A recent trip to the antique store produced three World War One era postcards. It is rare for me to find European postcards with World War One subjects but in this case I found three!
The first one features a German Dragoon in full dress uniform. His unit is Dragoon Regiment “Prinz Carl” according to the reverse side.
The reverse side also appears to show the unit’s barracks. The card is not dated and so my guess is that it is pre-World War One.
The next color postcard features Belgian soldiers defending a road. Given the uniforms I’d say the card represents a scene from the earliest days of World War One. The writing on the back of the card is extensive. The address is “Paris” and the recipient appears to be the sender’s sweetheart. It’s dated, November, 1917.
The last card’s caption is written in Italian. Translated it reads “Austrians in the trenches.” There isn’t any writing on the back.
The soldiers appear to be armed with 1895 Steyr-Mannlicher carbines which would indeed make them Austrians. By 1916 the Austrian Army had disposed of their pike-gray uniforms and soft caps and gone to field gray uniforms and steel helmets. At a glance they would be indistinguishable from their German allies.
What is more interesting about this card is that it’s in Italian. After Italy declared war on Austria-Hungry the two countries fought the Twelve Battles of the Isonzo. The battles were in present day Slovenia then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italian objective was to take the Italian speaking City of Trieste.
The 12th battle is also known as the Battle of Caporetto. The Austrians reinforced by German Divisions and commanded by a German General broke the back and forth stalemate that had developed and routed the Italian 2nd Army. Austria-Hungary had been tottering in the war and the Germans sought to keep their ally in the war by taking Italy out of the war. The Twelve Battles had taken an enormous toll of lives on both sides with little gains made until the final battle.