A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 219

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THE DEFENCE OF LORRAINE


endeavours was the control of the passes soutli of the Vosges, which secured them an open avenue of advance into Alsace. In Lorraine the French movements, though more legitimate,, wereevenlesssuccessful. TherapidityofthedisturbingGerman successes in Belgium determined the French, still ignorant of the true nature of the German strategy, to make a diversion by an attackthroughLorraine. Theobjectwaseithertocompelthe Germans to draw troops from their offensive in Belgium to the defence of Lorraine or, if the Germans should fail to offer adequate defence, to penetrate north-eastwards and strike at the German communications. ^ Two armies of I-x>rraine were accordingly organized, the ist underGeneralDubail,the2ndunderGeneralCastelnau. Rather foolishly it was arranged that both armies should act independ- entlyunderordersfromtheFrenchhijghcommand, Thegeneral plan was a simultaneous advance of the French s^rmies towards Metz and Strasbourg with the intention of linking up with the Alsace offensive farther south and securing the right flank of the whole line on the Rhine. A small independent corps was detailed to penetrate the Vosges and provide the connecting link •on the south-east between General Pan in Alsace and the Lor- rainearmies. DubailwastoadvancetowardsSaarburgandpush iheopposingforcessouthtowardsStrasbourg, Castelnauwasto move against Saarbriick, pivoting on Dubail's left flank at Etaiii, andshelteringhimselffromtheGermanforcesatMetz. Onthe left of the Moselle two corps were stationed with a view to their future employment against Metz and in the north. To meet this concentration of forces the Germans with great forethought had prepared a heavily fortified line running south- east from Metz through Morhange, Benestroff and north of Saar- l)urgtotheVosges. Thegroundhadbeencarefullysurveyed, the ranges had been marked and an extensive system of trenches defended with barbed wire and adequately equipped with machinegunshadbeenprepared. Itwas,infact,anadmirable chain of field fortresses with its flanks resting on the permanent defences of Metz and Strasbourg. To defend this line the Germans had the 6th and 7th armies under Prince Rupert of BavariaandGeneralHeeringenrespectively. Innumbers,tliere- fore, the combatants were not unequal, the French having about 470,000 men, the Germans about 400,000'; but in everything else the advantage lay with the latter.

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