The muddy roads, camouflaged trails and the maze of communication trenches ultimately brought Soldiers to the front line trench. These positions as laid out in the manuals were supposed to be dug deep with reinforced walls, a firing step, sand bagged lip, and floor board to keep a Soldier's feet out of the mud. Often, due to shelling and the ebb and flow of the battlefield, these trenches were little more than muddy ditches. The zig-zag nature was intended to minimize the effects of artillery rounds and flying shrapnel. A normal tour of the front lasted about two weeks, with two weeks in the reserve line and then two weeks in the rear area which had to be out of reach of artillery.
My platoon was the last one of the company to enter the trench. We followed along a constantly curving and gradually deepening one for perhaps a mile before we came to the position we were to occupy. The trench at that point was on high ground and about seven feet deep in the middle. On each side was a dirt or board shelf on which to stand to fire one's weapon. The trench curved in a zig-zag fashion, or bay, as they were called. The trench led forward to a cross trench where another platoon had taken position.
Private Donald D. Kyler