Murphy's Law: An Army of Rides


October 16, 2005: The U.S. Army has about 495,000 active duty troops, some 700,000 reservists (including the National Guard), and 232,000 trucks. Count the armored vehicles, and some smaller (than a hummer) stuff, and you have about 240,000 vehicles. That’s about five troops per vehicle. What that means, in addition to the fact that everyone has a ride, is that most troops work revolves a vehicle of some sort. Things have changed a lot in the last sixty years. When the 3.5 million man German army invaded Russia in June, 1941, they went in with 324,000 motor vehicles, and nearly as many horse drawn ones. That’s about ten troops per motor vehicle, but five per motor or horse drawn vehicle. What has changed is not just that there are no more horse-drawn vehicles, but that the entire American army has the same ratio of vehicles to troops as the German field army (just combat and combat support troops) that was invading Russia. The Germans, just like any other army, had lots of troops who worked in offices, warehouses and workshops, that had little need for vehicles. Today, a modern army has lots of vehicles, more than at any other time in history. That provides a degree of mobility that has rarely been achieved before. And it means that everyone, or nearly everyone, knows how to drive, and take care of, a motor vehicle.


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