Skip to main content

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 the weekend, 154 Scottish Regiment RLC hosted Exercise MUDMASTER, the annual off-road driver training challenge that tests drivers’ skills and precision behind the wheel of different vehicles. The event, which took place in Dunfermline, Stirling and Linlithgow in Scotland, aims to develop the safe driving skills of the Corps’ soldiers with conditions that are designed to test their capabilities to the fullest. More than 100 teams entered, with both regular, reserve and civilian personnel taking part in challenges including navigation, observation, discipline and safety; all essential skills needed for deploying on future operations. #BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less
Over the last two weeks, seven members of the 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, Marchwood Regimental Dive Team successfully organised the ‘deep phase’ of Exercise SUBMERGED CRUSADER 21 in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. In total, 20 divers took part in numerous training serials including: live decompression up to depths of 42m, ultrathermic cutting, hydraulic tools, search and recovery and a seabed survey in the murky depths of Loch Alsh, Loch Akin and Loch Na Beiste. The team were ably supported by the dive tender MV Moorhen and a Navy Chamber crew from the Defence Diving School who conducted lessons on safely recovering a diver to a recompression chamber.#BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less
RLC personnel from BATUK have been helping to make donations of food and books to Hope and Homes Recreation Centre, a local orphanage home to 56 children in Kenya. Hope and Homes first became a registered recreation centre in 2011 by Suzanne Wangiru. Suzanne created the centre in order to rehabilitate street children, as well as orphans and young girls that have been rescued form early marriages. Cpl Shannon Stevens who is currently on detachment from 13AASR, commented on her experience visiting this fundamental centre: “When we entered the Centre, we were taken by surprise as there were more children than we had imagined there would be. We helped to distribute food, drawing books and reading books and the children were ecstatic. It was a surreal experience at Hope and Homes, full of differing emotions, but it was definitely a great opportunity for the members of CSS 2nd Line to engage with the community creating a better working relationship with BATUK.”Major R Crane MBE RLC, SO2 CSS BATUK commented: “Witnessing the delight on the kids’ faces when they received the books and clothes that had been donated by friends and families across UK was very humbling. There are so many children in need and every little helps.” #BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less