“Le feu tue” (‘Firepower kills’) Henri-Philippe Petain – 1916 Verdun. World War 1 is often called “the first modern war”. During World War 1 many new kinds of weapons and technology were invented and improved. Some of these weapons included tanks, chemical gases, grenades, and machine guns.
Chemical Warfare was used for the first time on a large scale in World War I. many advancements were made during the war; in the air, on the ground, and in the sea. World War 1 started by a conflict and was fought between countries that were equipped with modern weapons. Some of these weapons rose and were very powerful like machine guns and others declined like bayonets.
Both weapons and technology made a drastic impact on World War 1.Land battles were mostly fought on both the Western and Eastern fronts. Soldiers were surrounded by new technology and weapons that helped throughout the battlefield but also caused danger/death. Soldiers experienced a great deal of hardship while fighting on the fronts.
The western front consisted of small parts of Europe, most of the fighting took over in France and Belgium. The eastern front was made up of battlefields in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia.
“But on the last day, an astonishing number of English field guns opened up on us with high-explosive, drumming ceaselessly on our position, so that we suffered heavily and came back only eighty strong” (1.4). land war started by the use of Machine guns.
Machine guns were the first and most famous weapon used in war, they are claimed to be the most dangerous weapon because the killed numerous lives during the war. Machine guns were invented by the Americans, however, the idea was stolen by the Germans. Machine guns at the time could fire up to 500 rounds per minute, but they were very heavy and they were very heavy.
They had to be used by well-trained men who knew how to setup a gun and operate it quickly.Tanks were armored steel plated, belt tired, and heavily armed combat vehicles. First use of tanks on a battlefield was the use of British mark 1 tank at the battle of flers courcelette in 1915.
The French soon followed the idea and created Renault FT, which established the look of the tank we see today. The Germans never got to producing their own tanks in WW1. The only German design of war was the A7V.Flamethrowers were first invented by a German inventor named Richard Fiedler.
The flamethrower was designed to be carried on soldiers backs. It had two tanks, one that carried flammable liquid and the other that carried propellant gas. The squeeze of the trigger would send shooting flammable liquid up to 18 meters away, it was a weapon used to shoot big flames of fire against its enemies.
It was used to burn soldiers and wooden obstacles such as bunkers. The Germans used these flamethrowers to attack more than 650 soldiers, mainly the British and French.Small bombs thrown by hand or shot by a rifle attachment were called grenades/bombs. Germans are the ones who created and mostly used these grenades during the war.
The British made their own model of a grenade but it needed more work. By the year of 1917, all troops were required to carry extra grenades to capture and hold them against their enemies.Poisonous gas was introduced by the Germans in 1915. It is toxic smoke that can be very deadly if inhaled by humans.
When the gas is inhaled it burns and liquidizes your lungs which causes death. If wind currents occurred while soldiers threw the gas at their enemies then it could easily be brought back to them and kill them. The only way to avoid the poisonous gas was to urinate on a cloth and hold up to ur mouth and nose. However, over time gas mask kits were provided to the soldiers.
Airplanes were very recent they were invented by the Wright brothers 11 years ago. Airplanes were simple machines, more like to birds than anything else. The first missions were carried out as an observation. Most airplanes at the time were slow/flimsy contraptions with barely enough power to lift a single pilot and perhaps one passenger.
Airplanes technology developed throughout war they became very important/useful.At the beginning of the war, most soldiers used the planes to spy on their enemies strategies. These planes usually carried a pilot and a photographer who would photograph the soldier’s positions.
The use of planes became very popular during the war, it became a crucial part of achieving victories. One of the first contributions in the war was at the first battle of Marne were reconnaissance planes spotted a gap in the German lines. The allies attacked the gap and were able to split the German army and drive them back.
Fighter planes came into the war when they wanted to stop the reconnaissance planes. With more planes in the skies, enemy pilots began to fight each other in the air. At first, they tried throwing grenades at each other or shooting with rifles and pistols. It was useless and it didn’t work very well.
Pilots soon found out that the best way to shoot down an enemy is to mount a machine gun to the plane. However, because the machine gun was mounted to the front of the plane the propeller would get in the way of the bullets. Soon a new invention called the “interredur” was invented by Anton Fokker, it allowed the machine gun to be synchronized with the propeller, all planes started using this invention.
As the war progressed, both sides began to use airplanes to drop bombs on enemy locations.
The first planes used for bombings were made by the Russians and could only carry small bombs and they were very powerless to attack from the ground. By the end of the war, faster long-range bombers were built that could carry much larger weight bombs.Germany used zeppelins to drop bombs on targets from far away.
These were slow moving but could carry a large load of explosives. Zeppelins were filled with hydrogen, so a small spark could blow up the entire aircraft. Germans used these zeppelins to bomb London and eastern England. “Germany’s enemies, however, soon found that zeppelins, which were filled with hydrogen gas, quickly became raging infernos when hit by anti-aircraft guns” (Spielvogel, McTighe, 331). As the war continued it became useless because of the fast fighter planes that were used.
The battles at sea were known as naval battles. These battles mainly took place in the northern sea and the Atlantic. The wars were mainly between Britain and Germany. Britain was trying to stop Germany from traveling or trading with the rest of the world across the north sea. that meant Germany could not receive important resources like food.
Germany reacted by using u-boats to attack the ships that were trading and sending resources to Britain. Germany is the first one to create U-Boats and used them to destroy many enemy ships. U-Boats were dangerous and accurate. “U-boat is an abbreviation of the German unterseeboot and is a synonym for submarine”(Axelrod, 127).
On September 1914, a U-Boat sank 3 British ships. In the U.S. U-boats turned its public opinion against Germany. This increased when Germany ordered a new policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, they sank every boat seen on the surface. This eventually made the U.S start sending ships into the war.
Later on the British liner, Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat which carried innocent British and American civilians. Then on February 1, 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare effective, But on February 3, 1917, Germany stopped unrestricted submarine warfare.
Britain, France, Russia and the U.S had all developed submarine forces before Germany began development on the U-Boats in 1906, but during WW1 submarines were associated with the Imperial German Navy, which used the submarines to try to bridge the gap in naval strength because it struggles compared to Britain’s Royal Navy.
Longer-range U-boats were developed and torpedo quality improved during the war. Submarines could strike long bombs from beneath the waves with torpedoes but also surfaced them to use as their deck gun.
An unsuccessful post-war effort was made to ban submarine warfare.Torpedoes are self-propelled missiles that can be launched from submarines or ships, or dropped into the sea from the undercarriage of planes.
The first torpedoes were produced in the 1870s, it ran on compressed air and was slow and inaccurate. By 1914 German torpedoes could travel at up to 75 kilometers per hour over a range of several miles. This gave German U-boats a deadly advantage over the Allied ships. As the war progressed the British made rapid advances in torpedoes and sank at least 18 German U-boats with them.
Mines were large explosive bombs planted underground, they were either remotely activated or by the impact of the soldier’s footsteps. Navies also used sea mines which floated on the ocean and exploded when in contact with ships. Trench soldiers often dug tunnels to plant huge mines under enemy trenches and positions.
One example of an incident occurred at Hill 60 during the Battle of Messines (June 1917) where Australian tunneling specialists exploded 450,000 kilograms of underground explosives, killing thousands of German troops.So it is clear that although the war was very deadly it still inherited many new weapons and technologies that helped throughout the war.
Weapons and new technology really did affect the war it changed many lives, it brought innovation, creativity, and originality. WW1 weapons and technology proved to other countries who fought that humans will adapt to difficult environments and strategies that come by.
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