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Why was fighting on the Western Front such a new and terrible experience for British Soldiers?

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Why was fighting on the Western Front such a new and terrible experience for British Soldiers? World War One experienced two major frontiers that were being contested for- the Eastern and the Western. The Eastern was much longer than the latter, so lines were much easier to break there because soldiers were more dispersed and there were less of them in one area. The fighting was also more open and there were various forms of attack. Life in the Western Front was primarily harsher because of the constant risk of death and the foul conditions of the environment they were living in. The Western consisted of an ingenious system of trenches which stretched from the border of Switzerland to the coast of Belgium. They were well constructed and designed to give maximum protection and advantage. One clever factor used for both sides was digging them into a zigzag shape and not in a beeline direction to provide cover against the enemy if within sight of enemy guns. For the British and the French this was especially important because the Germans had built theirs on higher ground. All the trenches were interconnected and had specific duties. The Front line was the most dangerous because it was amid all the fighting and heavy fire. ...read more.


Because of their heavy weight they had to be set up on the ground and manned by around five men (to reload, move and shoot). Field Guns (like cannons) were another breakthrough. It was too far and impossible for a man to throw a shell as accurately as possible towards the opposite trench from the front line, so these were placed behind the reserve trench and could fire hundreds of metres ahead. The other well known piece of heavy artillery was the tank. It didn't really help the cause of the Western Front because originally the first ones could only have a crew of 3 soldiers and they were unable to manoeuvre over trenches. Later it was more improved by the Germans- they increased the speed from 3 to 10 miles per hour and it was a lot more capable of accompanying trench soldiers but by the time it had been made the war was already ended. Aircraft in general were insignificant to the fighting. The were initially used to transport bombs and spy on the enemy to warn soldiers if they were going be attempting an advance- only later in the second world war were planes directly involved in the fighting with their built in machine guns and bombs that would be dropped from the sky. ...read more.


He did not want to do it willingly but was under a lot of pressure from the French. Secondly, everybody was desperate for the war to end. He knew the ordeals of his men and how much they were suffering so perhaps he just wanted to try the quick route out. It was the first time his men climbed out into No Man's Land to take over, so no-one knew about how well the German trenches were made. Later on he used the information to benefit him in future battles. Although it was blind to go in without any knowledge but hope that luck was on their side, Germany paid with many men too and the Battle of the Somme was the first real progress into putting pressure against them. If all those men had not bravely died the war could have dragged out for years more after it had ended. This concludes the fairly boring lives of British Soldiers in the Western Front which mainly comprised of the repeated process- Attack, you die or you move on. Every year it was the same, if you survived an offensive you had nothing to look forward to, except more hardship and the wallowing fear of death. Life in the trench was not pleasant but it was nothing compared to what would face them outside. ...read more.

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