Artillery and mortars

There were two different main types of guns that armies used during the first world war, those were field guns and siege guns. Field guns were smaller calibre and lighter than siege guns so they were much easier to transport in battles, though the siege guns packed a much bigger punch.
The artillery weapons used different shells to fulfil different purposes during warfare and what needed to be done to get an edge upon the enemy. One type of shell that was used in trench warfare was the shrapnel shell, these shells were timed in order to explode in the air over the enemy in the trenches. On detention thousands of small ball bearing fired down upon the enemy both injuring and killing the troops that were not under good enough cover. The explosion was must like a shotgun blast in the sense that it shot outwards. You can see this type of shell in action from this photograph from 1917, it was taken of the Canadian soldiers in a trench on Somme.
Gunners used high explosive shells in order both collapse trenches and protection shelters. The trenches protected well against shrapnel that was fired upon it, however they were still very vulnerable to high explosive shells. These shells were capable of leaving large craters in the battlefield and killing off anyone who was near the site of detonation.
Mortars were one of the most effective yet simple siege weapons that was used during the war. Mortars fired large shells in high trajectory lines in order to plummet down upon the enemy trenches. During the war armies used martyrs with many different types and sizes of ammunition. Their sizes and payloads also differed greatly, siege mortars were used for needs on bigger scales where as infantry mortars could be more easily moved around and carried by a small group of men. Making them more versatile for the needs of trench warfare.
Over the course of the first world war, the sheer number of artillery guns increased greatly. By the midpoint of the war, more guns at higher calibers than had been seen before were being used by the Allied forces which essentially allowed them to have constant firepower on their side. By the year 1918 the allied gunner were able to out gun the German forces and gunners, this allowed the allies to have much better support for the infantry men during attacks and such in the battlefield. The Allied gunners became very specialised with the artillery weaponry and as a result they were able to better locate their enemy and account of other factors such as weather and conditions that could have possibly altered the trajectory of the artillery fire.
In the image above you can see the 18-pounder field gun. This gun was the British armies most widely used field gun throughout the entirety of the war. During ww1 more 10,000 of these gun were produced and they were created in a variety of different types, this included some anti-aircraft variants. During the first world war the 18-pounder fired over 100,000,000 shells. This is equal to an average of 43 rounds per minute, from the years 1914 to 1918.
The weapon above is the German 240 Millimetre Albrecht Trench Mortar. This mortar was very unusual due to its’s wooden construction that was reinforced by a metal liner, wires, and bands. In order to adjust the elevation of the mortar, the operator of the weapon would use a hand wheel. Once at the right angle of elevation, the mortar was then locked into position and that was done by tightening the bolts and nuts on the weapon. The limitations of this mortar was the fact that it had a low accuracy and the range of it was only from 50 to 550 metres, which was not a great distance at the time.
The image shows the German 21-centimetre Mörser howitzer. This powerful weapon had the capability to destroy enemy trenches and dugouts that were located up to 8,200 metres away. The steel planks that were attached onto the wheels were very helpful for the trench environment because it helped with transporting the howitzer through the rough and muddy terrain.

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