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The national Archives>Education>The an excellent War

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Home>Trench experience>Weapons and also warfare>Background
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The brothers trooper Railways aircraft pho Poisonous Gas Tanks

The an excellent War observed the advent of new technology and weapons. Some were design to rest the deadlock caused by trench warfare. Rather actually contributed to trench warfare in the first place!

The brothers Trooper
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When the war started in 1914, there was much talk in the newspapers about cavalry charges the would move away the enemy. This remained an essential idea in the reasoning of the commanders until 1916, both sides believing the they could use their mounties if they can only break with a huge enough section of the opponent trenches. After the battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916, such really hopes faded.

Warfare adjusted and the soldiers who fought in it had actually to adapt. The crucial trooper was not now the cavalryman, however the infantryman. His kit now contained the rifle and the digging tool. Without his trenching tool, that would have actually been an easy target for device guns, shells and artillery. The kit that the brothers Tommy to be a authorize of the type of war that was to it is in fought.

Railways Back to top

The great War to be the very first to be dealt with between totally industrialised nations. They were able to make an effective weapons and also to move and supply troops on a scale that no one can have imagine a century earlier.

Railways had actually a significant effect ~ above the character of the war. They allowed yellowcomic.comernments to relocate troops, guns and supplies far an ext quickly than ever before. In the last few days before the war, federal yellowcomic.comernments rushed come send troops in the direction of their borders.

Once armies had worked out into position, railways maintained them gave with food and ammunition. If attackers ever controlled to break through, the defending army could quickly lug up reinforcements through rail and plug the gap. For every these reasons, railways assisted the battle to drag on for 4 long years

Aircraft Back to top

Civilians experienced the great zeppelin airships the dropped bombs on brothers towns and also cities. Soldiers at the prior were much more familiar with the smaller balloons provided for observation and also with aircraft.

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In the earliest job of the war, pilots of adversary aircraft provided to salute each other as castle passed in the air. This did no last because that long. The became evident that plane gathered valuable information around the enemy and they had actually to it is in destroyed. At first, pilots take it pistols through them and also shot in ~ each various other in the air. Climate the planes were equipped with maker guns, yet these only became effective in 1915 once each side uncovered a way of timing the shots so the they did no shoot turn off their own propellers! The most famed of every the fighter pilots in the good War to be the German, Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron".

As the battle went on, planes were offered to drop bombs over the enemy, normally with little accuracy. By the finish of the war, Britain and also Germany had built special plane that can fly long ranges carrying a heavy cargo the bombs. Brother inventors had also devised effective bomb-sights that allowed an ext accurate attacks. The period of the bomber had arrived.

Artillery Back to peak

Artillery killed an ext people than any other weapon between 1914-18. The biggest guns used in the great War could fire shells as huge as a soldier. The troops were terrified the them. Males watched their fellows gift blown personally or dreadfully wounded through shrapnel. They lived in are afraid that their turn would shortly come.

Generals ordered artillery to bombard adversary trenches for hrs on end prior to sending their own troops "over the top" come attack. The idea was that the artillery would certainly kill numerous enemy soldiers, terrify others and destroy barbed cable defences and maker gun positions. In fact, enough enemy maker guns usually survived to mow under the infantry as soon as they lastly attacked. In numerous ways, artillery fire do it also harder to attack enemy trenches as it ruined all cover and created the famous barren landscape of blasted trees and shell holes that was known as "no man"s land".

At the begin of the war, Britain had real difficulties in offering ammunition. As the battle went on, Britain substantially improved its supply of guns and also munitions. This was partly because hundreds of thousands of women worked in factory to develop the ammunition that was needed. Britain likewise relied heavily on the USA to it is provided shells and machines because that making weapons.

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Image 2 A brothers 60 pounder field gun (that fired a covering weighing 60 pounds), offered to destroy enemy fortifications and also guns (Catalogue ref: MUN 5/124/1000/45)
Poisonous Gas Back to top

In their find for a weapon that could break the dead end on the west front, generals turned to a frightening new weapon - poison gas. ~ above 22 April 1915 close to Ypres, the Germans exit chlorine gas native cylinders and allowed the wind to blow the thick, eco-friendly vapour throughout to the allied trenches. The very first to suffer were Algerian soldiers of the French army. Their throats burned, lock spat blood and also struggled to breathe. Thousands died.

As the war went on, gas technology developed. Gas masks were issued. Gas-shells were fired right into trenches. Both political parties used new gasses, which might blister skin, eyes and also lungs. Gas did not help either side to victory the war, but soldiers involved see it as a terrifying weapon and also a sign that war had readjusted forever.

Over 60 different types of gas were used. It was the hardest of all the weapons to control. No matter just how gas was delivered, a change of wind direction could blow it back at the side that had actually used it. Even when an strike had finished, gas might be dangerous. Mustard gas wet the trenches and also could reason blistering for days afterwards. Return relatively couple of soldiers were eliminated by gas in the war, others discovered that it led to long-term health problems and also even aided to kill them over forty years later.

Tanks Back to top

In 1916, a strange new armoured car appeared. This British secret weapon looked prefer a large water container, so it was provided a an ideal code surname - the "tank". Tanks had countless faults, however they proved that 20th century wars required the skill of mechanical engineers as lot as the courage of soldiers.

The idea for a vehicle that might roll over stormy ground, break v barbed wire and crush machine-gun short articles had been said soon after ~ the battle began. When the army showed small interest in this idea, Winston Churchill supplied money from his navy department to salary for early experiments.

When field Marshal Haig finally used tanks in ~ the fight of the Somme in September 1916, he was criticised for no waiting also longer. By making use of the tanks, he gave away the secret and the Germans conveniently prepared anti-tank weapons. Some stated Haig should have waited until a huge variety of tanks were prepared so the a massive surprise strike could burst with the German lines.

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Britain kept trying come develop much better tanks, but they continued to be unreliable and slow. At the start of the fight of Cambrai top top 20 November 1917, Britain had 378 tanks. Through 23 November, just 92 tanks to be still working. On 8 respectable 1918, 534 tanks walk into action at the fight of Amiens. Four days later, only six were fit come fight. Tanks assisted to finish the deadlock in the last year that the war, but they were no decisive.

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