Weapons of World War I - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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World War 1 Picture - M1905 Howitzer used by Allied Forces

Weapons of World War I Information

Weapons of World War I

World War I weaponry consisted of various types of weapons standardised and improved over the preceding period together with some newly developed types using innovative technology and a number of improvised weapons used in trench warfare. Military technology led to important innovations in weaponry, grenades, poison gas, and artillery, along with the submarine, warplane and the tank.


Modern hand grenades were introduced in 1908 by the British. Their version was the long-handed impact detonating grenade, which the French later improved upon with an antiquated ball grenade. The major grenade used by the German army was the impact-detonating ‘discus’ bomb and the M1913 black powder baller Kugel grenade with a friction-ignited time fuse. British forces however mainly used a different style of hand explosive that was at times more difficult to use, yet still useful in battle. This was the ‘jam tin’ which consisted of a tin filled with dynamite or cotton packed round with scrap metal or stones. To ignite, at the top of the tin there was a Bickfords fuse connecting the detonator, which was lit by either a cigar, or a second person. Hand grenades were being used and improved throughout the war, each side making attempts at more successful weapons.

Hand grenades were not the only attempt at projectile explosives, but a Rifle grenade was brought into the trenches in order to attack the enemy from a greater distance. The Rifle grenade was invented by an Englishman before the war began. At this time the weapon was not seen as useful, and was overlooked by the British army. Later throughout the war effort, Germany showed great interest in this weapon, leading to casualties for the Allies, causing Britain to search for a new defense. The Trench mortars and bomb throwers were also used in a similar fashion, to fire upon the enemy from a safer distance within the trench. Mortars were short tubes capable of firing higher than a 45 degree angle.

Poison gas

Another weapon that could be used from within the trenches was poison gas, most frequently, Chlorine gas and mustard gas. These poison gas attacks resulted in destroying the lungs of soldiers and leaving them to drown in the liquid their own bodies created. Although chlorine gas had hideous problems, it was not always deadly. The French produced phosgene which proved to be more powerful than the chlorine. The poison gas was used heavily by the Germans but still they experienced many difficulties in combining a gas attack with an infantry advance. Without the wind steadily blowing towards the enemy, the troops would find themselves moving into their own gas cloud.


Infantry weapons used by major powers were mainly bolt action rifles, capable of firing ten or more rounds per minute. German soldiers carried 7.92mm Gewehr 98 Mauser rifles, good for accuracy and speed.The British carried the famous Lee-Enfield rifle. Rifles with telescopic sights were used for snipers, which were first used by the Germans. Machine guns were also used by the large powers; a favorite was the Maxim gun, created by Hiram Maxim, a fully automatic weapon, with a high volume of concentrated fire. The machine gun was useful in stationary battle but was not practical for easy movement through battlefields, and was therefore often dragged or disarmed and carried.


World War 1 Picture - M1905 Howitzer used by Allied Forces

Picture - M1905 Howitzer used by Allied Forces

Big Bertha (howitzer), a heavy mortar-like howitzer built and used by Germany during World War I, the name being associated with Bertha Krupp, heiress and owner of the Krupp industrial empire.
Paris Gun, called Big Bertha by the French, and several other big heavy German guns of World War I

British weapons of World War I

More aircraft.

Source: WikiPedia

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