War has been a constant in human civilization as it helps a country or a state to maintain its sovereignty. When we think of one of the greatest wars fought in the history of human civilization, World War I comes up over and over again.
World War I was impactful for the whole world for several reasons and for that it is often regarded as the ‘great war’. It was also the war where warfare took a different turn and several new ways of fighting were introduced and it also encouraged countries to invent newer forms of weapons to defeat the opponents.
Though most of us have read about World War I in our history books, most of us haven’t paid a lot of attention to it. So, here we will mention some of the interesting facts about the Great War that lasted from 1914 till 1918.
Facts related to World War I:
- Tanks were introduced in the World War I by the British in the form of the ‘British Mark I tank’ which was utilized in the Battle of the Somme fought in September 1916. Though they were first to fight with tanks, both Britain and France experimented to make use of a tank which will aid in land combat.
Tanks were helpful for the soldiers to pass through different terrains, the trenches as well as a barbed-wire which was utilized in World War I. In the end, 600 tanks were used by the Allies at Amiens on 8th August 1918.
- World War I was a revolutionizing time for women as they came out from their houses to join the forces and work in the factories as the men were fighting in the trenches. Several women worked in the Munitions plants present in Britain.
They are often referred to as the ‘Canary girls’ as their skin turned yellow because of working with TNT or trinitrotoluene which is toxic. Some even developed skin rashes, nausea and chest infections.
- When someone is at war they will incur injuries. World War I was quite devastating where 21 million people were injured and in the warfare, several soldiers developed facial disfigurements.
Facial reconstruction surgeries weren’t usually the route that people went. Thin Copper masks were made for the war veterans to hide the different types of disfigurements.
The masks were colored and they were given a look that will match the face of the person. Anna Coleman Ladd was the person behind it.
Harold Gillies was another person to help the soldiers out with prosthetics as well as with facial reconstruction surgeries.
As airplanes weren’t so powerful during the time of World War I, Germans used Zeppelin which is an airship to make their attacks. They were the tools through which they bombed over Britain.
World War I was a time when the countries were constantly thinking about making themselves better in fighting wars. This enthusiasm actually led to the techniques and tools that we witnessed during World War II which was even more devastating in all senses.
There was Portuguese influence
Many tend to have the belief that Portuguese soldiers fought in the war. The main reason behind the same is because of the U-boat attacks that the German soldiers did on Portuguese troops.
Upon declaration of war by the German troops on Portugal in the year of 1916, they sent out a military force to fight against them in the western front. This was later counterfeited with yet another severe battle by the Portuguese troops that took place in 1918.
Short soldiers had special battalions
Also secluded as the “Bantam Battalion”, these comprised of the soldiers in the British army who were less than the height of 5 ft 3”.
They didn’t necessarily take a direct part in the war but came a lot in handy in the mining part. They had amazing sharp brains and skills which proved beneficial for the British army.
It was later in 1916 that the concept of the bantam battalion was dropped because of the unmatched criteria.
Britain’s rail disaster was a part of this
One of the often less talked about impact was on that of the rail disaster in Britain. Three different trains – a troop train, stationary local train, and the Glasgow express crashed with each other one after the other.
The result? Everything was set ablaze on fire. Out of everything, reports suggest that 226 people were killed and 246 people were injured through the accident.
China on the western front
World War I did have Chinese influence as well and that too on the western front. It was the Chinese Labour Corps who were stationed there.
They were sent to enrich a possible ally bond between China and Europe. Owing to that they served from the backend, the casualty was a lot less.