Photograph shows Austrian soldiers on a dusty road on the Eastern Front. Some are on horseback while others are on foot, leading pack horses loaded with equipment and supplies. The troops in this picture are members of an Austro-Hungarian telephone communications division. It was their job to lay down and maintain a field telephone system to allow the commanding officers to communicate with forward troops and receive updated information about the situation.
World War 1 was interesting for its unusual blend of old and new technologies. It was a war in which horses and cavalry men fought along side tanks and aircraft. In the field of communications, as well, the armies of the main combatants made use of what was then cutting edge technology such as telephones but they also relied on antiquated communication systems such as homing pigeons.