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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eight Pounds: A USMC loggie weighs in 
Got this in from a reader this evening:

spent a couple of decades doing logistics in the Marine Corps. I worked everything from Battalion level up to Division and FSSG level. Everything from MEU(SOC) to Corps level. Additionally, I have pretty extensive experience in seaborne and airborne logistics (go figure). It continues to amaze me that people in the military that should live and breathe the logistical requirements can be so confused over what it takes to get from point A to point B with all the people and all their crap.

I tried to explain what a massive undertaking it is to move the National Guard into the Katrina affected area to my wife. I had very little success until I broke it down to one number. 8 pounds. It is a magic number. The planning weight for a gallon of water. Times two gallons per person per day minimum. Times 40,000 personnel for the National Guard to support itself. The number gets pretty staggering really quick. 320 tons a day. And that is just for the water.

I don't know what the Guard uses for hauling general cargo these days so I'll use the good old 5 ton truck as my vehicle of choice. A five ton truck carries, well, not five tons. Not after you take out of its total people, fuel, equipment, spares and all the other "stuff" your average driver/A driver pair need to survive. But assuming you can get 5 tons of water on the truck that is 64 trucks (big trucks, not Ford F150 trucks) just to haul water for the relief forces. Still not a drop to drink for the survivors. Now double that number to add in one days worth of water for the 40,000 people in the Superdome. Now we are 128 water trucks.

Assuming that each truck is approximately 27 ft in length (w/wench) and that equals approx 3500 ft. of truck, bumper to bumper. At road march speed and distance, in a non-tactical environment, you are at approx 13,000 ft of trucks or about 2.5 miles of water for a single days supply of water for the relief force and the Superdome. There is nothing to eat, sleep on, or wipe your ass with in this convoy. Just one days worth of water. Pretty impressive number? It's worse even than that. This does not include any packaging, bracing, tiedowns, etc. to hold the water. Just 128 perfectly sealed water haulers.

Now multiply times 25 for the 1,000,000 people displaced by Katrina. And then do it all over tomorrow.


Yep. That's about 50 miles of water per day, if all you've got is 5-tons. Try to park that somewhere without getting a ticket!

And you haven't even moved troops! Nor have you moved your own fuel. To give you some idea of the scale involved, a single mechanized division requires tens of thousands gallons of fuel for every hour it is on the move. Sure, you won't be bringing your tanks and bradleys into New Orleans. So maybe you're down to 6,000 gallons per hour. But electric pumps are out throughout the disaster area, so you have to plan on bringing your own.

Well, you're going to want more than one 5,000 gallon tanker and one 1,000 gallon TPU per hour, because you have to distribute that fuel intelligently, and a few fuelers cannot be fueling up the entire force.

Fueling a large element can take hours. And planning that effort itself takes hours.

Here's a fascinating article written by a Quartermaster Lieutenant Colonel in 1944. The only thing that has changed is the tanks now gobble up even more fuel on their turbine engines.

From the article:



Let us consider a few of the problems that arise when one is dealing with such astronomical supply figures as hundreds of millions of gallons of product and millions of product containers. It is the Quartermasters' responsibility to keep in motion, on all fronts and under all conditions, the Army’s countless thousands of trucks, self-propelled artillery pieces, and mobile land and water equipment-from sixty-ton tanks to half-ton jeeps; from Army transports and landing barges to laundries and sewing machines. The continuous flow of oil and gas to these thirsty machines of modern warfare must be uninterrupted. Nothing must stop or delay the constant flow of oil from gushing well to sub-dodging tanker; from port of debarkation storage tank to the final transporting receptacle -- one of the twenty-million-odd five-gallon cans.

Throughout the entire chain of supply it is the Quartermasters' responsibility to coordinate plans and operations with all Army, Navy, and civilian agencies. Careful planning and gearing of available supply and distribution facilities to actual consumption must be constantly maintained if the entire machinery of civilian and military life is to function at the highest level of efficiency.

The Fuels and Lubricants Division has two broad spheres of operation: the zone of the interior, which consists of the continental United States, and all other areas, generally referred to as "off shore." Most Quartermaster requirements can be estimated to a reasonable degree of accuracy. For example, it is possible to forecast fairly accurately how many shoes, coats or gloves Johnny Doughboy is going to need in a specific theatre of operation over a given period of time. Petroleum products present a knottier problem since every change in tide of battle, terrain, and weather creates changes in demand which require prompt analysis and accurate decisions. The enemy's strength must be gauged, and plans formulated for the destruction of enemy oil production, storage, and distribution facilities. Accurate estimates of enemy consumption and civilian needs in enemy occupied territory are required if strategically sound attack plans are to be developed. As territory is captured and occupied there arise the problems of reclamation of products and reconstruction of production and distribution facilities. When necessary, arrangements must be completed for the supply and shipment of production and refinery equipment to replace that destroyed beyond repair or to develop new fields or plants. These are but a few of the many and varied problems which confront the staff of the Fuels and Lubricants Division.




Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Even if you got the fuel, you still might have a problem, because different units may have their vehicles configured for different types of fuels. Some units may be configured to run on gasoline, some on diesel, and still others on JP-8. The helos are usually designed to run on JP-8. When you have multiple guard units from different states operating jointly with regular army formations and USMC and USN units, you've got issues. Meanwhile, you are competing with the entire Southeast for limited regional fuel stocks. And you may have a pipeline that's shut down.

That's just CL III. There are 8 more classes of supply for you to worry about.

You haven't fed anyone yet. You haven't brought in your coms gear. You haven't brought in your mermites and mobile kitchens. It takes an entire truck and then some to bring in enough mermites, pots, pans, juice and coffee containers, and other supplies just so a battalion can feed itself in the field.

They've got nowhere to crap. So you'll be trucking in porto-lets, hopefully, within the first day. Otherwise things get ugly fast. Trust me.

Hell, just backhauling trash can be a pain in the ass.

Hey, Glick! Tell me again that "it's not about logistics."

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
Jason says:"Assuming that each truck is approximately 27 ft in length (w/wench) and that equals approx 3500 ft. of truck . . ."

I think Jason is mistaken here. I believe it would require more than one wench per truck to serve libations to 40,000 troops.
 
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