Technology of World War 1

5 technological innovations from WW1

War has always had a tendency to accelerate innovation and invention, and WW1 – with its bizarre clash of 19th and 20th century ideas and technologies – was no exception. From industrial killing machines to feminine hygiene, here are five technological creations still used today in combat and civilian life.

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Tactical air support

Less than fifteen years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, those new-fangled flying contraptions called aeroplanes were being used for reconnaissance in WW1, along with balloons and airships. The initial plane builds were primitive, but necessity did its job, and soon both sides were racing to design mono and biplane fighters that could hold heavy bombs and machine guns while maintaining (or, at this point, having) manoeuvrability. By mid-1915, the infantries were already getting some entertainment by watching dogfights in the skies, and air superiority became a significant factor in tactical success in the second half of the war.

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The Allies began developing these armoured ‘landships’ in 1915, but the first tanks didn’t make their way into battle until the Somme offensive the following year. So named due to their resemblance to water tanks (and disguised as such on their way to the front), they were first used in force on 16 September during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and proved to be cumbersome death traps more adept at killing their own occupants than the enemy. But their potential was undeniable.

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