October 24, 2014
9.4 social studies class
How did Trench warfare change warfare in World War one?
As I researched trench warfare in WW1, I found out a lot of what happened in the trenches and how it affected the soldiers. Death was a constant companion to those who were serving in the war. Because of all of the diseases and the artillery shells falling onto the trenches, the loss of limbs and lives were huge however, no one really knew the count. The total estimate of casualties in the war was close to 8.5 to 12.0 million. In the battle of Somme, there was 21,300 deaths total. So death was a constant companion to the families of the soldiers and the friends of them. There were many diseases that were spread around the trenches such as rat’s infestation, lice, and trench foot. Rats were a serious problem in the trenches. They gorged on the remains of humans preferring the eyes and the liver. They grew to the size of cats and were feared by many men. They bred up to have 900 offspring each year which led off to disease and infestation. Lice were another infestation, they hid in the seams of shirts and even when you washed the eggs were still stuck in the seams. Lice caused Trench Fever which was a painful that was followed with a sudden severe pain and high fever. The worst infestation was Trench Foot which was a fungal infection of the foot when it was constantly wet, cold and not washed. They sometimes led to amputation of the foot. The trenches were unsanitary because of human waste was everywhere from the soldiers going where they pleased. In the trenches every morning the soldiers were woken up at dawn to launch an early morning bullet spray and cannon blasts against the enemy lines. When the soldiers weren’t fighting on the front line they were patrolling No Man’s land, which was the bare dusty open land between the two armies. Soldiers spent between a day and two weeks in the trenches on the front line before they were relieved.
When the soldiers patrolled the no man’s land they were fixing the barbed wire that got tore down during the shooting. Or they were at the “listening posts” listening to the enemy’s information to see if they could figure out what they were going to do against them.