A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 220

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FRANCE'S FRONTIER BATTLES


German strategy, here, was designed to be purely defensive. The German armies in Lorraine were to act as the pivot on which von Kluck was to execute his wheel on Paris, In no circum- stances were they to attack, but rather were to draw the French on by every show of weakness, and thereby secure all the more time for the great encircling movement already in operation. The farther the French penetrated the more they exposed their flank and rear to the German pincers. At first the German commanders kept to their instructions implicitly. Strong rearguards were thrown out to keep contact with the advancing French troops, the main body of the armies femaining on the defensive behind the Morhangc-Saarburg line. The first concentration of the French could not be completed until the i8th, but on the i6th an advance was made and by the next day, after pushing back the Bavarians, two corps had occupiedtheVasperviller-St!Georgesline. GeneralDubailbegan to move his left wing to the right of Saarburg, his right wing standing on the Vosges to repel any counter-attack. On the 19th an attack was delivered on the ground to the north-west of Saarburg, and although it made some progress it be- came evident that it would be unable to break through and openawayforthecavalry. Thelosseswereveryheavyand although the right and centre gained ground on the 2olh, in- flicting a serious check on the Germans at Walscheid and occupy- ing Saarburg, little more could be done until Castelnau moved up on the left. Actually, however, he was seriously repulsed and, in order to avoid an attack upon DubaiFs flank, exposed by Castel- nau's retreat, Jofire ordered the former to retire. On August 23, DubaiTs army held a line from Dames-aux-Bois to the Col dii Bonhomme, but of his original army scarcely half survived. The 2nd army under Castelnau fared even worse. The advance was begun on the 14th and some progress was made, the Germans continuing to fall back quietly while offering a steady resistance. For two days this steady retreat was continued, the French suffering heavy losses from the accurate fire of the German artillery. By the morning of the 17th the French had reached Morhange and had swung round north-west on a line facing Delme, Chateau Salins and Dieuze. At this point the German resistance began to stiffen, and a change of plan began to make itself evident in the German command. For this there appeartobetworeasons. Inthefirstplacethevacillatingvon

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