40 hommes 8 chevaux

 

American servicemen in France were transported to the battle front on narrow gauge French railroads (Chemin de Fer) inside boxcars (Voitures) that were half the size of American boxcars. Each French boxcar was stenciled with a “40/8”, denoting its capacity to hold either forty men or eight horses. This ignominious and uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar to all who traveled from the coast to the war; a common small misery among American soldiers who thereafter found “40/8” a lighthearted symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war that truly bind those who have borne the battle.