Friday, April 18, 2008

World War I: Life in the Trenches, part 1.

In this next series of entries, we'll be focusing on life in the trenches during the first world war.

The Germans had dug the first trenches of the war during a retreat in the battle of the Marne, in 1914. To hold back the pursuing British forces, they started to dig in. This new defense stopped the British in their tracks. Then followed what historians call "The Race to the Sea" in which both sides started to march north and try to outflank the enemy, digging more trenches as they went. By the winter of 1914, the Western front had turned into a "ribbon of death", or line of trenches that stretched 475 miles from the Belgian coast to Switzerland, with a small strip of no-man's-land in between the two opposing sides.

Digging the new trench.

Displaced dirt was thrown over the top of trench and was piled on the side facing the enemy lines.

The trench is half-done! The man in the rear is placing logs in place to hold back the displaced dirt.

Every once and a while, the soldiers had to stop constructing the trench in order to fight; then resume the digging.

This soldier is preparing to throw a grenade, a small lightweight bomb that could easily be thrown by hand into an enemy position. Grenade duels were common, for it enabled the soldiers to fight without being exposed to enemy rifle or machine-gun fire. Finished! The completed trench is done, and supports of logs and corrugated iron have been put in to strengthen the walls and keep them from collapsing inward.

We hope you enjoyed this entry! We will be updating soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

War in Vietnam, Part Two.

Here is our second post on the Vietnam War. While a lot of action took place in the fields and rice paddies throughout the Vietnam countryside, a good portion of the fighting was in the mountain jungles. In this post, we will be focusing on the latter.

A U.S. soldier hacks his way through the jungle weeds and vines, cutting a narrow path in the tangled underbrush with his machete (a sword-like knife, ideal for clearing away thick plant growth).

Two U.S. Soldiers unviel a pit of punjee sticks: a booby trap made of sharpened bamboo stakes pointed upright in a pit about two feet below ground level, camoflauged by a thin layer of sticks and foilage that gave way when stepped on to inflict injury to the foot. Traps such as these were very dangerous, especially when set along wooded trails, and were used commonly by the VietCong guerrillas.

Under fire, two Infantryman rush to battle positions. To be ambushed in the jungle was very common, and both sides had to be on constant lookout for the enemy.

A VietCong (VC) guerrilla pauses to re-load his rifle after emtying the magazine (small container for where the bullets were held in the gun). Note that the rifle is of foriegn make; it is a gun imported by North Vietnam's communist enemy, the former Soviet Union.

The two soldiers return fire. Many ambushes began and sputtered out in a span of only two minutes; they were not, however, few and far between.

We hoped that you enjoyed this entry.