An American gunner sights his gun on the Western front. The gun is a 158 mm howitzer equipped with caterpillar like treads for transportation over the rough terrain that existed at the front. Normal wheeled artillery would get bogged down in the mud and the bomb craters.
Category Archives: United States
World War 1 American 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.
This photo from 1917 shows a “Christmas Box Hospital” where boxes containing gifts for U.S. troops donated by the general public were repaired before being shipped to the front line troops. Here we see a pile of boxes containing Christmas gifts awaiting inspection and repair. Statistics from the United States Committee on Public Information indicates that about 11,000 boxes arrived in poor condition and needed to be repaired.
Collection drives for necessities and luxury items for the soldiers were important propaganda tools, helping to maintain the morale of the troops and also create a sense of solidarity between the soldiers and civilians on the homefront.
A group of mud spatterd but happy American soldiers enjoy a warm meal, somewhere on the Western Front.
America was initially neutral at the outset of World War 1. Even while the war raged in Europe, President Wilson actually tried to reduce the military budget as he had no intention of being dragged into the conflict.
However popular war mongers such as former President Theodore Roosevelt and various industrial and military elites argued that the United States should join the war and that it needed to be better prepared militarily. They advocated vastly increased military spending as well as a program of conscription and training of an officer corps.
In order to whip up public support for war, Roosevelt and his war loving associates organized the Preparedness Movement, which among other things held parades through out the country to raise public awareness and support. After all, every one loves a parade, and sending your sons and fathers to die on a foreign battlefield is so much easier to swallow when it is dressed up with flags and jolly marching music.
Unfortunate events such as the German sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania increased the public’s demand for war, and the Preparedeness Movement grew. President Wilson was eventually forced to agree to some of their demands and gear the country up for war, which eventually came for the United States, in 1917.