The Ypres Salient - CWGC

The work involved in the construction of the infrastructure to support the attack was truly prodigious: Engineer preparations alone were on a massive scale and Men carrying trench mortar bombs in canvas carriers rest on light railway trucksincluded the construction of additional roads and railways; newly laid narrow gauge branches to serve the ammunition dumps. This exhausting but unheroic work was not without its dangers: 'The construction and maintenance of these improvised roads, often under heavy shell fire, involved high casualties, but without them the essential artillery barrages could not have been fed with ammunition.' ('History of the Corps of Royal Engineers' (Volume V), Institution of Royal Engineers, Chatham, 1952; p. 303).

Water supply to the vast number of troops and animals in the battle zone required a huge expansion in the system of pipelines so as to provide each Corps with around 150,000 to 200,000 gallons a day. The huge schemes of work demanded vast supplies of labour and materials.

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