Trench Warfare

The First World War

Why Were They Created?

Trench warfare was used in World War I. The Great War started June 28, 1914 when a Serbian nationalist assassinated the heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of Austria-Hungary. With the death of their heir, Austro-Hungarian King became angered and declared war on Serbia. This was during a time when countries started becoming allies of each other. Russia backed Serbia, Germany backed Austria-Hungary and both Britain and France backed up Russia, while Turkey backed up both Germany and Austria-Hungary. This involvement of multiple different type of "super power" countries that had strong military caused a stalemate.

Organization of Trenches

Most trench lines were created in late 1914, and they stretched from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border which was about 400 miles of trenches. On both sides, they believe that they dug about 62,500 miles of trenches. Allied Powers had three different types of trenches. The first trench was the Front Line Trench which was 50 yards to one mile from the Central Powers line. The next trench was several hundred yards back that held supplies and men to immediately assist the Front Line Trench, these trenches were called Support Trenches. The last one was several hundred yards back and had men and supplies for emergencies, which were the Reserve Trenches. All of these trenches were connected by Communication Trenches. German trenches were vastly different from the Allied Powers. There's had electricity, beds, toilets, and other necessities of life. In addition, they had living quarters that were 50 feet below the surface.

Life in the Trenches

The trenches when they were dug were mostly under sea-level and with bad soil types. Most were clay, which would not allow water to seep through, and sand so when it rained it went to the bottom of the trench. They tried many things to fix problems, but trench foot was still common. Trench foot was an infection from cold, wet and insanitary conditions. Another major disease found in the trenches was dysentery. The disease started when soldiers ate dirty/contaminated food or water which allowed an inflammation of the large intestine. The inflammation caused stomach pains and diarrhea which made soldiers become dehydrated from loss of fluids. Soon after the first trenches were dug, rats invaded because of non buried dead bodies that attracted them. Many soldiers had to worry about rats, among other things.

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