Rats

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Hobilar, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    The mud and shelling were not the only danger to the men in the trenches. As can be imagined these insanitary places were a breeding ground for all sorts of infestations and vermin. Lice, frogs, beetles, slugs, and worst of all the rats.

    The soldiers hated the rats which infested the battlefield in their tens of millions. The brown rat was considered more loathsome than the black rat. Their favourite food was human flesh, particularly the eyes and liver. Some grew as big as cats and sometimes were known to attack sleeping men. They contaminated food and spread disease, including a most infectious jaundice.

    The soldiers shot, bayoneted, clubbed and poisoned them, but the rats kept coming back to their loathsome activities. One thing the soldiers did know however, was that when the rats disappeared then they could expect an imminent bombardment. Somehow the rats always sensed shell-fire a full 30 minutes before it commenced.
     
  2. Emac44

    Emac44 Active Member

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    Seen some very interesting clubs fashioned by the Troops in Rat elimination. Comments from Troops were. "I hate the ****ing rats, You never know what they have been feeding on". Lice were also a tremendous problem as well. Infesting all areas of the body and clothing. So were fleas that could be carried by the rats and fears of Bubonic Plague. In the Middle East Campaigns as it was in World War 2. Flies and Mosquitos for obvious reasons both carried diseases. And in particular the Mosquito with Malaria being one of the problems. But I believe one of the biggest health concerns for Troops in World War One as it was in World War 2. Was the spread of Veneral Disease and early lectures were conducted by the GMO's or Medical Corps on avoiding VD for the Troops
     
  3. Emac44

    Emac44 Active Member

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    And having viewed a British Documentary on History Channel simply called Gallipoli. Which aired for nearly 2 hours and gave an extremely indepth examination of the Gallipoli Campaign and viewpoints from not only British French Australian and New Zealanders but also the Turks. Who the Australians nicknamed Jacko short for Johhny Turk

    But the program explained how flies in vast numbers were very much a severe problem at Gallipoli. Similar to what occured in the Western Desert Campaign during WW2. And the same problems of sanitation and major health problems caused by the flies during the Gallipoli Campaign. Bringing on death and serious illnesses to the troops on both sides of the battle front. The Turks it appears suffered huge losses to their troops because of the spread of infections then the Allied Troops. But this was more to lack of supplies and medical then anything else.
     
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