World War I was a war unlike any other, with weapons the like of which the world had never seen before. Advancements in technology had made war far more deadlier and permanently changed the way we waged war. Read through the resources below to learn more about the weapons used in World War I.
The opening months of the First World War caused profound shock due to the huge casualties caused by modern weapons. Losses on all fronts for the year 1914 topped five million, with a million men killed. This was a scale of violence unknown in any previous war. The cause was to be found in the lethal combination of mass armies and modern weaponry. Chief among that latter was quick-firing artillery. This used recuperating mechanisms to absorb recoil and return the barrel to firing position after each shot. With no need to re-aim the gun between shots, the rate of fire was greatly increased. Read through this website to learn more.
This website lists and describes some of the main weapons used in World War I.
Although the Australian Army was still being formed when the war began, weaponry between the six Australian states had been standardised since Federation in 1901. The equipment used by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was mostly the same as the British Army and the armies of the other British dominions. Read through this website to learn about the weapons the Australian Army was supplied with in World War I.
The devastating firepower of modern weapons helped create the trench stalemate on the Western Front during the First World War. Armies were forced to adapt their tactics and pursue new technologies as a way of breaking the deadlock. This article explores some of the weapons used and developed by the British Army during the conflict.
The static battlefield on the Western Front led to the development of new and more effective weapons, and the improvement of old ones. Read through this article to learn about some of the weapons used.
There were major developments in technology during World War One. New weapons and machines changed the way war was fought forever. Read through this website to learn more.
World War I was a war of artillery - The Big Guns. Rolling barrages destroyed the earth of France and Belgium and the lives of many. Millions of shells were fired in single battles, with one million shells alone fired by the Germans at the French Army in the first day at the 1916 battle of Verdun, France. Read through this article to learn more about the artillery used in World War One.
This article looks at some of the major weapons used in World War One.
The machine gun, which so came to dominate and even to personify the battlefields of World War One, was a fairly primitive device when general war began in August 1914. Machine guns of all armies were largely of the heavy variety and decidedly ill-suited to portability for use by rapidly advancing infantry troops. Read through this website to learn more.
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.
One of the enduring hallmarks of WWI was the large-scale use of chemical weapons, commonly called, simply, ‘gas’. Although chemical warfare caused less than 1% of the total deaths in this war, the ‘psy-war’ or fear factor was formidable. Thus, chemical warfare with gases was subsequently absolutely prohibited by the Geneva Protocol of 1925. It has occasionally been used since then but never in WWI quantities.
The trench warfare of the Western Front encouraged the development of new weaponry to break the stalemate. Poison gas was one such development. Read through this website to learn more.
The first large-scale use of lethal poison gas on the battlefield was by the Germans on 22 April 1915 during the Battle of Second Ypres. Read through this article to learn more.
Gas soon became a routine feature of trench warfare, horrifying soldiers more than any conventional weapon. But was it actually as deadly as its terrible reputation suggests?
Barbed wire and machine-guns stopped many Allied attacks with heavy casualties in 1915 and early 1916. The British turned to armoured vehicles as one way to cross No Man’s Land and break through the enemy trench system. Read through this article to learn more.
One hundred years ago in September, a small group of machines, dreamt of by Leonardo, but hitherto unseen on the field of battle, chugged along in the predawn darkness, just south of the town Flers, France, in the region of the Somme. These machines, whose descendants would, in another war, become known for their lightning speed, crawled along at under four miles per hour, picking their way through a landscape of shattered tree stumps and mud. As the dawn broke, a single machine made its way through ranks of soldiers, passed into the churned wasteland between the lines, began to fire, and the age of the tank began. Read through this article to learn more.
The concept of a vehicle to provide troops with both mobile protection and firepower was not a new one. But in the First World War, the increasing availability of the internal combustion engine, armour plate and the continuous track, as well as the problem of trench warfare, combined to facilitate the production of the tank. Read through this article to learn more.
On 31 May 1918, a small tank designed by a famous French car maker and a brilliant army officer saw its first action. Its inspired design still lives on in the tanks of today, 100 years later. Read through this article to learn more.
The war drove scientific and technological initiative on an unprecedented scale. Innovation on both sides created more destructive and effective weapons. Communications, medicine and transportation were also advanced. But not all inventions achieved their intended goals. Read through this article to learn more.
The flamethrower, which brought terror to French and British soldiers when used by the German army in the early phases of the First World War in 1914 and 1915 (and which was quickly adopted by both) was by no means a particularly innovative weapon. Read through this website to learn more.
Britain's blockade across the North Sea and the English Channel cut the flow of war supplies, food, and fuel to Germany during World War I. Germany retaliated by using its submarines to destroy neutral ships that were supplying the Allies. The formidable U-boats (unterseeboots) prowled the Atlantic armed with torpedoes. They were Germany’s only weapon of advantage as Britain effectively blocked German ports to supplies. The goal was to starve Britain before the British blockade defeated Germany. Read through this article to learn more.
Submarines played a significant military role for the first time during the First World War. Both the British and German navies made use of their submarines against enemy warships from the outset. Read through this article to hear firsthand accounts of fighting against submarines in World War One.
When the Commonwealth was proclaimed in 1901, submarines were beginning to appear in the Royal Navy, where their introduction had been opposed for a long time. But with the growth of the German Navy at the outbreak of World War One, Australia began investing in submarines.
Before the 20th Century, civilians in Britain were largely unaffected by war, but this was to change on 19 January 1915 with the first air attacks of World War One by the German Zeppelin. In this article, historian and aerial specialist Ben Robinson has traced the attacks for Inside Out East.
Before the 20th century, civilians in Britain had been largely unaffected by war. Previous overseas wars rarely touched British shores. The First World War was to change all that. Historians have described it as a ‘total war’, a global war which involved both civilians and the armed services on a massive scale. Read through this article to learn more.