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Paul Fussell
From Doing Battle
(Little, Brown, 1996)

From Chapter One

As we get ready to move forward, because of the trees I can see only three or four men of my platoon, disposed along the front of the woods at ten-yard intervals. They look toward me with white faces. Although I think I am no more scared than usual, this time my mouth is dry and it seems hard to get my breath. I hear a whistle blast behind and step forward, shouting in a loud, would-be firm voice, "Let's go!" We step off and soon we are running downhill. We don't think of the mines we might be stepping on, and luckily we don't meet any. But the adjacent units have a less happy experience: they run into a field filled with wooden Schu-mines, and many feet and lower legs are blown off. One man in Company G to our left lost his foot that day, and later he noted a home truth familiar to us all: "Sooner or later you're going to get it in combat. You can't roll the dice every day and not get waxed."

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  • "Roll the Dice" (1:15):
    RA 28.8, RA 14.4

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    Copyright © 1996 by Paul Fussell. All rights reserved.