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 global battle I come the infrequent bills of an elite French foot soldier—a chasseur à pied. Robert Pellissier, born in France in 1882, had grown up within the usa and used to be educating at Stanford while the nice warfare broke out in his place of birth. Returning as a volunteer, he observed uninterrupted months of trench war within the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the single sector the place French troops really captured German territory, a region principally overlooked in international warfare I literature.

Pellissier’s diary and his letters to relations in the United States convey a landscape of this ghastly conflict: from the horror of being less than 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 battling within the Vosges and of the virtually ritualistic shelling and constrained tactical offensives, akin to the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the sanatorium, from officer education college, and from front on the Somme. He relays information of the entire significant battlefields—Flanders, Verdun, Russia, Austria, Gallipoli, Italy, Serbia, and the Suez. He additionally reviews at the new expertise that modified the character of battle: the computer gun, new airplanes, Uboats, greater artillery, barbed twine, and poison gases.

Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a invaluable addition to the literature on global struggle I. no matter if traveling the battlefields of Europe, gaining knowledge of 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 by way of 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)

Example text

I was placed with the kids, of course, since I did not know anything about military art. The Twelfth company was stationed in another street; the réserviste who accompanied me was greatly impressed at the thought of my trip, although he had come from Paris and had been brought up in Pontarlier. He gave me some good advice and among other things, he suggested I put in an appearance at barracks only at  and then I might ask to have the money of my trip from San Francisco to New York refunded. M.

Besançon No talk of leaving for the front. Might just as well be in Stanford as far as warlike atmosphere is concerned, if it were not for the men who turn up from various hospitals in groups of two or three, nearly every day, and tell their experiences with or against “les Boches,” that is, the Dutch. How Allemand ever gave Boche is hard to see. 5 Well, to-morrow I’ll tell you whether or not I am again a walker. These last seven days I have felt like an inmate of an old ladies’ home, which is no way for a warrior to feel.

We will also practice shooting. If my eye-glasses will consent to remain on my nose, I shall cover myself with glory. It looks as if the Germans were being beaten quite thoroughly, but it costs us a high price. So many people are mourning for the loss of their friends. All this is very sad, but it tends to show the vitality of our race, which in my opinion is very far from deserving the reputation of decadence which so often has been imputed to it. I really do not know what I am writing, but please do your best to understand.

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