This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, one of man’s deadliest wars that shook the world and touched almost every part of it. It was the first war that involved tanks that were initially to be called ‘landships’. There were many other firsts and some fascinating facts that you might not have heard before. To celebrate hundred years of the end of the Great War, here are some World War I facts:
The Germans first used flamethrowers during WWI. They must have been a terrifying sight as the flamethrowers could fire flames up to 130 feet into the air.
During the war, British tanks were initially separated into “males” and “females.” The male tanks had cannons, while females carried heavy machine guns. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to drive one of these armoured beasts then try Tank Driving Days at https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html
“Little Willie” was the first prototype tank built in 1915. It could transport a three-man crew and travel up to 3 mph.
Over 65 million men from more than 30 nations fought in the Great War. Close to 10 million were killed with the allies losing approximately 6 million men.
The noise of artillery barrage and mines created the most incredibly loud noise. In 1917, explosions at Ypres, Belgium were heard as far away as London, 140 miles away.
It wasn’t just fighting that killed soldiers, the Spanish flu caused about one third of all military deaths.
The Germans used a 48-ton howitzer gun nicknamed Big Bertha. It fired a shell weighing over 2,000 pounds across a distance of 9.3 miles. It could have been deadlier if it hadn’t taken six hours to assemble and take 200 men to assemble it. Germany had 13 of these enormous weapons.
The total cost of WWI just for the U.S alone was over $30 billion.
The First World War was the sixth deadliest war in the history of the world so far.
The Great War was fought on every ocean and nearly every continent on the planet. The majority of fighting took place in Europe though. The end of the war saw the collapse of four empires – the Ottoman, German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian.
British trenches were nowhere near as sophisticated as the German trenches. The Germans built their trenches to last with furniture, bunk beds, water tanks and taps, electric lighting and even doorbells!
During the course of the war, around 30 different types of poisonous gas was used. The Germans released almost 70,000 tons of gas with the British and French releasing 51,000 tons between them. More than 1,200,000 soldiers on all sides were gassed, with over 90,000 dying a painful and horrid death. At the end of the war, many nations signed treaties outlawing the use of chemical weapons which still stands today.
The U.S shipped over 7 million tons of supplies to France in support of the allied war effort. The goods included 70,000 horses, 27,000 freight cars, 1,800 locomotives and 50,000 trucks.