigned for a military unit (corps, division, brigade, etc); for Navy the Military Unit Number is assigned for a single ship.

The number is also used for the unit's Military mail.

Military supply-chain management

Military supply-chain management is a cross-functional approach to procuring, producing and delivering products and services for military materiel applications. The broad management scope includes sub-suppliers, suppliers, internal information and funds flow.

NATO logistics in the Afghan War

NATO logistics in the Afghan War refers to the efforts of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to deliver vital fuel, food, hardware and other logistic supplies to Afghanistan in support of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present). Logistics operations took place under the auspices of the International Security Assistance Force from 2001 to 2014, then under the Resolute Support Mission from 2015 on.

Since Afghanistan is a landlocked country, supplies must pass through other countries in order to reach it, or else be shipped by air. Air shipping is prohibitively expensive so NATO forces tend to rely on ground routes for non-lethal equipment. This is principally accomplished either by shipping goods by sea to the Pakistani port of Karachi in the southern Sindh province, or by shipping them through Russia and the Central Asian states.

National Logistics Cell

The National Logistics Cell (reporting name: NLC), is a Pakistani logistics company run by the Pakistan Army. The NLC served as a sole purpose of crises management and logistics emergence on a short notice for the Pakistan Government. The NLC provide state-emergency level management services to the government, and is one of leading crises management government authority in the country.

Navy Supply Corps

The Navy Supply Corps is the United States Navy staff corps concerned with supply, logistics, combat support, readiness, contracting, and fiscal matters.

Pakistan Navy School of Logistics and Management

The Pakistan Navy School of Logistics and Management, is an accredited and an academic university operated by the Pakistan Navy. The School of Logistics and Management located at Karsaz in Karachi, Sindh Province. And, it grants academic degrees in Logistics, Military and Political Science, War studies, Strategic studies, Business Administration, and Defence Sciences. The SLM student population is mostly active-duty naval officers, although Pakistan Government civilians and members of foreign militaries can also matriculate under a variety of programs. Most of the faculty are civilians.

The Air Force Institute of Aviation Technology (AFAT) serves a similar purpose for the Pakistan Air Force. The Pakistan Army Command and Staff College does likewise for the Pakistan Army.

Power projection

Power projection (or force projection) is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state "to apply all or some of its elements of national power — political, economic, informational, or military — to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crises, to contribute to deterrence, and to enhance regional stability."This ability is a crucial element of a state's power in international relations. Any state able to direct its military forces outside the limited bounds of its territory might be said to have some level of power projection capability, but the term itself is used most frequently in reference to militaries with a worldwide reach (or at least significantly broader than a state's immediate area). Even states with sizable hard power assets (such as a large standing army) may only be able to exert limited regional influence so long as they lack the means of effectively projecting their power on a global scale. Generally, only a select few states are able to overcome the logistical difficulties inherent in the deployment and direction of a modern, mechanized military force.

While traditional measures of power projection typically focus on hard power assets (tanks, soldiers, aircraft, naval vessels, etc.), the developing theory of soft power notes that power projection does not necessarily have to involve the active use of military forces in combat. Assets for power projection can often serve dual uses, as the deployment of various countries' militaries during the humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake illustrates. The ability of a state to project its forces into an area may serve as an effective diplomatic lever, influencing the decision-making process and acting as a potential deterrent on other states' behavior.

Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service

The Royal Naval Supply and Transport Service, or RNSTS, was the civilian manned logistics service that supported the British Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA); being part of the MOD (Navy). It was formed in 1965 and was abolished in 1994, its role (excluding the Royal Fleet Auxiliary) being taken over by the Naval Bases and Supply Agency.

Transportation Corps

The Transportation Corps was established 31 July 1942 by Executive Order 9082. The Transportation Corps is a combat service support branch of the U.S. Army, and was headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia, but moved to Fort Lee, Virginia in 2010. It is also one of three U.S. Army logistics branches, the others being the Quartermaster Corps and the Ordnance Corps. The Transportation Corps is responsible for the movement of personnel and material by truck, rail, air, and sea. Its motto is "Spearhead of Logistics," and it is currently the third smallest branch of the Army.The officer in charge of the branch for doctrine, training, and professional development purposes is the Chief of Transportation (COT). The current Chief of Transportation is Colonel Jered P. Helwig.

Utility helicopter

A utility helicopter is a multi-purpose helicopter. A utility military helicopter can fill roles such as ground attack, air assault, military logistics, medical evacuation, command and control, and troop transport. Some overlap of terminology is inevitable with transport helicopter.

Vertical replenishment

Vertical replenishment, or VERTREP is a method of supply of seaborne vessels by helicopter. The United States Department of Defense defines VERTREP as:

...the transfer of cargo between ships using helicopters. VERTREP is often used to supplement connected replenishment. Weapons loads, generally limited to 1,800 kg (4,000 pounds), are transferred from the supply ship to the flight deck of the amphibious ship. The decided advantage of a VERTREP is that it can effect replenishment without ship-to-ship connection.

War Assets Administration

The War Assets Administration was established in the Office for Emergency Management, effective March 25, 1946, by EO 9689, January 31, 1946. American factories

had produced massive amounts of weaponry during the World War II. Hundreds

of thousands of tons of surplus military equipment, from mess kits to tanks,

airplanes, machine guns, artillery, and even warships, were now being offered

for sale as scrap by the War Assets Administration (WAA).

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