The retreating Italian vehicles move excruciatingly slowly, and often stall. Henry checks on his drivers. Bonello has picked up two engineering sergeants, while Aymo has picked up two local girls, who are frightened of the vulgar soldiers around them. Henry looks up at the rain and wishes Catherine good night, promising not to leave her, and falls asleep. He wakes to find that lines of peasants have joined the slowly retreating vehicles. He and his men decide to break off from the main road and take a smaller road through the countryside.
Impending death, in the form of rain, is falling all around Henry and his fellow soldiers. He retreats into his private world by carrying on an imaginary conversation with Catherine. Meanwhile, as the peasants join the retreat it becomes clear that the soldiers are not the only ones affected by the war. Everyone is affected, even the peasants who played no role in it at all.