Trench Warfare On The Western Front



By the end of 1914, the commencing year of W.W.I, it was apparent
that the old fashioned warfare of dashing cavalry charges and rapid
movements of troops was over. Soldiers were forced to shelter themselves
in trenches from enemy rifle and machine-gun fire and the explosions of
artillery shells. The first use of trench warfare began in the Battle of
the Marne and from then on, armies remained in the trenches for the next
four years. As quoted by military historian J.F.C.Fuller, “success (in the
war) depended on overcoming the defensive trinity of bullet, spade and wire”
, referring to horrendous trench conditions.
The trenches developed into such elaborate systems of defense ...

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were
not the most forward defensive position. Narrow passages called “saps”
were dug at 90º to the main trench and were on average 30 yards long.
These saps led to isolated positions only large enough for two men and were
designed to listen for enemy movement. The sounds of shovels and picks
underground were listened for extremely closely because enemy mining
parties often tried to burrow beneath the front lines for a surprise attack
or to plant a bomb.
The German trenches near Somme were exceedingly more sophisticated
than the British trenches. Often, German trenches were practically
fortresses in a hole; sitting some 30-40 feet below ground as opposed to a
typical British 5-7 foot deep trench. In a large number of these German
monster-trenches, such amenities such as barber shops and Officer Clubs
were customary.
Living conditions in the trenches were generally ghastly. Apart
from the discomfort of living in mud and water filled trenches, soldiers
also battled common ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/28/2003 01:25:31 PM
Category: World History
Words: 860
Pages: 4

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