As soon as Louis Barthas arrives at the front lines it seems as though he as entered a whole new world – one where death and danger lurked around every corner. On the way to the front line trenches Barthas describes crossing “three or four hundred meters of open ground, crisscrossed by enemy bullets. You’d have thought we were crossing a firing range on the day of a target shoot. They didn’t need any more goads to spur on the laggards.”
Barthas even describes the French front-line trenches as something that “would have made the Romans of Julius Caesar smile with pity” and that they were “the kind of trench we dug before the Germans showed us just how to make them”.
It is also here we see Barthas first penning his attitude towards the feelings of those back home: –
“This bit of trench could have been our grave, “our glorious tomb,” as the newspapers of that time would have called it”
Barthas witnesses his first bloodshed not long after arriving at the front – a Private Cau from Mont-Louis.
“He was the first man to be killed in front of us; it was the first blood we saw flow, and it-affected us painfully.”
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