world war i: trench warfare

Two armed German soldiers wearing heavy coats posing in a trench during World War 1, location unknown.

Source: University of Kentucky.

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New Guinea during World War I — The Battle of Bita Paka and the Siege of Toma,

While World War I typically brings up scenes of trench warfare from the Western Front. However World War I was fought by people from all over the world on battlefields all over the world. Before World War I, New Guinea was divided in two, the northern half controlled by Germany, the southern half British (administered by Australia). The islands of New Guinea were especially important for Germany because they were home to many supply and communications stations for the German East Asiatic Squadron, a fleet of cruisers which harassed Allied shipping in the Pacific and Indian Ocean throughout the war. 

As soon as the war began, the Australian government and military began planning for an operation to seize New Guinea. It would become the first independent Australian military operation and result in the first Australian casualties of the war. The operation was conducted by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of 3,000 soldiers and sailors. Australia was quickly able to seize most of New Guinea without resistance, however at a radio station at a small village called Bita Paka on New Britain Island was a force of 61 German soldiers and 240 native police who were determined to fight.

On September 11th, 1914 a force of 500 Australian soldiers approached Bita Paka intent on capturing the radio station. There they were met by the German and native soldiers who fought a retreating skirmish, until eventually the settled into trenches and fortifications. The Germans had intended to draw the Australians into a trap, a  pipe mines which were to be detonated when the Australians advanced across a road. However the Australians were able to locate and disable the mine, foiling the German plans. 

With superior numbers, the Australians were able to quickly outflank and overwhelm the German lines. The Germans retreated 19 miles through the dense jungle to the village of Toma, hoping to hold out until the East Asiatic Squadron arrived with reinforcements. However, the Australians would follow them with a 12 pounder artillery piece and commence bombardment of the village.  Most of the native soldiers fled in panic, convincing the Germans to surrender. One German officer named Hermann Detzner escaped into the jungle with 20 native soldiers, where he spent the rest of the war in hiding.  At the end of the operation six Australian soldiers were dead and four wounded. The Germans suffered 1 German officer dead, 30 native soldiers killed, and 11 wounded. 

Hinterkaifeck Murders

The Hinterkaifeck murders are one of the most chilling and mysterious crimes in German history. The Gruber family was composed of Andreas, his wife Cazilia, their widowed adult daughter Viktoria, and her children, little Cazilia and Josef. They also had a maid named Maria Baumgartner in their employ (poor Maria only worked one day before she was killed; the previous maid had left because she believed the house was haunted). They lived on a little farmstead calledHinterkaifeck, around 40 miles from Munich.

Andreas reported some mysterious circumstances to neighbors in late March of 1922; he’d seen a set of footprints leading from the forest toward his farm, but none heading back. Even stranger, he heard footsteps in his attic and found a strange newspaper. A set of housekeys went missing. And then, on March 31, the entire family was murdered in the barn, one by one, with a pickaxe. They were found a few days later. It was determined that whoever had done the killing remained on the farm for awhile; the neighbors saw smoke from the chimney, and the animals were fed. While police initially believed the motive was robbery, they dismissed the idea when a large amount of cash was found in the house.

To this day, no one knows who murdered the Grubers. The Munich Police Department investigated for decades, but no suspect was never brought to justice. Some believe the killer was Viktoria’s husband Karl Gabriel, who’d been branded killed in action during trench warfare during World War I. Karl’s body was never found.

Just want to remind everyone that Wonder Woman is set in World War I

Some clues:
-Trench warfare with the Brits in Doughboy helmets
-Germans using horses
-All the fashions in London, including Steve’s starched, high collar
-Airplanes look like flimsy prop planes
-Talking about the Kaiser, not about the Führer
-The British generals all have ridiculous moustaches

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Lee Enfield wire cutters of World War I,

Invented in 1873 in America, barbed wire was originally used to pen cattle and other livestock in the cattle countries of the Old West.  By World War I, however, the invention would be used to deadly effect against human beings. Placed in front of trenches and fortification, it could block access to an enemy assault or force the enemy into a deadly chokepoint where they could be cut down by machine guns and artillery.  Thousands of miles worth of barbed wire was laid along the Western Front, providing a formidable obstacle for both Allied and Central Power’s forces.

At first it thought that artillery barrages would be successful in destroying barb wire obstacles, but this was later proved ineffective.  Then both sides deployed special wire cutting teams who would infiltrate no man’s land and remove barbed wire fencing.  One solution to the barbed wire problem was created C.H.Pugh Ltd. of Birmingham, England.  Their solution was to produce a special wire cutting device which could be mounted to the end of the standard British Lee Enfield service rifle.  The wire cutting device could also be mounted on the British P14, the American M1917 Enfield, and the Canadian Ross Rifle.  

While the Lee Enfield wire cutters were a good idea in theory, in the trenches of World War I they found to be impractical.  The cutters were difficult to use, and made the soldiers using them sitting ducks to enemy fire.  Most that were issued were never used.  

The scene in the Wonder Woman trailer of Diana climbing out of the trench has the potential to become one of the most iconic scenes in superhero movie history.

They took something we’re all familiar with, trench warfare, and placed a superhero in the middle of it. We’ve seen many World War I movies with scenes of trench warfare. The scenes of soldiers rushing out of the trenches, running to their deaths. Those scenes are always heartbreaking and tragic. You just wish it wasn’t happening, that they could be protected.

To put a superhero in those circumstances is an incredibly moving decision. Our hearts have always broken for the soldiers who rushed from the trenches onto the battlefield and were shot dead or blown up. Now we’re seeing a superhero come out of the trenches with them, coming out of the trenches to protect them. The very thought of that makes me want to cry, because few people in history needed a superhero more than the soldiers in trenches in World War I.

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The Iran-Iraq war has been compared to World War I in terms of the tactics used, including large-scale trench warfare with barbed wire stretched across trenches, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, human wave attacks across a no-man’s land, and extensive use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas by the Iraqi government against Iranian troops.

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What Returns From No Man’s Land

A Kylux Fic by GenerallyHuxurious (GallifreyanOmnishambles)

Captain Armitage Evelyn Hux returned from the trenches of World War One suffering from PTSD and haunted by two things- the tragic death of his lover on the last day of the conflict and the mysterious demonic presence that had haunted the battlefields. Gripped by despair Hux threw himself into the post-war London society and as the Roaring Twenties gathered steam he developed a reputation as a wild but charming socialite with a dark streak that only surfaced after heavy drinking. What no one knows is that of the two beings that shaped his experience of the war Hux would give anything to be free of one and everything to win back the other…

Rated E - Major Character Death, Graphic Depictions of Violence.

Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - World War I, World War I, Post-World War I, 1920s, Trench Warfare, Gore, Blood and Gore, Child SoldiersMinor Character Death, Demons, Spirits, Evil, Delusions, Hallucinations, Mental Instability, Mental Breakdown, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Grief/Mourning, Cruelty, Military, Hux is Not Nice, Kylo Ren is Not Nice, Necromancy, Pining, Obsession, Eldritch, Monsters, Ghouls, Murder, Kidnapping, Witchcraft, Alcohol, Period-Typical Homophobia, Sexual Repression, Homosexuality, Secret Relationship, Sexual Inexperience, Hand Jobs, Blow Jobs, Semi-Public Sex, Anal Sex, First Time, Devotion, Stolen Moments, Manipulation, Desperation, Fear, Death, SeductionPast Hux/UnamoSexDream SexWet Dream

Originally the Kylux 1920′s Necromancy AU (link contains spoilers)

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The “trench warfare” modified Gewehr 98,

During World War I the Mauser designed Gewehr 98 bolt action rifle served as the primary service arm of the German military.  However the experiences of trench warfare showed that the Gew 98 needed some improvements in order fit in with WWI combat.   One issue with Gew 98 was its magazine capacity.  At five rounds it was on par with the rifles used by many of its enemies, however it was outclassed by the ten round magazine sported by the British Lee Enfield.  

To improve the Gew 98, special kits were made to modify existing rifles in service.  The most important modification was the addition of a 25 round magazine.  To install the user simply removed the existing floorplate on the rifle and replace it with the extended magazine.  The magazine was a fixed magazine that could not be removed, rather it was loaded from the action using 5 round stripper clips.  Another improvement to the Gew 98 was the creation of a stamped sheet steel breech cover which was intended to protect the action from dirt, mud, and dust. The idea was inspired by the Japanese Arisaka, which utilized a similar device. While a good idea in theory, the cover had a tendency to rattle, creating noises which could give away a soldiers position to the enemy.  Often German soldiers who received the trench modifications did not attach the breech cover to their rifles.  The top picture shows a Gew 98 with the cover, the middle shows one without. The rarest model of the Gew 98 tench modification was a variant that came with a 2.5X magnification low light scope, which was made for use in marginal light (it did not work during night).

Despite the improvements the modifications saw mixed results with the average German infantryman.  Some liked the 25 round extended magazine.  Others, however, complained the magazine was too difficult to load.  As a result many who used the system only loaded the magazine with 10 rounds.  Yet others complained that the large magazine was too unwieldy in the tight confines of a trench.  Very few trench modification kits were produced or issued and once again the mainstay of the German Army remained the five shot Gew 98.

Source: Mauser Bolt Rifles by Ludwig Olson