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History - life in the trenches WW1

History Project
by

Rebecca Harrison

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of History - life in the trenches WW1

By Rebecca Harrison and Lucy Holland Life and fighting in
the trenches A fond farewell Life in the trenches Soldiers in battle Nurses tended to the wounded soldiers. Naturally everyone was very kind to the wounded soldiers. America sent tins of tobacco. When the soldiers were well enough to leave the hospital they were noticeable in the streets as they were dressed in blue suits and wore bright red ties. A fond farewell is when you may not see someone for a long time, but you are wishing them well. There had to be a bond or relationship or good times shared, for a farewell to be fond. They were given 10 ounces of meat and 8 ounces of vegetables at the start of the war. As the size of the war grew the army could not maintain these rations. In 1916 it wad cut to 6 ounces of meat a day . The british army tried to give the soldiers the calories that they needed but people argued that they needed more than this.
They had two large vats where all the food and drinks were prepared so the tea sometimes tasted of vegetables. Food on the western front Soldiers on the western front were very critical of the quality of food they received. Most of the food their diet in the trenches was caned corned beef, bread and biscuits. Food Conditions in the trenches The conditions in the trenches were so awful that it was totally unexpected for the soldiers that arrived. Rats in their millions infested the trenches. There were two types of rat the brown and the black one. The brown rat was feared because it ate human remains. Death in the trenches Death was constant to those in the trenches, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against. In busy sectors the constant shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death, whether the victims were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout ( many men were buried as a consequence of such large shell-bursts). Both sides dug themselves in, ending any possible chance of a quick war; this caused a stalemate, which was to last for most of the war. Over 200,000 men died in the trenches of WW1, most of who died in battle, but many died from disease and infections brought on by the unsanitary conditions. The main objective of an attack was to break the enemy line. Diseases Rats were not the only problem in the trenches. Lice was in clothing, caused trench fever, which was a disease which caused servere pain and high fever and it took 12 weeks to recover from. Men chose to shave their heas to avoid nits. Trench foot was cause by cold, wet trench conditions. It could result in amputation. Smell Lots of men had been killed in the trenches and the graves where they had been buried were not very deep so it gave off a horrible smell. Overflowing latrine (a communal toilet in a camp) would also smell horrible. Also ,because of the conditions, men had not had a bath in weeks. Not only that but it would smell of lime chloride to try and get rid disease and infection. Weaponry They used weapons like grenades and machine guns when fighting in the trenches. Soldiers found that the hand grenade was suited for trench combat. Construction Trench construction was difficult. According to the British trench guidelines, it took nearly six hours for 450 men to construct 250 meters of trench. After this they would have to add the other materials necessary like barbed wire, board walks, and sand bags. There were three main ways of constructing trenches: entrenching, sapping, and tunneling. Entrenching is the normal method of digging, standing on the ground and digging downwards. This method was most efficient, as it allowed for many men to construct a trench at once. However, it also left the men exposed to the enemy above ground. Sapping involved digging at the ends of the trench inwards. Only a few men could do this at a time. Tunneling is like sapping, but leaving ground overhead that would later be removed. Wounded soldiers Layout A trench was generally around two meters deep and two meters wide, the trench lines were never built in straight lines. Typically, trenches zig-zagged, as this prevented infiltrating enemy troops from simply firing down the length of the trench lines, and it helped prevent any gas attacks from spreading far down the line.
Armies typically built three lines of trenches. The first trench, was the front line. This was the trench closest to No Man's Land (the territory controlled by neither side of a battle), and the most dangerous. The front line was connected to communication trenches to move supplies, equipment, and men forward, without exposure. The second line, typically around 75 meters back, was the support trench, a sort of back-up for the front line. If the enemy has successfully occupied the first trench, the support trench would be occupied instead. Another 300 meters back, the third trench was the reserve trench. Here, the reserve troops could prepare for a counter-attack, if the first two trenches were occupied. Weather conditions Another terrible aspect of the trenches were the weather conditions. Trenches were muddy, cold, and depressing. The temperature within a trench was often below zero in the winter. Soldiers would lose fingers and toes to frostbite, and trenches were often filled by the rain— sometimes, the trenches would fill with water up to the soldiers' waists. Letters home Letters from the soldiers were censored to make sure that information helpful to the enemy was not released. The letters were not destroyed, they just had black lines drawn through the passages that were considered dangerous, like information about battles, troops locations, etc. Trenches No one expected the war to last long so the first trenches were made in a hurry. They were holes dug by soldiers to protect themselves from the enemy, but they often flooded and collapsed. Snipers Basically the sniper would pick off any soldier who poked his head up above the trenches into his line of sight, they usually operated in pairs with one man acting as a spotter and he told the sniper where targets were and how far away they were. Chores Each soldier would be assigned daily chores. These chores were things like refilling the sandbags, repairing the duckboards on the floor of the trench and the draining of the trenches. Patrolling no man's land Patrols would often be sent out into no mans land. Some men would be tasked with repairing or adding barbed wire to the front line. Others however would go out to assigned listening posts hoping to pick up valuable information from the enemy lines.
Sometimes enemy patrols would meet in no mans land. They were then faced with the option of hurrying on their separate ways or fighting each other.
They could not use their hand guns while patrolling in no mans land, for fear of the machine gun fire would attract other soldiers. Self inflicted wounds Some soldiers shot themselves in hope of being sent home, because of fears of being killed or injured. In some countries this was an offense and people were executed for it, but it was still a risk soldiers were willing to take. Shell shocked Some soldiers became shell shocked, today known as post-traumatic stress. This was usually soldiers who were under constant bombardment.
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