M. Eksteins No.1 Rites of War

M. Eksteins No.1 Rites of War - IV Rites of War 0 Weissdorn...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
IV Rites of War 0 Weissdorn mit den roten Beern, was wird der Fruhling uns beschern? (o hawthorn with your berry red, What will spring bring instead?) RICHARD DEHMEL "Der Frontsoldat," Christmas 1914 . . . But many there stood still To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge, Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world. WILFRED OWEN "Spring Offensive" Often during the scientific, chemical "cubist" warfare, on nights made terrible by air raids, I have thought of the Sacre . . . JACQUES-EMILE BLANCHE BATTLE BALLET The artillery barrage is deafening. When the air is still, the din can be heard faintly in  London and Paris. Sometimes the pounding lasts for days. In June 1916 at the Somme it  continues   for   seven   days   and   nights.   Field   artillery,   medium   artillery,   and   heavy  howitzers. The fifteen-inch-caliber gun of the British can fire a shell of fourteen hundred  pounds. "Big Bertha" of the Germans, with a caliber of seventeen inches, can project a  missile weighing over a ton. At Verdun in 1916 the Germans bring in thirteen of these  twenty-ton monsters. Each is moved into position by nine tractors; a crane is required to  insert the shell. The impact of this shell annihilates buildings; it shatters windows in a  two-mile   radius.   In   August  1914   these   huge  machines   of   war   had   demolished   the  purportedly impregnable forts of Liege. As the Krupp guns "walked" their shells toward  the final target, Belgian defenders inside the forts went mad. For concentrated attack there is usually one field gun for every ten yards under fire, and  one heavy—six-inch caliber and up—for every twenty yards. When the huge shells burst,  they ravage the earth with their violence, hurling trees, rock, mud, torsos, and other  debris hundreds of feet into the air. Craters the size of swimming pools remain. When a  lull comes and the rains return, men bathe in these cavernous holes. The small and  M. Eksteins, Rites of War : Page 1 of 13
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
medium shells, which make up most of the barrage, are less sensational in their effect.  But to the soldier they too can mean annihilation without trace. "A signaller had just  stepped out," wrote a medical officer of the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers, "when a shell  burst on him, leaving not a vestige that could be seen anywhere near." The same officer  described another image of shellfire: Two men suddenly rose into the air vertically, fifteen feet perhaps, amid a spout of soil 150 yards ahead. They rose and fell with the easy, graceful poise of acrobats. A rifle, revolving slowly, rose high above them before, still revolving, it fell. Defenders huddle either in "funk holes" burrowed out of the forward side of the trench, 
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 06/17/2008 for the course HIST 122 taught by Professor Iforgot during the Spring '08 term at Philadelphia.

Page1 / 13

M. Eksteins No.1 Rites of War - IV Rites of War 0 Weissdorn...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online