When I was living near Verdun in the mid 60s, I saw pictures of French
soldiers holding up a string of dead rats, each one of them had their tails
tied to the string. I think that the soldiers also ate the rats. The siege
of Verdun in WWI was really an attempt by the Germans to drain off the
French manpower but not to actually take Verdun, so they left one road to
Verdun always open and there was a constant stream of trucks to it from
Paris. I think the French battle cry was "On ne passe pas!" ("They shall
not pass", correct me in my French is faulty Raphael or whoever). Anyway,
the French lost about a half million men, but the Germans also lost about a
half million, so everything was pretty well a waste. It's kind of
interesting that there was a German cemetery near there and the crosses are
all painted black and there are trees all around in the cemetery so the sun
would never shine on their graves.
From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2002 6:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Two questions
Nancy Gish wrote:
> 1. One source is probably WWI. "Rat's Alley" is apparently one name
> used for the trenches. In letters Eliot more than once tells of Maurice
> Haigh-Wood's tales of shooting rats all night in the trenches.
There is a great Willie & Joe cartoon. They are sleeping in a haystack.
Willie holds a flashlight focused on a rat. Joe holds a 45. "Aim between
the eyes, Joe," says Willie. "They say they charge when wounded." (Bill