Corporal Frank Sears of the American Expeditionary Force put pen to paper and explained for all posterity the unsanitary conditions of in France:
"Life in the trenches is made up of cooties, rats, mud and gas masks...
We became so used to mud up in the lines that if our chow did not have some mud, or muddy water in it we could not digest it. It was just a case of mud all over: eat, drink, sleep and wash in mud."
This is an eyewitness account of the very first trench raid to have been suffered by the U.S. Army in France; like most first time engagements in American military history, it didn't go well and resulted in three dead, five wounded, and eleven Americans taken as prisoner. Historians have recorded this event to have taken place on the morning of November 3, 1917, but this participant stated that it all began at
"3:00 a.m. on November 2, after a forty-five minute artillery barrage was followed by the hasty arrival of 240 German soldiers, two wearing American uniforms, jumped into their trench and began making quick work out of the Americans within."
The U.S. Army would not launch their own trench raid for another four months.
"The design and general scheme of a small dugout which can be made by the infantry under the supervision of an officer, without the aid of an engineer, are here given."
Click here to read an article about life in a W.W. I German listening post...
Click here to see a 1915 ad for British Army military camp furniture.
So horrid was the terror of World War I trench warfare that more than a few of the Frenchmen serving in those forward positions (and others who were simply overcome with life in the military) began to post personal ads in French newspapers, volunteering to marry widows and divorcees with large families in order to be absolved of all military duty.
Read what the U.S. Army psychologists had to say about courage.
"Mr. Junius B. Wood, correspondent of the CHICAGO DAILY NEWS with the A.E.F. recently spent a week in the sector held by the American Army Northwest of Toul. He lived the life of a Doughboy, slept a little and saw a lot. He spent his days in and near the front line and some of his nights in No Man's Land. Here is the second and concluding installment of his story, depicting life at the front as it actually is..."
Click here to read an article about the German veterans of W.W. I.
Appearing in The American Legion Monthly some nineteen years after the end of the war was this nifty article written by a German veteran. The article explains quite simply how his forward listening post operated in the German trenches North of Verdun during the early Autumn of 1918.
Click here to read about the American invalids of W.W. I.