In commemoration of Armistice Day we have put together a series of blogs looking at some of the men who fought in the First World War. Our images and information are drawn from our backlist, which unfortunately means we have not been able to include all the nations that fought in the war. Every nation that participated can be found mentioned at the start of the series.

Much is made of the clashes between Germany and the Allies on the Western Front, but in Eastern Europe there were nations involved in fierce fighting.

Poland

Lieutenant, Polish Lancers, 1917.

Extract from Men-at-Arms 364: The Russian Army 1914–18 by Nik Cornish

Illustration by Andrei Karachtchouk

The details on this officer’s uniform mark him as Polish: the white Polish eagle on the cap, the crimson breeches stripes and cuff lace, and the eagle badge on the breast pocket.





 




 









 

Romania

Locotenent-colonel, 11th Artillery Regiment, 6th Infantry Division; Western Moldavia, November 1918.

Extract from Men-at-Arms 356: Armies in the Balkans 1914–18 by Nigel Thomas and Dusan Babac

Illustration by Darko Pavlovic

On 5 May 1916 French-supplied ‘horizon blue’ uniforms were introduced but effectively only reached officers. This officer wears the M1916 tunic; the M1912 grey-green tunic had internal pockets with scalloped flaps and a fly-front. His kepi, the M1912 model in grey-blue, has the national cockade and royal monogram (general officers, a gold star on a silver sun). He has M1912 black breeches for general officers, cavalry, artillery and frontier guard officers, with branch-colour piping (general officers, double red stripes) and artillery officers’ riding boots (cavalry added a gold metal rosette). Other branches had grey-green breeches with brown leather gaiters and ankle boots, and in 1916 all branches had grey-blue breeches.





 




 









 

Bulgaria

Efreytor, 34th Infantry Regiment, 9th ‘Pleven’ Infantry Division; Battle of Doiran, September 1918.

Extract from Men-at-Arms 356: Armies in the Balkans 1914–18 by Nigel Thomas and Dusan Babac

Illustration by Darko Pavlovic

This soldier wears the standard Other Ranks’ M1915 field-grey infantry service and field uniform with concealed breast pockets and pointed infantry cuffs, later also manufactured with lower pockets only and plain cuffs. The peaked cap is plain; the tunic has a red-piped collar, front edge, cuff and shoulder strap piping, with a red cloth rank loop and regimental number. Troops wore Bulgarian-style civilian opanci shoes and socks in dry weather, black marching boots in wet. He has M1908 black leather infantry equipment and has his hooded M1915 single-breasted greatcoat rolled around the backpack. He carries an Austro-Hungarian 8mm Mannlicher M1895 infantry rifle.





 


 

 

Serbia

Podnarednik, 2nd ‘Prince Mihailo’ Infantry Regiment, First Line Morava Division; Lesnica, August 1914.

Extract from Men-at-Arms 356: Armies in the Balkans 1914–18 by Nigel Thomas and Dusan Babac

Illustration by Darko Pavlovic

This ‘Iron Regiment’ NCO wears the M1908 Other Ranks’ cloth service and field uniform, his peakless field cap omitting the NCO’s plain cockade in the field; officers wore a cockade with monogram and service cap pipings and braids. His tunic has branch-colour rectangular cloth collar patches; loose breeches, tight from the knee, were worn with traditional woollen socks and opanci shoes when black marching boots were unavailable. His M1908 greatcoat, with rectangular branch-colour collar patches, is rolled over his shoulder. He has brown leather equipment with M1895 German ammunition pouches, a slung waterbottle and canvas bag, and a 7mm Mauser-Koka-Djuric M1880/1907 rifle and bayonet.




 




 









 

Ukraine

Volunteer, Legion Ukrainski Sichovi Srtiltsi (Legion of Ukrainian Sich Rifles), 1914.

Extract from Men-at-Arms 412: Ukrainian Armies 1914–55 by P. Abbot and E. Pinak

Illustration by Oleksiy Rudenko

This legionary had belonged to one of the para-military Sichovi Striltsi organizations. He wears his pre-war uniform, since the Legion had a low priority and regulation Austro-Hungarian uniforms and equipment were not issued until the end of the year, after the men had been fighting for three months. The only weapons provided at first were obsolete M1873 Werndl rifles without slings, so the volunteers had to make their own from string. This man has a cavalry belt and old pattern cartridge pouch.






 




 









 
 

Further Reading

If you are interested in delving into the history of World War I then click here to view our World War I Period Page.

Part Three: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy and Turkey  Part Five: India and the Askari

 


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