It's Shocking How Much a Soldier's Kit Has Changed Since 1066

By Tom Pritchard on at

If you wanted to kill a man in battle 1,000 years ago then you'd probably use a sword or a battle axe. Nowadays you'd lob a few grenades and fire a few rounds from your rifle to get the job done. Photographer Thom Atkinson decided to document how much a standard soldier's kit has changed since 1066 in his new series Soldiers' Inventories, and the differences might shock you.

Each of the 13 photos show off all the kit an average soldier took to the front during a historically significant battle or war. Not only do they demonstrate the increasing sophistication of weapons Brits have used to kill our enemies, the photos also show off just how the nature of warfare has changed. Up until the late 1800s soldiers would go into battle wearing colourful uniforms to prevent friendly fire. Nowadays, thanks to the increased accuracy of modern weaponry, standing out is a distinct disadvantage and camouflage has become the universal standard.

It's worth mentioning how war has stayed virtually the same over the past millennium. Atkinson himself noted that nearly all the photographs featured objects like spoons and helmets, and it's clear how uneventful time on the front must be based on the number of items that you would normally associate with entertainment rather than conflict. From something as simple as a deck of cards, to more sophisticated devices like iPads.

You can check out the collection below and see for yourself just how much things have changed, but also how much they've stayed the same. [Wired]

The Battle of Hastings, 1066

The siege of Jerusalem, 1244

The Battle of Agincourt, 1415

The Battle of Bosworth, 1485

Standard cavliermen kit, 1588

Battle of Naseby, 1645

Battle of Malplaquet, 1709

The Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Battle of Alma, 1854

The Battle of the Somme, 1916

Parachute Regiment kit, World War 2

Royal Marines kit, The Falklands War, 1982

Royal Engineers close-support sapper Kit, Helmland Province, 2014