War & the Transformation of British Society c.1903-28

New Weapons


New Weapons

Machine Gun - Had devastating effect on the battle field. Water cooled used by both sides could fire 600 rounds a minute & frquently cut down hundreds of troops before they could even advance a few metres.

Gas - Poison Gas was used for the first time by the Germans at the Battle of Ypres April 1915. But later used by both sides. Widely feared gas was not very predictable in battle (could blow back on sender) , & developement of gas mask ment gas did not have major impact on war. {Different types of gas- Mustard attacked skin, Chlorine & Phosgene attacked lungs.} Use of Pioson Gas had been banned by international agreement in 1899 & 1907, yet still used.

Tanks - British used tanks for first time at Battle of the Somme Sep 1916. Tanks were quite successful but not enough of them to break stalemate of Western Front. First tanks moved at about 3mph were armour plated with cannon & machine guns on them. They were very unrealiable at first. Often advanced too quickly for troops to keep up! Only at end of war did they really make a differance to Western Front stalemate. 

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The End of The War

The Western Front, 1918: Victory for the Allies

April 1917, the USA jioned the Allies. Germans knew it would take USA time to recruit & train an army, so drew up plans for swift victory before USA could really help.

By March 1918, Germany had defeated the Russian army on the Eastern front, so could move a million men to the Western front. Commander Ludendorff decided as he had many more men an all out attack should commence before the US troops arrived. On 21st Mar 1918 the LUDENDORFF offensive began germans advanced rapidly moving foward 65km along a 130km front.They reached the River Marne in July threatening Paris again.

July 1918 General Foch, began a counter attack with the help of the newly arrived US troops. In August the British defeated the Germans at Amiens with the help of Tanks. More victories followed in Flanders.

4th Oct 1918 the German army in full retreat, Ludendorff asked the allies for a truce. 

11th Nov 1918 an Armistice was signed & the 1st World War was over.

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