Arms of the First World War

This section contains the standard rifles, machine guns, pistols and edged weapons of each fighting nation, together with any special types fielded during the war. You can read about the origins and use of these as well as viewing modern and period photos and, in some cases, video footage of them in action. This is not an exhaustive list and more weapons and equipment will continue to be added.

While technology advanced rapidly in the 19th century, military strategy and tactics did not. When the empires of Europe clashed in 1914, the military commanders struggled to adapt to the new weapons available on an industrial scale. The result was an unprecedented death toll. One million British people alone were killed. Though the human cost was immense, tremendous effort was made by all sides to bring a decisive end to the fighting. Military technology was further developed, and new ways found to use it. From the bolt-action rifle to the submachine gun, these are the weapons that enabled modern warfare and defined the classes of weapon still in use today.


Trench Weapons