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  From our 'War Picture of the Week' Archive  

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War Picture of the WeekTrench with French soldiers    

This true color picture was probably made in 1917 in Flanders or Northern France.

The soldier in the khaki uniform appears to be a soldier of an indigenous regiment (such as the Legion Etranger, the French Foreign Legion), that was used for foreign service but re-called to defend the homeland. The others, in horizon blue, are poilu's, common soldiers. The one in the back, in the dark blue, is an artillery officer.

The sitting soldier on the left is carrying a iron-painted grey-blue canister for his gasmask. On the right, next to soldier in khaki, stands a queue de cochon, in English militairy slang called pigtail.

Wiring parties were sent out at night to place these iron stakes in No Man's Land, and to put barbed wire through the curls. Nowadays you can still find these pigtails in the French countryside; farmers use them as field fences.

 We are indebted to Bkristof, Croonaert and Landsturm who, on the Great War Forum, supplied information about the uniforms and equipment of the soldiers on the picture above.



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