What were the four types of trenches used by the Allies in WWI?
The trench system during World War One consisted of at least three parallel trench lines dug in zig-zag patterns. The zig-zag pattern prevented enemy combatants from firing directly down the line of trenches. Parallel trench lines were interconnected by perpendicular communications trenches.
The front-line trench or outpost line was usually situated closest to No Man's Land. In war, No Man's Land constitutes the area between opposing trench systems. During World War One, most front-line trenches were protected by sand-bag walls and barricades of tangled, barbed wire. Front-line trenches were usually only about eight feet deep, but by 1918, the Germans had managed to construct trench systems that were at least 14 miles deep in some areas. Bolt-holes were often carved out on each side of the front-line trench to allow soldiers to eat, rest, or sleep. The front-line trench was most vulnerable to attacks and reported the greatest number of casualties during battle.
Behind the front-line trench was the support trench, situated some 75 meters behind the first trench. The support trench often contained first-aid stations and makeshift kitchens to serve the needs of soldiers on the front lines. Support trenches also housed extra reinforcement forces to replace fallen soldiers from the front lines.
The reserve trench was situated at least 300 meters behind the support trench. Reserve trenches were rarely overrun; because of this, they housed newer soldier recruits, extra medical supplies, food, and cook personnel.
The communications trenches ran perpendicular to the front-line, support, and reserve trenches. Communications trenches facilitated the transport of soldiers to field hospitals for treatment. Often, communications trenches also housed war engineers. These engineers were responsible for operating and maintaining crucial communications hardware; they were also tasked with surveying enemy lines and ensuring the continued viability of transport operations behind the front-lines.
The use of trenches in World War I played a major role in how battles were fought. The allies in particular implemented four specific types of trenches.
One type of trench, utilized by the allies, was commonly referred to as the front line trench, due to its close proximity to the front line. It was out of these trenches that the allies would fight or launch attacks.
A second type of trench was commonly referred to as a support trench and was located in close proximity behind the front line trench. The support trench served to house reinforcements, and supplies, for the front line troops that could be quickly transported to the front line trench.
A third type of trench was commonly referred to as a reserve trench and was found dug "several hundred yards" behind the support and front line trenches. These reserve trenches contained more supplies and men that were at the ready to fight should the more forward trenches become over run by attacking enemy soldiers.
Finally, a forth type of trench that was utilized by the allies was commonly referred to as a communication trench. These trenches were dug between the other three types of trenches and were used to transport messages, soldiers, and supplies through out the trench system. Hope this helps!