Why is Paul's company returning to the front and how does the battle progress in the two weeks spent there?
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Paul and his company are initially sent back to the front on wiring duty. They must put up wire to mark their territory and keep the enemy soldiers from invading their trenches. After the job is done, they go on a short leave. But the second company is sent back to the front because there are rumors that a massive attack will be staged against the German forces. When the company returns to the front line, the battle is fierce, and many men cannot deal with the constant shellfire and lack of resources. As the battle progresses, the situation for the German soldiers becomes more dire--their weapons begin to backfire and the spent shells are flung back onto the German soldiers instead of being fired into enemy territory. Many of their fellow soldiers are wounded. In this battle, it is clear that Germany is suffering in the war.
Because the war is still very much in progress, Paul's company is called back to the front; furthermore, he learns that his company has become one of the flying divisions that are pushed into "wherever it is hottest." Some of Paul's friends and he are assigned to guard a village that has been abandoned after receiving a deluge of heavy shelling. The men enjoy sleeping in beds and being able to cook themselves a meal after Kat and Paul have scoured the area for what they can find. After gleaning vegetables and two suckling pigs, the men enjoy a veritable feast. However, their hiatus from war is interrupted as the smoke from the chimney has been spotted and shell pour down.
After eight days, the men are called back. A few days later they are sent to evacuate a village Paul and Kropp are hit. After the doctor sadistically digs around in Paul's leg for shrapnel, he sets his leg and he and Albert are put on a train. After they are recuperated, Paul and the others are sent back to the front, but the morale is weakening. No longer are the men individuals; now they are“coins of different provinces,” “melted down,” and they all “bear the same stamp.” The Germans are losing, too, so the men simply try to avoid death, and operate as animals. As his comrades begin to die because their weapons are antiquated against the newer, advanced weaponery of the Allied forces. Paul watches as his friends and comrades die. When Kat is hit, Paul carries him to the medics, but he has been hit and is dead. Paul is devastated.
Do I walk? Have I feet still? I raise my eyes, I let them move round, and turn myself with them, one circle, one circle,a dn I stand in the midst. All is as usual. Only the Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky has died.
Then I know nothing more.
Paul has lost his dear friend; nothing seems to have any meaning.
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