CHEMICAL WARFARE Chemical weapons in World War I were primarily used to demoralize, injure and kill entrenched defenders, The types of weapons used were tear gas, mustard gas, phosgene and chlorine. Early chemical warfare tactics in WWI using gas as an attack method. Shows early wind borne gas attack and subsequent gas shell attacks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22w1UVGv71M
Chemical Counter It became evident that the men who stayed in their places suffered less than those who ran away; movement worsened the effects of the gas. The gas was more dense near the ground, so those who lay down or sat at the bottom of a trench suffered more than those who did not. The worst sufferers were the wounded lying on the ground, or on stretchers, and the men who moved back with the cloud.
Trench Warfare A form of defense, 100’s of miles of ‘dug in’ trenches protected by barbed wire. Also protecting the trenches were machine guns and heavy artillery. Before, wars were fought by moving around; maneuvers. Often were ordered to cross “No-man’s land” using bayonets to try to break down the enemy barbed wire….. Easy to see the enemy on the unprotected open field…killing with machine guns!! WWI becomes a War of Attrition … attacks, deaths….just wearing the other side down…not getting anywhere.
The Rush to Enlist Crashes into the Reality of Trench Warfare From Excitement to Despair
The excitement of War! “Praise God for the collapse of a peaceful world with which he was fed up, so exceedingly fed up.” – Thomas Mann “…that every German Jew is ready to sacrifice all the property and blood demanded by duty” – The Association of German Jews “Thousands of men eager to fight would jostle one another outside recruiting offices, waiting to join up…the word ‘duty’ had a meaning for them, and the word ‘country’ had regained its splendor” - unknown
“[One man] was told that his eyesight was defective and was twice turned away before a £2 tip facilitated his passage into the Australian Infantry Force. Rejected men stumbled in tears from the tables, unable to answer sons or mates left to the fortunes of war. They formed an Association, and wore a large badge to cover their civilian shame.” – Bill Gammage, Australian “James Tait of Newcastle New Brunswick, enlisted on April 19 th 1915 at the age of 15. He was inspired by the general belief that the war wouldn’t last long, and carried along in a tide patriotism. He was keen to take a crack at the ‘Prussian bullies’. The opportunity to go war was an enticing adventure.” - unknown
“This area was meadows and forests and cornfields just a short time ago There’s nothing left of it, nothing at all. Literally not a blade of grass, not a tiny blade. Every millimetre of earth has been churned up and churned again, the trees uprooted and torn apart and ground to sludge. The houses shot to pieces, the bricks crushed into powder. The railway tracks turned into spirals, hills flattened, everything turned to desert…and everything full of corpses who have been turned over a hundred times. Whole lines of soldiers are lying in front of the positions, our passages are filled with corpses lying over each other in layers.” – Ernst Junger, Germany Army
“On rushing the trench, and leaping into it, I found that the dead were lying three deep in it…I slipped over the rear of the trench, to cut across and meet the lads…but had only gone about six yards when I received what in the regiment was called the ‘dull thud’…I looked down and discovered that my right foot was missing…four German private soldiers arrived, bringing a waterproof sheet to carry me off…all the way from the trench to the barn I saw British dead…as they lay there in their uniforms, I thought how young and lonely they looked.” – Sergeant J. F. Bell Bell lost his leg below the knee and taken prisoner of war in October, 1914. He was eventually traded for a German prisoner of war and was discharged on April, 1915 only to re-enlist in 1917.
Trench Warfare Trench warfare created a stalemate that prolonged the conflict well past what either side originally imagined. It would take the implementation of new tactics and technology to finally propel the war to its conclusion.