The journey of man through the history has been, to put it mildly, kind of bumpy. On one side we can pride ourselves for the innovation and progress in education and enlightenment. But Man’s angel has always been accompanied by a parallel demon, and that demon is our romance with war and violence. We can argue in eternity about the implication and application of our inclination towards wars and destruction, but the consequence has always been pretty obvious. As humanity grew richer in terms of knowledge and understanding, we got better and better in killing each other, tribes, societies and the whole world thanks to our most favorite atomic bomb.
Following is the list of some weapons made by man throughout the known history that changed the shape and nature of warfare forever.
Trebuchets at Château de Castelnaud via Wikipedia
These days we quiet easily get fascinated by the grandeur and architecture of ancient castles, however back in the days castles were mostly seen as a sanctuary, as a hideout if you like. Armies mostly marched on foot, with a very slow pace and equipped with all kinds of weapons. For an offensive army the most obvious form of resistance they had to face was the siege warfare. Whole cities could seek refuge in the castles, those who remained outside were put to enemy swords. Siege warfare was quiet effective for a long patch of human history, until the monster machine came along, the ‘trebuchet’. These were giant slings with the ability to fire massive stones or other matter, pounding the strong walls of castles. These machines totally transformed the dynamics of ancient warfare, by effectively decreasing the duration of the siege.
- Mark I ‘Mother Tank’
One of the most fascinating fact about the First World War is the notion that armies entered the war on horses and came out of it on planes. This implies that World War I saw huge advancement in terms of military equipment, and most celebrated invention of WWI is the ‘tank’. Although the first prototype for something like a tank was proposed by the great Da Vinci, it was not until the early 1900’s that nations started taking this idea seriously. Britain took the initiative by investing money and expertise into manufacturing the first ever tank known to mankind Mark I also referred to as ‘Mother Tank’. It was effectively a sort of iron bunker that provided a protection against enemy fire. Mark I proved its worth in WWI by putting an end to trench warfare. In a matter of few years every powerful nation in the world was making tanks in thousands and in many shapes and forms.
Double white hellebore hybrid ‘Betty Ranicar’ via Wikipedia
The term biological warfare sounds a modern phenomenon, however it is anything but. The use of poisons, and diseased people, has been a part of a number of battles throughout human history. The use of poison to kill individuals lies even further back in the ancient history. In terms of battles, one of the early examples of applying biological entity to settle a conflict comes from the siege of Kirrha in 585 BC. Hellebore was use to poison the water supply flowing towards the defenders, making them weak and eventually winning the battle. This victory marks the start of a long history of biological warfare that still hangs over our heads.
- Maxim Machine Gun
1895 .303 caliber tripod mounted Maxim machine gun via Wikipedia
A British officer had once said ‘They could have arrows and bows but they do not have Maxim’ referring to the rebels in colonies. Most of the known human history’s wars were won with the strength and effectiveness of cavalry and infantry. With the advent of automatic weapon in the mid 19th century the dynamics of the warfare totally changed. Cavalry was effectively rendered useless in early 1900’s with the invention of ‘Maxim Gun’. An automatic machine gun that could obliterate columns after columns of enemy marching troops in minutes. Maxim Gun gave birth to fully mechanized and automatic warfare, with scale of life loss hitherto unknown to mankind.
- Fokker Airplane
Fokker Dr.I at Airpower11 Replica 2008, Mikael Carlson via Wikipedia
From the very early days of flights, military strategists were thinking of the ways to use this nascent technology in the battlefield. Surveillance of the enemy territory was carried out using large hot air balloons, while zeppelins were dropping bombs on a few occasions. But like many other technological advancement, WWI increased the innovation and manufacturing of planes in leaps and bounds. The Fokker plane was first of the fighter aircrafts, with the ability to fire through propeller without causing any damage to the plane. This effectively triggered the start of the battle in the skies.
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