Handbook of the War

By John C. De Wilde; David H. Popper et al. | Go to book overview

9. THE ECONOMIC FRONT

THE war in Europe has already progressed too long for a Blitzkrieg. Already the chief efforts of Germany and England are being directed against each other's supplies. In this, they are merely picking up where the last war left off. In 1918, it was already clear that victory on the field is dependent on the flow of munitions; and that the battle front is dependent in turn on the strength of the home front, which means food. To the supply of munitions and food must now be added planes, tanks, motor vehicles, and fuel. Some notion of the burden of supplying an attritional war can be gathered from the fact that the United States Army spent four billion dollars for ordnance alone in the last war. One hundred and fifty thousand soldiers can fire away two or three million dollars' worth of ammunition in one day's battle; a serious war effort would see ten times that number of men on each side of the front. No nation can solve this problem in advance: even the guns must be replaced at the rate of five to twenty-five per cent a month. A sixteen-inch gun is good for only one hundred accurate shots. The mortality rate of airplanes is calculated in Europe at nearly ninety per cent a month. In exceptional circumstances, like the Polish tour de force, a decision is won by the equipment on hand. But in a war between equals, the victory is determined by what a nation can make or buy.

No one can predict accurately how much material will be consumed

-135-

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Handbook of the War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Maps and Pictorial Charts v
  • Note vii
  • 1. What They Are Fighting For - A Rapid Glance at Europe Since Versailles 1
  • 2. the Geography of Land War 15
  • 3. Armed Men 33
  • 4. the War of Attrition 44
  • 5. the War of Annihilation 57
  • 6. Air: the New Dimension 69
  • 7. Ships and Strategy 89
  • 8. the Sea Front 109
  • 9. the Economic Front 135
  • 10. Can Germany Be Blockaded? 153
  • 11. Merchant Shipping 181
  • 12. Paying for the War 203
  • 13. Propaganda 215
  • 14. the Defense of America 227
  • Index 243
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