Presentation on theme: "What were conditions in the trenches really like? Lesson Objective To understand the layout of a trench Key words Trench foot Camaraderie."— Presentation transcript:
What were conditions in the trenches really like? Lesson Objective To understand the layout of a trench Key words Trench foot Camaraderie
Why was the war fought in trenches? Both sides expected the war to be over by Christmas. Instead it lasted 4 years and 10, 000, 000 people were killed One of the reasons why the war lasted so long was the type of warfare used, most importantly, the trenches. The French and British forces were trying to defend France from the advancing German army. So they dug in to hold their position.
Both sides dug trenches to protect themselves. At first these were just ditches, but it soon became clear that the soldiers would be in them for some time. Once in the trenches they would be able to keep each other pinned down with machine gun fire. Why was the war fought in trenches?
No Mans Land Front Line Support Reserve Actual view of part of the Western Front
Latrine (Toilet) Sandbags The Soldier Machine Gun Duckboards Periscope Firestep Barbed Wire L.O to understand the layout of a Trench
LICE Everybody in the trenches had lice, one soldier counted 163 on himself! They were a constant source of irritation and could be cracked with fingernails or ‘popped’ with a burning candle.
Washing Lice were so common because men in the front- line rarely, if ever, washed. Normally a soldier spent 4 days in the frontline, 4 days in support and 8 in reserve. It was not unusual for men to go over a month without washing! This also led to diseases such as dysentery (infection of intestines severe diarrhea with blood and mucus).
Rats Trenches were infested with rats because there were no cats and plenty of rotting corpses. They stole food from soldiers and ate the corpses of their comrades. As a result the rats grew huge and soldiers spent theirs nights hunting them with shovels.
Food Daily food was mostly tinned meat called bully beef, bread, biscuits and jam. This was of poor quality and eating the same thing everyday added to the often dull nature of trench life.
Gas Gas was a constant fear for men in the frontline. Chlorine gas destroyed the lung tissues so men couldn’t breathe and mustard gas blistered the skin and caused blindness.
Shell Shock When soldiers were being shelled (up to 7 days at a time) over a period of months they sometimes suffered from shell shock, a type of nervous exhaustion. Men would live in a state of terror, for many their lives would never be the same and they would never recover. Many ended up in mental hospitals for the rest of their lives.
Wearing poorly fitting boots, living in freezing mud and water sometimes led to trench foot. Mud was often feet deep and men even drowned in it. Trench Foot Trench foot meant that feet often swelled to two or three times their normal size and went numb. Skin would peel off as boots were removed. In some cases they had to be amputated.
Camaraderie Many soldiers enlisted with their friends. That meant that they were often in the same ‘PALS’ battalion as them and fought alongside them in the trenches. They would spend hours together and became close. To pass the time they would sing, talk about home, and write letters. They would try to help and protect each other.
Review Review- Out of all the conditions in the trenches what problem do you think was the worst and why?