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50 Essential Facts About World War One

The 50 facts that you MUST know on your way to becoming a Great War expert!

In 1908 Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. War was avoidedApproaching War
In the 5 years prior to the First World War, arms-spending rose by 50%
In 1904 the "Entente Cordiale" made allies of sworn enemies, Britain and France
The "The Triple Entente" of 1907 brought Russia into this alliance
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June started the war in August
65 million people fought in the war. Around five million of those were BritishThe Numbers
Soldiers had to be 18 years old officially. The youngest British soldier was 12
12 million letters were delivered to soldiers on the front line every week
628 Victoria Crosses were awarded, a quarter of them to men who had died
A quarter of a million horses and mules died on the Western Front
The first functioning unmanned aerial drone was developed in 1918 Innovations
Wristwatches were not worn by men until World War One
Stainless steel was invented and used in aircraft engines and medical instruments
The world's first blood bank opened in 1917 on the Western Front
Daylight Saving Time began in Germany in 1916 as an effort to save coal
One third of casualties were received inside trenches rather than on open groundTrenches
Bugs, rats, lice and even frogs lived alongside men in the trenches
A day in the trenches often began with "Morning Hate"
For every 20,000 men 300 gallons of rum were given to help keep them warm
Most of the work in trenches was done under the cover of darkness
Germany was the first to use flamethrowers on February 26, 1915Weapons
Tanks, a British innovation, appeared on the battlefield on 15th September 1916
The age of air warfare began in World War One
Both sides used chemical weapons against each other
The main weapon was artillery. It caused roughly half of all deaths
The "Dreadnaught" was a new kind of battleship, faster and tougher than othersAt Sea
They were vulnerable to mass attacks from small torpedo boats
The first destroyers were built to counteract these small boats and their torpedoes
Submarines were first used effectively in WWI. The German U-Boats were feared
Great Britain laid almost 200,000 naval mines to protects its east coast
The Battle of Passchendaele left an estimated 860,000 casualtiesBattles
The Somme Offensive advanced the Allies 7 miles, costing over a million lives
After huge losses in the Battle of the Marne the first trenches were dug
The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle of the First World War
The Battle of Verdun was the longest battle of the First World War.
Pilots who brought down 5 enemy planes were given the title "ace"In the Air
Observation balloons were included in the list of victories for pilots
The "Jagdstaffeln" were specialised German fighter squadrons
During "Bloody April" of 1917 the British lost 245 aircraft out of 365
"Archies" were anti-aircraft guns which fired shells that fragmented in the air
Men who refused to fight on compassionate grounds were imprisonedCivilians
A German airship attack on London mistakenly dropped its bombs on Hull
To replace the 5 million men who had gone to war, 1.6 million women stepped in
Dorothy Lawrence impersonated a man so that she could serve as a soldier
By April 1916 Britain was said to have only enough wheat left to last 6 weeks
Around 2 million servicemen died from disease or malnutrition rather than injuryCasualties
8.5 million troops are thought to have been killed, 750,000 of them British
21 million troops were wounded, including 1.5 million British
As well as servicemen, up to 13 million civilians were also killed
Russia suffered the highest number of casualties: over 9 million of them

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