I served in the U.S. Army as an MLRS fire direction specialist. That is, I was command and control for rocket artillery, like the Russian GRABs that are now leveling entire cities. My job was to keep my MLRS platoon, three launchers, properly supplied.
My MLRS battery had nine of those launchers. I wanted to make sure I was remembering correctly, since it’s been 30 years since I served. Luckily, I found an MLRS battery org chart:
To support nine MLRS launchers, we needed four HQ vehicles (M577, my home for three years), 12 HEMTT ammo trucks, to shuttle ammo from weapons depots to the launchers. Two fuel tankers. Eight 2.5 ton trucks—for ferrying food, small-arms ammo, and mechanical spare parts. Two 5 ton trucks, for the same purpose. One recovery vehicle, to tow broken vehicles away (which happened like every five miles of movement). And 26 Humvees—to carry leadership (both officers and and non-commissioned officers), mechanics, the guy who ran the armory, the guy who ran our supply room, a decontamination specialist, guys who fixed broken radios, medics, and a bunch of other people I’ve forgotten. Here’s the details if you’re really interested.
In total, the battery had 64 vehicles. Or 55 vehicles to support the nine vehicles actually shooting anything. In terms of troops, the battery had around 300 soldiers. just 27 of them sat in those nine MLRS launchers. That’s what “logistics” means. If you see an army has, say, 1 million people. Just assume that the part of that army that shoots stuff is a fraction of that number, maybe 75,000-150,000. You need a massive operation to support the people shooting stuff—fuel, food, ammo, spare parts, and other equipment.
On Yesterday’s The Brief, had two people who know military logistics. VoteVets’ Jon Soltz actually was a logistics officer during the Iraq invasion, and said the U.S. struggled to support one axis of attack, from the south. Russia right now has four major axes, and those are splintered into 15 different fronts. Suddenly, 180,000 troops doesn’t seem so daunting. And remember—not all of them actually fire stuff. The bulk of them are stuck in those bizarre supply columns, seemingly waiting for ambushes to put them out of their misery.