In fact, it was so successful that further variants were used throughout World War II and, in some countries, for decades after that. German infantry, meanwhile, were issued with the Gewehr 98, a rifle with a bolt action designed by the famous Mauser company. The Gewehr was a well-constructed and accurate weapon, but it was ill-suited to the conditions on the Western Front.
Longer than the Lee-Enfield, it was unwieldy in a trench and required an extra sight for short-range firing. Originally devised to corral cattle in the American West, barbed wire became a deadly defensive weapon on the Western Front during the Great War.
Tanks in World War I
It snagged on equipment and clothing and slowed attackers, who were often prime targets for snipers as they desperately tried to disentangle themselves. Coupled with the deadly stopping power of the heavy machine gun, barbed wire, often deployed in double rows or in intricate traps, made advancing even short distances over no man's land a nightmarish proposition. The machine gun was not a new weapon in — the American Hiram Maxim had invented the gun that bore his name in — but it was refined and made easier to carry during World War I and used to even deadlier effect across the expanses of no man's land that separated the two sides on the Western Front.
Germany's standard heavy machine gun, the Maschinengewehr 08, was derived from the Maxim gun and could fire rounds a minute.
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The British equivalent was the Vickers machine gun, which could spit between bullets a minute. The majority of casualties on the battlefields of World War I were inflicted by artillery shelling. Field guns such as the British Howitzer Mark 1 could fire two rounds of lb shells a minute, while in March , the Germans began shelling the French capital with their long-range 'Paris Gun'.
Made by Krupps, it had a foot-long barrel and could fire a shell 25 miles into the air, targeting Paris from a site 74 miles away. Chlorine gas was first used by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres in April , killing hundreds of French troops. The British also deployed chlorine gas, and later developments in the war included the deadlier phosgene and mustard gas, which blinded those it came in contact with.
By , poison gas could be delivered with greater precision by chemical shells and mortars, and there were an estimated one million gas casualties on all sides throughout the war. When the war started, most of the belligerents had a few unarmed, wood-and-canvas aircraft, which they intended to use as aerial scouts.
What were the causes of World War One?
By November , though, pilots were dropping grenades on enemy troops as they flew over them, or carrying pistols to take pot shots at other aircraft. Air warfare took a leap forward the following year with the adoption of the interrupter gear, which allowed a machine gun mounted on a plane to fire without damaging the propeller.
This led to the era of dog fights and fighter aces such as the Germans Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron, and Max Immelmann, whose skills in their Fokker Eindecker aircraft made them the leading threats in what the British called the "Fokker scourge". During the Battle of the Somme, German fighters were technically superior to their British counterparts, hence the German nickname "kaltes fleisch" — cold meat — for the British planes.
But Britain introduced better fighters such as the SE5 and Sopwith Camel in , and it was the latter which mostly likely claimed the life of the Red Baron when he was shot down in April the following year. The tank was specifically developed to break the trench warfare stalemate — their armour would be impervious to machine gun fire, and their tracks would be able to cross trenches and barbed wire entanglements.
But although the tanks at the Somme weakened German morale, they were slow and beset by mechanical problems. Originally passenger airships, the iconic Zeppelins were commandeered by the German military in , and began bombing missions over Britain at the start of the following year. There were just 20 of these airships in operation at any one time, but as they flew above the reach of British aircraft they bombed almost with impunity, until the introduction of the high-flying Sopwith Camel in The Zeppelin raids had a significant psychological effect on Britain, says the IWM's Mr Brosnan, and the British took the threat seriously enough to task engineer Barnes Wallis — who became famous in World War II as the inventor of the 'Dambusters' bouncing bomb — with designing their own airships.
Germany had 33 U-boats, or submarines, in operation in Such restrictions were lifted in , however, and German submarines were sending some , tonnes of Allied shipping to the bottom of the ocean by the start of Yet the U-boats were a double-edged sword for the Germans, as US casualties on ships sunk by the submarines significantly contributed to America declaring war on Germany in To combat the U-boat menace in the early years of the war, Britain developed the Q-ship — a merchant vessel with concealed guns.
Under the Kaiser's restrictions, the U-boats were to surface before attacking merchant ships with their guns.
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At the last minute, the Q-ship would open fire on the surfaced submarine, destroying it. The Q-ships' effectiveness ended in when Germany began unrestricted U-boat warfare, torpedoing merchant ships while submerged. Ultimately, it would be the British tactic of convoys — where warships protected merchant vessels — which defeated the U-boats. Kim Bielenberg A century ago at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the incessant boom of artillery guns suddenly fell silent all along the Western Front.
John Meagher On a rainy Saturday in September , a large group of elderly men and their families made their way to Islandbridge, just south of Dublin's Phoenix Park, for a commemoration many may have thought they would never see in their lifetimes. Eunan O'Halpin Ireland's relatively small number of rebel dead - less than 90 during the Rising, and less than between and - were routinely formally remembered on significant anniversaries by Tank crews who had read press reports depicting the new weapon driving through buildings and trees, and crossing wide rivers, were disappointed.
Their steel armour could stop small arms fire and fragments from high-explosive artillery shells. However they were vulnerable to a direct hit from artillery and mortar shells. The environment inside was extremely unpleasant; as ventilation was inadequate the atmosphere was heavy with poisonous carbon monoxide from the engine and firing the weapons, fuel and oil vapours from the engine and cordite fumes from the weapons. Entire crews lost consciousness inside the tanks, or collapsed when again exposed to fresh air.
To counter the danger of bullet splash or fragments knocked off the inside of the hull, the crew wore helmets with goggles and chainmail masks. Fragments were not as dangerous as fire, because of explosive fumes and the large amount of fuel aboard; smoking was prohibited inside and within 20 yards outside tanks. There was also the danger of being overrun by infantry and attacked with grenades. The next generation had thicker armour, making them nearly immune to the K bullets.
In response, the Germans developed a larger purpose-made anti-tank rifle , the 3. Engine power was a primary limitation on the tanks; the roughly one hundred horsepower engines gave a power-to-weight ratio of 3. Many feel that because the British Commander Field Marshal Douglas Haig was himself a horse cavalryman, his command failed to appreciate the value of tanks. In fact, horse cavalry doctrine in World War I was to "follow up a breakthrough with harassing attacks in the rear", but there were no breakthroughs on the Western Front until the tanks came along.
Despite these supposed views of Haig, he made an order for 1, tanks shortly after the failure at the Somme and always remained firmly in favour of further production. The circumstances which called it into existence were exceptional and not likely to recur. If they do, they can be dealt with by other means. France at the same time developed its own tracked AFVs, but the situation there was very different.
In Britain a single committee had coordinated design, and had to overcome the initial resistance of the Army, while the major industries remained passive. Almost all production effort was thus concentrated into the Mark I and its direct successors, all very similar in shape. In France, on the other hand, there were multiple and conflicting lines of development which were badly integrated, resulting in three major and quite disparate production types.
In December , the influential Colonel Estienne made the Supreme Command very enthusiastic about the idea of creating an armoured force based on these vehicles; strong Army support for tanks was a constant during the decades that followed. Already in January and February quite substantial orders were made, at that moment with a total number of much larger than the British ones. Army enthusiasm and haste had its immediate drawbacks however. It was unreliable as well; a maximum of only about of the built were ever operational at the same time.
Its innovative petro-electrical transmission, while allowing for easy steering, was insufficiently developed and led to a large number of breakdowns. But industrial initiative also led to swift advances. The car industry, already used to vehicle mass production and having much more experience in vehicle layout, in designed the first practical light tanks, a class largely neglected by the British. In fact the FT was in many respects the first truly 'modern' tank having a layout that has been followed by almost all designs ever since: driver at the front; main armament in a fully rotating turret on top; engine at the rear.
Previous models had been "box tanks", with a single crowded space combining the role of engine room, fighting compartment, ammunition stock and driver's cabin.
A very similar Peugeot prototype, with a fixed casemate mounting a short 75mm cannon, was trialled in but the idea was not pursued. The FT had the largest production run of any tank of the war, with over built, more numerous than all British tanks combined. That this would happen was at first far from certain; some in the French army lobbied for the alternative mass production of super-heavy tanks.
Much design effort was put in this line of development resulting in the gigantic Char 2C , the most complex and technologically advanced tank of its day. Its very complexity ensured it being produced too late to participate in World War I and in the very small number of just ten, but it was the first tank with a three-man turret; the heaviest to enter service until late in World War II and still the largest ever operational.
French production at first lagged behind the British. After August however, British tank manufacture was temporarily halted to wait for better designs, allowing the French to overtake their allies in numbers. When the French used tanks for the first time on 16 April , during the Nivelle Offensive , they had four times more tanks available.
The Saint-Chamond tanks, first deployed on 5 May, proved to be so badly designed that they were unable to cross the first line of German trenches. Germany concentrated more on the development of anti-tank weapons than on development of tanks themselves. They only developed one type of tank which saw combat in the war. The A7V Sturmpanzerwagen was designed in and was used in battle from March It was manned by a crew of 18, and had eight machine guns and a 57mm cannon. Only 20 A7Vs were produced during the war.
The first battle in which tanks made a great impact was the Battle of Cambrai in British Colonel J. Fuller , chief of staff of the Tank Corps , was responsible for the tanks' role in the battle. They made an unprecedented breakthrough but, as ever on the Western front, the opportunity was not exploited. Ironically, it was the soon-to-be-supplanted horse cavalry that had been assigned the task of following up the motorised tank attack.
Tanks became more effective as the lesson of the early tanks was absorbed.
The British produced the Mark IV in Similar to the early Marks in appearance, its construction was considered to produce a more reliable machine, the long-barrelled naval guns were shortened the barrels of the earlier, longer guns were prone to digging in the mud when negotiating obstacles and armour was increased just enough to defeat the standard German armour-piercing bullet.
The continued need for four men to drive the tank was solved with the Mark V which used Wilson's epicyclic gearing in As mentioned before, it had the innovative turret position, and was operated by two men. At just 8 tons it was half the weight of the Medium A Whippet but the version with the cannon had more firepower. It was conceived for mass production, and the FT became the most produced tank of World War I by a wide margin, with over 3, delivered to the French Army.
Large numbers were used by the Americans and several were also lent to the British. In July , the French used tanks mostly FTs at the Battle of Soissons , and there were even larger assaults planned for the next year. In Plan , the Entente hoped to commit over 30, tanks to battle in that year. Finally, in a preview of later developments, the British developed the Whippet. The Whippet was faster than most other tanks, although it carried only machine gun armament, meaning it was not suited to combat with armoured vehicles but instead with infantry.
Postwar tank designs reflected this trend towards greater tactical mobility. The German General Staff did not have enthusiasm for the tanks, but allowed the development of anti-tank weapons. Regardless, development of a German tank was under way. The only project to be produced and fielded was the A7V , although only twenty were built.tinnessbulu.gq
A history of World War One in 10 deadly weapons - agtarobamar.gq
The majority of the fifty or so tanks fielded by Germany were captured British vehicles. A7Vs were captured by the Allies, but they were not used, and most ended up being scrapped. The first tank-versus-tank battles took place 24 April IVs at Villers-Bretonneux. Fuller 's Plan , involving massive use of tanks for an offensive, was never used because the blockade of Germany and the entry of the US brought an end to the war.
Tucker, Spencer C. Tanks portal.