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Interesting read on artillery in the BEF during the First World War

jeffb

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I came across an interesting free book on artillery in the First World War today. The section on training is especially interesting.

"Before the war, an officer was laughed at for suggesting that a battery carry a thermometer and barometer in the field; even telescopes were not standard equipment, and their use was considered somewhat underhanded. In the very first paragraph of Modern Artillery in the Field Henry Bethell dismissed "theoretical subjects" such as ballistics in favor of "such information as will be of practical use." 

http://www.gutenberg-e.org/mas01/frames/fmas08.html
 

Old Sweat

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Thanks for that. It's all very clear now, but it must have been very difficult trying to come to grips with all the challenges that appeared not one after the other but in waves and floods of confusion.
 

jeffb

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Old Sweat said:
Thanks for that. It's all very clear now, but it must have been very difficult trying to come to grips with all the challenges that appeared not one after the other but in waves and floods of confusion.

Indeed. The book also talks about the challenges of mobilizing regiments of artillery without any of them having ANY experience whatsoever. Apparently the BEF tried to fix this by attaching experienced Bty's or gun detachments within as a sort of peer-mentoring system. In some examples, new Divisions sent to France would at least get a CRA from a Division already in action. I can only imagine the frustration that these battle hardened vets must have felt being thrown into a new division to lead and train gunners who were only recently civilians.

 
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