Why did the Australian Imperial Forces use trenches?
When fighting the stalemate on the western front, the Australian Imperial Forces had dug in and built long trenches along the ground. The trenches they built were long dug out gullies, they had small areas off the main trenches for the soldiers to live and the long main trench was usually covered with barbed wire up top to stop the enemy getting in. The trenches made were practically impenetrable. The 3 most common reasons trenches were built was because of the machine gun stopping them from pushing and thus creating a stalemate where neither side could shove forward, they used less resources than creating a above ground base and they provided great defences from the constant battle. These are the same reasons that the Australian Imperial Forces built trenches on the western front.
The machine gun used on the western front was far more deadly than any other rifle. The machine gun’s stand absorbed all the recoil from firing, giving the firer great accuracy. When facing this on the battlefield you were at a great disadvantage and so the opposing sides were forced to hang back and dig trenches so they weren't shot down in seconds. The machine was easily the most feared weapon on the war field as it was so new to that time period and shot around 500 rounds per minute. This stopped both sides from pushing forward and creating the long, troop consuming stalemate.
When on the battlefield, under constant fire, you needed quick and easy defences that could be made anywhere. Trenches were dug out on average, according to the guidelines for British trench construction, by ‘450 men 6 hours (at night) to complete 250 m (275yd) of front-line trench system’. These trenches were much simpler than an above ground base as they just needed to be dug out and could be made anywhere. Also, an above ground base would have made an easy target for cannons, gun fire and grenades and would be flattened in minutes.
A trench provided great defence from the ongoing battle on the Western Front and beaches of Gallipoli. These trenches had barbed wire defences in front of the front line trench, stopping infantry from rushing in. This line was called the ‘Barbed wire entanglement defence line’. Just before no man’s land was a few wire obstacles and at the back after the ‘First support line’ trench was the artillery line which had the machine guns and cannons. All these defences made the trenches practically impenetrable.
Written By Hayden Watts.