Timeline of Technology in WWI




Total War is when the entire resources and population are mobilized towards the war effort,which takes priority over everything else.Further, Total War also involves prosecuting the war against the entire population of the enemy, not just against its military.
Conscription into the military for all countries involved.

War of Attrition is a military strategy in which a belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and materiel. The war will usually be won by the side with greater such resources.

Machine Guns


Machine guns used from the start of the war

Hot Air Ballons


At the beginning of the war, "ballonatics" as the British called them, became spotters from the air, but gas filled ballons soon became an easy target for the enemy attackers

Military Purpose of the Plane


To give the commander on the ground a bird's eye view of the battlefield

Blockade of Germany

1914 - 1918

It was a prolonged naval operation conducted by the Allied Powers during and after World War I in an effort to restrict the maritime supply of goods to the Central Powers, which included Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. It is considered one of the key elements in the eventual Allied victory in the war.

Life Expectancy of 11 Days


In 1914, pilots had a life expectancy of 11 days.


June 1, 1914

Submarines are stating to be acquired by the major European powers

First Zeppelin Raid

August 6, 1914

German Army Zeppelin Z VI bombed the Belgian city of Liège, killing nine civilians. This was followed by night raids on Antwerp on 25 August and 2 September.

Battle of the Frontiers

August 7, 1914 - September 13, 1914

Outcome: German Victory
Battle among France, UK, Belgium and Germany
Fought in Belgium and France

DORA (Defence Of the Realm Act)

August 8, 1914

In 1914 the government passed the Defence of the Realm Act which became known as DORA. It gave the government wide-ranging powers controlling many parts of everyday life. It meant that any buildings or land (or maybe even industries) that were required by the government could be seized at any time to contribute to the war effort. This sometimes resulted in censorship controlling what the public found out about the war. This secrecy meant that morale remained high and even this element, that may seem trivial, helped the allies win the war. One of the first industries taken over by the government was the coal industry due to the lack of employees so to aid the war effort rather than profit private mine owners.

In theory, DORA meant that as men left their jobs to join the army, women were allowed to step in for the first time. This contributed to the war effort and also pleased the suffragettes.
DORA was one of the most important schemes that took place on the Home Front during the war and deffinately helped Britain pull through during hard times. At the beginning of the war recruitment posters were put up to make people want to join the army and help their country, however this method wasn’t working so conscription was introduced. Conscription is a great example of total war. It meant that all men aged 18 – 40 would have to join the army. This was introduced as at first men rushed to join but then when many casualties occurred they soon ran short, so conscription helped to win the war of attrition. As more and more men went off to fight their jobs were left empty and it was more vital than ever before to fill them. Though at first it was a struggle for woman to work the government realised that as munitions were so low they needed to open factories just for ammunition production by female employee’s. Then land girls come about, women whom worked in agriculture, and other such jobs. As a result of this a series women’s rights evolved. This kept people busy and boosted morale as everybody thought that they were contributing to the war effort. By 1917 food supplies became quite desperate so with the help of DORA new measures were inflicted. At first there was voluntary rationing but this did not seem to help matters much so compulsory rationing was introduced. This meant that every body got their fair share of food keeping everybody happy and let the government worry about other things. To win this war of attrition it was vital that people wanted to continue fighting and win the war so morale played a mammoth part on the rocky road to victory.

Use of Tear Gas

August 20, 1914

France uses tear gas against the Germans at the Battle of the Frontiers

Battle of the Marne

September 5, 1914 - September 12, 1914

Outcome: Victory for France and UK
Battle among France, UK and Germany
This battle triggered the Trench Wars
The weapons used in this battle were bolt action rifles and machine guns.

Race to the Sea

September 17, 1914 - October 19, 1914

Outcome: Stalemate
Battle among France, Belgium, Germany and UK
The powers were going down to sea occasionally fighting, but no winner

First Aircraft Shot Down

October 1914

First aircraft shot down by a machine gun

Naval Air Service


Call for volunteers by the English to create a new naval air service.

Fighter Plane


The Birth of the Fighter Plane, 1915. The newly invented airplane by the French entered World War I as an observer of enemy activity.

Railroad Guns

January 1, 1915

Railroad guns played an enormous part of Germany's artillery force at the Battle of Verdun

Naval Blockades of the Dardanelles

February 19, 1915 - January 9, 1916

British and French forces launched an ill-fated naval attack on Turkish forces in the Dardanelles in northwestern Turkey, hoping to take control of the strategically vital strait separating Europe from Asia. The failure of the campaign at the Dardanelles, along with the campaign that followed later that year in Gallipoli, resulted in heavy casualties and was a serious blow to the reputation of the Allied war command, including that of Winston Churchill, the British first lord of the admiralty, who had long been a proponent of an aggressive naval assault against Turkey at the Dardanelles.

Ottoman blocked the allies

Deflector Plates on Planes

April 1, 1915

A French fighter pilot figured out that adding a deflector plate to the propellor would allow bullets to be deflected off of it

Second Battle of Ypres

April 22, 1915 - May 25, 1915

Outcome: The town that was being fought over was completely destroyed
Battle among France, Germany, UK, and Belgium
Aside from the numerous Poison Gas attacks that the Canadian, British, and French troops had to deal with, they were also constant barrage of gun fire. Along with cannon firing’s, heavy artillery, grenades, and bombs, were also used in almost all battles. This was an example of the raw force that the Germans exerted in WWI, of course, combined with the force of Britain and France; Canadian’s hadn’t lost all hope.

Gallipoli Campaign

April 25, 1915 - January 9, 1916

An effort to take the Dardanelles from the Turkish Ottoman Empire (an ally of Germany and Austria) and thus force it out of the war. The Gallipoli Campaign was Australia's and New Zealand's introduction to the Great War. Many Australians and New Zealanders fought on the Peninsula from the day of the landings (April 25, 1915) until the evacuation of 20 December 1915.
Weapons Used In The Gallipoli Campaign The type of guns used by Australian army were Artillery, Rifles, Trench Mortars, Hand Grenades, Machine Guns And Hand Guns. The type of weapons used by the ANZAC's played a big part in the Gallipoli campaign.

Synchronized Machine Gun

May 1915

A dutch designer invited a gear that synchronizes the machine gun fire with the propellors movement. It would allow for a machine gun to fire through the propellor and it was a guarantee that the propellor would not be hit.

Lusitania Sinks

May 7, 1915

A German submarine sinks the passenger liner Lusitania. The ship carries 1,198 people, 128 of them Americans.

Restriction on Submarine Warfare

September 18, 1915

Reacting to international outrage at the sinking of the Lusitania and other neutral passenger lines, Kaiser Wilhelm suspends unrestricted submarine warfare. This is an attempt to keep the United States out of the war, but it severely hampers German efforts to prevent American supplies from reaching France and Britain.

Folding Parachute

1916 - 1918

Ballonatics were allowed to use the folding parachute. Allied pilots were not allowed to use parachutes as commanders thought this would encourage pilots to abandon their aircraft unnecessarily.

Flame Throwers

February 21, 1916

The flamethrower was first used by German troops near Verdun in February 1916.

Battle of Verdun

February 21, 1916 - December 18, 1916

Largest and longest battle
Outcome: French Victory
Battle among France and Germany
Germany planned to take this strategic point, however failed to do so
Major weapons used were:
Artillery Units.
Machine Guns.

Even Technological Arms Race

June 1916

Allies caught up in technological arms race

Battle of the Somme

July 1, 1916 - November 18, 1916

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

Weapons included: Rifles, Barbed Wire, Machine Guns, Artillery, Poison Gas, Aircrafts, Tanks, Airships, U-Boats, Q-ships.

Armoured Tanks

September 15, 1916

Armoured tanks were prepared and first introduced by the British at the Battle of the Somme

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Resumes

February 1, 1917

Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare in European waterways. This act, more than any other, draws the United States into the war and causes the eventual defeat of Germany.

Zimmermann Telegram

February 25, 1917

British intelligence gives Wilson the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann proposing that Mexico side with Germany in case of war between Germany and the United States. In return, Germany promises to return to Mexico the "lost provinces" of Texas and much of the rest of the American Southwest. Mexico declines the offer, but the outrage at this interference in the Western Hemisphere pushes American public opinion to support entering the war.

Germans Pull Ahead in the Arms Race.

April 1917

Germans pulled ahead in the arms race. They developed better tactics: they started to travel in squadrons of 14 aircrafts called 'Justice' and would send 3 or 4 Justice over the lines

Bloody April

April 1917

Allied forces lost 150 aircraft and 316 men to the German forces

America joins WWI

April 6, 1917

Congress authorizes a declaration of war against Germany. The United States enters World War I on the side of France and Britain.

Heavy Bombers

May 1917

Germany starts to use heavy bombers against the UK. The targets of these raids were industrial and port facilities and government buildings, but few of the bombs hit military targets, most falling on private property and killing civilians. Although the German strategic bombing campaign against Britain was the most extensive of the war, it was largely ineffective, in terms of actual damage done. Only 300 tons of bombs were dropped, resulting in material damage of £2,962,111 damage, 1,414 dead and 3,416 injured, these figures including those due to shrapnel from the anti-aircraft fire. In the autumn of 1917, however, over 300,000 Londoners had taken shelter from the bombing, and industrial production had fallen.

Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres)

July 31, 1917 - November 10, 1917

Outcome: Little more than a stalemate within a stalemate
Battle among UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada
The allies managed to take the village and surrounding territories

Artillery Units
Machine Guns

Outcome of Home Front War


To win the war, a country would need to have a consistent supply of food, soldiers, and munitions, as well as high morale to keep on fighting until victory. The combination of these factors would affect each aspect of the war, including the Home Front. The amount of food supplies a country has effects the health and efficiency of the country; it also effects the effort toward war from the country. Britain relied mainly on her merchant ships to retrieve supplies but with the German breakthrough with her U-boats travelling under the water and firing torpedo’s putting 1 in 4 merchant ships out of action so limiting Britains supplies. Britain thought that they had it bad but there were reports that Germans resolved to eating rats due to the British blockade of her ports. Prices had shot up in Britain hitting the poorer people harder. Food became a luxury and expensive.

To win this war of attrition it was vital that people wanted to continue fighting and win the war so morale played a mammoth part on the rocky road to victory, there were various ways of keeping up spirits. Propaganda played a very important role, as the public did not know completely what was going on. This was because DORA gave the government the right to control the media so people did not discover some of the dark secrets of the war and trench warfare. Instead the newspapers were full of heroic tales and German atrocities. This kept spirits up at home and kept everybody happy so this war of attrition could be won as everyone had a reason to continue trying. As the war went on the nature of the propaganda altered. The government released a film in August 1916 about The Battle of Somme it included some actual footage and scenes of apparently dead or dying soldiers. People were no longer as naïve about what war was like. The film was declared “a masterpiece” and convinced those who saw it that despite the terrible casualties the Battle of Somme was a brave and heroic struggle.

Maybe if Germanys Home Front had been more efficient then it could have led them to victory. Without the help of the Home Front then it is almost certain that Britain would have lost the war. The support from the Home Front meant that Britain could support the Western Front so we could keep on fighting until victory.

Germany and Russia Peace

March 3, 1918

The Germans sign a peace treaty with the new Bolshevik government of Russia. The terms of the treaty give Germany huge tracts of land that had been the Ukraine and Poland, and peace on the Eastern Front allows Germany to shift soldiers to the Western Front, causing serious problems for the French, British, and Americans.


August 8, 1918 - August 12, 1918

Beginning of the end of the German army.
Outcome: Allies pushed Germany out back to where they started 4 years ago and hostilities ended at 11:00am on November 11, 1918. (11/11/1918)