12 rare and amazing photos from the 'War to End All Wars'

The Great War raged through Europe and the Middle East 100 years ago. The following are some of the most unbelievable photos of troops and tech from the “War to End All Wars.”

1 – This listening device


Before the advent of radar, aircraft had to be located by hearing the direction from which the aircraft approached. The horns amplified sound and the tech would wear headphones to try to pinpoint the location of the incoming enemy.


2 – Holy rolling


German infantryman Kurt Geiler was carrying his bible when a four centimeter piece of shrapnel embedded itself in the book, likely making a lifelong Christian out out of Geiler.


3 – Lady Liberty takes 18,000 soldiers


This depiction of the Statue of Liberty was made to drive war bonds and is made up of 18,000 troops – 12,000 just for the torch, which is a half mile away.


4 – Realities of war


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affected troops even 100 years ago. Called “shell shock” at the time, up to 65,000 troops were treated for it, while thousands of others were charged with cowardice for it. Blasts from shells would leave lesions on the brain, resulting in symptoms similar to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) experienced by post-9/11 veterans.


5 – This Austro-Hungarian war face

Austrian-Hungarian soldier, 1918

This war face would make Gunnery Sergeant Hartman proud. It looks like William Fichtner’s great-grandfather.


6- These Italian troops mummified by the cold


The next time you complain about being in formation in the winter, remember it could always be worse. These Italians froze in the Alps, fighting Austrians.


7- This gay couple flaunted DADT before it was controversial.


Or so we might assume based on this pose . . .


8 – This pigeon is ready for your close up. 


Both sides used animals for reconnaissance and communication. Pigeons were especially useful for their homing ability and attitude.


9 – This woman looks ready to take the whole German Army


There’s so much so-called “great man history,” that we often forget about women’s contributions. Women worked in many industrial areas during the Great War. Look at this photo and realize most of you couldn’t chop wood all day on your best day.

10 – This incredibly brave little girl


Where are this girl’s parents? This is 1916, and child rearing was slightly tougher back then, but that’s still unexploded ordnance. (Europeans still find unexploded bombs from both world wars.)


11 – This “Ideal Soldier” 

Le Poilu

This propaganda photo depicts what the French public thought the ideal French soldier looked like.

12- These Vietnamese troops who did not fit #11’s profile

WWI Vietnamese Soldiers Arrive in France

A total of 92,411 Vietnamese men from what was then called French Indochina were in the service of France and were distributed around Europe, of which around 30,000 died.