I get a pretty good picture in my head of trench warfare. That picture often involves extreme weather conditions - unbearable heat, frozen ground, and wet, sticky mud. This passage from Hew Strachan's The First World War describes the latter very well:
The rain in August was almost continuous. Mist prevented aerial reconnaissance. The drainage system of the flat, well-tilled land was broken up by shellfire, and the mud meant shell supply had to be performed by mules. 'If animals slipped off the planks in to the quagmires alongside,' E.C. Anstey recalled, 'they often sank out of sight. On arrival, shells had to be cleaned of the slime coating before they could be used.' Every time a gun was fired, its trail sank into the soft ground, thus wrecking ints bearing and elevation: rapid, predicted fire was impossible.
At the same time, any war story is incomplete without word of the home front. Again, regarding the Italian experience, the home front was very involved in the war. We hear much about the members of the family entering the workforce when dad and husband went to battle, but this section describes conditions at home with a little more information:
Violent protest peaked in May 1917, especially in Milan. In August, outbursts over bread shortages in Turin developed into anti-war demonstrations, and the army killed 41 and wounded about 200 more in restoring order. Women were at the forefront of these riots. By the end of the war they formed 21 per cent of the workforce but in 1917 they were 64 per cent of those striking, evidence of the anxiety about food but also of working-class solidarity. Thy struck because the penalties for them were lighter than for men, who were more subject to military discipline, and they linked the old patterns of rural, peasant protest with the first generation of urban workers in new industries. Although the number of individual strikes fell in 1917 as against 1915 and 1916, those which occurred were bigger in scale.
For more anticipation and reflection on the week-long experience, go to my Fort Ticonderoga page.