During the Great War, the front could be compared with a bulimic machine which had to be ceaselessly fed, as much with men as with commodities (rations, water, fuel), as well as weapons and munitions from behind the lines.

From the first months of the war onwards, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers came from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth but also from mainland France and its colonies to fight on the Western front between the Province of West Flanders and the Aisne in France. The areas behind the front served as giant hubs at the intersect of not only new recruits but also soldiers returning from the front for a rest while on leave, as well as injured soldiers evacuated from the hell of fighting. All the logistics necessary for supplies of men and weapons were in place in this pivotal geographical area, removed from enemy fire whilst at the same time close to the frontline.