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A fresh look at Great War logistics

A new book takes a fresh and new perspective to the critical contribution of particular components of military and commercial logistics to the preparations of the British and Empire Armies in the pre-war period and during the Great War.

An Unappreciated Field of Endeavour – Logistics and the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front 1914-1918, by Lt Col Clement Maginniss, explores the success of the BEF’s Quartermaster-General, Wully Robertson, in utilising the skill of his logistic planners and soldiers to deliver the agile operational logistic capability that was the salvation of the BEF in 1914.

Also examined, is the long forgotten but extraordinary logistic feat of deploying Indian Expeditionary Force A to France, through the mobilisation and transportation of its soldiers across deserts and oceans before its complex logistic integration to the BEF in France.

Logistics were fundamental to the use of tanks in the Great War, an aspect comprehensively examined, to assess how transportation in particular, constrained the development of operational deployments.

The book also analyses how, in 1918, the BEF’s logisticians were able to generate the capability to sustain All-Arms mobile three dimensional combat operations in a chemical warfare environment, whilst maintaining the momentum of the advance, having focused mainly upon supporting siege warfare for the previous four years.

All these threads are drawn together to weave a colourful pattern of achievement, whilst illustrating how logistics evolved to overcome complex challenges and in doing so, transformed operations, creating a Great War legacy that links to defence logistics in the 21st Century, particularly in the expanding arena of contractor support to operations.

On the Western Front, the BEF’s enormous logistic capability was not an end in itself but a vital means to achieve the military aim, an observation as valid today as it was in 1918.

The book is available from the publisher and Amazon now.

 

The Royal Logistic Corps

Over 4-5 March a team of 12 from 3 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps will pull a 4-tonne VW van as far as they can in 24 hours. The event will take place at Blenheim Palace and will raise money for ABF The Soldiers' Charity and Mind as well as supporting the #ArmyConfidence recruitment campaign.

Please visit their page and support these great causes. #WeAreTheRLC
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RLC Chefs, Cpl Grahame Wickam and LCpl Richie Godden, as part of the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team are going for Gold at the 2020 Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart. The event takes place 14-19 Feb and attracts 2000 civilian and military chefs from across the globe.

At a final practice held at Food Services Wing Worthy Down last week, the team prepared an amazing three course meal for 120 covers. Based on that they have a great chance of a medal. Good luck.
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On 5 Feb the Army’s Apprenticeship Launch took place in support of the National Apprenticeship Week.

The successful nominees for the upcoming Army Apprenticeships Awards were present. The Colonel RLC said how extremely proud he is of the work the soldiers have put into completing their awards and congratulated them on progressing to the Army Apprenticeship Finals on 11 Mar.

The Colonel RLC's aspiration to secure an apprenticeship for all direct entry RLC soldiers, was furthered during the week at a visit to 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, Marchwood to confirm if Mr K Foster, CEO of the Workboat Association and Mr M Ince from the RLC's service provider Pearson would support the aspiration for RLC Mariners to be enrolled on the L2 Workboat Crew Member Apprenticeship. WO1 Styles on behalf the Regiment and staff from 73 Squadron were on hand to ask questions. #WeAreTheRLC Army Jobs
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