BY PRABHJOYT KLER & KATE MCCANN-YATES Trench Warfare • Trench Warfare began in September 1914: • After the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the German army were forced to retreat. They had failed in their objective to force France into an early surrender. Rather than give up the territory which they already held, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the advancing Allies. The Allies couldn't break the German trench lines and so followed the German example. The trench lines soon spread from the North Sea to Switzerland. Trench Illnesses • Many soldiers fighting suffered from trench foot. This was caused by their feet being in cold and wet conditions all the time. The feet would gradually go numb and the skin would turn red or blue. If untreated, trench foot could turn gangrenous and result in amputation. During the winter of 1914-15 over 20,000 men in the British army were treated for trench foot. • Dysentery is a disease involving the inflammation of the lining of the large intestines. The inflammation causes stomach pains and diarrhoea. Some cases involve vomiting and fever. The bacteria enters the body through the mouth in food or water, and also by human feaces and contact with infected people. This can be fatal if the body dehydrates. This disease struck the men in the trenches as there was no proper sanitation. Trench Illnesses • By 1914 British doctors working in military hospitals noticed patients suffering from "shell shock". Early symptoms included tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually the men suffered mental breakdowns making it impossible for them to remain in thefront line. Some came to the conclusion that the soldiers condition was caused by the enemy'sheavy artillery. • Men in the trenches suffered from lice. Various methods were used to remove the lice. A lighted candle was fairly effective. As well as causing frenzied scratching, lice also carried disease. This was known as pyrrexhia or trench fever. The first symptoms were shooting pains in the shins and was followed by a very high fever. Trench Layout • The trenches on both sides were protected by lines of barbed wire with No-Man's Land in-between. • The Front Lines were usually about seven feet deep and about six feet wide. The Allies were forced to dig their trenches in lower ground so they were often waterlogged. They had a zigzag pattern to prevent the enemy from shooting straight down the line. Sandbags were put on both sides of the top of the trench to absorb enemy bullets. The land that separated Trench the Allies and the German trenches was a Layout wasteland of craters, blackened tree stumps • The fire step was cut into the side of and the occasional shell the trench and allowed the soldiers to of a building. It was peer over the side of the trench normally around 250 towards the enemy. It was where the yards but could vary sentries stood or the whole unit when they were on 'standing-to' duty which between 7 yards and 500 meant that they were waiting for a yards. possible enemy attack. Trench Layout • Linking the front-line trench to the support and reserve trenches were communication trenches. They allowed the movement of men, equipment and supplies and were also used to take the wounded back to the Casualty Clearing Stations. Britain's Contribution to the Western Front • Britain and its Empire lost almost a million men during World War One; most of them died on the Western Front. • Stretching 440 miles from the Swiss border to the North Sea, the line of trenches, dug-outs and barbed-wire fences moved very little between 1914- 1918, despite attempts on both sides to break through. Battle of the Somme • The Somme happened on 1st July 1916. • 27 British Divisions went „over the top‟ • Casualties: • British - 420,000 • French - 200,000 • German - 500,000 • The General in charge (Haig) was named the “Butcher of the Somme” Battle of the Somme • The original plan was for • The German‟s trenches British soldiers to back up were on a hill, so they had the French soldiers, so the a good view of the Allies pressure would be taken lines. off the French at Verdun. • The German trenches were also fortified with • Haig decided they should Concrete and well dug in, use a huge artillery so it was very hard to bombardment to destroy destroy them. Germany‟s barbed wire, • Only 1 in 4 British shells this didn‟t work. went off. Gas • The horrors of gas warfare had never been seen on a battlefield until April 1915. The Germans were the first to use it in war, but the French and English were not far behind. • Chlorine and Phosgene was initially used. These caused the lungs to slowly dissolve and the soldier would drown in his own fluids. Mustard Gas was used regularly. • One problem with using Gas would be that it could blow back onto your own side. Also, gas masks were carried at all times which could get in the way. • 3,000 British troops were killed by Gas. Tanks • The tank was a British invention • It was rejected as impractical early on in the war • Winston Churchill funded its development • Tanks were used for the first time at the battle of Somme • They crushed wire fences and sprayed the enemy with machine gun fire. Tanks • The first tanks went at • In November 1917, at walking pace Cambrai, the tanks achieved success. • They were not very manoeuvrable • However, they were too successful an infantry • They were very could not keep up unreliable – more than • By 1918 Germany could half broke down pierce the tanks armour before they reached and they had adapted enemy lines field guns to fire at tanks. Guns • Machine guns could fire 600 bullets a minute • The German gun on the right accounts for 90% of of the British casualties on the opening day of the Somme Offensive. The War at Sea • The U-Boat threat to • Connections between War Britain meant that vital at Sea and the Western supplies were not arriving, leaving people in Britain front: losing faith in the war and • If a boat was bombed at illness increasing. sea troops and supplies • The British Blockade would not arrive for those meant German supplies fighting and also the were not arriving as well. people in Britain would be • People still at home were starved of supplies. suffering because of the war at sea, as well as those fighting. How did the war change life in Britain? • When war broke out a number of things changed, including censorship, rationing, propaganda and the role of women. • Life in Britain was better known as the Homefront. Role Of Women • When war broke out women‟s organisations in the autumn of 1914 were set up, including the women‟s hospital corps and the women‟s police volunteers. • In July 1915 a munitions crisis broke out because there were not enough men to work and to make the ammunition required, because they had been called up for war. So women set up up „Women‟s march for jobs‟ to recruit women to work in factories. • Many employers refused to take on women including trade unions. • But in autumn 1915, the Government then came to an agreement that women would be paid the same as men „until sufficient male labour should again be available‟ • The government also set up munitions factories, employing largely women. Role of Women • Then in February 1917 women were recruited to work as farm labourers. • And in December 1917, because of there hard work and effort towards helping the war, women over 30 were given the right to vote in general elections. Propaganda • Propaganda posters were used to encourage men to join up with the war. • Over half a million joined the army in the first month. Propaganda • Propaganda posters didn‟t highlight what was really happening in the war, because they were always trying to find men to join up in the war from 1914-1918. • Propaganda wasn‟t just targeted at men to join the war, but also to get people such as women to help out as nurses and workers, and to provide ammunition and food for the soldiers in the war. Censorship • Letters from the soldiers to there families were often censored so the people at home didn‟t know what the conditions were like in the trenches, because of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). They didn‟t want to stop encouraging people to join and support the war. Even so, often men tried to conceal the horrors of the war to there friends and families Rationing • Soon after the outbreak of the First World War the the German Navy attempted to halt the flow of imports to Britain by introducing unrestricted submarine warfare. By the end of 1916, U-German boats were on average destroying about 300,000 tons of shipping a month. In February 1917, the German Navy sank 230 ships bringing food and other supplies to Britain. The following month a record 507,001 tons of shipping was lost as a result of the U-boat campaign. However, Britain was successful at increasing food production and the wheat harvest of 1917 was the best in our history. • However the Government tried to tell people to eat less wheat, to stop the merchant ships from being blown up. People had to ration there food and make there wheat last longer to avoid these deaths and shortages. • But as this happened food prices began to rise, because it couldn’t keep up with the demands.