ww1 armor

French Trench Cleaners c.1915

Picture of three French soldiers equipped for trench warfare, using metal skullcaps, body armor, a 1886 Lebel rifle, a MAS 1873 revolver and what appears to be a vast collection of captured German impact stick grenades.
Notice the use of tactical moustaches, a staple of European powers.


Mortier Automoteur de 220 Mle1917 St-Chamond

Self-propelled artillery chassis manufactured c.1917~19 at Saint-Chamond in France, initially for the 194mm Filloux long gun.
220mm Mle1917 Saint-Chamond howitzer, two electric engines powered by the main engine in the ammunition tractor based on the same chassis, driving in front of the gun and linked with a power cable. Both vehicles had cranes to ferry shells to the gun.

The second step in the evolution of self-propelled guns, the St-Chamond automoteurs differed from the earlier Gun Carrier MkI in that they mounted much heavier howitzers that were not designed to operate independently from their chassis.
The new concept of SPGs allowed for artillery trains to follow behind infantry attacks through the blasted landscape of World War I and provide accurate supporting fire onto enemy trenches.

An automoteur St-Chamond with supply vehicle trecking through the snow, note the optional road wheels of early production models.

Duke of Westminster Rescues POWs with Armored Cars

One of the Duke’s armored cars, pictured in April 1916.

March 17 1916, Bir Hakeim–The Senussi presence along the Egyptian coastline had largely been shattered at Agagiya last month, but operations continued against their remnants.  One of the most pressing concerns were around 100 British POWs being held by the Senussi, mostly from the British Navy steamer HMS Tara.  The Tara had been sunk off the Egyptian coast in November by the U-35, whose captain was (unusually) a stickler for prize rules.  He made sure to rescue the crew of the Tara, and handed them over to the Senussi as prisoners.

In mid-March, the Tara prisoners were running short of food, and the Tara’s captain had sent a letter to Turkish officers pleading for an improvement in their conditions.  The British found this letter in a Turkish camp, and the Duke of Westminster set off in his squad of armored cars.  Arriving on March 17 after a 115-mile drive, he was able to rescue them from their few Senussi guards and bring them back to the British camp. 

Today in 1915: UK Reluctantly Encourages Women to Enter War Industries

Landret-Polack Mle1917 visored Adrian helmet

Designed c.1916-17 by medecin aide-major Aron Polack and medecin Landret.
0,7mm mild steel Persian blind style visor, removable but not amovible.

It was determined through extensive field testing that this addition to the Mle1915 helmet was too obtrusive for general use and not sturdy enough for use in fixed position.


Super-Heavy Tank “Char FCM 2C”

Designed in 1917 and produced in 1921 by the Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée in Marseille.
48mm thick armor, canon de 75 main gun in a rotating turret and 8 Hotchkiss 8mm Lebel machine guns.

The 2C’s lengthy development polarized French politics of the time and led to a design that, while being the largest tank ever operational to this day, was more useful as a propaganda tool due to being extremely rare and borderline obsolete by the following decade. Only 10 were made, and each of them required a crew of 12.
Sadly enough that’s what it took for the French army to provide a turret large enough for several crew member to fit in.


Chenillette Saint-Chamond Mle1921 armored car

Manufactured by the Cie des Forges and Acieries de la Marine & d’Homecourt c.1920′s.
15 horsepower engine, tracks for off-road drive, retractable wheels, two-seater, 6mm riveted steel armor.
Hotchkiss Mle1914 machine gun, 8mm Lebel 30-round feed strip, gas operated automatic fire.

A small vehicle born from the experiences of WW1, the Chenillette combined the speed of pre-war armored cars with the off-road capability of light tanks.