On Patrol by Klaxon (Illustrated Nautical Poems)

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At a trough propped up against the far wall, a man with rolled-up sleeves is dunking yards of film into developing liquid, then feeding it on from there into a fixing tank. The lines—six of them—are for the most part flat; occasionally, though, they erupt suddenly, and rise and fall in jagged waves, like some strange Persian script, for half an inch, before settling down and running flat again.

The jagged eruptions appear at different points along each line: staggered, each wave the same shape as the one on the line below it, but occurring a quarter of an inch or three-tenths of a second later. You see them?

Sea Poems

Two men are going through a pile of torn-off, line-streaked film-strips, measuring the gaps between the kicks with lengths of string; then, moving the string over to the map slowly, careful to preserve the intervals, they transfer the latter onto its surface by fixing one end of the string to the pin and holding a pencil to the other, swinging it from side to side to mark a broad arc on the map. The mathematical answer to your question, though, is that the strings represent the asymptote of the hyperbola on which the gun lies.

When the observers saw a gun flash or heard its boom they sent a signal that activated the oscillograph and film recorder. In ideal conditions which were rare the operation could be completed for a single battery within three minutes using graphical rather than computational methods and with an accuracy of yards for more, see J. Finan and W. The Germans were evidently impressed by the efficacy of the Allied system, as this directive issued by General Ludendorff shows:.

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According to a captured English document the English have a well- developed system of sound-ranging which in theory corresponds to our own. Precautions are accordingly to be taken to camouflage the sound: e. The English have an objective method self-recording apparatus.

It is important to capture such an apparatus. The same holds good on the French front. Since most of the killing and destruction was the work of the artillery, these counter-battery operations were a crucial part of the ground war. Multiple sources were used, including aerial reconnaissance, balloon observation and flash spotting as well as sound ranging, and when combined these could eventually locate enemy guns to within yards. The waves of attacking infantry as they came out of their trenches and trudged forward behind the curtain of shells laid down by the artillery, were an amazing sight.

From the air it looked as though they did not realise that they were at war and were taking it all entirely too quietly. That is the way with clock-work warfare. These troops had been drilled to move forward at a given pace. A small jet of smoke spills up into the air from this like cushion stuffing; out of it, a shell rises. It arcs above the trench-meshes and track-marked open ground, then dips and falls into the copse beneath Serge, blossoming there in vibrant red and yellow flame.

A second follows it, then a third. The same is happening in the two-mile strip between Battery I and its target, and Battery M and its one, right on down the line: whole swathes of space becoming animated by the plumed trajectories of plans and orders metamorphosed into steel and cordite, speed and noise. Everything seems connected: disparate locations twitch and burst into activity like limbs reacting to impulses sent from elsewhere in the body, booms and jibs obeying levers at the far end of a complex set of ropes and cogs and relays. The salvos pause; Serge plots the points of impact on his clock-code chart, then sends adjustments back to Battery E, which fires new salvos that land slightly to the north of the first ones.

In Touch and intimacy Santanu Das argues that. This disjunction resulted in an exaggerated investment in sound. The memoirs, letters and diaries from the Western Front confirm that the hideous noise of battle worked its way inside the very body of the soldier. Noise is everywhere.

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We lie on the shuddering ground, rocking to the vibrations, under a shower of solid noise we feel we could reach out and touch. The shells come, burst and are gone, but that invisible noise keeps on — now near, now far, now near, now far again. Flat, unceasing noise.

Here is an extended passage from A. We are becoming acclimatised to trench warfare.

We know by the singing of a shell when it is going to drop near us, when it is politic to duck and when one may treat the sound with contempt. We are becoming soldiers. We know the calibres of the shells which are sent over in search of us.

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For a perfect imitation of a whizz-bang, sit by the open window of a railway compartment and wait until an express train passes you at sixty miles an hour. Wherever one may be, and wherever they may be going to drop, they always look as if they are going to fall straight on top of one. They are visible at night because they have luminous tails, like comets.

The thing which, without warning, suddenly utters a hissing sneeze behind us is one of our own trench-mortars. We know when to ignore machine-gun and rifle bullets and when to take an interest in them. A steady phew-phew-phew means that they are not dangerously near.

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When using the index remember page number precedes issue number; boat names are in italics; book names are in inverted commas; an asterisk denotes illustrations or photos. Good hunting — we hope what you are looking for is here.


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