Why logistics are too important to be left to the generals
- Russia’s invasion shows how war can hinge on logistics
The Israeli historian Martin van Creveld called armies “ambulant cities". Keeping hundreds of thousands of armed men fuelled, fed and equipped is a Herculean effort. Sending them to war without regard for such things can go badly wrong. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 offers a cautionary tale. In the first days of the war Russian troops flooded south from Belarus with inadequate food, fuel or ammunition. Military convoys clogged up the roads to Kyiv—including a remarkable 60km (37 miles) traffic jam north of the capital. Ukrainian drones, special forces and artillery tormented the slow-moving invaders. Unarmoured fuel trucks and other logistics vehicles were especially juicy targets. In a battle south of Chernihiv, says a general, “They thought they had us surrounded…we just cut off all the logistics for them and that’s it." The unit was destroyed with artillery.