No nation was prepared enough when World War I happened in 1914, but young men and women were ready to rush in and defend their countries. These soldiers were equipped with the gear necessary for survival while taking down the enemies during the battle. They also had to wear uniforms that would not only give them an identification but would also give them the advantage while in the warzone. Let’s have a look at the uniforms of these three nations and how they dressed their army men when the First World War ensued.


Omaha Daily Bee March 12, 1915, publishes this photo of a German dentist at work in the trenches.
Omaha Daily Bee March 12, 1915, publishes this photo of a German dentist at work in the trenches. The Imperial German soldiers next to them are wearing their Pickelhaube helmets. (Omaha Daily Bee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Germans were involved in huge battles during WWI, from the battle in Marne to the battle of Amiens. The German Empire was one of the Central Powers, and they fought the Allied Forces on both the eastern and western front. Their 4.9 million soldiers were well-equipped, but their pointy helmets called Pickelhaube were perhaps the most notable features of their uniforms. Before the war, helmet covers would have the regimental number in bright red but were changed to dark green in 1914. They were later on changed to steel helmets in 1916 that were more suitable for warfare in the trenches. Initially, they provided chest armor that weighed 35 pounds for gunners who were more exposed to enemy fire. They were later removed because they were too heavy.

As for their uniforms, the German army wore a simple gray tunic with a simple turn-back cuff in wool— a feature well-liked by the soldiers as they could put military passes and small documents in the fold. They also had a belt buckle made of brass and silver that were later replaced with iron painted in black. As for footwear,  they wore the M1866 boots made of tan leather that was blackened. When the shortage of leather started, the soldiers began wearing Puttees or leg wraps to protect and support their legs.


The British Army’s standard battle uniforms were made of thick woolen tunic colored in khaki. The two breast pockets allowed them to carry their personal belongings and their pay books. The rifle patches above the breast pockets prevent wear from the webbing equipment and Enfield rifle. They were the first in Europe to use webbing equipment instead of leather belts and pouches. The webbing equipment was composed of a wide belt, left and right ammunition pouches, bayonet frog, the entrenching tool handle, entrenching tool head in web cover, water bottle carrier, small haversack, and large pack. And for officers of course, a necktie.  One must be a proper gentleman even at war.