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 conflict 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 battle broke out in his place of origin. Returning as a volunteer, he observed uninterrupted months of trench battle within the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the one sector the place French troops really captured German territory, a region mostly missed in international battle I literature.

Pellissier’s diary and his letters to family members in the United States express a landscape of this ghastly struggle: from the horror of being less than hearth 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 scuffling with within the Vosges and of the just about ritualistic shelling and restricted tactical offensives, equivalent to the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the health center, from officer education college, 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 expertise that modified the character of conflict: the desktop gun, new airplanes, Uboats, more suitable artillery, barbed cord, and poison gases.

Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a precious addition to the literature on international battle I. even if vacationing the battlefields of Europe, learning the heritage of the conflict, or sitting in an armchair at domestic, readers will locate Pellissier a competent and personable guide.

The greatnephew of Robert Pellissier and a minister via profession,

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

Sample text

So there we are. Photographers in this town believe in the “mañana” [tomorrow (Spanish)] idea. Except for this mishap, this has been a pretty good day. We did fool drill stunts this morning, but this afternoon we took a fifteen-mile walk at a pretty fast rate and, as my knee stood it perfectly, I feel like a man to-night. I had a horrible panic for a while, fearing that I might be left in some infirmary while the others went away. Now there is no danger of that, though we don’t know when we are going.

At last my papers are vised—and loaded with valises I look everywhere for a seat. No such thing to be had. Every compartment is crowded. A woman, almost crushed to death with her two children, asks me if I am going to Besançon. Her husband is stationed there. Sergeant Carré of the Thirtieth. Please look him up. She had not heard from him for some time. Heaven knows if he is still alive? She is leaving for Savoy and she hopes I may see him. 8 We are very comfortable in the baggage car—plenty of room, plenty of air, but when we reach the next station, they want to put in more trunks.

The hairdresser was a very nice fellow. He noticed the condition I was in, told me of a room I might secure, and, thanks to him, I had a night’s rest, which put me on my feet again. Very nice people—at Mme. Louise (one franc a night) most cordial welcome. It would be hard to find anywhere people who could have helped me out more graciously than the hairdresser and his friends. On the other hand, the baker’s wife also had the best possible intentions. . A young woman and her son say goodbye to the father, who for several days has carried foodstuffs to the firing line.

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