Charles Gates Dawes.

A journal of the great war (Volume 1) online

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As there are trucks of different capacities the truck of 3-tons
useful capacity is that used as a basis for calculation.

Second. To make up this reserve of 24,000 trucks it ap-
pears reasonable that each of the Allied armies should furnish
a quota proportional to the forces which they have engaged.
This quota might be as follows:

8000 trucks should be furnished by the French army
8000 trucks by the American army
7000 trucks by the British army
and looo trucks by the Italian army

Third. In each army the formations within the above
limits, which are designated to form a part of the Inter-
Allied Automobile Reserve, will remain under normal con-
ditions at the complete disposition of the Commander-in-
Chief of the different armies.

But the make-up of these formations, their organization,
and the conditions under which they are used, would be
regulated in such a way that they could always be imme-
diately withdrawn to be placed temporarily at the disposition


of the General, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied armies,
for operations which he has determined upon.

Fourth. The formation of the Inter-Allied Automobile
Reserve should be pressed with the greatest energy, each of
the Allied armies indicating at the first of each month the
situation of their own formations forming a part of this re-

In total this reserve should have at least the 300 groups
indicated as necessary in paragraph I before the first of
December, 1918, in order that the formations composing it
may be amalgamated and trained in such a manner as to be
completely available by the end of January, 1919.

Fifth. In view of the eventual formation and use of an
Inter-Allied Automobile Reserve, it is necessary to proceed
from now on

(a) with the preparation of rules governing the process of
making transports, embarkations, debarkations, etc.,
to be conformed by the formations constituting the
Inter-Allied Automobile Reserve;

(b) with the study and determination of uniform rules of
circulation applicable by the different Allied armies
operating on all the roads of heavy traffic in France.

For this purpose a Bureau d'Etudes will be formed as
quickly as possible in connection with the Allied Supply
Board and will prepare an elaboration of the regulations
herein indicated.

Sixth. Several series of officers belonging to the different
Allied armies should be called to go to the Bureau d'Etudes,
the formation of which is indicated above, to be instructed
concerning the new rules and to be able to follow rapidly the
application of them as soon as they are put in force.

The resolving, during the last months of the war, of a war-
fare largely stationary into one of movement, immensely
emphasized the importance of this measure of the Board.
Although every apparent effort was made by the Allied
armies through volunteer effort to create this reserve, the
need of a central military authority operating over the Allied
rear, having a bird's-eye view and therefore best informed as
to the matter of relative necessities, is again demonstrated.
So great might have become the importance, had the war of
movement longer continued, of creating flying columns of pur-


suit, that the veto power of independent army organization
against the common use under central supervision of motor
transportation would certainly have resulted in a lack of
maximum military effectiveness.

The more the American member of the Board came into
contact with the general situation in the rear of the Allied
armies and the possibilities of a vast increase in military
effectiveness by a central military control of the Allied rear,
matching that at the front, along the lines originally proposed
by yourself as Commander-in-Chief and by the American
member as your representative at the first inter-Allied con-
ferences, the more did he appreciate the immense loss in the
military effectiveness of the Allied armies incident to the
failure to have the original plan adopted in its entirety.

A process of evolution went on in the methods of every
army as well as in the relation of the Allied armies. The slow-
est 01 all evolutions in allied warfare was the military coordi-
nation of the armies in the field, the very place where it was
most needed. It was the application to allied warfare in
France of certain principles and practices, which were evolved
from the long experience of the French army, that Marshal
Petain had in mind in his remarks at the meeting of the
Military Board of Allied Supply on September 2, 1918, at
which you were present.

General Petain said he wished to express his appreciation
of the excellent work the Committee had been doing toward
the pooling of all the resources of the Allies in motor trans-
portation. He observed that the Allies had been led to the
conclusion that such a pooling was necessary by the experience
that had been made in the French armies since the beginning
of the war. In the first part of the war, he stated, every divi-
sion, army corps, army commander in the French army
wanted to have his own motor transportation. The result
was a tremendous waste of trucks. Units at rest retained
material which was much in excess of their requirements
whilst units engaged in active operations were short of trans-
portation. The total amount of available trucks was inade-


quate; the Commander-in-Chief had not at his disposal the
transportation he required for active sectors of the front.
Therefore they were led to centralize motor transportation

1st. In each army.

2d. For the whole of the French armies.
The results were most satisfactory. He wished to point out
that the principle which was true for motor transportation
was also true for all sorts of resources, material, and facilities.
He pointed out the question of artillery material and recalled
the fact that units engaged in active operations required a
quantity of artillery far greater than those in quiet sectors.
The first thing to study, when large units are to be engaged in
such operations, is the amount of artillery that must be given
to them in excess of their normal allowance. This has led to
the creation of the French General Reserve of Artillery, which
is at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief to be distrib-
uted as he sees fit among his armies. He believes in the neces-
sity of extending that principle, and creating a General Inter-
Allied Reserve of Artillery, at the disposal of the Commander-
in-Chief of the Allied armies. His conclusion was that the
pooling principle was the only way to economize all sorts of
material, and therefore have the material available when and
where necessary. Of course its application is difficult, there-
fore the Committee are entitled to our gratitude for the very
complicated and useful work they are doing.

General Pershing said he wished, too, to express his appre-
ciation of the work the Committee were doing. The idea of
the pooling of resources, he recalled, had been initiated by the
Americans in connection with the sea tonnage. They had
always considered it to be-a most important factor in economy
of tonnage ; one that should enable the Allies to take advan-
tage of any excess in available shipping for the general prose-
cution of the war. Starting from that basis, the Americans
had always encouraged the principle of unification in all
branches of resources and effort. He wished to state, that in
his opinion the object of the activities of the Committee was
not to take away resources belonging to an Allied army to
turn them over to another army. Their object was chiefly to
establish practical rules and methods enabling the Allied
armies, when it was decided to be necessary, to use the com-
mon resources in the most intelligent and effective manner. He
finished by thanking the Committee for the work they were


Rozoy School

One of the useful and effective aids to the motor transport
situation in the American rear was given through the agency
of the school established by the Board at Rozoy, at which
were trained the officers of the Allied armies in connection
with the Inter-Allied Reserve and the coordination and eco-
nomical use of motor transport. This school was especially
valuable to the American army in the education of many of
the road traffic officers on duty with the First Army in the
Argonne. The reorganization by General Moseley, G~4,
G.H.Q., of American motor transport was in progress, but not
completely effected, at the date of the armistice, as the officers
of the First Army advised against risking the chances of con-
fusion incident to a change of the system during the continu-
ance of the Argonne offensive. This reorganization was based
upon the French system which had itself been built up as a
result of experience. Under the original organization of Amer-
ican motor transport, camion transportation was assigned to
units, and when a unit was at rest its motor transportation
was also largely at rest notwithstanding the acute need for
constant movement of all camion transportation. As ex-
plaining the principles of this reorganization proposed by
General Moseley, which was one of the results of the close
cooperation between the French rear under General Payot
and the American rear under General Moseley, I insert herein
the memorandum from General Moseley to the Chief of
Staff, A.E.F.:

G.H.Q., A.E.F. Sec. 4, G.S., Sept. 6, 1918
Memorandum for C. of S. :

1. Recent developments have made it necessary for us to
call on the French Army for a large amount of truck trans-
portation. The total which they have either loaned us out-
right or given us to use under their general supervision is over
5000 capacity tons.

2. The French have been able to furnish us this assistance,
principally on account of the flexible organization of their
motor transportation. This organization allows them to


function efficiently with the minimum of truck transporta-
tion. Their allowance of trucks for their army is about two
thirds of the allowance which Tables of Organization would
give to our army, yet by their method of assignment they
have obtained a degree of flexibility and efficiency in opera-
tion of their truck transportation which under our present
organization we could not attain even if all our authorized
transportation were available and assigned.

3. We cannot continue to receive this degree of assistance
from the French ; in fact, under conditions the reverse of those
now existing, it is probable that the French will make de-
mands on us for assistance. It is equally impossible for us to
lend such aid to them, or even to be entirely self-sustaining
during active operations, unless we revise and improve our
method of distributing and handling our trucks. Already
this matter has come before the Military Board of Allied
Supply and they have asked us how many trucks we can
place at the disposal of General Foch, in the event condi-
tions change and our army is not all actually engaged, but
the attack is being made elsewhere.

4. Certain general principles underlie the French system.
It is proposed to adapt these principles, with suitable mod-
ifications, to our own army, and on the basis of them proceed
with a reorganization of our truck transportation which will
immensely increase its flexibility and efficiency.

5. The principles which it is proposed to adopt in our
service are as follows:

(a) A division or other organization shall have at all times
assigned to it sufficient transportation to enable it to
move on the road as a combatant unit, and to enable
it to supply itself as far back as and including the field
and combat trains.

(b) All additional truck transportation needed for the
functioning of an army shall be removed from its
present rigid assignment, and organized into uniform
companies and larger groups for general transportation

(c) Such portions of this group of transportation as are
necessary at any given time to assure the functioning
of divisions, corps, and armies shall be attached for
the time being to such divisions, corps, and armies;
subject to continual modification, as the conditions
under which these units are operating vary.


Chief of Staff of American Member of the Military Board of
Allied Supply


(d) Any excess which may remain at any time, after such
temporary assignments have been made to divisions,
corps, and armies, shall be under direct control of
G.H.Q. The entire group of transportation, whether
operating directly under G.H.Q. or for the time being
with lower organizations, shall be considered as po-
tentially a part of the same general transportation
group, any or all of which is at all times available for
assignment where most needed.

6. The present organizations which would thus become a
part of this general reserve, are: Supply and Ammunition
Trains of divisions; Supply and Transport Trains of Corps;
Army Trains and Supply Trains of Annies ; and such portion
of the Corps and Army Artillery Parks as is designated purely
for transportation purposes.

7. It is recommended that the above general principles
be approved, as the basis on which to proceed with a re-
organization of our system of truck transportation. Under
the terms of the foregoing, trucks will be interchangeable for
the purpose of transporting either supplies or ammunition.
After careful consideration of this matter it seems an unwise
policy to continue to make a special truck for carrying am-
munition. The special truck now being supplied for this
purpose is reported as unsatisfactory. Circumstances arise
where ammunition trains are not needed at all due to the
development of light railways, and again it often happens
that trucks assigned to ammunition trains are wholly in-
sufficient, and ordinary supply trains must be used for carry-
ing ammunition. Wherever we can eliminate a special ve-
hicle and put in its place a standard vehicle of commercial
design, we should do so.

Brigadier-General, G.S.,
Asst. Chief of Staff, -4

Condition of the Allied Armies in France on October 31, 1918
As the American member of the Military Board of Allied
Supply I was instrumental in having an order issued by the
Board for the presentation to it of the condition of the Allied
armies in France as of date October 31, 1918. This informa-
tion is not yet fully completed. My purpose in doing this


was not only the present one of presenting this composite
picture of Allied resources to the different supply authorities
of the armies in connection with a possible interchange of
surplus supplies, but the important one of preserving in a
collected and coordinated form, easy of access to military
students, the entire military situation in France under the
incomplete system of coordination which existed, a study of
which is absolutely essential to a proper conception of the
problems involved in future warfare. From this collected
information there may be developed further evidences of the
enormous loss to the Allies of military effectiveness due to the
lack of a greater coordination of supply and transportation
under military control. The fact that pictures of this kind
were not started at the beginning of the war and continued
through every month of its existence is responsible, in my
judgment, for the waste not only of property, transportation,
and supplies, but, more important than all, for the loss of the
lives of many soldiers due to longer continuance of war.

Report on Formation and Theory of the Supply Organization
of the Allied Armies in France

The American member secured the issuance by the Board
under unanimous agreement of an order requiring the armies
in France to make a report on the formation and theory of
their supply organizations.

At the time of writing this Report the documents covering
the history and theory of the separate supply organizations of
the Allied armies have not been completed by all the armies
and therefore cannot be usefully discussed here. The General
Staff, both at General Headquarters and at Headquarters,
S.O.S., of the American army, have most earnestly cooperated
in the preparation of this information relating to the American
army. The admirable way in which the information is being
presented by the staffs of the A.E.F. under the general super-
vision of the chief of my own staff on the Military Board of
Allied Supply, Lieutenant-Colonel Harry L. Hodges, G.S.,


has led me to send Colonel Hodges to the Headquarters of
the different armies with a view to making certain sugges-
tions in order that a general coordination in the form of the
presentation of information may eventually be had. This
preparation involves much work, and, as has proved the case
in all efforts of coordination, it is sometimes difficult for the
chiefs of the services of the independent armies to fully
realize the value of information relating to all the armies, to
complete which a contribution from them is necessary. Even
in the gathering of information the eternal difficulty of in-
ducing perspective on the part of those charged only with re-
sponsibility for a part of the common enterprise necessitates
a constant stimulus from those in higher authority. The
picture presented by this report when finally made should
prove of great future use to the students of military science,
and, if unhappily war should again confront the world, to
those charged with allied preparation for it.

General Charles Jean Marie Payot

The leader of the Military Board of Allied Supply was
General Charles Jean Marie Payot, who for three years had
been in control of the rear of the French armies. Under his
skillful direction it is not too much to say that the administra-
tion of supply and transportation of the French army, con-
sidered by itself, was surpassed by no other army engaged in
the war. Combining common sense, military experience, ex-
ecutive ability, great determination, and untiring energy,
General Payot was equal to all of the difficult situations created
in the French rear by the great German advance of the last
year of the war, as well as to all other situations before that
time. Had not the dispositions of the French rear been
planned to meet all contingencies the German advance of last
spring and summer would have completely disarranged them.
General Payot in the rear of the armies well seconded the
efforts of his illustrious commanders at the front, Marshal
Foch and Marshal Petain. The American member of the


Military Board of Allied Supply endeavored in every way to
emphasize and support the initiative of General Payot in
connection with the operations of the Board. A reading of the
minutes of the different meetings will emphasize the unques-
tioned leadership and the high ability of this great master of
the strategy of army supply. It was no small tribute to his
wonderful achievements in the rear of the French army that
during the latter days of the war he was called to the Staff of
the Allied Commander-in-Chief and in that position and
through his chairmanship of the Military Board of Allied
Supply devoted his attention to the improvement of the con-
ditions of the entire Allied rear. Intolerant of incompetency,
grateful and appreciative of honest effort and service, by
.iature a born commander, he was an invaluable factor in
Allied success in the war, and to his ever-faithful and invalu-
able cooperation and sympathy the American army and the
American nation owe a great debt. Of no other officer of the
French army did the American member, under your direction,
so frequently ask cooperation and assistance in the plans of the
American army. In the multitude of requests which he pre-
ferred to General Payot he can recall not a single case of en-
tire non-compliance. When the American member at Souilly
was ordered by you, during the Argonne battle, to endeavor to
provide ballast for the invaluable standard-gauge rail exten-
sion from Aubreville to Varenne, at which latter point three
divisions were being supplied, a request made one afternoon
of General Payot resulted in the delivery the next morning
of eighty cars of gravel. To that able and resourceful com-
mander of the American rear, General Moseley, most timely
aid in periods of acute crisis was rendered by General Payot.
The close understanding and entire cooperation at all times
between General Payot, General Moseley, and the American
member of the Military Board of Allied Supply, continuing
through the last four months of the war, made the coordina-
tion in the advance rear of the French and American armies
as complete practically as could have been obtained by a


First representative of the British War Office
on Military Board of Allied Supply


single military control. This, however, was only possible
through constant contact.

General Errico Merrone, Major Cumont, and Major


General Errico Merrone, of Italy, representing the Italian
army in France, Major Cumont and Major Hainaut, his
successor, representing the Belgian army, were most earnest,
useful, and active members of the Board and cooperated to
the highest degree in its work.

Colonel R. H. Beadon

Colonel R. H. Beadon was one of the charter members of
the Military Board of Allied Supply, representing the British
War Office on the Board. His high ability and fine spirit of
cooperation contributed very greatly to the success of the
Board. After a useful service on the Board he retired owing
to the decision of the British Government to change its rep-
resentation from the War Office to the General Staff.

Major-General Reginald Ford, British E.F.
On September 14, 1918, the representation of the British on
the Board having been changed from the War Office to the
General Staff of the British E.F., Major-General Reginald
Ford became a member. This able, experienced, and resource-
ful officer came to the Board with many suggestions of the
desirability of the extension of its activities, only to be met in
the most of them by the objection to the jurisdiction of the
Board, raised by the French civil authorities in control of the
French second Zone of the Rear. Earnestly cooperating in the
great work of the Board in regulating and systematizing
motor transport of the Allied armies in the rear, General Ford
made suggestions relative to the unification of Allied rail
transportation, which, in the judgment of the American
member, would have resulted in an immense increase of
effectiveness had rail transportation been as completely


within the jurisdiction of the Board as motor transportation
in the Zone of the Advance. The freeing by the British ad-
vance of the Port of Dunkirk led this officer to make valuable
suggestions as to a redistribution of port facilities involving a
possible change in relative army locations, but here again con-
currence in the matter of jurisdiction was made impossible by
the division of French authority. Clear of mind, direct in
statement, cooperative to the highest degree, General Ford
was an invaluable element in the later activities of the Board.
Like his chief, General Sir Travers Clarke, he was such an aid
at all times to the American army that the conferring of the
Distinguished Service Medal upon him was a most appropri-
ate and deserved evidence of appreciation.

Staff of the American Member

The American member desires to call your attention to the
excellent service rendered by his Staff at the Headquarters of
the Board at Coubert.

The Chief of Staff was Lieutenant-Colonel Harry L.
Hodges, G.S., who came from the General Staff, G~4, Chau-
mont, thus providing the liaison between the American mem-
ber and the General Staff. The duties of Colonel Hodges were
varied and complex and were ably performed under many
difficulties and embarrassments. Upon him devolved largely
the responsibility of supervising the form of presentation of
information by the American chiefs of services or their repre-
sentatives at the coordinating conferences ordered by the
Board to be held by the military authorities of the different
armies. The great industry and high ability of Colonel
Hodges in this work contributed very largely to the success

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 29 of 30)