Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/41

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
29
The War and the Future

men had dug some dugouts 10 or 15 feet deep to protect them from these shells. They showed them to Kitchener with pride. Kitchener said, "Of course, they may do for Gallipoli, but they aren't nearly deep enough for France. We never go down less than 30 feet in France."

So, when the Peninsula men came to France, they came with the modest feeling that they knew nothing about modern war, nor about digging dugouts, and they went into the trenches expecting to see dugouts like Egyptian catacombs. They found that the only dugouts were pieces of corrugated iron with a few sand bags on the top and some shovelsful of mud over all.

In places where the two lines approached each other at a crest, there had been a two years' struggle for the possession of the crest; for modern war is mainly a struggle for the post from which one can see. In all these places the space between the lines was a vast and ghastly succession of mine pits, fifty or a hundred feet deep, marked with the wrecks of old dugouts, and heads and hands and bodies, and sometimes half full of evil water.

Within the 16 mile limit of the English sector of the Somme field, there were in the enemy