Weapons of World War 1

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by Mhargie
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies
World War I

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Weapons of World War 1

Weapons of World War 1

Machine gun was the most important weapon in World War 1. It was easy to reload, fast and fired at long range. They had to placed in a flat surface to use them. They were heavy to carry and required 4-6 men to operate them. Each weighed around 30 kg to 60 kg. It can also fire up to 400 rounds per minute without stopping and worth as many as 60-100 rifles! Machine guns still got jammed quite often especially in hot conditions or when used by inexperienced operators. Hiram Maxim designed the machine gun in 1884 and first offered its use to Britain.

Richard Fiedler invented the flame thrower in 1901. It brought terror to French and British soldiers when used by the German's army in 1914 and 1915. It was adopted quickly by both and was used to spread fire by launching burning fuel. Flame throwers were useless in trench warfare since they only projected only few metres but it was useful when group of soldiers attacked the enemy's trenches.

Airplanes were used in WW1 for spying and gathering information. Once the machine gun were invented, it was adapted for use with airplanes but the problem was that for the pilot to aim the propeller would be in the way and block the view. By the end of the war timing device was invented by the Germans, which solved the problem. It is called Dog fight when two planes fight. Even though an average span was only two weeks, pilots were glorified and publicized for their accomplishment. Billy Bishop was Canada's greatest flying ace who shot down 72 planes. The Red Baron was Germany's best flying ace who shot down over 80 planes however Roy Brown, who was a Canadian shot down the Red Baron.

Chlorine gas and mustard gas was used in WW1, they were both very toxic but it was easy to kill your own soldiers depending on the wind direction. The chlorine gas was first used by Germans at the Battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915. It suffocated the soldiers instantly and smells like a mixture of pepper and pineapple. Mustard gas was the deadliest since it was odourless and took twelve hours to take effect. It made victims vomit and their skin blister. It also caused external bleeding and targets lungs. Mustard gas could take about five weeks to die. Before gas masks were invented, the soldiers protected themselves with urine covered cloth.

Submarines were called U-boats or unterseabouten by the Germans. They were used for sinking ships so the enemy couldn't move supplies over the ocean easily. It was effective and destroyed many supply ships crossing the Atlantic. When the First World War began the German armed forces had 29 U-Boats, in ten weeks they sank five British cruisers. A total of 1.4 million tons of allied shipping was lost to the submarines between October 1916 and January 1917. Britain ruled the seas which became the key to Germany strategy. Lusitania was not a military ship which was sunk by German U-boat. Many innocent Canadians and U.S. Citizens aboard, died which outraged the Americans and caused them to enter WW1 by declaring war against Germany.


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