GLC09584.017: Keystone View Company Awaiting Enemy in French Trenches with Rifle and Mitrailleuse., 1914.: Page #2
Original title: GLC09584.017_00002.jpg
18745 AWAITING ENEMY IN FRENCH TRENCHES We see here French soldiers of the early days of the war. They have very different uniforms from those which they used later on. The dark blue tunics and blue or red trousers made much more conspicuous targets than the uniforms of "horizon blue" which the French army adopted as soon as possible after the war began, while the bright cloth caps such as these men wear afforded none of the protection against head wounds as did the steel helmets which later were always used in the battle areas. The trench before us, well revetted with sandbags, is a type of the usual trench con-struction. Notice how it zigzags to our left. This arrangement in zigzag sections, each about 30 feet in length, saves the men in one section from being hurt by the explosion of a shell in another section. Similarly, if one section should be captured in an attack by enemy in-fantry, their fire cannot sweep a great length of adjoining trenches, while the latter can be more easily defended around the corners of the zigzags. The gun which we see on the right is a French Hotchkiss machine gun. It fires about 600 shots per minute and is operated by a small amount of powder gas which escapes from a hole near the muzzle after the passage of each bullet, while it is cooled by a radiator. Japan, as well as France, used the Hotchkiss. The British, the Russians and the Germans all used the Maxim type, which is operated by the recoil of the barrel and is cooled by a water jacket. Austria had the Schwarzlose, Italy the Permio. and the United States formerly used the Colt, but this was replaced after we entered the war by the Browning, a remarkably effic-ient weapon.