A small history post to prepare you for another holiday event, New Year’s Eve. World War I was a miserable time to be a soldier for everyone involved. Trenches were a disaster that created frozen stalemates between opposing forces and the emphasis is on frozen there. However, trenches and air combat would highlight the importance of bricks.
I’m sure everyone just said “um, what?” Yep, the importance of bricks. If all the powers had been shipping truckloads of bricks, we would have had far fewer necessary amputation surgeries as a result of frostbite, which would have saved a lot of lives. In the final year of the war, a trench dug in France was dug near a brickmaker.
To help out the non-German forces, he gave all the bricks he could to the soldiers in the trenches. And the soldiers lined the walls and the ground with the bricks. It was possibly the warmest trench around and the bricks channeled the water away from their feet, preserving their feet from being both wet and damp in the trench and resulting in fewer cases of frostbite.
Also, the bricks could be heated and used to generate warmth for longer periods of time than just a wood fire provided. Turns out a brick lined trench is much cozier than a regular trench.
But it wasn’t limited to the trenches. There was a new invention that came around in time for WWI, the airplane. However, the usefulness of it was limited. It was reserved for spying. However, by the middle of the war, both sides had started packing bricks, bottles, and anything else they could manage into the floor compartments where they stuck their feet.
The second guy in the plane would hurl these makeshift missles out at other airplanes and at enemy platoons below. Eventually, all pilots were issued handguns with extra ammo and enemies began shooting at each other with these.
It would be WWII before airplanes with mounted guns were used in air combat. Of course another big change would occur in airplane manufacturing between WWI and WWII. They would go from being built of wood and paper to metal skins over metal frames. These heavier frames and skins, were what allowed them to have guns mounted on them.
And that is how something as simple as a brick could and did change the face of warfare.