Trenches were a major part of WW1. Each side had their own trenches filled with soldiers. The soldiers stayed there for protection from the enemy. The Central and Allied powers fought each other on the Western front in these trenches. There millions of people died...
Trench life was terrible. The enemy would throw grenades and bombs that would make craters in the trenches. When it rained, the craters would fill up with water and get all soggy causing high fevers, colds and other horrible illnesses. One common syptom from water was trench foot. That's like athlete's foot but worse. These trenches were called waterlogged trenches.
There were also many bugs, snakes, and more things you could not imagine. There was a lot of bacteria and many soldiers got the worst diseases! There were A LOT OF RATS!!! A quote: "I saw some rats running from under the dead men's greatcoats, enormous rats, fat with human flesh. My heart pounded as we edged towards one of the bodies. His helmet had rolled off. The man displayed a grimacing face, stripped of flesh; the skull bare, the eyes devoured and from the yawning mouth leapt a rat." See how horrible it is? :(
Other really bad things were: body lice left red bite marks all over the body, lice also carried disease causing pyrrexhia or trench fever ; war wounds cause amputations in the leg or arm ; trench foot was caused from cold, wet and unsanitary conditions, trust me, it's really UGLY!!! ;and very poisonous gases were used . There was also this really bad stench of : dead people, rats and stuff, and pee.
Many soldiers simply killed or wounded themselves so they could be excused from fighting and enduring the terrible trench conditions. This was called self-inflicted wounds. They were just plain unhappy with the way their lives were going, so they killed themselves, or at least managed to get badly hurt. If they were caught doing this they would serve severe punishment. Some people even climbed out of the trenches and allowed enemy soldiers to kill them!!!
There were many kinds of trenches. The first were the front line trenches. All of the fighting took place in these trenches. Not only were soldiers at risk from the enemy but they would be in trouble from their same side accidentaly shooting them. 75,000 British soldiers died from being accidentaly shot by other British soldiers. Being in the front line meant almost certain death. Ahead of the front line trenches were a few small trenches. They were called listening posts. One side would go here to listen to the other side to find out their tactics. Behind the front line trenches were support and reserve trenches. These served as homes to the soldiers who had come back from the front line. Also, there were soldiers ready in these trenches just in case the enemy gained the frontline. The last trenches were the communication trenches. These were used to transport men, food, water, and supplies. Those are the types of trenches.
One of the new weapons in WW1 was Mustard gas. This is a lethal gas that has no odor and if it falls short and hits the ground it can stay there for several weeks. Getting poisoned from it causes what may have been the most painful death in WW1. Here is a quote from a WW1 nurse, "could see the poor things all burnt and blistered all over with great suppurating blisters, with blind eyes - sometimes temporally, some times permanently - all sticky and stuck together, and always fighting for breath, their voices a whisper, saying their throats are closing and they know they are going to choke." The first lethal gas used was chlorine gas. This was succesful but it took a lot to kill one soldier. After that came phosgene. This was more effective but it was found that covering a urine soaked handkerchief over your mouth stopped the poison. When chlorine gas and phosgene were mixed together it was called white star. That is one of new weapons of WW1.