Liam O’Flaherty’s Return of the Brute (1929) tells the story of what happens to a group of ineffective soldiers who are sent forward into no-man’s-land in 1917, as part of a large offensive. They get lost, they are victims of the mud, and of random enemy fire, and above all they endlessly chafe against one other as they unwillingly undertake a fruitless military exercise.
I was a few chapters into the novel before I realised that this was a version of Philip Macdonald’s Patrol (1926), transferred to the Western Front. (Patrol had been a best-seller, and 1929 was the year in which Walter Summers’ film version The Lost Patrol appeared. John Ford’s remake would appear in 1934.)