Military Logistics (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
The art or science of moving and supplying armed forces. For millennia, armies lived off the land, devouring all before their path. This crude method had, however, great limitations—particularly, when campaigns were undertaken in hostile climates, in bad growing seasons, or in areas purposely decimated by opposing forces. While horses and other draft animals relieved soldiers by carrying preserved food and other bulky supplies, there was still the problem of feeding the animals. In the early modern era, European armies only campaigned during the growing season, as sufficient food could not be found for their horses in winter and late fall. By the late eighteenth century, armies were being supplied from designated stations, but this provided another problem: Delicate supply lines were inviting targets for the enemy and limited the movements of the army being thus supplied. Though a succession of new inventions—for example, efficient rail transport, internal combustion engines, and airplanes—have significantly simplified logistics, it still remains a foremost consideration for commanders. Its importance is well conveyed in an old axiom: “Amateurs study tactics, but professionals study logistics.”
(The entire section is 182 words.)
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