WASHINGTON – U.S. Marines had to go on a “logistics-light diet” to blitz Baghdad. How did they march so far so fast with such a short supply of food, water and fuel?
According to an unclassified report by the 1st Marine Division, they improvised in classic American fashion.
For example, they filled canteens using funnels to avoid spilling water. They went online to find cheap gas-tank racks to mount to their Humvees, doubling their fuel capacity. And when those tanks went empty, they seized Iraqi fuel.
Jim Mattis, the division’s commanding general, said he “accepted the risk that units would operate at times with less than three days supply of food, fuel and ammunition,” speeding ahead of supply lines as they did, he said in a May 29 report, “Operation Iraqi Freedom Lessons Learned.”
“The end state was a light, lean and lethal organization that could fight and win on a logistics-light diet,” he said.
The diet required sacrifices and ingenuity, including:
- Not carrying any cots.
- Rationing meals to one MRE a day.
- Using funnels to “ensure no water was wasted filling canteens and camel backs from water cans.”
- Using fuel test kits to allow units to use captured Iraqi fuel sources.
- Surfing the Internet to find a supplier, gypsyrack.com, to buy more than 2,000 inexpensive racks to attach extra gas tanks to Humvees.