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THE TRENCHES. The Origin of Trench Warfare. After defeat at the Marne (in France), Germans retreated to a more fortified position built a small network of trenches (long, narrow holes in the ground that would protect soldiers from gunfire) Why? so they could rest after attacks

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the origin of trench warfare
The Origin of Trench Warfare
  • After defeat at the Marne (in France), Germans retreated to a more fortified position
  • built a small network of trenches (long, narrow holes in the ground that would protect soldiers from gunfire)
  • Why? so they could rest after attacks
  • Trenches surrounded with barbed wire and machine gun nests & supported by heavy artillery
slide3

Easily defended & almost impenetrable

  • Germans able to hold off combined British & French attacks
  • British & French soon built their own trenches out of necessity
the race to the sea
The Race to the Sea
  • After discovering that neither side could successfully attack the trenches, both sides tried to “outflank” (go around) their enemy
  • Both sides raced north, believing that the first to reach the coastline would have a great advantage
  • Both sides reached the coast at the same time!
  • The end result was that the small trench system was stretched out and cut a line though all of France (approx. 1000 km)
the trenches1
The Trenches
  • As time passed, they became more complex
  • lined with sandbags, tunnels were dug and underground dugouts were built
  • In some cases, concrete was poured in and drainage systems installed
  • The trenches were several levels deep and were connected by small communications trenches
no man s land
No Man’s Land
  • Between enemy trenches was a space called “No Man’s Land”
  • Entering No Man’s Land meant almost certain death
  • Most men who were killed in No Man’s Land were left unburied and the smell of death spread for miles in each direction
over the top
Over the Top
  • Soldiers expected to dig & rebuild trenches each night
  • Generals on both sides not happy to remain on the defensive, & therefore constantly ordered their armies to attack
  • The order “Over the Top” forced men to get out of their trenches, travel in the open across No Man’s Land and attempt to capture an enemy trench
  • Millions on both sides died in attacks that accomplished nothing
the dangers of trench warfare
The Dangers of Trench Warfare
  • The trenches were very dangerous and horrible places for many reasons
  • You faced the threat of death constantly
  • You were outside all the time
  • You were constantly wet
  • You were surrounded by dead people and human waste
  • Some examples of these dangers are . . .