World War I happened more than 100 years ago. With that amount of time, the details of what and what did not happen during that long but not forgotten time had merged into a mush of facts and myths passed down from one generation to another, especially now that books were not the only source of information for people. Here are some of the commonly told myths of the First World War that have been debunked by historians.

Ausbildung am MG 08. 1937 bei Regensburg (wahrscheinlich bei einer Einheit der 10. Infanterie-Division).

The Number One Killer of WWI Was the Machine Gun

Whenever we picture World War I, perhaps the very image we have in our minds is of men in dirty uniforms running into no man’s land as they scream at the top of their lungs while waving their machine guns. Although it was quite a dramatic and powerful scene, the reality was that the weapon responsible for causing the largest number of deaths during WWI was the artillery weapons. Safe to say that it was an artillery war.

In Stephen Bull’s book titled Trench: A History of Trench Warfare on the Western Front (2010), he concluded that the biggest killer on the western front was the artillery, responsible for “two-thirds of all deaths and injuries.” Out of the two-thirds, a third of them resulted in death, while the remaining two-thirds suffered from injuries, so they were either entirely obliterated, dismembered, or shell shocked. Between 1915 and 1918, seven out of ten British casualties were caused by artillery. The statistics were the same as the number of casualties for the French army.

Soldiers Were in the Trenches All Year Long

The situation in the trenches was far from ideal: There were plenty of rats, no proper human waste and garbage disposal, it stank, and filthy mud flooded the trenches during the rainy season. One could only imagine how horrible and difficult it was for the soldiers to have to endure the situation to fight for the nation and to think that the war lasted for several years!