This section opens with a somewhat peeved comment that the extent to which the success of operations was dependent upon the opening up and maintainance of communications was probably not fully realized except by those who had to do the job, no more than the difficulties that had to be overcome during the first two years of the war was appreciated. This account certainly paints the picture of a formidable task. The first concentration of large masses of men and animals in small areas, and the growth of artillery strength, that marked the Battle of the Somme in 1916, intensified all communications and transportation problems, and there gradually emerged a series of specialized departments, such as Railways, Roads, Labour and Engineer Stores, which , by the end of the war had assumed very wide proportions and absorbed a huge number of personnel and amount of equipment. The author deals with the subject under three headings: Tracks, which involved men, animals and horse transport; Forward Roads (including railheads), and Tramways, all of which came under the Engineer-in-Chief at GHQ. Railways were not his responsibility. A new organization which emerged was known as Foreway and included in the narrative is a letter from the CGS setting out how the organization was to be formed. The basic element was the ‘Foreway Company RE’ the make up of which is given in detail. The plates show drawings of rail/tramway trucks, bridges, tracks, road and tramway systems in Army and Corps areas.
WORK OF THE ROYAL ENGINEERS IN THE EUROPEAN WAR 1914-1918: Forward Communications
An account of how the problem of moving large numbers of men, animals and equipment was dealt with, including the formation of a new organization ‘Foreway” for movement forward of railhead.