World war i trenches weaponry and tactics essay

Differences Between World War I and II home Differences Between World War I and II Introduction In the past, humanity had crude communication systems, therefore, it had no means of making point or creating understanding apart from the cruel means of using power where only the strong survived and walked away with their demands. The First and the Second World Wars were also the means used by men to solve their problems.

World war i trenches weaponry and tactics essay

Excerpt from Term Paper: World War I Tactics and Weaponry In many ways, the "War to End All Wars" was fought with a wide range of increasingly modernized weaponry that was matched with obsolete tactics that resulted in millions of deaths and casualties on both sides of the conflict.

Indeed, during the period between andthe full brunt of early 20th century technology was brought to bear on the battlefields of Europe and the ghastly results were truly impressive, but the initial results of these weapons were insufficient to completely turn the tide of the war.

Consequently, the belligerents became increasingly bogged down in trench warfare that demanded even more destructive weapons. To determine what happened during World War I in these areas, this paper details the type of techniques and weaponry used throughout the war and looks at how these changed technologically to change future wars.

An examination concerning the reasons why there were so many stalemates on the battlefield, which led to a war of attrition and mass casualties is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Each of these countries had their own weapons and tactics at the beginning of the war, but the crucible of fire that would follow proved their ineffectiveness on the modern battlefield in various ways.

For instance, in his classic account of German military life during World War I, Erich Maria Remarque vividly describes the horrific nature of the World War I battlefield as well as the weapons and tactics that were typically used by both sides. In many cases, the weapons used by World War I infantry would be familiar to the soldiers of World War II and even well into the 21st century.

For instance, familiar weapons such as bayonet-equipped rifles, machine guns, hand grenades and knives were standard issue for the soldiers of the Allies and Central World war i trenches weaponry and tactics essay alike.

Likewise, flamethrowers, tanks and even fixed-wing aircraft and dirigibles were increasingly used as the war dragged on, all with limited effectiveness Childs Although there was official weaponry used in World War I, it would seem that there were some unofficial but highly effective ways that the front-line soldiers created their own weapons and enforced weapons policy as well and some of these weapons were feared by the Allied troops more than others.

For example, together with the flamethrower, Remarque reports that German soldiers who carried the standard issue bayonets with saw-blade edges were specially targeted by the Allied troops because of the particularly gruesome wounds that would result from these weapons.

For instance, Remarque notes that prior to a major offensive by the enemy, German soldiers would be issued extra hand grenades and ammunition, but the seasoned veterans took care to "overhaul the bayonets, that is to say the ones that have a saw on the blunt edge.

World war i trenches weaponry and tactics essay

Interestingly, one of the most formidable weapons used in trench warfare was not a weapon at all in the traditional sense but was rather a sharpened entrenching tool or spade. Spades were shorter than rifles and were easier to maneuver in the tight quarters of trench warfare.

In this regard, Remarque adds that: It is usually the fashion now to charge with bombs and spades only. The sharpened spade is a more handy many-sided weapon, not only can it be used for jabbing a man under the chin, but it is much better for striking with because of its greater weight and if one hits between the neck and shoulder it easily cleaves as far down as the chest.

The use of gas, of course discussed further belowwas an especially gruesome weapon used in World War I which has since been banned by international agreement, but the use of sharpened spades and hand grenades may seem primitive by early 20th century standards, but these were pragmatic tactics designed in response to the exigencies of trench warfare.

In this regard, Neiberg emphasizes the extent of the entrenched forces that were involved.

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According to Neiberg, "By latethe western front had bogged down into a stalemate of opposing trench systems that stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland. On the western front alone, the men dug 25, miles of zig-zagged trenches, enough to circle the globe if set end-to-end" The extent of these trenches can be seen from the red line demarking the main battle lines during World War I shown in Figure 1 below.

Maps of the World at http: Not surprisingly, then, battlefield commanders on both sides were at a loss concerning what tactics could prove effective in breaking through these defenses, and the trial-and-error that followed was gruesome to consider.

As Neiberg points out, "The defensive nature of World War I weapons technology meant that offensive charges against these trenches, so crucial to the pre-war doctrine of all armies, were bound to fail. Nevertheless, commanders continued to order them despite horrific losses" In response to the human slaughter that ensued from the use of these obsolete tactics, Samuels reports that the German military leadership increasingly placed a high priority on developing alternatives that would prove more effective in trench warfare, even if this meant resorting to the basics.

According to Samuels, "The German infantry were equipped with weapons best suited to their primary Stosskraft [assault power] function.

The use of stun grenades gave them protection over the last few seconds before contact, while their pistols and knives gave them a distinct advantage in a melee against men attempting to wield a cumbersome rifle in a narrow trench" Despite the ability of rifles to be fired in the traditional way, as well as their ability to be used as clubs and equipped with a bayonet, the very nature of narrow trench warfare generally precluded their effective application by either side.

Moreover, the muddy conditions that frequently prevailed in the trenches meant that rifles were difficult to keep clean, further limiting their usefulness.

As noted above, one of the most feared weapons of World War I was the mustard and blister gas that was used to devastating but frequently unpredictable effect. According to one historian, "At the collective level, poison gas created confusion and pandemonium.

The French had experimented with gas grenades in but were not impressed by their lackluster performance and discontinued their use" Moreover, the Hague Convention ofwhich the Germans had signed, prohibited the use of poison or poisonous weapons, and the British military leadership were convinced that the Germans would abide by the agreement Brundt In fact, the German leadership had remained unconvinced of the viability of gas as a tool of warfare and the use of gas in the Battle of Ypres see map in Figure 1 above was used as a testing ground to evaluate its effectiveness Brundt When news of the attack reached the Allies, public outrage was pervasive.

The Allies had received warnings from German prisoners attesting to the impending attacks, but, incredibly, the Allies chose to ignore them" About World War I "Total War I: The Great War" by John Bourne. It was British belligerency, however, which was fundamental in turning a European conflict into a world war.

Britain was the world's greatest imperial power. The British had world-wide interests and world-wide dilemmas.

World war i trenches weaponry and tactics essay

The German attacks used sophisticated new artillery and. ‘The main type of fighting used during World War I was trench warfare’ (McCrackin, ‘Trench Warfare During World War I’).

Trenches were used not only to defend a soldier’s own position in the war but also to make a step forward into the enemy’s trench.

Some of these factors include revision of infantry techniques and tactics, choice of weapons for the war, the purpose or main factors that led to the war. The desire to fight The basic differences between World War I and World War II were the main factors that stimulated the desire to fight.

- World War I, known as the Great War prior to World War II, was a global war which began in Europe on July and ended on November 11, The Central Power, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, were at war . Compare and contrast the U.S. reactions to World War I in with its reactiob to World war II on World War I started in the year The underlying causes of the war was the nationalism that was found throughout Europe in the 19th and 20th century.

Trench Warfare in World War 1 and World War 2 was very deadly. Many soldiers in the trenches died from random causes.

Just about every trench in both of the wars where very nasty.

WWI: Technology and the weapons of war | NCpedia