How Naval Logistics Has Evolved Throughout Combat History


Logistics is central to all military activities as it acts as a link between the industrial base and deployed personnel. Basically, military logistics facilitate the movement of deployed forces and provide them with weapons, medical assistance, evacuation, supplies and maintenance.

Water logistics forms one of the essential components of the military logistics department, as ships, personnel, tactics, and inland and coastal waterways contribute to the victory of a battle. Water logistics can be traced back to the massive movement of supplies that dates back over 3,000 years ago, when armies needed food, additional troops, miscellaneous supplies and ammunition.

Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Darren Saiz, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command, installs a shelf in a supply warehouse. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

United States ships and naval forces

Several international wars like the American Revolutionary war shook on 18e century. As the British and the French were rivals, the French chose to help the Americans gain independence from the British. The French allies did this by providing economic and military support. Initially, French ships provided covert aid. However, after signing the Treaty of Friendship and Trade and Treaty of Alliance, the French supplied America with money, troops and equipment. On the other hand, America had no naval forces as it only had merchant ships which were mainly used for trade. The Americans also lacked maritime warfare training, tactics, and the presence of privateers was more lucrative than naval service.

After recognizing the importance of naval forces, the Continental Congress formed the Continental Marine and the Marine Corps in 1775. The colonies began to acquire ships, especially schooners such as the Hanna, Hancock, Lynch, Lee, Franklin, Washington, Harrison, and Katy. Even with the purchase of ships and the creation of the Continental Navy and the Marine Corps, England still dominated sea power with over 270 ships in 1775. At the end of the Revolutionary War, a ship known as the Frigate Alliance allowed the Americans to conquer the revolution. After that, the government disbanded the Continental Navy and formed the United States Navy in 1794. The United States Navy consisted of six ships, commonly known as the Six original frigates, which sailed as United States Ships (USS). Currently, more than 480 USS ships are undisputed and dominate the world’s oceans.

naval submarines

How Naval Logistics Has Evolved Throughout Combat History
A life-size cutaway replica of the Tortoise.

For militaries around the world, traveling underwater means secrecy and unpredictability, and as a result, submarines were created. During the American Revolution, America used The turtle, which was the first combat submarine. It was designed and built by David Bushnell, an American inventor at Yale. He designed an egg-shaped oak vase that could accommodate a single man. The Turtle was hand-operated and equipped with a torpedo that could stick to the enemy ship and later explode. David had imagined the Turtle would be an effective tool in attacking British sailors in New York Harbor in 1776. Nevertheless, as the operator lacked the necessary skills, the submarine’s mission failed and the British ships did not sink.

After the Revolutionary War, America made multiple improvements to its submarines and used them in World War II against Japanese forces. They were used to rescue American airmen stranded in the Pacific and to limit the transport of supplies to the Japanese army.

The United States Navy also used submarines during the Cold War, where USS Holland was a significantly improved submarine in terms of engines. Prior to this, submarines were powered by steam power plants with batteries, while the USS Holland used a battery-powered electric motor. In addition to being a weapon, the USS Holland has contributed significantly to military training. It was used to train cadets and officers for the submarines the navy was working on. Currently, the US Navy operates a wide range of submarines, including 14 ballistic missile submarines and four missile submarines.


Comments are closed.