Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday 13th May 1941

A few hours at the OP yesterday afternoon and evening. (I go up about 4 times a week). They seem to have a gun section at about 170 degrees now and quite near the wire, judging by the noise of the guns when they fire. Once, when I was up the ladder in the afternoon, a shell suddenly plonked down just inside the wire, about 200 yards away. Three minutes later – whee! CRASH! - and a shell landed about 50 yards nearer. “Down you come!” called Mr Adams but I pretended not to hear him and eagerly scanned the ridge for some signs of an enemy OP. The expected “strafing” did not materialise however, the next rounds coming down about a mile to our right.

I fear bombs but not shells. They excite me – an exhilarating sort of excitement. So far I've never felt afraid at the OP; one has a feeling of confident safety because one knows there is controlled death just at your rear – controlled by the OP! Somehow, it never occurs to one that the Death beyond the wire may be more efficient and effective than the Death at the rear.

A sortie last night. As we returned from the OP we passed quite a few Bren gun carriers moving towards the wire in our sector. Further behind were 4 great I - tanks and then half a dozen big cruiser tanks – all making a hell of a noise. A few minutes later the enemy batteries opened fire. We looked back gloomily as we sped down the road, watching the yellow flashes of bursting shells in the darkness.
This morning we learnt that the attack had been a failure. We lost four Bren gun carriers – and two of those magnificent I - tanks which we saw last night are still out in no-man's land, abandoned. It is not known whether there are any men inside...

There is thought to be little hoping of saving those two tanks now, they are 6000 yards from our lines.


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