4.1 Weapons of war
The First World War saw many weapons being used, including gas, artillery, bayonets, grenades and flame-throwers. Some were more successful than others. The films on this page show a range of weapons and the tactics used alongside them.
2 MINS 1 SEC, SILENT, B/W, 1914-1918
Men assemble a tripod stand for a machine gun before loading it onto a truck with other tripods.
The film then shows a drill in which British soldiers run with the equipment, set up a tripod, load, then fire the machine gun into a field.
TANKS AT THE FRONT
1 MIN 23 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1914-1918
A film about French troops on the Western Front during the First World War. It shows small tanks moving along a road through a bombed village. It also includes shots of horse artillery and ambulances. If you watch carefully, there is a very brief glimpse of a blimp or balloon hovering above a road.
1 MIN 11 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1914-1918
The Lancashire Fusiliers undergo bayonet drills during the First World War. They practice lunging with the weapon, then three waves of soldiers run across a field at hanging sandbags, impaling them with their bayonets before stabbing similar bags laid out on the ground.
___________________________________________________________________________________VICTORY ON THE SOMME
0 MINS 34 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1916
This short film shows a French gun battery in action on the battlefield of the Somme. Multiple guns are fired, including some mounted on a large structure, perhaps a railway car.
___________________________________________________________________________________FIRST WORLD WAR ARTILLERY
3 MINS 55 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1914-1918
A compilation of artillery footage from the First World War. The film opens with war horses wading through the muddy ground. Then soldiers operate a large gun, loading and firing it.
We then see a gun being fired from a bunker surrounded by sandbags. A large pile of round shells ('plumb puddings') are piled up in a field and then fired from a trench mortar.
The film ends with anticipation of a part two, but no second segment exists in the archive.
___________________________________________________________________________________WHERE BIG BERTHA HIT PARIS
0 MINS 38 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1918
The damage caused by a huge German cannon (called 'Big Bertha' by the press at the time, though actually a different weapon) which shelled Paris from a staggering 71 miles away. The first attack occurred on Good Friday in 1918.