The Distorted Reality of Trench Warfare

The Distorted Reality of Trench Warfare
Vince Martino
To my cousin Nicholas,
I have heard whispers of your decision to enter the war in service of our country. I pray that you know how proud we all are of you and your decision. Understandably you must be nervous, but I hopefully I can share some words of wisdom with you that may save your life and give you hope for your months to come.
You are going to be fighting in trenches. You will begin to loathe these places as much as I do if not more. I have spent weeks a time in these holes in the ground being forced to maintain their constant disrepair and fearing for my life every single second. The number of challenges that you will face just from the trenches will surprise you. Often times it is not the enemy fire that threatens your existence and sanity, but it is the quality of the trenches. You will have to suffer through all kinds putrid smells, terrible rotations, constant screams from wounded men, and temporary insanity.
The rain is constant and miserable. For months at a time it would rain and we would not see the sun for days. The torrential downpour will not only ruin your mood, but also your trenches. The mud becomes a persistent, terrible problem. You will be constantly repairing the falling mounds and digging yourself out of holes you make. At points in the war the water in the trenches rose so high as to prevent us from sleeping for fear of drowning and we would have to wade through a meter or more of water for an entire day. Walking becomes an enormous task as you sink to your ankles or more with each step. You never feel fully rested enough to fight, but fear and adrenaline end up taking over eventually. The water also festers disease and bacteria because of the blood and excrements that end up washing away each day.
Mortar fire is a constant presence on the battlefield and when a mortar hole is made close enough to the trench you will have to take it over and attempt to dig to your trench....