ONLINE Zoom Meeting - Bullets, Bombs & Poison Gas: Supplying the troops on the Western Front 1914-18 by Dr Dave Rogers
Soldiers in the trenches were issued with four bullets a day unless they were either snipers or manned a machine gun. This does not seem like a lot of bullets. However, four bullets a day is 28 per week and a million soldiers would need 28 million bullets per week.
Supplying the troops was further complicated by the need to ensure that the many and varied shells were available for the howitzers, mortars and other artillery. Furthermore, there was a need for essential supplies of a whole manner of other materials, including rations for the troops and food for the many horses. Aircraft and tanks also started to make an appearance on the battlefield at this time which required specialised supplies.
The static nature of battle led to the use of a narrow-gauge railway network and a roll on roll off ferry port in Kent to speed deliveries along. Unfortunately, not all of the traffic was towards the trenches. Sadly, there were many casualties who needed to return to the hospitals either in the field or back in Britain. The returning trains performed this vital function. Servicing this supply chain was a complex business and Dave will describe some of the interesting issues that arose.
This online talk is open to all. You do not have to be a member of the Western Front Association to join this online meeting. Details of how to join the meeting using Zoom will be in Andy Thompson’s October email sent out to everyone on our email list. If you don’t receive Andy’s emails contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The photo shows shells are being unloaded at Brielen, just north of Ypres, on 3 August 1917. © IWM (Q 5855).