Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage

That the Great War or World War I did not solve anything and that the treaties strangled the superseded, brought a few years later all those who had said “no more war” again in a terrible battle which only came to an end after again a new horrible weapon was used to shock the world , which demonised the world for many years to come.


An on-again, off-again angry staff officer, meandering the warrens of Army doctrine knows that

A lot has been said about the role of artillery in World War I, in both its intensity and ferocity.

He looks at the opening day of the Somme on July 1, 1916 and the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917,  and talks about the Germans who developed and perfected the “box barrage” that dropped shells on all four sides of the targeted unit, designed to cut it off from supporting units and sever its lines of communication. But also looks at all sides which incorporated poison gas into their artillery bombardments. A mix of high explosive and gas rounds was both deadly and psychologically unnerving.


German poison gas attack on the Chemin des Dames

Artillery = defense => initiate defensive fire

artillery shell in World War I = metal casing surrounding high explosive – usually a mixture of TNT or picric acid and ammonium nitrate and other chemicals

“overpressure” => air sucked out of the area, causing a tightening of the skin and pulsating of the eyes.

shock wave => felt strongly in the gut + Blood forced out of organs + arteries upwards towards the brain.

effects of prolonged exposure to artillery fire => “shell shock.” = “war neurosis” – now termed Post Traumatic Stress


Preceding articles

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle
  3. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  5. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  6. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  9. Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle
  10. Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle
  11. Aftermath
  12. Juncker warns for possible new war
  13. The Great War changed everything


Additional reading

  1. Why are we killing?
  2. Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on
  3. Reflections on the Great War #2
  4. Too Young To Fight?
  5. Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused
  6. In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original
  7. Lessons of the Somme
  8. The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust
  9. July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’
  10. Gwalia military cemetery
  11. Truth
  12. A poem for #Somme100 
  13. Remembering the Somme 100 years on
  14. The War to end all wars


Further reading

  1. Total War
  2. World War I History: Trench Warfare Notes, 1915
  3. Volunteer Nurses in the Great War: 1914
  4. Military Service, War, and Dementia Risks for Veterans
  5. Chemo – Mustard Gas in disguise?
  6. ‘From unexpected places’: new sources for our Great War blog
  7. The Battle of the Somme, Summer 1916
  8. Battle Of The Somme.
  9. Monday July 3, 1916
  10. July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’
  11. The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust
  12. [interlude] We’re Here Because We’re Here
  13. Shrouds of the Somme
  14. Remembering World War I: Early June, 1916
  15. Remembering World War I
  16. Broadway Library Commemorates the Battle of the Somme
  17. Not a spare seat at the Somme Commemoration Service in Lightwater
  18. Mark Collins – “The Lord of the Rings’” Origin at the Bloody Somme
  19. The Battle of the Somme remembered at Camberley’s war memorial
  20. Tuesday 4th July 1916
  21. Wednesday 5th July 1916
  22. The Best Laid Plans (Here Lies a Soldier, part 9)
  23. War is about repeatedly killing a man for an Achievement
  24. In commemoration
  25. Spare a thought for the men who sleep in the Somme
  26. The Great War Through the Eyes of a Poet
  27. “Maman, je meurs.”
  28. In To The Hands Of The Enemy
  29. Wipers – Review
  30. Walking The Great War
  31. Somme set of 4
  32. A Lethbridge family takes part in Remembrance Day to honor loved one
  33. Part 31 READ The Making of Modern White English Women – a handbook
  34. The Spanish Flu of 1918- Research Discoveries
  35. Here Lies a Soldier – the story thus far…
  36. WWII Vet’s Mustard Gas Claim Gets A New Review From VA
  37. The Modern Battlefield
  38. Science Makes Sense: Week 20- Chemistry and Social Justice: agents of war, mustard gas, napalm, white phosphorus.
  39. Chemotherapy the Indiscriminate Killer of Our Immune System
  40. Pandora Report 9.18.2015
  41. Veterans Used In Secret Experiments Sue Military For Answers
  42. United States generals confirms the Islamic State group used mustard gas
  43. ISIS Chemical Warfare Attack on Kurds in Iraq Raises Questions
  44. German intelligence has evidence IS used mustard gas in northern Iraq
  45. Islamic State forces are engaging in chemical warfare, says German intelligence
  46. Mustard Agent Was Used in Syria Attack, Monitoring Agency Says
  47. Mustard gas confirmed in fighting in Syria
  48. Chemical weapons watchdog believes Syrian insurgents used mustard gas
  49. What is the ISIS top chemical weapons engineer telling the US?
  50. US special forces captured ISIS chemical weapons chief in Iraq, official reveals
  51. Kurdish forces say Islamic State group used chemical weapons
  52. Diplomat: Islamic State used mustard gas against Kurdish fighters
  53. Two men with Acromegaly
  54. We’re missing the point about Syrian refugees

The Angry Staff Officer

ypres battleShells bursting at Ypres

A lot has been said about the role of artillery in World War I, in both its intensity and ferocity. On the opening day of the Somme on July 1, 1916, British guns hurled 250,000 high explosive and shrapnel shells towards German positions. During the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, over 3,000 British guns and howitzers fired a “creeping barrage” on German positions, with the infantry advancing fifty yards behind the moving wall of fire and steel. The Germans developed and perfected the “box barrage” that dropped shells on all four sides of the targeted unit, designed to cut it off from supporting units and sever its lines of communication. Preparatory, or “softening up,” barrages would be fired on pre-planned targets in advance of an attack. The American St. Mihiel Offensive on September 12, 1918 was preceded in some areas by a seven-hour…

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A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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1 Response to Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage

  1. Pingback: A healthy world to come – Immanuel Verbondskind – עמנואל קאָווענאַנט קינד

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