Georg Bucher went right through the war with one break, due to a head wound, and this is his personal account, his record of those four grim years. He had five close friends of whom three were veterans like himself and one by one they died, the last, Riedel by name, crushed by a tank in one of the last battles of the war; of that band of brothers only Bucher lived to tell the tale. His story takes him to nearly every part of the Western Front – the Marne, Ypres, Notre Dame de Lorette, the Vosges, Verdun, the Somme, Champagne, Chemin des Dames, Flanders again, the March 1918 offensive, the battles of May 1918, the Marne again, and finally the retreat and collapse of the German army’s resistance. To have gone through all that and come out of it alive was some feat of endurance helped, no doubt, in no little way by Lady Luck. He does not spare us the horrors of the trenches – water, lice and rats and the savage hand-to-hand fighting. He expresses admiration for the ‘furious, superhuman courage of those English Tommies,’ but ferocity and hatred are reserved for the French, as described when they took revenge on the Senegalese who, under the influence of absinthe (so Bucher alleges), mutilated some of his company taken prisoner.There is no lack of action in this exciting and absorbing tale of war on the Western Front as seen from German eyes.
IN THE LINE
The author served in the German army throughout the war from 1914 to the end on the Western Front. This is his personal account and tribute to five friends, all of whom were killed in action.