Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Trenches of World War I

In this post, we'll take a look into scenes of trench warfare in World War I.
In 1914, every superpower in Europe went to war after a dispute between Austria and Serbia escalated into a multi-national conflict. The first World War, or "the Great War" as it was known then, would last until 1918. Up until 1914, the great armies of Europe fought battles over open ground, but the invention of rapid-fire rifles and machine guns forced the soldiers of the allied and central powers to dig into the contested European countryside for protection.

A French soldier walks through a trench line in 1914, shortly after the wars outbreak. The French army did not wear camouflage, but instead gray or blue overcoats over sky blue or red pants.
Here, a French Algerian colonial soldier keeps watch over the stretch of no-man's land between the lines.

He is armed with a French machine-gun that would be used throughout the war, though it was known for malfunctioning.

Four years after the wars start, the Americans entered the conflict on the Allied power's side against Germany, Turkey, Austria and Bulgaria. The Trenches were still the main tactic in combat.
Machine gunners guard the approaches facing the enemy trenches.

Daily life in the rain-soaked trenches was very hard. Rats, lice and disease infested the soldier's living conditions,

While constant enemy shelling rained down on the soldiers relentlessly, wrecking havoc on the soldier's nerves, morale and earthen dugouts.

While trenches were dirty, hazardous and at times death traps, they none the less provided basic protection from the storm of lead and steel the enemy rained down on them. But both sides knew they could not stay in their trenches forever; sooner or later, they would have to attack the enemy lines to dislodge them if they want to make any headway in the war. Leaving the relative protection of a trench line and attacking the enemy lines head-on was called "going over the top".
In their trench in Northwest France, German troops prepare for a suspected attack against their lines from the Allied forces of Great Britain, France or their powerful ally, the United States.
More updates to come soon!

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