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What Is a Trench Warfare Definition

Despite the use of wooden planks and sandbags to prevent water from entering, soldiers at the front lived in the mud. “The consistency of mud in Belgium varies from water to about the thickness of the dough ready for the oven,” wrote a British infantry soldier. Constant humidity has often led to a condition known as “trench foot,” which, if left untreated, may require amputation to avoid serious infection or even death. Artillery dominated the battlefields of trench warfare. An infantry attack was rarely successful when it moved beyond the range of its supporting artillery. In addition to bombarding enemy infantry in trenches, artillery could be used to advance infantry with a rampant barrage or engage in counter-battery duels in an attempt to destroy enemy guns. Artillery fired mainly fragments, explosives, shrapnel or, later in the war, gas shells. The British experimented with firing thermite incendiary grenades to set fire to trees and ruins. However, all armies experienced shortages of grenades during the first year or two of World War I, as they underestimated their use in intense combat. This knowledge had been acquired by fighting nations during the Russo-Japanese War, when daily artillery fire consumed ten times more than daily factory production, but was not applied.

[40] Since the “Great War” also saw the widespread use of chemical warfare and poison gas, it was assumed that trenches provided some protection from exposure. (While significant exposure to militarized chemicals such as mustard gas would result in almost certain death, many of the gases used during World War I were still relatively small.) Another example of stalemate in the trenches was the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The widespread use of trenches has led to comparisons of the conflict with the trench warfare of World War I. [88] According to some reports, trench warfare resulted in the loss of “thousands of young lives in attacks on Eritrean positions.” [89] Eritrean defenses were eventually overtaken by a surprising movement of Ethiopian pincers on the Western Front, which attacked a mined but weakly defended mountain (without trenches), leading to the capture of Barentu and an Eritrean retreat. The element of surprise of the attack was that the donkeys were used as beasts of burden and that it was purely infantry, the tanks arriving only to secure the area. [90] The long, narrow trenches dug into the ground at the front, mainly by infantry soldiers who occupied them for weeks, were intended to protect World War I troops from machine gun fire and aerial artillery attacks. The development of tank warfare and combined armament made it possible to bypass and defeat static lines, which led to the decline of trench warfare after the war. Trench warfare, a war in which opposing forces attack, counterattack, and defend against relatively permanent trench systems dug into the ground. Opposing trench systems are usually close to each other. Trench warfare is used when the superior firepower of opposing defense forces “dig” so completely that they sacrifice their mobility to gain protection.

The use of barbed wire lines, barbed wire and other metal obstacles in belts 15 m (49 ft) deep or deeper is effective in preventing infantry from crossing the battlefield. Although beards or razors can cause minor injuries, the goal was to entangle the limbs of enemy soldiers and force them to stop and methodically pull or work off the wire, which probably took several seconds or even longer. This is deadly if the wire is placed in places where it is exposed to maximum concentrated enemy firepower, within sight range of enemy fire bays and machine guns. The combination of wire and firepower was the cause of most of the failed trench warfare attacks and their very high losses. Liddell Hart identified the barbed wire and machine gun as the elements that needed to be broken to find a mobile battlefield. Trench warfare has been rare in recent wars. When two large tank armies collide, the result is usually a mobile war, as developed during World War II. However, trench warfare resurfaced in the later stages of the Chinese Civil War (Huaihai Campaign) and the Korean War (July 1951 until its end). [ref.

needed] Our editors will review what you have submitted and decide if the article needs to be revised. Conquering the target was half the battle, but the battle was only won if the objective was held.

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