Modern History 112 (2)
June 5th, 2018
Modernization of Weapons Between WW I and WW II
Modernization of weapons has played a large role in the outcome between World War I and World War II. Throughout the 21 year span between World War I and World War II there have been many changes to weapons, vehicules, battlefield techniques and tactics. The modernization affected both the casualties throughout World War II and the final outcome of the war.
First of all, World War I was more of a defensive style, down and dirty type of war. If you picture WW I you can imagine soldiers living in muddy trenches, basically waiting for their enemies to attack. Not only were humans used to fight battles for their country, animals were also brough into battle. “Horses were used to move equipment, dogs were used to help find wounded soldiers and pigeons were vital for transporting messages.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/28585905) This being said, the first World War was up to pure man, and animal, power. A. Torrey Maclean wrote in his article WWI: Technology and the weapons of war: “When attacks were ordered, Allied soldiers went “over the top,” climbing out of their trenches and crossing no-man’s-land to reach enemy trenches. They had to cut through belts of barbed wire before they could use rifles, bayonets, pistols, and hand grenades to capture enemy positions. (https://www.ncpedia.org/wwi-technology-and-weapons-war) World War II on the other hand was a complete different story. Communication modernization was key for the British at the start of World War II. The British develloped electronic computers which were used for breaking the Nazis secret codes. As the codes were cracked, Germany’s wartime communications were revealed. During WorldWar II, Germany focused on developing missiles instead, and most countries followed suit. They werefaster, had longer ranges, and were much more precise, not to mention more difficult to shoot out of the sky. The missile kind of replaced the whole concept of an assault drone. This being said. modernization of weapons changed how the battlefield techniques were utilized in World War II.
How did the modernization of weapons affect the outcome of World War II compared to World War II? Ships, naval boats, vehicules, weapons and bombs are all weapons off mass destruction. They all became far more advanced during the second World War. To start, torpedoes became revolutionized. They came with magnetic detonators, they were compass directed and they were programmed to ensure destruction in the right area. Weapons became basically computerized. A proximity fuze was invented for shells bombs and rockets. Basically what this does is detonate the explosive automatically when it is near the target. The proximity fuze helped ensure the bomb was a hit, the approach did not need to be exact. In World War II, the Germans got the upper hand when it came to tank communications. While not all French tanks were equipped with radios, the ones that were were proven to be faulty which often led to miscommuniactions. The French radios were often broken as they crossed uneven grounds. The Germans on the other hand were fully equipped with radios making communication in battle much easier. In tank armoury, the Germans again had the upper hand. The Germans packed heavy. The British tanks were often found the be way slower than those of the Germans which left them stranded in open battles. The British tracks were much easier to be destroyed by gunfire. They often became stranded. The German tanks were heavily armoured, meaning the British tanks failed to produce heavy damage. On the side of naval ships, the Japanese set the standards. The Japanese tanks were bigger, faster, stronger and more powerful, they were said to be the world’s first modern destroyer. German vessels were mainly used to stop the Americans and Canadians from travelling across the Atlantic ocean. So we have the Germans leading in tanks, the Japanese leading in Vessels. Now we are back to the Germans being ahead with aircrafts. Aircrafts allowed Germany to overrun Western Europe very quickly in 1940. The French were behind on the modernization of aircrafts, they chose to spend their money and resources in ground armies. They did not upgrade much since the end of WW I. Most French airfields were located in north-east France, and were quickly overrun in the early stages of the campaign. The Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom possessed some very advanced fighter planes, such as Spitfires and Hurricanes, but these were not useful for attacking ground troops on a battlefield, and the small number of planes dispatched to France with the British Expeditionary Force were destroyed fairly quickly.