Although most fighting in the western front took place in the trenches, filled with mud and bristling with barbed wire, there was also a reasonable amount of fighting in the nearby towns, woods, farms, and forests; of which we will be focusing on in this entry.
A American soldier runs for cover during the fighting near one of many small towns and settlements throughout the French countryside.
An American soldier moves through the dense woods in the first stages of the Meuse-Argonne offense. Note that he has his bayonet-a knife like weapon that could be attached to the end of a gun barrel-is fixed onto his rifle for hand-to-hand fighting. An ambush or attack by the enemy in the woods often ended up in hand-to-hand and close quarters combat, and the Allied Soldier had to be ready for anything.
A two-man crew prepares to fire this water-cooled Browning machine gun. Machine guns, first used by the U.S. Army during the American Civil War, were used by both sides in World War One.
Poison mustard gas, a German secret weapon, was used on the western front with deadly effect. Both sides had to wear protective masks equipped with a special air filter in order to survive. If you were exposed to the gas without a mask, it would result in blindness, burns, lung damage, but most of the time death. Here we see a American soldier wearing his gas mask while fighting in the Argonne forest in the fall of 1918.Fighting in the swirling yellow-brown clouds of gas, a soldier takes aim at the enemy. Visibility was cut down when gas was used, and it was sometimes hard to tell friend from foe; and soldiers had to be careful at who they aimed at.