The Longest Supply Lines

LaSainte lasainte at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 29 10:33:58 MST 2003


----- Original Message -----
From: "lvnadal" <lvnadal at earthlink.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: The Longest Supply Lines


>
> From: "LaSainte" :   It seems to me that even if significantly more U.S.
> troops were freed up
> > from other duties (such as combat) to protect the supply convoys from
> Iraqi
> > attack there still would be a problem of getting sufficient supplies to
> the
> > U.S. combatants because the additional guards also have to eat .....
>
> _________________________________
>
> If I may....
>
> This question is a vital question in that it is a reflection of the key
> logistical/combat question:  how much support does it take to keep a
soldier
> in combat-- or a "tush in the bush," "ass in the grass."    During
Vietnam,
> that number was estimated at 10:1, a tremendous demand on both combat and
> logistical teams.  I don't know what the current estimate is.

Ah, so the military does formally use ratios. I must have picked that up
during the Vietnam War era and tucked that tidbit away in my unconscious. I
also would be curious to know what the ratio would be during this war.

> In my experience supply convoys were not per se equipped with fixed ratios
> of combat "guards," rather secure movement depended on previously securing
> the territory on either flank of the supply line itself and creating
forward
> logistical bases to feed the advance elements of the battle groups.
>
> The US, in neglecting this preparatory work, calculated a blitz to Baghdad
> with relatively little resistance, but surrender and embrace from the
Iraqi
> population. Sherman would puke if he read the JCS plan of battle.

<snipped>
>
> And one more thing-- it is impossible to resupply as full strength
> mechanized division in sustained combat operations solely by air.  Not
even
> the US could lift that much.

I had thought about that briefly. I can't imagine parachuting water and
fuel.

> You might recall several months ago when the US floated a story about
> dropping 50,000 airborne troops into the area around Baghdad.  Had to
laugh.
> That drop alone of that many troops would have taken a solid 7 days/24
hours
> a day to accomplish.  Sure would have hated to be in that first hour of
> drop.  Took them 8 hours to drop 1000 of the 173rd the other day, into a
> non-combat area.

I have absolutely no military experience, but even I couldn't swallow that
one.

Again, my second question is would heavy convoy trucks be able to travel in
the searing heat without its tires melting into the road?

Thanks a lot, Ivnadal, for the info. If anyone else has anything to add,
please do. I suspect that the U.S. military planners are doing more than
just shooting themselves in the foot (feet?), as it were. I predict an awful
lot of things are going to continue to go wrong, and it will get worse.

Take care.

cpleau




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