A Farewell to Arms Chapter 27
Fred wakes when Rinaldi comes in and Rinaldi refuses to wake when Fred leaves in the morning. He heads for Bainsizza, a place once occupied by the Austrians, and meets a soldier named Gino who informs him that there is still some shelling and an impending attack. He describes the hell of San Gabriele.
The defense looks bad to them as they descend into the cellar of the house. They discuss the possibility of defending a mountainous terrain. Gino says that the Russians used their terrain to defeat Napoleon. Fred points out that that would not work in Italy. Gino complains about the amount of food, but blames that complaint on the fact that he and his countrymen are big eaters. Gino leaves to go back to Gorizia. It storms all day to the sound of a few Austrian guns firing. The sun breaks through but then the rain returns. Fred's mood is ambivalent. There is an attack in the night. The wounded start to pour in and the rain turns to snow. The enemy is attacking all along the front, but Bainsizza is the important point to hold.
"'It's Germans that are attacking,' one of the medical officers said. The word Germans was something to be frightened of. We did not want to have anything to do with the Germans." Chapter 27, pg. 187
Fred discovers that if there is a defeat, the wounded who cannot fit in the vans with the medical equipment are to be left behind. This is a frightening prospect. They end up having to retreat. The mere prospect of fighting the Germans is too much. They retreat through the night and get to Gorizia where the whorehouse is being evacuated. Fred jokes with his driver Bonello about joining their truck. Fred checks on the drivers of the other two cars, Piani and Aymo, and he tells them to get some sleep. He sleeps some himself.
They get up and eat but soon Fred says that it is time to go. He rides with Aymo who is afraid that he will fall asleep. The retreat goes all the way to Pordenone.