Artillery In World War One

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World War 1 saw the death of millions of people. Why is it so many people got injured and died during the course of World War 1? Why was the war so long? The answer? The answer to this question is artillery. Artillery is arguably one of the most vital innovations in World War 1. The development of artillery gave both sides a key weapon which was technologically superior to every other firearm on the battlefield. However, due it being technologically superior compared with many other weapons used by infantry soldiers on the ground during the war, artillery had the largest impact on the people who had to face it. Infantry soldiers. But how did the development of artillery impact infantry soldiers in World War 1? The development of technologically…show more content…
Artillery also greatly impacted infantry soldiers as it caused the deaths of millions of infantry soldiers during the war. According to Alan Kramer, 58.3% of German soldier deaths during World War 1 came from artillery or shrapnel from artillery. This meant that out of the 1.7 million German soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1, approximately 991,000 soldiers lost their lives due to artillery. Germany was not the only country to have this predicament. Artillery accounted for 59% of British soldier deaths during the war. Out of the approximately 908,000 soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1 (on the British side), almost 550,000 lost their lives through artillery related deaths. Alan Kramer also estimates that the number of German deaths in World War 1 could have been decreased by as much as 40% and that British deaths could have been reduced by as much as 38% without the use of artillery. The reason for the large number of deaths were that generals of both sides took a long time to adjust their original battle tactics. At first, even with the development of artillery, generals for both sides insisted on continuing to fight the same way that they had previously (in the open). Despite thousands being killed while fighting in the open due to artillery blasts, generals on both sides insisted on keeping the same tactics. This happened for a while before they realized that…show more content…
The development of artillery increased the duration of the war because it with artillery, trench warfare was introduced. Neither side at first had the offensive power to overcome the defensive tactic of trench warfare which often led to many stalemates during battles in this period. At first, when artillery was introduced, infantry tactics had not yet been adjusted to overcome or accommodate artillery. (Plumier) Soldiers on both sides were ordered to attack in the open against artillery and over machine guns. After people realized this would not work, they turned to trench warfare. (Cornish) Trench warfare had both sides digging deep trenches that could last over 100 kilometers to protect themselves from a barrage of artillery blasts. Trench warfare also resulted in infantry soldiers fighting for days (or weeks) from the trenches just so that one side could move a few yards forward. (Duffy) Fighting in the trenches was long, hard and tedious and it could take days, weeks or even a month just to defeat another enemy who’s trench was near yours and take their trench. Artillery caused trench warfare as infantry soldiers needed a way to protect themselves from heavy shelling from artillery but the result was trench warfare - a long hard and often painful battle just to gain some yardage over your opponent.
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