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Idea of the strength of the German barbed wire at Beaucourt

Idea of the strength of the German barbed wire at Beaucourt

Front line trenches on both sides of the Western Front were guarded by belts of barbed wire. The dilemma facing the attacking soldiers was how to cut through such barbed wire defences while under heavy machine-gun fire. Until tanks were used more effectively later on in the struggle, no major breakthroughs were achieved, so the conflict became a war of attrition.

As if the deadly combination of barbed wire, snipers and heavy machine-gun fire was not enough, landmines also became a standard defensive strategy on the Western Front - though they were considered far too barbaric to be deployed during the wars early stages. Night patrols had the unenviable task of fixing any parts of the barbed wire defence that had been breached by artillery fire. Given the defensive strength of the opposing trench systems, it is easy to see how the situation soon became one of bloody stalemate.

[Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE WESTERN FRONT. An idea of the strength of the German barbed wire at Beaucourt.']

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Photo prise le 1 janvier 1918 (© National Library of Scotland / Flickr)

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 nls:shelfmark=, nls:voyagerid=, photographic prints, flanders, france, beaucourt, barbed wire, black-and-white prints (photographs), propaganda, trenches, war photography, photojournalism, world war, 1914-1918 campaigns western front, ww1
 

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