Another problem that stared the troops in the face was the
mud. Ellis (1976) claims that mud was one of the English’s “worst enemies in every season except summer.” He explains that “it was common for trenches to be a foot deep in mud/water and was hardly rare for it to be up to a man’s thighs, and were occasions when men stood for days on end in water up to their waists and even armpits”(p. 44). The mud was a true problem for troops
because it made moving from one place to another difficult. With every step, the mud sucked soldiers’ legs back in and held on for dear life. As quoted in Eye Deep in Hell, Mark Plowman, a soldier in Somme, wrote in 1916 that, “’the mud makes it all but impassable, and now sunk in it up to the knees, I have the momentary terror of never being able to pull myself out. Such horror gives frenzied energy, and I tear my legs free and go on…Both sides are glued where they stand…’” (Ellis p. 45). The wear and tear of traveling wasn’t the only problem that caused by mud in the trenches. Because the ground was nothing but mud for much of the year, shell-holes would fill up and be hard to detect. If a man
stumbled into a shell-hole filled with mud, it would be like a pond of sinking sand. As quoted by Ellis (1976), a survivor of the Third Battle of Ypres states, “’three heads in a row, the rest of the bodies submerged, giving one the idea that they had used their last ounce
of strength to keep their heads above the rising water. In another miniature pond a hand still gripping a riffle is all that is visible’” (p. 47). Even still, drowning was not the only way the mud and water affected the soldiers.