Why were there new and more destructive weapons of war used during World War I?

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Gió Share
Apr 28, 2017


I tried to consider the main weapons:


First there are the two main weapons: the heavy field gun and the the heavy machinegun.
The first was used to try to pulverize the enemy formations and trenches before an attack (an offensive weapon); the second was used to create a wall of murderous lead to stop this attack (a defensive weapon). Both weapons were terrible because they produced a huge number of casualties among the soldiers that didn't have any mean of protection (kevlar flakjackets, reinforced concrete bunkers, tanks, etc.).

We may also consider poisonous gasses and the tank (the aircraft had a small killing effect compared to the others):
the poisonous gas and the tank were two weapons developed to try to eliminate the impasse introduced by trench warfare. These weapons were supposed to allow the attacker to smash through the enemy trenches and conduct a war of movement. In reality even if they had a terrible psychological effect their casualty rate was again comparatively small (although it is difficult to believe, gasses killed far less soldiers than the other weapons and most of the time they were more dangerous for the user because of the changing wind and its persistence on the battlefield). The tank, after the first spectacular success, was basically limited as it was its mechanical reliability!

The submarine was, instead, a formidable weapon! It could operate free of detection (no Sonar at that time) and at low cost (a single torpedo could sink a powerful battleship or cargo). The idea behind the submarine was, I think, to suffocate the enemy's economy and will of fighting by eliminating his merchant fleet and to starve him into submission.

As an afterthought you can say that, at the end of the day, all of them were used to simply.....kill people!

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