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Trenches (BB182)

Preparing For A Fight
Adding Trenches to Flames Of War
by Mike Haught

Trenches were a big part of WWI, but they also made some dramatic appearances in WWII as well. World War II has a reputation for being a lot more dynamic than its predecessor. However, as the battle lines began to firm up, trenches were sometimes dug to hold ground against enemy attacks.

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This was true in places like Finland along the Mannerheim Line, where the Finns dug a somewhat contiguous line across the Karellian peninsula. Pillboxes and reinforced mortar pits supported the line from behind. The line proved difficult for the Soviets, who had to bring up 152mm weapons to crack open gaps and out flank the line.
Finns defend against the Soviet invaders
Similarly, the Soviets established defensive networks along their frontier before Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR. These fortified positions were much larger than your typical stongpoint and had integrated trenches and bunker systems. Later, they formed defensive networks around vital cities and locations such as Leningrad and Kursk, which helped repel German attacks.
Germans assault the stallwart Soviets
Trench lines also played an important role in North Africa, such as at Tobruk where British and Commonwealth forces dug in to hold the town against Rommel’s Deutches Afrika Korps. The Germans and Italians had difficulty dealing with the stubborn defenders and had to dedicate a good amount of firepower and reserves to deal with it, something they could hardly afford when trying to reach the Suez Canal.  
British troops hold out against the odds

In 1944, the Germans dug a series of trench lines to enhance their manpower holding the eastern front. Such was the case at Orsha, where the Germans established a layered defence network akin to what you’d see in the First World War. The Soviets were worried enough about the defences there, that they dedicated special shock units to deal with them, rather than try and force them with tanks and regular infantry.

Soviet troops turn the tables on the Germans
Trenches were not only the cornerstone of defensive positions in World War 2, but also in the fighting across the Sinai Desert and Golan Heights in 1967. Israeli tanks and infantry assauled the "Rafah Gap" in their drive towards the Suez Canal, overcoming minefields, barbed wire and dug-in infantry.
Israeli troops seize the Sinai

In Flames Of War
While normal Flames Of War missions set in World War II do not include trenches, you can add them to your table if you like as terrain features. Keep in mind that doing so will have an impact on the game, so make sure that you run it by your opponent before getting started.

For some missions, how and where to place the trenches is pretty straight forward. For example, placing them in the defender’s half of the table in a mission like No Retreat or Hold the Line, makes sense.  Other missions, like Breakthrough, can be difficult. In these sorts of missions, it might be best to either leave them off entirely or place them before choosing deployment areas, allowing the trenches to potentially run across both player’s starting areas (representing a trench-clearing mission, perhaps).

Trenches on the table

Last Updated On Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Chris at Battlefront