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Trench Warfare American History.

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Presentation on theme: "Trench Warfare American History."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trench Warfare American History

2 Impact of the New Weapons
New weapons were developed during WWI as part of “militarism” or building up of military by other countries. With all of these new technologies, soldiers did not know how to protect themselves from the new, violent weapons that were used. All of these weapons could shoot farther, kill faster, and were more efficient than previous weapons such as a bayonette. New weapons allowed soldiers to be attacked without being seen. This is not like during the Civil War where if you enemy was not close enough to be seen, then he could not harm you. This made fighting and new and scary thing for soldiers.

3 Weapons used during the Civil War were not threatening from a long distance.
Weapons used during WWI were more advanced, could shoot further and faster and were more of a threat to soldiers.

4 Planes and Zeppelins In WWI, planes were used for the first time to drop bomb from the air. Soldiers did not know how to defend against this tactic. Zeppelins – were a large “blimp” (like the Goodyear Blimp) and were usually filled with hydrogen. Attached was a small cargo area where people would ride (also dropped bombs). Very dangerous because hydrogen is EXTREMELY flammable. This means that when the zeppelins were shot at, or if they fell, or ran into a building, they would explode violently killing people and causing damage.

5 Zeppelins were filled with Hydrogen and were used to drop bombs during WWI. They were very dangerous because they were highly flammable! Planes were first used for military purposes during WWI. They were used to locate the enemy and to drop bombs.

6 Other Technologies Machine Guns – First machine guns were used in WWI. They shot bullets farther, faster and with more accuracy. Leads to the development of snipers. Able to kill more people quickly. Canons – Most famous was “Big Bertha” developed by the Germans. Could shoot an artillery shiell or canon up to 75 miles! Enemy could not see it coming. Artillery Shells – Carried shrapnel or bits of metal, nails, and other objects that would cut and impale people as they blew up. These caused severe cuts, injuries, and soldiers even lost limbs due to shrapnel.

7 Big Bertha which could shoot canons up to 75 miles…from here to Grand Island. Makes it hard for the enemy to avoid.

8 Problems with New Technologies
This new technology came without time to plan… Prior to WWI, military strategy had focused entirely on the offensive. They never worried about defending themselves from their enemies, because they could see them before they were a danger. This new change in technology led to… High Mortality Rate. The war was very bloody and violent. They were not using small guns with small bullets, but large bullets, shrapnel, bombs, etc. Trench Warfare: Both sides were clueless on how to defend so they dug holes “trenches” and hid out in them in order to avoid bombs, and other tactics.

9 Why use Trench Warfare? All of this technology developed very quickly. All of the new weapons were also geared towards the offensive or how to attack the other side. There were little to no technologies or strategies on how to defend against these new weapons. The only way soldiers could defend themselves was to dig trenches and hide out in them.

10 Logistics of Trench Warfare
1. Front lines: those closest to the enemy…where most of the fighting takes place…most dangerous. 2. Support lines: middle trenches which provided support to front lines as back-up, had extra weapons, watch-out for front lines. 3. Reserve lines: held supplies, ammo, there to be a last resort in case the enemy charged. More relaxed and away from the enemy. 4. Communication Lines: those that connected the trenches so that you could move from one trench to another without leaving the trench. 5. No Mans Land: area in between the two sides. Very dangerous. Filled with land mines, barbed wire, and threatened by enemy fire. If you were sent there it was a death sentence. Therefore, both sides sat in there trenches and waited for the other side to attack…it was a stalemate! 6 Lines were not dug in a straight line but instead were jagged so that the enemy could not stand at the end of the trench and shoot everyone in the trench. 7. Behind the reserve lines were support stations where they took injured soldiers and could “rejuvenate” themselves.


12 Conditions in the Trenches
Death: Soldiers died daily and often took weeks before they could bring medics from the reserve lines to pick up the dead bodies. So the bodies sat in the trenches. Led to horrible smells and spread of diseases. Rats: Fed off of the rotting food and other stuff in the trenches. Got historically large…some soldiers claimed the size of a house cat. Soldiers would play games where they would toss the rats in the air and shoot them or throw them into No Mans Land and hit them with grenades. Lice and Frogs: Lice was a major problem because so many people lived in such close quarters. Frogs often took over the trenches as well because they were often full of water because of rain. Trench Foot: soldiers feet were constantly wet from sitting in water in the trenches. Leads to trench foot where the skin and flesh rots away. Many soldiers had to have their feet amputated.

13 Picture of men in the trenches during WWI.

14 Trench Cycle Soldiers rotated between the trenches on a set schedule.
They would start out in the reserve lines then move to support, to front lines, back to support lines, back to reserve lines, then would get a 2 week break to “keep them fresh”. This was done because the military quickly learned the negative affect of the trenches. Sit in a crouched position all day everyday takes a toll on the body and mind. They rotated them to give them a break.

15 A reserve trench where you can see people are more relaxed and not worried about constant attack.

16 Poison Gas French were the first ones to develop poison gas, but Germans were the first to use it in battle. Chlorine: works within seconds. It destroys your respiratory organs and causes choking and coughing. Phosgene: Does pretty much the same thing as chlorine, but quicker and more deadly. Mustard Gas: the worst of all of the gases. Given the name due to the color. First used in September of 1917 against the Russians. Causes internal and external blisters, Eyes become sore and sticky, your bronchial tubes begin to close…extremely painful and even if you survive has long-term medical difficulties.

17 Men wearing “gas masks” during WWI
Men wearing “gas masks” during WWI. As you can imagine, these often did not prevent inhalation.

18 Medical Care was Difficult!
Hard to get to the front lines to treat injured soldiers Wounds were more brutal and deadly then they were used to. Not dealing with small bullet wounds or bayonette wounds, like soldiers had in the past, but large wounds, amputated limbs, wounds from bombs, etc. Medics had not been trained on how to deal with these kinds of injuries and so many injuries went untreated or men died.

19 Medical Hospital during WWI

20 No Man’s Land This was the area between the two enemy trenches. Very dangerous. Filled with land mines, barbed wire, and threatened by enemy fire. If you were sent there it was a death sentence. Therefore, both sides sat in there trenches and waited for the other side to attack…it was a stalemate Soldiers from WWI tell stories about throwing rats over the trenches into “No Man’s Land” to see if the enemy would fire on them. It was a way to check if it was safe. It also became a “game” to entertain soldiers.

21 As you can see, it was very difficult to cross No Man’s Land due to all of the shrapnel, barbed wire, and dead bodies.

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