Trenches where basically long holes that where just deep enough to cover the height of your body. The main purpose of digging these trenches was to supply reasonable cover form enemy fire. The trenches where often not in the best shape. The sides of these trenches often collapsed inwards causing a series safety hazard (the least of their worries). Trenches where often built in Zigzags so when the enemy captured the trench, they could not simply fire straight along the trench killing everyone. The trenches spread from the East to the West. By the end of 1914, trenches stretched all along the 475 miles front between the Swiss border and the Channel coast.
Daily Death in the Trenches
Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even ...view middle of the document...
It has been estimated that up to one third of Allied casualties on the Western Front were actually sustained in the trenches. Aside from enemy injuries, disease wrought a heavy toll.
Dead bodies littered the surrounding land, a constant reminder to the soldiers of their own mortality. Continuous artillery fire was heard from both sides of the trenches. This indecent noise was enough to drive anybody mad, which indeed it did. Often called 'shellshock', and now recognised as post-traumatic stress disorder, the constant firing and banging of the artillery shells caused some men to go a bit crazy, and resulted in them being unable to go 'over the top.'
The general conditions 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 literally rotted because of being in this constantly. Men would "live" in these trenches for months on end. Trench foot wasn't the only thing that came from living in the trenches, other conditions such as shell shock, lice and illnesses from poor hygiene. This mostly led to death. Soldiers would never get 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. The conditions where so bad in the trenches some men would self inflicted wounds into parts of there bodies or deliberately raise an arm or leg over the top of the trench or cover such as sand bags hoping they would be shot at. They did so that they would be sent home to recover and get away from the war.