Sunday, January 15, 2012

Timber & Shoring.

This is coolbert:

First from a recent prior blog entry:

"Refueling the British fleet during WWI was a huge logistical headache. It demanded thousands of trainloads of coal be sent weekly to northernmost Scotland. From there it was transshipped to the Orkneys by barge and collier, where it once again it had to be laboriously bagged, shoveled, and lifted by cargo booms and cranes into the vessels of the Grand Fleet in its anchorage at Scapa Flow . . . Coal mining was a major sector of the economy in Britain and other industrial countries of the time. In just one mining area, South Wales -- home of Welsh steam coal, or anthracite --, there were 250,000 miners who produced 57 million tons of coal in 1913 . . ."

["steam coal" that fuel must suitable for coal-fired boilers of railroad locomotives and warships! NOT necessarily hard rock anthracite but a form of bituminous coal valued for the quality!]

That British Grand Fleet during the Great War even while at anchorage and idle requiring an enormous quantity of coal the production and transportation of which carried out by an industrial mass production assembly line operation of prodigious size, the beehive activity of an army of men [civilians] essential. Mining, railroad, ferrying, all labor intensive and time consuming but an ABSOLUTE MUST! NO COAL NO FLEET SAILING!!

[those coal-fired boilers of the warships again, even while at anchorage consuming coal on a continuous basis, the fires never extinguished, the boilers kept stoked at all times!!]

Also from a much prior Military Thoughts blog entry, German unrestricted submarine warfare as begun in 1917 based upon basic assumptions to include:

* "Second. 'A modern economy was a masterpiece of precision machinery; if it is once thrown into disorder, malfunctions, friction, and breakage will set in motion without end.'"

* "Sixth. 'the Germans were mesmerized with British coal production in general and reliance on Scandinavian pit-prop timber (Grubenholz) in particular.'"

[these are the timbers, cut to size, used to hold up the sides a coal mine. The tunnels and the pit caves themselves are held up by what is called "shoring". Timbers placed at intervals that prevent the mine from collapsing on itself. It seems England was dependent on Scandinavian timber for this purpose!!]

Impede by unrestricted submarine warfare that constant flow of Scandanavian pit-prop timbers and English industry slowly but surely would come to a halt? NO timbers - - NO coal - - NO fleet sailing!! Such was the thought among those most senior German naval commanders.

That absolute dependence upon imported pit-prop timber an assumption that WAS NOT valid:

"Sixth. 'Holtzendorff's and Ludendorff's curious calculations about Scandinavian pit-prop timber for British mines failed to hold.'"

[Timber was made more available for mining by restricting the use in other industries. Imported timber was not so crucial!!]

German assumptions not totally invalid, however there being indeed a "work-around" when imported timber denied! Measures and steps taken by the British to continue the mining process unabated, coal for the fleet and other essential industry still abundant, unrestricted submarine warfare notwithstanding!!


1 comment:

Hilary Kimbel said...

Do you think this would apply to calgary shoring? Thanks so much for posting! I feel like I really learned a lot.