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WEAPONS OF WWI The Great War saw the introduction of many new weapons.

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Presentation on theme: "WEAPONS OF WWI The Great War saw the introduction of many new weapons."— Presentation transcript:

1 WEAPONS OF WWI The Great War saw the introduction of many new weapons.

2 MACHINE GUNS Machine guns were big, heavy, and needed a large crew to carry both the weapon and ammunition. German Maxim Machine Gun: Weight: 143 lbs. Rate of fire: 600 rounds per minute Range: 3,000 yards British Vickers Machine Gun: Weight: 33 - 50 lbs. Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute. Range: 4,500 yards

3 Regular machine guns were too heavy to keep up with the troops during an attack. The Infantry needed a lighter automatic weapon that could be carried by one man. LIGHT MACHINE GUNS German Maxim MG08/18 British Lewis Gun

4 When the U.S entered WWI it we lacked many of the new weapons. Consequently we relied on our allies for some weapons until we could manufacture our own. American troops were issued the French Chauchat light machine gun. The Chauchat was a piece of junk. Produced by a bicycle manufacturer, it’s parts were not interchangeable. The half-moon magazine jammed constantly. U. S. LIGHT MACHINE GUNS U.S. BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) M1918a2 Weight: 19.5 lbs Rate of Fire: 500 rounds per minute

5 Soldiers soon realized that bolt action rifles were inadequate for the realities of trench warfare. Germany developed the submachine gun to meet the demanded for an individual weapon with greater firepower. German MP 18 SUBMACHINE GUNS U.S. Thompson M1A1 Thousands were produced for WWI however, the war ended before they were shipped overseas. It gained its reputation as a weapon used by gangsters.

6 Abandoned during the 18 th Century as impractical, grenades returned to the battlefield during WWI. Hand Grenades: A German stick grenade, more commonly called a “potato masher.” GRENADES Rifle Grenades: A French soldier using a rifle grenade. Grenade Launchers: A French grenade catapult.

7 FLAMETHROWERS French flamethrower team. German flamethrower team clearing a trench.

8 German Picklehaub In 1914 soldiers marched off to war wearing soft caps or the useless German spiked helmet, “picklehaub.” With the advent of trench warfare the number of head wounds increased at an alarming rate. In response, the helmet returned to the battlefield. Since helmets had not been used for hundreds of years, where did they get the designs? They modified helmets used by medieval men at arms during the Middle Ages. HELMETS German “Coal Scuttle” helmet. British & U.S. helmet.

9 Both sides developed numerous types of gas weapons. Chlorine and mustard gas were the most common. The German army was the first to use chlorine gas. French soldiers had not come across this before and assumed that it was a smoke screen. It has a distinctive smell – a mixture of pepper and pineapple – and they only realized they were being gassed when they started to have chest pains and a burning sensation in their throats! Death was painful – you suffocate! Mustard gas was the most deadly biological weapon that was used in the trenches. It was odorless and took 12 hours to take effect! It was also very powerful, only small amounts needed to be added to shells to be effective and it remained active for several weeks when it landed in the soil! The nastiest thing about mustard gas is that it made the skin blister, the eyes sore, and the victim would start to vomit. It would cause internal and external bleeding, and would target the lungs. It could take up to 5 weeks to die! GAS WARFARE

10 HEAVY ARTILLERY Massive guns, 155mm +, were designed to destroy the strongest fortifications. Pariskanone: Length: 112 feet Weight: 138 tons Range: 75 miles The French “Schneider” railway gun was the biggest gun of World War I. Caliber: 520 mm Howitzer Range: 10 miles Shell weight: 3,100 lbs

11 The French 75 revolutionized artillery. It had a hydro-pneumatic recoil system that allowed the gun’s recoil to be absorbed by the carriage. It also had an earth spade at the end of the trail. The spade cut into the ground holding the gun steady when fired. Finally, its breech was a special screw type that could be operated very fast. The breech also incorporated a special security latch that prevented any accidental opening. Artillery could now use indirect fire to hit targets. RAPID FIRING ARTILLERY


13 Tanks were the allies’ solution to the stalemate of trench warfare. Although developed by the British, the French created the design of all future tanks. TANKS – LANDSHIPS British Mark V Male: Crew 8 German A7V: Crew 18 French Renault: Crew 2 It had a fully rotating gun turret. Two of these were found in Afghanistan.

14 German 13.2mm Tank Abwehr Gewehr M1918: The first anti-tank rifle. The T- Gewehr was capable of penetrating around 20mm of armor at 100 m and 15mm at 300 m. ANTI-TANK GUNS With the advent of tanks came the demand for portable anti-tank weapons. While most artillery pieces could knock out tanks, they weren’t easily available to the front line troops. The first anti-tank weapons were nothing more than elongated rifles made for specially designed large caliber ammunition, 13mm and above. U.S. Browning M2.50 cal. Machine Gun: The.50 cal was designed near the end of WWI as an anti-tank gun. It remains in service today as an all purpose weapon.

15 WWI saw the first use of aircraft. The first planes were used for observation and had a two man crew, pilot and observer. The first aerial combat occurred when two observers shot at each other with pistols. Unlike the pilot, the rear seat observer was not strapped into the plane. In aerial combat he had to hang on for his life. It wasn’t uncommon for the observer to fall out of the plane when it rolled suddenly. This was always fatal since the observer didn’t have a parachute. OBSERVATION AIRCRAFT British Airco DH4: An excellent observation plane used throughout the war. Crewmen called it the “Flying Coffin” since the fuel tank was positioned between the pilot and observer.

16 Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen was the greatest ace of World War I. He is credited with shooting down 80 aircraft. To show off his prowess he painted his aircraft red. The British called him the “Red Baron,” the French the “Red Devil.” He became squadron commander of Jasta 1, the famous “the Flying Circus.” Richtofen was killed by anti-aircraft fire during a dogfight. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT German Fokker Dr. I Triplane: The most famous plane of WWI. Baron Manfred von Richthofen flew a Dr. I painted red, hence his nick name "The Red Baron.”.

17 German Fokker D VII: Arguably the best plane of WWI. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT

18 British - SE 5: The most numerous British fighter plane of the war. It carried one Lewis machine gun on top of the upper wing. Reloading the gun while maneuvering the plane in combat was difficult. A second machine gun was mounted in front of the cockpit in later models. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT

19 British Sopwith Camel: Excellent British plane but very unforgiving to inexperienced pilots. It suffered from severe engine torque, which pulled it to the left. Also famous as Snoopy's aircraft from the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schultz. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT

20 French Nieuport 27: A very good aircraft built for speed but it could easily become a death trap. The upper wing had a tendency to rip off if the plane went too fast in a dive. Also used by the Americans. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT

21 French Spad VII: The best French fighter plane of the war. It was very fast and, due to its weight, dove like a rock. FIGHTER AIRCRAFT America’s top ace Eddie Rickenbacker shot down 28 enemy planes while flying a Nieuport and later a Spad VII. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

22 GERMAN GOTHA G IV: One of the largest bombers of the Great War. The Gotha replaced Zeppelins in bombing raids on London and southern England. It was the first strategic bomber. BOMBER AIRCRAFT

23 Zeppelins were rigid airships held aloft by hydrogen cells, or gasbags, attached to an aluminum frame. At first they could fly above any enemy aircraft and were only vulnerable to heavy anti-aircraft cannon. Zeppelins were used to bomb England. They became obsolete due to improved fighters and the development of incendiary bullets. ZEPPELINS Zeppelins on their way to bomb England. Zeppelins on trial over the North Sea.

24 Japan’s defeat of the Russian fleet at the battle of Tsushima caused British naval planners to rethink ship design. The result was a revolutionary new ship, the HMS Dreadnought, which made all other ships obsolete. It was almost solely armed with big guns. Secondary cannon were completely removed or limited to just a few. The Dreadnought was the forerunner of the modern battleship. DREADNOUGHTS

25 WWI saw the first large scale use of submarines. Their primary role was to sink enemy commerce shipping. The Germans practiced unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking any ship in the war zone without warning. The most infamous instance of this type of warfare was the sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915. Unrestricted submarine warfare helped drive the U.S. into WWI. U-BOATS

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