The First World War involved a great modernizing of armies, weapons, and tactics, and as the very nature of war changed from offensive to static, so too did the weapons needed to fight that war. Just as one example, inFrench soldiers went into battle wearing blue pants, red tops, and white gloves - the same uniforms used in the Napoleonic Wars a century earlier. Soldiers marched in tight formations, vulnerable to massed machine gun fire. And many of the weapons they were using had been made before the turn of the century.
It saw the rise of powerful weapons such as heavy artillery, machine guns and airplanes — and the decline of 19th century weapons like sabres and bayonets. This page contains brief summaries of the most significant weapons of World War I: Perhaps the shock-and-awe value of the bayonet is what made those 19th century generals so enamoured of it.
Its primary function was to turn the rifle into a thrusting weapon, so its owner could attack the enemy without drawing too close. Bayonet charges were designed for psychological impact: Small arms and machine guns made these charges largely ineffective, but they were effective propaganda.
When not employed as weapons, bayonets were detached and used as all-purpose tools, used for anything from digging to opening canned food.
British Weapons of world war 1 were issued with the Lee-Enfieldwhile most Germans received a 7. Both were known for their durability and long range both could fire accurately at around metres, while the Enfield could potentially kill a man two kilometres away.
But this long range was largely wasted on the Western Front, where distances between trenches could be as low as 40 metres.
They fired rapidly, pointed easily and were superb pistols for their time, giving excellent service if properly cared for. Enlisted soldiers only received pistols if they were required in specialist duties, such as military police work or in tank crews, where rifles would be too unwieldy.
The most famous pistol of the war was the German-made Luger, with its distinctive shape, narrow barrel and seven-shot magazine. The Webley could reportedly fire even when caked with mud — but it was also heavy and difficult to fire accurately.
For this reason many British officers resorted to using captured Lugers. Pistols were not usually a significant weapon, though they were sometimes important as concealed weapons, or for close combat in the trenches. There were fewer machine guns deployed in the war than is commonly thought — but where used they often proved deadly.
At the outbreak of war Germany had the upper hand in both the quality and quantity of machine guns. The German army had more than 10, units inwhile the British and French had fewer than 1, each.
Machine guns of the time were capable of firing up to rounds per minute — but they were cumbersome, very heavy often more than 50 kilograms and required at least three well trained men to set up and operate effectively.
Their rapid rate of fire also caused machine guns to quickly overheat, requiring elaborate water and air based cooling systems to prevent them from jamming or exploding. Germany, as it did for other small arms, led the way in grenade development.
Early British models like the Mark I a cylindrical device attached to a long stick were awkward to use and prone to accidental detonation. These were superseded by the pineapple-shaped Mills bomb, with its safety pin and firing lever. Mills bombs were produced with four and seven second fuses.
Allied soldiers were trained to hurl Mills bombs over-arm — in fact the best cricket players were often co-opted as grenade specialists. Its bomb was detonated by a firing pin as it fell to the bottom of the tube, and it could fire quickly enough to have three rounds in the air simultaneously.
Since most focus had been on long-range artillery, mortars had fallen out of favour in Germany had just mortars, Britain barely any. But the development of trench warfare created an important use for mortars: Mortars were often used to target machine-gun nests, sniper positions or smaller defensive positions.
Artillery pieces were essentially huge cannons that fired explosive rounds against enemy positions, causing enormous damage to men, equipment and the landscape. During World War I they become larger, easier to handle and more accurate in their fire; they were also mobile, though moving large artillery guns became difficult if not impossible in ragged or muddy areas.
There was no denying the deadly impact of artillery: At the Battle of the Somme inalmost 1. The British Mark V… was the first that could be controlled by one man, but carbon monoxide fumes could poison its crew.
The first British tank, the Mark I, was rushed into battle at the Somme and proved susceptible to breakdown and immobility.Nov 01, · Episode five of the series Guns.
The evolution of firearms focuses largely on the U.S. weapons of World War I, a war in which American soldiers would first face. Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store.
The Illustrated History of the Weapons of World War One: A comprehensive chronological directory of the military weapons used in World War I, from to the rise of U-boats and Allied submarines. World War I is often considered the first true ‘modern war’, a conflict fought between industrialised countries equipped with modern weapons.
It saw the rise of powerful weapons such as heavy artillery, machine guns and airplanes – and the decline of 19th century weapons like sabres and bayonets.
World War I is often considered the first true ‘modern war’, a conflict fought between industrialised countries equipped with modern weapons. It saw the rise of powerful weapons such as heavy artillery, machine guns and airplanes – and the decline of 19th century weapons like sabres and bayonets.
Senior Curator Paul Cornish looks at the developments in weaponry technology and strategy that led to the modern warfare of World War One, which was characterised by deadly new weapons, trench deadlocks, and immense numbers of casualties.
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II: The Comprehensive Guide to over Weapons Systems, including Tanks, Small Arms, Warplanes, Artillery, Ships and .