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Life in the trenches - Part 1

60 second histories

This video covers:

A description of the trenches that stretched from Belgium to Switzerland which were built after the war was bogged down in stalemate

Trenches were first begun in September nineteen fourteen as the first world war bogged down into stalemate, each side entrenched facing each other. Trenches are literally dug by hand and stretch from the coast of Belgium to the borders of Switzerland. At first the British trenches weren’t that well made, being hastily dug, but they soon developed into a pattern. They’re dug anything up to four meters deep depending on the water table, and are traversed so that they don’t run straight. This means an enemy soldier can’t shoot straight along the trench or an explosion can’t kill all the men in one section. The traverses can be a simple zigzag or a more sophisticated design like a castellation, which has fire bays jutting out into No Mans Land. The front of the trench is called the parapet and the back is called the parados which is higher than the parapet to prevent the soldiers being silhouetted against the horizon. In the front line trenches fire steps are built into the walls where soldiers stand to fire their weapons.
20th Century
Trench Life
WW1 British infantry soldier
Key words: 
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