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Trench Warfare

How were the trenches built? What were the strategies? What was life in the trenches like? - History Project
by

Maxi Dennewill

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Trench Warfare

Trench Warfare Maxi Dennewill Base Camp Large supply camps located behind the trenches
Supply Lines
Hospitals
Location for Soldiers to rest Long - Range Artillery Could shoot up to 10 km
Had to be moved with advancing troops
Stationed behind the trenches
Constantly firing at enemy positions
Crucial to trench warfare Reserve Trench Located behind supply trench
Third trench in the trench system
Trench houses soldiers in reserve Trenches were supposed to be 2.5 meters deep and 0.5 meters wide. However, a lot of trenches were actually much smaller, especially in height. 0.5 m 2.5 m Communication Trench Connected the reserve trench to the supply trench
Was used to shuttle soldiers between trenches
It was a very big undertaking to move a whole battalion, so it was usually done at night. Supply Trench This was were most of the soldiers spent their time
After artillery was developed more and more, supply trenches lost their safety function
Were maintained to provide a target Company HQ Deep shelter
German ones could be up to 15 meters deep, made of concrete and ventilated
Contained beds
Some (especially German ones) could withstand shell blasts
Located on supply and reserve trenches Concrete Block House for Machine Gun Located on front line and supply trench
Made of concrete to withstand fire, housed a machine gun within range of no - man's land
Machine guns were also placed strategically out of these houses Communication Trench Connected front - line trench to supply trench Front - Line Trench Line closest to fire
Usually lightly manned (excepting stand - to)
Had to be fortified continuously
Regularly hit by shell blasts - had to be rebuilt
Dangerous!
Dead bodies attract rats
Bad hygiene conditions
Enemy targeted lavatories, knowing that this would negatively impact the quality of life Trench was dug in zig - zags to limit attacks and shell blasts to one section of the trench. Front Line Dugout Dugouts were supposed to be at least one foot above the floor of the trench, high enough for a man to sit upright, deep enough for two men to lie down, and long enough for a man to lie down. If dugouts were not dug correctly, rainfall could bury the men alive.
The dugout could not withstand a shell blast. Firebay and Firestep Fire steps were raised above the lower ground of the trench, allowing the soldiers to look over the parapet. Fire bays were indented areas, where the ground was higher (fire step), so that the soldier was out of the way of the other people moving through the trench. The back of the trench
Located higher to prevent silhouette from showing
Sometime located lower, so that the enemy was an easy target in case of occupation Parados Parapet Front of the trench
Located lower Aircrafts Aircrafts could provide reconnaissance Sap (listening post) Thin, often hidden position extending into no - man's land.
Could be used to determine increased activity, or to find enemy scouting parties No man's land Located between the two enemy front line trenches
Riddled with shell holes
Each line set up barbed wire to hold of enemy infantry
Wiring parties were sent out at night Shell craters Were made by the shells shot from the artillery
Often filled up with water
Provided cover during an offensive
Often contained dead bodies or rats The trenches were dug in very different conditions. This example shows them dug into earth, however, in some areas, trenches had to be dug in sand, clay, or stone, so sometimes a trench consisted merely of a high barricade of sandbags. A sample pillbox used in WWI Conditions in the Trenches Trench Warfare Strategy Assembly Trenches During preparation for a large offense, temporary trenches may be dug for the increased amount of infantrymen
Would be dug behind supply line, but before reserve line Weather
Vermin
Hygiene
Sleeping
Disease
Shell Shock
Punishment
Death Rats
Lice Trench Fever
Trench Foot
Symptoms ranged from uncontrollable diarrhea to unrelenting anxiety. Soldiers who had bayoneted men in the face developed hysterical tics of their own facial muscles. Stomach cramps seized men who knifed their foes in the abdomen. Snipers lost their sight. Terrifying nightmares of being unable to withdraw bayonets from the enemies' bodies persisted long after the slaughter. Long – range artillery
Bayonets and rifles.
Knives
Machine guns
Pistols
Gas Weapons Routine Stand – to at dawn.
Breakfast
"Daily Boredom”
Stand – to at dusk
Nightfall Rotation 70 days in the front line
30 in nearby support trenches
20 might be spent in reserve
70 days might be spent at rest
At most 2 weeks leave
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