When the Great War went static during the winter of 1914/15 and trench warfare began, steel “sniper’s plates” started to be used by both sides to afford protection to their troops and enable them to fire safely across No Man’s Land. There were many designs of these and some just had a hole to fire through, while others used a ‘key-hole’ system so that the protected area could be sealed up again after use.
The Le Linge trench system in the Vosges mountains was fought over from 1914 when the French attacked the German positions here, but saw very heavy fighting in early 1915. It is today preserved as a memorial with the trenches cut into the Vosges rock still retaining their original depth. These two German trench loopholes are typical of the types used in this area and nearly a century later still look down on the old French front line.