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Life in the trenches

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Life in the trenches Trenches where basically long holes that where just deep enough to cover the height of your body. The main purpose of digging these trenches was to supply reasonable cover form enemy fire. These trenches where more often than not in dreadful shape. The sides of these trenches (especially in Ypres) often collapsed inwards causing a serious safety hazard (the least of there worries). Trenches where often built in Zigzags so when the enemy captured the trench, they could not simply fire straight along the trench killing everyone. The trenches spread from the East to the West. By the end of 1914, trenches stretched all along the 475 miles front between the Swiss border and the Channel coast. The general conditions of the Trenches fought in during World War 1 were terrible. The trenches were constantly filled with mud, water, blood, urine, shrapnel, body parts and other such disgusting items. Because of these items constantly filling the trenches, men's feet literally rotted because of being in this constantly. Men would "live" in these trenches for months on end. Trench foot wasn't the only thing that came from living in the trenches, other conditions such as shell shock, lice and illnesses from poor hygiene. This mostly led to death. ...read more.


One soldier described the rats as "small dogs" that would attack and eat anything; he also said that they were almost as much of a threat as the Germans! Wounded men were often afraid to go to sleep in their beds and men tried to secure their food during the night to stop rats from getting it (by hanging them up in the dug outs). Lice where also a sin in World War 1 they are tiny creatures that feed on human blood and live in the skin and anywhere else warm. Almost all off the soldiers would be infected with lice; they would live in soldier's clothes and roam the human body sucking blood. The lice would cause intense itching and uncomfortable living situations. Lice would spread through the trenches very quickly because of cramped living conditions. Soldiers would often group together during breaks in the war and attempt to get rid of lice through various methods such as running a lighter round your jacket and listening for the pops of the eggs. Even if the men were successful at ridding lice from themselves, they were very likely to get them again from someone else and so lice were constantly a problem through the war and made the living conditions far worse. ...read more.


Soldiers where also responsible for appointing someone to stand watch. A "Guard" would do a few hours shift then attempt to get some sleep while someone else does there bit to look out for advancing enemies and there snipers. Soldiers didn't much enjoy being the guard because then they would get even less sleep and be even more exhausted. One job the soldiers where given for there benefit mainly was to wash their feet daily, apply whale oils, and put on dry socks to prevent "trench foot". In front of the trenches was stretched a barrier of barbed wire, up to 15 metres thick. In between was No Man's Land - the area which was being fought over. The two trench lines could be as much as 800 metres apart; in a few places, the enemy was just 20 metres away. Every night, patrols were sent out into the area to find out what the enemy was doing. The aim was to capture the enemy's trenches, but this was difficult because they were all so well-defended. So overall the war was a waste of life and time and trenches just made the death toll higher and it take a hell of a lot longer. Trenches on our trip to the battlefields in France and Belgium ...read more.

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