One French soldier wrote about the artillery bombardment:
"Men were squashed. Cut in two or divided from top to bottom. Blown into showers; bellies turned inside out; skulls forced into the chest as if by a blow from a club."
Two other French soldiers wrote:
"You eat beside the dead; you drink beside the dead, you relieve yourself beside the dead and you sleep beside the dead."
"People will read that the front line was Hell. How can people begin to know what that one word - Hell - means."
"Hell cannot be so terrible as this. Humanity is mad; it must be mad to do what it is doing."
"An artery of French blood was spilt on February 21st and it flows incessantly in large spurts."
Anonymous French soldiers wrote this poem
"I saw a man drinking avidly from a green scum-covered marsh, where lay, his black face downward in the water, a dead man lying on his stomach and swollen as if he had not stopped filling himself with water for days."
"To die from a bullet seems to be nothing; parts of our being remain intact; but to be dismembered, torn to pieces, reduced to pulp, this is the fear that flesh cannot support and which is fundamentally the great suffering of the bombardment."
Anonymous French soldiers