No mans land: The open space between two sets of opposing trenches became known as No Man’s Land because no soldier wanted to travel the distance for fear of attack. The climate in France and Belgium was quite wet, so No Man’s Land soon became a mud bath. It was so thick that soldiers could disappear into the mud and never to be seen again.
Hell on earth: There were millions of rats in ww1 trenches. A pair of rodents could produce as many as 900 young a year in trench conditions so soldiers attempts to kill them were small. 80,000 British Army soldiers suffered from shell shock over the course of the war.
Constructing the trenches: The British and the French recruited manpower from non-belligerent China to support the troops with manual labour. Their most important task was digging the trenches in WW1. 140,000 Chinese labourers served on the Western Front over the course of the First World War (40,000 with the French and 100,000 with the British forces). They were known as the Chinese Labour Corps.
Even in an era of combat aircraft, tanks, and an endless array of technological advances, the US Army still trains troops in the tactics of trench warfare. And sometimes they go to Poland to do it. It may sound archaic, but the truth is that while trench warfare – and the horrors that go along with it – are more closely identified with World War I, the practice has continued throughout the last century. In some ways, trench warfare and the tactics associated with fighting in such an inhospitable and unforgiving environment was the precursor to what we know today as urban warfare. Although urban combat has dominated tactics doctrine for the last decade and a half, the reality is that the US has tens of thousands of troops in South Korea, a place where the front lines would require both urban and trench warfare fighting abilities if that conflict ever went hot.