A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 158

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GERMAN INVASION OF BELGIUM


Oil Friday, August 7, at about 2 a.m., an extraordinary incident occurred tliat revealed the reckless daring of the German army. A little party of German cavalrymen—two officers and six soldiers—made a desperate effort to kidnap General Leman. They rode into the city dressed as Englishmen, and exchanged greetingsinEnglishwithpeople. Arrivedatheadquarters,they stated that they were British officers who had come to the rescue of Liege, and they desired to see the general. Something in their manner made one aide-de-camp—Major Marchand—suspi- cious, and he hastily closed the door leading into the general's private apartments, and raised the alarm. A bullet at short range shoppedhim. MembersofthegeneraTsstaffandsomegendarmes present rushed on the Germans. The latter, hastily firing a volley, attempted to escape, but were pursued, and all shot down, after their coup had come within a hairsbrcadth of success. Additional masses of German troops arrived on Thursday, crossing the M^use by a pontoon bridge which they had placed in positioii near Maestricht, close to the Dutch Ixirder, out of reach of the guns of the forts. Zeppelins and aeroplanes drove back the Belgian aircraft, and began to drop high explosives on the steel cupcdas of the forts.

The Germans attempted assault after assault. They were absolutely reckless of life, and were willing to pay a very 4iigh price for immediate success. In some of their advances they repeated the tactics of the third Japanese army when storming Liaoyang, and used the bodies of their own comrades fallen in front of them as ramparts behind which to pause before making furtheradvance. Talestoldbythedefendersshowthegruesome ness of the advances, and the courage displayed. Here is tlie story of a Belgian officer who shared in the defence ; Some of us late arrivals only managed to get to our post when the German attack began. It was night-time. We repliedverysharplywithourguns. Untilthedawncamewe hadnoverydistinctideawhatourpracticewas. Thenwe noticed heaps of slain Germans in a semicircle at the foot of our fort. The German guns must have been very much less successful, because they rarely hit us that night. They did better at daybreak. We did better still. As line after line of the Germaninfantryadvancedwesimplymowedthemdown. It was terribly easy, monsieur, and I turned to a brother officer of mine more than once and said ** Voil^ I They are coming on again in a dense, close formation ! They must be mad I They made no attempt at deploying, but came on, line after

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