Life in the Trenches By: Lizzie Brethouwer

Significance: Trench warfare is a type of land warfare using occupied fighting lines consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are significantly protected from the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery.

What is it: A trench is a long narrow ditch that protected the solders during world war 1.

What is its purpose: To provide a safe area for the soldiers and a home base type area during the war.

What does it say about WW1: It shows what we went through to save our mother country. It shows the struggle to stay alive and protect us.

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.

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.

This is a quote from a man in WW1; “Col. Joseph Hyde Pratt described in his diary trying to sleep with a German plane flying over his camp: "July 24, [1918] Wednesday. Last night was a beautiful moonlight night, a few clouds but clear. Just the kind that the aeroplanes want in making the raids. We knew the German planes would be over and we were not (agreeably) disappointed. They came over and it seemed as though one of them just persisted in circling our camp looking for a good place upon which to drop a bomb. Each one of us feels that our hut or tent is the particular one that the aeroplane is hunting for, and as one lies there, listening to the enemy plane, he begins to swell up and grow in size until he knows that it is impossible for the observer to miss seeing him or the bomb to miss hitting him. That was the way I felt last night. I just knew that particular machine was flying continuously back and forth over my hut looking for a good place to drop a bomb. Nothing happened and I got a pretty good night's sleep. I can sleep through the artillery fire even if the guns are somewhat close by." From the Diary of Colonel Joseph Hyde Pratt, page 50-51.”

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.

Credits:

Created with images by charlo.be - "Trench wall" • Editor B - "Trench"

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