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Conditions in the trenches during WW1 on the Western Front

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Xavier Teasdale-Firth Conditions in the trenches during WW1 on the Western Front During World War One, the soldiers living and fighting on the Western Front suffered not only tremendous losses in life, but also suffered the imaginable, appalling, and quite unacceptable conditions that they did. By the time the Western Front had been established, and trench warfare was a mundane fact for those involved, the Great War was static. There was little progress made, attacks and offensives were futile, and the new weaponry available meant that it was near to impossible for any troops to advance. Every man involved wanted to get out, and to return home. Some were so desperate that they intentionally injured themselves, although in the British trenches if someone was believed to have done this deliberately, they were Court Marshalled, and executed for cowardice. The soldiers were sent into the front line by the railways, although the men never actually knew where exactly they were heading; all they knew was that they were moving east. ...read more.


At some times, the enemy were within shouting distance, and at other times, you didn't even know which direction the enemy were in. there was, as you can imaging, a great sense of disorientation. No Man's land was plastered with craters from the artillery, barbed wire, unexploded shells and mines, and the many dead bodies that had collected. It was what the soldiers in the trenches innocently looked out onto daily, until the day the whistles blew, and they "went over the top", only to get mowed down by machine-gun fire. Many men died before they even went over the top, however. The constant artillery fire and bombardment was enough to claim the lives of nearly one third of all the fatal casualties of the war. Every day in the trenches followed a strict regime: Stand To Every day, half an hour before dawn, there was a 'stand to'. ...read more.


In total, 2.5 million men died in battle, and 3.5 million died of disease in the trenches. Mud The trenches were man made, dug out by the soldiers, and especially at the start of the war, before Christmas, the trenches were bog pits, and consisted of waist high pools of water, and mud. Some men drowned in the waters, and others were sucked down by the boggy mud, and quick-sand like terrain. The troops sang songs to boost moral, but these lost their touch when, during an advance, you saw your best friend get shot in the head by an enemy machine gun. The men were made to carry around with them all 60lbs of kit, including their own personal belongings, and even their shaving kit. On top of this was the weight of their helmets, and their rifles. All in all, the conditions the men were fighting in were very poor, and the generals sitting behind the front line, giving the orders to attack, and to keep moral high could not even begin to comprehend what their own men were going through. ...read more.

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