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Trench Warfare on the Western Front Luthfi and Serena.

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1 Trench Warfare on the Western Front Luthfi and Serena

2 Elements of a Trench System Front-line trenches – first layer of soldiers on the lookout and ready to attack approaching enemies Support trenches – second layer of soldiers, providing backup support to frontline soldiers and helping repel enemy attacks Reserve trenches – third layer of soldiers, mainly for reinforcements and resting soldiers Communication trenches – tunnels connecting the three trenches, for transport of men and supplies Fire-step – a ledge on which soldiers stand when they fire away through the parapet of sandbags No Man’s Land – dangerous area of land barred with barbed wire, filled with landmines, flying bullets and raining artilleries – very high chance of death

3 Structure of a trench (source:

4 Daily Routine of a Trench Soldier Dawn ‘Stand-To-Arms’ – soldiers stand at the firestep and watch out for dawn raids ‘Morning hate’ – soldiers randomly fire their weapons at the frontlines; to test rifles, relieve tensions or as precautions Rum supplies for cleaning rifles and general inspection of uniform and equipment by officers Breakfast and truce – calm period of truce respected between both sides… not so much by their officers Officers assign duties, e.g. delousing uniforms, repairing duckboards (boards put above water to prevent trenches from becoming swamps), refilling sandbags, digging latrines and dugouts, etc

5 German soldiers repairing their trench (source:

6 Pastimes – catching up on sleep, playing cards, drinking, smoking tobacco, rat hunting, football, writing letters, singing, scavenging bullet cases to make ‘trench ornaments’ Dusk ‘Stand-To-Arms’ – similar to dawn protocol, normal shift is 2 hours, those caught falling asleep may get shot by their officers Snipers are on lookout posts Dark of the night – allowed repairing barbed wires at frontlines, patrolling around No Man’s Land, etc… soldiers are more likely to flee when they encounter an opponent soldier at this time Back to dawn – rinse, lather, repeat

7 Soldiers after rat-hunting (source:

8 Trench art at Musee des Abris, Albert, Somme, 2001 (source:

9 Conditions at the Trench Dirty, damp and wet – often waterlogged to knee-height – sometimes soldiers refused to sleep within the trenches Loud, blaring noises of guns, artillery and death drove soldiers insane Filled with little creatures e.g. rats, lice, slugs, beetles Rats could be felt running over sleeping soldiers Rats grew on rations, rotten food and dead bodies Cat-sized rats stole food from soldier’s pockets and attacked the wounded

10 Soldiers standing in cold, muddy waters (source:

11 Soldiers’ dugouts – the sleeping quarters (source:

12 Food supplies reached the soldiers with no problems, except during times of heavy offensives; also humid conditions meant food went bad very easily German rations included potatoes, biscuits, bread, dried vegetables, canned sausages, bacon, smoked meat and some tobacco Diseases included gastrointestinal diseases e.g. dysentery (inflammation of colon lining), and trench foot (swelling and gangrene due to prolonged submersion in cold water), which can lead to amputation Trench foot (!GRAPHIC WARNING!): jpg jpg

13 Injured and Fallen Soldiers Officers forbade soldiers from helping wounded comrades, but soldiers did it anyway Soldiers carried an emergency dressing so they could treat their own wounds Limited number of stretcher-men means it would take time for wounded soldiers to receive treatment Trenches were littered with dead bodies of soldiers, many of which were shot to near-instant death This became a normal sight and most of them were not able to receive proper burial

14 1916 Battle of the Somme – note the dead soldiers lying around (source:

15 Weapons and Deaths Machine guns – grim reaper of WW1, firing hundreds of rounds per minute; anyone caught within their line of fire dies instantly Artillery, mortars and bombs were dropped into trenches, causing massive damage. Artillery contained shrapnel or poison gas, both equally lethal Poison gases – very cruel weapons – easy to inhale, causes slow, agonizing death, demoralizing soldiers, highly devastating to soldiers without proper protection Mustard gas – caused severe, excruciating burns to skin and lungs, leading to death hours later Phosgene – terminates gas exchange, causing death by suffocation – effects would not appear until up to 48 hours, and by then it would be far, far too late

16 Soldiers stationed with machine guns (source:

17 Soldiers amidst poisonous gases (source:

18 Bibliography Information (brackets are date accessed) (9/10/2011) +The+Learning+Zone+-+World+War+One+-+Leisure+-+Front+Line (9/10/2011) +The+Learning+Zone+-+World+War+One+-+Leisure+-+Front+Line (9/10/2011) (9/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (9/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (10/10/2011) (9/10/2011) (9/10/2011) (9/10/2011)

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