Friday, 2 November 2012


A barrage, even if it is not one's first, is a difficult thing to write about. It cannot be taken apart and described in detail, ands in the mass it is so overwhelming that no broad picture of it can possibly be convincing. The noise is unbelievable. Of one shell be fired from one twenty-five-pounder gun at night, the infantryman first sees a flash far behind him and a few seconds later hears the sound of the gun. Again there is a slight pause; and far overhead a shrill sound, somewhere between a whistle and a sigh and a small wind blowing across the strings of a harp, grows in volume and deepens in tone until the shell roars into the ground ahead of him. There is a red flash, and an explosion which has a distinct metallic clang in it. If the shell falls at some distance, the clang has an almost bell-like quality. Most of the fragments travel forward, and raise long scuffs of dust which are distinct from the dust of the explosion itself. The noise of the explosion is very great.