New Weapons of World War 1
The Industrial Revolution of the years preceding the 20th century paved the way for technological advances in the weapons which were used during the war. One notable fact that sets World War I apart from the wars that came before it is the use of advanced weaponry; never before had soldiers been equipped as they were in the early 1900s. This, in turn, would cause high rates of casualties and destruction of whole towns and landmarks.
The new weapons which were used at sea included submarines, torpedoes, and seaplanes. Submarines, which were usually equipped with guns and torpedoes, were used not just as a way to threaten the enemy, but to destroy other countries’ ships and vessels. Seaplanes were also used to attack enemy ships, providing for two different fronts on which vessels could be destroyed: underwater and overhead.
In terms of firearms, soldiers could fire at the enemy with speeds that were never before seen. Their use of advanced artillery, mortars, machine guns, and rifles provided for more rapid, accurate gunfire. Mortars were especially effective as a firearm due to the destruction they caused. They looked like oversized bullets, and soldiers could aim them in such a way as to make buildings and other structures collapse on top of their enemies. This meant that troops did not have to be particularly close to their target to inflict damage upon them.
When it came to weapons in the air, airplanes and zeppelins were commonly used. This would mark the first time that countries would use large air-based carriers for bombs on a grand scale, and led to much of the casualties that occurred on a civilian level. The zeppelins especially were used to drop bombs and to scout out enemy territories.
Finally, the combination of weapons used on land were unlike anything witnessed in war. Flamethrowers, poison gas, tanks, and grenades were employed extensively to the detriment of everyone involved. Mustard gas, for instance, was a dangerous type of gas that had a garlicky-scent to it and was slightly yellow in color. This type of gas could be expelled into enemy trenches, causing anyone in its wake to experience a burning sensation of the eyes, skin, nose, and lungs.
Taken together, this new weaponry changed the way soldiers could fight. No longer were they required to be in close proximity to the enemy, and they could move around quickly and effectively, which resulted in some cases in mass destruction. The weaponry that was introduced during World War I would change the norms of combat forever