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Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton
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Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Drawing on a very wide range of unpublished and previously unexploited sources, Martin van Creveld examines the "nuts and bolts" of war. He considers the formidable problems of movement and supply, transportation and administration, often mentioned (but rarely explored) by the vast majority of books on military history. By concentrating on logistics rather than on the more ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 313 pages
Published May 13th 2004 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1977)
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May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-nonfiction
Impressive. Somewhat difficult to absorb when talking about Napoleon and Marlborough; but treatment of WWII and especially the D-Day landings (latter half of the book) shows some of the best military analysis and writing I've encountered. It is a superbly informative way to view these events; and remains at all times lucid and transparent. Macro-scale topics and micro-scale incidents; choice aphorisms and broad principles are handled in a finely balanced manner. A very fun and engaging read for ...more
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Military officers, military historians, students of history of every sort
"Clearly, logistics is the hard part of fighting a war."

--Lt. Gen. E. T. Cook, USMC, November 1990

"Gentlemen, the officer who doesn't know his communications and supply as well as his tactics is totally useless."

--Gen. George S. Patton, USA

"Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics."

--Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps)

As the last of those three quotes puts so pithily, the true study of war lies less in the romantic areas of strategy and tactics than
Charles Mccain
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is an expression in the US military: “Amateurs talk tactics. Professionals talk logistics.” And this is made crystal clear in this book which explains in detail why so many great campaigns in history, such as the German invasion of the Soviet Union, faltered because of totally inadequate logistics planning. The author is the world authority on military logistics. Absolutely first rate.
Miltiadis Michalopoulos
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Δεν το έχω ολοκληρώσει. Έχω διαβάσει επιλεκτικά ορισμένα κεφάλαια (αυτά που σχετίζονται τον Β' παγκόσμιο πόλεμο) καθώς και το συμπέρασμα στο τέλος του βιβλίου. Το βιβλίο είναι περισσότερο μια ακαδημαϊκή μελέτη και δεν απευθύνεται στον μέσο αναγνώστη. Σε πολλά σημεία δυσκολευόμουν να παρακολουθήσω τους συλλογισμούς του, καθώς δεν είχα βαθιά γνώση των εκστρατειών και των μαχών στις οποίες αναφερόταν. Επί πλέον σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις, ο συγγραφέας εκθέτει τις απόψεις του μάλλον δογματικά και όχι ...more
Katie Bayford
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Hundreds of books on strategy and tactics have been written for every one on logistics."

Van Creveld takes the unglamorous but necessary task of examining logistics throughout the ages and delivers a fine book that gives the reader a deeper understanding of an often overlooked subject. His conclusions - that "most armies seem to have prepared their campaigns as best as they could on an ad hoc basis, making great, if uncoordinated efforts to gather together the largest possible number of tactical
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Have been reading David Stahel's massive 4 volume work on the opening round on the Eastern Front, his latest book "The Battle for Moscow" references Creveld, on the massive logistic difficulties the Wehrmact faced.

Supplying War, Covers the logistical side of the war from some fast moving armies from the 17th century, WWI, the Eastern Front, to D Day. Liked his chapters on WWI, the Schlieffen Plan, and laid the Wehrmact failure of supply out east directly on the OKH.
I've enjoyed the book immensel
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
4/5 Stars. A very, very dry book for the most part but there are some spots that impressively lighten it up. This book is all about the logistics of warfare. The writer attempts to show how wars are won or lost often through logistical failure or excellence and many times throughout history tactical and strategic excellence failed to achieve the desired result because of a poor mastery of logistics. Would recommend this for anyone in the military in a logistics branch, would not recommend this f ...more
Philip Blood
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Probably one of my top ten favourite military history books. I first read it for my BA in the 1970s and still have the original copy. At the time it was a radical approach to the study of logistics and its impact on strategy. Subsequent research and time has wiped some of the gloss off its originality but it remains an important book. Essential reading for scholars, soldiers and anyone interested in how wars are influenced by logistics.
Phil Yates
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Military Historians
An updated edition of a ground-breaking study that opened a new field of study.

As a military historian, van Creveld's book gave me a totally new insight into the nature, problems, and impacts of logistics and supply on warfare for the last four centuries. It blows away many commonly held assumptions on the matter with careful research, showing that the systems of logistics used since time immemorial were gradually improved over time, but did not really change until the ammunition demand of WWI t
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was at least my fourth rereading of this classic work by a contemporary expert on military affairs. Not many books examine logistics in all its forms and this is by far the best. At times the writing and analysis reminded me of the work of Hans Delbruck in that the comfort Van Creveld shows with numbers and rationality resembles the way Delbruck treated the past in his analyses.

Making sure the men have food and ammo and show up on time are the keys to victory in modern war and Van Creveld
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Książka jest swoistym klasykiem u osób, zajmujących się wojskowością. Nie ma czego się dziwić, gdyż jak to pisał Skalski "o korzeniach kwiatów" mało się piszę i mówi. Kolumna ciężarówek z jedzeniem i paliwem na ekranie, raczej nie porwie nikogo. Zaczynamy od wojsk, które prawie utrzymują się na miejscu, poprzez częściowe zaopatrywane z baz i kończymy na całkowitym zaopatrzeniu z centrali. Co ciekawe po 1914 roku wzrosła potrzeba transportu na pierwszą linię amunicji. Szkoda, że autor trochę po m ...more
Andrew Garrie
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not a book for beginners to the field of military history. However, it offers a great perspective on the realities of war and what it takes to make a plan succeed. While his research was extensive and enlightening, some of his conclusions are a little off basis and clearly demonstrate the author's lack of military experience. That being said, he offers a lot of conclusions that are on the money and are highly relevant to operations today. Worth a read by any soldier looking for some good PD.
Chloe Glynn
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Clunkily written with an unfortunate zeal for numbers, it is an unusually striking view of historical thinking. Where The Art of War is more philosophy, this book is a history. Reading it around the same time as The Prize, a history of oil, greatly enlightened my sense of modern world structures.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Solid book that can be a bit heavy at times. His analysis on the sustainment and logistics aspects of some major campaigns adds richness to the literature that tends to focus on the operational or movement and maneuver aspects of warfare.
Ivan Savić
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is quite good. This is my first book on military logistics and I find it quite informative. In some parts it is maybe a bit hard to follow, but not too bad.
Alex Jutte
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
In depth in some areas, patchy in others. For a book billed as seminal in it's field, fell far short of it.
Jonathan Hatch
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall the rating was a 4, but the factual content is a 5 star rating. VanCrevald did an amazing job opening up the field of logistics to military history. As an Army Logistician myself, I believe you need a solid base in history to establish perspective on your operations. the fact that this book covered logistics from an operational perspective was perfect professional development for company grade officers. I would strongly recommend this book for any military logistics professional who want ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: strategie
Un ouvrage très original, qui propose d'analyser quelques grandes campagnes sous l'angle de la logistique exclusivement. Les résultats sont vraiment intéressants, on peut juste regretter que l'auteur ne s'attaque à chaque fois qu'à l'un des deux belligérants (pas toujours le vainqueur d'ailleurs).

L'auteur réfute les classements habituels par époque (ancien régime, guerres napoléoniennes, révolution industrielle) ou par technique (cheval, chemin de fer, camion), pour démontrer que la vraie ruptur
Jan 24, 2010 added it
Shelves: military
Old saying: "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics". From Wallenstein keeping Austria in the Thrty Years War by building one of the first modern supply systems (and becoming a major entrepreneur and making a fortune out of it) to Patton's tanks running out of fuel as their supply lines over-extended, Martin Van Creveld stresses the truth of that old saying. Anyone who considers the difficulties of supplying US forces in Afghanistan (arguments with Pakistan, uncertain use of Centr ...more
Christian Palmer
There's some great info in this book on the development of modern military logistics, but some of the chapters aren't well organized and sometimes Van Creveld falls short of proving what he's trying to prove. However, there are a lot of counterintuitive and insightful arguments that any military logistician needs to get a handle on in here, making at least one read through worth your time. And when Van Creveld is good, he's great, such as when he's taking apart Rommel or blowing apart the miscon ...more
Wachlin007 Hotmail
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is the first modern study ever to discuss the historical impact that logistics has played in warfare. I thought it was a good read because makes you analyze warfare a little differently. How do you get an army where it needs to go? How do you keep it resupplied? How have armies done this throughout the ages? I found it interesting, but some would say it is boring.
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
This book started the entire professional historical analysis of logistics in war. Read this and then read Feeding Mars: logistics in Western Warfare from the Middles Ages to the Present ed. by John a Lynn and you will be a knowledgeable chap!
Sep 26, 2013 marked it as unfinished
I won't rate this as I focused on the chapter about the WWI Eastern Front. But I will say that after reading that one chapter I had no desire to read the rest of the book.
Tom Hanks
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Martin Levi van Creveld (born 5 March 1946) is an Israeli military historian and theorist.

Van Creveld was born in the Netherlands in the city of Rotterdam, and has lived in Israel since shortly after his birth. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He is the author of seventeen books on military his

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