Arteries of War

by Joseph Sinclair

"If money is the sinews of war, transport and supply are its arteries"

This book traces the history of military transport from Alexander the Great to the Gulf War.

"I've got to get there more rapidly with more folks," said Lt. Gen. Robert C. Kingston, Commander in Chief of the US Central Command in 1985, echoing the feelings of the 13th century Mongol General Sabutai, whose cavalry travelled 180 miles in three days to surprise and annihilate the Hungarian Army. Demonstrating the importance of efficient military transport, the Mongols relied on a system of three extra horses for every man, but the modern military commander has far more resources to draw upon.

From the American airlift of 7,000 men and 3,000 tons of material during the Cuban missile crisis, to the Marine troop carriers which airlifted an entire bridge to their beleagured troops, transport is as vital to military success now as it was for Alexander the Great, Hannibal or Genghis Khan.

The book provides a fascinating account of the different types of transport that have been used over the centuries, starting with the camels and horses used by Alexander the Great, and going on to describe the use of horses, ships, railways, aircraft and helicopters.

If the book has an abiding theme, it is the consistent reliance of the military on the provision of transport and supplies by commercial interests, starting with the days when commanders bought, rented or stole animals, to the present day dependence on airlines and the merchant marine with its use of containers.

The book contains many previously unpublished photographs.

Section headings include:

  • Logistics, principles and practice
  • The military role of sea transport
  • Rail transport in military history
  • Land transport in military history
  • Air transport in military history
  • Military airlift
  • The container revolution
  • Logistics over the shore

"Victory is the beautiful bright-coloured flower. Transport is the stem without which it could not have blossomed." (Winston Spencer Churchill)

Published at 18.95 and no longer in print, some copies of this book are still available at the reduced price of 11.00 (Eleven Pounds Sterling) inclusive of packing and postage from Container Marketing Ltd.