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.