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Analysis On Wwi Source The Play "Journey's End" By R.C. Sherriff.

891 words - 4 pages

These excerpt are taken from the source I have chosen to evaluate, a 1929 play called "Journey's End". It was composed by a British author R.C. Sherriff who joined the war at age eighteen. He served as a captain in the East Surrey regiment from 1914 until the end of the war.This makes the play a first hand account, so it would be useful to historians studying the soldier's experience of trench warfare. Again, because Sheriff was actually there, the source is far more reliable than one by a writer who hadn't fought in WW1.The play takes place in a British trench, and is set in St. Quentin, which was an area key to the German defence of the Somme line. The excerpt I have chosen has characters discussing raids about to be made on the Germans the day before a planned attack by the Allies."Lots of raids have taken place along the line today. With the attack tomorrow morning, headquarters naturally want all the information they can get as early as possible."Trench raiding was a mixture of inter-battalion competitive aggression and a search for prisoners and intelligence. Raiding parties consisted of 10-200 men, and army commanders from both sides would often launch raids. The commanders viewed the raids as useful because they restored an offensive spirit and promoted attrition, especially since there would be more casualties in the enemy's camp than the raiding troops.Both the Allies and the Triple Alliance would send their raiders across No Man's land to observe, eavesdrop or penetrate the enemy line, gathering information which their side could use to their advantage when planning a strike. The raiders could also ascertain movements of the enemy, which might indicate a forthcoming attack. Another role of the raiders was to capture prisoners. These prisoners would be interrogated and sometimes tortured to disclose information as to the strategy and plans of the enemy, again valuable data for the commanding officers."The trench-mortars go and knock an 'ole in the Boche wire to let our fellers through"Before raids were sent out, the trench-mortars (high-trajectory guns which could fire shells up to 2km away) would shell a hole in the enemy's wire, giving an entry point for the attacking soldiers. However, this strategy had severe limitations, which Journey's End highlights."Why didn't the trench-mortars blow a dozen holes in different places - so the Boche wouldn't know which we were going to use?It took three hours to blow that one. How could they blow a dozen in the time?"The weaponry was not sufficiently advanced to shell enough holes to confuse the enemy as to...

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