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 of War Standing Behind Barbed Wire
The picture shows a sea of German soldiers, all prisoners of war, standing behind a barbed wire fence. The fence is a rudimentary one, just a few wires strung along some rough posts. There are a couple of signs, their wording illegible but probably some warning against crossing the fence, nailed to one of the fence posts.
There are so many prisoners of war that the men have no room to move or lie down. There is no visible shelter, just a mass of thousands and thousands of POWs. Judging from their overcoats it is likely that the picture was taken in the Fall and there seems to be a chill in the air.
The conditions must have been very difficult. There is no designated place to go to the bathroom. Hygiene must have been horrendous. Line ups for food must have been very long.
Despite these hardships, the men in this picture were comparatively lucky. For them the war was over, and if they survived cholera and other diseases prevalent in POW camps, they would soon be repatriated with their families.
Here is a close up of some of the men, unidentified persons amidst the masses of nameless and indistinct faces.
A 1917 German propaganda poster depicting Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg. Below is a quote from Hindenberg in which he assures the German people that the Rhine river will never be crossed by the enemy as long as the Army and the Navy work together. The title of the poster reads: On His 70th birthday.
In fact, the Rhine was not crossed by the Allies during World War 1 until after the German surrender. Despite its defeat, all fighting took place outside the national territory of Germany. However by the time of the German armistice Germany’s ability to carry on the war effort was at an end, and collapse was imminent. The Allies were preparing for a final, deep penetration into the heart of Germany and the German armed forces could offer little resistance. However the fact that Germany surrendered while its armies were still on French soil led to the myth, later exploited by Hitler, that Germany had been betrayed and could have fought on.
U.S. Soldiers in France
A group of mud spatterd but happy American soldiers enjoy a warm meal, somewhere on the Western Front.
Ambulances deliver wounded soldiers to a British Red Cross train which will then evacuate the casualties to a field hospital in the rear, away from the front. The large numbers of casualties drove both sides to develop better medical treatment for their soldiers and significant advances were made in the fields of trauma and reconstructive surgery. Improvements were also made in the way that wounded soldiers were evacuated from the front lines. However by today’s standards, where for example an American soldier wounded in Iraq could be medevaced by air to a trauma center in Germany within hours, the ambulance system of World War 1 was still very slow, which led to many men dying in transit before they could reach a hospital.