World War 1 American Tank
American World War 1 Tank
The crew of an American World War 1 tank poses next to their machine somewhere in France. It’s interesting to see how big the tank was, which meant that it had a very high silhouette and center of gravity. These design flaws meant that the tank would be unstable and liable to tip over, and also meant that it would make an easier target for enemy gunners. Modern tanks, and even tanks from world war 2 adopted a low profile whihc made them more stable and harder to hit. It also allowed them to use the terrain for cover. This lumbering beast, on the other hand would have been visible from a great distance.
The configuration of the tank’s armament is also unconventional and represents an evolutionary dead end. Unlike modern tanks, this one has its guns mounted on side turrets which cannot be rotated 360 degrees, limiting its offensive capabilities.
In addition to the officers and men standing next to the tank, closeups of the picture reveal other men inside the tank peering out from port holes and hatches.
Note the smiling man peering out from the gun port. The gap which allowed the gun to swivel also allowed enemy bullets to potentially come through.
A closeup of the front of the tank. A soldier with a gun and bayonet is leaning out of the front hatch.
German Prisoners Western Front
Set of photographs showing groups of German prisoners of war being escorted through a French village. These men were captured during the Battle in Champagne which was a French attempt to counter attack the invading German armies and push them back. The battle lasted from September 25, 1915 until November 6, 1915.
The French outnumbered the Germans in the area almost two to one, and the offensive met with initial success. But the Germans had anticipated the French attack and had dug in. The French met with determined German resistance and resulted in the French suffering heavy losses.
Of the 450,000 French soldiers that participated in the battle, 150,000 became casualties. The Germans had 220,000 men and suffered 72,500 casualties, including 25,000 who were taken prisoners.
A group of German POWS Captured During the Battle in Champagne
Closeup View of the German POWs
Wounded Canadian Child Soldier
A picture of a seventeen (17) year old Canadian soldier named Lawrence, from Brantford, Ontario, who had the bad luck of being wounded just 15 minutes before the armistice was declared. He is being tended to by several nurses in a hospital. Many teenagers served in the First World War 1, on both sides of the conflict. Seeing someone this young seriously wounded just 15 minutes before the declaration of peace drives home just how futile and wasteful this war really was.
Here is a nice picture of a group of soldiers serving in the Austro Hungarian Army during World War 1, followed by closeups of the men in the picture to show greater detail of their weapons and uniforms.
The man in the center, probably an officer, is wearing a medal on his uniform. He has a handgun tucked into his belt as well as two knives, one in his stockings and the other on his belt. In this type of warfare, you didn’t want to be caught without a weapon.
Closeup of the Soldiers on the Right of the Photo
The two men on the right of the photo have an interesting assortment of tools and weapons attached to their belts. The man on the left also has a medal.
The second man on the left has two hand grenades attached to his belt as well as several tools.
The man furthest on the left has a couple of tools on his belt including what looks like a wire cutter.
Above is a closeup of the tools and weapons attached to the belts of some of the soldiers. In addition to knives and grenades they both have what appears to be tools used to cut or bend barbed wire. This may have been used to install barbed wire or cut through enemy obstacles. I am not sure what the item shaped a bit like a rolling pin hanging a by a string is for.A closeup of the two Austrian soldiers in the top center of the picture. The man on the right has two medals on his uniform.
There are basically two ways of winning a war: crushing (i.e. killing) the enemy militarily or breaking his will to fight to so that he gives up and goes home. Sometimes the two go hand in hand: military defeats tend to demoralize troops and make them less willing to continue fighting and face more defeat and risk of death. But in order for the enemy to give up the fight, they must believe that surrender is better than fighting. If they believe that they will be tortured or executed if captured, even demoralized men will fight to the death. Propagandists on both sides understood this simple equation, and worked hard to convince the other side that that they should give up.
Here is an interesting propaganda leaflet dropped by the allies from airplanes over Bulgarian forces during World War 1. The leaflet consists of an idyllic picture of Bulgarian prisoners of war enjoying warm food and easy circumstances at the hands of their allied captors, and there is also a letter describing how the allies treat their Bulgarian prisoners. The idea was to convince the Bulgarians to give up and escape the horrors of war for the relative comfort of a prisoner of war camp run by the humane Brits and French.
World War 1 Propaganda
In fact the allied powers were not known for their gentle treatment of POWs. The Russians transported their Austrian and German POWs to Siberian prison camps where many died from disease and malnutrition, brought on by shortages affecting the disintegrating Russian Empire, which made feeding prisoners of war difficult and certainly not a high priority. The French and Germans used prisoners of war for forced labour, even using them to work in active military zones where they faced death at the hand of “friendly” fire from their former comrades.