A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 234

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MONS AND CHARLEROI


endangered.' French'spositionwaschosenratherforattackthan for defence, and, in case a defensive battle had to be fought, he intendedtofallbacktoalinealittlefarthersouth. Thisworlc of taking up positions was carried out on Saturday, August 22, and on the following day the troops went on digging Ihemselves in along the canal and among the hills. All Sunday troops con- tinued to arrive at Mons, many of them going at once into action. The French troops who should have prolonged the British left had not arrived, and the left was in the air ; by the night of the 22nd the Germans were near Tournai, threatening that llaiilc ; they also drove back the British cavalry and penetrated between theBritishrightandLanrezac'sleftatAnderlues. Theyattaciced Lanrezac with such* violence and superiority of force, threatening his communications from south-east, that his position was un- tenable. TheBritishtroopswereorderedtoentrenchandstand on the defensive until French progress in other directions gave the signal for a general advance. It will be convenient here to say something about the strengtli of the army which, after an interval of nearly 60 years, was to meetEuropeantroopsinbattle. Itconsistedoftwo^rinycorps, each about 32,000 strong, a cavalry division, and artillery 250guns,andoccupiedafrontof25miles. Alongthecanalfrom Mons to Conde was the and corps, under Sir H. Smith-Doinen. It had two divisions each of three brigades, each brigade consisting of four battalions. General Hubert Hamilton commanded the 3rd division, and to his left was the 5th division under Sir Charles Fergusson. The ist army corps, which stretched from jMous to Binche, was commanded by Sir Douglas Haig, and consisted of the and division, under Sir Charles Monro, and the 1st division, under Major-General S. H. Lomax. In the 2nd division was a brigade of guards, and in the ist were two other battalions of guards. The4thdivisionwascomingupinsupport. Sir John French was aware, on the evening of the 22nd, that the French had been ejected from the line of the Sambre, and hedeterminedtoabandonallideaofanimmediateoffensive. A request from Lanrezac for a British attack on the enemy’s flank, to relieve pressure on his own line, was refused, but the British commander agreed to stay where he was for the next 24 hours. At daybreak on August 23 German artillery began to shell the exposed loop or salient on the canal north-cast of Mens. Cavalry patrols on ^both sides were early on the move, and

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