November 21, 2010

From a Supplyline: 2

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: , — admin @ 1:34 pm

I keep my general’s army supplied with food, weapons and other items wherever they go. This isn’t an easy task, our army can cover up to 10 miles a day when they are travelling on our Roman roads and at the end of the day they are tired, hungry and have little tolerance for any breakdown in their supply lines.

I use several modes of road transport in my supply line. The first is the soldiers themselves, they are responsible for their immediate food ration and depending on the circumstances they may be carrying enough grain and other food to last them 3 days together with enough water to last them each a day and a night.

Circumstances in the field can be extreme to say the least, the climate and terrain we are travelling in may substantially alter the design of the supply line and seasonal changes in weather patterns will alter the quantity of food and water we need.

Other modes of road transport available to me are pack mules and oxen teams. Both of these are capable of carrying much larger loads than individual soldiers, and in all truth they have greatly contributed to the success of many of our campaigns. Probably like your transportation assets they come with their own challenges, the biggest of these is their speed, or rather their lack of it when compared to the soldiers.

Roughly speaking the oxen teams can only travel at one quarter of the speed of the contubernium, although that differential is reduced if the soldiers are using pack mule teams to carry their tents and weapons.

A second challenge for us is maintaining these assets. They have their own needs for food and water and can also break down and need replacing.

When I first started to work in supply line the speed differential greatly puzzled me, how could we possibly keep the army adequately supplied when an army cover perhaps 10 miles a day when they are marching and the baggage team could only cover around 3 miles? Surely a recipe for disaster?

Disaster isn’t allowed, it would be the death of me, literally! The answer to running a successful supply line lies in making detailed plans and executing them well and on a timely basis.

I would expect in the decades and centuries to come that these principles will continue to hold good. Those of you reading this journal in some future age will be able to judge the accuracy of my statement, and you may, as you read on, find other similarities between my supply line and yours. I’d certainly like to believe so.

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