Logistics The Key to Victory

... from Pen & Sword

Title: Logistics The Key to Victory
Author: Jeremy Black
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39900-601-9

This new 216-page book provides a wide ranging history of the importance of Logistics in support of warfare, over hundreds of years. A key element to any military operation, logistics, or supply as it has been termed, makes for a really interesting topic.
After the scene setting of the Introduction, the book starts by considering the time up To the Fall of Constantinople way back in 1453. It then moves on in a basic chronological sequence, through Ming China, Persia, the French Revolutionary Wars, the Age of Steam, WW1, the Interwar period, WW2, then the Cold War & Beyond before rounding off with thoughts on Into the Future and a final Conclusion. Some elements have changed significantly over time but many of the basic factors remain key despite changes in technology and the different sizes of the conflicts. Geography, weather, distance from home are just a few of the many factors which impact the logistical challenges.
As someone who worked in civilian logistics all my working life, while being interested in military history, I found this a very interesting book to read. I admit there were one or two places where the language used I felt was a little over elaborate, but perhaps that is just me liking to keep things simple. It clarifies the challenges faced in differing circumstances and some of the examples quoted, such as the ammunition requirements in WW1 changed so dramatically from 1914 even to 1916. Not just the manufacturing challenges but then the transport issues as well. As I write this we are in the middle of a Russian War in Ukraine, where logistics failures of a modern, well equipped army have become very apparent, so it demonstrates there is still so much to learn, and of course that perhaps they should have read this book!
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.

Robin