About This Unit
The 1st Division Ammunition Column belonged to the 1st Division Artillery. Its role was the provision of ammunition forward to the gun positions.
In post-19th Century conventional warfare, artillery is a dominant component of military combat power. During WW1, the nature, range and effect of artillery fire dominated the battlefields of the Western Front in particular on a scale that has rarely been rivalled since.
To sustain this effect, the logistics of supply of ammunition are critical.
Artillery ammunition is the single greatest commodity required by a combat force in terms of weight and footrpint.
The weight and volume of artillery ammuniton meant that keeping ammunition up to the guns at the rates required was an all-encompassing supply chain issue from manufacture through storage, distribution and provision, to disposal of unexploded ordnance and recovery of re-useable components.
Each Division had an Ammunition Column, which in the Supply Chain is calssified as 'Second Line' supply to keep ammunition up to the guns by moving it from "Third Line" Supply Depot storage up to the Front ("First Line"). It was a mammoth task involving motor and horse drawn transport, heavy and light rail and tramways. Ammunition dumps and transport near the Front Line were high priority targets of the enemy's guns, and later, aircraft.
Horse drawn transport laden with ammunition is a doubly risky business. Horses are vulnerable to all forms of small arms and artillery and the cargo is such that a hit is generally catastrophic. It is not for nothing that many drivers received bravery awards. Many were killed in the process of carrying out their assigned tasks.
Compiled by Steve Larkins Nov 2013
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