battle of attrition in a minor pocket developed

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This is from Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. I don't understand the line in red:

Lago di Pieta was near the Tyrrhenian coast, somewhere between Naples and Rome, and had been the scene of a now ignored (in 1943 tragic) battle of attrition in a minor pocket developed during the advance on Rome. For weeks, a handful of American troops, cut off and without communications, huddled on the narrow shore of the clear and tranquil lake while from the cliffs that tilted vertiginously over the beach Germans hit them day and night with plunging, enfilading fire.
  • RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Well, good luck with Pynchon.

    A war of attrition is a set expression meaning that one side or both sides are worn down by the loss of life. Here a "pocket" of war developed, meaning that the antagonism was limited and isolated. The Americans were cut off from the rest of the army. I doubt that this ever actually happened, but I could be wrong. I know it happened in Vietnam.
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