The First World War went down in history as one of the bloodiest military conflicts in the history of mankind, as well as the time of the invention of very strange and even crazy things. Each side wanted to gain an advantage over the enemy, and therefore developed more and more complex types of weapons. It is interesting that many things familiar today in military affairs were created just then.
1. I can see everything without looking
The First World War changed all military affairs. It was during this conflict that echeloned defense began to be widely used. The slow, grueling and bloody trench warfare was a new reality that most commanders did not yet know how to deal with at the time.
It was during these years that the first periscope rifles began to appear. This is, for example, the French Lebel infantry rifle model 1886/1893 with a curved barrel. The purpose of the rifle is obvious - to shoot from the trench without sticking out. The fighter pressed the trigger, pulling a special cable. Aiming was carried out using a system of mirrors.
2. Blood and dirt
The armies of all the participating countries began the First World War in unmasking form. Finished - with camouflage prototypes. In the first months of the war, brave French officers went on the attack at full height. Graduates of the Saint-Cyr Military Academy wore white gloves to battle. The French in red and blue uniforms were an excellent target for the German infantry. In the first months, German propaganda mockingly wrote: "There will soon be no children left in France at all."
The widespread use of the latest types of rifles and machine guns quickly made it clear to the military that the era of "attacks in orderly ranks" was over. Now, in battle, the one who was best disguised survived and thrived. It was in the First World War that a camouflage suit began to be widely used.
A striking example of early camouflage is this dirt-colored infantryman's jumpsuit. Among other things, he covered the entire head of the infantryman with a hood, and his face with a mask.
3. Metal caps
The development of firearms made steel personal protective equipment unusable and irrelevant. They hampered movement, burdened the fighter. It is very ironic that it was the development of firearms and fragmentation weapons in the First World War that caused the reincarnation of steel helmets - helmets that have been used only by cavalrymen for many decades, and then as part of a ceremonial uniform.
However, the Germans here turned out to be the most perspicacious. They began using their legendary pickelhaube helmets in the infantry even before the war. True, he did not protect from shrapnel and bullets, because he was made of leather, but he covered the soldier's head from the ground and stones flying from the explosions.
French soldiers began to receive steel helmets in 1915. They were designed by General Auguste Louis Adrian. Steel helmets appeared in both Germany and Great Britain. The use of helmets reduced the number of head injuries on the battlefield by 4 times.
It is curious that in addition to helmets, steel cuirasses on the chest began to return, they were intended, however, only for attack aircraft. Melee weapons also survived the Renaissance. The bayonet rifle was too long for hand-to-hand combat in the trench, so Morgensterns and handicraft trench knives began to return.
4. Extra large rifle
Britain, and then France and Germany, began to use tracked armored vehicles in the First World War. Since the trenches, they seriously changed the idea of modern (at that time) war. At first, tanks caused a real panic in the ranks of the infantry, albeit the first clumsy samples, and became an easy trophy for field artillery.
There is nothing surprising in the fact that people immediately began to think about effective means of dealing with armored vehicles. The first anti-tank gun was invented (what a surprise!) In Germany. It appeared, though belatedly, in 1918, when the war was drawing to a close. The weapon was more like an infantryman's rifle than the PTR of the Second World War, but had a larger caliber and barrel length. So, the caliber "Mauser Tankgever M1918" was 13.2 mm. The rifle was single-shot and at 100 meters it "pierced" steel armor of 20 mm, and at 300 meters - 15 mm.
5. Lemon pomegranates
Hand grenades are not an invention of the First World War. They appeared much earlier. However, until 1915, most of these bombs had a shock detonation system (i.e., the charge capsule broke and caused a detonation only after a grenade hit something). It was during the First World War in France that an early model of the F1 grenade was created.
Today, most of these things from the First World War are peaceful exhibits in museums. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, with the help of such "toys", about 8.4 million soldiers were killed, more than 20 million were wounded and maimed. And this is only combat losses, excluding the civilian population.
In the Russian Empire, 52% of all mobilized men were killed or wounded. In France, the figure was 76%. All these people fought and died for other people's interests, including weapons manufacturers. As Hiram Maxim said - if you want to make money in America, invent something that will allow Europeans to better kill each other.
Want even more interesting weapons? How about taking a look with your own eyes Gurevich revolver - Soviet saboteur water pistol for silently eliminating the enemy, which changed the concept of silent weapons.