Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Army Days

This article talks about war stocks and the logistics nightmare that comes from moving people, equipment and supplies halfway around the world. An old army maxim is that amateurs study tactics, but professionals study logistics. Simply put, you can have a big army in the field, but if they don't have bullets to fight with, and beans to eat, they are just so many starving refugees. Most people don't understand the vast amounts of equipment and supplies that an army consumes on a daily basis. Just to give you a "for example", the last Armor Battalion I was assigned to could field about 400 people on any given day. We drew ice at the rate of 10 lbs per day per soldier, so our battalion ice requirement was 4000 pounds of ice per day. That is two tons, of just ice, that had to be transported to the field every day. Ice is a perishable item, so that two tons had to be brought to the field every day. Someone had to make it, someone had to bag it, someone had to transport it every day we were in the field. Add to that the amount of ammunition we consumed, the amount of food and fuel and batteries and spare parts we consumed, and it will give you some idea of the problem of fielding a simple Armor battalion. Multiply that for Brigade and Division level, and you start to get an idea of the logistical nightmare that accompanies and Army in the field.

Which leads me to this vignette. Way back in the mid 1970's I was in basic training. We were issued field rations (C-Rations) that were left over from some old war-stocks. Each C-Ration contained something called a B2 unit, which was the meat portion of the meal. The B2 unit was canned and the date of manufacture was stamped on the bottom of the can. One fine summer day in western Kentucky, we stopped for lunch and I broke out my meal. The bottom of the can showed the date April, 1952. Those pork patties had been dead longer than I had been alive.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Yep. In 1975 my US Navy c ration spaghetti (or was it ham..it was hard to tell) was stamped 1956. The so-called food was only slightly younger than me. The cigarettes crumbled into dust when opened. Good times. Sure wish I was 20-ish again...