Frontline trenches. Group of French servicemen, "Poilus", in front of the entrance of a cote. Woods of Hirtzbach. (Haut-Rhin. France. June 16th, 1917)
"Poilus" (hairy) is the nickname to French WWI soldiers, since they could not afford the luxury of regular shaving. It is a term of affection, especially now.
Frontline trench, observer. French serviceman at work in the trenches. Woods of Hirtzbach. (Haut-Rhin. France. June 16th, 1917)
Lookout in the post of the lock 26. Serviceman Frenchman in observation. Eglingen. (Haut-Rhin. France. June 23rd, 1917)
Senegalese and other French African colony soldiers
Boyaux were trenches or tunnels of communication that provided covered passage between parallels and from parallels to batteries in an attack by regular approaches. Boyaux for infantry were usually just wide enough for the passage of two men (4 to 5 feet); dimensions could be increased when it was necessary to pass artillery through the trenches rather than move guns and howitzers into position over open ground under cover of darkness. Boyaux were usually advanced from covered positions in rear of the trenches of an attack and from parallel to parallel in zig-zag patterns that defiladed the trenches from defensive artillery and small arms fire.
Cezaro means Cesar in French, just like soldiers gave names to the trenches in WWI.
Largitzen refers to the French region of Largitzen, which is in the extreme east of France, south of Alsace.
I love these old pics from WWI. The ones from the beginning of hostilities always show the innocent, naive look of the proud soldier, yet they rapidly become the looks of horror and disgust as the true brutality of war is experienced. I always have a feeling of pity and sorrow when I see the young faces, completely unaware of what is about to happen to them and the horrific memories they will carry to their graves. I believe the same could be said of any veteran of any conflict. My wife has shown me pictures of myself, before and after, and I'm still amazed at the physical change.