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, Caledonian Railway

Book 1, Caledonian Railway

by User Not Found | 24 Jul, 2014

1736 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Farhan | Feb 19, 2019
    Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have. Kyocera Toner
  2. Farhan | Feb 19, 2019
    Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article. Top 10 restaurants miami
  3. tt | Feb 19, 2019
    Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people.. for sale by owner columbiasc
  4. Emma | Feb 19, 2019

    Studio Seven makes gives its onlookers an affair they will remember overlook. The directing music joined with astounding craftsmanship is exceptional. 

    Furniture Shops Karachi

  5. Farhan | Feb 19, 2019
    Exactly. you're very kind of us about comment!. Wood Bows
  6. carremoval76 carremoval76 | Feb 19, 2019
    Euro Puppy is a Sri Lankan company who closely works with the best dog breeders in Europe, Russia, Serbia and in other countries around the world. We will handpick the best quality show class purebred puppies and dogs from the best breeding lines in the world and import to Sri Lanka. We handle all veterinary works, export paperwork, AKC export pedigree certificates, flights, documentation, import permits, clearances, and even door delivery in Sri Lanka. Europuppy will find your dream puppy and bring to Sri Lanka Importing Puppies from Russia to Sri Lanka
  7. Farhan | Feb 19, 2019
    i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future..  fsboflorida
  8. Zack Smith | Feb 19, 2019
    I went over this website   and I  believe  you have a lot of  wonderful  information,  saved to my bookmarks Read More Here
  9. Farhan | Feb 19, 2019
    Great article Lot's of information to Read...Great Man Keep Posting and update to People..Thanks for sale by owner charlotte nc
  10. erte | Feb 19, 2019
    This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again. for sale by owner ny
  11. edward fox | Feb 19, 2019
    Thank you of this blog. That’s all I’m able to say. You definitely have made this web site into an item thats attention opening in addition to important. You definitely know a great deal of about the niche, youve covered a multitude of bases. Great stuff from this the main internet. All over again, thank you for the blog. opms kratom
  12. SEO | Feb 18, 2019
    I acknowledge all that you have added as far as anyone is concerned base.Admiring the time and exertion you put into your web journal and nitty gritty data you offer.Thanks.  Tax Investigation Advisors
  13. erwr | Feb 18, 2019
    Only aspire to mention ones content can be as incredible. This clarity with your post is superb and that i may think you’re a guru for this issue. High-quality along with your concur permit me to to seize your current give to keep modified by using approaching blog post. Thanks a lot hundreds of along with you should go on the pleasurable get the job done. Pharma Manufacturing NJ
  14. eliza | Feb 18, 2019
    i love reading this article so beautiful!!great job! 먹튀사이트
  15. tret | Feb 18, 2019
    I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well. for sale by owner ma
  16. carremoval76 carremoval76 | Feb 18, 2019
    I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here. happyluke
  17. Farhan Malik | Feb 18, 2019
    That is really nice to hear. thank you for the update and good luck.Buy youtube promo
  18. Zack Smith | Feb 18, 2019
    Wow, this is really interesting reading.  I am glad I found this and got to read it.  Great job on this content.  I like it. Bharat National Public School
  19. Farhan | Feb 18, 2019
    I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes. but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information? for sale by owner pompton plains nj
  20. alex | Feb 18, 2019
    I differ with most people here; I found this blog publish My partner and i couldn’t stop right up until We finished,  even even though it wasn’t just what I used to be searching for, was still a pleasant examine though. I will instantly get a blog feed to remain in feel of any improvements. https://adesk.aedsoftware.info/
  21. Farhan | Feb 18, 2019
    I have read your article. it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it.. for sale by owner websites
  22. tuty | Feb 18, 2019
    This is highly informatics. crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. for sale by owner pa
  23. Farhan | Feb 18, 2019
    I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here. for sale by owner
  24. Farhan Malik | Feb 18, 2019
    Wow i can say that this is another great article as expected of this blog.Bookmarked this site..fortnite free v bucks generator
  25. Farhan | Feb 18, 2019
    I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. brain games to play
  26. Zack Smith | Feb 18, 2019
    Cool stuff you have got and you keep update all of us. Quit 9 To 5 Academy Mark ling
  27. Farhan | Feb 18, 2019
    Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article. Best online store for anime merchandise
  28. jenar3008 | Feb 18, 2019
  29. digitinc | Feb 18, 2019
    I found a lot of information here. You create this actually best for all newbie here. Thank you for this information. urlaubstadt.com
  30. Seoexpert | Feb 18, 2019
    Buy Printer & Ink Toner Cartridges Canada. Printer Ink Cartridges Canada
  31. S E O Experts | Feb 18, 2019
    I inquisitive more enthusiasm for some of them trust you will give more data on this subjects in your next articles.  Cat Spraying No More
  32. ter | Feb 17, 2019
    I have recently started a blog. the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks  for all of your time & work. smm panel
  33. rtyer | Feb 17, 2019
    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.. Vape mods
  34. Farhan | Feb 17, 2019
    I appreciated your work very thanks pedicure spa chair package deal
  35. Farhan | Feb 17, 2019
    I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! make money reading news online
  36. organic | Feb 17, 2019

    best organic proteins in the town buy at best rates in the town 

    <a href="https://www.plixlife.com/product/strength/">Organic Protein </a>

  37. Farhan | Feb 17, 2019
    I am very happy to discover your post as it will become on top in my collection of favorite blogs to visit. Bronx per diem attorney
  38. Farhan | Feb 17, 2019
    I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing. Υδραυλικος
  39. sky james | Feb 17, 2019
    Im no expert, but I believe IN you just made an excellent point. You certainly fully understand what youre speaking about, and I can truly get behind that.Thank you so much for sharing this..Torque Gauge
  40. Farhan | Feb 17, 2019
    Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. SUPERMAN JUSTICE LEAGUE FIGURE
  41. aaa | Feb 17, 2019
    I am very happy to discover your post as it will become on top in my collection of favorite blogs to visit. church offering envelopes
  42. carremoval76 carremoval76 | Feb 17, 2019
    I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. writing blog
  43. Lizey | Feb 16, 2019
    I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs, thanks for a great share,!how to increase instagram likes 
  44. yry | Feb 16, 2019
    useful information on topics that plenty are interested on for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your b!.. aol customer support
  45. utyut | Feb 16, 2019
    This is my first time visit here. From the tons of comments on your articles.I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here! Nottingham locksmith
  46. tertet | Feb 16, 2019
    I got what you mean  . thanks  for posting .Woh I am happy  to find this website through google.  Executive chauffeur services Leeds
  47. carremoval76 carremoval76 | Feb 16, 2019
    The website is looking bit flashy and it catches the visitors eyes. Design is pretty simple and a good user friendly interface. fast writing help
  48. HolyIT | Feb 16, 2019
    WaFiApPs.NeT A Best Website To Download Free Your BEst Software. i have listing some of populer software that are free and full version. windows 10 gamer free download full version crack activatorwindows 7 free download full version crack activatorDownload windows 7 free full version crack keygen 64 Bitwindows 7 Ultimate free download full version crack activator 64 Bitwindows 10 Update Ultimate free download full version crack activatoroffice 2019 free download full version crack keygenoffice 2010 free download full version crack keygenoffice 2013 free download full version crack keygenmagix music maker free download full version crack keygenadobe Creative Cloud free download full version crack keygencorel draw free download full version crack keygenunity 3d free download full version crack keygencorel painter free download full version crack activatoradobe lightroom free download full version crack keygenwindows 10 19H1 free download full version crack keygenunity pro free download full version crack activatoradobe Indesign free download full version crack activatormagix movie edit free download full version crack keygen activatormagix photostory free download full version crack keygen activatoradobe rush free download full version crack keygen activatoradobe acrobat XI free download full version crack keygen activatoradobe photoshop cs5 free download full version crack keygen activatoradobe frameMaker free download full version crack keygen activatoredius pro 8 free download full version crack keygen activatoradobe inCopy cc free download full version crack keygen activator
  49. Farhan | Feb 16, 2019
    I appreciated your work very thanks online games boost
  50. Ali | Feb 16, 2019
    I am definitely enjoying your website...<a href="https://www.cheaplands.com">Buy Cheap Land </a>

    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.