How Many Shells Were Fired During World War One?


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Merlin Paine answered
The best one could come up with would be a rough estimate. Unlike World War Two World War One took place before the era of modern record keeping. Historians are still trying to count the deaths in many cases and the numbers change as this process takes place. I have seen the numbers on the dead change many times over recent years usually getting smaller as historians try to give more accurate estimates. There was not much time to keep statistics when such a massive conflict takes place. One is too involved in the battles themselves. I know that during the Micheal Offensive aka the Ludendorff Offensive the Germans fired a million shells in just five hours. This was at the end of the war when military thinking had evolved to find that a short intense bombardment followed by men going over the top was better than blowing the ground they were to advance over in to smithereens like the bombardments used at Verdun and the Somme. In the battle of the Somme the British shelled the Germans nonstop for seven straight days along about a twenty-one mile front with a gun positioned every seventy-five feet along the line. So literally millions and millions of rounds. There were a lot of duds due to problems of quality in manufacturing, Shell are still being recovered today by farmers in their fields. And we are only talking about the Western Front here and only three of the many many battles that took place there. You have a nine hundred mile front in the East with Russia, war in Middle East, Serbia, Italy, Austria Hungry, Africa, Romania. Bulgaria, China, and even some other places too. There may be someone somewhere claiming to have something of an estimate on the total number of shells fired during the war but this would require a massive research effort and at best would not be any closer than an error rate of plus of minus a few million. If you learn of any estimates on this give me a shout.....

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