French cavalry with a plane flying overhead, 1916

Old and new in one picture. You can see exactly where the war was going; Only they didn't know it yet. For the first few months in the war, French Cuirassiers still wore breastplates and plumed helmets. Soldiers were being trapped in outdated methods of strategy and equipment, while technology that came into play would change the battlefields forever.

In 1914, tactics would have been familiar to commanders of a century earlier: the army went massive, artillery fired directly into open spaces, cavalry scouting for the enemy and taking advantage of opportunities for success and pursuit.

tangled until the front lines become stable, and the barbed wire rises; It then became a static battle where it was nearly impossible to break through the enemy's first line of trenches (usually three layers deep). The infantry wore cloth caps, carried bolt-action rifles, and generally had two new-fashioned "machine guns" per battalion.

By 1918, the equipment and tactics had been changed. Artillery fired indirectly, observed by forward observers (sometimes aerial) or 'map predicted fire' against targets found by trench raids or aerial reconnaissance.

The cavalry had become a mobile reserve, using their horses to quickly reach the point where reinforcements were needed but dismounted to fight on foot.

The infantry had dozens of machine guns per battalion, plus hand and rifle grenades and trench mortars, and had great flexibility in both attack and defense. In 1916 tanks had moved from incredible novelty to prime asset for break-in and chase, building up and exploiting breaches in enemy lines that had previously been impossible.

And the aircraft went from a handful of unarmed scouts to a special force capable of destroying enemy aircraft, providing close air support, reconnaissance, and even launching tactical and strategic bombing.

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