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#1
I've been interested in the World Wars for a while now, and I was reading up on the trench-warfare strategies employed in the first world war when I began to wonder if I came across something that no one had thought of before. Although, it's very likely that there is something which I am missing that completely offsets the entire idea, but I'll present it to you for your judgment and commentary.

If the intent of trench warfare was to gain land piece by piece by the hundreds of yards, would it not excite the enemy if all of a sudden they triumphed over you and took a series of your trenches for their own? Would they not become exuberant over victory and slightly less wary of the danger that await? Would it not make sense, in the eyes of the commanding officers of the first World War, to simply mine the entirety of a set of their own trenches, purposefully allow the opposing forces to occupy it totally, and then detonate the mines?

To me, it seems to be sound and logical. If the mines, whatever sort they were, were buried under the surface of the trench floors (if they were buried into the walls they might collapse the trench, diminishing its purpose), and not in plain view, I don't think they would take the time to search for them. From the descriptions I've read of soldiers' stories, they simply stormed the trenches frantically and hoped for the best sometimes. It appears to me that this fanaticism would simply make it too easy to perform an operation such as I have described above.

Please tell me there's something I'm missing. It's been bothering me for days... Also, comments! Anything you want to say, say it. Unless 'tis hateful.
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#2
It would take a lot of time, something you don't have on the battlefield.
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#3
Sounds good to me.

Not sure if they had mines in that situation, or if the cost of mines would be enough for the amount of people it took out, but other than that it sounds logical.
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#4
I don't think they would have time to dig another set of trenches and then make a mine field out of them before the enemy rushed them.
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#5
They had sappers to dig underneath trenches to plant huge bombs. I visited one of the crates in Belgium and it's huge. It's a good idea, but it's hard to get resources through the mud to repair the trenches after they've been blown. And if you counterattacked after all the explosions, there would still be Germans in your trenches that survived, and the reserves in the German trench over No Mans Land.

Edit: Plus German reconnaissance would see what you're up to, and then you'll need the Germans to see that you're not in the trenches. They won't attack if you're there, but if you aren't and they do attack, it'll take you off guard.

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#6
It would be way too dangerous to mine your own trench.


imagine if you had an artillery shell hit inside the trench. it would probably cause the mines to detonate, creating even more casualties.
#7
I don't think they had the time to dig a bunch of mines into a trench. They were fighting a war, after all.

Good idea, though.
#8
Well, I'm no soldier, so maybe they're better disciplined than me, but if my commanding officer told me to stand in this mine-filled trench here and intentionally let the enemy take it, I might just consider disobeying my orders.

But I understand the concept you've got going there.
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#9
What I'm wondering is that I've never heard of it being used, ever, even in a key situation where 100 yards of gained land could mean complete victory. And I'm not sure daisy chaining 20-30 bricks of explosive wouldn't take more than a few hours.

Keep in mind, they did not fight during the nighttime hours! They had plenty of time to perform strategical operations. As long as they weren't too loud as to alert the opposition..
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#10
Quote by daytripper75
It would be way too dangerous to mine your own trench.


imagine if you had an artillery shell hit inside the trench. it would probably cause the mines to detonate, creating even more casualties.


C4 takes an enormous amount of focused energy to detonate. I don't know if they would use a less stable explosive. But I see your point.
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#11
Quote by daytripper75
It would be way too dangerous to mine your own trench.


imagine if you had an artillery shell hit inside the trench. it would probably cause the mines to detonate, creating even more casualties.


This and if they were to dig a decoy trench it would probably take too much time.
#12
I dont think its whether it will work, its whether it was worth the time and cost.

Unless those couple of hundred yards were the last couple of hundred away from, say, Hitler's bunker, I dont think it was that imperative that they were mined.

Besides, trench warfare, from my understanding, was more to stall and keep the enemy at bay, rather than actually win.

It was the raids and bombings and missions like those that made the difference. The biggest wins/losses werent involving trenches, but all out fights like Stalingrad and taking Normandy, or bombings like the ones that were carried out almost nonstop.
#14
Quote by redflag69
I dont think its whether it will work, its whether it was worth the time and cost.

Unless those couple of hundred yards were the last couple of hundred away from, say, Hitler's bunker, I dont think it was that imperative that they were mined.

Besides, trench warfare, from my understanding, was more to stall and keep the enemy at bay, rather than actually win.

It was the raids and bombings and missions like those that made the difference. The biggest wins/losses werent involving trenches, but all out fights like Stalingrad and taking Normandy, or bombings like the ones that were carried out almost nonstop.



you seem to be mixing WWI and WWII together.
#15
It wouldn't work in the long term, methinks.
Soon both sides would be doing it and there wouldn't be any movement whatsoever.
#16
That might be a good way to kill the enemy, but you lose the land, which defeats the purpose. The enemy wouldn't send all their troops forward at once; your mined trench would kill their first wave, but then you couldn't retake it because of the enemies who stayed behind and are still capable of covering No Man's Land with heavy fire. It's strategically unsound to give up territory just to inflict casualties.
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#17
Quote by Firequacker
Keep in mind, they did not fight during the nighttime hours! They had plenty of time to perform strategical operations. As long as they weren't too loud as to alert the opposition..


This is true. But if you've ever read/saw "All Quiet on the Western Front" then you know that people bombed the shit out of stuff during the night.

But as for the German's that may have survived will be rendered basically useless. Those who've read "Johnny Got His Gun" should know this.

I just finished reading it
#18
Quote by Firequacker
C4 takes an enormous amount of focused energy to detonate. I don't know if they would use a less stable explosive. But I see your point.


Most trench warfare was done in World War I, I'm not sure if C4 was used, but I always thought C4 was more recent that that.
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#19
But you see, when the enemy leaves the trench, they're gonna get shot, you were pretty much trapped in them.
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#21
I always thought it would be good to tunnel under to the other side of the enemies trench. Then attack from both sides.
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#22
Quote by redflag69
I dont think its whether it will work, its whether it was worth the time and cost.

Unless those couple of hundred yards were the last couple of hundred away from, say, Hitler's bunker, I dont think it was that imperative that they were mined.

Besides, trench warfare, from my understanding, was more to stall and keep the enemy at bay, rather than actually win.

It was the raids and bombings and missions like those that made the difference. The biggest wins/losses werent involving trenches, but all out fights like Stalingrad and taking Normandy, or bombings like the ones that were carried out almost nonstop.

Wrong war dude Although you have a good point.

The trenches in World War was to stop the enemy advancing further, and it did a good job of doing so, creating huge stalemates across Europe O_o. There aren't many tactics you can employ in trench warfare, other than gassing/artillery strikes on the enemy and hoping for the best.

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#23
Quote by daytripper75
you seem to be mixing WWI and WWII together.


I know, its just that TS mentioned both World Wars, so I figured Id use both in my examples :P

EDIT: wait, oops nvm lol he had WWI on his mind. Brain fart on my part haha
#24
Quote by Firequacker
What I'm wondering is that I've never heard of it being used, ever, even in a key situation where 100 yards of gained land could mean complete victory. And I'm not sure daisy chaining 20-30 bricks of explosive wouldn't take more than a few hours.

Keep in mind, they did not fight during the nighttime hours! They had plenty of time to perform strategical operations. As long as they weren't too loud as to alert the opposition..


Like the battle where the two sides were fighting for months on end in what was essentially a stalemate, gaining and losing a few yards a day. I forget what battle or if it was WWI or WWII, but you get the idea.
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#25
I don't think it sounds like a terrible Idea but I don't think it would be that practical. For each mine you could probably only kill maybe 1-3 people which isn't that many considering the effort that it would take to dig a trench and install the mine, it would have been much more effective to use the trench and put up barbed wire or something similar instead; this was working really well for them already so why try something different?
edit:^ I would guess the battle was the somme in WW1
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#26
+1 to the mustard gas.

In terms of cost and materials, it is much easier to merely gas a trench after its lost than:
-to mine it before hand,
-hope the mines dont explode
-hope the plan is not discovered/undermined
-lose the trench and never be able to retake it.
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#27
Not enough precious time, my friend. And if the enemy was getting into some of your trenches that were hundreds of yards away, how would you know when they are in your trench. I just finished up a chapter of World War I in World History class.
#28
Quote by Sonicxlover
Like the battle where the two sides were fighting for months on end in what was essentially a stalemate, gaining and losing a few yards a day. I forget what battle or if it was WWI or WWII, but you get the idea.


most of WWI was a stalemate
#29
Quote by redflag69
I dont think its whether it will work, its whether it was worth the time and cost.

Unless those couple of hundred yards were the last couple of hundred away from, say, Hitler's bunker, I dont think it was that imperative that they were mined.

Besides, trench warfare, from my understanding, was more to stall and keep the enemy at bay, rather than actually win.

It was the raids and bombings and missions like those that made the difference. The biggest wins/losses werent involving trenches, but all out fights like Stalingrad and taking Normandy, or bombings like the ones that were carried out almost nonstop.


You are thinking of WW2, WW1 was all about the trench warfare. As a matter of fact France didn't count on the Blitzkrieg......or Germany going through Belgium (I don't understand why they thought Germany would follow the rules after Hitler broke the rules sooo much leading up to WW2) but France, along the French/German barrier made an insane super trench just in preparation for another long drawn out trench warfare.
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#30
Quote by tayroar
You are thinking of WW2, WW1 was all about the trench warfare. As a matter of fact France didn't count on the Blitzkrieg......or Germany going through Belgium (I don't understand why they thought Germany would follow the rules after Hitler broke the rules sooo much leading up to WW2) but France, along the French/German barrier made an insane super trench just in preparation for another long drawn out trench warfare.



A huge trench system. Only a handful of planned attacks ever got any momentum. If anyone ever did take a trench, you didn't have any communication to tell your trench that it's safe for the moment and you need reinforcements, so the reserves usually owned the already weakened attacking force. That was 4 years of warfare...

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#31
Mines were expensive, hard to build and unsafe. If one detonated prematurely (which happened alot if you look into it) the entire line which you suggest could be hundreds would go off. This would cause you to demolish an entire line of trench, waste all kinds of time, explosives and likely many people would be killed.

If your thinking space them out so one explosion doesnt start a chain reaction, theres also the fact that they saw a bomb go off in the enemy trench so they would be a little suspicious.

I wasnt there but thats the logic Id put behind not setting up boobytrap trenches.
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#32
Quote by Zero-Hartman


A huge trench system. Only a handful of planned attacks ever got any momentum. If anyone ever did take a trench, you didn't have any communication to tell your trench that it's safe for the moment and you need reinforcements, so the reserves usually owned the already weakened attacking force. That was 4 years of warfare...


That says 1914 I'm talking about the maginot line. They didn't think Germany would go through Belgium at all. Germany taking France was like 2 weeks tops not 4 years.
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#33
Quote by tayroar
That says 1914 I'm talking about the maginot line. They didn't think Germany would go through Belgium at all. Germany taking France was like 2 weeks tops not 4 years.

Ah cool They used the trains didn't they? I think I remember reading about that. I'm just saying that WWI was 4 years of mainly trench warfare. Damn shame.

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#34
You just came up with the idea of ambushing the enemy.

Congratulations.
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#35
Russians sorta used that concept in WWII. They let the German push them back deep into Mother Russia, soon or later the Germans found themselves ill prepared for the winter.
#36
Quote by Øttər
You just came up with the idea of ambushing the enemy.

Congratulations.


Well, of course, I'm not THAT stupid :P

I was simply proposing a form of ambush I had not heard of before, and that is apparently obselete.
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#37
Quote by Zero-Hartman
Ah cool They used the trains didn't they? I think I remember reading about that. I'm just saying that WWI was 4 years of mainly trench warfare. Damn shame.


I know they used trains for something. Not sure if it was to take over France. The only use for trains I could imagine is taking supplies to the front line. What Germany did was use the Blitzkrieg which was way too fast for anyone to deal with. Basically they'd bomb the hell out of a place, then they'd send in tanks to kill stuff then infantry and they were very fast.
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#38
Quote by gateway8909
Russians sorta used that concept in WWII. They let the German push them back deep into Mother Russia, soon or later the Germans found themselves ill prepared for the winter.


The Russians also did this to Napoleon. You would have thought Hitler woulda have learned from Napoleon's mistake.
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#39
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It would take a lot of time, something you don't have on the battlefield.


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#40
Quote by Sonicxlover
Like the battle where the two sides were fighting for months on end in what was essentially a stalemate, gaining and losing a few yards a day. I forget what battle or if it was WWI or WWII, but you get the idea.

Verdun, Somme, Passchendaele?
It's been a while I forget which was which

Quote by tayroar
I know they used trains for something. Not sure if it was to take over France. The only use for trains I could imagine is taking supplies to the front line. What Germany did was use the Blitzkrieg which was way too fast for anyone to deal with. Basically they'd bomb the hell out of a place, then they'd send in tanks to kill stuff then infantry and they were very fast.

The German train lines got destroyed early on, they were going to use them to get troops to France quicker though
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Last edited by StratPat at Nov 13, 2008,
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