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 Battles and kit - D-day, for instance

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 17:02

Troops boarded ships with kit bags, they went ashore with weapons/battle kit. The logistics of getting kit to the right/alive squaddies  seems a challenge. Anyone know how it worked?

This has been a family discussion because a US family have tracked down my toddler cousin whose photo an unrelated GI carried about Europe - mine was another one which was with a GI at D.day until he died a
 few years back. We hardly met either pre D-Day a few visits at most. I recall them because I have good recall. Keeping troops and their stuff together seems quite a challenge.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sat 01 Mar 2014, 17:57

That's what A and B Echelons exist for.
see http://51hd.co.uk/page/glossary which says



Quote :
Echelon
Reference is made to F, A and B Echelon. The transport for a battalion is divided into these groups. F Echelon vehicles are the fighting vehicles which go into battle as part of the action; for example command vehicles, armoured troop carries and anti-tank guns. A Echelon vehicles have the immediate needs of the battalion after the battle such as rations, extra ammunition, packs and cooking equipment. B Echelon in further back and has the longer term stores and workshops.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 17:57

FAB answer, il, thank you. I know more about how Romans ran their warfare - and of course later stuff from watching Sharpe. A rather interesting job, I imagine - the A part anyway. Sounds multi tasking and rather up my street. Well, F and B are not in my league; put me down for the next war if I am not put down by the director hereabouts any time now.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 20:06

So how did it work as one goes back in time?

Take for example a tenant farmer called away from his farm in Yorkshire to serve in the army assembled to counter the Scottish invasion in 1513. At muster he's been issued with a helmet, a quilted jack, and a bill, and he also has an out-of-date sword inherited from his father. Since he and his colleages are expected to be in the army for several weeks, in addition to his arms and his usual clothes he probably has a thick woollen cloak (as much to sleep in as against the weather) a few spare linen shirts and some extra woollen socks, a sleeveless sheepskin jacket and maybe a medieval style balaclava/poncho-type hood which can double as a pillow. He might also, if he's lucky, have a oiled cloth groundsheet. He has his eating knife, a wooden food bowl and a small cup made of horn or pewter. In his wallet he probably has very little money, but he does maybe have his rosary, a lucky charm given to him by his mother, wife or sweetheart, and a couple of dice. He also has his tinder box, flint and steel.

Its not much but it would all weigh maybe 20 to 30 pounds and would need some sort of haversack to hold it. It's no difficulty carrying it on the march to Northumberland, but the question is, does he have to still carry it while fighting in the battle of Flodden or was there some arrangement for companies to leave their kit together to be picked up afterwards, and if so how did that work?

Here he is .... but where's his kit?



Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 02 Mar 2014, 21:13; edited 3 times in total
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 20:36

Most medieval armies (and earlier organised ones) would have had a baggage train - there is a reference to the boys in the camp & baggage train being killed at Agincourt, and many earlier battles featured the capture or sacking of the baggage train.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 20:51

I'd always assumed the baggage train was for general supplies and for the "kit" of the better off, and not for the ordinary soldier ... hence my question, but what you say does make sense. So for practical purposes there must have been a wagon assigned to, say, each company (which would be about 100 men). And so I'm guessing the wagon would also have carried the communal cooking pot(s) and immediate rations of bread and ale plus a stock of arrows, spare armour etc. That also explains the slow rate of advance since even a light cavalry unit would still be limited by the slow pace of its baggage wagon.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Sun 02 Mar 2014, 21:57

You might find that some cavalry armies - such as the Mongols - which had multiple horses per warrior could do without a formal baggage train but even the Romans, not noted for coddling "Marius' mules" still had a quadrupedal mule for each contubernium to carry the tent etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 13:16

The Soyer cooker, invented by French born chef Alexis Soyer after hearing reports of the poor catering in the Crimea;



A battalion using the Soyer,required only one-tenth of the fuel compared to a battalion cooking over open fires, an important consideration in the largely treeless Crimea.
Soyers were used throughout both World Wars, in fact the last substantial stock of them was lost on board the Atlantic Conveyor in May 1982, and the occasional one can still be found.

I remember reading somewhere [The Reason Why ??] that the horses which survived the Charge of the Light Brigade were slaughtered for food over the winter of 1854/55 as the supply system in the Crimea began breaking down.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 13:55

Chindits in Burma, Operation Thursday , March 1944, 10,000 troops and 1,000 mules airlifted behind enemy lines;



a mixture of the  new, C-47 Dakotas, with the old, Mules.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 14:35

One of the great, but simple, designs in history, originally developed by the Germans in the late 30s for military use, copied en masse by the Allies in WW2, hence it's name "Jerrycan"




US Marines with water jerrycans on Grenada in 1983.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 14:49

Right, so that's roughly 1 mule per 10 men whether we're talking Roman legionaries or 20th century Chindits ....  or sometimes, one or two small wagons (I'm guessing ones of 4-wheels/2 horses) for a company of about 80 to 100 men, during the late medieval/early renaissance period. 

Yes that's makes a lot of sense.

And so my hypothetical 16th century conscript's kit is safely stored with that of his immediate chums, in their own wagon and watched over by a driver and a boy, while he fights the Battle of Flodden. I'm relieved for him. And thanks Gil and Trike ... It's a little thing in the grand scheme of the world's history but I have always worried about exactly how medieval/renaissance armies worked, especially for the average squaddie.

But .... this does now beg the question: Who paid for the wagon + horses + their fodder + the driver + driver's boy? .... Are they part of the "package" to recruit these soldiers .... or are the soldiers themselves expected to chip in and pay for these support services? They often had to pay for all the bullets and gunpowder that they used (even in battle!) so I really wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a regular deduction for these, and other, 'support' services.

So who actually paid for the mule/wagon .... and it's fodder costs etc..? The King? or the conscript?
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 06 Mar 2014, 17:29

The supplies for troops fighting the battles on the Kokoda trail, from the Owen Stanleys right up to Wairopi, were dependent on human porters - in total, up to 50,000 to maintain a fighting force which rarely numbered more than 3,500 in the field.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 14:12

Another aspect of combat supply is the stockpiling of munitions for forthcoming operations. There are obvious dangers to storing large amounts of high explosives and there were incidents.

This is the crater caused by the explosion of 4,000 tons of high explosive at Bomber Commands' Fauld Depot in Staffordshire in November 1944. There are another 4,000 tons of unexploded munitions down there;








70 people were killed in one of the largest non-nuclear explosions  and the largest ever in Britain
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 15:43

Attacking enemy supply lines is one of the oldest stratagems in warfare. This is an example from the American Civil War, a raid carried out by a Federal cavalry brigade led by music teacher turned soldier Benjamin Grierson, against the Confederate rail depot at Newton Station, which was supplying Confederate forces in Vicksburg;

http://www.lagrangetn.com/grierson.htm

A still from the film "The Horse Soldiers" based on Grierson's Raid, showing the destruction of rail track;

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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 15:53

This clip shows how to make what were known as "Sherman's Neck Ties", twisting rail track out of shape to make it unusable;

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Fri 07 Mar 2014, 17:11

It's not just  twisting it - the heating / sudden cooling destroys the temper and makes it brittle, so straightening it won't allow it to be re-used.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 05 Jun 2014, 11:08



Weymouth, June 5th 1944. US troops about to embark. Wherever their kit was it wasn't in the landing craft as you can see. It looks like there was just enough room for the troops and their firearms.

The photo is from a series of "then and now" clickable pics to do with D-Day on the Guardian website recently which are really worth a visit.
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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 05 Jun 2014, 11:33

Heavily laden US Paratroopers boarding a C-47 Dakota;

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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Thu 05 Jun 2014, 11:43

And equally heavily burdened British soldiers on Sword Beach;

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PostSubject: Re: Battles and kit - D-day, for instance   Mon 04 Aug 2014, 12:15

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