The Men in the Trenches
On both sides of No Man's land.
The same issues plagued both sides of the front. Constant attack led to paranoia, well into the later lives of the fighters.
Damp, unsanitary trenches led to trench foot- a soldier's feet rotting inside their boots, which often led to disabilities, reduced movement and pain in the areas affected.
All the soldiers had a family and loved ones waiting for them at home, often who would never be seen again.
The soldiers who fought were expected to follow orders, and battle plans to the smallest detail.
Even if it meant going out of the safety of the trenches into the direct line of fire, and into certain death.
At all times one was likely to be shot at, if they raised their head above the line of the trench. This led to precautions such as this periscope rifle, or a helmet placed on a stick.
There was little room in most trenches. In trenches further back (Officer trenches), and in the German trenches later in the war, deep dugouts were made, sometimes very comfortable and spacious.
But for most, life as a soldier was hard. Rats infested the trenches, and soldiers were sleep deprived and in constant shock.
There was little difference in the soldiers who fought the war. On the Allies side, fierce comradery was born and platoons became close. Other platoons were wiped out and some just managed to hold on.
On the side of the Central Powers, platoons grew close, some were eliminated, and there were those who just survived. War is fought by people, not soldiers.
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King's College London Archives
National World War I Museum and Memorial
LIFE Photo Collection
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