Redcoat Resupply! Strategic Logistics and Operational Indecision in the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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When war erupted in the American colonies in 1775 at Lexington and Concord, the British Empire was logistically unprepared. Neither the army nor the supporting administration in Great Britain could comprehend the nature of their opponent or the duration of the conflict. British generals eventually came to the conclusion that the system of resupply to the forces in the colonies would have to be reengineered. However, the ability of the British military leadership to convince the entrenched civilian bureaucracy that conditions in the colonies were deteriorating was never truly effective. As a result, British commanders almost always felt constrained by the lack of sufficient supplies and they continue to carry a reputation of having been over-cautious and indecisive. This study examines the logistical and administrative system that was established to support the army of the British Empire in the American colonies. Furthermore, it explores the impact that strategic deficiencies in that system had upon British military operations in the American Revolution. The Saratoga Campaign, in particular, provides and illuminating example of how weaknesses in the British supply system led to the defeat of the Empire. The U.S. military currently operates in a rapidly changing security environment and is expected to perform non-traditional roles in addition to its conventional warfighting focus. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military increasingly employs a strategy of force projection that is similar in many respects to the circumstances faced by the British in the 18th Century. Although improvements in technology have made the modern battlefield literally unrecognizable when compared to that of 1775, there are logistical tenets and lessons from the American Revolution that are still applicable to strategists and logisticians.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics