3599 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
the machinery and tools to be used in
such work had first to be created.
In at least three things the Central
Powers had a great superiority. They
were immensely strong in heavy field
howitzers, they had immense stores of
shells and were able to make new ones
at a rate estimated as high as the prodigious number of 250,000 per day, and
they also enjoyed a great superiority in
the number of machine guns. These
weapons had turned out to be very
formidable, and a few men armed with
them could sometimes stand off thousands.
The making of the tools necessary for
manufacturing rifles and machine guns
took six or eight months, before the actual
production of the weapons could be begun.
The construction of even a 6- or 8-inch
howitzer was a matter of about half a
year, with the machinery in readiness,
and of larger guns a much longer time.
Lathes for the making of shells required
a long time to manufacture, and, even
after the shells were made, it was often
difficult to obtain the high explosive to
put in them. The delicate but powerful
engines for aeroplanes also required a
long time to build. And so it was with
almost every form of munition.
The Germans had foreseen the situation
and had prepared for it. Not only did
they begin the war with large accumulations of guns, shells, and rifles, but they
had organized industry in such a manner
as to render it easy to make more of
these necessary articles. Their foresight
had even extended to providing for a
supply of the raw materials. For example,
they had subsidized certain industries
that produced as by-products chemicals
needed in the making of explosives, notably
the coal tar and dye industries, which
produced toluene, one of the ingredients
of the terrible TNT, or trinitrotoluene.
The blockade was presently to hamper
the Germans by causing a. scarcity of
copper and of cotton, but they succeeded
in substituting other metals for copper
and made propulsive gunpowder out of
wood pulp instead of cotton. Notwithstanding the fact that the Allies were
able to draw upon the whole world for
such supplies, they were for at least a
year at a disadvantage in the manufacture
of high explosives. For all the rest of