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History >> World War I

World War I

Changes in Modern Warfare

World War I introduced many advances in science and technology into modern warfare. These advances changed the nature of warfare including battle strategies and tactics. Scientists and inventors on both sides worked throughout the war to improve weapon technology in order to give their side an edge in the fight.

War in the Air

World War I was the first war where the airplane was used. Initially, airplanes were used to observe enemy troops. However, by the end of the war they were used to drop bombs on troops and cities. They also had mounted machine guns that were used to shoot down other planes.



German Albatros by a German official photographer

Tanks

Tanks were first introduced in World War I. These armored vehicles were used to cross "No Man's Land" between the trenches. They had mounted machine guns and cannon. The first tanks were unreliable and hard to steer, however, they became more effective by the end of the war.


British Tank
A tank during the Battle of the Somme
by Ernest Brooks

Trench Warfare

Much of the war along the western front was fought using trench warfare. Both sides dug long lines of trenches that helped to protect the soldiers from gunfire and artillery. The area between enemy trenches was called No Man's Land. Trench warfare caused a stalemate between the two sides for many years. Neither side gained ground, but both sides lost millions of soldiers.

Changes in Naval Warfare

The most dangerous ships during World War I were large metal-armored battleships called dreadnoughts. These ships had powerful long-range guns, allowing them to attack other ships and land targets from a long distance. The main naval battle in World War I was the Battle of Jutland. Besides this battle, Allied naval ships were used to blockade Germany to prevent supplies and food from reaching the country.

World War I also introduced submarines as a naval weapon in warfare. Germany used submarines to sneak up on ships and sink them with torpedoes. They even attacked Allied passenger ships such as the Lusitania.

New Weapons
Machine gunners wearing gas masks
Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks
by John Warwick Brooke

Interesting Facts about WWI Changes in Modern Warfare
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