A short overview, to remember the people beavering away in the background.
They never get the glory, but when “push comes to shove” the newspapers heroes (and by no means do I intend to denigrate them or their achievements) ride on the back of the Engineers.
War rapidly accelerates the need for innovation in all areas and WW1 was probably a landmark in this aspect. On land, on the sea and in the air, Engineers were striving to produce improvements and technological breakthrough’s such as ….
Tanks were developed and first used in battle at Flers-Courcelette (part of the Battle of the Somme) on 15 September 1916. Whilst the first tanks were notoriously unreliable, they demonstrated an ability to break the deadlock of trench warfare and laid the groundwork for the engineering marvels which would be developed in later years.
In the Air
The first time mechanical aircraft were used in anger. Whilst Balloons, Blimps, Zeppelins and Dirigibles were were initially used for a variety of tasks, military aircraft made rapid developments.
The allies had traditionally relied on large surface craft such as Battleships to dominate the seaways, but these were no match for the stealthy German U-Boats. Many ships were sunk before strategy and engineering was able to fight the U-Boat threat.
This was achieved by advances in early sonar technology, increased use of aircraft to locate and track the U-Boats and by grouping large numbers of ships together in a defensive convoy as well as the development of the depth charge.
Ancillary to – but equally as critical, there is a need for whole raft of work to happen, including:
Armaments, Weapons, Defence, Sanitation, Food, Communications, Bridges, Roads, Buildings to name but a few.
Typical trench layout
and lets not forget the Bailey Bridge
In a conflict situation a retreating enemy under stress will destroy bridges and infrastructure in an effort to slow down advancing forces.
The Bailey Bridge was developed by British Engineers during WWII.
It is a very adaptable, portable, prefabricated truss bridge with can be easily and quickly deployed.