War in the Trenches

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War in the Trenches The war was fought by men on foot, in a flat open country that gave no shelter from enemy fire. Facing armies dug trences as fortifications from which to defend their position or attack the enemy. When the Germans turned onto the Allies, they dug trenches on the River Aisne, as a line of defence. By mid-October, two lines of trenches faced each other from the Swiss border to the Channel coast. These single lines were soon to become a elaborate networks of defence. The trenches were fronted with masses of barbed wire and with strategically placed machine gun posts. These trench systems were everything except a let down. There were different sectors dividing up the trenches. There was a “cushy sector”, where the men could just relax and take a rest, these had little fighting where as “active sectors”, there was lots of it. On “cushy sectors” the men agreed to an un-official truce to “let sleeping dogs lie”. There were ways of arranging this without the generals knowing. Gunners would fire there guns at a specific time, to let the other side get out of the way. No one shot at each others toilets, in case the others did the same back. Since most soldiers in the sectors wanted to stay alive, they were left to themselves. If the men on the other trench weren’t trying to kill them ,why should they kill them? The phrase “live and let live” was first used in the summer of 1915. “Live and let live” drove the generals crazy, but there was so much that they could do about it. What was life like in the trenches? Life in the trenches was a nightmare on its own. When it rained, and it often did, the trench... ... middle of paper ... ...England and enlist. Owen was injured in March 1917 and sent home; he was fit for duty in August, 1918, and returned to the front. November 4, just seven days before the Armistice, he was caught in a German machine gun attack and killed. He was twenty-five when he died. Below is one of his poems: - Futility Move him into the sun - Gently its touch awoke him once, At home, whispering of fields unsown. Always it woke him, even in France, Until this morning and this snow. If anything might rouse him now The kind old sun will know. Think how it wakes the seeds, -1 Woke, once, the clays of a cold star. Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides, Full-nerved - still warm, - too hard to stir? Was it for this the clay grew tall? - O what made fatuous sunbeams toil To break earth's sleep at all?
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