An army is as good as the kit its soldiers use. In 1914, which army was the best equipped? Historian Dan Snow finds out.
The History Channel examines the awkward kit issued to the American Army in 1910 and carried throughout the First World War.
The invention and use of the tools of war:
Machine Guns, Constant Artillery bombardment, Barbed Wire, Tanks, Aircraft, Submarines, Flamethrowers, Grenades, High Explosive... All came down to the suffering of individual soldiers, it becomes painfully obvious why World War One happened the way it did once you see this video...
Some sobering statistics are below...
The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 35 million.
There were over 15 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking WW1 high among the deadliest conflicts in human histtory...
A British documentary about the first W.W. I battle to be fought by the U.S. Marines.
A mixture of original and colorized footage pasted together with some contemporary music in order to give the viewer a sense of the dreariness of life in the front line positions during World War One. It succeeded.
World War I was the first modern global military conflict which took place in Europe between 1914 to 1918. Archaic military tactics met modern industrialised warfare for the first time, resulting casualties on a previously unimaginable scale. Men rotted in the mud, then were sent to face massed machine gun fire, modern artillary, tanks and chemical weapons. Over 20 million soldiers and civilians died and countless others were physically maimed or mentally scarred by the horrors of trench warfare.
A truly remarkable animated short film made recently that depicts well the alternating boredom and terror of World War I trench warfare. The animator is a French film student. Not to be missed.
Additional colourized footage from the remarkable DVD, World War 1 in Color.
The Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France--resting place of those who died during the Battle of the Argonne Forest.
Enormous camera-baring kites were deployed by the French Army in order gather intelligence over German-held territory. This is rare silent footage of the ground crew launching one early in the war.
Assorted Pathe News clips from the World War One training camps of the British and French armies.
The first part in the series of World War One coloured films. Impressive re-fashioned coloured footage of scenes from the prelude and beginning of the war.
A terrific collection of images mixed with the music of the era.
Today it is called "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder"(PTSD); during the Second World War it was labeled "battle fatigue" but during W.W I the popular term for an anxiety disorder triggered by a prolonged exposure to artillery bombardments was simply called "shell shock". This is black and white footage of W.W. I soldiers suffering from the malady and it gives the viewer a sense of how horrible it must have been in the trenches.
An extract from a recent Swan Theatre Co. Bedford's performance of R.C.Sherriff's World War 1 play Journey's End. Definitely an influence on Blackadder Goes Forth.
World War I Imperial German Submarine (UB109) sunk off Dover by remote charge. A U.K. diving club has adopted this wreck and made this short film.
n 1914-15 on the Western Front, Germany drove her armies into Belgium and Luxembourg, leaving a trail of atrocities on a scale never witnessed before, giving rise to the legend of the "Hun", while France fougth for her survival at the battle of the Marne.
A short, color dramatization filmed recently in which we get to see two well-outfitted actors perform a probable scene from the Western Front in which a cool-headed combat veteran instructs the newbie as how best to make a Mills' Bomb - OR SO WE THOUGHT until we received this email transmission from a bright-eyed fellow who preferred to be known only as "CMC". He wished to point out that the film community had once again done us wrong and that what was taking place on screen was in fact the making of a "jam tin bomb"; he further explained:
"The Mills bomb was the familiar cast iron segmented pattern grenade with a pin and firing lever. Improvised grenades were common in 1914-15 but by 1917 were a thing of the past".
A nice color slide show depicting the W.W. I Uniforms and Weapons found on the Eastern Front. The clip is short and only German, Russian and Austrian uniforms can be seen.
Rolls Royce Armoured Car. Covering the period 1914 to 1950. Used in conflicts including The Great War, the Irish War for independence, The Second World War and the formation of The State of Israel.
A clip from a documentary produced by BBC about the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
A U.S. Government camera crew tours the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France, resting place of the American Doughboys who were killed during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 1918.
Additional hand-colored footage from the video, "World War 1 in Color" (which can be purchased on this site) depicting those who participated in the ground war portion of the slaughter. Absolutely Remarkable.
Various clips from the video, "World War 1 in Color" (which can be purchased on this site) depicting those who participated in the air war portion of the slaughter.
A slide show set to somber music featuring color photographs of the 1914 - 1918 war. The first experiments with color photography were carried out in 1904 near Lyon in France, where father Lumière owned a photographic factory. In 1907 the Lumière brothers patented the auto-chrome process they had invented.
A film clip from the Military channel about the Springfield and it's place in the history of world weaponry.
A Military Channel film clip that explains why the Mauser K98 rifle was so remarkable.
Nieuport XI's were first used in 1915. Their biplane design allowed them to easily outmaneuver their German Fokker Eindecker ("monoplane") counter parts. Armed with a single 7.7 Lewis machine gun on the top wing element, the system was primed to make aces of her pilots - at least until German aircraft design caught up with this XI series. If the Nieuport XI had any drawback, it was the limited armament and the propensity of the wing assembly to buckle violently in flight, sometimes breaking apart.
A documentary concerning the changes in British society as a result of the total mobilization demanded by total war. Also addressed is the revolutionary nature of World War One and some of the deadly innovations.
A wonderful 1950s interview with a high-born French veteran as he recalled the desertions and rebellions within the French Army during the late war period.
A moving interview with a British veteran is accompanied by informative historical audio and rare World War One footage of the unexpected German retreat of 1917.
Period film clips accompanied by an admirable British voice-over performer explaining what was involved in the massive effort to put two-million Doughboys in the field.
1918 ushered in mutinies within the French Army. General Petain, Hero of Verdun, was assigned the task of smoothing the way between the Poilus and the French leadership.
More than 3,500 Canadians died taking the Ridge and 7,000 more were wounded. Previous French attacks came at a cost of 200,000 dead with little or no ground gained. The Canadians accomplished what was said to be "impossible" as the ridge was thought to be impregnable.
A documentary outlining the roll German submarines and the Zimmerman telegram played in leading the United States into WW I.
Medal of Honor Citation: "Edward V. Rickenbacker, Colonel, specialist reserve, then first lieutenant, 94th Aero Squadron, Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy near Billy, France, 25 September 1918. While on a voluntary patrol over the lines Lieutenant. Rickenbacker attacked seven enemy planes (five type Fokker protecting two type Halberstadt photographic planes). Disregarding the odds against him he dived on them and shot down one of the Fokkers out of control. He then attacked one of the Halberstadts and sent it down also..." Medal of Honor citation, awarded 6 November 1930.
The U.S. Government narrator erroneously states that America entered the war as a result of the 1915 sinking of the "Lusitania", rather than the unrestricted U-Boat warfare policies of the German Navy.
A look at some of the final aircraft designs introduced in the war. William Barker wages a spectacular fight against scores of German fighters in thwe closing weeks of World War One.
THE POTTERS BAR ZEPPELIN WAS SHOT DOWN ON 1st OCTOBER 1916, BY WULSTAN TEMPEST OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE'S 39 SQUADRON. THE PILOT OF THE ZEPPELIN, COMMANDER HEINRICH MATHY AND HIS CREW WERE BURIED IN MUTTON LANE CEMETRY, POTTERS BAR. BUT DURING THE 1930s THEIR BODIES WERE DUG UP AND RETURNED TO GERMANY. WULSTAN TEMPEST NOW HAS 2 ROADS NAMED AFTER HIM, TEMPEST AVENUE AND WULSTAN PARK, WHERE THE ZEPPELIN CRASHED. THE WOODEN ARCH SEEN IN THE FUNERAL SCENE, STILL STANDS TODAY.
A segment from a documentary concerning the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and all those who attended it as representatives. Nice footage of Paris and Versailles.
In early 1918 Germany was nearing the end of its tether, with a stalemate on the battlefield and growing unrest at home. Nevertheless, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia freed half a million German soldiers to fight on the Western Front. With the impeding arrival of the Americans in the conflict Germany had no choice but launch a vast offensive to break the Allies before the fall or all would be lost. And so started a race against time for the Germans.
An account of the poet Joyce Kilmer: his New York days in journalism his,his outrage over the "Lusitania" sinking and his final months in the 69th Division, serving in France.
One student's project concerning the weapons used by all combatants during the course of World War One.
The 1917 Renault tank.
Father Francis Duffy was the Catholic Priest who served as the regimental chaplain for the 165 Infantry of the 69th Regiment, 42nd Division. In this clip we see his Times Square statue and hear some of the thoughts from his 1920 memoir.
Dogs, pigeons, horses and mules served on the front lines of WW1.
An interesting collection of photographs combine with David Carradine's narrative explaining the wartime experiences of doomed WW I poet American Alan Seeger. Seeger left the bohemian life of Greenwhich Village to serve in the French Foreign Legion; he was killed during the Battle of the Somme.
This is a preview clip from "World War 1 - American Legacy".
A selection of recruitment and propaganda posters produced on behalf of the British and French armies during World War I. Some are quite amusing while other are not. The background music is "Boys in Khaki, Boys in Blue", witch in terms means British and French soldiers.
This second part of the documentary "Steel Pots: The History of America's Combat Helmets focus on efforts to develop a unique American design helmet. It also covers the modifications and adoption of the transitional M-1917A1 helmet.
A clip from the very informative U.K. documentary, "Germany's Last Gamble". We recommend that you watch it.
"In early 1918 Germany was nearing the end of its tether, with a stalemate on the battlefield and growing unrest at home. Nevertheless, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia freed half a million German soldiers to fight on the Western Front. With the impeding arrival of the Americans in the conflict Germany had no choice but launch a vast offensive to break the Allies before the fall or all would be lost. And so started a race against time for the Germans."
A segment from a the British documentary, "War Without End":
Summer 1918. The last German offensive failed to break the Allies. Unrest bordering on revolution at home spread demoralization to the German army. The central Powers's alliance was crumbling with Turkey exhausted, Bulgaria beaten, and Austro-Hungary trying to work its own armistice with the Allies.
A quick clip from a contemporary U.S. Army news broadcast concerning the development of the U.S. Army in World War One.
Set to the haunting theme music from "Band of Brothers", this is a collection of photographs of one man's trip to the old battle grounds of France.
Recently, a retired American army officer retraced the steps of Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York during his heroic stand-off in the Argonne Forrest in the autumn of 1918. Nothing new seemed to have been discovered, but it's fun to watch anyway.
An assortment of photographs from the beach at Gallipoli are displayed while a voice-over artist reads from a letter written by one of the ANZAK combatants.
Rare footage of the British Mark IV tank mixed with additional clips of British infantry in the trenches and on the attack.
A moving collection of World War I era photographs which show the earliest of the Australian graves on a number of different fronts; France, Belgium the Middle-East.
A nicely pieced together short film of the Great War. The movie begins with footage of Franz Ferdinand's funeral, jumps to scenes showing how excited everyone was in all the various European capitols to hear that the war has at last come; next we see the troops in training, the first marches and the last image shows the "Taxis of the Marne" - entirely accompanied by the appropriate music of the day. Well done.