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Weapons in WWI

#10: BL 8-inch Howitzer No.1 Mark I

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Britain realized soon the necessity to provide heavy artillery in WW1. As an early improvisation the BL 8-inch howitzer MK I entered service in 1915, using shortened and bored-out barrels from redundant naval 6-inch guns. Many minor differences made the use of the howitzers difficult: They were limited to a short range, very heavy and the improvised nature led to failures like premature explosion or unreliability in action. Early quality-control problems in the British mass production of ammunition between 1915 and 1916 littered the battlefields with unexploded 8-inch shells.

The shortcomings did not outrange the general success of the Howitzers: “They were monstrous things and extremely heavy, but the machinery of the guns was very simple and that’s why they did so extremely well and didn’t give nearly as much trouble as some of the more complicated guns that came to appear later on. One was the very first to be made and it was marked, ‘Eight-inch Howitzer No. 1 Mark I’ so we called that gun, ‘the Original’. It was marvelously accurate’. 2nd Lieutenant Montague Cleeve, 36th Siege Artillery Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
January 31, 2014

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Mugshots from History #13: FINLAND

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Due to the circumstances I swore my Oath of Allegiance to two different nations. However, I served in three different armies. I saw wars in Europe and Asia during both World Wars. My death did not take place in my home country but it was there I received a state funeral of highest honors. Although I was never fluent in my mother tongue, I am widely seen as a national hero. Who am I? Reward 35.000 GM

Send my name to competition@bytro.com, subject: MUGSHOT FINLAND, deadline Thu, 3 FEB 14 (CEST).

(limited: one entry per person only with one suggested name.)
January 28, 2014

Supremacy1914

Heroes in WWI

#2: Indian Corps

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Prior to the outbreak of WW1 the strength of the British Indian Army was 155,000 but by November 1918 it had increased in size to 573,000 men. When the war broke out 140,000 men saw active service on the Western Front in France and Belgium in 1914. They were involved in the First Battle of Ypres and Khudadad Khan became the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross. After a year of front-line duty the Indian Corps was reduced to a point where it had to be withdrawn.

In 1915 the Indian Corps was therefore transferred to the Middle East and India provided many more divisions. Up to 700,000 then fought the Ottoman Empire in the Mesopotamian campaign. Turkish Forces repulsed the troops led by Major General Sir Charles Townshend on their push to capture Baghdad.

Participants from the Indian subcontinent won 13,000 medals, including 12 Victoria Crosses. By the end of WW1 the Indian troops had lost a total of 47,746 reported dead or missing and 65,126 were wounded.
January 25, 2014

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Supremacy 1914 updated their cover photo.

January 23, 2014

Supremacy1914

Weapons in WWI

#9: French Adrian helmet

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At the outbreak of WW1 French infantry soldiers wore the standard kepi cap, which provided no protection at all, or the slightly heavier shako, which was made from leather. The new trench warfare confronted the French Army with a high mortality of frontline soldiers due to head wounds. Even basic head protection could have significantly lowered the mortality rate resulting from falling shrapnel of exploding shells or the new technique of indirect fire.

Thus, in 1915 the French Army introduced the M15 Adrian helmet (“Casque Adrian”) as the first modern standard steel helmet used in WW1. Named after Intendant-General August-Louis Adrian, the helmet was cheap and easy to manufacture since it was made of mild steel. Therefore the Adrian helmet was lighter than the British “Brodie helmet” or the German “Stahlhelm”, which were both introduced in 1916.

The Adrian helmet proofed to be efficient against shrapnel; however, it was fairly useless against direct bullets. Until the end of WWI more than three million Adrian helmets were produced and the technology was widely adopted by countries worldwide.
January 23, 2014

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Mugshots from History #12: ITALY

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Considerably small in height, I influenced Italy and its global affairs over a very long time. My nicknames mostly arise from the aftermath of WW1. Even though I survived the rise and fall of Italian fascism in the WWII period, I lost most of my popularity and influence. I died outside of Italy. Who am I? Reward 35.000 GM

Send my name to competition@bytro.com, subject: MUGSHOT ITALY, deadline Mon, 27 JAN 14 (CEST).

(limited: one entry per person only with one suggested name.)
January 21, 2014

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Weapons in WWI

#7: The „Hiram Maxim Gun“

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The „Hiram Maxim Gun“, named after its inventor Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, was the first recoil-operated machine gun ever invented. Patents for single parts of this gun can be traced back to 1883 while the first prototype was introduced to the public in 1884. The Hiram Maxim Gun uses the energy of the recoil, instead of a locked bolt or a lever system, to automatically eject each bullet while inserting the next one. Thus, the machine gun was capable of firing 600 rounds per minute, equal to about 30 standard bolt-action rifles. Nonetheless the Hiram Maxim Gun required a fragile water cooling and could only by used by a team of men.

A prototype of the Hiram Maxim Gun was used during the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition in 1886. In fact, the gun was used on several occasions but most likely to scare off locals. The same prototype was later brought back to Africa by British soldiers to establish a protectorate in Buganda, demonstrating its own sturdiness and effectiveness. During the First Matabele War, four Hiram Maxim Guns were used by British colonial forces to fight a superiority of warriors. Needless to say that the invention of Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim changed military tactics. Or as Hilaire Belloc wrote: „Whatever happens, we have got the Maxim Gun and they have not!“

During World War I many European armies had moved from standard guns to improved coil-operated machine guns: The British „Vickers“ machine gun, the German „Maschienengewehr 08“ and even the Russian „Pulemyot Maxim“ are all more or less copies of the original Hiram Maxim Gun. The U.S. Army showed a heavy interest in the gun since its invention and after years of testing and improving the gun, it was finally adopted by the U.S. Army in 1904 as the „Maxim Machine Gun, Caliber .30, Model of 1904“. It actually was the first rifle caliber heavy machine gun that was approved by authorities as the standard service type. During World War I however the last models of the original Maxim Machine Gun were used as training devices for American soldiers and thus were not used during combat action.
January 17, 2014

Supremacy1914

History on the Eve of WWI:
The “moving assembly line”

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On January 14th (1913) Henry Ford introduced the idea of a “moving assembly line” to the public. Although he is seen as the inventor, it is often overlooked, that Ransom Olds patented a similar idea as early as 1901. Charles Sorensen, who was working as an engineer on the assembly line, noted later that Henry Ford was indeed not the inventor of the idea but the “sponsor“. Nontheless, it was Henry Ford who implemented his version of an assembly line to the Ford’s plant in Highland Park.

The first automobile completely built on this assembly line was the legendary Ford Model T. With 140 workers along a 150-foot line and 45 separate tasks, it was possible for the workers to build a car from scratch in only six hours. One year later, the construction time dropped to as little as 93 minutes. This mass production was actually accompanied by a sharp decline in price. The price dropped from $950 in 1908 to only $360 in 1916.

Since World War I is also known as the “war of production”, the new assembly lines were crucial for the key combatants in Europe. The number of soldiers or the skills of generals were no longer the determining factor. Instead the industrial base was considered an advantage. The first Allie actually using the new form of production was France: Citroën opened a munitious plant at Quai Javel in 1915 with an output of 35.000 shells per day and even Renault changed their philosophy and in 1917 opened a plant assembling trucks and tanks.
January 14, 2014

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Mugshots from History #11: NETHERLANDS

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Even though I am of Dutch origin and was once married to a Dutch officer, people believed me when I claimed to be a Java Princess of Hindu birth. My feminine charms and exotic attributes brought me both, a life of success and luxury at first and a death in front of the firing squat at last. Who am I? Reward 35.000 GM

Send my name to competition@bytro.com, subject: MUGSHOT NETHERLANDS, deadline Mon, 20 JAN 12 (CEST).

(limited: one entry per person only with one suggested name.)
January 13, 2014

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Weapons in WWI

#6: SMS Dresden

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“Seiner Majestät Schiff Dresden” (His Majesty’s Ship Dresden) was the lead ship of the Dresden class built for the Imperial German Navy. Armed with ten 10.5 cm guns and two torpedo tubes the SMS Dresden had one sister ship, SMS Emden, and was launched in Hamburg in 1907.
Most of her career she spent overseas. On 27 December 1913 she was stationed off the Mexican coast to protect German citizens during the Mexican Revolution. At the outbreak of WW1 SMS Dresden operated as a commerce raider in South American waters. Later on she joined Maximilian von Spee’s South East Asian Squadron.
During the Battle of Coronel SMS Dresden engaged the British cruiser HMS Glasgow. At the Battle of the Falkland Islands she was the only German warship to escape destruction. She managed to escape her British pursuers for several months until she put into Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) in March 1915. Worn out engines and barely any coal left for her boilers forced her captain to ask the local authorities for internment. Instead of the expected Chilean ships, British cruisers appeared, including the old opponent HMS Glasgow, and violated Chilean neutrality by opening fire. The German crew scuttled the ship and escaped into Chilean internment until the end of WW1.
January 10, 2014

Supremacy1914

Weapons in WWI

#5: Tsar Tank

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As a part of early tank development, Russia’s Lebedneko or ‘Tsar Tank’ ranges among the strangest vehicles. The original idea was to build a motor-driven, gun-carrying battle machine. Weighing around 60 tons the Tsar Tank was running on a small double-wheel and two very large spoke wheels of almost 9 meters in diameter. With this construction the designers aimed to construct a vehicle with the ability to cross practically all obstacles. Each big wheel was powered by a 240 hp Maybach engine which brought the vehicle to an estimated top speed of 17 km/h. Compared to other WW1 AFVs this was pretty impressive.
MGs and light cannons would armor the centrally placed top turret at eight meter height. More MGs would be placed underneath the belly and in the sponsons. A total crew of ten would operate the Tsar Tank.
When the first vehicle was ready for testing in 1915, it turned out quickly that the weight was miscalculated. Therefore the back wheel was prone of getting stuck in soft grounds and ditches, while the front wheels were insufficient to pull it out. The testing turned into a fiasco in front of the high commission, which was the end of Tsar Tank before construction had even started.
January 8, 2014

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Mugshots from History #10: FRANCE

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My record in the armed forces of my home country shows 7 years of service in both World Wars. Known as a braggart, I was proud to use the least amount of ammunition to bring down my enemies. I wanted to be the best pilot, that’s all I cared about. Once I shot down three planes in such a short time, they almost fell on each other. Who am I? Reward 35.000 GM

Send my name to competition@bytro.com, subject: MUGSHOT FRANCE, deadline Mon, 13 JAN 14 (CEST).

(limited: one entry per person only with one suggested name.)
January 6, 2014

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