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What Was Life Like in the Trenches During World War 1?

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Conditions in the trenches during WW1 were horrendous. Better trenches would be about seven feet deep and 4-6 feet wide. Sometimes sand bags would line the sides of the trench otherwise a kind latticework wall of hazel branches was used (a bit like hurdle fences). Planking would be laid in the base. On the lip of the trench would be sand bags and barbed wire. Frequently, allied and enemy trenches could be as little fifty feet apart. Here and there dugouts were literally dug into the earth to provide shelter when the fighting wasn't too intense. Other than that there was little shelter. In summer the trench would be exposed to the hot sun and in winter to pouring rain and snow. The rain filled up the trench and water seeped in through the sides leaving the troops up to their knees in thick, stinking mud that made any movement difficult. There was no sanitation and rats were a problem. Diseases were rife such as dysentery and trench foot. There would be no relief for front line troops for weeks on end. Even a near miss from an artillery shell could collapse a trench or cause dugout to collapse burying alive those inside. The nearness of death, the fear of it and smell of it, the horrific sights of shattered bodies, the screams of friend cut in half and the constant shelling combined to send many men insane either at the time or later in life. Conditions in the trenches were literally hell on earth.

Life in the trenches was extremely hard considering the circumstances. This is because of the living conditions that soldiers were forced to live in.

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