World War One battles that are widely talked about and well-known include Passchendaele, Ypres and the Somme but as it was called a global war, this means many battles were fought right across the globe. Many of these battles remain largely unknown and certainly didn’t all take place in the muddy fields of Europe. Here are three lesser known but still significant battles of the First World War:
Finding the precise moment that a global conflict began is never easy, but it could be argued that the first shots of WW1 didn’t even occur in Europe. Indeed, the first shots occurred in West Africa in a German colony called Togo.
Troops were amassing on the front lines of Europe by summer 1914 but many thousands of miles away is a small Togolese town called Kamina, Alhaji Grunshi was the first soldier under British command to fire a shot. The first British officer killed in the war was Lieutenant George Thompson on 22nd August 1914.
The Germans were using local labour to construct a wireless station, which would have been a major advantage. When war broke out, it wasn’t complete but was operational. Allied forces soon closed in on the station. The Germans tried to gather a local police force, as there were no soldiers in the region. However, they were forced to surrender and destroy the station. This event ended German rule in the colony and was the first allied victory of the war.
This small island became known as the nurse of the Mediterranean as it treated over 100,000 war casualties. Malta’s battle became the struggle to save as many soldiers as they could, treating wounds never seen before in any other war previously. Malta opened up its 27 hospitals to treat the injured as they overwhelmed the island from the front lines of Europe.
Soldiers were brought to the island on hospital ships. Malta is conveniently located in the centre of the Mediterranean, so could easily accommodate injured soldiers fighting in Turkey and Greece for example.
The First World War was the world’s first industrialised war, so the injuries they saw were unprecedented. WW1 saw the first use of tanks, aircraft and machine guns. There were no antibiotics and sepsis caused many deaths but despite this, thousands of soldiers survived thanks to care they received on Malta. Tanks were first seen on the battlefields of WW1 and have made a huge impact on warfare ever since. For your very own Tank Driving Days, visit Armourgeddon Tank Driving.
The Mexican border is one of the most monitored in the world and runs at almost 2,000 miles in length. The reason they are so forcibly monitored today is the result of a small paper telegram sent during the First World War.
By 1917, the Germans wished to exploit the tensions between the US and Mexico over their shared border. The German Foreign Minister sent a coded telegram to Mexico proposing an alliance. They wanted to draw the US into a conflict with Mexico to detract it from events in Europe. Before it reached Mexico, it was uncovered and decoded, revealing the plans to the world.