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Slide 1

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Army life in WW1
Conditions, weapons, punishment and medicine…read more

Slide 2

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The Lee Enfield Rifle- introduced 1903, this short
magazine rifle was the basic weapon for infantry. It had
a relatively large range and was quick firing, and
attracted allot of praise.
The Vickers Machine gun- in 1912, there were 2 per
battalion. Commanders thought that they would be of
little use as they expected a "war of movement." In
reality they were crucial, and by 1918 there were 64 guns
per division, alongside a special Machine Gun Corps
attached to each division. The guns had a large range
and did about 450-500 rounds per minute.
Lewis Gun- developed in the USA, these were lighter
than the Vickers guns and very useful in trench
warfare. At first there was no German equivalent, and
the Germans used to use captured Lewis Guns.
However, they were very complex and prone to
Stokes Mortar- initially the BEF had no trench mortars…read more

Slide 3

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More weapons/equipment
Grenades & shells- 1914, grenades hardly existed
in the BEF, and were improvised out of jam jars
etc. In 1915 the Mills bomb was developed. This
was very effective. The BEF also started out with
inadequate numbers of guns and ammunitions,
especially heavy artillery. 1916-17 this was mainly
solved. Improvements in shells and fuses made
British artillery in 1918 formidable. Shellfire killed
allot of men.
Other equipment- Soft caps were replaced in 1915
by steel helmets that offered more protection from
British infantrymen were increasingly well
equipped and certainly weren't worse off than the
French or Germans.…read more

Slide 4

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Army Discipline
Flogging, which was used in the Crimea, was abolished
Disciplining thousands of young men posed a real
The Death Penalty:
This was used in everyday civilian life and was therefore
mainly accepted/supported
Less than 400 men executed out of the 5.7 million that
Mainly for desertion or murder, and many were repeat
The Army did not resort to the death penalty readily
1917 legally trained court martial officers attached to
each corps
Courts were mainly fair and unprejudiced
Field punishment number one
Controversial- men were tied for up to 2 hours to a
stationary object
FOR: not lashed tightly, didn't have to stay there long,
got taken down if it was too hot/cold/rainy
AGAINST: men disliked it, damaged morale…read more

Slide 5

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More discipline
Discipline varied depending on social make-up
and morale of the regiment
Morale mainly remained high and men had an
ingrained sense of duty and obedience
Acceptance of hierarchy and authority
Loyal to officers- trust and comradeship
Never displayed lack of morale that took place
in FR and Russ armies in 1917/German army
Grumbled, but were well fed, equipped,
believed in victory and their superiority over
the enemy…read more


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