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MarkEsq
12-21-2010, 08:05 PM
I remember reading once that if you fly low over northern France, it's still possible to make out the trenches from WW1. Can anyone tell me whether this is actually true, or is my memory deceiving me?

A regular Google search did not elucidate.

Thanks!

Ineti
12-21-2010, 08:10 PM
Your google-fu is weak. ;)

http://www.webbaviation.co.uk/gallery/d/7058-1/aa03184ba.jpg

I'd say yes, in some cases, WW1 trenches can still be seen from the air. Which is impressive to me, since it's been close to 100 years since the war.

Marlys
12-21-2010, 08:13 PM
Google Image search for aerial photos wwi france brings up this (http://www.corbisimages.com/Enlargement/SH005727.html) pretty quickly.

MarkEsq
12-21-2010, 08:16 PM
Your google-fu is weak. ;)

http://www.webbaviation.co.uk/gallery/d/7058-1/aa03184ba.jpg

I'd say yes, in some cases, WW1 trenches can still be seen from the air. Which is impressive to me, since it's been close to 100 years since the war.

Very weak, no doubt. :)

Thanks Jim - but do you knew where that is? It looks like it might be the UK (they made trenches back then for training).

I was picturing a dark, almost shadow-like, line stretching across pastures and cornfields, invisible from the ground but visible from a thousand feet up.

Am I nutso?!

Ineti
12-21-2010, 08:21 PM
Very weak, no doubt. :)

Thanks Jim - but do you knew where that is? It looks like it might be the UK (they made trenches back then for training).

Ah yes, good call. I did a little digging and that picture's from a series of training trenches in North Wales (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.webbaviation.co.uk/gallery/d/7064-1/ww1-trenches-aerial-aa03189b.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.webbaviation.co.uk/gallery/v/bodelwyddan/ww1-trenches-aerial-aa03189b.jpg.html&usg=__OGpj7yJyeXxzpev6TzEErZ2IN_I=&h=550&w=800&sz=79&hl=en&start=1&zoom=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=RTJQC1bXzrSMWM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=143&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dww1%2Btrenches%2Bfrom%2Bthe%2Bair%26u m%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1T4GGLL_enUS396US 396%26tbs%3Disch:1).

Marlys
12-21-2010, 08:39 PM
The one I linked is from northern France.

Lhun
12-21-2010, 08:43 PM
I was picturing a dark, almost shadow-like, line stretching across pastures and cornfields, invisible from the ground but visible from a thousand feet up.

Am I nutso?!Well, trenches on fields that are in use vanish pretty quickly for obvious reasons, they've only got a chance to stay on if they can grow over with grass and stay undisturbed.

PeterL
12-21-2010, 10:25 PM
Very weak, no doubt. :)

Thanks Jim - but do you knew where that is? It looks like it might be the UK (they made trenches back then for training).

I was picturing a dark, almost shadow-like, line stretching across pastures and cornfields, invisible from the ground but visible from a thousand feet up.

Am I nutso?!

Maybe not nutso, but ill-informed. Trenches weren't thought up to protect against aerial attack, and they weren't useful against aeroplanes. Trenches were readily visible from above, and they were regularly attacked from the air. Strafing trenches was one thing that the earliest warplanes did; they didn't carry bombs or heavy guns, so there wasn't much else that they could do.

The trenches were typically 12 feet deep and 12 feet wide, and they zigzagged, so they would have stuck out from above.

Kenn
12-21-2010, 11:25 PM
Firstly, there are lots of preserved and excavated trenches in memorial parks. They would be easily visible from the air. Non-preserved ones tend to look like a lot of small hills (if you can imagine an earthworks). You wouldn't be able to pick them out from a plane. While most of the trenches were like a warren, the front line ones were straight. I can't see how you could hope to spot one in a wheat field, as they would have been well ploughed over, or indistinguishable ditches/ field boundaries. I believe that there are some places where the chalk outlines are still visible on pastureland. You would really need to know what you are looking for with any of these though.

ETA See this site:
http://www.ww1battlefields.co.uk/somme/newfoundland.html

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-23-2010, 11:07 PM
From the air, when the lighting it right, they might pop out at you because of slight changes in soil texture and level. That's how archaeologists spot ancient cities and roads - aerial surveys.

Priene
12-23-2010, 11:41 PM
I've walked in a wood full of WW1 trenches. They're now deep, overgrown ditches.

Nivarion
12-24-2010, 12:12 AM
You mean like this? http://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/4433205202/

whacko
12-24-2010, 02:43 AM
As TDN says, if you not what you're looking for they're there.

There's a TV show called Time Team over here, if you could find a few episodes on youtube or something you'd see how their aerial excavation technique works. V. Clever.

A trip into Paris on the Eurostar is also rather good. You can't see trenches or other visible signs of warfare, but every so often the evidence hits you - a smattering of plain white crosses in farmers' fields. Quite moving.

Regards

Whacko