Matters of life and death

Descriptions of battles, by those who take part, always have the same basic elements (while differing in detail). Bullets are flying, bombs are falling, artillery shells exploding, mines being tripped, tanks grinding over trenches, flame-throwers burning. Men die at random, as a result of pure chance – a small movement to left or right, ducking the head at the right moment, arriving at front line an hour late, air cover coming as clouds clear, foxholes dug deep – or the reverse of all those chance events. Those who die are old and young, officers and privates, good and bad, Germans and Russians, married and unmarried, veterans and newcomers, religious or atheist. Death, injury, and survival are all the result of pure chance.

Just the same as life in general.

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