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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.
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.
A French Saint Chamond tank and its crew is moving into position. The Saint Chamond was a behemoth able to carry a crew of 9 needed to man the machine in combat and its 75 canon that was ideal to knock out bunkers and pillboxes but made difficult the crossing of steep trenches and obstacles.
Manufactured in France c.1918-19 for a soldier of the Chasseurs Alpins. 0.7mm steel, horizon blue paint, leather lining, two part comb around a main bomb-shaped piece surmonted by a crest covering a large ventilation hole. Commemorative brass plate. On the 18th of December 1918, the French government offers a commemorative helmet to any and all soldiers or officers that were stationed on the front during World War 1. This one was left exempt of names.
Manufactured in France for trials up to WW1 with the 13th and 54th Regiments d’Artillerie. Mild steel, shaped like a Renaissance burgonet. One of the prototype helmets designed by Edouard Detaille before 1914, that would eventually give way to a much simpler and more discrete model.
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.
Manufactured in Portugal c.1916-18, based on a private British design used before the widespread adoption of the Brodie helmet. <1mm fluted mild steel, two ventilation holes fitted with washers, wool liner with leather sweatband, khaki paint. Probably one of the funkiest general issue helmets.
French new Mle 1914 horizon blue kepi with steel skullcap, or cervelliere.
One of the first steps toward the replacement of cloth caps with metal helmets, this simple protection was designed to be worn under the kepi. These designs were mirrored in other trenches as German were also developing prototypes of armour for their own troops, including a noseguard. The crusaders would have been proud.
Manufactured c.1926-40 in France. 0,7mm steel, ventilation holes located under a riveted comb, leather lining. The M26 differed from the M15 by being made of stronger steel and having a single-piece main body instead of a separate rim, with a series of small ventilation hole instead of a big elongated one under the comb ; these changes contributed to make the helmet structurally sturdier, although the Brodie and Stahlhelm of other nations remained thicker and heavier. This was apparently not a problem during either World War as many more nations adopted the Adrian design.
Made at the Manufacture d’Armes de Châtellerault in France throughout the interwar era. 7,5x54mm MAS mod. 1929 Balle ‘C’ - light bullet - or Balle ‘D’ - heavy bullets for use in fortifications, 750rpm with Balles C, 100-150 rounds pan magazines. The Reibel machine gun was the French tank machine gun of the interwar era, and thus of WW2. An heavy and reliable design, it was often twin-mounted in fixed position - with many guns being produced to be fed from the left - with large-capacity awesome-looking magazines. It was notoriously mounted on the Maginot line or the B1 bis heavy tank, the obsolete French WW1 armored vehicle that brute-forced its way over German competition in 1940.
B1 bis ‘Normandie’ Heavy Tank, showing a coaxial Reibel machine gun with the 47mm turret gun.