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Les Invalides during the Great War, seventh episode : Russian ambulances in the main courtyard

The photograph above was taken on 12 July 1915. On this day, motorised ambulances, first aid tents, etc. offered by Russia to France, its ally, MA_BA_IGG_ep7-3_20140811are gathered in the main courtyard.

The French Minister of War, Alexandre Millerand (1859-1943) points to something with his gloved hand and therefore directs the attention of all those around him and MA_BA_IGG_ep7-4_20140811particularly that of Colonel Dimitri Osnobichine (1869-1956), Russian military attaché in Paris, tall and in uniform. Between the two men, a nurse, wearing a uniform that was rare at theInfirmière, le 12 juillet 1915 aux Invalides © Paris, musée de l’Armée dist. RMN-GP time, puts her left hand into her jacket mimicking the statue of Napoleon which stands over the upper gallery of the main courtyard since 1911. The official civil personalities often carry a cane, while the military are naturally in uniform, sometimes with a sword at their side.

Russia, an ally in difficulty

tenue d’officier du 5e régiment de hussards Alexandriiski. © Paris, musée de l’Armée dist. RMN-GPTsarist Russia has been France’s ally since the 1890s. The Russian offensive in Eastern Prussia, in August 1914, indirectly came to the aid of the French army in its victorious counter-attack, carried out together with the British army, against the German forces at the battle of the Marne, at the beginning of September 1914. During the first six months of 1915, Russia suffered a number of serious defeats by combined attacks by Germany and its ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A ceremony at the Invalides, as in 12 July 1915, is a way for the two allies to publicly assert their solidarity and their confidence in each other, despite difficulties. The motor ambulances symbolise both the assistance provided to those fighting and the technical development: the motorised vehicles gradually make their appearance rather than the horse.

12 juillet 1915 autos ambulances, tentes de premiers secours... offertes par la Russie à la France en présence du ministre de la Guerre français, Alexandre Millerand © Paris, musée de l’Armée dist. RMN-GP

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