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  1. #381
    panzer 4's Avatar Domesticus
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    under a bridge


    but were these even effective or just steel coffins?
    cause from what i know, they were dead slow and would constantly have engine failures... the only thing which they succeeded at was scaring the living daylights in the hearts of the Germans...
    The US will gladly step up to become the world police when there is oil involved, yet they will resign the second there is a genocide in Africa, a slaughter in an allied nation, or a massacre committed by dictators, all who's nations have nothing to offer, but the gratitude of the people to the international community for reaching out.

  2. #382


    I did see photo's of tanks used there by the British but i beleave they were'nt very effective because of the sand dunes, kinda like the mud in Europe

  3. #383
    panzer 4's Avatar Domesticus
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    under a bridge


    yeah and heat would also be a major factor... if there is a middle eastern campaign, then the Tank should be made very very expensive and not very useful... considering it travelled at less then 6km/h
    The US will gladly step up to become the world police when there is oil involved, yet they will resign the second there is a genocide in Africa, a slaughter in an allied nation, or a massacre committed by dictators, all who's nations have nothing to offer, but the gratitude of the people to the international community for reaching out.

  4. #384


    Just putting myself out there:

    I'm a WWI historian (my focus is on the French) and happy to help if you have any questions. Great to see interest in the First World War.

    Last edited by jjkrause84; August 10, 2011 at 04:53 PM.

  5. #385

    Default WW I tanks

    I was watching military channel and they happen to air a full hour of tanks and i found the part about WWI tanks on youtube. Maybe this could help the team.

    the part about WWI starts at around 4:00 minutes into the video

  6. #386


    Russian site for insignia ww1

  7. #387
    Dutch-Balrog's Avatar Domesticus
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    something about the dutch, we didn't fight in WW1 so no need to implent them

  8. #388


    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch-Balrog View Post
    something about the dutch, we didn't fight in WW1 so no need to implent them
    That is real life ... this is game everything is possible here

  9. #389


    I’ve gathered a few references of my own when working on my projects, and I thought I’d share it with the community.
    It’s just about French uniforms and the units wearing them, and even then not going into details. Just touching weapons and organization would double the amount of content.

    Full guide to French WW1 units and their uniforms

    Spoiler for Uniforms from 1914 to 1918, rank insignias and recruitment

    At the start of war, the French army was still wearing the colorful uniforms it inherited from the XIXth century. The main colour was “gris de fer bleuté” (blue iron-grey), a dark blue, although some cavalry and north-African units wore sky blue. Line infantry and cavalry wore “garance” red trousers.
    The distinguishing part of the uniform was the kepi which was made in different colours depending on unit type. Units wearing oriental-style uniforms (zouaves, tirailleurs, etc) wore a red chechia. In the field infantry wore blue or tan fabric cover on their headgear.
    In 1915 the army adopted a lower visibility uniform in “horizon blue”, a grayish light blue, while colonial and north-African units were outfitted in “mustard khaki”, a yellow-tinged khaki colour. The different styles of dress were abandoned in favour of a single universal cut. From then on the only distinguishing features on uniforms were the collar tabs, piping on the breeches and Adrian helmet badge. At the same time the leather equipment was changed from black to natural brown.
    Chevrons worn on the upper arm were introduced in 1916 to indicate frontline service (left arm, 1 for the first year, then 1 for each additional period of six months) and wounds (right arm)
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Collar badges as worn on the 1915 uniform:

    Officers and NCOs
    (note: “light infantry” in this case refers to foot chasseurs and the “Infanterie Légère d’Afrique”)
    Officers wore the same kepi as enlisted men, but with the piping replaced by golden or silver braids corresponding to rank. Black replaced dark blue. Trousers and breeches had a large black stripe on each side (yellow for light infantry, light blue for light cavalry and Algerian tirailleurs, red in the spahis, artillery and colonial troops).
    Rank insignia was worn on the bottom part of the sleeve, above the cuff. It consisted in diagonal lines for NCOs (chevrons on the tunics and jackets of light cavalry, artillery, light infantry, zouaves and all tirailleurs), stripes for officers and stars for general officers. The colour was red for PFCs and corporals (yellow for light infantry, Chasseurs d’Afrique and Algerian tirailleurs) and gold from sergeant up (silver in the cavalry and light infantry, except spahis).
    With adoption of horizon blue, rank stripes were made smaller, and red was replaced by dark blue (brown on khaki uniforms, dark green for foot chasseurs and the Foreign Legion).
    Drummers and buglers had a tricolour braid on the collar and sleeve at the start of the war. In December 1914 it was ordered moved on the bottom of the sleeve, like rank badges.
    Spoiler for rank insignia

    The majority of soldiers on active duty were conscripts aged 20-23. Due to its smaller population size, France had to keep a longer conscription time (3 years, compared to Germany’s 2). Soldiers then joined the reserve for 11 years (or they could reenlist as NCOs). Then for 6 years they were part of the Territorial Army, and until 45 the territorial reserve.
    The reserve and Territorial Army was activated at the declaration of war. As the war dragged on, the difference between active and reserve units became muddled, and new recruits were indifferently sent to either. The final stage was 1918 with the disbandment of most territorial regiments and their members being assigned to existing active and reserve regiments.

    Metropolitan army
    Spoiler for Units belonging to the French metropolitan army

    Infanterie de Ligne
    173 active and 173 reserve regiments
    Képi: dark blue band, red crown, dark blue piping. Adrian: grenade
    In 1914 the line infantry was dressed in “gris de fer bleuté” with red trousers. The greatcoat was worn at all times, while the jacket was often not even issued. The blue-grey kepi cover was used by all ranks in the field, but some officers cut a narrow hole in the front to show rank braids. On campaign officers usually wore a four-pocket “vareuse” in “gris de fer bleuté” (in horizon blue from 1915 on) rather than the black tunic.
    The conspicuous red trousers were the first item of the uniform to be changed, being replaced with blue or brown corduroy trousers in winter 1914-15. The uniform was then gradually produced and issued in horizon blue over the next year. Adrian helmets were first issued in autumn 1915.
    Four regiments had been converted to alpine infantry since 1889. Their uniform was the same as the line, but with puttees instead of leather gaiters, and the wide beret of the alpine chasseurs.
    see: Osprey Men at Arms 286 “The French Army 1914-18”, plates A2, D1, E1, F1,
    Spoiler for Line Infantry uniform, enlisted men and officers

    Infanterie territoriale
    145 regiments
    Same uniform as the line infantry, but with white regimental numbers. Territorials were often still issued with outdated items.
    These units were considered unfit for frontline service and generally used for support (like guarding prisoners, manning forts, protecting railroads, etc). Due to circumstances a few ended up seeing combat anyways.

    Chasseurs à pied
    19 active, 19 reserve and 7 territorial battalions
    Képi: dark blue with yellow piping. Adrian: hunting horn.
    The chasseurs à pied were light infantry units. Conscripts assigned to the chasseurs were usually specially selected for the role. They kept their dark blue uniform throughout the war, even after adoption of horizon blue by the rest of the army (with the exception of the greatcoat, which was the same as the line infantry’s).
    A bicycle group was created with the 6th company of the ten first battalions. They wore the uniform of the alpine chasseurs, but with the kepi instead of a beret.
    see: MAA 286: B1
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Chasseurs alpins
    12 active and 12 reserve battalions
    Chasseur battalions recruited from mountain regions were converted to alpine formations prior to the war. They were issued a specific uniform in dark blue, with a wide beret, a heavy jacket with a flat collar and breeches worn with puttees.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    12 regiments
    Cuirassiers regiments retained the 19th century cuirass and helmet of their Napoleonic counterparts, although covered with a tan cloth in the field.
    Enlisted men wore red epaulettes, edged in silver for sergeants, while officers had silver epaulettes and adjudants gold ones. Buglers had white epaulettes and red horsetails on their helmet instead of black.
    see: MAA 286: E3
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    32 regiments
    They were issued with lances for mounted combat, but remained foremost mounted infantry rather than pure cavalry.
    see: MAA 286: B3
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Chasseurs à cheval
    21 regiments
    see: MAA 286: B2
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    14 regiments
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    62 field, 11 foot, 2 mountain and 5 heavy artillery regiments
    Képi: dark blue with red piping. Adrian: crossed cannons
    In 1914 artillery crew wore dark blue uniforms with a double red stripe on the trousers. Mounted crewmen wore the leather equipment of the cavalry while those on foot carried infantry gear.
    Mountain artillery crew wore the beret of alpine units rather than the kepi.
    More than any other branch of the French army, the artillery massively expanded during the war. It more than tripled its numbers (there were 360 field regiments by the end of the war), and engaged into a desperate arms race to make up for its lack of heavy artillery of 1914. By 1917 it had overcome the German army both in numbers and in the quality of its cannon models.
    see: MAA 286: C2, H1
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    11 regiments (purely administrative. Engineers are broken down in companies and battalions)
    Képi: same as the artillery. Adrian: helmet and cuirass badge
    Engineers started the war with the same uniform as the artillery, although with black facings on the insignias. Being mostly on foot, soldiers wore the infantry greatcoat and leather gear.
    Special flamethrower and gas companies were raised during the war from battalions of the 1st regiment and the Paris firemen brigade.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    «Armée d’Afrique» (XIXth Army Corps)
    Spoiler for Units recruited and/or based in north Africa
    Due to Algeria being administratively attached to France, the Army of Africa was part of the metropolitan army and not considered colonial troops. It was stationed in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. It recruited both from the native population and French settlers, as well as foreigners in case of the foreign Legion.
    Continued pacification and rebellions in the region in the decades leading up to the war meant a high level of experience amongst the regulars of the Army of Africa.
    Non-native units adapted their uniform when serving in north-Africa, replacing the red woollen trousers with white linen ones and covering the kepi with a light beige cover that turned white under the effect of the sun (hence the typical legion imagery).
    Units of the Army of Africa adopted khaki rather than horizon blue in 1915. Adrian helmets had a crescent badge (except for the Foreign Legion and Bat d’Af).
    Spoiler for 1915 Khaki uniforms

    4 regiments
    Képi (officers only): same as line infantry.
    The zouawa were originally an Algerian mercenary tribe serving France since 1833. They distinguished themselves in the Crimean war and become internationally famous (and copied by a number of countries). By 1914 however zouaves regiments were made of conscripts from French settlers in north-Africa. Despite losing their elite status, they had a reputation for dashing and foolhardiness. At the armistice zouave regiments were some of the highest decorated of the French army, right after colonial infantry and the foreign Legion.
    Their oriental-style uniform was dark blue with baggy red woollen trousers, replaced with white cotton in hot weather. The red chechia was worn with a blue cover in the field.
    see: MAA 286: A3 and Osprey Men at Arms 356 “Armies in the Balkans 1914-18”, plate E2
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Tirailleurs Algériens / Tunisiens
    9 regiments
    Képi (officers only): sky-blue band, red top, gold piping.
    Nicknamed “turcos”, native Algerian and Tunisian volunteers were assigned to tirailleurs battalions under the command of French officers. They wore the same uniform as zouaves, but in sky blue with yellow braids.
    see: MAA 286: E2
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Légion étrangère
    2 regiments
    Képi: same as line infantry, with a grenade badge. Adrian: grenade.
    Based in Algeria and Lebanon, the Foreign Legion sent a number of battalions to form “marching” regiments on the Western and Gallipoli fronts.
    In France the Legion wore the uniform of the line infantry, although with different collar patches and a grenade badge on the kepi. They adopted horizon blue in 1915, but in 1916 it was decided to issue them with khaki uniforms instead.
    see: MAA 286: D2 and Osprey Men at Arms 325 “French Foreign Legion 1914-1945”: plates A, B & C.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Infanterie légère d’Afrique
    5 bataillons
    Képi: dark blue band, red top, yellow piping. Adrian: hunting horn.
    Nicknamed “Bat d’Af” or ironically “les joyeux” (the happy ones), these peculiar units were recruited from convicted servicemen and petty criminals doing their military service. They were not considered penal units however, as all recruits had to have finished their sentence prior to being transferred to the BILA. Nevertheless discipline was harsh and brutal, and they received the worst assignments. Despite (or thanks to) this, their esprit de corps was strong and they distinguished themselves on many occasions.
    As their name implies they were considered light infantry. They wore the uniforms of the chasseurs à pied, although with red pants and kepi top instead of dark blue.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Chasseurs indigènes
    2 regiments
    Recruited from native Moroccans, these light infantry units fought bravely at the Battle of the Marne being almost entirely decimated in the process. They were renamed Tirailleurs Marocains in 1915.
    They had their own specific uniform in khaki, with a chechia and a brown djellaba in cold weather.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Chasseurs d’Afrique
    6 regiments
    The chasseurs d’Afrique were light cavalry units raised from conscripted French settlers. They wore sky-blue tunics, red trousers and a shako covered with a tan fabric cover.
    see: MAA 286: F2
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    4 regiments
    Képi (officers only): sky-blue band, red top (sky-blue in Algeria), gold piping.
    Light cavalry units were recruited from native volunteers in Algeria and Morocco. They wore red tunics, baggy blue trousers, a tall turban and two cloaks (a white one under a red one). Their French officers wore a European style uniform in the same colours.
    see: MAA 286: F3
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Compagnies méharistes sahariennes
    5 companies
    Képi (officers): sky blue, dark blue piping
    Camel-mounted units recruited from local nomads and lead by French officers and NCOs. They operated in the Sahara as policing units to keep rebel touaregs in check.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    16 goums (company-sized units)
    The goumiers were native irregulars used as auxiliaries mainly in Morroco. They were not considered part of the army. There role was pacification in tribal zones and paramilitary police. The goumiers did not see service on the Western Front in WW1.
    They wore a brow and grey stripped djellaba and a turban, a uniform that remained unchanged up to and during WW2.
    Officers and NCO were drawn from tirailleur and spahi units and wore their respective uniforms.

    Troupes coloniales
    Spoiler for Units of the French colonial troops
    When the Troupes de marine (literally “Navy Troops”, a name they readopted in 1961) were transferred from the naval ministry to the war ministry in 1900, they were renamed Colonial troops due to being mainly stationed in the French colonial empire. Unlike the metropolitan army, its bulk was made of professional career soldiers, mainly French marines reinforced with native auxiliaries. Once war broke out, a number of units were sent to the Western front were they served a shock formations.
    Colonial units wore khaki-drill uniform when serving abroad, but dark blue in mainland France. The kepi was switched for a pith helmet in tropical regions. They were issued horizon blue uniforms in 1915, but gradually adopted khaki. The badge of the colonial troops was the anchor (red for colonial infantry, yellow for tirailleurs), worn on the collar, kepi and Adrian helmet.

    Infanterie coloniale
    24 regiments
    Képi: dark blue with red piping, red anchor insignia (golden for officers and NCOs).
    Since 1893 colonial marines were all professionals, unlike the conscripts of the metropolitan army. Having seen a number of colonial campaigns in the decades leading up to the war, these units were the most experimented and disciplined available at the 1914 mobilisation.
    The distinctive uniform of the colonial infantry was the double-breasted paletot with standing collar and red anchor insignia (gold for officers).
    see: MAA 286: H3
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Tirailleurs sénégalais / tonkinois / malgaches
    3 Senegalese, 4 Tonkinese and 2 Malagasy regiments
    The colonial troops raised a number of native auxiliary units called “tirailleurs” led by officers of the colonial infantry. A number of those were sent to the western front where they generally fought bravely, but had to be withdrawn south for winter. The tonkinese were considered unsuited for combat on the Western Front however, and were reassigned as drivers and labourers.
    In 1914 Senegalese tirailleurs adopted the same uniform as the colonial infantry, but with a distinctive headdress (red chechia for the Senegalese, salakot for the tonkinese). Their paletot had a flat rather than a standing collar like marines.
    see: MAA 286: F4
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Colonial artillery
    5 regiments
    The colonial troops had their own support units. Like the infantry those were made from career soldiers and posted in the colonial territories.
    They wore the same uniform as the colonial infantry, but with red grenades replacing the anchors.

    Spoiler for French navy sailor uniforms
    Ship crews
    Sailors and officers had two main service dresses: a general use one in dark blue wool and a summer one in white. The white jumper could also be worn over the blue dress to protect from oil and dirt during maintenance.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Fusiliers marins
    2 regiments
    Adrian: anchor.
    The navy had a number of fusilier units they used (and still use) to guard and defend their naval installations. As combat was restricted to land in 1914, excess navy personnel were trained in this trade and formed a brigade to defend Paris. After the Battle of the Marne they were sent to the Belgian front where they fought doggedly in the Battle of the Yser. The brigade was disbanded at the end of 1915 and its sailors reassigned to the Navy, leaving only one battalion in Belgium.
    Navy fusiliers wore dark blue navy uniforms, except for the equipment and greatcoat which was infantry issue (Gris-de-fer-bleuté in 1914, then horizon blue). Sailors wore dark blue bachi with a red pompom, while officers and petty officers had dark blue peaked caps.
    Navy fusiliers and the colonial infantry should by no means be mixed up! They have been separate since the 19th century.
    see: MAA 286: D3
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Ministry of War
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    This section concerns the two units of the French Army that also had civilian functions: the Gendarmerie and the Paris Firemen regiment.

    The Gendarmerie Nationale is peculiar in that while it belongs to the army, it also acts as the police force of rural France. It is also the military police of the French armed forces, and as such in time of war covers such duties as organising supply convoys, guarding and interrogating prisoners, arresting spies and enforcing military laws. Due to the later and their lack of combat duties despite being a career military corps, they were very unpopular with the common soldier. As the saying went: “the combat zone starts where you see the last gendarme”.
    The Gendarmerie was forbidden from forming combat units due to its important duties and small size as compared to the extensive French armed forces of the time. Instead individual gendarmes could volunteer to serve in existing units as officers and NCOs.
    Spoiler for Uniform of the Gendarmerie Nationale and Republican Guard

    Garde Républicaine de Paris
    1 infantry and 1 mounted regiment
    The Paris Republican Guard is a unit of the Gendarmerie Nationale in charge of ceremonial and security duties for the government and institutions of france.
    Like the rest of the Gendarmerie, it was not allowed to raise combat units, but individuals could still volunteer to serve in other units. The Republican Guard is part of the defence of Paris however, and was mustered as such in 1914 until the Battle of the Marne.

    Régiment de Sapeurs-pompiers de Paris
    1 regiment
    The Firemen of Paris belong to the army since the time of Napoleon. In 1914 it took over some duties from the Gendarmerie. Like the later it wasn’t allowed to raise a combat unit; however a number of Firemen were incorporated in the foreign Legion to serve as NCOs and officers. With the introduction of flamethrowers the regiment provided a number of cadres and firemen to the special companies manning those weapons.
    Like the Republic Guard, the Paris Firemen belong to the defence of Paris and were mustered as such in 1914.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Spoiler for credits and references
    Photographs belong to the collectors, museums and reenactors that took them. Particular mention to the Le Poilu de la Marne association.

    For more references, check out:
    “World War I Infantry in colour photographs” by Laurent Mirouze
    The various Osprey publications
    The Militaria magazine had a number of publications on the subject.

    Otherwise for the paper-allergics out there, there is: (the “uniforms” part is exhaustive) and .

    If that was useful, I'll make a Swiss Army one next.
    Last edited by don_Durandal; August 28, 2011 at 08:28 AM. Reason: fixing broken images and adding Gendarmerie

  10. #390


    Those are rather good, mr Durandel. I may be able to get similar pics of the Tommy's this weekend

  11. #391
    B-DizL's Avatar TGW Lead Modeller

    Join Date
    May 2009


    @ don_Durandal

    Amazing amount of info, thanks! + rep

  12. #392


    Quote Originally Posted by don_Durandal View Post
    I’ve gathered a few references of my own when working on my projects, and I thought I’d share it with the community.
    It’s just about French uniforms and the units wearing them, and even then not going into details. Just touching weapons and organization would double the amount of content.
    Damn that is comprehensive I'll be sure to put that up in the research group, +rep
    Developer of The Great War | Leader of WW2: Sandstorm | Under the Woolen Patronage of Mitch | King of All

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Van Tromp View Post
    History has always been a bit of the State's slut.

  13. #393


    Thanks for the positive response! I edited the post to fix the broken image for chasseurs à cheval. Also I added a chapter for some units I didn't include: the Gendarmerie Nationale (including the Republican guard) and the Paris firemen.

    As promised I'll be making one for the Swiss Army next.

    In the meanwhile here are some errata for the thread's first post:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The following image is not a Spanish officer, but an lieutenant of the French Foreign Legion. More precisely it's a screenshot of the movie Légionnaire with Jean-Claude Van Damme.
    As a matter of fact it's not even a WW1 era uniform considering it's the one introduced in 1920 for service in North Africa and worn in the Rif War.

    This is not a Swiss officer helmet, but a Swedish one! You can even see the Swedish coat of arms on the badge. The crown insignia should have been a giveaway as Switzerland was never a monarchy. For the record, the Swiss armed forces never wore a Picklehaube.

    Also there were no Grenadiers in the Swiss Army between 1852 and 1940. Those units were created in WW2. The following picture shows line Fusiliers in garrison service (no cover on the shako).

    Last edited by don_Durandal; August 28, 2011 at 08:56 AM.

  14. #394


    I apologize for the double posts. I didn’t think this belonged in the previous post.

    The Swiss Army in 1914-1918

    Intro: Switzerland in the Great War


    Switzerland’s neutrality had been recognised at the Vienna conference in 1815. As the invasion of neutral Belgium had shown, this was not a guarantee in itself and on 1st august 1914 the Swiss Army mobilized to cover its frontiers. Fortunately, after weighting between going though Switzerland or Belgium to invade France, Von Schlieffen had decided the later plan was more realistic. While the Germans and Austro-Hungarians were content on anchoring their lines on the Swiss frontier, the strategically more offensive-minded French and Italians did not forsake that option in view of the tactical situation. The French devised a series of “Plan H” to attack the rear of the German lines by going though Switzerland, or react in case the German army tried the same. In response the north-west of Switzerland was heavily fortified.
    The largest menace came in 1918 with an American army being stationed on the frontier in case a communist revolution became successful. In the end the Swiss army managed to bloodily quell the strike and invasion never happened.
    Being fully surrounded by belligerents, Switzerland had to carefully balance its diplomacy and maintain good relations with all its neighbours. Still, a side effect the country suffered the most from was economical warfare. Food shortages were common and the economy was asphyxiated. Despite all of this Switzerland harboured thousands of refugees and allowed wounded foreign soldiers to be interned and healed.

    As an E:TW player, history is yours to make. Will you enforce Switzerland’s armed neutrality? Or will you go back to the confederation’s pre-Marignan roots of aggressive expansionism?

    Spoiler for Plan H


    Switzerland is a federal republic. The government is held by a Federal Council of seven ministers with equal decisional power. One of the ministers is elected President to facilitate interactions with foreign countries, but he has the same executive power as the rest of the council. He is however traditionally also the head of the Political Department, i.e. foreign affairs.
    In 1914 the Federal council was such:

    President of the Confederation: Arthur Hoffman
    Born June 18, 1857 (57 years old). A lawyer and reserve colonel; politically he was a radical with conservative tendencies. He mostly dealt with laws and juridical concerns and helped write the 1910 civil code. He had a great deal of authority over his political colleagues, but had to resign after he created a diplomatic incident in 1917.

    Department of Justice and Police: Eduard Müller
    Born November 1848 (aged 65). Colonel, division commander from 1888 to 1895. An experienced politician, he held various offices since 1882. As head of the military department, he was the main actor behind the reorganisation and modernisation of the Swiss Army in 1907 and 1911. Politically he was a social democrat and introduced welfare benefits for the unemployed and encouraged the construction of cheap lodgements for the worker class.

    Department of Finance: Giuseppe Motta
    Born December 29, 1871 (age 42). Conservative. Although it lead to his unpopularity, he managed to raise the taxes to support the expanding mobilized army during the war.

    Military department: Camille Decoppet
    Born June 4, 1862 (age 52). Classical liberal. Having studied laws, he had worked as general attorney and federal judge. He held a municipal office and later became a member of the parliament before being elected to the federal council. His main achievement was the reforming of schools and university prior to the war.

    Department of Trade, Industry and Agriculture: Edmund Schulthess
    Born March 2, 1868 (aged 46). He was elected with the support of the industrial lobby and catholic right. His office was characterised by strong economic interventionism. He was a staunch supporter of the industries, but did consider the demands of the worker class.

    Department of Home Affairs: Felix Calonder
    Born December 7, 1863 (aged 50). Classical liberal. His tenure of office was characterised by his indecisiveness on a number of occasions as he sought support from his colleagues. He was directly responsible for the great strike of 1918 due to his refusal to cooperate with the unions and threat of using armed force.

    Department of Posts and Railways: Ludwig Forrer
    Born February 9, 1845 (aged 69). Classical liberal. A lawyer and former police lieutenant, he was made doctor honoris causa by the University of Zurich for writing the law on health insurance.

    The Commander in Chief

    General Ulrich Wille
    Born April 5, 1848 (aged 66). General Wille was an admirer of Prussian military methods, and introduced a strong regime of discipline and drills to the Swiss Army.
    In august 1914 he was elected commander in chief and promoted General, a unique wartime rank used only in time of crisis (division and army corps commanders had the rank of colonel).
    A number of controversies were raised during the war due to his pro-German stance.

    Recruitment and training

    Like all European nations of the time (except Great Britain) Switzerland had a full conscript army except for a few career officers and NCOs. The difference lay in its so-called “militia system”. Instead of having a few years of active military service (for instance two years in Germany) followed by inactive reserve, Swiss servicemen had to follow regular periods of training throughout their reserve time.
    All able-bodied men had to join a recruit school at twenty years old, for a period of about two months depending on the branch of service. After that they were incorporated in a battalion of the “elite”, or went to follow an advancement course for NCOs. They spent 12 years in the “elite”, the first line units of the army. Then until 40 years old they were incorporated in a Landwehr battalion. Elite and Landwehr units were called each year for about two-three weeks of training, reequipment and manoeuvre. Reservists kept their uniform and weapon at home while not on service.
    The third category was the Landsturm which included all able-bodied male citizens aged 17-50 who weren’t already part of the elite and Landwehr. In practice though only ex-servicemen aged 41-48 were called upon. The Landsturm was only mobilized in time of war.

    Like south Germany and Tyrol, Switzerland has an old sharpshooter tradition hailing back to the 18th century. Most communities have a rifle society and contests are held regularly, culminating with the yearly Federal Shooting event. Due to lack of a permanent military service, the army relied and emphasised on this civilian aspect to keep its soldiers trained.
    All servicemen had to take part in compulsory shooting contests each year and score a minimum amount of points. This practice ensured that a high level of marksmanship was maintained even outside of active service. (note: this is still enforced nowadays, so if you’re visiting Switzerland in summer and see civilians walking around with assault rifles, don’t panic)
    At the end of the 19th century the war department took the system up a further notch by initiating a vast civilian program. Rifle societies received funding and opened cadet sections to teach teens how to handle and shoot with army-issued rifles. Shooting ranges were built in most communities. Finally to raise pre-recruit school fitness, sport associations were founded in all municipalities.

    While the individual training of servicemen reached a good professional level, manoeuvres prior to the war showed deep deficiencies in matters of command. The army had to create further officer and NCO schools, and it wasn’t until the reforms of 1907 and 1911 that the problems were partially addressed.

    In 1912 Kaiser Wilhelm II and other head of states were invited to assist to major manoeuvres. It certainly did help show neighbouring countries the determination and degree of preparation of the Swiss Army, for a few years later two major frontlines would end up anchored on the tiny country’s frontier.
    Spoiler for A bit of humour – period postcard

    This is based on a supposedly true story I’ve seen in different sources. I can’t vouch for its veracity though.

    Weapons and uniforms


    Infantry weapons
    Switzerland is well-served by its small arms industry, and most infantry weapons were produced locally. Rifles and carbines belonged to the Schmidt-Rubin family of firearms, weapons noted for their excellent accuracy and their straight-pull bolt action. Fusiliers and carabiniers were armed with Swiss model 1911 Rifles. Cavalry and support units had model 1911 carbines.
    The Landsturm was still equipped with model 1889 and 1896/11 Schmidt-Rubin rifles.
    Handguns included the P06 “Luger” pistol and the model 1882 ordnance revolver.
    The heavy machine gun was the MG 11.

    Field and horse artillery were equipped with 7,5cm Krupp model 1903 field guns (the same one used by Belgium under “Mle. 1905 TR”).
    Mountain artillery had 7.5cm Krupp M-1904 mountain guns.
    Howitzer batteries had 122mm M1909 field howitzers (also used by Imperial Russia) and obsolete 12cm model 1879 heavy guns.
    Heavy artillery was equipped with 15cm model 1914 heavy guns.
    Spoiler for Artillery


    Although there had been plans to introduce a low-visibility uniform prior to the war, the Swiss Army mobilised with its dark blue and green uniforms of 1898. It wasn’t until 1916 that the new grey-green uniform was issued in sufficient numbers to outfit whole battalions.
    Old uniforms were issued until stocks were depleted, so Landsturm units were likely to be still found wearing the 1898 uniform long after grey-green had been introduced.

    Spoiler for Explanation

    Ordnance 1898 uniform
    The 1898 uniform consisted in a double-breasted tunic with a straight collar and piping on all hems. It was worn with dark grey trousers tucked into gaiters of the same cloth for infantry and leather boots for cavalry. All leather equipment was left a natural brown.
    Soldiers were also issued a four pocket Bluse (jacket) of Austro-Hungarian cut, with collar patches but no piping. It had a blue-grey colour (dark green for carabiniers and cavalry). Due to the thrifty Swiss mindset, the cheaper and practical jacket was preferred over the tunic for field wear.
    A cloth field cap in the same colours as the tunic was also issued and worn in garrison duty or as main headgear by cyclists and mountain units. Officers’ caps had a different and unusual shape, the top being slanted towards the back. Rank was indicated by metallic braids.
    The greatcoat was in the same blue-grey colour as the jacket and had coloured collar patches.
    Mountain units used puttees instead of gaiters. The jacket was standard wear in mountain manoeuvres due to its more comfortable cut. They were also issued with a mountain jacket made from a shortened greatcoat. Bicycle troops wore only the cloth cap and had a single-breasted tunic with falling collar.
    A red brassard with the federal cross was prescribed for active service, but seems to have been only worn by Landsturm and civilian auxiliaries.

    Model 1914/17 grey-green uniform
    The 1916 uniform had the same cut as the four-pocket jacket but with apparent buttons. Trousers and garrison caps were made in the same cloth. Unit types were distinguished by coloured cuff, collar patches and piping.

    Model 1898 Tschako
    All units wore a shako of a unified model, with a grey cotton cover in the field. It had a pompon on the top front to indicated branch of service or the company, while the general and great unit commanders (brigade, division and army corps) had a gold one.
    A cockade with the cantonal colours (for infantry and cavalry) or the federal cross was attached under the pompon, or on the left side for cavalry. The front of the Tschako was decorated with a badge depending on the branch of service. Officer ranks were indicated by golden braids on the lower rim. The general in chief also had a braid on the top rim.

    Model 1918 helmet
    Different experimental helmets were trialled during the war, and finally the model 1918 was adopted and issued in small numbers the same year. It had roughly the same characteristics as the German Stahlhelm, with a rounder and wider shape.

    Spoiler for Enough text, show the darned things already

    Spoiler for Rank insignia and General staff

    Note: only the commander in chief of the Swiss Army has the rank of General. Division and Army Corps commanders were all colonels.

    Combat branches and units


    There were two types of infantry formations: field and mountain. The four mountain brigades were organised in the same fashion as the field divisions, but recruited and garrisoned in the alpine regions of south and eastern Switzerland.

    96 Battalions + 96 Landwehr Battalions
    Fusiliers are the bulk of the infantry and as such the whole Swiss Army. Recruits chosen to this trade have to be in good physical shape to manoeuvre in the difficult Swiss terrain.
    Mountain fusiliers were further trained and acclimatized to the dangerous environment of the high Alps. A number of them were mountaineers used to the hardships of alpine life.

    8 battalions + 8 Landwehr battalions
    In the infantry recruit school the best shots were selected to join carabineer battalions instead of the fusiliers. A number of them were former cadets or members of the numerous shooting societies.
    While light infantry had lost some of their specificity with the advent of modern warfare, carabiniers (Schützen in German) maintained a strong esprit de corps that set them apart from the rest of the infantry.

    Swiss army machinegunners were issued with the MG 11, a water-cooled weapon based on the Maxim machine gun and close parent of the German MG 08.
    Machinegunners formed separated battalions at divisional level in 1912. In 1916 individual companies were incorporated in fusilier and carabinier battalions. A year later they adopted their own Tschako badge to replace the former crossed-rifles infantry one.

    Bicycle units
    Cyclists were the infantry’s main reconnaissance units. Bicycles were seen as fast and relatively manoeuvrable in difficult terrain and as such quickly adopted by the army. The model 1905 bicycle remained in use until 1990.

    Spoiler for Infantry pictures


    24 squadrons + 24 Landwehr squadrons
    Dragoons were the main cavalry units in the Swiss Army. Initially trained for mounted combat, they were increasingly restricted to being solely mounted infantry.

    12 companies
    Guides were light cavalry that acted as scouts and liaison units.
    They wore the same shako as the dragoons but with a white plumet.

    Mounted machinegunners
    Machinegun companies were also organised in cavalry brigades. They wore dragoon uniforms with machinegunner cuff insignia and were equipped with horse-drawn carts to carry the heavy weapons.

    Spoiler for Cavalry pictures


    48 field batteries + 8 Landwehr field batteries
    2 mountain batteries
    10 fortress batteries + 15 Landwehr fortress batteries

    Fortress Troops

    To take advantage of Switzerland's alpine terrain, key passes and features had been fortified by adding underground bunkers and hidden artillery emplacements. Place included the high passes in the Alps like the Great St Bernard, but also main valleys entrances like Saint-Maurice and Sargans. Special brigades were raised to man those forts, including artillery, observers and machinegunners, but also the fortress pioneers.

    Fortress pioneers
    As the fortress brigades were supposed to be autonomous, they had to raise their own infantry components. The pioneer units were expanded and saw their role broadened. They were trained to fight as infantry, but also act as engineers and to man lesser fortified position. Due to the terrain most forts were built in, they were also trained in mountain warfare.

    Spoiler for Credits

    There are a small number of books written about the Swiss Army mobilisation of 1914-1918, and I doubt any of them are available outside of Switzerland, so for once I’ll pass on citing references unless someone PMs me.

    To my surprise there are a number of re-enactment groups in Switzerland about this time period. I suggest a visit to the website of Rost & Grünspan. These people know what they’re writing about… in German.
    Even if they tend to be more aged and in worse physical shape than the soldiers they portray would have been, re-enactors are still a great source of colour photos for accurate inspiration.

    Photos of period uniforms are courtesy of the group mentioned above and the Swiss Army Museum Society.
    Last edited by don_Durandal; January 25, 2013 at 04:04 PM. Reason: unit numbers

  15. #395


    Man, this is great! +Rep

    EDIT: Can't give rep sadly
    Developer of The Great War | Leader of WW2: Sandstorm | Under the Woolen Patronage of Mitch | King of All

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Van Tromp View Post
    History has always been a bit of the State's slut.

  16. #396
    Gazz's Avatar Miles
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Eastern Finland


    That IS great, have some rep.

  17. #397
    bibouba's Avatar Miles
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Paris / Bruxelles


    It s amusant how uniforms of swiss army is very near of the belgium one.

  18. #398


    Quote Originally Posted by bibouba View Post
    It s amusant how uniforms of swiss army is very near of the belgium one.
    They don't have a single thing in common except the pre-war colour of the fusilier's tunic and the cut of the greatcoat though.
    The headgear is radically different, the cut of the uniform is different, the colour of most uniform parts is different (see the almost black Belgian greatcoat vs the medium blue Swiss one), the leather equipment is different and so is the backpack.
    There are carabiniers in both armies though.

  19. #399
    bibouba's Avatar Miles
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Paris / Bruxelles


    Register you in the Research group and you will see my belgian roster ...

  20. #400


    Quote Originally Posted by panzer 4 View Post
    anyone know if Tanks were used in the middle eastern theatre?

    couldnt find any reports and i thought that Middle eastern sand and dust would quickly overheat the engine.
    Yes - the British used some when attacking Gaza in 1917

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