The Sound of Silence
By James K. Richardson
Co. B, 272nd Regiment

I think one of the most memorable things for me about the war on the front lines was the constant sound of both sides swapping artillery bombardment.  While the 272nd Regiment was in reserve in the Eifel Forest, it seemed that the bombardment was going on around the clock.  Sometimes it was like distant thunder, then at others it was the horrific sound of the German 88mm shells with their unmistakable screaming sound, or our outgoing artillery with its “whup-whup” sound.  It seemed that our artillery people liked to open up their big guns around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, and that was the worst for us, for they were just a few hundred yards behind our position, and of course that woke us up (those of us not on perimeter guard duty), and we knew what was going to happen next.  The Jerries would retaliate with their dutiful response.  But one morning, for some unknown reason, I could hear no shelling going on anywhere, close or distant, and this woke me up out of a dead sleep, wondering what had happened.  The sound of silence was deafening.