Chapter 30

German Regulars from Russia

 

As far as our unit was concerned, we thought that we had fought a good fight and retired systematically in an orderly fashion over a long, long way, replenished stocks, faced, fought and halted the Hun. We all knew relief would reach us from many quarters for Marshal Foch was in command. We hoped that his unified force would bring victory.

We had just finished a pleasant hot lunch when word came to withdraw a little way to the rear area. When all was secure I lay down on my ground sheet, and using sacks, blankets and an overcoat as cover, slept soundly for several hours. We had a breakfast of ham, fried bread, hard biscuits and tea.

An accumulation of mail reached us. I had many letters, cards and two parcels. I was glad to have more writing paper, envelopes, newspapers, meat cubes, dumpling and sweets as many things in my kit-bag and haversack had been soaked with the heavy rain.

My parents were very kind. They sacrificed much to send parcels to my brothers James, David and William who were all fighting in France and to myself. Our only and younger sister, Netta, helped by parcelling the goodies in the special way required by army regulations.

One of the newspapers sent to me from home revealed something interesting: the troops in the last German attack had come from the Russian front. They were regulars with many battle honours. This explained why they had proved to be an enemy of great tenacity and drive. So different from the flabby, uncared-for-looking Huns taken prisoner in 1917 during the General Byng tank warfare flop.

The German Generalship in our recent St Quentin retirement was of the highest order. However, they misjudged the men they were fighting in March-April, 1918. I firmly believed from my experience that had our attack on Cambrai in November 1917 been executed with lighting strokes, like the German one on the Somme, then we could have won the war and would have finished before Christmas 1917. British soldiers were intelligent and sensible men. We talked among ourselves about strategy and plans. We loathed the obvious political moves that sacrificed men and we equally loathed the old-fashioned Generals who remained in their safe headquarters.

 

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This work, Going With God, is copywrited by Ronald R. Caseby, 1993.   All rights reserved.  Used here by express permission.