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The Ultimate Killing Machines. The Weapons of World War One. Section Overview & Objectives. Weapons on land. Weapons on the high seas. Weapons in the air. Identify the different types of weapons and their effectiveness in the war. Explain how these weapons changed the nature of war.

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The ultimate killing machines

The Ultimate KillingMachines

The Weapons of World War One

Section overview objectives
Section Overview & Objectives

  • Weapons on land.

  • Weapons on the high seas.

  • Weapons in the air.

  • Identify the different types of weapons and their effectiveness in the war.

  • Explain how these weapons changed the nature of war.

Trench warfare
Trench Warfare

  • Trenches extended for miles on both sides of the war

  • Trenches housed troops and supplies and served as headquarters for the generals

  • German trenches were better protected and even had shops and barbers

  • Very muddy after rainstorms (“trenchfoot”)

  • “No man’s land” area between the trenches

Weapons in the trenches

Machine Guns

Been around since the US Civil War (Gatling guns)

Able to kill many soldiers at one time

Long-range Artillery

German “Big Bertha”

Some guns were mounted on railroad cars miles away from the Front.

Able to fire a two ton shell up to 20 miles away.

Extended the war to major cities (Paris) and civilians.

Weapons in the trenches

Land weapons cont d

The Motorized Tank

Introduced at the Battle of Cambrai, 1917

Developed by the British

Most tanks were ineffective because they got stuck in the mud a lot.

Poison Gas

Introduced by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

Chlorine, Mustard Gas and Phosgene were the most commonly used gases.

Those who did not get their gas masks on in time would suffer blindness or drown in their own lungs.

Wind patterns can make poison gas ineffective and even backfire.

Land Weapons, Cont’d

The war at sea

Two main weapons:

Dreadnoughts (or battleships)

Rarely used in the war (Jutland)

Submarines (U-boats)


Very effective during the German blockade of England

Would eventually lead to the United States entering the war.

The War at Sea

The war in the sky


Used first for observation

Gradually used for bombing, then aerial “dogfights”

Manfred von Richthofen AKA the “Red Baron”

Zeppelins: rigid airships

Used primarily for bombing runs over London in 1915.

Filled with hydrogen gas…

which often led to them being blown up in the sky

The War in the Sky

Clockwise from Top L:

Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron,” a German Zeppelin, and a German “Albatross” fighter plane.

The lusitania
The Lusitania

  • British passenger liner (Cunard Line)

  • Launched 1906

  • Fastest ocean liner of the day

  • Sailed from New York May 1 1915 with over 1,900 people aboard

  • Warned by the Germans that their ship could be sunk without warning

The results
The results

  • Lusitania sank 18 minutes after the torpedo struck

  • Of the 1,950 on board, 1,200 died, including 128 Americans

  • America almost enters the war, but Germany promises to stop sinking ships

  • Germany later breaks the promise and resumes sinkings, bringing the US into the war in 1917

The changing face of war
The Changing Face of War

  • Before World War One…

  • War was seen as romantic, with brave men marching off to the battlefield.

  • Now that you’ve seen the “advances” in weaponry during WWI, what do you think the war was like?