World War 2
World War 1
The Difference Between

How were the military technologies of World War 1 and 2 different?

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November 12, 2010 2:47AM

OK this is a good one.

Firstly lets look at the infantries arms.

The WW1 Soldier had bolt action rifles, grenades, pistols and heavy machine guns.

The WW2 Soldier had Bolt action or semi-automatic rifles, Sub-machine guns, Grenades, Pistols, machine pistols, lighter machine guns, automatic rifles, and early assault rifles.

The WW1 soldier walked everywhere, while a few rode on horseback. The WW2 soldier walked considerably less, usually riding a truck to the combat zone, and often on some form of armored vehicle during actual combat.

Poison gas was never used in WW2.

Air force

The ww1 airplane was usually a biplanes made of wood, canvas and wires. Iron darts, pistols and a couple of light machine guns. Top speed was 200 mph at best, and a range of 100 miles, and a ceiling of a couple thousand feet. Bombers might be able to carry 500 lbs of bombs, to a range of 500 miles or so.

WW2 aircraft were single-wing monoplanes usually made of aluminum, fully enclosed cockpits, and armed with heavy machineguns and light cannons. They had a top speed of 400+ mph, a ceiling of 40,000 feet, and a range of 2,000 miles. Bombers carried up to 10 tons of bombs to a range of 3,000 miles.

New forms of bombs - incendiaries, and special high-explosives - were invented during WW2.


Much improved submarines were far more deadly in WW2, including new advances in propulsion and torpedoes. The aircraft carrier superceded the battleship as the most important surface vessel in WW2. The advent of radar greatly improved detection and gunfire direction in WW2, as did sonar for anti-submarine work.


WW1 :- tanks in their infancy, slow, broke down a lot, and generally not terribly useful

ww2 :- Much more advanced, faster, heavier, and far better killing machines.

Cavalry was still used in WW1, while it was completely obsolete in WW2 (though used in a few cases, it was an anacronism).

Other technologies:

Radar played a huge role in WW2. The proximity fuse was of enormous help to the Allies in the anti-aircraft role, particularly for ships.

Medical advances (particularly antibiotics and pain medication) radically reduced deaths from wounds in WW2, and also significantly reduced diseases.

The radio supplanted telegraph as the primary means of communication, and cryptographic ciphers became commonplace in WW2.

Finally, the ultimate technology of the Atomic Bomb made its appearance in WW2.