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To do today: Examine WWI weapons Videos- Charlie Chaplin!  Activities

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Presentation on theme: "To do today: Examine WWI weapons Videos- Charlie Chaplin!  Activities"— Presentation transcript:

1 To do today: Examine WWI weapons Videos- Charlie Chaplin!  Activities
PowerPoint First hand testimony

2 Warm Up: February 20th/21st
What were the four main causes of World War I? How was WWI different than past wars?

3 Activity: Read the first hand account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination and answer the questions We will look at a few questions together, but not all of them

4 New Weapons

5 New weapons contribute to the stalemate.

6 Blimps The Zeppelin, also known as blimp was an airship that was used during the early part of the war in bombing raids by the Germans. They carried machine guns and bombs. However, they were abandoned because they were easy to shoot out of the sky.

7 Airplanes Planes were also used for the first time.
At first they were used to deliver bombs and for spying work but became fighter aircraft armed with machine guns, bombs and some times cannons. Fights between two planes in the sky became known as ‘dogfights

8 Submarines - U-Boats Torpedoes were used by submarines.
The Germans used torpedoes to blow up ships carrying supplies from America to Britain.

9 Rifles The main weapon used by British soldiers in the trenches was the bolt- action rifle. 15 rounds could be fired in a minute and a person 1,400 meters away could be killed.

10 Machine Gun Machine guns, usually positioned on a flat tripod, would require a gun crew of four to six operators. They had the fire-power of 100 guns. The 1914 machine gun, in theory, could fire small-caliber rounds per minute, a figure that was to more than double by the war's end, with rounds fed via a fabric belt or a metal strip.

11 Machine Gun

12 Poison Gas The German army were the first to use chlorine gas at the battle of Ypres in Chlorine gas causes a burning sensation in the throat and chest pains. Death is painful – you suffocate! The problem with chlorine gas is that the weather must be right. If the wind is in the wrong direction it could end up killing your own troops rather than the enemy. Invented by a Jew….ironically.

13 Poison Gas Mustard Gas Mustard gas was the most deadly weapon used.
It was fired into the trenches in shells. It is colorless and takes 12 hours to take effect. Effects include – blistering skin, vomiting, sore eyes, internal and external bleeding. Death can take up to 5 weeks.

14 Poison Gas- Mustard Gas effects

15 Tanks Tanks were used for the first time in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme. They were developed to cope with the conditions on the Western Front. The first tank was called ‘Little Willie’ and needed a crew of 3. Its maximum speed was 3mph and it could not cross trenches The more modern tank was not developed until just before the end of the war. It could carry 10 men, had a revolving turret and could reach 4 mph

16 Tanks By the time the war drew to a close the British, the first to use them, had produced some 2,636 tanks. The French produced rather more, 3,870. The Germans never convinced of its merits, and despite their record for technological innovation, produced just 20.

17 Flame-throwers The basic idea of a flame-thrower is to spread fire by launching burning fuel. The earliest flame-throwers date as far back as the 5th century B.C. These took the form of lengthy tubes filled with burning solids (such as coal or sulfur), and which were used in the same way as blow-guns: by blowing into one end of the tube the solid material inside would be propelled towards the operator's enemies.

18 Grenades Grenades - either hand or rifle driven - were detonated in one of two ways. They were either detonated on impact (percussion) or via a timed fuse.

19 Trench Warfare “Over the Top!”

20 It reached peak brutality and bloodshed on the Western Front in the First World War.

21 “Over the Top” A new type of warfare known as “Trench warfare” began.
Battles began with massive artillery barrages Soldiers went “over the top” of the trenches and charged into no man’s land and were killed by machine gun fire. Both sides used 19th century tactics with 20th Century weapons.

22 Life in the Trenches. Soldiers were plagued by rats and lice.
Rain flooded trenches. Dead left unburied for days. Unsanitary. Just as many died from disease in the trenches as from battle .

23 What did they look like?






29 Timber bridge over top of trench No Mans’ Land
Soldier on sentry duty Barbed wire Timber bridge over top of trench No Mans’ Land Helmet, uniform and rifle are British Timber holding up back of trench. Capes used as cover No sandbags. Trench may be damaged Bottom of trench is dry. It could be summer. Are these soldiers asleep or dead? This photograph does not looked posed as the soldier seems unaware of the camera. It is probably a reliable source. Water cans.

30 Bird’s Eye View Zig-zagged pattern Communication “traverses”


32 What fighting in it looked like

33 Why the zig-zagged pattern?
It prevented the enemy from being able to shoot down the length of the entire trench

34 This meant that a soldier could see no more than 10 meters along the length of the trench.

35 Why barbed wire? It was difficult to cut, and shelling it would only make it more entangled, providing an extra barrier from attack.

36 Trench Cross-Section

37 Why “duckboards” & a drainage sump?
It reinforced the stability of the walls, and allowed for drainage of rainwater, blood, and other body fluids…

38 They protected soldiers from bullets and shrapnel
Why sandbags? They protected soldiers from bullets and shrapnel


40 Why were trenches necessary in World War I ?

41 Vickers Machine Gun This new and powerful weapon could “mow down” soldiers trying to attack

42 Machine guns needed 4-6 men to work them and had the fire power of 100 guns

43 Gas Attacks Chlorine and Mustard gas would slow down attackers, causing burns and suffocation



46 These led nowhere and were built to confuse and slow down the enemy
Blind Alleys These led nowhere and were built to confuse and slow down the enemy

47 Underground “Saps” These tunnels were dug under enemy trenches so that explosives could be placed under them and detonated

48 attackers couldn’t cross “no man’s land” fast enough to avoid casualties

49 “no man’s land” varied in distance depending on the battlefield
“no man’s land” varied in distance depending on the battlefield. On the Western Front it was typically between 100 and 300 yards, though only 30 yards on Vimy Ridge.

50 Small trenches rapidly grew deeper and more complex, gradually becoming vast areas of interlocking defensive works British trenches German trenches

51 What was life like in the trenches?

52 Sanitary conditions in the trenches were quite poor, and common infections included dysentery, typhus, and cholera

53 Rats became common, and grew large as they would eat the soldier’s food

54 Medical services were primitive and life-saving antibiotics had not yet been discovered

55 Relatively minor injuries could prove fatal through the onset of infection and gangrene

56 Poor hygiene also led to conditions such as trench mouth and trench foot

57 official truces were organized so that the wounded could be recovered from no man's land and the dead could be buried

58 But what was life REALLY like in the trench?

59 At the age of 92, Arthur Savage was asked about his memories of life on the Western Front.
“My memories are of sheer terror and the horror of seeing men sobbing because they had trench foot that had turned gangrenous. They knew they were going to lose a leg.

60 Memories of lice in your clothing driving you crazy
Memories of lice in your clothing driving you crazy. Filth and lack of privacy. Of huge rats that showed no fear of you as they stole your food rations. And cold deep wet mud everywhere.

61 And of course, corpses. I'd never seen a dead body before I went to war. But in the trenches the dead are lying all around you. You could be talking to the fellow next to you when suddenly he'd be hit by a sniper and fall dead beside you. And there he‘d stay for days.”

62 Shell Shock

63 Trenches- Self Inflicted wounds + Shell Shock
Faced with the prospect of being killed or permanently disabled, soldiers sometimes hoped that they would receive what was known as a blighty wound, and be sent back home. There were some cases where soldiers shot themselves in an attempt to end their time on the frontline. Self-inflicted wounds (SIW) was a capital offence and if discovered, a man found guilty of this faced execution by firing-squad. A total of 3,894 men in the British Army were convicted of SIW. None of these men were executed but they all served periods in prison.

64 Shell Shock By 1914 British doctors working in military hospitals noticed patients suffering from "shell shock". Early symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually the men suffered mental breakdowns making it impossible for them to remain in the front-line. Some came to the conclusion that the soldiers condition was caused by the enemy's heavy artillery. These doctors argued that a bursting shell creates a vacuum, and when the air rushes into this vacuum it disturbs the cerebra-spinal fluid and this can upset the working of the brain.

65 World War I Disabilities
Over 1.65 million men in the British Army were wounded during the First World War. Of these, around 240,000 British soldiers suffered total or partial leg or arm amputations as a result of war wounds. Most of these men were fitted with artificial limbs.


67 Write a Letter from the Trench
Directions: You will write a letter to your family or a friend from the trenches of the Western Front. The letter should be written so that your reader understands the stress and trauma of life in the trenches. You may use any notes to help you with this exercise. The letter should be AT LEAST one full page in length. Time: February 7, 1915 Place: Trenches outside Verdun, France It should include: The fear and anticipation you feel in the trenches Your living conditions and daily life in the trenches Any extraordinary events Your morale and what you do to keep yourself entertained It should be detailed, explicit, and graphic--use imagery!!!

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