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War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

Posted November 11, 2008 12:01 AM by Steve Melito

Today is Veterans Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth, National Day in Poland, and Armistice Day in Belgium and France. The holiday marks the end of World War I, a four-year conflict whose cease-fire took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Once described as "the war to end all wars", World War I tested – some say shattered – the West's vision of a peaceful, ever-prosperous future built upon a foundation of technological innovation. The clash of 20th military technology with 19th century military tactics was particularly bloody.

The First Barrage

Most of World War I's 40 million casualties were caused by artillery fire. At the beginning of the conflict, artillery was sited along the front lines to bombard visible targets such as enemy infantry. As the war continued, however, the armies dug them themselves into trenches, requiring both sides to deploy spotters and develop new plans of attack. Gunners used increasingly complicated calculations, and individual weapons were aimed so that their shot formed part of a pattern. In 1915, the term "barrage" was first used in the English language, in military orders for the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Anti-Aircraft Guns

The world's first "box barrage" wasn't the only artillery-related innovation of the Great War. World War I also witnessed the use of powerful anti-aircraft guns. Although some historians argue that anti-aircraft weapons were first used during the American Civil War, when Confederate forces fired upon the Union's Balloon Corps, the German arms maker Krupp perfected the ballonkanone during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. By the start of World War I, Krupp had developed a 75-m 12-pounder that came mounted on a large traverse. But balloons were no longer the greatest threat from the air.

Initially, German aircraft were used to coordinate artillery fire. To counteract this tactic, the French and Russian armies deployed 75-mm guns of their own, typically propping the barrels on hills and pointing the muzzles skyward. The British outfitted their own forces with an entirely new weapon, but the Germans responded by deploying a revolving cannon. Dubbed by Allied fliers as the "flaming onion", the German gun had five barrels and could launch a series of 37-mm artillery shells.

Resources:

http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrage_(artillery)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrage_(artillery)#World_War_I

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare

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#1

Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/11/2008 2:37 AM
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#2

Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/11/2008 10:04 AM

And a heart felt thanks to all those who served and died for our freedoms. I my self am a veteran. The sad part, at least in the USA, is that no one observes this holiday except government employees. Here it is a regular work day.

Now we have our modern day weapons. What will the next WW look like? 40 million injuries is un fathomable in numbers. With nuclear power, this number may be only a starting point in the count.

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/12/2008 8:10 AM

It is a true tragedy that no one seems to remember any more. I too am a veteran as is my father, brother, most of my uncles. Most of them served in WWII, me? Vietnam, Grenada, panama. My brother Iraq, he has missed Afghanistan so far. Now even with all that I can't even get Veteran's day off, and I work for the Government...

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/12/2008 8:45 AM

Thank you for your service to our country, Guest, and thanks to all our nation's veterans. We are the land of the free because of the brave.

- Moose

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/10/2009 4:16 PM

It is a true tragedy that no one seems to remember any more.

that is not true, and you should not say that. there are those of us who remember and honor them, as I do on Memorial Day at the cemetery.

Just because I do not take off from work does not mean its forgotten.

Now even with all that I can't even get Veteran's day off, and I work for the Government...

That is not so strange, the government can't change November 11 to fall on Monday ever year to have a 3 day weekend. Too bad you don't have a floating holiday to take it in observance

p911

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/12/2008 12:32 PM

We observe Veteran's Day here at Northrop-Grumman in Annapolis with the call to colors, a color guard consisting of employee veterans, raise the colors and then the corporate vice president makes remarks in honor of Veteran's Day.

At lunch time, there is a cake cutting ceremony with remarks by the management.

We will never forget the sacrifice.

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/12/2008 1:19 PM

Thanks for the reply. It's good to see that there are those companies that understand the freedoms that are given them by the vets from all nations.

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/14/2008 9:34 AM

If you haven't heard, the US National WW-I Museum (2006) is located at Liberty Memorial (1926) in Kansas City, MO. It invariably pleases visitors with its collection of artifacts, including a Renault FT-17 tank, damaged by a German gun.

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Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/14/2008 1:21 PM

Thanks for the info, esbuck. I hadn't heard of that museum, but hope to have a chance to check it out someday.

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#9

Re: War and Remembrance: Artillery and The Great War

11/10/2009 4:06 PM

Here it is Remembrance Day again, 12 months later. In the land of Oz it is not a public holiday but we stop for a minutes silence at 11:00am.

At the Brisbane museum we have a WW1 German tank that someone souvenired of a battlefield.

http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/features/mephisto/

Engineering wise it is very crude by today's standard but I have no doubt that it would still scare yesterdays lunch out of me if all I had to stop it was a rifle and bayonet.

Like I said it is twelve months later, have we learnt much in the last year?

Our Returned Services League (RSL) are this year pushing the line that we should take this opportunity to not just remember those that fought and died but to remember those who fought and survived and still carry the effects of that experience.

I have not met any war dead but I have seen a lot of damaged diggers. (Australian servicemen particularly soldiers are affectionately known as diggers in honour of some miners at Eureka that wanted to point out to the government that they were doing the wrong thing. http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/eurekastockade/ )

BAB

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