What equipment was common during World War I?


Quick Answer

While each of the countries involved in World War I outfitted their soldiers differently, there were many common features among the soldiers' gear. Common soldiers carried rifles or carbines equipped with bayonets, while officers generally carried a pistol and a sword or baton as a secondary weapon. A gas mask was an indispensable part of the soldier's kit due to the development and widespread use of mustard gas.

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Full Answer

One important innovation for troops on the front lines was the "iron ration." This consisted of three bars of chocolate and three bars of a beef bouillon and parched wheat mixture designed to keep soldiers alive when they had no access to proper rations. The ration was lightweight and provided a decent amount of energy, but it was famously barely edible.

Another important piece of equipment, particularly along the western front, was the machine gun. These early weapons were cumbersome, unreliable and sometimes outright dangerous to their operators, but when deployed against massed infantry charges, they were invariably one of the most effective weapons on the battlefield. The difficulty of taking a position defended by machine guns is one of the reasons much of World War I involved the stalemate of trench warfare.

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