The History Place - World War I

A German observer peeks through a slit in a protective metal plate atop the trench. The plate would have been carried by the troops during their advance along with empty sandbags. Everything else used to construct the trench is gathered locally including the branches, wood planks and dirt to fill the bags. Below: Germans put the finishing touches on a deadly barbed wire entanglement in No Man's Land, the area in-between opposing trenches. The Allies routinely targeted the barbed wire with artillery shells prior to any advance by foot soldiers, but this was not always effective, leaving some sections intact, resulting in a high death toll of entangled men killed by machine-gunners.

Below: With barbed wire in place, the ever-present sniper looks for an easy target in the opposite trench. A momentary lapse, such as standing up to stretch, walking in plain sight, or lighting a cigarette at dusk, was enough to get one killed by a sniper.

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