Presentation on theme: "Trench Warfare Reenactment WWI 1914-1918. An aerial view of shell and bomb damaged battlefield and trenches in Belgium. Although there had been some trench."— Presentation transcript:
Trench Warfare Reenactment WWI 1914-1918
An aerial view of shell and bomb damaged battlefield and trenches in Belgium. Although there had been some trench warfare in the American Civil War of 1861 - 65, and the Russian- Japanese War of 1904 - 05, it wasn't until the First World War that fixed trench warfare became the standard form of fighting. The trench system along the Western Front ran for approximately 475 miles, in an "S" shape across Europe, from the North Sea to Switzerland.
Casualties of Chemical Warfare CountryTotal CasualtiesDeaths Austria-Hungary100,0003,000 British Empire188,7068,109 France190,0008,000 Germany200,0009,000 Italy60,0004,627 Russia419,34056,000 USA72,8071,462 Others10,0001,000
Chemical Warfare Technology Timeline AgentsDisseminationProtectionDetection 1900s Chlorine Chloropicrin Phosgene Mustard gas Wind dispersal Gas masks, urinated- on gauze Smell 1910s LewisiteChemical shells Gas mask Rosin oil clothing 1920s Projectiles w/ central bursters CC-2 clothing 1930s G-series nerve agents Aircraft bombs Blister agent detectors Color change paper 1940s Missile warheads Spray tanks Protective ointment (mustard) Collective protection Gas mask w/ Whetlerite 1950s 1960s V-series nerve agentsAerodynamic Gas mask w/ water supply Nerve gas alarm 1970s 1980s Binary munitions Improved gas masks (protection, fit, comfort) Laser detection 1990s Novichok nerve agents
Captain C.E.W. Bean, knee-deep in mud in a trench near Gueudecourt Trench warfare created a living environment for the men which was harsh, stagnant and extremely dangerous. Not only were trenches constantly under threat of attack from shells or other weapons, but there were also many health risks that developed into large- scale problems for medical personnel. Apart from the inescapable cold during the winters in France, trenches were often completely waterlogged and muddy, and crawling with lice and rats.
Diseases such as trench fever (an infection caused by louse faeces), trench nephritis (an inflammation of the kidneys), and trench foot (the infection and swelling of feet exposed to long periods of dampness and cold, sometimes leading to amputation) became common medical problems, and caused significant losses of manpower
Battle map of Verdun.
Verdun was a battle fought for the sole purpose of bleeding the enemy white. It was unlike any fought before as its goals were not to take ground, not to capture property, not to break the enemies lines but to create a mountain of French dead... It lasted approximately 11 months and may be the worst battle ever fought. The level of suffering for the soldiers is beyond compare.
At Verdun …. They had lived in trenches that had been alternately French and German. These trenches sometimes lay filled with bodies in different stages of decomposition. They were once men in the prime of their lives, but had fallen for the possession of this hill. This hill, that was partly built on dead bodies already. A battle after which they lay rotting, fraternally united in death…. (Georges Blond – Verdun).
Types of Gas Masked Used
February 23, 1916 A French captain reports:...I have returned from the most terrible ordeal I have ever witnessed. […] Four days and four nights – ninety- six hours – the last two days in ice-cold mud – kept under relentless fire, without any protection whatsoever except for the narrow trench, which even seemed to be too wide. […] I arrived with 175 men, I returned with 34 of whom several had half turned insane....
An eye-witness:...One soldier was going insane with thirst and drank from a pond covered with a greenish layer near Le Mort- Homme. A corpse was afloat in it; his black countenance face down in the water and his abdomen swollen as if he had been filling himself up with water for days now....
A French soldier describes the horrors of a bombardment:...When you hear the whistling in the distance your entire body preventively crunches together to prepare for the enormous explosions. Every new explosion is a new attack, a new fatigue, a new affliction.
Even nerves of the hardest of steel, are not capable of dealing with this kind of pressure. The moment comes when the blood rushes to your head, the fever burns inside your body and the nerves, numbed with tiredness, are not capable of reacting to anything anymore. It is as if you are tied to a pole and threatened by a man with a hammer.
... At my feet two unlucky creatures rolled the floor in misery. Their clothes and hands, their entire bodies were on fire. They were living torches. [The next day] In front of us on the floor the two I had witnessed ablaze, lay rattling. They were so unrecognizably mutilated that we could not decide on their identities. Their skin was black entirely. One of them died that same night. In a fit of insanity the other hummed a tune from his childhood, talked to his wife and his mother and spoke of his village. Tears were in our eyes....
A soldier tells:...Seven days without sleep, seven days of fatigue, thirst and fear made these healthy men, these beautifully disciplined companies into a gang of loiterers. Critically ill, but calm and satisfied, because they were now out of danger and appeared to be still alive....
One of the trenches is so filled with wounded and dead bodies the attackers have to use the parapet in order to be able to move forward…
the latrines cause major problems. They are completely blocked up and smell terribly. This stench is fought with chlorinated lime and this smell mixes with the battlefield smell of decomposition. Men even wear their gas masks when using the latrines…
Mud, heat, thirst, filth, rats, the sweet smell of corpses, the disgusting smell of excreta and the terrible fear: ‘it seems we will have to attack’, and that when nobody has any strength left...
A French soldier: …everyone who searches for cover in a shell hole, stumbles across slippery, decomposing bodies and has to proceed with smelly hands and smelly clothes… A German soldier: …in the drumfire bravery no longer exists: only nerves, nerves, nerves. When anyone is exposed unto such trials and tribulations he is no longer of any use as an attacker or defender…