Guess That’s One Way to Do It

Germany’s World War I siege of Namur, in Belgium, is described in Essay # 2 of When We Cease to Understand the World:

The Germans’ advance was impeded by a mist that rose up without warning, so thick it it turned midday to night. Both sides were shrouded in darkness and unable to attack for fear of shooting their own men.

When We Cease to Understand the World, pp. 50 – 51

“What is it about this strange, chaotic climate of this country that it so doggedly resists our knowledge and control?” the German scientist Karl Schwarzschild, who had been placed in charge of an artillery unit, wrote to his wife.

His superior chose to withdraw the troops to a safe distance and engaged in massive, indiscriminate bombings, firing without care for wasted munitions or civilian casualties, using 42-centimetre ordnance shot from a gigantic howitzer the troops nicknamed “Big Bertha,” until the citadel, which had stood fast from the time of the Roman Empire, was nothing more than a mountain of rubble.

WWCTUTW, p. 51

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