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Title: Elements of Trench Warfare
Author: Waldron, William H. (William Henry)
Language: English
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Elements of Trench Warfare


  Elements of
  Trench Warfare


  Captain William H. Waldron

  29th U. S. Infantry





  _Author of_

  “Scouting and Patrolling”

  “Tactical Walks”

  Price 60 cents



  Copyright, 1917, by




This book may be purchased from any one of the following agencies:

  The Book Department
  Washington, D. C.

  The Book Department
  Union Trust Building
  Washington, D. C.

  The Book Department
  Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

  No. 1, Broadway, New York City

  721 17th Street N. W.
  Washington, D. C.
  16 E. 42d Street, New York City

  =The price is 60 cents, postage paid=

  _See “Tactical Walks” advertisement in the back
  of this book._


There is a wealth of material in this little book that will interest
the soldier. From the illustrations alone he will be able to obtain a
good general idea of the subject.

It is essentially a soldier’s book, written in language that he can
understand. The price has been kept within the limits of his pocketbook.

With a view to securing a wide distribution of the book I desire to
secure a representative in every organization in the Army. I have an
attractive proposition to make to competent parties.

A letter will bring particulars. My address will be found in the Army
List and Directory. If this is not available, a letter addressed as
follows will be forwarded to me:

  Captain W. H. Waldron,
  29th Infantry,
  Care of “Infantry Journal,”
  Washington, D. C.

  (Signed) W. H. WALDRON.



  Chapter I.—The Organization of a Section of the Position            1

  Chapter II.—Obstacles. Construction, repair. Wire entanglements,
    barricades, land mines, inundation                                4

  Chapter III.—Lookout and Listening Posts: Types. Construction,
    service                                                          18

  Chapter IV.—Field Trenches: Traversed trenches. Types of trenches.
    Drainage. Communication trenches. Dugouts. Penetration of
    projectiles. Communication. Trench mortar positions. Machine
    guns. Supporting points                                          24

  Chapter V.—Use and Improvement of Natural Cover                    50

  Chapter VI.—Revetments: Sandbags. Fascines. Hurdles. Gabions       64

  Chapter VII.—Working Parties: Details of organization. Laying out
    tasks. Operations                                                80

  Chapter VIII.—Grenade Warfare: Organization and tactics of
    grenadiers. Offensive operations. Clearing fire trenches.
    Clearing communication trenches. Night operations. Grenade
    patrols. Notes on grenade warfare                                86

  Chapter IX.—Gas Warfare: Methods of dissemination of gas. Gas
    helmets, care and use of. Sprayers                              105

  Chapter X.—Service in the Trenches: Preparations for entering.
    Inspection of trenches. Tactical dispositions. Going into the
    trenches. Information routine. Observation field glasses.
    Snipers. What to fire at. Use of rifle grenades. Scouting and
    patrolling. Care of arms. Care of trenches. Latrines. Maps.
    Frost bite. The trench soldier’s creed                          114

  Chapter XI.—The Attack in Trench Warfare                          146


This little book has been prepared with a view to placing before the
soldier a store of information on the subject of Trench Warfare as
it has been developed on the battle fronts of Europe, and giving him
some idea of the nature of the service that he will be called upon to
perform when the time arrives for him to do his “bit.”

The illustrations have been carefully prepared and arranged to the end
that the soldier may gain a fair knowledge of the subject from them
alone. The text is intended to treat the subject in a purely elementary
manner that the soldier may be able to understand.

The size of the book is such that it may be conveniently carried in the
pocket and referred to as occasion requires. The price has been kept
down to the point where it is available to the soldier.

If the book assists in his preparation for the front and, by reason
of the knowledge that he has gained from it, helps to make him more
efficient when he gets there, it will have served its purpose.




The normal organization of an intrenched position includes the
following elements from front to rear:

1. In front of the position and at a variable distance from the first
line fire trench there is a line of wire entanglements. (See Obstacles,
p. 4.)

2. Close up to the wire entanglements there is an intrenched post known
as the “listening post,” which is connected with the first line fire
trench by a zigzag communicating trench. (See Listening Posts, p. 18.)

3. Then comes the first line fire trench with attached machine-gun
emplacements at convenient points. (See Fire Trench and Machine-Gun
Emplacements, pp. 24 and 44.)

4. The fire trench is so narrow that lateral communication along it
is effected only with difficulty. In order to provide a passageway a
communication or supervision trench is provided a few yards in rear of
the fire trench. Passageways lead from this communication trench to the
fire trench and to the dugouts located along it.

5. At a variable distance in rear of the fire trench (100 to 200 yards)
the emplacements for bomb-throwing apparatus and trench mortars are
located. These are connected up laterally by a communication trench
which joins with the main communication trench running from front to
rear through the position. (See Emplacements for Trench Mortars, p. 41.)

6. From 100 to 400 yards to the rear of the first line fire trench, and
generally parallel to it, is the supporting trench or cover for the
supports. This trench is invariably provided with strong overhead cover
and a system of dugouts for the protection of the troops. (See Cover
for Supports, p. 48.)

7. This whole arrangement of trenches is connected throughout from
front to rear, and laterally, by a system of zigzag communication

Take this brief description together with Plate 1, the drawing that
accompanies this volume, and study the two until you get the entire
system fixed firmly in your mind; that is, until you get a mental
picture of all the elements included in the system.

After you have done this, study on through the book in order that you
may know the purpose of each of these elements and how one links up
with the other.



[Illustration: PLATE 2]

This is the typical system now in use in the European war theaters.
Circumstances at certain places may render some variations necessary,
and it must not be inferred that the trace of the works is the same
throughout. As a rule the types of trenches (altered when necessary to
meet local conditions) illustrated herein are the ones in actual use on
the war fronts.

All of these trenches and their accessories constitute what is known as
the first line. At a distance of from 2,000 to 5,000 yards in rear of
this first line a second line, organized in a similar manner, is to be

At intervals of from 800 to 1,500 yards along the first line-centers of
resistance, or what we know as “supporting points,” are located. These
consist of fortified villages, or a network (labyrinth) of trenches,
provided with every defensive device known to modern warfare. The
object of these supporting points is to bring a flanking fire to bear
on the intervals between them, with the idea that an attacking force
cannot advance beyond them without capturing them.

Plate 2 shows the general scheme of the occupation of a sector of the
line by a field army of two divisions.



The element of the defensive line nearest the enemy is a line or series
of lines of obstacles which are designed for the purpose of:

1. Protecting the lines from surprise.

2. Reducing the momentum of the attack, by breaking up the unity of
action and cohesion.

3. Holding the enemy under the effective fires of the defenders.

The conditions that obstacles should fulfil are as follows. They must—

1. Be close to the defender’s position. As a rule on the western front
they are not more than from 50 to 100 yards distant. If they are too
close it may be possible to throw hand grenades from the far edge of
them into the defender’s trenches.

2. As far as practicable, be sheltered and screened from the enemy.
Shell fire is the most effective method of destroying obstacles. If
they are not concealed they may furnish aiming points for the enemy’s
fire against the first line fire trench by his being able to estimate
its location with reference to the obstacle.

3. Afford no cover or screen to the enemy.

4. Be so placed that the enemy will come upon them as a surprise.

5. Be so constructed as to be difficult of removal under fire and
impracticable to negotiate while still reasonably intact.

6. Be arranged so as not to interfere with a counter attack. The
obstacles may have occasional gaps left in them which may be mined.

The different classes of obstacles are: Abatis, low wire entanglements,
high wire entanglements, barricades, mines, fougasses, crows feet,
military pits with wire entanglements, inundations, etc.

[Illustration: PLATE 3.—Abatis.]

Abatis (pronounced _abatee_) consists of branches of trees lying
parallel to each other, butts pointing to the rear, and the branches
interlaced with barbed wire. All leaves and small twigs should be
removed and the stiff ends of branches pointed. The butts are staked or
tied down of, anchored by covering them with earth. When more than one
row is used the branches overlap the butts of those in front so as to
make the abatis about 5 feet high. An abatis formed by felling trees
towards the enemy, leaving the butt hanging to the stump, is called

[Illustration: PLATE 4.—Slashing.]

[Sidenote: Wire Entanglements]

Barbed wire is the material most employed in the construction of
obstacles. It may be used in the following manner:

1. As a simple trip, for giving the alarm. It is stretched just above
the ground and attached to some object that will cause a noise to be
made if molested.

2. A simple wire fence, to cause delay and confusion to the enemy in
his advance.

3. As an adjunct to tree and brushwood entanglement.

4. As a wire entanglement.

5. As a covering for portable cylinders.

The advantages of the barbed wire entanglement are:

1. It is easily and quickly made,

2. It is difficult to destroy.

3. It is difficult to get through.

4. It offers no obstruction to the view and fire of the defense.

The low wire entanglement is constructed as follows:

1. Drive stakes in the ground until they project about 18 inches. The
stakes should be about 6 feet apart, those in each row being opposite
the intervals in adjacent rows,

2. The wire is then passed loosely from the head of one stake to
another, wound around each and stapled.

3. Where two or more wires cross they should be tied together.

A more useful and efficient modification of the low wire entanglement
is made by stapling the wire down the sides of the stakes, allowing
five or more feet of slack wire between stakes. Drive the stakes in
the ground until the top is flush. This results in a loose network of
tangled wires difficult to get through, easily concealed, and difficult
to remove.

The high wire entanglement is made by driving stakes so that they
protrude from 4 to 6 feet above the ground. They are placed at
irregular intervals 5 to 8 feet apart. The head of each stake is
connected with the foot of adjoining stakes with the wire loosely
drawn, wound around the stakes and stapled fast. Each center post
should be stayed by four wires. There should be a trip wire about 9
inches from the ground all the way across the front and another about
a foot from the top of the center posts. Barbed wire may then be
hung in festoons throughout the entanglement, with no fixed pattern.
To increase the entanglement wire may be stapled to the foot of the
posts, as indicated in the paragraph above, before they are driven.
Large nails should be driven in the tops of the posts with half their
length protruding. A number of the wires in the entanglement should be
fastened together where they cross. The wire should be passed through
paint, if practicable, to take away the bright color. The posts should
be painted the color of the surrounding country. Under the conditions
encountered on the western front this work has to be done hastily. It
is best, therefore, to limit the first stage of construction to just
so many strands as will form a nucleus for the whole entanglement, in
order that the area may be covered by an obstacle before interruption

[Illustration: PLATE 4a.—Plan of wire entanglement.]

[Illustration: PLATE 5.—High wire entanglement.]

_Tight wires help the enemy’s advance by forming supports for hurdles.
It must be constantly borne in mind that the wires must not be
stretched taut._

A portable wire entanglement is constructed by stretching wire loosely
around a wooden framework, either circular or square or made on a knife
rest, and rolling it into position to close up gaps that may have been
made in the entanglement. The illustration shows the wooden framework.

[Illustration: PLATE 5a.—Alarm trap.]

[Illustration: PLATE 6.—Portable entanglement. Constructed in the
trenches and rolled into position.]

The ordinary repairs to entanglements are made under cover of darkness
by working parties detailed for the purpose. Iron posts that can be
quickly placed in position are advantageous, their disadvantage being
that they may retard bullets that would go through the ordinary wooden
posts, thus furnishing just that much cover and protection to attacking

In the construction and repair of entanglements care must be taken to
see that they are firmly fastened into the ground with numerous stay
posts or “deadmen.” This is to prevent the enemy from pulling them
to pieces with grappling hooks connected to ropes that lead to his
trenches and are attached to powerful windlasses or capstans.

[Sidenote: Barricades]

Barricades are employed for the defense of streets, roads, bridges,
etc. They may be made out of any available material such as furniture,
vehicles (overturned or with wheels removed), carts filled with stones,
bales of goods, etc.

Where trees grow along the roadside they may be felled across the road.
If necessary, barbed wire may be run through the branches to make the
passage more difficult.

[Illustration: PLATE 7.—Plan of barricade for blocking a road.]

Barricades should not as a rule close the road entirely to traffic.
Passages are required to allow the defenders to pass through when it
is necessary to do so. Hence they should be made in two parts, one
overlapping the other, as shown in the illustration.

A _fougass_ is a mine so arranged that upon explosion a large mass of
stones is projected against the enemy. An excavation is made in the
shape of a frustum of a cone, inclining the axis in the direction of
the enemy so as to make an angle with the horizon of about 45 degrees.
The sides splay outward slightly. A box of powder is placed in a recess
at the bottom. This is covered with a platform of wood several inches
thick, on which the stones are piled.

The fuse is placed in a groove cut at the back of the excavation, or
the mine may be exploded by means of electricity.

The line of least resistance for the charge must be arranged so that
the powder will act in the direction of the axis and not vertically.
This is accomplished by throwing the excavated earth on the crest
towards the defender’s side and ramming it well.

To ascertain the powder charge for any fougass, divide the number of
pounds of stone in the charge by 150. This gives the number of pounds
of powder in the powder charge. Thus a fougass charged with about 70
pounds of powder will throw about 5 tons of stone over a surface about
160 yards long and 120 yards wide.

[Illustration: PLATE 8.—Fougass.]

[Illustration: PLATE 9.—Vertical fougass.]

When broken up a cubic foot of stone weighs about 100 pounds.

A vertical type of fougass is also shown. A charge of 25 pounds of
powder should scatter a cubic yard of stones over an area about 200 by
100 yards.

Small Land Mines

Land mines are placed in the line of the advance of the enemy and
exploded either by electricity or fuse from the defense. They are
made by digging holes from 2 to 3 yards deep, either by excavation or
by boring. In the former case the charge is placed in a recess which
extends into the solid earth at the side of the hole, which is then
refilled and tamped. In the latter case the charge is placed in the
bottom of the hole, which is then refilled and solidly tamped. In
common earth the powder charge for a 2-yard hole is 25 pounds. That for
a 3-yard hole is 80 pounds. The diameter of the crater formed will be
about twice the depth of the charge.

The mines may be arranged in one or more rows. The intervals between
mines should be such that the craters will nearly but not quite join.
The position of the mines should be concealed as much as possible and
further sophisticated by disturbing the ground slightly at points
where there are no mines and so situated as to suggest a systematic

[Illustration: PLATE 9a.—Land mine.

_F_, Line from powder charge to battery.

_P_, Powder charge.]


Backing up the water of a stream so that it overflows a considerable
area forms a good obstacle, even though of fordable depth. If shallow,
the difficulty of fording may be increased by irregular holes or
ditches dug before the water comes up, or by constructing wire
entanglements in the water. It may be employed with advantage when the
drainage of a considerable area passes through a restricted opening, as
a natural gorge, culvert or bridge.

Open cribs filled with stones, or tighter ones filled with gravel, may
form the basis of the obstruction to the flow of the water. The usual
method of tightening spaces or cracks between cribs is by throwing in
earth or alternate layers of straw, hay, grass, earth, or sacks of
clay. A continuous construction, as shown in the illustration, may be
employed. The ends of the dam must be carried well into the solid earth
to prevent the water from cutting around them. This type of dam is
easily destroyed by artillery fire, and cannot be depended upon.

[Illustration: PLATE 10.—Dam construction.]


Lookout and Listening Posts

Except when the garrison are actually required to man the parapet, they
will be kept under cover, with the exception of a few lookouts, whose
duty it is to give timely warning of the movements of the enemy.

When the opposing forces are in close proximity to each other mining
operations are generally resorted to by both sides to compass the
destruction of the opposing works and open the way for an attack.

Lookout and listening posts serve the double purpose of having a few
men at the most advantageous places for observation at the front and
flanks and providing points at some distance to the front of the first
line fire trenches from which listeners may be able to discover the
location and direction of enemy mining operations before they really
menace the fire trench.

In the normal case there will be some natural cover available. Such,
however, is not always the case, and specially constructed observation
stations have to be provided.

The posts should be placed in advance of the first line trench, the
distance depending upon circumstances which have to be determined in
each particular instance. They must be fully protected from reverse
fire so that there will be no chance of the observer masking the fire
of his comrades manning the fire trench.

Unless the ground is very favorable it will be found difficult to
provide for observation above ground. Where there are natural features
such as embankments, mounds, hedgerows, ruins of buildings, etc., it
may be possible to make provision for observation even by day.

Where a loophole is used, the type having the narrower end outward
should be provided.

In the open type of post the observation directly to the front may be
greatly facilitated by the use of the periscope. (Plate 11.)

A good, strong parapet thrown up and chopped off at the corners will
enable the observer to cover areas from an oblique direction from the
post and protect him from fire from the front.

In the covered type the observer is provided loopholes having the splay
towards him. These may also be constructed to the oblique rather than
to the front. When this is done, provision must be made to cover the
entire front of the position from the several posts. (Plate 12.)

[Illustration: PLATE 11.—Open type of listening post.]

[Illustration: PLATE 12.—Covered type of listening post.]

[Illustration: PLATE 13.—A listening and observation post.]

The post may be connected with the first line fire trench by a narrow
zigzag trench or by an underground passage. If the former, it must be
thoroughly concealed and have no excavated earth visible. If it can be
located along a hedge or some other natural feature its location may
remain unknown to the enemy for a considerable length of time. Where
a communication gallery is constructed the roof and walls must be
suitably shored up by casing and supports.

The sentinel in the listening post carries no accouterments. It has
been found that the creaking noise made by equipment when the sentinel
moves has been taken for mining operations of the enemy by his comrades.

Listening galleries should never be left without a sentinel. There
should be a depot of arms and hand grenades near the entrance to the
gallery in case men are attacked while on duty from either above or
below ground.

Listening will be conducted at specified times, or on some prearranged
signal, and for a definite period. During this time all within the
listening area, including the trenches, must remain absolutely

Infantry manning a trench can assist listening by digging a small pit,
6 feet deep below the trench, and running a bore-hole out 20 feet or

The enemy is always listening for indications of the direction and
position of gallery heads. Work must therefore be carried on with a
minimum of noise. Shouting down the shafts of galleries is absolutely

When the mining operations of the enemy are detected a report should be
made at once to the officer in charge of that section of the trench.


Field Trenches

The next element of the defensive position is the _first line fire
trenches_. These are located so as to have a good field of fire to
the front for several hundred yards and so constructed as to give the
greatest cover and protection from the fire of the enemy.

An unbroken, continuous trench would be exposed to enfilade fire. A
shell, shrapnel or grenade bursting therein would have widespread
effect. To overcome these elements the trench is constructed in short
lengths, with traverses between them, and technically known as the
_traverse type_.

Better defilade is thus secured and the material effect of any burst is
confined to narrow limits.

The trench interval between the traverses is known as the “bay,” which
should not ordinarily be longer than 18 feet. Longer bays invite heavy
casualties in case the trench is enfiladed or a high explosive shell
finds its mark.

The illustration, Plate 14, shows a trace of the traversed type of fire


_PLATE 14._

  1.  Length of bay, 18 feet.
  2.  Width of traverse, 5 feet.
  3.  Length of traverse, 5 feet.
  4.  Overlap of traverse, 3 feet.
  5.  Height of traverse depends upon defilade required and
      practicability of concealment.

Type of Trench

Formerly, protection from the enemy’s fire was obtained by thickness of
parapet. In the trench warfare of today it is obtained by completely
concealing the riflemen in a deep, narrow trench with a very low

The height over which the average man can fire is about 5 feet or about
five-sixths of his own height. This factor determines the height of the
parapet above the firing banquet of the trench or the height of bottom
of loophole above the same point, when the latter is employed.

The type of trench in general use today is the simple standing trench
shown in Plate 15.


 PLATE 15.—Simple standing trench. 1. Width at top, 3 feet 4 inches.
 2. Width at bottom, over all, 2 feet 8 inches. 3. Width of firing
 banquet, 1 foot 4 inches. 4. Height of parapet above firing banquet, 5
 feet. 5. Height of parapet above bottom of trench, 6 feet 4 inches.

[Illustration: _PLATE 15a._

_Type of_


_Used in the instruction of Canadian Troops._]


If a trench is to be occupied for any length of time, especially if
much ground or falling water is to be encountered, drainage becomes
of prime importance. Many years ago a celebrated military authority
asserted that “nothing so saps the courage of a soldier as to wet the
seat of his breeches.” This may be accepted as a true maxim, especially
in cold weather. The trench should therefore be made as dry as
possible. The floor of the trench should be given a sufficient slope to
the rear where an intercepting drain should carry the water to prepared
sumps or to a point from which it can be disposed of by drainage.
Provision should also be made to exclude surface drainage from the

A scheme for trench drainage is shown in the illustrations (Plates 16,
17 and 18).

Overhead cover may be provided as shown in Plates 19 and 20.

Loopholes are made wherever head cover is provided. Where the enemy’s
trenches are close, there is considerable danger in using them.
Collective firing takes place over the parapet. When loopholes are used
they should face half-right or half-left and not directly to the front.

[Illustration: PLATE 16.—Method of draining trench.]

[Illustration: PLATE 17.—Details of trench drainage.]

[Illustration: PLATE 18.—Detail of trench drainage.]

[Illustration: PLATE 19.—Overhead cover.]

[Illustration: PLATE 19a.—Overhead cover.]

[Illustration: PLATE 20.—Overhead cover.]

[Illustration: PLATE 20a.—Overhead cover.]

The disadvantages of loopholes are:

1. The difficulty of concealing firing points. Loopholes give the
enemy’s snipers an easy mark.

2. They lessen the number of rifles that can be used at a given point.

3. The necessary head cover makes it difficult to get out of the trench

4. Damaged head cover often spoils a good firing point.

The three types of loopholes are:

1. Narrowest point of the opening nearest the marksman. This type is
most difficult to conceal, much of the parapet thickness is cut away
and, if of hard material, tends to deflect the bullets into the firer’s
face. This defect may be remedied somewhat by stepping the surface of
the loophole.

2. Narrowest point to the front. Easiest to conceal but gives a limited
field of view.

3. Narrowest point midway between the front and rear. A compromise
between the first two types.

The following general remarks on the construction of loopholes are
taken from a work based upon the experience gained during the war in

1. The angle of splay is usually 60 degrees. The thicker the parapet
the smaller must be the angle of splay.

[Illustration: PLATE 21.—Types of loopholes.]

2. The marksman holds his rifle in a line connecting the right
shoulder, the eye and the object, hence most of the body lies to the
left of the rifle. The loophole should be made to the right, with a
niche in the wall of the parapet from the hip to the armpit, to bring
the left shoulder well forward. It will be found that this permits the
right elbow to be placed on the edge of the parapet.

[Illustration: PLATE 22.—Methods of constructing loopholes with

3. Box loopholes with screens or blindage may be used, but should be
placed by a skilled marksman. The great disadvantage is that the enemy
notes these parapet alterations. Steel loophole plates are now provided
for this type of loophole, As the Germans sometimes use a steel bullet
with great penetrating power, it is advisable to place two plates
together to insure protection.

4. With every precaution that may be taken it is difficult to conceal a
loophole. A good plan is to deceive the enemy by using painted sandbags
and preparing plenty of dummy loopholes.

5. The minimum width of loopholes should be 2-1/2 inches. If narrower
than this, it is impossible to use both eyes to judge distances

6. The parapet should be so sloped that there is a maximum grazing fire
when the rifle is fired as it lies on the parapet.

To insure that the bullet will not graze the parapet, although the
sights are clear, look through the barrel with the bolt removed.

[Sidenote: Communication Trench]

[Illustration: PLATE 23.—Type of communication trench.]

In the first line fire trenches there are so many crooks and turns and
the trench itself is so narrow that passage along the same is very
difficult. To provide for this lateral communication a trench known
as the communication or supervision trench is dug. It runs generally
parallel to and a short distance in rear of the fire trench and is
connected therewith by zigzag approaches. The factor that determines
the distance between the fire trench and the communication trench is
that it should be at such a distance that a shell bursting in one of
the bays would not destroy the communication trench.

The location of the communication trench with respect to the fire
trench and the arrangements of the approaches is shown in detail in
Plate 1.

The profile of the ordinary communication trench is shown in Plate 23.

[Sidenote: Dugouts]

During the artillery bombardment few men are left in the fire trenches.
The remainder of the garrison is held under cover a short distance
to the rear. This cover is provided by a system of dugouts connected
with the fire trench through underground passageways that lead to the
communication trench. This arrangement is shown in Plate 1.

A profile of the latest type of dugout is shown in Plate 24.

The solid earth cover is from 12 to 18 feet thick, which gives
protection from all but the very largest caliber shells.

Effective resistance is supplied by roofing materials as follows:

1. From shrapnel bullets: 2-inch planks covered with 12 inches of earth.

2. From 3-inch shells: 4-inch planks supporting 4 feet of earth with a
top layer of heavy stones to cause an early shell burst.

[Illustration: PLATE 24.—Type of dugout.]

3. From howitzers of less than 6 inches caliber: 12-inch beams or logs
covered with 8 feet of earth.

4. From the largest caliber guns: 15 to 25 feet of earth.

The following table shows the penetration of the German S bullet at a
range of 200 yards:


  Steel plate      3/8

  Broken stone      6

  Brickwork, cement and mortar      9

  Brickwork, lime and mortar      14

  Sandbags      24

  Sand, loose      30

  Hardwood, oak, etc.      38

  Earth      50

  Soft wood, poplar, etc.      58

  Clay      60

  Dry turf      80

In addition to the regular “dugouts” for the supports, the latest
type trenches have squad dugouts just in rear of the bays of the fire
trench. These provide shelter during bombardment for the members of the
squad not actually required on duty in the trench bay.

[Illustration: PLATE 24a.—Section of traversed type of fire trench
showing entrance to squad dugout.]

[Sidenote: Communications]

The fire trench is connected with the cover for supports by a system of
zigzag trenches having the profile shown in Plate 23. The arrangement
is shown in Plate 1.

[Sidenote: Trench Mortar Positions]

Somewhere between the first line fire trench and the cover for the
supports is a line of emplacements for the trench mortars. Plate 25
shows a profile of the emplacement.

[Illustration: PLATE 25.—Profile of trench mortar emplacement.]

The arrangement of the position is shown in Plate 1.

These trench mortars are used to hurl charges of high explosives
varying from 25 to 100 pounds into the enemy’s lines. They have a range
of from 300 to 1,800 yards.

[Illustration: PLATE 25a.—Trench mortar.]

[Illustration: PLATE 25b.—Improvised catapult.]

[Sidenote: Cover for Supports]

At a variable distance to the rear of the first line fire trench is
located the cover for supports, which is organized much in the same
manner as the first line system of trenches and affords a second
position in the system to fall back to in case of necessity. These
trenches are provided with overhead cover and numerous dugouts for the
protection of the men.

[Sidenote: Machine Guns]

At every available place throughout the defensive position machine guns
are located, typical positions of which are shown in Plate 1.

The typical types of cover are shown in Plates 26 and 27.

Machine guns are a very potent factor in trench warfare. They are
now being employed to a far greater extent than ever before, and the
number is increasing on all the battle fronts as fast as they can be
manufactured. The machine-gun positions are carefully concealed from
the enemy, and fire is not opened until it is certain that it will be

The selection of the sites for the emplacements should be made with a
view to bringing a powerful enfilade or oblique fire on the attacking
enemy at effective range, to provide a flanking fire for supporting
troops, and to sweep gaps in the line of obstacles.


 _From World’s Work._

PLATE 26.—Profile of type of cover for machine gun.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27.—Type of cover for machine guns.]

Their fire should come as a surprise to the attacking party.

In the construction of cover for machine guns the following points
should be observed:

1. They must have a platform for the gun and gunner. This may be
provided for in the construction of the emplacement or built up with
sandbags. The platform should be 3 feet wide and 6-1/2 feet in length.

2. If head cover is provided, it should not differ in appearance from
that constructed elsewhere in the trenches. The loopholes must be
blinded with gunny sacks.

3. The front of the emplacement should be cut under to receive the
leg of the tripod, thus bringing the gun up closer to the parapet and
furnishing more cover for the gunner.

4. Splinter-proof shelters should be provided near at hand for the
members of the gun detachment.

5. Where the enemy’s trenches are near, the position for the
emplacement should be selected by day and the actual work done under
cover of darkness.

6. The guns should be located so that they support each other by their
fire. Alternate positions should be constructed.

7. When located to enfilade straight lines of trenches, special
capioniers should be constructed.

[Sidenote: Supporting Points]

At intervals from 800 to 1,500 yards along the first line, supporting
points are established. They may consist of a fortified village or
a specially prepared position having a “labyrinth” of trenches and
rendered well nigh impregnable to infantry assault by every defensive
device known to modern warfare. They are designed to bring a flanking
fire to bear upon the intervening intervals with the idea that troops
cannot pass beyond them until they are reduced.

[Sidenote: Village Defense]

The following was the actual scheme employed for the defense of a
French village, and exemplifies the thoroughness with which defenses
must be organized.

The village was about 700 yards in rear of the front line, and had
three keeps surrounded with wire entanglements and independent of each
other, but with an elaborate system of communication trenches. Water
and four days’ rations were stored in each keep, and wells dug. Each
of the keeps held about one company. The communication trenches were
about 6 feet deep, used as far as possible as fire trenches, and well
traversed. Firing platforms were revetted with brushwood, and shelters
made all over the village. In addition to keeps, a series of lines
existed in the rear of the front line, intercommunicating and provided
with barbed wire. A small wood on one point of the front was defended
by a network of low wire entanglements and a line of high wire netting.

Every officer had to know all about his section and its communications
with right and left. Telephone wires were laid low down in
communication trenches and fastened a few inches from ground with
wooden pickets.

Machine guns were placed so as to flank salients. A 65-mm. field gun
was placed in the front line to sweep the village, and an observation
station placed in a tree. The observer wore a green mask and green

Great use was made of brushwood and undergrowth to revet steps of
firing platform.

All work was carried out by regimental officers and men without help
from the engineers, who were fully employed in mining. The garrison of
the village and the front line trenches in the vicinity was about one
battalion, but the fire trenches were sufficient for three battalions.


[1]: This chapter reprinted from _Infantry Journal_.

Use and Improvement of Natural Cover

_A screen or mask_ consists of hedges, crops, underbrush, etc., which
hide the rifleman without, however, protecting him from fire.

_Cover or shelter_ consists of walls, earthworks, etc., which protect
the rifleman from fire.

On the battlefield, natural features that screen and shelter should be
utilized as much as possible, as they possess the following advantages
over artificial works:

(_a_) Their organization demands less work.

(_b_) Concealment is easier.

(_c_) From their nature, it is difficult for the enemy to estimate, for
a given length, the number of men sheltered.

They possess, however, certain disadvantages:

(_a_) The protection is sometimes so excellent that, morally as well
as materially, it becomes difficult to leave the shelter. Example:
quarries with obstructed exits. Therefore, good judgment must be
exercised in the selection.

(_b_) Some of them are too visible. Example: large hedges. In this case
their range can be easily found.

As a general rule, do not occupy them uniformly and do not change the
appearance of the organized parts.

Organization of the cover:

To organize the cover which protects troops from fire, construct
suitable positions for firing and resting. To utilize the screens which
merely hide the troops without protecting them from fire, dig trenches
behind these screens in the following manner:

(_a_) Choose the points which give the best field of fire.

(_b_) Construct cover for firing.

(_c_) Construct a shelter.

The constructions are usually “individual” in the first period of work;
afterwards, they are organized “collectively.” The covers are: (1)
for riflemen lying down, (2) for riflemen sitting down, and (3) for
riflemen standing up.

Individual Organization of Natural Cover

Examples of hasty individual cover behind trees, bushes, or branches:

(_a_) Fallen tree (logs or branches), the height of which is at a
maximum of 1 foot above the ground:

[Illustration: PLATE 27a.—Use of the cover without improvement.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27b.—First period.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27c.—Second period.

Progressive improvement of the cover.]

(_b_) Fallen tree, the top of which is more than 1 foot above the

[Illustration: PLATE 27d.—First period.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27e.—Second period.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27f.—Third period.]

Wood which does not afford sufficient protection against bullets must
be reinforced by earth at the right and against the cover 1 foot
behind. Plates 27d, 27e, and 27f show the progressive improvement of
the cover.

[Illustration: PLATE 27g.—Sharp ridges, furrows, or top of a crest at
the end of a gentle slope.]

Examples of hasty individual covers behind a furrow, a crest, a heap of
sand or earth:

Dig the ground as near as possible to crest _A_ of the furrow in the
manner indicated for the cover installed behind a fallen tree more than
1 foot high.

[Illustration: PLATE 27h.—Narrow furrows.]

Use the earth excavated between furrows _A_ and _B_ to build up the
earth between furrows _B_ and _C_ and fill up furrow _C_; continue
afterwards as for the sharp ridge.

[Illustration: PLATE 27i.—Low wall of earth, or earth and sand heaps,
more than 2 feet high (two methods, _A_ or _B_).]

(_A_) Lower the height about 8 inches; throw the earth forward. Dig a
trench as indicated in the figure.

(_B_) Make a loophole in the pile of earth, showing oneself as little
as possible. Improve the firing position by making a place for the
right leg and an elbow rest.

Examples of hasty shelters (individual) arranged behind a large stone
or heap of stones:

A heap of stones, the top of which is 1 foot at a maximum above the

[Illustration: PLATE 27j.—First period.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27k.—Second period.]

General Organization of Natural Cover

This consists in connecting up and coordinating the individual work
under the direction of the squad commander. The work should be carried
out on the lines adopted for the individual work; and the rules
prescribed for the construction of artificial cover (profiles, depths,
various shelters) should be followed as far as possible. In arranging
the cover, the squads should utilize the natural features of the

[Illustration: PLATE 27l.—Arrangement for a mound of earth.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27m.—Arrangement for a dry ditch.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27n.—Arrangement for a sunken road defended on the
side towards the enemy.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27o.—Arrangement for a sunken road defended from
the rear.]

Ditches full of water, drains, streams:

[Illustration: PLATE 27p.—Arrangement of a large ditch.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27q.—Arrangement of a ditch full of water.]

Ordinary roads, road and railroad embankments, and sunken roads:

[Illustration: PLATE 27r.—Arrangement of an ordinary road defended on
the side toward the enemy.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27s.—Same defended from the rear.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27t.—Road embankment, defended from the rear.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27u.—Arrangement of a railroad embankment.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27v.—Arrangement of a sunken road.]

Hedges and woods:

Dig a trench behind the hedge and throw the earth against it; make
openings in the hedge to facilitate view and fire (Plate 27w). If the
hedge is low, deepen the trench, but make the parapet lower than the
hedge which masks it.

[Illustration: PLATE 27w.—Arrangement of a hedge.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27x.—Arrangement of the edge of a wood.]

Avoid destroying the natural appearance of the wood; do not cut
the trees and brush on a certain depth, but cut off branches where
necessary to obtain a field of fire. Behind this strip cut the brush
and small trees so as to make a path 3 to 4 yards wide. Construct a
trench behind the mask of trees. The parapet can be raised up to 2 or
even 3 feet. Construct abatis on the parts of the border of the wood,
where it will not interfere with the fire.


[Illustration: PLATE 27y.—Arrangement of a wall 2 feet 8 inches high.]

[Illustration: PLATE 27z.—Arrangement of a wall 8 feet high.]

[Illustration: PLATE 28.—Arrangement of a wall more than 8 feet high
without making loopholes.]

[Illustration: PLATE 28a.—Arrangement of an iron fence built on a low



A _revetment_ is a covering or facing placed upon an earth slope to
enable it to stand at an inclination greater than it would naturally
assume. Some revetments also increase the tenacity of slopes and
diminish the injury by fire. The upper parts of revetments that may be
struck by projectiles which penetrate the cover of earth must not be
made of materials of large units which will splinter when struck. The
upper part of the revetments is technically known as _crowning_.

[Sidenote: Sandbags]

Sandbags are made of coarse canvas or burlap. They are 33 inches long
and 14 inches wide. They are filled loosely with earth or sand about
1/2 cubic foot to a bag. Having been placed in position they are
pounded down with a shovel to a rectangular form when they will fill a
space about 20 by 13 by 5 inches.

The sandbag revetment is constructed by laying alternate rows of
headers and stretchers, breaking joints. The tied ends of the headers
and seams of the stretchers are put into the parapet. Men working in
pairs lay the bags and set them firmly in place with a spade or mallet.

The advantages are:

1. The portability of the empty bags. Only 62 pounds per one hundred

2. They may be filled with any kind of soil.

3. They are rapidly filled and easily placed in position.

4. They are invaluable in making repairs.

5. They will not splinter.

The only disadvantage is that they are not durable. The cloth soon goes
to decay and the filling material crumbles away.

Plate 29 shows the appearance of a sandbag revetment as seen from the
front and from the end.

[Illustration: PLATE 29.—Sandbag revetment.]

A squad of six men with two shovels and one pick should fill 150 bags
in an hour. One man uses the pick, two shovel the dirt into the bag,
one holds the bag open and two men tie the bags. Having the filled bags
ready to hand ten men will lay 75 square feet of revetment in an hour.
Four men lay the bags and flatten them out while six carry them.

[Sidenote: Brush]

Brush is used in many forms for revetting. Almost any kind will serve
the purpose. For weaving, it must be live and is most pliable when not
in leaf. It should not be more than 1 inch in diameter at the butt.
When cut it should be assorted in sizes for the different class of
revetments. Poles 2-1/2 inches in diameter are cut for the supports.

[Sidenote: Fascines]

A _fascine_ is a cylindrical bundle of brushwood tightly bound. The
usual length is 18 feet, the diameter 9 inches, and the weight normally
about 140 pounds. Lengths of 6 and 9 feet, which are sometimes used,
are most conveniently obtained by sawing a standard fascine into two or
three pieces.

[Illustration: PLATE 29a.—Fascine.]

Fascines are made in a cradle which consists of five trestles, the
outer ones being 16 feet apart. The trestle is made by driving two
sticks about 6-1/2 feet long and 3 inches in diameter in the ground and
lashed at the intersection as shown in Plate 29a. In making the cradle,
plant the two end trestles first. Stretch a line from one to the other
over the intersection. Place the others 4 feet apart and lash them so
that each intersection comes fairly to the line.

_To build a fascine_, straight pieces of brush, 1 or 2 inches at the
butt, are laid on, the butts projecting at the end 1 foot beyond
the trestle. Leaves should be stripped and unruly branches cut off,
or partially cut through, so that they will lie close. The larger,
straighter brush should be laid on the outside, butts alternating in
direction, and smaller stuff in the center. The general object is to so
dispose the brush as to make the fascine of uniform size, strength, and
stiffness from end to end.

When the cradle is nearly filled, the fascine is compressed or _choked_
by the _fascine choker_ (Plate 30), which consists of two bars, 4 feet
long, joined 18 inches from the ends by a chain 4 feet long. The chain
is marked at 14 inches each way from the middle by inserting a ring or
special link. To use, two men standing on opposite sides pass the chain
under the brush, place the short ends of the handles on top and pass
the bars, short end first, across to each other. They then bear down on
the long ends until the marks on the chain come together. Chokers may
be improvised from sticks and rope or wire.

[Illustration: PLATE 30.—Method of using the fascine choker.]

_Binding_ will be done with a double turn of wire or tarred rope. It
should be done in twelve places 18 inches apart, the end binders 3
inches outside the end trestles. To bind a fascine will require 66 feet
of wire.

Improvised binders may be made from rods of live brush; hickory or
hazel is the best. Place the butt under the foot and twist the rod to
partially separate the fibers and make it flexible. A rod so prepared
is called a _withe_. To use a withe, make a half-turn and twist at
the smaller end. Pass the withe around the brush and the large end
through the eye. Draw taut and double the large end back, taking two
half-hitches over its own standing part.

_A fascine revetment_ is made by placing the fascines as shown in Plate
31. The use of headers and anchors is absolutely necessary in loose
soils only, but they greatly strengthen the revetment in any case. A
fascine revetment _must always be crowned_ with sod or bags.

[Illustration: PLATE 31.—Fascine revetment.]

In all brush weaving the following terms have been adopted and are
convenient to use:

_Randing._—Weaving a single rod in and out between pickets.

_Slewing._—Weaving two or more rods together in the same way.

_Pairing._—Carrying two rods together, crossing each other in and out
at each picket.

_Wattling._—A general term applied to the woven part of brush

A _hurdle_ is a basket work made of brushwood. If made in pieces the
usual size is 2 feet 9 inches by 6 feet, though the width may be varied
so that it will cover the desired height of slope.

A hurdle is made by describing on the ground an arc of a circle of
8-foot radius and on the arc driving ten pickets, 8 inches apart,
covering 6 feet out to out. Brush is then woven in and out and well
compacted. The concave side of a hurdle should be placed next the
earth. It warps less than if made flat.

[Illustration: PLATE 32.—Method of laying out hurdle.]

[Illustration: PLATE 33.—Hurdle.]

In _weaving the hurdle_, begin randing at the middle space at the
bottom. Reaching the end, twist the rod as described for a withe but
at one point only, bend it around the end picket and work back. Start
a second rod before the first one is quite out, slewing the two for a
short distance. Hammer the wattling down snug on the pickets with a
block of wood and continue until the top is reached. It improves the
hurdle to finish the edges with two selected rods paired. A pairing
may be introduced in the middle, if desired, to give the hurdle extra
endurance if it is to be used as a pavement or floor. If the hurdle
is not to be used at once, or if it is to be transported, it must be
_sewed_. The sewing is done with wire, twine or withes at each end and
in the middle, with stitches about 6 inches long, as shown in Plate
33. About 40 feet of wire is required to sew one hurdle. No. 14 is
about the right size, and a coil of 100 pounds will sew forty hurdles.
Three men should make a hurdle in two hours, two wattling and the third
preparing the rods.

_Continuous Hurdle._—If conditions permit the revetment to be built
in place, the hurdle is made continuous for considerable lengths.
The pickets may be larger; they are driven further apart, 12 or 18
inches, and the brush may be heavier. The construction is more rapid.
The pickets are driven with a little more slant than is intended and
must be anchored to the parapet. A line of poles, with wire attached
at intervals of two or three pickets, will answer. The wires should
be made fast to the pickets after the wattling is done. They will
interfere with the weaving if fastened sooner. Two men should make 4
yards of continuous hurdling of ordinary height in one hour.

_Brush Revetment._—Pickets may be set as above described and the brush
laid inside them without weaving, being held in place by bringing the
earth up with it. In this case the anchors must be fastened before
the brush laying begins. The wires are not much in the way in this

[Illustration: PLATE 34.—Gabion.]

_Gabion Making._—A _gabion_ is a cylindrical basket with open ends,
made of brush woven on pickets or stakes as described for hurdles. The
usual size is 2 feet outside diameter and 2 feet 9 inches height of
wattling. On account of the sharp curvature somewhat better brush is
required for gabions than will do for hurdles. The _gabion form_ is
made of wood, 21 inches diameter, with equidistant notches around the
circumference, equal in number to the number of pickets to be used,
usually eight to fourteen; less if the brush is large and stiff, more
if small and pliable. The notches should be of such depth that the
pickets will project to 1 inch outside the circle. The pickets should
be 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, 3 feet 6 inches long, sharpened, half
at the small and half at the large end.

[Illustration: PLATE 35.]

_To Make a Gabion._—The form is placed on the ground. The pickets
are driven vertically in the ground, large and small ends down,
alternately. The form is then raised a foot and held by placing a
lashing around outside the pickets, tightened with a rack stick. (See
Plate 36.)

[Illustration: PLATE 36.—Forming the gabion supports.]

The wattling is randed or slewed from the form up. The form is then
dropped down, the gabion inverted, and the wattling completed. If
the brush is small, uniform, and pliable, pairing will make a better
wattling than randing. If not for immediate use, the gabion must
be sewed as described for hurdles, the same quantity of wire being

The gabion, when wattled and sewed, is completed by cutting off the
tops of the pickets, 1 inch from the web, the bottom 3 inches. The
latter are sharpened after cutting and driving a pairing picket through
the middle of its length and a little to one side of the axis. Three
men should make a gabion in an hour.

Gabions may be made without the forms, but the work is slower and not
so good. The circle is struck on the ground and the pickets driven
at the proper points. The weaving is done from the ground up. The
entire time of one man is required to keep the pickets in their proper

If brush is scarce, gabions may be made with 6 inches of wattling at
each end, the middle being left open. In filling, the open parts may be
lined with straw, grass, brush, or grain sacks to keep the earth from
running out.

[Illustration: PLATE 37.—Methods of use of gabion.]

_Gabion Revetment._—The use of gabions in revetment is illustrated in
Plate 37. If more than two tiers are used, the separating fascines
should be anchored back. Gabion revetment should be crowned with sod or

The advantages of gabion revetment are very great. It can be put in
place without extra labor, faster and with less exposure than any
other. It is self-supporting and gives cover from view and partial
cover from fire quicker than any other form. Several forms of gabions
made of material other than brush have been used. Some of them are
sheet iron, empty barrels and hoops. The disadvantages of iron are that
it splinters badly, is heavy, and has not given satisfaction. If any
special materials are supplied, the methods of using them will, in view
of the foregoing explanation, be obvious.

_Timber or Pole Revetment._—Poles too large for use in any other way
may be cut to length and stood on end to form a revetment. The lower
end should be in a small trench and have a waling piece in front of
them. There must also be a waling piece or cap at or near the top,
anchored back. Plate 38 shows this form.

_Miscellaneous Revetments._—Any receptacles for earth which will make a
stable, compact pile, such as boxes, baskets, cans, etc., may be used
for a revetment. Canvas or burlap stretched behind pickets is being
used to a great extent on the battle fronts of Europe. If the soil will
make adobe, an excellent revetment may be made of them, but it will not
stand wet weather.

[Illustration: PLATE 38.—Timber revetment.]


Working Parties

The infantryman will always be called upon to construct the trench
which he is to occupy. Each company is provided with portable tools,
which the men carry, and each infantry regiment is provided with tools
for the purpose. The digging tools consist of picks and shovels.

When it has been decided to locate fire trenches along a certain
line officers will lay out the cutting lines and mark them with tape
or otherwise. A company will be assigned for the construction of a
definite section of the trench.

Let us work out the procedure, assuming that the work may go on
unmolested by the enemy. Such, however, is not usually the case. The
enemy will do anything in his power to prevent construction work. If,
however, we are familiar with the details of the work and know how
to go about it in an orderly and systematic manner under conditions
of noninterference by the enemy, we will be able to carry out these
details of organization and procedure under more or less trying
conditions when the time comes.

Officers have established the trace of the trench and marked the
cutting lines. It is the ordinary traversed type, 18 feet bays with
traverses 5 feet wide and 5 feet deep, as shown in Plate 14.

The company is composed of, say twelve squads organized into three
platoons of four squads each. Six bays of the trench have been assigned
to the organization for construction. This gives a task to each platoon
of two bays, including one complete traverse and a half traverse on
each flank.

Tools have been issued to the first and third squads of each platoon,
the front rank men carrying picks and the rear rank men shovels.

The company is marched in column of squads to the site of the trench,
approaching it from the rear, and halted with the head of the column
fifteen paces in rear of and opposite the right of the section
assigned; that is, in rear of the first bay of the section. The second
platoon is then conducted by the platoon commander and halted with
its head opposite the third bay. The third platoon is in like manner
conducted to the rear of the fifth bay. Each platoon commander then has
the two rear squads of his platoon, conducted to a point behind the
bay on his left, _i. e._, the second, fourth and sixth respectively.
This allows two squads for the work in each bay, the leading squad
furnishing the first relief and the rear squad the second.

The leading squad of each column is then marched to a point two paces
in rear of the rear cutting line of the trench, where they take off
their packs and lay their rifles on them. The corporal and his rear
rank man fall out. The corporal assigns tasks, number ones to the first
2-yard section, number twos to the second and number threes the third.

The tasks are shown in Plate 39. The corporal superintends the work.
Number 4 rear rank marks out the cutting lines with his shovel around
the traverses and starts work on them.

Experience has shown that the best method of dividing up the work is to
group the men in pairs, one man with a pick and one with a shovel and
to prescribe that they relieve each other.

The leading squads assigned to each bay work at top speed for 30
minutes. At the end of the twenty-eighth minute the corporal of the
rear squad brings his men up and deploys them. At a signal from the
platoon commander the men of the first and third squads drop their
tools, get out of the trench, and proceed to the rear, where they rest.
The men of the second and fourth squads jump into the trench and take
up the task. At the end of another 30 minutes this procedure is again
carried out.

[Illustration: _PLATE 39._


This scheme of assigning tasks and procedure was given an exhaustive
test in 1915 in the course of testing out various types of intrenching
tools. It worked to perfection.

The bays are first completed, after which the traverses begun by No.
4 rear rank are finished up. Great care should be taken to make the
dimensions of the trench as accurate as possible. The squad leader is
held responsible for this. He should provide himself with two sticks.
On one the following lengths are laid off: 1 foot, width of berms, and
height of parapet; 1 foot 4 inches, width of firing banquet, height of
firing banquet above bottom of trench, and width of bottom of trench.
The other stick has the following lengths measured on it: 4 feet, depth
of trench from ground surface to the top of firing banquet; 5 feet 4
inches, depth of trench from ground surface to bottom of trench. (See
Plate 15 for dimensions of standing trench.)

When the circumstances are such that the work of trench construction
is interfered with by the enemy, a modification of the system outlined
here will have to be made, but the details should be adhered to as
closely as possible.

When night work is necessary the trace should be staked out before
complete darkness sets in. If the trace can only be made after dark,
visible reference points needed with white paper, white tape or
screened flashlights may be utilized. Stick to the details of the
deployment, the laying out of tasks and the procedure as indicated for
day work as closely as possible. Avoid making any more noise than is
absolutely necessary; allow no smoking and require such conversation as
is necessary to be made in whispers. Protect the workers by a system of
patrols to the front.

Noncommissioned officers are held responsible for a systematic and
orderly execution of the work being performed by their units. The
captain cannot be everywhere along the line. He has to depend upon the
platoon and squad leaders in the work. That is why you should study it
and know about it so as to be able to make good when the time comes.


Grenade Warfare

The use of hand grenades as an implement of warfare dates back many
centuries. History records their use as far back as 1536. Up to the
close of the eighteenth century soldiers were trained in the throwing
of hand grenades, and for this reason were called “grenadiers.” At
first there were a few in each regiment, later entire companies
were formed, and finally each infantry unit that corresponds to our
battalion of today had its own grenadier unit.

Then there was a period of time when more open formations were adopted,
when there was less opportunity for the employment of grenades and
their use was practically eliminated from the battlefield and confined
to sieges, where they have been used more or less since the dawn of
military history.

With the advent of the Russo-Japanese War came the extensive use of
trenches on the battlefield, and with the trenches came the hand
grenades which were used in large quantities by both sides. This was
especially the case when the fighting lines came to close quarters and
in the assaults against the forts at Port Arthur.

When the European war resolved itself into trench warfare, such as it
is today, the use of hand-thrown projectiles assumed an importance
heretofore never attained, and today we find ourselves employing hand
grenades in every phase of the conflict.

Employment of Grenadiers

Grenadiers are employed on both the offensive and defensive. They
accompany the attacking lines in the advance on the enemy’s positions,
they clear the fire trenches and communication trenches after parts
of the enemy’s lines have been taken, and on the defense they assist
the riflemen in repelling attack and engage the enemy whenever he has
obtained a lodgment in the trenches.

[Sidenote: Organization]

While every infantryman receives a certain amount of instruction in
grenade throwing, there should be a grenadier squad in each platoon
specially instructed and trained in this most effective auxiliary
method of trench warfare. Not all men possess the temperament and
qualifications necessary to make efficient grenadiers. Hence the
personnel of the grenadier squad should be carefully selected. Strong
physique, personal courage and steadiness in emergencies are the
qualifications that count. Men fond of outdoor sports, other things
being equal, will be found the best.

The grenadier squad is organized as follows:

_Front Rank._

  No. 1. First bayonet man.
  No. 2. Second bayonet man.
  No. 3. Grenade thrower.
  No. 4. Squad leader, observer and director.

_Rear Rank._

  No. 1. First carrier.
  No. 2. Second carrier.
  No. 3. Barricader.
  No. 4. Barricader.

[Sidenote: Duties]

The duties of the several members of the squad vary under different
circumstances of their tactical employment which will be fully
explained below. In general they are as follows:

_Bayonet Men._—The bayonet men move in advance of the grenade throwers.
When the grenade thrower has thrown his grenades into the objective
trench the bayonet men must be ready to take instant advantage of the
temporary demoralization of the enemy caused by the explosions and
clear the way for a repetition of the operation.

_Grenade Thrower._—The grenade thrower must be ready and able to throw
a grenade at once whenever the bayonet men or squad leader may direct.

_Squad Leader._—The squad leader directs the operations of the squad.
He goes wherever his presence is necessary. He keeps a close watch to
the flanks. He replaces casualties and attends to the forwarding of
grenades to the thrower. He acts as a grenade thrower whenever he can
assist the operations in that capacity.

_Carriers._—The carriers carry as many grenades as possible, and when
their supply is exhausted they go to the reserve depots and replenish.
They are responsible for a continuous supply of grenades to the

_Barricaders._—The barricaders are charged with the construction of
barricades. They carry sandbags and tools for filling them. In addition
they carry as many grenades as possible. They hold themselves in
readiness to go forward and construct a barricade or cover at any point
designated by the squad leader.

_General._—All the men of the squad must be trained and prepared to
take over the duties of any other member. Before undertaking any
operation each man of the squad should thoroughly understand the part
he is to play in it.

_Formation._—The formation for the several classes of tactical
employment will be explained when each is considered below.

Offensive Operations

When it has been decided to attack a certain sector of the enemy’s
position a detailed reconnaissance is made with a view to locating and
developing every element of the position, detailed plans are made and
imparted to all concerned. (See Chapter XI.)

The phases of the attack consist of: (1) The artillery preparation;
(2) the infantry assault; (3) the occupation and organization of the
captured position, and preparation to meet a counter attack.

During the course of the artillery preparation grenadier squads work
their way across “no man’s land” and establish themselves sufficiently
close to throw grenades into the fire trenches. Failing in this they
accompany the assaulting troops.

When they are able to work up close they cover the advance of the
infantry assaulting lines by showering grenades into the enemy’s fire
trenches after the curtain of artillery fire has been extended back
into his position to prevent the supports and reserves from coming up
to the front.

All men of the squad carry as many grenades as possible and such number
as the squad leader may designate act as throwers, while the others act
as carriers and prepare the grenades for throwing. Accurate throwing,
properly observed and distributed, will greatly assist in preparing for
a successful assault.

Clearing Fire Trenches

No matter how well the infantry assault on the enemy’s fire trenches
may be conducted, it rarely succeeds in occupying the hostile position
throughout its entire length. Casualties, loss of direction, and
unexpected obstacles encountered are bound to break up the assaulting
line more or less, thereby leaving gaps in the captured position.
Furthermore the attack on a line of trenches takes place on a
relatively small front by a large number of men. When the trenches
are finally reached and a lodgment effected there will be great
overcrowding. Provision must be made immediately for extending the
line, otherwise the casualties at these points will be exceedingly

It is the particular duty of the grenadier squads to clear these “gaps”
of the enemy as quickly as possible. For this purpose an efficient and
well-organized storming party must be immediately available.

Let us say that, after careful artillery preparation, the assault has
reached the enemy’s fire trench. There is much overcrowding at the
points where lodgments have been effected. There is a gap in the line
between two adjacent elements. How is this cleared of the enemy?

The grenadier squad immediately forms for action. Two bayonet men are
in the lead, followed by the grenade thrower, who is in turn followed
by the two carriers. Further to the rear are the two barricaders, who
carry a reserve supply of grenades in addition to their sandbags and
shovels. The squad leader is where he can best direct the operations.

The grenadier squad is formed as shown in the _first position_, Plate

1. The grenade thrower puts grenades: (1) into bay 1, at _A_; (2) into
bay 2, at _D_; (3) into bay 1, at _B_; (4) into the traverse leg at _C_.

2. When the four grenades have exploded the bayonet men rush into bay
1, the leader advancing into the first leg of the traverse trench below
_B_, while his mate remains in the bay for a moment.

[Illustration: _PLATE 40._]

3. The squad leader rushes around the traverse to _A_, followed by the
grenade thrower.

4. When the bay and the next traverse passages are all cleared of
the enemy the word “O. K.” is passed back to the squad leader by the
bayonet men. The bayonet men get into their proper positions and the
remainder of the squad rush into the cleared bay 1 and prepare for the
further clearing of succeeding bays in the same manner as described

Take the diagram on Plate 40. Study it out in connection with the text
and you will see how this system works out.

The men work in pairs, the two bayonet men together; the two carriers
behind the thrower; the two barricaders sufficiently far to the rear
to be protected by a corner of solid earth. The squad leader must of
necessity go where his presence is necessary. Usually he stays as near
the grenade thrower as possible.

When the enemy’s grenadier parties are also very active in the sector,
the distances between pairs are extended so that no more than two men
are exposed in any one bay or traverse leg.

The formation of the squad must be preserved as long as possible. You
will appreciate that when losses occur the squad leader will have to
replace men and the formation will have to be modified to meet the
changed conditions. This makes it absolutely necessary that every
member of the squad be competent to take over the duties of any other

When the squad has reached the limit of its advance the barricaders
will come forward and construct a barricade in such position that it is
well in view from a corner some distance behind.

No passing of bombs forward from man to man is permitted. When the
first carrier’s supply is exhausted he returns to the rear to secure a
fresh supply from the reserve grenade carriers who are following the
grenade squad, and who have by now advanced to a point where their
supply is available. As soon as his supply is replenished he returns to
his proper position in the formation. Should the second carrier run out
of grenades the squad leader may cause one of the barricaders to take
all the grenades in the possession of the two and replace him while he
goes to the rear to secure a fresh supply.

[Illustration: PLATE 41

_Combat in a Communicating Trench_]

In the meantime other grenadier squads are clearing out the
communication and supervision trenches, blocking up the exits to
dugouts and destroying machine-gun detachments that have thus far
escaped. The assaulting troops have passed on towards the second line,
covered by the curtain of fire of the artillery.

Clearing Communication Trenches

The clearing of communication trenches is effected much in the same
manner as explained for the fire trench. The grenadier squad is
organized and formed in the same manner. The squad works its way into
the communication trench by bombing each leg until they arrive at a
point where the formation, as illustrated in Plate 41, can be assumed.
The grenade thrower throws grenades into the trench at _B_ and then at
_C_. As soon as these have exploded the bayonet men take advantage of
the confusion to advance into the leg _A-B_ under cover of the shoulder
_b_, the squad leader and thrower advance to _A_, the carriers to the
point formerly occupied by the squad leader, and the barricaders to the
point formerly occupied by the carriers. The thrower then puts grenades
into the trench at _C_ and then at _D_, after which the whole squad
advances another notch as formerly explained.

Where island traverses are encountered the thrower puts a grenade on
each side of the traverse and one in the rear of it. The bayonet men,
one on a side, assault around the traverse and meet on the far side,
and the operation proceeds as heretofore explained.

Night Operations

The grenadier squads may be called upon at night, to perform any of the
services that are theirs by day, and in addition may be called upon
to make night reconnaissances. For this work the men must be able to
organize and reorganize the squad quickly and noiselessly. The throwers
must be particularly efficient. There must be the highest order of team

[Sidenote: Grenadier Patrols]

Grenadier patrols are sent out at night to make reconnaissances of the
enemy’s lines with a view to getting information which may include:

1. Location and organization of line.

2. The length of line occupied.

3. Numbers and disposition of occupying troops.

4. To get an accurate description of the ground.

5. To locate observation and listening posts or any other advanced

6. To locate machine guns.

These patrols may consist of from two men to the entire grenadier
squad. In a patrol of six or eight men two of them carry rifles and
belts, bayonets fixed. The remaining members of the patrol carry no
equipment except a haversack filled with grenades. The grenades are
used only in case of emergency. It is a reconnoitering patrol charged
with gaining information and therefore does not enter into an encounter
with the enemy except as a last resort.

The men move or crawl without noise and take advantage of all cover
that the ground affords. If they suspect they are observed, they should
“freeze” to the ground and remain absolutely motionless. On dark
nights it is easy to lose the direction and for the men to lose one
another. Every device or scheme to lessen risks in this respect must
be employed. The men may tie themselves lightly together so they will
not proceed in a bunch and at the same time retain connection with each

Notes on Grenade Warfare

The first step in the training of a grenadier is to overcome his
fear of the grenade itself. This is accomplished by first having him
practice fuse lighting with dummy grenades having live fuses. The
men will be impressed with the fact that the grenades are dangerous
weapons and that familiarity in handling them must not be permitted to
degenerate into carelessness.

The next step towards efficiency is the development of accuracy of
throwing. For short distances it may be lobbed from the shoulder by
a motion similar to “putting the shot.” Stick grenades may be thrown
for a short distance like throwing a dart. In the trenches the grenade
should be thrown with an overhand motion like the bowler of a cricket
ball, as there is danger of exploding them by knocking the hand against
the back of the trench.

The men should be taught to throw from all positions—standing, sitting,
kneeling and prone.

Should the grenade with a time fuse be dropped in the act of throwing,
there is time to pick it up and throw it out of the trench before it
explodes. Under no circumstances must it be allowed to explode in the

Communication throughout the squad in action should be maintained at
all times. System is required to insure the throwers having a supply of
grenades on hand all the time and that casualties are promptly replaced.

Quick action is essential to success. Crawling and stalking give the
enemy what he is waiting for.

Arrangements to assist a storming party by rifle and machine-gun fire
are of the utmost value and should be provided whenever possible. Care
must be taken to provide a signal which will mark the progress of the
storming party through the trenches. A helmet held up on a bayonet will
do this.

All grenadiers must be especially trained in the filling of sandbags
and making sandbag barricades.

The work of the observer is difficult and requires much practice. He
must give his directions to the thrower in no uncertain terms. When
the thrower has missed his objective the observer will give positive
directions for the next throw. Instead of saying “A yard too much
to the left,” he will say, “Throw a yard to the right.” Positive
directions, even if only half heard, are of some use; negative
directions are certain to be both confused and confusing. The observer
should be expert in the use of the periscope.

Hand Grenades and Petards

The hand grenade used by our allies on the western front is the
bracelet grenade with automatic firing mechanism and consists of a ball
of cast iron filled with an explosive and of a leather bracelet which
is fastened to the wrist. To the bracelet is attached a piece of rope
about 30 centimeters long, having an iron hook at its end.

Just before the grenade is thrown, the hook is engaged in the ring
of the roughened wire of the friction primer placed inside the fuse
plug which closes the cast iron ball. When the grenade is thrown, the
ring with the primer wire, held back by the hook of the bracelet, is
wrenched off by a sudden movement of withdrawal from the wrist and the
fuse is fired. The explosion takes place four or five seconds later.

This grenade is supplied to the fighting zone ready for use. It is
quite complicated. It can be thrown about 25 meters.

The German grenade is composite; it can be thrown by hand or fired
from a rifle. As a hand missile, it is used at short distances, 15 to
20 meters. It is composed of a copper rod to the extremity of which is
fixed a cast iron cylinder, grooved to facilitate its breaking into
small pieces at the moment of explosion. The explosive is placed inside
this cylinder. A copper tube, also containing some explosive, is placed
in the interior. It is surmounted by a complicated system for closing
the grenade and for automatic ignition by percussion, which results in
at least 50 per cent of misfires.

[Illustration: PLATE 41b.—British hand grenade No. 1.

  _a._ Removable cap.
  _b._ Detonator holder.
  _c._ Detonator.
  _d._ Explosive charge.
  _e._ Wood block.
  _f._ Handle.
  _g._ Safety pin.
  _h._ Firing pin.
  _i._ Cast iron ring.
  _j._ Streamer.

[Illustration: PLATE 41c.—The latest type British hand grenade.

_a._ Percussion cap.

_b._ Firing pin.

_c._ Safety pin. When in place prevents firing pin from striking
primer. It is removed just before throwing the grenade.

_d._ Primer.

_e._ Chamber filled with high explosive.

_f._ Cast iron shell, serrated.

_g._ Wooden handle.

_h._ Streamers, to keep the grenade head-on.]

Used with the rifle, this grenade has a maximum range of 400 meters.
At the extremity opposite the grenade, the copper rod ends in a copper
stem about 3 centimeters in length, movable about the axis of the rod.
This stem is covered with a copper sleeve of slight thickness, which is
attached to it only at the extremity fastened to the rod. The diameter
of the exterior of the sleeve must be such that it can be pushed into
the gun barrel without pressure. To fire the grenade, a blank cartridge
is placed in the chamber of the rifle; the quantity of powder left
in the cartridge is regulated according to the distance at which the
missile is to be thrown. At the moment of firing, the explosive gases
penetrate between the sleeve and the stem and jam the sleeve against
the grooves of the barrel. The sleeve and the stem, which is attached
to it, take a movement of rotation in the grooves of the barrel, which
insures the direction of the missile and the maximum efficiency of the
explosive gases of the cartridge.

The bracelet grenade and the German grenade just described have to
be made in a factory. Attempts have been made to construct similar
missiles with the explosives which are at hand at the front, cheddite
and melinite. Several kinds have been made: a primed cartridge and a
primed hand petard, fitted on a wooden paddle, a preserved meat tin can
filled with explosive, etc.

The Germans have hand petards similar to those of the Allies but with
different explosives. These missiles are primed by a detonator and a
slow match and can be thrown about 30 meters. The discharge takes place
either automatically or by tinder. They are made on the spot and very
rapidly. The assaulting troops carry them in baskets or strung on a
circle of wire carried on the shoulder.

[Illustration: PLATE 41d.—Throwing hand grenades.]

Grenades and petards constitute a terrible weapon. These projectiles
exert considerable moral effect owing to the violence of their
explosion and the awful wounds they occasion, and they make it possible
to reach the enemy at points where it is impossible to use the rifle
and bayonet.


Gas Warfare

Germany first made use of poisonous and asphyxiating gases on the
field of battle. It has become an accepted element in the present war.
Every soldier should, therefore, have a knowledge of the various ways
in which gas is employed in the attack, as well as the measures to be
taken to counteract its effect in the defense.

The two methods of disseminating the gas over the battlefield are by
emanation and grenades charged with it.

[Sidenote: Emanation]

This method has for its object to create a poisonous or irritant
atmosphere. This is accomplished by means of the arsenic and
phosphorous gas being forced through tubes in the direction of the
enemy or by means of liquefied chlorine, bromide, phosgene and
sulphuretted hydrogen gas stored in cylinders under high pressure.
To be successful the gas attack must be attended by the following

1. The weather must be comparatively calm with a wind blowing in the
direction of the enemy at about 5 miles an hour. If the wind is too
strong the gas will be carried over the enemy’s trenches so rapidly
that it will not settle in them. If the wind is too light the gas will
be carried up into the air and disseminate or may even be blown back
into our own trenches, in which case chloride of lime scattered about
freely will disperse them.

2. There must be no rain, for that would quickly disseminate the gas
and negative the effect.

3. The attack must come as a surprise. If the elements of surprise are
missing and the enemy has time to take protective measures, the effect
is lost. If the surprise is complete, the enemy trenches should be
emptied very quickly.

4. The gas used must be heavier than the air, so that it will sift into
the enemy’s trenches as it passes them. It is impracticable to decide
upon any definite hour for launching the gas attack. Everything depends
upon the direction and velocity of the wind. If an hour has been
tentatively designated and the wind changes, the attack will have to be

When an assault follows the gas attack the men should wear the smoke
helmets for at least 30 minutes after the dissemination has ceased; in
fact they must not be removed until the order to do so is given by the
officer commanding the attack. You will appreciate that the enemy’s
machine gunners may have better protection than the men in the bays of
the trenches.

[Sidenote: Shell and Grenade Method]

In this method the gas dissemination is effected by means of shells
or bombs being fired into the enemy’s trenches containing the desired
substances which are released and give off irritant fumes on explosion.
The grenades used weigh about 1 pound. They are similar in appearance
to the ordinary tin can grenade. Their effect in a trench will
continue for 20 to 30 minutes. In the attack a large number should be
concentrated in a particular area to produce a large volume of gas.
They are thrown by hand, trench mortar or catapult.

[Sidenote: Defense]

Surprise must be guarded against in every possible way. The direction
of the wind must be continually watched, and when its velocity and
direction are specially favorable the protective measures must be
kept ready for instant use and special observers posted. Previous to
an attack the enemy may remain comparatively quiet for several days.
Noises like the moving of sheet iron may be heard. Preparations may be
observed along the position. When the attack starts a hissing noise is
heard; this latter is one of the indications that may be evident at

[Sidenote: Helmets]

Each man on duty in the trenches is provided with two smoke helmets,
specially devised and constructed so as to absorb the gas and
neutralize its effect, and which if properly cared for and used will
provide complete protection from any substance likely to be used by the
enemy. They are fitted with a valve tube through which to breathe and
with goggles to see through. There are certain rules prescribed for
their care and use.

1. They must not be removed from the protective covering except for
actual use against an attack.

2. When the helmet has been used once it should be replaced by a new

[Sidenote: Dummy Helmets]

Dummy gas helmets will be provided in each organization by which the
men may be practiced in putting them on. The men must be thoroughly
drilled in the methods to be employed.

The following directions accompany the helmets issued to the British
Army. When our helmets are issued it is probable that each will
be accompanied by a complete set of rules for its use and full
instructions for the method of getting into it and for its care and

[Illustration: PLATE 41e.—Gas helmet.]

Direction for Use and Care of Tube Helmets

[Sidenote: Description]

These helmets are the same as the smoke helmet already issued, except
that stronger chemicals are added and a tube valve provided through
which to breathe out. The tube valve makes the helmet cooler and saves
chemicals from being affected by the breath. The wearer cannot breathe
_in_ through the tube valve; this is intended for breathing _out_ only.

[Sidenote: Directions for Use]

Remove paper cap from mouthpiece of tube valve. Remove service cap.
Pull helmet over head. Adjust so that goggles are over eyes. Tuck in
skirt of helmet under coat collar and button coat so as to close in
skirt of helmet. Hold the tube lightly in lips or teeth like stem of
pipe, so as to be able to breathe in past it and out through it.

_Breathe in through mouth and nose, using the air inside the helmet.
Breathe out through tube only._

[Sidenote: Directions for Care of Tube Helmet]

1. Do not remove the helmet from its waterproof case except to use for
protection against gas.

2. Never use your tube helmet for practice or drill. Special helmets
are kept in each company for instruction only.

Should the goggles become misty during use they can be cleared by
rubbing them gently against the forehead.

When lacrimatory gases are used goggles affording mechanical protection
may be worn, as these gases are not likely to irritate the lungs,
though they sometimes produce sickness.

[Sidenote: Improvised Methods]

If a soldier does not possess one of the official pattern respirators,
the following measures will be found useful:

1. Wet and wring out any woolen article, such as a stocking or muffler,
so as to form a thick pad large enough to cover the nose and mouth, and
press firmly over both.

2. Place in a scarf, stocking or handkerchief, a pad of about three
handfuls of earth, preferably damp, and tie it firmly over the mouth
and nose.

3. A wet cloth pulled down over the eyes will be found useful as
additional protection, especially against certain gases other than
chlorine or when the gas is too strong for the ordinary respirator.

4. A stocking, wetted with water and soda solution or tea, folded into
eight folds and firmly held or tied over the nose.

5. A sock folded fourfold similarly wetted and held or tied. If the
sock or comforter has been soaked in soda solution it will still act
efficiently when dry, though, if possible, it should be moist. The
spare tapes from puttees may be used for tying on the sock.

6. Any loose fabric, such as a sock, sandbag, woolen scarf or
comforter, soaked in urine, then wrung out to allow of free breathing
and tied tightly over the nose and mouth.

In the absence of any other cloths, the flannel waistbands issued for
winter use could be used for this purpose.

[Sidenote: Knapsack Sprayers]

Knapsack sprayers are issued for use to clear gases out of the trenches
after the cloud has blown over. A man with the sprayer on his back (and
wearing his smoke helmet) slowly traverses the trench, working the
spray. If this is not done the heavy poisonous gas may linger in the
trench for days and be a source of great danger.

If supports or reinforcements enter a trench charged with gas, they
should be preceded by a man using a sprayer.

Sprayers are charged with sodium thiosulphate—more commonly known as
“hypo”—6 pounds being dissolved in a bucket of water and a handful of
ordinary washing soda added.

Garden syringes and buckets may be used if sprayers are not available,
but these are not so effective. Sprayers should be charged before they
are taken up to the trenches, and should be kept ready for immediate

Every officer defending a trench against an enemy gas attack should
endeavor to collect information whenever possible, to be sent to
headquarters through the usual channels. Particularly valuable is the
capture of apparatus used by the enemy either for disseminating gas or
for protection against it. If a shell attack is made, unexploded shells
or portions of them should be sent through to headquarters at once. The
time of day, duration of attack, color, taste or smell of gas used,
effect on the eyes, breathing, and all other symptoms should be noted.
New gases may be used at any time, and speedy information greatly
forwards the adoption of preventive measures.


Service in the Trenches

[Sidenote: Preparations for Entering Trenches]

Preparing to enter upon a period of service in the trenches the company
commander makes a complete inspection of the company which includes:

1. Inspection of rifles and ammunition.

2. Inspection of equipment, contents of packs, intrenching tools,
field glasses, wire cutters, first-aid packets, emergency rations, gas
helmets, identification tags, canteens, clothing, etc.

3. Canteens to be filled with water.

4. Test bayonets, fix and unfix.

5. Have company fill magazines.

[Sidenote: Inspection of Section]

The company commander precedes the company into the trenches and makes
a tour and inspection of the section assigned, which includes:

1. Layout of the trenches: fire trench, supervision trench,
communication trenches, machine-gun positions, snipers’ positions,
listening and observation trenches, dugouts, latrines, etc.

2. Locate telephones, reserve ammunition and munitions depots, water
supply, gas alarms, tools and any trench accessories and utilities that
may be included in the section.

3. Get any information of the enemy that may be of value from the
outgoing company commander.

[Sidenote: Tactical Disposition]

The company commander will then make his tactical dispositions. In
occupying the trenches a certain section of the line is assigned to
each company. This section contains so many bays of the trench. The
following dispositions are suggested as meeting the requirements under
our organization:

1. The company is organized into four platoons of four squads each.

2. The section of the line assigned to the company contains eight bays.

3. Support No. 1 consists of the first and second platoons.

4. Support No. 2 consists of the third and fourth platoons.

5. From Support No. 1: Two squads of the first platoon occupy bays 1
and 2; two squads of the second platoon occupy bays 3 and 4.

6. From Support No. 2: Two squads of the third platoon occupy bays 5
and 6; two squads of the fourth platoon occupy bays 7 and 8.

[Illustration: PLATE 41f.




7. Each squad establishes a double sentinel post in the bay assigned to
it and the remaining members go into the squad shelters just in rear
of the bays. This gives three reliefs for a double sentinel post and
allows one extra man to be utilized as “runner,” etc.

8. The remainder of the company is established in the company dugouts.

9. Depending upon the length of the tours of duty of the company in
the first line trenches, the squads are changed according to a system
that will have to be varied to suit the occasion, the squads in support
taking their place in the fire trench and those in the fire trench
returning to the support.

[Sidenote: Going into the Trenches]

Platoons enter by not more than two squads at one time, thus minimizing
the danger from shell fire. The platoon commander will explain to his
squad leaders the extent of trench to be taken over and the action to
be taken in case they are caught under shell fire or rapid fire while
going up to the trenches. A second in command in each squad will be
designated, so that if casualties occur among the squad leaders the
relief will proceed as previously arranged.

The operation will proceed in silence. Rifles must be carried so that
they do not show over the parapet. On reaching the fire trench the men
of the first relief are posted to relieve the old detail and each man
finds out any points that may be useful from his predecessor on that

[Sidenote: Information to be Obtained]

The platoon commander confers with the commander of the outgoing party
and secures all the information possible about the position which

1. Behavior of enemy during period preceding relief, and any point in
their line requiring special information, _e. g._, enemy may have cut
wire as though preparing to attack.

2. Machine-gun emplacement may be suspected at some particular point.

3. Anything ascertained by patrols about ground between firing lines,
thus avoiding unnecessary reconnaissance.

4. Any standing arrangements for patrols at night, including point at
which wire can best be passed, ground to be patrolled, or place where
they can lie under cover.

5. Any parts of trench from which it is not safe to fire. Such
positions are apt to occur in winding trenches, and are not always
recognizable in the dark.

6. Special features of trench, recent improvements, work not completed,
dangerous points (on which machine guns are trained at night), useful
loopholes for observation.

7. Places from which food and water can be safely obtained.

8. Amount of ammunition, number of picks, shovels and empty sandbags in
that section of the line.

Information on these points cannot always be given properly by word of
mouth. _Written_ notes and plans should therefore be handed over to a
platoon commander taking over for the first time.

Every man is required to see that he has a good firing position for all
directions. Section commanders must satisfy themselves that men have
done this, and report. _The whole line “Stands to Arms” during the hour
before dawn._

After dark, unless the moon is bright, rifles should be left in firing
position on the parapet. All men not on sentry should keep rifles, with
bayonets fixed, in the trench.

[Sidenote: Routine]

1. Double sentinel posts are established in each bay. They are on post
one hour at a time.

2. When the enemy’s trench mortar detachments are active, special
sentinels will be posted to give notice of coming bombs.

3. Every man in the platoon is to know:

(_a_) The location of the platoon reserve ammunition and munitions.

(_b_) The location of latrines.

(_c_) The topography of the trenches in the platoon section and the
adjoining sections, including the approaches. The location of the
accessory defenses, listening and observation posts, machine-gun
positions, snipers’ positions, trench mortar positions, etc.

(_d_) The tactical disposition in the sector and the general
disposition of the company.

(_e_) The location of loopholes.

(_f_) The places of especial danger in order that he may stay away from

4. Rifles are inspected twice daily. Every precaution is taken to keep
the rifle and ammunition free from mud.

5. There is a gas helmet parade daily.

6. Accurate sketches are made of the trench and any addition or
alteration entered on them.

[Illustration: PLATE 42.

_Organization of fire of Observers in the Combat Trench_]

7. Loopholes are inspected at dusk.

8. Wire entanglements are inspected and repaired under cover of

9. A log of events hour by hour should be kept which shows every
item of enemy activity and the measures taken during the tour in the
trenches. This will be a valuable reference when turning the trench
over and will make a record of the habits of the enemy that may be most
valuable as a guide for making plans to circumvent him.

10. The police and sanitation of the trenches will be carefully looked

11. Platoon commanders may divide the tour of supervision of the
platoon sector with the squad leaders.

12. The whole company stands to arms during the hour before dawn.

[Sidenote: Observation]

Observation of the enemy’s line should be continuous. The observation
and firing system will be arranged so that all parts of the enemy’s
line will be under observation and fire at all times.

Plate 42 shows the arrangement in general. The appliances for carrying
it out are shown in Plates 43, 44 and 45.

[Illustration: PLATE 43.]

The observation is conducted through a small loophole made by a stick
through the parapet or an iron tube run through and directed toward
the point to be observed. To conceal the exit a few tufts of earth and
grass are placed there in an irregular manner. Steel loopholes may also
be employed for observation and firing purposes. They may be arranged
a yard or two apart, so that one man observing through one can direct
his mate using the rifle at the other so that he may bring fire to bear
upon any member of the enemy’s force that exposes himself at the point
under observation.

The loopholes, both observation and firing, are arranged slantwise in
the parapet so that the observer does not look straight to his front
nor does the firer fire in that direction.

[Illustration: PLATE 44.—Observation loophole and rifle firing rack.]

An aiming rack constructed so as to resist the recoil of the rifle and
not derange its aim on firing may be arranged near the observation
loophole. When the enemy exposes himself all that is necessary is a
press on the trigger and the bullet goes straight to its mark. Such an
aiming rack may be easily constructed, as shown in Plate 44.

Observation of the enemy trenches may also be effected by use of the
periscope or, in the absence of one of these, by a looking-glass in a
slanted position fastened to a stick planted at the rear wall of the
trench and protruding over the parapet, to reflect his trenches. (See
Plate 45.)

[Sidenote: Field Glasses]

The enemy’s trench usually appears completely deserted, but on
observing it through field glasses you are astonished by the details
revealed. You will see, from time to time, the eye of the enemy
observer who shows himself at the loophole, or any other activity
that is capable of being observed from the outside. The observer
watching through the field glasses will soon become so familiar with
the appearance of the opposing trenches that he will be able to detect
immediately any alteration in the obstacles, or changes that may be
made, such as the establishment of new listening or observation posts,
new sap heads, machine-gun emplacements, etc.

Observers are charged especially with detecting the location of
machine-gun emplacements. The examination should be so complete and
detailed as to prevent their existence without their location being
accurately known.

[Illustration: PLATE 45.—Looking-glass periscope.]

[Illustration: PLATE 45a.—Trench showing wire overhead cover and wire
trapdoor obstacle. Machicoulis gallery in background.]

Any observations of enemy activities, of any nature whatever, are
reported immediately so that they may be passed on to the commander
whose unit is manning the trenches directly opposite the same.

Loopholes should be screened at the rear by a sandbag split and hung
over them. They should be carefully concealed to prevent their location
being discovered by the enemy. There must be no alteration in the
parapet where they are located.

[Sidenote: Snipers]

The enemy’s sojourn in the trenches should be made as disagreeable
to him as possible. He must be kept continually on the alert. Our
operations must be made a constant menace to him. It is in this way
that casualties are effected and he is gradually worn out. One of
the best methods of accomplishing all of the above is the employment
of snipers, who are specially selected and trained in this branch of
trench warfare.

The snipers are on duty all day, but they have their nights in bed.
They conduct their operations in pairs and are given a definite post
to occupy and in exceptional cases may be given a roving commission.
The advantage of having the same men regularly on the same post is that
they learn thoroughly the appearance of every square foot of the ground
included in their area of observation and are able immediately to note
any change that may take place. They soon learn where to look for the
enemy and in fact learn the habits, etc., of the enemy occupying their
sphere of observation.

The sniper must be an expert in:

1. The construction of loopholes by day and by night.

2. The use of telescopic sights, field glasses, periscopes and all
optical contrivances designed for observation purposes.

3. The selection of good positions for sniping.

4. Judging distances and estimating or measuring ranges.

5. Rifle firing. He should be an expert rifleman in order that full
advantage may be taken of the opportunities to inflict losses on the

6. In trench warfare each pair of snipers will be required to report
each evening to the company commander the result of their day’s

[Sidenote: What to Fire At]

When the enemy makes his attack you will generally fire at those who
appear in the sector that has been allotted to you to cover. You may,
however, abandon your target on your own initiative under the following
circumstances and fire:

1. On officers and noncommissioned officers. These can be recognized by
their gestures. They are generally in the center of groups and get up
and start first. They should be disabled, as this is the surest way of
breaking up the attack.

2. At a group on the move. Fire should be concentrated on an advancing
group. The time when the group is preparing to start its rush may be
indicated by rifles being raised and the movements that take place
along the line. After a rush has started, look out for the late comers
trying to rejoin their comrades. They make good targets.

3. When the enemy attempts to build up his line to the front by a
process of infiltration. That is, by having single men crawl from one
point to the other, each man should be fired on during his advance.

4. Fire will be immediately concentrated on any machine gun that comes
into action. With the German gun prolonged firing heats the water in
the jacket to the boiling point and puffs of steam are given off. Do
not be deceived into thinking that this necessarily gives away the
position of the gun, for this steam has been piped to a distant place
and allowed to escape so as to draw fire that otherwise might be
directed on the real position of the gun.

5. On signallers or runners. These are carrying information that will
probably be of benefit to the enemy’s commander. You will appreciate
the necessity of preventing this.

6. On an enemy showing a flank. No opportunity must be lost to fire
upon an enemy that exposes his flank. The fire of a single rifleman
down the flank may cause a whole line to retreat.

[Sidenote: Use of Rifle Grenades]

Rifle grenades are capable of causing more losses to the enemy than
bombardment. The rifle grenade arrives at its destination unexpectedly
without any noise; it explodes before one has even time to get out of
the way. As it does not arrive at fixed hours like the bombardment, the
enemy cannot continually avoid it by taking refuge in his dugouts and
shelters; when he is moving about a trench which is subject to rifle
grenading he must be continually on the alert. This perpetual menace,
hour in and hour out, day in and day out, renders his sojourn in the
trenches extremely disagreeable.

Before rifle grenades are thrown careful observation of the opposing
trench must have been made to determine the point where the grenade is
likely to do the greatest damage.

Rifles are placed in the aiming racks and the grenades fired from time
to time, day and night, at moments when it seems propitious. In this
way a sentinel may be taken by surprise; a noncommissioned officer or
officer may be caught unawares.

It should be remembered that we will probably be able to throw twenty
grenades to the enemy’s one. Advantage should always be taken of this
munitions superiority. Every man of the enemy we can put out of action
is one less to kill us in the advance which will eventually come.
Sometimes the enemy will try to reply. Here is where our munitions
superiority comes in again. We can fairly shower him with grenades and
make him take to his shelters.

It may be advisable to execute a sudden burst of grenade fire. This is
started by a volley and followed by fire at will.

When the artillery has destroyed parts of the enemy’s trenches or makes
breaches in his obstacles by day he will endeavor to repair them at
night. He may be considerably annoyed and losses inflicted upon him by
a well-directed shower of rifle grenades arriving at points where his
working parties are located. To make this effective the rifle racks
should be placed in position and secured during the day after trial
shots have demonstrated conclusively the direction and angle for them.

[Sidenote: Shelling]

You will be impressed by the shells, especially the big ones. The din
and blast of the explosions are, to say the least, terrifying. But
you will soon come to know that the shell often makes more noise than
it does harm and that, after a terrific bombardment, by no means is
everybody destroyed.

[Sidenote: How to Protect Yourself from Shells]

The big shell, which is so appalling, is only really dangerous if it
falls on the place where a man is standing, because the splinters rise
in the air. Fall down flat when the shell bursts. Even if you are quite
close, there is comparatively little risk. Get up immediately after
the explosion, especially if you are 200 to 300 yards away from the
place where it burst. The splinters do not fall for some time after the

The steel helmets and the infantry pack will furnish considerable
protection from shrapnel fragments and balls.

[Sidenote: During the Combat]

The safest place to avoid the enemy’s shell fire when the attack
has been launched is close up to the enemy’s position, where the
artillery fire has to cease for fear of placing shells indiscriminately
in his own troops and ours. Some men, completely distracted, lie
down with their face to the ground. They will be crushed where they
lie. Artillery fire, when it is violent, tends to throw the ranks
into confusion and disorder. You have only ears for the roar of the
approaching shell. You slow down and attempt to seek cover where there
is no cover. The unit breaks up, and runs wild or stops altogether.
_Disorder and confusion means massacre._

March strictly in place. To the front is your safest haven of refuge.
Get hold of the frightened ones and keep them in place. You will need
them to help you when you reach the goal.

[Sidenote: In the Trenches]

Dugouts with strong overhead cover are provided for your protection
when not actually required to man the trench. In some places it may be
possible to dig shelter caves and shore up the roofs.

[Sidenote: Scouting and Patrolling]

 _To the Reader_: You will find a wealth of information on the
 methods to be employed by scouts and patrols in a little book similar
 to this one in size, entitled “Scouting and Patrolling,” by the author
 of this volume. Published and for sale by the United States Infantry
 Association, Washington, D. C. Price 50 cents, by mail, postpaid. _Get
 your copy now and prepare yourself for these important duties._

Scouting and patrolling to the front is of greatest importance. It is
kept up both day and night. The units occupying the first line send out
patrols whenever necessary. They are frequently able to obtain valuable
information and at the same time serve to counteract the enemy’s
efforts in this direction.

The patrols generally consist of a junior officer or noncommissioned
officer and from four to six selected men. Their operations are
conducted in accordance with the situation and the mission they are
sent on.

Hand grenades are frequently carried for both offensive and defensive
operations. Grenade patrols always carry them. The operations of
patrols may include:

1. Reconnaissance of sectors of the enemy’s position with a view to
determining his dispositions and arrangement of obstacles.

2. Making sketches of positions.

3. Capturing prisoners.

4. Opposing enemy patrols.

5. Harassing the enemy.

When the patrol goes out every man in the sector of the firing line
must be informed of such fact and the possibility of its returning
through his post. It is not sufficient to simply notify the men on post
at the time the patrol goes out, as a man cannot always be trusted to
pass the information on to his relief. Word should be quietly taken
along the line by the noncommissioned officer in charge of the relief
in person. When the patrol is out, special instructions have to be
given with respect to firing. To cease firing altogether is very
undesirable. It arouses the enemy’s suspicions. A few trustworthy
riflemen are directed to fire high at intervals. No lights are sent up
while the patrol is out.

If the patrol is to remain stationary, similar to the outguard of an
outpost, communication may be maintained by means of a string, spelling
out the messages by Morse code, two jerks meaning a dash and one jerk
meaning a dot.

Where night patrols have to remain out under trying conditions special
dugouts should be reserved where they can rest upon their return.

[Sidenote: Care of Arms]

The infantryman’s rifle is his best friend. The personal care that
he gives to it is indicative of his soldierness and discipline. Your
rifle must be kept in prime condition, otherwise it may fail you at a
critical moment. A canvas breech cover that will protect the bolt and
magazine mechanism will be found a great advantage when the rifle is
not in use. Care must be taken to exclude mud and dirt from the bolt
mechanisms. Do not put mud-covered cartridges into the magazine. Wipe
them off first. Arrange a proper receptacle near your post for the
storage of your reserve ammunition. Be careful that you do not clog
the muzzle of the rifle with mud and dirt. If fired in this condition
it will ruin the rifle. Be careful not to clog up the sight cover with
mud. Oil the rifle frequently with good sperm oil. Half of the oilers
in the squad should be filled with oil and the other half with Hoppe’s
No. 9 Powder Solvent.

Rifles must be carefully inspected daily by platoon commanders and the
men required to work on them during the periods off post.

[Sidenote: Care of Trenches]

Repairs will have to be made daily. The widening of trenches in the
making of repairs should be strictly forbidden. Under no circumstances
must they be altered in any manner except on the order of the company

Platoon commanders will go over every part of the trench several times
daily with the squad leaders of the various sections and decide upon
the repairs and improvements to be made. A complete and thorough police
will be made prior to being relieved. All refuse will be removed. Fired
cartridges will be disposed of, as they might get imbedded in the
trench floor and hinder subsequent digging.

Each squad leader will be held strictly responsible for the state of
police of the section of trench occupied by his squad.

[Sidenote: Latrines]

Latrines are located at convenient points in the trenches. For the
men on duty in the first line they are generally dug to the flank of
a connecting trench and connected therewith by a passageway. Their
location is plainly marked.

The rules of sanitation are even more strictly observed in trenches
than they are in soldier camps. The trenches and passageways must not
under any circumstances be defiled. Latrines should be kept clean and
sanitary. They will be carefully protected from flies. The free use of
chloride of lime daily is an absolute necessity.

[Sidenote: Maps]

A complete detailed plan of our own trenches and as much as is known
of those of the enemy opposite should be made, and be available for
study and to refer to in making reports. Every bay of the trench should
be numbered, every traverse lettered. All junction points of fire and
communicating trenches, all dugouts, all posts, mortar positions,
machine-gun positions, observation posts, and any points that it may be
necessary to refer to in reports should be designated by numbers.

[Sidenote: Frost Bite; Chilled Feet]

The causes are:

1. Prolonged standing in cold water or liquid mud.

2. Tight boots and leggings, that interfere with the blood circulation.

[Sidenote: Prevention]

1. Before going into the trenches wash the feet and legs and dry them
thoroughly. The British Army has an issue of an anti-freeze mixture
which will probably be issued to our troops also. The feet and legs
should be rubbed with it. Put on perfectly dry socks. An extra pair of
dry socks should be carried.

2. During the period of service in the trenches the feet should be
treated in this manner from time to time.

3. When the feet are cold, hot water will not be used for washing nor
will they be held close to a fire.

4. Rubber boots must be worn only in the trenches. On no account must
they be worn while on reserve.

Trench Soldiers’ Creed

To be of the greatest effectiveness in the trench every soldier,
personally and collectively, must be able to adopt the following creed
and live up to it:

1. We are here for two purposes, to do as much damage as possible to
the enemy and to hold our section of the line against all attacks. We
are doing everything in our power to accomplish these missions. We
realize that every man of the enemy confronting us that is now placed
_hors de combat_ will be there ready to shoot us down when the assault
takes place. We realize also that if the enemy makes a lodgment on
our section of the line that it endangers others and a costly counter
attack may be necessary. We _will_ hold on.

2. With the means at hand and those we are able to devise we will make
the enemy’s stay in his trenches as uncomfortable and disagreeable as
possible. All of our utilities are being utilized to the fullest extent
and our various detachments are organized and their tactical operations
are conducted with this object in view.

3. We have done everything possible to strengthen our line.

4. If, despite all the precautions we can take and the hardest fight
we are able to make, the enemy succeeds in effecting a lodgment on our
section of the line, we will meet him with the bayonet and fight to the
last drop of our blood.

5. We are all familiar with the tactical dispositions in our section
of the line. Those of us on the flanks connect up with the platoons
to our right and left. We know the route to company and battalion
headquarters and know where the nearest support is located. We know
the position of our machine guns and the sector they cover. We are in
constant communication with the observing posts that cover our front,
and our observing posts covering the other platoons are in constant
communication with them.

6. We know the firing position assigned to us and are familiar with the
use to be made of the accessories furnished us. We can fire over the
parapet at the foot of our wire entanglements to repel night attack.

7. We will at all times be careful about needlessly exposing ourselves.
We appreciate the fact that it is absolutely stupid to get killed or
wounded in the trench through negligence. By so doing one has served no
purpose and a soldier cannot be replaced. Our leaders have warned us of
the especially dangerous places. We know where they are and avoid them
except when our presence there is necessary as a matter of duty.

8. The sections of the enemy’s line that we are to cover with our fire
have all been pointed out and each of us is familiar with same. We have
located the enemy’s loopholes and are doing our best to keep them under

9. We know our way and move noiselessly about the trenches. When we
enter and leave it is with absolute silence.

10. We are doing our utmost to collect information about the enemy,
his defenses, his activity, his movements, and especially his night
operations. All of this information we transmit immediately to the
platoon leader.

11. We know the best way to get over our parapet to reach the enemy.

12. Our appliances for protection from gas attacks are complete and
ready for instant use. We have our helmets on our persons ready to
put on. We are familiar with their use and have confidence in their
effectiveness. We will wait for the signal to don our gas helmets
(signal is usually made by beating a gong, and care must be taken
to follow exactly the directions for putting on the gas helmets;
carelessness may mean your disablement).

13. Our trenches are drained and every precaution is being taken to
keep the drains and sump holes in condition to perform their functions.

14. We have rendered the parapets and shelters throughout our sector
bullet-proof, and effective measures are being taken to prevent them
from caving in.

15. We are keeping our trenches sanitary and clean; our reserve
munitions are carefully stored in their proper places ready for instant
use. Refuse is always placed in receptacles when it can be carried
away. We do not under any circumstances litter up our trench floor. Our
empty shells are collected and sent to the rear.

16. Our rifles are our best friends. We keep them clean, well oiled,
and in readiness for instant use. Our bayonets we have with us at all
times ready to be placed on the rifle. We protect our rifle ammunition
from the mud, as we realize that muddy cartridges will clog the breech
mechanism and cause mal-function.

17. We are taking every precaution to prevent “trench feet;” when
practicable we take off our shoes and rub our feet for 15 minutes each
day. We do not wear tight shoes and leggings that tend to interfere
with blood circulation. We each have a pair of dry socks to put on. We
do not wear rubber boots except when it is absolutely necessary.

18. We observe the orders regarding the wearing of equipment.

19. We do not drink any water except that from authorized sources. We
replenish our canteens whenever practicable.

In addition to the above the platoon commander must be able to adopt
the following and· live up to them:

1. My sentries are posted in the proper places. They are posted by
noncommissioned officers. They have the proper orders. No man is
ever on duty more than one hour at a time. I visit them at frequent

2. I have a runner ready to carry a message to company headquarters. I
realize that any information of the enemy that I may secure may be of
great importance at regimental and other headquarters. I will therefore
send it back with the utmost dispatch.

3. I am familiar with the methods of communicating with the artillery,
of giving them information and of asking them for support.

4. My patrols operating to the front at night have been properly
instructed and are doing their duty effectively. All sentries in the
trench have been notified when they are out and cautioned to look out
for their return.

5. I have given complete and detailed instruction covering what to do
in case of gas attacks and the sending out of the S. O. S. signal. I
have gas and attack messages already prepared and ready to send after
inserting the time and place in them.

6. I know the name of every man in my platoon and they all know me.

7. I am here to inflict as much damage as possible on the enemy and to
hold my part of the line. _I will do it!_


The Attack in Trench Warfare

[Sidenote: Objectives]

The objectives which must be dealt with in the attack of an intrenched
position such as will be found on the western front are:

1. The trenches of the first line.

2. The supporting points.

3. The trenches of the second line.

By a study of the text preceding this you must realize that in the
defense of these objectives there will be employed artillery, rifles,
grenades and machine guns.

[Sidenote: Artillery Preparation]

The first phase of the attack is the artillery preparation. In order
that the infantry may make the attack with a minimum of losses, the
artillery must have destroyed the wire entanglements and obstacles
that obstruct the advance, or at least have sufficiently breached them
to permit their being negotiated. The destruction of these obstacles
is never complete. It would require too great an expenditure of
ammunition. The infantry occupying the hostile trenches must be simply
overwhelmed with artillery fire so that they will be unable to man the
parapets when the assault is launched. During the artillery preparation
the hostile infantry does not occupy their firing positions in the
trenches but remain in their dugouts, which are fully protected from
all but the heaviest shells. Only a few observers are left in the

When the bombardment against this particular part of the line ceases
the infantry leave their dugouts and man the firing positions. To
prevent this is one of the most important as well as most difficult
tasks of the artillery. This may be effected by a well-directed fire
on the exits to the dugouts with a view to caving them in and thus
preventing the egress of the occupants The enemy may sometimes be
induced to leave his shelter prematurely by the following ruse:

1. Cease the artillery fire.

2. Open a heavy rifle fire; this causes the enemy to believe that the
assault has begun and he will man his parapets in strength.

3. After waiting for several minutes open the artillery again with even
increased vigor.

The hostile infantry may be forced out of his dugouts by the use of
shells and grenades containing suffocating gases which penetrate the
shelters and make them untenable.

The artillery is also charged with putting the enemy’s artillery out of
action to prevent them from firing upon the attacking infantry.

If the enemy artillery is left free, it will shell our trenches and
approaches, causing casualties and confusion and thus interfering with
the formation for the attack. The location of hostile batteries is
effected by aerial reconnaissance.

Another task of the artillery is to prevent the hostile reserves from
coming up to reinforce their firing lines. These reserves will be
located back in the second line until their presence is required at
the front. As long as the artillery preparation continues they remain
in the shelters, but as soon as it ceases they man the trenches.
The artillery must therefore extend its fire to the second line and
continue it while the first line is being rushed. Back of the second
position the enemy holds strong reserves. The entrance of these into
action must be prevented. This is accomplished by extending the curtain
of fire still further to the rear. The supporting points must receive a
lion’s share of attention for, bristling with machine guns and trench
mortars, they are the really dangerous elements to the infantry attack
after it passes the first line trenches.

The weapon which inflicts the greatest losses on the assaulting
infantry is the machine gun, which appears suddenly out of the ground
and lays low whole units. By a careful reconnaissance these machine-gun
positions are ferreted out and every possible means are taken to effect
their destruction.

The effectiveness of the artillery preparation depends simply upon
superiority of guns and munitions. In this respect we now possess a
great advantage, for the state of our munition supply is such that our
artillery may fire several shells to one of the enemy. This is what
established the superiority.

[Sidenote: Organization of Infantry Attack]

The organization of the attacking infantry corresponds in a general
way to the organization of the position being attacked. A first line
of assault is organized. Its mission is the capture of the enemy’s
first line trenches. A second line follows, having for its mission
the assault and capture of the second line trenches. A separate
organization of these two lines is necessary for the reason that the
first attacking line is generally so disorganized in the fighting that
it no longer possesses the cohesion necessary to carry it through to
the second line. It has been found necessary to launch a comparatively
fresh and intact force against it.

As the first position is organized into several separate lines of
defense, so also is the first attacking line organized and launched in
two or more waves, those in rear being in the nature of reinforcements
to those in front.

[Sidenote: Objectives]

Each unit of the attacking line is assigned a distinct objective.
Certain units are given the mission of attacking the supporting points
to prevent their enfilading the units advancing through the intervals
between them.

The main efforts are made along the lines between the supporting
points, as to assault the latter would entail a casualty list not
commensurate with the results. The effort against them is made with a
view to neutralizing their effect. If the attack is successful in the
intervals, the supporting points will fall as a result.

The waves of the first line are directed against the first position,
the second against the second position. The reserves held under the
orders of the division commander are employed where the development of
the situation dictates.

Further to the rear, and under orders of the supreme commander, large
bodies of reinforcements are held ready to be moved rapidly to points
where progress has been made to such an extent that maneuver operations
are practicable.

[Sidenote: Preparation for the Assault]

Preparatory to the assault, numerous saps (trenches) are run out to the
front from the main firing trenches. The night before the attack, a
parallel is broken out connecting the sap heads. This parallel is amply
supplied with short ladders and is occupied by the companies composing
the first wave of the attack. The saps and the main trenches are also
filled with men assigned to the following waves, who will move into
the parallel as soon as the first wave leaves it. As the artillery
preparation ceases, the first waves rush up the ladders in succession
and move out to the assault.

[Sidenote: The First Wave]

As the artillery preparation against the first line is completed
and the curtain of fire shifted far into the enemy’s position, the
infantry of the first wave emerges from the parallel and moves out.
The formation and gait depend upon the distance to the hostile trench.
If the artillery preparation has been effective and the distance is
not more than 100 yards, it is expected that the wave will be able to
reach the fire trench without firing, except possibly when the wire
is reached. If the distance is much greater than 100 yards, it is
necessary to cover the advance with rifle fire. This is accomplished by
a line of skirmishers deployed at extended intervals, which precedes
the wave at about 50 yards. The wave starts out at a walk, carefully
aligned. It afterwards takes up the double time and advances by rushes
until the wire entanglements are reached.

From this moment the period of the charge and individual combat begins.
The men can no longer be kept from firing. Each tries to protect
himself with his rifle. Each man locates his opening in the wire
through which he is to go and makes for it. The line reforms on the
other side. With rifles at the high charge (a position to our old head
parry, but slanting slightly upward from right to left) the line rushes
upon the enemy. Each man runs straight towards the part of the trench
in front of him and jumps upon the parapet. By rifle shots and bayonet
thrusts he destroys everything in his way. Men selected in advance take
charge of the prisoners. The line is reformed, lying down just beyond
the fire trench, and fire is opened against the second line. Men are
positively forbidden to enter the communication trenches. They are most
inviting for cover, but a man rarely gets out of them.

The grenadier squad proceed to their work of clearing the fire and
communication trenches.

[Sidenote: The Second Wave]

The second wave of the first line starts forward at the moment the
first wave reaches the hostile trenches. If it starts sooner, it will
unite with the first at the entanglement and become involved in the
fight for the fire trench. It will be broken up prematurely and will be
unable to take advantage of the developments of the fight of the first
wave. The reinforcement by the second wave and the disorganization
produced by the assault lead to a mixture of units in the trenches
of the first position. Before starting out to the assault of the
next trench it is necessary that order be restored. When this is
accomplished the attack is launched against the second line. In front
of the supporting points the combat rages. The men are barely able to
hold on the outer edges. In the interval the advance has reached high
tide and has expanded like a wave and stopped. This is the limit that
can be expected of the first line.

Hasty cover is prepared and advantage taken of such cover as may exist.
All elements of the attack open fire on the second position.

[Sidenote: The Second Line]

Under the cover of these operations the second line has come up in a
series of three lines, where it is built up compact at the position
of the stopped first line. From this point its attack against the
enemy’s second line is launched. The lines are worked up to a point
from which the assault is to be made, and when the time comes the first
wave dashes out to the attack, followed by the second wave in the same
manner as the assault against the first position was made.

The action of the two lines of attack may be expected to overwhelm
the greater part of the two main hostile positions. At certain
points, however, the resistance will hold out, and, if not overcome,
will constitute points of support to which the enemy may bring up
reinforcements and even turn the tide of battle by a counter attack.

To deal with these points that hold out, as well as with hostile
reinforcements which may arrive, the reserve is launched into action,
which brings the attack into the open ground beyond the second line
of defense, and maneuver operations are begun. The mobile units are
rapidly thrown into action, and large forces from the general reserve
are hurried to the point where the lines of defense are broken through.

From what has gone before we may deduce that the following conditions
must prevail to attain success in an attack on a prepared position:

1. The attack must be planned down to the most minute detail.

2. There must be a greatly superior force of artillery concentrated at
the point of attack, and the artillery preparation must be thorough.

3. The infantry must be sufficient in number, training and morale to
perform the tasks that will be demanded of them.

4. The arrangements for the supply of ammunition to the firing line
must be planned and carried out in all its details.

5. Plans for meeting counter attacks must be thorough and complete. The
capture of a position is often less difficult than its retention.

6. Finally, every officer and man must know exactly what he is to do.

Scouting and Patrolling


  Capt. W. H. WALDRON
  29th Infantry
  Cloth Bound—Fits the Pocket

Price, 50 cents postpaid

The best, most complete and practical treatment of the subject that has
been produced.

What To Do and How To Do It

Just the book needed for the instruction of the enlisted men of your

Every soldier in the Army should have a copy and know its contents.

Endorsed by Leading Officers of the Army

  Published and for sale by
  The United States Infantry Association
  Union Trust Building
  Washington, D. C.

Comment from Leading Officers of the Army

“I have a copy of ‘Scouting and Patrolling’ and wish every other person
in the military service had one. You have presented an interesting and
very important subject in a very convenient, readable form and in its
logical sequence. I commend the book to all soldiers. They will benefit
by a careful study of its contents.”

“The most complete and valuable treatise on scout and patrol work that
has been published. The small size and shape of the little volume make
it a convenient pocket reference book suitable for field work.”

“It covers the duties that will fall to the lot of the soldier in time
of war better than any work heretofore published. I predict that every
company commander in the Army will eventually use it as a text-book in
the instruction of his organization.”

“Your book is excellent. I am amazed at the great amount of information
you have concentrated in such a small volume. I shall certainly
recommend it to the captains of my regiment as a book for instruction
in noncommissioned officers’ schools. I feel that I should congratulate
you on it as an American text-book on the subject that is far superior
to any of the foreign publications.”

“I find it be to an excellent work on the subject. It is thorough and
to the point. Its size, extremely small cost and valuable contents
ought to recommend it to every soldier in the Army.”

“I cordially endorse it as being wonderfully comprehensive and
comprehensible in covering the subject.”

“I am impressed with its simplicity and completeness. It is a most
valuable book for the noncommissioned officer and private.”

“The book is thoroughly practical and the arrangement admirable. It is
certainly the best book on the subject that I have ever seen.”

A few extracts from numerous book reviews

“Devoid of technicalities and written in an interesting and
understandable style. It is a most instructive book. With unessentials
eliminated, it gives a store of information in language that any man
can understand.”

“It covers a wide and difficult ground. The dozen chapters of the
little book not only instruct the soldier thoroughly in the duties
of reconnaissance but place at his convenient disposal a valuable
store of information as to military messages, signaling, map reading,
reconnaissance reports, first-aid and kindred subjects.”

“It covers very concisely every feature of this most important branch
of military training: it is entertainingly written and generously
illustrated throughout.”


By Capt. W. H. Waldron, 29th Infantry

To the Reader:

The up-to-date method of instruction and training in Minor Tactics is

1. Prepare a tactical problem covering the subject under consideration.

2. Take the noncommissioned officers out on a TACTICAL WALK and make a
solution of the various situations.

3. Follow this by taking the company out on a tactical exercise for the
solving of the identical problem that you solved in the TACTICAL WALK.

This method will bring results that will surprise you. In the Tactical
Walk, tactical situations are presented to the noncommissioned officers
for practical solution on the ground and they are firmly impressed on
the minds of the men. When the same problem is brought up for solution
with the troops you will see your noncommissioned officers going about
their various tasks in a business-like manner with a knowledge of what
to do and how to do it, that they have never had before. This inspires
the confidence of the men in their noncommissioned officers and as a
result the entire organization is lifted to a much higher “tactical
level” than they have been able to attain heretofore.

TACTICAL WALKS is an entirely original work. It was written with a view
to inaugurating this system of instruction and training throughout the
Army. The subjects included are:

Outposts, reconnoitering patrols, visiting patrols, advance guards,
flank guards, detached posts, organization of a small defensive
position. The largest unit considered is a company and that only
incidentally. The main element is the platoon and patrol.

For each walk a tactical problem has been prepared in blank. This can
be adapted to any terrain that is available.

Following the problem there are a number of tactical situations such as
one would encounter in actual service.

The discussions and explanations cover every phase of the subject under
consideration in a purely practical manner.

A practical solution is then arrived at and set forth.

At the end of the solution to each situation there is inserted a
Director’s Key, which gives the complete synopsis of what has gone

Every officer in the Army should have a copy. It will save a lot of
time preparing for the conduct of Tactical Walks. Every noncommissioned
officer should have a copy and study its contents. By so doing he
prepares himself for the duties that he will be called upon to perform
in the field.


The price is $1.50 per copy, postage paid.

Copies of the book may be had from any one of the agencies enumerated
on page v of this book.

  _Captain, Twenty-ninth Infantry_.

  │ Transcriber’s Note:                                               │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.      │
  │ Others are noted below.                                           │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters, _like    │
  │ this_, Words in bold characters are surrounded by equal signs,    │
  │ =like this=.                                                      │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs    │
  │ and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that    │
  │ references them.                                                  │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Other corrections:                                                │
  │                                                                   │
  │ p. 13: Frustrom --> frustum (… a frustum of a cone….)             │
  │ p. 75: dorm --> form (The form is then raised….)                  │
  │ p. 78: staple --> stable (… make a stable, compact pile….)        │
  │ p. 109: Plate 40a re-numbered to 41e.                             │
  │ p. 116: Plate 41a re-numbered to 41f.                             │
  │ p. 120: Plate 41 re-numbered to 42.                               │
  │ p. 126: machacoulis --> machicoulis (Machicoulis gallery in       │
  │          background.)                                             │
  │ p. 127: he --> be (Loopholes should be screened….)                │
  │ p. 155: he --> be (… tasks that will be demanded of them.)        │

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