The Spectator

Over the top | 21 July 2016

From ‘The Battle of the Somme’, The Spectator, 22 July 1916: What we seldom hear about is what Milton called the ‘raw edge of war’, of the 10 or 15 per cent or more of stragglers who fail to go on — men who do not show anything which can be reasonably called cowardice in face of the enemy, but who seize with great alacrity various forms of excuse, legitimate or semi-legitimate, for not advancing… Now the amazing, the absolutely unique thing about the battle of the Somme is that there has been literally no ‘raw edge’ to these assaults on fortified positions. The testimony of the correspondents, of the officers, and of the men on this point is in agreement.

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