After the First World War’s initial opening phase of movement ended, the belligerents on both sides of the Western Front dug in to shelter from modern weaponry. What began as hastily-prepared rifle pits were formed into continuous lines of trenches across France and Belgium that stretched from the English Channel in the north to Switzerland in the south. Trench warfare on an unprecedented scale had begun.
The enduring image of the First World War comes from the Western Front: Opposing trench lines separated by the devastated interim space of mud, corpses, and shell craters that was no man’s land. (more…)