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.
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.
Photo of a British gun crew struggling to get their artillery piece out of the mud during the Battle of the Somme, 1914. Notice the man on the far right busy doing nothing while the rest of the men push and pull the artillery.