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Anecdotes from the Archive

The Ferocity of Artillery, 1914

French fort at Maubeuge: rotating turret hit with a large-caliber German shell. The armored cupola, containing two guns, was apparently split and the top blown off. The two soldiers standing on the shattered cupola are German.  Image: Scientific American, November 14, 1914

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: November 14, 1914 The tactical use of artillery had been evolving in the years before the Great War: In South Africa in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 the British developed the concept of the “creeping barrage,” where a curtain of shellfire proceeded just in front [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

Censored: How an Army Eats, 1914

The original caption from 1914 says “Foraging squad returning to camp with a drove of steers,” and shows French soldiers gathering supplies for their brigade. The image seems authentic but is very likely a photograph taken “somewhere in France” far from the front lines. Credit: Scientific American, September 5, 1914

Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: September 5, 1914 In this issue, a telling line reads: “The censors have not allowed the press of the world to state whether or not explosives were dropped on the fortifications of Liège.” This special “War Issue” contained much on military theory, organization and resources, [...]

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Anecdotes from the Archive

A Monstrous Paradox: From Shining Example to Ruthless Invader, 1914


Reported in Scientific American, This Week in World War I: August 29, 1914 In the late 19th and early 20th century before the Great War broke out, Germany (which had become unified only in 1871) could be held up as a shining example of how science and the arts (philosophy, music, painting) could help a [...]

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Explainer: Naming of Parts for an Instrument of Civilian Slaughter

The PTAB 2.5M anti-armor bomblet has a cylindrical body with a dome-shaped ballistic cap at its front and it terminates in a four-fin tail unit that is structured in a drum configuration. In its Aug. 2, 2012 online posting, Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons noted that the tail unit comes in both short and long versions. The [...]

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