A railway is thus not necessarily of military significance simply because it has been made in the direction or in the neighbourhood of a frontier. Railways were central to the campaign as it unfolded, taking soldiers to the front and back, and ferrying weapons and hardware from the factories to their points of distribution. In fact, more than 1.6 million women took on traditionally male jobs, with more than 100,000 working in various forms of transport, particularly as engineers. As early as I842 a scheme was put forward in that country for the construction of a network of strategical railways which would allow of operations being carried on simultaneously against France and Russia, should the occasion for so doing arise. While, however, the use which may be made of railways in war is great, varied, and 'comprehensive, much practical and even disastrous experience established the fact that this use was only likely to be efficient when the employment of railways for military transport had been the subject of well-planned organisation in time of peace. The free buffet at Waterloo station fed more than eight million sailors and soldiers between 1915 and 1920. By 1900, America's railroads were very nearly at their peak, both in terms of overall mileage and employment. The programme recommended in 1842 was, in fact, accomplished in all its essential details. Railways were crucial for conveying troops and their equipment and many camps were provided with new branch lines and sidings as were new munitions factories. Ambulance trains, which became the primary mode of transport for the sick and injured, even had operating theatres and tiled floors, walls and ceilings for better hygiene. A quick ballast of local materials (usually just dirt) was then applied. With no need to re-aim the gun between shots, the rate of fire was greatly increased. A small selection indicating the various uses of railways during the First World War. Aided by the strategical railways already built in South-West Africa, German troops were to join the Boers whose rising when "Der Tag" arrived was confidently expected - in acquiring possession of British South Africa. The first train carrying members of the original expeditionary force left Waterloo station on the morning of Sunday 10 August, arriving into Southampton station at 8.15am. Britain declared war on 4 August 1914 and by the end of the month, the railway had transported almost 120,000 servicemen to Southampton, where they would board boats to France. The map above shows the "natural pattern" of the railways before the war started, with the darker lines representing double track railways. Overstretched and under attack, the French railways struggled to cope with evacuating injured soldiers. Whilst the ships were … 70 locomotives were purchased from ALCO. Germany had also reorganised her rail way system on the frontiers of Holland in such a way that she could assemble an army there and invade Dutch territory no less readily than Belgium; while, simultaneously with these developments, she had so improved or adapted her railway system in the interior of Germany as to provide alike for the speedy mobilisation of her troops, for their despatch by well-defined routes to any one of her frontiers, and for their ready transfer from one front to another in the event of war having to be carried on in two or more directions at the same time. The British army became history’s first completely motorized/mechanized army in 1939. 1911. However, they did not play a significant role in WWI. Passenger numbers had reached more than 1.5 million. A 32-pound rail-mounted Brooke naval rifle used by Robert E. Lee's forces at the siege of Petersburg in the American Civil War. … Trains also transported rations, water and coal across Britain and continental Europe in a way not previously possible during conflict. France’s gigantic 400mm Schneider railroad guns were used to support the retaking of Fort Douaumont. The … This used recuperating mechanisms to absorb recoil and return the barrel to firing position after each shot. Even though at the start of the conflict none of the armies possessed any railway artillery pieces and the very idea was comparatively new, more railway guns were used during this war than in any other conflict. Nor was the said scheme to be regarded as merely a project on paper, since in this same year M. Marschall pointed out in the French Chamber that the German Confederation was already converging a formidable system of 11 aggressive lines" from Cologne, Mayence, and Mannheim on to the frontiers of France between Metz and Strassburg (sic), leaving no room for doubt as to the nature of Germany's intentions. The U.S. army was still using horses in 1941, but by the end of the war it was based completely on the internal combustion engine. since 1870-71 an organisation for the conduct of military rail transport in time of war, on the lines here indicated, had been planned and worked out in France in a way so comprehensive and so exhaustive that it provided in advance as far as the combined wisdom of military and railway authorities could foresee or suggest for every contingency that was likely to arise. In a lot of cases these Simplex locomotives were sold as "surplus" after the end of the Great War, and they went on to deliver many years of industrial service on 2' gauge light railways … 1914. It remains to this day the biggest loss of life in a railway accident in Britain. It certainly was the case that, in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, military transport in France speedily assumed chaotic conditions, and that these were, in fact, among the direct causes of the disaster by which the country was so speedily overtaken. Roger So Far. The Secret Harbour itself was camouflaged and all its buildings painted to match the background of a low-lying area. Why our railways were ready for war in 1939. So it was that Germany's proclamation on July 31st, 1914, Of "the state of danger of war" found the French railways prepared to take instant action. Between the two last-mentioned dates, the number of military trains run was nearly 4,500 (exclusive of 250 trains carrying siege supplies to the fortresses), and of this total more than 4,000 had destinations on the Eastern system. These simple trains, hauled by small steam locomotives or petrol tractors, greatly accelerated the supply of ammunition to artillery batteries. Known as The Secret Harbour of 1916, it transported tonnes of materials required for the war on train wagons rolled from the track to ferries. The scramble for empire in Africa also sparked several diplomatic incidents. (extract)By Edwin A. Pratt, Author of The Rise of Rail-Power in War and Conquest. The use of horses in World War I marked a transitional period in the evolution of armed conflict.Cavalry units were initially considered essential offensive elements of a military force, but over the course of the war, the vulnerability of horses to modern weapons such as machine gun, mortar, and artillery fire greatly reduced their utility on the battlefield. (The narrow gauge Terench Railways ran to points on the Trenches to supply food, ammunitions, and fodder for the horses and mules.) The masterly retreat of the allied centre and right to the south of the Marne, which followed the fall of Charleroi, on August 26th, called for an especially prodigious effort on the part of the French railways; and this effort crowned with complete success had to be made concurrently with the need for facilitating the flight of many thousands of refugees from the invaded or threatened districts of Belgium and Northern France. The ebb and flow of war meant that rail lines were built and rebuilt, moved and used elsewhere, but by the latter years of Passchendaele, Amiens and Argonne, light railways came into their own and pulled for the final victory. 70 locomotives were purchased from ALCO. The number of women working on the railway has never fallen below pre-WWI levels. 5. … Two of which were to operate from Richborough and one from Southampton. / Modeling general discussion / Trench Railways and WW1. At the end of this period the French Government issued a notice expressing to the railway officers and railway workers of all ranks the warmest acknowledgment of the patriotic zeal and the admirable devotion with which they had toiled day and night; while the "Journal des Transports," of January 30th, 1915 in announcing this fact, declared on its own behalf: "One can justly say that the first victory in this great conflict has been won by the railwaymen.". They were cramped and uncomfortable. Among the chief measures to which she resorted for ensuring the success of her Welt-politik were (1) railways, (2) commerce, and (3) a more powerful Navy. British railways were hustling soldiers to ports on the English Channel so they could join the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium. There were two ways of laying the light rail. They used the full version of the system in the remaining four of the 1918 offensives. The Germans used 3,965 field artillery pieces in the launch of Operation Michael two years later. About 13,000 women worked on the railway in 1914, mostly in domestic jobs such as cleaning, washing and waitressing. On the other hand, when one finds concerning German lines on the frontiers of Belgium, for instance, that many of them were not wanted at all for the ordinary needs of the district, and that the double lines, the extensive sidings, the long platforms, and the general station arrangements at places where the local traffic was quite insignificant in extent would permit of a complete army corps and all its necessaries being dealt with, no reason was left for doubt that such lines as these were purely strategical railways, deliberately designed for the furthering of a national policy either of defence or of invasion. The general mobilisation began on August 2nd, and the despatch of troops, etc., from the depots to, the points of concentration at the front, in accordance with the time-tables prepared in time of peace, was started at midday on the 5th and completed on the 19th. The commercial railway routes of peacetime were cut by the war. In the interval which had elapsed. This "out of date" postcard was sent from St. Pierre Eglise in September 1915. The railway had become one of Britain’s biggest employers with more than 700,000 workers. “Temporary shelters were set up and the enormous task of rebuilding the city began.” The reconstruction began with the transportation system, roads, canals and railways. Luckily there was surplus capacity of railtrack, and routes which were less popular in peacetime proved extremely useful when large numbers of men, horses, and supplies had to be moved. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Troops coming home after long periods abroad received a rail ticket to see their loved ones. Light Railways in WW1 ; Print; Reply; Pages:  Author Topic: Light Railways in WW1 (Read 3783 times) Cholton. 1916. WW1 Railways. Cherepanov and his son M.E. At Third Ypres, two British fourteen-inch railway guns named Boche-Buster and Scene-Shifter carried out similar long-range interdiction bombardments. The faults that arose were attributable, rather, to the absence in France of any organisation co-ordinating the military and the civil elements by the creation of authorities through whom all orders and instructions for rail transport would pass, the military element further adopting such methods of control and regulation as would avoid congestion and delay at the stations, while leaving the railway element free to attend to the working of the lines without the risk of having to deal with impracticable and conflicting demands by individual military officers acting on their own responsibility without regard for the physical limitations of the railways or for the needs of the situation as a whole. In short, trains were the best method of mobilizing and supplying troops in 1914. Railway companies had to fit the facilities of a hospital into the confines of a train. In the 20 years leading up to World War I, however, the foundations of railroading would change drastically. British railways were hustling soldiers to ports on the English Channel so they could join the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium. Between the fall of 1941 and the fall of 1944, millions of people were transported by rail to the killing centers and other killing sites in German-occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union. During the war, these trains moved about six million wounded servicemen. In 1915 trench sets were used on the western front but were not a great success – in part because the enemy could easily overhear the messages. The railways in South-West Africa, on which Germany had spent over œ8,000,000, were not only annexed by the victorious British forces, but were made use of for their own movements, and joined up with the railways of the South African Union, to serve thenceforward the purposes of peace in the development of South-West Africa under the administration of the Cape Province Government. The Bagdad Railway, regarded in Germany as a German line, was to be the means by which she would (1) strengthen her hold on the Turkish Government, through the consequent financial and political complications ; (2) convert Turkey in Asia into practically a German State; (3) secure with the help of railways in Europe which she either controlled already or hoped eventually to control direct lines of communication from Hamburg and Berlin to the Persian Gulf ; (4) neutralise, as far as that Gulf, the sea- power of Great Britain; (5) acquire a strategical position from which she might add Persia, no less than Mesopotamia, to the German Empire -1 and (6) create at the head of the Persian Gulf a stronghold which, with a stream of troops and munitions conveyed thither, without fear of interruption, alike from Germany and from her vassal State, Turkey, would enable her to threaten the gates of India and the ocean highway to Australia, and start on fresh schemes of conquest in the Far East in general. 7. 6. New tactics were needed to break down enemy lines. "Studies for an expedition against Paris by way of Lorraine and Champagne can," he added, "hardly be regarded as indicative of a sentiment of fraternity.". Surgeons would perform emergency operations mid-journey, despite the movement of the train. These experiences brought more wartime railways into use and General Kitchener ordered one in the Sudan in 1896. In early September, one million Allied troops lined up along a 100-mile stretch of the Marne River. The map above shows the "natural pattern" of the railways before the war started, with the darker lines representing double track railways. 1917. Further Reading . The guards were sometimes brutal. Dec 19, 2019 - Explore y's board "ww1 light railway" on Pinterest. Had all these plans been realised, the world might eventually have seen, not only the transformation of Africa into a German Empire, but continuous lines of German-owned or German - controlled railways stretching from Hamburg first to Constantinople and thence in one direction to the Persian Gulf, and in the other to Cairo and the Cape. Railways provided the enormous logistical capacity needed to support huge armies in the field for years on end, including transportation of millions of artillery shells. Russia did not start building modern railways until the 1830s, when between 1834 and 1836 E.A. Giant Gun On Railway (1914) Enormous gun sits on railway track while soldiers crank the barrel up. At the start of the war there were 178 separate companies which although directed by Government ran their own routes and had their own rolling stock. Forgotten Fronts: Italy 1918. Hope that helps! Track gauges. But in these three essentials to the attainment of one great aim it was the railways that took the place of primary importance. The line which was to lead to the realisation of this ambitious scheme was not carried, however, more than a comparatively short distance, and other proposals (1) for bringing the trade and traffic of the Belgian Congo under the direction of Germany, by securing it either for the German East Africa Railway or for new German lines connecting the Congo with the chief port of the Cameroon; (2) for a coastal railway connection between German South-West Africa and Portuguese Angola (helping to ensure the ultimate possession thereof for Germany); and (3) for the extension of the Lobito Bay railway to the southern districts of the Belgian Congo as part of a German line of rail communication from the west coast across Central Africa to the east, had all failed of realisation at the time that war broke out; though here we get still further evidence as to the nature of the aims that Germany was cherishing. Railways Become a New Arm in Warfare - Germany Prepares them in Time of Peace for Purposes of Conquest - Strategical Railways and Welt-Politik - Germany's Iron Road to the Persian Gulf - How she Yearned for the African Continent, and Hoped that Railways would Help her to Get German Troops Rushed across the Belgian Frontier by Rail - French Railways Fully Prepared - First Victory in the Great War Won by French Railwaymen - Strategical Services Rendered - British Railways also Ready - Basis of their Operation, under State Control, by Railway Executive Committee - What they Accomplished - Railways and the German Invasion of Russia - Overcoming Differences in Gauge - German Dependence on the "Railway Machine" - Italian Railways and the War - The 'Rail Factor' in the Balkans - Role of the Railways in the Attack on Egypt - Various Purposes Served by Railways in War - Easily Destroyed but Readily Restored - Some Conclusions. Thanks to the results attained, there was secured for the defence of Paris so speedy and so strong a reconcentration of the allied forces that not only was the advance of the invaders checked, but the enemy was himself thrown back in some disorder successively to the Petit Morin, the Marne, and the Aisne. Kolomna Locomotive Plant built 0-6-0T locomotives (I, N, R, T series). Over the next three weeks, a train full of troops would reach the docks every 12 minutes, 14-hours a day.