Incredible Weapons and Inventions from WW1 - History Key

Incredible Weapons and Inventions from WW1

Considering that we have a 100 years distance from the First World War, how much do you think you know about it? You would be surprised to discover some of the equipment used during WW1.

The First World War was the ”perfect” context for the Allies and the Central Power for employing all kind of new weaponry in a never-seen-before scale. Starting with the usage of combat gas or tanks (which later on became very well know tactics) until some less known weapons and machineries.

History Key searched several archives in order to compile for you an incredible selection of less known military equipment and tactics. Some of the pictures comes from the Imperial War Museum archive, offering an unique overview.

1. Brewster Body Shield

 Helmets and Body Armor - Brewster Body Shield
Helmets and Body Armor – Brewster Body Shield © Bashford Dean, Image Source: Wikipedia

Cumbersome and uneasy to wear, that was the solution for you psychological comfort. You were protected from small shrapnel and machine gun bullets.

2. Back to basics method

Power Pedal
German soldiers generating electricity for communications and light © Image Source: Daily Mail

Looks like a comical sketch, but it’s true. When in need, any available handy solution can be adopted or adapted. Here we have two German soldiers generating electricity in order to power on field equipment.

3. I hear you!

German Audio-visual equipment
Mickey Mouse: Audio-visual equipment © Image Source: Daily Mail

German audio-visual equipment, designed in order to increase the sound and the lights coming from enemy artillery, permitting to better spot and locate their position.

4. Eye from the sky

Spy Pidgeon WWI
Eye in the Sky – Spy Pidgeon WWI © Image Source: Pinterest

Not only horses, mules or dogs were deployed in War. Pigeons played a vital role in military communications and strategy. Such birds were equipped with a tiny camera with time-delayed function, in order to trigger above the enemy positions. Here is a German spy pigeon wearing the custom made camera.


5. Toy Soldiers

Cutout Soldiers - The British Army Camouflage
Cutout Soldiers – The British Army Camouflage School in Kensington © Image Source:

Yes, we know, we would also love to have some of these in our living room, but their original role was pretty serious. They were cutout soldiers having the mission to mislead the enemy during the attack.

6. The fake Zebra

Ponies camouflaged as zebras
Fake Zebra – Ponies camouflaged as zebras © Image Source:

We don’t know the reason for this choice, but they camouflaged ponies into zebras. What do you think could be the reason?

7. A new kind of tree

A canvas and steel tree observation post. Near Souchez, 15May 1918
A canvas and steel tree observation post. Near Souchez, 15 May 1918. © Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The tactic was to cut down the shell damaged trees using the cover of darkness, and replace them with some fake ones, built in order to case a sniper or an observer.  Clear enough that you had to have some strong nerves to stay there. They were made with chicken wire, wood parts, tent covers. In the picture is one example from 1918.

8. The French invention

Flechettes- small steel arrows
”Flechettes” small steel arrows © Image Source: Getty Image

During the War, the French army developed a new rudimentary but practical weapon.  They were named ”Flechettes”, being small steel arrows, which were dropped by the French aviators from a height of 3000 feet, with devastating results.

Small steel arrows fall from sky
”Flechettes” small steel arrows © Image Source: Wikipedia

9. Not the best idea – Hide and Seek

This 1917 American experimental camouflage suit, wasn’t a successful one. We let you judge it, imagining it in the middle of a field.

Hide and Seek Camouflage
Hide and Seek Camouflage © Image Source: Daily Mail

10. One of the best ideas

Camouflaged Turkish Sniper
Camouflaged Turkish Sniper © Martin Pegler/Image Source: Daily Mail

On the other side, there were more talented soldiers, capable of reaching high skills in the camouflage art.  Most of the time, the snipers were directly involved in their camouflage, depending on their position or mission. Here you can see an example of how a proper camouflage must be done, even 100 year ago representing Allied troop with a captured Turkish sniper, somewhere near Gallipoli in 1915.

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