A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 161

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THE ADVANCE OF NAMUR


inevitably, it fell back. But the Germans did not hurry. Although they had been delayed by the magnificent defence of Liege, , their time-table was not seriously deranged. Every- thing with them had been so carefully planned, their dispositions were so admirable, all eventualities had been so skilfully pro- videdfor,thatBelgiumwaspowerless. Liegehadheldupthe advance for a momentous week. But its value, although inestimable in the time it gave to the mobilising French and British forces, lay more in its effect upon the morale of the Allies than in , its interference with German plans. Germany’s intention was to turn the left wing of the French line which ran south from Namur. By the capture of Liege . the Belgian army was thrust b^ck north-west upon Antwerp, and a wedge was driven between the Frencli and Belgian forces. A small body of Belgian troop.s supported by a French division was still defending Namur and occupying the triangle formed by the rivers Sambre and AJeuse. If the Germans were to be successful Namur must be captured without delay and the defending forces hurled back. Von Kluck, the (jermancommander,seizedhischance. Onebodyoftroopswas moved due west from Liege to oceux^y Louvain and Brussels, complete the conquest of Belgium, and pin the remnants of the Belgian army to the defences of Antwerp. The main body, in overwhelming strength, turned south-west and struck like a thunderbolt at Namur. On August 15 the German cavalry had made an afteta^ to seize Dinanl and the river crossing above Namur. TII^ 1)04 been heavily rex)ulsed by French artillery, but the lack of cavalry by which this success could have been followed up per- mitted the Germans to bring up their hcavj* howitzers without further ox)x>ositioii. Not again were they going to make the mistake of putting densely packed masses of infantry against steel and concrete forts. On the 20th the bombardment began. By the 23rd the city and most of the forts were in the hands of the invaders. S\ich was the power of Germany's siege guns. Namur was looked upon as a much stronger fortress than Liege. Bymanyitwasthoughttobeimpregnable,andafterthe heroic resistance of General Leman it was expected to occupy the Germans at least a fortnight. If it fell, then the whole French line was in danger of being turned, and north-eastern France was open to in^'asion. The main body of French trooi>s

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