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The Great War

The Great War

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The Great War

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  1. The Great War 1914 - 1918

  2. What is significant about WWI? • WWI was the beginning of “modern warfare” (war as we know it today) • The Allies and the Central Powers both thought it would be a war won at sea….but there was only one major sea battle • The war was won and lost on the ground • This was the first time both sides were caught in a stalemate – a war of attrition

  3. Trench Warfare

  4. Building a Trench • The first task was to build a trench, approx. 6-7 feet deep • Men had to dig these with shovels under the watchful eye of the enemy • Multiple rows of trenches were built, joined by communication lines • Those on duty were on the front lines, while reserves and those getting rest stayed in the 2nd and 3rd trenches • The hospital was located at the back, as was the railway supply line and the horses

  5. Once the ditches were dug, they were fortified with sandbags and fencing; if they didn’t do this, the trenches would cave in • There was no place to sit down or sleep; you were on your feet the entire time you were on duty • There was no shelter from the weather • If there was time, boardwalks were build on the floor of the trench, but most of the time it was dirt…which became mud when the rains fell • Men could be on the front line for up to one month before they were relieved

  6. Conditions in the Trenches • When the rains began, the trenches quickly filled with water = MUD!!! • These conditions brought rats (sometimes the size of cats!), lice, and trench foot (feet would swell up from being constantly wet) • Men had to endure cold, wet conditions with no source of shelter or relief: they only had one uniform made of wool

  7. Rations often consisted of stale bread, mouldy cheese, and rotten meat

  8. Defending the Trench • Barbed wire was placed along the front line to be the last line of defense if your trench was captured by the enemy • This also made it difficult to make an assault because all the soldiers had to climb over the barbed wire to rush the opposing trench • Holes were cut in the barbed wire to allow easier movement, but this centralized soldiers into certain locations along the front

  9. Timing of the Offensive • An offensive was always preceded by artillery fire on the opposing trench • When this stopped, the opposing side knew an attack was imminent • The best times for an offensive were dawn and dusk: just enough light for the soldiers, yet not light enough for the opposing side to make out all the shapes that were advancing on them

  10. Going “Over the Top” • When the commanding officer blew his whistle, all the soldiers had to go “over the top” • Climb out of the trench, over the top lip, and run towards the opposing trench • Most soldiers were not privy to strategy – they just ran straight towards the enemy, firing their gun

  11. No Man’s Land • As soon as soldiers went “over the top”, they entered “no man’s land” – the space of land between your trench and the enemy’s trench • Heavy casualties occurred in this area • It was dangerous for fellow soldiers or the medical teams to rescue wounded soldiers from this area • Soldiers were often left out here to die • Fellow soldiers would hear them slowly dying and then weeks later smell their rotting bodies

  12. No man’s land was a barren wasteland of death and destruction • Some soldiers had to dig listening posts out into this area, which were utilized to gather tips on what the enemy was planning

  13. Some soldiers were stuck out in the area until it was safe to come back to their trench • Enemies would shoot flares up into the sky to check for movement or activity in no man’s land • Men used water in the shell holes for drinking and bathing…hoping there wasn’t a dead body at the base of the puddle

  14. Shell Shock • The constant noise of gunfire and exploding shells made some men go mentally “mad” • Their nerves were shot from being constantly on alert for the signal to launch an offensive or a possible attack from the enemy • This condition became known as shell shock

  15. Soldier talking about death

  16. New Weapons of WWI

  17. Machine gun The Ross Rifle issued by the Canadian government The Lee Enfield Rifle issued by the British government

  18. Artillery Fire

  19. Tank

  20. Chemical Weapons

  21. Airplane

  22. Submarine

  23. The human cost of war Over 4 years, the Western Front did not move more than 10 miles each way 645,000 Canadians served 68,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives Over 9 million soldiers in total gave the ultimate sacrifice

  24. Was it worth it?

  25. Created by Miss Ross Socials 11 October 2009