This volume completes the bridge between combat and services in the European theater for which the author laid the foundations in Volume I. It is as important a book for combat commanders as for those who have to plan and execute logistical operations. It will leave the nonmilitary reader in no doubt of the enormous weight and complexity of the administrative burden that the Army had to assume to assure the success of its ground and air forces, and the resourcefulness with which it managed that burden. On the other hand, those who have to think about the future can here study a test of the principle of a single service of supply supporting the national element of allied forces under a coalition headquarters and a supreme allied commander.
15 June 1958
|R. W. STEPHENS
Maj. Gen., U.S.A.
Chief of Military History
This volume completes the story of the logistic support of U.S. forces in the European theater, carrying the account forward from mid-September 1944 to the end of hostilities in May 1945. It follows the pattern, established in Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I, of focusing on the influence which logistical support or lack of it had on the planning and the conduct of tactical operations. The inclination consequently has been to concentrate on the problem areas in logistic support, such as port discharge and transportation difficulties, and supply and manpower shortages. As explained in the Preface to Volume I, it was not intended to cover all aspects of logistics as the term is commonly defined. To avoid duplication, such subjects as hospitalization and evacuation, communications, and construction are purposely left to the technical service histories, where they can be given proper coverage. The one major exception is the account of the rebuilding of Cherbourg, which was so important to the development of the logistic structure in the summer and early fall of 1944 that it is presented as a case history in planning and execution. A substantial amount of space has been given to the discussion of theater command and organization because of the persistent influence which that problem had on logistic support and on the relations between the service and combat elements. In general, the topical treatment predominates, but within the boundaries of the two distinct periods of tactical developments. One major violation of chronology occurs in the treatment of local procurement (Chapter XVIII), which did not lend itself to division.
The author's work was again lightened by the use of preliminary studies prepared by members of the Historical Section, ETO. For Volume II these were: Robert W. Coakley's two-volume study of theater command and organization; John E. Henderson's study of the replacement problem; and George H. Elliott's study of the use of indigenous manpower. Once again Mr. Royce L. Thompson gave invaluable aid in running down records and in researching several thorny problems.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the help of the several persons who contributed so cordially and generously in the final production of the volume: Mr. Joseph R. Friedman and Miss Ruth Stout for their expert editorial judgment; Mrs. Loretto Stevens for the laborious work of copy editing the manuscript; Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff for the excellent cartographic work;
and Miss Margaret E. Tackley for the fine selection of photographs. Again the author wishes to acknowledge the able assistance provided by Mr. Israel Wice and his staff of the General Reference Branch of the Office, Chief of Military History, and by the personnel of the Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office, particularly Mrs. Blanche Moore and Mrs. Lois Aldridge. Key staff officers and commanders associated with the logistic support of U.S. forces in the ETO provided first-hand knowledge of the events of 1944-45 as they did for Volume I. Generals John C. H. Lee, Raymond G. Moses, Ewart G. Plank, Morris W. Gilland, and Frank S. Ross read varying portions of the manuscript in draft form. Biographical sketches of the principal commanders and staff officers of the Communications Zone are included in Volume I.
15 June 1958
|ROLAND G. RUPPENTHAL|