The (British) Imperial War Museum
, in conjunction with the Naval and Miltary Press
, has released a CD on trench maps of the First World War. An extensive description of trench maps and their development is available on their website. The description is very much from a British perspective but it suggests that all the combatants’ maps followed similar developments at the same time.
From the website: “It was forbidden to show British trenches, as it was feared that maps might fall into enemy hands. This misplaced attempt at security resulted in troops being deprived of maps of their own increasingly labyrinthine trench system, and much swearing and confusion resulted. Worse, the front-line troops made their own manuscript maps, including all sorts of vital but secret information, which could easily be captured by the enemy in raids. The ludicrous situation developed in which units had to capture the enemy’s maps in order to find the plan of their own trenches! It was gradually admitted that the Germans were quite capable of making maps of the allied trenches, having aeroplanes and cameras, the allies having nothing like air superiority.”
No examples of the trench maps are available on the Naval and Military Press website but you can purchase the CD for £85 + taxes and shipping.
Other websites have some examples of trench maps, including smithmaps
and Map Room
By way of Great Map