Written by: Marie Santoro
There was large variety of weapons used and created during World War 1. Most were being improved and modified as the war progressed, and the types of weapons varied from tanks, to poison gas, to deadly machine guns. Certian weapons stayed in use for a long time, some stil being used on the battlefield today, while others were more short lived.
Flamethrower- The flamethrower was used by the Germans from 1914 to 1915, in the early stage of the first World War. Mady models of this weapon were
made, some going back to teh 5th century B.C. The most recent, however was made at the beginning of the 20th century. These new versions were
the ones used by the Germans against both the British and French. Richard Fiedler developed two types of flamethrowers for the Germans: a large,
long range model, and a smaller portable one. Though it used a lot of fuel, the larger model could shoot fire up to 36 meters, and could do so longer
than the handheld one. The handheld flamethrower was smaller and more portable, but couldn't sustain a flame for very long. Flamethrowers were
effective when used as a short-range weapon, but lacked in usefulness otehrwise. The French and British quickly caught on, and quickly made their
own models to use in battle. Flamethrowing equipment has been adapted to use on tanks and are still used in warfare today.
Gernade- Gernades are another type of weapon that was used long beofre the beginning of WW1. The several types of gernades but only two ways to
detonate them. The types are sticks, cricket balls, egg bombs and rifle grenades. The two ways to detonate a gernade are either to have it on a timed
fuse, or have it explode on impact. Most were set off by pulling out a small pin at the top of the gernade and throwing it at the target. Germans first
noted them in 1904-05 during the Russo-Japan war. They began to develop their own gernades almost immediately. 70,000 hand gernades were
developed even before the start of the war, and more were to come. The most memorable use of gernades during WW1 is in 1916. On July 26-27,
Australia and the British faced the German army during the battle on Pozieres Heights. Many died, and an estimated 15,000 mills bombs were thrown
during that night by the allies alone. The battle lasted on throught the night, and went on for about 12 hours. Gernades were considered a sucessful
weapon and are still used today.
Machine Gun- Of all the weapons used in World War 1, the machine gun was one of the most diverse. With 22 types on the battlefield by 1918, it was
a highly effective and deadly weapon. The first machine gun was designed by Hiram Maxim. The simple design was belt fed and cooled by water,
and could fire 600 rounds per minute. It's largest flaw, however, was the fact that it weighed up to 62 kg, and could not be easily moved. The German
army improved on his design, and by August 14, 1914, they had 12,00 guns ready to use. The British developed their own Machine Gun Corps later
in October of 1915. Handheald versions of the machine gun were created by 1918, where they were almost 52 lbs. lighter than the fist version, and
much more portable. The machine gun was also altered so they could be used on aircraft and armoured cars. Machine guns have been used in many
wars following WW1, and are still present on the battlefield today.
Poison gas- The use of poision gas was considered to be 'uncililized' before WW1, but as problems escalated in Europe, that opinion began to
change. The first to use poison gas was the French, and was first used in August of 1914. The French soliders fired tear-gas gernades on the
Germans. Though not the first to use chemical weapons, Germany was the first to utilize the weapon on a mass scale. At the second battle of Ypres,
the first technical use of poisonous gas was used by the Germans. The gas used was chlorine, and caused many to die within seconds of inhaling it.
Angered, the allies launched a retaliation in September of 1915. The smoke and chlorine gas was released for 40 minutes before allied forces actually
attacked. Unfortunetly, the wind changed, sending some of the gas back into British trenches where they retained many casualties. France and
Germany also had similar problems, and it was proposed that a new form of deploying the gas was needed. The gas was then delivered using artillery
shells, which gave it a better range and a greater variety. This is where other gases were introduced, such as mustard gas and phosgene, both
equally dangerous. Gas slowly began to lose efectivness after May of 1915, and the use of it was reduced greatly after that.
Pistol- The pistol was constdered a staple weapon in WW1 for it's size, practicallity, and efectiveness. Initially made to be a cavalry weapon, the
pistol was adapted to use in more modern forms of transportation mainly the cramped spaces in cars and tanks. They were used mainly by military
police, tank operaters, airmen, and any army officials. There were three main types that were used from 1914 to 1918. The types were revolvers, clip-
loaded automatics, and ''blow back'' models, which reloaded themselves due to the expanding gas when the gun was fired. Germany, Russia, Austria-
Hungary, France, America, Romania, Britian, Belgium, and Italy all had their own models that were improved over time. Two of the most famous
models used in WW1 was the German Luger and the British Weleby. Pistols are still used today.