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The tech of WWI


In the latest installment of his ten-part series on WWI, Alan Taylor covers the technology used in the war.

When Europe’s armies first marched to war in 1914, some were still carrying lances on horseback. By the end of the war, rapid-fire guns, aerial bombardment, armored vehicle attacks, and chemical weapon deployments were commonplace. Any romantic notion of warfare was bluntly shoved aside by the advent of chlorine gas, massive explosive shells that could have been fired from more than 20 miles away, and machine guns that spat out bullets like firehoses. Each side did its best to build on existing technology, or invent new methods, hoping to gain any advantage over the enemy.

It’s fascinating to observe both sides using trial and error with things like tanks, testing out what works and what doesn’t. Look at this kooky German cannon for instance:

Wwi German Cannon

Nothing about that looks efficient.

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