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Military Handbooks: The Plattsburg Manual

Ordinarily infantry intrenches itself whenever it is compelled to halt

for a considerable time in the presence of the enemy. (Infantry Drill

Regulations.) Trenches are constructed with a view of giving cover which

will diminish losses, but they must not be so built or placed as to

interfere with the free use of the rifle. A good field of fire is the

first consideration. The construction of a trench is simple, but the

cation of it is difficult. If possible, trenches are laid out in

company lengths.

Intrenchments usually take the following form:

(1) Hasty Cover. Constructed by troops with the tools they carry on

their person. It is a shallow trench with a parapet at least three feet

thick and one foot high. It furnishes cover against rifle fire, but

scarcely any against shrapnel.

(2) Fire Trench. It should be deep and narrow with the parapet flat

and concealed. While in it, the troops fire at the enemy; hence the name

fire trench.

Usual forms of fire trenches are as shown in the following illustration:

(3) Support Trenches. The supports sleep and live in these trenches;

hence they are covered. The cover (roof) must be thick enough to afford

protection from high angle artillery fire. It is placed as near the fire

trench as possible.

(4) Approach Trenches. These connect fire trenches with the support

trenches and the support trenches with any trenches in rear where

natural covered communication is impracticable.

They are zig-zagged to escape being enfiladed. (That is, to prevent one

explosion from doing too much damage in a single trench.) During an

engagement, troops by using these trenches can go safely to the help

of the troops in the fire trenches. They are usually deep and narrow.

(5) Intermediate Trenches. They are constructed in rear of the support

trenches when the ground renders it possible to offer a stubborn

resistance between the support and the reserve trenches. They are

constructed like fire trenches.

(6) Reserve Trenches. Constructed like the fire trenches and occupied

by the local reserves who live in deep dug-outs. The intermediate and

reserve trenches are often merged into the support trenches. All are

protected by barbwire entanglements. No set plan of trenches can be

used. The topographical features of the ground must govern.