World War I
by D Period US History

Germany's War Strategy

Germany's plan was based on Schlieffen's plan. The goal was to outflank the French frontier defenses by sweeping through Belgium to the Channel and then wheeling to the south and east to envelope French. There they would crush them against the German fortresses in Lorraine.

Schlieffen Plan

-Germany's strategy for winning war against France in 1914

-Original plan: crushing blows at France were to be followed by release of troops against Russia on Germany's eastern front

-However, because the plan was not properly implemented, the war on the western front dragged on

Allies had greater numbers, better financial resources, and command of the sea

Central powers-possessed internal lines of communication, launched attack first

Secret of Success

-Strengthened right wing of German army and purposefully weakened left wing

-Left wing opposed French army, luring French into attacking the wrong place

Weapons

Rifle- Main weapon used by British soldiers in the trenches was the bolt-action rifle. 15 rounds could be fired in a minute.

Machine gun- 4 to 6 men to work them and had to be on a flat surface. They had the firepower of 100 guns.

Mustard Gas- The German were the first to use chlorine gas has the battle of Ypres (1915). This gas causes a burning sensation in the throat and chest pains. There are also difficulties with chlorine gas, the weather must be right. The wind has to be in the right direction or else it could end up killing your own troops rather than the enemy. This weapon was the most deadly of all of them. It was used to fire trenches in shells but takes 12 hours to take effect. The effects include blistering skin, vomiting, sore eyes, internal and external bleeding but the death can take up to 5 weeks.

Zeppelin- The zeppelin was also known as a blimp, was an airship that was used during the early part of the war in bombing raids by the Germans. These Zeppelin’s carried machine guns and and bombs. However, they were abandoned because they were easy to shoot out of the sky.

Tank- Were used for the first time in the Battle of the Somme. They were developed to be convenient in the conditions of the Western Front. The first tanks maximum speed was 3 mile per hours and could only carry 3 men. This first tank didn’t cross trenches, this was called the Little Willie. The modern tank wasn’t developed until just before the end of the war which could reach up to 4 miles per hour and could carry 10 men.

Planes- Planes were used for the first time to deliver bombs and for spying work but became fighter aircraft armed with machine guns, bombs, and some times cannons. Fights between two fights in the sky became known as “dogfights”. The U.S. Army originally tied guns to planes by using a leather strap, but this was ineffective because it required two people (one person to drive the plane and the other to operate the gun). Franz Schneider, a Swiss engineer, patented his idea for an interrupter gear in 1913, and a finished version was shown by Anthony Fokker, a Dutch designer. The interrupter gears “synchronizer” was centered on a cam attached to the propeller shaft, which allowed a machine gun to fire between the blades of the spinning propeller.

Torpedoes- These were used by submarines. The Germans used torpedoes to blow up ships carrying supplies from America to Britain. The Germans torpedoed the passenger liner Lusitania on May 1, 1915 which sank with a loss of 1000 lives. Americans were furious and joined the war in 1917 on the side of the allies.

Technology

Flamethrowers- The first design for a modern flamethrower was submitted to the German Army by Richard Fiedler in 1901, and the devices were tested by the Germans with an experimental detachment in 1911. They were used mainly during trench warfare. Unlike grenades, flamethrowers burn soldiers alive without destroying the bunkers.

Air traffic control- Once planes were in the air, they were unable to receive information besides flags and lamps down on the ground. The U.S. Army installed operational two-way radios in planes in 1915, and by 1916 technicians could send a radio telegraph over a distance of 140 miles. Radio telegraph messages were also exchanged between planes during flight. In 1917, a human voice was transmitted by radio from a plane in flight to an operator on the ground for the first time.

Hydrophone- The first hydrophone was invented in 1914 by the Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden. It was of limited use because it could only tell the distance of an object and not the direction. A hydrophone is a microphone that works underwater. The hydrophone claimed its first U-boat victim in April 1916.

Aircraft carriers- An aircraft carrier is a ship that airplanes are launched from. The first time an airplane was launched from a moving ship was in May 1912.

Mobile X-Ray machines- Marie Curie created mobile X-ray stations for the French military immediately after the outbreak of war. By October 1914, she had installed X-ray machines in several cars and small trucks which toured smaller surgical stations. Eighteen of these “radiologic cars” existed by the end of the war.

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