Unremitting Thunder

The incessant rains had turned the whole Somme area, lying between the Ancre and the Somme rivers and the Canal du Nord into a quagmire. The heavy guns thundered continuously. The earth convulsed as land mines, planted thirty to fifty feet underground spawned, then exploded, shattering every living and inanimate thing. Madness and misery were everywhere. Good and brave men were helpless pawns, sometimes longing to be put out of their misery.

Punishment, inhuman cruelty and death were being meted out by unwilling men in khaki against other equally reluctant men in the hated green-gray of les Allemands. We soldiers on both sides of No Man's Land were tearing and clawing at each other's throats against our free will, but we had no choice but to kill or be killed! We had been thrown into the horrendous arena by the "Mad Dogs of Europe", and killing had become our only business.

Victor W. Wheeler, The 50th Battalion in No Man's Land (Calgary: Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, 1980), pp. 45-46.