"Comprising of less then 10% of the total UNSC Navy, the Fleet Logistics Support Group is an organization that is dedicated to supporting UNSC Fleets deployed away from near UNSC bases of operation. Their mission is to simply keep the UNSC Fleets they are supporting capable of completing their objectives, by keeping them logistically supplied and supported. Thats pretty much the quick synopsis of the Logistics Support Group."
―Rear Admiral Gary Polonsky, during the Navy Day celebration of 2569
The Fleet Logistics Support Group (abbreviated 'FLSG' and pronounced as "Fillsig") was a support division of the United Nations Space Command Navy, and a subordinate unit of Logistical Operations Command (NavLogCom), the UNSC Logistical branch. Its mission was to support deployed UNSC fleet units, by replenishing munitions, replacing fallen or wounded crew, and repairing damaged warships close to conflicts, involving UNSC Naval forces.
The Group was divided into 21 subdivisions. The first was the Logistics Support Command, with 200 personnel on charge of plotting, coordinating, and ordering the 20 Squadrons of support vessels about, as well as deploy. This was based at the HIGHCOM facility in Sydney, Australia. The other 20 subdivisions were the actual Fleet Logistics Support Squadrons.
Each squadron comprised of three transport vessels, a pair of powerful Dunedin-class Fleet Tugs, a Hopeful-Class Hospital Ship, and single refit and repair station. Each transport ship held munitions, components for warships, replacement crew, replacement singleships, additional ground weapons, fuel, major replacement parts, and other less notable items that would enables rapid resupply of warships while still near contested space. Each Squadron also possessed a pair of armored UNSC Fleet Tugs, capable of dropping into the middle of a battle via "Slipstream" travel, taking a crippled warship in tow, and slipping the lightyear or two away to where the Squadron was positioned with the rescued ship, where it could be repaired by a refit and repair station. The single refit station was capable of receiving a total of 12 UNSC vessels at one time. Depending on the severity of the damage, the station could repair 4 moderately damaged warships in six hours. The Hospital ship simply treated UNSC and civilian causalities.
The unit also had a total of four combat-capable Ranger-class Escort Carriers attached to it - however, mostly these vessels were deployed together to directly support deployed FLSG units, and ferry fighters and bombers to their destinations.
Brief History of the development of Military Logistics
Historically, Armies have always traveled on their stomachs. The same could be said of Navies, requiring supplies to remain on patrol for extended periods of time. Logistics allows a military to operate, as shown by the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War, where the Allied shipping took great losses crossing from the former United States of America to the British Isles. The German Navy, operating Unterseeboot (or U-Boat) Submarines destroyed over 3,500 Allied transport vessels and over 175 warships over the course of six years (from 1939 to 1945), with the loss of a mere 175 submarines - a 21:1 kill to death ratio for the U-Boats. The allies finally overcame the U-boat threat with HF-DF RADAR and SONAR on the high seas of the Atlantic, and landed a massive amount of troops on the Normandy coast. However, the German underwater offensive delayed the allied invasion of mainland Europe until mid-1944, due to the lack of available allied supplies, equipment and manpower to field an army against the Germans.
But the concept of logistics was conceived long before the Second World War, finding its roots in Greek, with the term logistikos, which translated to mean "skilled in calculating". However, this term was not widely used until Roman and Byzantine times, when there was a military administrative official with the official of title Logista - however, the word apparently implied a skill involved in mathematical computations, apparently being incorrectly translated from Greek.
The military activity known as logistics probably is as old as war itself. In the early history of man, when the very first wars were fought, each man had to find his own food, weapons, and shelter. Each warrior was responsible for foraging for his own food and firewood. Not until later, when warriors joined together as groups and fighting groups became larger, was there any basis for designating certain men to specialize in providing food and weapons to the combatants. The men who provided support to the fighters are now considered to have constituted the first logistics organization.
Following this, advancement in the field of logistics was swift, and by the seventeenth century, the French were using a "magazine" system to keep a network of frontier towns supplied for sieges, and to provide for campaigns beyond their borders. The American Civil War saw the introduction of railways for transport of personnel, supplies and heavy field pieces. The Prussian Army also used Railroads to great effect during the Seven Weeks War, as railways enabled the swift mobilization of the Prussian Army, but the problem of moving supplies from the end of rail lines to units at the front resulted in nearly 18,000 tons trapped on trains unable to be unloaded to ground transport. The Prussian use of railways during the Franco-Prussian War is often cited as a prime example of logistic modernizations, but the advantages of maneuver were often gained by abandoning supply lines that became hopelessly congested with rear-area traffic.
Until the Napoleonic wars, the military supply was ensured by looting, requisition or private companies. In 1807, Napoleon created the first Train regiments, entirely dedicated to the supply and the transport of the equipment.
During World War I, unrestricted submarine warfare had a significant impact on the ability of Britain's allies to keep shipping lanes open, while the great size of the German Army proved too much for its railways to support except while immobilized in trench warfare. As previously stated, the same happened in the Second World War - the lack of logistical means to transport war-critical materials to Britain added years onto the length of the war - and needlessly ended millions of lives prematurely. Another example of failure to utilize the lessons learned from past mistakes.
History of the Fleet Logistics Support Group
The idea of the Fleet Logistics Support Group (FLSG) was conceived by Lieutenant Commander Gary Polonsky, UNSC Navy - a Logistics Officer serving at the Officer Candidate School at Luna in 2553 - immediately following the Human-Covenant war.
Polonsky's ideas was inspired by the roving units of the United States Navy Logistics Support Groups during the Second World War, which comprised of dozens of ships stocked full of fuel, equipment, parts, replacement crew, and ammunition, in addition to having ships capable of repairing other ships. These ships aided warships in the Pacific theater greatly, despite countless Kamikaze attacks. The valor shown by these units allowed the US Navy to shorten the war exponentially, with fewer casualties.
The Logistics Support Group (LSG) of the Second World War had three advantages over ports for warships at sea:
Warships could replenish and get quick repairs for themselves and return to a battle area faster.
The LSG could move to a task force at sea, instead of the task force moving to the port - shortening the amount of time the warship(s) were out of battle or not pressuring the enemy.
Better storage and handling facilities, in addition to more accurate inventory control were available, compared to primitive shore areas.
This was the exact method Polonsky wanted to adopt for the UNSC Navy - only in space, and run by at least 12 Squadrons of support vessels.
As it stood during the Human-Covenant War, Logistics was a real issue. Almost all war resources were being diverted to the construction and repair of warships, few support vessels were being built. Logistics during most battles had to be provided by the deployed warships - requiring the vessel to return to a major UNSC planet to restock equipment, personnel, and armament - which was time consuming and worked in the favor of the enemy. Because of this, the amount of support vessels in the UNSC Navy rapidly diminished during the war; and by the end of the war, the number of fleet support vessels had dropped to a measly 13 - and with the drastic decrease of that number, the ability of the UNSC Navy to project force effectively dropped immensely.
Lieutenant Commander Polonsky's idea was well received at HIGHCOM, and, following an extensive discussion (over the allotment of funding and an additional discussion on the building warships verses building support vessels), a consensus was reached that a better Naval Logistical system was needed in order to maximize the effectiveness of the currently-low number of warships in service. Polonsky was summoned to the still war-torn HIGHCOM Headquarters of Sydney (following the bloody Battle of Sydney) in June 2553 by surviving members of the Admiralty, and given command of a new unit, to be named the "UNSC Naval Logistical Corps" - acting as a subordinate of the UNSC Logistical Corps, which had also been thoroughly culled from the Human-Covenant War.
However, Polonsky managed to convince the Admiralty that the name "Fleet Logistics Support Group" would work much better. Polonsky was also given overall command of the 13 remaining support vessels of the Navy (commanded by Lieutenants), promoted to Commander, and ordered to devise an effective method that would allow this new unit to support and replenish a fleet.
The newly promoted Commander Polonsky quickly obtained a team of eight field-grade and two dozen junior logistical officers, and outlined what he wanted the newly dubbed "Fleet Logistics Support Group" was to do, along with the responsibilities of each officer. He then outlined his vision of the way the unit was to work, and that the subordinate officers were to find ways to make everything work. Following the formation and training of the core cadre, the FLSG received almost two hundred untrained logistics personnel, who immediately began training in the new Logistical methods devised by the cadre of trained officers.
The transport vessels were then issued their first commands - to form into the First Logistics Support Squadron, take aboard a large amount of material, and rendezvous with a deployed Fleet. The First LSS did this well, replenishing the fleet. This system of organizing ships into squadrons continued, as more and more ships were produced, and as the number of ships under the FLSG grew, so did the responsibilities of the organization.
By 2561, the FLSG numbered 120 ships, in 15 squadrons (8 roving squadrons, with another 7 in repairs or reserve), had almost and it had gone above and beyond the simple resupply duties it was originally to complete; thanks to the logistical genius of Commodore Polonsky.
Polonsky's concept for the operation of the FLSG was fairly simple:
The Group was to comprised of multiple "Support Squadrons", to allow the resupply of multiple fleets with multiple Squadrons.
Each Support Squadron was to be comprised of:
Three transport vessels - to carry supplies, ordinance, fuel, parts, replacement crew in Cryogenic suspension, and other miscellaneous items.
Two Dunedin-class Fleet Tugs - to provide assistance to badly damaged fleet warships, and help them (by taking them under tow and delivering them to the Squadron-attached Refit and Repair station - or in more desperate scenarios, simply evacuate the crew of a warship.
One Hopeful-Class Hospital Ship - to treat combat wounded personnel or civilians, or other UNSC Personnel wounded serverly enough that additional support was required to sustain life.
One refit and repair station - to repair damaged warships and put them back on the line as soon as possible.
To use the Support Squadrons of the FLSG, the UNSC Fleet Command (FLEETCOM) was to coordinate with FLSG to deploy both a Fleet and a Support Squadron - allowing for the maximum projection of available forces.
The only issue with the Fleet Logistics Support Group was the lack of defenses in the event of attack - the largest weapons on any of the vessels in the Support Group were the Mark II Miniature-Magnetic Accelerator Cannons on the Dunedin-class Fleet Tugs. While the Squadron had 4 Ranger-class Escort Carriers, they were primarily for transporting replacement single ships. The tugs were expected to intercept and draw enemy fire to allow the other ships to escape, before leaving themselves. While warships were occasionally detached to escort the Support group, it was not considered all that important, because the FLSGs were expected to remain at least half a lightyear from a battle area. This would prove to be a unwise decision in 2604, where two Logistic Support squadrons were wiped out due to a lack of protection, with only three ships of the 14 ships comprising both squadrons managing to escape.
The Halo Universe has a surprising lack of logistical assets for its Fleet units. This article was merely the author's attempt to implement a logical and effective means to provide logistical support to deployed UNSC Fleet units, without the ridiculous need to spend a month returning to a UNSC base, a few hours to days to resupply, before heading right back out, spending another month to return to the battlefield. This way, more warships are able to remain deployed, and is much more like today's effective logistical process.