Trench Life: Casualties
The casualties of trench warfare were enormous. The image you can see is of German corpses in a shallow trench. Why were so many lost?
Many people assume it is because of the tactics employed by the Generals. Namely ordering large number of men to go ‘over the top’ and rush across No Man’s Land against impossible odds. In some cases this is no doubt true, but overall we must consider what had happened.
Yet at the same time the Allies (e.g. the British (Empire) and French Armies for the most part) had set their war aims as removing the Germans from Belgian and French soil. The only way to do this was to reclaim the land and the only way to do this was to attack.
Tactics developed as the war progressed (such as the creeping barrage) as well as the weapons (artillery became much more successful at dislodging barbed wire, gas was used, the tanks provided cover and a means of ‘breaking through’) but it was a long process before a mobile war could be waged again.
A brief guide to life and conditions in the trenches on the Western Front.
Created by Stuart Lee.