• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What was life like in the trenches? The First World War was the first industrialised conflict; it is also associated more than anything else for trench warfare. Trenches were used because the speed and power of the larger weapons,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What was life like in the trenches? The First World War was the first industrialised conflict; it is also associated more than anything else for trench warfare. Trenches were used because the speed and power of the larger weapons, such as the Vickers MG (a gun widely used by both sides), made it impossible to fight wars in the open. The First World War used a variety of weapons. Rifles fitted with bayonets, MG nests, artillery, planes and men would occasionally bury shells as a crude land mine in "No mans land", the area of land usually no more than 100 yards wide separating the front trenches. These weapons could kill you, but if they failed to do that they could have destroyed your mental stability. The medical name for shell shock is post-traumatic stress disorder. The concentration of fear of being killed, lack of sleep and constant noise caused by artillery bombardments destroyed mental stability on both sides. "The real test was the barrage. ...read more.

Middle

Lice excelled in the conditions the men were in, the average number of lice is 20 per soldier; the record for the number of lice on a soldier however is 10'428 along with 10'253 lice eggs waiting to hatch. This was because men rarely washed during their four years in the trenches of France. The following figures are extracts from a hospital waiting list showing casualties from disease: Anthrax 8 Dysentery 6'025 Enteric fever 1'275 Meningitis 692 Pneumonia 2'157 Tuberculosis 1'660 Rats were abundant in most trenches; the following is a first hand account of rats in trenches "To add to the general discomfort, the trenches were alive with rats. The knowledge that gigantic trench rats had grown fat through feeding on the dead bodies in no-mans land made the soldiers hate them more fiercely than almost anything else" Soldiers were also bored out of their wits, given that both sides were being watched by snipers and lookouts, movement was logically restricted. ...read more.

Conclusion

One thing that hit these battling boys hard was the size of rations. These are described below: "We were always hungry. Many times we only got one slice of bread, often without butter or jam, for breakfast and hard biscuits for tea. These were so hard that you had to put them on a firm surface and smash them with a stone or something. Sometimes when drinking water did not arrive, we had to boil rainwater from shell holes" Trench warfare was a terrible experience. Often destroying people's lives after the war. However during 1917 things began to change, Germany now stood alone, the USA had broken a 3 year stalemate and Britain and Germany were now finding new, more mobile ways of winning the war. Britain's solution was the tank, an armoured vehicle, designed for breaking through barbed wire. Germany's was the storm trooper. The fittest soldiers in the army, armed usually with grenades, would target artillery positions and command HQs behind the lines. Germany began to run out of food and men and surrender on 11th November 1918. However harsh peace terms embittered the Germans. How long would it be before they strike again? Harry Roper 9SR ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    it until it was just a mess of juice and paper, torn beyond recognition. In this quotation the cigarette that Robert's mother is butting out seems to represent the tragedy of death that will occur later on in the novel when Robert joins the army and witnesses the dismembered bodies

  2. World War One Trench Warfare Sources Questions

    There is more evidence to back up this point. Source H told the truth and described what really happened and what it was really like. A few years after the war ended, censorship was lifted, so writers had the freedom to write as they wanted. One of the reason that F & G were written, were to boost morale

  1. Coursework on Trenches

    An attack would be led by the front line. Soldiers would shoot and fire shells from this area of the trenches. It was built up of firing steps and elbow rests which helped soldiers lean over the top of it and fire.

  2. Why was Trench Warfare so terrible

    The Type 3 trench (a communication trench) connected the front line fire trenches to the cover trenches. At a width of 1'8" at the bottom and possibly full of mud, it would be very difficult to carry stores up to the line and the wounded back and even more difficult if the men going forward had to pass the men going back.

  1. Life in the Trenches- World War One

    Sandbags were also put on both sides of the top of the trench to absorb enemy bullets. A firestep was cut into the side of the trench and allowed the soldiers to peer over the side of the trench towards the enemy.

  2. What Was Life Really Like In The Trenches On The Western Front

    Weapons During World War 1 weapons where used a lot some of the weapons will be listed below. MACHINE GUNS-In World War 1 machine guns may well have been one of the deadliest weapons around in the war, but they probably injured more people than they killed with a headshot.

  1. What Was Life Like In The Trenches?

    Adding to this point, when it came to weapons, the trenches were not a good protection. Gases could easily run into the trenches harming most soldiers. There was hardly anything to do about it because if they got out of their trenches they would obviously be shot down.

  2. What was the trench routine like during the First World War?

    were posted as sentries on look-out duty, often in saps dug a little way ahead of the main fire trench. They would listen for sounds that might indicate enemy activity, and try to observe such activity across no man's land.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work