World war I to be a war of artillery - The big Guns. Rolling barrages damaged the earth of France and Belgium and also the stays of many. Numerous shells were fired in single battles, v one million shells alone fired through the Germans in ~ the French army in the first day at the 1916 battle of Verdun, France.

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A German 24.5cm trench mortar being offered by French in trench on the Somme front, 1917.Click picture for more information.

Different types of weapons consisted of the artillery of WWI. Weapons had a long barrel and also shot virtually directly at your target. Howitzers had a shorter barrel and a fired their projectiles in a bent trajectory. Mortars had a brief barrel, a higher curved trajectory and also were mainly inserted in trenches.


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60% the the battlefield casualties in WWI were resulted in by artillery shells exploding. Shrapnel wounds were particularly brutal for soldiers. Words ‘shrapnel’ originates from the tiny lead balls inserted in an artillery covering that would spread out end the battlefield when exploded. That was called for English officer Henry Shrapnel, who created the architecture in the late 18th century.


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Austrian soldiers closing a 30.5cm mortar after ~ loading it, circa 1914-1915.Click photo for much more information.

Artillery was an ext destructive than ever before before. The largest bore of one artillery item in WWI (‘bore’ definition the diameter of the barrel or tube) was on the French 520mm. (French pho was constantly pointed towards Germany - also in practice.) The big Bertha was a German 420mm howitzer, named for a family members member that the Krupp arms manufacturer. A shell hole left by a 15 cm ‘Jack Johnson’ (a German howitzer called after the famous boxer Jack Johnson because of that ‘punch’) had actually a diameter of 28 feet throughout and around 6 feet deep in the center.

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Soldiers under fire can identify artillery by details noises they made: One combatant noted that the French 75mm gun had a “sharp decisive keep in mind … which speaks quickly and in anger.” Soldiers additionally spoke the the “peculiar crack, crack they make.” The German 105mm howitzer was called a whizzbang. British soldiers said, “If you happened to be near the receiving end, you very first heard the thing burst, then the whizz of its approach and also lastly the boom of the gun the fired it.”


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Erecting a 16 customs gun in trunnion. A caption on the back of the photo reads: "Weight of gun 344000 pounds / weight of projectile 2340 pounds / load of powder fee 850 pounds / selection 45000 yards"Click image for more information.