Photos WW1 Japanese, Italian and Allied Forces

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The IJN destroyer Katsura in Brindisi harbour, 1917. The Katsura was a Kaba-class destroyer that, during WWI, was part of the 2nd Special Squadron sent from Japan in 1917 to help out the Entente in the Mediterranean Sea
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Italy:
Submarine Alberto Guglielmotti, mistakenly sunk by the sloop HMS Cyclamen on 10 March 1917
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The Alberto Guglielmotti was a Pacinotti-class submarine, the first medium-range submarine class built for the Regia Marina between 1914 and 1916.
Having entered service in December 1916, the Guglielmotti was proceeding from La Spezia to Brindisi when it met between Corsica and the island of Elba, at 2215 hours, two ships, the sloop HMS Cyclamen (Arabis-class) and the transport Arcadia whom the former was escorting. Unfortunately, the Cyclamen (that had not been warned of the Italian submarine's presence in those waters, due to a mistake on the part of French authorities) mistook the boat for a German U-Boot, and proceeded to open fire against it with its gun, hitting the conning tower and killing one officer. Afterwards it rammed the submarine, which in a few minutes sank, with roughky half of its crew. The survivors were taken onboard, and the sloop sent the signal: "HAVE RAMMED AND SUNK ENEMY SUBMARINE. SURVIVORS APPEAR TO SPEAK ITALIAN." This unfortunate incident did little to improve the rather tense relationship between the Mediterranean allies.
 
The Siamese Expeditionary Force, World War I

One of the lesser known Allied Powers during World War I was the Kingdom of Siam, now called Thailand. Siam declared war on the Central Powers in July of 1917. Shortly afterward, plans were set into motion to organized an expeditionary force to fight on the Western Front. For Siam, taking an active part in the war was a move to show that the ancient Kingdom could act as an independent power in the modern age and could stretch it’s military muscle. Siamese independence was viewed as very valuable as the kingdom was the only country in Southeast Asia that was able to resist foreign colonialism and maintain it’s sovereignty. Furthermore Siam was neighbors with French Indochina, and allying with France could improve future relations. Finally participation in the war would also give Siam a place at the bargaining table when the Central Powers were defeated, and perhaps a share of the political spoils.

The Siamese Expeditionary Force (SEF) was composed of an 870 man motor corps and a 414 man strong air force led by Major-General Phraya Bhijai Janriddhi.

Initially the SEF was not equipped or prepared for World War I, so for several months it underwent training at the direction of officers who were educated in Europe and served as military observers on the Western Front. For the most part the SEF used French weapons and equipment as Siam did not have the ability to supply it’s expeditionary force. Thus the SEF was completely reliant on the French Army while on the Western Front. The SEF arrived in France on the 30th of July, 1918. During the Second Battle of the Marne and the Meuse Offensive the motor corps was used to transport supplies and wounded. However, tensions between French and Siamese officers, as well as a lack of competent translators prevented the SEF from being integrated into the French Army for front line combat operations. The infighting between Siamese and French officers became so heated that at one point the Siamese government considered canceling the mission altogether.

When the Armistice was signed on November 11th, 1917, the SEF was ordered to cross the German border and serve as an occupation force. From December 1918 to July 1919, the SEF headquartered in Neustadt, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate. When the Treaty of Versailles was signed the SEF left Germany to participate in victory parades in Brussels, Paris, and London. The SEF disembarked for Siam in September of 1919. During the war the SEF lost 19 men, half due to the flu pandemic, the rest as a result of accidents.

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Siamese troops in Marseilles, 1918
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Thai soldiers of the Siamese Expeditionary Force pass under the Arc De Triomphe during the World War I Paris Victory Parade, 1919.
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Italy:
Light scout Alessandro Poerio being launched at the Ansaldo shipyard on 4 August 1914

The three Poerio-class "esploratori leggeri" were completed when WWI was already on full swing even in the Adriatic, and served most of the conflict based at Venice (in the IV Squadriglia); none of them was lost, but barely, as the Cesare Rossarol was lost to a mine after the war had ended, on 16 november 1918.
Derated destroyers in 1921, the two surviving ships (Alessandro Poerio and Guglielmo Pepe) were slated for decommissioning by 1937; however, the Spanish Civil War gave them new lease of life, as they were ceded to the Armada Española and rechristened respectively Teruel and Huesca, remaining active till 1949.
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The Siamese Expeditionary Force, World War I

One of the lesser known Allied Powers during World War I was the Kingdom of Siam, now called Thailand. Siam declared war on the Central Powers in July of 1917. Shortly afterward, plans were set into motion to organized an expeditionary force to fight on the Western Front. For Siam, taking an active part in the war was a move to show that the ancient Kingdom could act as an independent power in the modern age and could stretch it’s military muscle. Siamese independence was viewed as very valuable as the kingdom was the only country in Southeast Asia that was able to resist foreign colonialism and maintain it’s sovereignty. Furthermore Siam was neighbors with French Indochina, and allying with France could improve future relations. Finally participation in the war would also give Siam a place at the bargaining table when the Central Powers were defeated, and perhaps a share of the political spoils.

The Siamese Expeditionary Force (SEF) was composed of an 870 man motor corps and a 414 man strong air force led by Major-General Phraya Bhijai Janriddhi.

Initially the SEF was not equipped or prepared for World War I, so for several months it underwent training at the direction of officers who were educated in Europe and served as military observers on the Western Front. For the most part the SEF used French weapons and equipment as Siam did not have the ability to supply it’s expeditionary force. Thus the SEF was completely reliant on the French Army while on the Western Front. The SEF arrived in France on the 30th of July, 1918. During the Second Battle of the Marne and the Meuse Offensive the motor corps was used to transport supplies and wounded. However, tensions between French and Siamese officers, as well as a lack of competent translators prevented the SEF from being integrated into the French Army for front line combat operations. The infighting between Siamese and French officers became so heated that at one point the Siamese government considered canceling the mission altogether.

When the Armistice was signed on November 11th, 1917, the SEF was ordered to cross the German border and serve as an occupation force. From December 1918 to July 1919, the SEF headquartered in Neustadt, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate. When the Treaty of Versailles was signed the SEF left Germany to participate in victory parades in Brussels, Paris, and London. The SEF disembarked for Siam in September of 1919. During the war the SEF lost 19 men, half due to the flu pandemic, the rest as a result of accidents.

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Siamese troops in Marseilles, 1918
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Thai soldiers of the Siamese Expeditionary Force pass under the Arc De Triomphe during the World War I Paris Victory Parade, 1919.
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Out of all the Inter-Allied victory medals for WW1 Siam are the rarest, a relative small issue in the first place, a prime example can command 6000 dollars or more.
 
Destroyer Zeffiro at anchor in Venice, 1915
he Nembo-class destroyer Zeffiro was the protagonist of small but successful raid executed by the Regia Marina in the upper Adriatic mere hours after Italy's declaration of war against Austria-Hungary (24 May 1915) took effect. The small island of Porto Buso, near Grado, was at the southernmost part of the border, and its outpost (thought to be more consistent than it actually war) constituted a good target for a quick raid using the destroyers stationed at Venice.

On the night between 23 and 14 May, the Zeffiro, commanded by Capitano di Corvetta Arturo Ciano (brother of the more famous Costanzo Ciano, and uncle of Galeazzo Ciano), reached the location at 0200 h, managing to close in unspotted, and launched a torpedo (which came to a stop against a jetty, and was recovered undetonated) and opened fire with its 76 mm (3 inch) guns. According to the Austro-Hungarian report, the outpost commander ordered an evacuation, but when a small boat was sunk by the destroyer's gunfire he, deeming any further resistance useless, went to the beach with his men and asked to surrender. Forty-eight men were captured by the Zeffiro's crew and brought to Venice in the morning. The outpost had been neutralized, and would soon be occupied by Italian forces during the initial Italian advance.
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Battleship Leonardo da Vinci, sunk in Taranto harbour by an internal explosion in 1916, after being raised and righted, on 25 January 1921.
The Conte di Cavour-class battleship Leonardo da Vinci was one of the several battleships that, throughout history, had the misfortune to be sunk because of an internal explosion. While its tragedy, on 2 August 1916 (which claimed the lives of 248 souls), had been long attributed to a successful sabotage operated by Austro-Hungarian agents, this theory has recently been disputed, and it seems more likely that it was caused by the instability of the propellants.
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Armoured cruiser Amalfi; she was sunk on 7 July 1915 near Venice by the German U-Boot SM UB-14, posing as an Austro-Hungarian submarine
The Pisa-class armoured cruiser Amalfi was operating from Venice when Italy entered World War I. On 7 July 1915 she exited the laguna, to meet up and protect two destroyer flotillas that had performed an offensive recon in the upper Adriatic; a few miles off the protective nets, she spotted a submarine and less than a minute later she was struck on its port side by a torpedo. In ten minutes the cruiser capsized and sank; despite this, only 72 crewmen were killed or MIA in the sinking, with 682 being instead saved. The sinking of the cruiser caused attrition between the Italian Chief of Staff, Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel, and the commander of the IV Divisione (Fourth Division), the detachment of older capital ships and cruisers stationed at Venice, Admiral Umberto Cagni.

The submarine that had scored this success was officially the Austro-Hungarian U-26; however, in reality, despite the Austro-Hungarian flag that it had onboard and that it had to fly if operating on the surface, the submarine was the German SM UB-14, had a German crew and commander and operated independently of any Austro-Hungarian submarine activity. Such a travesty was due to the fact that the Kingdom of Italy at the time was not at war with the German Empire, yet the latter had opted to support its ally in the Mediterranean with small submarines that could be disassembled, sent through rail to the Austro-Hungarian base of Pola and reassembled to operate in the Middle Sea.
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A Serbian soldier sleeps beside his father who visited him in the trenches near Belgrade, 1914/15
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Italy:
Battleship Leonardo da Vinci in the flooded Bacino Ferrati, July 1916
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Belgian Carabiniers , with machine-guns pulled by dogs, photographed during the Battle of the Frontiers, 1914
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Sailors row across Wellington Harbour to their ship, the cruiser Ibuki, seen to the left of HMS Minotaur. 1914.
In 1914 Ibuki and HMS Minotaur were tasked with escorting the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps to Egypt. With HMS Philomel, they escorted the New Zealand contingent to Western Australia. The cruisers then sailed west with HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne, and a convoy of thirty-six other ships. Minotaur was diverted to South Africa after the Battle of Coronel. Ibuki continued the journey and guarded the convoy while Sydney engaged SMS Emden during the Battle of Cocos.
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Battleship Dante Alighieri sailing at full speed, ca. 1914
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Mass aboard the armoured cruiser San Marco, during World War I
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Destroyer Giuseppe Cesare Abba entering Brindisi harbour, 13 September 1916
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In the background can be seen Ruggiero Di Lauria class ironclad Andrea Doria, when Italy entered WW1 she was redeployed as a guard ship in Brindisi (before WW1 she was reclassified as a depot ship).
 
The Brusilov Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive was a military victory for the Russians on the Eastern Front. General Brusilov’s assault regained land lost to the Central Powers in the early phases of the war. A decisive victory, it led to the Hapsburg Empire being dependant upon German support and on the verge of collapse. The offensive lasted until September 1916.
The early stages of the First World War were disastrous for the Russian army. They were defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg in the opening days of the war and suffered further losses at the Battle of the Masurian Lakes. Tsar Nicholas II decided to assume the leadership of the armed forces. He appointed Aleksei A. Brusilov to plan an offensive for the Summer of 1916.
Background to the Brusilov Offensive
The Allies had agreed at Chantilly in December 1915 that there would be a major offensive against the Central Powers on each front in 1916. The Russians hoped that by agreeing to this, they would receive aid in the form of munitions from the Western Allies. Brusilov was placed in charge of planning the Russian campaign. It was to be launched to the south east of the Central Powers lines, the South west of Russia’s.
Brusilov’s Plan and Objectives
The objectives for Brusilov’s offensive were to ease pressure on Britain and France by draining the resources of the Central Powers. It also aimed to force the Hapsburg Empire out of the war through an overwhelming defeat.
The plan was to strike at the Austro-Hungarians flank. The Hapsburg army was stretched as many forces were fighting along the Italian Front. Brusilov was to strike toward Lviv and Kovel in modern day Romania. He requested that offensives were launched further north to assist his main drive: a request denied by the High Command.
Brusilov assigned 4 armies to his offensive. These comprised 40 infantry and 15 cavalry divisions. His reserve was brought to the front to dig trenches, which were designed to hinder enemy observations of his movements. As with the Western Front, the use of tunnels was adopted. Unlike his counterparts on the West, Brusilov did not tunnel underneath the enemy line but instead tunnelled to positions close to their front lines. The distance between the end of these tunnels and the Hapsburg front lines was between 70 and 100 metres.
4th June 1916: The Brusilov Offensive
On 4th June 1916 Brusilov ordered a brief but highly accurate bombardment of the Austro-Hungarian positions. The short bombardment caught the Austro-Hungarians by surprise. The standard method on the Eastern front mirrored that of the West, long and protracted bombardments in advance of an assault. Brusilov had achieved complete surprise in ordering such a short barrage. His forces, including some making use of the tunnels, broke through enemy lines along most of the 300 mile front.
Within days the Russians had advanced into Lutsk taking over 200,000 prisoners. The advance continued toward the Carpathian Mountains. The Austro-Hungarians were in full retreat across most of the front.
Advance slows
The speed of the advance led to Brusilov’s forces becoming stretched. He asked for additional offensives to be launched by forces led by General Evert to the north to support him and hinder German attempts to reinforce the Austro-Hungarians. This offensive was delayed. Then, instead of a full assault, men from this army were sent to reinforce Brusilov, against his wishes.
End of the Brusilov Offensive
The campaign drew to a close when the Russian forces reached the Carpathian mountains. The objective of regaining ground had been achieved. The objective of inflicting lasting damage to the Hapsburg Empire had been realised. The Germans had been forced to support the Austro-Hungarians, leading to a lack of reserves to fight both Verdun and the Somme on the Western Front. Militarily it was one of the most successful campaigns fought by any army in the First World War.
By Dan Morehead

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