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What were conditions like on the Western Front for troops

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Introduction

Charlie Elwess What were conditions like on the Western Front for troops? Ever since the end of the First World War ended it has been common knowledge that life in the trenches was, perhaps, the nearest a person could get to a living hell. Though many facts about the reality of the trenches were shrouded by propaganda and letter censorship at the time. When the trenches were first dug the weather was warm and the earth was dry and easy to work with and no one could imagine what they were about to turn into in the coming years. While they were on duty in front line trenches the troops actually were not doing much for 60% of the time, though it is certainly a common misconception that the men were constantly going over the top and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. ...read more.

Middle

As well as being in the front line there would also be time spent in the support trenches. A soldier or section may have up to eight days on and perhaps four days off front line duty. In this time he would de-louse and clean his clothing and equipment. This was a great relief to any soldier as trench conditions were mostly atrocious, especially in the winter. There was always an overwhelming concoction of awful smells. Rats, rotting corpses (some graves were duck just several metres behind some trenches), unclean men, gunpowder, and sewage to name but a few. The sanitation was so bad that men got lice or 'chats' as they were nicknamed. The weather played a big part in the war and contributed to trench conditions. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was mainly due to the level of comradeship between the men, respect for the leaders, patriotism and the amounts of food that was received. It was said by one soldier that the comradeship was so good that a soldier would give up his last cigarette or do anything to help a man in need. Though it is believed by many that the officers were not respected and lived the 'life of riley', they were and statistics show that many were killed in action. In conclusion it is plain to see that trench life and warfare was sometimes quite different from what many imagine. Living conditions were poor yet moral was high and there was even some fun to be had at times! However there is no doubt about how they came to earn the reputation they now have today. ...read more.

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