Abstract

The First World War placed previously unforeseen demands on the industries of all nations to supply their armies with the matériel to fight at the front lines. Despite the loss of the industrial heartland in the north, a dearth of manpower, and a mobilization plan that left the country on the brink of defeat, by 1918 France was producing more munitions and artillery than its allies, while supplying the arriving American army. Building on foundations laid in the early months of the war, the Ministry of War ultimately coordinated production to the operational and tactical needs of the army, thus facilitating the actions of the artillery at the front. The link between industry and the army, and the compromises made to ensure that artillery and shells of the required quantity and quality were supplied, proved crucial to French success on the battlefield.

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