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. jimn | Sep 21, 2018
     I like your working style. Your blog is so interesting and informative. You have done a superb job. Thanks for sharing this info with us  Ελλάδα
  2. Saoodarfeen | Sep 21, 2018
    Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!voyance gratuite
  3. linkerseo | Sep 21, 2018
    Two full thumbs up for this magneficent article of yours. I've truly delighted in perusing this article today and I figure this may be outstanding amongst other article that I've perused yet. If it's not too much trouble keep this work going ahead in a similar quality.  Zügeln Zürich
  4. Cheryl | Sep 21, 2018

    Thanks for sharing such great post.

    Memory Care

    Senior Care Services

    Elderly Home Care

  5. S E O Experts | Sep 21, 2018
    Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more, Im taking your sustenance what's more, Thanks.  แทงบอลฟรี
  6. NACY REVIEW | Sep 21, 2018

    This is a good web page. Provide the useful information for the user, thank you have been given to the given that that around the xung quanh, create for root source in job

  7. Joshua Everett | Sep 20, 2018
    Great read, I really liked all that was written. It did answer some questions I had. Really appreciated!    Roofing Companies in Louisville CO
  8. BGM JOSH | Sep 20, 2018
    I really do think that this was a great piece. Thank you so much for writing this! Englewood CO Roofing Company  Roofing Companies in Commerce City CO 
  9. lamha | Sep 20, 2018

    very interesting information thanks.

    very sad songs list sad songs list sad songs list  love hindi sad songs list 2018 love hindi sad song love hindi sad songs list 2018 hindi love sad song list love hindi sad song hindi love sad song list sad songs list hindi hindi sad song list sad songs list hindi

  10. Linh CP | Sep 20, 2018
    I have never read such quality post/article as yours, ever on the web. Your post/article is very detailed and insightful yet easy to understand  email with love 2018
  11. Kate Warren | Sep 19, 2018
    Creating articles for quite a while can be an overwhelming errand. Just the individuals who know how to compose rapidly and well are conversant in this undertaking. To become better at this, you need to keep on working. forex trading
  12. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    Really informative blog article.Thanks Again.psychics
  13. MarcoRocky | Sep 19, 2018
    Even I don't understand about engineering, but by read this article I know it. So, I can't wait for your next post.   sexy halloween costumes
  14. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    I appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great. Good Morning Pics
  15. monmon | Sep 19, 2018
  16. BISABET | Sep 19, 2018
  17. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    Enjoyed every bit of your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.200-125 dumps
  18. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    Awesome blog.Much thanks again. Want more.200-125 dumps
  19. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    Im obliged for the article.Really looking forward to read more. steroids
  20. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 19, 2018
    Looking forward to reading more. Great article.Really thank you! Whatsapp Dp
  21. pioneerseo | Sep 18, 2018
    Mmm.. magnificent to be here in your article or post, whatever, I figure I ought to besides secure for my own specific site like I see some exceptional and fortified working in your site.  คาสิโนออนไลน์เครดิตฟรี
  22. Online C Sharp Programming Homework Help | Sep 18, 2018
    By Visiting This Site I Found Cool Stuff Here Keep It Up. Online C Sharp Programming Homework Help
  23. Online C Sharp Programming Assignment Help | Sep 18, 2018
    Thanx For Sharing Such Useful Post Keep It Up :) Online C Sharp Programming Assignment Help
  24. digiticn | Sep 18, 2018
    I am very grateful for all of the information you provided for us. Thank you so much and please keep up the great work.  voyance immediate
  25. syed danish | Sep 17, 2018
    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! LED Hallenstrahler
  26. troop | Sep 17, 2018
  27. S E O Experts | Sep 17, 2018
    I am truly appreciative to the holder of this site page who has shared this awe inspiring area at this place  แพคเกจทัวร์
  28. digiticn | Sep 17, 2018
    Thanks for sharing all this great information. I’m sure I will refer to it many times. dieta da banana
  29. sella353 | Sep 17, 2018
  30. royal99bet | Sep 17, 2018
  31. royal99bet | Sep 17, 2018
  32. chael | Sep 17, 2018

    Thankyou For Give me a Nice content and situs 

    Visit my Page : 

    <a href="">cara bermain sbobet</a>

    <a href=""></a>

    <a href=""></a>

  33. Troop | Sep 17, 2018

    Thankyou For Give me a Nice content and dont forget

    Visit my Page :

  34. IYAPOKER | Sep 17, 2018

    Thankyou For Give me a Nice content and dont forget

    Visit my Page :

    [url=]cara bermain sbobet[/url]



  35. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 17, 2018
    Really informative blog.Really thank you! Awesome.먹튀검증
  36. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 17, 2018
    I cannot thank you enough for the blog.Really thank you! Fantastic. Good Night Images
  37. thuy | Sep 17, 2018
    email with love free email with love download Fantastic blog.Really thank you! Coo. Thanks for sharing this informative content with us.Really looking forward to read more
  38. Viet's Farm | Sep 17, 2018
    The information in this article is very helpful to me. I've been looking for them for so long. You can visit my website:
  39. neekoon | Sep 17, 2018
    Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. regal keto review
  40. Lovelhomes | Sep 17, 2018
  41. LLH | Sep 17, 2018

    Can support my websites? Can take a look

    <a href="">Invest Singapore Property</a>

    <a href="">Stirling Residences</a>

    <a href="">Stirling Residences</a>

    <a href="">South Beach Residences</a>

    <a href="">The Tre Ver</a>

    <a href="">Park Colonial</a>

    <a href="">Park Colonial</a>

    <a href="">Affinity at Serangoon</a>

    <a href="">Affinity at Serangoon</a>

    <a href="">Riverfront Residences</a>

    <a href="">Riverfront Residences</a>

    <a href="">Jui Residences</a>

    <a href="">The Garden Residences</a>

    <a href="">Jui Residences</a>

    <a href="">The Jovell</a>

    <a href="">Jadescape</a>

    <a href="">Jade Scape</a>

    <a href="">Stirling Residences</a>

    <a href="">Margaret Ville</a>

    <a href="">The Tre Ver</a>

    <a href="">Park Colonial</a>

    <a href="">Affinity at Serangoon</a>

    <a href="">The Garden Residences</a>
  42. digiticn | Sep 17, 2018
    Thanks once more for all the details. Thank you for sharing, this is help me so much in my learning.  az formula scam
  43. digiticn | Sep 17, 2018
    I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. Thank you for sharing, this is help me so much in my learning.  showbox
  44. seo tools pedia | Sep 17, 2018
    wrting like this is not a child play its a amzing article writen by you , very simple lines and very informatic its so help ful and so easiy to understand.whatismybrowser
  45. Veronica Lindsey | Sep 16, 2018
    Bro, you are, without a doubt, one of the best people who write content on this site. Your work is always fantastic to read, and if you continue to go this way, people will start to like you. That's what it's all about. тренінги з продажу
  46. SHARIQ KHATRI | Sep 16, 2018
    This is one awesome blog.Really thank you!Marthas Vineyard Tools
  47. Kevin | Sep 16, 2018

    Your post is very helpful. Thanks a lot.

    <a href="" > read more</a>

  48. Lindsay Barker | Sep 15, 2018
    It is difficult to compose great articles at a reliable rate, however this person appears to do it consummately, and he has my most extreme regard for doing that. More articles that are similar to this one need to be posted here. voyante 15
  49. digiticn | Sep 15, 2018
    Such a helpful and knowledgeable article. You are doing very well. water candle
  50. kainat parween | Sep 15, 2018

    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.