Rumors return the men's attention to a possible offensive. As they pass the shelled remains of a school, they see a hundred sweet-smelling pine coffins stacked against it, preparations for their own casualties. Nightly, the British strengthen both troops and munitions — ominous reminders that the war shows no signs of ending. Paul grows morose and superstitious about his fate after narrowly escaping death in either of two foxholes while passing from one to the other. German artillery is so worn that shells fall on German troops. Fat rodents, which the men call "corpse-rats," gnaw the men's bread. Detering makes a game of outwitting the creatures.The law of averages seems to work against the men's chances of survival. Dispersal of Edamer cheese and rum suggests that hard times lie ahead. From nights of persistent shelling, green recruits vomit from fear, endangering the others with the spread of panic. Although no attack begins, the men
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troops. Fat rodents, other. German artillery, heavy gunfire projects, canned corned beef