World War I came during the industrial revolution. As a result, mechanized weapons were developed. This caused a change in the way war was fought. Now there were weapons that can fire hundreds of bullets per minute and armies can no longer be exposed on an open battlefield. This caused the development of large trenches that the world had never seen. Trenches were a method of protecting troops, changed strategy, and led to an eventual stalemate changing the course of World War I.
Trenches were used to significantly protect troops from the enemy’s small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery, although the front lines were the most dangerous places. ‘’ The idea of digging into the ground to give some protection from powerful enemy artillery and small arms fine was not a new idea or unique to the Great War, been widely practiced in the US Civil War, the Russian Japanese War that had begun in September 1914 and eventually ended when the allies made a break through attack in August 1918.’’ Trenches conditions all relied on the local conditions; the type and nature of the trench positions varied a lot. ‘’ Trenches will crumble easily after rain, so would built up (revetted) with wood and sandbags.’’ For example Trenches in France ‘’ran through towns and villages, through industrial works, coalmines, brickyards, across railway tracks, through farms, fields and woods, across rivers, canals and streams’’. During this degree of fighting when both sides were heavily in trenched, a stalemate developed; at this point no side could advance. Due to the stalemate, you have a no man lands because no one can occupy it, therefore troops can’t move forward, they moved parallel, so you can’t win. Due to the stalemate, new tactics needed to be invented such as tanks, chemical warfare and airplanes.
- Ronald E. Goodman. Military Strategy: Change Through Time