The blog post I did a while back: 9 Little Known Facts of WW1 has been very popular, so I thought I would add a few more bite sized nuggets…so here we go: Little Known WW1 facts, Chapter 2…
When the British mines laid under the Messines Ridge near Ypres were exploded on 7th June 1917, they not only changed the landscape, but could also be heard as far away as Dublin, Ireland. About 10,000 German soldiers died instantly in the blast.
Officers carried revolvers, not rifles, as a result they were easy for the enemy to spot and targetted specifically by the enemy.
From July to December 1917 (commonly referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele) 1 British officer was killed for every 19 men. In the German army during the same period, It was 1 German officer for every 38 men.
The first reported use of gas was by the Germans on the eastern front on 3rd Jan 1915. It was a tearing agent dispersed by artillery shell. The first use on the western front came several months later on 22nd Apr 1915 at the village of Langemarck near Ypres. At 1700 hours the Germans released a 5 mile wide cloud of chlorine gas from some 520 cylinders (168 tons of the chemical). The greenish-yellow cloud drifted over and into the French and Algerian trenches where it caused wide spread panic and death. The age of chemical warfare had begun.
One of the most famous big guns of the Great War is the infamous Paris Gun. Also known as Lange Max, or Big Bertha. In this case size was not everything, although the gun could fire a shell 70 miles in 170 seconds, it didnt have a great deal of explosives and accuracy was non existent.. it was used for propaganda rather than serving any real military tactical advantage.
The youngest casualty of WW1 was 6322 Pte John Condon of the 2nd Royal Irish Regiment who was just 14 when he was reported missing, presumed dead on 24th May 1915.
The first use of tanks (or land ships as they were originally known) on the battlefield was the use of 49 British MK I tanks during the Battle of the Somme on 15th September 1916
634 Victoria Crosses were issued during WW1.
Horses were the main means of transportation for all sides in the War. As such, almost 8 million horses were killed during the conflict with another 2.5 million wounded.
The first German air raid on London took place on 28th November 1916. The Germans hoped that by making raids on London and the South East, the British Air Force would be forced into protecting the home front rather than attacking the German air force.