Saturday, 13 November 2010

Something for the weekend...

Here, from Club International, June 1975, is an unusual illustration of the equipment of a French infantryman of the 5eme regiment from 1914.

Both figures wear the traditional madder and dark blue kepi and collar, complete with regimental number. Both also wear the blue cummerbund which was soon dropped from service although the 5th did wear it at the Battle of the Marne.

The figure on the left is wearing the standard infantry marching equipment. The pack (havresac M1893) was made from canvas over a wooden frame. It was waterproofed through the application of an astiquage; a process that was so messy and unpleasant it was actually used as a punishment. Above the blanket is the gamelle individuelle, mess tin. To the sides of the pack are spare boots and tent poles and on the back is the boiler (marmite pour quatre hommes). Slung from the left shoulder is the bidon or waterbottle with a tin cup attached.

The figure on the left demonstrates the bayonet frog, entrenching tool and the standard musette or haversack.

Both figures are armed with the 8mm M1886 M93 rifle, a somewhat transitional weapon which, although it carried on in service well into World War 2, was basically already out of date in 1914 because of the eight round tubular feed device which was clumsy and difficult to load.

If only more military equipment illustrations were like this rather than the above!