By late the Western Front contained more than 1, kilometres of frontline and reserve trenches. Enemy attacks on trenches or advancing soldiers could come from artillery shells, mortars, grenades, underground mines, poison gas, machine guns and sniper fire. Soldiers in the trenches endured conditions ranging from barely tolerable to utterly horrific. Exposed to the elements, trenches filled with water and became muddy quagmires.
In the American Civil War, field fortifications emerged as an essential of warfare, with both armies employing entrenchments to an extent never before seen.
Troops learned to fortify newly won positions immediately; employing spades and axes carried in… A trench system may begin simply as a collection of foxholes hastily dug by troops using their entrenching tools. These holes may subsequently be deepened so that a soldier can safely stand up in one of them, and the individual foxholes may be connected by shallow crawl trenches.
From this beginning a system of more permanent field fortifications may be constructed. In making a trench, soil from the excavation is used to create raised parapets running both in front of and behind the trench. Within the trench are firing positions along a raised forward step called a fire step, and duckboards are placed on the often muddy bottom of the trench to provide secure footing.
Trenches remained merely a part of siegecraft until the increasing firepower of small arms and cannon compelled both sides to make use of trenches in the American Civil War — The trench lines of the Petersburg—Richmond theatre of operations in the final months of that war were the foremost example of trench warfare in the 19th century.
Union soldiers in trenchesUnion soldiers in trenches, Petersburg, Virginia, Library of Congress, Washington, D.
LC-B DLC Trench warfare reached its highest development on the Western Front during World War I —18when armies of millions of men faced each other in a line of trenches extending from the Belgian coast through northeastern France to Switzerland.
The sheer quantity of bullets and shells flying through the air in the battle conditions of that war compelled soldiers to burrow into the soil to obtain shelter and survive.
The typical trench system in World War I consisted of a series of two, three, four, or more trench lines running parallel to each other and being at least 1 mile 1.
Each trench was dug in a type of zigzag so that no enemy, standing at one end, could fire for more than a few yards down its length. Each of the main lines of trenches was connected to each other and to the rear by a series of communications trenches that were dug roughly perpendicular to them.
Food, ammunition, fresh troops, mail, and orders were delivered through these trenches. The intricate network of trenches contained command posts, forward supply dumps, first-aid stations, kitchens, and latrines.
Most importantly, it had machine-gun emplacements to defend against an assault, and it had dugouts deep enough to shelter large numbers of defending troops during an enemy bombardment.
LC-USZ The first, or front, line of trenches was known as the outpost line and was thinly held by scattered machine gunners distributed behind dense entanglements of barbed wire.
The main line of resistance was a parallel series of two, three, or four lines of trenches containing the bulk of the defending troops.
Each main line of trenches was fronted by fields of barbed wire intended to slow down and entangle attacking infantry. As World War I progressed, both sides, but particularly the Germans, developed trench systems of progressively greater depth and strength in order to ensure that the enemy could not achieve a breakthrough at any particular point.
The Germans evolved an extremely elaborate defense system using pillboxes, i. Behind the pillboxes were more lines of barbed wire and more trenches and dugouts reinforced with concrete to withstand artillery bombardment.
By the Germans had constructed some trench systems that had a depth of 14 miles 22 km. The crucial elements in attacking a trench system, surprise and overwhelming numbers of infantry, were thus almost impossible to attain. By contrast, the Japanese in the Pacific theatre, faced with overwhelming American artillery and airpower, heavily fortified many of their islands with chains of deeply dug caves and bunkers.
Similar tactics were used by the North Korean and Chinese forces in the Korean War when confronted with American airpower. In the Battle of Dien Bien Phu March 13—May 8,which resulted in the French expulsion from Indochina, the communist -led Viet Minh used classic 18th-century siege methods and drove forward an elaborate system of trenches to negate the effects of French artillery and airpower, preparatory to the battle.
Classic trench warfare reappeared in the Iran-Iraq War —88a basically static war in which such mobile weapons as tanks and aircraft were in short supply.
In the subsequent Persian Gulf War —91Iraq built an elaborate system of defensive trenches, ditches, and berms, but it was overwhelmed by airpower, innovative tactics, and the demoralization of its frontline troops.
Japanese soldier flushed from a cave by a smoke grenade surrendering to U. Marines on Okinawa, History remembers trench warfare as wasteful, futile, and uninspired, but in reality it was a deeply thought-out system that underwent constant revision.
Here's how it worked during World War I.
WW1 trench lines could be broken, but only with massive effort, and especially artillery fire to suppress the defences. share many features of trench warfare from the First World War. k Views · View Upvoters.
Boyd Casey, military history: Family involved in every U.S. military engagement since the French Indian Wars. History remembers trench warfare as wasteful, futile, and uninspired, but in reality it was a deeply thought-out system that underwent constant revision.
Here's how it .
Watch video · Although best known for its role in the long slog of World War I, trench warfare actually got its start on the battlefields of the American Civil War. The use of trench warfare had which of these effects on World War I? A) It made conquering new territory difficult for opposing armies.
B) It made navel power more important than in previous wars. C) It reduced the effectiveness of poison gas and machine guns. D) It led to a 5/5(1). Although trench warfare has been employed since ancient times, it was used on an unprecedented scale on the Western Front during World War I.
Why Trench Warfare in WWI? In the early weeks of the First World War (late in the summer of ), both German and French commanders anticipated a war that would involve a large amount of troop movement, as each side sought to gain or defend territory.