By Glenn Barnett After the war in Europe was won, General Dwight D. Eisenhower had many opportunities to review various campaigns with the leaders of the Soviet Army–– including even Joseph Stalin himself. Without exception, the Russians wanted to ask Ike one thing. “It was,” Eisenhower wrote in Crusade in Europe, “to explain the supply arrangements that enabled us to make the great sweep out of our constricted beachhead in Normandy to cover, in one rush, all of France, Belgium and Luxembourg, up to the very borders of Germany. I had to describe to them our systems of railway repairs and construction, truckage, evacuation, and supply by air. They suggested that of all the spectacular feats of the war, even including their own, the Allied success in the supply of the pursuit across France would go down in history as the most astonishing.” The Twentieth-Century Demand For Supply Twentieth-century warfare brought with it an urgent need to move massive amounts of supplies to far-flung battlefields around the globe. Before the mechanical age, horses and mules moved wagonloads of supplies the short distances that armies could march on foot. Horses could feed on any local hillside and drink from any stream or pool. Most often men, too, lived off the land. Mechanization changed warfare as much as the machine gun did. Motorized vehicles carried everything from soldiers to heavy guns, requiring vast amounts of fuel, lubricants, spare parts, mechanics, and motor pools.
Join The Conversation
View All Comments