Photos WW1 Germany and Their Allies

Austro Hungarian mountain troops ascend to gain a tactical advantage over the Italians.
World War One Italian Front

The “Souvenir King” was one of the best soldiers on the Western Front...
By Miguel Ortiz
War trophies and battlefield loot were especially common during the two World Wars. However, one allied soldier’s hijacking habits during WWI earned him the nickname the “Souvenir King”. Despite his lack of military discipline, the Souvenir King was also one of the bravest soldiers in the trenches.
Private No 2296 John Hines, also known as Barney, was born in Liverpool, England in 1873. From a young age, Hines was a rebel. At the age of 14, he ran away from home to join the Army before his mother caught him.
Undeterred, he joined the Royal Navy two years later and served on a gunboat during the Boxer Rebellion chasing pirates in the China Sea. The next year, he was discharged and began a globetrotting expedition in search of gold.
While searching for his fortune in South Africa, the Boer War broke out. Unofficially, he served as a scout for many British units during the war. Afterwards, Hines continued his quest for gold in the United States, South America, and New Zealand. Coming up dry each time, he made his way to Australia and found work at a sawmill before WWI broke out in August 1914.
Though he was now in his early 40s, Hines tried to enlist but was rejected for medical reasons. Still, he jumped from recruiting post to recruiting post until he was accepted in 1916 as part of a reinforcement for the Australian 45th Battalion.
In France, Hines found a distaste for the standard-issue Lee-Enfield .303 rifle. Instead, with his large stature and immense strength, Hines preferred to go into battle with a pair of sandbags filled with Mills bomb hand grenades. Seeing the potential of a soldier like Hines, his commanding officer gave the Souvenir King a Lewis machine gun. This turned out to be a match made in heaven. “This thing’ll do me,” Hines assessed in his Liverpudlian accent. “You can hose the bastards down.”
Hines’ fearlessness and excitement on the battlefield also earned him the nickname “Wild Eyes”. “I always felt secure when Wild Eyes was about,” Hines’ commanding officer said. “He was a tower of strength in the line—I don’t think he knew what fear was and he naturally inspired confidence in the officers and men.” Of course, Hines’ strongest reputation was still as the Souvenir King.
Annoyed by the harassing sniper fire from a German pillbox, Hines charged the position, leapt on its roof and performed a war dance taunting the Germans to come out. When his taunts went unanswered, Hines lobbed a handful of Mills bombs through the gun port. Shocked and disorientated, the 63 German soldiers that survived came out and surrendered to Hines who proceeded to collect souvenirs of badges, helmets, and watches before marching them back to the Australian lines. Hines would squirrel away any battlefield loot that he could get his hands on.
On another occasion, Hines came across a heavily shelled German aid station. Ironically, the only survivor was a British soldier who Hines scooped up and bravely carried back to allied lines. Sadly, the Tommy died before they returned. After delivering his fallen comrade to friendly hands, Hines returned to aid station and looted it. Still, he set his sights higher.
At Villers-Bretonneux, Hines acquired a piano which he managed to hold on to for a few days before he was forced to give it up. Another large souvenir was a grandfather clock. However, after its hourly chimes started to draw German fire, Hines’ battle buddies ironically destroyed it with one of Hines’ favorite weapons—Mills bombs. At Armentieres, Hines found a keg of Bass Ale which he rolled back to friendly lines. However, he was stopped by military police who wouldn’t let him take the keg back to the trenches. In classic Hines style, he returned with a friend to drink the whole thing on the spot.
Perhaps Hines’ finest souvenir hunt came at Amiens. After disappearing for a few hours, Hines was caught by British soldiers looting the vaults in the Bank of France. The Souvenir King had already stuffed his pockets full of banknotes and packed another million Francs in a set of suitcases. Unable to press charges against an Australian soldier, the Brits turned him back over to the Aussies.
Hines later boasted that, while the heist cost him 14 days’ pay, he had been allowed to keep the loot stuffed in his pockets.
Hines wasn’t invincible though. At Passchendale, he was the only survivor of a direct hit on his Lewis gun nest. Despite being thrown 20 meters and having the soles blown off of his boots, Hines crawled back to his gun and returned fire until he passed out from his leg wounds. At Villers-Bretonneux, Hines threw a trench party catered with champagne and tinned delicacies that he had looted. He and his friends even dressed up in top hats and dress suits.
Take a wild guess as to how they got their hands on those. However, following the party, Hines was wounded above his eye, in his leg, and received a whiff of deadly gas. Despite his protests, the wounded and nearly blinded Souvenir King was taken to a hospital at Etaples.
Still, Hines continued to display unusual bravery and valor. A few days after he was admitted, the Germans bombed the hospital and caused over 3,000 casualties. During the bombardment, Hines crawled out of bed and found a broom for a crutch. Despite his own injuries, Hines spent the entire night carrying the other patients to safety. After the war, Hines was invalided and returned to Australia.
He lived in a lean-to made of cloth bags on the outskirts of Sydney. The lean-to was surrounded by a fence on which he hung his various souvenirs. He lived off of his Army pension and worked various odd jobs. However, Hines found renewed fame in the early 1930s when several magazines and newspapers published stories about his wartime exploits and current living conditions. Several veterans sent him money and the government doubled his pension. Still, the Souvenir King remained humble, donating a suitcase of vegetables from his garden to fellow soldiers being treated at Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney.
When WWII broke, despite being in his 60s, Hines volunteered for combat.
When he was rejected, he tried to stowaway on a troop ship before his was found out and returned to shore. Hines died on January 28, 1958 at Concord Repatriation Hospital. The legacy of the Souvenir King lives on in the famous photo of him surrounded by his loot at the Battle of Polygon Wood.

German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads daring mission in France...
On January 29, 1915, in the Argonne region of France, German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads his company in the daring capture of four French block-houses, the structures used on the front to house artillery positions.
Rommel crept through the French wire first and then called for the rest of his company to follow him. When they hung back after he had repeatedly shouted his orders, Rommel crawled back, threatening to shoot the commander of his lead platoon if the other men did not follow him. The company finally advanced, capturing the block-houses and successfully combating an initial French counter-attack before they were surrounded, subjected to heavy fire and forced to withdraw.
Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, for his bravery in the Argonne; he was the first officer of his regiment to be so honored. Where Rommel is, there is the front, became a popular slogan within his regiment.
The bravery and ingenuity he displayed throughout the Great War, even in light of the eventual German defeat, led to Rommel’s promotion through the ranks of the army in the post-war years.
In May 1940, Erwin Rommel was at the head of the 7th Panzer Division that invaded France with devastating success at the beginning of the Second World War. Promoted to general and later to field marshal, he was sent to North Africa at the head of the German forces sent to aid Hitler’s ally, Benito Mussolini. Known as the Desert Fox, Rommel engineered impressive victories against Britain in Libya and Egypt before his troops were decisively defeated at El Alamein in Egypt in 1943 and forced to retreat from the region.
Back in France to see the success of the Allied invasion in June and July 1944, Rommel warned Hitler that the end of the war was near. The unequal struggle is nearing its end, Rommel sent in a teletype message on July 15.
I must ask you immediately to draw the necessary conclusions from this situation.
Suspected by Hitler of conspiring against him in the so-called July Plot, Rommel was presented with an ultimatum: suicide, with a state funeral and protection for his family, or trial for high treason. Rommel chose the former, taking poison pills on October 14, 1944.
He was buried with full military honors.

At the end of WW1 over 200 German U-Boats and support vessels surrendered to the Royal Navy. The U-Boats started coming in on the 21st November 1918. Subject to the the terms of the Armistice, the entire U-boat fleet was to be surrendered to the Allies. They were met by a small flotilla of RN warships led by Rear Adm Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt, commanding officer of the Harwich fleet. The first 20 began arriving at 10am on November 20th 1918. Personnel from the RN received the vessels at the specified coordinates 20 miles from the UK.
The U-boats were then boarded, at which point the Germans were asked to show their RN counterparts the boats controls and to confirm that no infernal machines or booby traps of any sort are on board. Guided in by RN warships, the U-boats then laid anchor in the River Stour. Rear Adm Tyrwhitt ruled there should be "no communication whatsoever" with the Germans, who were packed on to transport ships and sent home without being allowed to set foot on UK soil. The fleet stretched for two miles (3km) down the river outside Parkeston Quay, Harwich.
Picture and Caption courtesy of
Bill Cox

9 NOV 1914: World War I and HMAS Sydney destroys SMS Emden at the Battle of Cocos, a single-ship action that occurred after the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney (under the command of John Glossop) responded to an attack on a communications station at Direction Island by the German light cruiser SMS Emden (commanded by Karl von Müller).
After the retreat of the German East Asia Squadron from south-east Asia, Emden remained behind to function as a commerce raider.
During a two-month period, the German cruiser captured or sank 25 civilian vessels, shelled Madras, and destroyed two Allied warships at Penang.
In early November, von Müller decided to attack the communications station at Direction Island, in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, to hamper Allied communications and frustrate the search for his ship.
Around the same time, a convoy of Europe-bound transports carrying Australian and New Zealand soldiers departed from Albany, Western Australia, with HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Sydney, HMS Minotaur, and Japanese battlecruiser Ibuki escorting.
During the night of 8–9 November, Emden reached the islands, and sent a party ashore at around 06:00 to disable the wireless and cable transmission station on Direction Island.
The station was able to transmit a distress call before it was shut down. Melbourne received the message, and ordered Sydney to investigate.
The Australian ship arrived off Direction Island at 09:15, spotting and being spotted by Emden. Both ships prepared for combat, with Emden opening fire at 09:40: surprising those aboard Sydney by scoring hits well beyond what British intelligence estimated her guns were capable of.
The German ship was unable to inflict disabling damage to the Australian cruiser before Sydney opened up with her more powerful main guns. At 11:20, von Müller ordered that the heavily damaged Emden beach on North Keeling Island.
The Australian warship broke to pursue the collier Buresk, which scuttled herself, then returned to North Keeling Island at 16:00.
At this point, Emden’s battle ensign was still flying, and after no response to instructions to lower the ensign, Glossop ordered two salvoes shot into the beached cruiser.
Sydney had orders to ascertain the status of the transmission station, but returned the next day to provide medical assistance to the Germans.
Of Emden’s crew, 134 were killed and 69 wounded, compared to only 4 killed and 16 wounded aboard Sydney.
The German survivors were taken aboard the Australian cruiser, with most transferred to auxiliary cruiser Empress of Russia on 12 November.
Sydney rejoined the troop convoy in Colombo, then spent the rest of the war assigned to the North America and West Indies Station, then the British Grand Fleet.
Von Müller and some of his officers were imprisoned in Malta, and the rest of the German personnel were sent to prisoner-of-war camps in Australia.
An additional 50 German personnel from the shore party, unable to be recovered before Sydney arrived, commandeered a schooner and escaped from Direction Island, eventually arriving in Constantinople.
The defeat of the last German ship in the region allowed RAN warships to be deployed to other theatres, and troopships were able to sail unescorted between Australia and the Middle East until renewed raider activity in 1917. Photo; SMS Emden aground, after the battle. More:

Decorated Bavarian infantrymen pose with two French prisoners of war. The French soldier in the centre wear the insignia of the Chasseur à pied (French light infantry) on his helmet, the other one isn't so clear.
Of note is the 20-round Grabenmagazin fitted to the Gew 98 on the right. These magazines were generally issued to troops in defensive positions as they were cumbersome and generally unpopular with the men in the field. It is unusual to see one out of a trench position.

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Maybe or maybe not .??
A German soldier and his son during the outbreak of WWI, 1914.

In August 1914, the German army needed just 12 days to expand from 808,280 to 3,502,700 soldiers. In Britain 2,675,149 men volunteered
German artillerymen in the village of Plavie in the Ukrainian Carpathians, 1915. These men likely belong to the German 'Beskiden Korps', which was sent to help the Austro-Hungarians in the Carpathians in April 1915.
The interior of an Austro-Hungarian submarine during the Great War era. Photo from the KuK Kriegsmarine Museum in Croatia.
WWI. Germany. August 1914. Infantry of the Prussian Guards, in new field gray uniforms, march through the streets of Berlin heading off for the front.

Sturmtruppen of an Austro-Hungarian 'Sturmbataillon' (Assault Battalion) man a captured Vickers machine gun during training in Levico, March 1917.

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