Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on Logistics

In the Austrian service, soldiers generally carried up to four days’ supply on them. Baking companies supported the army with ovens that were built up with brick over iron hoops that could be assembled and broken down with relative ease and were thus relatively mobile. This stands in fairly stark contrast with the permanent structures erected by the French.

More generally on food, the Austrian soldier was allowed 1 pound of meat (which he had to purchase for himself from regimental butchers - albeit at a reasonable cost) and 1.75 pounds of bread per day. In February of 1760, the Austrian troops in Saxony would work their way through 300 oxen per week, and the army as a whole would consume 700 in the same period.

Some notes on supply and Transport in the Bohemian, Silesian and Saxon areas.

The Prussians had certain logistic advantages:

*Easy river transport down the Oder and the Elbe Rivers.
*Strongly defended forward fortress depots at Cosel, Breig, Schweidnitz, Neisse and Glatz that could be replenished either directly from water transport or via short overland haulage.

The Austrians laboured under corresponding disadvantages:

*They had no secure magazines near the theatre of operations. Both Prague and Olmutz ware deep within Bohemia and cannot count at “forward” depots on the Prussian model. Dresden was more conveniently located, but was not always in Austrian hands!

The Austrian response was the creation of filial or ‘flying’ magazines of no fixed location which were established and re-established throughout the war in various locations in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Saxony as was convenient.

Leitmeritz and Lobositz in Northern Bohemia, were convenient to the headwaters of the Elbe as depots, although they themselves had to be laboriously stocked via overland routes running the four wheeled horse carts used by the Austrians. These carts could each carry a load a little short of a ton. The Danube was useful from bringing supplies out of Hungary, but was prone to icing in the winter months.

Source: primarily Duffy's last book on the Austrian Army.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Ah yes . . . we moderns tend to forget how vital river transport was for European armies.

Thank you reminding us.

-- Jeff

Bloggerator said...

In the light of how mich supply an army chewed through in a day and in light of the fact that a four-wheeled cart could move only about a ton of supplies (and thus the size of the wagon-trains) one can only wonder that the armies of the day strayed far from the rivers and canals that supplied them at all.

I wonder how much of their load a four-horse team would eat up on the three day march (in addition to what grazing they could get on the way.