en lair in the air three years on and above three fronts

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II AT THE FRONT The day we entrained at Toulouse to go to the front everybody was happy. We had no idea where we were going, but we were on our way! The trip in the box-cars lasted about sixty hours, when we found ourselves at Camp de Mailly. This camp was a big one and close to the front, so that we Americans were introduced for the first time to actual fighting conditions. And they sure did give us some strenuous work-outs. We soon learned why the French railroads number the hours from l to 24, and say 13 o'clock instead of l o'clock. And we worked right through from l o'clock on Monday morning until 24 o'clock on Saturday night. Here, at Camp de Mailly, we received our first promotion. We were made first- class soldiers because of our marksmanship. In shooting practice we very seldom ever missed the bull's eye. That is, Bach, Thaw, Sweeney and myself. This entitles you to wear a red stripe on your sleeve, and is quite a distinction. Some of the men had been in the Foreign Legion for fifteen years and were not yet first-class soldiers. At Camp de Mailly they got us out usually at 5 o'clock in the morning, sometimes as early as 3. The first thing was a five-mile hike to the maneuvering grounds. There we would drill for a couple of hours and then go on a sort of scouting expedition over the hills, always through brush and forests. They split us up and we would have half our force, the right, as opposing troops. Then each force would try to get the advantage of the other and attack. By this method we were taught how to protect ourselves. The country was uneven and the brush very thick. All this was great sport for our officers who were mounted, but for us, not so sporty. We were the goats. Doing this over thirty miles of rough terrain is not sport, and not...
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