Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life in the Trenches

First world War: 28 July 1914- 11 November 1918

Trench warfare is a structure for occupied fighting lines consisting largely of trenches in which troops are significantly protected from their enemies. A loophole is built into the parapet, to allow soldiers to watch their enemies without exposing their heads. Being in the trenches is hard for soldiers. Rats, lice, dysentery and trench foot make their lives miserable

Rats in black and brown infested the trenches in millions. Trench conditions are perfect for rats. Some soldiers suppose that the rats know when there is going to be a serious bombardment from the opponent lines, because rats always vanish minutes before an attack. Rats would crawl across the faces of the sleeping soldiers. The corpses, as well as the food leftovers that litter the trenches attract rats. Rats that gorge on human remains (such as eyes and liver of dead solider) would grow to the size of a cat (Harry Patch)

According to George Coppard, body lice are a never ending trouble. They breed in the joints of dirty clothing and cause men to itch continuously. So they suffer from lice bite that leaves blotchy red marks all over their bodies. Lice cause a fussy disease that begins suddenly with severe pain and high fever. Besides, men also suffer from Trench Foot, an infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and unsanitary conditions. 

Death is a steady friend of soldiers. They have no time to bury the multitudes of corpse. So it is quite usual to sight unburied bodies every now and then. If they bury the corpses at all, it is their friends first, and then if the time permits, they bury the bodies of their enemies. According to some sources, latrines in the trenches are only 4-5 feet deep. Other problems like dysentery, unpleasant weather condition, shortage of food supply (towards the end), home sicknesses, depression, and continuous war make life in the trenches dreadful and impossible to forget.

  Picture source: Google Search


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