Trench Warfare

By: Savannah Nichelson


Trenches varied depending on the local conditions. An example would be the Western Front the ground was very chalky and could be easily dug, if it rained the sides of the trenches would crumble. To prevent that the sides of the trenches would be held up by sandbags, wood or other materials. Each landscape possessed different problems for the man who had to dig and defend. Trenches were normally only scratch affairs because soldiers would move on to new territory. Trenches were normally no deeper than 6 feet and 3 feet wide.
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Trench construction was difficult. The British said it took nearly 450 men to dig 250 meters of trench. Trenches were never built in a straight line but in a zigzag pattern. Armies had 3 lines of trenches. The front line closest to No-Man's Land, the support trench, and the reserve trench. Soldiers would serve on the front line for 8 days, then 4 days on the support trench and finally 4 days in the reserve trench. Most trenches were muddy, cold and depressing.
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Trenches were first made to protect armies from the opposing sides fire. Trench warfare was probably one of the things that extended the war because soldiers were hiding so it wasn't easy to kill them. Trench warfare gave soldiers a sense of security if they were in the reserve trench. Knowing the enemy had to shoot through the front line and the support trench. The front line was always the first to kill if the enemy was seen in No Man's Land

Disadvantages and Problems

One disadvantage and problem was that trench warfare caused diseases to spread faster. Since soldiers were in a small space it spread quicker. Another major problem with trench warfare is many soldiers got trench foot. Trench warfare could take 3-6 months to fully recover from. Treatment should have happened as soon as possible otherwise soldiers could end up with gangrene or amputation. Conditions in the trenches were not safe and were very harmful. Dead soldiers would just be covered up with dirt and never properly buried. They would cover them with dirt to mask the smell a bit.
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World War One Trench Warfare