Wwi Trench Warfare: German and British Perspectives

Life in the Trenches

World War One; The Great War, was a war like no other. There have been many which have easily past the duration of this war so the length, though long, can not be the defining characteristic. What differentiates The Great War from others is that the opposing armies were permanently in contact. This was the consequence of the establishment of a continuous barrier of trenches[1]. This establishment led to a stalemate, which limited maneuver and greatly slowed the advance of enemy soldiers. This slowing allowed for the massing of troops and the continual barrage of fire. Retrospectively mass casualties were an obvious result.

The soldiers entering the war were oblivious to the atrocities that they were to behold. Many realised that some fellow men may die, and that this ‘adventure’ they were embarking on would not be easy though none realised how grossly they had underestimated. The experiences these soldiers endured were horrific and will never be forgotten. The style of war they war they were entering was not at all glamorous, in fact they were walking deep into the eye of hell.

Trench warfare and the industrialisation of the world redefined the way wars were to be fought. New tactics, weapons and equipment all became possible and necessary. Logistics became a whole new ball park, and with such numbers of troops the Allies and thought it necessary that this war should be ‘over by Christmas’ with the Germans plan estimating their execution to last only 39 days[2]. The offensive nature of both the Allied and German plans did not take at all into account the possibility of entrenching. In saying this though the British troops of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) had been trained in the construction of trenches. So when the war of movement ended around October-November 1914 with the first battle of Ypres between the British troops of the BEF and at the battle of Marne between the French and Germans both forces took a defensive position...