The rain of late September was as of nothing compared to the downpours experienced during October which turned the battlefield into a barely negotiable morass. Increasingly cold weather added hugely to the discomforts of the troops. Movement became an exhausting and despairing business in a landscape swept clear of all reference points: 'The country was more than ever devoid of landmarks - it was just a wide expanse of shell-holes in a dark brown, almost black kind of earth - and no one knew either their own position or those of the enemy within a few hundred yards....The weather became steadily worse, and though water is supposed to run downhill and the division was on the slope of a hill, the troops might just as well have been in the middle of a pond.' ('The 56th Division', Major C H Dudley Ward, London: John Murray, 1921; pp.82-83).
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