1994 29¢ Red Ball Express
World War II – 1944: Road to Victory
Issue Date: June 6, 1994
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
By August 1944, it was clear the Normandy invasion had been a huge success. Pursuing quickly retreating Germans, the Allied troops had come within 100 miles of Paris. However, the armies faced one basic problem - they had outrun the supply lines linking them to the Normandy beaches. Unless the Allies could bridge the gap separating the supplies in Normandy and the troops, the Germans would have a chance to regroup and Paris would be lost. The solution was the Red Ball Express.
Given the railroad nickname for a high-priority shipment, this long-haul supply system operated over a one-way set of roads to deliver bulk supplies each day to Patton’s and Hodges’ Armies. When the express began on August 25th, it provided 75 tons of supplies per day. As the pursuit continued, the effort was expanded to include 5,400 trucks carrying over 8,200 tons each day over round-trip routes of up to 686 miles.
By mid-November the critical need for emergency long-haul operations across northern France was over, and the service was disbanded on November 16, 1944. During its 81 days of service, the Red Ball Express had provided the 1st and 3rd Armies with 3.5 tons of supplies a minute.