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From: ASC relationship to RGA



This one shows the depth of knowledge of Pals - Ron Clifton's study over 40 years !!!!!

Interesting that the best way to work with the ASC (well the RCT / RLC) was still subject to change many many years later, having worked with both general support units providing ammunition and also dedicated artillery support squadrons and with various Representatives at different levels of Headquarters. Not sure if this falls under adapting to change or people not understanding anatomy.

Hello Seany

This is a very tricky area. I have been studying the composition of units and formations, mostly from the War Establishments in class WO24 at Kew, for about forty years and I stll haven't found a definitive answer! Forum Pal Peridot has also wrestled with it in some threads he has started in this subforum, headed "293 SB" and "717 Company ASC", I think.

The easiest approach is to divide the war into three stages, as far as the RGA is concerned. This applies to France, and with modifications to the other theatres of war as well. They do not include the AA units.

1. The build-up phase. In this period, from Aug 1914 until March 1916, heavy and siege batteries were sent out from the UK as brigades of (usually) two or three batteries of the same type. Most of these batteries had horse-drawn transport, manned by RGA personnel, including integral ammunition columns.

2. The middle phase, from April 1016 to January 1918. Heavy and Siege Batteries were grouped into Heavy Artillery Groups, of variable composition, dictated by the needs of the moment. This is the tricky period.

3. The final phase, from Feb 1918 onwards. By this time the composition of each HAG had become more static and they were grouped into five different types. These were re-designated Brigades RGA (Mobile, Mixed, 8" Howitzer, 9.2" Howitzer and Army), with each of which was associated a particular ASC MT Company, as Steve says in the previous post.

During the middle period, each Army and each Corps was allocated an "ASC MT Company attached for Heavy Artillery" which was responsible for the movement and ammunition supply of the RGA of that Army or Corps, and the numbering given in the various orders of battle suggests that, with a few exceptions, the same company served with each Army or Corps throughout. In early 1917 the nomenclature of (Corps) Siege Park was adopted, but seems to have been discontinued later that year.

My belief is that these Siege Parks contained a small nucleus of administrative personnel (and, thanks to Peridot, I have a sample breakdown of this showing about 40 all ranks) and a number of separate detachments, each representing a Siege Battery Ammunition Column (SBAC). An establishment dated Sept 1915 shows the transport personnel of a four-gun Siege Battery as follows:

"2 Subalterns, 3 Serjeants, various Drivers (68 for 6"h, 120 for 6"g, 99 for 8"h, 126 for 9.2"h), 3 Batmen.

In each case drivers include 2 for motor cars and 50% spare."

The real unanswered question is how permanent the assignments of men, or whole detachments, were to individual batteries during what I have called the middle period. In his book Army Service Corps 1902-1918, Colonel Mike Young lists all the ASC Companies and some are described as SBACs, but I don't know whether we should infer from this that the same company constituted the SBAC for the same Siege Battery throughout.

I hope this helps, though of course it doesn't fully answer your question!


Source: ASC relationship to RGA


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