Cavalry patrol of Moroccan Spahis in Belgium

Photograph

Description

English

From the very beginning of war, colonial troops were heavily used in the French army. France’s population was less than half the size of Germany with its nearly 80 million inhabitants. France’s army was consequently less numerous than the German one. This was the main reason why, in the pre-war years, some French generals, among them General Charles Mangin, promoted the organisation and use of colonial troops. This photograph, taken on 16 October 1914, shows a patrol of Moroccan Spahis (light cavalry regiment) moving into Belgium near the town of Furnes.

French

Cette photographie montre la progression de spahis marocains aux envions de la ville belge de Furnes le 16 octobre 1914. A l’instar de l’armée anglaise, l’armée française alignait en 1914 un nombre important d’unités militaires composées d’indigènes des colonies. Moitié moins peuplée que l’Allemagne au moment du déclenchement de la guerre, cette donnée démographique explique à la fois la recherche par la France de l’alliance russe et l’utilisation intensive de troupes venues des colonies. Le général Mangin fut un des principaux promoteurs de cette utilisation, notamment à travers son ouvrage La force noire publié en 1910.

Full title
Cavalry patrol of Moroccan Spahis
Published
October, 1914
Format
Photograph
Held by
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions

Related articles

Animals and war

Article by
Matthew Shaw
Theme: 
The war machine

Millions of animals were relied upon by all sides in World War One. Curator Dr Matthew Shaw discusses the role of animals in transport, logistics, cavalry and communications, and considers their psychological function for troops and as propaganda.

Race, racism and military strategy

Article by
Richard Fogarty
Theme: 
Race, empire and colonial troops

Associate Professor Richard Fogarty looks at how World War One was influenced by different races fighting together in a global war.

Experiences of colonial troops

Article by
Santanu Das
Theme: 
Race, empire and colonial troops

Dr Santanu Das gives an overview of the numbers and roles of colonial troops in World War One. Where did colonial troops serve and how was 'race' used as a factor in military policy?

Related collection items