They fled down a tiny water-course, midget figures in an infinity of earth and sky, scurrying frenziedly from a red slug-like thing that lay askew in a mountain valley. Far away and high above hung the war-planes of the United Nations. Big ones and little ones, hovering in hundreds about the outside of the dome of force they could neither penetrate nor understand. A quarter of a mile. Half a mile.
Imagine a fleet of those lads battling under water some day allowing no surface craft to live feeling each other out and plotting direction and distance as they feel, and then letting go broadsides of torpedoes ten or a hundred times as powerful as anything we now have; and at the same time the air full of war-planes battling above them. Infants, sea babies, is what they are to-day.
All the long sullen night the earth is rocked by slow intermittent rumbling, till with the silent dawn the birds wake and the war-giants sink for a few hours in troubled sleep. Then the new day breaks and the war-planes climb in the clear morning air to begin the battle afresh. But let us turn from the hard-won ground of Messines to some of the men who fought over it and survived.