The Weapons and Technology of World War One Essay example
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The Weapons and Technology of World War One
World War One brought about many new weapons and advancements in technology on both sides. Both took huge steps towards modern technology and these carried on even after the war had begun. Yet these weapons could not be of much advantage to one side for very long, because the other side immediately researched every new weapon introduced when it was found out. So whilst one side would be developing something new the other would be playing catch up or possibly coming in from another angle.
These advancements were made on all sides of the war; the air, the ground, and the sea, although I shall mainly be looking at the changes on the ground. Apart…show more content…
The idea was thought up by a British man in 1916 and they were first used in battle at of the Somme where forty-nine tanks were driven into battle unsuccessfully due to the lack of numbers. Yet in November 1917, 450 tanks rampaged through the enemy line causing havoc near Cambrai. Soon after that the Germans brought out their first tank, the "Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V" and instantly the race had begun to improve them. Here are pictures of the British Mark IV and the Schwerer Kampfwagen A7V, which were used in Cambrai and the Somme to blast through the enemy lines, capturing 800 of the enemy and 100 guns in the primary case.
These first tanks had only enough fuel to power them for 8-km due to the weight and bulk of them but since then they have been improved and now they can go for well over a hundred miles in one stretch.
The Machine Gun
The Machine Gun has claimed the most lives in World war One although this is only on hospital counts so the actual amount of people killed is not certain. However what is certain is that it was thought of as a massacre weapon and it certainly lived up to its name. Before the war, guns had to be manually loaded but in 1916 Hugo Schmeisser designed the Maschinen Pistole 1918 Bergmann which was brought in during the last few months of the war. This had a catastrophic effect on the war as did the Maxim machine-gun, which is
Military Technology in World War I
World War I was less than one year old when British writer H. G. Wells lamented the fate of humanity at the hands of "man's increasing power of destruction" (H. G. Wells, "Civilization at the Breaking Point," New York Times, May 27, 1915, 2). Although considered a father of science fiction, Wells was observing something all too real—technology had changed the face of combat in World War I and ultimately accounted for an unprecedented loss of human life.
Infantry warfare had depended upon hand-to-hand combat. World War I popularized the use of the machine gun—capable of bringing down row after row of soldiers from a distance on the battlefield. This weapon, along with barbed wire and mines, made movement across open land both difficult and dangerous. Thus trench warfare was born. The British introduced tanks in 1916; they were used with airplanes and artillery to advance the front. The advent of chemical warfare added to the soldier's perils.
Sea and airborne weapons made killing from a distance more effective as well. Guns mounted on ships were able to strike targets up to twenty miles inland. The stealth and speed of German submarines gave Germany a considerable advantage in its dominance of the North Sea. Although airplanes were technologically crude, they offered a psychological advantage. Fighter pilot aces such as Manfred von Richthofen, Germany's "Red Baron," became celebrities and heroes, capturing the world's imagination with their daring and thrilling mid-air maneuvers.
Newspapers charted the public's reaction—horror and vengeance—to these technological advancements. A few weeks after the Germans first used poison gas in Ypres, Belgium, on April 22, 1915, a London newswire to the New York Times described the brutal details of the attack and the immediate effects on the soldiers, concluding: "It is without doubt the most awful form of scientific torture." Yet a Daily Chronicle [London] editorial urged Britain to retaliate with poison gas use of its own (quoted in New York Times, May 7, 1915, 2). In fact, Germany claimed that the Allies were already using mines charged with poison gas. So horrified were people by chemical warfare that the use of poison gases was banned for future wars, although not until 1925.
When Germany's plan for a swift military victory went unrealized, the pace of war bogged down. Both sides tried to break this stalemate through the use of force. In previous wars, victory was achieved through territorial supremacy; in World War I it was accomplished by simply outlasting the opponent—a "war of attrition." When fighting first broke out in August 1914, many hoped the war would be short-lived; few predicted a conflict that would last for more than four years and scar an entire generation with its unprecedented brutality.