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





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