History of logistics part 4 : Modern times

From the sixteenth century, new impetus of logistics came mainly from France. Some people were responsible to supplie soldiers for any of their necessity before the battle.

The supply became increasingly important, alongside the increase in troop size, the length of steps and duration of campaigns. Taxes were placed in fortified locations along the planned routes. Stores used to accompanied the troops  improving their livelihood but in order hand seriously impeded their mobility.

The « commissioners to food » visited local markets, accompanied by civilian providers, to conclude contracts with civilians for the delivery of food and feed before and during campaigns.

The transportation of supplies and equipment was provided by civilian contractors which formed the rear guard of the army. The first transport units of the army ( « l’équipage des vivres ») was created in 1643. They were able to transport the troops with a range of food and fodder for several days.

The « stewards armies » enjoyed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with full administrative powers, legal and financial resources, from recruitment to neighborhoods, hospitals rate and food. Their powers were granted inorder to measures to centralize and streamline the administration.

In 1780, the Byzantine interpretation of logistics in Europe is completely confounded with the concept of « strategy ». The merit of making the logistics one of the most important component of the art of war, along with the strategy and tactics, comes to the Swiss General Antoine-Henri Jomini (1779-1869) (responsible for discipline and support troops). His initiative, however, found no echo during the subsequent years

In the U.S., the concept of « logistics » in its military connotations is used for the first time in 80 years of the nineteenth century. She pointed to the mobilization of the public economy as a whole for supporting the armed forces at war. In his groundbreaking book « Pure Logistics. The Science of War Preparation, Admiral George Cyrus Thorpe (1875-1936) considers the logistics as a science and a full component of warfare, which encompasses a large number of activities (such the supply, transportation, engineering, maintenance, medical service, administration and other logistical activities) that must be coordinated with the tactical and strategic intentions.

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