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Weapons and Battles of the Great War Notes

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Weapons and Battles of the Great War Notes

  1. 1. Weapons of The Great War
  2. 2. The Machine Gun • Before the War – Great Britain • Dismissed the use of the machine gun • said it was an “improper form of warfare” – France • Thought the war could be won through an “offensive spirit” • The will to win would push the French troops forward; little need for the machine gun – Germany • The only country fighting on the western front to embrace the machine gun • Had produced 12,000 by the start of the war, compared with a few hundred for the allies
  3. 3. The Machine Gun • When the western front became a stalemate, the defensive war became an important one • Germans embraced this first – Led to British and French advances against German machine gun nests
  4. 4. The Machine Gun • Machine guns were known to overheat – Needed to be cooled – Two ways • Air – Not used until the end of the war; not successfully until after the war • Water – Made the machine gun too heavy for advancement with infantry – Used in defensive positions – When they would overheat, the gun would jam • Groups of machine guns would be placed in defensive positions together to cause the most damage
  5. 5. The Machine Gun • How it works – The explosion in the cartridge created a recoil which served to continuously operate the machine gun mechanism
  6. 6. Tanks • Before the War – Something very similar to a tank was nearly created during the Crimean war from 1854-1856 • Steam powered tractors using tracks were used to move things around the battle field • Ideas abandoned after the war’s end – In 1899 a “motor-war car” was proposed to the British government • It had – Bullet proof casing – Two revolving machine guns • Dismissed by the British Government; A “pretty mechanical toy”
  7. 7. Tanks • After stalemate had been reached on the Western front, new tactic needed – “Landship” was proposed – Similar to the armored car, only with tracks – Used a crew of 10 men – Produced by the British Royal Navy
  8. 8. Tanks • Troubles – Tanks had trouble riding over widened trenches – Sloppy weather slowed, or completely stopped tanks • Battle of Passchendaele • Successes – Scared the enemy as machine gun fire had no effect – Found that when aided by infantry, became an extremely potent weapon
  9. 9. Tanks • Germany – Germany did not really buy into the tank; went against defensive war strategy – Adolph Hitler learned the value of the tank supported by infantry • The backbone of his “Blitzkrieg” in World War 2
  10. 10. Airplanes • By 1914, the start of the war, airplanes had been around for 9 years • Two types – Pusher • Propeller on the back of the plain – Tractor • Propeller on the front of the plane – Tractor became most used
  11. 11. Airplanes • Evolution – Original use, also best use, throughout the war was for reconnaissance • Would find enemy position and radio back to the artillery • Extremely dangerous – From Waving to shooting • Pistols • Mounted machine guns – Two person planes • Machine gun mounted forward • Baron Manfred von Richtofen
  12. 12. Airplanes • Bombers – Not used greatly until the end of the war • Winston Churchill started using bombers in strategic bombings – Evolution • • • • Grenades Strafing Small Bombers Large Bombers
  13. 13. Airships • Zeppelins – Used by Germans • Could fly over London and attack the population • Not accurate enough for strategic bombings

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