The casualties of all the armies in the field during the month of November exceeded those of any previous period of the war. Basing an estimate of the total casualties upon the same percentage as that employed in the table given on another page, it is therefore safe to say that up to December 5 the total losses of the combatant nations in killed, wounded and missing aggregated not less than 3,500,000 men.
DECEMBER IN THE TRENCHES
The month of December, 1914, the fifth month of the war, registered but little change in the relative positions of the combatant nations. In the west the lines held firm from the North Sea to Switzerland. Daily duels of artillery and daily assaults here and there along the battle fronts proved unavailing, so far as any change in general conditions was concerned. Frequently the assaults were of a desperate character, especially in Flanders, where in the middle of the month the Allies assumed the offensive all along the line and sturdily strove to push back the German front in Belgium. But the utmost valor and persistence in attack were invariably met by resolute resistance. Both sides were strongly entrenched and the gain of a few yards today was usually followed by the loss of a few yards tomorrow.
Never before in the history of warfare had the science of entrenchment been developed to such an extent. The German, French, British and. Belgian armies literally burrowed in the earth along a battle front of 150 miles. In many places the hostile trenches were separated by only a few yards, and mining was frequently resorted to. Tunneling toward each other, both the contending forces occasionally succeeded in blowing up the enemy’s trench, and whole companies of unsuspecting troops were sometimes annihilated in this way. In the trenches themselves scenes unparalleled in warfare were witnessed. With the arrival of winter the troops on either side proceeded to secure what comfort they could by all manner of clever and unique devices. Winter clothing was provided as far as possible, but on both sides there was inevitable suffering for lack of suitable supplies for the winter campaign, and individual initiative had frequently to supply the deficiencies of official forethought.
Many unique features of trench life were developed during the first month of winter warfare. Two-story trenches became common on both sides of the firing line. Bombproof underground quarters for staff and commanding officers were constructed, and these were fitted up so as to provide all the comforts of the winter cantonments of old-time warfare. The ever-necessary telephone was installed at frequent points in trenches that stretched for scores of miles in practically unbroken lines. Board roofs were built and provision made for heating the dugouts in which thousands of men passed many days and nights before their reliefs arrived. On the German side