What were the key feature of trench-based offensives?

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Artillery became an increasingly important part of the war as it progressed. Every day, trenches would be barraged by artillery shells, causing more casualties than any other weapon used in the war. To begin with, artillery was not so accurate, often barraging their own trenches before being asked to increase the range. Artillery then became bigger more powerful and more accurate, using shrapnel shells to cause mass damage at distances of over 30 miles. Artillery tactics also became very complex and sophisticated, such as using gas shells to attack trenches and bombarding enemy guns so troops could advance. Causing casualties was the main aim of artillery bombardment, as this meant that the injured troops would have to be taken to hospital, be treated, and then be sent back to the battlefield, affecting the opposition’s effort. It is obvious that without assistance from artillery, the front line could not do their job as easily as they would've wanted to.

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Large scale infantry attacks were a few in number, as the main warfare style was in fact the war of attrition in trenches. However, large scale offensives, such as the Somme offensive, were very risky and had small chances of success. These resulted in many casualties, as it was much easier to defend and fend off attackers with the use of a machine gun. Trench raids were normally done at night, under cover of darkness, and so, were quite difficult to pull off. In addition, no man's land was covered with layers of barbed wire, making it incredibly difficult ...

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