The present volume, and its successor, depict a massive achievement: the performance by the Army of the task of effecting the orderly assembly, movement, and delivery of great masses of men and materiel throughout the world to meet t only American requirements but also those of the other nations fighting the Axis. The authors show how the demands of this task affected American strategy and how it reacted on the shape and mission of the Army. These volumes present the outlook of the War Department as a whole on this task, rather than that of any one agency or command of the Army. Two other volumes in the same subseries will deal with the Army's procurement of munitions and supplies from that standpoint. The rest of the logistical story will be told in volumes on the Army Service Forces, the seven technical services, and the theaters of operations. Logistical tasks account in large measure for the ermous administrative machinery that the Army developed in the course of the war. Its development, though t a complete surprise, exceeded all anticipations. The demand for service troops seemed insatiable and required repeated revisions of the troop basis. With this went a proliferation of overhead in the form of complex controls and higher headquarters that ate up officers needed for the training and leading of fighting troops, drew into the service a multitude of specialists, and confused the chain of command. The trend ran counter to the traditional American belief that the overriding mission of the Army is to fight, a conviction so deep that some commanders, like General McNair, fought to keep the Army lean and simple. In World War II they lost this fight.
Richard M. Leighton, who received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History from Cornell University, has taught in Brooklyn College, the University of Cincinnati, and George Washington University. During World War II, commissioned in the Quartermaster Corps, he was assigned to the Control Division, Headquarters, Army Service Forces, as a historical officer, and wrote various studies on the organization and administration of that command. Robert W. Coakley, who has a Ph. D. in History from the University of Virginia, has taught in that university, Tulane University, the University of Arkansas, and the Fairmont State College, West Virginia. After serving as a noncommissioned officer in Headquarters Battery, 927th Field Artillery Battalion, 102d Infantry Division, he became a member of the Historical Division of ETOUSA and USFET and wrote for that office the studies, Organization and Command in ETO and Supply of the Army of Occupation. Since 1948 the authors have been members of the Logistics Section of this Office. Dr. Leighton is chief of the section.