Subject: Re: Nazism vs Communism:Which is Worse?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John W. Schaefer)
Date: Mar 19 1996
In article <email@example.com>, M.Rapier@sheffield.ac.uk says...
>The Russians did not have anything like the supply requirements of Allied
>units, their units 'bombed up' for an Op, and off they went, without any
>logistic support at all.
As stated, that's a canard. Logistics is not magic. Materials usage
is directly related to actions. Sure, if you sit on your duff, you don't need
much stuff. But in order to fire 1000 50-kg shells, you have to move 50,000
kgs, plus accessories, overhead, and the supplies and overhead of the part of
the logistics train you use. The Russians didn't have a magical way to
conduct military operations without supplying them.
Now, it is a fact that a lot of the total transport capability of the
WWII Russian military was organic to units. There wasn't enough left over to
maintain the kind of classical logistics structure the Western Allies had.
But that was not by Russian preference--they just didn't have the
requisite equipment, management and engineering skills and transportation
infrastructure. Their struggles to build those capabilities throughout the
war are sufficient evidence that they recognized they were operationally and
You are arguing, I think, that their units were wonderfully effective
indefinitely while needing much less tonnage than the Western Allies, so that
they didn't need the logistics capability they didn't have. That's factually
wrong--the dominant portion of any modern unit's logistical tonnage during a
fast attack is POL, weapons/vehicle replacement and ammunition. American
units had organic supply lift capability, just like the Russians, but
while American units could generally count on the logistics guys to get
materials to them just when their organic supplies were exhausted, Russian
units could not. When Russian units with only the supplies they could carry
organically had used up those supplies, and found themselves not receiving
replacements from the rear, they were effectively de-militarized.
Units stop shooting and driving when they run out of shells and gas.
The original argument here was that the Russians would have been able
to advance westward against the Western Allies without hindrance by Allied
fighter-bomber interdiction of logistics activity. That is absurd. The
interdicting units might have had to look harder for trains and trucks, but
each individual destroyed target would be a much larger percentage of the
overall resources the Russians had available. And, with our superior photo
intelligence capability and knowledge of the ground we were retreating over,
the fighter-bomber pilots would know exactly where to hit the bridges,
railyards and other pinchpoints in the road and rail net--the real key to
disabling a logistics system.
In a lot of ways, war is won and lost by logistics. The Russian Army
at the end of WWII was not a wonderful example of how to run a logistics
system. They got the logistics job done only because the folks they were
fighting had an inadequate capability to interdict that system. Our
capability would have been immensely greater.