Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The German Press Depicts Trench Warfare

This interesting sequence is from Tony Langley's collection. The series begins with building trenches as part of a comprehensive frontline system of defensive fortifications. Note that the work includes building rail lines and installing communications wiring.

Below shows a trench network in depth, including obstacles, barbed-wire entanglements communications trenches, and dugouts.

Last we see artillery deployed to support the front line against an infantry assault.

Source: Contributing Editor Tony Langley


  1. From Roman walls to castles and forts "mobility" didn't seem to enter military minds.

  2. Fortifications provide economy of force in defense, freeing other forces to conduct offenses elsewhere. For example, the forts built by the Comte d'Vauban along the Franco-Flemish border allowed Louis XIV to conduct offensive operations in the Rhineland, as well as other theatres.

  3. The images gave a "warm, fuzzy" feeling to the public. Everything neat and orderly. It would be interesting to know what date these came out. Reason why is that the soldiers are still shoulder to shoulder in the front line instead of in strong points as part of a flexible defense which gave an even better conservation of forces.

  4. These are very interesting, even if fairly idealized. I'd love to see the rest of Mr. Langley's collection!

  5. The entrenching tool is one of the greatest developments in modern warfare, as taught in US warfare schools. For the first time it enabled soldiers to get underground with all the lethal bullets and bombs flying around.