Armies of World War One

The Armies of World War One.

German troops in a maneuver

German troops in a maneuver before the outbreak of the first World War.

However nowadays World War One is usually considered because of its mindless massacre of young men, sent out to die in their 1000’s by silly­-looking ancient leaders with walrus moustaches, it turned out indeed a lot more interesting and also important than just that. It dramatically changed the entire idea of warfare, in which not just the military, however the entire nation­ – its technology, research, as well as spirits – had been put to the supreme test. Neither did World War One truly close with the last shot, because in its aftermath it delivered social and political turbulence on a really remarkable size, that in several ways we are even now awareness its consequences presently.

From the political perspective it had been the tiny feuding Balkan nations which started world war one with the most discover and the lowest dreams. The great European powers, happy by amazing parades and impressive summer manoeuvres, joined war with a demonstrate of excitement which has in no way been duplicated since. They were certain that their wonderfully uniformed and amazingly drilled soldiers would bring the war to a quick final result prior to Christmas. However, apart from a bizarre colonial skirmish in opposition to primitively armed natives, Europe’s military had not much modern knowledge in actual warfare.

These bush conflicts nevertheless resulted a single simple and easy experience which was, that brilliantly shaded and tight-fitting clothing weren’t ideal to modern battle. Many British officers had been informed to visit their outfitter prior to leaving for the colonies. There they could provide themselves with robust and suitable dress in muted colours, which had been created for shooting and stalking game.

As soon as in the colonies the better innovative officers – freed from the limitations and hide-bound conservatism of their less ambitious fel­lows – ‘went native’. They used the appearance of clothing, equipment, as well as arms of their opponents, and so khaki (a Persian word meaning earth) clothes had been created, initial in the colonies, and later for wear in Europe. By the outbreak of conflict the majority of nations – with 3 significant exceptions – had protective shaded clothes, be it the German field-grey or tobacco brown of Bulgaria.

The noteworthy exclusions had been Austria-Hungary, Belgium and France. In contrast to Belgium and France who really should have known considerably better, Austria wasn’t a colonial empire in the universal sense. In 1909 Austria created a pike-grey uniform which was so practical and uncomplicated, consequently up-to-date in its shape, that even now its impact can still be realised. Nevertheless parsimony and conservatism con­tinued to assert their effect. In 1864 Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph‘s brother Maximilian was created Emperor of Mexico. He promptly reorganised the army, and requested a huge amount of madder uniform textile from his homeland. Just before it could be delivered he was removed and the cloth wasn’t longer needed. Following a variety of ideas, the decision was taken to utilise the material by providing the Austrian cavalry madder trousers. It isn’t documented how the plan had been initially received, however when it was suggested that they should be replaced by grey trousers, the Emperor was petitioned, and as a wonderful privilege, the cavalry were permitted to preserve their red trousers until 1915.

France, despite her colonial practice, and various efforts to modernise her uniforms, joined war in 1914 in red and blue. Contrary to public opinion trousers were neither typically French, nor the brainchild of a sartorially inspired monarch. The choice to intro­duce them had been solely business. France had created a fast red dye and wished to break England’s monopoly in this product. What better method to promote this new knowledge rather than outfit the military in red trousers.

Furthermore the first occasion a nation’s industrial potential was to play a crucial part in a war. The capacity to produce, besides weapons, however all the other items of warfare from bandages to uniforms, resulted in just the well established industrial nations could keep up a war for any time period. Nations like Germany, France, and The United Kingdom had to supply not only their own demands, however those of their allies as well. France possibly had taken on a larger duty compared to any other nation, and stamped out the Adrian steel helmet by the million. France entirely re-equipped the Serbian Army in 1915, and produced uniforms for Rumania well into the mid-1920’s. Britain’s power to weave seemingly endless bales of cloth, allowed the Portuguese to switch their grey uniforms with products produced in Britain, as well as the Bel­gians – however, not all that keen on khaki – acquired it as a colour for their new uniforms in 1915 for the reason that Great britain alone could provide the huge amount of cloth needed.
Tremendous raises in the accuracy and rapidity of fire throughout the second half of the 19th century not just created the bloody stalemate that epitomised World War One, but practiced an awesome influ­ence on a pair of essential elements of a soldier’s look.

Rapidity of fire resulted in he held far more ammo, therefore, the outdated shoulder-belt equipment had been exchanged by one depending on the waist belt, from which one, two, or perhaps three ammunition bags could be hanging, in addition to the rest of the equipment that a soldier needed to have.
Accuracy of both artillery and small arms, as well as the character of the warfare in which usually the head was exposed, created an extraordinary quantity of head injuries. The French heavy cavalryman with his metal helmet was to be envied, while his less lucky comrades in the infantry discovered the small round steel skull-cap which they had been expected to use underneath the kepi, helpful for every purpose apart from the one for which it was designed. A French Intendance Department officer, August-Louis Adrian created and had manufactured a steel helmet which was the first of the various that were to follow.

In April 1915 throughout the Battle of Ypres, the Germans used successfully toxic chlorine gas for the first time, and so started chemical warfare. However failing as an offensive weapon, it forced the Allies to redirect huge amounts of money and time into creating and sup­plying gas masks along with other decontamination products, that could have been more usefully employed somewhere else. The initial gas mask wasn’t any more than a nose-clip and cotton wool mouth pad which had been wet with sodium carbonate, sodium thiosulphate and water, however by the end of World War One, when The united kingdom on its own had produced 50 million gas masks, they had grown to be quite a sophisticated apparatus.

Paradoxically however the American Civil War may set some claim to the headline, this first completely technological conflict was also to see the rebirth of medieval ways of warfare. Following the first days of movement, each side dug in a short-range away from each other, and for the following 4 years fought a harsh trench warfare in which they catapulted, threw, and fired an entire selection of missiles at each other. After that carrying several types of protective clothing and in some cases body armour, they attacked and slain each other even with maces, daggers and clubs..

Flying also arrived to its own during World War One, and even the cynics who initially looked at aviators in exactly the same way as motorists­ – show-offs – stumbled on recognise that one more important weapon was in the creating.
Considering that the finest mechanics were to be located in the engineers, it absolutely was reasonable that military aviation started as a department of that service. In 1910 the French created their air ship and aviation services straight into an autonomous corps, and the British adopted it in 1912. But not anywhere during World War One was there created an entirely independent air arm, until Britain amalgamated her naval and army flying corps into the Royal Air Force in April 1918.

The majority of military used semi-official volunteer corps who were primarily associated with motor transport (Austria-Hungary and Italy) and the medical services (Red Cross, etc.). In most cases these organ­isations had been uniformed and applied their particular system of rank badges, while the Royal and Imperial Austro-Hungarian Volunteer Auto­mobile Corps, dressed in army rank badges on the collar, and corps rank badges on the cuffs.

Battle Results

Results and statistics about 15 battles of World War One. Beginning with the Battles of the Frontiers from August 14-23, 1914 and ending with the Meuse-Argonnes campaign from September 26-November 11, 1918. The following tables provide highly aggregated approximate figures… learn more

Belgian Army 1914-18

Uniforms, strength, organization of the Army of Belgium from 1914 to 1918 in World War One. The Belgian Army in 1914, its changing uniforms until 1918 and casualties. Belgian Army in 1914 Standing in the route of the main German… learn more

German Fighting Power

German fighting power in World War One. During World War One the German armed forces were mobilizing a total of 11 million men and suffered almost exactly 6 million casualties. The allies offered only against Germany about 28 million men,… learn more

Bulgarian Army

The Bulgarian Army in World War One from 14 October 1915 to 30 September 1918. Uniforms, strength, armies, divisions, organization and casualties. Bulgaria gained freedom from Turk control on 13 July 1878. By July 1914 the Kingdom of Bulgaria, ruled… learn more

Italian Army

The Italian Army in World War One. Uniforms, strength, units and corps, organization and casualties from 23 May 1915 to 3 November 1918. Similarly to various major powers, Italy announced conscription within the 1870s, establishing the time of obligatory army… learn more

Russian Army

The Russian Army of the Tsar in World War One from August 1, 1914 to December 15, 1917. Uniforms, organization, leaders, organization and casualties. For Russia, whose population numbered 167,000,000, manpower seemed the least of her problems. Bad roads, scant… learn more

Serbian Army

The Serbian Army in World War One from 1914 to 1918. Uniforms, organization, leaders, strength, casualties and the army of Montenegro. Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914. Although Russia went to war to rescue Serbia, the Serbian… learn more

Austro-Hungarian Army

The Austro-Hungarian Army in the Great War from 1914 to 1918. Uniforms, strength, organization, military leaders, losses. Austria-Hungary had been worsted by the French in 1859, and in 1866 trounced by Prussia. Since then the army had been reformed on… learn more

British Army 1914-18

The British Army in World War One 1914-1918 – uniforms, strength, organization. In 1908 Haldane had reorganized the British army, forming the units at home into an Expeditionary Force, six infantry and one cavalry division totaling some 160,000 men, capable… learn more

French Army 1914-18

The French Army in World War One 1914-1918 – uniforms, strength, organization, divisions, tactics, casualties and leaders. French Army The populations of France and the North German Confederation had in 1870 been approximately equal, but by 1914, while the population… learn more

Greek Army in World War One

Uniforms Greek Army World War One

The Army of Greece and its uniforms in World War One. In February 1821, the Greeks’ decisive revolt against the Ottoman Empire began and on 3 February 1830 they gained independence. In July 1914 Greece under King Constantine I had… learn more

U.S. Army World War One

group of American soldiers on their arrival in France

U.S. Army and uniforms in World War One. The actual entry of the United States into World War One in April 1917 was indeed of less strategic importance than the jubilant masses in Great Britain and France had imagined. Neither… learn more

Turkish Army World War One

The Ottoman Army in World War One – uniforms, strength, organization. At the start of November 1914 Ottoman Empire joined World War One versus the Allies. The ramshackle Ottoman empire ended up eroding for 50 years once, during 1908, the… learn more

German Army World War One

The Germany Army in World War One 1914-1918 – uniforms, strength, organization. German Army The German empire, announced in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles in 1871, had around 1914 inhabitants of well over 65 millions. On paper, aside from the… learn more

German uniforms World War One

German uniforms World War One

The uniforms of the Germany Army in World War One 1914-1918. back to PART I of Germany Army 1914-1918 At the outbreak of World War One in August 1914, the German Army was uniformly dressed in field-grey uniforms, which had… learn more

Romanian Army 1916-1918

The Army of Rumania in World War One 1916-1918. Uniforms, strength and organization of the Romanian Army. On August 17, 1916 Romania settled the military alliance with the Allies which had been forced upon her, and after that instantly started… learn more

German Military Passport

German military passport from the Kaiser’s period. Complete German Military Passport from the Kaiser’s period of the Great-grandfather of the author. Military passport of the great-grandfather of the author: carpenter Heinrich Button (mother’s side), born on 30 March 1878 in… learn more

Portuguese Army

The Army of Portugal in World War One 1916-1918. Uniforms, strength and organization of the Portuguese Army in Europe and Africa. Portugal joined World War One on the Allied side in March 1916. Prior to being transported to France the… learn more