Technology Advancements of World War 2
The World War Two era was a time of change. There were many technological advancements during this time. These advances can be categorized into three categories. They are weapon advances, vehicle advances, and strategic advances. This technology would change the face of war forever.
The first category, weapon advances, is a very important category. Leading up to the war, weapons were changing constantly. Weapons of World War One were out of date. They were becoming more accurate, and capable of longer ranges. In World War One, the average soldier carried a bolt action rifle. Bolt action rifles are accurate; however, they take a while to reload. After each shot, you have to reload. This would not work in World War Two. By World War Two, the average soldier would either carry a semi-automatic rifle or a machine gun of some sort. This would prove to cause bloodier battles with more casualties and injuries. The primitive machine guns of World War One were made faster, more accurate, smaller in size and lighter to carry. Small explosives, such as grenades, were made more deadly and reliable. Anti-tank weapons were not well developed during the start of the war. Germany’s blitzkrieg attack of tanks was so successful because of this. Anti tank weapons had to be made to prevent Germany from winning the war. Soldiers began carrying high powered rifles with armor piercing bullets and bazooka’s, which did work. Some anti tank guns were carried behind other vehicles. These became very effective against tanks. Torpedoes became more effective. Now they could be accurately aimed and used in shallow water. The basic German flamethrower of World War One was developed into a more deadly weapon. These advancements in weapon technology changed warfare forever.
The second group of advances is vehicle advances. This category can be broken down into a few sub-categories. They are ground vehicles, ships, and aircraft. This category of technology was one of the most important influences of the war.
First, we will discuss ground vehicle advances. The Jeep was invented in World War Two. It was used as basic transportation for troops. After the war, the Jeep became more popular and was then used as a production vehicle for the public. Tanks of World War One were very primitive and very ineffective. In World War Two, the tank was one of the most important vehicles used. Leading up to World War Two, tanks were made more powerful, faster, lighter, and stronger. Tank warfare was very important in World War Two. All countries involved in the war were producing their own models of tanks. By the end of the war, the Allies had developed a new kind of tank. It had no big guns on it. It was a troop transportation vehicle that was heavily armored. Transportation vehicles were very important in the war. Without transportation, there is no efficient way to move troops. All of these vehicles were very important in the history of war.
The next group of vehicles is the ships. Naval technology was very primitive prior to this time. The radar was a breakthrough in navigation and enemy detection. However, the radar was new technology, having been invented only a few years prior to the start of World War Two Ships were being equipped with better weapons. Submarines were still very primitive at this time. Many submarine crews died because they got lost at sea. Aircraft carriers were very effective. The Germans developed rocket propulsion, which made long range missiles a threat. Sonar had just been developed. Naval technology was changing quickly during this time.
The third group of technological advances is in aircraft. Aviation is very new at this point in time. The first powered flight had taken place in 1903, just forty years before World War Two. By World War One, biplanes were the most common type of aircraft. Just after World War One, airplane designers saw that they could make planes much more efficient. By World War Two, biplanes were not as common, but they were still used. Aircraft became stronger, lighter, and more efficient. This allowed them to carry weapons, also allowing them to perform like they needed to in war. There were many types of World War Two aircraft. The first were fighters. Fighters were single engine aircraft that were usually equipped with a machine gun on the front. They only carried one or two pilots. This was the most used aircraft in the war. Fighter jets were not developed until the very end of the war, even until after the war. The second kind of aircraft is the bomber. Bombers were not very effective of until World War Two. They were small, so they couldn’t carry big bombs. Also, they didn’t have long range capabilities, which made them unattractive during battle planning. Commercial aircraft at this time were relatively new. Commercial jets were also new, but they were also small. The goal was to get an extremely large and heavy plane, carrying explosives, to fly long distances, deep into enemy territory. The bombers developed were the largest planes ever made up to this point, which is amazing in itself. Engines were made much more powerful and lighter. The aircraft itself was made lighter as well. Bombers were unpressurized at this time. This was a problem because bombers had to fly higher than ever before. This posed a potential health and safety hazard. In 1938, ten aircraft had been pressurized prior to the war. Germany had developed the concept in 1931. America had developed this concept in 1937. This new technology was needed for high altitude flight. The American B-29 Superfortress was the first pressurized bomber. This type of aircraft was the most advanced of its time. It was very unbelievable. Not only was it pressurized, but it also had a fire control system and remote machine gun turrets. The Superfortress was the primary American bomber of World War Two. It was the kind of plane that carried the atomic bombs dropped in Japan. 3,960 B-29’s were made. In the early 1960’s, the aircraft was finally retired after years of service. The B-29 Superfortress was a breakthrough in aviation technology. Aviation navigation was also very primitive in World War Two. Pilots used basic equipment to find their way around. Aircraft carriers were hard to find in the middle of the ocean. This is where the radar was put into good use. Near the end of the war, the first jets were produced. These new jets were unreliable and not used until after the war.
The last kind of technological advancements is strategic advances. Officers were better trained than ever before. They had to keep up with technology, in hopes to be better than the enemy. Once again, the radar made a huge impact in warfare. It better prepared militaries during defense by giving them some warning. This category is similar to weapon technology. The Manhattan Project was coming to a close near the end of the war. The development of the atomic bomb was one of the most important developments in military history. The United States dropped this new atomic bomb devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was a major factor that ended the war.
Now, we will discuss the influence of technology in World War Two. Technology isn’t worth anything until it is put into action. Many battles would have had different outcomes without technology. Even the war could have had a different outcome if this technology had never existed.
First of all, technology has its flaws. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had the radar in use. The radar was very new at this time. When the Japanese were on the way, the radar noticed something. They didn’t know what was being picked up on radar, but they knew it was something big. They assumed it was a U.S. bombing fleet returning from a bombing run. Well, everyone knows the outcome. This technological flaw cost the U.S. much more than 8 ships and 188 aircraft, it cost 2,402 lives. Most of these men were under the age of twenty.
Technology effected the war positively too. The U.S. developed a method to make synthetic rubber. Up to this point, all rubber products were made of natural rubber. Since natural rubber is harvested mainly in the south Pacific, the Japanese had cut rubber supply off to the U.S. The development of synthetic rubber allowed the U.S. to mass produce tires for military vehicles. Without tires, there are no vehicles. With no vehicles, there is no way to fight the war effectively. That is a pretty big influence.
Another big technological influence in World War Two was with aircraft. Before this time, a pilot had to rely on his compass and knowledge to navigate from airport to airport. With the rise of the aircraft carrier, a problem arose. This was a big problem. How would a pilot find a moving aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean? This problem was quickly solved. Aircraft carriers would be equipped with some special navigational equipment, called a VOR. VOR stands for Very high frequency Omni directional Range. Simply put, the VOR would send information to pilots. This information was sent to the Allied airplanes, and only the Allied airplanes. This information could be translated into directions to find the carrier. Without this technology, just think about how many planes would have just run out of fuel in attempt to find the carrier. This technology changed flight forever.
Things like the microwave, plastics, and the computer were developed in the 1940’s. The first successful helicopter flight also took place in 1940. The radio was also very new at this time. The first electron microscope was developed in the 1940’s. World War Two was not just a time of military technology change. Technology in all areas changed rapidly.
Technology advances of World War Two were great. These advances were very influential, not only during the war, but in the future ideas and developments of technology. Many things can be accredited to World War Two technology. These advances probably changed the outcome of World War Two, but they also changed warfare forever.
Written by footballfan