One of the first warfare devices used early in the war was the machine gun. The machine gun was invented by Hiram Maxim in 1884. 1 The machine gun weighed about 100 pounds and fired up to 600 rounds per minute. L This device was used with the trench warfare tactics. Solders would be in a defensive trench and when the enemy forces charged forward to attack they would be ripped apart with the machine gun. “Maxim’s Design became the standard for most machine guns during the war. ” 1 The machine gun kept enemies from advancing but also proved to be a good offensive weapon as well.
Chlorine gas was easy to spot because of its yellowish green color, because of this; troops were able to avoid afflicted areas. The most lethal gas of the war was implemented by Germany. Phosgene was a colorless; lightly odor gas that was used ate in 1915. 3 Soldiers exposed to this gas had minor symptoms like coughing and eye irritation at first. Once the gas got into lungs it caused a buildup of fluid which eventually led to death. Germans would use a combination of gases to trick allied forces into believing gas wasn’t in their immediate area.
They would shoot chlorine gas off to one side so that forces would avoid the obvious gassed area and would shoot the colorless phosgene gas in the path where the forces were most likely to go to avoid the chlorine gas. Once the allied soldiers realized there was gas in the area it was too late. The most widely known chemical agent during this time was mustard gas. This gas was not renowned for its fatalities but more for its ability to take troops off of the battlefield with the injuries it caused. Mustard gas affected more than Just the respiratory system; it caused skin irritation which led to burns and blisters.
Mustard gas had a yellowish-brown color hence the name and also had an odor that was similar to garlic. While the casualties from chemical warfare were far less than those from traditional battle the technology added a new perspective to war. Soldiers had more mental fear of the unknown and battles were more perilous. In 1925, the Geneva Convention outlawed chemical warfare for human reasons. 3 Another technological development that played a role in World War 1 was the tank. What was once called the war of movement turned into the war of the trenches.
The British developed the Mark 1 tank which provided a way to defend their infantry from trench fire as they advanced. The tank wasn’t a key offensive weapon in WWW as some may think but its armor allowed it to gain affordability with protecting soldiers. The tank would go on to become a vital weapon in the later wars. Not all technology developed during WWW was weaponry. With so many casualties brewing from the war and the need for medical personnel and equipment increasing, there were vast technology advancements in the medical field.
One of these advancements was the mobile X-ray machine. Troops that were wounded but alive needed field medical care. Traditional x-ray machines were large and too delicate to move and transport. Marie Curie, a French woman, set up the first mobile x-ray stations for the French military. 6 These machines were used to find shrapnel and bullets lodged in soldiers and reduced the need for exploratory surgery. 6 Along with the mobile x-ray machine here were other medical improvements during WWW. Cellulose bandages were developed by French nurses.
These disposable napkins were more sanitary than reusing washed cloth to cover wounds and stop the bleeding. They were more absorbent and easier to contain bodily fluids. The material in these bandages was later adopted by an American company named Ext, who is famous for their feminine pads. 7 World War 1 was fully of technological developments. These advancements made war of the past obsolete. Army size didn’t guarantee victory; there were no more formations, bugle calls or drummer boys. War was brand new. Nations had to adapt quickly or they too would be rendered obsolete.