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  2. Weapons of WWI - WWI - Guides at Red Deer College
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Machine-guns and the Great War
  5. WWI 1914- 1918: Weapons of WWI

Browning stands with the Browning Automatic Rifle designed by his father.

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Photo: Army Heritage and Education Center. The Browning Automatic Rifle, commonly known as the BAR, was developed late in the war but was rushed to the front in The air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed automatic rifle commonly used in infantry assaults and counter-sniper roles. It could fire rounds per minute but was typically fired in bursts. The weapon designer's son, 2nd Lt. Browning, carried the weapon during some of his missions on the front.

The Chauchat machine gun had a reputation for unreliability.

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The Chauchat was known for being unreliable , especially an American version re-chambered from 8mm to. But, it was mass produced and weighed only 20 pounds allowing it to be carried by infantry on the assault. American quality control tests on the Chauchat produced a percent rejection rate.

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Weapons of WWI - WWI - Guides at Red Deer College

It was difficult to move in times when quick thinking was critical but its size and clunky demeanor did not stop it from doing its job and doing it well. It did not take long until Maxim sold the gun he had created and watched as it quickly catapulted to even larger stardom on the battlefield.

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  • Anti-Aircraft Machine Guns of the Great War | War Is Boring?
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  • First World - Weapons of War: Machine Guns.
  • At this time, it became known as the Vickers gun and was then capable of putting out While this was good news in many ways, it was also about to be introduced into the wrong hands. There were a meager 12, guns by the time the war broke out in That number, however, would explosively grow to become , guns in a very short time.

    This was a sobering thought. The earliest, most primitive renditions of the machine gun worked entirely from a hand crank but by the ending of World War I in , the machine gun was entirely automatic and was capable of producing an output of up to rounds per minute. Even still, there were more changes on the horizon. No longer a weapon fired by just anybody, the machine gunnery moved forward as an expertise and by this time were handled by specialists corps.

    Vickers Heavy Machine Gun

    These specialty corps would develop new firing methods that would change the way we see war and how battles are fought from the inside out. It was in that the British and Allied Forces created barrage fire. Barrage fire was a method that allowed troops to fire over the heads of their own soldiers. This opened up the way for both planned and unexpected attacks as well as responses to SOS calls from the infantry.

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    By late , the Germans created elite sharpshooter attachments. They would use them in their specialized attack formations that they have become so notorious for. As we have seen over the course of this article, warfare is always evolving. Nothing stays the same forever and evolution always wins out to provide us with even more innovative forms of weapons that once seemed like they could grow no more advanced. British inventors had also devised effective bomb-sights that allowed more accurate attacks. The age of the bomber had arrived.

    Artillery killed more people than any other weapon between The biggest guns used in the Great War could fire shells as large as a soldier. The troops were terrified of them.

    Men watched their fellows being blown apart or dreadfully wounded by shrapnel. They lived in fear that their turn would soon come. Generals ordered artillery to bombard enemy trenches for hours on end before sending their own troops 'over the top' to attack.

    Machine-guns and the Great War

    The idea was that the artillery would kill many enemy soldiers, terrify others and destroy barbed wire defences and machine gun positions. In fact, enough enemy machine guns usually survived to mow down the infantry when they finally attacked. In many ways, artillery fire made it even harder to attack enemy trenches as it destroyed all cover and created the famous barren landscape of blasted trees and shell holes that was known as 'no man's land'.

    At the start of the war, Britain had real problems in supplying ammunition. As the war went on, Britain greatly improved its supply of guns and munitions. This was partly because hundreds of thousands of women worked in factories to produce the ammunition that was needed. Britain also relied heavily on the USA to supply shells and machines for making weapons.

    In their search for a weapon that could break the stalemate on the western front, generals turned to a frightening new weapon - poisonous gas. On 22 April near Ypres, the Germans released chlorine gas from cylinders and allowed the wind to blow the thick, green vapour across to the Allied trenches.

    The first to suffer were Algerian soldiers of the French army. Their throats burned, they spat blood and struggled to breathe. Thousands died. As the war went on, gas technology developed.

    WWI 1914- 1918: Weapons of WWI

    Gas masks were issued. Gas-shells were fired into trenches. Both sides used new gasses, which could blister skin, eyes and lungs. Gas did not help either side to win the war, but soldiers came to see it as a terrifying weapon and a sign that war had changed forever.