Category Archives: World War 1

Voting Day at the Front

soldiers voting on the Western Front

N.C.O.s and Men of Canadian Cavalry Brigade waiting to vote. December, 1917.

 

Exactly 100 years ago, in December 1917, Canadian soldiers at the front exercised their right to vote. The fact that Canada was able to keep its democratic ideals and institutions alive even under these conditions is commendable. I suspect that no one has been happier to vote than these men as it afforded them a temporary vacation from the font line, as they were allowed to leave the trenches to go vote.

Ottoman Machine Gun Unit

Ottoman Machine Gunners in Gaza

Ottoman Machine Gunners in Gaza, 1917

 

Ottoman troops take up positions against the advancing British and their Arab allies in Gaza, 1917. Despite insurmountable short comings in logistics, supply and weaponry, the Ottoman Empire put up a good fight against the allied powers, even scoring some impressive victories.

Pictured below is a closeup of the machine gun crew. Note the heavy belt fed machine gun, which would have been extremely difficult to transport especially in the heat and terrain of the Middle East.

machine gun

Close up pf the machine gun

The Ottomans were able to hold the front in Sinai and Palestine until near the end of the war, when their resistance collapsed and the British entered Jerusalem.

Ottoman Troops on the Caucasus Front

Ottoman Gun Crew

Ottoman Gun Crew

This photograph (taken circa 1914) shows an Ottoman gun crew loading a cannon, somewhere on the Caucasus front with Russia. The artillery piece is fairly small, probably a mountain gun, designed for transport over rough terrain.

The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Germany and Austria and soon learned that it was a colossally stupid decision. Despite lacking lacking heavy industry and being without a modern transportation network, and ruling over a number of rebellious and discontented ethnic groups, the dying Ottoman Empire voluntarily went to war with all of the Super Powers of the day and was fighting on multiple fronts, a task which would have sapped the strength of even a major power.

Ottoman troops were fighting in Egypt (later pushed back into Palestine), in Gallipoli, against Romania and Greece, against Britain in Iraq, and against the Russian Empire in the Caucasus. Despite the heavy odds against it, the Ottomans actually took the offensive in many areas, including the Caucasus region. However even the otherwise hapless Imperial Russian Army was able to push back the Ottomans and to hold them at bay even until the Russian collapse following the Communist Revolution.

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