JF Ptak Science Books Post 923
The 27 Feb 1915 issue of The Illustrated London News is remarkable. Yesterday’s post was generated by an image appearing in it of sappers mining under a battlefield to create an underground attack on the enemy’s trench lines. A few pages into the issue shows a series of pictures describing the regulation issue for an enlisted man headed into combat—simple, scary, and heartrending. And of course a true measure of the courage and fortitude of these millions of men who marched to the Front with all what today looks to be not-adequate material. It is hard for me to imagine going off to conquer your enemy and your own fear with these sorts of supplies, marching along with all of these slight bits jangling and clanging to each of my steps.
[All of the images are expandable.]
The images themselves are, I think, unintentionally spectacular for their design and arrangement, not the least of which is the fact that all of the materiel is suspended from rope or wire.
There is no way for me to know what of this material was instantly discarded (if any), or what was thrown into ditches because they didn’t make sense or were too heavy or cumbersome or got in the way. Or what of these supplies were actually carried into battle. Given the nature of the fighting, perhaps all of it was carried in and out.
Basically though the pictures just make me uneasy, nervous; so many things look so slight and needy. The canteen looks tiny; there’s only two pair of socks (!?) but two pipes; the “grocery ration” looks inadequate; the ammunition pouches look stingy. But the “housewife” looks useful, and its always good to have scissors, and a handkerchief. I’m not so sure about the purse.
It just seems to me an amazing display of the stuff that the British soldier was given to haul into the future with him.