A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 164

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GERMAN INVASION OF BELGIUM


troops at Aineffe. After a three hours' fight, they were driven off, leaving 153 dead on the field, and 102 prisoners in the hands of the Belgians. Another outpost affair took place near Eghezee, when a bo<iy of 350 Uhlans, with 60 cyclist scouts, were surprised at a village while sitting quietly in the caf^s of the little town enjoying themselves. Theirhorsesweregrazinginthefieldsandthemen were wholly unprepared. Their own cyclists rode in to give the alarm. TheUhlansinasuddenpanicrushedoff,leavinghorses, rifles, machine guns and everything behind them, the Belgians killing about 40 of the men as they ran. • An action of some importance occurred on August 12 and 13atHaelen. AforceofGermancavalryandartillery,accom- panied by a small body of infantry, numbering probably 10,000 in all,» attempted to move around Tirlemont to outflank the Belgian arm^^ They found themselves opposed by a Belgian division of cavalry^ and a mixed brigade, numbering between 7,000 and 10,000. Towards eleven o'clock on August 12 the Germans were seen ontheSteevooni-Haelenroad. TheBelgianartillery,"whichwas well placed, opened fire on them, and a fierce fight followed . which lasted until early evening. The Belgian guns wrought greatdestruction. TheGermanstriedtoridethro\ightheenemy bysheerdashanddaring. Atonepointtheircavalrydashedat a, series of formidable Belgian barricades, only to be picked off and driven back by the infantry fire. Then there came a fierce . charge, when the German cavalry and the Belgian cavalry rode right into one another, and a hand-to-hand conflict ensued. The country was very unfavourable to the Germans, its broken nature making cavalry advances difficult. The invaders, even according to the account of their enemies, showed extreme courage. AtonepointtheGermancavalryevenattemptedto charge a line of Belgian machine guns, and pushed forward, despite immense slaughter, until sheer butchery forced it back. The Germans revealed in this fight the qualities which were to carry them far in the days that immediately followed. "They may not have shown much pluck before," said one Belgian major at the end of the day, "but they have certainly shown it to-day." But this was a case where the rush tactics of the Germans were in vain. They had finally to retire with a loss of about a thousand men.

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