Logistics is the process of planning and executing the sustainment of forces in support of military operations. It includes the development, acquisition, storage, movement, equipping, distribution, and evacuation functions of supply, field services, maintenance, health service support, personnel, and facilities. Logistics functions occur across the entire range of military operations. Logistics alone cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat.
OPFOR commanders believe there will be no continuous frontline in future conflicts. Instead, combat will have a highly fluid, dynamic nature spread over a wide area. Attrition will not occur evenly across the frontage. There will be areas of intense, local destruction and long secondary or defensive sectors where logistics demands will be much lighter. Secure rear areas and predictably developing operations have, in the OPFOR view, become a thing of the past. Under these circumstances, the OPFOR does not consider the traditional logistics system, where forward divisions collect supplies from dumps to the rear and evacuate their casualties and damaged equipment to the rear, as entirely correct.
The OPFOR has a modern and highly mechanized support system. Materiel-handling equipment is increasing in both quantity and quality. Pallets, containers, and packages have greatly improved the efficiency of logistics efforts. The OPFOR has increased the depth and range of forward service areas and increased the mobility and range of logistics formations in support of frontline forces. The OPFOR designs logistics operations to continue to sustain forces throughout conflict, adapting as conditions change.
CONCEPT AND PRINCIPLES
OPFOR logistics concepts emphasize centralization and planning at the highest level possible. This relieves lower units of the responsibility to maintain a large organic rear service organization. In comparison to other armies, the OPFOR plans, directs, and accomplishes a greater percentage of logistics support at levels above division. The following paragraphs detail the primary principles of OPFOR logistics support.
Logistics resources must be under centralized direction. This requires concurrent operational and logistics planning and coordination with civilian industry and transportation. Centralized planning ensures coordination of civilian war production with military requirements. The bulk of logistics resources are at army group and army levels. The OPFOR believes this contributes to operational and tactical flexibility. Army group and army commanders familiar with the overall operational concept can quickly plan to strip resources from stalled divisions or armies and reallocate them to formations making better progress.
Tailoring Logistics Units
Tailoring allows allocation of logistics resources to the combat elements most essential to mission success. It also allows the OPFOR to assign priorities for logistics support. Subordinate formations receive assets according to the importance of their mission, the nature of the terrain, and the level of fighting anticipated. Commanders can reallocate not only their own resources in line with changes in the situation, but can take away their subordinates' organic resources if the situation warrants.
Fixed Supply Priorities
The OPFOR places primary emphasis on maintaining the supply of ammunition, fuel, and weapons. Its logistics system operates on the following sequence of priorities:
- Ammunition of all types.
- Petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL).
- Technical supplies.
- Rations and clothing.
These priorities can change with the evolving combat situation. For example, during an attack, the principal demand is for ammunition. On the other hand, a unit advancing rapidly with no opposition has a greater need for POL than for ammunition.
Higher headquarters handle supply requirements for subordinate units. The concept governing resupply is not demand-pull, but supply-push, with resources distributed to subordinate commanders in accordance with priorities established at the higher level. Higher headquarters use organic transportation assets to deliver supplies and services directly to subordinate units. For example, an army headquarters uses its own trucks to deliver supplies to its subordinate divisions. This philosophy ensures economy in the use of both stocks and transport while maintaining the operational commander's intent. The concentration of the bulk of transport assets at higher levels is the base of the forward delivery system.
In emergencies, supply delivery bypasses one level. A division may deliver supplies directly to subordinate battalions, or a brigade may deliver directly to subordinate companies. This does not prevent a unit in a critical situation from using its assets to obtain supplies from higher headquarters. As a basic principle, however, each level must keep up with its subordinates.
Forward Positioning of Support Elements
The OPFOR establishes supply bases, repair facilities, and medical facilities well forward. This helps ensure the flow of supplies from the central logistics level directly to combat units. Forward medical facilities attempt to locate in areas of greatest need. The emphasis is on the quick return of lightly wounded personnel and repairable equipment to combat elements. Personnel and equipment requiring additional attention evacuate to the next-level facility. The divisional teams move on to the next battle area and start again, with army group and army resources following as fast as possible.
Standardization of Equipment
The system of equipment standardization is both extensive and effective. Extensive standardization has reduced the volume of repair parts and improved the ability to repair forward through cannibalization.
Complete Use of Transportation
Logistics planners base their estimates on the use of all movement resources available. The logistics system uses rail transport as far forward as possible to move supplies to army group- or army-level depots. Other transportation assets, primarily motor assets, move supplies from that point forward. Doctrine calls for using tactical combat vehicles to move additional POL and ammunition stocks, particularly in the preparation phase before offensive action. In an emergency, large-scale air resupply may provide support. The mobility of rear services must match that of combat formations. If logistics support elements fail to achieve this, the OPFOR may sacrifice operational success.
Complete Mobile Support
From division to company, materiel and servicing facilities operate from wheeled vehicles. The OPFOR boxes critical supplies for upload on support and combat vehicles. This system supports a continuous, rapid offensive.
Maintenance of Stock Levels
Units hold supplies as far forward as possible. When consumed, supplies are replaced as quickly as possible. The aim is to keep divisional stocks intact for as long as possible. Thus, when the resupply chain breaks down, the division can continue to fight using its mobile stocks until such time as the army can resume its support. Ammunition and fuel holdings at all levels include an emergency reserve, up to 30 percent of the total. Only the higher commander can authorize the use of the emergency reserve.
Use of All Possible Resources
OPFOR troops forage for food in local areas using captured stocks of food, ammunition, and equipment. Special staffs exist at higher levels to organize their exploitation. Fuel is particularly valuable, and the engineers of the fuel supply service have special pumps to exploit filling stations.
Units may maintain strength by piecemeal replacement of casualties during combat, particularly when lightly wounded personnel and damaged equipment can return to parent units quickly. Once casualties are sufficient to threaten total loss of combat effectiveness, the unit withdraws to the rear and reconstitutes. Timely replacement of ineffective units and formations in the first echelon is vital to the maintenance of momentum. The commander may choose to withdraw heavily attritted units and consolidate them to form a smaller number of combat effective units.
The joint policy and control agency in charge of logistics support for the armed forces is the Office of the Chief of Logistics within the Ministry of Defense (MOD). The Chief of Logistics, a deputy minister of defense, provides logistics input to plans developed at the highest levels of the State government.
Supply and service functions common to all military units for which the Chief of Logistics has responsibility include--
- Personal equipment.
- Fuel and lubricants.
- Medical and veterinary services.
- Post exchange.
- Transportation planning.
- Research and development.
- Maintenance of common-use items.
While these areas are the direct responsibility of the Chief of Logistics, other troop component items are the responsibility of other directorates and troop commands.
The logistics storage of OPFOR war materials consists of four major categories: state, strategic, mobilization, and mobile reserves. Government warehouses store state reserves consisting of food stuffs, petroleum products, manufactured goods, and strategic raw materials. While these stocks are separate from the military items held in strategic reserve, the OPFOR military will likely use part of these stocks.
Strategic reserves are stocks of supplies and equipment controlled by the MOD. These stocks are similar to stocks in State reserves and not planned for early use in a conflict.
The OPFOR holds mobilization reserves for issue to newly activated, large military units and for resupply to combat units in the early stages of a conflict. A directorate in the MOD determines the level and configuration of these stocks. The directorate also is responsible for accountability and maintenance. The military districts coordinate mobilization measures between military and civilian sectors.
Deployed ground units hold and transport mobile logistics reserves consisting of ammunition, fuel, rations, and equipment. Ground forces maintain these supplies for use in the conduct of ground operations and distribute them to both tactical and support elements. Published norms establish quantities of these supplies. The OPFOR maintains an emergency reserve of supplies, and only the unit commander can order the use of these supplies.
Operational logistics covers the support activities required to sustain campaigns and major operations. A dependable logistics system helps commanders seize and maintain the initiative. Conversely, attacking the enemy's support system can often threaten or weaken its center of gravity. Strategic concentration, operational maneuver, and the exploitation of operational or tactical success often hinge on the adequacy of logistics and the ability of the force to safeguard its critical lines of communication (LOCs), materiel, and infrastructure.
The OPFOR concentrates the bulk of logistics units at two levels--army group and army. This concentration supports the OPFOR philosophy of streamlined, highly mobile combat elements at division and below. These higher levels maintain the responsibility and the primary means for logistics support.
The army group does not have a fixed organization. The OPFOR tailors the army group to meet specific objectives based on forces available, mission requirements, enemy forces, and the geography of the area of operations. Tailoring affects both the number and type of subordinate combat elements and the number and type of assigned logistics units. The logistics operation of the army group is extensive and complex, serving as the major connecting link between the industrial base of the State and forces engaged in combat.
An army group is likely to have one materiel support brigade, consisting of three ammo/cargo transport battalions, one POL transport battalion, and perhaps a tank transport heavy-lift battalion. An army group may receive an entire tank transport heavy-lift regiment. See FM 100-60 for details on logistics units.
The army is the highest-level peacetime combined arms formation. It has a permanent staff plus assigned combat support and combat service support elements. Except for its reduced size, the army logistics base is similar to that of the army group. An army also has one materiel support brigade.
Like the army group, the army rear area uses rail, highway, air, and pipeline when possible. If distances between the army and its subordinate divisions' rear area become great, or the number of units to be supported changes, the OPFOR establishes a forward army logistics base. Multiple transport modes service this forward base as much as possible. Motor transport moves the bulk of materiel from this forward base.
Supply is an operational function of MOD subordinate directorates, of other directorates, and of troop commands at MOD level that handle special-purpose equipment and supply. The Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff is responsible for management of the uninterrupted supply of all forces in the initial phases of conflict.
During conflict, it is essential to maintain supply stock levels at or near the norm for as long as possible in all formations. This means that, when interdiction, enemy counterattacks or the rapid pace of operations interferes with or temporarily halts operations, formations can continue combat action by using their mobile stocks until supply lines reopen. To achieve this, the OPFOR practices skip-echelon resupply where possible.
For example, army group materiel-support elements, where they can, bypass the army rear and deliver direct to division, or army transport may dump a supplementary reserve of ammunition for an artillery preparation with the division artillery group or on the gun lines. This procedure speeds up the operation of the system by avoiding time-consuming transloading. An army may be resupplied daily and divisions up to twice a day. Ideally, this takes place by night or in conditions of poor visibility. A high rate of advance may necessitate resupply in fair weather conditions.
To simplify logistics planning and to standardize ordering and issuing procedures, the OPFOR divides the major classes of supplies into specific quantities or distribution lots. The OPFOR calls these quantities "units of fire" for ammunition, "refills" for POL, "daily ration" for food, and "sets" for spare parts and accessories. Planners compute these amounts based on physical conditions or limitations.
Ammunition stockage norms, planned consumption rates, and allocations are based on an accounting unit which the OPFOR terms "unit of fire." This accounting term refers to the fixed number of rounds issued to a particular weapon (weapon unit of fire) or to a combat unit (organizational unit of fire) on the basis of operational employment, technical characteristics, and past experience. A weapon unit of fire may or may not be equal to the number of rounds carried on board a particular system (combat load).
The ammunition officer or his staff calculates expected usage. He orders appropriate amounts by type and keeps a running account of the amounts on hand in units and in depot stocks. The chief of logistics integrates the ammunition order into his supply transport plan. He allocates transportation assets to move ammunition between depots and user units.
The number of units of fire allocated varies with the unit's mission, the enemy situation, and the availability of ammunition. Planners assign a multiple of the unit of fire for weapons before each major operation or phase. The multiple assigned is situation-dependent.
Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants
Fuel and lubricant supply are second in priority following ammunition, for three major reasons. First, the number of different types of fuel and lubricants that have to be moved is limited compared with the varying types of ammunition. Second, at least 20 percent of the POL can move forward as far as the army rear by pipeline, lessening the dependence on road transport. Also, pipelines are also difficult to interdict, yet they are flexible because it is possible to quickly change the fuel being pumped by simply inserting a separating plug. Third, vehicles can use captured POL stocks.
All available means move POL to army group and army units. At army group, depots maintain a 12-day supply. At army level, POL depots maintain a two- to three-day supply stored in tanks. Depots store oil and lubricants in 150- to 500-liter drums. Logisticians establish advance bases near division rear boundaries when the distance between army depots and first-echelon divisions exceeds 100 km. Divisions carry a three- to five-day stock of POL.
Planners base their computation of fuel requirements on the refill. The refill is the amount of fuel carried in a vehicle's internal fuel tanks. The refill for a unit or subunit is the sum of the refills of the total combat equipment and transport means (subdivided according to types of fuel). For aircraft, armored vehicles, missiles/rockets, and other equipment, which are fitted with fuel tanks or containers integral to their fuel system, the refill is the total amount of fuel they can take on. For wheeled vehicles the refill is the amount of fuel which allows a road range of a predetermined length. If, to do so, the refill exceeds the total capacity of the fuel tank/containers, provision is made for barrels and containers to accommodate the remaining fuel. For motors of special vehicles, generators, and other machines and systems, the refill is the amount of fuel which is required for the operation of these motors for a certain length of time. A division normally carries three refills (including the vehicles' initial fill), with another two to three at army level and two or three times that at army group. As with ammunition, divisions keep up stocks for as long as possible by timely resupply from army group or army.
Tactical pipelines may deliver fuel as far forward as division rear areas. Pipeline brigades or battalions may be at army group and army levels. A brigade can lay about 45 miles of 4-inch pipeline per day, while a special pipeline battalion can lay up to 19 miles per day.
A recently developed pipelaying machine requires only two operators to lay and couple pipe. Tactical pipelines normally connect to portable fuel tanks. When the pipeline extends over flat terrain, pipelaying units locate mobile pumping stations at approximately 9-mile intervals. In rough or mountainous terrain, the stations would be closer together.
The OPFOR issues rations based on meals per man per day. Three meals per man per day multiplied by the number of soldiers in a given unit equals a daily ration for that unit. Staff planners at the MOD develop norms for a day's supply of rations. Basic ration norms determine the amount of food products issued to feed one man for a 24-hour period. The chief of logistics is responsible for all ration support. He must provide a timely and uninterrupted supply of rations and technical equipment for the preparation of food under field conditions.
Procurement and resupply of vehicles and end items are the responsibility of the various chiefs of arms and technical services. The system does not have a resupply procedure for unit end items while the unit is tactically engaged. A new unit replaces a unit in combat that has suffered critical losses.
Mobile contact teams fix repairable equipment, returning it to action as soon as possible. This is the only way to replace equipment end items. Contact teams do not replace damaged equipment in the field if it requires more than a few hours work. Under this system, users submit requests to the next higher maintenance unit that supplies the item from stocks on hand. Army group through brigade levels maintain mobile reserve supplies on trucks and replenish these supplies as soon as possible.
Engineers, in cooperation with the medical service, plan water supply in the field. When time permits, they develop a water supply plan. The plan includes a survey, a water supply chart, and a work schedule. The water supply chart indicates which water wells to use, where to dig new wells, and how to deploy water supply stations. The schedule also shows daily water requirements, transportation requirements for hauling the water, and equipment for handling it.
Engineers organize water supply points in the rear of army groups and armies. Under the direction of the local commander, organic engineer units, or the soldiers themselves, set up water supply points for all lower echelons. Engineers carefully calculate the daily requirements for areas with widely scattered water points to determine the amount of transportation needed.
Engineer, Signal, Chemical, and Medical Items
The chiefs of the services from army group to brigade levels procure items peculiar to these services through separate channels. The chief of logistics handles medical supplies through independent channels.
Supply Distribution System
An army group receives its supplies from the national storage depots or in some cases directly from the industrial production line. Army group and army logistics bases are large complexes providing all combat service support needs.
Army group assets deliver items directly to army depots. In turn, army assets deliver equipment to supported divisions. At division level, supply bases are as close to the ongoing battle as possible. If necessary, logisticians bypass intermediate echelons to deliver items directly to the user.
Supplies move in bulk mainly by rail and pipeline. They also move by road from the strategic rear to the dumps in the operational rear. The conditions of the ongoing battle dictate the location of dumps and stockpiles. Being highly mobile, divisions do not create stockpiles but maintain mobile stocks as far forward as possible.
Air resupply may occur on a small or moderate scale when other methods have failed or when extreme speed is essential. High-value cargo, such as nuclear warheads or NBC protective clothing, have high priority for air supply.
The various transportation services under the MOD are traffic management, railroad operations, railroad maintenance and construction, highway construction and maintenance, highway regulation, and operation of all transport modes including pipelines.
Traffic management for the MOD is the responsibility of the Central Military Transportation Directorate. This directorate is subordinate at MOD level to the Chief of Logistics and is responsible for managing defense transportation requirements using military and civilian resources. The directorate has staff elements down to army level. These elements advise chiefs of the rear on transportation planning requirements.
Extensive use of motor transport begins at army group level. At army group and army levels, the OPFOR has a materiel support brigade with three motor transport battalions for ammunition and general cargo plus a POL transport battalion. This massive amount of transport at army and army group levels supports the concept of "delivery forward." This allows commander at these levels the flexibility to mass logistics support assets to engaged divisions. As a result, the division does not have to support itself.
A major strength of motor transport is the great quantity, and extensive use of, trailers. The OPFOR pulls loaded trailers forward to fighting units and exchanges them for empty trailers. They return empty trailers to rear logistics bases for reloading. In this way, fighting units maintain maximum quantities of critical supplies.
Second-echelon unit logistics elements support first-echelon units. This practice increases the transport capability for logistics support to first-echelon regiments and divisions. Logistics bases can locate deeper in army group or army rear areas. This placement reduces congestion in the main combat area, but requires long LOCs that could be targets for enemy air interdiction. To help control the huge numbers of vehicles, the OPFOR places special traffic control elements along march routes at critical points to direct column movement.
MAINTENANCE AND RECOVERY
Forward positioning of maintenance and recovery operations provides effective support for the high-speed tempo of combat operations. Lower-level units have a limited maintenance capability and depend on higher-level maintenance units to provide direct and backup support. The OPFOR designs its maintenance system to accomplish repair as far forward as possible. Repair facilities move near the scene of combat rather than waiting for damaged equipment to be evacuated to them.
In the army's area there are substantial army group assets. The exact numbers depend on the importance of the axis and the severity of the fighting anticipated. These units deploy to locations convenient for the various damaged vehicle collection points that divisions establish. They perform as many repairs as possible before the momentum of the advance demands their forward displacement. Armies and tank armies have their maintenance capabilities augmented by army group as required. Army units can provide mobile detachments for forward operations if necessary.
Maintenance facilities in the field provide repair for--
- Tracked and wheeled vehicles.
- Artillery and ordnance.
- Engineer equipment.
- Signal equipment.
- Chemical equipment.
Fixed and mobile repair facilities extend repair capabilities forward into the battle area and provide service on the above items.
In wartime, the types of repair performed at each level depend on the combat situation. Generally, they are of a lesser degree than in peacetime. The OPFOR classifies three categories of repair: routine, medium, or capital.
Routine repairs, such as replacements, adjustments, or repair of individual components require only a short time to fix. Maintenance personnel do not dissemble major components as part of routine repair; levels above division perform this function.
Medium repairs, include major overhaul of at least two basic assemblies. Brigade or division-level units perform this level of maintenance.
The OPFOR military medical system provides support to ground forces under the direction of the Military Medical Directorate of the MOD. The directorate supervises distribution of medical equipment and training of medical personnel.
The OPFOR divides the range of medical treatment into three categories. The first category of procedures includes only mandatory lifesaving measures. The second category includes procedures to prevent severe complications of wounds or injuries. The final category of treatment includes procedures accomplished only when there is a low casualty load and reduced enemy activity.
In anticipation of an overtaxed combat medical support system, doctrine emphasizes the importance of "self-help" and mutual aid among individual soldiers. Each soldier has a packet of field dressings and an NBC protection kit. He also receives a required number of hours of first-aid training each year. The concept of self-help and mutual aid extends beyond the battlefield to casualty collection points and battalion aid stations. Self-help and mutual aid reduces the demands made on trained medical personnel, particularly when the use of NBC weapons results in a sudden and massive influx of casualties.
The expectation of high-speed offensive operations calls for a highly mobile medical support system. Its component units must be capable of repeated forward deployment with a minimum loss of efficiency. Mobility is particularly important for medical support units of battalions and regiments that may redeploy several times during a 24-hour period. Repeated forward redeployment of medical units and continuous rearward evacuation of casualties demand close coordination between medical levels and medical and combat commanders.
The basic principle of combat medical support is multistage evacuation with minimum treatment at each level. From company through army group, each level has specific responsibilities for the care of the sick and wounded. Besides treating the wounded, medical personnel handle virtually all of their own administration, especially at lower levels. As casualties move through the combat evacuation system, medical personnel at each level make effective use of medical facilities by repeated sorting of the wounded (triage). They treat the lightly wounded who can return to combat and those casualties who would not survive further evacuation without immediate medical attention. The OPFOR believes army-level mobile field hospitals should perform major medical treatment.
In wartime, each command level of the OPFOR from company to army group has organic medical support units or personnel. At each level, medical support units are subordinate to the combat unit commander and to the next higher level of military medical service. This system responds to the needs of combat units and allows close coordination between medical levels for the treatment and evacuation of casualties.
The system returns as many soldiers to duty as quickly as possible. Apart from emergency life saving treatment, medical personnel give priority to soldiers who can return to action. The OPFOR has designed the system in anticipation of mass casualties that weapons of mass destruction produce. Medical units move forward with the troops they are supporting, setting up facilities in areas where heavy fighting occurs.
In addition to the four to six field hospitals supporting army operations, there may be one or two rear hospital bases established in the army group rear base. These comprise the same elements as mobile hospital bases. These hospital bases deploy at or near railheads in different locations. The mobile elements serve as medical reserves, or they may set up new mobile hospital bases if the interval between those operating in the army rear and the army group rear base becomes too large.
Army resources deploy to support the axis likely to see the most casualties. Independent medical detachments reinforce forward divisions, supplementing their effort and easing the problem created by frequent moves by the divisional medical battalion. A further two to four separate medical detachments are medical reserves. Their job is to deal with the sudden influx of mass casualties that could result if the enemy uses weapons of mass destruction.
The army has two to four medical battalions, one or two evacuation battalions. Also operating in the army rear, from 40 to 50 km from the line of contact (at least initially), would be field hospitals from the army group. One mobile hospital deploys in support of every two to three divisions in contact.
At each level, it is the higher echelon's responsibility to collect casualties from the lower. With limited ambulance assets available, divisional companies can only move 80 casualties. Army group and army battalions can move 300 casualties each in one lift. The separate air ambulance brigade can transport 180 casualties.
Most wounded, especially when evacuated back to the army, can expect to be backloaded in empty load-carrying vehicles returning from ammunition runs. From army backwards, ambulances and rail transport are more common. Of course, as with ammunition and POL supply, the OPFOR uses skip-echelon evacuation when possible.
REAR AREA SECURITY
The OPFOR expects any enemy to make an effort to conduct reconnaissance, espionage, and diversionary action in its operational rear. These can be particularly effective in areas where the local population is not sympathetic to the cause. In addition to these threats, the OPFOR anticipates attacks on their areas by airborne and heliborne forces as well as larger-scale attacks by enemy operational maneuver forces.
The OPFOR uses a dedicated rear area security force to counter any threats. Each army group deploys a considerable counterintelligence effort. They can assign up to an entire division for security tasks. The security force is equipped and trained for conventional as well as unconventional warfare. As airborne and amphibious threats grow, there is increasing stress on deploying antilanding reserves, including, or even based on, heliborne units to provide a rapid reaction.
All logistics and communications units are capable of self-defense. The convalescent sick and wounded provide a reserve of manpower for elements near medical locations or second-echelon forces.
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