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Trench Warfare in Ww 1

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Essay title: Trench Warfare in Ww 1

World War I was a military conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918. It was a modern war with airplanes, machine guns, and tanks. However, it was often fought as if it were a 19th century war. Commanders would march their troops across open land into the face of machine guns and often slaughter and as a result of this action, the tactic known as trench warfare was developed. At the time, many viewed trench warfare to be an effective tactic against enemy advancement and because of this view, trench warfare proved to be an ineffective and traumatizing experience for soldiers. Trench warfare was so horrific, soldiers had to endure this style of fighting under three significant conditions that made everyday life brutal; their daily sight of death in forms of raids and disease, the poor supplies they had to rely on, and thirdly the poor defensive conditions and vulnerability from the new weapons in use, like poison gasses, or shrapnel shells.

Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against. Rotting carcasses lay around in thousands the overwhelming smell reeked the trenches. Soldiers were under constant threat from enemy fire and shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death. Many soldiers died by consequence of a precisely aimed sniper's bullet. Soldiers always had to be awake and alert, they couldn't go to help their friends in no mans land. They had to let them die. Private Ralph E. John states, "There were so many dead around us, that the smell was almost unbearable. Some started digging graves for these men, and whenever they would stand up in sight, the Germans would open up on then in full blast." If they were shot in the stomach they could scream and suffer for days, before they would finally die. The soldiers in the front line trenches often stayed there for at least 10 days at a time, usually with very little sleep. Private John describes his arrival to camp, "From the camp, we could hear the occasional bombing of the big guns of the artillery, which became louder as we drew nearer. Close in behind the lines, we were hiking in a deep ditch. I don't know just what happened nor how, except that I do know the trench blew up. And such a mess! I hadn't forgotten what I had been told to look out for yourself. When I came to my senses, I was up on the bank crouched down on my knees and with my gun down in firing position. A second instinct just seemed to tell me that we had been attacked and to protect myself. But there was no enemy in sight, nothing but blackness pierced by the screams and moans of those all but torn to pieces. We rolled a big rock off one buddy whom I thought I recognized in the darkness and I asked, "Is that you Reuben?" and he replied, "What is left of me." He was in the same squad as I. It was my last sight of him and many more were to go the same way." Private John says, "It would not be such a bad war if only one could get more sleep. In the line we have next to none, and fourteen days is a long time at one stretch." The main reason that soldiers on the front line could not sleep was to be on guard against enemy sneak attacks, the trenches were constantly being destroyed, either by enemy shellfire, or water damage. Many times, soldiers would be buried alive by the collapsing trench walls. The soldiers were very tired at night also because a time used as preparation and maintenance of the trenches.

Along with very little sleep and the destruction of trenches, soldiers also had to worry about contracting diseases. "So I got out my razor and hung up my mirror to take a shave. When I looked in it, I saw that my face was all broken out as thick as it could be with small red pimples, which I knew immediately, was the measles". (John, Ralph). One of the most serious infections was trench foot. Trench foot is an infection of the feet caused by wet and unsanitary conditions. Soldiers stood for hours in waterlogged trenches without being able to remove wet socks or boots. This caused their feet to gradually go numb and their skin to turn red and blue. If these conditions went untreated, they would result in amputation. Another major disease for soldiers in the trenches was dysentery. Dysentery is a disease involving the inflammation of the large intestine causing stomach pains, diarrhea, and vomiting or fever. The main causes bacteria entering the body through the mouth, contact with human feces, and contact with infected people. This mainly struck the soldiers because of sanitation issues in the trenches. Another major concern for soldiers in the trenches was the rats. Many times, in the trenches, the bodies of soldiers were buried in the walls of the trenches. If a wall fell, a large number of decomposing bodies would become exposed. These corpuses, as well as food scraps, attracted large numbers of rats. As Private

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