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32Bravo
02-18-2009, 03:09 AM
George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman series among other works, gives a soldier's-eye-view of his section's experiences in the Burma campaign, as he joins them during their advance into Burma following the defeat of the Japanese at Imphal and Kohima.


...The question is, do you, when given grenades to carry render them safe by hammering the split ends of the pin apart, or, bearing in mind that angry Jap is not going to stand around while you un-hammer them, do you leave the pins so that they can slip out easily? The thought that Grandarse, who would make a bullock seem security-conscious, is snoring beside you with his pins loose...

I would add that much of the dialogue is in marra-speak


"When Jap artillery oppens oop, he'll ga for the middle o' the target - an' that's us. So keep weel spread oot, all on ye, an' keep movin'. The farther ye git in, the less chance there is o' the whizz-bangs gittin' ye. Reet, Nick?"

"Japs got 'is eye on Nine Section...Special orders f'ae Tojo - 'Git them boogers, me jolly lal Japs, an' there's a sivven-day pass for the gooner that puts a whizz-bang oop Grandarse'...Are ye reet, marra?"

Schuultz
02-19-2009, 06:56 AM
Honestly, I don't quite understand what you are trying to say...

Did you just pick out some random quotes from a book, or is there supposed to be a deeper meaning? :neutral:

32Bravo
02-19-2009, 07:48 AM
Honestly, I don't quite understand what you are trying to say...

Did you just pick out some random quotes from a book, or is there supposed to be a deeper meaning? :neutral:


Honestly, I don't believe you.

Schuultz
02-19-2009, 07:50 AM
Well you should. It might have something to do with it being early morning and me having gotten too little sleep - But I really don't get what you were going for... :neutral:

32Bravo
02-19-2009, 01:01 PM
Well you should. It might have something to do with it being early morning and me having gotten too little sleep - But I really don't get what you were going for... :neutral:

Okay, maybe I was being a little unkind - or maybe you are? -anyway, as I said, the book is a soldier's view of the Burma campaign. The 'random' posts from the book were posted as a taster as to what lies within.

He is an eloquent writer, but, as I said, much of the dialogue is in 'Marra-speak' and I posted that as an example.

For those English members of the site, I'm certain they will know exactly where I'm coming from. Having served with 'North-countrymen', I relate very much to the dialogue and the descriptions of his characters. I can even put faces to his characters, but they are faces of characters that I knew as opposed to his actual characters. Therefore, I find, that much of his diatribe has me pissing myself. As well as his descriptions of cambat, he addresses the mundane - but he tells it as a soldier, and, as a soldier, I can visualise it - he then goes on to reiterate some conversation or occurrence within the rifle section to illustrate the reality of what he has been describing.

Take passwords, for instance (If you will permit me to quote from him again), he explains the system of passwords and then describes the reality of it within the section - this is a scene where a patrol is coming back into base from a night patrol when it is still pitch dark:


...There was a formula for the password, which always consisted of a seven-letter word -"Victory", for example. In theory, the patrol, when challenged, would identify itself, the sentry would whisper "Victory", and the patrol would prove its bona fides by responding with whichever letter of "Victory" corresponded with the day of the week, using the morse alphabet. Thus, if it was Sunday, the correct reply was the first letter of "Victory", which is "Victor", if Monday, Ink, if Tuesday, Charelie, and so on. Who thought this up I don't know, but if he could have heard Grandarse, who seldom knew what day of the week it was at the best of times, and couldn't spell anything longer than "pint", trying to persuade Forster that he was not a Japanese White Tiger, he would have thought fo something less sophisticated. You may imagine the exchange:

Grandarse (hoarsley from the dark): Is that thoo, marra? It's me!

Forster (being awkward): Victory.

Grandarse: Ye w'at? Aw, shit, aye...Victory. Houd on, noo. (to fellow-patroller) 'Ey, Wattie, w'at day is't? Thoorsday - awreddy? Girraway! Aye, weel, let's see...Moondeh, Choosdeh, Wensdeh, Thoorsdeh - v...i...c...aye, t, that'll be reet! "Tock!" 'Ey, thoo on stag, Ah'm sayin' Tock! Are ye theer?

Forster (knowing it was thursday when the patrol left, but that midnight has passed): Booger off, yer a fifth columnist!

Grandarse: Bloody 'ell! Whee th'ell's that? Thoo, Forster , ye git! W'at ye playin' at? It's me, sayin' Tock!

Forster (relenting): It's Friday, ye daft sod!

Grandarse: Bloody 'ell! W'at is't then? Orange?

Forster: Awreet, bollock-brain. Coom in if yer feet's clean.

I'm sorry if you're still confused, but I almost pissed my pants just typing that. :lol::lol:

Schuultz
02-19-2009, 03:27 PM
Aaah, now I get it. :D

I probably wouldn't have been that confused had I noticed that we're in the Book-forum this morning... whoopsie