There’s a highly important happening in the trenches of the 4th and 5th East Lancs. Kenneth Best is there with them.
Word passed that the Brigadier is coming along. Men fuss about and pretend to be busy, but general evidently got stuck somewhere. Man with periscope’s arm begins to ache. “Tell your general to buck up. I can’t wait dinner for ‘im no longer.” Eventually he comes, and lo and behold! he is proceeded by OC.
“OC” = “Officer Commanding”; in this case most likely one of the battalion colonels.
We try to stand up and look smart, but this is too much. We collapse in mock amazement. This is the first time I have seen him out of his dugout.
Cowardly officers are a universal scourge during war.
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The Ottomans in Mesopotamia are beginning to reorganise themselves after the recent string of defeats, based out of Kut-al-Amara. Meanwhile, Lord Hardinge is considering a telegram from General Nixon. Yes, he’s beating the Baghdad drum again. However, the primary subject of his telegram is that he wants permission to advance to Kut. After all, his original orders said he should secure “Basra”, and he’s taken that to mean Basra province (or vilayet, in Ottoman parlance) instead of Basra town. Kut-al-Amara may be [X] miles from Basra town, but it’s still in Basra vilayet…
French General Staff
General Joffre’s staff at GQG has just finished a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Western Front. They know their boss very well. They know what he’s predisposed to like, and what he isn’t. They’ve tried a big attack at First Champagne. They’ve tried a big attack at Second Artois. Clearly what they should do next is to launch a Second Champagne and a Third Artois at the same time. As long as they build plenty of new heavy guns and use them properly, the prospects for yet more attacks are apparently good.
We’ve arrived at the end of the 2nd of July. The only things left for Louis Barthas to do is to tidy up the trenches, and carry on.
Into a shell crater we threw torn-up equipment, shredded knapsacks, broken rifles which littered the ground. With our shovels we got rid of the blood-soaked mud upon which swarms of flies had descended. Now the trench was clean. Nothing remained to remind us of the frightful drama of the night before.
Soon, Terrisse arrived. He had left early in the evening, and knew nothing about what had happened. He ran into me first. When he saw me with blood splattered on my face, my hands, all over my clothing, he went pale and staggered against the side of the trench.
That evening Barthas was relieved, and since the evening of the 2nd he’s been out of the line since then, wandering among various reserve positions while another reinforcement draft is put together for them.
Actions in Progress
(If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)