To do today: . Examine WWI weapons Videos- Charlie Chaplin! Activities PowerPoint First hand testimony. Warm Up: February 20 th /21 st. What were the four main causes of World War I? How was WWI different than past wars? . Activity: .
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“Over the Top!”
What did they look like?
Soldier on sentry duty
Timber bridge over top of trench
No Mans’ Land
Helmet, uniform and rifle are British
Timber holding up back of trench.
Capes used as cover
Trench may be damaged
Bottom of trench is dry. It could be summer.
Are these soldiers asleep or dead?
This photograph does not looked posed as the soldier seems unaware of the camera. It is probably a reliable source.
Why the zig-zagged pattern?
It prevented the enemy from being able to shoot down the length of the entire trench
This meant that a soldier could see no more than 10 meters along the length of the trench.
Why barbed wire?
It was difficult to cut, and shelling it would only make it more entangled, providing an extra barrier from attack.
Why “duckboards” & a drainage sump?
It reinforced the stability of the walls, and allowed for drainage of rainwater, blood, and other body fluids…
They protected soldiers from bullets and shrapnel
Why were trenches necessary in World War I ?
This new and powerful weapon could “mow down” soldiers trying to attack
Machine guns needed 4-6 men to work them and had the fire power of 100 guns
Chlorine and Mustard gas would slow down attackers, causing burns and suffocation
These led nowhere and were built to confuse and slow down the enemy
These tunnels were dug under enemy trenches so that explosives could be placed under them and detonated
attackers couldn’t cross “no man’s land” fast enough to avoid casualties
“no man’s land” varied in distance depending on the battlefield. On the Western Front it was typically between 100 and 300 yards, though only 30 yards on Vimy Ridge.
Small trenches rapidly grew deeper and more complex, gradually becoming vast areas of interlocking defensive works
What was lifelike in the trenches?
Sanitary conditions in the trenches were quite poor, and common infections included dysentery, typhus, and cholera
Rats became common, and grew large as they would eat the soldier’s food
Medical services were primitive and life-saving antibiotics had not yet been discovered
Relatively minor injuries could prove fatal through the onset of infection and gangrene
Poor hygiene also led to conditions such as trench mouth and trench foot
official truces were organized so that the wounded could be recovered from no man's land and the dead could be buried
But what was life REALLY like in the trench?
“My memories are of sheer terror and the horror of seeing men sobbing because they had trench foot that had turned gangrenous. They knew they were going to lose a leg.
Memories of lice in your clothing driving you crazy. Filth and lack of privacy. Of huge rats that showed no fear of you as they stole your food rations. And cold deep wet mud everywhere.
And of course, corpses. I'd never seen a dead body before I went to war. But in the trenches the dead are lying all around you. You could be talking to the fellow next to you when suddenly he'd be hit by a sniper and fall dead beside you. And there he‘d stay for days.”