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High Quality WW1 Photos - Central Powers


Gildwiller1918

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This thread will be for photo's of the Central Powers from WW1. Photo's that show details of uniforms, equipment, decorations, etc. When posting, please give a description of the picture. The main goal is the help educate others on how the everyday soldier fought, lived and endured during this conflict. 

First picture is a group of German soldiers in a really clear and detailed picture, from left to right. The soldier on the far left is wearing a peaked cap is most likely and officer, however it is hard to make out his shoulder boards, but the tunic looks like the model 1907/1910 version and of much better quality. He also has a camera in his hands. The 2 men men immediately to the right of him are enlisted troops, with the soldier in the foreground being a NCO, as evident by the insignia on his collar. The troops behind him has shoulder boards for the 214th as do some of the others. He is holding the G98 rifle and is wearing the M071/10 Feldrock tunic. 

Machine gun appears to the the Vickers-Maxim with the British type tripod. It was very common for both sides to use captured weapons. The soldier with his hand on the gun has a gas mask can around his neck and also has the Iron Cross second class ribbon on his tunic. He also appears to have a wrist watch most likely the type where a pocket watch was inserted into a leather wrist strap. The soldier behind him has the steel helmet issued in 1916 as well as a model 1916 stick grenade. You can also see his ammo pouches and bread bag as well. The soldier on the far right is using a trench periscope to check for activity, these periscopes became vital as sticking ones head over the trench could be lethal. You can see his gas mask can very well and he has his rifle close by. 

Note the trench armor sniper plate by the sandbags.

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Although not as clear as the previous one, this is a very rare photo showing a German soldier with a plate attached to his chest. The plate was to allow for grenade fuses to be pulled quickly and easily in combat situations. On his back he is carrying the Mauser Kar 98A, which was shorter version of the G98 rifle which was often issued to shock troops later in the war. In his hands he is holding a M1917 egg grenade, showing how the twisted wire loop oin the fuse attached to a hook on the plate. On either sides of his belt are grenade bags. Also has a nice cover on his helmet as well. The plate he is wearing are very rare today, dug examples can still be found for a reasonable price, good clean examples are very expensive today, currently I have not seen any reproductions of these yet. 

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Here is a good photo showing the early Gaede Steel skull cap used by the Germans. This protective cap was designed by General Hans Gaede, in 1915. It was designed by the General to give his troops some protection from rock fragments and splinters as they were fighting in the Vosges Front in 1915 which is very rocky. The french also developed a similar version that could be worn under their Kepi's.  All the officers and soldier are wearing their Gm-15 gas masks, flare pistols, Model 1915 stick grenades, pistols, binoculars and decorations. Note the various types of footwear as well. Quite a nice display of mid-war German uniforms and gear. 

 

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Nice photo showing early war trench fighting on the Eastern front. Note the shallow ditch and the two entrances to underground areas for protection. All the rifles are up on the bank of the trench at the ready. They are all wearing the Pickelhaubes with their covers, note the troops standing, good showing of the M1895 pack, blankets, mess kit, extra boots, bread bag and canteens. You can also see a bayonet troddel on soldier laying on the ground close to soldier standing on the right. 

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Nice grouping on decorated Austro-Hungarian troops. The are armed with the Mannlicher M1895 rifle as well as the Zeitzünder M15 grenade which is hanging from their belts. They are wearing the german made M16 helmets and their own version, the M17, the Austrian models had a cloth chinstrap and the helmet was more of a mustard brown color. They also appear to have the Austrian made gas mask cans (tapered at the bottom) and the German made gas mask cans as well. Most of the Austrians gas mask came from Germany, although they did make their own out of rubberized silk, but it was not strong enough for field use. Note the leggins, some leather and the rest canvas. 

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Here is a group of Turkish soldiers, who relied heavily on its allies for logistical support. In this photo, you can see they are wearing the visorless M16 helmet. They all seem to have the German style binoculars and mauser ammunition pouches. They are also wearing an assortment of grenades, from the M17 stick grenade to the French F1 type of fragmentation grenades (the turks had a good supply of French and English gear captured from Gallipoli campaign). Nice view of the mauser 98 and the bayonet as well. 

 

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Here is a group of Austrian Assault troops, bearing a strong resemblance to its German counterparts. They are pretty well armed with a variety of grenades to include the German M16 and 17 model stick grenades, also seen is a Austrian Rohr grenade (ball shaped top) as well as the Zeitzünder grenade, this one has the fuse on the top end of the grenade, some models had it in the handle area. Wire cutters, flare pistols, flashlights, and steel helmets that look like both the M16 and M17 types judging by the chinstrap placement. Overall a good representation of late war Austrian gear. 

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In the fifth picture - Austrian - a man in the centre is wearing Ledergamaschen, which were normally worn by officers with ankle boots, a further one second from the right is also wearing the typical officer's Ledergamaschen, which were also worn by German officers in place of the long boots, these were brown. In the last picture, these are probably a storm section from a dismounted cavalry unit, some of the boots look like the German infantry boot, the man second from right is wearing cavalry boots. The man seated in the centre could be an officer, judging from the insignia on the collar. Almost impossible to say from which unit they are from. The collar patches were in various colours as per regiment.

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Here is a really good photo of a WW1 rifle grenade launching platform, in which rifles were arraigned in a battery by fixing them to moveable mounts. These mounts were made from steel and could perform a limited traverse to hit different targets. Another advantage was that they could be fired from a safe distance, so if there was an accident, the person who fired them was not hurt, versus the handheld option, where the user was often killed if there was an accident. In this photo the launcher has the G98 rifles which were loaded with blank cartridges. The rod grenade was then inserted down the barrel, once in place the safety pin was removed from the grenade which armed fuse which was a percussion type. The grenade is the M1914 which was an improvement on the M1913 design which was considered too aerodynamic. The M1914 also came with a braking disc that could be added on to slow the velocity by up to 50%. 

Below is an example of the M1914 from my collection. Last picture shows the braking disc attached to the rear of the grenade.

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Good stuff Fritz, any and all information is appreciated. 

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Below is the WW1 German Wechselapparat or "exchange apparatus" was introduced in 1916. It was spherical, with the outermost portion filled with fuel (12 liters) and the smaller center sphere filled with propellant. The handheld wand could fire up to 100 meters, though normally it would fire off ten flame surges up to 30 meters.

The model was so sound it was updated for use in WW2 as the M35. Incidentally the British copied the design is WW2 which was called the Flamethrower, portable, No. 2. However by this point the Germans had retired it in favor of the newer model M41. 

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Leutnant of the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment wearing the M.1910 Waffenrock with the officers' Totenkopf badge embroidered in silver bullion.  He holds a smoke grenade used in training, the can for this grenade was painted red. 

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These TK sleeve badges are now being reproduced!

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Not surprised, everything is being reproduced nowadays. For movies and TV I like the authentic look, but for collectors it's a nightmare. Only thing I have not seen reproduced in the last photo is the smoke grenade, and I am sure it will be soon. 

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Here is a nice instructional photo of a late war German assault soldier. Photos like these were used to show the gear and where it was to be worn. These could be placed in manuals or released to the public to show how their fighting men were equipped. The man on the left has the puttees and ankle boots, canvas grenade sacks around his neck, filled with stick grenades. Over his left shoulder you can see the handle for his shovel, which was in a carrier that pointed the shovel upwards instead of down. The soldier on the right has the tall leather marching boots on. He also has the grenade bags, 2 canteens, wire cutters, and breadbag. Both soldiers have the steel helmet and Kar 98A Mauser rifles, which were often used by these troops and pioneer units. 

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Here is a nice early war photo of German troops using twp types of grenades. The man in the rear has the model 1915 stick grenade, distinguishable by the rounded end wood handle. The soldier in the foreground is lighting a hairbrush type grenade which were widely used by the French. The Germans also developed their own model as well. The Hairbrush or Raquette grenades were very simple, a wooden stick to which you tied an explosive charge to with a ignitable fuse. These could be hand made or come from factories. The french versions usually have a steel serrated pipe that the explosive charge would expel out upon detonation. The British also had their own version called the No. 12, which closely resembled the grenade in the picture. 

Note the crudeness of the Trench, and the shovels, pickaxes, etc. 

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Interesting photo of German troops with the M1917 Stick Grenade (I love WW1 Grenades by the way), with early and later pattern tunics. Wire cutters on display in the front, and they are all wearing the puttees. Look like a NCO in the back row with the Iron cross ribbon and binoculars. 

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Here is a very nice photo of a German weapons emplacement. The officer in the center is examining the model 1914 rodded rifle grenade and fuse assembly. Note the braking disc as well. The troop behind him is manning the granatenwerfer 16, which fired fin stabilized grenades about 300 yards, a trained crew could fire 3-5 rounds a minute. On the far left you can see the crate for these grenades as well as spare rounds. The two soldiers on the extreme right and left are manning the rifles that launched the rod grenades, these are on rotating assemblies and could be fired by attaching a rope or string to the trigger. The granatenwerfer rounds are still easy to find, the crates are still around as well, but gaining in price. The rod grenades are also still easy to find, the fuses, braking disc and rod assemblies are a little tougher to get in good condition. The rifle racks for launching the rod grenades are virtually non-existent, if you find one you are very lucky!

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The man in the forground is not an officer, but either an Offizierstellvertreter or Feldwebelleutnant, see rank insignia on collar.

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Yes Fritz you are correct, I overlooked that. 

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I want to get one of the granatenwerfer for my collection at some point. I have the common fragmentation shells already. 

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Another good view of German Assault troops, note the litzen on the collars and the deathshead on the sleeve. Typically the litzen was used for elite guard units, however some other units had them as well, unlike in WW2 where all troops had them. The soldier on the left has a nice pair of wire cutters and his troddel for the bayonet is visible. They all are carrying the M1917 stick grenade as well. Nice later war image of uniforms and associated gear, such as the gas mask can, Kar 98a carbine, etc.

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Another excellent view of the M1914 rifle grenade use. In this photo, you can see the crate on the bottom left for the grenades, which are extremely rare today. The soldier in the foreground has the tall leather boots and what looks like socks that go to his knees. He also has his bread bag along with the bayonet and troddel. He is handing fully assembled rod grenades to his comrade who has his other hand on the lanyard to fire the rifle, which he can then insert the new projectile in the barrel and repeat the process. Note the construction around the soldiers, wood planks, chicken wire, and what looks like a camouflaged observation platform in the top center.

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Another detailed photo of a German soldier wearing the trench armor, also known as "Lobster Armor". These armor sets could be worn on the chest or on the back, and had straps to secure at the waist. The main weight from these sets rested on the wearers shoulders, and the set weighed 24 pounds. I have put one of these one, they are not comfortable and reduce your mobility a lot. These types were usually issued to machine gunners and others in a more static role, however shock troops used the mas well. Ballistics results did show that at distance the armor worked quite well. It could easily stop pistol rounds and the 30.06 US caliber rifle rounds would be stopped at distance of 60 yards. The wearer would still feel the impact of the rounds, but would survive. They were also useful in close combat against clubs and bayonets. 

The following is an excerpt from a letter signed by Ludendorff to sixth army HQ, 11 B. Nr. 19718 stating: "The armor is not generally intended for operations, but will prove valuable for sentries, listening posts, garrisons of shell holes, gun teams of machine guns scattered over the ground, etc., especially as protection for the back. I request that the armor be issued to units destined for threatened sectors of the line, so that they can become familiar with its use before the go into line."

There is also another version of this armor with a rifle butt stock plate on the wearer's right shoulder to prevent the rifle from sliding off the armor when firing. 

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Nice staged photo of a German sniper team, as no real snipers would expose themselves like this. The shooter is using what looks like the Mauser Kar 98A, as it has the turned down handle and looks shorter than the standard G98. The scope is the 3 power Voigtlander Braunschweig model, Gewehr Nr. 6091 bb. Of note, is the scope carrying case on his hip along with a short fighting knife. His gas mask can and ammo pouches are visible as well. His spotter can be seen using binoculars. 

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