Photograph, 'The Horror of War' - A German Ambulance Takes an Artillery Hit
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|Title||Photograph, 'The Horror of War' - A German Ambulance Takes an Artillery Hit|
|Notes||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?
|Item Date||1914 - 1916|
|Creation place||Western Front|
|Item medium||Photographic paper|
|Copyright||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor|
|Digital repository||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford|
|Contributor Name||Rebecca Libby|