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Two Danes

Posted June. 06, 2023 08:05,   

Updated June. 06, 2023 08:05


Denmark, the country of tulips, seems to have remote links with war, but it has long been a military powerhouse. There are two Danish officers who cannot be left out in the history of modern warfare. Helmut von Moltke, a senior military graduate, enlisted in the German Army, founded the General Staff Headquarters and became the father of modern military organization and tactics. Mads Johan Buch Linnemann (1830-1889) may not be as famous as Moltke, but he left a truly invaluable contribution to the history of war. Firepower increased dramatically with the introduction of steel wire to guns and cannons in the 19th century. It meant mass death for the soldiers in the field. Since then, the battlefield has become a slaughterhouse that mankind has never seen before.

As guns and cannons reigned supreme, soldiers found ways to hide underground. When the gunfire began to flare up, the soldiers with their heads down mobilized their hands and even spoons to dig into the ground. It may be hard to believe, but the death toll was low for soldiers who dug even 5 centimeters into the ground. Trenches have existed since ancient warfare, but individual shelters have become the body armor of all soldiers. Linnemann, a Danish lieutenant, developed a field shovel that all soldiers could easily carry in 1867 and introduced it to the world. In 1870, the Danish Army introduced the field shovel as an essential military item. European countries followed suit.

A soldier's true friend in the army is the field shovel. While in the military, there is a popular humor saying that soldiers spent more time holding a shovel than a gun, and the founder of the modern field shovel was Linnemann's field shovel. The power of the trench was greater than expected. Trenches dug by the soldiers with shovels neutralized heavy artillery fire before the infantry charge could begin. Trenches have become a formidable tactical weapon in all wars since the end of the 19th century, starting with the American Civil War. One of the most shocking scenes of the war in Ukraine is a drone attacking soldiers in trenches with grenades. Now the soldiers seem to have nowhere to hide. The trenches that have protected soldiers for 200 years are experiencing a crisis. The trenches are nonetheless thriving, and while still relevant, given the dreadful pace of advancement of drones, a new Linnemann gear may be needed. What could that be?