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1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion
Active 1916–1917
Country Australia
Branch First Australian Imperial Force
Role Infantry training (1916)
Tunnelling (1916–1917)
Engagements World War I

The 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion was a First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) battalion of World War I. It was formed in June 1916 with the role of preparing soldiers for combat with the AIF's infantry battalions. From September that year until the battalion's disbandment in October 1917 it was used as a tunnelling unit.

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  • The British Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Transcription

For centuries, the British army was known for its bright red coats, but by the late 19th century those uniforms were no longer practical in the field, and by World War One their uniforms had evolved considerably, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War special episode about British army uniforms in the First World War. Let’s look back a bit. The accurate long range repeating rifles of the late 19th century did indeed make the bright scarlet uniforms impractical since they stood out as targets, and the British army fought in red for the final time at the Battle of Ginnis in 1885. After that, khaki field dress was worn. Khaki had been worn in India since the 1850s and steadily grew in popularity. In 1902, the khaki Field Service dress was introduced, though the red coats were still used for parades and home service. This uniform was revolutionary in that the same tunic and cap was now worn by both infantry and cavalry, and by 1914 uniform differences between those two branches had all but disappeared, with only small variations like in button style and cap badges remaining. The cavalry did not, however, use the webbing the infantry used to carry ammunition, instead using the 1903 Pattern leather bandolier. When World War One began, the British army uniform was one of the most practical of all the warring nations. Khaki gave better concealment than the French blue and red or German field grey uniforms. The standard British uniform, from head to toe included: the 1905 Pattern dress service cap, a woolen peaked cap with an oilskin lining, yes, it made you sweat. The cap had a regimental badge and a brown leather chinstrap. Soldiers still wore the 1902 tunic, fastened by five buttons, and with reinforced shoulder straps with the soldier’s regiment or Corps in metal on them. Tunics had four large pockets with flaps and buttons. NCO rank was sewn on to the tunic’s upper arms with badges and stripes on the lower sleeves for things like long service, good conduct, number of times wounded, or special skills. Worn underneath the tunic was a collarless blue-grey standard issue shirt. The trousers were also 1902s and worn with braces or a belt. The lower leg was wrapped in khaki cloth puttees, wound counter clockwise, and providing support and protection. Soldiers often slid their cutlery into their puttees to keep them safe. On his feet, the average British soldier wore brown leather “ammunition boots” with hobnail-studded soles. As the war progressed, there were a few uniform changes. The tunic was simplified and the service cap was supplemented by the winter service, or Gorblimey cap, but the big change in headgear was the Brodie helmet. Introduced in 1915 and made widely available in early 1916, they were sometimes called shrapnel helmets and were painted a drab khaki. The helmet was designed by John Brodie and was steel with a double inside liner. All troops, regardless of rank, wore them. Almost 8 million had been produced by the war’s end. Over their uniforms, the British infantry were equipped with 1908 Mk 2 webbing from which all of their kit hung. This included 150 rounds of ammo, entrenching tools, a bayonet, a canteen, and a small pack for clothing and rations. Officers’ uniforms differed in a number of ways from that of the regular soldiers. For starters, their uniforms were privately purchased from military tailors, though made to a standard pattern. In 1914, the new pattern was single-breasted with an open collar and narrow lapels. This was worn over a drab shirt and khaki tie. Like the regular soldiers’ tunic, the officers’ had four pockets and five buttons, but officers wore their rank insignia on their cuffs, enclosed in lace. Their uniforms often favored breeches over trousers, and tall boots. Officers’ equipment included field glasses, a compass, a .455 caliber Webley revolver, and the 1897 Pattern officers’ sword. These were worn suspended from Sam Browne belts. When the war began, officers carried their swords into the field, but that resulted in scenes like that described by John Lucy at the Battle of the Aisne, where he saw 9 of his regiment’s officers “...waving their naked swords” killed in a single day. The swords marked the officers as choice targets for enemy marksmen. By 1915, officers could most often decide for themselves if they carried swords into battle or not, and by 1916 they were ordered to send their swords back to Britain. Also by 1916, the high death toll among officers meant that many men were commissioned from the ranks, and poorer soldiers did not have the means to purchase tailored officers uniforms. The War Office began giving a 50 pound uniform grant so that officers could all equip themselves to an “acceptable standard”. General and staff officers had further uniform variety. General officers had their insignia not on their cuffs, but on their shoulder straps. You could tell staff officers from battalion officers by the red tabs worn on their collars overlaid with gold chain braid denoting rank and staff affiliation. Admin officers had blue patches and intelligence officers had green patches. Armbands were commonly worn by divisional and brigade staff to show their branch of service. The British army also adapted its uniforms to the climate in which the soldiers found themselves. That army fought all over the world and colonial experience helped with creating uniforms that could hope with the heat of the day or the cold of night. The warm weather uniform was a cotton khaki drill uniform with both trousers and shorts. It was a lighter khaki than the 1902 dress. In hot climates, like Palestine or Gallipoli, soldiers often wore just their grey undershirts. Also in warmer climates, the Wolseley Helmet was common. It was cork and covered in cloth. But the first winter of the war saw the British army scramble to equip its men for the cold of the Western Front. They issued goatskins to be worn over the tunics. These would be used throughout the war, as well as greatcoats and fleece jackets. Those last were nicknamed Wooly Bears or Teddy Bears for their appearance and Stinkers for the smell they gave off when damp. Leather jerkins provided some protection from rain, and they were mainly sleeveless and lined with the wool used to make blankets. They were quite well liked by the troops, as they were warm but still allowed freedom of movement. These were still being issued in the Second World War. Now, there were tons of variations depending on the origin of the unit. Canadian, Australian, Indian, New Zealand, South African, and so on all broadly followed British uniform patterns but with differences. Sometimes big differences. Even in the home isles, the Highlander Regiments, for example, wore kilts with khaki aprons over them to reduce visibility, but all that is a topic big enough for a special of its own, which we’ll do later on. Today was just a general look at the most standard British army uniforms of the war. Actually, it’s quite an interesting topic and I encourage you to look it up yourself to learn more about it, since if you have an army it’s not just enough to give them guns and some strategy, you have to dress them to best protect them from both the enemy and the elements, and how you do that can have a significant effect on the individual battles and on the outcome of the war as a whole. Thank you Matthew Moss.

History

The 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion was formed at La Motte in France on 6 June 1916.[1] Like the other British Empire entrenching battalions, the unit was initially used to hold reinforcement infantrymen for I ANZAC Corps. Soldiers were posted to the battalion after completing initial infantry training in the United Kingdom and further training at the base depots of the AIF divisions in France. The role of the 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion was to accelerate and improve the training process by providing reinforcement infantrymen with exposure to combat conditions while undertaking engineering works near the front line.[2]

The battalion initially provided all infantry reinforcements for the I ANZAC Corps, but all of its personnel were posted to combat units as part of the response to the heavy casualties suffered by the Australian units involved in the Battle of Pozières between July and September 1916.[1][3] While it ceased to provide training to infantrymen, the 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion's headquarters and staff were retained and the unit absorbed the surplus reinforcements for the AIF's tunnelling companies; these comprised 9 officers and 203 other ranks. The battalion subsequently operated as a tunnelling unit on the Western Front alongside Canadian tunnellers.[4] It was disbanded on 20 October 1917.[1]

References

Citations
  1. ^ a b c Mallett, Ross. "Engineers". First AIF Order of Battle 1914–1918. Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Bean 1982, p. 177.
  3. ^ Bean 1982, pp. 177–178.
  4. ^ Bean 1982, p. 178.
Works consulted

External links

This page was last edited on 13 July 2017, at 02:48
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