What Was Trench Warfare?



 World War One saw the wide spread use of the trench. We are going to make a judgment about how effective trench warfare was in World War One, and what the consequences of it were.

– What were the tactics used in trench warfare?
– How many people were killed in trench warfare?
– What did trench warfare achieve?

NOTE: Download the trench warfare sheet here. Save it to your computer, this will be where you record your answers. Remember to save as you go!

‘Starting Out – Some knowledge first’




Click here to load up the Spartacus web page on the World War One Trench system. Read the first two paragraphs, briefly note down on your sheet how trench warfare started.

In order for us to understand trench warfare we need to know the individual parts that make up a trench. To do this were going to look at a cross section of a trench on the ‘History on the net’ website. Click around the diagrams on the website to find out about the different parts that make up a trench.

‘Time to start thinking’ 
Were going to look at some sources which tell us how trench warfare was fought, we need to decide how effective it was.
Check out the sources on ‘I Love History’, which focus on the Battle of the Somme. This was a very famous battle from the First World War. Fill out the table on your activity sheet, soldier’s views and Haig’s views. Are there any differences?
Click here for soldier’s views, click here for Haig’s views; now fill out the final part of the table – View from Britain.  
What does this page from Spartacus say about how trench warfare was fought, do you think this was a good way to fight? Look at the first two paragraphs and the image, note down your answer on your sheet.
To finish this lesson off we need to reach a judgment about how effective trench warfare was. Write a paragraph on your sheet answering this question:
How effective was trench warfare?
You should include:
– What were the tactics used?
– How many people died?
– What was achieved?

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