620,000 men died in the Civil War, mainly because old tactics used against more advanced weapons resulted in a great loss of life. The most common weapons used during the Civil War were muzzle-loading muskets, breech-loading rifles and carbines, and revolvers. Muskets took longer to load, and were less accurate than the newer rifles and carbines. Revolvers were one-handed, and could fire several bullets per minute before reloading was necessary. Other weapons used in the Civil War, such as swords, the Gatling gun, and artillery, were effective but less common. For example, the Gatling gun had the ability to fire up to 600 rounds per minute. Even though the Gatling gun was not used very much in the Civil War, because it was too expensive, it had a major impact on the invention of more powerful machine guns. Of about 250,000 wounded soldiers during the war, only 922 were injured from edged weapons like bayonets and swords. Artillery like the breech-loading “rocket gun”, invented by Major Thomas W. Lion were used less because when launched, the missiles often boomeranged back at the gun crew. But other artillery, like the cannons, were highly murderous at ranges of 250 yards or less.
Militaries in World War I used many advanced weapons, with deadly results. 8,500,000 people died during World War I. Grenades, machine guns, poison gas, tanks, trench mortars, and flamethrowers were used in this war. Over 50 types of grenades were invented for WWI, but the most popular was the Mills bomb, designed by William Mills in 1915. People preferred this type of grenade because it was a fragmentation bomb and it had a safety pin. Machine guns used in WWI were mounted on a tripod, required a gun crew of 4-6 operators, and could fire 400-600 rounds per minute. Poison gas was introduced to the war in 1915, when the Germans released chlorine gas onto the French battlefield, which would destroy the soldiers’ respiratory organs, often resulting in a horrific death. Soon, more gases, such a phosgene and mustard gas, were invented. First introduced in 1915, the tank, an armored vehicle, could travel at a speed of 4mph, was immune to small-arms fire, had two machine guns, and was maintained by a crew of 10 men. The tank was also useful because it was able to climb over obstacles. French mortars were short tubes that fired projectiles at an angle so that they landed and exploded on the enemy. The mortar was popular because it was simple and effective. The flame-thrower, which spread fire by launching burning fuel, was first used in WWI by the German army in 1914, surprising the French and British soldiers. By the close of the war, flamethrower use had been spread to use on tanks. Naval units and planes were also used in WWI. Naval ships were considered very important during parts of the war. British specialized in battleships, while the Germans specialized in Submarines. Planes, like the huge, blimp like bombers called Zeppelins, were new weapons in warfare, but were not seen as important as other types. Even though so many new weapons were used in World War I, bayonets were used by all the armies for close combat fighting, as well as toasting bread, opening cans, and scraping mud off uniforms.