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Logistics in the R.E.

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
This thread will discuss the planning and operations of the logistical system within the Regio Esercito (R.E.). There have been questions on this topic over the years, so I hope this thread will be a place to try and answer them.

As always comments and corrections are most welcome.

A logistical system must be designed and resourced so units have the supplies/material they need, ideally arriving before they need them. The most efficient system is one where a unit forecast/requests their requirements and those requirements move through the system without stopping until they reach the requesting unit by the time it is needed.

There are two problems that prevent this from happening.

-The item/material isn’t available from the source (e.g. there aren’t any spare tank track blocks available, the factory must make more);

-The transportation system can’t move the requested item when it is needed (there is 40t of supplies waiting to be moved, but there are only enough trucks to transport 20t). The American Red Ball Express in France, 1944 is an example of the transportation problem. The campaigns in A.S. were heavily shaped by the transportation problem.

This thread will not address the first issue of availability. That problem lies in the realm of resources, production, skilled labor, etc. A discussion of Italy’s ability to wage war is a good discussion to have.

The second problem is usually addressed by stockpiling. Armies create depots, units carry spare parts, and also carry an amount of supplies to last them X numbers of days without resupply. It is the requirement to stockpile that creates the cycle of frenzied combat and static lulls. Culmination of an operation happens when the logistical system falls behind in meeting the supply requirements of units such that the units become combat ineffective. The Axis advance after Gazala towards the Nile is a classic example of culmination.

Logistical planning.

Forecasting is at the heart of logistical planning. The planner has two basic considerations that must be achieved:

-Daily consumption. If the unit never moves and never fights, the personnel and animals are consuming food and water every day. Vehicles need fuel. Over time uniforms wear out, personnel and animals get sick, vehicles are driven and break, etc. So the planner must first calculate what are the daily needs of the force than the logistical system must support.

-The consumption created by the planned operation. While the food and water consumption won’t significantly increase, fuel, ammunition, medical supplies, etc. will increase dramatically due to combat.

Both of these types of requirement must be satisfied by the logistical system. In our ideal system, all the food, water, ammunition, etc. is available AND the transportation system can move the daily requirements to the units every day of the operation. The reality it that the daily requirements will require much of the transportation capacity, leaving only the remaining to build up the magazines to support offensive operatives.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Ammunition (munizioni)

The R.E. allocated ammunition using two concepts. The first is basic load. Basic load is the amount of ammunition a units carried with it for each weapon in the unit. The R.E. didn’t use the term basis load. Instead they used dotazione d’arma (authorization for the weapon) and dotazione di reparto (authorization for the unit). The dotazione d’arma was the ammunition carried with the weapon or in the platoon; the dotazione di reparto was that carried by the company and/or battalion/and or regiment. The following are some of the authorizations:

Dotazione d’arma:

Pistola - 18
Fucile o moschetto - 72
F.M. - 1800
Bomba a mano - 4 for each man equipped with a Fucile o moschetto
Mitraglieri - 4200
Mortai da 45 - 120
Mortai da 81 - 72
Cannoni da 47/32 acc. - 112
Cannoni da 47/32 c.c. - 136

Dotazione di reparto:

Pistola - 12
Fucile o moschetto - 36
F.M. - 1200
Bomba a mano - 4 for each man equipped with a Fucile o moschetto
Mitraglieri - 3900
Mortai da 45 - 70
Mortai da 81 - 150
Cannoni da 47/32 acc. - 248
Cannoni da 47/32 c.c. - 224

Information from:
Le squadre della fanteria Scuola di Applicazione di Fanteria 1943
 
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jwsleser

Member
Staff member
The second concept was the unità di fuoco - unfoc (unit of fire). The unfoc was a planning number to forecast consumption during operations. Each army created their own values for units of fire based on their historical experience, the types of weapons, etc. (whatever factors they felt was pertinent). In the R.E. it is unclear what the number was based on. I have read both 1/2 day or 1 day of combat. If the latter, then if a planner expects the operation to last 5 days, then the logistical system needs to have 5 unfoc ready for issue. This can be 5 unfoc in magazines behind the line, or possibility 3 unfoc in magazines with the supply system delivering the remaining 2 unfoc while the operation is unfolding.

For the operation against Stalino, The C.S.I.R. wanted to maintain 12-15 unfoc, but only averaged the following at the various magazines:

Kriwoj Rok - 1/2 unfoc
Dnjepropetrowsk - 1 to 4 unfoc
Werchowzewo - 1/2 unfoc
Boschedarowka - 1/2 unfoc
Nikolajewka - 1/4 unfoc
zona Stalino - 1 to 4 unfoc
 
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jwsleser

Member
Staff member
The unfoc for the various weapons in the R.E. were:

Pistola - 10
Fucile o moschetto - 60
F.M. - 1300
Bomba a mano - 4
Mitraglieri - 2000
Mortai da 45 - 200
Mortai da 81 - 200
Cannoni da 47/32 - 200

Per artiglieria:
Pezzi da 20 - 1000,
Cannoni da 65/17 - 200
Piccoli calibri (fino al 100 incluso) - 250
Bocche da fuoco da 105/28, 149/12, 149/13 - 150,
Medi calibri (fino al 210 incluso) - 100
Grossi calibri (oltre il 210) - 50

Information from:
I servizi logistici delle unità italiane al fronte russo (1941-43) p. 23
Le artiglierie del Regio Esercito nella seconda guerra mondiale pp. 295-299
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Unfoc is only used to forecast theater/army requirements. Unfoc is calculated by major unit within the theater. The planners take the normal authorization of weapons in a unit and calculate the unfoc. This becomes the standard unfoc of issue. it might be adjusted for attachments and detachments of subunits if the length of those changes are for a long duration. Normally the unfoc is not adjusted for loss of weapons as the planner assumes that replacements will be provided. It would be a ceaseless task in trying to adjust the unfoc for the impact of combat.

Here is an example of two divisional unfoc calculations for the C.S.I.R. in Russia.
CSIRunfoc.jpeg

Source: I servizi logistici delle unità italiane al fronte russo (1941-43) p. 228.

Once the munitions are in the magazines within the theater, the ammunition is issued to the units based on actual requires/request and not by unfoc. A regiment would request 50,000 rounds of machine-gun ammunition, not 1 unfoc of machine gun ammunition.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Yes. It is the unfoc for the corps assets. For the C.S.I.R., the unfoc is two d. at. and one d. cel, plus one C.A. A total of 648,620kg. (714 stons)
 
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