By: Krystal Nelson

What Are Trenches

Trenches are a hole that is way deeper than it is wide. They were used in the front lines for defence and protection from the enemy. They were also used for a place to live as a home or shelter during the war while fighting in the front. In World War 1 there was over 25,000 miles dug with trenches by the end of the war. The trenches would always need to get repaired from the bombing and shootings from both sides. The soldiers that were fighting were the ones to build all of them take care of them and fix them when falling apart. In the war because of the trenches neither side gained much land for over 3 years. The trenches traveled from the North Sea to Belgium and France. One problem with these trenches was building them. They soldiers would dig them but during this time they would be open to get shot and open to enemy fire. Another way they made trenches was digging them out side to side a little bit at a time. This way was much safer but it took a lot longer. The safest way and the most difficult way to build a trench was by making a tunnel and once that was through to later take the top off the trench. Between the two sides that were fighting the spots in the middle which were about 50 to 250 yds apart where there were no trenches was called "No Man's Land."
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This picture shows how the soldiers looked in the trenches and how they would stand in there but always have to be careful.

What did trenches look like?

Trenches were normally about 7-12 feet deep that was enough for the solder to be able to move around but not walk around fully. The trenches were normally dug in a zigzag not in one straight line and there was different levels so the soldiers could go up or down at different spots. There was normally around most trenches a barbed wire fence. Inside the trenches there were dugouts. The british dug out weren't and deep as the germans were. The soldiers would put wooden boards at the bottom of the trenches to prevent the soldiers from walking around all day in water. The boards they put at the bottom were called duckboards.


The trenches conditions were awful. The trenches were flooded with frogs and rats that would eat just about everything and lice that killed some of the soldiers. The rats would eat the food and almost everything down in the trench. The lice would get into the soldiers hair and cause them to have their head be very itchy at all times. Lice is something that is very easily spread so when it broke out many soldiers get in especially is the small living conditions. The lice would also cause a lot of diseases for the soldier infected with it. The diseases would sometimes get so bad it would cause death. With the amount of people that was killed and the dead bodies would over flow and end up in the trenches. The smell of the trenches was one of the worst parts it is said. Another problem they had with the trenches conditions was weather. When the weather would get bad like rain the trenches would get flooded and get them all muddy which would cause the soldiers to move slower when in battle and in gunfire. When it would get cold a lot of the soldiers would die from the cold. A lot of them would get frostbite and lose fingers and toes. They would loose arms and legs and die down there in extreme conditions of the weather. The soldiers in the trenches also did not get a lot of sleep. They would have to sleep in the afternoon during the daylight a lot of the time. Many men would stay up and right letters or play cards. They would also have to get up very early in the morning prepared for anything. A lof of the battles in World War 1 was very bright and early in the day.
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This is a image showing how many rats there were all the time. The trenches would often be flooded just with rats.

Chores or Job in the Trenches

While the soldiers lived in the trenches they all got chores to do to keep the trenches growing and up to date. In the morning after they would eat breakfast they would get what called a "Daily Inspection" after that they would assign chores to the men. A lot of the normal chores you would see as a soldier on the front line would be repairing and refilling the sandbags fixing the duckboards on the ground because after rain the duckboards would get very muddy and wet which wasn't good for moving around. To get the water out of the trenches there was pumping equipment.

Morning Battles

The men that lived in these trenches would have a battle in the morning between sides. This was early in the morning right at the break of dawn. The soldiers would get up an hour before dawn and get ready for the morning battles. They would get up this early so when the battle happened they were prepared and ready. Both sides in this war adapted to having a battle in the mornings at dawn. Although in the morning they would use this time as a time to shoot machine guns and a lot of there lower weapons. Waking up early and having this battle a lot of people would refer to this as morning hate because they always started the day with a small battle. The battle was not a very strong or heavy fight. It was light and almost assured safety and you had less of a chance of dying or having something happen to you in these morning battles.
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This picture shows the men fighting with there guns and how it would often looking in the morning battles and normal ones.

My Reaction

I think that the trenches were a great way to help less soldiers get killed during the war and a great place for them to sleep and fight from. There were a lot of issues that I saw with these trenches but i think they helped a lot. A issue that I think happened a lot was the diseases they would get from living in these trenches. They would be awful like lice and diseases would spreed fast. The men were always so close together the chance of them getting something like lice was very high. The soldiers in World War 1 had to adapt to many things very quickly especially fighting on the front lines so having this trench that wasn't considered a safe spot but it also wasn't the most dangerous. Many men would write letter when they were sitting in the trenches. Old soldiers that made it out of the war would say the smell they smelt while they were in there was unforgettable and there's no way for anyone who wasn't there to truly understand how bad it smelt. There were dead bodies all over with rats everywhere and muddy floors at times. This was huge for the soldiers. But in the end I think the trenches did more help than harm for the people.

Works Cited

"Life on the Front Line." BBC News. BBC, 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

"Trench Warfare." Trenchwarfare. N.p., 14 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

"A Typical Trench." BBC News. BBC, 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

"World War I." For Kids: Trench Warfare. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.