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Trench Warfare In Wwi. Essay

1766 words - 7 pages

World War I was like nothing that had ever happened in the world before. Although it was inevitable, the horrific loss of life was pointless. Almost no-one except the politicians ruling agreed with it, which has been proven by soldiers diary's, and most famously the football match between the British and the Germans on Christmas Day 1914. All-in-all, World War 1 resulted in a revolution in infantry tactics which fundamentally altered how wars were fought. The armies which clashed in August 1914 operated on essentially 19th century doctrines, large units of riflemen were screened by cavalry and supported by artillery. Commanders expecting a decisive engagements to settle the war rapidly. The British, French, Germans, and Russians that marches off the war in August 1914 all assumed that the War would be over in a few months if not weeks. No one anticipated a struggle that would endure over 4 years. Sweeping maneuvers exposed the cavalry and infantry to the killing power of modern weapons. Modern weapons, especially artillery and machine guns as well as accurate rapid-fire rifles proved devastating, especially when used against the tactics field commanders employed in the initial phases of the War. Field operations by 1916 had, after the loss of millions, been fundamentally changed. The professional armies of 1914 were devastated and were replaced by conscripted replacements. What began as a rapid war of movement soon settled down to static trench warfare and became a brutal war of attrition. Both the Germans and the French and British began digging trenches to stay alive. Eventually parallel trench systems stretched from the Swiss border to the English Channel. There were about 40,000 kilometers of trenches on the Western Front alone. And so Trench warfare became the biggest part of World War 1...The general condition of the Trenches fought in during World War 1 were terrible. The trenches were constantly filled with mud, water, blood, urine, shrapnel, body parts and other such disgusting items. Because of these items constantly filling the trenches, men's feet were constantly in these terrible conditions, and it eventually caused trench foot. Men would "live" in these trenches for months on end. Trench foot wasn't the only thing that came from living in the frontline, other conditions such as shell shock, lice, illness from poor hygiene and most commonly, death. Soldiers would never get a good nights sleep because of the shelling, the smell and uncomfortable conditions. Despite these terrible conditions, most soldiers would try and keep the spirits up and be thankful for the protection it would give them.Communication trenches would be used to pass messages between the different trench zones. Barbed wire was placed at the front of the trench to make it hard for and approaching group of soldiers to make it into the trench. The frontline was where all the soldiers would fire across to the other trench or leave to go over the top. IN the support...

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