World War 1: Life in the Trenches

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Life in the Trenches The war on the Western front (from 1914-1918) was one of almost exclusive trench warfare. The Western front stretched across Belgium and Northeast France spanning a distance of about 600km. Millions of men were killed along it but it's line never moved more than 15km in any direction. On the Western front French and British troops together with thousands of men from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa occupied a network of deep trenches from September 1914. Facing them, across a few hundred yards of ground known as "No Man's Land", were trenches occupied by the Germans. Millions of men were killed on the Western front in battles such as Ypres, 2Verdun, Somme and on routine patrols. Warfare in the trenches was only expected to last until the Spring but by 1917 the war had reached a stalemate because of the ineffectiveness of this type of warfare. The idea of digging the trenches was to prevent the Germans from reaching Paris and no one had thought that it would've lasted so long. The trenches were about 210cm at the top and 100cm at the bottom, which could be uncomfortably narrow. The troops could fire over the parapet from fire steps which were 100-130cm dug into the wall of the trench and at the same time allowing troops to walk upright throughout trenches without having to fear having their heads blown off by the enemy. Life in the trenches was horrendous for the front line soldiers. During their tour of duty there, they lived in great discomfort and an incredible amount of tension. They had to endure such things as rat and louse infestations not to mention lack of water and other vital supplies. Vermin infested the trenches. Soldiers would have to sometimes wade through water-filled trenches, which were alive with a multitude of swimming frogs. The sides of the trench would be covered with red slugs and horned beetles. Rats were among the worst horrors,...
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