Protect us, Our Lady of the Squaddies. We accept everything... The sentry duty in the rain, the nights without sleep, the days without bread... But let us live.
Compare to All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, American) and Westfront 1918 (1930, German) for similar sentiments, different national perspectives.
There's the obligatory character scenes so we get to know the guys and some stunning set pieces, and I do mean stunning. Battles are shot so well you'd think you're watching actual war footage. Bernard clearly knows what he's doing.
As for the plot? Well, it's an anti-war film. Night raids, trench warfare, fighting in the city rubble, the deaths of named beloved characters, the bombs and smoke and grit and grime... and the wooden crosses stuck at each new grave. It's about brotherhood and the horrors of war. Timeless.