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Borden Battery

Great War or WWII - Greatest Scientific and Technology Advancement

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Borden Battery

I was in a casual email discussion with the editor of a museum digital magazine last week – the conversation turned to which military conflict in the last one hundred years sparked the greatest and broadest invention and advance of science and technology.

While I espoused the many varied inventions and advancements during the Great War, this editor felt the Second World War and the Cold War created the greatest advancements.

It is my position that more technical and scientific inventions and advancements occurred in the four years of the Great War – and – the Second World War (exceptions being nuclear fission and RADAR) saw largely the refinement of already developed technologies from the Great War.

Some items to consider; aircraft, submarines, poisonous gas, armoured tanks, electronic communication, mass vaccinations, blood transfusions and critical care, mapping and aerial photography, indirect artillery and machine gun fire, small unit tactics versus line columns and other instances based on your feedback.

Borden Battery

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DavidOwen

I sense a boisterous debate looming ;)

It could be argued that both conflicts saw mainly developments of existing technologies with a few exceptions.

Looking forward to seeing all the different views!

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Open Bolt

Yes, looming indeed, though on the GWF there may be some in-built bias.

Arguably radar developed from the sound ranging technologies of the first world war, and also that a substantial part of it was inter-war development with the advance of radio technologies. The jet engine was also an 'inter-war' idea.

The great war can make great claims for not just maturing but also developing technology in a very short space of time. Certainly the change from C19th to C20th warfare is stark.

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Borden Battery

Thanks..  I believe we can add Aircraft Carriers to the First World War along with Zeppelins but acknowledging their use came to an abrupt halt just prior to the Second World War.

 

I believe engine turbo-charging may also have originated with the Great War - can we have any engine experts comment?

 

Borden Battery

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seaJane

Facial reconstruction / plastic surgery WW1.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
Posted (edited)

Antibiotics (principally Penicillin) although discovered before, only became clinically useful during WWII.

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

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ServiceRumDiluted

The widespread adoption of stainless steel was catalysed by the need for high quality corrosion resistant steel in aero engine exhausts.

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Terry_Reeves

The first rigid airship was introduced in 1900.

 

TR

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Borden Battery

Thanks.  Facial reconstruction was a significant development.  Believe penicillin was 1921 - but will check. Stainless steel was a surprise.

 

Did anything happen with weather forecasting?  The 24-hour clock for standardized time was introduced but what about Daylight Savings Time - what is the data on this?

 

Aerial reconnaissance replaced the cavalry and cyclists.

 

Borden Battery

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seaJane

Think you are right on penicillin. Alexander Fleming served in the RAMC if I recall correctly.

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DavidOwen
8 minutes ago, seaJane said:

Think you are right on penicillin. Alexander Fleming served in the RAMC if I recall correctly.

Discovered 1928 but sulphonamides were available in ww1

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UNCLEGRU

Penecillin was discovered in 1928 but forgotten about until Prof Florey in Oxford read a paper that Flemming had written. First used on a patient early 1941.

Patient was recovering but unfortunately died because they ran out of useable penicillin.

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Interested

Daylight Saving had been proposed (by Mr W Willett) for many years prior to its adoption on 21st May 1916, so the Great War was responsible for its adoption, in the belief it would reduce coal consumption.

I believe (I'm sure a greater expert than me will come along soon and clarify) that alcohol licensing laws were introduced during the Great War in an attempt to reduce accidents to munitions workers (in Tyneside?)  Is this a positive, or negative social development?  Or not relevant to the discussion?

Aircraft were in use prior to 1914;

The first launch of an aircraft from a ship was on 14th November 1910

Even flame throwers could be predated by Greek Fire.

Not sure about poison gas though.  First use in the Great War?

 

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Borden Battery

Poison gas (use of chlorine and the development of phosgene and mustard gas was largely from the efforts of one man, a German Nobel prize winner named Fritz Haber.)  In an ironic twist, the institute that Haber was associated with later developed Zykon B.  It was used by the Nazis - Haber was a Jewish convert to Christianity but many of his extended Jewish family were later exterminated during the Second World War by the Zyklon B gas developed at his laboratory.  Borden Battery

 

Chemical Warfare Websites - Part 23

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Medical Manual of Chemical Warfare
The Medical Manual of Chemical Warfare website is based on the "publication by His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1941 Edition, and is based on data from 1918. A detailed account of the general effects of gases used during war and the appearance, physical properties, effect, treatment and decontamination of the vesicant gases, Mustard and Lewisite. Chapters VIII and IX have been omitted as these relate to gas warfare on civilians and Armed Forces during World War 2." [Parent Link is WWI Documents, Medical Front, http://www.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/]

[CEF Study Group - June 2017]
http://www.vlib.us/medical/HMSO/contents.htm

 

Fritz Haber - Wikipedia Site

Fritz Haber (9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid. He has also been described as the "father of chemical warfare" for his work developing and deploying chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I. [CEF Study Group - Sept 2017]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haber

 

Weapons of War - Poison Gas

A short but concise summary of the use of poison gas during the Great War on the firstworldwar.com website. [CEF Study Group - Sept 2017]

http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/gas.htm

 

Chemical Warfare and Medical Response During World War I - American Journal of Public Health

" The first large-scale use of a traditional weapon of mass destruction (chemical, biological, or nuclear) involved the successful deployment of chemical weapons during World War I (1914–1918). Historians now refer to the Great War as the chemist's war."  This journal article provides both a history and insight into the use of poisonous gases. [CEF Study Group - Oct 2017]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376985/pdf/0980611.pdf

 

A Brief History of Chemical War - Science History Institute

The Institute collects, preserves and interprets the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences. Headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in California and Europe, the Institute houses an archive and a library for historians and researchers.  This item on their website provides a succinct summary of chemical weapons over the past 2,500 years.  [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/magazine/a-brief-history-of-chemical-war

 

Gas in The Great WarUniversity of Kansas Medical Centre

James Patton, BS, Military Historian, U.S. Army Veteran, and WW-I Feature Writer

A short. distilled medical essay regarding the types of poison gas used in the Great War and their lethality. Gives the reader a quick appreciation on the topic.  Other Great War items are also discussed on this part of a larger medical centre website. [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

http://www.kumc.edu/wwi/essays-on-first-world-war-medicine/index-of-essays/medicine/gas-in-the-great-war.html

 

Fritz Haber (1868-1934) – Biography from the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Published in part in Angewandte Chemie (International Edition) 44, 3957 (2005) and 45, 4053 (2006)

A succinct biographical sketch of the man’s personal history, brilliant career as a Nobel Prize chemist for synthesizing ammonia for fertilizer, and later his descent into the purview of war crimes with his active participation in the use of chlorine gas, and later the development of phosgene gas and finally mustard gas. Haber was also active in supervising the tactical use of his poison gases in battle.  The “Haber Rule” regarding efficiencies in debilitating the enemy with various concentrations of poison gas. Zyklon B, developed by the Haber Institute, was later used by the Nazi in their extermination camps – several members of Haber’s extended family died from this poison gas. [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

https://www.fhi-berlin.mpg.de/history/Friedrich_HaberArticle.pdf

 

Fritz Haber - 11min History Channel video clip

The life and legacy of Fritz Haber, a German Nobel Laureate – the father of synthetic ammonia for fertilizer and explosives; and later gas warfare; first chlorine gas, phosgene gas and finally mustard gas. Ironically, his research lead to a hydrogen-cyanide pesticide called Zyklon.  Zyklon B was later used by the Nazis - Haber was a Jewish convert to Christianity but many of his extended Jewish family were later exterminated during the Second World War by the Zyklon B gas developed at his laboratory. [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXi-ZTzbLus

 

Gas warfare in the First World War - Dr Alan Brown (2013)

A disturbing but compelling documentary on the development of gas warfare in the Great War.  It's only really suitable for students aged 14 or over, but it will prove extremely useful for those studying this period and the First World War. [47 minutes] [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QxtB6s-4oM

 

Gas Warfare - Thomas I. Faith - International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Gas warfare is a method of war that employs weapons that are designed to cause casualties primarily through the use of harmful chemical agents. The First World War constitutes the most extensive incidence of gas warfare in the 20th century, and poison gas remains associated with the horrors of trench warfare in public memory.” [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/gas_warfare

 

 

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
3 hours ago, DavidOwen said:

Discovered 1928 but sulphonamides were available in ww1

Sulphonamides were a 1930s invention.

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Muerrisch
Posted (edited)

programmable computer ....... WW II, based on Turing's work. There can surely be no competitor within reach.

Turing made "this" interweb possible.

 

Not sure if it was a good idea but we cannot unthink a thunk.

Edited by Muerrisch
erratum

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Borden Battery

Here is one solution used for infections during the Great War.  Borden Battery

 

Military Medical Operations - University of Kansas Medical Center – Part 2

A series of short medical essays from the. Essays pertaining to the Great War from a US medical perspective.  Distilled and informative.  The index of essays below is ordered by the most recent addition to the collection. Each section is a LINK to the specific website. [CEF Study Group – Feb 2019]

Dakin’s Solution: The Recipe for Turning Dirty Wounds Into Clean Wounds

http://www.kumc.edu/wwi/essays-on-first-world-war-medicine/index-of-essays/medicine/dakins-solution.html

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DavidOwen
9 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Sulphonamides were a 1930s invention.

Apologies: Dai is correct, my memory let me down... I know there were anti-bacterials from the late 19thC but cannot remember what they actually were...

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phil andrade

Most people would probably think that the Second World War was conducted on a trajectory of greater technological change than the Great War : I imagine that they would think largely of the V2 rockets as the best exemplars of this.

 

I am not so sure : the example of the Paris Gun comes to my mind, in the early summer of 1918,  striking Paris from a distance of seventy odd miles and sending a projectile into the stratosphere .  Quite a significant development from the field artillery and howitzers of 1914.

 

But I reckon John Keegan made an especially compelling case for the dynamic changes of 1914-18, when he described how the infantryman of 1914 went into battle in garb that was almost redolent of a gamekeeper : soft hat, rife and pack ; four years later he was adorned with a steel helmet, a gas respirator, light machine gun, grenade launching rifle, flamethrower etc...it’s a virtual technological revolution on two legs !

 

Did the “ grunt “ of 1945 exhibit such a change from his 1939 predecessor ?  I don’t think so.

 

Phil

 

 

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Muerrisch

I amazed that the very means and medium by which we correspond, pontificate and argue is not universally acknowledged as the most significant step change since the invention of the wheel.

Try another test in your head: 

a person in 1920 looking back ten years would be impressed perhaps, but not startled.

1930 back ten? Not a lot.

1940? ditto

1950 .............. impressed  if an ex Bletchley warrior, and appalled by the A bomb

fast forward and

2020 my youngest grandson will not be able to imagine what life was like only a few years earlier, whereby he can now be connected almost instantaneously to anyone and any institution and any provider almost anywhere on the planet. Even now the 20 year old says "yeah yeah" when I describe the world of 2000 AD.

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seaJane

I remember being thrilled on midnight - 0200 duty in the library of St Anne's College, Oxford, to be carrying on a real time telnet conversation on the PC (green lettering black background) with someone in Hawaii. The year would have been about 1990.

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Becstar

Sound Ranging developed by Aussie Scientist, Lawrence Bragg, first used in 1918.

 

Great War certainly evolved more in the 4 years than WW2. Just my opinion 😀

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phil andrade

There must be testimony from people who lived through both conflicts , and were in a position to make a judgement about this.

 

Haven’t they left their impressions for us to mull over ?

 

Harold Macmillan , or Anthony Eden, to cite just two such people :  they served as junior officers on the Western Front, and held the fate of this nation in their hands in the following generations....they must have seen the transitions in both conflicts, and been only too aware of the technological advances in both.

 

I suppose Charles de Gaulle would be equally qualified.

 

Any pals know of such testimony ?

 

Or does it require the retrospective view of a century , and the passing of those actively involved, before we can form a proper judgement ?

 

Phil

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Bernard_Lewis

Hard question. To insert a joke:

 

Venetian blinds were the saviour of mankind. Without them, it would have been curtains for all of us.

 

I'll block myself...😂

 

Bernard

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Borden Battery
Posted (edited)

Good comments all.  Here is more material on the Sound Ranging - appears to have been an interesting team effort - British, Canadian, Australian and French.  Borden Battery

 

 

Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum

https://www.lermuseum.org/first-world-war-1914-18/1917/flash-spotting-and-sound-ranging-jan-mar-1917

 

"Flash Spotting" and "Sound Ranging": Jan-Mar 1917

 

“In December of 1916, Lieutenant-General Julius Byng, commander of the Canadian Corps, and Major-General Arthur Currie began planning the Vimy offensive operation. Currie grappled with the problem of how to neutralize enemy artillery fire during the assault. In previous Allied operations, enemy artillery had inflicted over half of the casualties suffered by attacking troops. Both Allied and German artillery was primarily employed against infantry entrenchments and troops in offensive and counteroffensive barrages.

 

The most serious obstacle to the tactical use of artillery against enemy batteries was locating artillery positions, which were situated far to the rear of the trenches. Byng appointed Colonel Andrew McNaughton to the new post of Counter Battery Staff Officer and assigned him the task of locating and targeting enemy artillery positions.

 

Colonel McNaughton approached Captain Harold Hemming, a Canadian artillery officer who had been serving with the British 3rd Army. Hemming had been working on a method of locating enemy artillery by observing muzzle flashes and using triangulation to calculate their positions. Hemming had informed his senior British commander about his "flash spotting" technique, but his suggestion had been politely ignored.

 

McNaughton also invited three British scientists to join his staff. The three civilians-Lawrence Bragg, Charles Darwin (grandson of Charles Darwin), and Lucien Bull-had developed a technique called "sound ranging" to locate enemy artillery positions. The process involved a network of listening posts equipped with microphones and oscillographs that recorded the strength and direction of sound waves. The time intervals between listening posts were recorded and then triangulation was used to calculate the exact location of the gun. The British General Staff had ignored the work of these three men, who, consequently, were eager to join McNaughton's staff.

 

By the end of March, Colonel McNaughton's team had plotted the location of virtually every German artillery battery behind Vimy Ridge.”

 

 

 

Also, article in The Canadian Army Journal, Fall 2008, A SHORT HISTORY OF SURVEILLANCE AND TARGET ACQUISITION ARTILLERY

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2009/forces/D12-11-11-3E.pdf

 

 

 

Edited by Borden Battery
Fix paragraph formatting

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