Preparing A Defensive Position





Now let us suppose ourselves as part of a battalion that is to occupy a

defensive position. What would probably be done? How and in what order

would it be done? What would the major do? He would decide upon the kind

of defense (active or passive) to offer, and then find a suitable

defensive position in harmony with his plans. He would determine

exactly where the firing and other trenches are to be dug. He would

then call up the company commanders and issue his defense order in which

the task of each company would be made clear. Those to occupy the firing

line would each be assigned a sector of ground to the front to defend

and a corresponding section of the fire trench to construct. The

supports would construct their trenches and the communicating trenches.

He would, if necessary, issue the necessary orders to protect the front

and flanks by sending out patrols. He would indicate how the position is

to be strengthened and make arrangements for distributing the extra

ammunition. If time is a serious consideration, the major would direct

the work to be done in the order of its importance, which is ordinarily

as follows:



(1) Clearing of foreground to improve the field of fire and construction

of fire trench.



(2) Head or overhead cover concealment.



(3) Placing obstacles and recording ranges.



(4) Cover trenches for supports and local reserves.



(5) Communicating trenches.



(6) Widening and deepening of trench; interior conveniences.



Now having cleared the foreground, dug the trenches, recorded ranges to

the important objects in each sector, etc., the position can be

occupied. The citizen ordinarily pictures the firing trench full of

soldiers when he is told the trenches are occupied. Not so. Patrols

would be operating well to the front to give timely warning to one or

two sentinels in each company fire trench of the approach of the enemy.

These sentinels would in turn inform the company which would probably be

resting in the trenches in the rear.





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