University of Oxford
Browse
726e9fdb3ee8a8746300bfd61169b07c702c6d3b.jpg (185.31 kB)

54896: Photograph, 'The Horror of War' - A German Ambulance Takes an Artillery Hit

Download (185.31 kB)
online resource
posted on 2024-02-23, 18:21 authored by Great War Archive Project Team

This photograph shows a WWI horse-drawn German ambulance that apparently sustained an artillery hit. As the burned-out ambulance smolders, German soldiers try to pick up the pieces while two medics stand by. The horse is lying on the ground, and a soldier bends over it's head, perhaps to administer a bullet of mercy.

This same scene was played out again and again on all sides during the mud-and-blood bath of WWI. A most heart-wrenching account of a draft animal's plight was recorded by British Lieutenant R.G. Dixon, 14th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery:

"Heaving about in the filthy mud of the road was an unfortunate mule with both of his forelegs shot away. The poor brute, suffering God knows what untold agonies and terrors, was trying desperately to get to its feet which weren't there. Writhing and heaving, tossing its head about in its wild attempts, not knowing that it no longer had any front legs.

"I had my revolver with me, but couldn't get near the animal, which lashed out at us with its hind legs and tossed its head unceasingly. Jerry's shells were arriving pretty fast - we made some desperate attempts to get the mule so that I could put a bullet behind its ear into the brain, but to no avail.

"By lingering there, trying to put the creature out of its pain I was risking not only my life but also my companions'. The shelling got more intense - perhaps one would hit the poor thing and put it out of its misery."

British Signaller Jim Crow of the 110th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, summed it up: "We knew what we were there for; them poor devils didn't, did they?"

History

Identifier

5246.jpg| GWA_4605_WWI_German_Ambulance_Takes_an_Artillery_Hit.jpg|

Subject

Unknown

Date

1914 - 1916

Date Created

01/08/1914

Temporal Coverage

31/12/1918

Source

Photograph

Medium

Photographic paper

Type

Photograph

Contributor

Richard Marshall | Rebecca Libby

Rights

The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor

Publisher

The Great War Archive, University of Oxford

Usage metrics

    Great War Archive

    Exports

    RefWorks
    BibTeX
    Ref. manager
    Endnote
    DataCite
    NLM
    DC