At the height of the battle, sparks from artillery shells lit the underbrush, transforming the scrubby wilderness into a roaring furnace. Men from both sides of the war were lost, confused and trapped together in a living hell as the scrub pine in the woods flared up with a sickening roar.

Soldiers could see their comrades waving ­frantically at them from inside the inferno. The carnage was so horrific that sworn enemies joined forces to rescue the doomed men. Two implacable foes fought together to try to save a trapped youth. ‘The fire was all around him,’ recalled one.

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