GLOBAL LOGISTICS AND STRATEGY: 1943-1945. By Robert W. Coakley and Richard M. Leighton. (1968, 1989; 889 pages, 34 tables, 5 charts, 8 maps, 49 illustrations, 8 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 1-6.)
Like its predecessor, Global Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943, this volume treats U.S. Army logistics from the point of view of the high command and staffs in Washington; it continues the preceding volume's narrative from the spring of 1943, on the eve of the TRIDENT Conference in May, to the surrender of Japan. Space limitations have precluded coverage of the logistical issues involved in repatriation, occupation, and disposal of surplus property in the immediate aftermath of the war. Together the two volumes form the capstone of the logistical histories, of which the War Department volumes on economic mobilization, industrial relations, and aircraft procurement; such theater histories as Logistical Support of the Armies (European theater) and The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia; and the technical service volumes provide the base. Viewing logistics and strategy as parallel and interacting activities, this volume treats logistics on the same plane as the War Department volumes on strategic planning and operational direction treat strategy-for example, from the point of view of the central administration in Washington. The immense cast of characters, not limited to faceless agencies such as the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, the War Shipping Administration, the War Department General Staff, and OPD (Operations Division of the General Staff), includes such legendary figures as President Roosevelt; British Prime Minister Churchill; "Gissimo" Chiang Kai-shek; Generals Marshall, MacArthur, and Stilwell; Admiral King; and, of course, the Army Service Forces' Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, and his chief subordinate, Maj. Gen. Leroy Lutes.
The book focuses on the myriad problems involved during the last two years of World War II in the division of resources among nations and theaters in a global conflict and on the logistical organization and processes involved in the formation and execution of strategy. This broad approach results in the same omissions that characterized the 1940-43 volume: the book does not cover detailed logistical operations at lower levels; it does not treat internal logistics in overseas theaters except as necessary to establish the context for decisions at the center; and it is primarily concerned with ground force logistics, viewed in its interactions with air (especially strategic air) and naval logistics. The omitted subject areas have been adequately covered in other volumes of the U.S. Army in World War II and in various publications sponsored by the Offices of Air Force History and of Naval History- upon which the present authors have drawn heavily in preparing this volume.
Unlike the 1940-43 volume, this work employs a topical approach to the extent of treating supply organization and procedures (Part 2) and lend-lease and civilian supply (Part 7) in groups of chapters separate from the mostly chronological, "operational" narratives tracing strategic-logistical planning for the great offensive campaigns of the Western Allies during 1943-45. These operational chapters also treat the war against the European Axis (Parts 1, 3, 4) and the war against Japan (Parts 5, 6) in separate compartments, while still making clear the essential interconnections between the two. A final chapter (XXXII) analyzes, in broad strokes, the evolving relationship between
logistics and strategy over the entire span of the war.
Among the distinctive and valuable contributions of these two volumes to the Army's official World War II history, special mention should be given the examination in depth of four major spheres of wartime logistics: foreign aid, assault and cargo shipping, and logistical organization and method. Foreign aid is mainly the story of lend-lease, the system of pooling and allocating munitions among coalition allies, primarily to the British Empire and the Soviet Union (XXV-XXIX); it also includes civilian supply (XXX, XXXI): the responsibility assumed by the Army, from mid-1943 on, for provision of essential services and material needs of civilian populations in liberated and occupied territories. Assault shipping (landing ships and craft and amphibian vehicles) was an indispensable prerequisite, hardly foreseen before the war and tardily and grudgingly recognized after it began, for the numerous over-the-beach landings on hostile shores that spearheaded many offensives in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Pacific, and Far East theaters. The emergence of the problem is treated in the 1940-43 volume; this book describes the "crash" production programs of 1943 and 1944 and the severe limitations that shortages of this critical resource imposed on the scope and range of virtually every amphibious operation from mid-1943 on. Cargo shipping was the basic instrument for carriage of war materiel across seas and oceans, and thus a key element in the coordination of operations in a multitheater conflict. In a war of many bottlenecks, assault shipping and cargo shipping were the most persistent and salient. Organization and method, probably the most esoteric aspects of logistics, are nevertheless its inescapable essence in what Jomini called a "science of detail" and of course required reading for future planners of big wars.
Building on the solid foundation laid in the predecessor volume, this study devotes three chapters (IV, V, VI) to an exposition of the mature wartime system of 1943-45-organization, requirements/production, and wholesale distribution-including the mysteries of the joint (such as Army-Navy) logistical system and its interaction with the largely civilian machinery for management of the war economy. Three more chapters and parts of another (XVI-XVIII, XX, XXIV) describe the complex variations of the system developed to support the war of vast oceanic distances and primitive infrastructure in the Pacific, including redeployment for the single-front war in 1945. In addition, the evolution of organization and method is a major theme of the foreign aid story in Chapters XXV-XXXI.
1. An overview of logistics in World War II-major trends and developments (Ch. XXXII).
2. Strategic-logistical planning and buildup for the cross-Channel invasion, 1943-44 (Chs. I-III, VII-XV).
3. Strategic-logistical planning for the invasion of Sicily (Chs. II-III).
4. Strategic-logistical planning for Allied operations in the Mediterranean,1943--45 (Chs. VII-IX, XI, XIII-XV).
5. Strategic-logistical planning for operations in the China-Burma-India Theater (Ch. XXI).
6. Organization and processes for logistical planning: U.S. Army, joint, and combined (Chs. IV-VI).
7. The role of logistics in strategic planning (Ch. XXXII).
8. The relation of military requirements to strategy and production capabilities (Chs. V, VI, XXIII).
9. The system of pooling and allocating munitions among coalition allies (Chs. XXV-XXIX).
10. The role of ocean shipping in global war (Chs. II, III, X, XII, XIV, XV, XIX, XXII, XXIII).
11. Assault shipping in Allied strategy in World War II (Chs. I-III, VII-XV, XVII, XX, XXXII).
12. Assault shipping at the midwar Allied conferences in 1943 (Chs. III, VIII, XI).
13. Military lend-lease to the USSR in the later war years (Ch. XXVII).
14. Military lend-lease to liberated nations in World War II (Ch. XXVIII).
15. Military lend-lease to Latin America in World War II (Ch. XXVIII).
16. Military lend-lease to China, 1943-45 (Ch. XXIX).
17. The Army and civilian supply (Chs. XXX-XXXI).
18. Joint logistics in the war against Japan, 1943-44 (Chs. XVI-XIX).
19. Army logistics in the Pacific, 1943-44 (Ch. XX).
20. Logistics of the one-front war, 1945 (Ch. XXIV).
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