Why Trenches? – WW1 Uncut: Dan Snow – BBC

Why Trenches? – WW1 Uncut: Dan Snow – BBC


So what do you think about the [first] [world] [war] you just think about trenches you think about Trench warfare Trench [boat] digging trenches? Why were the trenches such a big part [will] go on Michael Douglas mull mate from the one show Celebrity Hairdresser [an] obsessed by world war one it’s on the western front which stretches from the English channel Right away to the alps over 400 mile trenches the whole way John was on one side allies on the other Absolutely key and they had to dig those trenches because it was so dangerous to be above ground But it surely it’s dangerous to dig a trench in the middle of a field It’s dangerous dig a trench, but the most dangerous thing of all is to be standing in a field above the ground That’s why they had to spend 1 3 years in those trenches [evoke] very little movement It was stalemate, but I don’t still don’t understand when they storm the beaches on D-Day They did [down] a few couple of days or something near there what 3 years, [they’re] in trenches a lot of people think oh God they must been so stupid all those generals must be idiots in fact it is Extremely difficult [some] [of] the cleverest people in the world working on this problem, and it took them years to sort out They were stuck in the trenches [they] [were] keeping their heads down and they just couldn’t get across the field [and] today I brought you here to explain. Why that is great. I can’t wait, [so] [basically] this is a classic western front style lands get like this rolling field Not much cover a few little hedgerows This is exactly the kind of place that in 1914 the [British] and the Germans will have ended up facing each other across so here We are me the british We wanted the soldiers to go across that field and kill or capture Germans get rid of them force them [back] to Germany, right? Sounds pretty easy it took them more than three years to do [that] warfare is about going where you want When you want to do what you want, and I want you to go across that field and get to the other side, okay? And how do I go across and I’ll go across like that. Yes, you can’t [leave] in that you can try that do that yep You bet that You try though. I don’t want to have a good [dinner]. Yeah. Have a gun. It’s not gonna be that hard And just like 1914 there’ll be someone out to stop it Let’s get across the other side of the field should be easy [noor] is Brilliant horrible, huh, well But that accurately shows I’m afraid what would have happen to you in 1914 every single German Soldiers got a rifle You [can] kill a man at four or five [hundred] meters no problem You can shoot [ten] times a minute and above all there are lots and lots of Germans Millions of them in the German army so these hedgerows would have been crawling with German Soldiers There’s not as easy crossing that field as you might think yeah So basically go back out there run around crawl around try shoot and do whatever you can let’s see how close you can get oh I don’t know why you want me to do this. They’re Indians the [ants] [are] the worst bit That place [and] Michael [here’s] taking a lot of punishment of course if this [was] world [war] 1 he’d be cut to pieces by This area in front of him as Michael is experiencing would have been a killing zone [humming] this is utterly pointless doing this. I don’t even know what I’m shooting her. [I] [mean], I’m just making myself look more visible he’s standing out there in the open from a fires rifle the fact is he’s still a sitting duck ah ah As well as the rifle bullets bit of an accent hail of machine gun bullets and then on top of the lat they would have been artillery ah Right now you’re looking a bit dejected pointlessness Well, you’re right. That was hard, right? Give me that I told you a trifle in too much juice not this that is more useful a rifle on the western front That is an entrenching tool It’s basically a small spade because as you’ve seen you’re not much use in the open So you’ve got to get on the ground wait for nightfall And that is why Trench warfare begin so go so go to Kiki atelier got to get on the ground You’ve got to dig yourself a hole And you know the good thing is Michael area when you get killed I got a jCb m dig a trench so down about that come this way Most Obvious thing to do is this wait till it’s dark because I was they could see you out there in the light So deal another go now. Yeah, well it’s gonna be easier than the dark take the battle for the enemy my friend No, it’s the nuns in the church. That’s what I want to say yeah Okay Becky’s coming back [I] Me all Riley. There’s wild out there man [I] should have told him basically that both sides realized you could illuminate the battlefield quite Well using those flares so they can make it almost bright as day so tacky at night is also a big challenge [I] mean, I’m one man and will you take 10,000 men and send them across there surely? I mean, it’s a bit harsh, but surely they’d break through with it Uh yeah you know that they tried that Unfortunately the methods of killing by world war one was so effective that you could almost have people bumper-to-bumper [and] you’d pretty much guarantee of kill them all well How else then I mean presumably you could dig tunnels could you you could good points there were? Thousands of guys digging Tunnels from both sides unfortunately the Germans realize that you’d have these Tunnels meeting each other battles going on underground people trying to blow up each other tunnels. It’s complete nightmare, but yeah, they tried They absolutely did try that presumably had planes and they could drop bombs So why don’t you just fly in a lot of planes bomb all the German trenches? Boom planes have only been flying for a few years just over a decade They didn’t have the capability of dropping bombs accurately on people now I appreciate these trenches were quite wide but what why don’t you just go round them and then on the bat? Big prawn with the western front is it’s a continuous belt of trenches like this for over 400 miles Think the English channels at One end We can’t send them on swimming around the Edge and the [other] end neutral Switzerland very Mountainous country And it’s neutral so you can’t invade switzerland. So you’ve got no choice [you] pending on the western front You’ve got to go through the Germans So if we’re 1914 now the best place [for] us is just to sit tight for at least two years yeah you have a cup of tea then perfect this some you got ill [Graham] this devil Gray in 1940 so ah It’s a cup of hot mud. I got one cup enough to give me someone else very got two years to wait Still quiet on the western front

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