Trench Warfare

Casey Urbanek

Trench warfare was used during World War I. By the end of the war, each side had dug at least 12,000 miles worth of trenches.

Layout of Trenches

The Allies' trenches consisted of a front line trench and a support trench. Communication trenches connected the front line and support trenches and were used to move supplies and people as well as to communicate between the two areas.

The German trenches were more elaborate. These trenches included living quarters with electricity, beds, and toilets.

Conditions Inside Trenches

The insides of the trenches were unsanitary. Dead bodies were not always removed from the trenches right away. The trenches were often infested with rats and lice. Poor sanitation caused disease to spread quickly. Many people died from these poor conditions and life in the trenches became miserable.

No Man's Land

The area between the two opposing sides' trenches was known as no man's land. These land soon lacked vegetation and was covered with craters from the firing between the trenches. Barbed wire was put in this area to slow down advances from the enemy. It soon became deadly to go into no man's land because of the advancements in weapons which could quickly kill someone crossing no man's land.

Timing of Attacks

Trying to make advances in broad daylight was very dangerous and almost impossible. Because of this, attacks usually happened right before or at dawn. Poisonous gas was often used early in the morning because the cooler air and lack of wind would cause the gas to sit low in the trenches for longer periods of time. After the sun went down, soldiers would make raids, study the terrain, or eavesdrop to find out the strategy plans of the opposing side.