Presentation on theme: "Trench Warfare. Background After the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the German army were forced to retreat. They had failed in their objective."— Presentation transcript:
Background After the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the German army were forced to retreat. They had failed in their objective to compel France into an early surrender.
Background Rather than give up the territory which they already held, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the advancing Allies. The Allies couldn't break the German trench lines and so followed the German example. The trench lines soon spread from the North Sea to Switzerland. The trenches on both sides were protected by lines of barbed wire with No- Man's Land in-between. The shelling churned the landscape into a sea of mud and craters. As machine guns could bring concentrated fire to bear on any attacking troops, few attacks were successful.
Background Most military offensives ended with few gains and enormous casualties. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the British Army lost around 20,000 men. The offensive cost the Allies over half a million casualties but only penetrated 12km at most into German lines.
Front Line Trenches These were usually about seven feet deep and about six feet wide. The Allies were forced to dig their trenches in lower ground so they were often waterlogged. They had a zigzag pattern to prevent the enemy from shooting straight down the line. Sandbags were put on both sides of the top of the trench to absorb enemy bullets. Lines of barbed wire protected the frontline trench from any enemy attacks.
Fire step This was cut into the side of the trench and allowed the soldiers to peer over the side of the trench towards the enemy. It was where the sentries stood or the whole unit when they were on 'standing- to' duty which meant that they were waiting for a possible enemy attack.
No Man’s Land The land that separated the Allies and the German trenches was a wasteland of craters, blackened tree stumps and the occasional shell of a building. It was normally around 250 yards but could vary between 7 yards at Zonnebeke to 500 yards at Cambrai.
Communication Trenches Linking the front-line trench to the support and reserve trenches. They allowed the movement of men, equipment and supplies and were also used to take the wounded back to the Casualty Clearing Stations.