In an era of increased technological sophistication, the Second World War demonstrated that in order to acquire modern conventional military forces and then deploy said military forces at distance from the home base, requires a country's industrial base to have access to a range of raw materials, drawn from a wide geographical area, as well as having the means to get them to industry and then the finished products to the forces that need them (in other words, a supply chain). The raw materials necessary to conduct mechanised warfare are not concentrated in one spot and are distributed haphazardly around the globe. In 1939, only the USSR (covering 22.4 million km² or one sixth the world's land area) was even remotely close to being self-sufficient in natural resources, while the other great powers had to import the materials to a greater of lesser degree. Iron ore is required in large quantities for the manufacturing of steel, necessary for almost all weapon and transportation systems. Copper, with its ability to conduct electricity is required for electrical systems, and along with brass and bronze, is an important component in the manufacture of ammunition and castings. Bauxite, the ore of aluminium, is vital to the manufacture of modern aircraft. Manganese, molybdenum, nickel, tungsten and chrome are minerals that are used in making high-grade alloys, including special steels that are used in the manufacture of bearings, axles, crankshafts, valves, furnaces, armour plate, armour-piercing ammunition, high-speed machine tools etc. Unlike iron ore however, they do not have to be available in huge quantities. Rubber and oil are obviously important for the conduct of mechanised warfare. As the war progressed, an individual country's ability to import some of these materials obviously varied depending on how the war was progressing and so several countries found alternate sources or developed alternatives when their original sources of supply dried up. The process of producing synthetic rubber and oil were known before the war. Germany developed new metallurgical techniques to produce substitutes for some of the metallic alloys they used. The USSR, UK and Japan produced planes out of wood to reduce the demand for aluminium. (Campion, 1975)
As the war progressed, each of the major powers made strategic decisions as to the acquisition of raw materials, how those resources would be used, what to manufacture, what to research and how many people to mobilise. Before the outbreak of the war, Germany imported seventy percent of its iron ore, eighty-three percent of its copper, seventy-five percent of its rubber, sixty-six percent of its oil and all of the manganese, nickel, chrome and tungsten that was needed by industry. Although they were aware of their dependency on the importing of certain raw materials, they had done little to build up stockpiles. They did however invest in building up their synthetic oil and rubber industries, especially once war had broken out, with rubber production growing from 1,100 tons in 1936 to 21,000 tons in 1939 and 130,000 tons in 1944. Synthetic oil production increased from 1.3 million tons in 1938 to 4.5 million tons in 1944. However, this production was never quite enough (even when combined with the oil from the Romanian oil fields, when they were available) and so it limited the amount of mechanisation that could be undertaken in the Wehrmacht. In any case, Germany only started to fully mobilise its economy in 1942. Hitler wanted to fight the war as a series of limited (blitzkrieg) operations, knocking each opponent out before they had a chance to fully mobilise. This would have the advantage not only of circumventing Germany's weakness in raw materials but would be less likely to test the loyalty of the German population of the Nazi regime. The successful conquest of much of Western Europe, with the remaining countries becoming allies or remaining neutral (but prepared to trade) gave the Germans access to much of the raw materials they needed to fight a long war. With the failure of Operation Barbarossa in 1941 to knock out the USSR in a single blow, the following year saw Germany finally start to seriously expand war production by increasing the use of mass production techniques (for example, the man hours need to build an ME109 fell from 8,000 to 4,000), concentrating the production of weapons in the most efficient factories, devoting more factory space to armaments and increasing the labour force working in the war industry. However, the complete mobilisation of German industry was never achieved, mainly due to the resistance from both industrialists and local administrative officials (Gauleiters). In addition, women were not mobilised for the war effort to the same degree as they were in Allied countries, plus Speer's efforts to improve the situation were partially hampered by Fritz Saukel (General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment) who would forcibly conscript labour from all over the occupied territories with little regard to any specific skills Germany might need. By September 1944, there were 7.5 million foreign workers in the Third Reich, around a fifth of the entire workforce, which allowed Germany to have 13 million personnel in the armed forces. From October 1944 onwards however, Germany lost access to much of its conquered territory in both the east and the west, and the lack of skilled labour started to become critical. (Campion, 1975)
If it had not been for the strategic bombing campaign, German resistance to the advances of the Allied forces might have been even more ferocious than it was, and the war lengthened by months, if not years. Albert Speer (Minister for Armaments and War Production) estimated that, while the damage done to German war production in 1943 was negligible, during 1944 it was between thirty and forty percent. Despite the damage done and factories destroyed, German war production continued to increase. In July 1944, when over 100,000 tons of bombs fell on Germany, war production hit a peak that was over three times the level it had been in 1941. The campaign severely damaged the war effort, not by destroying the German capability to produce armaments but by causing massive disarray in the German transportation system and their ability to produce synthetic oil. In other words, it was not the destruction of the industrial base that damaged the war effort, but the disruption to the supply chain for weapons, spares, POL (petrol, oil, lubricants) and munitions. In addition, the liberation of occupied territory drastically reduced Germany's access to many of the essential raw materials to conduct modern warfare, such as Balkan bauxite and manganese, French iron ore, Portuguese tungsten, Turkish chrome, Rumanian oil and to a lesser extent (through Allied diplomacy) Swedish iron ore and copper. By early 1945, Germany's war economy collapsed just ahead of its armies. (Campion, 1975)
Case Study: German Logistics in North Africa
Few campaigns in history underline the need for the close (and continual) synchronisation between operational means and strategic objectives than the German effort in North Africa during the Second World War. It is also important that the operational commander align his goals with the broader strategic objectives for the theatre in question. The German commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps (later reorganised as Panzer Armee Afrika), Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, while initially achieved operational success, eventually suffered operational failure, due to several interlinking factors. Firstly, North Africa was a very austere environment, in terms of the availability of natural resources (especially food and water). Contrary to popular belief, the area of operations under question, while being moderately good for high-speed manoeuvre warfare, still had its limitations. The area is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the desert interior to the south, with the 'usable' manoeuvre area consisted of a strip of land by the coast, varying between twelve and thirty-eight miles wide. Not only is the terrain harsh, but other environmental factors, such as sandstorms, flash floods, poisonous reptiles, endemic insects and extremes of temperature impact the endurance and effectiveness of both men and machines.
Secondly, and linked closely to the above, the harsh environment meant that almost everything the German (and Italian) forces needed to conduct operations (rations, water, POL, ammunition, spares) had to be shipped across the Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa, and then from the port of disembarkation to the units at the front. In modern terms, German logisticians could not rely on host nation support to any significant degree.
Thirdly, any sort of dependence on sea-based LOC requires adequate port facilities to receive supplies and then ground-based LOC (roads and railways) linking the port with the forces who need them. Tripoli was the main port supplying Axis forces in North Africa and could handle 1,500 tons a day, while Benghazi and Tobruk could handle 2,700 and 1,500 tons respectively, although administrative difficulties and interference by the RAF tended to limit that to 750 and 600 tons a day respectively. From there, supplies had to be moved over the limited road and rail network. It was such that Major General Alfred Toppe commented that there "was no continuous railroad in Libya. The two railroads, each about thirty kilometres in length, in Tripolitania [northwest Libya] and in Cyrenaica, were of no military importance." (Hatton, 2001, p. 38) In addition, there was a severe shortage of trucks with which to move supplies by road. The Germans were never able to acquire enough trucks to properly support the formations they had in-theatre, let alone the forces Rommel estimated he needed to decisively defeat the British. In the latter stages of the campaign, the Germans were often living off captured rations, wearing (at least partially) captured clothing and using captured vehicles.
Fourthly, the Axis failed to eliminate Malta as a British base from which they could interdict the Axis sea LOC, despite a joint Italian-German plan having been drawn up (Unternehmen Herkules / Operazione C3) in early 1942, but never implemented.
Fifth, and most importantly, there was a disconnect between the strategic objectives for the North African theatre as set out by Hitler and the German High Command (the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW) and the theatre commander, Rommel. Hitler's principle objectives for German involvement in North Africa were to bolster the waning political and military fortunes of his Italian ally, by shoring up their position in the region, another example of this being the German intervention in the Balkans leading to the invasion of both Yugoslavia and Greece. Hitler saw North Africa as a sideshow for the Wehrmacht, meaning it would be an 'economy-of-force' theatre which would utilise an essentially defensive approach, while the main effort would be directed against the USSR (Operation Barbarossa started a mere three months after the first German ground forces arrived in Tripoli in March 1941). Führer Directive No. 22 (issued on 11 January 1941) makes this clear, stating that the "situation in the Mediterranean makes it necessary to provide German assistance, on strategic, political, and psychological grounds. Tripolitania must be held." Rommel had a different view. He saw the North African campaign as a means of striking at both the British (in Egypt and the Middle East) and eventually the USSR (via the Caucasus). He set about influencing Axis strategy using a strategy of 'self-help', whereby his position as Hitler's favourite general, spectacular battlefield successes and the favourable publicity these generated all enabled him to argue the case for additional support and reinforcements. It was here though, the lack of synchronisation was really felt and had a huge impact on not only the Afrika Korps but the German war effort more widely. The logistics support Rommel needed to achieve his objectives was not forthcoming, as OKW viewed North Africa as a peripheral theatre in the overall scheme of things, whereas the broader war effort was at least partially handicapped by the diversion of men and material away from the Eastern Front to sustain Rommel's offensive operations.
(Hatton, 2001; Tosch, 2013; van Creveld, 1977)
Allied war production had very different problems to that of Germany. Neither the UK or USA had much to concern them as regards the overall supply of raw materials, the main exception being rubber, after the Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia in early 1942. However, pre-war stockpiles managed to see them through, with some judicious rationing, priority allocation and an American crash programme to expand synthetic rubber production. The Americans also had some difficulty in keeping an adequate supply of oil to the eastern United States, where most of its industry was concentrated. The main problem was securing the supply routes between the two industrial bases and the armies in the field. Any ships crossing the Atlantic had to run the German U-Boat gauntlet and millions of tons of merchant shipping were sunk. Their approach was different too. They assumed that Germany was already geared up for full wartime production and so had to do the same, as quickly as possible. Both countries (but more so the British than the Americans) introduced stringent manpower control policies, with production of civilian goods systematically cut, while scarce materials and labour were diverted to the war industry. As a result, by 1941, the UK was out-producing Germany in armaments, although by that point, the Germans had access to or direct control of, much of the European industrial base and was just starting to expand war production themselves. The Americans did not adopt centralised planning to anywhere near the same degree as the British, nor did they build up armaments production at the expense of the standard of living for ordinary Americans to the same degree as the British did, despite stopping the production of certain goods, such as civilian cars, washing machines and refrigerators. Expenditure in the consumer economy went up in the USA whereas it declined by about sixteen percent in the UK. Food, fuel and tyres were rationed, but in many instances, the rationing did not require people to reduce consumption. Many people were able to raise their standard of living due to the availability of new (and better paid) jobs, which attracted large numbers of women and other peacetime non-workers to the factories. The US could maintain a largely free market economy and still raise war production to staggering heights as American methods of mass production allowed even non-skilled and semi-skilled workers to achieve high productivity. For example, the first Liberty ship (a standard wartime merchant ship built from prefabricated parts) took 244 days to build, a relatively short period of time for a merchant ship. By the spring of 1943, that was down to fifty days and later still, had been reduced to forty-one days. Another difference between German and Allied war production was that because German war production was on a less mass production basis than the Allies, there was a greater degree of flexibility. This allowed the production schedule to be altered to cater for Hitler's changes in strategy (up to 1942) or experience on the battlefield (between 1942 and 1944). Allied war production, with its emphasis on mass production techniques, was never that flexible. There was almost always a delay (of up to a year) between making the decision to bring a new piece of equipment into service, and it actually entering service. Because no-one could be sure what would be happening that far in advance, the planners usually opted to try and order equipment according to a balanced programme, that is, a lot of everything. The only major mistake they made was not ordering enough landing craft early on, hampering planning for both 1943 and 1944. (Campion, 1975)
Historical Note: Logistics Specialisation
For much of history, the soldier was just that, a soldier. He depended upon civilians to provide the supplies and services that enabled him to deploy and fight. After the mid-nineteenth century, warfare began to become technically more complex and the military were forced to consider introducing a range of technical services and skills. Examples include the British Army's Transport Corps (Later the Royal Army Service Corps), Hospital Corps and Ordnance Corps. During the American Civil War, the Union Army formed a railway construction corps, which was predominantly civilian but under military control. A few years later, Prussia did the same, and even created a railway section within the General Staff. But it wasn't until the twentieth century that large numbers of military units specialising in logistic support took to the field. By the end of the Second World War, what was termed 'service support' comprised some forty-five percent of the personnel of the US Army. Only three in ten soldiers had a combat function and even within the combat divisions, one out of every four soldiers had a non-combatant role. Even with this growth of logistics functions within the armed forces themselves, they only represent a small fraction of the totality of support services that are required for a military force to function in both peace and wartime. Either behind the frontline or back in the home base, a huge administrative, procurement and support infrastructure exists employing civilian personnel in depots, arsenals, factories, air bases, naval bases, garrisons, scientific laboratories, testing grounds, training facilities and communication centres to enable armed forces to function.
The transition to war for the USSR was simpler than for the other powers. Even after the Germans had occupied large areas, the Soviets remained virtually self-sufficient in raw materials. Being a communist state, the USSR had a centralised (planned) economy with a relatively small consumer component, so few actual changes were necessary to move to a wartime footing. The USSR had only one front to worry about (the transfer of forces eastwards took place after Germany was defeated) and only one type of war to fight on that front, so it was an easy decision to opt for the maximum production of weapons suitable for mechanised warfare such as tanks, artillery, fighters and ground attack aircraft. The Western Allies sent supplies through the Lend-Lease programme. This included armaments (which the Soviets didn't use in combat), over 4 million tons of food (which allowed them to move personnel out of agriculture and into the armed forces or war production) and over 400,000 trucks (allowing large portions of the Red Army to become motorised). Other important supplies included a range of non-ferrous metals (for example aluminium and copper), rubber, machine tools, power plant equipment and trains but most of what the USSR needed came from its own factories. Before the war, starting in 1928, the USSR had embarked on a series of five-year plans (at the behest of Stalin) to modernise its economy, expand the industrial base and reorganise agriculture into a system of large, state-owned farms. The programme worked, but at a terrible human cost. The forced reorganisation of agriculture caused a famine between 1932-1933 as agricultural output plummeted and around 1 million Kulak families (the relatively well-off peasants, around 5 million people) were deported and never heard from again. Industry had been built up in the east and when the Germans invaded, as much industry as possible was moved east of the Ural Mountains. After the initial dislocation, industrial output soared, so that for example, T-34 medium tank production went up from 1,886 in 1941 to 12,661 in 1942, 15,710 in 1943 and 14,648 in 1944. (Campion, 1975; Library of Congress, 2016; AMVAS, 2009)
Like the Germans, the Japanese underestimated the length and intensity of the war. Japan itself is relatively resource-poor and so was reliant on imported raw materials more so than the other Great Powers. Its strategy was to try and achieve a swift, massive victory over the US Pacific Fleet, using the time gained (before the US could mobilise properly) to conquer large areas of the Pacific and Southeast Asia and create a 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere', ensuring access to vital raw materials. It would thus present the Americans with a fait d'accompli. It was hoped that by the time the Americans were ready to counter-attack, the areas that Japan had conquered would have already started to contribute to Japan's war economy thus allowing Japan to build up formidable forces for the defence of the Sphere, meaning that the liberation of these areas would involve massive casualties and so encourage the USA to come to the negotiating table. The sphere would also ensure Japan's access to important raw materials. The problem was, there was even less central planning in Japan than there was in Germany, partly due to the intense rivalry between the army and the navy which hindered cooperation and the lack of a third armed force meant that there was nobody to intervene in order to arbitrate. Another problem was that the Japanese merchant marine was relatively small at the start of the conflict and the construction of new ships was slow. Most were engaged in supporting the distant bases and garrisons. With few available to haul the newly acquired mineral wealth back to the home islands. In addition, by late 1942, American submarines were starting to have an impact and so stored reserves of raw materials started to shrink and so industrial production only increased very slowly. By early 1945 for example, the Japanese aluminium industry, having been starved of bauxite from both Malaya and Indonesia, was operating at only ten percent capacity. The pilots who were being trained, could have no more than thirty hours of flight training due to the shortage of POL. In late 1944, after the capture of the Mariana Islands, the Americans started a strategic bombing campaign of Japan using B-29 bombers, which was supposed to destroy the Japanese war industry. They indeed caused a lot of destruction (especially after the switch to mass firebombing, given the wooden construction of many Japanese buildings) but did not have a huge impact on the level of war production, as that level was very low anyway, because of the submarine blockade and the shortage of raw materials. (Campion, 1975; Fassbender, 2014)
Case Study: Logistics in the Pacific War
As already alluded to, there was a substantial discrepancy in terms of both the size of the economy and the economic potential between Japan and the United States. Japanese Gross National Product (GNP) amounted to about ten percent of the USA's in 1941. In addition, the Japanese were slow to fully mobilise their economy towards a war footing. Overall GNP only reached about 113% of their pre-war levels in 1943. Of course, this figure is not wholly indicative, as GNP includes many non-military or war-related inputs, but analysis of the index of industrial production also underlines a slow rate of growth. Taking the level of industrial production between 1935-1939 as a base (=100) then the index for the following years are: 1940 = 125; 1941 = 162; 1942 = 199; 1943 = 239; 1944 = 235. The figure for 1945 dropped considerably, due to the impact of American submarines sinking much of Japan's merchant marine which impacted the import of raw materials, as well as the effects of the American strategic bombing campaign on production levels. However, even a general production index such as the above does not give a complete picture, as it cannot give an indication as to which sectors of the economy are being boosted the most under the effort to maximise war production. For example, aircraft production for both countries peaked in 1944 at around 28,000. This accounted for just under thirty percent of all wartime production for the USA and just over forty percent of Japan's total wartime production. In Japan's case, such a move to expand aircraft production was complicated by the inter-service rivalry between the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, their inability to cooperate at the strategic level and their failure to compromise and concentrate production on as few designs as possible. After the war, one industrialist estimated that this rivalry and lack of cooperation had reduced aircraft production to around fifty percent of its potential output. The Army developed around thirty-seven basic aircraft designs with fifty-two variations, while the Navy developed fifty-three designs with 112 variations. The Japanese were also late in moving to a three-shift twenty-four-hour production cycle and the slow development in the field of precision machine tools kept aircraft engine output to a growth rate lower than that of airframes. What increases in production the Japanese economy managed was undoubtedly due to the territorial conquests they undertook early in the war, along with Manchuria, which in 1941 accounted for some forty-nine percent of Japanese imports. These conquests gave the Japanese access to coal, pig iron and oil (although Japanese exploitation of the oil in the Dutch East Indies never achieved planned levels), and were expected to supply sixty-two percent of the nickel, 144 percent of the tin, 400 percent of the rubber, twenty-six percent of the feed and twenty-five percent of the sugar needed by its economy. However, this emphasis on overseas conquests brought with it an increased requirement for ocean-going shipping, rather than coastal vessels, and put additional pressure on Japan's limited ocean-going merchant fleet. Japan possessed 5,996,000 tons of merchantmen and captured or salvaged another 822,000 tons, around half of which was sunk by Allied submarines. The lack of standardisation, a shortage of available ship yards and steel, as well as the Americans manage to solve the torpedo problems that had dogged their submarine force meant that overall, Japan could only replace about thirty-eight percent of the tonnage sunk. By August 1945, Japan only had some 557,000 tons of ready-to-sail merchantmen left with the Japanese themselves estimating that a minimum of 1,200,000 tons was necessary to operate their economy. It was not simply a matter of a lack of raw materials that affected the Japanese war effort, but a lack of means to move it around the Empire, in other words, a lack of shipping. This reflected a number of production bottlenecks and a lack of interest in economic, procurement and logistics issues that would ultimately mean defeat for Japan. For example, the section of the Naval General Staff that dealt with all shipping matters consisted of a mere two officers.
Initially at least, the USA was not that much better prepared than Japan. For example, in February 1939, the naval department responsible for planning the mobilisation of merchant shipping along with its manning and operations consisted of only one officer. The War Shipping Administration was only created by presidential executive order on 7 February 1942. However, the much greater industrial potential the US had meant that, in the medium-to-long term anyway, they were much better off than Japan. Standardised ship designs, such as the Liberty and Victory ships, soon enabled units to be completed in under three months. The US built-to-sunk ratio exceeded parity in April 1942 with merchant ship construction peaking as early as May-June 1943 which saw 1,350,000 tons built in both months, more than total Japanese construction for all of 1942. The Americans were aided by the fact that the Japanese submarine force did not focus all its efforts on anti-shipping warfare and while figures vary, it seems that they only sank between 776,000-913,000 tons of which only thirty-one were sunk on the outbound voyage, losing 200,000 tons of cargo. In contrast, the USA built 19,000,000 tons of shipping during 1943 alone. As it happens, a large proportion of the US fleet had been authorised and ordered before the war began. One large programme authorised in 1934, contained seven battleships, one carrier, seven light carriers, seven light cruisers and eighty-nine destroyers. Added to this were two further battleships in 1940, followed by an order in line with the Two-Ocean Navy programme, which contained seventeen battleships, six battlecruisers, thirteen carriers, eight attack carriers, forty light cruisers, 295 destroyers and 160 submarines. Around half of these ships had been contracted for before Pearl Harbor. In 1940, a Japanese officer estimated it would take the US some 1,530 days to build a battleship and 1,140 days to build a fleet carrier. The Japanese battleship Yamato took 1,503 days and one of their light carriers took 1,200 days. The USS South Dakota on the other hand was built in 1,263 days, and the Essex-class fleet carriers entered the fleet in 1943 after being ordered in 1940. As already mentioned, one of the weakest points in US production was the provision of specialised assault ships and transport vessels for local commanders. Some work had been done with regard larger landing ships (such as LSTs and LSDs) alongside the US Marine Corps development of amphibious tactics but the design of smaller craft would have to wait until there was actual experience in conducting amphibious assaults. Around twenty-three LSDs and 982 LSTs were commissioned during the war but shortages of such vessels would prove to be a constraining factor for Allied operations throughout the Second World War. A programme to build ships suitable for coastal transport operations had been commissioned but was not particularly productive, probably because of the diversion of resources to the Liberty and Victory ship programmes. One of the most remarkable successes of the American war effort was the development of a flexible logistics system allied to the fleet logistics train that could support a strategy of maintaining forward pressure on the perimeter of the Japanese held-territory. With lessons being learnt at Bora Bora, Guadalcanal and Tarawa, including the earliest possible inclusion of requirements in strategic planning, the importance of combat loading and the distribution of materials already in the pipeline, the Americans made huge progress in being able to deal with packages of replacement capability, utilising a land base system with a sea-going replenishment component. The land bases were built on 'base elements' which were split into major (called 'lion') and minor (called 'cub') base elements. The sea-based replenishment component was based on Service Force Pacific (SFP). This evolved, from the provision of oilers to enable refuelling at sea to include both ammunition, consumables and eventually, aircraft and pilots. From a small force, SFP grew until, by the time of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, it had its own mobile task force and contained enough supplies to keep a carrier task group or amphibious invasion force at sea for an extended period of time.
(Prados, 1977; Antill & Kane, 2013)
The final point to be made about the Second World War is the degree to which it differed from other wars in the resources that the major combatants invested in scientific and technological research and development. Not only did such investment have an impact during the conflict but it has had an impact right up to the present day:
"For all the role of science, mathematics, and new inventions in earlier wars, no war had as profound an effect on the technologies of our current lives than World War II (1939-45). And no war was as profoundly affected by science, math, and technology than WWII." (Mindell, 2009)
The Second World War was the first 'high tech war' if we define that term to mean a war fought with new technologies that were specifically invented for that war. It was a conflict that started with some participants still using cavalry (the myth of Polish cavalry charging German tanks has been part of the popular consciousness since the war) and biplanes (such as the Fairey Swordfish), while it finished with jet aircraft and the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan. Not only that but science and technology were also used to make already existing weapons, such as aircraft and tanks, more effective. These new inventions included (Mindell, 2009):
The Cold War
The Second World War ended on 2nd September 1945 with the instruments of surrender signed by both Japanese and Allied representatives upon the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay. Nazi Germany had surrendered only a few months earlier on 8th May 1945. With the elimination of the enemy that had bound the allied powers into a common cause, it took only a few years before great power rivalry and ideological differences brought about another global conflict. As Adolf Hitler had predicted:
"With the defeat of the Reich and pending the emergence of the Asiatic, the African and perhaps the South American nationalisms, there will remain in the world only two Great Powers capable of confronting each other – the United States and Soviet Russia. The laws of history and geography will compel these two Powers to a trial of strength either military or in the fields of economics and ideology." (Williamson, 2001, p. 5)
This new conflict would be fought between two power blocs, East and West, each headed by the one of the new 'Superpowers', the USSR and the United States. However, rather than seeing direct military confrontation between the two blocs (a 'hot' war) the era between 1945 and 1991 saw a period of ongoing tension (that increased or decreased, according to the geopolitical circumstances of the time) which was typified by the use of other forms of statecraft, such as economic aid, gunboat diplomacy, political pressure and subversion, limited military intervention, use of proxies, propaganda, intelligence gathering and espionage. This was because the USSR quickly caught up with the Americans as regards the military application of atomic power and exploded their own atomic bomb in July 1949. From then on, the Cold War would feature an arms race to see who could field which strategic weapon system first and in what numbers, only to gain a temporary advantage as the other superpower reacted to close the gap. The USSR would eventually achieve strategic parity with the US in the mid-1970s. By then, both Superpowers had accepted the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) which holds that both countries should maintain enough nuclear forces so that even with a surprise attack, each will have enough nuclear weapons that survive to devastate the other, thus deterring an attack from taking place. (Hughes-Wilson, 2006) As to who ultimately bears the responsibility for the start of the Cold War, there is little agreement among historians and it would be fair to say that both sides played their part, with suspicion and distrust as to the other sides' motives growing with each action and reaction. Those who tend to blame the USSR point to Stalin's paranoia and actions in cementing Soviet control in Eastern Europe while ignoring the promises made at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 to allow democratic elections. Those who place more of the blame on the West argue that the USA was trying to pressure the USSR into joining the global economy and open itself up to American imports which would benefit American business and undermine Communist Party rule. Events such as the Truman Doctrine (1947), the Marshall Plan (1947) and the merging of the western occupation zones in Germany with the creation of a new currency (1948), led to the Berlin Blockade (1948-1949), the first major confrontation between the USSR and Western Allies. That was followed by the formation of NATO in April 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in September and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) a month later, cementing the division of Europe into two zones of control. (Williamson, 2001) It underlined what Churchill had said, in a speech at Fulton, Missouri in March 1946:
"From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste, in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe – Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. All these famous cities, and the populations around them, lie in the Soviet sphere". (Williamson, 2001, p. 45)
The main change to warfare during the Cold War was that it became much more capital intensive, a trend that had already emerged during the Second World War. For example, the amount of equipment held by a US infantry regiment (which was already rather lavishly equipped to begin with) increased between 1943 and 1971 by seventy-four percent in machine guns, 102 percent in vehicles, 159 percent in anti-tank weapons and 565 percent in radios. A Soviet rifle division increased its equipment holdings between 1939 and 1973 by even greater amounts. While the number of personnel decreased by around twenty-five percent, the number of radios increased fivefold, the number of tanks increased sixteen-fold, the number of APCs increased thirty-seven-fold and the amount of horsepower per man increased tenfold. Between 1967 and 1976, rifle divisions undergoing modernisation (becoming motor rifle divisions) increased the number of artillery tubes by sixty percent and multiple rocket launchers by 400 percent, many of which were of the self-propelled variety. To that must be added such technological items as helicopters, missiles, precision-guided weapons and electronics. This increase in the use of technology has had two consequences for logistic support, one being increasing complexity and the other being the requirement for an ever-increasing volume of supplies. Complexity is seen most directly in the sheer number of spare parts, specialised consumables and different types of ammunition (to name just three) that is needed by a modern piece of military hardware. For example, a modern jet engine can consist of over 4,000 separate parts. These parts could range from tiny electronic components to items that weigh several tons. Many of these items will have prolonged shelf lives and can be kept in normal conditions, but there are some that will need specific environmental conditions or others that have a limited shelf life. On top of that, there needs to be a system that keeps track of all these items and where they are, and one that can move the requisite item to where it's needed in a timely manner. The second consequence of the increased use of hardware is the increased amount of supplies needed to keep that hardware operational. For example, a well-equipped German panzer division with its support, required roughly 350 tons of supplies a day when on active operations. Allied tank divisions in 1944-45, which were more lavishly equipped, required as much as 650-700 tons of supplies a day. During the Korean War, this figure had risen to around 1,000 tons a day and a confrontation in Central Europe could have seen that figure rise to around 1,500 tons a day. (van Creveld, 1989)
From a logistics point of view, this new global confrontation was demanding for the superpowers for two reasons. Firstly, they both had to be able to project political and military power to any part of the world, while secondly, maintaining substantial forces in, and committed to, Europe in order to maintain the balance of forces in that theatre. For the United States, the first decade or so of the Cold War (under the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations) saw a focus on 'massive retaliation' to keep the USSR in check, which was set out in National Security Council (NSC) document 162/2 (30 October 1953) which authorised the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to plan for the use of nuclear weapons in both the tactical and strategic roles and assumed that any conflict larger than a 'brush fire war' would be nuclear. With the election of President John F Kennedy in 1960 however, this changed with a greater emphasis on the use of conventional forces and the creation of a central reserve for use in contingencies. It meant building on the logistics and basing system that had been created during the Second World War and resulted in the creation of Strike Command, a unified command responsible for the reinforcement of other commands or to provide forces for contingencies in South Asia, the Middle East or Africa south of the Sahara Desert. This development was interrupted with the American involvement in the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The new administration under President Richard Nixon successfully withdrew from the conflict and facing increased isolationism at home and the passing of the War Powers Act in 1973, sought to reduce American commitments worldwide by placing greater emphasis on the local power to fight Communism. Strike Command became Readiness Command and while it too had a responsibility to provide a central reserve of army units to reinforce an overseas command, it had no responsibility for contingency planning. The development of a power projection capability continued once again under President Jimmy Carter with Presidential Directive (PD) 18 (24 August 1977), which laid the basis of a force projection capability as it earmarked two US Army and one US Marine Corps divisions for the role. The Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) was created at MacDill Airforce Base on 1 March 1980 under General P X Kelley, with considerable forces from all four services being earmarked for use by the RDJTF. While the force was criticised for being dependent on non-existent airlift and sealift capabilities, measures were already being put in place to expand those capabilities. These measures included extending the service life and upgrading the C-141 and C-5 aircraft, procuring fifty additional C-5B and forty-four KC-10A aircraft, adding thirty-two additional Boeing 747 aircraft to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), procuring a new transport aircraft (C-17), buying an additional eight SL-7 logistics and four large vehicle cargo ships. Also, additional bases in Southwest Asia were built, including a large air and naval base on the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia, while the Near-Term Prepositioning Force (NTPF) that was stationed there was increased to thirteen ships, while the US Navy bought or converted another thirteen ships to help carry thirty days of supplies for up to three US Marine Corps brigades. However, modern warfare consumes supplies at a staggering rate, and if the US had been involved in any sort of major conflict with the USSR within the region, it must be wondered whether even this would have been sufficient, especially if it had been part of a wider conflict. With US foreign policy having a greater focus on Southwest Asia during the early 1980s, the RDJTF was deactivated on 31 December 1982, becoming the US Central Command (USCENTCOM), on 1 January 1983. (Antill, 1995; Kamps Jr, 1983)
Historical Note: Lebanon, 1958
On 14 July 1958, President Camille Chamoun made an urgent plea to the governments of the USA, UK and France asking for the deployment of military forces to stabilise Lebanon's internal situation. This was the first test of the Middle East Resolution (or 'Eisenhower Doctrine') whereby Congress had authorised the US Government to render economic and military assistance to requesting nations in order to preserve their independence, in particular if they were under threat from a communist-controlled country. Within hours of receiving the message, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered elements of the US Sixth Fleet eastwards to land marines in Lebanon, while the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) had alerted US Forces in Europe and the Tactical Air Command in the USA to be ready for action. Two days later, some 3,000 US Marines landed in Lebanon. Three days after that (19 July), Army Task Force (ATF) 201, consisting of the 187th Regimental Battle Group from the 24th Infantry Division began arriving at Beirut Airport. By the 25th July, over 3,000 personnel and 2,500 short tons (2,268 metric tonnes) of equipment and supplies had been airlifted into the country. Soon afterwards, an additional 3,650 troops and 45,450 measurement tons (also known as the 'freight' ton and equal to roughly 51,480 cubic metres) of cargo, carried in three transports and thirteen cargo vessels arrived. US forces had landed unopposed and quickly found themselves engaged in peacekeeping and humanitarian activities. The election of General Fuad Chehab on 31 July and his inauguration as President on 23 September seemed to stabilise the situation. American forces began their withdrawal soon after, suffering only one battle casualty and causing no civilian casualties. Despite not engaging in combat operations (thus ammunition resupply, casualty evacuation and combat loss replacement were not high on the priority list), the force still deployed quickly, had to be supported logistically and engaged in aid to the civil power and reconstruction efforts. (Wade, 1984)
As far as the USSR was concerned, moving to a position where it could project military power globally was a major undertaking. Historically, Russia had always focused on being a great power within the wider Eurasian landmass, with an emphasis on Continental Europe as that was where it interacted with the other Great Powers, such as the UK, France, Prussia / Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. It was also where threats and invasions tended to originate from, for example, 1812 (France), 1914 (Germany) and 1941 (Germany). As such, it had always focused on being able to project land power, rather than sea power, and even when it had tried to project military power using the Russian Navy, the results were not always positive (for example, the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905). This focus on land (and later air) power continued through the Second World War, where by the end of the conflict, the USSR had built up huge ground forces, having over 500 rifle divisions and around fifty tank formations, along with over 11.8 million personnel. (Urban, 1985; Art, 2009) Developments both before and during the Second World War however, had given the USSR forces that could be used for power projection. The USSR had pioneered the use of airborne forces with the first recorded use of troops landed by air in 1929 and a successful test of airborne troops on 2 August 1930 in the Moscow Military District led to the creation of the first airborne unit in the Leningrad Military District in March 1931. Continued testing and exercises throughout the 1930s led to an expansion of the force, with several countries taking note and creating their own airborne forces (for example, Germany and Italy). By 1939, the Airborne Assault Force (Vosdushno-Desantnaya Voyska or VDV) had expanded to six brigades and three regiments, and saw extensive combat during the occupation of Bessarabia, in the Far East against Japan and in the 'Winter War' with Finland. During the war, they mostly served as elite infantry (as the German Fallschirmjäger did after the operation to capture Crete) and the few airborne operations they did attempt (such as the Medzyn, Vyazma and Rzhev drops in early 1942) ended in failure. They did however fight courageously and earned the 'Guards' honorific.
After the war, the airborne force languished for about a decade but beginning in 1955 they were gradually modernised with firstly, new aircraft such as the AN-8, AN-12, IL-76, AN-22 and AN-400 transports. Secondly, the acquired new air-transportable combat vehicles such as the BMD (Boyeraya Maschina Desantnaya), a smaller, lighter version of the BMP infantry fighting vehicle, as well as the ASU-57 and ASU-85 assault guns and had the extensive use of rotary wing aircraft such as the Mil Mi and Ka series of helicopters. This modernisation began the transformation of the VDV from being a light infantry airborne force to a mechanised airborne force. By the 1980s, experience in Afghanistan had led the USSR to create air assault brigades (desantoshturmovaya brigada) attached to each Soviet 'front' (a high-level formation that consisted of two or more Soviet armies). Each was a mixture of airborne troops and helicopter assets designed to deploy quickly over distance in order to help the front commander penetrate the enemy front line or land further away in the enemy's rear areas and cause maximum disruption. During the Cold War, the VDV took part in both the invasion of Czechoslovakia (Operation Danube) in 1968 as well as the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. In addition, the USSR also had the Naval Infantry (Morskaia Pekhota), which provided it with a limited amphibious assault capability. Although not having the same capabilities as the US Marine Corps, they have a longer lineage, going back to Peter the Great (1705). They have fought well in many conflicts and reached a peak strength of 300,000 during the Second World War but were mainly used as elite infantry and disbanded soon after the end of the war. They were however, reformed in 1963 and expanded, which required building a fleet of amphibious ships to enable them to conduct landing operations and provide logistic support. This included sixteen MP-2, twenty-five MP-4, ten MP-6, eighteen MP-8 and forty-six MP-10 ships early on. Later, the 'Polnocny', 'Alligator' and 'Rupucha' classes of landing ship were built, along with LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion) such as the 'Aist', 'Uterok', 'Lebed' and 'Gus' classes of hovercraft. By 1980, the Naval Infantry had grown into a force of over 12,000 personnel, organised into five regiments of 2,500 soldiers each in three battalions, while by the end of the decade it had reached almost 20,000 personnel. (Zaloga & Loop, 1985; Glantz, 1994; Antill, 1995; Pike, 2011)
Historical Note: Logistics in Vietnam and Afghanistan
Although there were a number of conventional conflicts that occurred during this era, such as the Korean War, Arab-Israeli Wars and Indo-Pakistan Wars, the Cold War also saw a large number of what are known as 'counter-insurgencies' (a subset of what is called 'asymmetric warfare' today), which featured a local government resisting some form of armed uprising, with both sides backed by external powers. For the UK this included the campaigns in Kenya and Malaya, while for France, it was Algeria and Indochina. Both Superpowers became involved in large-scale counterinsurgency (COIN) conflicts, the United States in Southeast Asia and the USSR in Afghanistan. The US involvement in Southeast Asia had begun in the late 1950s and was slowly expanded under President John F Kennedy, although National Security Action Memorandum 263 (dated 11 October 1963) and its acceptance of the recommendations of a report by Secretary of State for Defense Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor published a few days earlier, indicate that Kennedy had changed his mind about continued American involvement. It was left to his successor, President Lyndon B Johnson to escalate the war in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964. The first official ground combat troops arrived in March 1965 and by early 1969, around 550,000 US troops were in the theatre of operations. One result of the escalation of the war in Vietnam was the downfall of Strike Command. The war that it was designed to fight had taken its resources but not the command structure as a separate command structure, known as the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam had been set up. South Vietnam did not have the infrastructure required by a modern military to conduct large scale operations, so the deployment of American forces was accompanied by a huge infrastructure building programme, costing over $4bn during the war (and equal to roughly $250bn today). This programme (using both military and civilian engineers) included the building of seven deep water ports (and several smaller ones), eight airbases with 10,000-foot (3,050m) runways, 200 smaller airfields, 200 heliports, millions of square feet of covered and refrigerated storage, over 3,150km (1,960 miles) of roads, almost 600 bridges, 1,200 schools, 175 hospitals and 263 churches, as well as many other facilities associated with a modern society (such as oil pipelines and storage tanks). The soldiers in the field had, when compared to earlier wars, lavish logistic support. Soldiers in contact with enemy forces were often provided with hot meals, and the wounded were flown out quickly by helicopter to casualty clearing stations back at base or the more serious cases moved again by air to facilities in the Pacific or USA. This speed of medical evacuation, along with advances in battlefield medicine meant that the ratio of those surviving being wounded to those that would die rose to 6:1, compared to 2.6:1 during the Second World War. Logistic support for US forces within the theatre was organised under a single command, with 30,000 military personnel and 50,000 South Vietnamese and US civilian contractors. Within Vietnam itself, the tooth-to-tail ratio was roughly two support personnel to one combat soldier but taking into account the support chain that stretched into the Pacific and back to the USA, that ratio probably increases to between four and five support personnel to every combat soldier. Communist logistics centred on the mobilised war economy of North Vietnam (which was being supplied by the USSR) and its ability to get supplies and equipment through to the Viet Cong forces in the south, although after 1967, much of the effort was shouldered by the North Vietnamese Army. In some ways, North Vietnam's economy resembled the German economy later in the Second World War but in this case, its resilience owed much to North Vietnam having a village-based agricultural economy, with only modest material needs and small industrial base. The North used the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was a long, slow-moving pipeline which could take several months to traverse, but had ample spare capacity in relation to the modest demands placed upon it. In mid-1967, US Intelligence estimated that the total non-food requirement for all communist forces in South Vietnam was as low as fifteen tons per day. Even after 1968 when the fighting increasingly involved regular North Vietnamese Army units, the requirement was only about 120 tons per day (while a single US division need five times that amount). The USSR's war in Afghanistan, although on a smaller scale than that of Vietnam (at its peak, the USSR only had around 115,000 troops in Afghanistan) had similar ethnic, political, economic and social dynamics and featured a similar high-technology vs low technology contest. (Antill, 1995; Heiser Jr, 1974; Leighton, 2010; McGrath, 2007)
The early part of the Cold War era saw extensive decolonisation and an end of empire for a number of Western countries, including the UK and France, who began focusing more on their roles within Europe and NATO. However, both countries still managed to keep some capability for operating outside of the NATO area and in the early 1980s, both countries, along with Italy (Spain followed suit in the early 1990s) established formal command structures for their out-of-area capabilities. (Rossi, 1986; Miller, 1994) For the UK, this move was underlined by the Healey Review of 1965, which sought to bring defence spending into line with what the UK could realistically afford and sought to reduce its overseas commitments in order to relieve overstretch of the armed forces. It was given added impetus by a financial crisis and the devaluation of sterling. It resulted in successive defence cuts by the Labour Government, which cancelled programmes such as the TSR-2 and CVA-01, as well as a withdrawal from Aden and an acceleration of the withdrawal from Singapore, Malaysia and the Persian Gulf. This was followed by the Mason Review of 1974-75 which identified those forces not related to NATO, home defence and the nuclear deterrent for cuts. This included the Army’s strategic reserve division (see below) and airborne capability, the RAF’s transport fleet and amphibious forces. The Nott Review of 1981 was again a move to realign the defence programme with available resources and saw major reductions to the Royal Navy’s surface fleet (although the strategic deterrent would be replaced) and a gradual running down of the remaining air and amphibious transport capability. (Willox, 1989; Taylor, 2010)
The assumptions of both the Mason and Nott Reviews were called into question with the Falklands War of 1982, where the remaining UK capability to act in an out-of-area contingency was mobilised to retake the Falkland Islands after they had been occupied by Argentine forces. (Willox, 1989; Taylor, 2010) In addition, by the time of the Falklands War, the UK was also looking at the problems associated with deploying and supporting the UK Mobile Force, which acted as a central reserve for both NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) as well as the UK MOD for deployment to overseas territories and dependencies in the event of a crisis. NATO's central reserve was known as the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (ACE Mobile Force), which was a multi-national brigade-sized formation designed to rapidly deploy anywhere within alliance territory to demonstrate alliance solidarity and resolve. It had both land and air contingents assigned to it and regularly exercised in different parts of the alliance, such as Northern Norway (Northern Express in 1964 and Arctic Express in 1976), Greece (Summer Express in 1966 and Sunshine Express in 1967), Denmark (Absalom Express in 1973) and Turkey (Marmara Express in 1966). (Maloney, 2004) The core units of the UK Mobile Force had not varied much over time, with the 3rd Infantry Division covering that role from the early 1960s until 1977 when it became 3rd Armoured Division and moved to Germany. It was this division, under Major-General Michael Carver, that was sent to Cyprus in February 1964 to reinforce the garrison there after the outbreak of inter-communal violence in December 1963 and formed the basis of the UN Peacekeeping Force. (Dodd, 1992; Heathcote, 1999) It was succeeded by 6th Field Force, which was redesignated as 1st Infantry Brigade in 1982. (British Army, 2013) Until then, the UK Mobile Force could number as many as 29,000 personnel (MOD, 1972) and even with it being downgraded to a supported brigade, still numbered over 13,000 personnel. In the event of a crisis, it would have required around 4,200 tons of supplies and 9,000 tons of ammunition to sustain it over a thirty-day period. In terms of fulfilling its NATO role, this would have required eight hundred transport flights, three Roll-On, Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) ferries, five Landing Ship Logistic (LSLs) and ten container ships. (Reed, 1985) Following the Falklands Conflict, a formal rapid deployment structure was resurrected for out-of-area contingencies, with a small Joint Force Operations Staff (JFOS) being set up as part of South Eastern District. 5th Infantry Brigade (which had served during in the South Atlantic) was redesignated 5th Airborne Brigade in November 1983, sitting alongside 3rd Commando Brigade (which had also served in the South Atlantic) and eventually 24th Airmobile Brigade, which was formed in 1988. (Dodd, 1992)
Created in October 1983 and fully operational by July 1985, France’s Force d’Action Rapide (FAR) was a response to similar pressures which had encouraged the US to create firstly, the RDJTF and then USCENTCOM. It was formed during a major reorganisation of the French Army in response to the changing nature of French defence and security perceptions regarding its role – both inside and outside of NATO – and thus its force structure, mission and employment plans have been dictated by French national requirements. As originally constructed, the force totalled some 47,000 personnel and consisted of five divisions (4th Airmobile, 6th Light Armoured, 9th Marine, 11th Parachute and 27th Mountain) along with command, combat support and combat service support elements. Just as the formations designated for rapid deployment by the UK also had potential uses within a NATO context (such as reinforcing Denmark or Norway), so too the units in the FAR could have been used either to intervene abroad or be used to reinforce French forces committed to the defence of West Germany in the event of a Warsaw Pact attack. It should be noted that the very characteristics that made these units suitable for rapid deployment would have made them less-than ideal for a major conventional clash in Central Europe, given the preponderance of armour-heavy, mechanised forces. It is likely that they would have been used (in particular the 6th Light Armoured, 9th Marine and 4th Airmobile Divisions) to counter Pact breakthroughs or Operational Manoeuvre Group (OMG) penetrations. (Wilshere & Crutchley, 1988) The French could also use an extensive network of bases abroad, which can provide logistic support and house pre-positioned equipment and are usually protected by deployed units of the French Army. There were however, still weaknesses, mainly related to air and sealift capability. Although all the divisions had been trained to deploy by sea, it seems unlikely that it could have undertaken an amphibious assault against serious opposition, given that France's amphibious warfare assets were relatively limited. The units could also deploy by air, but again at the time, the air transport fleet had limited numbers and capability, having only four DC-8F, forty-eight C-160 Transtall and twenty-five Noratlas aircraft, although numbers would eventually increase with an additional twenty-two C-160 aircraft. These numbers would not have been enough to deploy and support a major operation involving the FAR on their own. For example, France deployed 3,000 troops to Chad during Operation Manta in 1983, at a distance of around 5,000km from the home base. Around 3,500 tonnes of equipment and supplies had to be airlifted initially, while the force had a daily requirement of roughly 100 cubic metres of fuel (100,000 litres or 22,000 gallons) and thirty tones of ammunition and supplies. The initial deployment used three DC-8Fs and twenty-six C-160 Transtall aircraft and at the height of the deployment, twenty-four Boeing 747 commercial aircraft requisitioned from UTA and Air France. It was then discovered that the 747s and DC-8s could not land on N'Djamena's single runway, so they had to unload at Bangui (capital of the Central African Republic) and the C-160s then ferry it across. (de Briganti, 1984; Miller, 1994)
Historical Note: 'Out of Area' Logistics and Strategic Mobility
As already mentioned, the two Superpowers and their allies did not engage in a direct military conflict and so while this necessitated them employing military force all around the globe, the one advantage they had was that they did not have to deploy forces at a distance using lines of communication (either sea or air) that were exposed to interdiction by enemy action. For example, the USSR managed to deploy and support a force of around 25,000 troops in Cuba until the nature of the bases there was discovered by the USA. The United States deployed and sustained large conventional forces in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf, as well as deploying smaller forces to Lebanon, the Taiwanese Straits, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Grenada, while the UK deployed forces to the Falklands, Suez, Aden, Malaya, Kuwait and Cyprus, with France intervening in Chad on several occasions. The most suitable units for these sorts of operations have been small, highly mobile, well-trained and equipped task forces that could move quickly by air or sea. Airlift can provide a certain amount of support to forces in-theatre and some support may be available from local sources but for long-term sustainment, the only viable option is movement by sea. There is also the question of overseas bases and prepositioning supplies and equipment near to potential trouble spots. It has therefore been a continuing dilemma for Ministries of Defence as to where to invest the limited defence budget, as all have advantages and disadvantages:
(Kamps Jr, 1983; Leighton, 2010; Miller, 1994; Wilshere & Crutchley, 1988)