Trench Warfare-by Bob Alexander

The ways of war were changed forever with the advent of trenches.  Trench warfare came about during WWI and with it also came new threats and challenges to soldiers on either side.  The trenches allowed each army to hunker down and take a strong hold on their position.  Neither army was able to effectively push the other off the field.  This resulted in a long stalemate which lasted months.

Students walk through the trenches at Beaumont-Hamel

Students walk through the trenches at Beaumont-Hamel

Men could not leave the trenches and suffered horrible conditions.  It was very difficult to get aid and much-needed supplies to the soldiers in the trenches.  The soldiers suffered from thirst and starvation, trench foot, lack of ammo.  They froze in the winter and endured the heat in the summer.  The soldiers had nowhere to relieve themselves other than where they stood, the trenches were plagued by rats, and bacteria festered in every wound.  Many soldiers suffered amputations due to infections due to these unsanitary conditions.

Muddy trench coat at the Musée de l'Armée at Les Invalides

Muddy trench coat at the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides

New weapons were used with the introduction of the trenches.  Barbed wire, poison gas, tanks, machine guns, aircraft, and mines were used for the first time.  The use of these weapons resulted in mass casualties and the death toll count would reach into the tens of thousands on some days.  Artillery was responsible for the majority of the casualties suffered on both sides, but machine guns and gas played their part too.  Waves of oncoming troops would be mowed down by strategically placed machine guns and poison gas launched into the trenches flowed along, suffocating anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity.  Tanks were introduced towards the end of the war and were designed to plow through barbed wire blocking access to the enemy’s trenches.  The Germans did not utilize the tank, which contributed to their defeat.

Fighting in the trenches of WWI was a nightmare.  It mentally scarred soldiers who fought and opened the eyes of the world to the horrors of war.  Many of the weapons and methods of trench warfare became the subjects of treaties and agreements of countries worldwide.  Many measures have been taken to try to prevent a repeat of events that occurred in the trenches.

Comments

  1. Linda Fulps says:

    I am really enjoying reading everyone’s posts. Sounds like you are all learning so much. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shannon Fogg says:

      So glad you are enjoying them, Linda. It’s hard for us to tell if people are reading it so it’s nice to get comments!

      • Linda Fulps says:

        Good! I was out of town but now I am following this blog. I’m going to put something on Facebook too. Have fun!