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Gunga Din

Marginal Gains

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Gunga Din

Modern society, through science and industry has benefited from the exponential gains from many small changes; the compounding effect of very small 'marginal' changes to existing systems (organisational, technical and production). Vaccination against smallpox in India is one example where a small decision has had very large impacts for many millions of peoples.

 

The concept of 'marginal gains' is very well understood in modern times and has been applying in many areas; sport science is probably one area that is more readily tangible; the likes of Sri David Brailsford's work with Team Sky on the Tour de France (allegations of medical infringements aside), and the British Cycling successes in World Championships and Olympics is one example. The large swingings and decade-long dominations of either Oxford or Cambridge in the varsity Boat Race is another and the 'appliance of science' to a hosting of other sports where very tiny improvements across a number of factors compounds and is creating significant (exponential) differences is another. 

 

I am wondering if there is tangible, measurable evidence of marginal gains in WWI. I am thinking of the changes in gunnery, ammunition, sights, maps, organisations (up and down trenches for example), provision of fodder, tiny changes to weapon systems....that had a disproportional (and measurable) impact.

 

If anyone could suggest areas worth exploring it would be of very interest. Anything as diverse as administering quinine or the providing of field bakeries to the change in the chemical composition of explosives, small changes to fuze gaines,  to strategic decisions on blockades or the changes to the SMLE sights would be welcome. I suspect that WWI will be a rich source of 'marginal gains'. 

 

Thank you for that one.

 

GD

Edited by Gunga Din

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Steven Broomfield

As a starter, how about putting securing straps on the pouches of British webbing (left side, I believe) to stop the pouches coming undone and the chaps losing rounds? Simple move but it probably saved lives.

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Gardenerbill

Some to consider:

Adoption of steel helmets

Junior offficers carriyng rifles instead of pistols to avoid being singled out by snipers

Regular feet checks to avoid trench foot

 

 

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Gunga Din

Thank you.

 

LOOB

 

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Ron Clifton
4 hours ago, Gardenerbill said:

Regular feet checks to avoid trench foot

This actually pre-dates WW1. It is stressed as important in Infantry Training 1914.

The development of military aviation, especially to the advent of strategic bombing, and air re-supply with ammunition.

 

Ron

 

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seaJane

Anti-flash gear in the Royal Navy. Recommended (by Fleet Surgeon EB Penfold. BARHAM) after Jutland, but whether or not implemented, needed to be implemented again during 1939-1945. And later still, re-implemented in cotton...

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