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 worldwide 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 was once instructing at Stanford while the good battle broke out in his fatherland. Returning as a volunteer, he observed uninterrupted months of trench battle within the Vosges mountains of Alsace, the one quarter the place French troops really captured German territory, a area principally overlooked in international conflict I literature.

Pellissier’s diary and his letters to kinfolk in the US 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 combating within the Vosges and of the virtually ritualistic shelling and restricted tactical offensives, akin to the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the health center, 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 expertise that modified the character of battle: the computing device 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 important addition to the literature on global struggle I. even if vacationing the battlefields of Europe, getting to know the heritage of the battle, 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

6 As signs of a state of war, I notice the patrols and the statue of Strasbourg covered with wreathes [sic] of flowers and with flags. The city is as quiet as it is in the middle of August; it looks as deserted as on a public holiday, when everyone has gone to spend the day in the country—neither rolls nor crescents are to be had in the restaurants. The Latin Quarter empty, but in the Luxembourg garden, children are playing, as usual, and by the St. Michel bridge, a workingman is angling; some boys are doing the same.

After sending for my valises I dressed as a gentleman and went to barracks. ” 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.

I have a task ahead. A chap wants me to compose a letter, meant for a man who is fooling with his girl! He is not certain that his literary training can cope with the emergency. Besançon, October st, . To B——: Another day gone by in laziness, though not unpleasantly. , so I spent most of the morning taking my rifle to pieces and polishing the hilt of my bayonet. In the afternoon, we took a stroll up a hill, which commands a view of the whole town. Besançon is very picturesquely situated. To-morrow I am going to drill in the morning.

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A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a by Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown
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