Things change: There was a women’s machine gun squad in 1918 New York (PHOTOS)

10/7/16 7:16 PM | by

Things change: There was a women's machine gun squad in 1918 New York (PHOTOS)

With Kaiser Willy stomping through Europe and every red blooded American man signing up to go “Over There” a few women stepped forward for some homeland security in WWI.

The Great War saw the U.S. Army balloon from 100,000 regulars who were spending most of their time in the Philippines and along the border with Mexico, to a modern fighting force of nearly 3 million– and this from a country that had a population less than a third of what we have today.

With so many hardlegs pulled from the fields, factories, police forces and offices, many women stepped forward to do their part for the war effort. While Germany was still an ocean away, very real threats of sabotage by enemy agents and U-boats stalking towns up and down the East Coast led to mobilization of home guards and auxiliary police units.

One of the more interesting was the women’s machine gun squad police reserves of New York City. We can’t find out much information about this group but we did find these two images in the National Archives, rocking a Lewis gun and a ton of moxie.

Original Caption: Women's machine gun squad police reserves of New York City. Practicing with Lewis Machine Gun which is to be sent to the front. The killing range of this gun is 2 miles and it fires 500 shots per minute. Captain Elise Reniger, manning the gun, Miss Helen M. Striffler on the rear seat, and Mrs. Ivan Farasoff driving. Date Taken: 8/1/1918 Photographer: International Film Service.

Original Caption: Women’s machine gun squad police reserves of New York City. Practicing with Lewis Machine Gun which is to be sent to the front. The killing range of this gun is 2 miles and it fires 500 shots per minute. Captain Elise Reniger, manning the gun, Miss Helen M. Striffler on the rear seat, and Mrs. Ivan Farasoff driving. Date Taken: 8/1/1918 Photographer: International Film Service.

Original Caption: Women's machine gun squad police reserves, New York City. Practicing with Lewis Machine Gun which is to be sent to the front. The killing range of this gun is 2 miles and it fires 500 shots per minute. The group includes Mrs. Heydecker, Amelia Velleman, Helen M. Striffler, Leone Cuthbertson, Hazel M. Rogers, Rose B. Breler. Date Taken: 8/1/1918 Photographer: International Film Service

Original Caption: Women’s machine gun squad police reserves, New York City. Practicing with Lewis Machine Gun which is to be sent to the front. The killing range of this gun is 2 miles and it fires 500 shots per minute. The group includes Mrs. Heydecker, Amelia Velleman, Helen M. Striffler, Leone Cuthbertson, Hazel M. Rogers, Rose B. Breler. Date Taken: 8/1/1918 Photographer: International Film Service

Get some.

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