«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
Tramways.—The construction, maintenance and operation of tramways in the Forward Area are carried out by the Engineers. The line of demarcation between the Army organisation of light railways and Corps tramways is roughly the points to which the Army light railways can safely deliver in bulk by steam in daylight. All operation in front of this is carried out by the Corps tramways, which take over the cars at the transfer sidings and deliver in detail forward The Canadian Corps Tramway Companies operate and maintain about 75 miles of line in the Forward Area and handle the delivery of ammunition to all guns with' positions otherwise inaccessible, trench munitions and supplies to the Forward Area, they carry working parties, Brigade reliefs, evacuate wounded to the dressing stations, and are being used for specific offensive operations. In the Corps Area about 150 trains a day are operated forward and an approximate daily tonnage of about 2,000 tons is carried into the Forward Area, practically all of which would otherwise have to go in by horse transport, pack mules, or be carried in by hand.
Corps Administration. 247 Water Supply.—In addition to the provision of water supply necessary for drinking, cooking and washing for the men and water for the horses, arrangements have also to be made to take care of a sudden advance into a new area of the large number of men and horses involved, an area in which little is known of the facilities for water supply. An important feature of the question of the water supply for horses is that they must all be watered three times a day, and the strain on the available supply comes on at approximately the same hours. As it is very uncertain that engines or pumps will be available, methods have frequently to be improvised.
Mining and Tunnelling.—Defensive mining is carried out to protect our lines from attack underground by the enemy and to ascertain his whereabouts underground and his intentions.
Offensive mining is carried out to attack the enemy workings, to destroy enemy strong points, to defilade the fire from machine gun nests which cannot be reached, to break a hole through the enemy's first defence system, to blow communication trenches to connect our system with his and to provide a passage covered from view for our troops.
Tunnelling is carried out to provide shell-proof cover in dug-outs for the Headquarters, the personnel of the Units in the Forward Area, and subways to facilitate the passage of men in the Forward Area through a zone which is subjected to heavy shell fire.
Bridging.—Provision must be made for the construction of necessary bridges to facilitate traffic in the areas occupied, for duplicates of bridges likely to be destroyed, and for any bridges required in an advance. Careful arrangements must be made for the destruction of all bridges in a retirement.
Inundations.—During the retirement of the German Army from August, 1918, to November 11, 1918, very successful demolitions were carried out on canal locks, canal banks, etc., which resulted in the inundation of many square miles of country, and the rendering useless for navigation of the network of canals 'which exist in France and Belgium. The repair of the banks, locks, etc., was carried out by 'the Engineers, and the natural flow of water regulated, so that in a comparatively short time the canals were once more open for navigation.
The draining of the inundated area was also carried out by the Engineers.
Camouflage.—The provision of material and supervision of the erection of camouflage, cover for guns, headquarters, sleeping huts, machine gun emplacements, observation posts, 248 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
etc., is carried out by the Engineers. During the operations from August 8 to 19, 1918, over 100,000 square yards of camouflage material were issued and erected, and during the operations from August 26 to November 11, 1918, over 150,000 square yards were issued and erected.
Engineer Stores.—It is now impossible to purchase any stores or material locally, as the country has been stripped, and the French Authorities reserve to themselves anything which is left. In consequence the requirements of the Corps as regards engineer stores have to be foreseen, estimated, and asked for six weeks ahead, and obtained through regular Army channels from outside sources. Engineer stores include cement, corrugated iron, felt roofing, steel joists and rails, posts and wire for entanglements, shelters, wire netting, expanded metal, hurdles, canvas and frames for revetting, trench boards, bricks, baths, stoves, ironmongery, timber of all sizes, electrical stores, mining and tunnelling stores, water pipes and fittings, pumps, etc.
The stores and materials are received in bulk at the Corps R.E. Park established at broad gauge railheads. From there they are allotted to the Corps or Divisional Engineer Services,, and transported by light railways or tramways, lorry or wagon transport to Advanced Corps R.E. Park, Divisional R.E. Park, Advanced Divisional, Brigade and Battalion Dumps.
At each Corps R.E. Park workshops are established wherein, as far as possible, timber is re-sawn to sizes required, and made up into standard designs for mining frames, revetting frames, trench boards, notice boards, gun emplacements, sectional huts, targets, trench bridges, infantry bridges, artillery bridges, etc. In addition to the sawmills', tinsmiths, and plumbers' shops, blacksmiths' shops, machine shops, paint shops, etc., are in operation to produce articles which can be obtained in no other way, and to save Divisions as much work as possible.
Should the programme of work required to be carried out on the Corps front in a given time be more than can be undertaken by the Canadian Engineer Units available within the Canadian Corps, the situation is met by the attachment, under Army Orders, of Royal Engineer Units for work under the Chief Engineer.
Battalion, Canadian Engineers.—A Battalion, Canadian Engineers, is responsible for the carrying out of all work that may be allotted to it by the Brigade. In stationary warfare or war of movement it is given a definite section, and the Battalion Corps Administration. 249 Commander is responsible to the Brigade Commander, who, in turn, is responsible to the Divisional Commander, that defences, trenches, roads, accommodation and water supply in that area are constructed and maintained at all times. Engineer Battalions are available for holding the line in defensive and offensive operations, searching for, removing and negativing land mines, delay action mines, " booby traps," etc. ; helping the Infantry forward by constructing foot bridges over rivers, canals, swamps, etc., and clearing the way, constructing light bridges and preparing roads for horse transport to permit the field guns and ammunition to get forward ; constructing heavy bridges and repairing roads for passage of heavy guns and lorries ; rapid development of water supply for all purposes as the advance progresses ; rapid construction of light railways to get ammunition and supplies forward and also save lorry transport and the roads ; removal of obstacles of all natures to the advance, such as clearing roads of felled trees, filling in of craters, or draining off of inundations.
Tunnelling Companies, Canadian Engineers.—During stationary warfare these Companies are employed under the Controller of Mines (Army). They are responsible for the offensive and defensive mining (both shallow and deep), also for the construction of deep dug-outs, Infantry subways, etc.
During mobile, offensive warfare, they are employed in searching for, removing, and negativing land mines, delay action mines, booby traps, etc ; maintenance and repair of roads, removing of obstacles, etc.
During the German Offensive in March, 1918, they were also employed in the construction of trenches, machine gun emplacements, dug-outs, wiring, etc., in the rear area.
Army Troops Companies, Canadian Engineers.—These Companies are employed under the C.R.E., Corps Troops, for engineering work in the Corps area. The work is very varied and comprises construction, maintenance, and development of water supply, construction and repair of bridges, construction and maintenance of trenches, machine gun emplacements, wiring, etc., operation of Corps workshops and Corps R.E. Parks, hutting, etc.
Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Company, Canadian Engineers.—The Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Company, Canadian Engineers. is employed under the Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander (Army), and works in conjunction with the Anti-Aircraft Batteries in protecting the Corps area from hostile aircraft.
250 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
Tramway Companies, Canadian Engineers.—Tramway Companies, Canadian Engineers, were organised to handle forward transportation and distribution problems. All tramways in the Forward Area are constructed and maintained by these Companies. They carry both heavy and field gun ammunition and deliver direct to the batteries.
They also carry forward engineer material and assist in the transportation of troops, the evacuation of wounded to the rear, the delivery of rations and water to the Forward Area, and evacuation of salvaged material. The average daily tonnage handled by Corps Tramways varies between 1,500 and 2,000 tons.
THE CAVALRY AND CYCLISTS.
The Corps Cavalry and Cyclists have not had much opportunity during the war of fulfilling the functions allotted to them in the manuals, which were fighting, and the protection of other Arms. They have mostly been used as observers and working parties during stationary warfare, to augment stretcher bearers and other service, during the trench to trench warfare of 1916 and 1917, and as orderlies and messengers during the last few months of the war in the semi-open warfare. In such duties they have been invaluable.
THE CANADIAN ARMY SERVICE CORPS.
The Canadian Army Service Corps is, as is generally known, subdivided into Mechanical and Horse Transport Units and formations of supply, and in the discharge of its prescribed duties in the Field since the Spring of 1915 has operated in a variety of ways more or less closely connected with the specific work for which it was created. The vehicles of each Mechanical Transport Unit were primarily ear-marked for certain specific purposes. The work of a Corps Troops Mechanical Transport Company is to ration the personnel and horses of formations in the Corps that do not form part of a Division. A Divisional Mechanical Transport Company's work, primarily, is to draw the supplies and Field ammunition required by its Division. In practice, however, all the Mechanical Transport is " pooled " and the lorries not required for the work for which they were primarily intended, and which must take precedence over all other duties, are detailed by the S.M.T.O. for the carriage of R.E. stores, road material, troops and any other duties necessitated by the conditions obtaining at the time.
Corps Administration. 251 This system makes for flexibility, inasmuch as it permits of transport being diverted to the work that is most pressing at the time, reduces dead mileage to a minimum, and makes it possible for the Mechanical Transport at the disposal of a Corps to cope with conditions that may be constantly varying. In general, however, its responsibilities may be classified under one or other of the following headings:— (a) The efficient maintenance of the mechanical and horsed transport serving the Corps Headquarters and Troops, the four Divisions, and the 5th Divisional Artillery.
(b) (i.) Demands for, and control of, adequate supplies of food, forage, fuel, etc., and their distribution, on the basis of respective strengths, from the nearest railheads to all Units and formations forming part of the Corps and Divisional establishments or temporarily attached thereto for rations; (ii.) The supplementation of such supplies, where necessary, by local requisition (more particularly as regards fuel, fodder and vegetables); (iii.) The administration of, and accounting for, any such supplies captured from the enemy; (iv.) The temporary rationing of civilians in areas recovered from enemy control.
(c) The haulage from railhead of practically all stores equipment, mail, etc., consigned or for issue to formations or individuals in the forward area.
(d) The performance of any detailed duties at any time involving the use of transport other than that assigned under establishment to Units of other Branches of the Service.
The administration of this service within the Corps is assigned to Corps " A " and " Q " Branches, from whom emanate instructions to each Divisional " A " and " Q." Who in turn deal principally with two C.A.S.C. Units,-one, known as the Divisional Mechanical Transport Company, consisting of 9 Officers and 346 O.R., under the command of a Major, and furnished with 85 motor lorries,-now pooled for general services ; the other, the Divisional Train, commanded by a LieutenantColonel, and comprising 24 Officers, 412 Other Ranks (including a supply section of 48 O.R.), with 390 horses (314 H.D.) and 158 waggons--usually termed second line transport to distinguish it from Unit's regimental (first-line) transport, with whose inspection the Officer Commanding Train is charged, and for whose efficiency as senior Transport Officer of the Division, he is primarily responsible.
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As regards the Divisional Mechanical Transport Company, many transport duties are assigned to this Unit, but in the limits of this report it will only be possible to deal with the handling of rations and other Army Service Corps supplies. The Company is divided as regards its lorry convoy into a Divisional Troop Section and three Infantry Brigade Sections--correspoqding with the four companies and refilling points of the Divisional Train. The sections report at railhead, which during the summer of 1918 varied in distance 10 to 20 miles from the fighting area.