Series Contemplates Role of WWI Railroads

The use of WWI railroads was an important factor in the transportation of troops, though not everyone is fully aware of this fact. Literally millions relied on trains to get them to battle, as they were one of the most efficient ways of mass ground transport. A new series, entitled Railways of the Great War, is now aiming to show just how important WWI railroads were to the war effort.

The series is definitely not meant to be an uplifting one, but is meant to show the trains used during the First World War to be just as foreboding as they were. This were devices on which numerous soldiers crowded aboard at once, unsure whether or not they would survive their destination. These WWI railroadsare thusly portrayed by the series as the harbingers of tragic young deaths, without which the war might not even have been accomplished. Not only were soldiers transported, but so were their weapons, ammunition, and other supplies without which there would have been no battles at all.

As such, the First World War is portrayed as a “railway war,” and the only one of its kind. The series aims to explore this idea, and the fact that even specific battles might have been influenced by the availability of WWI railroads. This is not a new theory, as there have been historians in the past that explored the way railway timetables were incorporated into military strategy. This theory has been around since the late 1960s at the very least, if not much longer, The Telegraph reports.

The series utilizes a research team that has spent a great deal of time on the railways themselves. They have learned that many armies during the First World War were well aware that WWI railroads could make or break the conflict, and as such would destroy railways to cut off the transport of troops and supplies. This shows just how away the world’s militaries were at the time that they were in the midst of a railway war, and had to strategize accordingly.

The new series on WWI railroads is just one of many new documentary series made to honor the centenary of the First World War. There have been many attempts to disseminate little-known information in the weeks leading up to the centenary, and will be even more now that the centenary has formally begun. People are now able to learn more about WWI railroads, and many other facets of the war, than they have previously known before.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE