Life in the Trenches… Essay

I am writing to you at the dead of night. Life is even harder. I have no view of the outside world. Who knows, how long it’s been. I think it is a year. Around Christmas. The last time I wrote to you was a long time ago. The reason being that we are so exhausted at the end of the day. After I got home and received my letters, I was sent to the training grounds to pass my physical tests and what not. It was very exiting for me at the time. I thought I could just eat sleep and fight. I thought it was a man’s life. Now I am thinking about re-considering my decisions.

Politics may be a game, but this is no friendly play. No child’s affair. We are at the front of the war. There is no safety for us in front. All there is, is some barbed wire and then no man’s land. We have faced many casualties. The reason I haven’t been able to write is for the reason that people here do not accept the use of a diary. They think it is a lame idea and tease me for the same reason. I get angry and sometimes bark. I now call you a journal, no longer dear diary. Life is tough. People here are the toughest and meanest you can find. No one cares if you die. It’s all up to you. All of them have their own affairs and always want to get back home.

Remember the time when I said that the army would be fun? Remember the time when I was exited about coming to this hellhole? Remember the time when I actually pleaded with mother, to let me come? Well now I realize why she was so horrified. Now I realize why she didn’t want me to go. I find out that this is no longer like the fantasy I had seen. No longer the dream I had dreamt, but rather a hell. This was a punishment, not only for me, but also for my friends and family. I should have never come here. It wasn’t worth the risk. There was just too much happening at the same time. There was not enough time to breathe or take a nap. Remember my old boss? The bloke who used to shout at me when I didn’t give him the sugar in the tea? That was better. That was paradise compared to this. Here is really hell. I don’t know how much worse it can get. It’s too much.

I still remember the days where I could roam free, and stretch out. Those days where I could get at least a few hours of sleep. I still remember the time when I could taste the hot chicken and turkey made by my mother. How the mash potato melted in my mouth. She said she would be waiting with a Christmas dinner. She said that she would stay up for me. Only a mother can go through this. Now I realize that a Christmas dinner won’t be possible for me. This just too much for me. I doubt that I will get home in time for Christmas. Even though everyone said I would be back, no one believes it now. Everyone knows how we are stuck in this place. We have been cheated out of our skins.

Those days where I got shouted were the best. Yes, I had so many burdens on my shoulders, but then, at least I had clean water and fresh underwear! Those were the days. Maybe this is the only day I can rest and write to you under an oil lamp. This may be the last time for a very long time. This is probably because of the fact that, many of the times Sergeants won’t allow me to waste my time on something that is so useless.

We are now struggling in the front line. It looks like a stalemate. No one is moving around. No one is coming forward. The no-man’s land is staying the same. We are like two equal forces fighting and pushing and counterbalancing on each other. Of course, you might be thinking how we stay alive near the front, when all guns are blazing. The very reason we are alive is the fact that we have trenches. Basically our residence.

Living and fighting in trenches is called trench warfare. Apparently, I’ve heard that this is a very common way to fight for both of us. All armies are using this style, prior to the fact that it is very useful and very efficient. It does much more than act as a residence. It is an enclosure where we can live and be protected from small arms. Although this does serve as a protection, it is useless against artillery weapons, these huge and massive guns that could be fired in a huge cannon.

The bullet or the shell was huge and would have shrapnel, this would explode and cause harm for others as well. Trenches are good for defense but make the war slow and destructive. Trench warfare was used before as I have heard. This place was used, when there was a match in arms and the war had to be continued from the same spot at the same time. Normally good for a stalemate. Our trenches were heavily armed and were very versatile. They had to be dug out. This was the front of the warfare.

Trench warfare was apparently a powerful symbol in the futility of war. Normally since the construction of war, we were called the lions, while the sergeants and generals were called donkeys. That’s why we are called the lions led by donkeys. By having trenches, we not only had the capability to make sure that we were safe, but we could also plan in secret rather than exposing ourselves. This was all for our safety. Most trenches varied on their durability because of their materials or the weather there.

Conditions of the trenches were horrible and easily were some of the worst ever. They always had many dangers and always fell in a bad state. Since they were not durable, they always had a chance of being cut down and crumbling. Normally many trenches faced the worst of weather. It was a really big disaster. Life here was harder than just thinking about the war. It was so hard that people just died from lack of supplements, and fundamentals of life. Generals were not helping either.

They just told us what to do, and let us get on with it. We never had the right to ask them why, or propose a better idea. They were the head of our platoon. It is said that they were treated better than ordinary soldiers as they had small ‘dug-outs’ in trenches where they would eat and sleep, better food was delivered and they might be more readily excused from front line duty if they were wounded or ill.