Maps and their ability to familiarize a soldier with enemy-held terrain, weapon positions, obstacles and trench networks were found to be an integral part of the planning for any successful offensive. In fact, a key factor in the Canadian victory at Vimy and all subsequent battles was that even the lowest ranking soldier had been made familiar with every detail (excluding date and time) of the upcoming attack through the use of maps and mockups.
Mapping and Photographing the First World War
Further information on trench maps and aerial photography can be found on McMaster's World War I Military Maps Collection site.
The intention was to capture enemy soldiers for interrogation and intelligence gathering purposes. This led to the use of the colourful term “Body Snatchers” for those in the raiding parties. Raids occupied the men and kept their morale up during the long, boring intervals between major engagements. They caused damage to the enemy’s trenches, weaponry and equipment while keeping him in a state of confusion and apprehension. Fear instilled by raiding parties could even prevent the enemy from venturing into no-man’s land to repair wire and other defences.
The airplane, a product of the first years of the twentieth century, was quickly drafted into service following the outbreak of the First World War. Its earliest use was as a spotter for artillery. Newly developed weaponry like the machine gun meant that waves of charging soldiers and “old fashioned” cavalry could be stopped in their tracks. Wars of movement became a thing of the past. Both sides dug defensive networks of trenches and years of siege warfare began.