A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a by Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown

By Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown

Echoing from the mountainous Vosges entrance of worldwide struggle I come the infrequent money owed of an elite French foot soldier—a chasseur à pied. Robert Pellissier, born in France in 1882, had grown up within the usa and was once instructing at Stanford whilst the nice warfare broke out in his fatherland. Returning as a volunteer, he observed uninterrupted months of trench battle within the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the one zone the place French troops truly captured German territory, a region principally ignored in global warfare I literature.

Pellissier’s diary and his letters to kin in the USA exhibit a landscape of this ghastly warfare: from the horror of being below fireplace with 3 thousand German shells falling at the French troops on a daily basis to the monotony of lengthy quiet hours spent in chilly, rainy trenches. He writes of the grinding and indecisive personality of the combating within the Vosges and of the just about ritualistic shelling and constrained tactical offensives, resembling the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the medical institution, from officer education university, and from front on the Somme. He relays information of all of the significant battlefields—Flanders, Verdun, Russia, Austria, Gallipoli, Italy, Serbia, and the Suez. He additionally reviews at the new know-how that modified the character of battle: the laptop gun, new airplanes, Uboats, enhanced artillery, barbed twine, and poison gases.

Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a helpful addition to the literature on global struggle I. no matter if vacationing the battlefields of Europe, getting to know the historical past of the warfare, or sitting in an armchair at domestic, readers will locate Pellissier a competent and personable guide.

The greatnephew of Robert Pellissier and a minister by way of profession,

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Additional resources for A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a & M University Military History Series)

Sample text

Translated from the diary Sunday, August , , on board La France. Very quiet trip so far, neither pitching nor tossing during the first two days. Really a pleasure trip. Nobody worries and yet we heard on Friday that Roubaix, Lille and Valenciennes had been taken by the Germans, pretty hard blow. One of the ladies on board was weeping as if her heart would break. I got acquainted with a young Frenchman from Calais, a tulle weaver by trade; he had left Paterson, New Jersey, his brother having already joined the first army.

At last he leaves the car at Sens. In the car with me there is also a concert hall singer who has traveled—she has seen the Cossaks at work, in them alone she trusts. 10 In addition to this trial, she has been sitting on the wine bottle hidden in her lunch basket. Of course, she felt something cool, she could not imagine what it could possibly be; now she understands, and we too understand. Her brother, who was to go to Nice, Marseilles, Bougie, Algiers on a very lucrative tour, is now sound asleep.

To B——: Another dismal and utterly useless day ahead. It’s raining and we have nothing to do. The only thing to take up one’s mind is the persistent rumor that two hundred men will go Monday next somewhere along the frontier of Alsace. Those who belong to the active army and those who have not gone to the front as yet, will be picked first. If this rumor is true, there is something to look forward to, but rumors come and go so often and are so contradictory that I give up believing in anything at all.

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