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earthen field structures that serve in combat as fire positions and primitive shelters for personnel and materiel.
Trenches are used in defense and when waging other types of combat. There are trenches for individuals, squads, machine guns, field guns, mortars, and tanks. The individual trench (foxhole) for firing prone is usually dug with a small spade by a soldier under enemy fire (depth, 20–30 cm; length, 150–170 cm). Subsequently the foxhole is deepened, first to permit firing from a kneeling position and later to permit firing standing up. When the foxholes are connected by ditches, a squad trench is made. It consists of the trench itself with a parapet and parados, compartments for one or two soldiers, platforms for machine guns, primitive shelters for personnel, and a niche for ammunition. The squad trench is a squad position 50–60 m long. Strongpoint squad positions are interconnected by continuous trenches, and communications trenches lead away from them.
Trenches for mortars, field guns, tanks, and combat vehicles consist of areas for waging fire, shelter for the crew, ramps for the combat equipment to enter and leave, and a parapet. The walls of trenches may be reinforced with such materials as turf, brush, and boards, especially in soft ground. The squad trenches and communication passages are covered in certain sectors to improve their protective capabilities. All trenches are camouflaged to fit in with the terrain. When there is snow on the ground, snow trenches are built. On the defensive, special explosive charges, earthmoving machines, and mounted bulldozer equipment are used to dig trenches.
G. F. SAMOILOVICH