The British prepare trenches on the western front

In the forward areas, save for wire entanglements visible here and there in front of hidden trenches, there were few signs of war. Farmhands worked unhindered in the fields; the placid cattle grazed their fill; villages and farms lay inviolate. In the west, the forts of the Maginot Line, the great system on which France implicitly relied for her security against the aggressor, crouched silent and concealed. By day, the watchers cowered from sight, hidden; by night, patrols skulked stealthily from bush to bush, their hands and faces darkened. This furtive, creeping warfare in the West, this imperceptible oozing forward from a zone of supine fortresses formed ignoble contrast to the great battle on the Eastern front. Here the last desperate resistance of Poland was beaten down by the mighty torrent of German arms. Soon Germany had achieved strategic freedom to concentrate her every effort on her main object-the defeat of France.

For the British, digging was the order of the day-digging in cold, wet soil behind the Franco-Belgian frontier. Day after day and week after week the trenches slowly grew.

Major-General Roger Evans: The Story Of The Fifth Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards