Does The Nigerian Army Still Employ Trench Warfare Tactics?

Despite the availability of combat planes, tanks, and an unending array of technological breakthroughs, the Nigerian Army still employs trench warfare tactics.

While trench warfare – and the atrocities that come with it – are more closely associated with World War I, the tactic has persisted throughout the previous century.

In this article we will be looking at some battlefield photos that shows that trench warfare tactics is still in use by the Nigerian Army.


What is a Trench?

A trench dug by the Nigerian Army.

A trench is a sort of ground excavation or depression that is usually deeper than it is wide (as opposed to a bigger gully or ditch) and narrow in comparison to its length (as opposed to a simple hole).

Military trenches have been excavated numerous times. They were primarily used as a sort of deterrent to an attacker of a fortified location before to the invention of firearms. Trenches were employed to protect troops after the invention of accurate rifles.

Read more on Trench Warfare HERE.

During WWII, Russia was well-known for its defensive usage of trench warfare. Russia’s extraordinarily sophisticated maze of trenches and defensive structures contributed to the outcome of the Battle Of Kursk in particular.

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In the Pacific, the Japanese built a network of complicated entrenchments, tunnels, and subterranean bunkers to defend the several islands they controlled. When the assault came, the trench complexes were a nightmare for US soldiers, resulting in some of the war’s most intense close-quarters combat.

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The Nigerian army have also used trench warfare and tactics in the struggle to rid Nigeria of terrorist activities on multiple times.


“How does digging trenches hasten the demise of Boko Haram?”

The Nigerian Army is not a militia, but rather a professional army. We should go on the attack. We should take the lead rather than construct defensive walls that invite attack. It’s illogical from a strategic standpoint. This ideas may pop-up from your minds.

But I’ll tell you this: with Boko Haram terrorists on the loose these days, targeting military bases and fortified areas, the Nigerian army needs to dig trenches around their bases and locations.

Soldiers occupying trenches.

One of the most fundamental reasons for trench digging is that it gives some protection from increasingly devastating weaponry. Soldiers hunkered in to avoid being hit by debris and bullets. Because of the high number of losses in open conflict, trench warfare was immediately adopted.

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Trenches were a very effective technique for soldiers to defend themselves against heavy weaponry, which is why soldiers on all fronts began building trenches within the first few weeks.

Trench Warfare
Nigerian soldier battle-ready in a Trench.

As guns became more precise, many soldiers learned to dig in whenever and wherever they could. Trench warfare ‘works’ because it provides soldiers with a continuous shield from rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire. Trenches provide forces with mutual assistance and predefined firefields that can’t be flanked.


Each trench began as a battleground for single or partnered soldiers. Troops dig at night until they reach the basic trench line, after which they can dig throughout the day. Troops can also dig during the day while prone and under fire. Each soldier creates a berm by tossing his dug-up earth toward the enemy (the front).

Nigerian soldiers occupying their trenches.
Nigerian soldiers.

As can be seen in the accompanying photographs, Nigerian soldiers combating Boko Haram have dug multiple trenches. Motorcycles, people, and automobiles are unable to pass across some of the trenches.

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The trenches have allowed the army to identify and regulate movement remotely from a single place, working with vigilance committees that employ megaphones for monitoring purposes (at least 50 meters away), and have proven to be crucial in the sect’s prevention tactics.

Trench warfare and the methods associated with fighting in such a harsh and brutal environment were, in some respects, the forerunners to what we now call urban warfare.

Although urban combat has dominated tactical theory for the past decade and a half, Nigeria has thousands of troops fighting Islamist terror groups in the northeast, a location where the front lines would require both urban and trench warfare fighting ability if the battle escalated.

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