New Book Highlights Critical Role of Logistics in WWII

New Book Highlights Critical Role of Logistics in WWII

Monday, March 28, 2022

Logistics are back in the news in light of Russia’s struggles in the early phase of the war against Ukraine. Their troubles on the ground have been ascribed to poor planning and problems with supply lines, which are particularly notable given that Ukraine is a bordering nation.

Contrast that situation with the U.S. Army’s operations in World War II. The U.S. opened its campaign against the Nazis on another continent, thousands of miles from home ports, using technologies from almost a century ago.

Colonel David D. Dworak, US Army retired, has examined the challenges of developing that extensive support network in the latest title in the AUSA Book Program, War of Supply: World War II Allied Logistics in the Mediterranean.

The AUSA Book Program sat down with Dr. Dworak to discuss the book and how superior logistics gave the Allies a strategic advantage, ultimately paving a path to victory.


AUSA: What drew you to the subject of logistics as the topic for your book?

Dworak: I served as a military logistician for over 30 years and have been disappointed that there are only a few books that address military logistics and theater level administrative support. Modern history shows time and again that the support structure of a theater of operations is often directly related to the outcome of a campaign.


AUSA: How did logistics in the Mediterranean differ from those of other theaters of WWII?

Dworak: The Mediterranean was unique in that it required large joint and combined operations across large land masses, often in austere conditions. Size was also a factor, as the combined armies of Germany and Italy were more than twice the number of Japanese land forces.


AUSA: How do you respond to those who say that Allied victory was essentially guaranteed because of economic advantages?

Dworak: German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg referred to his nation’s entry into the First World War as “rolling the iron dice.” This is a great analogy because there are no guarantees in war. Access to resources and a robust industrial base may give a nation an advantage, but these mean little if it can’t get the right things to the right people at the right place and time.


AUSA: What insights do you have on Russian logistical troubles in the invasion of Ukraine?

Dworak: The current situation in Ukraine is a great case study on the relationship between combat and support. One cannot ignore the physics of logistics, such as time, distance, requirements, capacity, and environment. For the Russians, conducting a major field exercise in Belarus just prior to the invasion was mystifying—it takes time to repair equipment and refill stockage levels. And the spring mud is channelizing Russian movement, which provides Ukraine with opportunities to interdict their logistics chains.


AUSA: What’s the most important lesson would you like today’s U.S. Army to take from your book?

Dworak: It is easy to be enamored by the stories of celebrated generals and famous battles.  What we cannot ignore are all the things that occur behind the scenes, setting conditions for victory or defeat.


To order a copy of War of Supply, please visit