Walking with Ghosts, -
Equipment and Uniforms
This page will look at the equipment and uniforms of the British and German armies. As well as describing what the individual soldiers were issued with in order to go into battle, this page also links to photographs of some of the items of kit, equipment and arms that cane be seen in the Green Howards Regimental Museum.
|The photos below show German and British troops. Select a photo for a new window to open, listing the equipment with which each soldier would be issued. Close the new window to return to this page.|
|German troops during the
Battle of the Marne. Near the river Marne the German invasion was brought
to a standstill. Picture made in September 1914.
Note: This picture is thought to be staged. Look at the Iron Cross the soldier in front is wearing. Wearing medals while in actionwas not common practice.
British troops on their way to the Battle of the Somme in June 1916.
(Photo : courtesy of the Imperial War Musuem)
Selecting one of the above images will present you with a description of the
kit issued to each soldier.
However, to see examples not only of the kit and equipment with which they were issued, but also of the weapons with which they fought the war, the Green Howards Museum has a superb collection for you to view and explore. If you select the link below, you will be taken to a slide show (with descriptive text) of some of the examples of First World War soldiers' kit, equipment, and arms that are in the Green Howards Museum. The examples are for both British AND German soldiers.
Two points about kit and equipment are worth noting;-
- where constant exposure of feet to damp conditions causes problems.
Even today this remains an issue in combat conditions. Apparently 14% of Falkland Islands casualties were caused by trench foot.
The boots worn in the First World War were far from comfortable and English boots only came up to the ankle. The German boots by contrast were knee length and therefore offered far greater protection in the standing water of the trenches.
Some situations made trench foot more likely, such as poor fitting boots that restricted the circulation, immobility, the amount of water and temperature of water in the base of the trench etc. Some of the preventive measures used were the issuing of gumboots where possible, but keeping feet dry was impossible. The army went to great lengths to find out how to prevent trench foot, employing hygienists, nurses and doctors. The general conclusion was that military discipline and good hygiene could prevent trench foot. That meant where possible boots were to be removed and foot inspections carried out.
The Germans wore metal helmets from the outset but the British Tommy had to face shellfire with nothing more substantial than a cloth cap. As a result until the British issued metal helmets to their forces, head injuries were far more numerous and of greater severity among the allies than among the enemy.
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