A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 232

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MONS AND CHARLEROI


perfect courtesy, you should avoid any intimacy. Do your dutybravely. FearGod. HonourtheKing. KITCHENER, Field Marshal. The success attending the transport of a large body of troops and material to a foreign battle ground must be measured by the lack of exact knowledge of their movements gained by the enemy. As has been said, German Intelligence was considerably fogged as to the precise movements and ultimate concentration oftheBritishforces. VonKluckfullybelievedthattheBritish had landed in Ostend, Dunkirk, and Calais. With regard to the lineofadvancetheyhadnocertaininformationwhatever. Even as late as the morning of August 23, the first day of battle, there was complete ignorance at German headquarters as to The true nature or exact strength of the opposition which they were likely to meet from British arms. On August 12 British general headquarters left London for Southampton, crossed to Havre, and reached Le Gateau late on theeveningofthei6th. OnAugust14SirJohnFrenchhimself arrived in Amiens, and spent the next three days in visits to the French minister of war, to General Joilre, and ‘to General Lanrezac at the 5th army headquarters, learning the disjiositioii^ oftheFrenchforces. Theareasofconcentrationallottedtothe British were between Maubeuge and Le Cateau, with a front of about 25 miles from north-east to south-west and averaging ten miles in depth. The cavalry was at the north-eastern end, in readiness to act with Lanrezac*s army. The swift progress of the army towards its battle positions was marked by a major misfortune in the death of Lieutenant General SirJamesGrierson,commandingthe2ndarmycorps. Grierson, who collapsed suddenly on a train journey, was known as one of the ablest general officers in the army, with an unequalled knowledge of the military theories which governed the German war-machine, and of the constitution and prevailing strategy of all the continental armies. Sir John French, it is officially stated, asked for Sir Herbert Plumer to replace him, but the secretary of state for war appointed Sir H. Smith-Dorrien. August 20 was a fateful day in the early history of the war. Brussels fell to the enemy, and the main Belgian army retired into Antwerp. British aerial reconnaissance observed endless columns of the ist German army on the march, stretching from Louvainintothedistance. OnthisdayGeneralJofTregavehis

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