After D-Day, Allied forces broke out from the initial beachhead and moved quickly through Europe. To keep the armies supplied a priority truck convoy system was developed to expedite cargo shipment to the front. It became known as the "Red Ball Express". The trucks were marked with red balls and followed a specifically marked route which was closed to civilian traffic. They also had priority over civilian roads.
Staffed primarily with African-American soldiers, the "Red Ball Express" began operations on August 25, 1944. At its peak, the convoy system operated 5,958 vehicles averaging about 12,500 tons of supplies per day. Port facilities at Antwerp were eventually opened and sufficient French rail lines were repaired which alleviated the heavy priority placed on the trucks. At its end on November 16, the "Red Ball Express" ran for 83 days,