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Thread: Ignored Subjects By Authors and Publishers

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Covert_Shores View Post
    Love this thread, would like to see a book on logistics. Comparing Alexander to the pacific war to Napoleon in Russia. So many interesting stats and angles. Sankey diagrams and all.

    Same goes for cartography. Would add hydrographic survey to that.


    My own pet topic is SDVs. There isn't even a single book (yet!) which really addresses the subject in anything like the topic in anything like the detail given other forms of military transport. I have lost count but I think I know of at least ten SDV types which are simply not in any books (or web) at all, and maybe another hundred which are so rarely covered (and limited info) as to 'unknown'. Fascinating subject, although maybe very few of us think so. I am hoping that the bigger reason for the continued obscurity is because people simply don't know what they don't know.
    I'm not a supply/acquisition guy like Albany Rifles, but I've made the point more than once in various threads here, that while all of us "warfighters" who descend from the guys who won WWII in the Pacific like to claim it was the carriers, or surface fleet that protected them, or the submarines that strangled Japan that won the war, but the reality is that it was that brilliantly executed 6000 mile long supply train that won that war. Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King was once heard to say that, "I don't know what this 'logistics' is that Marshall is always talking about, but I know I want some of it." He got it too.

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    this, IMHO, is what differentiates the US/UK from the continental empires/powers of the past...and present.

    Germany had extreme difficulty with logistics across 800-1000 miles on the Eastern Front (much of that with a dense industrial rail network), while our boys were lavishly equipped across thousands of miles of the Pacific.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Outside milhistory nuts & military personnel who are educated in this stuff the logistical achievements of the Western Allies - and especially the US - in WW2 are poorly understood. Mores the pity. They were spectacular. The US moved cities full of people across the Pacific & kept logistic pipelines running across all 3 oceans. Behind it all was an industrial machine without parallel. I recall being surprised the first time I read that the US actually began scaling back production of a lot of stuff - especially shipping - by mid-1944. In 3 years it had produced most of what it would ever need.


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    the really mind boggling thing for me was that there was so much equipment left after the war, most of the world (outside the USSR/warsaw pact, of course) was using ww2 American military surplus for a generation afterwards.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    the really mind boggling thing for me was that there was so much equipment left after the war, most of the world (outside the USSR/warsaw pact, of course) was using ww2 American military surplus for a generation afterwards.
    Private citizens in the US still are: most people I know own an M1 Carbine or three, M1 Garands, and even the M1903 Springfield rifle, as well as the M1911 .45. There tons of them out there, and some are still packed in the original cosmoline.

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    Asked this question on a different thread but I suppose twice the charm.

    Have anyone of you professionals ever seen route books? They were pocketbooks used by armies in the 19th Century for marching in a known area, and contained detailed marching plans that provide azimuth bearing, map coordinates for waypoints, topographical information, and estimated movement time for each stage. Each pocket book is concerned with moving from a major land base to a point of strategic value where combat with OPFOR is foreseen.

    It would appear to me that they are rather rigid and of limited value to 20th Century mechanized forces which moved faster and could do so off-road. So what replaced them in military planning?
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    HyperWar: The Big 'L'--American Logistics in World War II

    Covert Shoes, try this link. It is my go to when researching and discussing World War 2 logistics.

    You may also may want to try Supplying War by Martin Van Creveld

    Others have heard me talk of the miracle of mobilization in World War 2. But it was not a miracle. It was decades of planning executed with shrewd ruthlessness when the resources became available. Coming out of the debacle of World War 1, where US industry faield to provide a single gun or airplane for the Doughboys to use in France, the US Army started the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. There the best and brightest middle grade officers (senior captains and majors) along with managers from industry and some from academia learned about the industrial capacity of the US, studied mobilization and rehearsed what would be executed in 1940 - 1945. Each year the class would do a project: how to mobilize the country in case of total war. They then produced a study annually which laid out exactly how to mobilize based on the current economy. It was updated by each subsequent class.

    When France fell in 1940, the US Congress passed a suplamental defense appropriations bill which gave the Army more funding in one chunk than it had received in all budgets 1920-1940 combined. Marshall, Arnold & Stimson literally pulled the ICAF Class of 1940 plan of their shelves and started to figure out how to spend the money. They used it as seed money to start American industry retooling.


    That is how they knew that Smith-Corona could switch from making typewriters to making M1 carbines & rifles as well as M1919 .30 caliber machine guns, Ford & GM could bild B-24s and TBFs & FM-2s and American Optical could make bomb & gunsights. That the empty hotels in Miami were perfect to house the thousands of new airmen for their ground schools.

    It was all in the book.

    Geoffrey Perret's There's A War To Be Won & Winged Victory each have a chapter or two which tell the story of mobilization very well.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

  8. #53
    Thanks, good source on the WW2 logistics. Tou point out the fall of France as a trigger point, it's firtubate that it wasn't already too late.

    France's own industrial buildup prior to the war is interesting. The general view of people like Churchill was that the communists among the French workforce scuppered any chances of equalling Germany's output. Some in the defense industry feel similarly about nationalization and unions in postwar France.

    One thing which I keep coming across in my own research is that the engineers who designed many systems were not adequately rewarded after the way. And even during the war some people in procurement were, well, corrupt, putting their own financial interests before those of the war effort.

    My own smaller contribution, which you may all already know, is the Charles Minard's famous Sankey diagram of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Would love to see the logistics version across the pacific.



    Please excuse typos, am on a phone...

  9. #54
    I cannot figure out how to edit my post, but in case the image isn't working, here's the link Charles Joseph Minard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  10. #55
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    Login. At the bottom of each of the user's (your) post there are bottons you may click. The one next to reply is edit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    HyperWar: The Big 'L'--American Logistics in World War II

    Covert Shoes, try this link. It is my go to when researching and discussing World War 2 logistics.

    You may also may want to try Supplying War by Martin Van Creveld

    Others have heard me talk of the miracle of mobilization in World War 2. But it was not a miracle. It was decades of planning executed with shrewd ruthlessness when the resources became available. Coming out of the debacle of World War 1, where US industry faield to provide a single gun or airplane for the Doughboys to use in France, the US Army started the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. There the best and brightest middle grade officers (senior captains and majors) along with managers from industry and some from academia learned about the industrial capacity of the US, studied mobilization and rehearsed what would be executed in 1940 - 1945. Each year the class would do a project: how to mobilize the country in case of total war. They then produced a study annually which laid out exactly how to mobilize based on the current economy. It was updated by each subsequent class.

    When France fell in 1940, the US Congress passed a suplamental defense appropriations bill which gave the Army more funding in one chunk than it had received in all budgets 1920-1940 combined. Marshall, Arnold & Stimson literally pulled the ICAF Class of 1940 plan of their shelves and started to figure out how to spend the money. They used it as seed money to start American industry retooling.


    That is how they knew that Smith-Corona could switch from making typewriters to making M1 carbines & rifles as well as M1919 .30 caliber machine guns, Ford & GM could bild B-24s and TBFs & FM-2s and American Optical could make bomb & gunsights. That the empty hotels in Miami were perfect to house the thousands of new airmen for their ground schools.

    It was all in the book.

    Geoffrey Perret's There's A War To Be Won & Winged Victory each have a chapter or two which tell the story of mobilization very well.
    Of course, that all extended to the execution of the strategy proper, which had been war gamed ad nauseam at the War Colleges since the end of WWI. There is a famous statement by Nimitz that the only thing in the execution of Plan Orange (war with Japan) that was not anticipated (including the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, which was a reprise of Port Arthur in 1904) was the advent of the Kamikaze raids.

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    About logistics I have read (and forgot) "Feeding Mars" by van Creveld.

    There is also a "Pure Logistics: The Science of War Preparation", but I haven't read that yet.

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    Good entries to the subject, FJV.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    Asked this question on a different thread but I suppose twice the charm.

    Have anyone of you professionals ever seen route books? They were pocketbooks used by armies in the 19th Century for marching in a known area, and contained detailed marching plans that provide azimuth bearing, map coordinates for waypoints, topographical information, and estimated movement time for each stage. Each pocket book is concerned with moving from a major land base to a point of strategic value where combat with OPFOR is foreseen.

    It would appear to me that they are rather rigid and of limited value to 20th Century mechanized forces which moved faster and could do so off-road. So what replaced them in military planning?
    Not route books exactly. But Patton used a tourist guide that he used when on his honeymoon to choose routes for the 3rd Army in France. I believe it was the Michelin Guide but am not sure.

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    Michelin guides were very popular in the HQs of the US Army during the pursuit through France.

    Back on subject, once read a very amusing history of British Army sanitation and medical practices during the Arrow War (Opium War redux) that focuses mostly on how cleanliness of barracks and physical discipline were enablers of imperial power projection.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
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