The violence of the First World War surpassed anything that had existed before. New inventions and technologies had changed the war. Battles were not decided by heroic hand-to-hand combat. Soldiers fought an enemy that in many cases did not see them. Most of the wounded and killed were victims of artillery attacks. Mass deaths, terrible wounds, mental and physical mutilation were experiences that continued well into the post-war period.
With the new weapons, the war opponents had unprecedented powers of destruction. New research in defence technology requires a paper editor for a thorough examination.
Defence technology on land, on water and in the air: Paper editor
With the railway, troops could be moved quickly over long distances. There were hospital trains to take care of the wounded, relief trains and ammunition trains to transport troops and goods.
For the first time, tanks also rolled across the battlefields. In November 1917 so-called tanks, British tanks, came into action and overran the German positions. The Central Powers had little to oppose the British and French armoured vehicles because they had only a small number of armoured automobiles. Austria-Hungary used armoured trains.
A strong navy was Germany’s great pride, even though Great Britain was ahead in the arms race here. But Austria-Hungary also had a modern fleet with battleships and submarines. The war at sea was primarily a trade war in which Germany and Great Britain tried to cut off each other’s sea routes for merchant ships and thus the supply of food and other goods.
When the war broke out, motorized aviation was only ten years old. At first, many officers could not even imagine how aircraft could be used sensibly in war. But that should change quickly. Soon, planes were being used to spy on enemy positions. An air war developed quickly between the reconnaissance pilots of opposing combat troops. Soon, special warplanes were also built, which could be used to drop bombs to destroy enemy targets.
By radio and cable: The networks of war
Telephones, telegraphs and radios were important tools for the warring troops. Germany and Austria-Hungary fought on several fronts and were dependent on functioning communications technology. However, the telephone lines of that time were very susceptible to interference and could be eavesdropped on by the opposing troops. Hence old-fashioned means of communication were also used: dogs and carrier pigeons carried messages.