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 Central Railway

Book 1, Great Central Railway

by User Not Found | 24 Jul, 2014


Leave a comment
  1. coreanderson23 | Oct 17, 2018
    Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.
  2. asd | Oct 17, 2018
    The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing.. Enjoy Mexico Villa Rentals in Punta Mita
  3. aergaer | Oct 17, 2018
  4. subhay kumar | Oct 17, 2018
     “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stake, and the quitting time.” new slot sites no deposit required UK
  5. sdxfhgdzfh | Oct 17, 2018
    This truly fantastic things and points of this site thanks for what you done here. <a href="">تور تایلند</a>
  6. aerdgadrg | Oct 17, 2018
    div class="sfcommentText">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.
    <a href="">
    تور تایلند</a></div>
  7. alex | Oct 17, 2018

    Love to read it.Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks

    <a href="">تور تایلند</a>

  8. dsds | Oct 17, 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. teeth whitening kit no peroxide
  9. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 17, 2018
    Really enjoyed this blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.Medicare Advantage Plans 2019
  10. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 17, 2018
    Thanks for the blog article.Much thanks again. Cool. Corporate Training Singapore
  11. lindanm | Oct 17, 2018
    This is impressive and significant publish you have done the best perform relief from symptoms of ulcerative colitis
  12. Linh CP | Oct 17, 2018

    I went to this website, and I believe that you have a plenty of excellent information, I have saved your site to my bookmarks.

    pop free

    sale notification website

    apps autoketing

  13. daniyal157 | Oct 16, 2018
    It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid trivia game
  14. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 16, 2018
    Cool.Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool.
  15. digitinc | Oct 16, 2018
    This is an awesome blog. You provide very useful data. more info here
  16. sdasd | Oct 16, 2018
    The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing... Enjoy Mexico Villa Rentals
  17. Australian assignment help | Oct 16, 2018
    After going through this blog, I got to infer many new things about the mistakes that I have been making, while writing my assignments. I never knew doing an assignment has so many dimensions to look after. TutorVersal’s’ Australian assignment help experts have made me realized the importance of referencing styles, word count and many such things. Now I won’t need to wander here and there with “do my assignment” problems anymore.
  18. Vuc | Oct 15, 2018
    A friend just referred this site to me. Honestly, love this post, so much new information to learn and same time I really had fun because of your amazing words of wisdom!  d bal
  19. thuy | Oct 15, 2018

    it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity

    Discount master app,  Product discount master,  autoketing

  20. Assignment Help | Oct 15, 2018
    While I was going through this blog, I understood how students make mistakes in accounting. However, the experts of Online Assignment Expert provide unique accounting assignment help to students all across Australia. This is ensured by the multi-levels of quality checks that make the assignments error-free. Obviously, the assignments would furnish every guideline of the marking rubric. As a student, I have availed off their services frequently as I feel their myob assignment help experts are master at whatever they do. I have observed the kind of precision that they display in their work, thereby providing me with an impeccable assignment.
  21. isla fisher | Oct 15, 2018
    Thanks again for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.<a href="">Best New UK Bingo Sites</a>
  22. MYOB Assignment Help | Oct 15, 2018
    When it comes to the best MYOB Assignment Help, TutorVersal steals the show. Every assignment is unique and we make sure to write equally unique answers! Read our free samples and choose your academic expert from a team of hundreds. Affordable rates, 27/7 customer care and guaranteed good grades. Visit TutorVersal and experience assignment writing like never before.
  23. Godwin | Oct 14, 2018
  24. siaran bola online | Oct 14, 2018
    Nonton siaran langsung bola online siaran langsung bola
    Live Streaming Bola Online Indonesia Nonton Live Streaming Bola adalah kontraktor Jasa Teralis Pagar Rumah Karawang
    Situs berita ElangNEws.Com Kabar Terbaru Hari Ini di Indonesia.
  25. DANIYAL157 | Oct 14, 2018
    Appreciate you discussing, great blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.Great, thanks for sharing this information post.Really many thanks! Really Cool.Im pleased for the blog post. Need more.Looking ahead to reading more. Good blog.Really looking towards read more.child pornography
  26. ss | Oct 14, 2018
    Awesome and interesting article. Great things you've always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post.  acquariologia
  27. lucille | Oct 14, 2018
    This is precious post and also the perform is so great and marvelous website benefits of performix SST
  28. Art Paper Stickers | Oct 13, 2018
    This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post!Art Paper Stickers
  29. SUMMAY SANGA | Oct 13, 2018
    Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool. New UK Slots Sites No Deposit
  30. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 13, 2018
    Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
  31. Theresa Delcas | Oct 13, 2018
    My Assignment Services provides a 24-hour online global assignment help or academic assistance and consultation to the students. Be it any subject such as Nursing, Economics, Law, Engineering, or Management, we provide the most reliable help with assignment online by our highly-proficient academic writers. This is because there are a multitude of online academic help services and picking the best is always going to be a trial and error method. However, My Assignment Services is a well-established and prominent name in the best Biostatistics Assignment Help provider & high-quality instant assignment help online to students since almost a decade. You can trust our academic ghostwriters completely to get best quality write-ups including case studies, research proposals, dissertations and theses, and more. Australian Assignment Help providing experts understand that price is one of the major factors that university students consider before paying someone to do it for them. This is because university students often have stringent budgets and are already burdened with student debts. This is why we offer regular and seasonal discounts on nursing assignment help or other assignments so that you achieve high distinction without burning a hole in your pocket.
  32. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 13, 2018
    I loved your blog post.Really thank you! Will read on...libra flooring
  33. Pay Me To Do Mechanical Engineering Homework | Oct 13, 2018
    Thanks A Lot For The Post. It Has Helped Me Get Some Nice Ideas. I Hope I Will See Some Really Good Result Soon. Pay Me To Do Mechanical Engineering Homework
  34. prince U.S | Oct 13, 2018
    Love to read it.Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks. merchant account for online lottery
  35. Accounting Term paper writing service | Oct 13, 2018
    I’m Really Impressed With Your Article, Such Great & Usefull Knowledge You Mentioned Here  Accounting Term paper writing service
  36. daniyal157 | Oct 12, 2018
    I loved your post. Much obliged.This is one brilliant blog article.Really thanks! May read on...Awesome article.Really thank you! Awesome.Say, you got a good blog post.Really thank you! Actually Great.Major thankies for the blog.Much thanks again. Great.Hikvision IP Intercoms
  37. chrisgale016 | Oct 12, 2018
    I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . .
  38. Custom Stickers or Label Printing | Oct 12, 2018
    I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance. Custom Stickers or Label Printing
  39. Ankit Karma | Oct 12, 2018 200+ Latest Pharma jobs and vacancies List 2018 | Pharmacist Vacancy and Govt Recruitment  2018- 2019: we Are Providing the Latest Pharma jobs and vacancies, Pharmaceutical Jobs & Recruitment Details in this Article. You Can Get All The Latest Posts In This Article Also Including Government Pharmacist Recruitment Details. Pharma job portal Pharma jobs and vacancies Pharma jobs and vacancies
  40. Online Assignment Help | Oct 12, 2018
    While I was pondering this blog, I could understand the actual responsibilities of an assignment provider. It is way more than just doing assignments. Just like the assignment experts of Online Assignment Expert do not close the case, until the student is fully satisfied, an assignment expert must ensure the same. Also, they must not compromise with the quality of assignments, at any cost! As a nursing student, I am totally satisfied with the quality of assignments that I’m being provided with, by the Online Assignment Help Experts.
  41. daniyal2157 | Oct 12, 2018
    It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content.Kids Music Lessons
  42. Nia | Oct 12, 2018
    It was just great to get the chance to visit your website please keep me posted for more updates. super affiliate system
  43. Peyton | Oct 12, 2018

    This website obviously brings more knowledge to its readers.    

    buy amazing grass superfood

  44. thelma | Oct 12, 2018
    Fantastic details! This is useful easy to understand website thanks for shared chicken nesting boxes
  45. ss | Oct 11, 2018
    Awesome article.Really thank you! Awesome.corso barbecue
  46. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 11, 2018
    Thank you for your article.Thanks Again. Great.barbecue catering
  47. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 11, 2018
    Really informative article post.Really looking forward to read more. Really per matrimoni
  48. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 11, 2018
    Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Much thanks again. Much matrimonio
  49. DANIYAL157 | Oct 11, 2018
    i wish to bookmark the site so i could come here again to see you, as you have performed an excellent job.This is my first prospect to see this website. I came across some intriguing things and I will affect the progress of my blog. Thanks for sharing useful information. Skrill
  50. SHARIQ KHATRI | Oct 11, 2018
    Thank you ever so for you post. Keep writing.ricetta hamburger

    Leave a comment

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

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


    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.


    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.

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


      Gun wagon charts/drawings, IMechE Archive.

      McClelland letter and portrait, IET Archive.

      Hopkins Bridge images, ICE Archive.