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history meme: one war the great war

World War One began on July 28, 1914, exactly one month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne. As Austria-Hungary, determined to respond to the assassination, moved into Serbia (which Russia immediately mobilized to defend), Germany invaded Belgium before moving towards France, causing Great Britain to declare war on Germany and its allies. In less than a week, all of the world’s superpowers, with the exception of the United States, was at war.

The Central Powers were comprised of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. The Allied Powers consisted of the rest of the majority of Europe, leade by Great Britian, France, Russia, and, eventually, the United States of America. The U.S. joined the war in 1917, after intercepting the Zimmerman telegram. The telegram was a request from Germany to Mexico asking the Mexican government to declare war on the United States.

The Great War ended on November 11, 1918. Over 9 million soldiers and an estimated 7 million civlians lost their lives in the war. Considered the first “modern” war, it is thought to be one of the bloodiest wars in history.

packconfig:

1916 private soldier, Battle of the Somme

A photographer, Thom Atkinson, has documented 13 military kits in a series called ‘Soldiers Inventories’. I’ve picked a few to share with you guys over a couple of posts so they can be enjoyed individually, in all their glory. It will also show which are the most popular kits. 

By its very nature, war requires a soldier to be prepared for every possible eventuality. The sheer amount of gear that is demanded by this level of preparedness means good pack configuration is a necessity. It is really interesting to see how a soldiers carry has developed over time, so I encourage you all to check out the full set here

Thanks to thenewartemis for their post that reminded me about seeing this in their post here. Below is a breakdown of what is featured above:

  1. Hob nail boots
  2. Puttees (for binding trousers around lower legs)
  3. Socks
  4. Shirt and vest
  5. Gas mask container
  6. Gas mask
  7. Non Commissioned ranks hat
  8. Notebook and service warrant card
  9. Battledress tunic – note stripes on sleeve denote rank
  10. Mess tins
  11. Tin opener and can of food, appears to be tinned stewed apple
  12. Oxo cubes
  13. Bar of chocolate
  14. Bar of soap
  15. Water flask
  16. Belt
  17. Leather belt with leather pouches for kit
  18. Haversack
  19. Longjohn under garments, battledress trousers and braces
  20. Boot polish and two brushes
  21. Blankets
  22. Dog tags – imprinted with name, rank and service number
  23. Trench club – for breaking heavy ground for trenching into and for fighting the enemy at close quarters
  24. Entrenching tool handle; often the handle was customised with lumps of metal and made into a trench club
  25. Leather pouch for entrenching tool
  26. Field dressing
  27. Cigarettes and matches
  28. Mess kit containing knife, fork spoon, shaving brush, soap and brass button polisher (slid underneath battledress button to protect BD from polish)
  29. Polish
  30. Razor
  31. Gun oil
  32. Cloth for pull-through for cleaning barrels internally
  33. Bullet
  34. Ammunition belt, containing clips of bullets
  35. Penknife and pull through cord
  36. Entrenching tool spade; sometimes soldiers sharpened the edges of the spade and used these to fight
  37. Lee Enfield 303 bolt action rifle. It was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century as an attempt to create a standard rifle for both the infantry and soldiers on horseback. As it turned out it was ideally suited to conditions in the trenches – it wasn’t good at firing over long distances, but was really robust and could stand up to the mud. It was still used right up into the 1950s.
  38. Bayonet – to be attached to fore end of rifle
  39. Helmet – with cover
  40. Fob watch, personal effects. Officers tended to have pocket watches more so than infantry soldiers
  41. Coins – possibly local francs or similar, personal effects
  42. Scabbard for bayonet, worn on leather belt around waist over hip
  43. 5 round ammunition clips – ready to load magazine of 303 rifle

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