Logistics is the study of the way in which military forces assemble, move and sustain themselves in both peacetime and wartime.
While Military History is immensely popular with the general public, it has a low status within academia and is largely confined to specialist centres of study such as the SIR MICHAEL HOWARD CENTRE FOR THE HISTORY OF WAR, military academies and Staff Colleges. Within these institutions, the study of logistics is largely relegated to professional military logisticans, however ironically, the subject has close academic links as it draws upon the subjects of economics, transportation and civil society.
Rear of Red Army
At the start of the Russo-German War in 1941, the Soviet Union was a large but poor nation of limited means to support her armed forces of 11 million men. Key to her success in the war was the ability to direct these resources to the point of decision across a landscape lacking a modern transport system.
The Prussian & German Armies had a long tradition of winning wars by fighting a decisive battle close to the frontier. This trait minimised the need for extensive supply and transport units, however this lack of capability was a serious disadvantage once Germany had to fight long wars at a distance.
Logistics is one of the more complex areas of military study as it is heavily influenced by a wide variety of external factors. By drawing on a wide variety of examples of logistics and studying extreme ones, it is possible to gain insight into the fundamental workings of supply and transport systems.