What Is Trench Warfare

Trench warfare is one of the methods of warfare that gained popularity in the First World War. Though there have been instances in the past, when the method of trench warfare was employed by armies, its use was seen very commonly in World War 1, when large and deep trenches were dug all over the state. The use of trenches though proved effective to an extent, since the soldiers remained seated in these trenches for days together, it led to lot of problems. The construction of the trenches too was done in a very crude manner, thereby, leading to numerous problems to the soldiers who stayed in them.


The trench warfare was the best method for armies that did not have enough number of soldiers in the First World War. By sitting inside the trenches, they could evade their enemy and fire from their hideout. It is to be noted that at a warfront, there would be many rows of trenches, each of them separated by a distance. The area between the two army trenches was known as ‘No Man’s Land’ and was considered to be the most unsafe area. The construction of the trenches was done in a zigzag manner so as to ensure that the capturing of trenches by the enemy is not an easy task. The zigzag shape of the trenches also avoided complete destruction of the trenches when attacked by a shell.


In order to keep the trenches safe and to avoid the enemy from getting close to the trenches, each trench had doors that were made out of barbed wire. This made sure that getting into the trench was a very difficult task. It would be worth mentioning here that, most of the barbed wire doors and fences were erected during the night, so that the enemy is taken by surprise when they come close to the trench. The depth and the width of the trench varied from one area to another. While it was possible for the soldiers to stand up in some trenches, in others they had to crouch or crawl to keep out of the enemy’s sight.



The life of soldiers was miserable within the trenches. Since they had to stay in these closed spaces for days together, the condition became very unhygienic. The situation got worse in the cold weather and in the rainy season when the trenches got filled with muddy water. Thus, the trench warfare was one of the main reasons for high number of casualties due to a special kind of fever called, ‘trench fever’.