World War I was the first conflict in which x-rays were used extensively. X-ray wards were built next to the operating rooms in military hospitals, and both bedside and mobile units were developed to examine the men who couldn’t be moved into the wards. Soldiers with multiple wounds were the most likely candidates for x-ray examinations, as radiologists preferred not to spend time on men suffering from what an official U.S. Surgeon General’s report called “clean, uncomplicated, perforating bullet wounds.”
The first use of x-rays in wartime dates back to 1896 - when, less than a year after German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen invented the x-ray machine, Italian doctors used it to locate bullets in the wounded during the Battle of Aduwa in Abyssinia.
Photograph by Sergeant Moscioni, Contrexéville, France, 1918
From The Face of Mercy - A Photographic History of Medicine at War