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Ft Benning trench areaAs part of the garrison's centennial celebration Oct. 19, 2018, Fort Benning, Georgia, officially opened a recreation of the training trenches the U.S. Army Infantry School used on post nearly 100 years ago. (U.S. Army photo by Markeith Horace, Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Mr. Markeith Horace (Benning))

BENNING at 100: Trench recreation opens near site of former WWI trench training 

By Bryan Gatchell (Ft. Benning)
via the army.mil web site

FORT BENNING, Ga. — As part of the garrison's centennial celebration Oct. 19, 2018, Fort Benning, Georgia, officially opened a recreation of the training trenches the U.S. Army Infantry School used on post nearly 100 years ago.

The new trench, which the Directorate of Public Works dug out recently, is meant to educate visitors about the post's previous training mission. It is a short walk from a small portion of the original training trenches that many decades had weathered and overgrown.

Camp Benning was established at a site near Columbus, Georgia, Oct. 19, 1918, after the Infantry School staff and students arrived from Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Part of the training they conducted was in trench warfare.

Brig. Gen. David M. Hodne, the current U.S. Army Infantry School commandant, cut the ribbon on the new trench at the site across from the Bass and 1st Division roads intersection.

"One of the first missions of the Infantry School was to train leaders for units expected to fight in the trenches in France and in Belgium," said Hodne. "When discovered less than one year ago, these trenches were found to be remarkably well preserved. These restored and recreated trenches represent one of the earliest reminders why the Infantry School was moved to Columbus, Georgia."

Col. Alfred C. Arnold, a recipient of two Distinguished Service Crosses in World War I, designed the trench around what was proven effective on the battlefield of that world war. As warfare became more mechanized in the interbellum period, the need to train Soldiers on trench warfare became less important. Armored vehicles proved too powerful for entrenchment as a defensive strategy. Fort Benning continued to use the trenches in modified ways, but ultimately the Army ceased using them, and the the trench system at Fort Benning, which extended for more than three miles in total length, fell into disuse. 

Read the entire article on the army.mil web site.

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