To Dig in was to secure or consolidate a soldier's own position in some form of desirable occupation or billet. Suggested by the term of "digging in" or "entrenching," troops would consolidate a captured position, whereby it was imperative to hold it against all counter-attacks "at all costs." In many cases this was the cause of further loss of life. 
References / notes
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.77.
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