World War I Warfare Technology
War pigeons were used extensively during World War I. The French army advanced 72 homing pigeons with the troops to carry messages throughout the ranks. The U.S. Army used 600 pigeons in France alone. A pigeon named Cher Ami was awarded a French metal for delivering 12 important messages in 1918. She delivered her messages even though she had been shot and saved 200 US soldiers’ lives.
Airplanes in the beginning of the war were crude. First recorded flight was in 1903 so it is not unexpected that there wouldn't be too many advancements by the time World War I came around. Navigation was based on looking at a map and for landmarks on the ground. By the end of the war Airplanes were lighter and more maneuverable and could attack each other midair. Germany was the first to put machine guns on planes. Germany used zeppelins to drop bombs on British and French cities.
Tanks were first used by British and French forces in 1916. The Germans did not have tanks so they were terrified to see them coming through the trenches over the Barb wire. Tanks were equipped with machine guns and light cannons. They moved very slowly and were plagued with mechanical problems. Britain and France had 7500 tanks and Germany had 20 tanks by the end of the war.
Trains brought supplies and troops all over Europe. Britain use trains as a reliable method to supply the front lines with shells and other supplies. Russia and Austria-Hungary used both light and heavily armored trains.
Chemical warfare was first used by the Germans in a surprise attack in Belgium in 1915. Large cylinders released gas carried by the wind into enemy lines. Eventually gas was put into artillery shells and shot directly into enemy trenches. Germany used, a warfare the most but all sides use some form of chemical gas warfare by 1918.
Guns ranged from huge cannons to short range trench mortars. The soldiers near the front lines were never safe from artillery bombardment. The Germans had a super long ranged gun that could attack Paris from 80 miles away. The machine gun was developed in the United States and by 1914 the German military saw its potential and had huge stockpiles ready to use for the war effort. In 1916 German machine guns killed or wounded 60,000 British soldiers in one day.
The war ended in 1918 technological advances in warfare during World War I were directly responsible for millions of deaths.