Too many people misinterpret and freak out over the fact Hephaistion was primarily a diplomatic & logistics officer. Those inclined to dismiss him, including a lot of my colleagues, see him as unimportant and incapable because these are his roles. .........
BUT, the flipside are those Hephaistion fans who confirm the negative view of logistics by being insulted that he's "just" a logistics officer and I (and whoever else) who argue that was his primary role are somehow "dissing" him. They want him to be a great combat leader, to counter Heckel's, et al., dismissal of him.
The problem is that logistics is a secondary activity. It is vital for many world changing events to happen, but it doesn't instigate them. Making sure there is something to eat for dinner isn't as glamorous or dangerous as going out and hunting and catching the meat.........
Maybe we should play down the logistics bit. He probably wouldn't have seen that as his main function, but would have seen himself principally as a soldier and cavalry commander.
As anyone with military training will tell you, Logistics is far more important than Tactics or Strategy in warfare. Not only is it 'vital' as Alexias says, it is absolutely essential, and without it there would be no military campaigns. Diplomacy was also 'vital' - as Philip II understood. Diodorus [XVI.95] in his brief obituary wrote that Philip owed his success just as much to his diplomacy and geniality as to his bravery, and that he himself was prouder of his brains as a General, and his diplomatic skills, than of his valour in battle. Alexander too will have understood the importance of this, learning from his father. ( That Alexander fully appreciated this importance is recorded by Vitruvius)
For Alexander then, Hephaistion's role was far more important than that of any 'mere' General. Logistics requires multiple skills, encompassing as it does inter alia
, complex planning skills,acquisition, storage, distribution, maintenance, and movement of essential supplies and materiel,troop movements,acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities, such as camps, forts, supply bases, bridges, wagon roads, port facilities etc, acquisition or furnishing of services such as engineering, civilian sutlers etc, and medical and health service support, and a myriad other things, all needing meticulous attention on a daily basis.
Hephaistion certainly would have realised his importance as "Chief Logistics Officer", and treated this as his principal role - it would have taken up all his time and attention, with his military titles and role of secondary importance ( like the honorary Colonel of a Regiment today).
The word "logistics" itself is derived from the Greek adjective "logistikos
" meaning "skilled in calculating". Alexander had many soldiers able to lead from the front in battle, but just as today, very few able to master the endless calculations in many fields necessary to make the whole Army function. Anyone underestimating the difficulties and complexities involved can get an idea from "Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army
" by Donald W. Engels, although a number of the underlying assumptions are doubtful so must be taken with a grain of salt.
Alexander was lucky to have someone with Hephaistion's skill-set, and must have known it.
I therefore agree with Jeanne, and disagree with Alexias. Rather than "play down the logistics bit", we should recognise how all-important Hephaistion's Logistic and Diplomatic roles were in Alexander's success, which he fully appreciated.