What Were the Conditions like in The Trenches of the First World War and What were the Major Difficulties faced by Soldiers?
The First World War was a War unlike any other seen before, in scale and in horror. This was a new sort of conflict, one of suffering and attrition, of long waiting and utter devastation. For the soldiers caught up in this struggle, everyday life and living conditions were nothing short of appalling. Surrounded by mud, water, disease, vermin, the stench of death and rotting corpses, often under attack or bombardment, or being forced 'Over the Top' by orders from incompetent generals, the entire experience of war had changed, and was all the more terrifying.
In the First World War, the frontiers were marked by long systems of trenches. Trenches became the only sensible way of defending while under bombardment, but they were certainly not a good place to live and work.
The trenches threw up a number of problems, such as lice, rats, trench foot and poor sanitation. Most of these problems were very much specific to the trenches - notably trench foot, which gained its name from the environment it was unique to. Trench foot was a condition that many soldiers suffered from because of the water in the trenches - standing around for long periods in dirty waterlogged trenches without boot or sock changes resulted in heavy inflammation of the feet and infection. Sometimes the feet would become gangrenous and would have to be amputated.
The only way the soldiers could combat the condition was by changing their socks regularly and moving their feet around. Whale oil was also used as insulation for the feet.
Captain G.H. Impey describes what life was like for his battalion:
"The trenches were wet and cold and at...