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Combat, weapons, and strategy of the war. At the beginning of WWI the cavalry were still considered the primary mode of attack. France, Germany, Austria.

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Presentation on theme: "Combat, weapons, and strategy of the war. At the beginning of WWI the cavalry were still considered the primary mode of attack. France, Germany, Austria."— Presentation transcript:

1 Combat, weapons, and strategy of the war

2 At the beginning of WWI the cavalry were still considered the primary mode of attack. France, Germany, Austria and Russia each had over 100,000 cavalry. Generals were very proud of the cavalry tradition in the British army and were guilty of ignoring other technologies at times. “Cavalry will have a larger sphere of action in future wars” General Haig, 1914

3 The abundance of mud and the use of barbed wire swiftly led to the abandonment of cavalry in WWI as trench warfare began...

4 7) Why did countries want to use cavalry at the beginning of WWI when they had other technology & weapons? 8) Why did generals finally abandon the cavalry method?

5 1750 – 1850: British Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution helped to shape the way we live today and enabled MASS PRODUCTION – The production of large quantities of an item usually with machinery and assembly lines. Europe had been at peace for a century before 1914. WWI was the first fully industrialized conflict to have ever taken place.

6 9) How do you think industrialization & mass production changed the way war was fought? Think about: weapons, transportation, equipment

7 The Trench System & the War of Attrition... The system of trenches stretched for 475 miles. Between 1914 – 1918 it moved barely more than 5 miles in either direction. In 1914 military equipment made it easier to defend than to attack. In defending your trench, you could: fire machine guns, shoot bombs & gas, and remain hidden from your enemy France, Germany and Britain mustered around 5,000 men each for each mile of front.

8 The Machine Gun Invented by Maxim in 1884, but rejected to begin with by the British High Command – an “improper way to conduct a war” The German army invented their own version – the Maschinengewehr 08 -Could fire 400 – 600 rounds per minute -It was heavy (>44 lbs) and often overheated -Often needed 6 men to move it around the battlefield and had to sit on a flat surface. Machine Gun nest – fixing a machine gun in a strongpoint like this made a deadly and effective defensive weapon

9 10) Do you think the machine gun was a better weapon for attacks or for defense? Why?





14 11) How deep do you think trenches needed to be? Why? 12) What were the conditions like in trenches? What problems could this cause? ch+warfare&N=18342



17 13) Why was the area between trenches called “no man’s land”? man%27s+land





22 14) How many people TOTAL died in WWI? Was your prediction (from last class) correct, too high, or too low?

23 Britain & Germany blockaded each other’s ports, each hoping to “starve out” the other until they surrendered Germany used a new fleet of submarines called unterseeboots – “U-boats” for short Attacked any ship coming or going from British ports, even neutral ones The U.S., neutral at the time, did not approve of these attacks We wanted to continue trading with Great Britain (& sending supplies) Afraid of passenger ships being caught in the mix

24 1) What were German submarines called in WWI? 2) Why did Britain & Germany try to block each other’s ports? 3) Was the U.S. involved in the war yet?

25 May 7, 1915 – Germany torpedoed the Lusitania, a British passenger ship 1,200 people were killed total 128 Americans were killed U.S. was outraged! President Wilson threatened to break peace with Germany if they did not stop attacking passenger ships Afraid that the U.S. would join the war on the Allied side, Germany agreed to scale back its U-boats Signed the Sussex Pledge in 1916 Before attacking any ship, submarines would have to surface and give a warning; could inspect ships for threats


27 1917 – Germany announced it would sink ANY ship in British water, whether hostile or neutral This violated the Sussex Pledge April 6, 1917 – US declared war on Germany Felt Germans were threatening world peace & democracy “Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare…is a warfare against mankind. We are glad…to fight…for the ultimate peace of the world. …The world must be made safe for democracy.” - President Woodrow Wilson, 1917

28 4) What type of ship was the Lusitania? 5) Why was the U.S. outraged when this ship was sunk? 6) What did Germany agree to do in the Sussex Pledge? 7) Why did the U.S. feel it was necessary to enter the war?

29 The convoy system was used to get ships safely across the Atlantic Ships travelled in groups Merchant ships (carrying supplies) were in the middle, battleships were on the outside for protection Some ships served as lookouts or decoys

30 8) What was the strategy of using a convoy system? Choose ONE of the ships (convoy commander up front, lookout ship in the back, or Q-ship posing as a straggler) and explain why their job was important.

31 US issued a draft: a law requiring men of a certain age to serve in the military (in WWI, called Selective Service) June 1918 – more than 1 million troops were sent to France Known as the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) Led by General John Pershing Fought in many areas: At sea – naval battles on the Atlantic On land Battle of Belleau Wood (June 1918; US Marines fought for 3 weeks outside Paris; many men lost, but Allied victory) Battle of the Argonne Forest (Sept. 1918; US, French, British & Belgian troops captured German positions & forced them to retreat; Sgt. Alvin York = hero of Argonne, led small troop to big victory against Germany)

32 In the air Early on, planes only used for scouting Soon began carrying weapons. New invention synchronized a machine gun with the propellers of the plane – allowed pilots to shoot from the front without hitting their own plane! The Red Baron = famous German pilot (“flying ace”) By 1918, planes were used for scouting, bombing trenches & other enemy targets, and fighting aerial “dogfights” with other planes

33 Current air force jets:

34 WWI fighter planes:

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