German soldiers running across the Hindenburg Line
A German machine gun battalion moves into position. The two soldiers at lower left carry a sled-mounted MG08 machine gun

Facing the Line

The Hindenburg Line was Germany's impressively armed defensive line. Built during the winter of 1916—1917, the line was a ten miles-deep series of trenches, anti-tank ditches, tunnels, concrete machine gun nests, and barbed wire. Many in Germany believed the Hindenburg Line was impenetrable.


But it was the barbed wire which formed the groundwork of the defense. It was everywhere, and ran in all directions, cleverly disposed so as to herd the attackers into the very jaws of the machine guns.

- J. Walter Strauss, Company F,
102nd Engineer Battalion, 27th Division

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