Encyclopedia - Barrages

The Big Bertha gun Artillery barrages were routine during the First World War, perhaps nowhere more so than in the static trench conditions found on the Western Front.

Given such conditions barrages were inevitably directed primarily against enemy trench positions.  Depending upon the number of shells fired per minute a barrage was locally classified as light, moderate or heavy.

Given fewer than 10 shells over a period of 10 minutes the barrage would be regarded as light.  A moderate barrage would comprise some 30 or so shells per minute; 50-60 upwards per minute would be viewed as heavy.

Various methods of deploying barrages were utilised, including Box Barrages - comprising shell fire over a specified area with the aim of preventing enemy reinforcements; Pint-Point Barrages - typically directed at a given position, invariably machine gun or sniper posts; Search Barrages - often launched with the aim of locating ammunition dumps or army headquarters, usually as a consequence of intelligence information from airmen; and Counter-Battery Barrages - which were directed at enemy guns.

See also Creeping Barrage; Preliminary Bombardment

A "Brass Hat" was a high ranking officer.

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