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Wire Entanglements

Wire Entanglements

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Excerpt from Wire Entanglements: Addenda No; 1 to Engineer Field Manual

1. The object of these notes is to standardize the construction of obstacles throughout the American Expeditionary Forces and to limit the patterns taught and used. Such portions of previously published works on wire entanglements, as conflict with these notes, will not be used by the troops in France.

2. To insure that all training is directed to the same purpose, these patterns of entanglements and the drills for erecting them will be standard and will have the force of regulations. Units are forbidden to adopt any other types without previous sanction. If any better type or drill is discovered, the fact should be reported. The new method will then be thoroughly tested and if found more satisfactory, will be officially substituted for the old one, and all the units in training will be so informed.

3. If the occasions demands it, these standard obstacles may be modified to suit such conditions as may arise, due to lack of men, materials, etc., but only by the substitution of smooth for barbed wire, the use of wooden pickets for screw pickets, or the omission of portions of the obstacle, such as one of the aprons of the apron fence. Men trained according to the standard drills should be able to construct the modified entanglements without special practice.

4. The following are the patterns adopted:

(1) Belts of ribard wire.

(2) Low wire entanglement.

(3) Double apron fence.

(4) French high wire entanglement.

(5) Portable wire obstacles.

Troops will be trained in the construction of the ribard wire, the low wire entanglement, the double apron fence and portable wire obstacles. The French high wire entanglement is included in this book for the use of troops serving on the French front.

General Principles

5. Location.

Barbed wire entanglements should be located in accordance with the following principles:

(a) They must be covered at every point by our own rifle or machine gun fire, either frontal or enfilade. Special emphasis must be laid on Flanquement, that principle which consists in so siting the entanglement and machine gun positions in reference to each other that the front of the entanglement is swept by the fire from the machine guns.

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