Bullets, Bandages and Beans

United States Army Logistics in France in World War I


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About the Book

By October 1918, the U.S. had more than a million men fighting in the Meuse-Argonne campaign. The American Expeditionary Forces’ logistics army, the Services of Supply (SOS), provided critical support to the combat forces. An enormous array of maintenance, medical, motor transport, railroad, quartermaster and engineer units served in this role—as well as British women from Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, African American labor and pioneer regiments, a U.S. Marine brigade led by a legendary officer, volunteers from the Salvation Army, Chinese laborers and even German prisoners of war..
The SOS kept American soldiers at the front supplied with “bullets, bandages and beans” while repairing weapons, producing vast quantities of lumber, buying horses from Spain, operating a massive railroad network, caring for the sick and wounded, fighting fires on troopships, driving trucks under enemy fire and administering a notorious prison. This book gives a full account of perhaps the most overlooked yet crucial military effort of World War I.

About the Author(s)

Alexander F. Barnes served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard for 30 years, retiring as a chief warrant officer. He also served as a Department of the Army civilian until 2015 and is currently the Virginia National Guard Command Historian. The author of seven other military history books, he lives in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Peter L. Belmonte is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He has written several books, articles, and book reviews on World War I and has won the Foreword Reviews Gold Award for the best book in the War & Military category. He lives in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Alexander F. Barnes and Peter L. Belmonte
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 103 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9058-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5030-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

 1. The Plan and the Failed First Efforts 7

 2. The Ships and the Ports 28

 3. Transit Camps and a Marine Brigade 43

 4. New Leadership and Support to Combat Divisions 58

 5. The Hospitals and the Flu 86

 6. Working on the Railroad 106

 7. Service Organizations: The Red Cross and the “Seven Sisters” 116

 8. Biographies 131

 9. Unique Events and the Problem with Prisons 141

10. The Central Records Office and the Postal Express Service 177

11. Closing the Accounts: ­Postwar SOS Operations and the U.S. Third Army 188

Chapter Notes 207

Bibliography 217

Index 223