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 conflict I come the infrequent debts 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 instructing at Stanford while the good warfare broke out in his native land. Returning as a volunteer, he observed uninterrupted months of trench struggle within the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the one sector the place French troops truly captured German territory, a area principally overlooked in international battle I literature.

Pellissier’s diary and his letters to family in the US express a landscape of this ghastly struggle: from the horror of being below 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 scuffling with within the Vosges and of the virtually ritualistic shelling and constrained tactical offensives, comparable to the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the health facility, from officer education institution, 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 know-how that modified the character of battle: the computer gun, new airplanes, Uboats, greater artillery, barbed cord, and poison gases.

Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a worthy addition to the literature on global conflict I. even if vacationing the battlefields of Europe, getting to know the background of the warfare, or sitting in an armchair at domestic, readers will locate Pellissier a competent and personable guide.

The greatnephew of Robert Pellissier and a minister through 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)

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Now I am getting conceited. The main amusement here for me, beside writing letters, is to make devastating raids on pastry-shops and cleaning them out of every kind of petit gâteau [little pastry]. This town is more quiet than London. Life goes on normally. People are hardened now. There is hardly a family which is not anxious about someone at the front; but the era of excitement is over. No  a good idea of hell one expects quick success, but all are confident of ultimate success. I think we may move out of here in three weeks or so.

1 We saw fishing smacks in large numbers. On the occasion of the last dinner, we had champagne, then the Marseillaise was sung and also the Chant du Départ. M. my Spaniard turned on all the lights and began to smoke. . Wednesday, September 2d. When we reached Havre, the sea was perfectly smooth. We crossed Le Pérou crowded with Belgian soldiers, the ship being northbound. In the city we saw a good many English infantry and troops of English artillery men passed by singing.  a good idea of hell In the harbor, a destroyer, several yachts turned into hospital boats.

Goodbye. I hope your troubles will soon be over. Hôtel Terminus, Paris To Dr. J——: I was very sorry to make trouble for you by leaving so suddenly, but I feel sure that you will feel as I did, that my staying in California this year would mean such moral misery that immediate traveling was imperative. I have just reached Paris. I go on to Besançon to-night. Everything is quiet here, although the Government has gone to Bordeaux and many are leaving for the Provinces. Please give my best regards to all.

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