Although wars have relied on the latest technologies, the best types of weapons and the deadliest, this has not negated the importance of trenches in combat, as evidenced by events following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, according to the British The Times newspaper.
The British military expert, former general Richard Barrons, explains that the importance of trenches was evident in the wars of the nineteenth century, after artillery and heavy weapons entered the battlefield.
He pointed out that the speed of a modern rifle bullet can reach 2000 miles per hour, and although it may only weigh a few grams, its effect on the soldiers is disastrous, as it has the ability to destroy the bodies of five people. which in the same line.
Typically, a single machine gun will fire bullets at a high density of 1,000 rounds per minute, wreaking havoc among soldiers within a strip over a mile in diameter.
Also illustrating the importance of trenches is that an artillery shell with a diameter of 155 mm, weighing 96 pounds, and having a range of 24 km, is capable of killing dozens of soldiers 50 meters from the point of detonation make if they are not fastened. in trenches, because the fragments of these shells are small and sharp, and reach His speed is 3 thousand feet per second.
According to the British expert, the fragments of six shells of this type fired at the same moment have the potential to cover an area the size of a football field in a few moments.
“The End of the Napoleonic Era”
Ditches to fight and survive were a feature of the American Civil War during the 1860s, as they formed strong barriers to repel the attacks of horse teams and monitor the opposing side’s soldiers present in the open ground, and thereby causing great losses to them. .
And the American Civil War represented the “transition” from the Napoleonic phase, which, according to the directions of the famous French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, centered on battles between armies to “total war” with accompanying and heavy losses to had a consequence. and mobilization of civilians and continuous renewal of war machines, especially armored vehicles and submarines, as well as Use of railways and trenches as a “tool to prevent the enemy from advancing”.
In the First World War, an enormous chain of trenches spread so rapidly from the English Channel coast to the Swiss border that fighting in the open was very deadly.
One of the most prominent examples of this is the death of more than 60,000 Allied soldiers within two hours during the chapters of the Battle of the Somme, France, on July 1, 1916.
At the beginning of that battle, the Allied forces attempted to storm German army trenches protected by barbed wire fences, causing them to suffer heavy losses.
Today, the invading Russian forces slowly retreating westward into the Donbass face the same obstacles as in previous wars. It is very difficult to destroy or capture the trenches, and the same applies to the Ukrainian forces who are retreating with the same concern to the Russian trenches look. .
Barons believes that it was the artillery that inflicted the greatest losses on both sides, which he estimated at 330,000 dead, noting that the artillery shell could reach any point on the battlefield.
He also pointed out that snipers have the ability to target exposed soldiers from a mile away, which is why trenches remain the best thing that can be done to protect soldiers and reduce losses during combat in open areas.
In order for the trenches to be effective, they must be supported by top piles of sandbags and concrete of at least three feet. Here, the British expert confirms that the trenches must be deep so that the soldiers can eat and sleep, and remain immune from the effects of the ground level bombing.
He continued, “With the availability of the necessary expertise, sleeping quarters, dining rooms and medical facilities can be established at a depth of 15 feet underground, provided electrical power and good ventilation are available.”
With the onset of winter, and the entry of the war into its tenth month, the intensity of his field battles has recently decreased, due to the snow and rain, and the arrival of frost at dawn and at night, while the Ukrainian soldiers still stationed in their trenches.
From inside one of those mud-covered trenches, one of the soldiers told Reuters: “What can I say? We’re in a pretty good situation, but it’s more difficult now because of the rain and the frost. “
He also added, pointing to one of the trenches that was filled with water: “It’s like a swamp … although it dried up a little today.”
However, it is rare to see a photo of a Ukrainian soldier who does not look well-equipped and in good health, while the soldiers in the Kremlin forces are ill-equipped in the trenches.
“We already know that some Russian families had to send the equivalent of $1,000 to buy basic winter clothes for boys who were mobilized and sent to fight,” adds Barrons.
The military expert insists that competent commanders are those who can find effective ways and solutions to distribute shifts to soldiers in the trenches, giving others a time of rest and warmth in the rear areas.
And he added: “Leaving the soldiers in those deep pits for long periods of time affects their morale and makes them vulnerable to surrender and fleeing the battlefronts.”