In trench warfare, the two sides fighting each other dig trenches in a battlefield. These trenches have many different parts, such as bunks, headquarters, artillery, and machine gun bunks. Between the two trenches on a battlefield, there was an area called "no man's land". This area was often covered with barbed wire and land mines. Soldiers on either side would try to cross the no man's land to get to the enemy's trench and attack. Tanks were commonly used to cross this land.
World War I started in 1914. World War I ended in 1918. While fighting, soldiers needed self-defense. So, they dug holes. The holes were six feet deep. These holes were called trenches. All of the soldiers fought in the trenches. The trenches were not very far apart. For example, they could have been as short as thirty yards in between each trench. This open space was called Dead Man’s Land. Death was constant, even when there was no fighting (i.e. diseases). This was called trench warfare.
The trenches were dirty. There were several diseases in the trenches. For example, trench foot. Trench foot was a fungal disease. It rotted people’s feet off. This was because of the cold, wet, and unsanitary conditions. Lice spread throughout the trenches. This propelled a disease. This disease was called trench fever. It caused severe pain to the head. It also caused intense fevers. There were rats that invaded the trenches. The rats could have been brown or black. The brown rats were the really bad kind. The brown rats spread disease everywhere. The brown rats ate human remains. They could grow to be as big as cats. The mud was very thick. Some men disappeared into the mud because it was so thick. The trenches had a horrible stench. This was because of the lack of bathing, the dead bodies, and the overflowing toilets.
- Jackson, Patrick, In Depth: A century of mud and fire, BBC News, 27 June 2006
- Association for World War Archaeology
- Photograph of soldiers digging trenches during The First World War