Photograph in New York Times, 17 February 1918...
Photograph in New York Times, 17 February 1918, described as “French soldiers operating a new compressed-air trench gun of 86-millimetre calibre”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via: Business Insider

This year marks the centenary of the start of World War I. Thought of as the “war to end all wars,” it left Europe in shambles, led to the deaths of over 9 million people, and drew in countries from every continent.

To commemorate the start of the war, Reuters has released previously unpublished photos of World War I that evoke the lives and struggles of ordinary soldiers during the world’s first truly global war.

The pictures are the work of an unknown photographer, and were left behind on glass plates in various archives by a Viscount in the Armored Cavalry Branch of the French Army.

World War I was the most prominent example of trench warfare in history.

Trench warfare resulted from a revolution in firepower that was not matched by advances in mobility.

 

Because of this discrepancy, the defensive position always had a clear advantage in battle.

The trenches, in which soldiers spent most of their time, were surrounded by razor wire to limit the effectiveness of an enemy trying to overrun the position.

Trenches could be hundreds of miles long, and would require constant upkeep.

They had special structures built for machine gunners.

Here, French soldiers pose in a trench above Ablain-Saint-Nazaire on the Artois front in northern France.

Outside of the trenches, soldiers built makeshift huts. This one was named “The Chalet.”

Because of the lack of progress in combat mobility, this French Cavalry Corps was made up of bicyclists.

See the rest of this photo journal @ Business Insider