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Supply depots are a type of military installation used by militaries to store battlefield supplies temporarily on or near the front lines until they can be distributed to military units. Supply depots are responsible for nearly all other types of materiel, except ammunition.

Supply depots are usually run by a logistics officer who is responsible for allocating supplies as necessary to units who request them.

Due to their vulnerability, supply depots are often the targets of enemy raids. In more modern times, depots have been targeted by long range artillery, long-range missiles, and bomber aircraft, due to the advantage that disrupted logistics can give to a belligerent force.

Types of supply depots include base, station, forward, and reserve supply depots.

Ammunition dump

Raid on Vågsøy, 27 December 1941. British commandos watch as an ammunition dump burns (Operation Archery).

An ammunition dump, ammunition supply point (ASP), ammunition handling area (AHA) or ammunition depot is a military storage facility for live ammunition and explosives.

The storage of live ammunition and explosives is inherently hazardous. There is the potential for accidents in the unloading, packing, and transfer of ammunition. Great care is taken in handling these dangerous explosives so as not to harm personnel or nearby ammunition.

Despite the intensive preventive measures they get, ammunition depots around the world suffer from non-combat fires and explosions. Although this is a rare occurrence, there are devastating consequences when it does happen. Usually, an ammunition depot experiencing even minor explosions in one of its sites/buildings is immediately evacuated together with surrounding civilian areas. Thus, all of the stored ammunition is left to detonate itself completely for days or weeks, with very limited attempts at firefighting from a safe distance.[citation needed] If the ammunitions are artillery shells and other heavy types, the whole depot site affected is typically leveled.

Typical elements

Ammo Bunker (S-1008), located southwest of Vosler Dr., at the Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus (formerly Williams Air Force Base), in Mesa, Arizona. Built in 1925 by Webb, Del E., Construction Company. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places ref: 95000759.

The typical ammo dump will have several of the following elements:

Field sites

Main article: Backshop

Storemen stack 250 lb (110 kg) general purpose bombs in a tunnel of an RAF Ammunition dump, which exploded in 1944.

Ammunition dump as a term is more commonly ascribed to sites that store munitions "in the field" for imminent or immediate use. These are often targets for enemy artillery attack or air attack.

See also