Saturday, April 27, 2019

35 Incredible Colorized Photos Reveal What Life Was Like for French Soldiers During World War I

From August 1914 to early 1917, the French Army shouldered much of the the fighting on the 
Western Front – and with astonishing endurance. In one two-week period – August 16-31, 
1914 – they suffered 210,993 casualties. By comparison, British casualties numbered 
164,709 in the opening month – July 1916 – of the Somme offensive.

The French Army also adapted very well to the difficulties that trench warfare presented. 
They perfected the art of artillery “barrage” fire and they pioneered new & fresh 
platoon-level infantry tactics, focused on automatic weapons and rifle grenades. While the 
first day of the Somme – July 1, 1916 – was a disaster for the British, the French took 
all of their objectives.

In early 1917, 68 French divisions suffered mutinies. But the soldiers taking part in what 
were effectively military strikes neither refused to defend their trenches nor abandoned 
France’s war aims. The army itself would rally magnificently from this near collapse and 
would play a critical role in the coming Allied victory of 1918. From July to November 
1918, French troops would capture 139,000 German prisoners. During the same period, the 
American Expeditionary Force would capture 44,142 Germans.

Fort Vaux, November 22 , 1916

French and British soldiers standing around a German A7V tank captured at Villers-Brettoneux, May 1918

 French cantonment with canteen near Verdun, March 1917

Chasseurs posing with guns

French lines on the right bank, Lorraine, 1918

French prisoners guarded by a Uhlan, Verdun, March 1917

French soldier in the 291st Infantry Regiment

French soldiers at the village of Souilly

Soldiers leaving the village to join Verdun, Nubécourt, August 23, 1916

French stretcher bearers loading a wounded soldier into an American ambulance, Westouter, West Flanders, May 1918

French Zouaves marching in 1914

Horse corpse on the Bouvancourt road, near Jonchery sur Vesle, April 22, 1917

Near Rethondes, November 10, 1918

Portrait of a French soldier taken in a studio in Mailly, 1915

Senegalese French troops getting acquainted with their new gask masks

Soldier trying a German mask found on the ground, Wood of the Caillette, 1916

Soldiers in Saint Folquin, September 3, 1917

Two men playing chess, Verdun, May 30, 1917

Soldiers posing for the camera in their Turco uniforms

Some French and American officers who took part in the reconquest of cantigny before a tank Schneider French, May 1918.

The 'Kolossal' German prisoner was captured in the eastern trenches, 8 January 1916 

 The soup in the lines of the 204th Infantry Regiment, Bois des Buttes, September 17, 1917

These men return from fighting the Battle of the Argonne, July 17, 1915

Troops returning from Fort de Vaux, around Nixéville (department of Meuse, France ), April 8, 1916

A French soldier killed while he was eating, October 27, 1915

After the fighting, soldiers surrounded the bodies of their comrades, Region of Verdun, 1916

Canadian officers interested in a large French gun mounted on railroad, October 1917

Chilly in the Somme, the 28th regiment soldiers in a trench

Cooperative canteen of Portes de Fer, October-November 1916

The village of Souilly, 1916

A French cavalryman of 1st Cavalery Division (6e Dragons), writes a letter to his family on 20 June 1915.

Castle of Lamotte. Underground; dressing room of the former rescue station of the 234th German Reserve Regiment.

On the right a soldier of the 128th Infantry Regimen teating at the station canteen in 1915. On the left certainly an Artilleryman of the 18th.

Farmhouse Champaubert. East of Bixschoote, Belgium. 1917

The 53rd Infantery Regiment relieved of lines, goes to rest, Somme, 10 April 1918

Photos by Frederic Duriez via Flickr

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

D-Day in Color: Stunning Colorized Photos of Allied Troops Landing on the Beaches of Normandy in June, 1944

Nearly 156,000 Allied troops landed on five Normandy beaches during the Operation Neptune 
on June 6, 1944, which would ultimately begin to the march to defeat for Nazi Germany and 
ultimately end the Second World War. It was to be largest seaborne invasion in history 
which saw over 4,400 Allied troops lose their lives.

Striking Photos showing men storming French beaches under menacingly dark skies for the 
invasion, glider pilots on landing craft, and British Airborne Pathfinders at Harwell 
checking their watches on the night of June 5, 1944, hours before the battle commenced.
The original black and white photographs were meticulously colorized by Royston Leonard, 
with each photograph requiring between four and five hours work to finish.

Of his work Leonard states that “As time goes by I find I am doing more World War Two 
pictures and giving them a bit of colour helps the younger generation to connect and not 
just see them as something that happened long ago. In the images I see a world that has 
gone mad and men and women pulled from their lives to sort out the mess. World War Two 
shows people at their best and at their worst. We must look and learn and not let it 
happen again.”

The astonishing scale of the invasion can be seen in this image taken of the American forces arriving on Utah Beach.

U.S. troops from the USS Joseph T. Dickman wait to disembark from their landing craft as they approach Utah Beach on June 6 1944.

A craft from the USS Samuel Chase lands troops of the US Army First Division on Omaha Beach.

Glider pilots take the opportunity for a quick cigarette as they are crowded onto a landing craft.

Royal Marines descend from landing craft with their heavy backpacks, weapons and equipment on Juno beach.

American troops arrive on a Normandy beach in a lengthy procession from their landing crafts.

British troops show their true grit as they help injured comrades onto Sword Beach.

US Army Fourth Infantry Division troops take a breather after making their way onto Utah Red Beach.

British Airborne Pathfinders check their watches on the night before the invasion.

Reinforcements arrive by sea to bolster U.S. troop numbers on the Normandy front.

The USS LST-21, manned by the U.S. coastguard unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a Rhino barge in the opening hours of their invasion of Gold Beach.

Troops load U.S. LSTs with artillery equipment, vehicles and troops in Brixham, England before they head for Normandy.

Nazi General Erwin Rommel inspects defences ahead of D-Day. On the actual day of the invasion he was away from the front celebrating his wife's birthday.

German troops camouflage a Panzer VI Tiger tank with undergrowth in the Normandy village of Villers-Bocage.

Members of the 22nd Independent Parachute Company, 6th Airborne Division attend a briefing ahead of the D-Day invasion.

Troops establish a radio communications post after landing.

(Images: Royston Leonard /