Michael’s Report on the Podcast ‘Weapons of War’

IMW’s Podcast on Weapons of War, is a short collection of stories about weapons used by their soldiers. It started with the standard issue weapon for British soldiers in World War 1. Which was the short lee Enfield rifle, a bolt action weapon capable of firing fifteen rounds a minute. British officer John Grover explained the importance of being able to use a tactic called “Fire and Movement” which the rifle was used as an advantage to this style of fighting.

Bayonets were also given to almost every soldier in the war, in which soldiers would fix them on the tips of their guns. Soldiers would charge at the enemy using them as a spear. Ulick Burke told a story about how much more painful a bayonet was pulling it out, rather than going in.

Trench clubs were also used by soldiers to “balance you” by carrying a rifle and a club. They were made out of sticks or parts found by soldiers.

There were many grenades that soldiers in World War 1 would use, the first being a Cricket ball grenade use by British soldiers. A very early version of a hand grenade made of iron and gunpowder. The mills bomb was another type of bomb used, but was used more often. British soldiers would also use improvised grenades called Jam tin grenades, by finding an old jam tin and placing gunpowder, clay on top of that, with a fuse placed inside of it. Then they would fill the top part of the can with nails or scrap iron. Germans used Stick grenades which were a stick with a canister on the end. They were lighter and easier to throw than the British bombs.

Machine guns were usable at the start of the war, but not very convenient for the “Fire and Movement” style. They had to pick people to operate the guns, because they were easy targets for the enemy. A few of these guns were known as the Vickers gun, maxim gun, and the Lewis gun. Each machine gun was manned by a team of 6 people, who had an individual task that was essential to the operation of the gun. Number 1 of the team would man the gun, while number 2 would carry spare parts and the other 4 would carry the ammunition. The Vickers gun was water cooled, so each operator had to shoot in bursts to keep the gun from overheating during an attack or defense.

Trench Mortars were also used by soldiers, which were handheld pipes that would launch mini bombs toward an enemy trench. The Germans called them Minenwerfers and they would cause a lot of damage to British soldiers. Along with large amounts of artillery, plenty of gas was used as well as long as a bomb called a Bangalore Torpedo. This was a long narrow plank with slabs of gun cotton touching each other and the detonator on the other end. Soldiers would place this in between wires around trenches, and blow it up, leaving a hole in the wire.

Flame throwers were also used by the Germans, in teams of soldiers who carried the nose of the weapon and some who carried the ammunition. Plenty of friendly fire was also apart of the war, as careless mistakes or accidents caused harm to soldiers.

This podcast was awesome, as a history buff, I found it very fascinating about all the different types of weapons they used. Especially during a time of great technological advancement. Bombs and machine guns were fairly new to the war scene, and hearing stories from soldiers who used them was exciting. The tactics used, especially in no man’s land, were quite heart wrenching as a story by Joseph Clements in the podcast explained the battle of Gallipoli. Soldiers were so bunched up, that he could easily sweep his gun left and right and he “couldn’t miss”. However, I know there were a lot more weapons used during World War 1 like tanks, gas, and horses which was not apart of this podcast (gas talked about briefly). Otherwise, the podcast was a nice, short summary on popular weapons used.

184 thoughts on “Michael’s Report on the Podcast ‘Weapons of War’

  1. It is so crazy to me how this was such a time for technological advancement when it comes to weaponry. Some of the things they used, like bayonets, we’ve seen used before and heard about but then you get into things like mortars and gas. There is such a wide range of things that could be used against these men and I cannot fathom what it would be like for them to go through a war like this, unsure of what will be used on the next. And then thinking about how much things have changed since WWI, now with nuclear weapons and drones. Wow. Weapons advancement is mindblowing.
    Do you know if the reason why bayonets hurt more coming out was because of how they were made? I know I have heard of traditional bayonets along with needle and saw blade ones and was wondering if it is ones with a serrated blade were the ones that caused the most pain due to the pulling, tearing and ripping of flesh and organs. Gross.

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