Infrastructure was a key component of wartime logistics: aiding the movement of personnel, weaponry, post and supplies. This fed in not only to conflict aims and needs but to more personal needs; the postal service boosted morale by giving troops a vital link to their loved ones. Engineers were crucial to infrastructure, by creating the supply lines on which the armed forces depended on.

Gun Wagons
The railways were important during the War for supply line reasons including the redistribution of munitions and heavy arms, as well as of troops, medical staff and general supplies. Both the Great Western (GWR) and Midland Railways (MR) used specific gun wagons for the moving of guns.

The GWR used Pollen B wagon sets 48979-48982, 48999-48900 to carry 12-inch BL guns Marks 8-10 for the moving of heavy guns, 45-58 tons. The MR used wagon set 9696 carrying 12, 13.5, 14, and 15 inch guns, these were even heavier at 67-97 tons. Technical drawings for both companies include side elevations showing basic dimensions, weights, and axle loads. Guns were moved both within Britain and on the Continent to position them for battle or strategic defence. The largest artillery was actually held by the Royal Navy for their dreadnaughts, the 'monster' guns moved by MR were most likely for this purpose.

Of course, dreadnaughts were not an option on the Front, but their guns were deployed against the concrete fortified German positions near the Somme and along the Hindenburg line. At first they put the gun on a wheel mount and attempted to secure it in place; advanced recoil mechanisms allowed for some success but deployment was still slow and cumbersome. The guns were moved by a tractor, this was slow and carried the risk of enemy capture.

Rail presented the perfect transport and firing platform for land-based naval ordnance. The gun could be moved relatively quickly along the rail system and the recoil could be dispersed by allowing the carriage to hurtle down the tracks (sometimes up to 100 feet). In some cases, a piece of curved siding was actually used to aim the gun. These guns could fire up to thirty miles and were capable of reaching far into the enemy’s rear positions. The culmination of the rail gun was the massive French Schneider 520mm howitzer. The shells this gun fired were over 24 inches in diameter and weighed 3,100 pounds. They were fused in such a way as to allow the shell to penetrate its target before detonation. Luckily for all involved, the war ended before they could be brought into service.

As well as rail becoming a platform for the direct deployment of guns, it was also used to transport guns and weapons of all sizes to where they were required. Entrenched lines meant that routes and workflow methods could be honed. As the Engineers Office charts of the South East & Chatham Railway show, they had to plan which lines were suitable for the carrying of which rolling stock and weaponry- the sheer weight of the haul being a prime consideration because of the risk collapse to the lines.



Book 1, Great Western Railway

Book 1, Great Western Railway

by User Not Found | 24 Jul, 2014

1843 comments

Leave a comment
  1. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 19, 2018
    You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!internet marketing services
  2. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 19, 2018
    What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. Receive SMS
  3. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 19, 2018
    We do custom patches, embroidered patches, printedpatches, custom Velcro patches, clothing labels, PVC patches,custom leather patches, custom keychains, and other promotional products.Following is an overview of our products. custom patches
  4. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 18, 2018
    Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved  your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading. thermoburn
  5. jennyholt | Aug 18, 2018
    I am amzaed by the way you have explained things in this post. This post is quite interesting and i am looking forward to read more of your posts. Moreover get support for Asus laptop at Asus Contact Number
  6. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 18, 2018
    Thanks, that was a really cool read! amazon offers
  7. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 18, 2018
    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! best weight management supplement
  8. sriram gupta | Aug 17, 2018
    Investment apps are trending nowadays as the stock market is getting known to everyone and investors find very ease and gets involved in this. These apps are getting more connected to the experienced investors as they are able to see many opportunities to improve the portfolios and also can save money with these applications available nowadays.mutual funds Investment Apps
  9. SAM | Aug 17, 2018
    Basically, mutual funds have a good professional management, diversification, and liquidity as its best features. Mutual funds are user-friendly investments.advantages of mutual funds
  10. fggdf | Aug 17, 2018
    Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post. Home cleaning services
  11. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 16, 2018
    It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. baixar programa para limpar o nome do spc e serasa
  12. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 16, 2018
    It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. a title="baixar programa para limpar o nome do spc e serasa" href="https://www.umanovachance.com">baixar programa para limpar o nome do spc e serasa
  13. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 15, 2018
    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. barber shops
  14. dichvu vinaphone | Aug 15, 2018
    I hope I can see more posts. I want to read your articles. Because they are very useful, I always wait for new posts. They are my cup of tea. Thank you for your contribution to the community. Đăng ký VinaPhone theo ngày Tổng đài VinaPhone
  15. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 15, 2018
    I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work, its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You. Retail
  16. asad ali | Aug 14, 2018
    Hello, this weekend is good for me, since this time i am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. smartphones
  17. Zachary | Aug 13, 2018

    Your well-analyzed content did a great job on inspiring avid writers like me.

    Athletic Greens

  18. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 13, 2018
    Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks Situs Slot
  19. daniyal157 | Aug 13, 2018
    Hey, thanks for the blog.Much thanks again. Will read on...Geothermische warmtepomp
  20. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 13, 2018
    I know your expertise on this. I must say we should have an online discussion on this. Writing only comments will close the discussion straight away! And will restrict the benefits from this information.bitcoin signals
  21. dichvu vinaphone | Aug 13, 2018
    I think that I'm into your pieces of writing. They really help me out. I wait for your posts every week. I learn many new interesting things from the articles. The information is essential for me. I want to thank you for sharing.Đăng ký gói cước 3g VinaPhone 7k 1 ngày VinaPhone
  22. Latest Occasions | Aug 13, 2018
  23. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 12, 2018
    Please continue this great work and I look forward to more of your awesome blog posts.Ganjasamen
  24. peter | Aug 12, 2018
    Much appreciated you all that much to share these connections. Will look at this..  backlinks
  25. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 12, 2018
    I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!Tummy Tuck Houston
  26. Carol | Aug 11, 2018
  27. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 11, 2018
    i love reading this article so beautiful!!great job!protesi capelli
  28. daniyal157 | Aug 10, 2018
    Actually appreciate you discussing this post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.Great blog.Really getting excited about study more. Awesome.wow, great blog.Thanks Again. Actually Great.A circular of applause for your website article.Really thank you! Want more.Awesome post.Really getting excited about read more. Need more.I love and enjoy your website post.Much thanks again. Want more.UK Online Shopping
  29. Kylan | Aug 10, 2018

    As I have checked your website I have seen a lot of useful ideas in composing content. Please keep me posted for more updates.

    home buyers houston

  30. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 09, 2018
    This article is an appealing wealth of useful informative that is interesting and well-written. I commend your hard work on this and thank you for this information. I know it very well that if anyone visits your blog, then he/she will surely revisit it again.merchant account for cbd
  31. asad ali | Aug 09, 2018
    Im grateful for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing. Best Prices UK
  32. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 08, 2018
    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.goldenslot
  33. betty | Aug 08, 2018
    This weblog is fantastic and important ideas. I love what you done here prime male ingredients
  34. betty | Aug 08, 2018
    Great details! This is valuable east to understand website thanks for shared prime male testosterone booster
  35. daniyal157 | Aug 07, 2018
    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!blog
  36. sda | Aug 06, 2018
    I’m having a hard time viewing this information from my iPhone. Maybe you could upgrade the site and make it more accessible from my phone. Thatd be real cool! brick layer insurance
  37. daniyal157 | Aug 06, 2018
    Whoa, great article. Fantastic.This is one wonderful blog article.Much thanks again.I loved your blog.Really thanks!Thanks-a-mundo for the article. Awesome.This is one wonderful blog.Really getting excited about read more. Really Great.Thanks again for this article post.Thanks Again. Awesome.Best minoxidil for hair loss
  38. Justin | Aug 06, 2018
    This is very exciting top 10 best fat burners for women blog. A lot of article I read nowadays don't really offer anything that I'm enthusiastic about, but I'm most certainly enthusiastic about this one.
  39. daniyal157 | Aug 05, 2018
    Great article post. Keep writing.mini militia hack apk download for android
  40. SEO | Aug 05, 2018
    Extraordinary Article it its truly enlightening and creative update us as often as possible with new upgrades. its was truly important. much obliged.  jomtien complex
  41. daniyal157 | Aug 05, 2018
    Actually recognize you sharing that article.Really looking towards read more. Actually Great.Wow, good website article.Really many thanks! Awesome.Thanks therefore significantly for the content post.Much thanks again. Actually Cool.wow, wonderful website post.Really thanks! Fantastic.Really informative post. Great.Hair growth shampoo
  42. jackrobert | Aug 05, 2018
    I was extremely satisfied to discover this site.I needed to thank you for this awesome read!! I unquestionably getting a charge out of each and every piece of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post.  reviews Trenbal
  43. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 04, 2018
    When you use a genuine service, you will be able to provide instructions, share materials and choose the formatting style.Dht blocker hair loss shampoo
  44. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 04, 2018
    Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family.studentenjob
  45. asad ali | Aug 04, 2018
    A round of applause for your article.Much thanks again. Cool.agen judi
  46. seo | Aug 04, 2018
    Pleasant Informative Blog having decent sharing..  PACE Healthcare
  47. seo | Aug 04, 2018
    I'm happy to see the considerable subtle element here!.  Yoga for Tight Hips
  48. SHARIQ KHATRI | Aug 04, 2018
    I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious...Restaurant Richmond,
  49. daniyal157 | Aug 03, 2018
    wow, wonderful report post.Really thanks! Actually Cool.I actually enjoy the article. Awesome.Looking forward to examining more. Great article post.Thanks Again. Great.I truly recognize this article. Much obliged.Wow, good blog.Thanks Again. Great.Enjoyed every bit of your website post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.free 123 movies
  50. anne | Aug 03, 2018
    Excellent publish. Keep posting this is such a one of a kind topic here male extra reviews

    Leave a comment

    Drawings and charts for the movement of guns on British railways.


    British Pathe film, Giant Gun on the Railway 1914-1918.

    Admiralty

    Electrical Engineering Departments were first created by the Admiralty in 1903; Charles Henry Wordingham was made Superintending Electrical Engineer with two Assistants of whom William McClelland was one, the quotes are his. Electrical Engineers were appointed at each Dockyard. The war brought with it challenges for the fitting and maintenance of the fleet:

    “Early in the 1914-18 War, Admiral Sir Percy Scott, a well-known gunnery expert, walked into my room one morning, and, with his pencil drew on my blotting pad, an outline of a ship saying, “that’s the hull, that’s the tower; that’s the control room below; we want to control all turret guns from the top; if that is shot away, we then control from the room below; if that becomes flooded or damaged, we then control from a certain turret; any damaged parts must be capable of being isolated quickly with switch-over arrangements. Now McClelland, how long will it take to wire 30 first line ships at sea, the ships to remain at an hour’s notice for action?"

    McClelland's response was ignored, he was given 6 months and told to make arrangements to get the dockyard workmen to the Fleet. When the Fleet went to sea, the workmen often went with them; some were in action and were specially commended by the Commander in Chief.

    HMS Invincible, the fast Battle-Cruiser was urgently needed. She was under refit, her guns removed, and electrically she was nearly stripped. The extent of the electrical work involved was such that the Electrical Engineering Department could not complete the ship concurrently with other departments. Labour was not available in the dockyards. "The First Sea Lord said that, if it were a question of men, we should get them where we liked and how we liked, paying what was necessary, and if anyone say ‘nay’, that person should be referred to him, but without any doubt whatsoever, the ship must leave on the date given"He attached heavy penalties for any individual or Department failing to meet targets. Adverts were placed and over 200 men were found in a few days. Invincible left the dockyard on time; in the Falklands, she arrived just in time to catch and sink the German ships, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. "Thus the Electrical Engineering Departments got through the 1914-1918 War, by sheer hard work and determination".

    New designs of ships, new construction and maintenance seemed unending; senior staff were engaged with all sorts of new electrical problems almost daily, they were much worried by the constant pressure and over-work. As an indication of the magnitude of the tasks, the number of electrical refits of ships was 48,630; the organisation for that one item, with its enormous supplies of materials, electrical machinery, and equipment from all over the country, had to be created without any previous experience of prolonged war in a comparatively new industry. The smooth and rapid expansion was made possible by the recruitment of suitable junior officers from the dockyards, who worked very efficiently.

    Sir Oswyn Murray Letter P1
    Letter to McClelland from Sir Oswyn Murray, Permanent Secretary of the Admiralty (the head of the Admiralty Civil Service in 1917) regarding his war work.


    Bridges

    Engineers played a vital role in moving troops, supplies and equipment. At the beginning of the War, the British Army did not have specialist material for building heavy bridges, nor the technical intelligence to be able to work out what might be required. The earliest forms of equipment bridging were based on pontoons which continued to be useful carrying guns and light equipment across rivers but the introduction of mechanical transport resulted in a large increase of axle load and the need to develop bridges to take heavier loads.

    The first need for heavy bridges was over the River Aisne on 13 September 1914, when the retreating German army destroyed the Pont Saint Waast leaving the allies unable to follow. The Royal Engineers built several pontoon bridges over the next few weeks followed by a heavy wooden girder bridge, the Pont des Anglais, at Sousson. The bridge was built under enemy fire and using any available materials including floorboards from local houses; it took too long to build resulting in a demand for steel spans to be sent.

      The first British equipment bridge was called the Inglis Portable Military Bridge (Light Type) invented by Sir Charles Inglis. Although the spans were invented in 1909 whilst Inglis was involved with the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps, they were first used as a self-contained portable bridge during WWI. Inglis was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1914; in1916 he was put in charge of bridge design and supply at the War Office. The first Inglis bridge consisted of pyramidal bays 8ft square created by 8ft long steel tubes connected by specially designed fittings, not unlike modern scaffolding.  It was designed to carry infantry in single file over a 120ft span and was easily transported  requiring little specialist training to construct.  At the first demonstration in France, a 108ft span was thrown across a canal in 13 minutes by an untrained party of Army Service Corps. On 28 September 1918 200 sappers from the Royal Engineers built a 108 ft span bridge over the Canal du Nord at Marquion in twelve and a half construction hours over several days whilst under fire.

      Although the Inglis Bridge was the best military bridge of the time, being fast to construct and carrying heavy loads, its tubular steel construction made it expensive and slow to manufacture. The Hopkins Bridge designed by Captain Hopkins, Royal Engineers, was a cheaper alternative. This bridge used conventional steel girders bolted together but the bolts meant construction was much slower than the Inglis. This meant that when speed was an issue, an Inglis bridge was often built which was then later replaced by a Hopkins bridge allowing the Inglis bridge to be re-used. The Hopkins bridge was designed to carry tanks. It consisted of steel Warren trusses and could be made in spans of multiples of 15ft. It was successful and a lorry bridge was designed, it was still at the experimental stage in 1918.

      The main disadvantage of girder bridges such as the Inglis and Hopkins was that they were not very adaptable; resulting in them often being stronger and heavier than required.  This problem led to the design of the Martel box girder bridge in 1925 which was used in the Second World War. These latter developments were as a direct result of engineers work from 1914 onwards.




      WWI Hopkins road bridge213
      Line drawing with technical details, Hopkins.


      Hopkins road bridge
      Hopkins road bridge being placed during the war.


      120ft Hopkins Bridge at Arques
      120ft Hopkins Bridge in use during the war at Arques.
      Credits/footnotes:

      ​'Giant Gun on Railway' film, British Pathe Archive.

      Images:

      Gun wagon charts/drawings, IMechE Archive.

      McClelland letter and portrait, IET Archive.

      Hopkins Bridge images, ICE Archive.