A Muse of Fire

Trench Warfare Weapons

British Trench Warfare Munitions, 1914–18.

The emergence of static warfare on the Western Front in late 1914 encouraged the reinvention of devices associated with siege warfare and the invention of hitherto unknown munitions. These munitions included hand and rifle grenades and trench mortars and their ammunition.

At the outbreak of war, the British effectively possessed none of these devices and lacked an infrastructure by which they could be quickly designed, manufactured and supplied to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). The British met this challenge with considerable success. The subsequent proliferation of trench warfare munitions had profound consequences for the evolution of British tactics on the Western Front.

This thesis examines the processes by which these devices were invented, developed into manufacturable devices and supplied to the BEF. It considers their novelty in respect to similar devices from the American Civil War and the Russo-Japanese War. It looks at how their technical evolution affected tactical developments. The thesis discusses the relationship between the technical characteristics of these devices and the evolution of their tactical employment. It also considers how the characteristics of certain munitions, such as the Stokes mortar and the Mills grenade, directly affected tactics. 

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Author: y Anthony James Saunders

Article and Image Source: University of Exeter

Keywords: Trench Warfare,Weapons,Siege Warfare,WWI


y Anthony James Saunders

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