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Oh the infantree the infantree

File: WarGames.pdf

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Oh the infantree the infantree
With the dirt behind their ears
The calvaree artilleree
And the goddamned engineers
Will never beat the infantree
In eleven thousand years

From a military song called "With The Dirt Behind Their Ears" or "The Infantry". (Trombold 312)

A 1943 TIME Magazine article on the World War II battle for Sicily contains the following version of the lyrics:

The infantry, the infantry,

With the dirt behind their ears,

They can whip their weight in wildcats

And drink their weight in beers.

The cavalry, artillery

And the goddam engineers,

They'll never catch the infantry

In a hundred thousand years!


The article notes that, just as Dos Passos suggests occurred in WWI, WWII soldiers "improved the song with unprintable addenda."


Images of the infantry:

1. (a) The 47th Brooklyn Regiment heading to war games, sometime between 1910 and 1915;(b)  a 1912 New York Times article decribes war games undertaken by this regiment, "one of the largest military and athletic carnivals ever undertaken in the history of sports".

2. German infantry members practicing lying under cover, sometime between 1910 and 1915.



Information Sources:
Trombold, John. "Popular Songs as Revolutionary Culture in John Dos Passos' "U.S.A." and Other Early Works." Journal of Modern Literature 19.2 (Autumn, 1995): 289-316.

"Battle of Sicily: A Matter of Days". TIME Magazine (August 9, 1943). Retrieved December 1, 2010 from,9171,766919-1,00.html.

Image Sources:
(a) "47th Rgt. Brooklyn - going to war games", ca. 1910-1915. Library of Congress Flickr Pool.
(b) "Post Office and Military Games." The New York Times (October 13, 1912). Retrieved December 14, 2010 from
2. "German Army - Infantry lying under cover." Ca. 1910-1915. Library of Congress Flickr Pool.

File: WarGames.pdf

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