The trench systems employed were heavily protected by barbed wire, zi/zagged through the landscape and were so long and deep they were difficult to conquer. A perfect defense for the tech and strategies of the day, as you could not go around or through them without suffering tremendous loss. So hard in fact, that neither side saw any decisive victories for 3 years. Hundreds of battles erupted continuously during this time, from small skirmishes to larger well planned engagements, but it took years and many lives for any side to realize an advantage. More times than not the allies initiated the battles and as we look back we see the heavy losses each side experienced.
Casualties were approximately 5 million German and Austrian troops wounded or killed, over 5 million French wounded or killed, just under 3 million British wounded or killed and 58 thousand Belgians wounded or killed. Over 13 million casualties on both sides was so devastating and grand in scale that some proclaimed this "the War to end War". Sadly this was not to be.
Robin Chaudhuri, Senior Writer Atlanta Cutlery