Skip to main content

The Practice of Trench Warfare: Training Sites in the Aube Region of France (Champagne), 1914–1919

Part of the Advances in Military Geosciences book series (AMG)

Abstract

The objective of this research is to provide new archaeological insights into World War I (WWI) training trench sites in France. These training areas, situated to the rear of the front line, illustrate how the military command prepared soldiers, physically and mentally, before they were sent to the front. The training areas reproduced the spatial and architectural organization of trench networks and thereby allowed soldiers to become familiar with the battlefield topography.

WWI training camps have never been studied extensively in France, although their presence is occasionally reported in the literature. They were in fact more numerous than archival records indicate, a function of the fact that they were created in an opportunistic and temporary way. To date, no archaeological or geohistorical research has been undertaken to determine their actual distribution, and this paper is a first step in developing this. To identify and map their traces in the landscape, the Pays d’Othe of the Aube region (Champagne) was studied using aerial photography flown in 1948. About 20 sites were discovered, indicating the high intensity of military occupation in the region between 1914 and 1919. Agricultural reparcelling, which began in the 1950s, has erased almost all traces of these remains.

Keywords

  • Training trenches
  • Rear front line
  • Champagne-Ardenne
  • Pays d’Othe
  • WWI archaeology

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-79260-2_5
  • Chapter length: 12 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-79260-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 5.1
Fig. 5.2
Fig. 5.3
Fig. 5.4
Fig. 5.5
Fig. 5.6
Fig. 5.7
Fig. 5.8
Fig. 5.9
Fig. 5.10
Fig. 5.11

References

  • Ballarin C, Casagrande F, Laborie Y (2005) Camp militaire de “Pombonne, La Brunetière-Sud” Bergerac (Dordogne). Rapport final de fouille archéologique, INRAP Grand Sud-Ouest, Pessac

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown M (2017) First World War fieldworks in England. Discovery, Innovation and Science in the Historic Environment, Historic England Research Report Series 61

    Google Scholar 

  • Cocroft W (2013) Trenches of the Home Front. English Heritage Conservation Bulletin 71:4–5

    Google Scholar 

  • Cocroft W, Schofield J, Appleby C (2015) The Home Front in Britain 1914-1918. CBA Practical Handbook 22. Council for British Archaeology, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Desfossés Y, Jacques A, Prilaux G (2008) L’Archéologie de la Grande Guerre. Éditions Ouest-France/INRAP, Rennes

    Google Scholar 

  • Dry L, Seurat H (2018) L’Aube, base arrière d'une guerre mondiale. In: Cazauban É, Pottier O (eds) Troyes, l’Aube, la Guerre (1914-1922), Les Éditions de la Maison du Boulanger, Troyes, p 91–97

    Google Scholar 

  • Framery D (2016) Quelques camps d’entraînement dans la campagne auboise. In: Humbert J-L, Terrillon J-C (eds) L’Aube dans la Grande Guerre, 1914-1918. Société Académique de l’Aube, Troyes, p 23–30

    Google Scholar 

  • Gauthier A (2013) Les Sablonnières (Chambon-sur-Cisse, Loir-et-Cher), un site historique méconnu en forêt de Blois. Bulletin du Groupe d’études locales d’Onzain et ses environs Issue 75

    Google Scholar 

  • Historic England (2020) First World War fieldworks gazetteer. https://historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/research/fww-fieldworks-gazetteer-pdf. Accessed 7 June 2020

  • Historic Environment Scotland (2020) First World War site inventory. https://canmore.org.uk/site/search/. Accessed 7 June 2020

  • Hunt F (1918) Blown in by the draft: camp yarns collected at one of the Great National Army cantonments by an amateur war correspondent. Doubleday, Page and Company, Garden City, NY

    Google Scholar 

  • Institut Géographique National (IGN) (2020) French airborne photographic database. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/. Accessed 7 June 2020

  • Petit C, Dandurand G, Deborde G et al. (2018) L’environnement des sociétés néolithiques et protohistoriques autour de Lavau. In: Dohrmann N, Riquier V (eds) Archéologie dans L‘Aube, des premiers paysans au prince de Lavau. Snoeck, Ghent, p 40–51

    Google Scholar 

  • Saunders B (2017) Barry Buddon First World War training trenches. Archaeological evaluation: data structure report, Wessex Archaeology, Salisbury

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith N (2010) Old Oswestry, Selattyn and Gobowen, Shropshire: analysis of earthworks. English Heritage Archaeological Survey, Research Department Report Series 82

    Google Scholar 

  • Spickelmier R (1987) Training of the American soldier during World War I and World War II. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS

    Google Scholar 

  • Taborelli P, Devos A, Laratte S et al. (2017) Typologie et organisation spatiale des «polémo-formes» de la Grande Guerre révélées par l’outil Lidar et les Plans Directeurs. Application à la Champagne et à l’Argonne. Revue de Géographie Historique 10. http://rgh.univ-lorraine.fr/articles/view/88/Typologie_et_organisation_spatiale_des_polemo_formes_de_la_Grande_Guerre_revelees_par_l_outil_LiDAR_et_les_Plans_directeurs_Application_a_la_Champagne_et_a_l_Argonne. Accessed 14 Dec 2019

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors are gratefully indebted to the organizing committee of the ICMG 2019 and especially the conference staff for their welcome in Padua. This project was supported by Éveha. We thank also J Kovacik, S Ricord, P Verguet, L Dry, and C Nicosia for their early comments and J Ehlen and P Doyle for reviewing and manuscript improvement. Thanks to A Hourseau for copyright permissions.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jérôme Brenot .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Brenot, J., Desfossés, Y., Perarnau, R., Lozano, M., Devos, A. (2022). The Practice of Trench Warfare: Training Sites in the Aube Region of France (Champagne), 1914–1919. In: Bondesan, A., Ehlen, J. (eds) Military Geoscience: A Multifaceted Approach to the Study of Warfare. Advances in Military Geosciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79260-2_5

Download citation