Send a message back to HQ that we are encountering heavy resistance… and that everyone else is dead. Requesting more troops to march directly into machine gun fire.
Ps. The tank is doing great. Although we are running low on baguettes and Emmentaler.
The Great War boggles my mind. I’m assuming there are a bits of it that are still able to be boggled. The parts that aren’t black and lifeless I mean. Imagining causalities during the Great War (for me at least) is a lot like trying to imagine the large and insane distances between celestial objects in outer space.
I can easily imagine a modern day skirmish in which… 20 combatants died. By all accounts a bloody and brutal day. But engagements where twenty, thirty, forty thousand soldiers died start to defy imagining. I struggle to process number like that.
Take for example the Battle of Verdun, (it started this week in 1916 in France). On the opening day of the battle the Germans fired approximately 1,000,000 (not a typo) artillery shells onto the French positions (a section of about 30km in length) for around ten hours. After that came the ubiquitous infantry assault. Each side lost about 25,000 troops on the first day.
Over the coming months the casualty rate would be about 70,000 casualties per month with little or no real advantage being eked out by either side. When the battle was over the Germans had lost 143,000 troops while the French had lost 163,000. Total casualties for the period was just under a million men.
As an interesting aside. A Blue Check hen named Cher Ami, was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm for heroic service delivering 12 important messages during the Battle of Verdun. On her final mission in October 1918, she delivered a message despite having been shot. The crucial message, found in the capsule hanging from a ligament of her shattered leg, saved about 200 US soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division’s “Lost Battalion”.