World War 1 is perhaps best known for being a war fought in trenches, ditches dug out of the ground to give troops protection from enemy artillery and machine-gun fire. The trenches spread from the East to the West. By the end of 1914, trenches stretched all along the 475 miles front between the Swiss border and the Channel coast.
The trench system on the Western Front consisted of front-line, support and reserve trenches. The three rows of trenches covered between 200 and 500 yards of ground. Communication trenches were dug at an angle to those facing the enemy. These trenches used to transport men equipment and food supplies.
The Frontline Trench was usually about seven feet deep and six feet wide. The front of the trench was known as the parapet. The top two or three feet of the parapet and the parados (the rear side of the trench) would consist of a thick line of sandbags to absorb any bullets or artillery shell fragments. The frontline Trench war were all the fighting took place but most of it wasn’t offensive because trench warfare in based on defense.
Next were Communication trenches which carrying parties took supplies of water, food, ammunition, bombs and trench stores to the front-line. The communication trench was also used to transport wounded men to Casualty Clearing Station. Sometimes communication trenches were dug in zigzags just like all the other trenches and also had a fire-step in case the enemy managed to break-through the front-line.
Then came the Reserve Trench was much like the front-line trench but without all the fighting. It held all the reinforcements and some of the ammunition. This also held the place for the Regimental Aid Post where standard medical procedures...
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...oldiers had to be strapped to their beds. It usually took a person four or five weeks to die of mustard gas poisoning.
Trench warfare was a strategy of fighting in World War 1 that involved two or more armies in trenches. This was not always a good way to fight because many young men lost there lives. Trench fighting was usually grim and not always very pleasant but it was an affective way to fight but with many casualties. It was a high point in history and always will be.
Simkin, John. Home page. 19 April 2002
Trench Warfare. BBC History. 20 April 2002
Farwell, Byron. Over There: the United States in the Great War. W. W. Norton & Company:
New York. 1999
Livesey, Anthony. Great Battles of World War I. Introduction by Major General Jeremy Moore.
Marshall Editions Limited: New York. 1997
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