Logistics statistics

This is from Gary Sheffield’s very good new book The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (about which I shall write more when I’ve finished it):

Britain had never before created an organisation of the size and complexity of the army of the First World War. At its peak the BEF had to feed 2,700,000 men. It had nearly 50,000 motor vehicles and over 400,000 horses and mules, and in May to October 1918 an average 1,800 trains a week carried 400,000 tons. To keep one division in the field for one day required ‘nearly 200 tons of dead weight’ of supplies, and Haig’s army consisted of more than 60 divisions. Front line troops were supported by a network of depots, hospitals, docks, canals, railways, repair shops, instructional schools, baths, canteens, recreational facilities and many other rear-area services. As Haig fully realised, getting the logistics right was the foundation of everything else. (Page 148)

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