Life on the front line

World map showing the countries involved in WW1 in 1917 World map illustrating all the countries that were actively involved in the war in 1917

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The war was fought in several ways. Battles took place on land, at sea and even in the air.


Mark I tank on the battlefield on 15th September 1916 Mark I tank on the Western Front on 15th September 1916. Tanks first went into action on this day.

Land battles were fought mainly on the Western and Eastern Fronts.

They also took place in Gallipoli in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Africa and the Middle East.

The Western Front was the name given to the parts of Europe where most of the fighting took place in France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The Eastern Front was the name given to the battlefields in Eastern Europe. This was mainly in Russia where the winter was extremely cold. However, there was also fighting on land in Italy, the Middle East and parts of Africa.


A British submarine in action, firing its gun A British submarine in action, firing its gun

The battles on the sea were known as naval battles.

The main area that these took place was in the North Sea (between Great Britain and the rest of Western Europe) and the Atlantic.

Britain tried to stop Germany from travelling or trading with the rest of the world across the North Sea using a Naval Blockade. This meant Germany could not receive really important resources, like food, from other countries. Germany reacted by using U-boats to attack the ships carrying food and other resources to Britain and her Allies across the Atlantic Ocean.

There were also battles in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.


German Gotha bomber plane German Gotha bomber plane

Aeroplanes were very recent inventions when World War One broke out.

As aircraft technology developed, planes became very important to the war. France only had 140 aircraft when war began but by the end of it, they had used 4,500.

There were three different types of aircraft:

  1. Scouting aircraft - used as fighters
  2. Bombers - one type of German bomber was the Gotha
  3. Reconnaissance aircraft - used for photography and to direct artillery

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes and classroom ideas looking at life on the front line.

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