Book Review: Supplying the British Army in the Second World War


by Janet Macdonald

Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2020. Pp. x, 224+. llus., map, diagr, append. notesIllus., maps, biblio., index. $49.95. ISBN: 1526725339

The Logistics of the British Army in World War II

While there have been some intensely boring staff and scholarly studies of British logistics, with this book Dr. Macdonald, author of Horses in the British Army, Feeding Nelson’s Navy, and other works, has produced the first treatment that offers a comprehensive overview of the subject.

Macdonald opens with a chapter on the prewar premises on which Britain’s initial logistical planning was made. There follow a dozen chapters each of which covers a particular aspect of planning, organization, and procurement, with titles such as “Movements and Transportation”, “Petrol, Oil, and Lubricants”, “Works Services and Engineering Stores”, “Signals and Other Communications”, “Clothing and Personal Equipment”, “Food”, and “Medical Matters”. Each chapter looks at the anticipated need for personnel and supply, changes imposed by wartime developments and requirement imposed by geographic theatre, given British troops and their Commonwealth and Imperial comrades fought in an amazing variety of environments. The final chapter concentrates on preparations for D-Day and operations in Northwestern Europe.

Alas, the book lacks what would certainly have have been a most interesting look at the complexities of supplying the remarkably multi-ethic Fourteenth Army in India and Burma, but so complex a subject would probably have required far more space.

Supplying the British Army in the Second World War is an important read for anyone interested in logistics or World War II.




Note: Supplying the British Army in the Second World War is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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