Trench Process


Part One:



  • Read this description of trenches:

“The First World War was characterized by trench warfare. The soldiers usually spent a few days in the trenches and then a few days away from the front line in billets or huts. A rotation system was used because conditions were so unpleasant, and the noise of shells so constant, that sleep was very difficult in the trenches. Rest kept the soldiers alert and able to carry out their duties. Trenches were dug and maintained by the soldiers, and varied in their level of effectiveness as well as in their level of comfort. The Allies' trenches and the German trenches were separated by No Man’s Land, an area which quickly became barren and filled with barbed wire and bombs and which was in clear view of enemy fire. As land was gained or lost, each side took over the trenches of the enemy.

The battlefields of Belgium were in a region which is very flat and low lying, with poor drainage. This meant that when it rained, the trenches filled with water as it drained from the fields around. Rees describes being 'issued with long rubber boots up to the hips & very useful they are as the water all along one part of the trench is well above the knees & if you are not careful & step into a hole, you go in up to the waist. Still we go splashing & whistling along & have a tremendous roar if some poor fool suddenly sits down in it' The condition and height of trenches depended on how much time the soldiers had to dig and maintain them. In Belgium, where the water table was too high or the ground too hard, sandbags were used to make a trench system above ground.”


Taken from:

  • Look at this diagram of a trench.

 Trench Warfare

"During World War I, trenches were cut through battlefield fronts in Europe to protect troops from deadly artillery and machine-gun fire. Firing trenches were backed by cover trenches, which provided a second line of defense in case enemies overran the firing trench. Each was about 1.8 to 2.5 m (6 to 8 ft) deep. Off-duty troops lived in dugouts in the support trenches. Supplies, food, and fresh troops moved to the front through a network of reserve and communications trenches. Between the trenches of opposing forces lay no man's land. Crossing no man's land often resulted in death, because it was strewn with barbed wire and open to the sights of enemy guns."

Continue to Part two

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