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Subject: Razor wire and the defender rss

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Isaac Citrom
Canada
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Quebec
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What is the story with barbed wire defenses and the defender wishing to leave his entrenchments to counter-attack the enemy? Would not the defender's own barbed wire defenses serve as an impediment to him as well as he tries to leave his fortifications? The counter-attack was a common tactic in WWII. How was this handled?

I googled the topic amd came up with a lot about the use of barbed wire as a defensive tool. But, I couldn't find anything about how it relates to the defender trying to cross his own barbed wire works. The only thing I found was that on roads, the barbed wire was afixed to moveable wooden frames to allow friendly vehicles to pass.
 
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Niko Ruf
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I suppose the trick is to leave gaps in the wire and position yourself so you can shoot anybody stupid enough to try and attack through them. It's all about managing where the enemy can or can't go.
 
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Yep, I'm pretty sure this is how it was done. I think I read about it in the Historical Commentary to Landships! Tactical Weapons Innovations 1914-1918, but I'd have to check.
 
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Chester
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Seems like it would be helpful for an enemy to site the gaps in the barbed wire, too. But I suppose someone was generally on the defense and someone else was generally trying to slow an advance.
 
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Badger
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Train machine guns on the gaps in the wire.

Have small gaps so that only one or two men can get through at a time. This won't affect your counter-attack as your artillery will be pounding the enemy trenches to ensure that the enemy keep their heads down until all your troops are through the gaps.
 
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Andrew Brown
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From what I understand the a large stretch of the wire would often have "intersections" that would be secured under normal circumstances. But when preparing to go over the top for a large assault sappers/engineers/pioneers would creep out to prepare the wire for the assault the night previous.

They could also put the wire in a pattern to have gaps where people could zig zag through. This would be changed preiodically to make sure the enemy couldn't send raids through.

So essentially - small assaults - squad/section could sneak in/out of the wire, but large attacks would need to remove the wire for the assualt troops. This requires central planning and cover to prevent a pre-emptive assualt. One reason why attacks became to be planned centrally, to coordinate the artillery and engineering requirements.

One thing is that the wire was never intended as a defence per se - but to delay the assualt troops to allow the defenders a few more seconds to react.
 
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Tim P.
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barbed wire needed routine maintenance by its owners, in WW1 wire parties would work at night to repair and extend barbed wire emplacements

the defender would need to map his routes through his own wire, and the attackers would try and identify routes through the enemies wire.

barbed wire serves to act as a barrier, and to funnel men into "killing zones" for machine guns

minefields can serve a similar purpose
 
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