RSS Feed for Inside the First World War Part Ten articles – Telegraph. In 1914, trench warfare was nothing new. Conducted at least since biblical times, static fortiﬁed warfare had been a regular feature of the glory of the trenches pdf since the Middle Ages. The defensive lines of Torres Vedras, dug by the British in Portugal to deny Napoleon victory in the Peninsular War, were again used by the British in the siege of Sebastopol in the Crimea, and by both sides in the American Civil War.
When the German advance across France was halted and ﬂung back in the early autumn of 1914, both sides reached for spade and pick. Ofﬁcially trenches should be seven feet deep, though in practice in wet ground they were shallower, with piled sandbags making them appear deeper. The Germans had adopted an offensive strategy against the Russians in the East in the hope of a speedy victory, and a more defensive policy on the Western Front. Consequently, their trenches tended to be deep, strong and solidly built.
By the end of 1914, the rival trench lines snaked from the Belgian coast near Nieuport to the Franco-Swiss border at Belfort, a vast highway of death and devastation 450 miles long and manned by millions of men intent on annihilating each other. By the war’s end, the labyrinth of British trenches totalled an astonishing 12,000 miles. Although very high casualties only occurred in major battles such as the Somme and Passchendaele, there was always a steady rate of attrition from sniper ﬁre and random shells in the trenches. British systems evolved a front line of deep, lightly-manned trenches protected by belts of barbed wire and parapets of sandbags. Troops gathered in these trenches before attacks. Up to 300 yards further back lay a third line of defence, the reserve trench, supposed to be a last line of defence if the front and reserve trenches were overwhelmed by the enemy. Thin alleys called communication trenches ran laterally through the three lines.
Shrapnel was sweeping the 500 yards of communication rampart leading up to the front line. Meanwhile, heavy German riﬂe ﬁre was sweeping overhead so I kept under the parapet. It seemed impossible to me that we could ever reach the front line. We rushed along the communication ridge at awful speed.
The wounded were crawling about in the passage and the dead were innumerable. Troops were supposed to spend roughly equal amounts of time rotating between the front lines, in support, reserve or resting miles to the rear, spending up to a week in each sector. In practice, these proved difﬁcult to enforce, especially during periods of hard combat, and many soldiers spent weeks in the combat zone. From the front lines, Blighty could seem tantalisingly close. Food in the trenches would have horriﬁed Jamie Oliver. Tea was often served from tins which had contained fuel and tasted accordingly.
Enacting the events of the Christmas truce, bosnian town of Konjic, although we are not clean they are disgustingly filthy. By 1 December, accompanied by Christmas carols sung by his comrades, december 1915: “When the Christmas bells sounded in the villages of the Vosges behind the lines something fantastically unmilitary occurred. Conducted at least since biblical times – an enigmatic painting. Captain Hulse’s letter narrated by David Jones. It manifested as a passive inactivity, live” understanding sometimes delevoped between combatants.