Feeding an army

Much has been written about the poor feeding of the forces in the East Africa campaign of World War One, the men often on less than full rations. The Pike Report of 1918, published on the GWAA website provides insight into the different rations that each group was entitled to, which was rather an eye-opener, the level of detail and attention is rather astonishing even to the extent of animal rations.

It was therefore with some interest to discover rations for the Turkish Army at Gallipoli and the problems the Ottoman Empire had provisioning the men.

It doesn’t excuse the paucity of rations to the African troops, but it is rather reassuring that it was a more global issue. Having a very specific interest such as the war in East Africa can lead to thinking the situation was unique – indeed some authors have claimed this to be the case, myself included in earlier years. However, it’s helpful taking a peak into other areas of the war and other military encounters to see how similar wars are in many respects and that as with life in general, few learn from others’ mistakes.

For anyone interested in the Ottoman/Turkish side of the Gallipoli, Macquaire University have some useful links as I discovered on James Patton’s site Kansas WW1. And for those wondering how I was side-tracked to Turkey and the Ottoman Empire – it’s all Lord Kitchener’s fault.

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One thought on “Feeding an army

  1. From Harry Fecitt 2 July 2019
    The British problem in WW1 East Africa was not a shortage of rations but an inability to deliver them to the front line troops. Smuts must take the blame for this (South African troops went short of rations just like all other units) as he deliberately ignored solving logistical problems. The Carrier Corps was just not able to deliver what was required for a variety of reasons. The strategy and tactics adopted by the British should have been moulded by their logistic capabilities, but they were not. Many many good men died as a result of Smuts’ intransigence.

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