The first shell landed a few feet away from where the Commissar had been standing, the force of the explosion tearing up the ground and sending a cloud of earthen debris into the air. The smoke did not have time to clear before more shells came whistling from the skies, rocking the ground all around the company's positions and engulfing the whole area in a haze of smoke, debris and flames.
The minutes passed slowly, and all the while the shells rained from the sky in a deadly symphony of noise and terror. To the men huddled in their trenches and foxholes, the ground seemed to tremble as if about to split open, as though the shells would break open the very planet itself. Each shell was like the striking of a gong, a long whining whistle, a ominous thud and then the earth-shaking roar of an explosion. A whistle, a thud, an explosion; ever onward.