Page 3759

3759 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

in which the attack was made was rugged

and full of quarries and caves, and the

Germans had exhausted all their art

in strengthening what were naturally

strong positions. The French concentrated

the heaviest artillery fire the world had

yet known upon the positions, but with

comparatively little effect. In the words

of a correspondent, the "Germans were

quite as safe as in a submarine far below

the surface of the sea," and the positions,

almost intact, had to be "taken by storm

by the French infantry going upon the

hillsides wave after wave, driving out the

Germans with bayonets and gas bombs."

In some of these assaults the French

suffered extremely bloody losses, being

simply mown down by thousands. One of

the quarries, after its capture, was described as follows by a correspondent:

"The opening was a tiny hole in solid

granite. I went down and down in pitch

blackness. The officer and I stumbled

down, fumbling at solid rock walls. A

soldier came up to meet us with an electric

lamp, and below we could see a line of

wooden steps, at least a hundred of them.

Then we came into a great arched cavern

that led into another similar one, and then

to another, and then into long galleries

and through dark, narrow passages, where

we had to stoop low, only to come into

other caverns with exits leading in various

directions, and so on until, at least half

a mile toward the German rear, from

where we entered, we walked out again

into daylight. That quarry alone was

big enough to secrete .5,000 German

soldiers, who poured from a dozen similar

exits when the French infantry advanced.

Every gallery of these underground fortresses the Germans raked with machine

guns when stormed. The artillery positions were so constructed that the guns