Defence Logistics in Military History – An Analysis: Part One

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

"The line between order and disorder lies in logistics…" Sun Tzu (Rainey et al, 2006, p. 72)


The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) states that "successful logistics comprises having materiel or services:

and more formally as:

"Logistics is the science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces. In its most comprehensive sense, the aspects of military operations which deal with:

This is almost identical to the NATO definition (NATO, 2003, p. Glossary-4). The United States Department of Defense (US DOD) uses the broader term of 'sustainment' to mean "the provision of logistics and personnel services to maintain operations through mission accomplishment and redeployment of the force" (DOD, 2017, p. III-42) with logistics being defined simply as "planning and executing the movement and support of forces." (DOD, 2017, p. III-43)

The term 'logistics' as we use it today, comes from the French word loger (to lodge) and hence logistique, with 'Maréchal de Logis' meaning 'Quartermaster General', who was in charge of camps, billets and marches and later for all administration. However, despite it being a relatively modern term, it is something that countries, states and civilisations have been doing for centuries, regardless of what term they have coined to describe it. (Thompson, 1991; Mangan, Lalwani & Butcher, 2008) Much like the modern US definition, the Soviet Army used the term tyl i snabzhenie (translation: rear supply) to mean 'logistics' (Trapans, 1966, p. xi) which was subordinated to a broader concept of support. In the US case it was 'sustainability', in the Soviet case, the closest translation was 'viability' (Russian: zhivuchest) which was the "capability of troops (forces), weapons, military equipment, rear installations or command and control systems to preserve or quickly restore their combat capacity (the capability to fulfil their appropriate military task)." (Donnelly, 1986, p. 9) In a similar vein, the British Army used to class it as part of 'administration', although this term was subject to different interpretations, from being a whole set of activities that were related to 'soldiering' to one which defined military administration as "the machinery through the agency of which armies are raised, organised, maintained and governed". (de Fonblanque, 1858, p. 1) Jomini (a staff officer during the Napoleonic Wars) defined it as "the art of moving armies. It comprises the order and details of marches and camps, and of quartering and supplying troops; in a word, it is the execution of strategical and tactical enterprises." (Quoted in Thompson, 1991, p. 5) The Greek word for it, logistikê, meant the 'art of calculations' but in a military context was used to refer to those aspects of both strategic and tactical operations that were connected to quantitative methods of calculation, whether related to organisation, equipment, movement or combat. Hence, we have the Latin word logista, from the Greek logistes, in other words, someone who calculates. (Kaegi, 1993; Roth, 1999) Sun Tzu also recognised the importance of logistics: ".... if the army does not have baggage and heavy equipment it will be lost; if it does not have provisions it will be lost; if it does not have stores it will be lost." (Sawyer, 1994, p. 197)

The aim of this article is to place the development of logistics into its proper historical context. While keeping in mind the NATO definition of logistics (as described above), it will seek to examine the scale and scope of logistics, as well as how it has been practised, through the ages in order to highlight both what has changed and what has stayed the same including how logistics has impacted the development of military strategy and doctrine (and visa-versa).

The Ancient World

For much of human history, mankind tended to be found gathered together in relatively small numbers, such as in family groups or small tribal communities. However, after the Neolithic Revolution in about 7,500BC, mankind started to concentrate in larger and larger groups (and therefore larger and larger settlements) due to the spread of organised agriculture. These settlements became villages, towns and eventually cities, such as Eridu, Uruk and Ur in Mesopotamia and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley (Boundless, 2016) or even empires. These though, were still fragile and tended to be based on some sort of federal system. Up until that point, the size of any armed forces that existed was relatively small and their logistic requirements modest, as they were mainly concerned with protecting their local area from marauders and barbarians or kept in reserve by the monarch or emperor because it was generally recognised that few rulers could organise, control, deploy and supply troops over anything more than around ninety kilometres:

"The king or emperor used his professional army in reserve to dominate, to cow. But everyone knew that it would take a formidable logistic exercise to employ it. As long as local elites handed over tax or tribute, their own local control would not be interfered with." (Mann, 1986, pp. 174-175)

As time passed and civilisations arose and increasingly came into contact with each other (thus establishing political relationships and rivalries), the size of armed forces began to change, along with their perceived role – they became a means to project 'power' and dominate other civilisations, in other words, a tool of a civilisation's foreign policy or alternatively, a means to resist domination. Ultimately, their logistic requirements changed as well. That such ancient armies managed to project military power, often more efficiently than the armies of the nineteenth century and without the advantages of "the railroad, mass production of supplies, standard packaging, and tinned and condensed food" means that of all their achievements, "those in the area of logistics often remain the most unappreciated by modern military planners." (Gabriel, 2007, p. 97) Such a situation was complicated by the advance of technology. The stone, stick and club gradually gave way to the spear, javelin and sword, as well as the bow and arrow. Leather armour and a wicker shield gave way to metal armour and a wooden shield. Horses, mules and oxen, along with carts, chariots and ships provided an enhanced means of transport but also additional logistic requirements – craftsmen were needed to both build and repair this technology while animals needed both fodder and water. In some cases, special logistics units were set up to obtain and train horses as cavalry mounts. For example, the musarkisus, the logistics branch of the Assyrian Army, procured and processed 3,000 horses a month, something not repeated until the Napoleonic Wars. (Thompson, 1991; Gabriel, 2007)

By 700BC the Assyrians had formed the earliest known standing army, which was equipped with chariots, weapons and armour all made from iron. At about the same time, city defences and fortifications had improved to the point at which actually besieging and capturing a city had become a major undertaking. Such a projection of military power had complex logistical requirements, for not only did the army itself have to be moved and supplied, but needed specialist equipment to undertake a siege, some of which were large, heavy items. This could include battering rams, siege towers (for example, Xenophon indicates that these towers weighed 13,920 pounds (6,314kg)) and catapults as well as a secure supply of arrows and other missiles. All armies of this period and beyond, up until the invention of the railway, were familiar with a simple problem that arose once the army was out of its own territory, where it could draw supplies from bases, depots or forts. Unless a commander had had the foresight to stockpile supplies and arrange for its transportation or arrange for supplies to be acquired from friendly (often ex-patriot) communities along the route, once an army stopped for any length of time, the available food in that area would quickly be consumed. It would thus be forced to move on, whether it wanted to or not. Such a problem was exacerbated by the growing numbers of animals used in warfare during this period – horses, mules, oxen, camels and elephants. The best time to arrive anywhere would be just after the harvest, when the entire crop would be available for requisitioning. (Thompson, 1991; Gabriel, 2007) Similar problems existed in other parts of the world, for example in Mesoamerica, the Teotihuacan Empire grew to prominence and expanded mainly because of a lack of opposition immediately surrounding it and following the path of least resistance, it spread colonies over a wide area. It was therefore, a territorially discontinuous, hegemonic empire. It could exercise military power locally, but some cities were just too far away to be conquered as the further away the city was, the fewer forces Teotihuacan could deploy against it, given existing logistical constraints. One such example was Monte Alban in the Valley of Oaxaca. Teotihuacan enjoyed a numerically superior army, had more manoeuvre formations and greater tactical reinforcement by complimentary heavy weapon units. However, the distance between the two would mean that Teotihuacan would struggle to both deploy and support a force large enough to conquer the region, especially as Monte Alban had prepared some excellent fortifications and could call upon its own empire for support. (Hassig, 1992)

Historical Note: Was the First World War really that different?
Like the wars of antiquity, the First World War saw a large number of animals play a leading part in providing logistic support to armies in the field. While the British shipped 5,253,538 tons of ammunition including 170 million shells to the Western Front, by far the largest commodity that was shipped across to Europe was oats and hay – 5,438,602 tons. (Thompson, 1991)

With the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612BC, the stage was set for the emergence of the Persian Empire from around 546BC onwards, with the ascension of Cyrus II to the throne. The Persians excelled at what's now termed 'force generation' and produced armies which were not only huge but rivalled "those of the Napoleonic era in tactical flexibility and logistical support. Persia invented the science of naval warfare and applied it with consummate skill, invented the javelin and developed the combat arm of cavalry to its full military potential." (Gabriel, 1990, p. 69) To control such a diverse empire, Darius I upon coming to power in 522BC established the satrap system of imperial administration, splitting the empire into twenty (later twenty-eight) satraps or regions, each having a governor, general and secretary of state. The empire was linked by a series of royal roads that facilitated the movement of military forces and supplies, as well as communications (including an efficient postal service) and trade, the longest of which ran from Sardis on the Mediterranean Sea to the capital city of Susa – some 1,500 miles (2,414km). They also had excellent engineers, who often travelled ahead of the army repairing roads, building bridges (including the use of inflated animal skins and pontoon boats), digging ditches and constructing piers for use by naval vessels. (Gabriel, 1990) Darius was one of the first monarchs to coin money and by keeping tax collections to a regular schedule, also employed one of the first national budgets. The Persians introduced universal military training and each satrap was required to maintain a force of a particular size, which could be 'mobilised' by the king for a particular conflict. That way the Persians could generate a force in the hundreds of thousands. Even today, supplying such a force would be a significant challenge, but the Persians managed it again and again. While on campaign they would split the commissariat in two – one part would move ahead of the army in search of water sources, camp sites and fields for grazing. The other part would travel behind the main force, transporting additional weapons, supplies and consumables, such as bows, arrows and naphtha. (Gabriel, 1990)

Historical Note: Ancient Armies - Logistic Requirements
In the Iron Age, the logistic requirements of armies grew in both volume and complexity, primarily due to the use of new technology, the size of armies fielded, the increased use of animals and their willingness to project military power away from their home base. For example, an army of 65,000 troops (roughly the size of force Alexander initially fielded) needed 195,000 pounds (88,450kg) per day to meet the soldiers' minimum nutritional requirements and 375,000 pounds (170,097kg) of forage a day for the animals; A Roman army of around eight legions (approximately 40,000 troops) required 1,600 blacksmiths and craftsmen to maintain its equipment, as well as 21,000 gallons of water per day for the soldiers, while the animals required another 158,000 gallons of water; An Indian army from the Mahabharata era (around 400BC) had 6,561 chariot horses and 19,683 cavalry horses to feed and water, while Dariius III had 40,000 cavalry at Arbela and Alexander had 31,500 Macedonian and mercenary cavalry at Hydaspes. (Gabriel, 2007)

Logistics in classical Greek warfare was very much like that encountered in other parts of the ancient world. The ability of the city states to project power far afield was relatively limited, with the largest force being projected in probably being the 11,500 hoplites that Sparta sent to aid Doris in 457BC. Methods of transportation were limited to marching, travelling on horseback or being moved by sea. Armies, accompanied by camp followers and dependents, used a variety of means to transport supplies, including the use of wagons, pack animals and baggage handlers, all of whom added to the logistic requirements of the army. Hoplites were usually accompanied by a soldier-servant, while Spartans had a helot, who could carry some of the equipment, such as the large shield (hence the term, shield bearer). Such baggage handlers could move at least as quickly as the soldiers and move through terrain that carts, wagons and (to a lesser extent) animals could not but were much more limited in their carrying capacity – 100lbs (45kg) as opposed to between 250lbs (113kg) and 400lbs (181kg) depending on the animal, more for a wagon). In most cases though, this doesn't seem to have been a problem, as Greece seems to have been well-catered for in terms of roads usable by carts and wagons, with the Spartans being able to get wagons to Mantineria and Argos, while the Corinthians were supplied by wagon on their way to Phleious. Some commanders even went so far as to use troops that were on punishment duty to move ahead of the main force and make sure the roads were in good repair. Along with taking a certain amount of supplies with them, the army could also acquire them from friendly towns and villages (for example, purchasing them at local markets), confiscate them from enemy settlements or alternatively forage in the surrounding countryside. (Lazenby, 1994; Lendon, 2010)

Both Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander, advanced the art of logistics in the ancient world. Philip realised that large numbers of pack animals and carts to carry baggage for both the troops and their dependants actually limited mobility and restricted the army to moving across terrain that would provide suitable fodder for the number of animals it had. He made his soldiers carry their own equipment as well as some rations and banned dependants. Alexander followed his example. Other armies during this period still used large baggage trains to ease their soldiers' loads. The load carried by the Macedonians only slightly reduced the range of their daily marches, plus the reduced number of animals and carts meant a reduction in the fodder they had to find, a reduction in the number of people involved with caring for the animals and cart drivers, fewer carts lessened the difficulty in getting them over rough terrain and the need for wood (to make spare parts). Alexander was however "more lenient than his father over the question of women accompanying his army; which was sensible in view of the length of time his soldiers were away from home." (Thompson, 1991, p. 12) Alexander also made extensive use of his fleet to provide logistic support. A ship of that time could carry around 400 tons (406,419kg) of supplies, whereas a pack animal for example, could carry around 250lbs (113kg) but would eat 20lbs (9kg) of fodder a day, thus consuming its own load in just over ten days. (Engels, 1992, pp. 20, 26) This then, was the primary limitation on overland transportation. Alexander was aware of this as when deciding to winter with his army, he would choose a location with plenty of land available to be cultivated and close to a navigable river or ocean harbour.

"Where these criteria could not be fulfilled (for example, in Gordion, Persis and Sogdiana), he will divide his army into smaller units which would winter in separate locations. Even Tarsus and Babylon …. were equipped with river- and sea-transport facilities." (Engels, 1992, p. 61)

Alexander would even use the logistic weaknesses of his enemies' warships against them. While merchant vessels could carry substantial loads, warships of the ancient world were

"like 'glorified racing eights' and had so little room on board in which to store provisions that they were forced to remain in daily touch with a land base. Meals could not be cooked on the move and fresh water had to be collected by putting into a nearby river-mouth. Sharp as ever, Alexander has anticipated them and sent several units by land to beat them off." (Fox, 2004, p. 133)

Historical Note: Sea-Based Logistics: A Force Multiplier
In the ancient world, the lack of endurance of fighting ships was inherent in their design, meaning that they were more difficult to sustain than land forces. The broader beamed, more seaworthy merchant vessels could carry enough provisions to support their crews but were unsuitable for the tactics of the time. It wasn't until the Europeans put artillery aboard the "stout, broad-beamed, deep-bottomed merchantmen of the early sixteenth century AD, thus combining fighting and logistic capability in one vessel, that ships became instruments of remarkable endurance and hitting power. They reached the pinnacle of their logistical potential in the Napoleonic Wars." (Thompson, 1991, p. 17) In the mid-nineteenth century, navies started to adopt steam power and coal as fuel, which limited their endurance, but despite the need for coaling stations, warships could still carry food, water, fuel, and ammunition for great distances and at a greater speed than a horse (the main motive power for land forces) and so had greater logistical independence than armies. The move to oil increased range by around forty percent, due to it being a better energy source. World War II saw the emergence of the fleet train and underway replenishment, meaning that ships could stay at sea for (literally) years, with steadily longer intervals between scheduled maintenance periods. (Thompson, 1991)

Both the benefits and risks of Alexander's use of a merchant fleet for logistic support are highlighted at the end of his campaign in India. He planned to march from Patala on the Indus (the location of which is debated, one possibility being the current city of Thatta, around sixty-four miles (103km) east of Karachi) to Pasni on the coast of the Makran in Baluchistan. Alexander had collected some four months' worth of provisions (around 52,600 tons) for this march, assuming he used the fleet to transport it, rather than take it overland, as the number of animals necessary to carry that amount of supplies would mean that the army would have consumed it in about nine days. The march was planned as a joint land-sea operation, with the fleet providing the army with supplies, and the army providing the fleet with water, as it was timed to coincide with the monsoons in mid-July. With the rivers in the area (such as the Hab, Shandi Khor and Dasht) swollen by the rain, there would be little need to carry huge amounts of water with the army. Alexander set off as planned in mid-July with an army of 87,000 infantry, 18,000 cavalry and possibly as many as 52,000 followers but the monsoon, which provided the much needed water, also stopped the ships from sailing until late October and so they failed to arrive off the coast as planned. Alexander could not stay where he was as the area had been devastated, neither could he return to Patala, a distance of almost 300 miles (482km), again over terrain that was chiefly desert and had been thoroughly stripped by the army. He took the only decision he could and travelled through Gedrosia (where some supplies were available) and across the Kolwa Depression where he lost three-quarters of the army, eventually arriving at Turbat. (Engels, 1992)

Alexander's strategy and his grasp of the importance of logistics was key to his success, indeed it allowed him to conduct the longest military campaign in history. By the time he had made it to the river Beas in India (the farthest point reached by his army), his soldiers had marched

"11,250 miles in eight years, and there were three more years and many miles of marching before the campaign ended. Success depended on the ability of his army to move fast by depending on comparatively few animals, the use of the sea wherever possible, and last, but not least, good logistic intelligence." (Thompson, 1991, p. 16)

Broadly, the logistics practised by the legions of Rome did not differ greatly from that of their predecessors. Strategically, during the early Republic Roman forces were not as dependent on an organised logistics system as they were small and usually deployed in areas close to Rome itself or in allied territory. Supplies could be requisitioned from the local population, shipped the relatively short distances overland or the small numbers of troops involved allowed extensive foraging. Eventually however, Rome found itself having to conduct campaigns further and further afield away from its home base (Italy) and so it was with the Second Punic War (218-202BC) that they developed a sophisticated logistics system. On top of that, the number of soldiers under arms continued to expand until by the end of the Republican period, armies of around 100,000 were common, thus making it difficult for those armies to stay in one area for more than a short time and be able to supply itself, either by requisition or foraging. Added to the problems of distance and troop numbers was the problem that campaigns often took place in theatres that were less than ideally suited to providing logistic support to a large armed force, such as Greece which was poor in terms of the availability of food. In addition, while the Republic’s early wars were national in character (the aim being to crush an enemy of the state), many of the later wars were civil wars and so the strategic objective (and the operational doctrines that followed) became one of trying to force the enemy to surrender rather than destroying them, thereby leaving their forces intact and able to be ‘recruited’. This tended to emphasise wars of strategic movement and positioning, rather than direct frontal assaults, requiring an armed force that was highly mobile and able to supply itself at a distance, without being overly dependent on land-based supply routes, as these could be cut by enemy cavalry. Civil war generals also had to take account of the possibility that they would have to come back and secure their recruitment areas again once the campaign was over. Therefore over time, the sea, as a medium by which Rome could both deploy a large armed force at great distance from the home base (i.e. project military power) and keep that force supplied, gained in importance (Roth, 1999; Rabaut, 1962) and that the "Romans were well aware that moving supplies by ship was far less expensive and much faster than conveying them by land." (Roth, 1999, p. 190) As the Republic transitioned to the Empire, the practise of raising armies specifically for each campaign and supporting them from a central location proved unsustainable and so with the establishment of a (widely dispersed) standing army, each province became responsible for the support of its garrison. If an expeditionary operation needed to be undertaken, the provinces nearest would be made responsible for collecting the required supplies and then an operational base (stativa) would be chosen (the Romans preferred to use cities but would create one from scratch if need be), which would link the army in the field with its strategic base or even the homeland.

Tactically, the length and speed of an army moving in column depended partly on its size and composition, but also on the size of its baggage train (Latin: impedimenta) and the amount of supplies carried. There were four kinds: a troop train (attached to an individual unit), an army train (carrying supplies and equipment common to the entire force), an officers' train (carrying their personal equipment) and a siege train. The estimates on the number of pack animals accompanying a legion vary widely. Most realistic estimates place the number of pack animals between 1,000 and 1,500. Assuming two per squad, this would equal twenty per century for a total of 1,200 for the legion. Adding another sixty for the cavalry, a similar number for the centurions and seventy spares, equates to a total of 1,400 animals, or one animal per 3.4 men. (Roth, 1999) A large, heavy baggage train would slow the army down, due to the number of animals and wagons used and the requirement to find large amounts of fodder for them on a regular basis. Wagons (plaustra), while being able to carry more, also limited the army to certain types of terrain. Roman commanders regularly tried to limit the baggage train in order to speed the army’s movement, much like Alexander:

“In order to reduce the size of the baggage train, which was greatly impeding the march of his army, Gaius Marius had his soldiers fasten their kit and rations in bundles and hang them on forked poles to make the burden manageable, and resting easy. This is the origin of the expression ‘Marius’ Mules’. (Gilliver, 2001, pp. 55, 57)

"The Romans were well aware of the importance of reducing the size of the trains. Livy notes that the train of Manlius Vulso, returning from the Galatian campaign of 189BC was so long and loaded with booty that it managed to march only 5 miles a day." (Roth, 1999, p. 81)

There were however some differences in Roman Army logistics practice when compared to other armies of the time, the main one being that each squad of eight men (Latin: contubernium) was expected to prepare and cook their meals from issued rations, rather than relying on a central kitchen (as many modern armies do) or the individual soldier purchasing food, as practised by the Greek hoplites. They would also on occasion use prepared rations, when the tactical situation meant that stopping to forage for wood and light camp fires was impractical. Whatever the exact makeup of the Roman ration, it was perfectly adequate in terms of both quantity and quality to enable the legionary to remain well-fed, by historical standards. (Roth, 1999) Roman soldiers carried extra equipment anyway, along with their weapons and armour. Some carried additional items such as “a saw, basket, axe, pick, strap, billhook and chain, as well as three days’ rations.” (Gilliver, 2001, p. 57) Unlike the Ancient Greeks, the Romans built temporary camps at the end of each day’s march (known as castrum) and much of the extra equipment that the soldiers carried would have gone into building it. Of course, if the army had to take heavier pieces of equipment and weapons, such as artillery or siege engines, then there was no easy way around having to use a substantial baggage train. However, a general would sometimes partially abandon the baggage train in order to speed up operations. Metellus left part of his baggage train behind and loaded the pack animals with water so that his army could cross fifty miles of desert quickly, to capture the town of Thala by surprise during the Jugurthine War (112-106BC). His son used the same tactic when he marched an army (with only five days’ supplies) to take the Spanish town of Langbrigae during the Sertorian War (80-72BC). Cestius Gallus abandoned his baggage train altogether to move quicker, during his retreat at the start of the Jewish revolt in AD66. Of course, while abandoning your baggage train (at least temporarily) could confer tactical advantages, there were also risks involved, especially those associated with being separated from your main line of supply. Writers of the time, including Vegetius, drew attention to the importance of supply and of making preparations before a campaign started, including requisitioning fodder, grain and other provisions from the local area and storing them in well-fortified bases or depots. After the campaign had started, the army could seek support from allied tribes (although Onasander warned against staying too long in an allied territory as the army would quickly consume all the food available), forcibly take supplies from an enemy population or forage. (Gilliver, 2001)

The Middle Ages

Originally, the Byzantines did not have a specific word for logistics – they did not see logistics as a distinct branch of the military art with its own literature (Kaegi, 1993), but it was the Byzantine emperor Leo the Wise who first used the term in the sense of the science of supplying and army in the tenth century. (Roth, 1999, p. 1) Byzantium was renamed Constantinople by Emperor Constantine I in AD330 and today is known as Istanbul. The area under its control, formerly the Eastern Roman Empire, became known as the Byzantine Empire. For over a thousand years, it provided a bulwark against the eastern enemies of Christian Europe, a task helped by the fact that the Byzantines were heirs to the Roman Empire and their army was the most militarily efficient force in the world at that time. Undoubtedly, the surviving records of earlier (Roman) campaigns helped the Byzantines in finding their own solutions to the logistical problems inherent in defending their territory, a task helped by their broadly defensive strategic outlook. As Clausewitz was to note many centuries later, it is generally easier to supply an army on the defensive, that it is in attack, assuming proper preparations are made. Communications are both faster and easier, forces are able to be moved around using internal means of transportation (roads, rivers, canals) and be redeployed to different bases when necessary. One major advantage the Byzantines had was domination of the sea lanes in the Dardanelles, Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara as well as having a fleet that could sail to their possessions in Italy, the Balkans, the Crimea, Egypt and Anatolia, as well as utilise navigable rivers such as the Nile and Danube. It is that degree of organisation and professional skill that enabled them to turn back the Muslim invasion during the early eighth century and defend the empire for almost another four hundred years, even after a Byzantine army was defeated by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikurt in 1071, resulting in the loss of Anatolia. (Kaegi, 1993, Thompson, 1991)

However, they still faced challenges, the main problem being one of distance. Ultimately, the Byzantine Empire was a vast land-based power with long lines of communication with its frontiers and outlying territorial possessions. The length of the supply routes to the frontier with the Muslims was 600 to 800km (370 to 500 miles) long, and to the Armenian frontier it was around 1,300km (800 miles) long. Even assuming an average speed of thirty miles a day, it can be seen that it would take quite a long time for a force to travel from the capital to a frontier region. Moreover, several of the frontier regions involved special logistical challenges, whether due to the nature of the external threat, the length of the frontier, the need to garrison and supply large numbers of Byzantine troops for either positional or mobile warfare, or the inability of that region to supply certain types of goods or equipment. These included Upper Mesopotamia and Syria (where food and wood were in short supply), the Danube (inadequate supplies of food, weapons, mounts and clothing) and Italy (problems with procuring soldiers' pay and food due to corruption and the distance from Constantinople). The Byzantine logistic system had to operate in an environment of a slow but steady shrinking population, financial base and technical knowledge. Added to that, there was little drive for innovation and no revolution in tactics, operations or logistics. The Empire's inherent conservatism worked against the kind of inquiry and readiness to adapt to change that could ensure long-term survival. Early on, the Byzantines could utilise the late Roman military infrastructure but over time, it proved too costly to maintain and repair when faced with declining human and material resources. They had to modify processes, procedures and institutions already adapted from their Roman military heritage. This relative lack of resources meant that the Byzantines could not logistically support the use of extensive fortifications with large garrisons and so doctrinally had to focus on the use of small-scale defences with more mobile, high quality forces that could react to crises. It was almost impossible for the Byzantine Empire to conduct warfare on the same scale as the fourth century Roman Empire. Roman logistics gradually gave way to Byzantine logistics as the "eastern provinces experienced a scaling down of size of armies and their supplies from the fifth through the beginning of the seventh century, in accordance with these changing realities." (Kaegi, 1993, p. 43)

While the fall of Constantinople in 1453 marks the end of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, the end of the Western Roman Empire came almost 1,000 years earlier with the expulsion of Romulus Augustulus from Ravenna (the capital at the time) in AD476 by Odoacer, a soldier who was leading a revolt by Herulian, Rugian and Scirian troops. While the traditional picture of what happened over the next five centuries in one that involves hordes of barbarians rampaging at will with the art of warfare and logistics reduced to that of plunder and pillage, this fails to tell the whole story. There were indeed invasions by a number of different groups including the Muslims, the Magyars and the Vikings which caused problems right across Western Europe but there were also large scale military projects such as Offa's Dyke, the effort to build a Rhine-Danube canal and the Danevirke sustained by governments over long periods of time, as well as Charlemagne's thirty-year war in Saxony and William of Normandy's conquest of England that suggest states were still able to develop sophisticated logistics systems able to support complex grand strategies. One reason for this was that after the Fall of Rome, the military art and science of Western Europe still had access to, and was dominated by, the Roman military infrastructure (imperial roads, bridges, fortifications and ports) that was built up in the later period of the Empire (AD275-375). Principle among these were the urbes (singular: urbs), also known as the civitates (singular: civitas), which were large, fortified district centres. But there were also many smaller forts, camps, strongholds and fortresses, known as castra and castella, which were kept in use and maintained throughout the period. While the urbes varied greatly in size, shape, population and wealth, they shared a number of similar defensive characteristics. The first of these being the height (ten metres), thickness (five-to-six metres at the base) and depth of the wall underground (five-to-six metres) and secondly, the use of towers to strengthen the wall, usually positioned at twenty-metre intervals and sometimes protruding out from the wall as much as six metres. Their semi-circular design made them more resistant to battering rams while their protrusion from the wall enabled the defenders to have overlapping fields of fire. In addition, fortified gates and gate towers guarded the more vulnerable entrance ways, and many urbes were fully or partially protected by moats. (Bachrach, 1993)

The degree to which the successor states to the Western Roman Empire valued these defensive fortifications is shown by the way they invested valuable time, manpower and material resources in putting together the logistic infrastructure so that they could both maintain and, in some cases, improve these late imperial fortifications. The civitas remained the basic unit of local government and in many cases, the urbes became the capital for the duke or count whose territory it was. Most thus became secure centres of civil administration and in the case of Spain (Visigoth), Gaul (Frankish), Italy (Ostrogothic-Lombard) and Britain (Anglo-Saxon) became the centre for military administration as well. Such a system therefore needed both administrative officials and technical specialists to be employed on a permanent basis as the fortifications needed regular maintenance. Such a system often placed a considerable tax burden on the local population and in order to limit this burden, rulers would often appeal to civic spirit and encourage local artisans to work on the fortifications for the good of the community as a whole. In some instances, the defences were even improved, for example, in the late sixth century Mummolus (a military officer of Romano-Gallic origins in the army of the Frankish king who ruled Burgundy) noticed that part of the urbs of Avignon was undefended by the River Rhone and so had a channel dug to protect that part of the wall that was exposed. As well as urbes being maintained and even upgraded, large numbers of smaller forts (castra, castella, refugia, podia and rochae) and other military installations remained in use and sometimes new ones built, for example, Bishop Desiderius of Cahors oversaw the construction of a fortified ecclesiastical enclave near the town as well as fortifying churches, large houses, gates and towers. Another example of using old fortifications (in this case both Celtic and Roman) and building new ones is Alfred the Great of Wessex in his use of the Roman walled city of Winchester, the Iron Age forts at Chisbury and constructing new fortifications at Eshing. Many of the older strongholds were significantly repaired, restored or modified in a significant outlay of time, material and manpower. Other great building works include the Danevirke, Offa's Dyke and the attempt to build a Rhine-Danube canal. The Danevirke was a huge earthen rampart that split the Jutland peninsula off from the rest of the continent, the first and most impressive phase of which was completed in AD737. Offa, a contemporary of Charlemagne and King of Mercia, built an earthen rampart (now known as Offa's Dyke) twenty-five feet high that was topped with either a stone wall or wooden palisade, separating Wales from England. It is almost 150 miles in length and stretched from the Severn Estuary in the south to Basingwerk on the River Dee in the North. Although ultimately, Charlemagne's efforts to build a canal connecting both the Rhine and the Danube failed (the North Sea and Black Sea would not be linked until 1846 with the efforts of King Ludwig I of Bavaria), what is important is that "he had the imagination, logistic infrastructure, and skilled engineers to undertake a task which modern specialists agree was within his grasp." (Bachrach, 1993, p. 67)

Historical Note: Charlemagne and the Rhine-Danube Canal
During the autumn of AD793, Charlemagne put at least 6,000 workers on a project to dig a carefully surveyed canal that aimed to connect the Rezat, a small navigable river which was part of the Regnitz-Main-Rhine river chain, with another small river, the Altmühl, which was a tributary of the Danube, located near Weissenburg and equidistant between the old Roman cities of Regensburg and Augsburg. It was designed to be around 1,400m in length, thirty metres in width and up to six metres deep. The work force was expected to move over 780,000 cubic metres of earth at a rate of 0.3 cubic metres per man hour. It has been suggested that the worksite would have had to be supplied with between 1,200 – 1,500 tons of grain, between 1,000 – 1,200 oxen and 2,000 – 3,000 pigs in order to provide around 4,000 calories a day to each worker over the ten-week period of the project. (Bachrach, 1993)

Charlemagne, in establishing a system of calling men to arms under local nobles, encouraged the creation of feudalism in Western Europe. He understood very well, the limitations of using pack animals, as well as horse or ox driven wagons and carts while on campaign. The poor logistics of Frankish armies up to that time meant they could not project military force very far and usually dispersed after only a short period. Charlemagne developed a logistics system of that included a supply train that held enough supplies and equipment for several weeks campaigning, fortified depots along the line of march and lines of supply that were protected by strongholds in frontier areas (burgs). This enabled him to campaign for extended periods of time up to 1,000 miles from the centre of France and maintain armies in the field or in a siege during the winter, a feat almost unknown since the end of the Western Roman Empire. (Thompson, 1991; Bachrach, 1993) The same could be said for the Saxons. King Henry I however, made a concerted effort to protect Saxony from the Magyars with "a defense in depth based upon strategically located strongholds and reinforced with a mobile field force". (Bachrach, 1993, p. 64) He attempted to

"build a coherent system of fortifications in Saxony, which had both regular garrisons and an efficient system of supply based upon service by landholders and a tax on their produce, has more than a passing resemblance to the efforts made in contemporary Anglo-Saxon England by Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder." (Bachrach, 1993, p. 64)

An example of the projection of military force away from the home base during the Middle Ages is the Norman conquest of England. William of Normandy commanded an army with around 14,000 men with between 2,000 and 3,000 high quality horses. For the invasion, it was encamped on a 280-acre site on the shores of the Gulf of Dives. During the month of August 1066, the force required around 4,000 tons of foodstuffs. Each day, the men required twenty-eight tons of un-milled wheat grain and 14,000 gallons of clean water, assuming they only had cold mush and water. The horses required between twelve and eighteen tons of grain, between thirteen and twenty tons of hay, between four and five tons of straw and between 20,000 and 30,000 gallons of fresh water. There were however additional requirements to encamp such a force, including 36,000 calf skins for tents, 8,000 to 12,000 horseshoes and at least 75,000 nails (around eight tons of worked iron), along with at least ten blacksmiths (assuming each worked ten hours a day, every day). Finally, someone had to clear between two and three million pounds of horse manure from the site during the army's stay. For the actual invasion, William would need a fleet of ships able to carry a large number of valuable warhorses in battle ready condition across the English Channel, something unseen since the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar in 54BC. With the aid of contacts in southern Italy and Sicily, William obtained the designs for Byzantine transports capable of moving warhorses and commissioned naval architects to begin building. In all, William built around 700 ships, including 200 horse transports in eight months, as well as recruiting the army, the payment and provisioning of the army and its movement to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and encampment, as well as the crossing itself and operations on English soil, including the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. (Bachrach, 1993)

Another example is the Crusades. An appeal by Emperor Alexius of the Byzantine Empire to the Pope in 1095 for help in clearing Anatolia of Turks was made in the hope that a force of a few thousand mercenaries might be sent. Instead, things quickly escalated, and the result was a series of military expeditions to the Middle East which led, eventually, to a massive leap forward in the military art practised in Western Europe. Although the First Crusade (1096-1099) resulted in the capture of Jerusalem, it still holds many lessons about the conduct of a campaign on foreign shores. The main contingents of the force of around 50,000 personnel came from Normandy, France, England, Sicily, Germany and Flanders, all of whom had a variety of different motivations for going. Grouped under ten leaders, it was undisciplined and at times, no better than a rabble, with friction between the different factions and distrust of the Byzantines, a feeling that was returned. The Crusaders were not interested in fighting to regain Byzantine lands, and the Byzantines were not interested in retaking Jerusalem. The lack of an organised supply system almost caused it to fail twice. While trying to capture Antioch, the Crusaders almost starved, only being saved by the unexpected arrival of small English and Pisan fleets. After taking the city, they were besieged in their turn and cut off from the ports, almost starved a second time. However, the discovery of a holy relic inspired them, and they sortied from the city and defeated the enemy force. The following year saw a reduced army move to retake Jerusalem. Initially, it seemed as if they had learnt the logistic lessons of the previous year. There was far less friction in the army and much better cooperation between the national contingents. They also kept close to the coast and had the Pisan fleet close by to give logistical support. Until of course, they turned inland towards Jerusalem. They found that they were too few in number to besiege the city properly, the Governor of Jerusalem had moved all the livestock in the local area into the city and poisoned many of the wells, while the supply lines to Jaffa were thirty miles in length and so could not be kept secure continuously. With time not on their side, they mounted an assault without siege weapons and while they overran the outer walls, they could not breach the inner ones and had to withdraw. Things started to look up with the arrival of the English and Genoese fleets at Jaffa. The Crusaders advanced towards Jerusalem once again but moving the army and its now large baggage train took time, as did trying to source suitable timber with which to build siege engines, with the nearest source being some wooded hills near Nablus around fifty miles away. Eventually, three large siege towers and a quantity of scaling ladders were built but things were looking desperate once again. The Crusaders were sending parties as far as the River Jordan to find water, but they rarely brought back enough to satisfy all their requirements and so animals started to die and then they received word that a large Egyptian force was on the way to relieve the city. Desperation obviously bred courage and conviction. After a sustained assault, beginning at night on 13 July 1099, they took Jerusalem two days later. (Thompson, 1991)

The second Crusade (1147-1149) is perhaps a prime example of how not to conduct a campaign, especially from a logistic point of view. Two armies were involved, a German army under Emperor Conrad III and a French army under King Louis VII, which set out to recover Edessa. The German army arrived first and upset the local inhabitants by pillaging. The French army arrived second, and while it behaved much better, found that the locals had been so alienated that they hid what little food was left. When they arrived in Constantinople, relations between the two armies failed to improve, especially when the Germans refused to sell any of the food they had collected to the French. Both armies and the Byzantines all disliked and distrusted each other. This hostility caused Conrad to march across Anatolia first. Not only did he split from Louis, but he also split his army in two, one group going through Central Anatolia, the other via the coast. Both groups were individually routed by the Turks, with few survivors (which included Conrad) making it back. Louis initially made good progress but his army too, was badly mauled by the Turks at Laodicea. Now desperately short of food, Louis retreated to Attalia but found that the local population too was short of food and resented the Crusaders’ presence, understandably as the Turks had followed them and then besieged the city. Louis was forced to evacuate the city, with he and his cavalry being transported in two successive lifts. His infantry however, were left to make their own way overland back to Antioch and few survived this example of poor leadership and administrative decision making. The final phase of the second Crusade was no better, both in terms of tactics and logistics than what had gone before. Conrad and Louis, now joined by Baldwin of Jerusalem, decided to lay siege to Damascus against advice. Not only did they set their siege lines against the strongest part of the city’s defences but placed their camp in an area where was little water. Unsurprisingly, the siege failed. (Thompson, 1991)

The third Crusade occurred forty years later (1189-1192), after the defeat of the Christian armies at Hattin and the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. This expedition was a far better managed than its predecessors and led by three kings, two of whom were both experienced and able solders – King Richard I (England) and King Frederick I (Germany). The other monarch was King Philip II of France. Frederick was first in theatre, and leading his through Anatolia, managed to rout the Turks and capture Iconium. Disaster then struck. Frederick drowned and his son, not being of the same ability as his father, was defeated by a Turkish counterattack and lost most of his men. A year later, Philip and then Richard arrived at Acre, where the Christian armies had been besieging the city for almost two years. Assuming command of the entire force, Richard managed to quickly boost morale and after successfully beating off relief attempts by Saladin, the city surrendered. After Philip left for France, Richard set out for Jerusalem. Logistical arrangements were far superior to what had gone before with Richard marching along the coast to maintain contact with his fleet, he kept his marches short to conserve the strength of his men and even organised a laundry service to provide clean clothes. After defeating Saladin at Arsuf, he set out for Jerusalem, pausing at Jaffa. Unfortunately, the winter rains caught up with them and his men suffered. Recognising this, he turned around and marched back to Ascalon on the coast. The following spring, he set out once again, but this time Saladin employed 'scorched earth' tactics as he retreated, destroying crops, grazing areas and poisoning wells. Because of the difficulty in foraging for supplies, Richard eventually halted at Beit-Nuba, concluding that he could not risk his army by besieging Jerusalem and even if he had done so and captured it, it was unlikely the Christian army would have been able to hold it after his return to England, a move becoming ever more urgent, given his brother John's actions in his absence. With his logistic situation improved by the capture of a large resupply caravan (which he led personally), he withdrew to Acre, only to find out that Saladin had captured Jaffa with a surprise attack. Reacting quickly, he despatched most of his army overland, while taking a small force by sea. Although initially thinking it was a lost cause, a priest swam out to Richard's ship and explained that there were defenders still in the Citadel but who could not hold out for long. Richard led his small force (fifty-four knights, a few hundred infantrymen and around 2,000 Genoese and Pisan crossbowmen) straight into the city and routed Saladin's men, helped by a large number of prisoners who seized their weapons upon seeing the Turks' disarray. He even managed to beat off a hastily arranged counterattack by Saladin. (Thompson, 1991)

The Crusades demonstrate both the best and worst of the Western military art during the Middle Ages. It has been shown that, despite the commonly held belief that Western Europe descended into an era of anarchy and barbarism after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there were campaigns fought and projects undertaken that point to rulers being able to utilise sophisticated logistics systems. It has also been shown that in some cases, lessons needed to be re-learnt from the time of Alexander. This was firstly, the importance of logistics generally, and secondly, to plan logistics properly or fail.

The Early Modern Era

There seems to be a relative continuity between the logistics problems of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the Middle Ages. While the increased use of guns (both artillery and small arms) might be thought to have made a substantial difference, the evidence suggests otherwise. Artillery was not expected to fire more than five or six rounds a day and so there was little need for a huge supply of ammunition. While the size of armies did increase, it wasn't out of all proportion to those found in the Middle Ages. For example, the Prussian Army of the late seventeenth century was no larger than the force deployed by Edward I in Wales between 1294 and 1295, while Marlborough's army, which marched from the River Rhine to the Danube in 1704, was of a similar size. The main cause for concern tended to be how to keep the army in the field and support it, rather than fighting the enemy. The difficulties that were caused by inadequate logistics were the same, regardless of whether it was Henry III's failure to ensure adequate provisions for his army in North Wales in 1245, the failure of Edward II's expedition to Scotland in 1322 due to Flemish pirates preventing his supply ships from reaching him, having too few cooks and bakers during the Angevin invasion of Normandy in 1136, the inability of Spain to put down the revolt of the Low Countries (1567-1659), the British defeat in the American War of Independence (1775-1783) or Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. (Prestwich, 1996; Thompson, 1991)

Starting in 1566-7, the Spanish faced a rebellion in the seventeen territories of the Low Countries, which included modern day Belgium and the Netherlands. This was mainly over taxation, political restrictions and religious repression (the provinces in the north had generally become more Protestant since the beginning of the sixteenth century). Although the Spanish initially repressed the revolt, the capture of Brielle in 1572 rekindled the conflict and over the next century, the Dutch won their independence. How could a local rebellion defeat what at the time, was a global empire with significant military forces? Wars continued to be fought for similar reasons to those in the Middle Ages and were still viewed as the 'sport of kings'. However, Spain had failed to realise (as did many countries during the sixteenth century) that although logistic problems remained similar, the actual nature of warfare had changed, both in scale (number of troops employed) and duration (length of hostilities). There was resistance in official circles to the idea that war required durable institutions and long-range planning. There was no organisation of regular leave for the frontline troops, any consideration of employing short-term military service (soldiers were still employed until demobilisation) and the cost of using military force was increasing beyond all expectation. As a result, the new warfare demanded a new approach to employing it. That the Spanish had not yet fully grasped the changing situation was signified by their uncertainty as to how far they would go, strategically, in order to achieve victory. For example, one option that was seriously considered in 1574 was to open the dykes and flood much of Holland and Zealand – many areas lay below sea-level. Once the Spanish had rejected this option (some areas loyal to the crown would have been affected), the only other option was to put down the rebellion by conventional means which, given the nature of warfare at the time and the geography of the area, was not a task to be taken lightly. (Parker, 1972) Indeed, in 1574 the Captain-General lamented

"There would not be time or money enough in the world to reduce by force the twenty-four towns which have rebelled in Holland, if we are to spend as long in reducing each one of them as we have taken over similar ones so far." (Parker, 1972, p. 135)

Some ministers prophesised that "To conquer [the rebellious provinces] by force is to talk of war without end." (Parker, 1972, p. 135) However, these voices were too few, as were those who could conceive that a war such as this could go forever and be too expensive for the treasury to bear. The Army of Flanders was thus ordered to maintain maximum military pressure on the Dutch, whatever the cost, until the rebellion was crushed. Instead of demobilising the army for the winter, recruiting continued, thus the debts continued to mount. The Army estimated that it was receiving around 600,000 florins a month from both Spain and the Netherlands, while the forces deployed cost around 1,200,000 florins a month to maintain. By August 1573, the Army owed their soldiers approximately 7.5 million florins. Spain was in a deadlock – peace without achieving a total victory was ideologically impossible, however such a victory was militarily impossible. By July 1576, the debt to the soldiers had increased to 17.5 million florins. Looking at it another way, between 1572 and 1576 the crown of Castile's expenditure totalled at least 80 million florins, yet its total revenues for these five years would not have exceeded 60 million.

"The deficit of 20 million florins corresponds exactly to Spanish expenditure in the Low Countries: between 1572 and 1576 the paymaster-general of the Army in Flanders received 20,904,850 florins from Spain. It may therefore be claimed with justice that the crisis of the Castilian treasury in the 1570s was caused by the Low Countries' Wars." (Parker, 1972, p. 137)

In August 1576, the entire Army of Flanders dissolved and in September, Philip II declared himself bankrupt and suspended all payments from the treasury. While hostilities were to continue (sporadically) for another seventy years, it was this first decade that should have shown the Spanish that putting down the rebellion was going to be an extremely difficult task. It was this inability to properly resource an army projected at distance from the homeland in what would prove to be a long-term ongoing conflict that ultimately led to the Spanish defeat. (Parker, 1972)

The British defeat in the American War of Independence highlighted many problems within the logistics system of the army at that time. Individually, these would not have had a major impact but cumulatively, led to defeat when the additional pressure of several successive overseas conflicts was placed on the system. These problems included (Tokar, 1999; Arthur Bowler, 1975):


That the British were able to correct many of the problems before the end of the war is to their credit, but what was done came too late to affect the outcome. The system’s internal problems emanated from having three separate bureaucracies supporting the army abroad. These were the Treasury Department, the Navy Board and the Ordnance Board. While there was a division of responsibility, it was not rigidly enforced and a certain amount of duplication of effort occurred. In theory, the Treasury Department had overall responsibility for supplying the army in North America as well as responsibility for food supplies. The Navy Board was responsible for transportation, clothing, medical supplies, tents and other camping equipment. The Ordnance Board was responsible for artillery, small arms, ammunition and engineers. (Tokar, 1999) At the outset of hostilities, a major issue was that the British Army in North America was a colonial garrison force and there was no general staff in Britain to serve in overall command, indeed

“there were no army officers in the chain of command above the regimental level before the Revolutionary War. The result was a sharp learning curve for those appointed to staff positions in the various boards and departments created to support the army in the field.” (Tokar, 1999, p. 42)

In addition, there was the Quartermaster General’s Department, which had existed since 1689 and was the army’s senior service department. However, in those days, the Quartermaster General had a range of duties, not all of them related to logistics. He acted as a ‘chief of staff’ to the commanding general, was responsible for coordinating the rest of the general staff and could also serve as a troop commander, none of which left him much time to concentrate on matters of supply. The next largest department in the service corps was the Army Commissary. The Commissary General was a civilian post and the staff in the colonies gradually expanded to around 300 personnel. The supply of fresh food became a serious problem for the British as the first Commissary General (Daniel Chamier) was both dishonest and inept. He consistently failed to accurately report the total number of individuals in the colonies that required feeding to the Treasury, usually being short by around 4,000 rations. The Barracks Master General was responsible for ensuring the troops had proper quarters while stationed in the colony, as well as providing the equipment they needed to live while in the field and firewood (later coal). (Tokar, 1999)

Under normal circumstances, the logistics system could support a force in the colonies over a 3,000-mile supply line that stretched back to Britain, a major feat in and of itself. However, when the operational tempo started to rise, the problems started to make themselves increasingly felt. One major ongoing problem mentioned above was the supply of fresh food. Cork was the main port of supply for the colonies as it featured a large harbour, it was that much nearer the colonies, Ireland was a major source of food and a major recruiting centre for the army. Contractors hired to supply food were required to deliver the food already packed, but in many cases, the packaging was so poor as to not survive the long, damp journey to North America. Barrels were especially prone to wear and tear. There was an overall lack of quality control. For example, flour barrels were often between five and six percent lighter than they should have been, while 200lbs barrels of meat were often short by up to twenty pounds. In one convoy in 1775, five ships departed for North America with 7,000 barrels of flour. On arrival, around 5,000 barrels were condemned. Instead of 12,000 troops having bread for five-and-a-half months, the remainder was consumed in forty-seven days. In some instances, good food spoiled on the sides of the dock for a lack of transportation. Personnel and horses suffered as well. For example, a contingent of 2,400 German troops was sent from Europe to New York in 1781. Upon arrival, 410 were found to be sick and sixty-six dead. A convoy sent out in October 1775 contained 856 horses, but only 532 survived the journey. (Tokar, 1999)

Both corruption and profiteering were serious issues within the British logistics system. Many practices that would be defined as corrupt and therefore illegal today, were not crimes under British military law at the time. Commissaries regularly kept a small amount of the butchered livestock for themselves, usually the head, hide and tallow, which would be sold for personal profit. There is no record of what ultimately happened to the many crates, boxes, barrels, bags and other containers that were shipped to North America and some of the cargo that arrived would have done so in poor condition and been disposed of (in other words, sold off). What happened to captured cattle was another area open to abuse. As fresh meat was always in demand in North America, what happened to captured cattle was another area ripe for profiteering. The army agreed to pay one dollar per head of cattle that were brought to the Commissaries but the Commissary General often paid the one dollar out of his own pocket and then sold the livestock on the open market for personal profit. In the same way, the method by which the army reimbursed civilians for handing in commandeered provisions, was turned into a money-making scheme. Soldiers commandeering provisions from civilians were supposed to provide them with a receipt, so they could go to the commissary to file a claim. However, either out of fear or they didn't believe they would be reimbursed, the locals rarely claimed the money and so it was pocketed. Transportation was another source of profit for unscrupulous persons. In 1781, a Parliamentary Commission reviewing the expenditure of public money found that most of the wagons and horses that had been hired to support British forces in North America were in fact owned by the very officers in the Quartermaster General's Department that had been responsible for the hiring, which today, would be a clear ethical violation and a conflict of interest. The cost of ground transport between 1777 and 1782 averaged around £200,000 a year and someone who owned for example, fifty-four horse wagon teams could expect to make a profit of around £10,000 a year (roughly equivalent to £1.5m today). (Tokar, 1999) Although these and other 'practices' were not necessarily crimes during the late eighteenth century, there is evidence that many officers knew what they were doing was ethically incorrect in that

". . . there was some degree of impropriety involved in the officer-ownership of the wagons is clear from the actions of the officers themselves. They went to some lengths to conceal their ownership and even, when defending the system of hiring wagons before a board of general officers in New York in 1781, did not reveal their proprietorial interest in the service." (Arthur Bowler, 1975, p. 186)

Most major forms of corruption and profiteering were brought under control by 1780 but by then, the damage had been done, and some minor transgressions continued to occur. For example, officers were not entitled to free rations while in garrison, but some still made arrangements with commissaries for them, their families and friends with free food. By not eliminating these minor transgressions, commanders risked further (and possibly larger) transgressions occurring. All this would impact the morale of the ordinary soldier, who was aware of the large-scale profiteering of the quartermasters and how much better off the officers and their families were when compared to him. (Tokar, 1999)

Following the French Revolution in 1789, Europe erupted into war three years later, a conflict that would last until 1815. Generally split into two periods, the early period (1792-1802) is known as the French Revolutionary Wars, while the latter period (1803-1815) is known as the Napoleonic Wars. Occurring in the very early stages of the industrial revolution, which saw increasing population densities throughout Europe, as well as the expansion of the road network and the appearance of the railway, the logistics of campaigning at this time bore many similarities to what had gone before, with the main problem not being about how to fight the enemy, but how to keep the army supplied while in the field. For example, in Frederick the Great's time, an army of 100,000 would have roughly 48,000 horses with it. Most of the instructions to his generals were concerned not with tactics, operational art or campaign strategy but with moving, encamping and supplying the army. According to Clausewitz, armies abandoned the use of tents which reduced the number of baggage animals used, but these were replaced by larger numbers of cavalry horses and/or more artillery pieces (which were horse-drawn). The forage requirements therefore changed very little and in consequence, the speed of march stayed roughly the same (nominally fifteen miles a day or ten over extended periods). The indirect penalty for this was not a decrease in the tempo of operations but a loss of manpower because of the increase in the rate of sickness among soldiers. This added to the logistics requirements as larger hospital facilities were needed and a greater strain put on the recruitment system. (Thompson, 1991)

However, there was one way in which the Napoleonic Wars were innovative in terms of logistical support. In the century or so before the French Revolution, armies had become dependent on complex logistical arrangements involving the creation of supply dumps (also known as magazines or depots – a practise that went back to Charlemagne) along the route of march. As the army advanced, they would be moved up every so often to keep pace, although the army would be temporarily immobilised while doing so. This hampered operational flexibility but was seen as being necessary. Armies had previously lived off the land, but the excesses of The Thirty Years War led to war becoming a little more humane in that respect. These fortified bases soon became targets themselves, as an army advancing into hostile territory would have to capture them. The advancing army could not afford to leave one lying astride its supply routes, lest the enemy forces inside sortie out and attack the supply convoys. In addition, capturing it could provide additional supplies and deny them to the enemy. Sieges therefore regained their prominence in military art. They were however difficult to sustain, as an army conducting a siege could well consume all the available resources within that area, which seemed to emphasise the need for some sort of depot / convoy supply system. (Nofi, 1978)

Assuming the basic requirements of an army were food and ammunition, during this period (roughly 1680-1820) armies provided approximately (Nofi, 1978):

Ammunition (Basic Load):       Forty rounds per man (around five pounds in weight (2.27kg))
                                                160 additional rounds per man in wagons (around twenty-five
                                                pounds (11.34kg))
                                                Seventy-five rounds per gun (1,350 pounds at an average of
                                                twelve pounds per ball (612.35kg))
Rations (Daily Issue):              Four pounds per man (assuming one pound each of bread,
                                                meat or fish, greens and beer /or wine)
                                                Twenty-six pounds per horse or mule (half each of fodder and
                                                feed) but it was assumed that between thirty and forty percent
                                                of the animals would die from lack of food

Using these assumptions, an example army of 50,000 men, 12,500 horses and 125 artillery pieces would require, even if not in combat, 286.5 tons of rations daily, or 191 wagons carrying 1.5 tons each. Each wagon, assuming six horses and two-man crew would add further to the logistical requirements, approximately another twelve wagons-loads of food and fodder. If the army were operating a mere six days from its base, it would require 2,436 wagons, all of which add to the logistic requirements and doesn't take into account ammunition expenditure, boots (at one pair per man per month), uniforms, tools, horseshoes and other paraphernalia. A siege of sixty days might require some 17,292 wagon loads of food, fodder and ammunition. Of course, pre-Napoleonic armies did actually utilise 'living off the land' but in a carefully controlled way. This is because they tended to be relatively large forces manoeuvring over relatively small (but rich) areas, with the fortified depots acting as collection centres. The armies of the Napoleonic Wars, utilising the levée en masse (conscription), soon outstripped the ability of the magazine system to support them, therefore these armies had to keep moving, as no region no matter how prosperous, could support such an army for more than a few weeks. "When Napoleon came to power in 1799, he made a virtue out of a necessity. As the armies marched they collected what they could from the countryside, supplemented by hardtack when necessary." (Nofi, 1978, p. 31) Napoleon's concept was not one of just plundering the local area though, as the collection of supplies was an organised affair, with officers being charged with locating food stockpiles, sometimes before war had even broken out. The basic calculation was that any given area could support an army roughly equal in size to the population located in it for about two weeks without seriously straining local resources.

"So Napoleon's agents would advance with his armies, secure the foodstuffs and establish forward depots wherever needed. This meant that the army could 'travel light'. By travelling light it could travel fast. This frequently was the key to napoleon's victories." (Nofi, 1978, p. 31)

Inevitably, Napoleon did not entirely rely on foraging and the improvisation of supply and the troops were given as much as an extra eight days of rations in the form of hardtack, extra clothing and boots, while munitions wagons carried extra powder, ball and shot. The system however, while efficient, still had flaws. Success hinged on the conduct of a quick, short-lived campaign in a prosperous area. Against the semi-enthusiastic enemies fought between 1792 and 1806 in Central Europe and Northern Italy, it worked well. Against those more determined enemies fought between 1807 and 1812 in the poorer parts of Europe, it failed. (Nofi, 1978)

Napoleon and his staff went to great lengths to insure against such failure, with seventeen train battalions with 6,000 vehicles were to provide a forty-day supply for the operations, as well as a system of magazines being created in towns and cities throughout Poland and East Prussia. However, the 1812 campaign in Russia turned out to be a disaster. Why? Fundamentally, French logistics were not geared up to satisfy the demands of operational concentration and so the Grande Armée had to remain closer together than they should have done, straining local resources quicker, a situation not helped by the Russian Army deliberately withdrawing to avoid a pitched engagement and laying waste to the countryside as they retreated. Forced marches and poor roads also meant that the 'teeth' of the army quickly outdistanced the 'tail', which forced French troops to scavenge for supplies, undermining morale and upsetting the local populace. Even so, the French supply system could, in all likelihood, have only sustained the Grande Armée as far as Vitebsk but with no decisive victory over the Russian Army (the Battle of Smolensk between 16 and 18 August was a defeat but not a serious one), Napoleon continued on for Moscow, fighting the Battle of Borodino on 7 September, which while a defeat for the Russians, was still not decisive. The evacuation and burning of Moscow denied winter quarters to the French and with no officials present to conclude peace terms, Napoleon was forced to start a retreat away from Moscow in mid-October. By the time the French crossed the Berezina River in November, the Grande Armée was a shadow of its former self. (Gibson, 2012; Macksey, 1989)

Emerging Strategies in Defense Acquisitions and Military Procurement . The pace of reform within the defence acquisition sector, especially since the end of the Cold War, has outstripped our theoretical understanding of the nature of the dynamics, complexities and relationships within the sector. This should be of great concern, especially as it weakens knowledge development in an era where those entrusted with acquiring defence capability are increasingly dependent upon suppliers and consultants to help generate national military capability but the lack of institutional knowledge puts at risk the ability of those in defence acquisition to maximise their commercial effectiveness and therefore maximise the value for the taxpayers' money they spend. This book seeks to contribute to the closing of that theory-practice divide in presenting recent scholarly research and theories on defence acquisition. Contributors come from a number of different academic fields including international relations, technology transfer, economics, materials management, and defense procurement. While the emphasis is on the UK and Europe, the book also contains perspectives from the US and Australia. Chapter topics include tradeoffs between innovation and risks of defense sector acquisition, collaborative defense procurement, the use of critical raw materials in defense acquisition, and business ethics in acquisition. A conceptual framework is presented for defense acquisition management based on service dominant logic theory. The book is intended for students, researchers and academics not only within topics linked to defence acquisition but wider the social sciences too, as well as professionals in the armed forces and defense industry
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Defence Logistics: Enabling and Sustaining Successful Military Operations. The effective management of logistics and supply chain operations within the defence sector is vitally important. This book, which includes contributions from a number of different academics from a variety of disciplines, looks at those theories which are established and their practical utility and in doing so, seeks to provide insights into the current state of the discipline. The book focuses on key areas of logistics and supply chain management such as sustainability, resilience, inventory management, the use of information technology and crisis response. It also provides a chapter on the past development of defence logistics in order to provide a historical context. It should appeal to a wide range of students (both undergraduate and postgraduate), academics and professionals involved with logistics and supply chain management
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How to cite this article: Antill, P (pending), Defence Logistics in Military History – An Analysis: Part One ,

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