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World War 1 Weapons WW I

A Group of German Soldiers in 1914


The German Army During World War 1

The German Army (The Axis)

In 1914 at the Outbreak of World War 1, the German Army was the strongest in Europe; Germany knew that war was immanent and had been preparing for many years before The Great War started.

At the outbreak of the war, Germany had 840,000 men in the army with over 3 million reservists at the ready for the call up to arms.

During the War Turkey and Bulgaria fought alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary.

German infantry were issued with the Mauser rifle. This rifle was designed in 1898 by Peter Paul Mauser. It was popular with those who were issued with it because of its reliability but it did suffer one weakness - its magazine only took five bullets.

A Group of British Soldiers 1914


The British Army In World War 1

At the start of the war, the British army had 247,400 soldiers and only 218,000 reservists, during the war though many more men joined the army or were conscripted (forced to join).

The Allied armies of Britain, France and Russia were joined by Serbia, Montenegro, Belgium, Romania, Portugal, Greece, and in 1917 The United states joined in the war effort.

The basic British infantryman, like his French and German contemporaries, was issued with his uniform, webbing and a rifle with bayonet. Some infantrymen were trained to use the relatively new machine gun but the majority had to make do with his rifle. The British infantry man was issued with the Lee Enfield 0.303 rifle.

German Maxim MG'08 Machine Gun


Weapons of World War I

The Vickers Machine Gun


Big Bertha


British 6inch 26cwt WW1 Howitzer


WW1 Tank


German Stick Grenade


British Mills Bomb


Land Combat Weapons Of World War 1

World War One on the Western front brought a new kind of war, Trench warfare, where both sides slugged it out for most of the war years. With this new type of war, new weapons had to be developed and modified on either side for them to have any tactical advantage.

Machine Guns

Machine guns were first used during the American Civil War to devastating effect, but advances in technology made the machine guns even more effective during World War 1.

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They could fire over 600 bullets in one minute and they were so effective that they were considered as "Weapons of mass Destruction.

The German Maxim machine gun was fed by a fabric or metal belt, making it a very effective automatic weapon, its relatively small size also made it difficult for the enemy to destroy.

On the opening day of the Somme offensive the British suffered a record number of single day casualties, 60,000, the great majority lost under withering machine gun fire.

The Vickers Gun,

closely modelled on the Maxim Gun, comprised the British Army's standard heavy machine gun at the start of the First World War, following its formal adoption in 1912.

Water cooled - via a jacket around the barrel which held approximately one gallon - the Vickers was loaded from a 250-round fabric belt mounted on a tripod. A rubber hose leading to a container condensed steam from the jacket as a means of minimising water wastage.

The gun used standard rifle 0.303-inch ammunition and weighed a little under 20kg; it was thus lighter than both the original Maxim Gun and the German Maschinengewehr 08. It fired some 450 rounds per minute; after some 10,000 rounds had been fired the gun barrel invariably required replacement.

Despite this the Vicker's was still considered unwieldy as a battlefield infantry weapon, and could not be readily transported from site to site without great effort. The gun itself was usually operated by a team of six men.


For four years the British used artillery and fired 170 million shells in that time. But Germany had a plan up their sleeve. For years, German scientists were developing the biggest artillery ever known. It was call the ‘Big Bertha'. Big Bertha was so powerful it could fire at the heart of Paris from 120 kilometres away. The cannons weren't the only things that had been improved. The shells were upgraded as well. Instead of ordinary shells, new High-explosive shells were developed. The Shells were thin casings and were filled with tiny lead pellets. This was so effective, that artillery fire killed hundreds and thousands of men.


Tanks were introduced into battle for the first time in 1916 by the British, these proved to be unreliable though, A later model played a vital role during the allied advances of 1918, flattening barbed wire,crossing enemy trenches and acting as shields for the advancing troops.


The Germans introduced the Hand Grenade better known as the Stick grenade into the battlefield, they worked in the same way as today's grenades, pull out the pin and throw it.

The Mills Bomb introduced into battle by the British looks more like a hand grenade that would be used today.

Both of these bombs were designed to cause maximum damage in confined spaces.

A German Club For Close Combat


World War One Close Combat Weapons

Apart from Bayonets attached to the soldiers rifles, soldiers also carried other weapons for hand to hand combat, during a raid a silent kill would keep the enemy unaware of your presence, allied soldiers would be armed with daggers and sometimes even swords.

German soldiers also had daggers for a silent kill and they also carried a wooden club with a spiked metal head similar to a medieval weapon.

Gas Attack


Victims of a Gas Attack


Poison Gas In The Trenches of World War 1

Gas: The German's "secret" new weapon

Gas was available in three basic varieties:

Lachrymal (tearing agent)

Much like today's tear gas and mace, this gas caused temporary blindness and greatly inflamed the nose and throat of the victim. A gas mask offered very good protection from this type of gas. xylyl bromide was a popular tearing agent since it was easily brewed.


These are the poisonous gases. This class includes chlorine, phosgene and diphosgene. Chlorine inflicts damage by forming hydrochloric acid when coming in contact with moisture such as found in the lungs and eyes. It is lethal at a mix of 1:5000 (gas/air) whereas phosgene is deadly at 1:10,000 (gas/air) - twice as toxic! Diphosgene, first used by the Germans at Verdun on 22-Jun-1916, was deadlier still and could not be effectively filtered by standard issue gas masks.

Chlorine gas destroyed the respiratory organs of its victims and this led to a slow death by asphyxiation. One nurse described the death of one soldier who had been in the trenches during a chlorine gas attack. "He was sitting on the bed, fighting for breath, his lips plum coloured. He was a magnificent young Canadian past all hope in the asphyxia of chlorine. I shall never forget the look in his eyes as he turned to me and gasped: I can't die! Is it possible that nothing can be done for me?" It was a horrible death, but as hard as they tried, doctors were unable to find a way of successfully treating chlorine gas poisoning.

Blistering Agent (Mustard Gas)

Dichlorethylsulphide: the most dreaded of all chemical weapons in World War I - mustard gas. Unlike the other gases which attack the respiratory system, this gas acts on any exposed, moist skin. This includes, but is not limited to, the eyes, lungs, armpits and groin. A gas mask could offer very little protection. The oily agent would produce large burn-like blisters wherever it came in contact with skin. It also had a nasty way of hanging about in low areas for hours, even days, after being dispersed. A soldier jumping into a shell crater to seek cover could find himself blinded, with skin blistering and lungs bleeding.

Sopwith Camel


Fokker Triplane




Aerial Combat During World War 1

At the beginning of the war, aircraft were used for reconnaissance,flying above the enemy lines, helping to direct the artillery bombardments or to detect and troop movements, it was soon realised though that bombs could be dropped from the planes onto the enemy causing as much damage as possible.

This led to the development of fighter planes, the Sopwith Camel was developed by the British and the Germans retaliated with the Fokker Triplane.

The most famous pilots of The Great War was a German pilot named Manfred Von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, He was responsible for shooting down over 80 Allied aircraft before he himself was killed when his aircraft, a Fokker Triplane, was shot down over France in 1918.

In 1915 the first German Airships or Zeppelin's appeared in the Sky over Britain, they were silent invaders that caused a lot of panic amongst the people below, at any moment a hail of bombs could be dropped from the airship.

In the early years of the war Zeppelin's could fly much higher than airplanes and it would be almost impossible to shoot them down, this made them useful for bombing raids, although Zeppelins were rarely used and played little part in the war.

By 1917 airships were mainly restricted to Naval Reconnaissance because of the invention of incendiary bullets and higher flying and faster airplanes.

WW1 German U-boat


HMS Dreadnought


In 1906 Britain launched the Dreadnought Battleship, which sparked off a naval building programme in other countries.

Britain being an Island relied on their fleet of Merchant ships to keep them supplied with food and equipment, built a fleet of battleships to protect the merchants and to prevent supplies from reaching Germany.

Although the German Navy did have a few Battleships they took the fight below the surface by building submarines or U-boats as they were better known.

The Battle of Jutland off the coast of Denmark in the North sea, was the only major sea battle of the whole war, the battle mainly took place under the sea, as German U-boats fought a damaging war against British merchant and troop ships.

Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk with great loss of life.

Both sides claimed victory. The British had lost more ships and many more sailors, and the British press criticised the Grand Fleet's actions, but the German plan of destroying Britain's squadrons had also failed. The Germans continued to pose a threat that required the British to keep their battleships concentrated in the North Sea, but they never again contested control of the high seas. Instead, the German Navy turned its efforts and resources to unrestricted submarine warfare.


Duke on March 20, 2015:

I have also had a great interest and curiosity for WWI specifically. I wonder if it was part of our past lives.

"jimmythejock 6 years ago from Scotland Hub Author

Thanks Eileen, WW1 has always been of interest to me so I really enjoy carrying out the research for these hubs.....jimmy"

2 on September 07, 2014:

i love this site. can u guys make more history sites like this on different subject?

king86 on January 28, 2013:

so cool it helped me so much.

padur1 on January 16, 2013:

hi jimmy. today i found a world war 1 gun in a bog not far from my house. just woundering do you know anyone in ireland to take a look at it??

shroomie on November 27, 2012:

thanx helped lots with history project!!!

clf on October 30, 2012:

Excellent. Helped me get a good mark on my history essay at Eton!

ShadowPoke on June 05, 2012:

Do you have any info on what explosives the canadians used in world war 1? i have a history project on explosives!

lol on May 31, 2012:

its really good information for school stuff

Dash on May 20, 2012:

I liked the info helped me a lot on my info report

papagomas on May 17, 2012:

This extract helped me with my exam Thank You very much :)

big z on May 14, 2012:


raymar on May 03, 2012:

thank for the stuff

Vivky on March 27, 2012:

This very good info.. thanks(;

natalie on March 25, 2012:

this was really helpful for my project for school.

Jimmy the jock (author) from Scotland on March 07, 2012:

Hi Terence this article was written on 08/30/11 i dont give out my last name here but if you visit my profile page you will find a link to my facebook where you will find my name.

terence on March 07, 2012:

Jimmy, I am using your article as a source for my research paper. May I have your last name and the date this article was written?

nikipa from Eastern Europe on February 23, 2012:

Very educational and interesting!

?????????? on February 23, 2012:

This seems like a helpful website, but try to find weapons that start with Y. That's what I needed

Lhanslip on February 20, 2012:

GD info! my homework is now dne! :p

undead on February 20, 2012:

Ohhoi! This helped me a lot :)

ken on February 16, 2012:

This is very helpful! I got away with 2 hours of researching just by looking at this website!!!!!

eric on February 15, 2012:

Thank you so much. My Global HW got way more easier.

Jeeny on February 08, 2012:

I love this! I just finished my History essay, and this was super helpful!!(:

tanisha on February 06, 2012:

Awesome.It helped me a lot in EVS project.Thanks.

tom on February 06, 2012:

Thank you so much, this is going to help me with my History assignment.

will on February 06, 2012:

this is cool l know the true

cardona on February 01, 2012:

thanks you helped a lot in my socal studies homework

bob on February 01, 2012:

good information for my project

Hollie on January 10, 2012:

thanks, this helps a lot. p.s when did the british first sight the germans?

Avery on January 09, 2012:

good this helped me in solcial studies it a great find and good info

Aryan M on December 12, 2011:

This is all very interesting, and I did learn stuff from this article or hub or whatever you wanna call it. It was incredibly useful and helped me complete my history essay. I thank you very much for this. :)

girl on December 11, 2011:

helped with ww1 assignment thanx(;

amber on December 05, 2011:

this a cool web site for my s.s project just a lital bit more info on the guns

jr on December 02, 2011:


reasey on November 24, 2011:

thanks this helped allot for my english project

Timi on November 10, 2011:

Thanks, your really happened! but can someone help me? wat was life like before ww1

Ben Prout on November 09, 2011:

good info, but you don't have any on American infantry weapons that I saw. might want to add that. jus a tip.

Xavion Tucker on November 08, 2011:

this is cool

derek on November 07, 2011:


trevor on November 02, 2011:

this stuff is good for my history and i learned about a bunch of wepons

Rod on November 01, 2011:

I have a shell from either WWI or WWII. It is approx. 5 inches long and 3/4 of an inch in diameter. It has a M on the bottom above the primer and a V M below the primer. I'd like to know what it is? Can you help?

Alex C on October 28, 2011:

this is very coo. I feel bad for the people that are in it.

i like the video that is from world war one. I am adding it to a project so i like it.

asdfghjkl on October 27, 2011:

Wow, this is so informative. good work buddy.

amy m on October 25, 2011:

very good info, helped a lot with my assignment! thanks a lot

Darren mcfeeters on October 23, 2011:


minimaccaa on October 17, 2011:

Hi thanks for the information REALLY HELPED WITH AN assignment.


casserole123 on October 15, 2011:

you really helped me with my project thanks a bunch i really appreciate it you got me out of having a bad grade in that class

sc on October 14, 2011:

thank u so much it was very useful

Josef J on October 13, 2011:

Thanks for the information! It helped a lot with my homework.

Ihearthistory on October 11, 2011:

tH@nK5 4da 1Nf0 Br0.

Thomas Terrington on October 10, 2011:

This helped melots

histroyNERD on October 03, 2011:


fugdy on September 27, 2011:

thanks for the info for studys

lukolio on September 26, 2011:


none of your news on September 02, 2011:

i know this hub thank jimmy it helped a lot assesment in social studies

racheal on August 30, 2011:

This has been very helpful for my history coursework! Thank you!

pauline on August 29, 2011:

Hi Jimmy,

I have been given a WW1 shell and am trying to find out if it is British or German, has PAR 1918 on it Can you help!

ash on August 13, 2011:

very helpful, i needed information about weapons of ww1

thanks JIMMY!

Student on June 11, 2011:

Thank You so much!

I have a project on this and the info helped a lot. :)

harnold on June 07, 2011:

I am doing an essay on weapons in World War One and this helped a lot!! Thanks!

taco1128 on May 01, 2011:

this helped me out with almost all of my history assignment i just need drawings thank you so much

Doofus on April 26, 2011:


downesem on April 25, 2011:

people, how much did a mills bomb cost to make?? thats what i NEED to know. and yo, duffin tn, its not called the 'tripartite alliance'. germany, austria and italy where known as the triple alliance. britain, france and russia where known as the triple entente. they were the two main forces in 1914 - 1916

phil on April 06, 2011:

thanks you helped a lot with the info I needed to gather

young man123 on March 09, 2011:

thanks you heped with my project:)

alex on February 24, 2011:

much help

hunter on February 17, 2011:

So cool!!!!!!!!!!!

EzKilla on February 14, 2011:

this info is top notch it helped me with this big ass history assignment that i have to do so thanks a lot

Bob on January 27, 2011:

Good job!

Jonathan on January 26, 2011:

Thanks for putting all this info together, good work.

Jill on January 17, 2011:

this is good

Felix dj on January 17, 2011:

Omg this is so helpful i need one of u in my life

gordon strachan on January 17, 2011:

thank you for helpin me with my project x

Malcolm_Cox from Newcastle, England on January 05, 2011:


I have published a HUB and linked a couple of yours on there. I hope you don't mind.

yeshi zangpo on December 25, 2010:

dang.............dang......dats great

Crazy on December 07, 2010:

yo man this is very good stuff so keep it up and make another page to get more info

shpard on November 29, 2010:

thanks guys this really helped me with my history project that im currently working on now! Thank you sooo much!!!!!

case on November 21, 2010:

world war 1 is awsome

Wilson on November 21, 2010:

Thanks for the great article, it was interesting and also saved me for my WWI assignment. This information is very useful and helped me answer my questions.

Adam on November 07, 2010:

Thanks, this helped a lot in English. I am doing a project in English were I have to get a talk prepared and this information was very helpful, thank you.

Berti15 on November 04, 2010:

thanks so much dude. i hav to do this project for history class about how technology evolved in WW1 and your info and pics have really helped me out! thanks man!

ELITE WARRIOR CP on November 03, 2010:

great info to do my homework L.O.L

jiii on November 02, 2010:

this is awsome!!!

Brandon on October 19, 2010:

Thanks! I'm doing an essay on weaponry in WW1 and this helps so much! Thanks again!

Dim on October 15, 2010:

great info thanks a lot

SId on October 14, 2010:

thanks so much this is grrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaatttttttt :) :)

rob24hrs from UK on September 22, 2010:

Good hub Jimmy. My grandmother witnessed a zeppelin being shot down over Hartlepool. I have documented it here. rgds Rob

ssssssssssssssssssssssssss on September 15, 2010:

It really helped me but more info

Kyle Crawford on August 09, 2010:

I have a 303. WW1 and also used in WW2 how can i find out the background of the gun

Junie on July 16, 2010:

Thanks a lot on this hub. Great insights. I thought I hate to learned my history subject. But I love to learn more on this action story.

someone on May 22, 2010:

do u know anything about the averadge cost of artillery

Chaos Boy on May 17, 2010:

Thanks the info is great lol

joshie on May 04, 2010:


Justice on April 25, 2010:

Wow thx a lot man. used it on my WW1 project. dont think i coulda found this info easly anywhere els!!!!!

holden cox on April 19, 2010:

very good stuff mate nice work as u u say say in america shiten. goog good

WW1 on April 17, 2010:

thx!! lots of info, helped me finish my history project

FunnymonkeyIl on March 29, 2010:

Thanks for the info, it helped a lot on my school project

Robert on March 22, 2010:

Cheers mate, that's great.

zach b on March 04, 2010:

great info , used it for a history project

Mico Sanchez on March 02, 2010:

thanks for the info

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