Communication

French phone lines

Laying down the lines

Telephone headset for aviators

Telephone headset

Pistol-camera

Pistol camera

The pigeon spy

Pigeon spy

If the new weapons multiplied the destructive potential of human beings and motorized vehicles dramatically augmented their speed, phones radio and photography gave their senses a range never reached before.

The communication between the first lines and the central command was vital in a war that saw the combined action of thousands of people. Every advanced trench was provided with a telephone line that connected it with the central command in the rear. But the line was often damaged by artillery fire, the messages were easily interceptable and there was no sure way to maintain a line of communication between command and soldiers during an attack.

Radio was one of the possible solutions to this problem. Before the war radio waves were mostly used for telegraphy messages. The war needs lead to the miniaturization of the radiotelegraphy devices, to a dramatic increase in their reliability and finally to the development of voice transmission technologies. Before the end of the war many airplanes pilots used miniaturized radiotelephones.

Knowing the geography of the enemy front was equally important, to plan the attacks and to verify the effectiveness of bombardments against targets that were not visible from the trenches. This was mostly achieved through early aerial photography. But more traditional means were employed too, especially captive balloons, used on land and sea, for the detection of submarines. Less frequent, but particularly interesting for the popularization magazines, was the use of cameras mounted on kites or even pigeons.