World War I : The Western Front
When we think of World War I, images of the bloody, muddy Western
Front are generally what come to mind. Scenes of frightened young men
standing in knee-deep mud, awaiting the call to go "over the top", facing
machine guns, barbed wire, mortars, bayonets, hand-to-hand battles,
The stalemate on the Western Front lasted for four years, forcing the
advancement of new technologies, bleeding the resources of the
belligerent nations, and destroying the surrounding countryside.
Looking out across a battlefield from an Anzac pill box near the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders in 1917. When German forces met stiff resistance in northern France in
1914, a "race to the sea" developed as France and Germany tried to outflank each other, establishing battle lines that stretched from Switzerland to the North Sea. Allies and
Central Powers literally dug in, excavating thousands of miles of defensive trenches, and trying desperately to break through the other side for years, at unspeakably huge cost in
blood and treasure. (James Francis Hurley/State Library of New South Wales)
French soldiers on horseback in street, with an airship "Dupuy De Lome" flying in air behind them, between ca. 1914.(Library of Congress)
A French pilot made an emergency landing in friendly territory after a failed attempt to attack a German Zeppelin hangar near Brussels, Belgium, in 1915. Soldiers are climbing up
the tree where the biplane has landed. (Nationaal Archief)
German officers in a discussion on the Western Front. (The man 2nd from right, in fur collar is possibly Kaiser Willhelm, the caption does not indicate). The German war plan
had been for a swift, decisive victory in France. Little planning had been done for a long-term, slow-moving slog of a battle. (AP Photo)
French soldiers in a bayonet charge, up a steep slope in the Argonne Forest in 1915. During the Second Battle of Champagne, 450,000 French soldiers advanced against a force
of 220,000 Germans, momentarily gaining a small amount of territory, but losing it back to the Germans within weeks. Combined casualties came to more than 215,000 from this
battle alone. (Agence de presse Meurisse)
A downed German twin-engined bomber being towed through a street by Allied soldiers, likely from Australia, in France.(National Library of Scotland)
Six German soldiers pose in a in trench with machine gun, a mere 40 meters from the British line, according to the caption provided. The machine gun appears to be a
Maschinengewehr 08, or MG 08, capable of firing 450-500 rounds a minute. The large cylinder is a jacket around the barrel, filled with water to cool the metal during rapid fire.
The soldier at right, with gas mask canister slung over his shoulder, is peering into a periscope to get a view of enemy activity. The soldier at rear, with steel helmet, holds a
"potato masher" model 24 grenade. (Library of Congress)
Harnessed dogs pull a British Army machine gun and ammo, 1914. These weapons could weigh as much as 150 pounds.(Bibliotheque nationale de France)
German captive balloon at Equancourt, France, on September 22, 1916. Observation balloons were used by both sides to gain an advantage of height across relatively flat
terrain. Observers were lifted in a small gondola suspended below the hydrogen-filled balloons. Hundreds were shot down during the course of the war. (CC BY SA Benjamin
French Reserves from the USA, some of the two million fighters in the Battle of the Marne, fought in September of 1914. The First Battle of the Marne was a decisive week-long
battle that halted the initial German advance into France, short of Paris, and led to the "race to the sea". (Underwood & Underwood)
Soldiers struggle to pull a huge piece of artillery through mud. The gun has been placed on a track created for a light railway. The soldiers are pushing a device, attached to the
gun, that possibly slots into the tracks. Some of the men are in a ditch that runs alongside the track, the rest are on the track itself. A makeshift caterpillar tread has been fitted to
the wheels of the gun, in an attempt to aid its movement through the mud. (National Library of Scotland)
Members of New Zealand's Maori Pioneer Battalion perform a haka for New Zealand's Prime Minister William Massey and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward in Bois-de
Warnimont, France, during World War I, on June 30, 1918.(Henry Armytage Sanders/National Library of New Zealand)
In France, a British machine-gun team. The gun, which appears to be a Vickers, is mounted on the front of a motorcycle side car.(National Library of Scotland)
A German prisoner, wounded and muddy, helped by a British soldier along a railway track. A man, possibly in French military uniform, is shown behind them, holding a camera
and tripod, ca. 1916. (National Library of Scotland)
Three dead German soldiers outside their pill box near Zonnebeke, Belgium. (National Library of Scotland)
German soldiers make observations from atop, beneath, and behind large haystacks in southwest Belgium, ca. 1915.(Library of Congress)
Mountains of shell cases on the roadside near the front lines, the contents of which had been fired into the German lines.(Tom Aitken/National Library of Scotland)
A French soldier smokes a cigarette, standing near the bodies of several soldiers, apparently Germans, near Souain, France, ca. 1915.(Bibliotheque nationale de France
Soldiers in trenches during write letters home. Life in the trenches was summed up by the phrase which later became well-known: "Months of boredom punctuated by
moments of extreme terror." (Netherlands Nationaal Archief)
At Cambrai, German soldiers load a captured British Mark I tank onto a railroad, in November of 1917. Tanks were first used in battle during World War I, in September of 1916,
when 49 British Mark I tanks were sent in during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.(Deutsches Bundesarchiv)
At a height of 150 meters above the fighting line, a French photographer was able to capture a photograph of French troops on the Somme Front, launching an attack on the
Germans, ca. 1916. The smoke may have been deployed intentionally, as a screening device to mask the advance. (NARA/U.S. War Dept.)
British soldiers on Vimy Ridge, 1917. British and Canadian forces pushed through German defenses at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April of 1917, advancing as far as six miles in
three days, retaking high ground and the town of Thelus, at the cost of nearly 4,000 dead.(Bibliotheque nationale de France)
An explosion near trenches dug into the grounds of Fort de la Pompelle, near Reims, France. (San Diego Air and Space Museum)
French soldiers wearing gas masks in a trench, 1917. gas mask technology varied widely during the war, eventually developing into an effective defense, limiting the value of gas
attacks in later years. (Bibliotheque nationale de France)
Gassed patients are treated at the 326th Field Hospital near Royaumeix, France, on August 8, 1918. The hospital was not large enough to accommodate the large number of
patients. (CC BY Otis Historical Archives)
British soldiers and Highlanders with German prisoners walk past war ruins and a dead horse, after the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, part of the Third Battle of Ypres in
September of 1917. The sign near the railroad tracks reads (possibly): "No Trains. Lorries for Walking Wounded at Chateau [Potijze?]". (Bibliotheque nationale de France)
Cleaning up German trenches at St. Pierre Divion. In the foreground a group of British soldiers are sorting through equipment abandoned in the trenches by the Germans when
St Pierre Divion was captured. One soldier has three rifles slung on his shoulder, another has two. Others are looking at machine gun ammunition. The probable photographer,
John Warwick Brooke, has achieved considerable depth of field as many other soldiers can be seen in the background far along the trenches. (National Library of Scotland)
Bringing Canadian wounded to the Field Dressing Station, Vimy Ridge in April of 1917. German prisoners assist in pushing the rail car.(CC BY 2.0 Wellcome Library, London)
On the British front, Christmas Dinner, 1916, in a shell hole beside a grave. (Bibliotheque nationale de France)
British MkIV "Bear" tank, abandoned after battle near Inverness Copse, on August 22 , 1917. (Brett Butterworth)
A mine tunnel is dug under the German lines on the Vosges front, on October 19, 1916. The sappers worked at a depth of about 17 meters, until they reached a spot below
enemy positions, when large explosives would be placed and later detonated, destroying anything above. (Der Weltkrieg im Bild/Upper Austrian Federal State Library)
Men wounded in the Ypres battle of September 20th, 1917. Walking along the Menin road, to be taken to the clearing station. German prisoners are seen assisting at stretcher
bearing. (Captain G. Wilkins/State Library of Victoria)
Soldier's comrades watch him as he sleeps, near Thievpal, France. Soldiers are standing in a very deep, narrow trench, the walls of which are entirely lined with sandbags. At the
far end of the trench a line of soldiers are squashed up looking over each others' shoulders at the sleeping man. (National Library of Scotland)
Germans put the finishing touches on a deadly barbed wire entanglement in No Man's Land, the area in-between opposing trenches. The Allies routinely targeted the barbed wire
with artillery shells prior to any advance by foot soldiers, but this was not always effective, leaving some sections intact, resulting in a high death toll of entangled men killed by
French soldiers make a gas and flame attack on German trenches in Flanders, Belgium, on January 1, 1917. Both sides used different gases as weapons during the war, both
asphyxiants and irritants, often to devastating effect. (National Archives)
Evolution of the combat gas mask from its ineffective beginnings to the familiar full face style (on right) which also came in versions for dogs and horses.
German Defensive Positions. A German machine-gun crew fires from a solid defensive position, taking advantage of the high ground and 25 yards of barbed wire along a river
bank. In choosing to go on the defensive all along the Western Front, the Germans selected ideal terrain, leaving the Allies at a constant disadvantage.
German Defensive Positions. A German trench dugout 15-feet below ground, supported by heavy log construction and sand bags. German trenches were generally much more
elaborate than British or French trenches. Allied commanders thought a lack of comfort would preserve the offensive spirit needed to win.
Non-Europeans in France. Troops from India after their arrival in France to join the British in the trenches of the Western Front. Over a million Indian soldiers served with the
British during the war in France, Belgium, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Kaiser Visits the Front. German infantry at the Front parade for Kaiser Wilhelm (seen on left). The Kaiser also liked informal encounters, often mingling with his troops amid their
affectionate shouts of "Hoch! Hoch!" meaning high or exalted, although this practice diminished as Germany's fortunes declined.
Kaiser Visits the Front. The Kaiser's eldest son and heir, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, at the wheel. In pre-war Europe, the international press had followed the young
Prince's every move, including various romances, world travels, personality traits etc. During the war his popularity among Germans was overshadowed by Hindenburg. The
military minded Prince had command of an army on the Western Front, but proved to be incompetent. Once he made up his mind, he was unwilling to heed contrary advice from
experienced generals. Thus he wasted the lives of some of Germany's best regiments, especially around Verdun. Regardless, he was repeatedly praised and decorated by his
father. One general, however, spoke up. When called on the carpet by the Kaiser to answer for a bungled maneuver and its excessive troop loses, the general reportedly told the
Kaiser, "It's not my fault. Your brat of a son insisted upon it." The general promptly saluted, then immediately exited the room and shot himself dead.
Trench Depression. Germans at Berry au Bac, north of Reims--participants in trench warfare with no end in sight. Many soldiers along the Western Front experienced "shell shock" a generic term
coined by the British for psychoneurotic disorders including depression, hysteria, severe anxiety, physical or mental paralysis, and other manifestations of emotional breakdown caused by years of
tension and stress. Such soldiers were removed from active duty while attempts were made to rehabilitate them through rest, psychotherapy, hypnosis and in some cases electro-shock therapy
A large scale British attack utilizing flame throwers or 'Liquid Fire' as it was known at the time. Flame throwers were introduced by the Germans in early 1915, then copied by the
French and British. Throughout the war both sides duplicated each other's ever-more-lethal battlefield technology.
Western Front, France. Black and white photograph of injured soldiers.
Western Front, France. Black and white photograph of two British soldiers in a landscape. A posed photograph of one soldier in an ammunition box filled with water asking the
other to scrub his back.
Western Front, France. Black and white photograph of British and german soldiers in a trench. The captured German soldiers are being searched by British troops, although
they have retained their ration tins and even a pipe, they have clearly been disarmed.
World War I : The Soldiers and Civilians
When looking through thousands of images of World War I, some of the
more striking photos are not of technological wonders or battle-scarred
landscapes, but of the human beings caught up in the chaos. The
soldiers were men, young and old, and the opportunity to look into their
faces and see the emotion, their humanity, instead of a uniform or
nationality, is a gift - a real window into the world a century ago. While
soldiers bore the brunt of the war, civilians were involved on a massive
scale as well. From the millions of refugees forced from their homes, to
the volunteer ambulance drivers, cooks, and nurses, to the civilian
support groups used by all major armies, ordinary people found
themselves at war.
French soldiers stand in a relaxed group wearing medals. The medals appear to be the Military Medal, established on 25th March, 1916, for acts of bravery. They have probably
been awarded for their part in the Battle of the Somme. The French helmets, with their very distinct crests, can be seen clearly. (National Library of Scotland)
Three unidentified New Zealand servicemen riding camels during World War I, the Sphinx and a pyramid in the background.(James McAllister/National Library of New Zealand)
A French officer has tea with English military personnel during World War I. (Library of Congress)
July 28, 1914 The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Serbia. July 29, 1914 Britain calls for international mediation to resolve the worsening crisis. Russia urges German
restraint, but the Russians begin partial troop mobilization as a precaution. The Germans then warn Russia on its mobilization and begin to mobilize themselves. August 1, 1914 -
Germany declares war on Russia. Photo: Germans Cheer Declaration. Hats are raised in Berlin upon the announcement of Germany's declaration of war.
Western front, a group of captured Allied soldiers representing 8 nationalities: Anamite (Vietnamese), Tunisian, Senegalese, Sudanese, Russian, American, Portugese, and
English. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)
German prisoners assist in bringing in Australian wounded. (National Media Museum/Australian War Records Section)
U.S. Signal Corps telephone operators in Advance Sector, 3 km from the trenches in France. The women were part of the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit and
were also known as Hello Girls. Women have helmets and gas masks in bags on back of chairs. (National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, USA)
British soldier poses in mouth of a captured 38 caliber gun during World War I. (AP Photo)
Recruits line up at a New York army camp shortly after President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, in April of 1917.(AP Photo)
Russian Czar Nicholas II at the Front along with the six-foot-six tall Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Grand Duke Nicholas (standing in car) and Count Dobrinsky. Although
the Czar had no military aptitude, he relieved the Grand Duke in September 1915 and took personal command of the world's largest army, with 16 million men mobilized--an
army sprawled across the gigantic Eastern Front. The Czar's preoccupation with military matters and his extended absence from the home front led to a worsening of Russia's
internal political situation, weakening his power and helping to pave the way for revolution.
Occupied France. An encounter between French civilians and a German guard in occupied France. Ten percent of eastern France remained in the possession of the German
Army for the war's duration. During the occupation, many thousands of civilians, including teenage girls and boys, were taken away for forced labor. Everything of value, including
the contents of shops and factories, household goods and personal possessions, and even church bells, was confiscated and removed to Germany. Local foodstuffs and livestock
were seized and fed to the occupying army, causing civilian malnutrition.
Souvenir King His name was John (Barney) Hines and he was an Australian soldier. Picture probably made after the Battle of Polygon Wood, near Ypres, Flanders, 1917. Many
soldiers took souvenirs from the battlefields or, sometimes, stole them directly from captured or dead enemies. Private Barney Hines was known as the Souvenir King due to his
escapades of robbing the German dead. Apparently the Kaiser heard of him and branded him a "barbarian... typical of Australian Troops on the Western Front". (Frank
Hurley/National Media Museum)
Germans off to the East. German troops en route to East Prussia to fend off the invasion of Germany from the east by the Russian Army--an invasion launched although the
Russians were not sufficiently mobilized. The Russians had responded to urgent appeals from France for action in the east to divert German resources from the Western Front.
This bought time for the French and British, allowing them to better organize their own troops, and hurt the Germans by cutting down on the number of troops invading France.
A member of the British First Aid Nursing Yeomanry oiling her car near the Western Front. (National Library of Scotland)
Suffering of Armenians. An Armenian woman kneels beside a dead child lying in a field in Syria. The Armenians had been forcibly uprooted from their homes and marched south
toward the Syrian Desert by the Turks.
Dressed in a rather exotic uniform of army boots, army caps and fur coats, this image shows five female members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry standing in front of some
Red Cross ambulances. As the first female recruits of this organization came from the ranks of the upper classes, perhaps the fur coats should not be too surprising. The women
would have worked as drivers, nurses and cooks. Established by Lord Kitchener in 1907, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) was initially an auxiliary unit of women nurses
on horseback, who linked the military field hospitals with the frontline troops. Serving in dangerous forward areas, by the end of the conflict First Aid Nursing Yeomanry members
had been awarded 17 Military Medals, 1 Legion d'Honneur and 27 Croix de Guerre. A memorial to those women who lost their lives while working for the organization, can be
found at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, London.(National Library of Scotland)
Labour Corps members, the caption identifies these seven men as 'native police'. They are probably black South Africans who had contracted to work in the South African Native
Labour Contingent (SANLC). In general the native police and NCOs were recruited from tribal chiefs or high-status native families. Some 20,000 South Africans worked in the
SANLC during the war. They were not meant to be in combat zones, but there were inevitable deaths when the docks or transport lines on which they worked were bombed. The
greatest tragedy was the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on February 21, 1917, when 617 members of the SANLC were drowned in the English Channel. (National Library of
Some Canadian wounded being taken to the dressing station on a light railway from the firing line. (Nationaal Archief)
German troops in Finland during the Finnish Civil War, part of a series of conflicts spurred on by World War I. Red troops, both men and women, ready for deportation from Hango,
in April of 1918. Two main groups, "Reds" and "Whites" were battling for control of Finland, with the Whites gaining the upper hand in April of 1918, helped by thousands of
German soldiers.(National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)
The Kaiser's Birthday. German officers during the Kaiser's birthday celebrations in Rauscedo, Italy, on January 27, 1918.(CC BY SA Carola Eugster)
British ambulance drivers stand atop a pile of rubble. (Library of Congress)
German prisoners, during World War I. Portraits of a German prisoners taken by an official British photographer, to be shown to folks back home. (National Library of Scotland)
Villagers interested in the arrival of British troops. (National Library of Scotland)
Between Laon and Soissons, German railway troops wash their clothes beside 50 cm shells, on July 19, 1918.(National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)
Watched by a group of locals, German prisoners of war walk down a street in the French town of Solesmes, on November 1, 1918, near the end of World War I. (Henry Armytage
Sanders/National Library of New Zealand)
August 1, 1914 Germany declares war on Russia. France and Belgium begin full mobilization. August 3, 1914 Germany invades neutral Belgium. Britain then sends an
ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium. Photo: Belgian Mobilization. Enthusiastic Belgians off to the front to face the world's most potent fighting force--
the German Army.
French patrol in occupied Essen, Germany. (Library of Congress)
The Famous 369th Arrive in New York City ca. 1919. Members of the 369th [African American] Infantry, formerly 15th New York Regulars.(U.S. National Archives)
German machine-gun nest and dead gunner at Villers Devy Dun Sassey, France, on November 4, 1918 -- one week before the end of the war. (NARA/Lt. M. S. Lentz/U.S. Army)
French Mobilization. The official order was given at 4 pm on Saturday, August 1st, beginning the initial call-up of a million men for the French Army. Photo: Near the Front,
enthusiastic French troops exit their trains prior to marching off to thwart the German invaders.
Friendly and helpful. German army dentist operating on a Belgian country woman. Picture made in occupied Belgium, spring 1915. Ain't I a lovable fellow? Hilfstätigkeit der
'Barbaren' in Flanders (Helpful 'Barbarians'n Flanders) is the original capiton that goes with this German propaganda picture.
After the killing of Belgian civilians in the first months of the war, the world branded German soldiers as savages.That's why the dentist picture and others like it had to convince
the German public that their uniformed fathers and sons who were occupying neighbouring countries were not barbarians. As far as we know the German picture was never
published outside Germany. Foreign editors didn't buy it.
Ambulance British soldiers pushing an ambulance car through the mud. Picture made on the Western Front, somewhere in Flanders. The mud was a terrible enemy. When it
began to rain it became almost impossible to move heavy guns or cars. Ambulance was not the name for the car, but for the whole medical unit. In British armies an Ambulance
was composed of 10 officers and 224 men: stretcher bearers, wagon orderlies, drivers, cooks, etc. Such a unit usually had five to ten ambulance motor wagons.
British troops in a frontline trench- waiting for whatever will happen next. The distance between opposing trenches varied greatly along the Front from as little as 60 feet to as
much as a mile. Both sides routinely conducted trench raids, usually done in the middle of the night by small units. The objective was to silently scurry across No Man's Land, cut
through the barbed wire, dash into the enemy trench, engage in lethal hand-to-hand fighting with fists, clubs and knives, then quickly exit the trench with any prisoners before
enemy reinforcements or artillery could reposition to fend off the attack. The sporting atmosphere surrounding such raids, particularly among the British, helped to overcome
battlefield boredom during lulls and provided useful intelligence from interrogated prisoners.
November 6-7, 1917 - In Russia,
Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon
Trotsky overthrow the Provisional
Government in what comes to be known as
the October Revolution. Lenin announces
that Soviet Russia will immediately end its
involvement in the war and renounces all
existing treaties with the Allies.
December 15, 1917 Soviet Russia signs an
armistice with Germany. With Russia's
departure from the Eastern Front, forty-four
German divisions become available to be
redeployed to the Western Front in time for
Ludendorff's Spring Offensive.
Photo: Nicholas Romanov, who once sat
upon the throne as absolute ruler of Russia,
now seated on a tree stump following his
abdication, subsequent arrest and
imprisonment in the Urals by Bolshevik Red
Guards, three of whom are seen in the
Rats from the trenches. The trench soldier of World War I had to cope with millions of rats. The omnipresent rats were attracted by the human waste of war – not simply sewage
waste but also the bodies of men long forgotten who had been buried in the trenches and often reappeared after heavy rain or shelling. Some rat grew to the size of cats. It was
not uncommon for rats to start gnawing on the bodies of wounded men who couldn’t defend themselves. Many troops were awakened by rats crawling across their faces. Trench
conditions were ideal for rats. Empty food cans were piled in their thousands throughout No Man’s Land, heaved over the top on a daily basis.
Some of these rats grew extremely large. They were so big they would eat a wounded man if he couldn’t defend himself.” These rats became very bold and would attempt to take
food from the pockets of sleeping men. Two or three rats would always be found on a dead body. They usually went for the eyes first and then they burrowed their way right into
Rats from trenches. Soldiers fought back as best they could with bayonets and rifles. Rats were shot, stabbed and clubbed to death. But efforts to eliminate them proved futile. A
single rat couple could produce up to 900 offsprings a year. Cats and terriers were kept by soldiers in the frontline trenches to help free them of disease-carrying rats. The terriers
were actually very effective in killing rats.
There is difference between a cat and a terrier when it comes to rodent control. When it comes to cats, even the best mousers only go after one at a time, and they often pause
to eat. Generally it can take them days/weeks to deal with an infestation because of this. If there is rats, you may need multiple cats, because the rats may gang up on the cat.
With a good terrier, they will take care of your rat issues in a matter of hours. They don’t stop to eat. They kill, then move on immediately to the next creature. They don’t play with
their prey like cats do. They kill immediately. One terrier will also be much harder for rats to overwhelm as well. They are bigger and stronger than a cat, and their jaws are much
bigger. That’s what they were bred, to kill rats.
Rats from trenches. Rats were sometimes helpful too. Many soldiers reported how rats sensed an oncoming attack from the enemy. They noticed that rats always ran away when
this was about to happen. Therefore, rats would sometimes warn and prepare the soldiers of enemy advances.
World War I : Animals at War
Animals were used in World War I on a scale never before
seen -- and never again repeated. Horses by the millions
were put in service as cavalry mounts and beasts of
burden, but they were not the only animals active in the
war. Mules, dogs, camels, and pigeons all played vital
roles, as well as many others -- all at great risk, and with
Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. The Boston Bull Terrier started out as the mascot
of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division, and ended up becoming a full-fledged combat dog. Brought up to the front lines, he was injured in a gas attack early on, which gave
him a sensitivity to gas that later allowed him to warn his soldiers of incoming gas attacks by running and barking. He helped find wounded soldiers, even captured a German spy
who was trying to map allied trenches. Stubby was the first dog ever given rank in the United States Armed Forces, and was highly decorated for his participation in seventeen
engagements, and being wounded twice. (Wikimedia Commons)
A single soldier on his horse, during a cavalry patrol in World War I. At the start of the war every major army had a substantial cavalry, and they performed well at first. However,
the development of barbed wire, machine guns and trench warfare soon made attacks from horseback far more costly and ineffective on the Western Front. Cavalry units did
prove useful throughout the war in other theatres though, including the Eastern Front, and the Middle East. (National Library of Scotland)
Gas attack on the West Front, near St. Quentin 1918 -- a German messenger dog loosed by his handler. Dogs were used throughout the war as sentries, scouts, rescuers,
messengers, and more. (Brett Butterworth)
Bandages retrieved from the kit of a British Dog, ca. 1915. (Library of Congress)
A pigeon with a small camera attached. The trained birds were used experimentally by German citizen Julius Neubronner, before and during the war years, capturing aerial
images when a timer mechanism clicked the shutter. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)
Red Crescent Hospital at Hafir Aujah, 1916. (Library of Congress)
A corporal, probably on the staff of the 2nd Australian general hospital, holds a koala, a pet or mascot in Cairo, in 1915. (Australian War Memorial)
A messenger dog with a spool attached to a harness for laying out new electric line in September of 1917.(National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI)
"These homing pigeons are doing much to save the lives of our boys in France. They act as efficient messengers and dispatch bearers not only from division to division and from
the trenches to the rear but also are used by our aviators to report back the results of their observation."(WWI Signal Corps Photograph Collection)
A soldier and his horse in gas masks, ca. 1918. (Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library)
A dog-handler reads a message brought by a messenger dog, who had just swum across a canal in France, during World War I. (National Library of Scotland)
War animals carrying war animals -- at a carrier pigeon communication school at Namur, Belgium, a dispatch dog fitted with a pigeon basket for transporting carrier pigeons to the
front line.(National Archives/Official German Photograph)
The feline mascot of the light cruiser HMAS Encounter, peering from the muzzle of a 6-inch gun.(Australian War Memorial)